* Posts by Oliver Humpage

31 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jan 2008

Help! My mouse climbed a wall and now it doesn't work right

Oliver Humpage

Obligatory dilbert/dogbert

This was exactly the subject of an old Dilbert cartoon (although since the main website went down, I'll link to a mirror here: https://thecomicninja.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/dilbert-81/ )

Dogbert had a more BOFH-y way of dealing with it though!

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Oliver Humpage


Yes, but without the .uk domains, you couldn't have amusing domains like http://icouldntgiveaf.uk/

Microsoft Teams: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Oliver Humpage

Not bad, just a bit rough

Surprised to see so many people bashing it here. We've held off on both O365 and Teams until this summer, and having rolled them both out at the same time the users have loved it. While it has plenty of rough edges the benefits far outweigh the problems overall. We're a complex business with a lot of cross-dept and external collaboration and it's made life easier for everyone.

I just wish MS would roll out the features at the top of the wish lists a bit quicker.

Bloodhound Super-Sonic Car aims to wake up Newquay: Rocket work restart in August

Oliver Humpage

Re: Should it happen?

The bloodhound team are running everything open source, so everyone can learn from their engineering advances. In addition they're doing a lot of outreach, using the car to get children excited about engineering. Having visited the Bloodhound SSC site in Avonmouth with m'kids, I can say they're doing an excellent job.

So yes, it should happen. Lots of spin-off benefits.

Another UAV licence price hike? Commercial drone fliers rage over consultation

Oliver Humpage

Re: No...

The tax is specifically levied on vehicles that are on the road. That much is inarguable.

The amount you are charged is then set at the amount you pollute, and very low polluters like electric cars (and of course any non-motor traffic such as bicycles) have the tax waived entirely.

So two different things. What it's for, and how much you pay.

What it specifically *isn't* is a tax that pays *for* roads. Unfortunately the term "road tax" confuses the issue in people's heads (such as the author of this article).

Oliver Humpage

Re: No...

A basic accident comes in at £25k, a fatal accident around £2m (and there are several thousand of them per year).


£40k per accident isn't as ludicrous as you think.

Oliver Humpage

Re: No...

It is indeed a tax to drive on roads.

It isn't a tax to pay for roads, any more than a tax on beer pays for pubs. (Local authorities pay for all local roads anyway, and they never see a penny of it.)

The total amount raised in vehicle excise duty doesn't even equal the amount spent mopping up the blood after road accidents.

Suffering ceepie-geepies! Do we need a new processor architecture?

Oliver Humpage

Quick bit of history: Graphcore was spun out of XMOS, which in turn took on the legacy of INMOS who invented the massively parallel transputer chip way back in the early 80s. Maybe the transputer's time has finally come :)

David Hockney creates new Sun masthead. Now for The Reg...

Oliver Humpage

Holy light

We all know the Holy Jobs provided the light and cast all others into the shade

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Oliver Humpage

Sweet theme

Hamish was concerned that Google had just announced Android Meerkat.

THREE MILLION Moonpig accounts exposed by flaw

Oliver Humpage

Re: There's a message on their contact us page:

> all password and payment information is and has always been safe

Technically correct: passwords aren't exposed, and you don't get full credit card information.

However, they're being extremely dishonest by not mentioning all the other crap (ordering on others' accounts, seeing all their addresses, etc, etc).

The ULTIMATE cuppa showdown: And the winner is...

Oliver Humpage

After realising just how expensive Twinings had become, I recently tried a variety of other teas and settled on Clipper as being an excellent replacement. So good to see it scoring nearly top marks.

I'm confused as to how Typhoo took the top spot though - never got on with it myself.

Email-sniffing Linkedin Intro NOT security threat, insists biz network

Oliver Humpage

Re: Puzzled

Clients like iOS Mail don't allow you to plugin that kind of functionality - they'll only display messages exactly as retrieved from an IMAP server. Therefore LinkedIn has to divert your Mail client to retrieve the entire (altered) message from their own mail servers.

It's still a terrible idea though.

Eric Schmidt: Ha ha, NO Google maps app for iPhone 5

Oliver Humpage

Ho-hum... I've updated http://isthereadecentmapsappforios6yet.com/ with a link to this story. Looks like I might need to keep the domain registered for longer than I expected...

Txt tax would wipe out half UK deficit, claims union baron

Oliver Humpage

One pence?

One penny. Two pence.


Adobe man to Apple: 'Go screw yourself'

Oliver Humpage

Lovely, friendly Adobe

It's nice to know that at Adobe only has the best interests of its customers at heart.

Oh, no, wait, they're a bunch of money grubbing little shits who annually screw over most of the creative world by charging obscene amounts for their software.

Glad we got that one sorted.

Apple blueprints warranty Big Brother

Oliver Humpage

The key word is "and"

"opening the casing or housing of a device AND adding, removing, or altering the internal components"

So just opening it isn't an example of abuse. Buggering about with the insides is.


Late 2010 launch for Project Natal, states gaming exec

Oliver Humpage
Dead Vulture

Vicious circle

Is it not possible Mr Farrell heard Steve Ballmer's comments (but not the retraction, or chose to ignore it), and simply repeated them?

Is server virtualization delivering for you yet?

