* Posts by Gary F

394 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Mar 2008


HTC Legend

Gary F

45% would be a fairer score

Look here El Reg, if you buy a phone that's really cool but conks out before the day is over then it's frankly the most useless phone in the world. Unless you use it as a door stop between charges, but then £300 is a lot of money for a door stop.

At least let the damn phone last out until you get home from work in the evening and ideally up to bed time when you can charge it overnight. Sheeesh!

Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box

Gary F

What you don't see is the external power brick!

The "classic" wedge shape in 2010 is ugly. And the back of the computer will be a complete mess with all those cables coming onto your desk to attach. It looks like a Checkmate A1500 at the rear if anyone remembers that.

And where's the HDMI output to attach to your TV?

No thanks Commodore USA. I would rather have a more compact laptop or a mini tower under my desk. Thanks for the nostalgia but your efforts will sadly be consigned to the dustbin. There are no benefits to this design. We can already buy a cheaper, smaller laptop and use its VGA (or HDMI!) output to a nice big monitor if that's the idea.

US Navy plans self-building floating fortresses

Gary F

Build ships from ice blocks

During WWII the British had plans to build a massive aircraft carrier out of ice blocks because we were running out of steel. It's quite fascinating. The ice blocks are actually a composite material mashed up with wood. It's so tough that a bullet from a service pistol bounces straight off of it.


Oops: Chief Climategate investigator failed to declare eco directorship

Gary F

Agreed - ban politicians from other jobs

Politicians must be banned from having other jobs while they are serving in office. £65K a year salary is more than generous for an MP, most people would love to earn that much, although perhaps only a quarter would put in the hours the job requires.

If politicians could only have 1 job then it would get rid of all the filthy rich MPs and the MPs who are only in it to ride on the gravy train. Then maybe we would see more honest, ordinary people become MPs who have at least had a decade's worth of experience in the real world and are in touch with the common people.

Windows Server to get dynamic memory with R2 SP1

Gary F

Why VMs?

I use VMs to test our software & websites on 8 different OS's with different service packs installed running different browsers. It's much cheaper and uses far less space than setting up 8 physical computers!

And in the data centre we can remove several old-ish servers and replace them with a new more powerful server running VMs. This provides a cost saving because we buy less hardware, have less hardware to maintain and it consumes a lot less power.

Global warming may be normal at this point in glacial cycle

Gary F

Common sense at last

Please can politicians and others who are crying "the sky is falling down" please listen to rational scientific evidence like this? In 20 or 30 years time when it's clear that GW was half political hot air and half a blip on the thermometer we will look back at those who refused to listen to reason and think "what a bunch of idiots".

Further proof that our complicated planet is subject to many different cycles, some lasting 100 years, some 10,000 years. We are only human and have a lot to learn.

Facebook patents user news feed

Gary F

Huh? Is the US Patent Office soft?

When I called the British Patent Office to find out how to patent a concept similar to the Facebook one but involving locations instead (which I had already coded at the time) they told me that concepts can't be patented. Only specific computer code could be patented. Of course there are 1000's of ways to write code to do the same job so it just wasn't possible to patent this concept.

So the US Patent Office must allow any vague concept to become legally protected - and internationally too. Who holds the patent to the concept of usernames and passwords? The concept of subscribing to mailing lists? inputting text into a computer? Double clicking to execute a file? Holding Ctrl to multi-select?

BBC to cull radio stations, halve websites in painful biz review

Gary F


About time too. You can't have a state funded organisation putting its fingers in every pie. The government should encourage creativity, innovation, and the growth of private businesses - not fund an organisation that competes with that.

If the BBC can save £millions cutting websites and little used radio stations then it should invest those savings into making better quality TV programmes.

NEC works out how to triple USB 3.0 speed

Gary F

Yeah, clever boffins!

So, er, see you in 2016 then for superspeed USB 4.

