* Posts by Neil B

210 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Nov 2007


'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

Neil B

Re: What about a nebula drifting through ?

Surely a nebula would emit other energies that we could detect.

Doctor Who's good/bad duality, war futility tale in The Zygon Inversion fails to fizz

Neil B

Better than the first half, which I honestly thought was an embarrassment, but still some of the weakest Who for a while. I think Moffat used up all his Mojo in Matt Smith's breath-taking first season (although having said that, Day of the Doctor was pretty fab).

Netflix profits plunge, but streamer still plans global domination

Neil B

Only a matter of time...

...before their rates go up, but right now, Netflix is crazy good value for money, plus their original programming is (for the most part) knocking it out of the park.

US yoinks six Nigerians to Mississippi on '419 scam' charges

Neil B

No Prince Among These Thieves


Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Neil B

The Kindle has been a top-drawer "just works" piece of kit in our household for years. Sure they've dolled it up with fancy-shmancy back-lights and touch-screens, but IMO they nailed that product almost from the word go.


Neil B

Re: The Rock

@codejunky -- That would have been impressive, considering Quake 4 came out afterwards and used Doom 3's engine. :)

I really liked Doom 3. A graphical magnitude shift, and a true step forward in game audio as well. Dark room, 5.1 cranked up, new pants please.

Microsoft's Surface 3 is sweet – but I wouldn't tickle my nads with it

Neil B

For anyone interested...

I got mine at release and have been using it heavily for the last week.

Battery life is good - 8-10 hours depending on how often I play Hearthstone.

With the keyboard down, ease of use is excellent. I don't really understand why people can't seem to use the SP3 on their laps. The S3 is comfortable in every situation: on a table, on my lap in front of the telly, in bed resting against my knees, whatever. The three-position stand covers every eventuality. Very impressed, and I was concerned about this based on some previews I'd read.

As a tab it's heavier than the iPad, but I don't really trust myself to compare ease of use because I really don't like iOS at all. However, based on my experience, it works okay in tablet mode, and everything about the touch surface is excellent. The OSK is good, and Win8.1 in touch mode is excellent (lack of apps notwithstanding etc. etc.). For me, though, when it comes to tablets, anything bigger than, say, the Nexus 7 is not worth buying for the tablet experience alone. The beauty of S3 is that you get a good tablet and an excellent laptop.

And as a laptop it is excellent. Again, I was worried about the type cover but the keyboard, while small (which takes some getting used to), feels good under-finger and with the back-light looks terrific. The trackpad, which again has received some criticism, is small but otherwise fine. I've done a lot of writing on this thing over the past few days and it's a pleasure to use.

As a device, it looks fab. It's positioned between tab and laptop and the size reflects that. Build quality is exceptional. It's also an attention grabber, if you like that kind of thing.

One thing you can't get away from is the price. You get more than an iPad, but you pay way more than an iPad. I bought a bundle from PCWorld and got S3+type cover for £525. That's a freaking lot of money, and nothing I would ever have paid usually except that the device is powerful, unusual, and I'm bought-in on the MS ecosystem so it slots into everything I do for home and work with only five minutes' setup. So, a luxury purchase, sure, but not one I regret.

Fox gives Minority Report the nod – precog goes primetime on tellybox

Neil B

This has got my juices going. Minority Report is a seriously whacky and underrated film IMO.

Your new car will dob you in to the cops if you crash, decrees EU

Neil B

So this will increase the number of calls made to the police and ambulance services by X%.

They can therefore expect a proportionate increase in funding, right?


Neil B

Awesome, but as a subscriber to the physical mag, it would be nice to get the digital versions as part of my sub.

Sorry, obligatory negative comment there.

£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Neil B

Re: No accountability on Kickstarter

@Shannon Jacobs. You are not describing crowd-funding. I'm sure there are thousands of investors with detailed project plans eager to take your money. On Kickstarter, back what you can afford to lose, and no more.

NASA: Give us JUST 0.5% of the federal budget and we'll take you to MARS and EUROPA

Neil B

Re: Pushing more ambitious plans?

@AbelSoul: Let's get something in orbit and the surface mapped, *then* worry about space-submarines.

Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

Neil B

Re: Most people never had a choice . . .

@Flocke Kroes "So you decide you want to use Midori web browser on you new computer. That is fine, but you have to buy IE because it comes bundled with all new computers. You decide you want to use Vi/Emacs. That is fine, but you have to buy notepad because it is bundled with all new computers. The same used to be true with media players, until an EU court ruled otherwise (Microsoft was required to release an EU version of Windows without a bundled media player. Anyone know if the EU version was cheaper, or if Europeans were still paying for the Microsoft media player that wasn't installed?)."

