* Posts by Andy S

128 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Mar 2007


Teachers crucified by coughing pupils

Andy S


Those were pretty much my points, all the stuff that replaced the cane relied on scaring/degrading/embarrassing the kid. none of which your are allowed to do anymore.

teachers can't even embarrass a disruptive child anymore as they are not allowed to say anything that might even imply a child is "a bit thick".

the points about not forcing as child to try and learn were aimed at the idiots in the government rather than the teachers. yes, every child is entitled to an education, but there's no point in forcing it on them kicking and screaming all the way.

Andy S

Was wondering

if anyone else was looking at the quote

"It's the constant low level disruption that causes the problems, the tap, tap, tap of a pen on a desk, the orchestrated coughing, the refusal to comply with the simplest of requests, wearing coats and hoodies, and sending text messages."

and thinking that if a teacher can't deal with that, then they probably chose the wrong career?

caning was banned before i went to school but there still wasn't anarchy. Simple things like making the perpetrator stand outside the classroom door worked. If a child didn't want to participate in a lesson, then they were removed so they couldn't disrupt it for everyone else. It wasn't particularly punishing them, aside from them falling behind and being considered thick by the rest of the class. There's no point forcing a child to learn "for their own good" if they flatly refuse and disrupt the lessons for everyone else, just remove them and leave them uneducated. Stop using the silly system of mixed groups and actually seperate children out by ability again, they you at least roughly end up with all the disruptive kids in one group, seperated from the rest.

Also, parents actually need to be told that their child is disruptive and they will be moved to a special needs class if they don't improve. Force them to take some pride/shame in the performance of their child. Kids aren't stupid, they know that there's not really anything a teacher can do anymore, so they don't respect them. Teachers need the backup of a parent actually caring about their childs education, or at least caring enough that their child doesn't embarass them.

Vista SP1 customers get free support

Andy S

praised for this?

they should be vilified for not offering free support in the first place.

I have an OEM version of the software but i bought and installed it myself. does that mean i have to go to myself for support, and charge myself a fee?

Awed fraudsters defeated by UK's passport interviews

Andy S

I am curious...

as to what an interview will tell them. What sort of questions are they going to be asking?

You put your name down here as mr x, is that correct?

No, i was lying! My name's really Osama and I'm a terrorist.

I have never had a passport and will need one soon, however i am going to be as obnoxious as possible to them if they expect me to travel for an hour on a train, then get a taxi to one of their passport centres for an interview, just to confirm everything i've written on the application form.

US Wi-Fi piggybacking won't put you in pokey

Andy S

about time

"users not wanting random punters to use their bandwidth should just secure the connection in the first place"

Its about time an unsecured wireless connection was considered an open invitation to use it. It's not difficult to secure a wireless connection, select the type of encryption, and type in a password, then enter that password once on your wireless device. Every router i have ever seen, has a nice, user friendly, web interface that practically walks you through the setup. Similar to an insurance company, a hard line should be taken. If you have made no attempt* to secure your connection, its your own fault if somebody steals it. Would you be surprised at somebody stealing your car if you'd left the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition? Nope, and your insurance company probably wouldn't be very understanding abouit it either.

*i say no attempt purposefully here, as someone breaking your security is very different to you not having any in the first place!

US airline pilot pops a cap in cockpit

Andy S

for some reason

I'm reminded of that video of a cop shooting himself in the leg whilst giving a gun safety lesson in a school.

It would have been a slightly different story if this accidental discharge had been into the passenger compartment and hit a passenger. It's fairly amazing that people weren't injured by the panic that must have been caused by the sound of a gunshot on a plane.

I'd be the first in the queue for compensation caused by the distress of believing the plane i was on was being hijacked :)

Online banking payment system aims to reduce fraud

Andy S

may be stupid but.

