* Posts by Tom

58 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Nov 2007


iPhone apps - the 10 smartest and the 10 stupidest

Tom Silver badge
Jobs Horns

Let me translate Paul Gray for you


Waah, its not fair, I've got a Windows Touch Smartphone, its shit but it was cheap, so no worries. I can install ANY app I like, and if I fancy I can write my OWN APPS in Visual Studio!, unfortunately, I can't seem to write anything good, and all the apps I've downloaded actually look like shit windows programs running on a phone.

On the other hand, I didn't buy an iPhone. Hahaha, those clueless tools, with their easy to use UIs.


Don't worry Paul, keep raging at the iPhone, eventually you will convince yourself you did actually make the right decision.

Oracle reels in Sun Microsystems with $7.4bn buy

Tom Silver badge


This wont mean too much change currently for users of Sun's open source tech

ZFS is CDDL, and healthily exists in Darwin and FreeBSD already. If Oracle dropped this as open source, then they would continue to thrive there. OpenSolaris is CDDL also, so same goes there.

MySQL is where it is interesting. MySQL has been feature complete for basic use for quite some time - 5.0 has proper i18n support, stored procedures, transactions (with InnoDB, heh) and I can't see Oracle wanting to add more features than that to their 'basic' DB.

The features MySQL are currently adding to 6.0, are real enterprise features. Row based replication, enhanced MySQL cluster, the new Falcon engine etc are all features designed to target MySQL towards Oracle users, or at least to eat into them. This was the perfect game whilst Sun was running MySQL (get MySQL on more boxes, get more people to buy Sun boxes when they want to run MySQL), but surely this will change when Oracle are directing the development.

At the London MySQL customer conference last October, the two vendor keynotes were from Continuent - who provide heterogeneous replication systems designed to cut down the number of Oracle licenses required (by replacing some of them with MySQL) - and from Infobright - who have a custom MySQL engine for doing data warehousing, so you don't need so many Oracle licenses. I would LOVE to know if the keynotes have been changed there today!

PS: Sun market capitalisation October 4th, 2000 - ~$200bn. Gosh.

Jail for Oz drug-running onanist speed merchant

Tom Silver badge
Thumb Up

I love the South Australia definition of 'small amounts'

"Just 250 grammes officer, enough to get me to the shops and back..."

Dont suppose South Australia has any need for some IT consultants?

Swoopo - eBay's (more) evil twin

Tom Silver badge
Thumb Down

@tony Hoyle

You aren't really gettng the hang of the concept of a fixed price auction are you? If the winning bid price is $5000 on a fixed price auction of $59, the winning bidder pays $59 only. Plus the cost of buying enough bids to secure the item.

I wrote a program to track bids on the uk site, it leads to some interesting results. The aim of the game is to procure the item whilst outlaying as few bids as possible. The costs on the UK site are approx £0.25 per bid, and each bid raises the auction price by £0.07 . The best trick is to allow someone elses bid butler to controll the auction, allow the timer to run to near zero, and place single bids until that bid butler is out of bids. This keeps the timer low, reducing the scope for someone to jump in.

Of course, that is just a strategy. Anyone bidding on your item after you could pinch it away from you, or prolong the auction. It is totally a mugs game

Ted: As many reg readers have pointed out, this is a german company that has existed for quite some time, used to operate as telebid, so kudos on the journalistic accuracy. Best to stick to ranting about software development, at least when you did that it was slightly amusing, if inaccurate.

Apple media server rumored for Macworld Expo

Tom Silver badge
Jobs Halo

Why not raidz?

Pretty easy really - you can run a nice raid 5 setup on a simple processor and a small amount of RAM, where as raidz is extremely expensive in terms of memory. The way zfs is put together it basically assumes that it will always be able to grab more kmem, so I wouldn't expect to see a consumer system designed around zfs without at least 2 GB of RAM, compared to the 256 MB needed for RAID5.

It's a pity, as RAID5 really isn't a reliable enough for a backup solution - I have seen far too many double disk failures on RAID where the 2nd failure was only detected as a consequence of resilvering following a single disk failure. That simply cannot happen on RAIDZ.

OpenOffice 3.0 - the only option for masochistic Linux users

Tom Silver badge


All I typed was "portupgrade -PP openoffice". Course, that's with FreeBSD, a real OS.

