* Posts by Andrew Richards

55 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Apr 2008


Sorry to burst your bubble, but Microsoft's 'Ms Pac-Man beating AI' is more Automatic Idiot

Andrew Richards


Would the AI manage to attribute the nightclub joke to Marcus Bridgestock?

Google killing app format used only by The 1%

Andrew Richards

I'd use actively this Google stuff...

... if I had any hope they'd keep them going. Got burnt once with Google Latitude (personally, the most useful thing that wasn't search; and I know alternatives exist but...).

After Wave, G+, that home-automation thin they bought and killed, etc. why bother? "Just" Android, Chrome, search and maps; everything else is ephemeral.

Systemd adds filesystem mount tool

Andrew Richards

Re: re: 1970 thinking.

Original post wasn't explicitly suggesting that "computers can do more than one thing at a time" is their understanding of how it all works. Do lots of things by rapidly switching between them so you usual can't tell is close enough. Calm down, pedant.

But... my hard disk is retrieving data and will cause an interrupt to awaken a suspended thread and interrupt the current one (not that I'll notice) so it is doing more than one thing at a time. I think the network card is busy doing its stuff too. And that's before we talk "cores". Misunderstanding is yours, I think...

Sick and tired of modern Windows? Upgrade to Windows 3.1 today – in your web browser

Andrew Richards

Re: @Steven Raith

... and don't forget ! to poke a 32 bit word.

There was some basic protection on tape games. It was possible to set a byte so code could only be executed and not just loaded.

However, it was also fairly simple to hook a few bytes of code into the screen refresh event to reset the byte in question 25(?) times a second to circumvent this. All to allow tape games to be moved to disks, which often involved another step to work-around the loss of a couple of k to the disc driver code. Load at &1900 (or &1100), copy down to &E00 and then run. Those were the days. Will stop now as I've an onion to tie to my belt.

Windows 10: Happy with Anniversary Update?

Andrew Richards

MS do modernise...

... but they're damned either way. The Anniversary Edition requires kernel drivers to be signed by MS, which is obviously bad if you want to use non-MS-signed drivers. But then not doing this would be bad too. They can't win.

BBC's Britflix likely dead before the ink has even dried on the news

Andrew Richards

The Beeb is damned either way...

I think it's less a case of "not rocking the boat" and more of trying to do anything in an environment where it will get a kicking for doing it.

The Murdoch press in the UK is unsurprisingly rabidly anti-BBC, as is the Daily Mail. (Amusingly the most balanced reporting the latter managed recently was its coverage of Top Gear in Argentina: it couldn't - as usual bash the BBC because that might have sided with the other side.) The current government is a general threat to it too.

It's a shame it can't just get on with what's it's doing and be left to it. It's unusual for any form of media to be as self-scrutinising as the BBC (how negative was the phone hacking coverage on Sky?) The last BBC DG left over the Saville programme largely because he was given such a hard time on the Today programme.

Surely a lot of all of this come down to "license fee? boo! I don't watch Strictly!" and ignores the other output which is well worth the money and wouldn't exist commercially (Radio 3/4, 6 Music).

Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

Andrew Richards

Re: Null pointers

I think that's closer to what ? does now. E.g. dictionary[helper?.getAdaptor()?.getProperty()]?.or(defaultValue)

Aren't they suggesting a new non-nullable type to complement "type?" ("type!") that would mean constructor have to explicitly instantiate the object as they do for value types?

Andrew Richards

Re: Programming Peter Principle

Although C# is still quite neat given it's a v6 heading towards v7. A lot of recent changes are syntactic simplifications so there's an element of moving towards simplicity rather than complication. (Obviously, YMMV but LINQ, the TPL, async/await, yield return (etc.) all make the older alternatives look awkward.)

Andrew Richards

Re: Null pointers

I think they already have: C# supports contracts already...

The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

Andrew Richards

Re: Yep

Well the original BBC Elite fit in 32k (or nearer 20k given 10k was screen and then less than that as a few pages of 256 bytes were system related). Did help that galaxies were randomly generated from a fixed seed.

Govt: Citizens, we know you want 10Mbps. This is the last broadband scheme for that

Andrew Richards

Re: All well and good but....

I have line of sight from my house to the BT's Adastral park on the outskirts of Ipswich. I'm 1.5 miles from my exchange (where overheads run along the road inbetween). If I were on the same exchange on the other side of the nearest main road I'd be on BT Inifinity (as I would if I were further from the town centre).

