* Posts by Ross Ryles

55 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Mar 2007


Brits are HD TV numpties

Ross Ryles

Freesat HD Channels

"according to the Daily Mail, three HD channels are currently available to Freesat viewers"

I don't know if you or the mail got it wrong, but there are only two HD channels currently on freesat. (BBC HD and ITV1 HD).

One in four UK schoolkids admits hacking

Ross Ryles


You might want to check out the Computer Misuse Act.

'The LHC will implode the Moon or PUT OUT THE SUN'

Ross Ryles

Physicist Wankers

Yeah - I hear that Hawking guy is always touching himself.

Google flips switch on mobile YouTube banner ads

Ross Ryles

Same on Hero

The HTC Hero comes with a YouTube app too. Don't know about other androids.

Apple turns the flamethrower on Android

Ross Ryles

Observer Pattern

That patent made me instantly think "Observer Pattern" too.

The GoF book references for known implementations of this are dated 1988.

Google Chrome dev-only build hopes to be famous 5

Ross Ryles


"Mac fans get improved stability...but note this is a very unstable version"


Nokia adds police radar to handset

Ross Ryles


Unlikely to be theramin tech if it can work over more than a meter.

My guess would be LIDAR.

World standards body maps out 3D TV generations

Ross Ryles

Agreed.. with caveats

The principle is simply "a recording of the interference pattern (i.e. of phase differences)", but the practicalities are somewhat more involved. I stand by my assertion that the person who talked of recording the phase of light waves didn't understand holography very well.

A holographic camera based on phase differences/interference patterns is never going to be able to image a football being kicked towards it in an outdoor football pitch. Natural illumination isn't self coherent, so you can't have a coherent to it reference beam of light. Even with coherent lighting, the interference patterns would be changing far too quickly.

A holographic display might well be possible in the future but there are easier ways to achieve similar results.

Ross Ryles

Pinch of salt

"systems that record the amplitude, frequency and phase of light waves, to reproduce almost completely human beings' natural viewing environment" - That's written by someone who doesn't understand how holography works. Since when could the human eye detect the phase of light waves?

Sorry, but that seriously dents the credibility of the whole "roadmap".

Mobile industry excludes self from filesharing regulation

Ross Ryles

Not c**p

Commercial/Industrial connections are different. The vast majority of 3G connections share a small number of public IP addresses. When the RIAA/MPAA/BPI/whoever discover a filesharer, all they have is a public IP address, and a time. That IP address will be linked back to many IMSIs, so is useless. You'd need to log a lot more information to pin it down to an individual.

Stallman warns open-sourcers on Javascript-browser trap

Ross Ryles

Source Code and Beards

"Stallman would like to see Javascript code for web services distributed with its original source code"

Have I missed something? Correct me if I'm wrong but JavaScript is a *scripting* Language and therefore is always distributed as source code. OK, that doesn't mean that you can change that code like you can with GPL'd stuff, but so what? I have a beard and I still don't care.

The unfortunate thing is that all this nonsense about JavaScript is detracting from the discussion on Silverlight - which is a valid concern.

TomTom flexes Linux muscle in Microsoft's face

Ross Ryles

TomTom Linux

TomTom are so pro-Linux... until you try connecting you TomTom to your Linux desktop.

Brit porn filter censors 13 years of net history

Ross Ryles

Deceit or Incompetence?

Demon state here:


That if they block something because it is on the IWF list that they will serve a page like this:


Powermat cuts ties with cabled power

Ross Ryles
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Three Words...


Brute force SSH attack confounds defenders

Ross Ryles

Don't rely on any single measure

Using non-standard ports is an easy and very effective measure. Combine it with something to catch port scans (portsentry is good) and you'll stop most attempts. Add in some of the other suggestions people have made and it becomes a very effective protection.

Group Test: Universal Remote Controls

Ross Ryles

Microsoft Tax?