Look, a lot of solid arguments can be made for MS's market abuse ten years ago, but these comments are beyond the pale. A desktop OS that doesn't come with a text editor would be laughable, as would one that doesn't come with a media player (and yes, as an EU citizen, I declare the EU Media Player decision was inane), as would one that doesn't come with a web browser.

Trying to attach some monetary cost to Notepad (of all things) that you would rather not "pay" is a poor effort in the ongoing quest to demonize Windows. You might as well complain that you're "paying" for Control Panel when you'd much rather have something else.

Edward Snowden: best ... security ... educator ... EVER!

Neil B

It is bizarre that people react to threats from their own governments more aggressively than threats from the "normal" criminal class.

World of Warcraft then and now: From Orcs and Humans to Warlords of Draenor

Neil B

This expansion has us practically racing up the stairs as soon as we get in from work. It's bloody brilliant.

One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins

Neil B

Re: even in death there is victory

@oddie Here's where you want to be:


Neil B

The C64 version was pretty good. Rock hard though.

What I remember most from this "franchise" is the C64 version of "Ghouls and Ghosts", which while a great game in its own right, I would play endlessly just so I could hear the amazing Tim Follin soundtrack. It was the thought of hearing a new theme that pushed me to the next level.

These days, of course, I can enjoy that music at my leisure, and do!

Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER

Neil B

Re: Quick everyone give up you're non-cloud office software

It is amazing how long some people will hold a grudge.

Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Neil B

Re: The irony is

@AC, yes people are buying iPads because Windows 7 had too much malware. Riiiiight.

Neil B

Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

@ Neil Barnes "and so everything has to look different and work differently and a lifetime's learned reactions go out of the window"

And yet you're preaching a UNIX-like separation of OS and GUI? It hasn't worked to push Linux into the mainstream, why would it work here?

'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with two-year sentences for menacing posts

Neil B

Headline-baiting nonsense. Like increasing the penalty is going top IN ANY WAY reduce the number of cretins engaging in this sport.

Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots

Neil B

Re: What is the point of this?

@Ian Bonham " I don't see the point of sitting these 3 cretins down each week to watch something they clearly do not enjoy and asking them to comment on it."

Well said. That's definitely the impression they're leaving me with every week.

Neil B

This season has had its clunkers, but it's MILES better than Matt Smith's bloody awful final season (specials discounted, because they were on the whole excellent). This episode was fresh, lively, funny, and had genuinely disturbing villains (and deaths). More of this please.

China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain

Neil B

I just can't take anything like this seriously from China.

Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low

Neil B

As usual, real-world quantum behaviour is weirder than anything we could make up...

eBay impulse buyers STAY AWAY: Holy Grail Superman comic book to fetch $2m+

Neil B

I love the way Superman beats the crap out of a wife-beater who then faints at the sight of his own blood! Having never read it before now, it's better than I expected.

Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Neil B

Re: Danger

The most dangerous object in a car is the idiot behind the wheel. I don't recall the last time a car rolled itself out of someone's garage and mowed a bunch of pedestrians down.

Neil B

@Chris Wareham -- "Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on handheld phone use by drivers"

This this this SO MUCH THIS. The problem is enforceability. There is a massively decreased police presence on the roads, and an actual traffic stop is the only way to catch someone doing this.

Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Neil B

Guys, D&D edition wars are so 2010, didn't you hear? Play what you like, leave everyone else to do the same.

BitTorrent not to blame for movie revenues, says economist

Neil B

@Hellcat - I envy you, I really do.

Neil B

Re: Fire the studio-heads, let the markets decide what gets green-lit...

@AC - If you don't think the Transformers movies are market-driven, you need to look into how much money they make. That franchise is the most commercially-green-lit, by-the-numbers cash-cow you could possibly imagine. No-one forces people to go watch them, but they do.

Neil B

The constant upward trend in cinema ticket prices is not sustainable. Like @Sampler I go once or twice a month for movies I think will benefit from the big screen and/or 3D. I enjoy the experience (else I wouldn't go), but the price is rapidly approaching the point where, for me, it's just not worth it. This is especially true given the (what seems like) almost immediate release of the thing on home media or streaming services. Three-star middle-of-the-road efforts like "Monuments Men" or "Cuban Fury", where I might have gone to see them at the cinema ten or fifteen years ago, are just not worth it any more.

Very little of this is the fault of the cinema itself, by the way. Over-priced concessions are just about the only way they make any money at all for movies which drop off the charts after two weeks. Make sure you focus your wrath at the right people.

