* Posts by Juillen

25 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

Dud Nvidia GPUs tip up in Dell laptops


@Martyn Breckenridge

UK Consumer protection law protects you on electronic goods up to 3 years (or more if there's a good reason to believe that the goods were faulty at manufacture).

I'd say this little fiasco would be covered by the 'faulty at manufacture' argument, as long as the fault is GPU related.

China readies Blu-Ray competitor


Computer storage..

Is certainly a big market... If they get those drives in at a nice price point, then a lot of people will buy.. Especially if the software houses start to adopt them as a widespread tech and release titles on that format..

Sun may or may not be about to obliterate Oracle and Microsoft


Sounds like..

The chap knew more than he alluded to. Interesting little read, even if I had to reset the vulgarity filters on the work proxy to read it.

El Reg tells you what the Highway Code can't


"You shouldn't be speeding"..

Or drinking more than a couple of units of alcohol per week, or taking photos of people on a street (and god forbid they're under the age of 16), buying bananas that are too straight, or apples too small.

The interesting thing about speed cameras is that they're only allowed to be placed where a given percentile (I think it's the 85th, from memory) is travelling over the speed limit. Statistically, the safest are between the 80th to 90th. So you're capturing quite a few drivers from the safest statistically speaking.

The reason that people tend to drive over the speed limit is because the roads are empty, and it is safe to do so.

However, where speed cameras are NOT allowed to be placed is where the 85th percentile is BELOW the speed limit. And guess what! That means people evaluate the road as being DANGEROUS. But hey, you're not allowed to place a camera there by regulation.

This leads to cameras being placed on roads that are safe, but with high traffic volume (way to maximise the profit!). What it doesn't lead to is placement where it would actually enforce what people evaluate by observation, that it is DANGEROUS to travel at speed on some roads.

If you go into all the "shouldn't"s that law allows and denies, you'll barely be able to do anything. Racing through crowded roads isn't my thing. I'm no 'boy racer'. No accidents in 21 years of driving almost every day. One incidence of getting caught by a camera, doing 35 in a 30 late at night on an empty, wide road with nobody around.

Even the guys on the 'safety course' I was obligated to spend 60 quid on and a day of my time on couldn't tell me it was unsafe (when I had that debate with them, they actually conceded that it was perfectly safe).

Honestly, I think speed limits are a good, average guide rather than a permanent hard rule. If the road is busy, I travel under the limit (sometimes well under the limit).

If the road is definitely empty, then I travel over the limit. First rules of driving I ever had were "Drive well inside a pessimistic view of your abilities" and "Your driving isn't about how good you are, you have to compensate for all the idiots on the road.".

Closing speed cams down isn't playing with lives. Generating a culture that says everything is somebody else's fault, and everything can be cured with suing, or threatening someone is playing with lives. And oh, look.. What is the culture of the day..

Torvalds brands Digg users 'W*nking Walruses'


And I thought

He was just working on the chav branding of future Ubuntu releases.

Baptist church in assault rifle giveaway


A few things:

In reply to the quote: "232 years and the Redcoats are still complaining about how we realized that the right to own guns is granted by God and not the Magna Carta. This, my friends, is why (and how) we won that war."

First, the "how" the war was won, was by enlisting the aid of the French, who basically managed to lift the blockade of the eastern seaboard. Without that, the revolution would have collapsed (no ability to transport bulk cargo such as provisions).

And also, by enlisting the tactics employed by the native americans, who used fast hit and retreat raids before the war of independance, and the new populace simply used that as a basis for further fights.

The why of it was simply to stop getting taxed without being represented. Which is exactly the position that the US finds itself in today. Nothing to do with God (which in those days you were either Church of England, which was based in England anyway, or Catholic, which was based in Rome), just a rebelling against a rather tyrannical (and mad) king. Which honestly, I can quite understand. Shame we can't do the same thing against our politicians these days; it would be good to keep them on their toes and not sell us out at every turn.

And to another post that says you have a guaranteed right to defend yourself.. Well, technically yes.. However, you could still so easily end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit if you even try, and banged up for an awful long time in the "Bubba Boudoir".