OpenOffice 3.2 - now with less Microsoft envy

Gary F

Poor docx conversion - still

I was looking forward to testing docx conversion in 3.2 but was surprised that it's only marginally better than 3.1 which itself was useless if the file contained graphics. Company headed documents, illustrated guides and manuals, all worthlessly converted into 3.2 requiring anything from 5 minutes to an hour to manually put right. Free software isn't always free of cost.

If you have a lot of Word 2007 documents then it may be worth keeping your licenses than spending precious time re-working the documents in OO. Images are incorrectly aligned, wrapping doesn't seem to get converted, and this pushes text down the page so all the tidy page breaks are completely out of whack.

If you have no documents to convert then OO is a really good package, but I could never give up MS Office because that's what my clients use and I need to retain 100% compatibility with their Office 2007 files and nothing less will do.

Maybe next time hopefully. :-(

Dell servers block un-Dell HDDs

Gary F

Get the PERC6i and you'll avoid this issue

We have 11th gen models with the PERC6i RAID controller and this config still warns, it does not block. So the trick is to get the PERC6i if you're thinking of adding your own drives.

We ordered a couple of extra drives from Dell after we purchased the server and the price wasn't that much more than the average retail price if you take into account that Dell will include the caddies (if you ask for the "drive kit") which would otherwise cost you an extra £30 per drive (inc p&p) if you were buying the drives from elsewhere.

3G networks appeal for power boost

Gary F

Nooo! My brain is friend enough thank you

How can I object to this? The long term effects on people are still unproven. Can't they use something less harmful like sub-space or something?

Oz man coughs to DD-jub job advert outrage

Gary F
Thumb Up

Imagine if that happened in Britain

It's nice to see this man's boss didn't take any action against him for posting that advert, or the Australian police didn't arrest him, a government minister didn't get involved, or random members of the public didn't try to sue him for being sexist.

All of the above would no doubt take place if such a "mistake" was made in Britain.

Philips 40PFL9704 40in LED backlit TV

Gary F

Well overpriced

Why not buy a much cheaper LED backlit TV and also a £150 Acer Reevo computer that's so small it will attach to the back of the TV. Then you can run the web browser of your choice on Linux or Windows, plus email, etc.

NuLabour 'Bribo' laptop pops up on eBay

Gary F


So funny, but sadly trajic because it's so true.

Brown offers free laptops to deprived UK schoolkids

Gary F

Work your socks off and get nothing

I'm slightly over the threshold for various state handouts and I work my socks off 6 days a week. The perks of refusing to take a job or to go part-time seem very tempting and I'm sure I'd be in better health if I didn't have to work so hard, but I couldn't bare to be a bone idle scrounger living off handouts. Yet I must pay taxes towards the multi-billion pound benefits and perks rewarded (yes, they work like rewards) to people who at the end of the day have all the electronic goods for free that I have to work my fingers to the bone for. And like the poster above I'm very lucky to have £30 a week left over for myself. It really doesn't pay to work when you could just do nothing and get everything handed to you. And I wouldn't even have to buy my kids a laptop. Yay! Oh to be classed as poor!

2016 bug hits Windows phones

Gary F

HTC Touch Diamond

No problems on my Touch Diamond running Windows Mobile 6.1. I suggest the original report of a blanket problem with WinMo is incorrect.

Spirit rover clocks up six years on Mars

Gary F

I have an idea

Have they tried an inverted tachion pulse? Or failing that a remodulated plasma infusion with a synchronised ion discharge? No, perhaps a more simple approach could work. It could use its robotic arm to dig its way out with a spoon. NASA did remember to pack plastic cutlery didn't they? You can't travel anywhere without plastic cutlery.

Dell crowned Bad Santa computer maker by angry customers

Gary F
Thumb Down

Angry customer writes...

I've been waiting 3.5 weeks for the delivery of 2 servers and they tell me I have to wait a further 3 weeks. It doesn't take 6.5 weeks for a factory to build 2 servers. I could have done it myself in 2 days if they posted me the parts! In the past they took just 1 week which suggests something at Dell has gone very wrong. Cost-cutting probably.

