* Posts by Terry

49 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Oct 2007

Verizon promises 4G for every American



Right you are. I am at least as big a techno nerd as anyone else. But damnnnn folks, our cart is rotting in the field while the horse dun runed away.

It would be really cool if my phone would work inside my house. Somehow I find their promise of "4G for all of America" somewhat dubious.

It will be Star Trek techno-heaven where the CEO lives, (Irving TX I think).

It will likely work reasonably acceptably in select medium sized markets.

In big cities it will be so overloaded as to be non-functional, isn't that the beauty of CDMA - unlimited number of simultaneous users?

In small markets or rural areas it will be just like 2G, and 3G, and 8G -- non existent. These talking heads always choose to forget that "America" is not just the city in which the big wig lives.

EU issues ultimatum on internet privacy


On the other side of the pond

Would someone kindly explain to me why, in America, (as in USA not Venezuela which is also sadly in the same hemisphere) such a discussion is not even happening?

I objectively believe the US is the most directly democratic country in the world. It is of course a republic like every other country whose politicians proclaim, for the mouth breathing public, that their system of government is a democracy. But still, lacking the rather ridiculous concept of a PM we are generally a leg up, avoiding loons like Mr Brown. Of course we have loons galore of our own, so the system is clearly not all one would wish it to be. But I digress.

The point is that while the EU is a generally dubious and notoriously power hungry "government without a country" it still really does some leading edge work in the area of human rights. Here we have a story where they are at least threatening to force corporations to acknowledge human beings have more sanction on life and liberty than corporations do on gross profit. Yet in America (USA again) such a concept is completely alien to the several million (yes there really are that many) government officials and workers.

Something is starting to smell a bit rancid in the land of the free and home of the brave (freeloader? brave new world??)

This sucks!!!

Tesla names Model S rollout date


Disperse the money

Isn't that what governments do?

Pioneer unplugs tellies and 10,000 workers


Mabye it's profitable....

As far as I am concerned maybe their car navigation systems are profitable, but they should have stuck with TVs. They certainly will NEVER get another dime from me for a navigation system. They make the lowest quality kit on the market bar none. And the support desk lies to your face -- well ear actually.

However, I can say with first hand experience that once you protest the charges to your credit card company and they find themselves with payment being withdrawn by someone with a hell of a lot bigger stick than theirs, they can be forced kicking, screaming, and cussing to abide by the legal minimum.

Will the moderators let me get by with a "rot in hell pioneer" end tag?

Firefox's Fennec trots onto Windows Mobile


Browser wars Part 2?

Well I have a Touch Pro. And since everyone is dying for my opinions here they are:

1) Internet Explorer. Is a fair browser. 4 generations ahead of Palm's pitiful Blazer. But that's sort of like the fat guy from the local pub winning a gold in the special olympics. Still it does a reasonable job at setting where the bar should be.

2) Sky Fire. A great idea with some of the worst user interface problems I've ever seen. What it will zoom and how much is a complete mystery from page to page. Ultimately I hear it WILL play your favorite flash. So if that is how you define success vs failure I guess it's good. Try to read many web pages with it and you'll go blind (or perhaps I am already?)

3) Opera Mini. Near utter Shite. It probably isn't as good as Blazer. IF it doesn't crash it may render things Blazer won't. But that doesn't matter because it is going to crash in the next 5 seconds..... See there it goes again.

4) Opera Mobile. This is what a mobile browser should be. Rather dreadful and largely undocumented settings page. But "mostly" you don't need to mess with it. Browser is in ACTIVE development and although I haven't installed the latest builds it seems uncontested to take over at least windows mobile based devices. Actually, for most people it probably already has.

5) Firefox (fennec) I second (third?) this is a STUPID name. THANKS for the explanation. At least now I know it's a word. All it made me think of was some physics lab: Feme or some such. As for the browser, being a hard core firefox person I have been hoping from foot to foot to try this out. However, the cab file flat refuses to install. I'm not sure how they could do worse than that. I can't imagine why my unflashed Touch Pro would have problems with it. Seems like a remarkably weak first effort. They are already VERY late to the party. They may not catch up with Opera. Having a cab file on the internet that doesn't even install certainly doesn't close the gap any.




@AC -- Mod +4 Humor. But then you went too far combining lardy, hairy and the reversed thong mental image. Mod +10 Full Body Shiver.

I must go bathe now.

Pioneer calls a halt to LaserDisc hardware production


Ho Hum

The only vaguely interesting thing this raises is the question: What's the "minimum storage" on an optical disk? I suspect that's the warranty period of the players they've yet to sell, say maybe a year(ish). I doubt it is the 10 (20? 50? 100?) years one could expect the disks to survive. Actually, I didn't know LDs were analog. This rather explains why they were so damn big. I had assumed it was just poor compression technology, but I never cared enough to research. But here El Reg brings this fascinatingly useless information to my cranium! My point being that if this isn't digital data, then "life of the disk" means something a bit different... You could probably get some significant amount of the original content off the disk for a VERY long time indeed! I wonder if Pioneer really means they'll keep spares on hand for 500 years? Actually I don't really wonder as I suspect I already know the answer. And I believe it to be 90 days past end of new product sales. For sake of argument call it all done and gone by next Christmas.

Well these comments are certainly more time, effort, and Reg disk space than any of this deserves. I think I'll go read something else now.

Prof: Use wind turbines as flywheels to smooth output


@ Ivan

That's the worst idea I've ever heard. In 5 years these fools could destroy civilization! How about we just put them in a cave for 5 years. Their ramblings are probably a tremendous source of global warming anyhow.

BTW, you're in charge of remembering to let them out in 5 years. If you're unavailable I'll do it.


Honest. No, really... I'm sure I'll remember. I'll put it in my Vista Calendar.

