* Posts by Steve

310 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Apr 2007


Playmobil Bible faces wrath of lawyers

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@AC 12:57

It might help your head hurt less if you learn the difference between copyright and trademark.

You can't copyright a thing, you copyright IP as you mentioned. Playmobil figures are things, not IP.

You certainly can trademark them, but unless individuals who modify them are pretending to be a manufacturer or authorised distributor of PM products then they aren't in any way infringing a trademark by taking photos of it.

Your company may well have sent out bogus cease and desist letters, but that didn't mean they had any legal argument.


legal basis

Does their suit have any legal basis? Once the figures have been sold they're not the property of playmobil and as they're bits of plastic they definitely aren't licensed but are sold.

Sounds like it's a case that's going nowhere to me.

Supercar maker pitches 'leccy sportster with stunning spec


Sounds like vapourware

From those teezer specs they've in a stroke redefined power storage and solar cell efficiencies.

I'll believe it when I see it on a top gear track.

Nature security breach prompts password reset



What's the real risk of the cross site password attack?

Lets say that the hackers manage to decrypt a password. They know it's a password that belongs to John Smith because that data was there as well.

How do you from there to hacking John Smiths paypal account, or his ebay account, or his bank account?

If they had got john smiths email address it might become possible, for some sites at least, although probably not his online banking (if they could even guess what bank he used).

But based on what's been reported here, there's virtually no danger through using a common password, at least in this case.

Science-boosting thickie questionnaire backfires

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The question isn't indicative of general scientific ability

The question singled out here by el reg isn't indicative of scientific ability at all.

I have a BsC and A grade A-levels in 2 science subjects. However the accuracy to which I knew the coverage of the earth by ocean was in the region of 2 3rds.

More than accurate enough I believe for my day to day life, but (if the survey itself had been correct) meaning that I'd have chosen the wrong answer.

What kind of biased surveyor do you have to be to put two of the options within 1% of the correct answer?

Concerted Linux-netbook effort needed to beat Microsoft

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Outdated business model

Did he seriously just claim that 'selling things for a profit' is an outdated business model.

Sure, there are alternatives, but selling stuff for a profit is the basis of nearly every viable business model, it's not outdated, it's the central paradigm of capitalism.

The Sun shines out of certified Java programmers

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Surely whether you integrate web services with your application is down to whether it would meet a requirement you had?

I'm not certified, simply because I've never got around to it, I've done a few of the example papers and could walk the exam whilst juggling and catching up on the reg.

It wouldn't make my abilities at work any different, and it wouldn't make me more likely to suggest using a web service when there's no need to.

Ford shows off e-van concept



"We think it would be an ideal solution for taxi use, as a hotel shuttle vehicle or similar inner city application."

I didn't see anything in that article about a rapid charge facility, so I'd suggest that this vehicle will be singularly useless as a taxi or shuttle vehicle.

A taxi that's actually doing a decent job will be covering, one would hope, more than 100 miles a day. So unless the cabby feels like taking an 8 hour break whilst it juices up again, it sounds like a very large white elephant. Speaking of which, maybe they'd be better at getting through the day than this vehicle on a single charge.

Where's the icon for run out of juice?

Asus lights up 1TB SSD Lamborghini laptop

Dead Vulture

Grammar police

"largest available SSD density"

It's either the largest available SSD size or the highest available SSD density, you can't measure density as large or small it makes no sense.

Shoot the sub eds.

IT admin stole students' nude Facebook pics, cops say


Sacking is valid

It's quite legitimate for the university to sack someone whom has been accused of computer misuse [b]if they have investigated and believe it to be true[/b]. People can be sacked without criminal convictions being required first.

Canadian prof: Green IT is a waste of time

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sounds a bit like bullocks

Despite his point about the mobile phone (which may or may not be correct) it is still sensible to consider the actual environmental footprint of the phone itself.

If every phone used 100 tons of crude to produce, then that would still be a significant contribution to the overall pollution, even though it may have 2nd and 3rd order effects which can't be reduced by not using 100 tons of crude in the first place.

And although it's true that a mobile doesn't use 100 tones of crude to produce, it does consume resource, it does use non replaceable resources and it does have an impact which can be reduced. And there are 100's millions of these devices produce, so the overall impact of production is still large.

