* Posts by Mick Sheppard

114 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Feb 2008


Samsung to launch Galaxy S 4 without Knox security layer

Mick Sheppard
Thumb Down

How much....

... do Samsung pay El Reg for the slant on these articles.

If Apple had done the same they would so much scorn poured them for the delays it wouldn't be funny. Samsung seem to have a free pass.

There is then the comment about the S3 outselling the iPhone and a link to an article from the middle of last year with the S3 outselling the iPhone 4S. That fact that this changed once the iPhone 5 came out doesn't figure even though it was mentioned in the article that it would probably change.

Same old, same old from El Reg. Very shoddy.

Apple beats revenue estimates but margins are falling

Mick Sheppard

Which is why you are a hack

>In the opinion of this hack it might be better investing this in new products and technologies rather than buying off investors and Wall Street

Apple march to the beat of their own drum. They say that they've new stuff in the pipeline which will start to be released in the Autumn. They don't want to have repeats of the maps debacle or the supply constrictions of the new iMac. They will release when they are good and ready.

Of course that doesn't sit well with journalists that depend on tech company announcements to generate copy. El Reg in particular has a problem with the fruity clan because they got excluded from the party.

Alien because at times journos are from another planet.

Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Mick Sheppard

Re: Betteridge's Law says 'No'

I invoke Godwin's Law and you forfeit your internetz.

Reading the article at all you can see that the Europe in the headline is the EU.

Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Mick Sheppard

Re: Are we Super Humans?

We need a King Canute moment. Someone to stand there and say "look, the damage is done, the climate is changing, we can't control it". Then we can stop arguing about whether what we are doing is making it worse.

Its arrogant beyond belief that we can stop climate change. There are so many factors that impact it only a fool or a zealot would make that claim. It doesn't matter whether climate change is wholly, partly, or not at all, caused by our actions. What matters is that we look to cope with the effects.

iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close

Mick Sheppard

Any real reporting here?

Is there any real reporting here or is it all just wild speculation and invective? Oh, I'm on The Register and its an Apple piece so the huge chip on the shoulder comes into play and all attempt at balanced reporting goes out of the window.

There is a valid point though. We shouldn't be using consumption devices, basically any tablet, to teach IT to kids. Instead we should be using something that provides a similar experience to the Apple II, BBC Micro, et al and lets the kids learn how to program. Though I guess a nicely written website could provide that experience these days and access from a tablet would work.

CERN re-opens 'Animal Shelter for Computer Mice'

Mick Sheppard

Re: cute

Its so easy when you work in an office that uses computers purely for administration and standard software isn't it. Out in research land they develop and tweak software to enable them to perform the research and analyse the results, or do you think that you can do everything with off the shelf software, or perhaps Excel macros and a pivot table?

Apple buys indoor mapper WiFiSLAM

Mick Sheppard
Black Helicopters

Re: Where's the hardware live?

Its data based. It will work off the signal strengths of the WiFi hotspots around you and perform some sort of triangulation to get a fix on you. No additional hardware necessary.

Its not too much of a leap if you look at it. Assisted GPS, which takes account of cell and WiFi data, is already used to improve the quality of GPS results. The data collection will be augmented by active phones reporting WiFi signal strength home, providing you've told your phone to send anonymised data back to Apple. It looks as though Apple have looked at the approach, and possibly patents, produced by WiFiSLAM and decided it was worth a punt.

Is UK web speech regulated? No.10: Er. We’ll get back to you

Mick Sheppard

Re: RIPA abuse all over again....

It depends on who's doing what to whom and who is paying for the occasion. If someone in a position of power and influence is indulging in such practices in such a way that it lays them open to having their decision making compromised then its in the public interest.

If its someone in the entertainment business then, unless they are doing something illegal, then it doesn't matter. The actual act isn't important it all depends on context.

Apple tears itself away from iThings to squash Mac OS X bugs

Mick Sheppard


Companies are able to do more than one thing at once. It might be a shock but it does happen.

Samsung seem to be able to release new smart TVs, laptops, and phones without getting sarky comments about them tearing their attention away from one or the other. Is El Reg still smarting because Apple don't consider them a worth news outlet?