But still so true that England is turning so namby pamby with the 'ban this, ban that' attitude.. Banning things won't make the blindest bit of difference if we still keep breeding the thugs that'll simply wield something else to cause hurt.

I just find it weird that a church is giving away a gun, what with Christianity being more of a peaceful religion these days. I tend to see it as about as comforting as a mosque doing just the same thing in the middle east. Both make me just a little antsy.

Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture


@Mike Taylor

It's nice you don't know anyone who wouldn't immediately jump to the aid of a lost/hurt child. I know a lot of them. Several who work in education.

Me, I'd help a lost child from a distance, and probably phone the police while waiting where I was. I'd never dare move 'em from the spot. And I certainly would never want to be alone with one.

As for putting a plaster on one, or giving it a hug to say "there there, it's ok".. Not a chance.

CRB checks are NOT a good way of deciding if someone's suitable or not. You never get to know the circumstances of a case.

Example: Chap I know who's a friend of the family met up with a pretty lass at a night club. They ended up dating, and met up at the pub regularly. She went round his place and dropped in as you do..

Until the Police turned up on his doorstep and arrested him for statutory rape. Turned out the lass was 15, despite claiming around everyone that she was 18.

It went to court, and he's now on the sex offenders register (the lass says her parents shopped him when they found out the two of them were dating, and she was absolutely distraught).

Now, this chap is great with kids. Not the brightest spanner in the toolbox, but well meaning, caring and he clicks with kids..

CRB says no chance. This is the problem with data like that, it turns everything into black and white when things are so many shades of grey.

Honestly, it's one thing to turn around and say "you're all afraid of nothing, it's just a media storm", but the problem is people ARE afraid. The storm didn't start with the media, it started with legislation that hauled people over the coals for doing what adults do, and having someone being overprotective, and getting perfectly normal people strung out to dry. Happens all the time.

The thing with fear is that founded or not, it is always very real to the person experiencing it. The whole of western society these days is founded on the "point a finger at somebody else, it's all their problem, search for a way to be offended and you may make a boat load of cash" attitude. Or a "I can accuse you of this and your life will be ruined" attitude if someone doesn't get their own way. Very valid worries to carry with you, as I've seen them used on people I know before. And even when acquitted, I've seen lives wrecked in the process of proving innocence. And when you're proved innocent, it doesn't take back all the hardship, stress and ruin of a life.

The easiest way to rule is to have people afraid (which is why the old Soviet way was so effective). As long as you can scare people on the small things (is my neighbour out to get me?) they won't take you to task on the big things (why are you ruining my country?). NuLab seems to have this down to pat. Make everyone afraid of everything, say it's all for the good of the children and smile benevolently, while doing whatever the hell they feel like.

China in anti-monopoly investigation of Microsoft


@Anonymous Coward

Just an aside about China now building its economic strength on idea theft..

You do know that's exactly how the US started its climb to economic dominance? Nicked all the ideas going round Europe, then developed them from there without restraint. In no time flat, it'd raced ahead of the game, and became the world's biggest economic power.

Hmm.. Now I just wonder what'll happen with China doing this?

Zuckerberg's Google boycott reaches 32 days (and counting)


Facebook Privacy?

This is the same site that lets you develop a random app, and siphon off all the available private data of someone that uses it, just to answer some simple three question "test" that invariably tells you that you're kermit the frog?

And tried to harvest all your personal data to give to marketers?

Is "Dynamic Privacy" just another way of saying "It's ok when we ignore our user's privacy. It's not when you do it, so privacy concerns are dynamically adjusted depending on who's doing the snooping."

NHS orders mass keyboard clean-up

Paris Hilton

The cost..

Of infection control inside a hospital is MUCH greater than the cost of the keyboards..

Keyboards have been shown to be infection vectors in a goodly many reputable studies, and what people seem to be forgetting in this thread is that the NHS is NOT a business.

When you go into hospital, and have some pretty radical surgery (say a bad car smash that lands you in intensive care), would you rather have the medical staff using a £133 keyboard that to the best of available research and design will poke busy and distracted people to say "Clean this now, otherwise bad things may happen", and have a good chance of being as free of infectious material as possible, or would you rather have them using a 20 quid keyboard from the local shop, with an uncertain level of cleanliness?