What makes it worse is that I ordered some switches and backup cartridges at the same time which were delivered 2 weeks ago. This means the warranty on the switches and cartridges will expire a whole month before the warranty on the servers does. Because the whole order is a self-contained system this is not acceptable.

Tories swallow Web 2.0, spit out £1m crowdsource prize

Gary F

Let me get this straight...

They want talented web application developers to build them a site worth £1m, but everyone who hasn't built the winning site will walk away with nothing after spending weeks or months working on it at their on expense?

Can someone design me a new website please? I will award the developer of the best site £10,000. Those whose efforts I didn't like can shove off without so much as a penny, but thanks for your ideas anyway. Yup, this system is a great way to do business and drive the economy.

Orange punts quality calling

Gary F

It's not audio quality that's the problem

Drop out and other symptoms relating to poor reception is the main issue with mobile phones. What's the point of "HD" quality audio if every few words are missing or the caller sounds like a Darlek? If Orange have money to burn on marketing ploys then they should try dropping their data charges. I'm sure that will win them extra customers.

High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

Gary F

Extreamily good points (no pun intended)

Thank you for this new perspective that most of us overlooked.

Hands up who wouldn't object to a new high speed track being built within a stone's throw from your house? And would you refuse to relocate your business if the Government asked to buy your farm, warehouse or factory to make way for a new railyway line? 9/10 people would probably kick up a huge fuss so there'd be no chance of laying new, STRAIGHT track for at least a decade after court battles, etc, and a big kick in the face to the Government's popularity.

Sadly I can see why it's not so easy to do in Britain but there must be another way of trippling the average speed of our trains? If more train journeys were faster than it takes to go by car and it cost no more than what you'd pay in petrol then many more people would let the train take the strain rather than their car. Currently it's both quicker and often cheaper to drive.

Gary F

Well done China. Even though WE should have the best trains

For as long as a lot of the world's technology is "made in china" the Chinese will be able to use all this technology for themselves. They are masters of duplication. Low labour costs and probably low levels of health and safety and other red tape help them to accomplish big projects quicker and cheaper than what we can do in the UK.

But I think George Stephenson has turned in his grave again. Must be hard to have created the world's first public railway only to see it turn into a national joke while other countries have overtaken Britain with superior services in every respect.

Google: Do no evil, pay no tax

Gary F

Corporate social responsibility

Running a business isn't just about take, take, take. While you can do that, many corporates participate in social responsibilities which can include supporting local communities and charities. They don't have to, but that's what makes a company a better company.

Greed isn't a nice thing but it can its perception can be offset by supporting charities. Microsoft and Bill Gates have been generous in that department and I've worked for corporates who also do their bit. In return they see their reputation increase, or at least the image of a corporate monster changes as scales turn into fluffy fur. Sort of.

If you're going to extract large profits from a country then at least give something back, especially if you choose not to pay taxes in that specific country.

Gary F

£5600 to charity? That is insulting.

That really sucks. Giving just 0.00035% of their UK profits to UK charities is like a 2 finger salute to us all, whether you're a paying Google customer or not. That is the tightest donation I've ever heard of.

According to an IPSOS poll 92% of Britons gave to a charity in a 12 month period and the average donation was £165 per person which is 0.75% of an average salaray. You'd think a big corporate like Google would be more generous than individuals at giving but this statisic shows they are adverse to supporting charities.

If Google were to match the generosity of the average Briton they would be giving £12m/year to charity which still doesn't sound much for a company of their size but it would be the decent and right thing to do.

Google have just dropped down a few pegs in my book. I will punish them by using Bing Maps (Beta with Silverlight) from now on. But I can't pull myself away from using Google search. Damn.

UK Border Agency delights with festive e-card

Gary F

Are you serious?

If the Government banned these type of trees from being sold (for example) then everyone would think it was an assault on Christmas and Christians. Children make cards in xmas tree shapes, trees go up in town centres around xmas time, and most families put up a tree and decorate it at xmas. Of course it's an icon of Christmas. It may not have a direct religious connection but it has become a tradition. There are Muslim icons that are part of their tradition that aren't actually part of their religion. There is a difference but the dividing line is blurred and offence can still be caused by disrespecting an associated icon.

