* Posts by Gary F

394 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Mar 2008


LightSquared admits it will knock out 200,000 sat-navs

Gary F

Nevermind, there's always Galileo

Americans are welcome to use Europe's more accurate Galileo GPS system when it's in operation. It's only fair since we've been using theirs for a long time.

Apollo 14 'naut attempts to flog Moon camera for $80k

Gary F

Hard to prove

NASA management probably did give him the camera. 40 years ago things were done on trust, not everything was written down. These days you'd have to sign a release form and probably get the company lawyer involved to hand items over to staff. Unless someone from NASA who was in the room at the time heard a manager say "You can keep the camera" then Edgar will have trouble proving his claim. I guess a lot of people who might have been around at the time have popped their clogs over the last 40 years.

I'm surprised that Uncle Sam would want to proceed with something that could dirty the name of one of their national heroes. It's not in their interest to do so, unless they want to muddy his name for another reason. Something to do with those alleged alien visits maybe.

Brainscan breakthrough: Working robot limbs come closer

Gary F
Thumb Up

Portability may be a problem

Being wheeled around strapped to a very heavy MRI scanner all day just so you can have control of a prosthetic arm may be a little inconvenient for some people. Maybe one day they'll be an app for this so your mobile can do the scanning! :-)

I had no idea my Android mobile already has a metal detector built into it. What crazy purpose does that serve? Apart from holding it over someones fork or watch at the dinner table and proclaiming my phone has detected their fork/watch, it's unfortunately not powerful enough to hold over a friend's head to predict when they're about to move their arm. ;-)

Tablets for work: time for a clean slate?

Gary F

Laptops have 9h batteries and are cheaper

Clearly those business people are using the wrong laptops! The HP 210 Mini, for example, has a 8-9 hour battery life, can run a corporate Windows installation, has a proper keyboard and a slate size 10" screen. Best of all it costs just £200 (with Windows 7 and a Linix quickboot with web/email) and is far less cumbersome than a normal size laptop. No need to recharge at all during the day and I bet I can take notes or write emails a lot quicker during meetings than the ipad users.

Convertibles are good too such as the Acer 11" laptop that converts into a tablet with a twist and fold of the screen. The battery lasts for 8 hours, is more powerful than the HP 210 and ipad and costs about the same as an ipad.

Some of the Windows tablets (or slates) coming out now are no bigger than the Android ones. It's good to see Windows 7 running on such slim devices.

Of course a Windows device will run Flash which is important for some corporates who use Flash/Flex apps for business purposes, plus other proprietary software that corporates usually have on their desktops.

Future of the cloud is hybrid

Gary F


I was using gopher before the web (or should I say HTTP) was invented so I'm aware of the many protocols carried over the Internet. I appreciate that a cloud has been used for as long as I can remember to represent networks in topology diagrams. But the public network between our computers and this website is called the Internet with a capital "I". It's had this name for decades and doesn't need to be renamed "The Cloud" because marketing people think it makes their Internet based services sound more cutting edge. It's a recent trend and hopefully like some other fashions will be short lived. (But I'm not holding my breath on this one!)

Gary F

I hear what you're saying

But it's still the Internet. When people first upgraded from a 56K modem to 1Mb broadband and found they could share documents in seconds and audio/video in minutes rather than hours it was still called the Internet. When people first started buying stuff online it was still called the Internet. No need for a name change there. When new companies were launched and lived purely online providing new services it was still called the Internet.

If people can remember foremost that it's the Internet and not the cloud then maybe they'd take security more seriously. People and companies should not lose sight of that. Marketing people calling it the cloud make it sound fluffy and safe. It's as misleading as having an alligator and calling it a pet. Treat it like one and one day it'll take your arm off.

Gary F

It's NOT the cloud

Can everyone stop calling the Internet the cloud? It's just the Internet. "The cloud" is a marketing term dreamed up by someone who wanted to make the Internet sound more mysterious or powerful.

