* Posts by Nick Rutland

31 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Mar 2007

WTF is... Weightless?

Nick Rutland

Re: Deja-vu all over again

At the back of my mind I have a memory of a survey pointing out that the average domestic microwave consumed more power running its clock than actually heating food. Anyone confirm?

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Mealy pudding v migas

Nick Rutland

But don't forget ..

... quoted in a book about Madison Avenue advertising, a slogan sadly never used:

" If it isn't Wolfschmidt vodka, it isn't breakfast ..."

Apple Italy throws up ruling on its store site

Nick Rutland

EU gets bashed lot...

... but isn't the two-year warranty thing one of the EU achievements? I thought this was EU -wide, not just Italy.

Happy to be corrected...

Gas bill climbed £13,000 after correct online reading given

Nick Rutland

Hey, this is a utility bill...

.. and the code has END-IF's in it? Strugglingly modern, I'd say. (Old COBOL hands will spot what I mean).

Nick Rutland

But it could reasonably be expected...

... that a message comes up 'Something a bit odd, here, we need to check'. No?

Some things should just cope, of course. Check Charlie Simpson's Just Giving page. I'm really impressed that the percentage indicator works. (Having stated that, naturally it won't work properly ....)

RIM workforce decimated: 2,000 jobs slashed

Nick Rutland

Grammar and stuff

Perhaps I'm a bit too deadpan for my own good...

My sympathies are indeed with the 2000. That was sort of my point.

Nick Rutland

Grammar and stuff

Nice to see a correct usage of the word 'decimated' . 17,000 left after 2,000 P45 s (or local equivalent) = current workforce of 19,000. 2,000 of this is not too far adrift of the 1 in 10 that decimation implies.

Cobol hits fifty

Nick Rutland

How long will COBOL survive?

The story is told ...

COBOL programmer Fred having made a mint inthe Y2K panic is diagnosed with a terminal disease. He decides to go for the cryogenic option and has himself frozen, with instructions to be woken when a cure is found.

As he wakes up he asks the anxious-looking staff whether they've really discovered a cure.

"No," they reply. "But it's coming up to AD 2400, and your CV says you know COBOL...."

Birmingham drops the possessive apostrophe

Nick Rutland

Somebody's got to say it ...

That would be, er, John Richard's, then?

Reg competition: Cisco goes isup

Nick Rutland

Someone said 'Website needs polishing up a bit'

... so they've made a start with the t-cut.

Next, the wax and buffing.

Google tips hat to St George - finally

Nick Rutland

Patron saint of ...

... Barcelona as well.

Olay!! (phonetic, because I can't do accents)

Al-Qaeda seeks geek fanatics for Jihoo!

Nick Rutland

If Al-Q could be persuaded to buy AOL ...

... then all our terrorism worries would go away. I'd worry about what a shiny new AQOL CD would do to my system but otherwise I reckon that the whole organisation would go broke and flounder.

Not even Disney would be interested.

Microscope-wielding boffins crack Tube smartcard

Nick Rutland

Keeping track

What intrigues me is that they say they've sold 1-2 billion. That means they're not sure of whether they've sold a billion cards or not, in my view.

Would you trust a card from an outfit like that to keep track of anything at all? (I have to: got an Oyster for daily commute)

Portsmouth student peeled in potato laptop scam

Nick Rutland


Actually this seemed to be the preferred sales channel for this particular brand of speaker. A friend of mine (in our contractor days - too much money) bought a pair and took them home. Thye were fine: not special, but the value was about ok. We did a search the next day when he told us, and got a reference to a guy in Berlin who'd had exactly the same experience - same brand, same spiel. A bit more poking around got us to a collective site about this brand. The general opinion was that the deal was OK: you got a receipt, and people who turned up at the address to return unwanted speakers got their money back (cash, natch). No questions asked. There was even one guy who, ah, 'upgraded' the amount he'd paid, and got that back.

Honest people get villains a bad reputation, I say.

MIT plans to roll out 'folding' car

Nick Rutland

@Eric Olson

What would be needed would be a large(-ish) supermarket trolley thingy to be pushed round (low emissions) picking up abandoned MITbuggies....