Obama banks on NASA's big launcher

Gary F

Shuttle life to be extended

I wouldn't be surprised if NASA kept 2 shuttles operational beyond 2010 because they sure don't have anything else that can dock with the IIS or take anyone into space for that matter.

They'll refit the shuttles or go to a high maintenance plan to keep these birds flying. Otherwise it's just plain embarassing for them not to have this capability for several years. The Americans grounded? Naaa, their pride wouldn't allow that.

Dell crunches numbers on Perot deal

Gary F
Thumb Down

Slow deliveries from Dell - not like how it used to be

We ordered some servers from Dell and the delivery day is 3.5 weeks. This is pretty bad considering they used to do it in 7 to 10 days. I don't know if it's the supply chain to blame or cutting costs at their manufacturing/assembly plants. Take note anyone considering ordering servers from Dell. You need to plan for 3-4 weeks for delivery once the order has been accepted. :-(

What to do about virtual server security?

Gary F

Go on then, what to do?

I was expecting some tips on security judging by the title of this article. Well, you don't get anything for free... will continue to use standard best practice for securing servers.

The article has an undertone suggesting that there should be specific things you need to do to secure a VM host. Well?

Sage payment processor goes titsup - again

Gary F

Sagepay are t*ssers

I spent most of this afternoon chasing a retailer to process my payment for essential NICs that we needed for a build. The retailer said he was getting error messages from the Sagepay server. After 4 hours he took a manual payment over the phone using a different system.

Let's rename SagePay to SagePray - 'cos that's you want need to do to keep it from going down!

Dell intros 'smallest' desktop PC made with desktop parts

Gary F


Wow, that's a dud. I can hear it collapsing on the floor dying even before it's launched.

I'd got for the Acer Revo starting at just £130+vat which is far, far more attractive. Okay, it may only have an Atom CPU but the ION graphic chip should outclass the Dell and it has eSata and loads of USB ports, and you can hang it off the back of your monitor it's so small and light. Did I mention it was attractive?

Bonuses all round for failing Border Agency

Gary F

Rewards for failure

Why does the culture exist in the public sector that makes it acceptable to reward failure? Those who don't yet work for the Government don't expect bonuses unless they have exceeded expectations. (Well, apart from the banking sector but 1/4 of them effectively work for the Government now anyway!)

And the million+ people who own or work for small businesses don't expect any kind of reward for their hard work, they're just happy to have kept their jobs and the business's head floating above water.

HTC's next-gen Android flagship phone to debut Feb 2010

Gary F

Rather not have keyboard

I had an HTC with a slide out keyboard and I only ever used it to show off - particularly if it was dark since they keyboard was backlit with a soft blue light. :-) I found inputting by stylus to be slightly faster and slide-out keypads make the phone thicker. I want thinner, not thicker please.

Looking forward to the Hero 2's OLED display.

Accused phone thief snared after phone sends pic to victim

Gary F

Phone zapped photo home? Really?

What phone can be told to automatically "zap" every photo taken back to the user? Presumably it emailed the photo. But how? Every phone make/model I've used keeps the image stored locally until you physically tell it to "zap" it somewhere else.

I want that phone!

Why is USB 3 so slow?

Gary F

Not an intelligent article

What a stupid article, whinging that a SATA-II hard drive at 7200 rpm doesn't fully use the USB3 bandwidth. What's so shocking about that? If you put a Ford Fiesta on the Silverstone racetrack would you be shocked that it doesn't hit 200mph on the straights?

There is no way of saturating USB3 with a current domestic hard drive. Even a pair of 15,000 rpm SAS drives in RAID0 couldn't fill that much bandwidth. But if you have several USB3 hard drives attached then you would benefit from USB3 if they're all copying files simultaneously. Remember, USB3 is to satisfy computing for the next 6 years, so we won't see affordable devices capable of saturating it for a couple more years.

