* Posts by Alastair

76 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jan 2008


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You mean to say

That I could have been impersonating aManFromMars all this time?

Dell axes hackintosh makers' favourite netbook


Re: wow.

"If you need to have a 1900x1080 resolution and 4GB of RAM to do anything useful.. whatever your doing, your doing it wrong."

I run Visual Studio. It has panels on the left, the right, the bottom, a tab bar at the top... I need my pixels. I've got a laptop with a 13" screen (not sure what res, but it's whatever is native at that size) and it's too damn small to do anything without going insane. Yes, I could collapse the panels but then that is a ruddy pain in itself.

BBC devs Doctor Who movie script



"And suggesting that you actually cast a Shakespearean actor in the roll of the Doctor is likely to cause a riot."

How many years in the past are you living? Tenant has been the Doctor for a little while now...

Getting real about Linux on the desktop


@Dr. Mouse again

"I also know of people who did the same, but then they were idiots expecting it to be a fully functioning laptop. They were just as dissappointed with the XP versions."

The people I know weren't. They could browse, send e-mails... but also load up iTunes, change the music on their iPods, run Skype without issues (when my friend got an eeePC the Linux version was piss-awful, might not be the case now), install MSN/Yahoo (not a crappy Linux client with no webcam support) basically do everything they want to do with their laptop. Their needs were not demanding, but Linux could not provide for them.

Plus, there's the issue of doing stuff differently. Yes, Ubuntu has great repositories, but what if you're used to double-clicking on an EXE? It's worth 20 quid to a lot of people just to not HAVE to learn new ways of doing things they already do.


@Dr. Mouse

"Take netbooks & nettops. People are taking them up and finding Linux is fine, not the scary beast they heard of. This means they try Linux on their desktop, probably using a Live CD. They like the fact that it runs quicker than Windows, and try out the alternative apps. They like it, so install it."

You've made two big leaps of logic there.

1) People actually do find Linux fine. In my experience they don't- I know at least two people that bought original eeePCs and then took them back and traded them for Windows ones. They didn't like Linux.

2) This means users will want to try it on their home PCs. Netbooks are used for browsing and little else, home PCs can be used for all sorts of things. The average user never even reformats and reinstalls Windows in their PC's lifetime, it's quite a leap to suggest that they'll try out a Linux live CD.

Palm: Pré to launch on 6 June


Very interested in this one

I've currently got a 2G iPhone I bought used from some sucker that upgraded the day the 3G came out... it's good. No, it's great. But the EDGE connection is so, so slow. I'd upgrade to a 3G iPhone, but it's just not that much of a difference- it's hard to justify signing up for a two year commitment just so that I can get my e-mails a little faster.

So the Pre might be the one for me- or will it be the new iPhone, surely to be released at the end of June? I'm not buying till I see both.

Open source closes gap on Microsoft's next Silverlight


Re: Why?

Why is Flash an acceptable alternative? It's even more closed. The web needs a rich media player, Flash is a dog. I don't know if Silverlight is much better, but competition = good.

Hugh Jackman speaks of Wolverine leak heartbreak


Re: speaking of crimes...

Or, y'know, he's seen the pre-release print because he's involved in the filmmaking process. And didn't download it from anywhere.

Not defending any of this, but come on, I'm pretty sure Hugh Jackman wouldn't need to download a torrent of a film he's working on in order to see it.

Moonlight plans video-patent police beater for Linux


"project leader Miguel de Icaza told us"

... "Speed is the driver."

Did he also happen to mention whether rhythm is, indeed, a dancer?

Online retailer offers Sim-free iPhone 3Gs


Re: If they're 'obliged'

"to offer sim free iphones in one EU country, shouldn't they be 'obliged' to offer them in all EU countries?"

They do. That's the whole point of the 'single economic community' aspect of the EU- if they sell it in the EU, it is purchasable from anywhere in the EU- it's no more complicated than that. You might have to use a French web site to get one, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it.

Stallman warns open-sourcers on Javascript-browser trap



"First is to define what's meant as a "non-trivial" Javascript program, which he thinks should be something that: "Defines methods and either loads an external script or is loaded as one, or if it makes an AJAX request.""

What Javascript 'programs' don't define 'methods'? All this terminology is quite vague... the web site I work on uses AJAX requests to populate some dropdown boxes, does that mean that someone is going to need to make an open source version of this or we'll lose the respect of the open sauce community?

In reality, this is something they can argue about for months, then finally create an implementation that no-one cares about and less people use. More power to them.

O2 starts giving away iPhones


Re: Two years

Welcome to the kind of contracts that are the norm in North America. Two years? Try three years.

The UK operators have been desperate to move to this for a while now- I remember a few years ago when 18-month contracts started appearing from nowhere.

No thanks.

iPhone 3.0 beta reveals mixed blessing


Re: Mixed blessing??

