* Posts by Matt West

24 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Nov 2007

Sky rudely barges TalkTalk off the top-three UK ISP podium

Matt West

That number again

TalkTalk's customer service is famously bad, and before that Pipex and Tiscali's customer service was rubbish. If you need to contact them their number used to be 0207 087 2000. Of couse, they rely on BT to provide the conections and they are equally terrible.

Inventor flames Reg, HP in memristor brouhaha

Matt West


I don't think I understand the graphs at all. Why does the current through the resistor not follow the voltage linearly?

Happy birthday, Tech City: Have another confusing map

Matt West


It would be interesting to see a comparison of rents in East London and San Francisco. Right now rents in East London are sky high in the lead up to the Olympics. How does a startup director prove to a credit check agency that they're earning enough (and will still be earning enough in 12 months) to rent a flat?

London's Olympic clock claps out

Matt West

Sack off Omega

@Syed - You've missed the point entirely. Casio watches are reliable, they don't need to spend millions on marketing. Swatch and Omega on the other hand peddle over-priced, unreliable tat to idiots, thus the need for big stunts like this.

In an ideal world we'd see their now-tainted brands banned from the London Olympics.

Protection of Freedoms Bill is released

Matt West

Olympic Freedom?

Does that mean that traders based around the Olympic site will be allowed to trade during the Olympics, and that taxpayers walking around the site will be allowed to wear whatever clothes they like?

I thought the fraud trial thing was to avoid trapping members of the public for years to sit though ferociously complicated efforts by multinationals to avoid paying their taxes.

Google offers $20,000 prize in annual hack-off

Matt West

"like a condom"?

Yes, I see it now. A faraday cage is just like a condom. Now I understand.

Exam board deletes C and PHP from CompSci A-levels

Matt West

The man with the Telegraph says...

With the country facing 'a new age of austerity' this does seem to play into the hands of the suppliers. I'm not aware of any competition for the supply of Visual Basic or Delphi, so how are the education buyers supposed to get the price down and ensure taxpayers are getting value for money? Java, Python and C all have competing implementations, with prices ranging from free to insanely expensive.

When I was at school the argument was that we should be using Windows 3.0 because that was what was used in industry. By the time I actually got into industry the world had moved on to Windows NT 4.0, and nowadays it's all Macs(in my corner of the world) which has a lot more in common with RISC OS then Windows. The only constant is change. What schools need to teach is how to learn, they can do that as well in Algol as they can in C.

Overzealous Orange cuts off customer, still bills

Matt West

Orange are rubbish

Orange seem to have a policy of cutting off their customers when they need to contact them. If you try to contact them by dialling 150 then the automatic system will tell you that you have been cut off and they won't speak to you. In the end I had to phone up a number for prepaid phones then get them to transfer me.

This happened a few times. It turns out that the department I needed to speak to are unable to answer a phone so I was told to fax them instead...

I would also advise their customers to keep a close eye on their credit record. After they screw up they'll leave a black mark on your record and it takes them a long time to fix it.

Orange rolls into the banking business

Matt West

Who trusts Orange with money?

Orange are about the last company I want involved in my finances. I'm still trying to get them to sort out a mistake they made 2.5 years ago. My bank's phone service is nothing other then professional and helpful and their systems are reliable and well-designed. When problems do occur their staff are able to fix issues easily.

Orange are not like that. Their systems are useless and apparently unstoppable, and their staff are not allowed to help in any way. Their fraud department are so stupid I was told they are unable to answer a phone and I would have to fax them instead. Orange can't bill a mobile phone reliably let alone manage a credit card.

Eurostar tunnels through UK border ring of steel

Matt West

eBorders conclusions

It would appear that the conclusion that can be drawn from this whole exercise is that we are not prepared as a nation to give up our freedom to travel as we please in order to clamp down on a few unauthorised travellers.

The RYA are doing a somewhat lacklustre job of fighting the clampdown on small boats crossing the channel, perhaps because they're worried that the general public are behind the scheme. If Eurostar can get the Ferry operators to join them maybe the RYA and other groups will be encouraged to join the fight.

Broadband tax of £6 per year to fund rural fibre rollout

Matt West
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I think the idea is that the tax will work like fuel tax. The suppliers set the price according to what the think the market will take, then the government take a chunk of that. If the tax didn't exist then the suppliers' profits would be higher; the price would not be any lower. This works because supply is somewhat limited.

The Great British Public have been voting in favour of indirect taxation for the past 30 years, Labour have just carried on where the Tories left off. It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone campaigned on the promise of 'No Stealth Taxes, just a huge Income Tax'.

I was shocked when I lived in Sheffield 10 years ago to meet people my age who were baffled and intimidated by computers. We cannot afford to have children growing up today who aren't comfortable with using computers and accessing the internet. Private enterprise has so far failed to provide decent internet access in rural areas and are disinterested in doing so in the future. Rural broadband could be a good long term investment for the country.

