* Posts by Jolyon Ralph

393 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Oct 2007


Apple reportedly planning to revive the MagSafe charging standard with the next lot of MacBook Pros

Jolyon Ralph

MagSafe was awful.

The old magsafe connectors were a great idea, but fundamentally flawed for two reasons. The switch to USB-C was a great improvement.

1. proprietary chargers/cables are hugely more expensive than generic replacements. You can get USB-C chargers anywhere, and use the same charger for everything. I can use my MacBook Air USB-C charger to charge my MacBook Air, my iPad, my android phone, my samsung tablet, my wireless headphones, my Canon EOS R mirrorless camera, my USB battery pack, even the bank of LED lights I use for my zoom meetings. If I travel (vaguely remember about travel from the distant past) I can now pack a single adaptor for everything. NO. I don't want a bespoke Mac charger again.

2. Magsafe had a fatal flaw. All it took was a grain of grit or some other dirt to be caught inside and then the connector would partly connect but not totally, leading for power to sometimes arc across the pins inside, the connector to get VERY hot and eventually oxidizing/corroding the metal. My wife's 2015 Macbook Pro needs regular cleaning to stop the magsafe connector from overheating. I've heard of other people who's connectors have failed completely needing a motherboard replacement.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro would be the best Android flagship on the market – were it not for the US-China trade war

Jolyon Ralph

Re: So close, and yet so far

I've been using the P20 Pro as my main phone since it first launched and it's still so good that I can't really justify upgrading it until I somehow manage to destroy it (and seeing how many times I've managed to drop it face-first onto concrete without a scratch this may take some time.)

Hopefully we'll have a more sane world order by then and Huawei will be allowed to use Google services again, if not I'll replace it with a used P30 Pro.

Right to repair? At least you still have the right to despair: Camera modules cannot be swapped on the iPhone 12

Jolyon Ralph

One positive aspect

Although I'm far from an Apple apologist (happy Huawei P20 Pro user) I can sort of understand the logic here - now that it's easy to block stolen phones from being reused (at least on reputable networks) many of handsets stolen in muggings etc are stripped for parts. Perhaps this is one reason why Apple are trying to tie things down more?

In general though the means probably don't justify the ends in this case.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Jolyon Ralph

Jam on both sides and then cream in the middle.

Barmy ban on businesses, Brits based in Blighty bearing or buying .eu domains is back: Cut-off date is Jan 1, 2021

Jolyon Ralph


Who would have thought that leaving the EU would mean we no longer get the benefits of being an EU member?

Absolutely shocking!

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

Jolyon Ralph

Ryzan Threadripper

I'm sure Ryzan Threadripper was a character in Game of Thrones

If you're appy and you know it: The Huawei P40 Pro conclusively proves that top-notch specs aren't everything

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Chocolate teapot

You're all forgetting one big thing. Huawei's biggest market is (surprise surprise) the domestic China market, who have been living very well without Google Apps for years now.

Yes, it's irritating for them that they're not able to configure these phones now to the general tastes of the Western market, but they are surely playing the long game here.

We're going underground, and this time it's not an inebriated banker crapping themselves, but Transport for London

Jolyon Ralph

Available for all...


Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two

Jolyon Ralph

Re: 8.3

Also, Micros~1 is 8.0 not 8.3

Micros~1.exe or Micros~1.com might be more effective.

Oh hell, forget that, just VOTE TEAM CLIPPY!

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

Jolyon Ralph

Re: How about no execution whatsoever?

I came to post something similar to this, although I disagree that the Computer Misuse act would cover it because inevitably you are agreeing to Google dumping crap on your system by using the sites that have the ads installed.

As usual, Google are doing something about this not because they are keen to "do no evil", but because they're losing ad-revenue because more and more frustrated people are installing ad-blockers.

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Framboidal

I've heard of slightly-greasy solar atoms, but never framboidal elements.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Got to be something about Clippy

Clippyzilla! That's got to be it.

Jolyon Ralph

Got to be something about Clippy

Team Clippy

Clippy Clippy Shake


etc etc

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Jolyon Ralph

Re: HP printers

Tried a Brother printer and the Mac drivers were awful. I'm sure it's fine for PC people.

Epson printer working fine here with both Mac and el cheapo cartridges.