I think he's right that 2nd and 3rd order effects exist, although I'm not sure how a mobile makes us travel more, maybe we should strive to make devices that have the 2nd order effect of reducing travel (ie making home working a reality instead of an exception to the norm). Even so, his reasoning is faulty and he doesn't prove the green initiatives are a waste of time, only that they won't solve the whole problem.

Obama says his new chopper is 'procurement gone amuck'

IT Angle

rolling forwards

Does it really produce more lift due to higher airspeed over the rotors?

I suspect not, as at any given time one rotor is moving towards the rear of the chopper, so it may produce higher airspeed on one side, but not on the other, so overall it should have a zero net affect on lift.

Ryanair trades blows with 'idiot blogger'

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Does the exploit work?

We need to know, we could all be on free flights to Dublin this weekend.

Virgin Media boosts bottom tier broadband

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Branston has nothing to do with the company and hasn't for years.

Western Digital flashes home backup and media server

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duplicate reviews

I know the article had a little bit at the bottom mentioned the hardware review, but why is it necessary at all to review the same product twice in as many days?

Western Digital My Book World Edition 1TB NAS box


remote access

Did I misread the article or did it say "more on this later?"

Hydrogen motoring too heavy for pundit


Hydrogen in Sheffield


It's not on a forecourt, but maybe filling up with hydrogen in Sheffield isn't as far fetched as the quote makes out.

Russian rides Phantom to OS immortality

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how do you recover from a crash

If the state is by default persisted then how do you get rid of a program that's crashed.

Some sort of program manager I'd guess. But since you don't do manual saves to disk and it just persists it's current state, you'll not be recovering whatever you were working on, or even any configuration changes you made.

Raid yields 2800 'illegal' DS games copying kits



Why would he have thousands of devices capable of copying the cartridges? More likely he had several thousand R4DS's, which are capable of playing copied roms, amongst other things like playing mp3 and homebrew.

Mod chips were found to be legal, I can't see the R4DS being found different if this went to court.

Internet gambling mogul surrenders $300m in guilty plea


US == China

Would there be any difference if instead of the US prosecuting a foreign national for providing a legal (in his jurisdiction) service, it was the Chinese prosecuting (for example) a US Journalist who'd published something about Tibetan independance which happened to be available to the Chinese.

Virgin Media to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users



First they came for the bit torrent users, but you were not one, so you didn't just stay silent, you approved.

Virgin Media opens bandwidth choke for 50Mb launch


what's it for?

I'm with Virgin, I have the lowest tier of BB, 2Mb I think.

Apart from the very occasional large download, new linux iso or something of steam I can't think of any reason I 'need' faster access.

Most downloads are things I start, and then walk away from, they're finished when they're finished. Access to the web, voip, even video on demand isn't going to be affected greatly by faster access, it's already fast enough.

So I can't see any compelling reason to pay for more than the minimum they provide.

Appletops may get juice pump

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prior art



Hitachi unveils water cooled laptop.

Add to that that moving water cooling from desktop to laptop systems is obvious and this patent has absolutely no merit. Which in the US almost guarantees that it will be passed and then Apple can sue all and sundry in Texas.

Logitech Digital Video Security System

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Low cost?

That must mean something different in the reg headquarters (the pub?) to the rest of the UK.

Apart from having the mains networking built in, there's nothing on offer here that couldn't be done much more cheaply.

Email alerts (or ftp uploads) aren't anything new, they've been around for ages.

IP Cameras cost less than the £199 wanted for each additional camera, and a standard usb plugged one would be even cheaper (but less useful).

The cheapest IP Camera on dabs is only just over £50, for just over £100 you can have one with pan/tilt and zoom.

The only thing you need in addition to that is the software to monitor them, unless the logitech software is really really special it doesn't justify the price they are charging for any of the kit.

Conclusion - logitech is massively over priced but does provide the convenience of a one stop shop, 20%.

Gov beta test for grid-friendly, carbon-saving smart fridges


Spike smoothing

Rather than integrating fancy frequency measuring tech into every consumer device, why not fit a fairly chunky battery or ultra capacitor in every house. Fill it up when the grid is nominal, allow it to take some load as the grid is put under strain.

I'm not talking about proper UPS, just something that could provide a couple of minutes worth of power to the household under normal drain, that should be enough to smooth the sharpest spikes.

