* Posts by TimM

205 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Mar 2008


Obama may militarise NASA to save money


I was hoping...

... this would happen earlier and we'd get Shuttles flying round the earth blasting evil villains from their space stations with frickin lasers, all Moonraker style :-)

Columbia disaster 'not survivable', NASA concludes


methane - a fossil fuel

Only when it's not sourced from cow and human farts.

Home Office death list 'stops ID fraud'


Great until...

... the list is inevitably left on an unencrypted USB stick on a train.

iPlayer finally makes friendly with Mac and Linux


Hi-res flash

"When you can just view it in Flash on the iPlayer website. Their newer higher res videos actually look pretty good in full screen."

Have to admit, it's damn good using the High-res flash stream.

So much so that I'm convinced that HD streaming is not that far fetched in Broadband Britain, considering it was streaming full resolution SD telly on my lowly ADSL quite happily.

However, I did note it didn't offer the high res stream in all browsers (may even only be IE and could possibly be just Windows).

Now if only the Wii would add an iPlayer channel with the High Res streams (rather than use the very poor quality stream via the Wii Browser).

Can we expect the same from other TV channels? No, because the competition muppets would rather stamp out a single common platform and force them all to compete with their own players, so lots of different software for us and a right mess made of our PCs! :(

BBC: Top Gear Tesla didn't run out of juice



"Face it, electric cars have gone from nowhere to nigh-on being catching petrol cars, as the Tesla review showed. Yeah there are drawbacks - prive, range - but we all know that is temporary"

Main thing leccy cars have to get over is the millions (perhaps majority) of people who don't have the luxury of a garage and a handy charging point.

What about all those people who have to park on the street, or even have garages out in a block away from the electric supply of the house? Can't exactly have cables running out the house and down the street! Those with 2nd cars parked out on the drive even (cable running out the front door?).

Okay, install charging points on the street, but who's going to pay for that? The council? What about private roads? What about paying for the electricity? How do you stop your neighbour or anyone else nicking your charging point and running up your bill? Or stop vandals shorting the thing out? Solar charging? Forget it, this is Britain.

etc, etc, etc.

Flawed technology. Nice idea, but flawed implementation.

NASA will give away old Shuttles for free


Surely they need one on standby though...

... how else is Bruce going to save us from impending doom otherwise?

Sky demonstrates 3D telly vision


Polarised vs the Beeb's effort

Polarised lenses aren't the coloured ones. They are different polarisations in each lens to get a different image.

The Beeb's effort in the 90s (Children In Need night, with the wonders of Eastenders and Doctor Who in 3D!), was based on a 2D image and the fact different coloured filters cause a slight delay in the image getting to the brain.

Combine that with some rotating camerawork and you get a 3D "effect" in the brain's interpretation of the image.

Fascinating novelty, but nothing more than that. The only films you could make with it, would get very dizzing.

Online storage start-up pitches 'USB stick on the internet'



Low one off fee for the software, and the rest is Amazon S3 storage costs (so all hosting done by Amazon, in their "cloud"), paid direct to Amazon, not JungleDisk.

Has a "drive letter", encryption, and all that.

Windows, Mac, Linux, and even a portable USB key version. And there's the download/decrypt source available free and forever (in case company goes TU).

For average home users, the costs are peanuts. I have around a gig stored and transfer maybe that per month and pay something like $0.50 a month, often less. Coupled with a Nationwide card for no-fees foreign card transactions, it's a billy bargain (though they do EU hosting now in UK prices, but we get slightly more ripped off with UK pricing).

For businesses, like everything with S3, pricing scales up.

Nintendo whacked with $5m Wii strap lawsuit


says everything

From the class action:

"so one of the girls in particular really was having a good time, and really got into this game, and she was going for the full arcing motionslike you see in those commercials

… and …before you knew it this Remote,with strap on, and I made sure that bad boy was strapped to her wrist, because Nintendo’s warned me so many times. It actually flew out of her hand anyway, broke, out of her hand, the strap actually ripped, it went like this, flying at mach speed I think, BAM!, hit our wall, put an indent in our wall."

Hmm, yeah. "Mach speed" !

That was just an example this woman has dug up from a web site to boost her case (can't see text like the above standing up in a UK court, but hey, this is America we're talking about), but her own case smacks of someone's telly got bust "somehow" (was she in the room when her kid did the damage and blamed it on the Wii?), and spots an opportunity through the "Sue Everyone" Legal System of America. Probably because their insurance company wasn't going to pay up.