Want to keep Android apps from spying on you?

Gary F

Or just switch off your data connection

Useful to know, thank you Register.

My apps eat bandwidth all the time, even if I've told them not to (where possible). The result is going way over my data bundle allowance and enduring costly data charges. Together with the idea of some apps reporting on my location and other personal info I simply switch off my data connection - or APN to be precise. I activate it when i need to go online. The result is going from 3GB of data per month down to a reasonable 500MB.

Dropbox security fubar infuriates customers

Gary F

I'm right not to have trusted them

I've used Dropbox for a few years and love the free service, but I have never trusted them enough to put my most private and important files into my dropbox. It's tempting to use it as an off-site backup of critical files (in case you house burns down or a burglar steals your PC and backup DVDs) but I don't totally trust the competence of these services where encryption is not done at the client and the customer doesn't exclusively hold the key.

Communication is critical if there's a problem. Failing to talk to customers quickly enough always ends with angry customers. Yeah, I know it's a free service for most people. Glad I didn't upgrade.

Has UK gov lost the census to Lulzsec?

Gary F

On the plus side, at least we'd get the results quicker!

I hope the data doesn't contain actual addresses and names, that would be a blow to every person in the UK. The data would be marketing companies dream come true. Imagine all the crappy marketing calls and letters we'd receive. It's bad enough as it is now.

Got a website? Pay attention, Cookie Law will come

Gary F

Have the EU produced a guide to explain their new law?

With the £billions we pay to the EU, surely they have produced a simple online guide to help the industry understand their new law and to explain clearly how we should modify our websites to accommodate it? In particular, small businesses who have their own website or are in the business of building websites cannot afford lawyers to help interpret the raw legislation. The EU, in their great wisdom to rule over us, must have produced a wiki or something useful to help?

Look at the comments so far. Lots of speculation and discussion, but no one has been able to point to EU documentation to make anything 100% crystal clear.

This law is a shambles and so badly thought out. I can't see how implementing compliance can NOT ruin a user's experience.

Apple worth more than Microsoft and Intel combined

Gary F

More money than sense

Even people living off benefits buy Apple gear. Along with bling, 60" plasma TVs, fags, and enough booze so they don't recall the scrap they had in the street last night when they were thrown out of the pub.

Meanwhile, hard working people who can't afford to buy Apple gear within their means are very happy with Wintel and Android products. Not that they necessarily want Apple stuff anyway. It's not exactly value-for-money when compared to Wintel/Android products.

But you have to give Apple credit for being the ones who popularised smartphones and tablets with innovative designs. (They did not invent either)

Microsoft and Intel must be very embarassed by this latest news. C- boys. Must try harder.

Toshiba reveals iPad 2 rival

Gary F

Twice the thickness of ipad2?

Surely as part of the design brief for this ToshTab was to make it at least as appealing as the market leader? So why did they make it twice as thick? Presumably it's heavier too?

Apart from that the price for the 8GB model is excellent. Presumably that's the internal storage and there's still space to add your own 64GB SDHC card?

World Health Organization: Mobile phone cancer risk 'possible'

Gary F

Good. A step in the right direction

Hopefully this move will encourage further studies. Just because multiple scientific organisations haven't proved there is a definite and serious link between mobile phone handsets or base stations, it doesn't mean there isn't one.

Low levels of EM radiation on these frequencies may not show much effect on human tissue in short running tests, but the reality of decades of exposure across a wider sample of, say, 1000 people might reveal a completely different story.

I use my mobile lightly for short calls, preferring landlines where possible. And I don't like my ears and head heating up with mobiles, it's very uncomfortable physically and mentally. But that's just my view.

Sony restores PlayStation Network in full

Gary F

About bloomin' time too!

How long has it taken them? Feels like months. It's shambolic that they couldn't restore services sooner given the number of cutting edge specialists they can afford to hire and the firewalls etc they can put in place. If it were a small company then I'd understand why it would take them so long to get back on their feet (lack of resources and finance) so Sony need to grovel hard. My Xbox 360 has had lots of use in the last month and my 4 year old seems to have found more child and family friendly games on the Xbox.