Clearly, you're being sarcastic, but I'll indulge...

The 'Apple taketh away' bit is for developers. Think about it- you're a developer. You work very, very hard at your voice memo app. You sell it for $.99 in the App Store, start making a relatively decent profit. Then Apple come along with a free upgrade and blow you away. What's to stop Apple watching for the most successful apps, then include versions of their own in the next release?

Obviously, there's no easy solution to this- Apple can't just stop working (especially when we're talking about such basic features at this point) but you can see how devs might get angry.

BBC botnet 'public interest' defence rubbished by top IT lawyer



"Tampering with people's PCs to illustrate the botnet risk is unethical in much the same way that breaking into homes to dramatise the risks of burglary is also a non-starter."

No, it's like going to someone's house that's already broken into and putting a massive sign in the middle of the living room that says "YOUR KITCHEN WINDOW DOESN'T LOCK PROPERLY. YOU SHOULD FIX IT". There's a quite substantial difference.

Developers more 'satisfied' with PHP than other codes


@Kevin Bailey



returns about 300,000 more results than the ASP.NET one. So by the criteria you just made up, PHP is worse. Personally, I've had 'worlds of pain' before setting up PHP (especially when I try and use GD to (gasp) read GIF files), but I don't try to claim that every install of PHP is faulty.

"Another client has a .NET site which they can't move on to another machine - it will only compile on this Italian guys machine. I mean - compile? It's supposed to be a portable 'scripting language!"

Err... no it's not. It's supposed to be a compiled programming language. What you *want* it to be is something else entirely. As for your Italian problem, I'd suggest you've set it up wrong.

"For anything non-trivial you have to buy visual studio. I tried to use the basic Web Matrix tool mto keep the code clean before realising that everyone else was using VS and just allowing the tons of bloat into their code."

Visual Studio Express will cover most bases. Not all, I'll admit. Coupling SharpDevelop (for nitty-gritty coding) and VSE (for tying up to the clientside) would probably sort you out. But it's a paid-for MS product, what were you expecting?

"ASP.NET is not cross-browser compatible. Page repositioning after round trip only worked on IE. I even had some MSCE twonk trying to excuse it by saying double speak about extra IE only features were a bonus and not everything had to be for all browsers. Double think at it's finest."

1.1 was terrible, cross-browser wise. Later versions were much better, but in any case I usually ignore the client-side Javascript provided and use a JS library instead. A route MS are taking themselves by adopting JQuery next time round- full cross browser compatibility. Besides, PHP doesn't offer that stuff at all...

I'm not trying to say that ASP.NET is the best solution ever, but good grief, at least come up with some reasonable objections rather than "there have sometimes been problems installing it" and "I have to compile it"...

BBC zombie caper slammed by security pros


Re: So...

Sure, why not?

As long as they bring the car back and pay for any damage etc. it'd be a far more effective lesson than stopping someone in a car park and saying "theoretically, this is how I could break into your car..."

Wikileaks publishes secret donor list


Re: TeeCee

You're putting too many things together. They have:

- bank records

- confirmations that travel over plain email

Two seperate things, innit.

Opera sings praises of Microsoft-browser statement


Chicken and egg

So, if my OS doesn't come with a browser, how do I download a browser?

Even if it had say, 3 browser to choose from on install... who gets to choose which browsers are featured? What is Mr. Joe Average User going to make of it all? Most likely get more confused and annoyed.

HTC prepping Palm Pré, Apple iPhone rival


Re: Andrew Campbell

Did you read the article? It's an Android phone...

Google spins out Chrome 2.0 pre-beta alpha


Re: Jerome (Chrome market position)

Well, no... Firefox is and always will be the browser of choice for geeks and those who want customisation. But the only reason the every-day user uses IE is because it's what was there when they first turned their PC on. Google is already supposed to be working with it's OEM partners (that already install Google Toolbar and stuff) to provide Chrome as the default browser instead of IE.

As a web developer, I hope they succeed...


Re: Jerome

Then you're not the target market, then. Chrome isn't trying to be Firefox (too many AdBlock users to make it worthwhile, ha)- it's trying to be an "every-day user" browser. Hopefully it'll hack some market share from IE.

Android goes Skype, iPhone to follow soon


Skype on iPhone

There's an app called Fring that already does it. Not very well, but it does it.

Palm to take on iPhone with web 2.0 banana phone


re: Olof P

Not necessarily. Plenty of manufacturers make CDMA and GSM models of their phones, no reason Palm wouldn't do the same.

Sony sticks it to Xbox 360 and Wii


Re: And guess which machine won?

"BD is essential,"

What? Is it? Pray tell, why?

"You can buy a wii, it's cheap and crap"

Sorry, let me correct that for you: "You can buy a wii, it's cheap and fun"

Not everyone *wants* a hardcore gaming console, so who can say what is "best"?

iPlayer chief pushes tiered charging for ISPs


Are you sure?