Pirate - spiky cutlasses

Wireless comms and the end of civilisation

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Okay, I've not started watching Survivors yet, but based on previous film experience.

Arm yourself. If you're in the US this should be easy. In the UK it's slightly harder, so ideally buy some weapons in advance and hide them in your cellar.

Modify your gas guzzler with dynamite.

Drive to the desert and then drive around hunting for fuel for your gas guzzler.

Fight in the thunderdome (the weapons you cached earlier will be useful here).

Also - learn to camp, learn to hunt (what in the UK I'm not sure, dog maybe), learn to fish, learn to entertain yourself as you will no longer be able to watch reality TV (see the apocalypse has it's upsides as well).

Plan how to avoid and when found how to fight off super strong zombies. Note, locking yourself in the basement with no route of escape and a phosphorous grenade is not a good plan.

Being a good gardener wouldn't hurt either, there'll be plenty of allotments available and thus you'll have all the vegetables you can eat (only when they're in season though).

If the series is based on a 90% death rate why exactly does all the infrastructure fail? Presumably with 10% of the population still alive (that's 6 million people) there would be enough of any given speciality around to keep things running. After all load on the grid is going to be pretty low with only 1/10th of the population drawing on it, so a few power stations operating should probably provide sufficient power. The nuclear ones require minimal maintenance right?

We might suffer shortages of things that we import, so primarily that's petrol, but that said if there were enough oil rig guys left the north sea fields should be plenty for the survivors.

Meh - what's the big deal, 90% of people dead means a hell of a lot of resources freed up for the remaining 10%.

Boss frogmarches bound employee to cop shop



What's false about the imprisonement? Maybe he should be charged with justified imprisonment.

Linux weaktops poised for death by smartphone

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Broken? I've posted on this one twice and nothing is appearing.

Nissan to debut anti-prang tech next week



Why all the negative responses?

Were you all there saying how bad ABS was when it was introduced?

It's an additional safety system, even near perfect drivers (like el reg readers apparently) make mistakes. If this system kicked in and saved you a bump then it's good.

As someone else already said though, how exactly does breaking stop you changing lane? It's a function of steering.

Michael Hitchins - Road Tax doesn't exist in the UK, Vehicle Excise Duty is dependant on emissions, cycles are exempt from VED as they are zero emission.

They act like they have a right to be there because they do, go back to driving 101 and stop being a danger to other road users.

US stocks up on semi-automatic rifles

IT Angle


The AR15 is semi-automatic, but a stock AK47 is not.

Lightning to thunder with speed-creep beating V8 roar


Missing the point

Isn't the removal of noise pollution one of the advantages of electric vehicles, and damping the engine noise is something that most prestige manufacturers spend a lot of money on. Deliberately making it noisy again seems like a retrograde step. (I should get a prize for using retrograde in a real sentence :-) )

Serial troll vents steam through ears

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I thought that was a poor effort for a FoTW to be honest.

Can we refer back to the FoTW guidelines and check how many boxes he's ticked?

Cocaine addicted IT manager hacks ex-employer's mail servers

Dead Vulture

proof reading

"Barnes worked there as an IT manager between September 2002 until he was fired on April 2003."

Where are the sub eds, they clearly need beating with that baseball bat to have allowed the above sentence through. "between ... until... on April" Gibberish.

Motorola legal tie to pull pricey Aura phone off eBay


not legal in the uk

IANAL, but contracts cannot alter the law. Assuming the phone is purchased and not leased, once you've bought it, you can do what the hell you like with it, include selling it in the online tat bizarre.

Motorola are probably counting on people not realising this.

New Scientist goes innumerate in 'save the planet' special

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Get to the point

What's at the bottom of the economic chain.

If you imagine a very simple economy, the thing supporting everything else is food production.

If you produce excess food you can sell it. If food exists for sale then it allows other people to produce other things (instead of growing their own food) and exchange those things for food.

Is this not still the basis of our economy, it has to be, we all work to live (ie to eat), work is analogous with production and live is analogous with eat. So without excess food produced by someone we'd all be back to spending time trying to ensure we had food.

In an economy with that basis, growth is just an increase in food production. If you can do that without using more land and resource then you've increased everyones wealth as they can now exchange a smaller unit of labour for enough food to live.