Who says COBOL doesn't get tweaks?


My aren't we snooty

First editorial correction: VSAM is certainly not a "Flat" (usually read as sequential) file system. However, it is most assuredly NOT a database. It does support several different types of organisation, which I could detail but no one reading this that doesn't know it already would care. Point is it is arguably the fastest way EVER to get at your data --- ASSUMING you know how you want to get at it. It would be unimaginably dreadful for most any data mining sort of operation. But I worked on a system where the decision was made to use VSAM over DB2 simply because there was no rational need for a database and VSAM is MUCH faster. Not to knock DB2, or any other database, it simply provides far fewer options, and until someone invents a free lunch it will always be faster. Are relational DBs fast enough? Usually yes, but they are not the only game in town. "When all you need is a hammer, sometimes a hammer will work just fine!"

On COBOL, it like all other languages has it's good points and bad. It's single greatest detraction is that it has about a -1.628E30 cool factor. As pointed out the installed base is gigantic, shrinking, but gigantic and will probably be with us for at least 20 years, maybe 50.

As procedural languages go, it is actually among the best in the world. (There's your flame bait right there.) It never ceases to amaze me that anyone ever thought writing a business program in C was even a workable idea. The mere concept of business means the computational heavy lifting is that sometimes you get to subtract as well as add! But mostly what you do in business, even the mighty Inter-web ( :P ) is move known quantities of fixed length character data about: disk to screen, screen to paper, etc etc. Rinse and repeat 700 billion times. COBOL is uniquely suited to that task. C, which lacks the concept of a fixed length character string stands out as the worst (mainstream) language ever for this purpose. And of course you can write remarkably repugnant COBOL. And yes I still have a sore spot about the repugnant C to which I was subjected. But if we're going to rant let's rant about something really dreadful.

Given all this, I am very glad to be rid of COBOL. I am very much more glad to be rid of C. C++ was a lovely prototype of what an OO language probably shouldn't do. What Sun did with Java is miraculous. It is however, contrary to this decade's belief, not the evolutionary culmination of computer language, but it is DAMN good. Better than COBOL, (OO COBOL is a true abomination of nature) and WAY better than C.

In many way's it is good that IT doesn't live in its past. It's what I like so much about this industry. It reinvents itself every 10 years. But not every new idea is a good one, and not every old idea was folly. COBOL was (is) an important tool of business. And business is not "cool" it is pragmatic, pondering, and pays for this entire quirky experiment we call life.

Mattress maker can no longer spring for SAP roll-out



All these TLAs (three letter acronyms) are total bollocks. They, en mass, are a fad that unscrupulous companies, with SAP being the undisputed king pin, can foist on business to help justify the shell game of doing away with managing our business and replace that with an off shore call center.

Running a business is hard. SAP is just a very evil prank being pulled on people who have no damn business making decisions about anything more complex than which breakfast cereal to buy.

It would be nice if the managers got the ax so maybe other MBMs (mouth breathing managers) would be more wary of the vendor with the 10,20, 500 million dollar solution to your pesky day to day JOB.

And a big kudos to goggyturk. Yeah, they could have spent 100 million and had a lovely pack of consultants tell them how to change their business so it conforms to what SAP wants it to be.

Sprint modem straddles 3G, WiMAX

Dead Vulture

@ Wade

Simple really. It is cheap. I've been a Sprint customer for the better part of 10 years. The service was never great. Most people agree that the entire company went to crap when they bought Nextel. I'm not sure I saw a stark delineation there, it seemed to start out mediocre and has slid inexorably towards abysmal.

It is also MUCH cheaper than anyone else. Probably at least 30% So I put up with the worst customer service in the history of capitalism, and phones that may or may not get a signal inside our house. Which BTW is not the phone's fault. We've had many phones, currently a Treo 680 and HTC Vogue: not exactly low end stuff.

Is this "value"? Probably not. But in truth I do believe Sprint is only slightly worse than all the other HORRIBLE phone companies. If I were willing to pay half again as much I could have a fractionally better customer experience from a fractionally less incompetent group of mindless drones. And there would be a infinitesimally better chance my phone would work in the house - although I have heard several dreadful stories of Verizon in our area too. And I can't envision ever willingly giving ATT money. So, 'eh, they're all crap. At least I'm paying the fewest dollars possible for the privilege of their abuse.

Daft list names Firefox, Adobe and VMWare as top threats


Flame indeed

So, did microsoft buy Bit9 or just bribe them? Basically this looks like a hate list more accurately described as the most populate PC programs not written by microsoft. (apologies for implying that M$ has written anything that IS popular)

The only real surprise in this list is the hated Symantec. They love to replace their busted-ass software with even more busted-ass software. And our PCs are configured such that we can't stop it no matter what. Of course since it's what passes for AV on our systems I probably wouldn't; but Damn, I thought these guys were in bed with every PR firm on earth! Maybe this alone is enough to prove Bit9 is a real nobody?

SkyFire beta goes public


Still not perfect

The main problem with Skyfire now is the zoom feature. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's not available. Often it will not zoom far enough for my tiny WM screen. This seems like a really odd problem as there's no obvious technical reason for it. It appears to depend on the original web page. If it's in a reasonable font it may be readable. If not quite readable there's a good chance you can zoom it and be fine. But if it's one of these near sighted, allergic to scrolling, long winded types (you know who you are) who believe 6pt font is fine b/c everyone has 24" monitors anyway.... In these situations skyfire fails rather miserably. While Opera 9.5 will zoom it in until it's readable.

I like the idea of Skyfire. I doubt mobile processing power will ever catch up with the ever bloatier (it's an industry term) web 2.0 world; although Opera has come a VERY long way.