No icon due to lack of "rolleyes".

Firm touts anti-radiation chip for phones


As viable a business opportunity...

... as spraying a bit of foam over some trees in a muddy field in the New Forest, claiming it's like Lapland and charging £25 a pop.

Can I buy shares in their company?

And maybe go faster stripes do actually make you go faster after all.

A380 too quiet, moan Emirates pilots


decent earplugs or noise cancelling headphones

My shure e2c foam buds are great for this. Use them on flights and at work, and blissfully go unaware that someone is trying to talk to me :). Fantastic sound quality too for music.

Or shelve out for some Bose noise cancelling headphones. Supposed to be the dogs danglies.

As for kids and white noise to calm them... drugs would do the same job ;-). I think it should be a condition that they are put under before they are taken onto the flight. Same goes for drunken yobs and obnoxious business travellers in cattle class that like to hold meetings with their oversized laptops whilst everyone else is trying to get some sleep.

God forbid the chaos once mobile phones are the norm on flights. I just prey the charges are too high for the majority, else I can assure there will be blood spilt on flights!

SkyFire beta goes public


S60, certs, etc

Hmm, looks like S60 support also has resolution limits, going by the lack of N80 support (one of the rare devices with higher resolution than normal, though a tiny screen).

As for certs. Might be the relevant root cert is missing (typical if it's a GoDaddy cert). If the root cert is not part of the default pack with the phone, they can be a nightmare to get installed. Just trying to download the relevant cert is often not enough unless the hosting server has set the mime type for the cert correctly (has to be application/x-x509-ca-cert). In the case of GoDaddy the root cert also needs to be converted to the right format (DER). Even just copying the cert via PC Suite doesn't aid getting them installed I found.

Could be newer phones may have the relevant certs though.

Finally, this is concerning...

"Skyfire will run on Wi-Fi, however a data plan is recommended."

Hmm, why would I want to pay for a data plan and use 2G/3G speeds when I can use faster Wi-Fi on a free access point?

Google OS gOS - if at first you don't succeed...


Re: XP Boot time

"XP Boot time 32 second on over 6 year old Laptop."

Hmm, funny as my 4-ish year old laptop takes around 2 to 3 minutes to boot *and log in* to XP. That's not using hibernation. It takes around 45 seconds with hibernation of course, which is why I use it all the time ;). I'd still prefer quicker for times when I just want to quickly look something up.

My experience of most laptops is a cold boot of XP is very slow. By "most" I mean the average cheap laptop most people will buy. Not a £1000+ gaming rig.

Doesn't help that often laptops can spend a good 10 to 15 seconds just in the BIOS part, messing about trying to spin up all the fans, detect hardware, beep and then kick into the XP boot!


Browser based OS

Maybe they are shitty at present, but it's not a shitty idea if it's done right (and hosting it on linux is as shitty an idea as hosting it on Windows. Ditch the full linux stuff and go down to raw embedded browser + display/net driver + kernel).

I'd welcome a "device" that boots in a second, with very low spec, low power requirements, and only comes with net access to run all apps direct off the net in a "browser" (or extended concept of a browser. Let's just call it DHTML apps. Hmm, Adobe AIR anyone?... maybe not!).

Most of the time I don't need the bloat of Windows, or even Linux for that matter. I just want to surf and read emails, and do it fast. Most desktop operating systems (including Linux), get in the way of that.

We do still need an even faster internet, and a means of caching apps locally (hmm... Google Gears?... err).

Blu-ray backers highlight rising demand



""Blu-ray will enter the mainstream" in Q1 2009"

Not even this side of the next century will Blu-ray achieve this. I think the BDA have been spending too much time in the Blu-Ray.com forums and the rabidness has gone to their heads! ;)

Blu-Ray will continue to be popular in a niche market, and do quite well for a good 5 years or so, with I'm sure some excellent releases and impressive movie watching for those who care, *but* for the mainstream majority DVD is here to stay for a good 5 years, maybe 10. Then there will be something else. Not Blu-Ray though.

Re: Oh for goodness sake...

"The same old anti-Blu-ray arguments wheeled out time after time"

The same old arguments are what Joe Public thinks! Doesn't matter what the "anti" camp thinks, this is plain fact from the consumer.

