* Posts by steve

14 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Apr 2007

Google taps your IP address for Starbucks targeting


RE: Re: Not new... (or the power of statistics)

The problem with your scenario is you need the address range to remain in a geographical location over time so although google gets it wrong to start with, it can correct over time. In reality that range will be shared by people up tut'North and those soft southners so there wont be a single grouping.

As a prime example, I now live in London. My geolocation says Milton Keynes. I used to live somewhere quite different, but had the same IP range and geolocation was...Milton Keynes.

Having said that if anyone can do it (or buy out someone who can) it's Google

New Scientist goes innumerate in 'save the planet' special


Economic 101 people

Good conclusion in the article, however the salient argument for reaching that conclusion wasn't clearly demonstrated - hence why there's a lot of people here producing arguments that miss the point. There's also the classic economists trick of jumping to look at a comparison to a counter factual or a rate of change rather than the cruder absolute amounts.

Hopefully this should make things clearer - I will do an example first - related to both IT and the environment as they seem popular round here, and then the models.


in 1980 I could produce a circuit board for a PC. However manufacturing was inefficient and I wasted 50% of the input materials. All sorts of nasty chemicals were the waste by products of production.

Today, due to technological advances, I can produce the same circuit board, with only 5% input material wastage. This allows me to produce more circuit boards today than 30 years ago. I'm still using resources but for the same output considerably less than before - and perhaps enough to be a sustainable level of input resources.


<pinch of salt>

Flying - it's evil...it fuels terrorism and despotism through money flows to undesirable states and spews filthy carbon like the halitosis of satan across the planet.</pinch of salt>

Until along comes a technological advance. We suddenly have new airplanes running of nuclear or some other non oil resource (Say what you like about nuclear safety, radiation etc you can't argue that it's not resource efficient, even including the extraction process.

Suddenly we could double the number of flights (growth) using no more of the preciously limited natural resource of oil on each journey. (Yes you need oil to make the plastics for the planes)

In this example we use a small amount of resources today to make the planes, but save a shed load in the future. Over the period as a hole we have achieved growth and used less resources.


Solow Growth from 1957 - note it is a model not a formula (It would never be dimensionally consistant!)



K = stock of human & Physical capital

L = unskilled labour

A = constant reflecting technological starting position

eu = rate of exogenous technology growth.

Endogenous theories - same as above but attempt to bring in technology growth as a result of education and capital investment.

CONCLUSION: Economics does not require us to be using more resources in 10 years time, just because we have grown.

Virgin Media calls foul on web speed testers

Thumb Up

+1 Positive experience

In defence of VM (their internet service at least - I've had 4 V+ TV boxes this year grrrr) after reconfiguring my PC as per the VM instructions and replacing my cheap router with a Belkin I would regularly get 19.xMb in multiple different tests at different times of day, More importantly I also got real world performance that matched that (for example downloading unix ISOs, PS3 demos etc - all multiple GB files)

I didn't get that real world speed from every site I visited, and I never got that speed over wireless but I'm happy with the service. I'm only posting to balance out some of the criticism here.

No doubt peoples experiences will vary, but for me in west London once I had done the sensible things of isolating where my problems lay and removing the bottle necks my end, was and am happy.

Amazon claims amazing Christmas


Mixed bag of nuts...

Mixed experiences with Amazon my delivery was fine (which coincidentally included a well packaged Blade Runner collectors tin which didn't arrive bashed) yet had family get only very very last minute delivery of stuff ordered on 3rd December, and as a result of chasing delivery firm who had lied about delivering the items already.

Some conspiracy theorists might suggest Amazon are trying to get people to cough up the £50 for the "free" super-amazing-rapid-delivery now and for all time option.

Lawyerless eBayer sues Autodesk over garage-sale miracle


UK Law...

I'm not a solicitor but I have studied contract law...

1) and as far as I'm aware the contract is formed at the point of sale. The conditions of the contract are then set in stone at this point. Neither party can then add terms afterwards.

As such in theory a shrink wrapped licence should be unenforceable

2) UK Sale of Goods Act enshrines the transfer of title on purchase, regardless of whether the sale is B2C or B2B. The only way to not transfer a title, and thus to actually be able to control the behaviour (ie limit resale) ability of customer the item must be sold as a service and not as a good.

I'm not aware of a specific UK test case for software licences, but I can see parallels with several major contract cases that should come out in favour of the consumer.

Software developer sues to muzzle website users


Devils advocate....

Of course those comments >could be< part of a false and malicious campaign by a competitor to try and destroy a company's reputation. It's unlikely, but just because your paranoid doesn't mean the lizzards aren't out to get you...