Google pre-pandemic: User-Agent strings are so 1990s. Time for a total makeover. Google mid-pandemic: Ah, we'll reschedule to 2021

Jolyon Ralph

What we need as a web developer

There's only a few bits of information that are actually important for a legitimate web developer to know about your system.

Which actual browser you are using shouldn't really be important. All that's important is to specify what level of HTML standards it is complying with.

There are few actual browser-specific differences between HTML5 implementations these days, and in general if your code is relying on sniffing the browser type to determine which HTML5 to generate either you're doing it wrong or there's a bug in the browser which needs fixing.

Similarly, I don't care if you're using Mac, Windows, Linux, Atari ST or CP/M as long as your browser is compliant.

What I *do* really care about more than anything else is the physical type of device you have. Is it a phone? a tablet? a computer? This is something that can be sniffed currently to some extent from user agents, but for me this is really the only thing that's really important.

The final bit of information that the browser headers can tell me which is really important is which languages you prefer the content provided in. I don't care *where* you are. But knowing what language you'd like me to serve your content would be great.

So "I'm using a phone, it's HTML5 compliant, and I prefer my content in English, but I can also read German" is really all the information we need.

Anything else is useful for the marketeers but not for me as a developer.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Whoa, that was a nasty gremlin

Those were the days!

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Whoa, that was a nasty gremlin

No, just 'a' Jolyon Ralph. We come in six-packs now.

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Whoa, that was a nasty gremlin

Ok, "Agnus" here!

Some more details, although my memory is a little sketchy after so long.

I *think* the machine had both a Commodore A4091 SCSI card *and* a GVP Zorro II SCSI card in it, because the GVP card was maxed out with the extra (slow fast) ram because we were too cheap to get the proper ram to expand the A4000 (the card had been recycled out of another machine that it replaced)

I can't remember which the external drive was connected to (I do remember it was a Fujitsu drive) but I suspect it was the CBM card.

It was one of the early production A4091 cards sold to developers which was, to put it mildly, a pile of crap. I know there was a ROM upgrade but I don't know if it had been installed or not.

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul

Jolyon Ralph

Nuke them from orbit

It's the only way to be sure

Idiot admits destroying scores of college PCs using USB Killer gizmo, filming himself doing it

Jolyon Ralph

I bet

I bet he still had to try plugging it in three times before he inserted it the right way round.

Just the small matter of the bill for scrapping Blighty's old nuclear submarines: It's £7.5bn

Jolyon Ralph

The impact to us would be pretty minimal if we scuttled them in the pacific :)

Actually, disposing of nuclear waste in the deep ocean isn't necessarily a bad idea if done sensibly. The reasons for not doing it are mostly political rather than scientific.

Round Two in Sky vs Skype trademark scrap goes to Murdoch's men

Jolyon Ralph

Firefox next?


The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Jolyon Ralph

It was only a law because it rhymes with Moore....

If his name had been Theirry they would have called it a theory, which of course would be equally wrong.

'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?

Jolyon Ralph

Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

Unless you're the sort of person who uses your iPad to remote-control your Stannah Stairlift I really can't see what the market is for handwriting recognition in the modern world. Everyone's tried it in the past, but handwriting itself is a dying art.

How many of us here would genuinely find it easier to write by hand rather than type (or even stab at an on-screen keyboard). There are a few people for sure that would benefit, but it's hardly mass market.

Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

Jolyon Ralph

> either enforce the update and explain the likely-extended downtime and lost revenues to Accounting

Congratulations. You've just described what an IT Manager's job role is. If your IT Manager is NOT doing this then they don't deserve the job.


Jolyon Ralph

Re: Won't anyone think of the scientists?!

>But the failure isn't just bad news for the company itself.

But on the other hand, NASA must be delighted with the number of YouTube views they're getting

Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Jolyon Ralph

Fruity führer?

What's wrong with the term iAtollah?

US Copyright Office rules that monkeys CAN'T claim copyright over their selfies

Jolyon Ralph

> So If I set up a camera that has an infra-red trigger that is set off by an animal,

Then you're fine because you have set up and targeted the camera, you have framed the shot as you want it to be. It's your copyright creation.