1. It's expensive (doesn't matter if you think it's value for money. JP does not)

2. Existing £200 TV, £20 DVD player and £5 per DVD, vs an investment of upwards of £1000 for a complete HD/Home Cinema set up (TV, player, amp, speakers, etc), and then expensive discs on top? Hmm no brainer for those who aren't interested in Home Cinema but do watch a few DVDs.

3. DVD is good enough (and to be fair, I agree with them at 32" or less)

4. Blue what? Oh, you mean that games console PS3 thing. I have a Wii.

5. HD? what's HD?

6. I've got HD because my TV says it's HD Ready (he says with an Freeview analogue SD SCART connection).

7. Why on earth do I *need* a monster sized TV and HD anyway?

8. I've just been made redundant (etc etc)

That's the reason why Blu-Ray at the present doesn't stand a chance.

Dismiss it if you like, but this kind of rabid fanboyism that "Blu-Ray is going to rule the world and anyone who argues against it is clearly deranged" is more blinkered than those they mocked in the HD DVD camp!

You can bang on about how fantastic HD is until the cows come home, but it makes crap all difference to Mr & Mrs Loaded with a mortgage and kids, with little disposable income, and no interest in premium home cinema equipment. They want a TV in the corner of the room to watch Strictly Come Bollocks, and play the kids DVDs. That is Joe Public. That is the majority. That is the mainstream.

Face facts. As much as I'd love everyone to jump to HD now, in whatever form, so I can get my fix of HD, JP is just not ready (and to be honest, I don't think they ever will. They will have to be forced into it, and that requires switching off SD entirely. Given we're only just switching to digital, it's going to be 10 or 20 years before that happens!!).

Lapland New Forest website suffers 'unusual technical problems'


Boo hoo Victor

"We are all deeply upset at the outrageous lies, slander, accusations, violent threats and lack of official support we have endured and I have every intention of pursuing all matters to the full extent of the law."

Look forward to the entertainment over that then! lol.

The beeb mentioned a friend of Victor was concerned he'll lose his house over this. Oh well, maybe he'll qualify for NuLabour's deferred interest mortgage thing now!.

Though on a serious note, how many of us have as kids been to some really "naff" attractions? I know I have. Though I doubt any of them cost £25 a head. More like £2 which I guess was a cheap price to occupy time on a dull day during the summer holidays.

Blockbuster OnDemand coming to a Blu-ray player near you


Re: 50gb, throttling and flash cards

50gb - Like BR generally takes a whole 50gb for just the movie (long ass stuff like LOTR excepted). Besides, there will be initially some compromise to compress down to acceptable sizes. As a hint of what's to come, just take a look at the Beeb's beta "HQ" streamed content on iPlayer. Yes not High Def, and not flawless, but on our currently slow broadband it's quite amazing for such a low bandwidth. Then think how fast net speeds have increased in just 10 years. Project forward, improve compression, and ignore the small minority of people who are *that* fussed about true HD quality (yes sucks for us, but the majority couldn't give a rats)... and there you have it.

Throttling - ISP + deal with relevant movie company / blockbuster-like-outfit = QoS priority for streamed content. Problem solved, especially as the money will pay for bigger pipes dedicated to it. ISPs are generally only concerned about things outside of their control that consume resources without financial compensation. Add money and Hollywood to the mix, and the problem goes away.

Flash cards - definitely another potential way forward. Think a few years from now: credit cards with 100s of gigs of flash. Pop into Tesco, pay for your goods at the till and pick movie while you're at it onto your card. Stick the card into a reader connected to your TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, fridge, whatever, and play. All DRM'd (keeping Hollywood happy) and portable because it's just all on a little bit of plastic in your wallet! Want on-demand or overnight downloads? An extra card in your TV (complete with credit card details for purchase), pick what you want to watch, and off it goes.

Optical? Limited formats. Expensive to distribute.

History has shown that convenience over quality wins in the mass market. It's the same with music, and even the same with food.



Regardless of where it is launched, the significant thing is this shows the seriousness of net streaming vs optical. So much so that Blu-Ray manufacturers are prepared to include it in their players.

I am thoroughly convinced that the true successor to DVD will be net play. However DVD has a good 5 to 10 years to run yet (if you look outside the blinkered world of Home Cinema and think about the normal living room that is). Blu-Ray is a stop gap. Much like laserdisc, though a little more successful.