UK Serious Fraud Office queues up to probe HP's Autonomy allegations

Mick Sheppard

Doesn't add up

I understood that Autonomy was being shopped around at around the $6 bn mark but Oracle refused to bite then in came HP with an offer of $10.7 bn. HP are now claiming a write down of $8.8 bn based on fraud. Given that HP could have got the company for $6 bn shouldn't the fraud figure be at most $4.1 bn?

HP made a huge mistake in their valuation of Autonomy, way over and above what it was worth. The amount paid surprised many at the time. The Streisand effect around this is just making HP look more of a laughing stock than they were already.

Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of 'mind-crippling' COBOL

Mick Sheppard

Takes me back

I had a COBOL course for one term on my CS degree. I also had a one term course in assembler. The majority of the rest of the coding was done in Pascal, not because it was a widely used language but because it allowed you to reasonably easily code the approach to analysing problems that was being taught.

COBOL and assembler were taught because they were used in industry and you had to use slightly different approaches to implementation than the standard procedural languages.

FORTRAN was taught in a couple of weeks with the lecturer explaining that we really should be able to pick it up quickly based on the other things we were taught and should bring ice cream to the second and subsequent lectures.

I've picked up BCPL, C, Modula-2, Ada, C++, Perl, Python, VB, bourne shell, the only difficulty coming when moving to objects. None of which would have prepared me for COBOL or assembler. Based on that I'd still make both available at undergraduate level as they are important in providing a good grounding of different approaches rather than following the flavour of the month languages.

BAN SMUT, rage MEPs: Purpose of internet must be EXTERMINATED

Mick Sheppard

Not all bad

If the porn was removed imagine the speed gains for the little traffic that's left...

'Mainframe blowout' knackered millions of RBS, NatWest accounts

Mick Sheppard

Redundant != no outages

I worked at a place that ran their databases from a tier 2 storage array. This had redundant everything, dual controllers, power supplies, paths to disk, paths to the SAN etc.

We had disk failures that the system notified us and we hot replaced with the array re-laying out the data dynamically. We had a controller failure that we were notified about and the engineer came to replace, again without an outage.

We then had two separate incidents that caused complete outages. The first was a disk that failed in a way that for some reason took out both controllers. It shouldn't happen but did. The second was down to a firmware issue in the controllers that under a particular combination of actions on the array caused a controller failure. With both controllers running the same firmware the failure cascaded from one to the other and took out the array.

So, whilst its trendy to be cynical, these complex redundant systems aren't infallible and when they do fail it can take a while to work out what has happened and what needs to be done to get things operational again.

Don't believe the IT hype: Ye cannae change the laws of physics

Mick Sheppard

Its all about support and disaster recovery

The performance difference between different database engines is so slight that a poorly designed schema can destroy the benefit of your expensive Oracle or DB2 installation. Where they shine however is when things go wrong. From the simple recovery of lost database files due to file corruption, or user error, to reliable replication to DR sites, to real technical support.

Its fine to invest the time and effort in FOSS database solutions but ultimately the business needs to accept the risk of not having anyone to batphone when its all gone wrong and business continuity is threatened. Its this that keeps Oracle, IBM, and MS up there are DB vendors.

Canonical announces Mir display server to replace X Windows

Mick Sheppard

Re: Huh...

Hmmmm .... I used to work for a company selling software based on X-windows. We had lots of clients using X windows servers such as Hummingbird Exceed and XVision running on top of Windows 3.1 to access the software. This was in the early '90s so the majority were running on 486s.

We also had people running Unix variants, such as Interactive Unix, directly on PC hardware. They seemed to be able to run fine and do real work.

Where things got hairy was working with different window managers which is what you allude to in your post. The issue there was that Motif etc sucked up all available resources to make things look pretty. If you stuck to twm, or in the Win 3.1 X Windows implementations used the the built in window manager, then those problems went away.

Keyboard, you're not my type

Mick Sheppard

Re: Best keyboard?

The best keyboard I've used was an Apple Adjustable Keyboard that I bought to replace the POS that was the Apple Design Keyboard that was apparently giving me RSI by the character typed.