Skyfire really needs to fix up their browsing. It isn't useful to render it if I need a magnifying glass to prove that. I actually quit using it for this reason. I got tired of having to cut URLs and bring them up in Opera so I could read them.

Yahoo! begs world+dog for free engineering

IT Angle


This story was so boring I couldn't finish it. Not bad writing, it's just such a ho-hum subject I couldn't care less. No, really, I tried to care less and found I was already at the absolute limit of apathy.

So I guess yahoo and especially their social site junk has actually reached 0 Kelvin. There's probably jokes there about the LHC or the warmth of women on yahoo social sites, but the sheer lame-ality of yahoo stories have driven the will to try out of me.

The comments were far more interesting. And yes, Correlated sub-query is the proper term.

"IT?" because I'm not sure what yahoo has to do with IT. Please don't explain it to me though.

Windows 7 early promise: Passes the Vista test

Gates Horns

Re: Brent Gardner

Damn man, I was going to take apart this disgusting piece of tripe passing itself off as a review, but you already did it. Probably better than I could have done.

REG: Next time send Brent! Your guy is a complete wanker.

One bit you can't say enough: Windows 7 will be at best an incremental improvement on the "polished turd" of vista because it's the SAME CODE BASE!!! Really people, if you take crap code that was architected by imbeciles to be used by fools.... what do you expect? M$ blamed the device manufacturers. Sorry boys, it's your API. You decided to not support the XP drivers. Just admit it, catastrophic incompetence (and of course DRM) killed vista. It will kill windows 7 too. Of course that's a good thing and a wonderful monument to the free market vs corporate hubris.


Start Button

James, I could be wrong, but I believe the Start button first shipped on OS/2.

It seems universally accepted that DOS was .... ah.... "acquired" NT (generally considered a high point for microsoft) was significantly a rip off of OS/2 So much so that OS/2 programs would run on NT. Although the multiple command stack on NT was a HUGE improvement over OS/2.

Strangely enough Vista may be the first ORIGINAL OS code base Microsoft has EVER created.

Ah, little known trivia......

All Android apps are not made equal


Open Souce right?

This all seems a bit of a non-issue to me. Unless the repository is signed with some 4096 bit encryption and implements all manner of other, ultimately circumventable, security this will not stand up even one month. It is sure to be the very first thing people attack. All google has done is ensure a fragmented install process.

It would have been much better to open the install API and do some sort of real time contact back to google for virus scan / black list. That would raise hackles too, and ultimately probably not work anyway, but this, however well intentioned is naive to the point of stupid. Google is falling victim to the trap all successful companies do - they read their own press. Didn't learn a damn thing from microsoft did you boys?

Look for hacks in the IMMEDIATE future. This is child's play compared to the roadblocks apple has tried to erect. It's practically illegal to unlock an iPhone and best I can see it IS illegal to write a program for it. Now, exactly how far did that got them.

IBM chills mainframe New Coke



It is actually quite interesting to see the various factions and their points of view. There is such a theological war that only a handful of individuals have any real information on which to base their heartfelt convictions.

As an economic fact you can certainly replace 1,000 blade servers with 1 mainframe. What you end up with will be MUCH cheaper to buy, more reliable, and infinitely simpler to maintain; ok, not literally infinite but when you're paying for 90% fewer administrators you might think it pretty infinite.

Mainframe performance is Extremely hard to quantify in PC terms. Largely this is due to the co-processors that do so very much of the ancillary work in a mainframe complex. PCs have started to enter this world some with the longest standing and best example of course being the GPU. But for the most part the CPU still does all the work itself.

Just as Intel has been trying to escape the clock speed trap for 5 years or more, mainframes just don't have such a "general public" graspable "speedometer". MIPS are surely at best arbitrary. There are MANY standard performance measures of "typical" processing, whereby such things as database access, or the "typical business transaction" [yeah right] are modeled. But none of these are as cozy as: "2GHz is twice as better then 1GHz " [sic]. Regardless, it would be much more accurate and fair to say the Intel hawkers have avoided such comparisons knowing that the results will not show them in a positive light.

Of less importance to Reg readers, but of huge importance to the industry as a whole is the OS itself. z/OS for all practical purposes simply doesn't fail. It is perfectly suited for applications involving human life, financial transactions, or anything else that really actually matters. Unix (Solaris etc) of course are equally (or nearly so) high quality. And Linux has made remarkable progress and now stands quite respectable as well. The real concern from an industry perspective is Microsoft. IT people who want to go home at a reasonable hour and then sleep through the night are best advised to not put "things that matter" on a Microsoft platform. But many people who think "computer" means PC and "OS" means Windows make a terrible mistake and cause real, often fatal, harm to their business simply because they "Don't even know that they don't know the right question, not to mention the answer".

So, we will never have a single hardware/software platform any more than nature will settle on the one perfect organism. But that doesn't mean IBM / z/OS should not dominate in many areas. Nor does it mean that natural selection should not weed out Microsoft from the food chain.

Apple probes poison-pumping Mac claim


Poison Apple

What?! No one has done a Snow White joke yet? And you call this a geek site! Although the AC post about the Sontarans was first rate!

I wonder, is this the same group of Macs that were dying (frying) and caused the big warranty stink a couple years ago? A friend of mine got sucked up in that and ended up buying about 3 macbooks in the course of 18 months before it was all over. Toxic fumes could explain a lot of why people put up with this. I would have thought after the second one wintel would start looking pretty good.

Regardless, exceeding the operating limits by about 100 degrees seems like it could cause some interesting off gassing (to go along with the pretty blue smoke).

NASA chief blasts US space policy in leaked email


Poor Griffin

I feel truly sorry for the man. But everything in the memo is SPOT ON, and needs no further context. It must really suck to be beholding to people who are not qualified to wipe your butt, not to mention their own.