New terror guidelines on photography



I'd think of moving from the country to somewhere without a police state like this, but I'd probably be locked up for that (just thinking about it that is).

Why don't they just go all out and declare everyone a terrorist and be done with it !

Robo-flower wilts as power burns



It'll be wilting all the time, and I'd end up chucking it in the bin.

Besides, stuff all this and just build more CO2 friendly nuke generators and stop wasting money on the no-so-green-as-you-think wind farms. Problem solved and we can eat up all the juice we like then.

Yeah, I know, where to bury the waste. Superman surely can just lob it into the sun can't he?

Mine's the one with the inanimate carbon rod in the pocket.

Google to jettison 'second class citizens'


Re: crocadile tears

And again, to stress the other comments, these guys in the US are not like UK contractors. Here contractors can be highly paid, more like consultants, and expect no benefits from their client or be required to partake in company events (or should do if they want to remain outside of IR35 !!). In the US it appears they are more like simple temps. Paid and taxed like full time employees, but denied any other benefits.

In the UK, part of the risk is downturns. Something you can deal with if your business is profitable (so long as HMRC haven't ruled you inside IR35 and prevented you making a profit, then you're denied the possibility of retaining your business during a downturn, have to fold the business and make yourself redundant).

I get the impression that in the US a "contractor" is out the door and onto the dole queue.

Group Test: Blu-ray Disc players



Frankly I'd say that if you went for a player that couldn't do Profile 2.0 now, you'll be kicking yourself a year or two from now.

Especially when LOTR comes out on BR with profile 2.0 live interactive features that allows you to personally chat with Peter Jackson and ask him what he had for breakfast the day he was shooting the scene you are watching right now ;)

It doesn't even have to be about whether you personally want to bother with profile 2 features though. You'll find it harder to sell the player if you upgrade without profile 2.

It's funny though the attitude of "ah well, don't need it anyway" (which I always felt was just a way of rubbishing HD DVD when it had the upper hand). No one would stand for a single DVD feature being unplayable today because of the limits of the player.

You're paying a fortune for this stuff. Demand the full spec. Buying Profile 1.1 and 1.0 players to me are like buying the battered old manager's special in Currys that comes without a box, manual, cables, remote and is scuffed up and battered (but yet flogged at only a £10 discount).

But thankfully there are some reasonable priced profile 2 spec players now (that aren't games consoles). Shame they're Sony. And region coded.

Formula One kinetic energy recovery rigs debut


Re: No brainer

And of course

Ferrari = FIAT = FIA

Computer virus quarantines London Hospital for second day


And this is why centralised databases are a risk

Imagine if it had got onto the patient records system. Worse if that system becomes part of the central ID system!

Google tells the world how to talk


Re: English?

That's nothing. My XP, despite being told distinctly that it is English UK, insist on reverting to Welsh keyboard settings! (and no, I'm not Welsh).

NASA's curious climate capers


"since reliable record-keeping began in 1880"

I question how accurate these records are compared to the methods of measuring in the last 10 or 20 years.

Also there's a problem in that we were technically coming out of a mini ice-age around the 1880s. Arguably we are still recovering from this.

Whether man has contributed makes crap all difference anyway, we're getting warmer whether man was here or not. Okay we may be making it even warmer still, but it's peanuts to what nature has on the cards.

And face it. We're only here for a tiny blip of time. In the true span of things, we stand very little chance of survival, whatever happens, so what does it matter?

Most biometric checks will bypass ID database

Thumb Down

So even worse then

As if the database wasn't bad enough with all the potential risks of centralised data being lost and abused, by bypassing it then even the basic promise of security is gone as we can be absolutely guaranteed that cloned ID cards will appear within a few years.

Just scrap the whole thing now before any more tax payers money is wasted on this.

(and before the "nothing to hide" bunch kick off, if you want ID, get a passport. Does the same job, only better and cheaper).

Obama's BlackBerry to be banned?


Is this the actual issue?

Sure I heard on Sky or BBC news that the concern was the (in)security of the Blackberry. He'll be allowed a laptop and can send/receive mail on that. It's just the BB they are concerned about. From what I heard.

Mankind to detect alien life 'by 2025'



Problem as I see it is, as we look further into the universe we are looking further back in time and therefore surely making it harder to find any advanced civilisation. There may be many advanced civilisations out there, but we wouldn't know about it for millions of years based on the speed of light. Indeed, few will know about us in our lifetime except those who are nearby.

