* Posts by Tim Williams

32 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Mar 2008

BBC Trust moots new licence laws to cope with net

Tim Williams

Foreign Sales

If they required you to login to iPlayer with a unique code on the TV licence (as already suggested above), this would also open up the possibility of selling TV licences to non-UK residents. As I understand it iPlayer is currently limited to UK only IP addresses

There are a lot of expats (and people from other english speaking countries) out there who would probably (and happily) pay the full licence fee just to get at the iPlayer.

VMare floats April date for cloud launch

Tim Williams

VMare ?

Not sure i'm familiar with this company.

eBay put Skype on iPhone 'to boost price of NSA backdoor'

Tim Williams


April 1st seems to have arrived again.

MS security chief becomes DHS cybersecurity boss

Tim Williams

Re: Wait a minute..

"How expensive is it to live in England, and do you know where I can find a good IT job?"

The UK government keeps loosing vital sensitive data by sending unencrypted CD/DVD's though unregistered post. Microsoft security would be an improvement...... Perhaps you should try Ireland ?

Snowstorm swallows GPS skiing gizmo's creator

Tim Williams

Lacking features

I have a similar competing product, unfortunately all of these sports trackers (or at least the ones I have seen) lack a vital feature normally associated with GPS devices. They don't give you you're current position.....

Cuba crafts extra-communist Linux distro

Tim Williams

Stallman went to Cuba ?

I'm intrigued by this, I thought that US citizens weren't supposed to go there. I realise that many Americans DO go to Cuba, but i'm reliably informed that it isn't a good idea to publicise the fact that you have done so when you return. Yes officer, I had a great time in MEXICO.......

Jacqui Smith cracks down on gangs via computers, closets

Tim Williams

Wardrobe servers

I keep a functioning web/email server in my wardrobe. Will Jacqui Smith now be coming after me ?

Windows 7 UAC vuln not a vuln, MS repeats

Tim Williams
Gates Horns

This is why I prefer linux

Windows security relies far too much on nagging the user. I usually turn these boxes off, i'm willing to take the risk of work time lost due to an infection to get the productivity improvement of not having to constantly approve everything.

I'm a sceptic now, says ex-NASA climate boss

Tim Williams

This is the wrong argument

Does it matter if you believe man made CO2 emissions are responsible for global warming or if it's a natural cycle ? Does it even matter if you believe it's happening at all, whatever the cause ?

Wake up people, fossil fuels are a finite resource sooner or later they are going to run out. Surely it makes sense to :

a) Use what we have as efficiently as possible

b) Work as hard as possible on sustainable alternatives now, rather than waiting for the oil to run out and then panicking because we have nothing else.

The side benefit of this that CO2 emissions will go down, so if that is causing global warming, then great, we've saved the planet. If it isn't, we haven't lost anything because we had to switch over sooner or later anyway.

Study spanks Adobe Flash for abuses of power

Tim Williams
Gates Horns

Processor fans

I have a computer with a very sensitive variable speed processor fan. Most of the time it runs slow and quite, however, it's not uncommon when i'm web browsing for a flash movie to cause it to make a noise which reminds me of an aircraft taking of. Occasionally the movies that do this are on The Register....

Did the width move for you, darling?

Tim Williams

Censorship & Choice

I note that you censored my last demolition job on fixed width page designs. Perhaps I hit a raw nerve with that one.

Firstly I am a web designer myself and in my experience fixed width page designs are rarely needed and are often simply the last resort of an incompetent designer who can't cope with idea of a flexible page width. There may be a few specific cases where a fixed design might be justifiable, eg a page with a very small amount of content which would be unlikely to fill even a very small screen, but I can't think of any reason to use a fixed width for a general site design.

Furthermore, you state that you used a fixed width in order to give yourselves more control over the page, however, by definition, by giving yourselves more control you have to take it away from somebody else, ie us the poor users who now have to adapt our browsing preferences to fit in with what you think is good, when a flexible width design would have enabled everybody to make there own choices.

To all of those who think the fixed width is good because it fits in with you style of working, that's great, but for the rest of us we have lost the ability to choose. I ask you, is it so difficult to just resize your browser window if the page isn't a comfortable size for you ? I think I might start a campaign to have The Register fix it's width at 1580px, which fits nicely with what I want, but probably doesn't suit anybody else.

In the meantime, my greasemonkey extension for Firefox (available on the userscripts website) is fixing the problem, although it has forced a change in browsing habits, since I prefer Konqueror to Firefox, I now have to start up a separate browser to use the reg, so my visits are likely to become less frequent since this requires extra effort. I may even drift off entirely, as a long term reader (8+ years) that would be a pity.

