* Posts by Andy Mc

69 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Mar 2008


OK, smarty pants AI. You can beat us humans at video games. But how about real-world puzzles like Jenga? Oh, oh no

Andy Mc

Re: Harder Rules Needed

Ah, but that's not in the original rules...

No-one in my house would get away with leaving the top of the stack in that state though!

WileyFox disentangles itself from Cyanogen

Andy Mc

Re: Stock android

All of which is fine, but Wileyfox haven't released the necessary binaries for anything except the Storm and Swift, so there are no Lineage OS images for all of the other phones. Perhaps if you spend your life building and tweaking ROM images for phones this isn't a problem, but for those of us who have more important things to do with our lives this means Lineage OS isn't currently an option for most.

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

Andy Mc

Re: Missing info in write up

Nope, the writeup appears correct. It's 159 for the Swift 2, or 189 if you want the shinier Swift 2+ with better camera and more flash.

Google un-clogs Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery downloads

Andy Mc

Probably nowt, ESA's not part of the EU. Separate membership and rules.

World+dog to get retro classic Commodore 64 for Christmas

Andy Mc

I know it's a long time ago and my memory's not what it was, but that's not a C64 case, it's a C64c surely?

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Andy Mc

Re: So where is the post to balance this out?

The MEP you elected voted to allow Tusk and Juncker into their positions. You voted for an MEP to represent you in decisions in Brussels, as you vote for an MP to do likewise in Westminster. You don't like your representative's decision? Elect a different MEP next time. This is how the system works at home as in the EU.

Four years of BJ government without the EU to keep him slightly sane is a frightening concept....

Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

Andy Mc

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

What, like B&N have just (last week) done to Nook owners: Bye, bye says B&N

BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Andy Mc

Re: The "all work must be rewarded" mentality

Calm down, dear. If you don't feel their output is worthy enough to watch then simply don't watch and no fee is due. Having a bad day?

Brit brewer opensources entire recipe archive

Andy Mc
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What jolly decent people.... :)

Ready for a nostalgia kick? Usborne has put its old computer books on the web for free

Andy Mc

Re: Is the Spy one blank inside?

working here.

UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Andy Mc

Re: Security Theatre and/or Snooping

Doesn't really matter what was in the mind of the politicos who approve it. What matters is the strict interpretation of the words, and if there's insufficient guards in place in the words then it can (and will) be used to the fullest extent possible.

Andy Mc

Re: Cautiously optimistic [Emergency provision]

How much consideration of the evidence/justification is the Home Sec putting into deciding each request if he's getting four of these requests with a stack of supporting documentation every day of the year, given that he presumably has an awful lot of other stuff to do with his time...? Seems like a poor idea, even without starting to consider the lack of direct judicial oversight.

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Andy Mc

Interesting view on history

"The UK market has lagged behind other countries, using DVB-T/MPEG-2 for FreeView when the rest of Europe was implementing DVB-T/MPEG-4. Within two years, Germany will be switching over to DVB-T2 using HEVC, which makes much more efficient use of spectrum for 4K transmissions"

Completely nonsense. It's because we were right at the leading edge that DVB-T and MPEG-2 were implemented. To the best of my knowledge the only countries that launched with H.264 were those who were many years behind us. And we were one of the first adopters of DVB-T2. HEVC was barely even a concept at the point we implemented HD on DVB-T2 6 years ago, which is why we chose H.264.

Gonna RUB MYSELF against the WALL: Microsoft's Surface Hub 84" monster-slab

Andy Mc

Re: Not even new...but you youngsters wouldn't remember

no. it's not.

Driverless cars deal death to Detroit, says Barclays

Andy Mc

oh, I hope this comes true....

60% fewer cars on the road? I sense some blissful driving opportunities on empty roads coming up :) <bounce>

DTS announces DTS:X – sparks object-based audio war with Dolby

Andy Mc

> Marantz will offer firmware upgrades

Hah, yeah, like they are with adaptive streaming on their current generation network streamers? Oh, that's right, they decided they CBA.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Andy Mc

Re: broadcasts?

While I'd agree that DAB hasn't taken off in the way that many would like it to have I'd still argue it's pretty popular. 20+ million sets is a significant number in a country of 60ish million people, and yes, I'm aware how that compares to the number of analogue sets.

Adding a DAB+ mux is a lovely idea to encourage take-up, but what broadcaster in their right mind would accept a (perhaps) 50% discount on their transmission bill for the reduced number of bits required, in return for reaching less than 15% of the audience they'd get on a DAB service?

Comparisons to Freeview aren't really like-for-like, since Freeview is a controlled service with mandated hardware standards so they have a stick (as well as the carrot of the the HD mux) to convince hardware manufacturers to introduce DVB-T2 support. DAB has no stick. Freeview also has a thriving market for cheap, functional STBs, so your telly's built-in receiver no longer supporting the latest standard just means you stick a new external box on. Not an option with a great many DAB receivers, which don't have any external inputs and will therefore become bin-fodder if you somehow manage to convince broadcasters to take up your DAB+ mux. A goodly number of these aren't 20 quid cheapies, but 100+ quid shiny things they were convinced to buy.