Mayor Boris wants 'WiFi London'

Tom Silver badge

Who is talking about Manchester?

If you want wifi in Manchester, perhaps you should badger Richard Leese? What Boris says is for London, not for the UK...

There are a few 'free' hotspots in London, the City provide one through The Cloud, which is handy. It's not ubiquitous, even within the confines of the square mile. In rundown, residential areas like Stratford (I live there, so I can say that), there is pretty much nothing. BoJo is talking about providing a ubiquitous service for all.

HP loads PC with nonexistent web browser

Tom Silver badge

This is revolutionary!

Wait a sec! ...

man 4 jail

AT&T lifts (deleted) page from Google EULA

Tom Silver badge

@Pierre, dv, J, El Reg

and all the other commenters commenting on how silly us early posters are.

Well, the problem was, the second paragraph wasn't originally included in the article, so no, we did have a little problem reading the second paragraph. Without that second paragraph (which seemed to have been brought to attention by a commenter), the article is Daily Fail gibberish, I don't regret not AC'ing.

You can see this from the hastily re-edited article by the feckless el reg reporter, to add in the second paragraph.

Original text:

Here is section 10a(i) from the new Terms of Service:

New text:

Here is sections 10a(i) and 10a(ii) from the new Terms of Service:

Remember when silently updating articles, to check for grammatical errors, it is the smoking gun which gives it all away.

On topic, yeah, that second paragraph is a great deal nastier.

Tom Silver badge

Stop being a tool

Yes, its SCARY STUFF in a legal document! OH NOES THEY ARE OUT TO GET US!!!!eleven

Honestly, it looks nothing like google's one, and is pretty clear on its purpose. If you submit content to AT&T's website, you are granting them an implicit license to reproduce it to display to people - how else is anyone going to see it?

All this does is note down this implicit license.

Japanese call on deities to discipline wayward PCs

Tom Silver badge

Spell checkers dont beat proof reading

perl -pae s/shire/shrine/

Morgan Stanley gets spectrum grab bag gig

Tom Silver badge


Lets sell off some more of our bandwidth midway through a recession! Hopefully we can shift this lot for a record low!

Oh wait, we wanted high prices? SNAP

Net-talking toaster to burn news onto bread

Tom Silver badge

The question is this: Given that God is infinite, and that the universe is also infinite

would you like a toasted tea-cake?

Vodafone accused of talkingtoofastinradioad

Tom Silver badge

Thats actually a bloke doing the voice over

When they sped it up, they forgot to fix the pitch.k

Microsoft eyes mobile app store

Tom Silver badge
Gates Horns

It'll be like the iPhone vs Samsung Omnia

The iphone really gets its purpose, its a mobile device you can jab at with your finger and watch movies, listen to music, take crappy pictures and make calls. You can do all that with the Omnia (except you can take much higher res crappy pictures), except it feels like you're using windows by pushing a mouse with your nose.

Starting an application is a good example - iphone: push the big button with the right icon, move around between pages of apps by swiping at the screen like a deranged ape - omnia: click the start menu, select all programs, double tap the right icon, move around between the different apps by carefully dragging the scroll bar of the app window..

It does the same thing, in much the same manner, with much the same effect, but it doesn't get why it is doing it that way and therefore doesnt get it right. Their app store will be just the same, it will do everything just to spec, but it just wont be as trivial to use as the appstore, and probably wont generate as much revenue.

Concrete-jet 'printers' to build houses, Moonbases in hours

Tom Silver badge

Two questions

1) Where do you pour the tea?

2) Is there a Polish version coming out soon that works twice as fast, and doesn't disappear on other jobs?

IE8 beta 2 locks down some XP lovers

Tom Silver badge

@Multiple IE versions

Funny, I run 3,4, 5, 5.5, 6 and 7 all on one machine.


I'd probably lose 7 if I installed the beta though, but thats what VMs are for, right?

British boffins perfect process to make any item '100% waterproof'

Tom Silver badge



which aint nearly so impressive.

Olympic Committee wins gold for foot shooting

Tom Silver badge

You think the Chinese have it bad?

What about the Welsh? New coin designs are out featuring the Royal Arms (google royal mint new design), which is a heraldic emblem representing the four countries of Great Britain - so thats England, Scotland, Ireland and ... errr .. England again.

