* Posts by Mark Wills

72 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Oct 2007


Google patents (2004) home page

Mark Wills


Trademark, sure. Patent? Er, no.

That's a fail that is.

Gmail in massive web outage

Mark Wills

Can I just say...

...that in the 10 years or so I've been using Yahoo mail, I can't ever remember it being down :-)

Loch Ness Monster surfaces on Google Earth

Mark Wills


Clearly Nessie has moved into the 20th (or 21st) century and embraced fossil fuel powered combustion engine based outboard motors. Smart.

The fact that the bloke is a total dick is obvious. The fact that the SUN published it, tells you all you need to know, about it, and its readership.

So, beloved El Reg, why did you go with it? Honestly, can't we just ignore these idiots, maybe they'll go away?

Opera chief: history will silence Unite doubters

Mark Wills

Hello 1995

Welcome back Microsoft Personal Webserver. Where have you been all these years?

Missed you, we did.

Microsoft PWS and DynDNS.org - a marriage made in heaven!

Opera slams Microsoft's Windows 7 E move - again

Mark Wills

Can I remind the purveyors of Opera...

That if they don't like it, they are free to bugger off and develop their own operating system and put whatever the hell they want on it.

Blimey. What a bunch of whiners.

I still use XP, and Firefox is my default browser. If I hit CTRL R and type http://www.theregister.co.uk, windows opens up FIREFOX to serve my page.

What's the damn problem Opera? Please, please please just shut up and go away.

NASA orbiter returns first shots of Apollo moon sites

Mark Wills


A NASA spokesman confirmed there was no truth in the rumour that the lunar landing module is covered in 52,145 parking tickets and final-demands for payment.

A report that the LEM has been clamped is under investigation, however, and our spokesman would not be drawn 'into speculation' until further investigations have been undertaken.

Whining serial commentard bemoans Reg bullying

Mark Wills


"I'd rather have a woman than a Muslim"

Ergo, there are no female Muslims. LMFAO.

Pirate Bay users go overboard as new owners dangle cash

Mark Wills


Has the deal *actually* gone through yet? I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't go through in light of all the hysteria and ship abandonment by TPBs "loyal" users.

If the potential purchasers of TPB think they, as a file sharing site, can cut a deal with the media companies, they are in for a huge shock in my opinion. The sounds of their anguished cries will be drowned out by the sound of doors slamming in their face.

I'm left with the impression that they haven't actually contacted the media companies at all. This is all just someones 'bright idea'. Amazing. If it was my $7.5M i'd have done my due dilligence before jumping in.

Someone is about to throw $7.5M down the toilet. Heads will (eventually) roll/people will walk the plank etc...

Microsoft's Bing in travel trouble

Mark Wills


Kayak spot an outside chance that the sites look similar, and then, I ask, how did this story get into the media?

Could it be that they issued a press release to all and sundry, having the effect (completely un-intended of course) of driving up their web business, and getting lots of free advertising.

Publicity hunting tards. You fell for it too, by beloved Reg. But we still love you!

[PS: Loving the new icons!]

NASA moon-attack probe beams home first lunar shots

Mark Wills

I have no comment.

I just wanted the little alien icon :-)

Opera to take web back to the old days

Mark Wills
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Fidonet 2.0

I for one welcome our new Opera loving overlords!

Cobol hits fifty

Mark Wills

Put down?

Hmmm.... Not sure about that el reg. I mean, you did mention in your article that the language 'just works'. That's exactly the reason that it's still here.

If it aint broke, don't fix it!

Boston dorm computer raid ruled illegal

Mark Wills

The solution is...

Only use old 1980's retro computing gear in your dorm room:

Old VAX box running VMS?

Maybe a Sinclair QL? Who needs USB when you have microdrives?

How about an old Texas Instruments TI-99/4A with 5.25" disk drives?

Atari ST?

Maybe an old Amiga 2000 tower?

"Well your honour, we confiscated his machine, a Sinclair QL, but we were unable to plug an LCD monitor into it, nor could our highly trained computer consultants determine wher the mouse connected. Furthermore, we couldn't find a compatible cassette player for the Microdrives."

Would-be Jacqui whacker told to try his hand with the Met

Mark Wills

Balls of Steel

Mr. Weaver,

I hereby do declare you to have the largest set of balls in Britain.