That said, ISS, the space station without a name (or purpose) should have never been built. It will be at it's height of usefulness as a nighttime fireworks display when it reenters the atmosphere. Still, it does suck that we built 90% of it for Russia. Of course it's not really any more use to them than it is to us.

And it's the pinnacle of international political stupidity that Russia is "returning to its previous evil ways" for coming to the defense of ethnic Russians 10 miles outside their own border. Yet when NATO went thousands of miles to bomb Serbia back to the stone age and topple its government, in an illegal at of war against a sovereign country trying to control muslim terrorists within it's own boarders, that was a humanitarian act.

PLEASE!! If it's good for the goose it's good for the gander. Georgia made two fundamental mistakes. A) They believed a Bush B) They forgot rules 1 and 2.

1. Before you start a war, always remember: YOU MIGHT LOSE

2. Wars a way easier to start than they are to end (especially if you're losing)

[and in their case #3: Don't start a war with a country that can field more tanks than you have people]

NASA to brief on manned spaceship 'concerns'


Does anyone read these comments after there are so many?

Maybe so. And I have an urge to type...

Georgia vs Serbia: The thought had crossed my mind too. One big difference is that Clinton's actions in Serbia were expressly and unequivocally against US Law (The War Powers Act). A little ditty intended to stop another Vietnam. However, laws only matter if someone will enforce them. As always when one branch of the federal government breaks the law, there was no one to call them to task on it.

Oh, and the difference? The Russian action was fully legal from the standpoint of their governmental processes. Other differences? The Russians didn't conduct indiscriminate bombing of population (er... military) centers.


The shuttle was a piece of crap in 1970. If Kennedy had not been shot the US probably would have never gone to the moon. Johnson despised the space program, or anything else that wasn't radical social engineering. Don't forget that the last 3 moon landings were canceled, because at least a year before the moon landing NASA's budget had completely evaporated - to pay for Johnson's little excursion in SE Asia (which btw, led to THE WAR POWERS ACT).

Nixon didn't much care about anything, NASA was high on his list of things not to care about. But there were 3 choices:

1) Close shop and end NASA. No government in modern time has ever shrunk

2) Go to Mars. This is what everyone thought was going to happen. It would have cost serious money so that didn't happen.

3) Build this shuttle thing as a way to not do 1 or 2. It was nothing more than a cheap cop out.


Ares is a bureaucratic pipe dream. If it flies by 2020 I'll be surprised. If it is not a pale imitation of Apollo, I'll be stunned. Personally I'm thinking Gemini only with a gender neutral 500 lb toilet for our geriatric crowd of OH SO VERY "The Wrong Stuff" politically correct astro-losers.

Of course it's hard to care, ISS is a bigger boondoggle than the shuttle even when it was grounded. And NASA has a perfect track record of NOT following through. IF Ares ever flies don't expect it to leave orbit. Maybe in the payload bay of the Chinese NERVA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA)

A third of Vista PCs downgraded to XP


Oooh The first comment

Of course by the time I finish typing it probably won't be, but still, it's exciting.....

Anyhow, the first thing EVERYONE should remember is that windows 7 will be based on the vista code base. This means it will be shite. Now MAYBE a lot of vendors will be able to muck about with their drivers so the overall smell won't be quite as repugnant, but it will still be a DRM laden floater.

On the plus side, you don't here vista people crowing over the crappy driver support in Linux any more. <evil laugh here>

Finally, your article was dead wrong on one point. While Linux may be a dubiously creditable threat, and the EU regulators are a real concern, it was done and dusted 5 years ago that there is absolutely nothing microsoft can do that will evoke the anger of the US government. Don't forget they fired the judge who had the honor to side with the persecution in the first trial.

Date bug kills VMware systems


Why hasn't anyone mentioned DRM?

I saw this this morning, but didn't have time to comment. Now I see still no one as mentioned the DRM angle. Surely there is no functional reason for this. It has to be some bit of crap they tried to add in to ensure no evil pirates would run their product - odd considering the far most likely audience for their product are huge corporations that don't dare do such things.

But as their attempts to virtually take over the world (pun intended) falter they probably blame pirates rather than the fact that their product adds precious little functionality to a data center. Sure it's neat and all, but when companies are cutting programmers it's probably a hard time for gee-wiiz software sales.

One of the few marketing terms I know is "backlog". Best I've ever been able to figure out, it's the term sales people use for sales they "should have made", but honest boss "we'll close them next quarter". So, as people figure out their product is not a silver bullet to replace skilled system admins, and it costs a bloody fortune anyway - they probably put 2 and 2 together and got 22. Obviously the problem is we need a more aggressive DRM system.

DARPA plans soldier-tagging system for US troops



First the interrogation signal will likely not be spread spectrum, certainly not "very" spread if it indeed is not a single frequency. If for no other reason this is due to the antenna technology in the IFPS tag.

So this means the bad guys don't have to decode it, just detect and replicate it. Then all surrounding tags would dutifully answer. Ah but you say you can put a time sensitive code in it like the fobs that RSA loves to hock to all big organizations. True....ish. Problem there is that once you settle on that autonomous time based code it is pretty darn hard to change. Certainly much harder than capturing a vehicle with the interrogation hardware on board. At the very best you're fighting a losing battle where MAYBE the enemy can't ALWAYS get your position at will.


I can't improve on everything said about putting a captured tag on a big assed bomb and waiting for the fireworks. That seems like a certainty


One other thing they mentioned was "recovering troops". That almost sounds like they expect the bad guys to leave this 3 inch square mystery module hanging on the soldier's neck? I think not, as pointed out, it is going to be on aforementioned "big assed bomb".

Honestly, I think someone got star eyed looking at the product glossy. Trying to be open and honest I cannot see how this isn't one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard in my life. Land warrior is impractical, but a noble effort that could under different conditions be a valuable military asset.

