* Posts by Jonathan Hogg

41 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Mar 2008

Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

Jonathan Hogg

Yes. It's called a Charging Downstream Port and has been in the USB spec for a couple of years now. Newer devices like the iPhone 5 onwards support it and negotiate a higher current draw while in data mode. I don't know what support is like for other manufacturers. I also don't know how many actual USB ports support this version of the standard.

Chargers are simpler: the USB spec allows for high current (up to about 1.5A I think, but I'd have to check the spec) whenever the D+ and D- pins are detected to be a short. Pretty much all USB chargers for a number of years have done this; although Samsung have now taken to using voltage dividers again for their super-high-power chargers (~2.5A I believe), which is the trick that Apple has used for years to support high current.

Micro-USB is still a pile of shit, though. The connectors - particularly inside the devices - are very flimsy and not sufficiently directional to avoid people attempting to jam them in upside down and damaging the cable and/or device. Working in the business of mobile phone charging I can assure you that - trying not to sound like a fanboi - the Lightning design really is orders of magnitude more robust, so it's good news to see the USB forum rethinking the design of the USB connector, though bad news for everyone that's going to have to get new cables.

What I don't understand is why the rules would specify a micro-USB port on the device, when the simple and smart thing would be to require a standard USB type-A port on the charger. Then you can plug whatever the right cable is into it.

IQ test: 'Artificial intelligence system as smart as a four year-old'

Jonathan Hogg

"Such systems are have great difficulty generating what humans call common sense"

Is it smart enough to become a Reg proof reader is the question?

No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise

Jonathan Hogg

What. Ever.

Apple have successful device, X, that lacks feature Y because the chipset necessary to support it is not included in that device.

Apple make smaller, cheaper version of device X that also lacks feature Y.

Apple is therefore evil.

Honestly, Lewis, do you have anything useful to say anymore?

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Jonathan Hogg
Thumb Down

Mission to Mars

or perhaps: Highlander II

Both films that have made me want my money back - and I can put up with almost anything film-wise.

What's not in the iPhone 4S ... and why

Jonathan Hogg

Bluetooth 4.0 though

I noticed that the new iPhone 4GS - buried in the tech specs on the website - supports Bluetooth 4.0, which means support for Bluetooth low-power, which I understand is positioning itself as an alternative NFC technology/standard.

All WikiLeaks' secret US cables are on BitTorrent in full

Jonathan Hogg

Seems like people are being a little unfair to the Guardian journalist

If I was sharing an incredibly sensitive file with someone I would not give them the master passphrase. I would re-encrypt the file with a new single-use passphrase and give them that, then securely erase the new file after sharing it. It is reasonable for the journalist to have expected this to be the case, especially if he had been told it was a "temporary passphrase". In this case, the choice of passphrase is clearly newsworthy and of interest to readers of a book about the events.

Since it's well documented that Assange(TM) had no original intention of protecting anyone named in the cables and was quite happy to release them without redaction (it was the papers that did all the work in redacting or they wouldn't help in publicising the leak), it seems likely to me that Assange deliberately leaked the file knowing that it would eventually become public and he could blame someone else for it.

Either way, it's pretty rich of Assange(TM) to be crying foul now.

App Store II: Steve Jobs sucks Mac's soul

Jonathan Hogg

Whoah! Relax.

Let's take a moment to remember that Apple represents, what, 5-7% of the installed desktop market? Yes, they might end up wielding extraordinary control over the apps that many of their users will end up installing, but that's still only a small amount of overall control. Users could, you know, go elsewhere if they wanted to.

While lots of people see Apple as a cult, they are actually a business. If they've chosen to drop the Pro part of their market then that is, of course, their perogative. I suspect they haven't though, and they have simply recognised that there is an enormous market for small apps - as evidenced by the iOS App Store - and that is not well served at the moment. Most developers of small games and utilities struggle to get their apps seen by Mac users.

