* Posts by Mark H

35 publicly visible posts • joined 2 May 2008

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'

Mark H

Re: bah, humbug, and it's the 60s, not the 70s.

It's simple. If your email tells men to do one thing and women to do another then chances are it's sexist.

Not too complicated to understand I think?

Day 2: Millions of HSBC customers still locked out of online banking

Mark H

Re: Really?

Another happy FD online user here. Not sure what other features they could add?

Certainly not 'tat' and never offline.

Breaking news: BBC FINALLY spots millions of mugshots on cop database

Mark H

Re: Double whammy black eye for the police

Well there is some evidence that it does work, as the reporter tried it on Newsnight last night and it worked perfectly. He had his mugshot taken and then went outside where a Police Officer identified him with his wearable camera - scary stuff!

I wonder how much the police have spent on all this. Apparently they managed to get 8 million records into the system within about 10 months - quite some going and must have cost a bit to pull off.

Not app-y with VAT: Apple bumps up prices in Blighty, Europe, Canada

Mark H


The author sets the price 'tier'. Apple sets the actual price of that tier.

Taylor Swift dumps Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

Mark H

I buy more albums because of Spotify

I listen to the free version of Spotify and if there's something I like I buy it.

This means I buy albums from a far wider variety of artists than I used to do in the old days, because I can try for free.

Also taking your album off of Spotify is silly because people will just use Youtube or torrent it. It's a pointless act.

Chucking cash at sport and broadband starts to pay off for BT

Mark H

Price rise after price rise

The only reason their consumer section made more money is because they keep whacking up the price of line rental by amounts well above inflation.

For example they've just increased their 'line rental saver' from £141 to £159.84, an increase of 13%! It wasn't that long ago when it was £120 either.

There isn't enough competition (and people are lazy and don't switch) and so they get away with it.

Maggie Philbin on tech, teens and cardigan fear

Mark H

Old eps to watch here - that's my night sorted ;-)


Army of 'socialbots' steal gigabytes of Facebook user data

Mark H

Did they ask Facebook's permission before carrying out this work?

If not why not?

Sky calls for access to cable network

Mark H

A couple of points

1. Virgin would make lots of money renting their bandwidth out to other companies like Sky. That's why they say they aren't against the idea.

2. Sky's platform is actually fairly open - what do you think Freesat uses?

Content - not tech - delaying possible Sky 3D channel

Mark H

My HDTV now obsolete?

So my current HDTV is shortly to be obsolete?

Can't see this taking off all that rapidly with people probably just having forked out for HD. In 5 or 10 years though it could be all the rage. Could work very well with the next generation of games consoles perhaps.

Google plugs your surf history into ad money machine

Mark H

@ Mr Paranoid

'I am proud to be called a "tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoid." I'm paranoic with good reason - they really are out to get us all.'


Virgin Media boosts bottom tier broadband

Mark H
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A happy VM customer

I use the current 10Mb service. It is extremely reliable and the last time I speed tested it (with a decent speed test app - not some of the other tat on the internet masquerading as a speed test) I got 10Mb.

Very happy customer here.

Microsoft says it again - no second beta for Windows 7

Mark H
Gates Halo

I'm upgrading

Had a play about with Windows 7 and it seems very nice, I might even pay money to upgrade to it from Vista. And from what I've read it is more secure than XP which can only be a good thing.

Blockbuster OnDemand coming to a Blu-ray player near you

Mark H


Erm, it does now. The Sony Pictures blackout on the 360 was only temporary.

Shame we don't have such a service in the UK though.

Merchants and punters cry foul over Verified by Visa

Mark H
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No big deal

I've used MasterCard SecureCode for ages - never considered it to be a problem. In fact it adds a level of reassurance that a site is secure. The Personal Greeting should allay anyone's fears of being Phished:

'What is a Personal Greeting?

The Personal Greeting is a message that you create during sign-up. Each time you make an online purchase at a participating store/retailer, you will be prompted to enter your SecureCode. At this time, you'll see your Personal Greeting and other purchase details. The Personal Greeting is your assurance that you are communicating with your card issuer. If the Personal Greeting displayed in the pop-up box is incorrect, you should not enter your SecureCode, but should instead contact Customer Service immediately by calling the phone number on the back of your MasterCard card, to report a possible fraud.'