The one with the Waitrose badge on the pocket, please.

Nokia unwraps bendy nanotech phone

Nick Rutland

Shape-shifting and elusive

I can't help feeling that something like this will end up dripping through a hole in my pocket.

English language succumbs to Symbiotic Ephemeralization

Nick Rutland


Symbiotic hypercycle innovation teleology. Think that just about sums it up.

Also - don't sack your staff: they'll help you out if you let them.

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Nick Rutland


"He proposes using metres instead."

Even allowing for our US friends who can't spell properly...

That's presumably quite a lot of metres, then.

Illegal immigrants spared the gamma-ray scanner

Nick Rutland

They might be useful ...

... in Swedish coach stations, of course.

Royal Society: UK gov needs to grow a biofuels policy

Nick Rutland

... and the US anglr

I can't help thinking that history will judge G W Bush on two massive errors:

1) Badly thought-out and worse executed invasion of Iraq

2) Ill-advised subsidy of corn ethanol for US producers

The discussion will be which of these was the worse

Oz drafts 'batter an orphaned roo' guidelines

Nick Rutland
Paris Hilton

Deutschland uber alles ...

... or send the orphaned joey to Nurmberg (sp?) zoo to join the starving polar bears. Paws across the Equator, sort of thing.

Make some nice fur coats anyway (hence PH icon)

Deadly planet-smash asteroid was actually Euro probe

Nick Rutland

Tunguska - Scientists rethjink ...

... in our own El Reg:


Popping the question the 21st century way

Nick Rutland

Ring tones, anyone?...

...(sorry about that)

Ofcom primes broadband afterburner

Nick Rutland

Crystal ball time ...

I suppose the real difficulty is guessing how long fibre will be the dominant comms technology. The water outfits can invest in expensive replacement of Victorian mains and pipes because essentially they have a guaranteed revenue stream for at least the next 150 years (and if that fails, everybody's got problems anyway) so they can raise money against that. Doesn't stop 'em charging us all now, but that's a different issue. If an enterprise could be guaranteed anything like the same sort of deal for fibre, it ought to be able to raise the dosh in the same way. Trouble is, no-one knows if wireless or some other (quantum?, witchcraft?) technology will become more feasible or when this might happen.

Sounds like an opportunity for a mass bet of some sort: set up a market, that sort of thing...

Be kind to your stomach: eat chilies

Nick Rutland

So we were right all along ...

... with the vindaloo after the gallon of beer.

Eurostar inaugurates UK high-speed track

Nick Rutland

Third rail v overhead catenary

Only problem here: tunnels and bridges. I understand that these make overhead power supply unfeasibly expensive, so southern England will stay third-rail for the foreseeable future.

Thameslink (now called something else - First Central?) trains switch from third-rail to overhead when they stop at Farringdon station. It used to take ages, but now they manage it in a standard stop time.

UK online gambling regs go live tomorrow

Nick Rutland

No-zero roulette story ...

... refers I believe to John Maynard Keynes. He knocked on a friend's door in Cambridge to announce that the casino at Deauville had removed the zero.

"I suppose you want us to go there at the weekend" said the friend.

"On the contrary, we take the six o'clock train from Victoria this evening" replied the great economist.

I don't have a citation for this but this was after all a guy who gambled on wheat futures to finance King's College Cambridge when he was in charge of such things.

So, what's the velocity of a sheep in a vacuum?

Nick Rutland

Multidimensional Audis

Did anyone spot the advert for the new Audi a few months ago?

Boot space was something like 11 cubic litres. As opposed to the usual sort of litre.

I'd be worried about opening it up and finding a load of Daleks.

Or Cardiff.

Pirate pitches DVDs to Trading Standards

Nick Rutland

Another would-be villain, this time re-oriented by booze


Killer Wi-Fi panics London's chattering classes

Nick Rutland

Read the Guardian ...

... Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column, to be exact. He had a very funny rebuttal of the wifi panic on Saturday.


French succumb to Franglais

Nick Rutland

French suffer same as Spanish

The French use 'standing' the same as the Spanish. 'Tres grand standing' means 'high reputation.

Don't know how they arrived at this, though.