This was in a time before the return of Steve, when Apple made beige boxes and not even the salesmen knew the different between the different models, however the keyboard was fantastic. Not least because it forced me to learn to touch type.

Now even MORE 'interns' make iPhones - Chinese labour watchdog

Mick Sheppard

Re: Whatever.

What kind of idiot buys burgers containing horsemeat?

What kind of idiot buys clothes made in far eastern sweatshops?

What kind of idiot buys footballs made by child labour?

The answer to this is pretty much everyone in the west. Our standard of living comes about because we are standing on the shoulders of those providing the goods that make it possible. It's what makes this sort of story, and your comment on it, laughable. Apple are, apparently, at least trying to do the right thing to improve conditions. It's everyone else that you don't hear about. Do you really think that they are better?

Dell takes aim at iPad, uncloaks enterprise-level Win8 tablet

Mick Sheppard

Shush ... don't let facts get in the way of a story on El Reg. Especially one that pokes fun at the usability of Apple equipment. El Reg thinks that calling things fondleslabs and jesus phones is still funny. Its sort of an adolescent type joke that pretty much sums up the level of journalism at play here.

Apple updates iOS, does not fix passcode-bypass hack

Mick Sheppard

Erm ... read the update description

I don't understand the slant of this article at all. The update says that it fixes the Exchange issue, it has no mention of the passcode-bypass hack. Why would anyone expect it to fix it?

Perhaps El Reg would rather Apple wait to include all fixes in a single update. Oh, that would mean that they were holding back fixes that were having a real impact on users. Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't. Personally I'd rather they release updates as and when a fix is available.

EE's revenues dip, but smartphones lure in 200k new contracts

Mick Sheppard

Missed opportunity

In the early part of this century Telewest implemented a digital network capable of delivering high speed broadband across its network. At the time the best BT could offer was ISDN. Telewest wanted to maximise the revenue they earned from this new technology and priced it high. Uptake was slow and they missed the opportunity when BT started to make ADSL available. This undercut the Telewest service and they subsequently went out of business.

EE had a similar choice: charge a premium and get the early adopters to pay, or offer prices that no one could refuse and clean up. They adopted the former and have missed the boat. I know a number of people that could have 4G capable phones that looked at EE but were put off by the costs and went with a different company instead.

The approach taken is a surprise because its not one that the old Orange would have adopted. The original Nokia Orange was offered at a price an tariff that undercut the incumbent mobile providers and allowed them to establish themselves. Likewise 3 have been using favourable pricing to establish themselves in the market. It looks as though EE have lost their mojo and become just another mobile company.

Here we go again: New NHS patient database plan sets off alarm bells

Mick Sheppard

Re: It can be done and works

Sadly just because it is possible to do using off the shelf software doesn't mean that it will happen here. Instead it will go out to tender and be awarded to the large consultancy firms who will develop custom software to allow them to maximise their fees and future income stream from trivial changes.

Judge to Apple: You WILL tell Samsung what you got from HTC

Mick Sheppard

Re: Apple are doomed

Apple are doomed!

Really, we've been reading about that since the 1990s, or was it the 1980s?

If you can't make rational, reasoned, comments please don't add to the noise.

There are a number of possible outcomes to this. It's quite possible that the patents involved in the HTC case are not the same ones as the Samsung ones. If this is the case then the deal with HTC is not at all relevant to the case.

If they are the trade dress patents then those are up to Apple to decide whether the license them at all. Apple hold the patent, they aren't FRAND patents whereby there is an obligation to license at a fair and reasonable price, so can decide whether to license or not and at what rate.

HTC have made a number of patents available to Apple as part of the deal. It could be that each of these cross-licensing deals is subject to a large cost but that the costs, pretty much, cancel each other out. In which case its quite possible that as far as Samsung is concerned, without a similar non-FRAND patent portfolio to negotiate with, they will be worse off for seeing the agreement.

Rather than view the fanboi/samboi speculation and invective I'd rather like to see how this plays out.