I know which I'd rather.

There's a reason why the NHS spends shed loads on sterilization of equipment, tracking it's historical usage, and having very tight guidelines on what qualifies as medical equipment (would you like surgery performed with a modelling knife, or a surgical scalpel? The modelling knife is far cheaper!).

This isn't part of the NPfIT. It's part of the infection control process to keep people alive. It's seen as a way of keeping more people alive. Are you going to quibble over a few quid because you can get cheaper non-medically certified gear down your local shop?

And trust me, though cleaning ANY keyboard twice a day will make it cleaner, will it make it clean in a medical sense? That's where the money goes (making sure that it is 'clean' in a medical sense, not a general "it looks shiner that it was earlier, and who cares about the bits of old sandwich stuck in the cracks and gaps").

Paris, 'cos she cleans up nicely too.

NHS chief explains NPfIT delays

Dead Vulture

Free to choose..

Any patient administration system, as long as you pay a fine of £1m on top of any charges that the other company may make for the system. Per hospital.

Fujitsu walked away from the whole thing in a contract negotiation leaving a huge vacuum of uncertainty, which probably speaks volumes.

The whole project was initiated by good ol' Mr. Blair and rushed, to try and get a nice deadline of a couple of years, where he could show himself as the messiah of the NHS.

Act in haste, repent at leisure.. And with a big fat bill.

Think the icon is self explanatory!

Becta schools deal stuns British open-istas


Possibly a good move..

Looking at the AlphaPlus Consultancy, they seem to be primarily focussed towards education, and understanding what goes on in there.

What is really needed is someone who understands the target market (because they've worked extensively there), and what solutions are on offer in the marketplace as a whole.

Now, instead of having a highly fragmented Open Source approach, one can be managed carefully, playing vendors off one against another to provide best cost service for particular sections. Change is constant in the Open arena, and I honestly wouldn't trust BECTA to keep up to date with it, where I may trust a consultant with a good record to do just that (think small and agile, but with a reasonable hitting stick in terms of budget).

Seems the best move to me, having someone in place that comes from an education company and knows Open Source, rather than pitting an education organisation that doesn't really understand all the tech, and can't keep up, against a series of vendors who know the tech, but don't really understand all the ramifications of the education sector.

And at a very reasonable price too!

Ex-Sun chief to fight Davis in '42 days' by-election


Kelvin MacKenzie supporting 420 days?

Something tells me he'd quickly change his mind if some enterprising person were to hijack his PC and start sending dubious information.

In a time where the Gvt is successfully instilling fear into the masses is exactly the wrong time when legislation like this should be considered, as the great public "knee jerk" reaction is guaranteed.

Whether or not Davis wins or loses his election, I can only laud him on attempting to wake people up to the fact they're sleepwalking into losing their historical liberties.

Personally, I'm all for informing people that influence policy on something that affects general liberties, such as this, that at some point in the future, when it's most inconvenient to them, they will have this applied to them.

If they are willing to submit to that, then let them play!

Firefox 3: now available bug-free, say devs


Secure sites working...

Went to my bank's site, and it wouldn't allow FF3. Until they do, I stick with 2. And maybe longer, as I hate that irritatingly verbose address bar dropdown!

Temp workers to get equal rights after 12 weeks


Carrying the can..

The thing that is overlooked is that someone, somewhere, gets the bill.

It's not going to be the company that is already trying to keep its costs as low as possible that absorbs this. It'll pass along the increase to its clients. Who will pass the cost on as an increase through the chain, until it comes out of the every day person's pocket.

The real cut throat savers will follow an 11 week employment stint, and then get the next disposable person in. For anything that takes longer they may hire a permanent or two, but expect firings to go up too.

If you've been in somewhere for 3 years on the promise of a contract as a temp, I'd say keep your eyes on the job market for a permanent role that fills your needs, rather than follow the carrot. That's what I used to do in my temp days (and you'd be amazed how upset the boss that's been a real PHB gets when you turn round and say "By the way, the very short notice period? I'm invoking it and going next week.". Stunning, the deals you can strike if you want to).

Temp is meant to be a filler. A holiday job, something to just pay a few bills while you look for something better. It's flexible from both sides..