Oliver Humpage

Virtualisation rocks

The reason we first considered virtualisation was the ease of restoring a backup: since the hardware is always the same, you can restore a backup straight to a new VM without worrying about Windows suddenly finding New Hardware.

However, after we found out what else you can do with virtualisation, we've gone a long way beyond that. We now use VMWare with VMotion, with 2 beefy poweredge servers and a decent SAN. VMs can be moved seamlessly between the 2 physical servers in order to do things like hardware maintenance or VMWare upgrades, and also to balance load.

We have a third VMWare server off-site (but cunningly on the end of a private fibre link) to which we make vreplicator backups: this means that if our server room burns down we just click on the remote server's management interface and hey presto, all our servers pop up again with only a couple of hours' data lost.

Having the nightmare of hardware failure taken away is like having an enormous weight lifted from you.

Being able to make clones of a VM and test upgrades on it is the second best benefit.

Not worrying about the hardware costs of buying a new server when wanting to run a new service is also a big boon: it's like shifting from pay-per-minute dial-up to always-on broadband.

We're running about 15 VMs per server: a mix of Windows and FreeBSD mostly, some high power (e.g. mail), some low power, but there's still plenty of room for more.

Virtualisation rocks.


iPhone 3G S in the UK: what you need to know

Oliver Humpage

Dyslexic maths

@mark - £44.05 * 18 months is £792.90, not £729.90. Which might make it a less good deal.


eSATA: A doomed stopgap?

Oliver Humpage

USB is consumer level

Surely the problem with USB is that there's no guaranteed throughput - all devices compete, and the latency can be quite bad. This is why, for instance, firewire audio cards are much better at recording in real time than USB audio boxes, which have a significant delay.

This doesn't matter so much for bunging a hard drive into your desktop/laptop (so long as you're not doing really high end video work), but it does matter for servers. eSATA is particularly good for expanding either your server or your existing disk array with another large box of disks (and it's a lot cheaper than fibre channel) - I can't imagine USB 3 making many inroads there.

Advertising watchdog okays 'gaming equals early grave' ad

Oliver Humpage


This week's Private Eye makes the interesting observation that the commercial funders of this new Change 4 Life campaign are, for the most part, food (often junk food) manufacturers... and not one video game company.

Odd, then, that the advert about early death doesn't show a kid stuffing his face with chocolate, burgers, crisps, etc...

Council to crack down on Cracknuts Lane

Oliver Humpage

Not PC

It's not political correctness to get rid of Cockshut Lane... it's just saving money on replacing/cleaning the sign when it gets repeatedly vandalised. Shame to lose it, though.

Amazon intros early VAT cut

Oliver Humpage

It is the full 2.5%

If you reduce the VAT on an item from 17.5% to 15%, that's the same as applying a 2.13% discount to the original "inc VAT" price.

So they are giving you the full VAT discount, but by reducing the total price by 2.13%. Makes perfect sense.

US woman shot by cast iron stove

Oliver Humpage


Mythbusters tested the "bullet on a campfire" myth, and found the bullet exited the fire with a pretty low velocity: the reason being, there was nothing to take the recoil when the powder lit. They also found a bullet in a hot oven wouldn't even make it through the glass door.

More likely the woman just got shot (maybe by herself?) and wanted to hide the fact.


Super Talent delivers SSDs for poor people

Oliver Humpage

Superior battery life?

*cough* http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html *cough*


First Android phone to retail for $199

Oliver Humpage
Jobs Halo


The iPhone 3G costs £99 (at least the 8GB version does), which was less than £110 the last time I looked.


Phorm papers reveal BT's backwards approach to wiretap law

Oliver Humpage


To refute something is to provide convincing arguments and/or evidence to the contrary. To deny something is simply to say "I don't think it's true."

Politicians and managers have been lying about refuting things for years now, just because it makes them sound better. Same with "sea change" (oh, so fish have eaten the eyeballs of the NHS, have they?).

"I suppose I am refuting it"... classic. Idiot.


Jumbo bug crashes Cisco anti-hacker appliances

Oliver Humpage

Not 1/pi

pi is the ratio of diameter to *circumference*, therefore drilling through the centre of the earth would result in a cable about 2/3 the length, not 1/3.

Moreover, that would only be the case for, for instance, UK -> New Zealand fibre. Cable length from UK to the East coast of the US would only be reduced to about 95% by going directly through the earth, which isn't really worth the effort (although it's probably a lot easier to get through than all the molten stuff in the core).


Gordon Brown claims a Brit invented the iPod

Oliver Humpage

Darling's fault

I was at an event a couple of months ago where Alistair Darling spoke. He mentioned visiting a school once where a surly pupil complained that "we don't make anything in Britain any more." Darling said he retorted by pointing out that a business just down the road from the school had developed "the chip that made the iPod possible."

So I suspect Chinese whispers to Brown made him spout this nonsense.

O2 sweetens its iPhone deals

Oliver Humpage

Data tariffs

Compare and contrast the fair use policy for iPhones: http://www.o2.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/iphone/iPhone-FAQs.html (click on the "What is the fair usage" FAQ), and now the little asterisk that's appeared here: http://www.o2.co.uk/iphone/o2tariffsforiphone/existingcustomers .

I phoned up to get an explanation, which I've posted at http://www.hs4cl.com/2008/01/29/a-better-deal/ . Not too bad, but it's very sneaky to do this - bet they don't mention it in any info they send me.