* Posts by James

61 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Oct 2007


Prepare for Apple's self-resizing iPhone interface


5 icons in the dock?

Don't you have to jailbreak to get that?

Branson rocket piggyback plane has control 'issue' - report


All this waterfall design-then-test stuff is very old school

Clearly we'd be better off with an agile approach to aircraft development. "As a pilot I want to not die in a flaming ball of jet fuel and shattered composite." Might take a few iterations to pass QA, mind, but ultimately that has the beneficial NFR of whittling down the wage overheads on the flight roster.

'Extortionist' turns Wi-Fi thief to cover tracks


@John Parker

Such a thing already exists, Fon make a router that has an unencrypted "free for all" SSID that shares bandwidth (for Fon members at least) and a private, WPA encrypted SSID for your own personal use. The public SSID is always of the form "FON_foo" so people connecting know what they're going to get.

Novell vs SCO will go to court after all


So this is why IBM does all that nanoscale work...

...to build an appropriately tiny violin for Darl McBride's fortune.

Orange to offer unlocked iPhones for €749


No newsgroup access?

Shouldn't be an issue, given that the iPhone, er, doesn't have a newsgroup client on it...

O2 gets 225 guinea pigs drunk by phone


I smell a betting opportunity here

Bob buys all his cigarettes with his NFC mobile; which cancer will he get first - lungs, head or testicular?

The Romantics sue Guitar Hero for sound-alike imitation


@ All those asking why they licenced it in the first place

The band wouldn't be the ones choosing whether or not to licence the mechanical rights, because they aren't the publisher. Activision would have licenced the song from whoever published it in the 80's, probably because it was cheaper than licencing the performance rights of the actual recording. That's why The Romantics are suing for as many non-copyright infringements as their counsel can think up.


Statement from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

The WCIA has long fought this scourge of "sounding like." We see it as just another infringing reproduction of our IP - one, in fact, of the most prevalent and insidious. In the simplest terms, it is an exploitation of the analogue hole which we seek to close permanently.

Consider, for instance, the hypothetical Harry Q Musicstealer listening to his stolen goods on his (also probably stolen) iPod while travelling to work on the Tube. Overcome with an access of emotion while listening to his preferred liberalist commie-hipsterite noise, Harry begins to hum along. Soon you have a whole tube carriage of 200 people or more all singing along in one giant chorus! That's 200 licencing fees stolen from the WCIA, just in that one moment alone. This tragedy happens on a daily basis, I'm told by my underlings who aren't driven everywhere in chauffeured Maybachs.

Consider further, that if Harry Q Musicstealer has any musical talent, there is nothing at all to prevent him transcribing our property into his brain by an insidious process known as "understanding" and playing it back at any time. Through a process known as "inspiration" he can even make derivative works, right there in his head! He can then perform these derivative works to an audience, who can also "understand" and "take inspiration" from them, and suddenly the process of brain-theft goes viral. Ultimately you may end up with thousands of different songs that sound nothing like the first-generation inspiration and are indeed effectively unrelated to them, but upon which we are not earning the fees to which we are entitled.

The WCIA does not intend to take this threat lying down. We have a multi-point plan to prevent this process ever happening again.

1. Ban all music

2. Sue everyone on the basis that we need to recover the lost revenue that banning music has caused, and it was their fault we had to ban it

3. Sue all artists for breach of contract for ceasing to produce music

4. Lobby government for "cultural protection tax" to be paid for us to compensate for ongoing revenue that we would have earned had we not had to ban our own product.

This plan may take some time to effect. In the meantime we are working with manufacturers to ensure that all headphones are made with only a single earpiece, to remove the "two-listener hole" currently prevalent with stereo equipment.

Brit office Xmas parties going to the dogs


What really gets me

is the thin glass those cheapskates at Canon are putting on their photocopiers these days. If I have to spend one more December evening in A&E getting my arse sewn up, I'll sue, I swear I will.

Audit commission tells councils to get competitive


Need to generate £4.9bn in savings?

Easy, put Sir John Bourne on packed lunches, problem goes away.

Dixons grinches Christmas


Good thing they spunked £7m on a rebrand then

And in the process queued up another £7m hit for three year's time when "Currys.digital" sounds about as cutting edge as Austin Powers' slang.