You are one brave fellow!

Paris loses her BlackBerry in Cannes hotel

Mark Wills
IT Angle



That is all

E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin

Mark Wills
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Shifting the problem...

Moving from combustion engines to battery power is simply moving the problem from one finite resource, to another.

How long, once there are 500 million battery powered vehicles on the worlds roads, until we run out of the resources required to build the batteries?

Unsafe at any speed: Memcpy() banished in Redmond

Mark Wills


"Its drawback comes when the source to be copied contains more bytes than its destination, creating overflows that present attackers with opportunities to ...."

Hmmm,,, I think that's the symptom, rather than the cause.

There's nothing wrong with memcpy(). It reads a word from a source, and writes it to a destination, decrements a counter, and continues if the counter !=0

In other words, it does what it is supposed to do. The problem is that programmer did not bounds check before the memcpy was executed.

A simple if block around the memcpy is all that's needed.


Lost jungle tribe research: Nice guys can get the girls

Mark Wills


"men who had participated in a homicide had significantly more wives and children than their less warlike brethren"

Yeah, 'cos they killed the hubby and nicked the wifey.

Is it me?

Asda clamps down on killer teaspoons

Mark Wills

Monty Python

But the totally, completely f*cking NUTS thing about it is that you need to hand over ID.

The logic appears to be:

Teaspoons can be used as a lethal weapon to kill people, thus we need to make sure they are over 18. So it's fine to kill people with a teaspoon, as long as you are over 18.

Somehow, being 18 is 'magic' and makes the problem vanish. Just like those bomb proof plastic bags that you have to put your Tango in at the airport. Somehow, a bottle of Tango on it's own is a potential terrorist weapon of mass doom and destruction, yet put it in a plastic bag, and it's fine.


Even worse, it's not the even the Government telling them to do this. They have simply taken it upon themselves to police the purchase of teaspoons.

I can't believe I've just written "police the purchase of teaspoons" outside of a discussion of a Monty Python sketch.

It's the perfect opening for a comedy sketch:

[ Well dressed man in pin stripe suit (John Cleese) walks into a shop ] "Good morning!"

"Ah good morning sir, and how may I help you on this fine day sir?"

"Well, my good man, I got up this morning, and came over all particular for a cup of Earl Grey's finest, only to determine that, after considerable investigation, one had neglected to equip ones self with the appropriate tea making apparel."

"Oh dear sir, that really won't do."

"Indeed. It was was with considerable embaressment, not to mention some consternation, that I came to the realisation that one was missing a teaspoon inparticular. Which, I'm very happy to say, has occasioned this visit to your delightful vendorship."

"Ah! A teaspoon is it sir? You've come to the right place!"

"Excellent! Now my good man, show me your finest teaspoons without delay, before me tea stews!"

"Of course sir! Erm, you do have some form of identification with you, do you sir?"


"I beg your pardon?"

"Identification. We need it you see sir, for all teaspoon purchases."

<long pause>


eBay says Skype worth $2bn

Mark Wills

Did they even try?

Did Ebay even try to 'leverage the synergies'* between the two companies?

I'm not a heavy Ebay user, but I don't ever recall an (for example) link/icon on a tat page saying something like "Click here to speak to me now via skype". That is surely what they refer to 'entropic synergy leverage'** - I mean, if you are wanting to buy something a bit pricey, you want to speak to the dude first right? A little link to hook you up with the seller via skype, or take a voice mail if the seller isn't online? Isn't that what they were talking about.

Well, two points spring to mind:

1) They never (as far as I know) ever went down that road. Opportunity lost.

2) Skype could have added that feature on their own, and made an API available that *anyone* could use, just like cart icons on web pages (publicly available APIs that you are invited to code against). They didn't need to get bough for $2.6 billion to write an API! I would have developed it for them, for a mere fuckton of cash. Could have saved themselves loads that ebay lot, the silly beggers.

* To my hallowed fellow El Reg readers, I apologise

** Hey, I can spout this shit all day if you want me to!

Virgin Media pilots 200Mbit service

Mark Wills

Well will enough be enough?

It is interesting: My dual processor laptop can execute 10s of millions instructions per second, yet, as far as I can see, it spends most of it's time polling the mouse port waiting for me to do something.