Wouldn't a better idea be for banks to set up a system with merchants, to send a transaction request into your account. You then independantly log onto you online bank and see a list of pending transactions and authorise/decline them.

its the same principle but, the bank has validated the retailer to authorise them to send requests, no dodgy activex involved, no phishing as you independantly log in to your own bank. Depending how much detail is in the request, you could see, for example "pay amazon £10 for a copy of flyfishing by J R Hartley" on your online banking site.

This could even be used with current card not present transactions. your credit/debit card request goes through as today, but you then, independantly, log into your online banking site, see a list of pending transactions, and authorise/decline them straight away.

Much more secure than the current authorised by visa system that automatically pops up a window asking for a password, any dodgy site could spoof that and capture it.

Scotland Yard criminologist: DNA-print troublemaker kids

Andy S

silly thought

"If you DNA-print kids with a history of vandalism or anti-social behaviour"

but why not actually do something useful about kids with a history of vandalism or anti-social behaviour, like disqualify them from claiming benefits when they grow up, or cancelling their parents benefits, remove them from the NHS etc. The only people who are in a solid position to control children and guide their upbringing are their parents. So there needs to be some way of making them care about what their kids do.

At the moment they seem to be proud of their kids going out and mugging people, and there's nothing the police can really do if the parents don't care.

MPs get £2k home cinema on taxpayers

Andy S

@anonymous coward

"I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top."

you do realise that that's approximately the average salary in this country don't you?? you know, how much the majority of people in the country earn before its all taken in tax. And the f*ckwits get a huge salary on top of this!!! I wouldn't mind so much if they were required to attend parliament, but most of the buggers hardly ever even turn up unless something noteworthy is happening.

I think that politicians would do a damn sight better in the job if they could only use public services. give them free public transport, make all the politicians commute by train/bus into London every day from all over the country and see how quickly the services improve.

Andy S

why should any of this be on expenses??

I don't expect the company i work for to pay for any of my home goods, i have to buy them myself from my salary. There is a dress code where i work, if i can't meet that, i don't expect the company to buy me a suit and dry clean it for me, i would expect warnings about being fired if i didn't sort it. MP's should be exactly the same, they make at least 3-4 times the average wage so they're not exactly on the poverty line.

Expenses are for things that are directly related to work, not luxury second homes

Microsoft denies Xbox 360 is Blu-ray bound

Andy S

not entirely their decision

"The software giant last month canned production of its HD DVD add-on drive, following Toshiba’s recent decision to dump the failed format."

considering that the add-on was basically a toshiba pc HD DVD drive soldered to a usb interface, inside a fancy box.

The 'green' car tax grabs that don't add up

Andy S

re: nothing to do with teh environment

exactly right, its all about gouging money out of people who have no choice but to pay. i feel i shoudl relate one of my favourite quotes from Top Gear here

"if you earn a living and pay tax, and spend some of what's left on a car, and then pay value added tax on that, and then buy some road fund license tax to put the car on the road, and then pay fuel duty tax on the fuel, and value added tax on that fuel duty tax, you should then pay 25 pounds TAX! to drive into the center of the capitol. "

People don't drive in to work every day because they enjoy it, they do it because there's no other choice. I'm fairly lucky in that the company i work for supplies a free minibus that goes between the differemt sites and the centre of the nearest town every 15mins. But it still means you have to set off 20mins earlier to make a meeting than if you drove.

Notts police seize mobile phone stun gun

Andy S


A police spokesman elaborated: "It could render someone unconscious and may even be powerful enough to kill an older person.

the police might think of this next time they decide to tazer someone for "giving them a funny look"

Tories call for big changes to cybercrime offences

Andy S

somehow i think not

"Civil servants who lose public data could be prosecuted under proposals announced by the Conservative Party"

They could also be prosecuted under the data protection act but, strangely, they're not. Introducing something else for them to be prosecuted under is a little pointless if you're not even going to bother enforcing the ones we already have. Of course, actually enforcing the current laws doesn't make as interesting news as introducing new, redundant, laws.