Hacker defaces temples to OS X


The important thing to remember here

Is that my personal preference for $OS makes it objectively the best OS in the world. Anyone who likes any other OS is therefore utterly wrong and their personal preference is entirely the product of a diseased mind, and I can prove it by mentioning $minor_niggle. Take THAT, fanboys!

Google permits Dell to sell Dell servers


That "How it works" graphic on the Dell site

Must be the most simplistic and retarded diagram I've ever seen. It might as well just say "MAGIC BOX MAKE FILES FOUND." Still, it's aimed at the management, I suppose.

UK's toads menaced by fungal attack



Well, the article says it's already ravaged Australia, so my guess would be no.

Only bicarbonate of soda can save mankind!


Trouble is you can't even use it for baking

...because that just releases the CO2 it's sequestering. Which is a shame, because I desperately want to see a harassed power station manager shouting "Quick! We need MORE CUPCAKES!"

Rose Tyler beams back into Doctor Who


Beaming in?

I don't recall Scotty showing up in the TARDIS - surely she's materialising?

Save the BBC - by setting it free


So how soon...

...is the reg announcing that it's been bought by Newscorp?

Chilis could struggle in 'Californication' lawsuit


Statement from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

The WCIA welcomes this action by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to protect their IP. We have long been of the opinion that the sales of properties that shot their wad ten yeards ago are vitally important and must be protected, in order that we can release endless special editions, remasterings and definitive versions in the years to come.

There is absolutely no excuse for this ElectroTeleKinematograph show to deliberately confuse viewers in this way. When searching iTunes, how is the custiminal - who is, we must remember, functionally retarded - supposed to discriminate between the TV show soundtrack or the 18 various versions of the Peppers' album that we've ground out over the years? By looking at the track listing? The cover art? Please! The WCIA has made an awful lot of money off the assumption that the custiminal will pick up anything shiny enough without actually comprehending its content.

Obviously what's going to happen here is that the custiminal is going to download the wrong album, discover his mistake when he hears songs that don't sound like the wailings of a terminal lung cancer sufferer gasping for his last breaths, and in a fit of pique download the entire RHCP back catalogue from the notorious pay-to-join terrorist financing operation, The Pirate Bay.

What's more, as the RHCP are already far down the road of Dylanesque pointlessness, this "familiarity with their decline" will inevitably lead to falling sales of their future albums. This is completely unacceptable to the WCIA: Not only should the law protect us from people who wouldn't have bought music because they are terrorist sympathisers, it should also protect us from people who won't buy music because they know it won't be very good. And unfortunately our policy of polishing turds with homoerotic heroin-chic Keidis cover art can only prop sales up for so long.

Iowa house swallowed in grain bin collapse


"with Jesse Kellet the only one of the pair to require unspecified hospital treatment"

So did Jordan Kellet require specified hospital treatment then? V. poor grammar, see me.

Atari may hit reset button again


No YOU'RE wrong

$ten-years-dead_platform is FAR superior to $other_ten-yeards-dead_platform, you $insult_that_only_someone_who_lived_in_his_parents_basement_since_1996_could_come_up_with!


A proposal to end all this pain

Infinium Labs should buy the name and rebrand the Phantom. That way Atari devotees can get a nice warm feeling every six months when Infinium put out a new press release promising incredible things, but their lack of ability to bring the console to market both safeguards the Atari name indefinitely and also prevents the inevitable disappointment when people living in 1989 discover it doesn't have GEM as a window manager. Win-win.

Analysts warn of US broadband meltdown


They're laughing because

Raising the notion of "investment" with BT in any way shape or form displays a touching naievete bordering on the pathologically innocent on the part of the enquirer.

Inland Revenue boss quits over 'major ops failure'


Well let's see

If one small "balls-up" (ie saying what was true but not politically expedient) by a Today Programme editor was enough to shunt Greg Dyke out of a job, surely this is more than enough to send Darling to the political wilderness? Inasmuch as New Labour has a political wilderness - Mandelson seems to be doing very well out of, thankyou.

Drink rats' milk, suggests battling Heather Mills


Bit of a cruel poster though

Obviously Sir Paul's nicked her leg and made her crawl across a burning field to get it back! And in such a nouse blouse too...


Not surprised she kept the engine running

She probably wanted to keep the heater on - it was frickin' freezing yesterday. Unseasonably cool, one might even say. The kind of cold you might have if the gulf stream's effect was being lessened as its northern terminus is swamped with freshwater from glacial melt, say. The kind of glacial melt you get when people burn hydrocarbons, for instance. Like when they leave their pointless urban 4x4 running needlessly so it's not cold when they get into it. Nice one, Mills.