Being on the wrong side of the road means BT offers 2-3Mb/s, which happily is an underestimate given fiddling with internal wiring and a decent router mean I can get 5Mb/s.

Hardly miles from anywhere and I'm probably one of the lucky ones. Yes, living up a mountain away from a running water supply and the demand for a fast internet connection might be a bit optimistic. However, there are pockets of (relative) civilisation that are just in slightly the wrong place so get overlooked.

I might be surrounded by fields but then if you choose to live in a city centre than you shouldn't expect to be have access to foodstuffs grown elsewhere, oh... :)

Women devs – want your pull requests accepted? Just don't tell anyone you're a girl

Andrew Richards

Re: Peer review

I buy gender bias being a thing. It's more subtle than implying rampant and overt locker-room type sexism (which, deservedly gets headlines when it happens).

Some auditions for professional orchestras use screens to hide identify (and so gender) of applicant. Number of women selected increases when this happens.

Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

Andrew Richards

Doesn't the tax recovered apply to some years prior to 2010?

And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

Andrew Richards

Re: Oh well, at least you get to watch some fun TV whilst waiting for a delivery...

Never had delivery issues once I got used to adding delivery instructions to leave near front door (depot for pick up is about an hour away...)

As well as their lockers they're moving into other collection points too: including a local Halfords, which was a bit of a surprise to some of the staff when I went to collect a parcel recently.

Andrew Richards

Re: Sorry, chaps

Obviously YMMV but I signed up just for free delivery. Prime Video was a nice bonus. And this week Prime Music streaming is an extra bonus.

Amazon Fire TV is a nice device and a decent UI given they're basically just trying to sell you stuff. (Shame there's no direct local media playback yet and Plex devs not wanting to dirty themselves with DVD rips.)

The Empire Strikes Back: Disney tractor-beams StarWars.co.uk from Brit biz

Andrew Richards

Re: Or....

That I understand but is that a problem. Mickey Mouse is still a going concern: Disney are churning out stuff using Mickey Mouse. Why should I be able to appropriate the mouse-ears image after X years if they're still actively using it?

As for intention of copyright law isn't there an element that this was design as a protection with the assumption stuff would have a limited shelf life? Life of originator is arbitrary anyway: I could design a cartoon character and set up a business (with other people) to develop cartoons. I might live to be 100 or get killed tomorrow; if the latter the business should still benefit, surely?

There are anomalies here but I don't get that it's all bad. (E.g. the very limited Bob Dylan releases to keep his early recordings protected.) I thought "IP monopoly" was an odd phrase. Disney's unending benefit might not have been the intention but I don't think me being able to appropriate notable names and designs is ideal either.

Andrew Richards

Re: Or....

"IP monopoly"? Mickey Mouse (etc.) is Disney's. Why wouldn't they have a monopoly. I know "IP" means "boo" and "monopoly" means "boo" but...

Yikes! Facebook will run on TELEPATHY, thinks Zuck, in Q&A

Andrew Richards

Re: One day I believe....

Possibly - but isn't it so much larger than those? Who did you know on MySpace? Who do you know that isn't on Facebook?

Still might happen as a generational thing. If your parents (and grandparents) are on FB then NewShiny.com might be more appealing...

Windows 10 upgrade ADWARE forces its way on to Windows 7 and 8.1

Andrew Richards

Re: I'm confused

> Yeah it kinda figures that even the Church can't work out what the dates are...

Theologians exist largely to count angels and justify fairly obvious discrepancies that were introduced but can't be corrected.

What's important for dates: solar or lunar calendar? Let's have both (Christmas, Easter respectively). Creation story? Let's have two in Genesis within a few lines. Commandments? Yes, ten please. Although there's more than one list and they're not exactly the same. And there's more than ten, too.

Don't like gay people? Justify that nonsense on the old testament. And ignore lots of other stuff that's just as explicitly prohibited but less convenient. (Gay: no; shellfish: don't care; mixed fabrics: don't care; blatant hypocrisy: don't care, obviously.).

Andrew Richards

Re: I'm confused

... and if you don't really believe the bible to have any literal truth all this is as relevant as dating things relative to Harry Potter's birth.

Andrew Richards

Re: I'm confused

Depends on how you define "He". I'm sure lots of chaps were born in 6BCE and some probably called Jesus.

Not quite sure I'd go for one of them being son-of-god, though. (Pedantry overload!)

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Andrew Richards

Re: I'm sceptical

The 20% are missing out. BBC Radio is excellent, and worth the fee on its own. They do some telly too.