HELL-beam project now one step from jet-fighter raygun

Gary F

The silent battlefield

If every soldier and vehicle get to carry one of these 'ray guns' then it would create a deadly silent battle field. The only sound would be men screaming as their limbs are sliced off or holes suddenly appear in their torso. No BANG and no ZAP sounds. It would make war films of the future very boring.

WarMouse pushes gamers' buttons with OOMouse

Gary F

That would kill me

After 27 years of computing my mouse hand is only a few years away from retrirement on the grounds of RSI and CTS. The latter is far worse than CTS and why I use a vertical mouse.

The OOMouse is hideous and for the sake of RSI and CTS should not be considered. As much as I love Sir Clive Sinclair why did they ask him to design it? (That was sarcasm)

AMD desktop rejig: six-core 'Thuban' set for Q2 2010?

Gary F

Rumours? We'll see...

AMD need to start pulling rabits of out hats if they want to close the gap on their rival. A 6-core desktop CPU coming out before Intel's offering may help very slightly but importantly would be a major PR coup.

Google sued for super-skinny Chrome polishing

Gary F

This is getting ridiculous

Using a diff file to update software is nothing new, we had that back in the Amiga days. I don't see how applying compression to the diff file infringes on patents. It just shouldn't be allowed to infringe. Unless Google is using exactly the same compression algorithm that was patented by the other company, but what are the chances of independently coming up with exactly the same one?

Maybe the world should drop this patent rubbish, it puts a major handbrake on progress and lines the pockets of lawyers. I say that as someone who was told by the patent office that my invention cannot be patented, so if I can live with it I'm sure other companies will find a way to. (Yes, I realise this will never happen in a million years)

Suzuki unveils fuel cell e-scooter

Gary F

Is this supposed to be "green"?

Let's say it again, people. More energy goes into creating hydrogen fuel cells than what the cells themselves can produce. The process uses a lot of energy which means burning fossil fuel. This is no more "green" than a petrol engine.

The public needs to look at the overall carbon footprint of a vehicle and it's about time the press, particularly the motoring press and tabloids, looked beyond what comes out of the exhaust pipe - or doesn't as the case may be.

The regenerative braking in the scooter is a good implementation of the technology used, up until now, on hybrid cars. But until a more efficient process is invented to create hydrogen fuel cells or to generate electricity for the national grid, there is no greener alternative to petrol engines, apart from cycling. Government figures clearly show that petrol engines produce HALF the amount of CO2 per KWh of energy than is produced by the national grid per KWh.

Windows 7 - The Reg reader review redux

Gary F
Jobs Horns

Pleased others dislike Explorer

A comment you included from AC:

"5) When you enter a folder it doesn't auto expand in the folder pane."

Yes, I noticed that too and thought I was just being anal. You now have to either double click on the folder name to expand it or click on the Lotus Notes style arrow. (I am very disturbed to see MS copying that given that so many Lotus customers are migrating to MS)

Another quirk with the folder pane (for which the activation function is well hidden, why couldn't it remain as an icon?) is if you double click on a folder it somes jumps down to the bottom of the folder pane instead of remaining at the same location after its opened. Such small issues are really the biggest problems as it affects usability.

El Reg, you neglected to pick up on a major mailing of Windows 7. The ability to remember the location of your Explorer windows after a reboot has GONE! If you like to continue working with your open Explorer windows in the same place with the same settings then tough luck. Win7 forces you to manually put them all back to how you like them each and every time you reboot.

I'm all for retro design, but going back to Windows 3 is a bit too much!

Remember people - all that glisters is not gold, as Shakespeare wrote some 413 years ago in his play "A Merchant of Version 7". Has the merchant Ballmer taken your pound of flesh?

Windows 7 lessons - the must know before you buy

Gary F

It's driving me nuts

Where has the "remember settings for each window" checkbox gone? Each time Win7 boots I get a big messy pile of explorer windows on top of each other in the middle of the screen. Why is Win7 allowed to have amnesia when XP had a good memory when it comes to where I want each window to be positioned and how each one is presented to me? Dumb, dumb, dumb. How the heck do I feed back to MS?