Andy Mc

Re: broadcasts?

Exactly what happened to me, current-spec Marantz now with sub-standard streams and the Beeb saying they're even going to stop those at some point in the relatively near future. Thanks chaps.

And now Nigel wants a whole different set of receivers to be made obsolete. Not that I have any great love for the abomination that is DAB, but that's a lot of kit to be thrown in the bin and a very large number of grumpy people out of pocket after being forced to replace functioning boxes.

Superfish: Lenovo? More like Lolnono – until they get real on privacy

Andy Mc

Re: Checked out Yoga 2

I bought one in December and it was manufactured in July (and hence clean)...

Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

Andy Mc

Frankly I'd settle for not being herded in cattle trucks before forcing them to introduce wifi. A journey on a Southern service along the south coast usually means being cooped up in an airless box with no toilets for an hour and a half. The trains in the arse-end of China are considerably more civilised...

The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Andy Mc

Re: Only Connect

Goodness me, if there's anything more awkward and painful to watch on TV than Only Connect then I've (fortunately) yet to suffer it. Can't we switch OC onto BBC3 before that gets switched off, oops sorry, online and take the insufferable programme with it.

Let XKCD's Randall Munroe satisfy your curiosity in this excerpt from his book, What If

Andy Mc

Re: Huh?

I'm seeing that message on Firefox on Windoze.

Boffins propose security shim for Android

Andy Mc

Re: This already exists

True, it does require root, but only at the point of inserting the shim - root can be removed immediately afterwards. Similar functionality could easily be baked in, but seeing the mess Google made with AppOps I'd prefer it if they just lifted Xposed/Xprivacy and used that. Anyway, my point being that these researchers have been wasting their time suggesting something that already exists.

Andy Mc

This already exists

It's called XPrivacy and it attaches to an API shim called Xposed that allows plugins to monitor/control what requests go to the OS.

French youth faces court for illegal drone flight

Andy Mc

Re: Should be employed..

Yep, my thoughts exactly. He's got a promising career ahead of him...

Google slurps sound-powered security upstart SlickLogin

Andy Mc

"Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free"

Err, really....?

4K-ing hell! Will your shiny new Ultra HD TV actually display HD telly?

Andy Mc

Re: 2K intermediate

Indeed, but that's only because there's no consumer outlet for 4k except digital cinema right now so there's little point. Once there's a way to get that content to the home on onto people's shiny new 4k panels both the content and the post capability in 4k already exists. Hence the original comment about there being no 4k content not being entirely accurate.

Andy Mc

Re: 2K intermediate

Actually you'll find that most cinema productions that are digitally recorded with any kind of a budget are being shot in 4k these days, and as for the holdouts still using film, decent quality 35mm stock has small enough grain to justify scanning at 4k or higher (16mm less so). Pretty much all of the post-production suites in Soho are equipped for 4k and higher resolutions and film can be rescanned at higher resolutions than it was for the original releases to good effect, if a decent quality master is used. There's a move towards 4k for TV production too - the cost of 4k kit is plumetting.

And I think you'll find it was 3D that was the recent way of selling new TVs to idiots.

Now THAT'S a sunroof: Solar-powered family car emerges from Ford labs

Andy Mc

But if solar is the answer, then surely the way to do that is centralised, large-scale, high-efficiency with distribution, allowing individual peaks and troughs in demand to be absorbed. If it charges within a day and you don't use it for 3 days then you've wasted 67% of the generation potential because you don't have the batteries to store the energy. (Perhaps you should go for a drive, just to justify it). If you're only using it for small distances then it seems unlikely it'll pay back vs. getting someone else to generate the energy efficiently for you.

I really can't see how this wins vs. a plug-in?

(oh and for the school run, the answer is walking)

Andy Mc

21 miles from a full day's charging while having to put up with a fugly and pricey roof-full of PV and also having to build a car-sized lens in your garden? And this is progress how, exactly?

RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

Andy Mc

Re: useless

Erm, the retail bit of RBS includes Natwest and Ulster banks. Which means they have a hell of a lot more customers in the rest of the UK than in Scotland who rely (relied?) on them to pay their bills. So take your anti-scottish tosh elsewhere.

Dodgy 'iMessage for Android' app deep-sixed by Google

Andy Mc

Long click on the app in the app drawer, drag to Uninstall. Simples.

One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

Andy Mc

Sigint capability

What makes you think the Scots would need to be able to intercept undersea cables to monitor terrorists? Independence would allow a break from the Westminster-driven foreign policy that has caused so many nutters to see the UK as a target...

Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

Andy Mc

Re: @Thomas 4 -- Does it actually matter?

The whole not knowing the encryption key thing doesn't help you if the security services believe otherwise... How can you prove you don't know it?