This is just some frustrated Army paper pusher who always wanted to be a pilotI*

*Reference to IFF "Identify friend or foe". Works well on aircraft. But you're not going to hide a jet in a tree, and by the time it ends up in said tree the IFF hardware is pretty much non-functional anyway. The downed pilot is carrying a VERY small emergency radio. It is probably worth 20 dollars and didn't cost over 500. This foolishness will probably be a thousand each not to mention the 100K for the interrogator. There's a thought, give the troops the emergency radios, pocket many millions in savings and call it all sorted.

Asda declares baby's arse 'pornographic'


@Mike & Matt


So what? If a paying customer wants it, exactly who is "harmed"? Maybe I HATE football (I do BTW) and am always put out (current PC definition of HURT) by the stupid ball stickers people put on their cars.

Ultimately, my point is that if Asda wishes NOT to take the woman's money let them try that in a FAIR market. Maybe it will be a successful strategy or maybe it won't. But it is good and proper to hold them up as a corporation which is enforcing it's version of morals on the public. Then let the public decide how they feel about that.


And the Royal Navy along with a certain lack of intestinal fortitude for what needed to be done vis-a-vis the Tower of London exported this "PURITANICAL" view to... well... the entire English speaking world. The most notable of which have to be the "puritans" themselves:boatloads of religious fanatics that thought the Church of England was just unbearably liberal so they traveled the ocean to set up their own religious oligarchy. While the "Witch Trials" didn't catch on, the perverse "morals" are alive and well, but now they have nuclear weapons.

Dead Vulture

Re: red top

I disagree (rather strongly) with your slam of the beloved "El Reg". You could have said it doesn't have anything to do with IT or Paris, which are the prime focus of the site.

BUT, exposing this sort of utter foolishness is quite important. One may argue that this reporting desensitizes people to this horrid abuse of our common sense, but the alternative is to let it go unassailed by public opinion. What REALLY needs to happen is for ALL governments on the entire planet from French town councils (I bet they have them) to the US President to get OUT of the business of legislating morality. Then the market can deal with the idiots at Asda in its own brutally uncompromising way -- ASSUMING it were even necessary at that point. Without the tactile support of the nanny state these moral imperialists would probably crawl back in their hole and go back to beating their children (to make them better people of course).

Microsoft says ‘hasta la vista XP’ - well, kinda

Gates Horns

What's the point?

I still don't get it. The press seems completely obsessed now with windows 7. But it seems obvious to me that the problem with Vista is the new architecture and corresponding code base. SO... if windows 7 is just Vista piled higher and deeper (w7 PHD) the underlying problems remain.

The part that has been utterly lost in all the chatter is that when Bill announced M$ was spending X billions to make windows more secure people thought he meant against viruses. CLEARLY he meant the DRM that makes Vista UNUSABLE for more than solitare. Repackaging a pile of crap does not cause it's molecules to recombine into something other than a pile of crap.

Finally, software has a VERY short lifespan - yes you can fix some bugs and make it better. But just as M$ inferred with dropping the XP code base, there comes a very finite point where you maintain it to death. W7 may be that to Vista. Of course given that Vista had an unusable, unmaintainable architecture to begin with, perhaps that isn't significant.

What M$ should do, is acknowledge that people don't want M$ to control the universe, they want to spend money for a device that works for THEM, not back door's M$'s takeover of recorded entertainment. Go back to the XP driver model, and rip out the DRM. Then you can put aero on THAT OS and have ..... Hmmm..... Linux/KDE with better drivers that will run Photoshop. Scary, no?

Ballmer and Gates defend Vista, drop Windows 7 hints


@@ Vista is great

Actually what I thought was either he's flat out lying about even owning a computer (sort of supports your shill idea) or if I were more generous then he indeed exists, and is a unix admin. The obvious conclusion then is that he has a bare system load of the Vista OS which he uses to run an SSH client (which AFAIK windows does NOT provivde). So, what he's really got is a super spiffy X STATION!!!!!!!!!!

Ah yes the bad old days, my X Station used to boot in about 20 seconds and shut down in 1. I guess Vista doesn't even make a good dumb terminal.

I will however accept on face value that if you don't install any applications, use any devices, or run any software that auto-bloats the registry, Vista is probably a very stable solitaire platform.

Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler?


Great Article

I have an urge to slam the carbon cultists, especially the earlier posters who will never entertain the simple fact that they have been duped by the carbon clergy. But honestly I'm growing tired of beating that dead horse. "dervheid" sums it up quite nicely, but I will throw in a comment from the more pragmatic if less upstanding P.T. Barnum:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, and that's actually good enough."

Ayn Rand described the previous generation as "mankind haters" and their goal "the anti-industrial revolution". She observed they were bent on the extinction of their most hated of creatures: man himself. Sadly those "hippies" are now in power in the western governments. Expectedly most of their children are even more pathetic "whack jobs" (it's an industry term) one would expect for children raised by the state without parents.

There is something fundamentally wrong with these people's psyche. It is a potentially fatal weakness in our species that there are so many of them. It is a deplorable weakness in ourselves that we allow them to hold such massive power. Mr Pullman (golden compass fame) should move with them all to Greenland where they can frolic on the unspoiled white beaches (never mind it's snow not sand) until they all do their part to make the world a better, lower carbon, place by <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/21/philip_pullman_wartime_misery/">achiving the goal they all so desperately want.</a>

Well that's a pretty deep rant for a Friday. I guess I wasn't quite too tired to slam them a bit after all. Maybe Gen Z will be better. The boomers and Gen X were a bust and Gen Y isn't looking good either.

Oh well.... Last quote, ancient Chinese curse:

"May you live in interesting times".