Google builds very own Ethernet switches



Well, to be fair, it must be a novelty. It's pretty difficult to break new stories when half your journos are takes to cut and paste Paris Hilton stories out of the AP wire.

Gene Simmons blames college kids for ruining music biz


@Stephen, RE: Kaiser Chiefs

Would you say it does not move you, it's not the kind of thing that you like?


Open Letter from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

To: Gene Simmonds

From: The people who invented you in the first place


while we appreciate your passion and commitment to our shared cause of causing financial ruin to the custiminal, we have some reservations about the way in which you expressed that passion recently.

Gene, we have repeatedly made it clear that as a recording artist you are absolutely not, not, not to make any kind of public pronouncement or express any kind of opinion on any subject save the usual list of approved sentiment which, as an aide memoire, I shall repeat below.

- My fans are the greatest

- Africa needs help

- You wouldn't run over a granny in your Hummer so don't steal music, kids

On this occasion myself and the other members of the WCIA board feel you far overstepped the spirit, if not the word, of the third sentiment. We have no problem with you wanting to sure everyone, Gene. That dovetails neatly with our existing strategy. Similarly we have no problem with you demonising college students; we've been doing that for years.

But Gene, we do have a problem when you suggest you might not record new material. YOU do not decide what you record, when you record it, what it looks like, or how much it costs. In the same way that YOU did not decide to form a band, who should be in it, what it should be called or what it should look like. If you recall, Gene, WE decided all that and we will continue to decide your future until my new apartment in Monaco is fully paid for. It has gold door handles, Gene. It may take you some time.

You may consider this your first written warning, Gene. We won't take it any further on this occasion as long as you get back in your box, keep your mouth shut and wait for Song-Tronic 2000 to write some new material for you to mime to. And don't write me another long whiny letter about your "artistic integrity," you're a man famous for standing next to another man wearing a made-up cat face, for God's sake.

Yours sincerely,

Victor Gusham-Hartley

WCIA artist liasion

123-Reg takes weekend off


Three grand in a weekend?

Let me introduce you important and powerful businessmen to the concept of a "Service Level Agreement." If you haven't ever heard of one before maybe you should do some homework before entrusting your sole source of income to a bloody domestic ISP.

Singapore allows sale of 'lesbian' video game


Guys, you're getting it all wrong

Remember, it's OK to show shoot-outs and beatings. It's the three-second glimpse of Janet Jackson's flabby left bap that's caused the moral decline of America.

Euro HD DVD camp clams up on format sales figures


Surely GfK must know

In order to work out that 3.8 discs per player have been sold, they must have taken the total number of discs sold and divided it by the total number of players sold? If both figures aren't included in the study then surely there's no proff it's anything but smoke and mirrors?

Lily Allen 'in talks' to become Doctor Who's assistant


Leave Catherine Tate alone

She'll make an excellent companion. I already have some spoilers of the episodes that have been written around her nuanced and multi-faceted character.

"Silence is Golden" - when a race of intergalactic librarians threaten London with permanent silence, the only person who can drive them away is a woman with a really annoying voice who only has one volume setting - but where will the Doctor find one of those?

"Novelty Fair" - when a race of thrill-seeking aliens threaten London with being turned into their white-knuckle fun-fair, the only person who can drive them away is a woman who can turn anything into a boring, unfunny catchphrase within two or three repetitions - but where will the Doctor find one of those?

"The Doctor's Dalliances" - when Martha Jones unexpectedly returns she and Donna immediately come into conflict. Written by RTD this episode will shock viewers with the subtle nuance it applies to harpy-like screeching and blowjob gags.

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be" - 45 minutes of a target being displayed on the screen under the words "The fan must be punished. Strike the screen with your forehead." For accessibility purposes, instructions will be squawked by Catherine Tate throughout.

My spies also report that halfway through the series the TARDIS will see the introduction of a wacky new character, the Doctor's nephew Scrappy-Doc! Hijinks ensue!

Music DRM 'dead by next summer'


Response from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

This is an interesting but flawed piece of analysis. Ultimately it hinges on a single flawed assumption: the customer-criminal (or "custiminal") knows what it wants.