Android app sales skimpy, sluggish, slack, scanty...

Gary F

I've only bought 2 Android apps

I bought Robo Defence after playing the free version for a week. It was so addictive that it was worth paying for extra levels and the author really deserved my two quid. (Wow, reading that back I sound so tight!)

The other purchase was PDANet. Bought out of necessity because stupid Android doesn't natively allow a tethered laptop to use its 3G Internet connection. Maybe Android versions later than 2.1 support it, but this app was well worth paying for to plug a hole - something my old Windows 6 phone had done out of the box for years.

Back to the argument, I think more iPhone users have money to burn than Android users. My pay-as-you-go Android cost £99. It's crazy to spend any more money on a phone that goes out of season in 12 months.

HP breakthrough to hasten flash memory's demise?

Gary F

5 years away?

Good, but sounds like it's 5 years away from producing SSD alternative products piled high on shop shelves. I like boffins. Well done.

The Great Reg Cloud Survey

Gary F

A mother of a survey

The 2011 census asked less questions! You would attract a greater response from people if the survey was shorter. Or at least you'd get a response from busy people who don't have all the time in the world to respond to big surveys - perhaps the sort of people that you really want to hear from.

Boffins pull plug on SETI alien-seeking antenna array

Gary F

As if they were going to find anything interesting

I don't think aliens more intelligent than us would be using normal radio waves. They'd probably use something better like sub-space (if that weren't made up by Star Trek) so those 3 employees were really wasting their time.

The $5m would be better spent kick starting a new series of Star Trek or continueing Stargate Universe. Science-fiction is a lot more lively than science-fact and doesn't take 1000's of years to reach us! ;-)

Eminent EM7195 HD server

Gary F

Inadequate specification - out of date

DVB-T tuners? Freeview in the UK is shifting to the newer broadcast format DVB-T2 for Freeview HD. If you're going to buy a new freeview decoder of any sort and want to pick up the HD channels now and in the future then make sure it's DVB-T2.

Shifty scripts on Santander site prompt security fears

Gary F

Que? Mr Fawlty? Que?

Slap, slap, slap!

US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame

Gary F

ACME delivery for Wile E Coyote

This is the sort of massively disapointing result from something the Coyote tries to do to the Roadrunner.

I think a sailor with an assault rifle or sniper could inflict more damage in a fraction of the time.

Richard Branson to prowl oceans' hadal depths in flying sub

Gary F
Thumb Up

Lovely video in 1080 HD

This is a beautiful video on a big screen in full HD. I wish Branson and his team the best of luck. We are lucky that he's only of the very few (or only?) mega wealthy entrapreneur who loves pushing science and exploration further and further. Our Government does very little on this front and we should all applaud Branson. He may have an ego the size of a small planet but if that's what drives him and BRITISH science and exploration forward then we can all live with that!


My only concern is the shape of the sub. It's more rectangular than tubular and we all know that tubes have a much greater crush depth than any other shape. But I'm sure they know what they're doing! LOL!

Microsoft wraps Windows 8 in Ribbon UI?

Gary F

Why do we need Windows 8 anyway?

Windows 7 is okay, just keep fixing the bugs and release minor new features in service packs, as per SP1. What could they possibly put in Win8 that would make people upgrade (again)? Certainly NOT a ribbon.

I actually prefer Windows Explorer in XP than in Vistra or Win7.

Phantom Menace to be released in 3D next Feb

Gary F

Worst film, worst viewing technology

By far the worst of the double trilogy, but now they will probably emphasise the worst bits in 3D. When I saw 3D I mean two 2D planes (foreground and a background) with some fuzziness around the edges.