Death to the imperialistic English! Free Wales!

Amazon Kindle set to go massive

Tom Silver badge

I thought I'd like one of this, prestocked with the O'Reilly bookshelf

but then I thought about how I actually use an O'Reilly book that I've already read. I know what section it is in (or can find it in the index), and so can thumb to there relatively quickly. Once I'm in the right section, I can quickly scan until I'm in the correct part of that section.

I doubt that would be as effective on ePaper, maybe with searching I'd have a new way of finding things that is equally as effective. It would certainly be better than hunting round the office to find who is using the camel to prop up their monitor.

AMD releases 'world's fastest' graphics card

Tom Silver badge

@Wade Burchette

Wade, you might like to review how computers work yourself.

The 'memory' (simplistic view) of peripherals, like hard drive controller, graphics card, sound card, map their memory and IO addresses into main memory. On a 32 bit OS, the maximum addressable memory (in total) is 4 GB. If you have two of these cards, they each have 2 GB of memory on board that must be mapped into main memory.

4GB - ( 2 GB + 2 GB ) = 0, so I very much doubt two of these in crossfire will even work on a 32 bit OS - I imagine the second card will fail to be setup by the BIOS.

In fact, given that you need ~60-70 MB of addressable memory for other peripherals, put this card in a Vista 32 bit box with 2 GB of RAM, and you will end up having unaaddressable RAM.

Hopefully, they will say it is not Vista 32 compatible....

Sega hopes to score with homely Japanese women

Tom Silver badge

Homely means 'plain/unattractive' on both sides of the pond

(But not ugly, I should point out. Just plain.)

That is all.

Congestion charge means less traffic, more congestion

Tom Silver badge

Anyone who thinks the congestion charge is good, probably doesnt take the tube

Where do you think those 70,000 less car journeys per day are going, exactly?

Thats right, onto the tube. Weekdays at St Pauls, 4:30-6:30, you have to wait for 30+ minutes for a central line train that you can actually barge your way into. Once your in, its a sardine can holding an unpleasant amount of people, with virtually no ventilation or cooling. Mmm, can't WAIT for the Olympics.

Paris Hilton - the compromised candidate

Tom Silver badge
IT Angle


IT angle? What IT angle? Politics, oil dependency, comedy, celebrity - I see no IT?

@Mike Richards - I'm very ready to throw my full weight behind PH.

Intel says 48 core graphics is just over the horizon

Tom Silver badge

@Danny, @Matt

Why do you need so many speedy little cores?

Well, because that is how 3D graphics are done. If you take for example the recent ATI Radeon 4870, it has 800 vertex shaders and 40 pixel shaders. Each of those is a custom bit of silicon acting as an independant processing unit - aka a cutdown core.

This is different, as it uses general purpose cores to do the job of vertex/pixel shaders. This is NOT a CPU, this is in addition to your CPU, which will remain dual/quad core for the time being I'd imagine (very little benefit in 8 cores for most users).

Tom Silver badge

Forget that its a graphics card for a moment

This is a set of 48 mini (in terms of instruction set) x86 cores running at very high speed. When intel first came up with this idea, it was supposed to be desktop chip, but then they decided that nothing would really use that level of parallelism in a regular application - except maybe graphics rendering.

So what you have left is a 48 core general purpose chip that can run OpenGL and DirectX shaders and pipelines as fast (or in the same ballpark as..) single purpose silicon from ATI/Nvidia. Intel already have a massively dominant almost 50% share of the graphics market, solely on integrated graphics (which I think are great for non gamers from GMA 950 up), so they wouldn't enter discrete graphics unless they had something good.

The idea I've heard mooted is that this will become Intel's integrated solution, with 8/16 cores integrated into the motherboard, and then 40/32 additional cores plugged in via PCI-E.

The potentials for this are great because it is reasonably simple to program to use for your own purposes - much more so than CUDA could ever be, as it is in effect another x86 core - so any compute intensive task that can be parallelised could be optimised for Larrabee. Could be a very interesting thing for enterprise servers to have - couple of extra cores for your database?

US customs: Yes, we can seize your laptop, iPod

Tom Silver badge


I think you're incorrect on the constitution part of that. There was a case in the Supreme Court where a drug trafficker argued that the removal of his fuel tank (to find ~40kg of pot) was an non routine intrusive search, and as such cannot be carried out without reasonable cause (two lower courts agreed with him, and ordered the pot evidence to be suppressed).