My internet connection can download high quality MP3 files faster than it takes to listen to them, making streaming in CD quality possible, yet it spends most of its time waiting to read the page I am reading, before I click the next link.

In other words, I find both my laptop and my internet connection perfectly adequate for my needs. If I need to wait a few minutes to download the latest Ubuntu image (just downloaded Ubuntu Remix in about 4 minutes) then, guess, what, that's fine. I'll go make a cup of tea, chat to a collegue, or answer an email.

When will enough be enough? Is there *really* a demand for super-duper-mega-bandwidth-by-the-fuckton? Sure, the freetards^M^M pirates who download copyrighted material all day will always scream for it (and absorb it, to the detriment of everyone else) but for your average joe, *most* internet connections these days are fast *enough* thanks very much.

Is it me?

Windows 7: MS plays a Jedi mind trick on netbook owners

Mark Wills

Just thinking out loud

I wonder, in these days of the free software movement, if BeOS would fare better now if resurrected?

There's an awful lot of talent writing completely open software for Linux, and I wonder, if BeOS could have it's time again now, would it get the success it deserves?...

Just wondering.

Mark Wills


"Microsoft hopes you’ll succumb to a Jedi Mind Trick: that you’ll buy a netbook with a version of Windows 7 that will only let you run three applications simultaneously and that won’t have a media player or simplified networking, but that you’ll like Windows 7 so much you’ll then want to buy a notebook or desktop running a full version of Windows 7"

As opposed to say, Ubuntu Remix which runs lovely on my AA1 and lets me do anything I like.

Oh, and is free.


China launches DNA database to track trafficked kids

Mark Wills
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Doesn't sound like a bad thing. It is being launched specifically to reunite children with their families. I can applaud that. It's entirely different to the reasoning our government are employing: That we are all guilty of something, they just don't know what it is yet. It would seem that even the Chinese, with their record on human rights, haven't gone that far.

Pig plague 2.0: Can't spell 'pandemic' without 'panic'

Mark Wills

Gordon to the rescue

"The prime minister, Gordon Brown, who will join a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee chaired by health secretary Alan Johnson today, said he would take "all urgent action necessary" to try to halt the virus,"

Just like you took all action necessary to halt the banking 'crises', by spending 3 generations worth of tax contributions.

Ah yes, well done Gordon. Your plan is brilliant. Deflect attention from the recession. Gordon's coming to save us from certain death.

You're my hero Gordon.



Prepare for Apple's self-resizing iPhone interface

Mark Wills


...but not an invention. Merely an idea.

<-- Nokia 6310i

Amazon UK kicks off low-end price scuffle with iTunes

Mark Wills


I'm struggling to remember how much 7" singles cost in the UK in the mid 80's when I was a teenager. I seem to recall buying Do They Know It's Christmas, and West End Girls and Money For Nothing* and other such 80's greatness for 99p.

That means buying tracks on line is now cheaper than it was 25 years ago.

That's progress, as much as we all like to bash the record companies.

Having said that, I can also remember getting my YTS money on a Friday, (the princely sum £17.50 for a weeks work IIRC) and going up to Rainbow Records in Shrewsbury with my hard earned to buy an album. The rest I would give to my mum. Bless her.

I still have some of those albums, with the price tag on them. Chris Rea, Mike Oldfield (Crises - great album), Stevie Ray Vaughan**, all £5.95.

Still some ways to go on the album prices me thinks!

* other great 80's tracks are available

** other great 80's bands are available. But not Kajagoogoo. They were shit. And Dollar.

As Sun unravels, it's time for a new suit

Mark Wills

Where's Alan Sugar when you need him>

He would sort them out in a flash. And we'd get to watch it on the telly too.

I know. I'm a genius!

BT does Italian Job on London traffic lights

Mark Wills
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Fair do's

"So far we've managed to restore services to 50,000 homes and business. Work is continuing around the clock to restore service to the remaining affected customers."

That sounds like pretty bloody good progress to me. Cor blimey... Fixing a chopped fibre, doesn't sound like fun to me! I mean, which fibre connects to which? It's not like they're colour coded!

On you go BT.

Massive Sun cuts planned as IBM focuses on software trio

Mark Wills

Java commerce model?

Can anyone tell me (just curious) about the Java commerce model?