Jury will hear Samsung wrongly trashed emails in patent trial

Mick Sheppard

Re: So if Apple paid nothing

Apple are required to licence the patent from Samsung, however Samsung are required to make the FRAND patent available at appropriate terms. Negotiation shouldn't be necessary, and they fact that Samsung are playing this card seems to indicate that they are trying to use a FRAND patent to get as much money as possible from a competitor. This isn't the intention of FRAND.

What is telling is that Samsung hasn't brought forward any other examples of phone manufacturers paying 2.4% of device retail price.

Bear in mind that Apple does hold a number of patents that are are used in h.264 and other standards so are familiar in how this cross-licencing of standards patents works.

Workers worry about pay cuts from Apple, Foxconn pact

Mick Sheppard

More time to spend

I agree with the workers. In the last decade I spent most of my time working away from home in the week, I was paid hourly and was more than happy to work overtime. The alternative was having to find ways to fill time in a hotel or a strange town. This invariably lead to spending more money.

Its a way of working that doesn't fit the traditional model that people are trying to judge it by. People work for a short, few years, at a max away from home with the aim of maximising their earnings and return on the time spent. As long as the people have made the decision to work in this way without coercsion and in full acceptance of the facts what is the problem?

Comet 'sold 94,000 pirate Windows CDs', claims Microsoft

Mick Sheppard

You sir are a Troll

... and I claim my finders fee.

How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

Mick Sheppard

Point .. missed

Apple don't care about world domination. They care about protecting their investment and selling their kit to people that can afford them.

Google don't care about what devices Android is available on, or how poor the experience is, as long as they are able to extend their advertising reach through them.

The Android handset manfacturers don't care about Android other than its given then a low cost way to add smart phone features to cheap phones.

Android phones were always going to outsell iOS phones.

York CompSci student pleads guilty to Facebook hack

Mick Sheppard

So all hacking attempts are the same in the same way that all other offences are the same?

Whilst I feel a little sorry for McKinnon, hacking into military computers is always going to get you into hot water. Its not so much what he was looking for as to what access to the systems he hacked would give you the ability to see.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

Mick Sheppard


I've run Powerbooks, Powerbook Pros, Macbook Pros for the past 12 years. They are only expensive if you only look a raw specs. If you look at the whole package they aren't.

I recently challenged our IT department to find me a laptop with the same specification for less money. I wanted the same battery life, the same screen resolution and quality, the same graphics chipset. They couldn't. The killer was battery life and screen quality.

Its all about horses for courses. I run a Macbook Pro because I can and I like what they offer. I could buy a cheaper PC laptop but I would be compromising in some form or other. Of course the rabid anti-Apple zealots will just call me a fanboi or worse. Shame that.

Henge Docks Docking Station

Mick Sheppard

Erm .. why?

Why would a dock that stops you using the MBP screen be of any use to anyone? The advantage of plugging in an external screen is to get more screen real estate, this immediately gets rid of some of that advantage.

Only to be bought by people with truly more money than sense.

Apple was OK to fire man for private Facebook comments

Mick Sheppard

Take off the Apple blinkers people

For goodness sake wake up people. I know that the yoof of today don't think anything of sharing their intimate thoughts with thousands of Facebook friends but I had hoped that the denzies of El Reg were above that.

There is no mention as to how big his friends list was in the original article. I know people that have hundreds of people on theirs, most of which they have a tenuous real life contact with at best. How many/few people would have to be on the friends list for it to be considered public?

Search on Google for people being sacked for emails to a select number of friends/colleages. You'll find a whole bunch of them. It doesn't matter that the intention wasn't to publish to the whole world, the fact is that once published the comments are beyond his control, and are instead in the control of others. That places them in the public domain.

It's not difficult people. Try and get away from the 'its Apple so they must be in the wrong' and look at it from all angles.

Mick Sheppard

Pot meet Kettle

Emailing comments to friends could get you sacked too. It doesn't matter if your intention is only publish to a small number of friends you don't have control over them so the comments are in the public domain. In this sense the tribunal is following legal precedent.

It might not have been the intention, but a lot of people these days don't understand the reach of electronic media or the concept that once something is out there they have no ability to get it back.

Interestingly you finish with a mindless rant about people supporting Apple being mindless. Shouldn't all people and comments be judged on their merits? This isn't something that you appear to adhere to yourself inspite of condemming others for not doing so.