Maybe I've got it all wrong, it's much harder to keep it all in your head when you scale it beyond an agricultural economy.

Police collar kid for Wi-Fi pinching

IT Angle

1st AC

What's insurance got to do with it.

If I leave my house unlocked and you steal my tele, it's still theft and the police will still prosecute you.

From what I understand of the computer misuse act, like most other laws it doesn't allow ignorance as a defence, so mistakenly connecting to and using someone elses connection is technically an offence.

The netbook newbie's guide to Linux


cloud smoud

The cloud is fine, until you find that you've no wifi and want to modify a document.

Synchronising to the cloud is the answer, not relying on always having access to it.

Unison would be hard work though, it's a shame there's no linux folderShare client.

No2ID shakes fist at plod print scanner plan


Just checking

If they are just checking your print against what might be in the DB then I don't see a real issue with it.

If they start capturing the data and then storing it against the name you gave, then it's a serious problem.

UK confirms e-voting death


@AC 10:32

Working e-voting should just be an enhancement of working postal voting.

They already trust that postal vote forms are not intercepted and returned fraudulently, so instead of posting a form, post a unique ID and unique pin (in separate envelopes on different days).

Without having both of those it won't be possible to vote, and having both verifies (at least as well as the postal verification) that I am me.

BAE's bandwidth blimp-bot takes off (indoors)


Secret Missions

How secret can they be, unless they've found a way of making the thing invisible as well.

Flame icon - in honour of the Hindenburg.

Prison boss demands right to jam inmates' cellphones...


Don't jam it

Install the base station and have all calls directed through the prison switchboard. Any legitimate call can still be made, but an inmate would have to be particularly inventive to scam a call through.

Sun claims super-skinny JavaFX milestone



Not much Sun can do about developing tooling in Eclipse.

Prof: 'Taser-proof vests put cops in danger'

IT Angle

stab proof vest

In the UK at least all officers on the street will be wearing a half inch of kevlar. That'll stop the points from the tazer quite effectively and I suspect insulate the wearer from them quite well.

A solution without a problem, at least as far as the police are concerned. You might be able to sell them to small time crims.

Ford cars to gain prang-preventing radar rigs

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All drivers make mistakes, even ones as perfect as us.

If el reg had been hear when ABS was introduced you'd all be complaining about how it took away control, how people who couldn't pump the pedal shouldn't drive and so on.

You'd probably be saying the same thing about automatic gears, cruise control, lane deviation warning, syncromesh gears (so you don't have to double de clutch) and so on.

This isn't a system that breaks for you, but it might stop you being rear ended by a mondeo next year. It's a good thing, as would be a car that could drive itself and completely avoid all accidents.

Sharp shows first 'zero-emission' telly

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so what's the story?

If Philips hook up a hair dryer, or a toaster or a kettle to a solar panel will they get a story as well. Look, I hooked up my mobile phone to a solar panel, write me story.

This seems to be (at least based on the report)

1) Take existing technology A

2a) Plug in

2b) Existing power supply technology B

3) Get free publicity

4) ???

5) Profit

Wireless-data LED lamps to replace lightbulbs - US profs

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what's that?

Network connection disconnected, "hey, don't stand there, you're casting a shadow".

The whole point of wireless is that it's not LoS, LoS sucks unless you're using a remote control on a tv (where your eyes need LoS as well).

Blizzard awarded $6m in WoW bot case



How did they reach this judgement. That's what's important.

Lots of software exists that allows interaction with other 3rd party software, if the home users who happen to use this software are in breach of a license then sue them. What next, sue every software house that produces a screen macro/automation tool of any type?

Chrysler intros electric trio


I'll repeat people

What the hell is m/h? Has the author lived on the moon for most of his life, or did he just miss mph or not understand what it meant when reading it for the past 100 years? (Or less depending on age - clearly).

Texting worse for drivers than drink or drugs

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no hands and steering with ears?

Reg hacks clearly need to go and try this out (on a test course of course). They can steer with their knees and/or one hand and text one handed (even a pissed and stoned reg hack can text one handed).

Toshiba takes wraps off netbook


how are the specs good

They're identical to every other netbook out there. The AA1 appears to be the same spec as the base model Tosh with a lower price.