In this particular and highly unusual case this did not happen. The photographer did not frame the shot or have any real creative input into how the shot would come out. He even claimed it was a lucky accident. As such, his involvement in creating the shot was pretty much limited to a) being in the right place at the right time and b) having the camera set up to take shots at the right exposure levels, etc - but as it was clearly set to autofocus and probably at least on either automatic exposure or automatic aperture setting (but none of us can tell that without the exif data) his argument for creative input on this is pretty week.

Similarly, if you and your family are on holiday and ask a stranger to take your photo, you still tend to own copyright of the photo because the assumption is that you are setting up the shot yourself, you are in control of where you and your family stand and the stranger is little more than a 'meat tripod'. This is where that differs from hiring a professional photographer to take your family photo.

The monkey example would be a bit analogous to you being on holiday, leave your camera on the table, someone runs up, takes your camera, takes a photo of themselves, and runs away. You wouldn't own the copyright in that case either. But then you'd probably just delete that picture (or pass it to the police!)

London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

Jolyon Ralph

Opera browser

Does this mean Opera Browser with its "Opera Turbo" mode is against the law?

It seems to be able to access many if not all of the websites banned by my ISP for copyright violations.

128-bit crypto scheme allegedly cracked in two hours

Jolyon Ralph

94.6 bits

How on earth can you have .6 of a bit?

All this new fangled computer technical speak is making me feel very old.

In my day if you had 128 bits of space for your program you were happy

Build a BONKERS gaming PC

Jolyon Ralph

All very good...

but how well does it play Plants vs Zombies?

Schmidt slams China as world's most prolific hacker

Jolyon Ralph

Mmm yes..

From his Daughter's blog (https://sites.google.com/site/sophieinnorthkorea/home) describing their trip to North Korea.

" We left our phones and laptops behind in China, since we were warned they'd be confiscated in NK, and probably infected with lord knows what malware."

Mmm yes, leave your laptops in China. Good advice there :)

Console content can cause crime, claims cop

Jolyon Ralph

Dihydrogen Monoxide

Have they checked to see how many of these criminals were exposed to dihydrogen monoxide at some point in their lives? It may also be a factor.

Native Americans arrived to find natives already there, fossil poo shows

Jolyon Ralph

Poor clovis

So, the clovis travelled all the way from Asia to the US only to find someone had already shat in their caves.

At least they didn't have Homeland Security

Exotic proto-mineral 'panguite' from before the planets found in meteor

Jolyon Ralph

Not really news

As the majority of meteorites pre-date formation of planets, there are dozens of these"proto-minerals" already known.

My favourite one is the utterly bizzare icosahedrite (www.mindat.org/min-40647.html) - a natural quasicrystal - which was found in terrestrial rock, but analsys suggests the grains were derived from an ancient meteorite that were then redeposited within earth rock.

Apple will only reinstate mute kids' app if makers win patent case

Jolyon Ralph

> but as developers are unable to issue updates and fixes,

> it could gradually become buggy and incompatible with the software.

Ah yes, the inveitable bit rot that introduces new bugs into existing working software. If the app works now on an ipad, and the ipad isn't updated in any other way, it's going to continue to work, isn't it?


Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Jolyon Ralph

Microphone input NOT removed

>Muzos will also be surprised to discover that – apart from the pair of built-in microphones

>– there’s no audio input at all

Not true. All they have done (in common with other manufacturers, my 2 year old Lenovo laptop has exactly the same) is combine the two into a single extended socket much the same as is on the iPhone and other mobile devices.

So you can plug your iphone headphones/mic straight into it and use it. No need for headsets with two plugs on the end. I've found it much more useful when using skype, etc, on my Lenovo that I can plug in my iphone headphones/mic rather than carrying around a headset with two connectors.


What's copying your music really worth to you?

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Economic harm?

"I can't believe you are stupid enough to think that there's a difference in the technology involved."

Did I mention technology at all? The technology allows me to listen to music that I have legally paid for. The fact that it allows people to listen to music they haven't paid for doesn't stop the technology working well for my purposes. Should I have to subsidise those who pirate music by paying an additional fee on my music player? No, I don't think so.

The problem is DRM can't work with audio because CDs are unencrypted 16-bit uncompressed audio. By creating a system that requires DRM, you're preventing people from using music they have already paid for (ie, format shifting), it's not just the pirates who are getting annoyed.