By the time we're in a position to really know, the human race will be long gone.

Nokia seeks helpers for real-time traffic survey

Thumb Up

Good idea

Had been thinking this would be a good idea myself, given you've got a GPS device with internet connectivity to feed back information.

Problem is going to be reliability of the information.

Another similar facility I've often thought about is gathering data on user preferred routes.

e.g. if the route normally suggested doesn't match with the routes people typically take, then perhaps there's a reason for that, and it could update suggested routes with the preferred routes (e.g. no, that's not a road, it's a field!)

Re: open source

Fine, though you should be more concerned at the moment about Google Maps, which because it requires an Internet connection on a mobile to even work, Google are gathering data about your whereabouts the instant you fire it up (and even if you don't use GPS, the operator cell info is gathered). Nokia Maps at least doesn't require the net connection if you pre-download the maps.

Open source fanciers finger Beeb's Win 7 'sales presentation'



Perhaps if the open source community would dish up a decent viable OS that will work for everyone including Joe "dumb" Public, and work on all hardware, support all existing hardware, and thus be a viable alternative to Windows...

... then they can ask the Beeb to promote their own stuff ;)

However, Linux (as that's what they're really talking about), is just too complex for both the Beeb and their viewers to comprehend. Not to mention you just can't get a linux distro and slap it on any old hardware (especially laptops) without a world of pain (and yes before the penguins jump in, I mean, take any old laptop you find in PC World etc and slap on a linux distro and tell me that *out of the box* without resorting to browsing geeky linux forums, it will work with everything including the WiFi, touchpad, DVD/Blu-Ray burner, fancy graphics card, etc. I can guarantee you it won't with the majority).

Anyway, the Beeb promote Macs a lot too. Given that's essentially a unix variant that's been tweaked especially to run only on locked down specific Mac hardware, at least it's a hell of a lot easier for the Beeb and the viewers. Of course it's not free and not completely open source ;)

PlusNet customer invited to opt-in to BT's Phorm trial

Dead Vulture

Fuss about nothing

1 person. That's all.

Plus have had their fair share of screw ups, but this is hardly a major customer disaster. Just smacks of a chance to bash them because of their owners.

Frankly I've found Plus to be pretty reasonable and a good price for the flexibility offered. The whole no-longer-unlimited fuss was just inevitable and all ISPs went that way anyway. Throttling is just the price you pay, though you can pay for little or no throttling if you like.

Anyway, I've always felt PlusNet's real problem has been their openness. I lot of the self-righteous pirates out there got on their high horses because Plus announced things that makes a small percentage no longer have the party they once had. Whereas many ISPs never tell their customers about the things going on under the hood, and get less publicity other than people complaining about how slow things are. Much of what get slung at Plus is just toys from the pram.

They're not the best certainly, but there are far worse, and personally, I've not seen any impact of being owned by BT now (negative or positive).

I'm sure plenty of people will respond foaming at the mouth, and fair enough, but be thankful you're not with VM, Tiscali or AOL (or even BT!) ;)

First Amendment rescues Grand Theft Auto's 'totally nude' strip club


Re: Dumbasses

"What dumbass company thinks that a similar place in a game is somehow detrimental to their business? If anything it's positive. They basically sued over a free ad!"

Ah well, not so dumb really. They had free advertising, but wait... if they sue, they potentially stand to get paid for someone else doing the free advertising, *and* the case itself generates further advertising! ;)

... but it backfired.

Still, the case advertising will still probably make up for the legal costs they'll have to pay.

Sony pitches blue-laser Compact Disc revival


@Vladimir Plouzhnikov

Rip a CD, scratches and all, using a perfect copy ripper (e.g. EAC on a Windows PC), and you do away with all these playback errors.

Result is a perfect rip, which you can store in lossless formats like Flac. Will be totally identical to what Sony are offering with their Blue funk, but infinitely cheaper because no one has to pay a whopping big licence fee to Sony to manufacture their discs just to boost Sony's flagging profits and make up for the vast costs incurred during the development of Blu-Ray and the PS3 (which neither Blu-Ray or PS3 sales have recovered).