Looking at the quotes attributed to Mr. BBC Head Honcho, they just seem to be suggesting that users could pay more for more bandwidth- which they currently do. They don't specifically mention a separate charge?

Evidence for 'iPhone Nano' gathers pace


I can't quite see...

What the Nano isn't going to have? I assume we'll be talking 4GB storage (maybe 8GB as maximum) but flash memory isn't that expensive these days, so where will the savings come from? Remove GPS maybe. Crapper battery? Possibly.

I can't see that they would get rid of the touchscreen in any way- it's not only an integral part of what makes an iPhone, but it'd also render all existing applications useless- and I doubt Apple want to close off that revenue stream. So a smaller screen? If my iPhone screen got any smaller it'd be an utter pain in the arse to to use...

YouTube 'poisoned baby food' hoaxer pleads guilty



Are you suggesting that he should have gotten away with it?!

Chromefirexplorer girds loins against rich and closed


Re: Steen Hive

No, not all browsers render sites identically. But to keep moaning like that does a disservice to everyone that's got us to where we are now. Firefox, Safari and Opera render pretty much the same, and the forthcoming IE8 should bring Microsoft in line.

I've been developing web sites for about 7 years and I've never known development to be this easy. Even with IE6.

Native-Linux music player Amarok gets major overhaul



I heard that Amarok was *the* music player for Linux, so I gave it a go while fiddling about with Ubuntu. It's way too heavy, there's crap everywhere (just look at those screenshots!)- I don't care about song lyrics, and I doubt I'm alone in this... I found Rhythmbox much simpler.

But then i went back to OS X and accepted iTunes, flawed though it may be.

'I don't blame pilot', says San Diego jet crash father


A what now?

"The Miramar-based 3rd Marine Air Wing will convene a “aircraft mishap board”"

And the award for most euphamistic organisation name goes to...

Beeb to cut the f**king swearing



And so, just like the aftermath of the Hutton Report, the BBC again agrees to lose any edge it once had in a desperate bid to remain so inoffensive that people continue to pay for it.

I bloody love the license fee (40p a day for all this?) but if the BBC keeps having to shy away from doing anything even slightly controvertial or testing then I really don't see the point. They're supposed to have the freedom to say things that aren't necessarily popular, now we're all going to end up run by bloody advertisers.

(And no, I'm not referring specifically to the Ross/Brand crap. Every now and then they go over the line and should apologise, but they shouldn't have their wings clipped so much they can only walk)

Sony Vaio Z11 13in laptop



(Comment preface- I've got a Macbook, but I'm no Mac maniac. That said, I am looking at replacing my Macbook with... a new model Macbook)

As the article says, this thing is targetting Mac customers, and given that it's a 13.3" laptop I'm going to say that they're definitely targetting me with this. But it's more expensive than a Macbook, and I don't see what I'm getting extra. I like the dual-GPU idea, but El Reg's tests show that I'll get an extra... 15 minutes? Not much to write home about, then. Plus, slightly shoddy build quality compared to the lump of aluminum that is the new MB. And the Macbook looks cooler, sorry.

I wish Sony all the best because I think Apple could do with some more competition sometimes but this ain't it.

Apple updates iPhone firmware


@Jon Kale

I'm going to guess that's because Google Maps doesn't have Tube directions (I don't know). More stuff is being added to it all the time, mind- all the transit options in the US work perfectly, of course.

Street view seems like a waste of time though- you mean I can stand in the street and use my iPhone to see what's around me?! Staggering.

Brand new Star Trek prequel pics and trailer


Why is Star Trek going backwards?

One of the things I always loved about Star Trek (coming from a non-Trekkie perspective) was that it was a great reflection of the times. Original Star Trek: 60's view of the future. TNG: 90's view.

Then suddenly everyone decided retro was a good idea. Enterprise was (I say, only having seen about one episode) so bogged down with matching up to the existing story that it just felt flat to me... and now they're making a new film based around the original series. Why?!

I'd watch a new series of Trek. Based after the existing shows so it can tell it's own stories. Plus, I want to see things like the Borg, damnit. They're the only villian I give a crud about...

Congratulations, Barack — Now fix your websites


"This backdoor leads to Google"

Good grief. I'd love to hear your definition of 'backdoor'...

Users pour forth MacBook trackpad woes


This is why...

I'm waiting. I really want to upgrade my Macbook to one of those shiny new Macbook Pros, but Apple are just terrible with the first batches, or even first generations. I have a first-gen Macbook... I've had a mainboard, hard disk, trackpad and keyboard replaced since I got it.

But they're still such damn good laptops. Everyone just needs to learn to be patient- if their sales went down you can bet Apple would start paying more attention.