Andrew Richards

The alternative is worse, much worse. An hour's programme on the BBC is almost an hour. Elsewhere it's generally coming down to 40 minutes.

Andrew Richards

Re: Am I the only person...

Well food costs them the same.

However, your core argument is quite common: why pay for something that's of no interest. The counter would be that if you can't find anything on the BBC then you're not looking hard enough. The license fee covers radio too, and personally:

I. I'd pay a chunk of the license fee for Radio 3, and I only regularly listen on a Saturday morning.

2. I'd pay almost all of the license fee just for Radio 4. It's great, really. I'm not a heavy user but there's no commercial equivalent.

3. I'd pay the license just for 6 Music, and would do so just for Radcliffe & Maconie.

And there's the BBC website (which is huge); and iPlayer. For £150 it's a bargain, really. Make the BBC commercially funded and, yes, we'd be £150 a year better off. But considerably poorer.

Microsoft's secret weapon in browser wars: Mozilla's supercharged Asm.js

Andrew Richards

Re: Good for MS

Why "pants"? Genuine question, not a troll. Hear this frequently but not with much justification. If you're expecting inheritance OO then prototyping is going to be a pain but that's not the language's fault.

You – yes, YOU – can now 3D print your very own Paul McCartney

Andrew Richards

Why the hate?

Never mind writing any number of top Beatles tunes; never mind Wings ("the band the Beatles could have been" - Alan Partridge) the man wrote and played the bass on Rain by T'Beatles. A little respect.

As for coasting by on past glories? Even if true this is hardly uncommon. As much as I love their music *cough* Stone Roses *cough*. etc.

Tastier Lollipops for chosen few as Google releases Android 5.1

Andrew Richards

If this is performance I saw something similar. Before: snappy and a joy to use; post-update: sluggish to the point of wanting to take a hammer to it.

Advice like cache-clearing didn't do much. However, the boot-up factory reset did work. Slight pain having to re-enter credentials for apps (and I know Google do back-up some, if you use that) but it's now as pleasant as it was before.

I don't justify having to do this but it worked here and spousal approval restored. YMMV.

BBC bins pricey Windows Media, Audio Factory goes live

Andrew Richards

Re: from the blog ....

Only if newer technology is better. DAB is newer than FM but much, much worse. Dump FM for DAB and the result is lots of redundant car radios and poorer sound.

Andrew Richards

Re: BBC to kill my Boom type box internet radio?

If you mean Squeezebox Boom it'll work as the server does the transcoding. (If not a Logitech device YMMV).

Andrew Richards

Re: Squezebox

Re: Squeezebox and all thing Logitech Media Server - everything will still work!

It's a one-off faff but use the Search under Radio for "BBC" - the streams found here work perfectly (did this and reset favourite buttons and all okay).

Reviewed: LittleBigPlanet 3, Lara Croft's latest raid and more

Andrew Richards

True, but...

... there's a lot more of this rubbish that denigrates women. Male nonsense is catching up but here parity and equality does means it's a good thing.

EU VAT law could kill thousands of online businesses

Andrew Richards

Re: This is entirely UNreasonable

Probably of no use but assuming VAT registration in the UK then it might be possible to get on the flat-rate scheme, which can be considerably easier to manage than the alternative.

Microsoft forks .NET and WHOMP! Here comes .NET Core app dev stack

Andrew Richards

Re: When I see a program uses the .net runtime my heart sinks.

Badly written programs will be slow and buggy. .net doesn't cause this; the problem is in the chair not the run time.

When I see an open source program my heart sinks: more abandon-ware and needless forks. We can all make random faulty generalisations...

Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

Andrew Richards

Re: Word rejected by Collins' dictionary

Invalid move - no double shunting under the 2009 revised rules.

Weekend reads: Neil Young and Brian Cox ponder cars and universe (in that order)

Andrew Richards

Re: Infinite Monkey Cage

... and a mention for The Life Scientific too: more about scientists than science but a good complement.

Andrew Richards

Re: More travelogue than science

But this is how television is made. With a political story a news program will fairly needlessly send a reporter to stand outside a building where something happened: nothing that couldn't be conveyed by same reporting in studio. It's the background that matters, in that it's an attempt to make it interesting visually.

With Wonders... and now Human Planet same thing applies. Could you everything with a blackboard and chalk but it's television first, education second.

And, to be fair, to an extent the science literate aren't really the audience. This is, trying to, popularise science. It's trying to make "Cosmo" now, and that means with today's TV techniques.