Generally a good article, although it would be nice to have a bit more detail. Details matter when you're looking at universal remotes. If the interface has any niggles then the whole thing is useless.

You failed to mention one item of great importance to your readership. Which OS's are supported by the 'PC' configurable devices?

Newcastle men dodge post-bog handwash

Ross Ryles
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Experimental Design

Is a transport hub really the best place to find 'local people'?

I suspect the sampling criteria was as follows:

How can we test people from around the country with the minimal amount of legwork?

UK border facial scan tests hit by errors and breakdowns

Ross Ryles

Reinventing the wheel

"a tailgating alarm that actually works will become more important"

Have they never seen a turnstyle like the ones used on the entrance to a football match? Of course new technology is always better isn't it?

BT claims UK broadband boost breakthrough

Ross Ryles

Re: Oi Ross NO!

That's what I said, only with far fewer grammatical errors.

Ross Ryles

Re: Silly question

Your assumption is correct, if and only if you have no other wiring connected to your master socket (either plugged in to the front or cabled out the back). If you have an extension socket (even unused) on the same line then its bell wire will pick up noise. That noise is then coupled through the ring generating circuit inside your master box to one side of the signal pair.

There are plenty of online guides to improving your wiring for ADSL.

Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM recorder

Ross Ryles

Mono vs Stereo

Going from stereo to mono only doubles the recording time if you are using an uncompressed format. The WMA format uses the high correlation between the two channels to achieve some of its compression. Therefore you won't get as much of a gain by going for mono.

EA in Spore DRM climbdown

Ross Ryles


Either such banning would be a breach of contract or the contract is unfair.

EA suck, but that's not news.

Gemalto glues DVD onto a SIM

Ross Ryles


I was much more impressed by the people who squeezed a GPS receiver into a SIM card a while back.

Europe's Tesla will be first with full performance

Ross Ryles


Rear wheel drive is a nightmare is slippery road conditions. So living in the North of England I'd personally avoid it. They should be able to do really good 4 wheel drive though and without the weight of all those fancy limited slip diffs.

Continuous acceleration without any gear changes at all is nice too. Only had the pleasure of that with 2 wheels so far though.

Flames 'cause we all know those batteries will cause as many fires as petrol.

BBC iPlayer upgrade prompts new ISP complaints

Ross Ryles

Scrap iPlayer. Improve Freeview +

Title says it all.

Many Reg Readers have probably heard of Freeview Playback, now rebranded Freeview+, but the general public hasn't. I keep seeing adverts for Sky+ with celebrities praising all the great features like series link. Guess what? I've already got all of that without paying sky or virgin. Only problem is that the broadcasters don't always send accurate info.

Why use all that network bandwidth to deliver a lower quality version of something that was broadcast within the last few days? If people can afford a £600 tele, a £300 PC and £120 licence fee then they can afford a £180 for a PVR.

So Aunty, scrap the iPlayer and spend the dosh on improving the Freeview+ datafeeds and advertising it. Oh, and hurry up with the "digital switchover" too. Even my grandmother has a digibox already.

Ross Ryles

@Frederick Karno

Frederick Karno said:

"my worry is that this could mean the end of the small isp Zen are noted as being exceptionally good whereas BT,virgin et al are not."

You're right. The way BT, Virgin et al are going Zen will be a big ISP soon!

TomTom GO 530 Traffic

Ross Ryles

Linux Support

Unfortunately the MapShare feature is not supported with a linux desktop. Despite TomTom using a Linux based kernel for the device itself.

Net shoppers bullied into being Verified by Visa

Ross Ryles

Couldn't sign up when I tried!

I tried resistance but was forced to sign up when trying to buy a gift. However when I tried to sign up I was told my details were incorrect! I checked them all carefully which wasn't difficult as the only thing required that wasn't printed on the card was my date of birth. I think I know my date of birth. Apparently not. After several phone calls I was told that I had been born on 11th November 2011! At least it was obviously wrong and so I could get it corrected. Unfortunately the correction would take 2 working days to complete. By that time, the gift would have been too late. I'm Vexed by Visa.