The supreme court actually agreed that it was an intrusive search, but that it could be carried out without reasonable cause because

- its reasonable because it is a border

- the reasons intrusive searches of the person can only be done with reasonable cause - 'dignity and privacy rights of the person concerned' - dont apply to a vehicle

I expect you'd have a good case arguing that anything illegal found as a result of an intrusive search of your data would be an infringment of your privacy rights, especially if encrypted. I also expect that the Supreme Court would find some other way of denying you your 4th amendment rights, especially if you're seen doing a terrorist fist jab.. They want your data, and they're gonna get it.

Besides that, surely copying of the data from your hard drive without probable cause is an unwarranted seizure - the sort of thing that is known to kick off a revolution in the colonies. I could see a court agreeing with this; a border search is a transient event, like getting a speeding ticket. You're seized for the duration of the border search, but after it is complete, you are released. I think you may have a reasonable argument that your goods and data should similarly be released.

Ubuntu man challenges open source to out-pretty Apple

Tom Silver badge


Such controversial comments, that you must hide behind AC..

If microkernels were at all effective in non-niche markets, it would see more popular support in mainstream OSS. This is *plainly* not the case. From what I've now (briefly) read about L4, its in one qualcomm handset, and makes up a lot of research projects at universities, where as monolithic/hybrid kernels can be found in virtually every computer system, from the embedded world to the mainframe.

If you take DragonflyBSD as an example, it is an incredibley ambitious project that quickly abandoned the micro kernel as a concept, even though it was one of the initial aims of the project. Microkernels are simply interesting research tools, that tell us hybrid kernels are the way forward, and that blindly sticking everything in kernel-space isn't ideal.

Tom Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Linux is not for the uber geeks

We gave up a long time ago, and use real unixes like {Free,Open,Net}BSD or Solaris. The command line is your friend, and GUI interfaces are pointless. There will never be a better editor/IDE than vim, autoconf is the work of the devil, Makefiles are easy to write with a bit of practise and GDB is the worlds greatest debugger.


It is called a 'kernel' btw.

Micro kernels tend to suck beyond all comprehension when it comes to performance, which is why virtually no-one, anywhere, uses a micro kernel.

The only OS I know using a micro kernel is GNU/Hurd (lol).

The OSes using monolithic kernels include most BSD variants, Solaris, Linux, AIX, DOS, Windows 9x.

OSes using hybrid kernels include OS X, Windows NT, DragonFly BSD.

There is a clear reason (performance) why you would want to keep large parts of the OS in the kernel rather than in user-mode daemons, which is why there are no real microkernel based OSes, only hybrid kernels that take only minor parts of the kernel and place them in user land.

Eg, in Windows NT, the window manager, GDI etc, is part of the kernel, where as lots of smaller components - like COM+ (a form of IPC) is entirely userland.

If you compare that to a supposedly inferior monolithic kernel like FreeBSD or Linux, the window manager is almost entirely userland, with small portions (like DRM - Direct Rendering Module, not Digital Rights Management - which allows fast drawing to the screen through the DRI) are either built into the kernel or provided as loadable modules.

Paris, because she loves a monolithic kernel.

World's biggest ISPs drag feet on critical DNS patch

Tom Silver badge

@AC + Steven Foster

Be are in the clear (unsurprising, since they are the same as O2).

Dead author's estate snatches child's domain

Tom Silver badge


In what possible way is it out of sequence? I've always read them in publication order, and recommend it. I wouldnt give a kid the full set of 7 books and go "here, start reading at 'The Magicians Nephew'". It would be nonsensical and confusing. Much better to get them hooked on Narnia through 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe', and I guess Disney agreed.

Proof of age system moves net ID a step closer

Tom Silver badge


You've got to remember, even though this is register.co.uk, 70% of these articles are written by yanks, so when John says 'government' he means the yankee government, and they decided in 1998 that it was a criminal offence for an American to put any content on the internet that may be offensive to minors, unless it is protected by a credit-card backed age verification system.

IIRC thats also why Fred was asked to fax in confirmation of his acceptance of allowing his kids on a forum.