Pleeeeease can they stop making horrible 3D versions. I won't go and see a film now unless there's a 2D-only version. A well written, directed and acted film can pull you in using artistic talent, it doesn't need anything else. And if there is it's just a gimmicky distraction.

Government defends need for census

Gary F

Population data is very important

I work with population data and for every year between each census I rely on the mid-year estimate produced by the ONS. I don't know how they calculate it but I imagine that each year it becomes a little less accurate as migration and birth rates change, especially at local levels. So after 9 years it won't be as accurate as the first few years after a census is done. So the 2011 census will allow the ONS and people who use this data to get back on target, or at least to verify that estimates used in more recent years was reasonably accurate.

Other data that I and many 1000's of people use are things like average head count per household, average number of children per household, etc. Most consumers of the data couldn't care less about participants names or phone/email info (not that this is even collected or published), it's the statistical value of the yes/no and quantities that allow local and central Government to plan for the future and make decisions about things based on this reality check.

The people who said data can't be used from other existing databases to form a census are correct. The DPA doesn't allow data to be used for other unconsented purposes and the quality of other database and the ability to merge accurately is just too unreliable.

Census data is harmless and ultimately is good for the country. Millions of our ancestors were happy to participate and that has also helped us to keep an accurate picture of our country's past.

Lexmark Genesis multifunction printer

Gary F

This is a first!

The first time a Lexmark printer has cost more than a set of new ink cartridges! ;-)

I had no idea Lexmark were capable of such innovation and I aplaud them for that. Maybe other manufacterers will try to emulate this design but do so with a smaller price tag. If Epson or Canon produced something that looks like this for half the price I'd buy one.

Google and Facebook named as Twitter suitors

Gary F

Stupid amount of money

I fail to see a how free service that lets you share 140 chars of text with other people is worth £billions. Where is their income, apart from investors who think other investors are a valid stream of income. It's crazy, crazy, crazy. The world has gone mad!

Robot naval stealth fighter takes to the air

Gary F

Satellite comms?

I'm sure the boffins have thought of that and will use one of the many military satellites as the primary or secondary comms link to the aircraft. I think signals coming from orbit will be difficult to block from ground based devices. Unless maybe a nearby ground based station can track the aircraft and direct an interference transmission towards it? I'm not sure if that would be effective if the receiver is mounted on top of the aircraft facing upwards(ish). [shrug] I will ask a Sky TV installer. ;-)

Gary F

Sadly, suggestions for new 2012 Olympic events are closed.

But it's something you can try at home, folks. :-)

News just in: High street bakers are reporting a surge in doughnut sales. Meanwhile the NHS are reporting a surge in very peculiar accidents.

Gary F

Skynet approves

Skynet is grateful for the addition of these aircraft. A post-it note on one of its racks says "Please patch them in to my network when 10,000 have been manufactured. Lots of love, your friend, Skynet".

How nice.

Android's Gingerbread finagled onto iPhone

Gary F

Let me get this right...

They take a £500 phone and put an OS on it that you can run on a £100 phone. Why? Is their end game to allow people to run Android on iphone? Then those people should buy a cheaper Android phone and save themselves a load of money. It's not as if the best apps are Android-only and iphone users need to swtich from iOS to Android.

Samsung Galaxy Player 50 Android PMP

Gary F

Or buy a £99 Android device WITH 3G

Don't forget you can buy the Orange San Francisco Android phone for just £99 on PAYG. Why would anyone pay £50 more for a something that's so close to being a smartphone but isn't? I know it can take 4GB microSD cards for sure. I haven't tried it with anything bigger.

Nazis 'became obsessed' with piss-taking Finnish dog

Gary F


If they wanted their dog to insult Hitler they would have trained it to urinate on command, not raise its paw. When I was training a puppy I thought it was amusing to use certain pages of a newspaper for the dog to do its business on... photos of a particular prime minister. A number two right on the face was particularly hysterical. Ahh, toilet humour, can't beat it.