Neil B

Re: you mean movie makers still have not realised

@Denarius - If you think crap movies don't make money, I refer you to the Transformers franchise.

Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Neil B

Re: Brooks is FOUND innocent

@AC "i.e. they didn't find enough evidence". Yes, commonly known as: being found innocent.

iFind: Critics slam Kickstarter campaign for miraculous battery-free phone finder

Neil B

If we could please not turn this thread into an anti-Kickstarter, anti-crowd funding tract, that'd be great. TIA.

US spanks phone-jamming vendor with $34.9 MEEELLION fine

Neil B

You're actually *complaining* that RF signal jammers are illegal? Who the hell are you people?

Code Spaces goes titsup FOREVER after attacker NUKES its Amazon-hosted data

Neil B

Re: What about Amazon?

@ForthisNotDead Law of averages says social engineering hack. You don't think Code Spaces would be trying to point the finger at Amazon if they had even the tiniest evidence it was their fault?

Neil B

This is a process failure, not a "cloud" failure. It seems these guys established their business by basically lying about the security they offered, and now it has collapsed around their ears.

Windows 8 leaker gets three months, booted back to Russia

Neil B

Re: Fuck them all

@AC Maybe that "journalist" (actually just a blogger) should be aware of the conditions under which his free email service was provided, and then not try to use it to harm *the company that provides the service in the first place*.

Kids hack Canadian ATM during LUNCH HOUR

Neil B

Re: Put these kids in ......


Ahem. "This is a Unix system. I know this."

Cabbies paralyze London in Uber rebellion

Neil B

Re: "Protests aren’t the answer"

They're protesting themselves into obsolescence. How much extra business do we reckon Uber did yesterday? How much free publicity? They must be laughing their knackers off.

Neil B

I actually agree with them that vehicles and drivers designed to convey the public for money should be licensed and regulated.

I certainly wouldn't get in some geezer's Passat just because he rocked up to the door and offered me a lift, but that's essentially what users of Uber are doing.

However, knowing a couple of cabbies as I do, I can confidently say that if they don't get with the program, they are going to be utterly crushed by this kind of technology.

The Force of tax breaks brings Star Wars filming to Blighty

Neil B

Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

@wowfood It's usually only "noticeable" because those backgrounds can't possibly be there, so your brain recognises they must be fake. But how many times have you not realised there's a green screen there, when there was?

Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache

Neil B

Re: If history repeats, we can expect Windows Phone to top the charts in about 2030. ®

You know that endlessly repeating the same thing doesn't make it true?

Redmond is patching Windows 8 but NOT Windows 7, say security bods

Neil B

The truth will undoubtedly be way more mundane than these guys think. Scheduling, different teams owning different bits of different OS's, simple oversight, that kind of thing. But why let that get in the way of a jab at MS?

Lupita Nyong'o, Game of Thrones' Brienne join Star Wars cast

Neil B

Re: I'm glad...

@TRT I think you're reading way too much into very little actual commentary from the film-makers.

In any case, the prequels weren't failures because they over-used CGI. That's a straw-man. They failed because the story and dialogue were, for the most part, dreadful.

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

Neil B

Re: I recently had the misfortune to listen to Fit III - V

@Peter "Of course, you also need the albums for a slightly different version."

This is the definitive version in my opinion. The dialogue is is whizz-bang sharp, every joke top notch, and the music absolutely brilliant. I couldn't give a toss about the rest of my vinyl but I bought a USB record player to make sure I could listen to this whenever the fancy took me!

ET hunter: We will find SPACE ALIENS in 20 years

Neil B

For those bemoaning the unlikely result of detecting radio waves in a form we can understand, bear in mind that our methodologies will change as technology and computing power increases. We can now look very specifically at planets we know are there and that we know are in the habitable zone; and we can now start to look for characteristics that demonstrate intelligent life is likely to exist on them. We may one day be able to look for signs of artificial satellites, for example.

JJ Abrams and Star Wars: I've got a bad feeling about this

Neil B

Re: Time to buck the convention

@AC you are not alone in enjoying JJA's stuff. Not all of it hits the mark but when you're prolific and flavour of the month, you get to try a lot of stuff, not all of it worth anyone's time.

Alias, Lost (early seasons), MI:3, Super-8, and at least the first new Star Trek...all brilliant. Claiming that the man has no talent, as some in this forum have done, is idiocy in the extreme.

Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

Neil B

Re: Sounds to me like...

Not conflicted so much as short-sighted. As digital consumers we've embraced free content like it's our right, and spew indignation over the forums whenever someone who has put their heart and soul into a web project has the temerity to ask us to consider turning AdBlock off. It pisses me off.