Big and Pro app developers don't really have this problem and will continue to sell their apps exactly as they do now. Microsoft and Adobe are hardly going to be weeping into their beers that they can't sell their apps with a 30% haircut through Apple's store.

EMI puts Abbey Road under the silver hammer?

Jonathan Hogg
Jobs Horns

Apple (Computer Inc) should buy it...

...and go into the music business.

Oh wait!

Microscope-wielding boffins crack cordless phone crypto

Jonathan Hogg
Big Brother

Yes quite

I think it would be more accurate to say that he reverse engineered the encryption algorithm in order to determine how to break it. Given the proprietary nature of the algorithm, the former was just a necessary step to the latter.

What we're left with is a reliable and fairly computationally simple way to decrypt the DECT protocol. I'd class that as "broken".

Vodafone Twitterer takes aim at some beaver

Jonathan Hogg

Should definitely be fired in my opinion

Just look at that errant apostrophe!

Standards of literacy today...

Apple iPad to launch January 26 (maybe)

Jonathan Hogg

What's it going to be for?

The interesting question is what will we use an Apple tablet for? The game-changing thing about the iPod was the iTunes Music Store; the iPhone had a pretty clear functional use (although the App Store success seems to have taken Apple by surprise). I'm most interested to see how Jobs is going to sell a tablet and what partners he has lined-up for launch date.

There's been a lot of noise recently about magazines in tablet form, but magazines already seem to have the perfect form factor to me: one that is unlimited by batteries and folds up into something I can cram in my coat pocket. Are people going to pony up hundreds of dollars for a brittle, but animated version of the same?

Space butterflies invade ISS

Jonathan Hogg

No wonder...

I expect they're mostly hanging onto the sides because where the fuck else are they going to go? That case is tiny. Poor buggers.

iPhone to become Blighty's favourite smartphone

Jonathan Hogg

iPhone definitely selling on Orange (anecdotally)

I crumbled and upgraded to a new iPhone 3GS with Orange yesterday and while I was in the store going through the sales checklist, three other people came in to get new phones and they all wanted an iPhone.

The next UK sales figures for the iPhone are going to make interesting reading.

Apple sexes up Time Capsule

Jonathan Hogg

Deja vu

My god, it's the "puffy caps" problem all over again. I had the same thing happen to my original Apple "UFO" AirPort base station. It was a common problem at the time, but Apple acknowledged it I think and started replacing them.

In the end, I just replaced the capacitors in mine with a couple of el cheapo ones from Maplin and it worked away for another year or so before I upgraded it.

Nissan demos leaning e-car

Jonathan Hogg

Back looks more Cylon to me!

Mine's the survival jacket with the low-tech gadgets in the pocket...

Volkswagen unveils Yorkshire-friendly e-car

Jonathan Hogg

3 +1

Given the type of modern, suburban, school-run family this is aimed at, I would have guessed that the "3" is the ... err ... 3 seats and that the "+1" is the gap that one can bolt a baby seat into.

I assume the crates of booze are optional.

Bank of America demands thumbprint from armless bloke

Jonathan Hogg


Why was he cashing his wife's cheques? Arms or no arms, how is this allowed in the first place?

Bug exposes eight years of Linux kernel

Jonathan Hogg

Re: At least the fix is easy.

Writing the fix may be easy, but updating the kernel on every affected system (all of them pretty much) is an enormous task and not to be down-played. I'm no Linux-hater (I have managed Linux servers for fun and profit for years), but this is a pretty catastrophic PR disaster for Linux.

One of the nice things about Linux is that while - like any modern OS - it has a large attack surface, most of it is in user-space so you can update any buggy components without a reboot. Kernel bugs are a total pain in the arse by comparison.

While this bug isn't immediately exploitable in most cases without some other remote exploit, plenty of those exist and are discovered: it's raised the seriousness of a lot of other dumb bugs to a root compromise. Makes a mockery of all your careful attempts to ensure that external facing services are running as non-privileged users.

Bah. I hate reboots. I was at 128 days uptime on my mail server.

