* Posts by Paul Durrant

32 posts • joined 25 Sep 2007

Laser boffins blast bits onto hard drive at 200Gb/sec

Paul Durrant

Yeah, really...

If not this tech, then another. You just don't know what's happened and is still happening in computer storage.

25 years age (1987) a big 3.5" hard disk was 40MB. Now a big 3.5" hard disk 2TB.

No, not a 1,000 times increase. More like 50,000!

Sony Walkman NWZ-A866

Paul Durrant

How much?!


I was thinking... hmm... perhaps £50. Maybe even £99 since it's a Sony.


Good grief! What are they thinking! How much is the 32GB iPod Touch ? £249. Just £19 more than the Sony.

Any one of the iPods extras over the Sony is worth the £19.

Google reveals 'leap smear' NTP technique

Paul Durrant

We do know — you can blame it all on the Babylonians...

Waterstone's to take on Kindle and Nook with own reader

Paul Durrant


If Waterstones really wanted to distinguish their reader and ebook store from the rest they could use their current paper book market share to get publishers to go DRM-free.

"Let us sell your ebooks without any DRM, or we will stop stocking your paper books"

Paper books are still at least 80% of publishers business. Waterstones has about 25% of the UK paper book market, the largest single outlet.

Perhaps they have the clout to pull it off.

Wikileaked cable: AFACT was MPAA’s cat’s-paw

Paul Durrant

Copyright != Trademarks

Copyright holders are not required by U.S. law to enforce their copyrights or lose them.

Samsung outs MacBook Pro lookalike laptop

Paul Durrant

Clearly a rip-off of the MacBook Pro look

I'm astonished that none of the comments so far acknowledge the obvious fact that this new Samsung notebook rips off the Apple MacBook Pro look.

Let's count the ways:

1. All-aluminium enclosure

2. Ports on left hand side

3. Slot load optical drive on right hand side

4. Square black flat keytops set in aluminium

5. Hinge shape and style - long centre bar hinge that drops the lid behind the body of the laptop

6. Large all-in-one trackpad and button.

And for that matter - just look at the thing.

There are innumerable ways to design the look of modern electronics. It's not right to just rip off the design of other manufacturers.

600 tonne asteroid in low pass above Falkland Islands - TONIGHT

Paul Durrant

Feeling Lucky in 2049?

It might be going to miss us on this pass, but it seems it has a greater than 1-in-a-thousand chance of hitting the Earth on 18 June 2049. If it does hit, it'll be with the energy of about 10,000 tons of TNT. That's enough to destroy a city of a few hundred thousand people, if it hits in the city centre.

But we'll have a much more precise probability estimate after it's passed us this time.

Harry Potter Web-2.0 'Pottermore' offering unveiled

Paul Durrant

Electronic Books?

If "Pottermore" is going to be the only source of legitimate electronic copies of the books, there's your income source. Rather than give 30% to Amazon, Apple, et. al., they'll take the lot and use that to fund the site. With, I suspect, a lot left over!

Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Paul Durrant

Press Release Source

The source data seems to be available here:


Ten... DAB kitchen radios

Paul Durrant

Roberts Kitchen DAB Undercupboard Radio

How could you do a review of Kitchen DAB radios and miss out the Roberts undercupboard radio?


You even reviewed it when it first came out.


I've had one for the past couple of years, and it's been great. The only downside is that the controls are sometimes a little less sensitive than I'd like.

Judgment stalls Google book settlement

Paul Durrant

Class Action

He can in a class action suit.

BA jihadist relied on Jesus-era encryption

Paul Durrant

One time pad IS 100% secure.

..."still not 100% if you use a lot of recurring phrases..."

Ummm.... No. Using a true one-time pad (random pad as long as the message), there's no way to retrieve the message without the one-time pad. Even if the message is just the same word repeated 1,000 times.

Wii Countdown conundrum brands family 'SH*THEADS'

Paul Durrant

Utterly Disgraceful

I thought plurals weren't allowed!

Prisoners cannibalise mice for mobile power

Paul Durrant

What, no technical solution?

If prisoners are forbidden mobile phones, why not just have mobile phone blockers covering all areas of the prison?

US iPad to get BBC pay app - with 'handcrafted British feel'

Paul Durrant

UK Licence fee $225 or so per annum

My BBC licence fee costs the equivalent of $225/year. It will be interesting to see what the US iPad app subscription costs and gives viewers.

The Mac that saved Apple (and Steve Jobs)

Paul Durrant

Trivia - port door error

The "rubber-ringed hole" in the port door was NOT for threading cables through - that was purely the 'handle' for opening the door. There are gaps at the bottom left and right of the door for the cables to come through without any fiddly threading involved.

Boffins build acme e-paper screen

Paul Durrant

Late to the game

Mirasol is going to offer a reflective, colour, bistable, video refresh rate display in devices appearing Q1 2011. They're already ramping up production of the display in their factory.


Halting McKinnon extradition not in our power, says Clegg

Paul Durrant

Politicians' powers

I don't think Nick Clegg is "at odds" with his previous position.

He previously said that the Home Secretary had the power to "enact amendments " - i.e. to change the laws.

He's now saying the the Home Secretary doesn't have the power to "reverse and undo certain legal aspects." - i.e. that the Home Secretary can't arbitrarily override Judges' decisions on what the current laws say.

Both are true.

