* Posts by Mel Collins

22 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Apr 2007

Yorkshire cops accused of copyright theft

Mel Collins

You can't copyright facts

"using copyright data from Hex's manuals"

From the *manuals*, not the source code. AFAICT WYP have done no more than made use of a collection of factual information, albeit gathered and supplied by a third-party. Unless WYP were republishing the tables from the Hex manual themselves, I don't see how it's copyright infringement.

FTS could have claimed "Trade Secrets", which seems like it would be more appropriate in this case, but only if WYP (and their other customers) had been made to sign something acknowledging such.

Google polishes Chrome into netbook OS

Mel Collins

Google creates OS for Crunchpad

So Google are finally releasing their own Linux distro. Though none of the media reports I've seen so far have mentioned that this "new OS" is, in fact, Linux.

From the official Google blog: "Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel"

It sounds like a perfect match for the Crunchpad.

E-car supplier demos battery swap-shop

Mel Collins

Fresh horses, my good man!

Reminiscent of t'olden days, when horse-drawn cariiages would stop to get fresh horses at various stages in their journeys.

Mine's the one with the pistol and rapier.

Cops collar Russian punting dog dressed as lamb

Mel Collins

Big sharp pointy teeth

We in the west seem to draw the line more or less at carnivores. We don't eat animals if the animals themselves eat meat (as a species in general - you veggies can relax).

Sikh coppers request bulletproof turbans

Mel Collins
Thumb Up

Sikhing the truth

AFAIK , the Sikhs had to fight for their lives and religion from almost the beginning. They're historically warriors. Traditional ceremonies involving huge guys waving massive scimitars, etc.

I would assume that the "problem" is that regulations require firearms officers to wear armoured headgear whilst on duty, and there being no leeway for those who do not want to (in case it messes up their hair, or whatever). I say let 'em go hatless, and put full responsibility for that decision on the officer in question.

But of course, the nanny state wouldn't want to be seen letting informed people take calculated risks. The Daily Mail would be up in arms!

Konami nixes Six Days in Fallujah

Mel Collins

Publisher pulls out

Atomic Games, the developers of the game in question, haven't said they're stopping work on it. I'm sure that at least one of the myriad of other game publishers will step up and start talking with Atomic Games, if they haven't already. Some publishers aren't afraid of a little controversy - and the publicity it can bring.

Employees sue for unpaid Windows Vista overtime

Mel Collins
Gates Horns


15 minutes does sound a lot, but remember that these are the types of companies which install time-keeping software on their computers. Who knows what other stuff gets installed or scheduled as well? Mandatory virus scans or backups perhaps?

Not to mention network profiles (if I remember the name correctly) which, for users with a lot of large files, can take an AGE to load/save over a network. 15 minutes could well be considered optimistic in some cases!

ISO rejects Office Open XML appeal (redux)

Mel Collins
Thumb Down


Note that Office 2007 does not implement ISO 29500 (single-o OXML), only a version of OOXML from before it was (first?) submitted to ISO.

There are currently no implementations of ISO 29500.

Brown's aide, Mata Hari and the BlackBerry

Mel Collins
Black Helicopters

Takes one to know one

"The US department of Homeland Security has warned visitors to China of the risk of cybersnooping, laptop hard drives being copied and spyware being put onto BlackBerrys."

And that's just the *American* airports!

Would a data notification law improve UK data security?

Mel Collins
Paris Hilton


"If you get them by the balls then their hearts and minds will follow"

Soundbite of the week, if not month.

TSA says 'checkpoint friendly' laptop bags on the way

Mel Collins

Well-informed security officers


KDE 4.1 beta 1 released

Mel Collins

KDE4 not ready for the desktop

I'm still using KDE3 after having tried 4.0 for a time, and found it wanting. I'll almost certainly give it another go after my next OS upgrade though. Hopefully by then they'll have achieved feature parity with the latest KDE 3.