El Reg decimates English language

Andy S

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

I'd really recommend the following book.


One person's crusade to try and tell people that punctuation really does matter :)

Polish builder sacked for humping hoover

Andy S

are hoovers any less vulnearble than bicycles?

If not then get him on the sex offenders register!!

Apple sued over iPhone caller ID

Andy S

I'd have been more impressed

If the caller ID was a central database lookup. I would really like it if the phone company told me who was calling even if i didn't know the number. Any mobile or landline that is sold based on a contract, should perform credit checks and validation before granting, so should be pretty sure the name is correct.

Even if it was just companies this would be good, no more <private number> instead it says <Spammers R' US>

Armed robbers target Oz biker shindig

Andy S

the sad thing is...

That if this had happened in good old blighty, the bikers would all have been arrested and charged while the armed robbers would be given a slap on the wrist and told not to be naughty in future.

Agile lands role in games and business software

Andy S

all wrong

"time-to-markets is absolutely critical - I mean, you miss Christmas and you're done"

Everyone knows If a games company is going to miss christmas, they just ship it anyway and patch it later.

HMRC pays criminal for 'tax dodger' discs

Andy S

re: It's a lead, not evidence


It's not enough that the Revenue know there are people in the UK who keep all their money in a tax haven, they actually need to know who they are. Once they do, hey can investigate them.

If this disk say Mr X has £7 Billiion in a account in lichenstein and earns several hunder thousand in interest every month, they simply start looking closely at Mr X's income and expediture. If he can't account for where his money is coming from, they slap him with a money laundering charge. If he can acoutn for where its coming from, then it's a simpekl matter to check the tax paid on that income.

Florida cops taser naked old timer

Andy S

once again

When are the Merkin cops going to actually start treating tasers as the "less than lethal" weapon that it is? Its time to start using tasers situations where the only other alternative is to shoot someone.

Microsoft and Adobe jockey on rich applications

Andy S

Just Another security hole

Don't know about you, but the idea of a web app being able to read and write data locally makes be want to block it immediately. didn't anyone learn from activex?

just visit another way for a site to happily write a load of spyware to your machine when you click "yes i do want my free porn" on the install prompt

Vista SP1 kills and maims security apps, utilities

Andy S

what a coincidence

several pieces of software thay bypass the API and hook directly into the kernal, stop working when there is a security update to the kernal released. Thats what API's are there for!! Microsoft can change the kernal as much as they want, but as long as all the interfaces stay the same, everything still works.

That's exactly the same as XP service pack 2, a massive security hole in the stack was plugged, and all the programs that had exploited it, to squeeze a little extra performance, stopped working.

EU data guardians: search engines must obey our rules

Andy S

re: Phorm getting users' traffic data from ISPs

I always though that, due to the US's unbelievebly lax data security laws, the UK law required a persons express permission before transferring any personal data to the US.

Amazon have fallen foul of this in the past, by automatically signing people up to Amazon.com when they sign up for Amazon.co.uk.

UK media consultant dupes 2.4m randy YouTubers

Andy S

Government meaning of the word voluntary.

"'Approximately 10,000 young people from Lancashire voluntarily watched the clip."

10,000 young people voluntarily tried to watch a completely different clip (ie porn), but got this advert instead. There is a subtle difference.

Although, anyone who has to rely on youtube to find porn on the net, really isn't trying hard enough

Official: Toshiba discontinues HD DVD

Andy S

@PS3 sale will climb

"there is one more reason to buy PS3 and one less for the 360"

Why? Considering that the hd-dvd drive was only an addon for movies, no games came on hd-dvd, hardly massive support. If the 360 did have a built in HD-DVD drive, and HD-DVD games released this probably woukld have dragged on until every player was dual format.

Having seen inside one of these addon drives, it's only a pc drive with a usb interface soldered to it and some drivers on the console. It could take all of a few weeks to get a blu-ray version out if Microsoft want.