Then take your Flacs and store on a big media server for you Hi-Fi, or convert to lossy formats for MP3 players like iPods (or play as lossless Flac on decent, non-Apple, portable players ;)).

Anyway, even if there's a benefit for audiophiles who continue to insist on using £1000 CD players to convince themselves it sounds better (especially with those £100 digital coax/optical cables), those people would be far better off with SACD/DVD-A or better still HD audio from an HD format.

So, the "point" to this appears simply to be to get manufacturer's tied to Sony. That is all. No benefit to the consumer. Zip. Zero. Nothing.

Worse is it will just push the consumer more towards inferior low quality lossy DRM'd downloads which become cheaper (but still far too expensive) than Sony's new CD.

Consign to the same bin as...



Memory Sticks


and in 5 years time, Blu-Ray.

Jacqui Smith prints seized by No2ID in daring dabs grab

Black Helicopters

How long?...

... before No2ID is raided with claims that grabbing her fingerprints amounts to an act of terrorism *

* - using the same anti-terrorism laws that councils can use to snoop on individuals for filling their bins incorrectly.

Lightning to thunder with speed-creep beating V8 roar


Forget V8, make it KITT

Just give us a car that has KITT's swooshing sounds, and make the sat nav sound like KITT's voice, and they're on to a winner.

May even not mind the fact you have to recharge it after going 10 miles.

Undetectable data-stealing trojan nabs 500,000 virtual wallets


@Sceptical Bastard

Problem is (with XP at least), whilst I can (and have done in the past) run with separate administrator and user accounts, switching between the two, even with "fast user switching", is a slow and painful process. "Run as" is great, until you find that an application you're installing wants to add things to the start menu and/or desktop, and it goes and adds them to the administrator's profile, not yours, so you have to log in fully as administrator to copy the shortcuts to your profile or the all-users profile. Similarly Samba shares in particular become a pain as they authenticate across the network as administrator, which is not a good thing at all, rather than the local user. All just because one part of an app requires administrator access.

And then I found there were just so many applications that needed administrator rights, that "run as" was getting a pain. A few wouldn't work at all without logging in fully as administrator. More so if you're doing any development work.

Oh, and worse, if you're on a domain, "fast user switching" is not available.

Not impossible, but it makes life hard. Much harder than it is in unix land.

However the other approach of making Internet enabled apps run as underprivileged users is workable. For most people that's only going to be a handful of apps. Backed up with a firewall that blocks all outbound traffic until authorised, on top of robust inbound firewalls, plus a hardware NAT router firewall on top, and it's very hard for anything to sneak in. Essentially the restriction of rights needs to be applied to Internet apps mainly.


MBR again

For what it's worth, Avast! and I believe AVG do MBR scanning. I'd be surprised if any of the top names don't.

As for the MBR method. From what I can tell, the code in the MBR is essentially a bootstrap for the more sophisticated code stored elsewhere. Whilst the MBR code may not be easily detectable, the code it launches should be.

However, Sinowal has been know about for a long time and the fuss over the MBR/rootkit variant dates back to at least January this year and long since had antivirus definitions covering it. That said, Avast! have released a new one today for another Sinowal variant.

Also has to be said that a very simple protection from this is to run with non-admin rights (or use Vista with UAC enabled), as to modify the MBR it needs admin rights.

Sadly, running without admin rights in Windows is still an annoyance.

BBC's speak you're branes collapses under Brand-Ross sex outrage



"They didn't break any laws"

Err, I think you'll find they did. It's just that Sachs didn't complain to the police. Nuisance calls are a criminal offence, and this clearly amounted to a nuisance call, even if it didn't start out as one. If someone did this to me, I'd be calling the police and my phone company. Even if it was someone famous!

"None of those are valid arguments"

The argument about how much he's paid, considering WE pay him, is very valid. We have every right to voice our opinions on how our money is spent (far more so than with other taxes).

It's not about Jealously either. It's about sensible spending of money. If you were to find your local council spends £18m on entertainment rather than local services, you'd be rightly pissed off. In the case of the BBC, why should any employee get £18m whilst they struggle to make ends meet, cut costs and even have to sell the TV centre? The result is a reduction in quality of shows just to keep their prime "star" who doesn't even appeal broadly to the majority of the audience (unlike someone like Wogan who did).