Virgin Galactic tests laughing-gas powered rocket motor

Matt West

Server Farms in space?

A question arising from the Flash movie...

Why would you want to put a server farm in space?

Noel Gallagher takes a tumble on YouTube

Matt West
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He could have come on from the front then run around the back of the amps. Or he could have got in through any number of ways. If you're fast enough and lucky enough you can do it. Especially at Festivals where there are armies of hangers on lurking around backstage. Either way that prick may well have cost a couple of people their jobs.

Chinese takeaway biodiesel man in garage explosion horror

Matt West

@Waste oil

I think that's one for private enterprise. I wonder how high the price of fuel would need to go before we start to see small commercial waste oil processing plants that send a truck round to collect waste oil.

Dancing to power London nightclub

Matt West


Right, according to http://www.ent.ohiou.edu/~et181/hpv/hpv.html a 'healthy human' can sustain 0.16hp for 4 hours (say 11pm to 3am), which is about 120W. The copious press mentions a capacity of 300 people, therefore the club will generate a maximum of 36kW, assuming that dancing is as efficient as cycling.

That would suggest that the venue consumes less than 60KW(36/60%). The PA will draw maybe 8-10kW while the lighting might easily be 20kW, unless it involves an awful lot of LEDs. Then there's the bar systems, air-con, heating etc. Shame they didn't give any solid figures. I'm sure they will once the systems been road tested...

eBayer slaps $714 price tag on $630 in cash

Matt West
Jobs Halo

Me Too!


Bugs casts shadow over Firefox 3

Matt West


It's a shame these so called security researchers didn't tell anyone about these problems before it was released, maybe the problems could have been fixed before 7 million people downloaded insecure software. If I were employing a security firm I'd think twice about hiring anyone who would delay releasing information in the interest of maximum media coverage.

Need a new duster? Avoid Woolies

Matt West

"A Track Suit Is Not Appropriate Metal Apparel"

Hmm, gotta download that one.

UK to fly the flag for OOXML

Matt West

Who do we complain at?

Who were the other four voters? How do we register our disapproval?

Brain training game aids kids' learning skills, study claims

Matt West

Bad, bad, bad science

I imagine they'll wait until the research has been published in a respected peer reviewed journal, and larger scale tests have been done that confirm this result before they start pissing away money on Nintendos.

At the moment that article just reads like a press release begging parents for money.

Coastguard, plods swoop on fake Facebook yachtmaster

Matt West

The RYA get most upset...

The Yachtmaster certificate is the bottom rung of the MCA's professional certification. It's recognised all over the world, and apparently forgeries are a big issue. Most countries have stricter laws about who can skipper a yacht, however if you wave your RYA certificates you can charter(or work aboard) a yacht almost anywhere.

If the MCA allow forgeries to happen then the certificates become worthless. Although their response here was well over the top, especially the DNA sample, the PR effort is needed to reassure insurance companies, charter companies and other governments that the MCA takes this stuff seriously.

HMRC self-assessment online gets awards nod

Matt West
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Better then most

I've used the website to file for the last few years and it's been fine. Testing a system like that to make sure it'll cope must be a nightmare, especially in the public sector where there's so much pressure to cut costs("if you did it for 4p last year, why do you need £10million this year?").

When the website got too busy it degraded very nicely, with static pages explaining what was happening. It was all a lot more slick then, say, the Glastonbury Festival debacle last year. The self-assessment website is generally a lot better than most of the corporate websites I have encountered.

Spam King Ralsky indicted over stock spam scam

Matt West
Paris Hilton

It might just work

A few people believe that if you react fast enough to the spam and sell up in time then you too can make money. All the spammers have to do is put up comments and blogs encouraging this belief and potential victims will be queuing up to be scammed. I don't seem to get stock spam anymore so I guess people wised up. Either that or Viagra spam is more profitable.

Luvvies get temporary reprieve

Matt West
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It's other signals interfering that's the problem

The signals given off by small radio mics buried in a luvvies' wig aren't that strong, which means that if someone else down the road is using the same frequencies then there's going to be interference. See 'Spinal Tap' for an example of what happens. The entertainment industry therefore needs it's own nationwide frequencies to be sure that there won't be any problems.

It's not just theatre that's affected it's also rock'n'roll, and the massive conference and events industry. Everything from the lighting up of the London Eye at New Years to those crazy lighting pantographs used in the last Coldplay tour relies on radio control.

Britain is an international leader in such things; Cirque du Soleil rely on a British company to build their automated set pieces and there was a heavy British involvement in the Asian Games opening, the Turin Winter Olympics opening and the Athens Olympics opening. Yet despite this OFCOM seem determined to undermine the industry. Similar threats against the financial sector would be short-lived, it's a shame the government don't care about the technical side of the entertainment industry.