*Perhaps there concerns were peaked by the slightly naughty behaviour brought to light earlier this week http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/levitz_digby/ The corporate world apparently likes dressing up in it's mothers clothing and dancing around online pretending to be the amateurs they aren't.

Euro consumers favour plasma over LCD


Flat panel smat panel

What about LCOS displays? DLP? Seriously, as an ex TV seller I don't think you can beet LCOS (such as sony's SXRD) for value for money and picture quality.

Flat Panel (as opposed to flat screen - which we've had for years) is a fashion thing. For years flat panel had crap picture but people still paid a huge premium for them. Today they're still paying a premium, which unless you're going to hang the TV on the wall, then it's an unnecessary one.

CD WOW! vows to take £35m High Court defeat to Europe


Where's the sale?

-So it's illegal to sell the CD's in the UK? OK - it shouldn't be, but it is.

-It is perfectly legal to bring a CD in to the country with you from an outside market

-It is legal to ship CDs and DVD's internationally

Surely the easiest way around this problem is to define where the CD's are actually being sold. Is the PC location count as the point of sale? Does the location of the websites server? What about the payment processing hardware. Or the shipping plant? If the answer is that the sale is not definately being made in the UK then the BPI don't have a leg to stand on.

I really hope CD WOW use this line of defence, rather than simply arguing the toss over a (admittedly crap) law as they have done to date.

Xbox 360 Elite arrives in US - or does it?


And what about

And will this magic spray paint give me an HDMI HDCP compliant output so I can actually use my xbox as a HD-DVD player once producers start using the relevant flags to downscale output when being played through non HDCP enabled outputs - eg HD component?

Microsoft feasts on Vista coupons for record quarter


Having a laugh?

£10 + tax not a lot for shipping 2 dvd's in a paper case >2nd class< isn't a lot? Next you'll be saying the 3 month wait was perfectly reasonable for an "express" upgrade.

Vista upgrades not so 'express' after all


Arrived 3 months later and second class

Finally got my copy of Vista, 16 April having submitted all the details in January.

The bit that really gets on my nerve. Having paid a frankly extortionate amount for shipping, guess what class of mail they used i'll give you a hint, it wasn't 1st.

It's here now though and you know what... I'm actually debating whether to bother installing it. I mean, what's the point...really. I'm thinking that and I've got a free copy sat next to my laptop. Imagine the apathy by people who have to pay real money for these things...

Boffins cook up ultimate bacon sarnie



OK so its supposed to be a bit of fun but....

1) There an implicit assumption that all tastes are homogeneous. I'm sure Levitts 1974 prediction hasn't come true...

2) If you can't make a formula dimensionally consistent, don't make a formula at all...

3) How much did this cost the taxpayer?

4) Gov't funded research is justified by the externalities associated with that knowledge. Are there really positive externalities to this research? I.e. why couldn't it have been funded by a bacon company?

5) Surely this just degrades all scientists who have a degree from Leeds?

6) Can you imaging the Vice Chancellor of Leeds at a conference with other Vice Chancellors.... the bacon buttie jokes will be endless...

7) Finally WTF is a food scientist? You have Chemistry, Biology, Bio-Chemistry, Physics, possibly Zoology, but really "Food Science" that involves eating bacon sandwhiches... What the hell are our universities coming to???

PS3 UK sales rocket... then plummet


Take Sony UK to task.

When is some journalist really going to take someone at Sony UK or Sony europe to task over this pricing? Seriously, any good hardware journo must be itching to get a sony rep in the hotseat and get an explanation as to why we in the UK had to wait longer, and pay more for a product which was cheaper to produce and does less than ones designed for other markets.

Be prepared to point out the difference can't be explained by taxes and duties alone, nor by retailer margins. Perhaps it's because of the pricing strategy for complimentary product. If we buy less games per machine (which sony get a cut of) then fair enough we should perhaps pay more for the console, but we don't!! Perhaps we buy less accessories - do we? Perhaps those we buy are cheaper (doubt it!)

Come on Reg Hacks - get involved!!

Windows Vista marketing 'deceived' consumers


Express my @&£$

On the subject of deceiving consumers, I applied and submitted all the relevant documentation to moduslink (whoever they are) by 5th Jan. It took them 8 weeks to validate my order, and then over 2 weeks to "ship" my order with the caveat that I should receive it in 3 weeks.

3 weeks??? I'm paying over £10 for what is supposed to be postage & packing here and it takes 3 weeks to deliver?

Oh and there's a lovely warning at the end:

If you do not receive your order, please contact us via email by May 1, 2007, for English language versions of the product and June 1, 2007, for non-English language versions of the product so that we may research your request and ship your order.

Are they saying there's a good chance the emails lying and they've not yet shipped my order???