OMFG, what have you done?

Tim Williams

Greasmonkey script again

It's now done, it dosn't get it quite right but is good enough for me. I've made it available on the userscripts website for anybody else who wants to try it.

I'm also using the user agent switcher with the following user agent when accessing the reg :

Mozilla Firefox with Register fixed width killer

I suggest we all do the same, hopefully if enough people do this they might notice that we still like the reg but don't like the new design.

Tim Williams


I'm working on a Firefox/Greasemonkey script to fix the page width issue. Come guys, make this a pointless activity.

Tim Williams

Easy to fix

Just tried a small experiment, I downloaded the reg home page and with a few quick edits to the style sheet I now have the page rendering to the width of the browser fairly well, with the other headlines flowing to fit the available space. For good measure I moved the teaser headline box so that it was directly under the main headline. It looks so much better for just a few minutes work. Come on el-reg, you know you can do it !

Tim Williams

Fixed page width - a further thought

This is particularly aimed at those who think that fixed page width is a good idea :

This is essentially about user choice, using a fixed page width forces everybody who uses a website to have the same page width, whether or not that width is appropriate to that user.

Using a flexible page width enables the user make a choice, they can set the browser window at a width that works best for them and the website will adapt to it.

El Reg : I want the ability to choose my page width back ! Stop taking away user choice.

I also feel for people using this website who have eyesight problems, fixed width designs and enlarged fonts really don't mix. This design suffers from text flowing outside of boxes and overprinting after 2 or 3 CTRL-+'s in firefox.

Tim Williams

Uggh - Please change this assault on my eyes

My initial reaction on viewing this new design for the first time today was that I felt like my eyes were being assaulted, there was just to much stuff trying to grab my attention crammed into too small a space. I think this has already been said, but the effect reminds me of a tabloid newspaper (which this isn't) not a tech news website (which it is).

It doesn't help that this new design no longer fills my 1600x1200 screen, i'm having to do a lot more scrolling to read articles now, which isn't good for my RSI. Furthermore a fixed width design like this is likely to cause horizontal scrolling problems on small screens. I feel a 'fix The Register' firefox extension coming on if one dosn't exist already.

The boxes down the right hand side of the page, which on the old design had a nice balance to them now feel overpowering and distract the eye from the main content of the articles, which makes it more difficult to concentrate on reading the stuff I came to your website for. The grey box in the middle of the articles listing increases this sense of 'assault' on the eyes when viewing the main page. Dividing a block of text with something that isn't relevant to that text is a design disaster.

The end result of this new design is that my initial view of the front page now contains 70% less 'stuff that interests me', which isn't good for you guys if other people feel the same, website traffic and hence advertising revenue is going to go down. I read the Reg because it isn't like a traditional newspaper, if that's the road you want to go down, then you're likely to loose me as a reader.

A final thought : Was there any user feedback involved in this ? You seem to have decided with this new design to try and fix problems which to my mind don't exist. Please guys and gals, don't mess with success.

Media standard backers attempt Apple-less solo run

Tim Williams

Buy once play anywhere ? Don't make me laugh....

Quote : "DECE is taking the lessons learned from the successful 'buy once, play anywhere' experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray today, and using a similar approach in developing the next generation digital media experience."

Correct me if i'm wrong, but don't most commercial DVD's and Blu-ray discs have region coding ? Which means you can't play them anywhere and it's not as though they haven't tried to bork CD's to stop them being playable on computers and other non-approved devices.

US noses past Western Europe in 3G stakes

Tim Williams

What US 3G ?

I've never managed to get a 3G signal in the US during my travels there, even in major cities and urban areas. Where are these mythical 3G networks that everybody in the US is subscribing to ? I suppose they must all be incompatible with standard european phones.

Google releases open source browser

Tim Williams

Rotten name

That's a rotten name for a browser. What marketing genius came up with Chrome ? I think they should have called it Web Rover, then a whole world of cute dog icons would have been made available to the designers.

Wireless browsers shut out of the Olympics

Tim Williams

An opportunity

Why dosn't the BBC print an access code on the TV licence which you can use to access services such as the iPlayer ? I personally object to the the fact that people who don't have TV's but do live in the UK are (potentially) getting all of the BBC content without having to pay for it. Using an access code on the licence would also give the BBC the opportunity to sell TV licences to people outside the UK who want to watch the BBC.

Microsoft claims heart beats in open source

Tim Williams

Moodle is a VLE not a CMS

Moodle is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), not a Content Management System, although it can perform many of the functions of a CMS as well.