KDE 4 does seem in many ways like a practise in mental masturbation for desktop-3d-graphics programmers. Wobbly windows (Gnome+Compiz love these too) do indeed seem to be little more than a silly gimmick. Not to mention their interference with edge-docking.

I'm not entirely sure why you'd want to have desktop widgets rotated to arbitrary angles either, other than to be awkward.

Fear not though, AC, you can (or could in 4.0 at least) replace the new-style menu with a classic-style application-tree menu - it's just another panel applet you can add.

Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up

Mel Collins

Not just UK/US

From what I remember of keyboard layouts, the whole "extra wide left shift" thing is mostly a US keyboard trait. Keyboards for most other countries/languages in the world use a narrower left-shift and an additional key.

Similarly, the double-height enter key appears to be the modal style internationally.

Google starts Street View in Europe

Mel Collins

Cameras in London

So who hired the car that I saw (and which saw me) in London last year? A black VW Beetle, if memory serves.

Aha! http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=13835

Unless London is no longer in Europe, and nobody saw fit to tell me.

Alabama admits developing country status

Mel Collins

Third world != developing nation

During the cold war the term "third world" was coined to refer to those nations not aligned with Capitalist (1st world) nor Communist (2nd World) ideologies. Often because they weren't strategically valuable enough for one of the major powers to invade.

The "developing" moniker is used for nations which aren't industrialised enough to exploit the peoples of other nations, instead having to rely on exploiting the local population.

Wii named fastest-selling console in UK history

Mel Collins

Coxes and Granny Smiths

How do you define a console generation? Personally I do it on a chronological basis, in which consoles released in a similar era define a generation. Thus the Wii is very much in the current generation with the 360 and PS3. It seems that many people, however, want to define a console generation solely in terms of pixel pushing capability.

If we instead mark console releases by increases in innovation, it could be argued that the 360 and PS3 are soooo last generation.

Chinese unleash Caspian Sea Monster

Mel Collins

Flying sub

"The comment about a rapidly disintegrating submarine makes me wonder if submerisble capabilities could actually be designed in too. A sub/boat/WIG/plane - there's no denying *that* would be a useful military vehicle."

Already been done:


Dutch boffins tout green petri-dish synthetic meat

Mel Collins

Meat sheets!


Royal Marine helmet-cam auteur hit during Afghan gunfight

Mel Collins


Similarly, I see nothing when using Opera and Flash 9 under Linux. Yes, I have plugins turned on.

It works fine in Firefox and Konqueror though.

China will head for the moon this year

Mel Collins


Actually, it's only the western press who refer to chinese spacefarers as Taikonauts. In all the official english-language press releases, they've been referred to as Astronauts (and Cosmonauts in the russian versions).

Cigarette break saves US woman's life

Mel Collins

Non-smokers save smokers' lives

I think it should also be noted that in both situations mentioned in the article, it appears that it was in fact non-smokers who saved the lives of the smokers in question!

Had the woman's husband not fussed at her, she may well have been having her fag indoors - possibly even at the sink. And had the occupants of the shelter not been bothered about the chap smoking, he would've been in the shelter when the bomb hit.

Hurrah for the selflessness of non-smokers I say! :)

Wanna copy of Windows XP next year? Forget it

Mel Collins

Gaming on Linux

Cedega, the "subscription" gaming-oriented Windows application-layer (not actually an emulator) for Linux isn't a subscription in the traditional sense. If you stop paying, your software doesn't stop working, you just don't get access to any new updates. Kinda like the commercial virus-checkers I guess, only still useful without updates.

Personally I don't play many recent games, so the totally-Free Wine (on which Cedega is based) is great for me. Diablo 2, Baldur's Gate, and Starcraft all work perfectly (even the no-CD patches!) on my Kubuntu laptop. Just because they're old, doesn't mean they're any worse games than they were when they were released - just ask the Koreans! :)

If I fancy a bit of shooting, there's always Tremulous, Nexuiz, or the Quake and Unreal Tournament games.

If you must play the latest and greatest games, get a console. ;)