Eee PC series to get Windows 7 but not Vista, says CEO

Mark H

why pre-install Windows at all?

I can give you one reason for starters. In order to use a netbook with Talk Talk broadband (without the use of a router) you need to install some software. I very much doubt Talk Talk supply a Linux version of this software.

Home Office defends retaining comms data

Mark H

What amuses me...

is that when an article mentions the name 'Phorm' you get hundreds of angry comments with reference to people's privacy and threats to take action. But an article like this which is many magnitudes worse (especially with the government's poor track record of keeping data secure) is basically ignored (this being only the 16th comment in 6 days).

People really need to get some perspective and attack the people who are really damaging our right to privacy.

BT's third Phorm trial starts tomorrow

Mark H


So an individual looking at another individual's emails without permission is the same as a computer searching for keywords through web pages served to an anonymous individual?

Okaaaay then... :-S

Mark H

Re: Lists of UID-to-user mapping for sale

'How long before lists of UID-to-user mapping are for sale?'

Well if I were in the market for such a list I'd tell them to drop the useless Phorm UID out of the spreadsheet and to just make sure that they include the credit card details.

A Phorm UID is not going to be worth anything on the open market as it doesn't gain you any valuable extra information.

Mark H


Is it though? The police have already looked into it and decided even the secret trial wasn't illegal. Do you really think the company the size of BT would get involved with an illegal activity?

You might not like this system but it simply isn't illegal. You really need a different approach if you are to discourage it's widespread adoption. I think the 'performance' angle would be a better approach as this Phorm tech must slow down page requests to a certain degree. Also if their server ever goes down would this stop pages being served at all?

Mark H

Re: the broken design

'the broken design enables any website to grab your unique Phorm ID'

And do what with it? It still doesn't map to your actual name and address etc. so it's still anonymous. What nefarious purpose could this Phorm ID be used for exactly - spell it out to me in big writing please because I really am not getting this.

Mark H

@ Eponymous Cowherd

I've read all of the technical details many months ago (have you?) and it *is* the way it works. It's not the way most people believe it works but that's a different matter.

I've just read the technical document you linked to and it confirms that the data held by Phorm is completely anonymous and gathered in the way that I alluded to.

You may not like the idea of targeted adverts but I believe that your personal privacy will not be compromised by opting into this system. The links you provided do not change this fact.

Mark H

@ Andy ORourke

Your ISP currently logs all of your internet activity. The Phorm server looks at this anonymously to see which of it's advertising criteria you may fit into. It then serves a relevant ad if you happen to be browsing a web site which uses the Phorm system (I use Adblock so never see any adverts anyway).

It isn't storing every website you've ever visited, every email you have sent through a web mail interface etc. It's simply having a quick glance and ticking some internal 'ad preference' boxes - all anonymously. If you opt out it doesn't even do this.

Seriously now and all accusations of trolling aside, what is the problem with this?

Mark H

Don't see what all the fuss is about?

Well if I were a BT customer I'd just opt in. There are far more important issues to worry about at this current time.

Do all of you complaining about this not use Google then - as they store far more about you than this Phorm server ever will? From what I've read in the past this data is stored anonymously and used by the Phorm system to serve what it thinks is relevant advertising. No one is going to be searching through this data, and even if they did it's anonymous.

There really isn't much to get worked up over in my opinion.

MS confirms European Xbox 360 price cuts

Mark H

Re: Most people really could't care less.

Can't stand misinformation so here goes:

The last 360 price cut did nothing (except a few silly headlines about 100% sales increases over a 2 week sample). This one is unlikely to do much either, for several reasons.

1/ It's not a Wii or PS3 (which is where the money is being spent this year in Europe).

The Wii is of course doing very well but the PS3? Look at the software sales for a better idea of just how close the PS3 and 360 are. Plus the PS3 is really struggling in Japan and the US.

2/ It's still known as the noisy, unreliable console, with the failed HD format.

It does have a noisy DVD drive (although this has never bothered me) - but this problem will be alleviated in a few weeks time with the release of the Autumn update which will allow you to install games to the hard drive. Also it's no longer unreliable and very few people purchased the HD DVD drive anyway - people just aren't all that interested in a HD optical format.

3/ It's not got the casual games like the Wii and PS3 has (I'm not counting the Singstar and Buzz 360 ripoffs here..), it's still basically a hardcore first person shooter console.