Interestingly, when you query the OU's Moodle server (labspace.open.ac.uk), you get the following result :

Linux Apache/2.0.52 Red Hat

So it would seem that MS didn't manage to persuade them to run Moodle on windows, even if they haven't lost other OU business yet.

Are the ice caps melting?

Tim Williams

The oil is running out

The oil is running out, that should be pretty obvious to most people by now. I no longer believe the "global catastropy if we don't change" theory, not because I believe the science is wrong in principle, but because I no longer believe that there is enough of the stuff left that's causing the problem (primarily oil) for us to reach the worst case scenario.

Concerted international action might bring the current oil price spike down, but that will at best give us a temporary breathing space.

Whatever you believe, the oil is running out so we need to be more efficient with what we have left and where possible switch to something better.

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

Tim Williams

Who are the supporters ?

I'm somewhat mystified who all these people in "the public" who support 42 days are, I haven't met any of them yet. It must have been a loaded survey. People will say anything if you ask the right series of questions.

AVG scanner blasts internet with fake traffic

Tim Williams

No need for an AVG boycott

"It's easy to disable this feature - just click on Link Scanner and uncheck AVG Search-Shield."

I tried that and it caused the AVG icon on the task bar to constantly show an error state warning me that vital components had been disabled and that my system was no longer protected. Unfortunately this warning masked more important warnings, eg virus database out of date, since you get used to the icon always showing an error. In the end I had to de-install and the re-install AVG without the link scanner.

Microprocessors are the new cigarettes

Tim Williams
Thumb Down

Short termism

Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't a short-termist dash for profits what gave us the sub-prime crisis ? Yes you can cut R&D now and make a quick profit from the cost reduction, but in a few years time your business will tank because somebody else will come up with something better and take your market away. AMD and Intel are a great model of exactly how you should run a manufacturing business, strong investment in better processes and better designs.

The comparison with long established 'mature' industries is spurious as well, you only have to look at the automotive sector. GM and Ford have failed to invest in improved manufacturing techniques and designs, while the Japanese companies have invested. GM and Ford are now loosing billions...

Brazil bitchslaps ratification of OOXML

Tim Williams

Re : BSI Objection

BSI are being taken to the High court by UKUUG. Looks like the result of this action may be too late for an appeal to be lodged, but it won't look good if BSI loose.

Microsoft to ODF, PDF - let's get it on together

Tim Williams
IT Angle

OOXML is a migration format

A reason has occurred to me why M$ are doing this. ISO have taken a lot of flak over the approval process, not least because they are not supposed to approve competing standards.

My undersanding was that OOXML was accepted into the standards process because M$ convinced ISO that a standardised migration format for legacy documents was required and that ODF wasn't suitable for this. This effectively implies that OOXML isn't intended for new documents, which should therefore be using ODF. In order to prove that they really meant this to ISO, M$ might have had to agree to implement ODF in Office so that it could be used for new documents.

Qualcomm splurges on UK spectrum

Tim Williams

Anti competitive

Surely Qualcomm buying all the spectrum is anti-competitive. Some body needs to talk to the monopolies commission about this and have the auction re-run with rules to ensure the spectrum is shared between at least 2 providers.

If you want spectrum to be technology neutral you should ensure a level playing field so that one company can't buy the entire spectrum and force it's technology on us to the exclusion of others.

Yahoo! faces battle for the board

Tim Williams

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Give me an example of a tech merger of this size that actually worked.... Oh dear there isn't one. Welcome to cloud cuckoo land.

This has to be for short term gain, there's no other answer. It's this kind of thinking that gave us the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. I really hope he doesn't succeed.

Japan turning itself into Cyberman machine civilisation

Tim Williams

Where is Captain Cyborg ?

Surely Prof Kevin Warwick should have had something to say about this ?

ICO queries Heathrow T5's huge fingerprint scam scan

Tim Williams
Thumb Up

This could save the planet

Perhaps if we force fingerprinting onto every airport with a single departure lounge (or even domestic flights in general), people will be so put off the idea of using domestic flights that they'll take the train instead and stop using energy wasting short hop flights.

Home Secretary in ID card gaffe

Tim Williams

How is the data distributed ?

If the database is not on the web then presumably the only way interested parties can get at the data is by physically travelling to the databases location (Horray, lots of bad for the environment carbon emissions) or by putting a CD in the post, which means we will soon have partial copies of the data floating about in every single government office in the country, being accessed on insecure internet connected computers.

Or is the government proposing to build out an entirely separate physical network just for the ID database ? How long before someone accidentally connects a computer to both ?