'Suspicious comment' provokes LAX terminal evacuation

Andy S

I'm surprised

That you're still allowed to take such a potectially explosive liquid as water onto a plane. Lets face it, if an aeroplane toilet is the equivalent of the sort of chemical lab required to make a liquid explosive, then seperating water into its, highly explosive, components using one shouldn't be too hard.

Chinese smartphone imitates sincerely flatters Palm Centro

Andy S

its a phone!

With a qwerty keyboard. There aren't that many possible designs out there. Screen at the top, keyboard at the bottom.

More videogames to face censor scrutiny

Andy S

i truly hope

That this is a clampdown on violent videogames that have been rated as suitable for kids, not just in general (not a chance...i know)

Not sure how it is in america, but in the UK, games come in a dvd case, with an identical looking rating to a dvd, and can't legally be sold to anyone under the rated age.

Either they are saying that ratings don't work, in that case, you'd better ban all the violent films too as the rating system is exactly the same. Or they are too stupid to realise that the ratings system even exists and that some games might not actually be aimed at kids.

We need a simple precedent, the next time a parent starts ranting about their kid playing an adult rated game, arrest the parent for letting them get hold of it and slap them with a big fine. I guarantee parents will start taking an interest in what sort of games their kids are playing after that.

Michael Bay to relive A Nightmare on Elm Street

Andy S

re: Oh fer'farks'sake..!!

You have to remember all the writers are on strike. What else are all they going to make.

Ok that doesn't explain all the hundreds of re-hashes before the strike but it, sort of, escuses this one

Sony posts Skype-packing PSP firmware update

Andy S


I'll wait a week or so for the open version that will work on my old psp

Device routes audio across powerline LANs

Andy S

not sure i'd trust these

or the ethernet versions to be honest, i don't like the idea that a manufacturing defect could result in mains voltage going directly into my stereo/pc

Monster-capacity PS3 in the pipeline?

Andy S

don't they take standard laptop drives?

I don't see why they are even sold with different sized hard disks as its only £50 retail for a 160GB drive. Its not like they are custom designed drives so that you are forced to buy a specific one at 3-4 times the normal price, as other, less scrupulous, console makers have done.

Judge bars unauthorized sales of phone records

Andy S

doesn't the US

Have any sort of data protection laws? How can there be any doubt that selling the phone records of a private individual, to anybody who can afford, is illegal?

It's official! DVD plus/minus war ends in a draw

Andy S

for me anyway

dvd- won this a long time ago simply due to higher manufacturing standards. I knew that a pack of 25 dvd- disks gave me 25 successful burns, whereas dvd+ could be anywhere between 0 and 25

100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way

Andy S

I'm looking forward to it...

100Mb/s will allow you to download for at least a few mins before you get slapped with the (un)fair use policy and get throttled back down to half a meg.

The only way this will work, is if you are actually allowed to use the line for whaty it's capable of.

Brazil bans the evil sold in EverQuest and Counter-Strike

Andy S

re: game publisher

Valve do the steam distribution, EA do the retail distribution.

I assume this is jusrt a ban on the retail version, presumably any halfway competant gamer can still download it via steam

Cops admit CCTV no use in deterring drunken violence

Andy S


If the video quality of these cameras was high enough to actually identify somebody after the fact, other than general build and clothes, so that they could be arrested, it might make a difference. At the moment it relies on somebody monitoring the cctv, seeing an attack and dispatching the police who, hopefully, will arrive in time to intervene. If they actually manage to catch them in the act, this can then be backed up by some low definition grainy footage of exactly what happened if it goes to court.

The sheer number of cameras out there makes me doubt the effectiveness of the monitoring though, its just not possible to constantly watch that many video feeds, no mater how many people you have.