Second Galileo test sat now in orbit

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Selective Availability

First, DO NOT confuse SA with turning off. I don't know if it is possible to "switch off" GPS coverage. It may well be, but has NEVER been publicly discussed. As far as SA goes, I don't know if it is even built into the latest generation of GPS satellites. I wouldn't be surprised if it were, if for no other reason than the hardware is already flight certified and ANY change whatsoever must be recertified practically from scratch.

Second, IF SA were to be turned back on the accuracy would drop to a completely tolerable 30 meters. Not exactly debilitating for your average terrorist or motorist. Or even mariner. It would however be a serious threat to aviation. These facts will probably ensure that we'll never see SA again.

You won't often find me gushing praise on the US government, or most any other for that matter. But for MANY political and military and technical reasons it is irrational to build Galileo because one fears US control of GPS.

Galileo is a European jobs program designed to funnel MANY MANY MANY billions of euros into the coffers of "in vogue" corporations. That's fine, the US certainly does plenty of that. Heck, Angola does plenty of that too!! But let's not call it something it's not. There is no grand salvation of Europe in this barrel of pork. And finally, don't even dream that these "farm subsidies" are going to make a down payment. That will probably end up being 20% of the cost if you are extraordinarily lucky. But if they came out and said this was going to cost 1,000,000,000,000-1,500,000,000,000 euros and take 20 years..... someone might notice that this isn't such a great plan after all.

US court says IP addresses are private



I'm shocked to be the first to mention this. If the police need a grand jury what will this mean to the RIAA's illegal campaign?

It sounds like the federal judges are not rolling over quite so easily any more. Now if they have to start treating these things like real crimes their mass production persecution model may be in jeopardy.

For now it appears the tide is turning. I am NOT holding my breath for the US "Justice Department" to bring the CRIMINAL anti-trust charges against them that are mandated by the 120 year old law.

Were the snatched Brit sailors in 'disputed waters'?

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Well Done Lewis

Thank you Mr. Page for reminding us what Journalism is supposed to look like. Overall probably the best reporting I've ever read.

Google and Yahoo! skewer anti-DoubleClick law


Random Thoughts

1) I am so sick of corporations hiding behind the Constitution and other laws. They are real happy to tell everyone there is no "person" to put in jail when they commit felonies. A corporation, regardless of it's original intent is nothing more than a complex legal dodge. Their purpose today is to skirt tax law and criminal prosecution. And I consider myself strongly pro-capitalism and quite right of center. But DAMN guys, when you're wrong you're wrong. Corollary when you're a felonious git bent on world domination people often won't have much sympathy for you.

2) If they were not doing all this and more the there would be no argument. I know this is a slippery slope as that's the excuse used by Luddites for why unrestricted government surveillance is okey-dokey. But this is more appropriately compared to laws that say identity theft is a bad thing. Not a lot of people say, But I have a legitimate need to use my neighbor's credit card number I found in his garbage.

3) I particularly like the "We'll have to do it for all states part". We can gloss over the part where they censor China's access just fine and not ours. There are some technical differences but certainly manageable. The more interesting comparison I'd mention would be when California decides to codify the latest wacky eco-terrorist wish list and the rest of the US has to comply because no company wants to market 2 of something. Yeah, it sucks to be on the receiving end of that doesn't it .... Silicone Valley!

OK, I feel better now.

Metal Storm reveals pocket bunker-buster test outcome


Not Dodge

That wouldn't by chance be Dodge as in the car maker currently dragging Diamler into fiscal oblivion is it? Just wondering since both have such similar grasp on how the world works. Sorry, low hanging fruit (the joke not dodge) --- YES, I went there again! And this time I bought property!!

Anyhow, with all due disrespect for the the eco-terrorists, I really have to agree that metal storm is a solution that has yet to, and probably never will find a problem. It is heavy, complex, ghastly expensive, and most importantly, not reloadable in any practical time frame.

It may have suckered in some militaries during the cold war, when the order of the day would have been to shoot all 50,000 of your rounds before you're dead in 45 seconds. But it is a truly terrible fit for the protracted, man mobile, attrition based conflicts we face today.

US 700Mhz auction raises $19.6bn


Well that sucks

So it sounds like no Google or any other innovation. While desperately wishing for a different answer it sounds like verizon and att did exactly what they had to do -- pay any amount WHATSOEVER to ensure they could continue to rape and pillage the American people for the Long Term to come.

This is exactly what gives capitalism a bad name!!!!! I feel fortunate to be a part of such a progressive system.

PLUS, now we get to watch the FCC piss away $19,000,000,000 without showing one single benefit for anyone who actually pays taxes, has a job, should be allowed to breed.

This is a real Monday Morning sort of story.

10 ways to improve your code


Re: pretentious tosser.

Well, yeah, but the politically correct term is expert business consultant.

Maybe I live under a rock but I have never heard of this guy. Some of his advice isn't terrible, but actually most of it is contradictory, short sighted, and generally, well, terrible. It seems like stuff a guy planning a LONG and fruitful life as a per hour consultant would LOVE management to buy into. While the troglodyte employees just don't get it.

One thing I have to mention as a specific: How do you reconcile exploring the back waters of the language with writing simple code? All sounds like that C contest to write an entire program in 1 line.

Also I just love his let the future mind itself philosophy: "so what if we have to scrap it in 3 months because it is anti-robust sh*te we threw together shortsightedly. Think how fast V1 shipped!"

Yeah, Pretentious Tosser. I can't improve on that!!

ESA's space truck heads for ISS


et al

It doesn't get reused because that technology is a dead end. Most everyone knew this when the shuttle was proposed. But, it was A) a way to keep the US in a manned space program B) a technological demonstrator so maybe in a few generations (of vehicles not people) something workable could be fielded. Alas with chemical rockets B can never be achieved, the numbers just aren't there, not even close.