Ever heard of Xbox Live Arcade for starters? Then we have Guitar Hero, Rock Band (is that even out on the PS3 yet?) and all of the other multi platform multi milion sellers. I see you've also glossed over the amazing exclusives too.

4/ the bottom end machine that's cheaper than a Wii, is so crippled it's beyond belief, you need to spend the PS3 kind of money to get to play online and download stuff from the marketplace.

Clearly you would have to be a total idiot to buy one.

The Arcade isn't 'crippled' at all, it just lacks the hard drive which isn't even needed to play games online anyway (and can be purchased and added on at a later date). If you have broadband though I would recommend the Premium console instead which comes with the 60GB hard drive. Lots of people don't have broadband though and the Arcade would then be perfect for their needs.

If you like casual games, get a Wii

If you like casual games, hardcore games and HD movies, get a PS3.

There is no room for the 360 to fit in the middle there...

This is my take:

If you like waggling buy the Wii

If you like paying an extortionate price for HD optical discs then buy the PS3.

If you like gaming in any form then buy the 360.

The PSP: what's its future?

Mark H
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There are good games available

There are lots of highly rated games available for the PSP - some that I have personally enjoyed include:

GTA Liberty City Stories

GTA Vice City Stories

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

God of War: Chains of Olympus

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

Burnout: Legends


Virtua Tennis World Tour

WipEout Pure

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops


Killzone: Liberation

many of which would not be achievable on the DS.

New releases are rather thin on the ground though - perhaps games developers are too busy working on titles for the PSP2?

Sony names date for Euro 80GB PS3

Mark H
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Price cut? What price cut?

The 80GB is priced the same as the 40GB - there is no price cut. They've also stated that they won't be reducing the price of the 40GB to sell it off before the 80GB is released (like they have done in the US) either - so anyone buying one in the meantime is being ripped off.

Thanks again Sony Europe!

Trust on the slide, Chris Moyles on the up at BBC

Mark H

Re: The Chris Moyle's Criticism

Have the people slagging off Chris Moyles actually listened to his show or are you all doing the 'Daily Mail' thing of commenting on something you have no experience of?

If you have and don't enjoy it then fair enough. His target audience isn't really people about to reach retirement age anyway so it may just not be your cup of tea.

Stick to Radio 4 would be my advice.

Sony confirms major PS3 firmware update features

Mark H

Re: @ Alistair James

All those numbers are interesting but how do you explain this then?:


Also which PS3 games specifically do you feel couldn't be achieved on the 360?

Mark H

@ Greg

'I'll be over here playing better/more interesting games'

Out of interest, what are these better/more interesting PS3 games you talk of, cos I'm struggling to think of any?

Sony: world PS3 sales pass 12.8m consoles

Mark H

@ The microsoft mentality as echoed by it fan boi / shills

Whereas Sony as such a cute and fluffy, cuddly little company aren't they?



Mark H

@ James

Nah, they generally replace the motherboard, that's what they did with mine - the serial number was exactly the same. Not sure what an 'air-card' is but you don't even send them the hard drive - you detach it before returning.

I know the RROD problem has been serious but MS have been very good over it (far better than Sony when early PS2's had disc drive problems) and they've gotten over it now. There's no way they would count a replacement console as a 'sale' either.

Mark H

Re: RRoD adjusted?

James, ever heard of the free REPAIR service that MS are offering? Replacement consoles will account for a very small percentage of sales.

Microsoft orders 65nm Xbox 360 graphics chip

Mark H

@ JonB

The visual design of a games console is very important - you can't just modify it like you would with a PC case.

The problem is now well known and is purely down to heat. It was a problem with the initial design. This has been ironed out over time and so far fewer units are failing. If you bought one today I would guess that the chance of it breaking down would be similar to the chance of your PS3 or Wii breaking down.

MS are now reducing the size of the processors as a cost cutting exercise - smaller chips are cheaper and require less cooling components. The 40GB PS3 uses smaller chips than the original 60GB version - and could therefore be sold at a cheaper price.

The Wii is basically a Gamecube so any cost reductions that Nintendo could make were made at the initial design stage.

Blu-ray-for-Xbox 360 rumours restoked

Mark H

Blu Ray for films

Blu Ray is for films, DVD is for games.

PS3 is for films, 360 is for games.