Brand is gone (though Ross is primarily to blame here for such a stupid outburst), Ross should take a major pay cut, or go find a commercial network that will pay him a similar salary (yeah, good luck. No one will offer anything like the Beeb did. No one with real commercial sense). I'm quite happy for both Ross and Brand to be on TV and radio, just not with Ross taking £18m of our money to do it.

As for licence fee arguments. Yeah, commercial TV isn't so great and all that, but sorry the BBC has already gone so far downhill that going commercial will really not make much difference.

P.S. Yes it was illegal. Next.



Yes it's on face value OTT, but on the other hand it is a reflection of the true feeling against Ross (in the main).

This has been an opportunity to voice opinions on how ludicrously highly paid he is and not worth a penny of it.

More than that though is it is our money paying for him.

What I never have understood though is why the Beeb backs him, pays his insane salary, and yet struggles so much that they have to flog the iconic BBC TV centre!

Sack Ross and a lot of money becomes available to sort the Beeb out.

So yes, it may be OTT, but I like most people don't care, we just want Ross booted out. Let him try and command that kind of salary on a commercial network, not at the taxpayers expense (and yes before you start, it is a tax, not a stupid "licence" fee).

Brand is a moron who's comedy appeals to juveniles, and fair enough in a way. Let him get his knuckles wrapped and move on. Ross on the other hand is supposed to be the Beeb's top presenter.

House key copied from photo


Another blow to photographers then

Adds to the government's ammunition against photographers then. Though they don't need any more laws, just shove it like everything else under the banner of anti-terrorism.

Samsung shows off state-of-the-art 40in OLED TV


Re: Fading

No suppose about it. OLED does. Essentially OLED has a fairly short finite life. It's why many handheld devices using OLED resort to powering off the display frequently to keep the lifetime up. This does mean even a screensaver cannot be used, because that requires the OLED to be powered and eat into its lifespan.

But they may have improved this in big screen displays. I don't know.

Thing is though, LCDs also have a limited life in a way. The backlights will only last a few years before they can go. My Samsung LCD has hidden away a counter on the number of hours the light has been running. Presumably to ensure they can wriggle out of any warranty claims on it.

Had a Dell monitor backlight die a year after purchase, just out of warranty and Dell effectively said "bin it, buy a new one", and wouldn't even take money to repair it! Likewise my Acer laptop backlight died in just under 3 years.

Look in the small print on many LCD warranties and you may find the backlight is limited to a year, even if it's a 3 year warranty.

They should be easy to replace, but frequently they charge more than the LCD's worth to replace them. So if OLEDs can manage to outlast an LCD backlight, they're doing good.

Microsoft unveils 'lightweight' Office for Web


Re: I don't get it

"Disk is cheap. CPU is cheap. RAM is cheap. LAN is cheap.

But external bandwidth is (in comparison) quite expensive."

But MS Office is also quite expensive.

However, it all depends how MS price their online service. If it is cheaper than buying the full product, especially if you can write documents on any PC without having to buy a licence for each one, then it's attractive.

Not as attractive as Google's offering though which is free (though somewhat limited in features).

Personally, for the desktop office experience though, OpenOffice is by far the best around. It's free and does 99.9% of what most users need (ignoring Outlook, but then there's Thunberbird, also free).

Tie up OpenOffice with Google's online service and you've got document editing wherever you like, for free (not counting bandwidth costs).

Oh, and also online services enable netbooks and other low-spec devices (smartphones even, including the iPhone), to have an Office suite without needing the power and memory to install MS Office or even OpenOffice.

The downside is the reliance on a net connection, but you can have data and the app cached locally (see Google Gears), and on the other hand is it safer to have your data spread around a cloud network amongst highly available and failoverable servers, than sat on your hard disc at home waiting for your PC to crash and burn, get infected with a virus, or your house to burn down?

Virgin Media accused of shafting customers on upload rates


cable limits

Problem stems as always with the company formerly known as NTL, formerly known as CableTel. The cable infrastructure was never really designed for broadband and digital telly.

One of the big problems before I finally gave up with these monkeys and went ADSL, is that the upstream to the head end is a heavily contended and very limited resource of channels. The downstream by comparison is a broadcast resource from the head end distributing to you and your neighbours (that's right, they get your traffic too, and of course their dodgy installations also cause your crappy signal).

It doesn't help either when the monkeys often cut corners on installs and split coax cables between neighbours.

ADSL by comparison has always been, due to the nature of the copper phone lines, dedicated connections from home to exchange.