So, without pissing everybody off, you can't make an audio player that refuses to play pirate files. Simply isn't going to happen. If you want to blame anyone, blame the music industry for really not thinking the whole thing through in the late 70s/early 80s when they dreamt up going to digital.

"Just because an article is written by Orlowski does not mean it is completely irrational and without merit."

As Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. I've not seen any.

Jolyon Ralph

Re: Economic harm?

The original article, and my comment, had nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with format shifting. Despite what record company executives may want to believe, the two are not the same thing.

If hungry musicians who sold me a CD want to eat, they can jolly well record a new album which I will buy, they should not expect me to bail them out because skanky kids are pirating their music. That's not my problem.

Jolyon Ralph

Economic harm?

What bullshit. We are meant to feel sorry for companies trying to rip us off by wanting us to buy the same music twice? What is the author thinking????

If I have paid for music on a CD that I can play in a car, on my computer or on a CD player, then there's no moral justification for stopping me listening to that same music on my iphone.

Don't give the music companies a single penny of "compensation" for this. I, for once, am proud that in the UK we're holding out and not paying this fee to the music companies.

Yes, Apple could afford to pay it - but that doesn't make it morally right.


Will UK.gov crack down on itself for missing Cookie Law deadline?

Jolyon Ralph

My suggestion

although it wasn't accepted by the client, was a big box at the top which says.

Cookies are essential for modern websites to work. Get over it [ ] I've got over it.

Once ticked, cookies are permanently enabled for the site.

The whole thing is a complete nonsense. The ONLY sensible solution for this is a browser-based one, with browsers keeping track of what sites you have enabled cookies for or not.

Vote now for the worst movie NEVER made

Jolyon Ralph
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Wait a moment.

Shouldn't the winner get 10 DVDs of the worst movies ever made, the second place get 20 and so on...

(checks current pole positions)

No, wait, leave it as it is!

Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

Jolyon Ralph

Save icon

Isn't it time to ditch the 3.5" disk icon? Not that I can think of a better replacement.. But seriously, it's 2012

Botnet army flicks 'off' switch at UK crime agency website

Jolyon Ralph

Home office biometric systems down today too

Huge biometric system failure in Lunar House. Lots of frustrated people having to rebook appointments.

So what's the worst movie NEVER made?

Jolyon Ralph
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The C Programming Language

Original by Kernighan and Richie

Screen adaption by J.J Abrams

Jolyon Ralph

Bad director remakes

I live in fear of the wrong directors being invited to remake classic movies,

can you imagine, for example:

A remake of Psycho directed by Michael Bay

A remake of Free Willy directed by Quentin Tarantio

or worst of all

A remake of Star Wars directed by George Lucas

Jolyon Ralph

The Ucyclopedia list of 100 WOrst movies of all time:

contains such classics as:

"Close Encounters of the Third Reich"

Adolf Hitler returns in a UFO, and he's pissed.

"Titanic vs Godzilla"

At the end of the original Titanic, Bruce Willis (played by Leonardo Di Caprio) destroys the iceberg after drilling into it and planting a nuclear bomb in its core. But the RSS Titanic is far from safe. Blown off course, it heads into Japan, home of the notorious Godzilla

"Andy Warhol Controls the Universe"

Mr. Warhol hits new experimental heights in this film about a filmmaker making a film about a film whose filmmaker filmed it entirely with the lens cap on.

"Paul Allen vs Predator"

Can $21 billion protect you from an invisible alien hunting machine?

and so on...


Apple files patent for 'polished meteorite' keyboard

Jolyon Ralph

One problem with polished meteorite *

* Assuming you mean a shiny metallic one, and not one that just looks like a lump of roadstone.

The problem is rust!

Meteorites are not good at being handled, and rust easily. Meteorite slices are best oiled and kept out of humidity to avoid decomposition.

So, neat but utterly impractical.


American search team fails to find women's G-spot

Jolyon Ralph
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Obligatory XKCD reference


Exotic Russian rock CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

Jolyon Ralph

five-fold symmetry

Yes. the stuff has five-fold symmetry, which is freaky and quite unnaturally weird. Nothing else in the mineral world does.