Internet laws should be run past the IETF first, most of them would get thrown out as pointless or unenforceable..

Seattle Spam King Dark Mailer faces 47-month sentence

Tom Silver badge


If you live in the UK (and presumabley are a private individual), you can opt out of receiving marketing telephone calls with the Telephone Preference Service. The system is effective, and works, because anyone violating it (and its pretty easy to track who it is once a complaint is made, unlike spam) can be reported very simply, and violations carry a hefty £5000 fine.

28 days after turning it on, you will receive no marketing calls, recorded or otherwise..

Exploit code for Kaminsky DNS bug goes wild

Tom Silver badge


I've no problem with stupid people losing money through their own stupidity :)

I predict that over the next 5-10 years we will see a marked growth in identity protection and verification. Both users and providers will need clear and unambigous ways of both providing and verifying identities. Establishing trusted relationships between a user and a company will become fine grained, and I would hope that banks may start issueing client certificates to users, before they can start using the online service.

Its similar to how internal services inside company networks now work. 5 years ago, they would be unencrypted, unverifiable raw data, probably in some arbitrary on the wire protocol. Nowadays, they are typically XML, and either requested over a TLS channel set up with both client and server certificate validation, or the XML itself is signed and encrypted with keys that are pre-exchanged to establish trust relationships. The net result is the same - bob is sure that alice actually is alice, and alice knows that only bob can read the message she sent.

This sort of technology isn't new, but it is starting to become much more mainstream. The days of relying on insecure protocols are fast dying out - time for DNSSEC to go mainstream I think, rather than continuing to fix up BIND (although BIND is truly getting much much more secure as time passes, a testament to "many eyes make all bugs shallow".)

Tom Silver badge

What a load of shite

"When they typed bankofamerica.com into their browser, they'd have no way of knowing whether they were being directed to the real site or one designed to steal their money"

This is why commercial, sensitive operations take place over SSL/TLS. This is not just to ensure that there is no eavesdropping of your information as it traverses the net, but also to ensure that the server at the other end is trusted, and is who it says it is. It does this by having a certificate, which indicates the site that it purports to be, which is signed by a 'trustworthy' body.

Even if a 'hacker' could hijack a domain name (either by DNS poisoning, or old school social hackery), they would not be able to replicate the trusted, signed certifacte that the real site could offer, and wouldnt be a significant threat.

Honestly, you'd think you would know that, being an IT journo covering security. and not tap out mindless, fear mongering drivel. Has el reg been syndicated by the Daily Fail or something?

Samsung and Sun make 'ultra-endurance' flash chips

Tom Silver badge
Paris Hilton


The server grade SSDs go like the clappers - massively faster access time, but with slightly slower peak read/write speed. Since theres no head to move though, you can read one sector, then write a completely different sector for little cost. That what makes them have such a massively superior IOPS to even a 15k SAS drive, and why they rule for any kind of random access usage, like databases and video archives.

Also, since theres no moving parts, the energy required to operate is much much lower than a mechanical drive, so the 100x performance per watt is probably close to accurate, although I agree that its definately someone in marketing who wanted the '100x' moniker.

Paris, because I hear she can manage an impressive number of I/O per second.

3 days on: The iPhone users still to make a call

Tom Silver badge

@Tony Chandler

All O2 iPhone contracts include 'unlimited' data. So theoretically, you can use as much as you like. I say 'unlimited', as thats what they say, but its attached to a AUP, so who knows...

Tom Silver badge

In the same situation..

Ordered from CPW online on the 7th (day released to preorder). All went fine until the phone was delivered (no need to ring up/hassle CPW), then Apple played up for ~1hr and couldn't activate in itunes. Once that finally succeeded, I'm stuck in 'No Service'.

I called CPW on Saturday, who told me it was an O2 issue and put me through to O2. O2 told me that they knew there was a problem, but it would all be sorted by 5pm on Saturday.

It wasn't, so called up O2 on Sunday, and was told that it would be activated 'by the end of Sunday'.

It wasn't, so I rang up today to be told that O2 have no record of me, no record of my phone number, and have absolutely no idea when I will be activated. Apparently someone will ring me in the next hour (at 11am, I was told I'd be rung within 5 hours to sort it out), but I doubt it somehow.