In their defense, there is a feeble attempt to reassure users that the VbV page is authentic. You can set a custom greeting message that is displayed on the first page. At least that is the case with Barclays VbV. I also approve of the idea of card readers that produce a one time pass code. The implementation of it however doesn't fill me with trust. The first digit it returns is always 3 and I can usually guess the second digit! Cryptographically secure??? I think not.

Congestion charge means less traffic, more congestion

Ross Ryles

Re: Easy answer... Ban motorbikes

"They are far more likely to speed, <snip /> They wait for the lights in ASL (Advance Stop Lines) which they should be fined £3000 for as the law stands, but aren't."

Yes, some bikers are guilty of a multitude of sins, but so are some drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Personally I think motorcycles should be allowed to use ASLs but I respect the law is currently against that. I'd also like to point out that the recently revised highway code suggests that filtering through slow moving traffic on a motorbike can be a legal and valid practice.

"...and most importantly they stink and have their exhausts pointing upwards at an angle towards people's faces!"

Are you suggesting that the odours present in the exhaust of a motorbike are worse than those of a car? and that they leave the exhaust with such a velocity that the angle causes them to be fired directly into the faces of pedestrians and cyclists? Can't say that tallies with my experience.

"by comparison to other motor vehicles they are (per seat) the least efficient users of fuel."

The number of seats is only of relevance if it is a choice between a single vehicle and multiple bikes. If there are only 1 or 2 people then a single bike will do. If there is only 1 adult then multiple bikes is not a legal option. For the circumstances where you have at least two adults and a child all going to the same place a single vehicle may well be better than multiple bikes for fuel efficiency. Just because motorbikes don't solve every transport problem doesn't make them useless.

For the record I have in recent years frequently traveled round a city using a car, motorbike, bus, train and bicycle and on foot. I have clocked up thousands of miles on each of these modes of transport. There are pros and cons to each but I think they all have their place. If you find that someone else has made a better choice than you with there mode of transport, then try not to be too envious. You're chosen mode will be better in other circumstances (and if it isn't then maybe you should switch).

Cops slap ticket on Street View spycar

Ross Ryles

Re: Seen in Newcastle Upon Tyne

Damn. I was just thinking they seemed to have missed our part of the land.

Where abouts was it?

The return of Killer Chlorine

Ross Ryles
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Statistical Standards

"The abysmal standard of significance in modern epidemiology is a one in 20 chance of the result having occurred by accident. But if you look at ten different diseases, this standard means that the probability of at least one crossing a given threshold of risk level becomes 40 per cent, which should be adjusted for, but isn’t."

Very true. Unfortunately this is far beyond the general populations understanding of statistics. More worryingly, it seems to be beyond many scientists understanding of statistics!

El Reg nails Street View spycars to Google Maps

Ross Ryles

France Online

Don't know if this is new or not - Street View now has content on line covering various bits of France. It looks like they've blurred faces and number plates.

Relay server attack tactic dupes auto-reporting

Ross Ryles

Layered Security

Anyone with a basic knowledge of security knows not to rely on a single layer of protection. Handy as DenyHosts is, it won't protect you completely. For ssh on my internet exposed linux server I:

1)run on a non-standard port

2)run DenyHosts, with blacklist sharing

3)run PortSentry on the standard ssh port (and many others)

4)Disable ssh login for all but one user that is completely unprivileged and with a non-standard user name.

That's in addition to security measures that don't relate directly to ssh protection.

Hawkeye technology turns tennis into a cartoon

Ross Ryles

Video not good enough?

"You can't really see if the ball is in or out on a video replay"

To quote the ever reliable wikipedia:

"All Hawk-Eye systems are based on the principles of triangulation using the visual images and timing data provided by at least four high speed video cameras located at different locations and angles around the area of play."