One step forwards and one step backwards. It's not even Marmite because I both like and hate 7.

Google apes Microsoft's Twitter pact in real-time

Gary F

Oh please no

Twits tweet about any old sh*t and the last thing I need is any old sh*t coming back from my search queries. Let's hope Google don't mix tweets into the default search results. That would just be awful.

Dell refunds PC user for rejecting Windows

Gary F

OS should be optional

Dell give you the choice of OS - or no OS at all - when you buy servers from their website, so why can't they offer the same options for desktops and laptops?

Maybe they don't think low demand would warrant the options, or they prefer to push Windows on every desk/laptop to make a little extra profit?

Neanderthal woman could whup Schwarzenegger

Gary F

Yes, I get it, I'm a slob.

Evolution says "use it or lose it". Fair enough. But do we use our brains more than our ancestors? Have our brains got bigger or more capable in the last 2000 years? That's what I want to know.

And are we closer to ascension? And have I been watching too much Stargate?

Sky confirms telly-on-Xbox launch date

Gary F

Low res video on a 40" TV?

Most people have their Xbox connected to a 37"+ size TV, right? I've watched streamed video on a 40" screen via both a PC and PS3 and the quality is terrible. I'd describe it as VHS quality or S-VHS at best. If it's in a small window then it looks good, but to appreciate dramas and sport you need to watch in full screen. Unless Sky plan on running the service for free I fail to see any benefit for the public, unless they can't physically obtain Sky via satellite or cable.

We are now in the world of HD so it's rather pathetic providing VHS quality on demand services and expecting people to pay for it. The best streamed quality I've seen is from the BBC iPlayer, but even that looks terrible full screen on a 40" TV.

VelociRaptor users bitten by false error bug

Gary F

Hold the 'raptors, I'll pay extra for SAS

I had almost fallen in love with the idea of using Velociraptors when we replace all our hardware by the end of the year, but this is scary and not worth the risk. Very shoddy lack of action from WD. We will find the extra budget to use 10K SAS drives instead which should be slightly faster anyway and they are a genuine enterprise class product and manufacturer's treat them as such.

Shame on you WD, you are costing people time, money, frustration and increasing their risks when they lose RAID1.

Google bolts 'stable' Chrome 3 onto interwebs

Gary F

Sorry, I forgot to laugh

The version numbering for Chrome is a joke. Now on version 3.0? Still looks like 1.5. They are trying to play version catch-up with Firefox. Hey, why not add another dull icon and call it 4.0!

The lack of normal menus is probably a cause of frustration for some and screams "I'm not that sophisticated". (I know that's not true but looks are everything to many people, particularly non-geek computer owners)

Gotta love it's memory/crash protection though.

Gary F

Google are anti AdBlock

Why would the Internet's biggest provider of adverts allow its own browser to block adverts? Does Ford or GM support pedestrianising roads?

Chrome is simple and the fastest browser out there. People who don't use IE are likely to use FF, so FF users are really their target market. I hate the bloatyness and memory leaking of FF on Windows, not to mention it sometimes freezing when I open lots of tabs. But those add-ins are incredible.

No add-ins, no mass take up of Chrome. Simple.

Microsoft harries XP-loving biz customers on to Windows 7

Gary F

But XP works fine, thank you

Having used Win7 on and off for the best part of this year and recently upgrading my main PC from XP to 7, a big part of me wishes I hadn't. I have usability issues with it, things that worked well in XP that are broken or changed in 7.

I hope the corporates I work for don't upgrade to 7. Staff are happy using XP, it does what it needs to do very well, and everyone is very comfortable using it. I can't think of any killer business reasons to spend money on upgrading, staff training, plus endure a period of reduced productivity while staff get to grips with it or find workarounds for usability or even compatability issues (which aren't huge, 7 is fairly good on that front. I'm running a 10 year old version of Photoshop 'cos it does everything I need).

XP was good in its day and since Vista it has been appreciated even more than it was originally. I'm not convinced it will change that much.

If anyone knows how I can feedback bug/usability issues to Microsoft please let me know.