I can get that a systems failure could seriously mess something like this up, but I dont like being systematically lied to me - if someone tells me something will happen, then it bloody well should be, or they should contact me to tell me why they haven't done what they said they would.

I also don't get this 'massive demand killed our systems, its not our fault' angle. They knew how many iphones they were getting, they knew how many people registered an interest. Putting two and two together, they should have anticipated that if they have N iphones coming in, they should have realistically expected to have been able to activate N contracts.

I hope by the time they release the next iphone, apple will have wised up and allow all operators to sell them. iphone on vodafone would have been nice.

Obama bloats Vista by 11MB

Tom Silver badge


Windows uses UTF-16 internally for all its strings. Still doesn't explain the size.

God makes you stupid, researchers claim

Tom Silver badge

People need to learn the definitions of an agnostic and an atheist

An atheist is someone who believes/has faith that there is no god.

An agnostic is someone who thinks religion is full of shit.

The fellow moaning at people calling themselves agnostics when his definition of agnosticism differs from theres is probably an ignostic. He wants a definition of what God is before starting to think about whether it exists.

Apple takes the operator's shilling

Tom Silver badge

@ Richard

You didnt sign up for the iPhone Developer Program, you registered for Apple Developer Connection and downloaded the iPhone beta API.

Well done, although the point was a couple of miles over there by the way.

Most apps written for the iphone/touch currently start out on jail broken devices because of the difficulty of getting into the 'legit' program, not because we're some spanky black hat that apple reject out of hand.

The app store idea itself is great, the revenue sharing model is also great, and anyone distributing a commercial application that makes themselves money will love it.

Someone who wants to write a non commercial custom app *for their own device* is shit out of luck without a jailbreak - or perhaps stumping up £50/year to run your own self-developed programs on your own device seems good value to you.

Most people seem to miss that the cost of the IDP is a recurring annual fee.

Tom Silver badge

@ Richard

For an app to be on the app store, the developer must be part of the iphone developer program.

To become part of the iphone developer program, you can either join the standard program, or the enterprise program.

To join either, you must live in the US, stump up $99/$299, AND have your application approved by Apple. There is no reason given for rejection...

Once in the program, a standard developer will be able to write apps in Xcode, and submit them in source form to apple. These are then vetted by apple, and if approved, placed in the itunes app store. They can install their app directly on only one registered device.

If in the enterprise program, you can deploy to your 'enterprise' handsets directly. To get in the enterprise program, you have to be 'enterprisey' - IBM, Accenture or Siemens? Sure. Bobs Software House? Unlikely.

EU to 'guide' local regulators on digital dividend

Tom Silver badge

We were talking about this at work today..

Had to explain to my colleagues that these funky new 'hi def' channels promised to Freeview wont be that well defined at the proposed bit rates. Yeah, lets stick 4 hi def channels into a tiny section of the analogue TV spectrum and sell the rest. Good planning, lets get all the spectrum into the hands of corporations before we discover a good use for it.

Short sighted fucktards.

O2 prices up the latest iPhone

Tom Silver badge
Jobs Halo

Its exactly what I wanted

I'm getting one as soon as I can, as are many of the guys at work - the pricing is just too good for a device of that quality. Its a great platform to write apps for (already got a touch), hopefully the jailbreak wont be too long away.

As for current iphone owners being shafted, how many low-value N95 contract-holders got free upgrades to the N96? People expect too much, if you didn't want to pay early adopter prices and tie yourself to an 18 month contract, then perhaps you shouldn't have. Moaning at O2/Apple for not prostrating themselves infront of you for having the temerity to make a new device is just pathetic.

Ofcom slices up the digital dividend

Tom Silver badge

@Steve Todd

Yeah fugly 720P H264. I'm getting BBC HD off freesat (well, DVB-S card, hooked up to sky dish), which comes out at a jaw droppingly gorgeous 20 Mbps MPEG-4 AVC. Its purty.

Next Ubuntu LTS in 2010, unless Linuxes synchronize

Tom Silver badge


Xorg is a significantly cleaner X11 than XFree86, generally it works 'out of the box', and with most graphics card drivers now supporting Xrandr, the usability of X11 is similar to that of windows. I hold no truck with GUI apps to configure any part of my system, I'm old fashioned that way, but IIRC there are plenty of Xrandr applets now.