BT fibre-up-your-exchange poll in 6-way Mugabe style pileup

Gary F


Fibre is good but it doesn't provide infinite bandwidth. They should just upgrade every exchange and provide a timetable for this nationwide. Stop this competition nonsense. Of course everyone wants their connection to be faster and clearly the more populous the town or village the greater the demand.

Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

Gary F
Thumb Down

Is this is why they are no longer in Government?

A loony idea. How about random prizes for pedestrians who don't mug people? Or prizes for horny men that don't do rape?

A lot of the worst speeding offenders have incorrect or no data at all registered with the DVLA anyway. They are effectively immune to speeding tickets and I expect they don't care if they aren't eligible to win a prize for not speeding.

Prizes for Internet users who don't hack or download copyright material? Prizes for pedos who only download pictures of over 18s? ;-) The list of idiotic ideas goes on.

Intel unveils itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny SSDs

Gary F

Mini PCI Express slot

The Intel SSD requires a mini PCIe slot - as mentioned in the Intel press release. I did say that in a comment I posted last night but El Reg decided not to approve my comment.

Enormous 1km ice-cube machine fashioned at South Pole

Gary F

How much???

$279m so they can see a tiny blue light flash? Well I hope they thought it was worth the effort. That rocket plan on skis was cool! Surely seeing that take off is more exciting than a tiny blue light?

Facebook trains self to recognize your face

Gary F

Secret service would love FB's database

How many police forces and secret services would love to get their hands on Facebook's facial recognition database once it's been running for several months? Imagine how much easier it would be for them to identify people from photos or CCTV with a catalogue of 100's of millions of faces. Even the most powerful governments have nothing like that many faces in their database.

South Korea delivers stern warning to...Facebook

Gary F

Tough world wide regulations

It's not easy for any company to comply with varied regulations in 100+ countries. The problem these days with being on the web is that every country thinks it has the right to regulate you. Maybe they do, or maybe they don't. At least for most website owners you need to be big enough to get onto the radar of regulators before they take notice of you.

Europe's broadband bird goes up tonight

Gary F

How is upstream data sent?

Do you still need a dial-up modem for upstream data? Presumably the 66cm satellite dish isn't capable of transmitting up to the satellite.

Firefox 4 Android beta gets stomach stapled

Gary F

Keep going Mozilla

When you get down to under 10MB call me. Until then keep your lardy backside away from me.

Okay, that was harsh, I'm sorry, darling. Normally I do go for curvy girls but my mobile phone just has a single bed, it's not a king size if you know what I mean. And if you consider all the other apps I like to fool around with it doesn't leave much room for you. Yes, I can be a tart too, always endulging myself, playing around for a bit and then dumping apps when I get bored.

You look good laid out on my desktop though, I won't deny you that. You've got a lovely skin and as for your add-ons - whey hey, I'm in heaven! My plug-in is so compatible with that. Even though you are a chunky chick, you do it for me on my PC! But I can't take you around with me on my mobile. It's not that I'm embarassed to be seen out with you, but there's just not much room for you at the moment. x x

Android phone sales up 1,309%

Gary F

Android is blimmin good though

I've had many makes of smartphone for the last decade but I was seriously impressed with my new Android phone. It's so intuitive that I found my 4 year old had picked it up, worked out how to unlock it (she can't read yet) and load and play various games.

It looks like Android will go from strength to strength as it appears on cheaper phones. You no longer need to pay £500 to own an iphone when a Android phone can do pretty much all that from £99 upwards. iVery iSmart iPhones iThat iAren't iActually iPhones(TM)

Gary F


Yes, Orange are rather keen to push Windows 7 phones, presumably they did a cheap license deal with Microsoft on the condition they heavily promote it. Strangely their Orange online shop only has 1 HTC model (Desire) which is often out of stock. But they do have a good supply of cheap San Francisco Android phones which I will continue to rave about - £99 on PAYG. It's a rebadged ZTE Blaze. There are some excellent new ROMs for it on Modaco.com

Sorry Bill. Too little and far too late.