The problem is, if you ask a custiminal what it wants, there will be one and only one answer: "We want to drive the WCIA out of business and dance on its executives' graves and exhume their ancestors and sexually desecrate their corpses." The music itself is an incidental benefit. Your average custiminal (an in fact that's the only kind, which is a huge benefit when it comes to profiling the market) cares more about drugs, blasphemy and insulting the crown than the format of music we cripple for it.

Of course we would like to simply disconnect entirely with these lowlife hippies but by some tremendous quirk of demographics these anarchist scum somehow appear to make up the entirety of our market. How exactly this was allowed to happen in as few as 20 short years since those happy days when everyone loved what we told them to so much that they went out and bought it on vinyl as well as CD is under investigation.

Rest assured, the WCIA is making every effort to return to the comfortable, profitable, executive-friendly status quo. As soon as government builds enough prisons we will simply buy a law which allows us to imprison all of our custiminals and replace them with a more docile "consumer" which only buys what we tell it to enjoy, and only in the formats we sanction. However we urge the government to act quickly as the revenue decline that the piracy crisis is forcing on us is such that I may have to forgo my quarterly Bentley re-goldplating this year and the time window for our "party support" is rapidly closing.

Tesco punts Xbox 360 bundle for £33.24


Obvious mis-price

The small chance of getting a retailer to honour a mis-price like this is if you can convince them that it was reasonable to interpret the price as a genuine offer and not a mistake. In this case the RRP is given as £34.99 which is obviously erroneous and makes a joke of the reasonable expectation. No chance of getting them to come good, I'm afraid.

Surge in encrypted torrents blindsides record biz


Statement from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

The WCIA wishes to make it clear to all those who seek to pirate material: Encryption is no guarantee that we cannot pursue you. No encryption system is unbreakable, and our expansive team of highly-paid coders can easily work out how to break the shackles of a simple cypher put together by a mere handful of undisciplined hippies. In fact the mere presence of encrypted traffic on your connection is enough to raise suspicion, at which point we will consider it our legal duty to crack open every packet we find to prove what we already assume is true, viz. anyone who uses encryption is doing it to cover illegal activity.

We would also like to remind those who seek to pirate material: Encryption is a guarantee of quality and security. Encryption systems are unbreakable (when ultilised by Big Media), and our small team of highly-arrogant coders is easily able to secure the shackles of a simple cypher under scrutiny by a mere few thousand highly-motivated hippies. In fact the mere presence of encrypted files on your MP3 player is enough to demonstrate that you actively desire more encryption, and makes it our legal duty to install rootkits and gimped drivers, in order to cover the fact that we have no idea how to respond to a changing market within the context of our traditional activities.

The WCIA hopes this message makes our position clear to our custiminals.

US manned spaceflight after Shuttle could be delayed


@David Harper

Alas not, today engineers are required to think about those niggly little problems like "survivability" and "where it comes down" that von Braun and Korolev could rely on having swept under the carpet.

'I'll be back' is most-quoted movie line


Rather a tame choice of Withnail quote

In one of my old houses any transgressions were met with a chorus of "Monty, you terrible cunt!"

Oh yeah. We got all the girls.

Paris Hilton exits missionary position to save Universe


Cheers Lester

There I was, thinking "how can I get an honorary mention on this?" when it occurred to me, all I had to do was mention your name. It's certain to drag you away from deciding which stories to copy-paste out of the AP's weird world feed to get noticed, and you can never resist seeing it in print. An affliction, unfortunately, I do not share.


"Paris Hilton...

...is just one of the many pointless topics Lester Haines constantly chooses to demonstrate his utter unsuitability to write for an IT news site."


"Paris Hilton...

...remains someone I have no interest in reading stories about, least of all on The Register."

And as a subheading you could have "Now in process: Less of the heiress"

Mac OS X firewall blocks Skype and online gamers


Good work on the endless platform trolling, everyone

Because the only thing more retarded than a retard is a retard arguing with a retard.

Topless Liverpudlians confined to tropical fish stores


@Tim Spence

I'll guarantee you the swiss piss law is enforced, it'll be part of their draconian quiet night laws that Clarkson's always harping on about.

Congestion charge dodgers register Bentleys as minicabs



The clause in question is "hire-and-reward." Most domestic hire policies specifically deny cover while the vehicle is being used for hire-and-reward (so the bint with a 7-seat XC90 ferrying six snot-nosed Huberts to the Montessori had better not be getting any more than petrol money from the other mummies freed up to frig themselves off to Trisha).