I had assumed one was just free to develop applications in Java and sell them to anyone, with no licences payable to Sun for use of the Java system. Is that the case, or am I wrong? If that *is* the case, you have to wonder how Sun make any money from Java at all? Especially when you look at things like NetBeans, which is a truly brilliant product, and must have cost millions to get it to where it is, yet (unlike Micrsosoft), they just give it away...

How do they make money from Java?

Just curious, thanks.

What if IBM doesn't buy Sun?

Mark Wills

Java! Won't somebody think of the Java

I would have thought just the reach of Java was too broad to see it die off. Somebody would surely be interested in Java technology, even if they weren't interested in Sun's hardware?

Battlestar Galactica eyes 'technology run amok'

Mark Wills

Is that the show...

... that was some thinly veiled left-wing anti Iraq war diatribe, using men in space suits instead of men in soldiers uniforms, 'cos we're too thick to understand anything else?

I stopped watching after the first episode on UK telly. Jeesh, what a load of cack.

As for those of you who can site every twist in the sorry story; e.g:

"Cavil blew his brains out because his chance at getting his hands on Cylon resurrection technology went out the window when Tyrol snapped Tory's neck before the download could finish."

I'm working my way through recently purchased box sets:

The Sweeny (shut it you slaaaag)

The Professionals (just ever so slightly camp, in a good way, not a 'Carry On' way)

Minder (Oh my good gawd Terence)

Bottom (should be compulsory viewing for all school kids)

The Young Ones (WAS compulsory viewing when I was at school)

The old stuff *is* better. Sorry, but it was. And you get reminded of just how shit those cars your Dad had to drive really were.

And everyone smoked tabs.

And no-one wore seat-belts.

That's how fricken hard they were ;-)

Ahhh... I feel much better now - back to work!

Can I say, with the utmost respect, please, do get out more and meet people. Most of them are very nice and won't stab you.

In fairness, to Alex who made the above quoted posting, you did use the geek icon, so I forgive you ;-)

Swedish police claim massive anti-piracy bust

Mark Wills


Piracy is piracy and it is right and proper that their equipment has been seized and I hope full legal proceedings will ensue.

I note the AC (the first poster) notes it as a fail... So what would you suggest then, AC? Just let everyone rip off music companies, film studios, and software houses as they see fit?

You'd see it differently if your livelihood depended on selling a product you had strived for and crafted, only to see it ripped off in a million piracy markets around the world.

You, dear AC are the FAIL.

Expedition to probe cavern lake 3km beneath Antarctic ice

Mark Wills


I'm visualising a system that can 'melt' rather than drill (or perhaps a combination of the two) it's way through the ice, thus the ice above it re-freezes and thus remains sealed.

Tuh dah!!!!


Microsoft talks open-source love amid TomTom Linux 'war'

Mark Wills


their software contains open source, how can they sell their software for profit without breaking open source licence agreements?

Class action anyone?

Satellites crash over Siberia: Iridium bird destroyed

Mark Wills


It's in space, and is weightless, therefore has no inertia. So how can two weightless objects colliding in space blow each other to smithereens? Sure, I guess they could damage each other - knock a booster out of alignment, tear a solar strip, but, surely, if they hit each other, they'll just, er, stop?

I apologise in advance if I'm being thick. No, really I do.

Mine's the one with Newton's Law for Dummies in the pocket.

World's power grids infested with (more) SCADA bugs

Mark Wills

As a 20 Year Scada Veteran Myself...

Just let me say that you didn't have this problem with VMS and DecNet protocol. You just didn't.

Sage struggles in subdued market

Mark Wills

There's the problem right there...

>The company employs 14,500 people

There's the problem. I mean, Sage, right? Payroll, ledger, accounts payable, that sort of stuff?

Can anyone explain to me why it takes 14,500 people to manage a software product that could be entirely managed, by, say 4 or five coders in someone's shed?


Is it me?

ITV to write down Friends Reunited value, says report

Mark Wills
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"The Sunday Times reported that the review, which is undertaken by ITV CEO John Cresswell, is expected to conclude that Friends Reunited is worth less than when the firm bought it in December 2005."

And, in a dose of the blindingly obvious, Mr. Creswell, true to form reveals "Erm, well, it would appear, contrary to our expectations, that, er business that don't take any money from their customers, er, don't make any money."

Thank you Mr. Creswell for the blinding ray of insight.

Web 2.0. FAIL.