It's very much like cable being old style broadcast based coax thin-Ethernet, and ADSL being more like modern cat-5 arranged in a star topology.

It's about time Virgin literally go the extra last mile and roll out fibre to the home from the head-end, and make each of those an individual connection, not shared.

Humax names Freesat HD DVR debut date



If it has none of the bugs plaguing Sky HD, and an interface and features more akin to the magnificent TiVo than the awful rubbish Sky provide, then I'm sold.

(well, nearly, Freesat still lacks some channels I'd like, especially in the HD department!!).

Gov cans 'national day' plans


St Georges

Bollox to Britishness, why can't we English celebrate St George's properly? Hell, just about half the world takes the day off for St Patrick's and few of them are really Irish! For the Irish, they get a bank holiday too, likewise with the Scottish for St Andrews.

Okay, St David's doesn't deserve a bank holiday (yet, I'm sure they'll get it some day), but the Welsh celebrate it well anyway with pride.

In England? Stick out a St George's flag and you'll have the council round moaning that it's not multicultural and potentially racist.

Police poison speed debate with fuzzy figures



"If your child was run over by someone speeding you would soon change your tune."

Whilst yes this is a very tragic situation, it is also fairly rare. Those who do get run over are more likely to be run over by someone doing the correct speed, and likely because the child has run out between parked cars etc.

The vast amount of speed controls around residential areas are based on FUD causing parents to kick up a big fuss based on a statistic which places just breathing air as being more dangerous than a child crossing the road! (and we don't ban breathing do we?).

Not that I don't agree with reducing speed in residential areas just in case though, but speed cameras as a solution is the worst solution. It causes anger amongst drivers and they will often accelerate once past the camera as an act of defiance, or just see the camera as an annoyance.

In the case of the child and the parked cars, there is a good/better solution there. Deal with the inappropriate parking of cars, or provide better parking solutions. Or, reduce the number of Chelsea Tractors and people can see better down the road. Likewise, stop these parking near schools where kids are more likely to be on the road.

The best solution I have seen though is the electronic warning sign. A lot of these have sprung up around Surrey in the last year or two, and the impact is huge judging by the behaviour of drivers. Locally, not only do most people slow down on seeing them, but they remain at that speed also.

However, the majority of accidents occur at junctions and on roads with sharp bends (regardless of speed) and most in my opinion are caused by lack of concentration and judgement.

On my way to work, there is one very bendy road that causes a lot of accidents and claims numerous lives per year (just have to look at the amount of flowers on the trees!). The problem is with the road and a lack of driver education. I have seen a near accident on the same road and the driver was going well under the speed required for the road but somehow still managed to lose control. Likely was paying attention to the radio, his phone, etc, than the approaching bend. It also doesn't take much speed to be killed on impact with a solid tree.

The best solution is to take the bends out of the road, or reduce them.

Surprisingly though this road has never had a reduction in the speed limit from national limit, or speed cameras. Why? It's out in the sticks. Not next to someone's house where a hypothetical child can run out into the road and thus justifies a residential campaign to get speed controls. And yet the number of children run over in the area amounts to less than this one single road has claimed in lives over the last year!

Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?


Northern measures

2/3 of a pint is a northern measure anyway if we're talking actual liquid content and not head.

Public ID card support holds steady - says gov report


cards vs database

And anyway, the real issue which I bet wasn't even mentioned to those answering the survey is the database behind it all. The card is a minor issue. Many like the idea of a card they can use to prove their identity in one way or another. I bet gov surveys fail to stress the implications of the central database storing all your personal details, accessible to anyone in public service, shared with the US and any other friendly country that asks, including enough information for the police to pick you as a suspect because you match some profile similar to someone else, and inevitable flaws in the system that allow data to get mixed up and your identity swapped with someone else. Not to mention the fraud, stolen and lost information risks.

And most importantly of all, I bet they don't stress the point that none of the supposed benefits have much basis in fact (e.g. tackling terrorism), or the total cost to the tax payer over the years of an overrunning public sector IT system development project, that could have been better spent elsewhere (NHS for example).

Sure, if you ask someone in the street if they'd support ID cards and say it stops terrorists blowing up your house and lets you buy booze if you're over 18, and yeah they'll say yes.

Microsoft rushes out emergency Windows update


Here come the penguins...

... and don your flameproof gear.