Apple MacBook Pro 15in

Paul Durrant

How to remove the MagSafe connector

It is almost impossible to pull the MagSafe connector directly away from the computer - the magnet holds it very securely.

But it's not necessary to pull it straight out from the computer like you must with, say, USB connectors. Just push it gently up or down, and it comes away easily, even if you're just eaten fish & chips.

New ISS machine makes water from waste CO2

Paul Durrant

Cost per litre of water to LEO

A space shuttle launch costs $450 million*, and puts 24,400 kg** of payload into LEO. A litre of water is 1kg. So taking water up on the space shuttle costs $37,500 per litre.

In comparison, under $20,000 per litre seems a bargain.



Labour manifesto: More ID cards, less NHS IT

Paul Durrant

What use is an ID Card?

Well, apparently, they "will help fight the growing threat of identity theft and fraud, as well as crime, illegal immigration and terrorism."

Let's take them in reverse order:

* Terrorism: Nope. Not even if made compulsory. The July 7th bombers, for example, were all British citizens. The September 11th hijackers were all traveling on valid passports.

* Illegal Immigration: Nope. It will do no more than existing documentation. If illegal immigrants can manage without a NI number, they can managed without an ID card.

* Crime: Nope. I can't even think of a way that an ID card could help tackle crime.

* Fraud: Nope. They're not compulsory, Lack of an ID card will raise no suspicion.

* Identity Theft: Nope. See Fraud. And if someone manages to counterfeit an ID Card they will only help in Identity Theft.

So - the five main reasons for spending all this money are rubbish. Either they're idiots, or they're introducing them for other reasons. Or both, of course!

Paul Durrant

A war they'd like us to forget

A quick search in the Labour Manifesto 2010 PDF reveals 17 mentions of Afghanistan, two on page 0:2 in the forward by Gordon Brown, and the rest over three pages in section 10.

Iraq is mentioned just ONCE, on page 10:3 in a paragraph about defence spending.

Historian warns against copyright-fight heavy hitting

Paul Durrant

Copyright Backlash

The only surprise about any copyright backlash is that it's taken so long. Thomas Babington Macaulay predicted such an outcome of excessive copyright back in 1841!

"Remember too that, when once it ceases to be considered as wrong and discreditable to invade literary property, no person can say where the invasion will stop. The public seldom makes nice distinctions. The wholesome copyright which now exists will share in the disgrace and danger of the new copyright which you are about to create. And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the works of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living."


Men at Work appeal Down Under plagiarism ruling

Paul Durrant

Obvious infringement

It's quite plain that the Kookaburra tune is used (in part) in the flute accompaniment.

But the damages awarded are insanely high. The infringing use is a very small part of the song, and not part of the song's main melody at all. How it can be just to award 60% of earnings is beyond me. I would hope that they get it reduced on appeal to a tenth of that or less.

IPS in cunning 'get an ID card, get crucified' scheme

Paul Durrant

Pay £30, and get fined £1000

Hmmm... So, get an ID card for £30 and be able to travel in the EU, give proof of your age to people, and get fined £1000 when you forget to tell the IPS that you've moved. What a bargain!

Samsung shows off e-book readers you can doodle on

Paul Durrant

eInk - but what substrate

The big question about any new eInk based devices is whether they are using the current, fragile, glass-substrate screens, or the forthcoming, robust, plastic or metal substrate ones.

Apple MacBook Late 2009

Paul Durrant

Poor Value

The 13" MacBook pro is just much better value. That £100 extra gets you:

* Smaller machine (in every dimension)

* 90g lighter

* Firewire 800 port

* SD Card slot

* backlit keyboard

* 250GB HD vs 160GB HD

* Maximum RAM of 8GB not 4GB

Hopefully the next version will bring back the firewire port /and/ lower the price.

Disney sued over Pixar lamp 'copy'

Paul Durrant

Remarkable Unanimity

I don't think I've ever seen such unanimity in the comments to a Register story.

Disney FAIL. Luxo, rightly, did nothing about Pixar's (& later Disney's) use of an image of their lamp. But manufacturing an actual imitation lamp called "Luxo, Jr." is a straight-forward violation of Luxo's trademarks.

Disney should settle, quickly and generously. Luxo are entirely in the right on this one.

Obama reverses Dubya's tailpipe emissions

Paul Durrant

@ Alex Wright

It's not quite as easy a target as it sounds either. That 35mpg is 35mpUSg. 1 US gallon = approx 0.8 Imperial gallons, so the target is actually just under 44mpg (Imperial gallon).

Penguin goes electronic

Paul Durrant

eBook price

Pricing eBooks the same as paper books is insane. I won't pay the same for data as I will for atoms. Mainly because I can always sell on a paper book, but I'm sure they won't want me selling on the electronic version.

Oh - and Baen DONT charge $20 for all their books published each month.

They charge $15. Yes, $15 for eBooks versions (with no DRM) of two newly released hardbacks, two newly released paperbacks, and usually a couple from their back catalogue. Total retail price of the paper versions of the books is over $75.


Now that's the way to do eBooks.

'Magnet boy' freezes Xbox

Paul Durrant
Dead Vulture


I was reading this story and my computer froze - no mouse movement, nothing. It seems Joe's powers extend across the Internet....

Amazon opens DRM-free music store

Paul Durrant

US Only

It looks like most, perhaps all, music on the site can't be downloaded outside the US.


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