El Reg to launch space paper plane

Jonathan Hogg
Thumb Up


Can I humbly suggest about "The Badger 2.0"?

Otherwise +1 on "aplanefrommars", +1 on it sending annoying tweets and definitely +1 on a playmobil pilot.

I think it should also have some kind of welcome inscribed onto it from El Reg to any aliens that it might encounter.

NEC fumbles towards MRAM flip-flop

Jonathan Hogg
Thumb Up

Why just power things down at night?

If these things can operate fast enough to replace every register/memory-element in your CPU then you could make the CPU fully static and be able to power it down between instructions. You'd only need to keep the interrupt circuitry and timers warm. That'd apply just as well to mobile phones as any other device.

NHS Direct gets to be number one, one, one

Jonathan Hogg

Why not expand 101 to include NHSD?

999 covers ambulance, police, fire, coast guard. Why couldn't a single non-emergency number cover local police, NHS Direct, suspected gas leaks, "I saw a shifty foreign-looking bloke outside the local post office and I think he's probably a terrorist", etc.

You could put a menu system on it to cut out the need for operators since, if it's not an emergency, you're likely not too bothered about having to navigate a menu and if you're using some ancient phone you could always just have "or stay on the line for an operator".

Rocket-science icon since it doesn't seem like it to me...

Steve Jobs snubs LSD daddy

Jonathan Hogg


Whoah whoah whoah! Do you have a license to use that word?

iPods get digicam rumor upgrade

Jonathan Hogg

Re: iff they do it right...

Oh my god. Is the Nokia N series becoming the new Amiga?

Apple takes Snow Leopard for walk

Jonathan Hogg

Space savings

I doubt that the removal of PPC code amounts to much. Taking a random application in my apps folder: Preview.app shows as 70.2MB in the Finder. Digging into the contents of the package I can see that the actual binary is only 1.9MB and the rest is all resources. So I'd expect to save about a meg by stripping the PPC code out of the binary. Mail.app is 289MB in total, of which 5.7MB is code.

I'd be surprised if the PPC code amounts to more than a few hundred meg altogether.

They mentioned in the keynote about compression being a major reason for the reduced footprint. I haven't looked for any details, but I'd guess that they've changed the loader to allow it to read ZIP compressed resource bundles or something like that.

(Or conceivably they've extended HFS+ to support transparent per-file compression.)

LG 42LF7700 HD TV

Jonathan Hogg
IT Angle

Whoah there!

The photo clearly shows an Ethernet socket on the back, but no mention in the write-up of what it's for!?

Didn't this used to be an IT publication?

Intel playing virtual silly buggers

Jonathan Hogg
Dead Vulture

Why is this Intel's fault or problem?

When was it Intel's job to support Microsoft software? I thought it was meant to be the other way around? Virtualisation used to work fine before the VT extensions came along [1], so it seems like a problem with VirtualPC/Windows 7 to me...

[1] VMWare Workstation seems to work fine for 32-bit guest operating systems on almost any x86 processor. If XP mode is for legacy apps that won't run on Windows 7, I see it as highly unlikely that 64bit XP is required.

Peugeot preps 4WD diesel hybrid

Jonathan Hogg

Re: Rear wheel brake charging?

> Everyone knows that the front wheels do the powerful braking. Thats why old cars used to have front disks and rear drums. Because what's on the rear hardly matters.

Regenerative braking isn't and cannot be used for "powerful" braking. It's only used when the car is slowing. As such, there's no reason not to use a hybrid braking system where current is drawn out of the rear wheels motor when the brakes are gently applied (or just when your foot is taken off of the accelerator) and then the actual brakes applied as you press harder.

If you need to stop a car then there is no substitute for traditional braking.

Baby Shakergate: Apple officially sorry

Jonathan Hogg

What other measure would there be?

Surely how much negative publicity something generates is a pretty good measure of how offensive society considers the subject. It's been tried and tested by politicians for the last few hundred years...