So why can't they show the footage that is used as the source data for hawkeye? If those are blurry too then that rather suggests the system isn't too accurate.

Set-top box modders sent to prison

Ross Ryles

Re:This is insane

Whilst I'm pro freedom to tinker I have to disagree with you here.

The thing is they didn't mod the box to be a time machine. They modded it to receive channels they hadn't paid for. It's like you making your fridge automatically fill itself from the supermarket without paying*. What they where doing was certainly illegal.

By your reasoning it would OK for me to stab someone so long as I bought the bit of metal and then sharpened it myself! "The metal is MY property. I CAN DO WHAT I LIKE with it."

*OK that's not a perfect analogy, because the supermarket would be loosing physical assets.

Retailers risk libel nightmare over 'no-work' database

Ross Ryles

Re: These commenters have never been on the shop owner's side

"Employees should be allowed access to the database, and means to contest its content, with reasonable proof."

But no proof required to put them on the database in the first place?

Can you prove you didn't browse questionable content on company computers at your last job?

The first you are likely to know of a false entry on the database will be when you are rejected for a job you would otherwise have secured. By the time you've proven your innocence the job has already gone to someone else.

I've read your suggestions and it still wouldn't work.

Ross Ryles

Re: Don't they all ready have something like this running....

Yes they do. However, as the name suggests, that is a check for *Criminal Records*. This is a check for anything bad anyone ever said about you. Criminal records are based on evidence that has been considered and deemed to prove an offense beyond all reasonable doubt. This is based on an individuals word and in most cases not enough evidence for even a civil case.

Ross Ryles

@Andy Worth

"if you refuse to say anything then people take it to mean the same as a bad reference."

Not in my experience.

Many large UK companies now have a policy of not providing more than a minimal reference for all employees. So a lack of a reference doesn't mean the same as a bad reference. It just means that they don't give references.

Ross Ryles

We don't supply references

I thought most UK businesses had stopped providing references (apart from very basic things such as dates of employment) for fear of litigation. How do these companies think that providing them through an online database is any safer??? I'm completely stunned by it!

As an AC said: If an employee commits a criminal offense then let the courts deal with it. I have no objection to a prospective employer looking into my (lack of) criminal record.

Also, I'm not an expert on the DPA, but wouldn't they have to get consent to hold your personal data in the first place?

Hyundai and Kia's latest pitch to US drivers - Windows

Ross Ryles

@Luke Wells

"I can access the ECU, the stereo, the bluetooth, the door locks, immobilizer, alarm and security features, the dash board, and the abs/tcs/esp modules."

The stereo and bluetooth shouldn't be on the CAN with the rest of those. They certainly aren't in my car (VAG manufactured). The others are all safety related systems and need to communicate with each other. Please don't be offended by this but are you sure the stereo is on the CAN? What does it use the connection for? Can you replace it with an after market system?

Ross Ryles

Where are your Standards People?

Anything that can affect the safety of a vehicle is designed and manufactured to a raft of standards such as:

ISO/TS 16949 (Mandatory)

OSEK (De Facto)

IEC 61508

If Microsoft wanted to make inroads into the OS's for ECUs, ABS, etc. then realistically they would have to follow the OSEK standard. Their usual practice of extending standards to create incompatibilities would get them nowhere. Their existing code base for Windows CE would be next to useless. These OSs are true operating systems too - no GUI, no apps, just an OS. As such it's difficult to differentiate your product except on quality, support and price. There are already half a dozen open source OSEK standard operating systems. Draw your own conclusions.

I imagine MS would be keen to develop non safety related systems such as Sat Nav and Entertainment. That's a large and growing market. Personally I'd like to see that - just so that I could replace it with a linux based system without having to do any hardware mods to my car.

Ruckus kicks off over directional Wi-Fi

Ross Ryles

Obvious and Poor

Surely this method is obvious to someone skilled in the art? Surely they can design something better too - phased arrays where invented in WW2!

More proof that patents impede innovation.