As for "A", shuttle which itself was nearly "design compromised" out of existence was the best that could be done as the Vietnam war was sucking up every dime of federal money. In 20 years when we are no closer to a moon return or mars than we are today, people will quote the Iraq war (and whatever the next one is: Sudan anyone?) as contributory reason.


The UK could probably have gone solo to mars if they would have spent the money blown on CCTVing the entire land mass of Britain on it. But then we wouldn't have the cool pictures of all the illegals roaming the streets, blowing up subways, and making a general nuisance of themselves.


That said, I'm not at all sure governments are the best approach to getting into space. The problem is that they suck up so much resources no one else has anything to spend on it. Counterpoint: it would be remiss not to point out that the mindless shells of human flotsam running pretty much all of western businesses could never shoulder the burden of having an original thought or vision to carry it forward. So, overall, we're gonna be earthbound for a LONG LONG time.

What survived the axe at HP Labs




I couldn't believe the author didn't point out that HP went into their sensory deprivation research cocoon and managed to emerge, about 3 years late to the party, with a you tube knock off!!! GOOD GRIEF!!!! If anyone at HP had ever USED the Internet surely they would have been too embarrassed to show this in public.

Granted I've always fairly well hated HP. So in one respect I get great entertainment from this article. But on another level this stuff is pitiful. It's no fun to outrun the guy in a coma, and clearly HP's EEG is flat lining. Other than letting some executive administrative assistant bureaucrat build a collage of terrorists photos I really can't imagine what they are thinking.

Skipping over the worthlessness of these offerings for a moment, they don't even have a channel to sell this crap. I don't recall ever seeing HP branded software in Walmart. But I'm sure they will be just as proficient at mass marketing as IBM was; do they even have a customer valued at less than $10M in sales? -- Please no need to mention the quasi-PCs they dump into the retail chains for the indiscriminating masses to browse..... Hmm.... wait for it.... YOU TUBE!!! HA! I knew they got the idea somewhere!

No Paris logo, she's way too smart for HP.

NASA issues revised 2008 shuttle launch schedule

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Leave them in space

I debated about responding to this, but the comments are more innocent than the normal sort of affair suggesting technical impossibilities, so I'll bite.

The 1st and foremost problem is the fuel cells. One of the most recent examples of throwing good money after bad is a MANY $$$$$$$$$ "upgrade" to power the shuttle systems from the ISS solar power. This saves USING the fuel cells and extends the time a shuttle can spend at the station. However, it is not possible to prevent the fuel cells from leaking.


1) Once cells are fueled on the pad the shuttle must launch within 5 days or a day off is taken to top off tanks, most notably the fuel cells.

2) On a related note the US lost Skylab - an arguably more capable platform than ISS - because the last Apollo mission was left up too long and NASA was afraid this same leakage, this time of SM propellant, would prevent Apollo from BOTH raising the orbit of skylab AND successfully de-orbiting.

3) I beleive propellant leak down is also why the Soyuz capsules can only stay at ISS for 6 months.)

Back to our story, without fuel cells the shuttle has no electrical power at all and is a big ceramic meteor. NEXT as was pointed out is the OMS engines. The 2 small(ish 10K lbs thrust) restartable engines in the pods at the rear. These are used for circularizing the initial orbit, raising ISS, and de-orbit burns. WAY back in the 70s plans were for expansion tanks of OMS fuel in the cargo bay. Back then the shuttle was planned to stay up a month or more and drive around all over orbit. Sadly one thing people don't realize is changing an orbit is GHASTLY expensive in fuel and from a practical perspective cannot be done.

OMS (ironically named Orbital Maneuvering System - even though we just showed they in fact can't really maneuver at all) fuel reserves are virtually non-existent and there is no possibility to refuel. RCS (reaction control system - steering) fuel, while not as dire as OMS supply is also VERY limited.

The above I am certain of. Another area of concern is the APUs which perform adequately at providing hydraulic power for the areosurfaces in the atmosphere. However they are at their design limit there and it seems certain fuel leakage or just plain old entropy would be a problem in short order. There were also problems with coolant lines freezing when they did start powering down to run off ISS power. This may be solved, or it may not. I don't know. But it became clear you can't just hit the big red button and turn it on in a few months / years later.


As far as the moon goes, the shuttle lacks by MANY times the amount of fuel (read delta-V) to escape earth orbit. If it did so, it then would lack the fuel needed for Lunar orbit insertion. The result would be a quite unsatisfactory sling shot into deep space.

There are MANY other problems far too serious and numerous to list here, but basically building a new ship would be orders of magnitude cheaper than trying to lift a shuttle out of earth orbit.

BitTorrent admin's police bail extended (again)


Follow the money

While this poor chap may or may not get away with the rather lame excuse of being innocent of any crime matters little. You, your great grand children, nor their genetically engineered talking dog will live to see the day when Google is prosecuted for the exact same acts. Won't happen. Not ever. Follow the Money.

Just like SCO, IFPI etc KNOW not to play hard ball with the big boys. Oh wait, that's right, SCO was doing really well blackmailing small companies for several thousands. It's when they got greedy and took on IBM the whole scheme blew up on them. You can bet the labels know better than that.

In the US there are myriad laws the labels could be prosecuted under. But thus far they have managed to bribe -- 'er campaign contribute -- their way clear of them.

My solution has always been ELECT BETTER leaders. You want this fixed? Vote ONE of these losers out of office. Problem solved! Good and Final. Until then the cartels will continue to continue to blackmail business and terrorize individuals.

Garmin takes on iPhone with satnav mobile


Potentially Super Cool

This could be very cool. Alas the article, and likely the press release, is pretty short on details like what OS. If it's a Garmin proprietary it will probably be WAY more solid than Palm or Win, but probably not extensible at all. Of course Steve says we don't need no stinkin' apps just use the browser.