Tom Cruise Scientology vid leaks onto net

Andy S

Re: Legal? sabre rattling

>If you believe they stick to legal (let alone ethical) behaviour, I'd suggest you research the case of Keith Henson

just the one? I'd highly recommend reading


Operation snow white alone should have resulted in the whole organisation being dissolved and the leaders ending up in a convenient offshore tortu...prisons

Canucks kill second attempt at 'iPod tax'

Andy S


they are basically assuming that anyone who buys any medium, in which its possible to store copyrighted material, is a right thieving bar-steward, charging them accordingly and handing it over to the record companies. Isn't free enterprise wonderful!

BOFH: Memory short circuit

Andy S

@simon painter

>Yeah, but the Scottish ones aren't real money.

I may be odd, but i actually keep Scottish notes specifically because they aren't legal tender and certain people(notably taxi's) don't accept them.

I have a great excuse, working for the bank of Scotland, so whenever i am in a group who gets a taxi, i'm always first to respond, 'don't worry, i'll get it' and hand over a Scottish tenner. 99 times out of a hundred it is refused and you can say 'sorry lads that's all I've got on me'

Becta excludes Vista, Office - again

Andy S


Why should schools even consider using windows when there is a cheaper, even free alternative? I'm not even a linux user, but i stil have to wonder about this.

When i was in secondary school the entire IT department was a network of 30 or so acorns (primary school it was all bbc's, i did get to use the shiny new Amiga too. for a few weeks anyway, before it was stolen!). Did anybody actually own an acorn outside of a school? No (nobody really had pc's either), but did that cripple my IT skills? As a software developer i'd have to say, probably not.

The whole purpose of a school IT department is to teach kids IT, if you're teaching IT anyway, then why do you need to do something the kids have done before (if you can find me a class of secondary school kids where more than 10-15% don't know how to use word on a windows pc i'd be impressed). The 'people use windows in businesses' argument doesn't hold water either.

If you're teaching IT principles then separating them from any one implementation is a good thing, IT principles are not operating system, or application, specific so it shouldn't matter what system you are taught on. the kids should be taught the difference between ASCII and UNICODE, how memory and disk storage work, etc, even teaching the difference between .doc and .odt is a good thing. but you don't actually need to touch a computer to do any of these, nevermind use a specific OS or office suite

If you're just teaching basic computing skills, ie word processing or spreadsheets, there is no difference whatsoever between openoffice and ms office. How to select and apply formatting is the same, how to save and load, insert pictures, and so on. In fact you'd be far better off teaching people how to find the option they need rather than the tick list approach that was used when i was in school

(as an example, make text superscript)

to change the appearance of a piece of text, you need to find the text formatting options. on the system we are using these are here. Some systems allow you to set up shortcuts to this sort of formatting, for example Microsoft word has a quick icon for making text superscript at the top of the screen that you can just click on.

rather than just, select the text you want and click on the superscript button at the top of the screen.

It just boggles the mind that the, universally tight fisted, education department would even consider windows/office over any number of free/cheaper alternatives, when not only is there no appreciable difference, but actually exposing kids to something they've never used before might do them some good.

Microsoft backpedals on Blu-ray for Xbox 360 comments

Andy S

what i don't understand...

Is that if microsoft were really serious about hd-dvd they could already have tipped it into the lead, in fact they still could.

If they had released the 360elite with a built in hd-dvd drive, they could, at some point, make games producers make the switch to HD-DVD, it shouldn't affect their production costs. They issue a swift apology to their existing customer base and knock the price of the addon drive right down (ie. $50) to appease them (with the added bonus of millions of pc users, remember vista recognises a 360 hd-dvd drive). Existing customers would buy them to play new games and soon millions of hd-dvd drives would be sat in living rooms everywhere, repeating exactly what sony did with the ps3, but because they already have a much larger customer base hd-dvd would be a much more dominant format.