Samsung demands iPhone 4S source code in Aussie row

Mick Sheppard

As far as I can see Apple hasn't sued RIM regarding their smart phones, they haven't sued MS regarding Windows Phone 7. They have applied for injunctions against Samsung because they believe that Samsung has copied their devices to such a degree as to cause confusion to the average person in the street. Why is this bullying?

If there was no case to answer then Samsung should just fight that battle in court and everyone would see the folly of Apple's case. The judiciary would smack Apple and levy a large fine for the misleading litigation and their repuation would be sullied.

Instead Samsung are trying every angle they can to throw FUD on the issue by trying to leverage FRAND patents. They really must be very unsure about their ability to defend the Apple charges.

I know its impossible for some people to comprehend here due to prejudice that used to be reserved for '70s sitcoms but consider that Apple might just be in the right.

Farewell then, Sony Ericsson

Mick Sheppard


I had T68i, including the camera add on I picked up cheap on eBay, followed by a P800 which outlasted the contract, finally succumbing when it hit a car park floor. In the end I went back to Nokia following its demise until the iPhone 3G came out. No intention of moving to anything else now.

Stallman: Did I say Jobs was evil? I meant really evil

Mick Sheppard

They are facts. The question is whether they are important?

Twenty years ago I'd have argued yes. Ten years ago I would probably have argued yes. Now I'm not so sure. The majority of users now are consumers of web content. To them the important thing is does it work reliably? Can I access the content I want? Is it easy to use?

I understand Stallman. I even understand the people on here that support his view. I put it to you that you aren't the target audience of these devices. That you are so wrapped up in technology that you are unable to see what ordinary people want.

Looking at a more traditional industry look at cars. Thirty years ago everything was mechanical. The flow of fuel into the engine was controlled by a carb, or maybe twin carbs. The mechanics were reasonably simple. Maintenance was something that the average person could do if they wanted to. These days everything is computer controlled. Ignition systems and fuel injection aren't something that the average person can service. Does this matter? Only the true pistonheads think so. The rest of us just want to use it to get from A to B. Like it or not computing is going the same way.

Apple plans big solar farm to clean dirty datacenter

Mick Sheppard

This is the problem with single interest groups ala Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. They have a political agenda established on feelings rather than facts. The facts are that Nuclear is a much greener producer of power than any of the green alternatives. It does have a downside. We are familiar with that downside to such an extent that its managed.

No one knows the impact of large scale solar panels installations. We can speculate, and whilst running they don't generate any nasty waste products that we are aware of yet. However the environmental cost to build, transport, and install, isn't zero. There is also the question of disposal once they have outlived their useful life. The environmental cost of covering land formerly covered in vegetation with solar panels is also not zero. That doesn't matter though. Greenpeace have deemed solar as green and the public listen to them.

Pay Jobs due respect - by crushing the empire he created

Mick Sheppard

So true

The fall from grace of Digital Equipment (DEC to you newcomers) was because the VAX was so successful. The higher management at DEC wouldn't entertain work on a VAX replacement until too late, partly because it might have cannibalized VAX sales.

At the time Unix was for workstations, VMS was the driving force in the SMB datacentres, we all know how that ended.

You can improve on, what you believe is, perfection. It just takes the right attitude.

iPhone 4S pre-orders obliterate sales records

Mick Sheppard

Its so easy to mock. Far too many technologists have no idea how to make technology that is usable ordinary people. Its possible to have too much choice.

Mick Sheppard

Don't worry. The fanbois will be along in a moment to say that Samsung will announce a new phone shortly, at the delayed presentation, that will be twice as quick as the 4S and at half the price.

Who are these people anyway doing benchmarks? You can't introduce facts to the anti-Apple zealots. There is only one true way !Apple.

Mick Sheppard

10. Great, truly great, media sharing capabilities, useable by The Average Joe(TM)

- - - Most have this, and they are easy to use. Sadly, most don't come with a fluffy kitten or a couscous icon. And I have YET to see an Average Joe with an iPhone. Most people I see with iPhones are the pretentious, privileged type

Now who's being pretentious?