However the exception applies to usage, not registration. Any minicab driver would be entitled make personal use of his car outside his working hours, for instance, at which point it might still be registered as a minicab but it's not being used for hire and reward. Incidentally a chauffeur should certainly have the appropriate insurance depending on whether he's coming from an agency or privately hired by the vehicle's owner.

So if Bufton Q. Pigopolist smacks his domestic-insured, minicab-registered Arnage into the side of a bus, his insurer will be happy to pay up as long as he wasn't carrying paying passengers. On the other hand I'm sure TfL would be intrigued to find out he was violating the terms of his licence by being improperly insured for hire.


The congestion charge is a wonderful thing

Good old Red Ken, always thinking about the proletariat. His brilliant idea with the congestion charge is to overload public transport so that the affluent middle class can drive around with greater ease. I was delighted to read in his propaganda paper recently that "before the congestion charge and related increase in bus frequency, passengers often had to wait as two or three full buses streamed past without stopping." I got to that sentence just as the third full-to-bursting 55 streamed past without stopping. Progress, comrades!


Er, isn't this a no-brainer to fix?

Just cross-reference all registered minicabs against those cars which actually have insurance policies covering hire-and-reward, which is a far more significant cost than a minicab licence, and is not included in standard domestic policies.

Pirate Bay aims to sink BitTorrent


Response from the Wax Cylinder Industry Association

The WCIA wishes to express its deep revulsion for this development, and indeed all developments. Development is a cancer, working away at entrenchment, hegemony and monopoly, and forcing investment, innovation and competition. This is very much in the consumer's worst interest.

Imagine a school, of say 700 pupils, in which your little Johnny is the only child who doesn't like the latest Steps Take 7 Boyz album. Perhaps instead he was entranced by some left-leaning freedom hating communist jazz he downloaded from Kazaa. Your poor little Johnny is going to be the pariah of that school. Is that what you want? You heartless bastards. When there is no choice but what the WCIA chooses, there will be no alienation on grounds of taste. When there is no alternative, no child will be denied the joy of failing an X-Factor audition.

As for innovation, how long will the consumer continue to be conned by this "march of progress"? How many different music formats exist to confuse the consumer? AAC+Fairplay, PlaysForSure, Zune Marketplace... who has the time? Without cursed innovation, we would have one simple, standard, universal music format. I mean, of course, the CD, which plays everywhere and always, except the ones that we had to cripple so they don't, which is for your own good. For your own good. Your own good.

And now we see that after all the innovation that went into buying an established media distribution protocol, we are further required to spend money to innovate ways of stopping people using this protocol they way they want to! And now some yuet-dwelling hippie beardoes want to introduce competition into the equation as well? And not the kind of competition where the whole industry agrees a few extra weeks of blockbuster releases in order to bolster all the major players, but the kind of competition where I might personally lose money!

The WCIA once again demands that responsible computer manfacturers do the responsible thing, and expend all their effort into securing IP they do not own and in which we will not allow them to have a share. Clearly the protection of individual files is an unworkable strategy, and so the WCIA advocates "Plan Q (mark 4 revision 12)" in which OS manufacturers immediately develop systems in which the opportunities for users to operate P2P software, listen to audio files, or indeed do anything not sanctioned by an extremely short list drawn up by corporate managment are severely curtailed. Proof of concept already exists in the form of Windows Vista.

Cops coax half-naked Czech wolfman from Cardiff tree


@ Philip Marshall

It said he tried to take his trousers off in the Reg article too. That was actually why I thought I'd make a kind of "joke" around the perception that there's so much shagging in the popular television series "Torchwood," which is also based in Cardiff, which is where this story originated. Trousers are long tubular garments used to clothe the lower half of the body, usually removed or at least loosened in the act of sex. Poland is an Eastern European country. Trees are the large brown things which have leafy green bits at the top for most of the year, but not right now.

If there's anything else in this article that goes completely over your head, do be a love and keep it to yourself.

Paris Hilton

@ Wile E. Veteran

Why would they call in Torchwood? They were trying to keep his trousers ON!

The secret to Web 2.0 success


I've always thought

the best cartoons are the ones that require a 100-word preface in pre-explanation.

Oz 'Family First' candidate sacked for todger-flash email


@Mike Moyles

No need to worry whether or not it would stand up in front of a jury - this is the kind of case that's destined for the small claims court!