Hell, even if it fails miserably, at least they've made an extra 40odd gigs of storage available for there developers to play with

UK gov scraps '£1bn' prisoner tracking system

Andy S

@Andrew Smith

> Why can't the Govt. just pay the price they agreed on? Any over spend is picked up by the contractor.

That's probably the worst thing they can do, if you've ever been involved in a project that must be delivered on a certain date and must stick to budget, you would see what a pile of toss goes into the code to get it done. You end up dropping functionality/maintainability/stability all to keep to budget/release and deal with all of the scope creep, misunderstandings or strange business decisions. (I like it, but can you make it a different colour? It clashes with our new office design scheme).

Maybe my view is one sided, because we have to maintain the code we deliver, but some of the things i have to deal with because somebody decided to do it quickly and cheaply a couple of years ago are horrendous.

you'd be amazed how many people forget maintenance in their requirements, or just pay it lip service. I've even seen people brush off serious concerns ('but are you sure you want that, you'll have to manually check and key more than 7million prices every month? Oh its no problem, we'll just get a temp in to do it - 2 weeks after delivery they're wondering why all the prices are wrong and how soon can we have it 'fixed')

'Draconian' Microsoft promises to make Office work again

Andy S
Gates Horns

another nail in the coffin

I already have open office installed to try out, the moment I get a message preventing me from opening i file, i'll make the switch permanently, rather than bothering to mess about with the registry. Can MS office open ODF files?

Schools minister touts 'one interweb per child' pork barrel

Andy S

RE: "Obviously you need to make [computing at home] affordable

Correct me if I'm wrong, but computing at home *is* affordable. You can get a laptop for a few hundred quid and most company's actually have to pay people to take old desktop pcs off their hands because they can't get rid of them.

Most of the IT people i know use their old pcs as doorstops, stick them in a loft, or just chuck them out. All the government needs to do is set some way of redistributing old computers that people don't want and they will gladly hand them over for free (I have a funny feeling computer companies would step in and block a big government scheme though, probably microsoft too if you preinstalled them all with linux).

As for the internet, its handy but i wouldn't call it essential. not that thats unaffordable either, basic access can be had for under a fiver a month (a lot of people spend more than that a day on cigarettes).

MS 'disappointed' with Xbox Live connectivity woes

Andy S


that the latest update introduced a system for delivering info to teh customers as news bulletins. It would have been appreciated if one had been sent saying there were connectivity issues. I am unlucky enough to have been hit by virgin media's problems at the same time and assumed my inability to connect was related to that. I would have realised my cable issues were fixed a lot sooner than i did, if i'd know the live service wasn't working properly and actually tested it using a pc

Former beauty queen cuffed for torturing ex

Andy S

re: Better picture of her

I'm really surprised that el reg didn't dig this picture out and use it, it would have put a completely different slant on the story, of being tied up and tortured.

Dixons shares spanked after profit warning

Andy S

Re: Fewer laptops sold?

It couldn't possibly be that now every man and his dog has now got a pc and a laptop, the sales of them are falling off. PC sellers don't seem to realise what sort of a market they've been in recently.

PC's have been a must have item for years now, and the last couple of years, with the fall of laptop prices and their increase in spec's they became a must have item too and everyone started buying them. even my grandparents, who have trouble with a video recorder, bought themselves a laptop!!

the downside to this is that they've saturated the market, now, like tv's before lcd became common, people will only buy a new one if their old one dies. either that or they need one 'for the kids' . obviously the sales are going to slow down a bit (dixon groups own problems aside)

i've got a laptop that was hi-spec 4 years ago, its still good enough now to do pretty much anything, even play modern games (the only thing i've done is put a bigger hard disk in which took all of 2 mins) . Unless there's a good reason, ie it dies or something insanely new is introduced, i'm still going to be using it 4 years from now. I can't see this being much different to most other people with them.

eBay to appeal patent decision

Andy S


A button, on a website, that lets you buy a product for a set price. Of course well let you patent that Mr Troll, I don't know where you get all these crazy ideas from.