BBC's speak you're branes collapses under Brand-Ross sex outrage


There's no doubt in my mind...

That the vast majority of people complaining did not hear it, will not hear it, and are outraged because of a lack of more interesting things to do in their life.

And punish Ross and Brand? Come on. Brand has already starred in a couple of Hollywood films, and has a load more in the pipeline- if anything this will raise his profile. Ross can just get another gold-plated contract at ITV or Sky or something. In other news, the world will continue to turn this week, as...

Windows 7 borrows from OS X, avoids Vista


Re: "No one has ever claimed Mac OS X is perfect"

Well, the Apple adverts kind of do, that's the problem. I'm a happy Mac user (switched a few years ago) but I do have problems now and then with crashes etc. The way Justin Long and Co. present the Mac in adverts suggests that it'll live longer than you will.

That, and they convey an overpowering sense of smugness. Terrible.

Apple prices iPhone at $666, says analyst


Re: How about adding proper support for SMS at the same time

Erm, it does have support for multiple recipients. I can do picture messaging with my jailbroken iPhone and SwirlyMMS, but I'll admit it's less than ideal. Thankfully, I don't know a single person that uses MMS.

I'll admit that the iPhone has faults but certainly no more than any other smartphone I've used before. And if the price comes down sharply then it's going to become a pretty compelling product whether you like it or not...

HP preps secret iPhone rival


What qualifies for "iPhone rival" these days then?

Years ago I had a Nokia 7610 (I think that's the right number, stupid system)... It had Symbian on it, so was a smartphone- does that qualify as an iPhone rival now then?

From what I see in the article, HP are launching a consumer-targeted smartphone. No mention of music player capabilities or crazy new interfaces, so I fail to see the iPhone connection here...

uTorrent for Mac leaks into Pirate Bay



I'm stuck using it for now. Absolute resource hog, but I don't feel safe downloading without the SafePeer plugin that blocks IPs from record companies and the like.

I'd use PeerGuardian but it does its blocking to every bloody application, so Google and MSN went all wonky for me. I got sick of that quickly.

Adobe yanks speech exposing critical 'clickjacking' vulns


Easy one, that

A bit of javascript that will capture the click event on a link, and redirect to another address. So the status bar shows the user a link they'll never go to. As for the webcam stuff, well I assume that's where Flash comes in, given that you can't access cams without using something like that,

Obama: McCain can't email, remembers Rubik's Cubes


Yes and no

Yeah, McCain is out of touch. I don't think they need an ad to prove it, and to be honest they're running the risk of alienating a lot of older voters who also, shock horror, don't get the net.

An odd decision to make that ad, IMO.

Google releases open source browser


Dan- yes

The main thing you missed is the Google name. If there were ever an "ie killer" this is it. Not because of any technology involved, but because of the name attached to it. Joe Public has no idea who Mozilla is, but knows Google as a trusted brand.

Oh, and it's all open source so any ET like phoning home would be easy to find, I'd imagine.

Screwgle™ - Google's new ad revenue model



"The more relevant the adds presented when someone is searching to buy something the quicker and easier their on-line purchasing experience will be - good for the buyer"

Barf. Advertising is never to the benefit of the buyer, its there to hoodwink them. My quickk and easy online purchasing experience will be provided by the relevancy of the search results allowing me to pick the best online store, not the one that paid the most.

Eye of newt: Inside Google's AdWords auction


James Butler

"I've been at the bottom of the results, but through learning how to write better ad copy and learning how to provide a more credible experience to those who have clicked on my ads, my ads are now at the top of the results, and I pay less for them, too."

"BTW, it's "black" because there is little value in letting ignorant or malicious advertisers know exactly how to game their system. Does even that part of it make sense to you?"

Is #1 not a more polite way of saying #2?

EU Commission plots to end rip-off Britain online


The Daily Mail are going to implode

EU meddling law makers in 'yet more red tape' shocker!

Rip-off Britain to benefit from cheaper prices!

"Wait, what?"

eBayer slaps $714 price tag on $630 in cash



The first step to exposing the eBay fraud is to proof read.


SMS addiction awakens 'sleep-texting' phenomenon


Pantech C300

I recently relocated from the UK to Canada, so I've got to see both sides of the cell/mobile phone coin.

A friend of mine bought the C300, the cheapest PAYG phone available over here... it's hilarious. Insane on almost every level (11 menu levels doesn't surprise me), it looks like a 1970's reject- except for the size. To it's credit, it's tiny. With a giant aerial to poke your leg.

It does have changable faceplates, though- every cloud.

Disgruntled admin gets 63 months for massive data deletion


Eh @ the new admin is the devil

You're assuming there WAS a new admin. It's certainly appears that he left pretty aburptly, and did the damage only a short time after. They might not have hired anyone as a replacement and were skating along on skeleton staff. It happens.