This just harkens back to days of the introduction of IR35.. And as soon as that came in, I saw some of the better contractors head over to Germany and the Netherlands (and lots of other places). Net result, UK companies lost out badly.

Police nick 460 a day for using mobiles while driving


Robert Goodwill's gripe

Is probably the same as mine. All the speed cameras are set up with the great spin of being "all about safety; they make the road SAFE".

Well, actually they can only be put up when most of the drivers consider the road safe to travel above the speed limit. They can't put them up when most drivers consider it not safe to even reach the speed limit (i.e. if people consider the road unsafe to travel above the speed limit, then you're not allowed to put a speed camera there, where it'd actually be useful. You're only allowed to put it where it'll gather most revenue despite it being pretty safe).

Speed cameras do little to nothing to affect safety, but they do generate a LOT of revenue.

Driving with a mobile jammed to your ear is distracting because of posture and having one hand taken up away from the steering wheel (yes, I've seen people with one hand jammed to the ear on the phone turning a corner and changing gear! ).

So, to put it simply:

Being on a mobile while driving: Unsafe, illegal, and largely ignored.

Driving a few MPH over the limit on an empty road: Usually safe, illegal, and clamped down on heavily.

If the cameras group were really about safety, they'd use camera revenue to fund more roving cars to look out for mobile phone using drivers/dangerous drivers. But hey, that'd not provide all that lovely revenue for doing nothing (apart from putting more cameras in, funded by fleecing drivers using the existing cameras).

OOXML approved as international standard?

Dead Vulture

Standards (there can be only one!)

[I'm really not trying to start a flame war, but what is actually wrong with Microsoft's spec? Is it just that the ODF got there first?]

If you read the technical overviews that abound on the 'net, you'll see that the spec itself is a 6000 page document, that when analysed deeply shows flaws, and self inconsistencies. There are areas of it that simply state that to implement some part of it, you'll need to use a 'black box' that is a trade secret.

The opinion of some minds that are far better attuned to this than mine have stated that trying to implement the "standard", unless you want to pay large money to MS for the rights to peruse it's 'trade secret' source, is not possible. And when you do, the license it's released under is incompatible with many Open Source licenses (especially GPL).

So, you have a 'standard' that isn't a standard, and can only be built if you pay MS. And implicitly can't be implemented in a fully open environment, which coincidentally is Microsoft's competition these days.

Competing fully working standards.. Still doesn't work too well (hey, what voltage would you like to run your mains on out of 5 competing standards? Or which side of the road would you like to drive on in the UK out of two competing standards?).

The idea of a 'Standard' is one that everyone uses as a baseline. You can have your own proprietary formats too.. Nothing is stopping you doing that (so, office can keep using OOXML, but it'll just be a proprietary format, which is what it will remain anyway, despite being called a 'standard').

But, if everyone maintains a compatibility with the fully open Standard, then everything can talk to everything else. Having TWO is wasted effort and development time.

The dead bird icon, as it's looking as healthy as the reputation of the ISO at the moment.

Boffin seeks US Blu-ray, mobile phone import ban


Going on for a time..

Actually, this isn't a case of a submarine patent.

The patent itself was registered in 1993 (US patent 5,252,499 ‘Wide band-gap semiconductors having low bipolar resistivity and method of formation’). When adoption of the technology really started kicking off in the early 2000s, she asserted the patent, and various companies settled on the basis that she'd be instrumental in developing the technology, and rightfully held a valid patent.

As long ago as 2002, various semiconductor companies have complied with the request for payment on patent royalties, so she has definitely been asserting this.

I'd make an assumption that the 'Big Boys' (i.e. Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, LG etc.) have seen this as something they can avoid by merely using legal methods to avoid having to pay legitimate fees (or that they've perhaps falsely assumed it was covered by a cross licensing agreement with another of the Big Boy players).

So, my impression is that it's a perfectly valid case, and has most likely followed normal channels of requesting royalties (as some companies have paid up over 6 years ago on this), been stonewalled and rejected by the big players before finally hitting the courts in an attempt to avoid being rolled over and told to go away and stop bothering big business with petty things like an actual inventor holding their own patent that just happens to be key to what big business is doing.