That's not to suggest I think they're beyond criticism: I'd like more detail and an equation or two...

Chap rebuilds BBC Micro in JavaScript

Andrew Richards

Re: Goodness...

Early versions only - this was fixed. It's possible to complete Repton 2 - being able to save machine state makes it achievable (and much less frustrating).

Andrew Richards

"... zippy performance, something the original BBC Micro was not entirely famous for."

A 8-bit computer with a 2 MHz CPU from 30 years ago wouldn't really compare to a Cray from the same time but slow, really? Elite, Revs, Aviator, Firetrack (etc.) were fast enough for the time and anything written by Gary Partis was usually too fast to be playable (Psycastria is quite enjoyable under emulation - when slowed down!)

Slap in a 16k ROM and there was real-time spell checking available years (a decade?) before this appeared in Word.

Dell charges £5 to switch on power-saving for new PCs (it takes 5 clicks)

Andrew Richards

... because some of it it actually quite good: Latitude D630 here: solid machine, never had an issue despite some on the road abuse (being dropped , flooded with coffee, etc.) Daily use for 7-8 years and will only be replaced when absolutely necessary. (Experience of Inspiron laptop for a client quite the reverse; caveat emptor, etc.)

El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Andrew Richards

Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

Three words: "The Day Today" (or if a Radio 4 purist, "On The Hour"). (Same for origin of "speak your brains", also a favourite around here).

And from this we know that 'Fact' times 'Importance' equals... NEWS.

Wikipedia failing to recruit any new admins

Andrew Richards

Re: Complete.....

"_its_ glow"

Andrew Richards

Re: The reason is.....

"it is returned to _its_ incorrect state"


Sir Paul McBeatle to offer free iTunes concert

Andrew Richards

Kisses on the bottom...

"... I'll be glad I got 'em."

It's a line from "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter". Ppft.

Amazon to kindle Fire tablet tomorrow

Andrew Richards

Regional locking

> Come-on Amazon, putting a regional lock on books?

Not necessarily their fault. Some publishers/rights-owners may request this. It's not unusual for different publishers to publish the same book in different places: digital-rights may be local too.

'The most ambitious project at eBay for a long, long time'

Andrew Richards

enormity != enourmous

Enormity means "significantly evil" not "very large".

Videogames caused riots says plod

Andrew Richards

If Pac-Man had affected us as kids...

"If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Marcus Brigstocke

Official: Pastafarian strainer titfer is religious headgear

Andrew Richards

Atheism is not faith

To AC @14th July 2011 12:48 GM

Throw crumbs to troll... Okay: I don't collect stamps. I am not a non-stamp collector.

Start with nothing and add faith. Or start with nothing and don't need to make up stuff.

Either way, semantics aside, your interpretation of atheism doesn't suggest the existance of a god more than anything else.

Do you explicitly not believe in Russell's teapot orbiting the earth? Prove what you think is true or ascribe it to faith. Don't assume I think about your position to have any faith about it.

Andrew Richards

He waited two years?

Well, in for a penne...

Most Adobe Reader installs are out of date

Andrew Richards

Fox it!

Another vote for FoxIt. And another down for Adobe Reader. Not only does it need constant attention but the updater needs to get in its place as it throws out the odd "please check your internet connection" message.

Unfortunately, this is only a dialogue with "OK" with no space to enter "I'm on a f-ing train on f-ing laptop without an f-ing internet f-ing connection".

It Adobe didn't put bugs/security holes in it'd up to date and there'd be no issue.

Pope says gravity proves technology can't supplant God

Andrew Richards

@oliver 8

[snip ... unusually intelligent question about benefit of religion ... snip]

> Why is it ok for you to take that away from people?

It's a progression of understanding. If someone wants to believe that thunder is a result of something being upset with them then an understanding of weather might serve to improve their lives.

But, as you're inferring, this type of belief needn't do anyone else harm. However, organised religion can be seen to be divisive and dangerous. E.g. views on homosexuality and contraception.

As an atheist I'm happy for those with belief to believe what they want. However, if it's dogmatic and at some level serves to screw up (and historically organised religion has had a steam-roller elemenet to it with respect to contrary belief) the world then I have a problem with it and reserve the right to point out bigotry, incosistency and irrationality where I see it.

I don't think you're an idiot if you have faith: I think you're wrong. And in some cases that wrongness can impinge on other people's wellbeing in quite devastating ways. (Which is a broad generalisation - your post I read as an intelligent one and this reply isn't ad-hominen ranting in anyway.)