11.6in sub-notebooks

Gary F

Acer 1825

I have the convertable tablet version of the Acer 1810 and I really love it. The battery really does last for 8 hours under a power saving profile with wifi enabled. The tablet mode gives me everything the ipad has and more (including more weight to carry!) and flipping it to laptop mode lets me be more productive for emails, word processing, etc.

The 11" screen size is perfect for packing in an overnight bag to take away or taking on a train as it's almost half the weight of some 15.6" laptops. As for the aspect ratio not being idea for web browsing, well, since the resolution is so high you can make the browser window more narrow. i.e. don't maximise it, so you'll get your 4:3 aspect ratio at 1080x768 which leaves some real estate to have RSS widgets, IM client (or whatever you like) within view for enhanced productivity.

Microsoft sings Happy Birthday to Windows 7

Gary F
Gates Halo

Happy Birthday 7 of 9

Now where's the frigging service pack to fix my peeve gripe with 7? January 2011? Blimey, I still have to wait another 2 and a bit months.

7 is pretty nice. I really like the built-in compatability with virtually every peripheral and the way it tries to self-heal or check with its HQ to find out why something crashed. In 18 months it has never hung on me which is good. Stable, yes, pretty, yes, smart, yes, more productive, I'm not so sure I can honestly say that it is. It boots up slightly faster. Does that count as being more productive?

Networking on 7 is more complicated due to the "simplicity" it tries to add for novices. I much prefer how it used to be in XP. However, I do welcome the enhanced wi-fi support, 7 on a laptop is a much nicer experience than XP for connectivity.

Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?

Gary F
Gates Horns

I just ordered a new Android phone

What can Windows Phone 7 RELEASE 1.0 do that Android can't? Asked the other way around I can draw up a long list. Therefore my money is going on a shiney new Android phone.

Orange San Francisco, £99 on PAYG. All the hardware, good screen resolution, snappy processor and someone's cooked a Froyo 2.2. upgrade ROM for it. What more does one need?

Dear Microsoft. I will visit you again in 12 months time where I hope you've made a quantum leap.

Google releases stable version of Chrome 7

Gary F

Version 7 already?

Why does Google feel it has to catch up with IE and Opera in the version numbers? Going from version x.0 to x+1.0 suggests a major release, but this has never been the case with Chrome. At least with O/S/FF/IE browsers you know that such a big number change will bring a big bag of interesting goodies.

Cameron cocks up UK's defences - and betrays Afghan troops

Gary F

Good news for Argentina then!

What are the odds of Argentina making another assault on The Falklands once the Ark Royal has been mothballed? They'll have a 10 year window before we can get a decent size air strike force out to the islands if we don't have an aircraft carrier. Their navy will be far larger than ours and we won't stand a chance without the USA stepping in.

If I were Lady Britannia I would feel very naked and vulnerable on the world stage. The "when" and "how" questions of future wars are unknown so Britain must be prepared for ALL types of warfare. Yes, even ones where tanks, frigates, bombers and VTOL fighters are needed. Reducing numbers is one thing, but completely mothballing every unit of its kind is worrying.

Carphone Warehouse slashes Samsung Galaxy Tab price

Gary F

Galaxy Tab USPs over the iPad...

Extra storage up to 32GB via microSD slot, 3.2MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera, use as mobile phone, Bluetooth 3.0, full Adobe Flash support, almost half the weight (0.84 lbs), has USB port, output to TV, (and it runs Android).

Technically it offers a lot more than the ipad. Whether you can download 20 thousand or 20 billion apps is irrelevant. Just check that apps are available for what YOU want to use your pad/tab for and make your decision based on that along with the hardware itself.

Now that Adobe have released the Andoid SDK for AIR there will be 1000's of new Android apps coming out as it's so easy to build apps using Air and Air is cross-platform compatible with PCs and Macs alike. (But not iphone because of obvious Apple hatred of Flash)