US gives thumbs up to OOXML for ISO standard


The US Delegation

Knows that if OOXML gets a standard, MS gets to keep office locked in, and all the money that floods to MS from the rest of the world gets taxed, at a time when the US Economy is decidedly shaky and needs every tax dollar it can get.

Something has to fund GW's latest thoughts of a new tax rebate to try to kick start the economy!

Cut to the Web Server Core: Windows Server 2008

Thumb Up

RE: Point? (The mind boggles!)

"Erm, why? The harder it is to install/support, the more you have to pay skilled people to do it."

Errr.. The whole point of running servers is that *You Know What You're Doing*. And I don't mean clicking a few buttons while the machine is working OK. I mean at a low level, enough to understand what it's really doing, the demands on it, how it handles security, locking, IO at the physical level, how the task loading has an effect on cache, what the buffers are doing, what RAID is the best to use in a given scenario (and how to balance array types on a server).

When everything's working just fine, everybody believes they're an expert by clicking the buttons that the manual tells you about. When it starts to get arbitrary occasional failures seemingly randomly, and you DO NOT have the option to just rebuild it and hope, THEN you understand why you pay admins good money, because they know where to look, and how to bring this back on it's feet.

You pay what you consider your data is worth. If it's not worth getting someone who REALLY knows their stuff, then it's not worth much at all. Don't cry when you lose service.


OS wars? Nooo..


A server is generically there to provide data in the most efficient way. Yes, Windows does have some Pros to it (hey, I use a fair variety of OSs.. Windows, Linux, Solaris, a BSD box or two, Novell Netware, so I'm definitely not an "OS War Fanboy", as each has it's place.).

What a server *should* do is be efficient at it's job. Require minimal resource at a terminal (that only interferes with it doing it's job), be easy to remotely reconfigure in large numbers, with minimal downtime.

What you're confusing here is what a server *should* be, with what skills you have.

Going back to daft 'car' analogies, you're advocating using a motorbike for carrying a family of 4 around, simply because you only have a motorbike license.

What *you* should be doing is extending the available skillset to cover all systems competently, so you can indeed leverage the correct OS, and also identify which one is best for the task.

Too much of this "Holy War" is down to people having one skillset, being comfortable with it, and thus deeming anything else too cumbersome.

Bill Gates advice to UK wannabes? Don't get sued


Why run for president..

And worry about the elections when you can simply buy all the politicians you need to get the law changed the way you want it without having to bother with all that effort of getting elected?

Damn, if you were ever elected, you'd only end up responsible and accountable! Where's the fun in that?

The 'blem wit' error messages

Black Helicopters

The most perplexing..

For me was a terminal app I used to use on Win'95 back in its early days.

Occasionally, it would just terminate the connection, and lock solid until you pressed the "OK" button (the only button) on the dialog box that read "Error: No error has been detected.".

It would then terminate.

Employee's silent rampage wipes out $2.5m worth of data


No languange massacre..

Nope, think he meant sensationalistic. I.e. the figure given wasn't meant to stir up the media. It was believed to be a realistic figure.

Given fines for not being able to produce those, cost to redo them if necessary, so on, so forth, 2.5m is not a very high figure for several years of commercial data.

Online gamer murders rival clan member

Dead Vulture

Ponder the statistics..

Alcohol is a major factor in a large number of fatalities per year (approx 8000). A sizeable number are deaths caused by violence, where the aggressor is extremely drunk.

There were over 400 cases of causing Death by Dangerous Driving in the last 12 months.. And they barely rate more than a blip in the local paper.

Deaths by assault for no discernable reason than kids on the street enjoy kicking people and running amok are no small figure, yet everyone forgets in a few days (apart from the families).

Yet one gamer kills one other gamer when nobody can absolutely guarantee it was due to an in game falling out, and it's major news.

Long and short of it: There are some extremely unpleasant and ever so nutty people out there. Try to "Understand" them as much as you like; they'll still be extremely nasty and unsavoury by choice. Many of them play games. Many don't.

Don't blame what someone does for entertainment. Blame the person who does the act. No excuses, no attempts to explain it away.


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