MS supplies cops with DIY forensics tool

Ross Ryles

@Steven Hewittt

"The USB stick contains imaging software for a start - which takes a whole image of the HD's on the system."

You mean it's got enough free space on the drive to store an image of a multi TB array? I doubt it!

The largest USB memory sticks ~16GB

The the smallest HDDs installed in a new system ~ 150GB

See the problem?

Ross Ryles
Gates Horns

Oh dear!

There are so many problems with this approach. As you say the admissibility of such data is very questionable. You can guarantee that data WILL be changed by plugging in your device.

That's not to mention how easy it would be to design a computer system to evade justice by such means.

if (usb.device.inserted) then


delete(incriminating files);

sendmail("I've been raided!", accomplices);


I'm sure it wouldn't understand where to start with a linux system. Probably the same for Macs but I wonder if it would even spot the surfing history of a firefox under windows user?

Home Office defends 'dangerously misleading' Phorm thumbs-up

Ross Ryles

Re: User Agent

That would actually work! The Phorm/Webwise system currently uses a whitelist of user agent strings. (At least that's what we've been told... for now...)

However it would cause you problems as some websites (google included) alter there content based on user agent strings. You might well end up with the "mobile version".

New 3D chip transistor may reach 50GHz

Ross Ryles

Not 3D Chips

The chips aren't going to be 3D! You won't have more than a single layer of transistors*. It's just that the individual transistors will have a more 3D structure. Modern CMOS transistors aren't exactly 2D either mind. *Most* of their characteristics can be modelled by assuming they have a constant cross section - but not all. Hence TCAD simulations of devices are moving from 2D to 3D. This sounds like just another variation on the FinFET idea.

Also remember kids - Moore's Law predicts the performance to cost ratio. Technologies like this (and even 'conventional' CMOS nodes approaching 32nm) may be possible but are likely to be very expensive to develop and produce.

* There isn't much point in putting multiple layers of transistors on a chip. The number of processing steps require multiplies so the cost does to (and some). It already takes hundreds of processing steps to make a CMOS wafer. The cost performance ratio doesn't really improve. There are also problems with heat dissipation, process integration, failure analysis and interconnect. The only advantage is less clock skew, but that has already been worked around by having the multiple clock domains of multi-core designs.

Tesco slaps cutlery ban on under-18s

Ross Ryles

That's not a knife!

They've had this policy in store for months. I bought a cheap set of 5 teaspoons (about as offensive as a banana) and went through the self serve checkout. It wouldn't let me buy them until someone came and verified I was over 18. The examples you have in your article at least include knives. Reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons:

"That's not a knife. *This* is a knife!"

"That's not a knife. That's a spoon!"

"Oh. I see you've played knifey, spoony before."

Camelot pulls scratchcard amid numerical anarchy

Ross Ryles

More Nitpicking

It is perfectly possible to define the absolute electric potential of a point (The energy required to bring a positive unit test charge of zero mass from infinity to the point). However it is far more common to use some local reference such as the earth and work with potential differences. It's the same with gravitational potential. On a side note gravitational potential is always negative.

When working with potential differences, the sign tells you nothing about flow of current. The current could be flowing in either direction or even zero. Also strictly speaking a potential difference is defined between two points, whereas a current is defined through a surface. This is often glossed over by talking about the "voltage across" and the "current through" a two terminal component.

Satanic car key traps 12 motorists in car park of horror

Ross Ryles


Why were the owners stranded? My car has remote central locking and an electronic immobiliser, but I can still use the good old fashioned mechanical lock to gain entry and the immobiliser communicates using contact with the key.

If these people couldn't get into there cars and drive away because of some radio jamming then what are they going to do when the battery runs out on their fob? (or is it rf powered?)

Royal Navy presses IT Crowd for nuclear missile 'servers'

Ross Ryles


Hasn't this advert been running for many weeks now? How is this news? I could understand if it was a Friday and you were rightly spending the afternoon in the pub.