Clearly Apple is still feeling their way here, but, as many others have pointed out many times here: it's their show. All this "Apple appoints self moral arbiter" stuff is pretty tired now.

Where's the "whatever" icon?

iPhone 3.0 gossip lassos MMS, tethering, cut-and-paste...

Jonathan Hogg

@David Wilkinson

> Also you have to realize that apple is more about style than substance. They don't so much sell products as *end user experiences".

This is a criticism? The iPhone is the first phone I've had in about 8 years that actually seems to have been designed with the end user in mind. Prior to getting the 3G I had a Nokia N series phone and it seriously sucked balls. I got it full of hope after suffering an Ericsony for a year only to discover that Nokia had forgotten how to make a usable phone. The 18 months I was tied to it it brought me only stabbing pain and misery.

The thing that singles Apple out is that they pick a useful feature set and then implement that well, instead of throwing in a full kitchen sink of me-too features and buttons. As already noted by other people:

Copy-n-paste: I've missed it maybe a handful of times since I got the phone. It'll be nice to have, but it's not going to change my life. The problem is really a lot harder than you think since the useful instances of copy-n-paste involve non-trivial things like the need to copy-n-paste multiple lines of text into different fields in another app - such as copying an address out of a message. Yes, you can do this with other phones, but the experience is clunkier than just writing it down and typing it back in.

Tethering: this is down to the operators and is obviously a problem with the unlimited data plan. Apple got away with strong-arming an unlimited plan as standard on the basis that there is a limited amount of data you can seriously download with the phone anyway. Screaming at Apple won't change anything. I could tether my Nokia on Orange, but I only had 8MB of data a month or something measly like that.

Background apps: on many occasions I'd take my Nokia piece of shit out of my pocket to find it roasting hot and out of battery because some background app had live-locked and burned through all of my juice. This really is a device designed to be taken out of your pocket, used for something for a short while and then put back. It's not a web server or desktop replacement. Go get an SCC/Netbook(R)/whatever.

The only thing more crazy than Apple fanbois is people who seem to get so burned up about some Apple product not exactly suiting them and thus Steve Jobs being an asshole.

Silverlight 3 and 4 to 'open up new areas' - Microsoft

Jonathan Hogg
Gates Halo

"acceleration of the underlying hardware"

Holy cow! That's great. The next version of Silverlight is going to make my machine faster!?


The Apple Armada - Still worthy of the Jolly Roger?

Jonathan Hogg
Paris Hilton

Innovating by ignoring

Perhaps Apple is innovating by not jumping on the latest bandwagon of the day. I mean, BluRay? Who gives a f*ck? Seems to me that Steve reckons the future of HD content is the net not a disc.

Just like Apple was clearly innovating when they ditched the floppy. Jesus, the new DELL under my desk still has a floppy drive in it and I haven't even seen a floppy disc for years.

It seems to me that Apple is innovating in non-hardware-related stuff now: iTunes store, iPhone UI.

(Also unfair to say the iPod wasn't an innovation. The smart thing was realising that 64MB sucks and sticking a hard-drive in it.)

Paris because I mentioned a floppy.

DNA convictions fall as database doubles in size

Jonathan Hogg
Black Helicopters

"eliminating the innocent from inquiries"

Ah, so having all those people on the database isn't to allow massive trawling operations for the guilty, it's to protect the innocent. Thank god. I'm a supporter now.

BlackBerry Storm to blow in next week - minus Wi-Fi

Jonathan Hogg
Paris Hilton

How is this an iPhone killer then?

It costs £300 on an 18 month contract and it doesn't have WiFi!?

Even Paris wouldn't be seen dead with one of these surely?

Nokia's Trolltech preps embedded app breakthrough

Jonathan Hogg
Dead Vulture

wee indeed

That is the craziest error I think I've seen in an el Reg article yet. How did those three letters manage to move a paragraph ahead?

Sergey Brin descends from Mount Sinai with Android API

Jonathan Hogg

Arrrrgghh!!! Rarrrr grrrr...