Almost as an aside, that has nothing to do with Linux. X11 is for unix boxes, and it happens to be able run on Linux. The drivers for X11 are drivers for X11, not linux, and so also support BSD, solaris etc. Personally, I think the way most linux distros are going is not great, we'll just end up with a bunch of windows clones, with auto conf wizards, and a bloody GUI tool to configure your NIC. The only tools you need to configure your NIC are man(1) and ifconfig(8).

Surprise, surprise: F5 is doing something

Tom Silver badge


Your Outlook uses F9 to refresh, because Notes did it first. Not so smug now eh. F9 is for phimps.

BBC technology chief bounces on to Project Kangaroo

Tom Silver badge

Bandwidth is not the problem

BT are the problem. All the ISPs that are moaning about how 'iPlayer will destroy the internet' are what I would call vISPs - they let BT provide the connection from the punter's home to the ISPs network.

The bandwidth available from the final connection from BT's ATM network to the ISP is the single largest expense that these sorts of ISPs encounter - they then transit the data over the cheapest carrier they can lay their hands on, which costs a miniscule amount compared to the cost of BT central pipes.

Since bandwidth costs on these BT pipes are so large, these ISPs rely on users being in a 90:10 split - 90% of users are extremely light users, who check their email, read the BBC etc, and the other 10% are 'heavy users', who like to do things like watch videos, download large files and so on. When the proportion of heavy users grows too much, they will re-adjust their FUP/AUP etc until they can drop the most expensive users and keep the cheap ones. The problem now is that these usages are becoming mainstream, which destroys their 90:10 model. Its not the 'freetards' (fool) that vISPs are moaning about - they already control them well enough - it is the general populace wanting to do what the heavy users do.

When this *** first hit the fans, BT were fairly quiet, and mumbled that it wouldn't exactly kill the internet, but would require investment in increased backhaul capacity. This would be both backhaul from the exchange to BTs network (increased cost to BT), and increased capacity on the central pipes that each ISP has (increased revenue to BT). One would assume that BT would construct that particular equation such that it would be at least zero-impact, more likely would generate some profit.

You might also have noticed that 'real' ISPs, who own their own kit, backhauls and lease the copper phone lines from BT, like O2 (Bethere) etc, or cable ISPs, don't give a monkeys about this, as their bandwidth costs are miniscule compared to BT vISPs.

Apple ignores Jesus Phone life raft

Tom Silver badge

Background apps cant be that bad

..since the iPhone/iPod Touch come with several preinstalled. How useful would the 'alarm' section of the clock app be, if you couldn't background it and do something else.

Its also handy to be able to receive phone calls without starting a dialing app (never used an iphone, how does one dial? Presumabley it is an app..).

Both of the last two apps are activated by an interrupt raised by either the RTC (for alarm), or by GSM triggering an incomming call. Why should commercial applications I write for the jesus phone not be able to support these sorts of use cases?

An IM client would block on a socket, not spin, waiting for messages to be delivered to it. This would use no CPU and no extra battery. The only reason for Apple to cripple the device like this is to obtain some security thru obscurity and piss off third party developers, which is a real shame, as the jesus phone is the future of control devices. It is the ultimate convergence device, everyone wants one after seeing how intuitive and simple cover flow is in the music player, gawping at iPlayer etc.

Once the damn thing has 3G, it will be perfect for data driven lifestyle. Ipod driven X10/RF/IR transceiver anyone? Sure beats the crap out of a Logitech Harmony, and for roughly the same money..

Carl: A user or a carrier wouldn't install such an app. The people who would install it are the sysadmins who hand you your company jesus phone, and who are the ones who get rung up with 'nothing works, I don't see that menu'. Its the same reason that 99% of corporate desktops will have VNC/RDP installed - users are idiots (thanks for the proof btw), and admins can't trust the fools.

BBC iPlayer for iPhone and iPod Touch is iGo

Tom Silver badge


Not to criticise your use of time, but isn't the point of mythtv that it records what you want to see from TV - thus rendering a plugin to access iplayer kind of moot - i f you wanted to watch it, myth would have scheduled it to record, no? Thats how my myth handles everything.

And then you'd get it in lovely high(ish) bitrate MPEG-2.

Still, I suppose if you forgot to schedule something...

Doesn't it look utter crap on a decent sized TV? It must look utter pap scaled up to 1920x1200..