On technical sites the pretentious ones are those that won't buy anything from Apple styling those that do as being mere fanbois who have no ability to make rational decisions and are instead under the sway of the legendary RDF.

There is no doubt that you can buy cheaper Android phones with a similar feature set. If that's what you want to do go for it. You've made a rational decision based on your criteria. However accept that other people have different criteria and may make a different decision.

'iPhone 4 to be free' when new iPhones ship

Mick Sheppard


Apples != Oranges, or HTC for that matter

'Delayed' Facebook iPad app claims lead coder casualty

Mick Sheppard

Beta forever

I guess the change will be that at Google the software will be released just be in perpetual beta

Byte-dock MacBook Pro port replicator

Mick Sheppard

Monitor spanning

No ability to use the internal screen and and external one means its a non-starter for me. What's the point of docking it and losing screen real-estate?

Display defect may crimp iPhone 5 shipments

Mick Sheppard
Thumb Up

Delayed bubble ftw

The delayed bubble is one feature that has yet to be nerfed. I bet it won't be long before all those cloaky warpies petition for this to change though. Afterall it means they might get caught.

.Scot campaign seeks UK Gov backing

Mick Sheppard

The Caledonian Question

Of course the deficit generating budget approved by the numpties in the House of Westminster was proposed and passed by a government in power by virtue of its Scottish MPs. To cap it all the chief architect of this was a Scot that preached fiscal responsibility in public whilst stitching the rest of the UK up in the process.

You can keep your money, and your MPs. We can look after ourselves thank you.

Google shamed by Apple in race to HTML5

Mick Sheppard

Native Apps?

Erm ... Apple's original iPhone had no support for native apps. The intention was for users to access apps via the browser rather than carry them around on their device. When this was announced there was much rage and gnashing of teeth. Apple relented and allowed native apps, building an app store to deliver them.

Does this mean that things are going full circle and that Apple was right all along?

Samsung says Apple lifted iPad from Kubrick's 2001

Mick Sheppard

Uh Fiction?

Is this some strange commentary on the whole patent/copyright system that they are using a work of fiction to attempt to prove prior art?

The bottom line is that an Android phone or tablet doesn't have to look like an iPhone/iPad but Samsung have made theirs as close as they can without actually sticking an Apple logo on it. This is no Apple v Microsoft where Apple was trying to go for general look-and-feel but a real copycat attempt at passing off.

David May, parallel processing pioneer

Mick Sheppard

Takes me back...

This takes me back to my final year at University. My final year project involved writing a compiler for Occam. Being short of actual Transputers I wrote a virtual machine consisting of a number of Transputer cores with associated channels.

'Missing heat': Is global warmth vanishing into space?

Mick Sheppard

One mans quackery is another mans certainty

Its interesting that the weight of scientific knowledge behind current thinking is used as an argument to support it. This is a self-sustaining model, if enough people believe it's true then it must be so.

In the sixties we had infinite oil, there was no global warming, well maybe a few cranks with their quackery disagreed. Scientific opinion tends to collect around the edges of current thinking. Its just how things work, it takes a deal of confidence to question that and then evidence to backup the questions. If the new thinking can be proven then scientific thinking changes to the new model, with the exception of a few on the outside that try and prove it wrong.

We shouldn't be dismissive of people just because they have a different view. Instead we should say, "Ok, prove it."

Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

Mick Sheppard

RE: Why is Android outselling iOS?


"There's been a lot of debate on the thread about why Android's doing so well, but no-one seems willing to point out what might just be the reason, so let me be the one:

Android is, quite simply, better than iOS."

Do you really believe that enough people think this for it to make a difference? I have another reason. One that's a bit more compelling. Android phones are cheaper. Not all of them, but you can buy a SIM free Android phone to use on a pay as you go type deal for less than half the price of an iPhone on anything but an extortionate contract.

iOS 4.2: An 'ace' for iPad, a 'meh' for iPhone

Mick Sheppard

Are you new here?

The Register rarely gives Apple credit for anything. All of their Apple coverage is laden with spite and vitriol. Its little wonder that they don't get invited to the parties anymore.