Everything on el Reg is not exactly as I want it! Sometimes I disagree with your writer's opinions! I will be immediately removing your site from my bookmarks! etc., etc.

Apple 4G iPod Nano

Jonathan Hogg
Paris Hilton

Disagree about the "way up" thing

I have an iPhone and I always put it into my pocket upside down. This is because when I reach in and pull my phone out I grab the back of it. Then when I bring it up to look at it, I'm naturally holding it with the screen right way up. Having the headphone socket at the top is a pain in the ass.

How the heck do you guys pull your iPod out of your pocket? Surely you'd have to be reaching over the top of the thing in some strange contortion?

Paris because of all of the obvious "pull it out of my pocket" stuff in this post.

And so we begin the tech sector's journey into the Heart of Darkness

Jonathan Hogg
Paris Hilton

Meh, whatever

Pretty much the whole market is near a 52 week low, so singling out a few stocks and mumbling about it being the end of the tech world is ludicrous.

Also, as mentioned by plenty of other people here, stock market valuations don't mean Jack. Stock prices, like house prices, are going down because no-one wants to, or can, buy them, not because they have suddenly become less intrinsically valuable. It's a bear market Ashlee.

Paris, because she understands that prices go down as well as up.

Apple has that syncing feeling over MobileMe

Jonathan Hogg

Not sure I entirely agree

Based on what I've heard and the behaviour of my device(s), the syncing is something like the following:

* MobileMe -> iPhone : only a short delay (in the order of seconds)

* iPhone -> MobileMe : a little longer - I think hampered by how often the web page polls the server

* MobileMe -> Mac : similar to the iPhone -> MobileMe delay

* Mac -> MobileMe : only on the 15 min sync intervals

The fact that the Mac -> MobileMe updates aren't immediate beggars belief. It seems odd that Apple are unable to get this working smoothly on OS X. Have they moved so many developers off the desktop OS onto the iPhone that they've forgotten how to program it?

Also, the push email of MobileMe really is push I think. My phone beeps within a second of the mac.com SMTP servers accepting the mail. This would seem consistent with people who have been saying that instant push doesn't appear to work when on WiFi - I think the push is coming over the 3G/GSM connection not the IP connection.

Mozilla insists Firefox 3.1 won't hit bum note for developers

Jonathan Hogg


I'm not cutting edge by any means, but I was easily using the FireFox 3 betas and RCs for 6 months before it finally landed. How can the architectural changes have been any surprise to add-on developers?

O2 buckles under 3G iPhone demand

Jonathan Hogg

Got mine about half an hour ago - unactivated

So I went out late to grab a sandwich for lunch and discovered a handful of people still queueing outside the nearby O2 store. Asked the guy what was the deal and it seems they still had stock. This is the same store I walked past at 07:15 this morning to see about 60 people lined up outside. Seems the screwed activation system, the massive load on the credit check site and the sheer tedium of filling in the forms meant people had been waiting up to four hours to get their phone. Apparently loads of people gave up and pissed-off, so they still had stock left.

I picked up the last 16GB they had, although they still had 8GB phones. Seems the 16GB is the big seller according to the guy in the shop. They actually thought they'd run out and had told people so, but then they found four more under something shortly before I arrived. Unfortunately, the activation system is still hosed so they were basically doing the form-filling and selling the phones with an inactive SIM, with a promise to catch up the activations over the weekend. The guy reckoned there was a decent chance my phone will be working on Monday.

MIT plans to roll out 'folding' car

Jonathan Hogg

I've got a better idea for revolutionising urban transport

Long electric cars that a bunch of people can get in at once. To keep costs down, they operate between fixed terminals according to a schedule. In order to avoid traffic jams, they run in tunnels underground.

Flexibility is further enhanced by combining this medium-range transport mechanism with a short-range mechanism consisting of wiggling stick-like appendages at the bottom of the body to propel oneself along the ground.