It also doesn't say anything about PDA functions, so it may be more of an iPhony replacement than a Treo replacement. Regardless, anything Garmin does will likely be of the highest quality and worth a look. I am suitably intrigued.

One complaint Oh! Great! Editors! Of! El! Reg! (see how annoying interspaced punctuation is [OK, maybe 2 complaints]): PLEASE stop calling GPS satnav. The original US NAVY satellite navigation system was a dopler based affair named Transit. But was generally referred to as Satnav by mariners - the only people who moved slow enough to use it. The USAF GPS system replaced Transit and one assumes those satellites have long since gored some unsuspecting Australian beef. Still it is basically confusing.

Preemptively - please don't call Galileo satnav either. You may call it The Great European White Elephant, or the ESA's gift to BAE if you like. A headline I haven't seen yet but feel free to use: "European farm subsidies rocket". Also "Farmers searching sky for missing funds".

And here's me searching for the coat.

Bush overrules judge in US navy-v-dolphins sonar case


@ An attack on the rule of law

Actually it is the "rule of law" that allows for exactly this sort of action. And when a president circumvents the will of the Congress / People to enact some scheme a special interest group likes, they're all for this "flouting the will of Congress". Re: the recent change to 20ppm ultra low sulphur diesel fuel, which sadly barely burns at all and gets on average between10-15% WORSE fuel economy. Regardless, unless I missed something, which is entirely possible, the Congress hasn't offered any opinion, not to mention Law, one way or the other.

And lastly one must acknowledge that the links to marine mammal harm are VERY tenuous at best, while the threat to US warships is considerably more real. It seems much more likely that this entire dubious undertaking was a slap at the USN rather than an urgent need of the average whale. I'm sure the average whale would be quite happy if we used every form of active sonar continuously to hunt down whaling ships (which I happen to think is a rather good idea, but that's another topic).

I'm not sure where the Paris Hilton angle is, perhaps something to do with high pitched noises. (OK, that was lame, but its raining, so I need my coat anyway)

Tesla hits ejector button on staff



OK, well so that's "only" 15 Jubs of gold. Perhaps not too bad to transport, but still more than I have on hand at the moment.

Why not Li-Polymer? Seems quite obvious, but I will answer for those who haven't thought it out:

1 That would have made sense?

2 They got a good deal on Sony's recalled batteries?

3 When the car dies on the side of the road and the batteries burst into flames there is no additional requirement to set out road flares. (In the court documents this will be listed as a Major Safety design feature. But you read it in ElReg first!!!)


I wish I could think of a catchy title...

But all the good puns are already taken.

To mike brockington: I think my lack of a good title is because I hit my head falling out of the chair on this one!!

Seriously though, I think the conspiracy theories are overdone on this one. I saw this on TV a while back. Both the show and the car were very long on glitz and short on physics.

I can't remember how many pounds of Pounds the silly thing was to cost but I do seem to recall you needed a rather large truck (lorry if you prefer) to carry the payment in. Although a full sized car would probably be adequate if one were paying in gold bars. (Even then it would be best to use care not to overloading the suspension.)

On a related note.... Li-ion?!?!?! Give me a break. I forgot how many cells this thing had but it was a BUNCH!! If my laptop experience is representative, I expected about $50/mile when you start replacing these things after a year or so - more if you drive them below 10% of course. And while considerably more ecco-friendly than your own personal RTG, this trunk load of batteries surely is no answer, regardless of the question.

Overall it sounds like another hopeless idea meeting its expected fate.

US Marines: Osprey tiltrotor doing OK in Iraq



Actually there is a traverse drive shaft that can drive the opposing propeller. As you observe the asymmetrical thrust would be uncontrollable.

Unfortunately one can generalize that when a jet engine ceases to function on a aircraft like this, it is because of being shot, not from lack of maintenance. See the problem yet?

Well.... if you manage to hit it enough times to knock out the engine you are quite likely to have damaged other components thereby rendering the traverse drive shaft and associated gear boxes etc, so much scrap metal as well.

So, someone thought of this and at least tried to address it. How successful that turns out to be depends on what sort of damage any particular aircraft receives.

Verizon sued for GPL naughtiness


Plenty of money

Well after extorting (what was it $80m) from Vonage for being standards compliant they should have plenty of money to settle.

For the concerned reader: Paris Hilton angle is BUSYBOX... ah... well never mind.

Did anyone see my coat???

German Wikipedia attacked over Nazi symbolism

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RE: David Farrell

Kudos on your post. Neither I, nor Thomas Jefferson (assuming he were still alive instead of just spinning in his grave) could improve one bit!

Freedom is unquestionably one of my hot buttons and I'd love to get up a good rant about it, but I couldn't really improve on anything you said.

I will add my undying thanks to whatever idiot(s) chooses to hold his tongue about free speech meaning you can yell fire in a crowded theater. That was dealt with over 150 years ago (in the US) and if you thought David's comments supported that you probably shouldn't go out in public unattended.

Tesco slaps cutlery ban on under-18s

Dead Vulture


"hoodies battle each other in the smouldering ruins of UK society."

Couldn't that apply to most of the Earth's surface area???

(Notwithstanding Brazil of course, which is the smouldering ruins of Portuguese society. Although at least they didn't have as far to fall.)

Carmack's X-Prize rocket explodes on pad


RE: Waste not, want not

I have a mint condition 1960 Rolls-Royce. I know it's mint condition because I just finished replacing every part on it last year.

Seriously though, I never believed in global warming. Now I have to reconsider. I bet it's all those smelters on the moon. They radiate right down on our poor ozone!! At least this is now sorted.