Auntie touts e-babysitting ... and no £15,000 in-app purchase shocks

Andy Mc

146 MB?!?

Is NASA planning to send LAVA LAMPS to Jupiter?

Andy Mc

Re: Wrong orientation?

Look again. The cage the lamp's in can pivot, so when it gets up to speed the lamp is (almost) horizontal and the primary forces run from the top of the lamp to the bottom. There is still a lateral component of 1g, but this force is 3 times greater so it's more like having the lamp at 30 degrees or thereabouts. Cool anyway :)

Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Andy Mc

Re: Indentation

Except when you end up having to read code that someone's peppered with tabs on someone else's machine where they haven't bothered to set up a proper editor or they really like 8 characters per tab and anything over a few levels of hierarchy means that the code's disappeared off the edge of the screen, nothing lines up and it's impossible to follow. Fixed spacing using spaces works universally, unless you're a freak who uses variable-pitch fonts....

You MERCILESS FIEND... you put that audio file on AUTOPLAY

Andy Mc

"Irrational it may be, but people love it when video plays and hate it when audio does"

Erm, no. Anything that moves gets Adblocked immediately... But your right, audio sucks harder.

Mobes' pay-by-bonk just isn't cool enough, sniffs Tesco bod

Andy Mc

Re: The kids won't use it??? WTF

Wow, that's impressive! You must be seriously undesirable to get refused a clubcard!

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Andy Mc

Feckin' ada, is anyone really confused by metric vs. imperial? Really? Can't help but think we've got bigger problems to be considering than what unit I buy milk in (which is, anyway, always litres thanks to the laws passed more years ago than I care to remember, just not an integer number of litres). FFS just deal with it, leave it alone and go off and sort out the national debt or something...

Best Buy slams brakes on UK stores amid spending freeze

Andy Mc
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Re: I really like the local BestBuy!

You must be going into a different Best Buy in Southampton. All looked mightily overpriced to me, even compared to Currys/PC World down the road. And as for pushy staff, sorry, I got bored of being hassled and left. Presumably that's how you get your commission?

Huge fat pipe squirts mighty streams

Andy Mc


Uncompressed 1080p isn't 746Mbps. 1080p runs at 2.85Gbps... (e.g. 2640 x 1080 x 20b x 50Hz)

Mine's the one with the 3G-SDI to HDMI converter in the pocket.

Cable vendor slapped for unproven claims

Andy Mc


No, you see I'd already made my point, which was that you're the only person who wants pages of pointless info to make crappy interfaces even less comprehensible :)

Andy Mc


"I'm just aware of what "industry best practice" might be (as exemplified by $20 DSL modems with error counters as an architectural requirement)"

Erm, that'll be the wrong industry's best practice.

I suspect you'll find that the main reason for the quantity of low-level info presented by DSL modems relates to the amount of difficulty a very significant % of users have getting reliable high-speed connections. If you go out and ask your friends, assuming you have some, how many have link, latency, throughput or data loss problems with their broadband vs. their HDMI link from STB to TV, I think you'll understand why it would be a pointless exercise (and increase the cost to the end-user) to implement lots of low-level debug on every HDMI-equipped box.

Andy Mc

I'm also an engineer.

If your kit's power supply isn't well enough designed to reject significant noise from the mains input then the chances are it's not going to have had much effort put into amp design either (or anything else for that matter) so buying a 1250 quid mains lead isn't going to make your day any better.

Similarly, if your 99p HDMI lead is causing dropouts (and any errors on audio or video will be hugely obvious), splash out on a 1.99 one with a little bit of copper between the connectors. That'll do. No, error correction is not a panacea. But if the 2b/10b, 4b/10b and 8b/10b coding on HDMI's not up to the job then you've either got a *really* badly made lead or some serious noise around. And lose the paranoia. No-one extracts error correction stats because the recovery is entirely automated and done at such a low level (i.e. not software) it would be annoying (not to mention pointless) to do. All anyone cares about is worky/no worky, not how hard the error correction's working.

I was timeboxed in a holistic scrum

Andy Mc


<cough> *AN* holistic scrum....

Smart meters pose hacker kill-switch risk, warn boffins

Andy Mc

How many?

"The rollout of an estimated 47 million smart meters to each of the UK's 26 million homes"

I thought two meters in my house was plenty, and now I'm going to have 47 million installed? Dunno where they'll fit....

Andy Mc

You're naive

Because it's either hooked up to the control servers via the power-lines (a connection to which is available in every house) or via a wireless network of some kind (which is therefore available everywhere). How exactly do you propose isolating this network?

Logitech Squeezebox Touch Wi-Fi music streamer

Andy Mc
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looks like a mightily expensive alternative to the o2 joggler, which is running at 49 quid right now.

Labour shock pledge: 16.8-meg broadband for ALL by 2012!

Andy Mc

Re: Lies

Hah, it's not just MPs' election promises that are lies. It's anything any politician utters, ever. Regardless of their chosen colour.