* Posts by James

69 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Apr 2007


Pirate Party wins seat in European Parliament


A few points....

Read the comments and decided to chip in...

Left and Right are economic stand points, Left for centralised control, nationalisation and socialism (proven not to work by communist countries and the UK), Right for decentralisation, capitalism and market control. Capitalism can go wrong when morons who don't understand it try to control it and simply distort markets (Brown, that is you, the FSA and the banking crisis) but it is the ONLY system that generates money instead of consuming it. Is it "socially fair"? No it isn't but why should we reward the indolent, lazy, criminal and/or incompetent? I'm sick of paying for the free handouts to them. Socialism's problem is that eventually it runs out of other people's money rewarding those who generate no wealth of their own...

Should we support those genuinely in need and unable to support themselves? Yes, we should. Society is not a good place to be if strictly Darwinian. Those who are genuinely in need are in a tiny minority of those currently living on state handouts. Those who can work, should.

The BNP are far left, not far right. Look at their policies. Racism isn't an economic standpoint. That's somewhere on the orthogonal axis of Authoritarian/Liberal. Totally unrelated, for those who don't know what orthogonal means :P

What the mainstream parties need to do is ask themselves why the BNP are gaining support. What policies of the mainstream parties are failing to address the desires of the majority white native voters? No that isn't racist, it is a simple reflection of the demographics of the nation. Simple numbers. I work in a culturally varied environment and all of the folks I work with are committed, talented and productive people. Great :) Are they immigrants? Yes, some are. Do they contribute to the country? Hell yes. Do they want to pay taxes so that those who don't work because they can't be bothered (native Brits included, they're hardly immune from being useless, lazy twats) can be paid "benefits"? No they don't. Do they think it is reasonable to do so? Hell no.

Not wanting to pay for people who have contributed and continue to contribute nothing to society is not quintessentially British or white, it is simply the resentment of those who work hard for their income when they see hard work rewarded by taxes and non-work rewarded by generous handouts. Capitalism is the one true meritocracy.

For the record, I didn't vote BNP as they are totally unfit to govern and are a bunch of economically illiterate, racist fucktards. I voted for Daniel Hannan, possibly the most sensible politician in history. DH for PM....

Adblock developer offers 'please unblock me' tag to sites


Adblocker detection?

I remain curious as to how a website can know if an adblocker is being used. The simplest method of ad blocking would seem to be searching for the offending tags in the browser and removing them from the DOM. No requests would then be sent for content to the advertiser's webserver. All this would be client side and the origin website should know nothing about it.

If the adblocker is being detected, how is it done? Does the browser leak information about its currently loaded plugins to any website that asks? Sounds like a damn silly idea if so. Explanations would be most welcome.

Windows 7 and the Linux lesson


DRM Still A Core Component?

And the question I still haven't seen answered regarding Win7.... Has it retained the end to end DRM that Vista uses? If the answer is yes then it won't be going on any of my systems. I will not be treated like a criminal by technology that cannot work.

Google's email service goes down


@Adam Shailes

You have a Novell Groupwise account? You poor sod. Groupwise is possibly the only thing I've found that makes Exchange/Outlook seem like quality products...

Laptop facial recognition defeated by Photoshop


Biometrics Conceptually Broken

Quite apart from the previously pointed out problem of not being able to change biometrics when they're compromised, biometrics are broken as a concept.

Anyone who works with biological systems know that they constantly change. There is natural change with aging, accidental change with injury or illness, people change weight and shape through exercise and diet (good and bad), even bony structures can be changed with surgery (nose job anyone?). Basing any kind of authentication on such a vastly variable thing as measurements of a biological system is really deeply stupid. Thusly, expect it to come to a government project near you soon. Oh shit, wait...

Brit, French nuke subs collide - fail to 'see' each other


Ocean is vast, knowledge is tiny

The Atlantic Ocean is indeed a vast place. How much of it do you think is accurately mapped?

While the subs themselves won't be using active sonar, that doesn't stop other folks using it. A nuclear sub in open water (even hundreds of feet down) would be pretty obvious and thus pretty useless. The subs will keep to trenches and other features of the sea floor to camouflage their presence. With only a limited amount of the ocean floor mapped accurately enough to steer a dirty great nuclear sub safely through, the volume of sea actually likely to contain a sub is really rather tiny compared to the whole. Collisions aren't unlikely in this scenario, hence the US/UK cooperation...

Skull and crossbones cos they're nautical...

Conficker Autoplay ruse gets teeth into Windows 7


Autorun == epic fail

Autorun is possibly the most retarded idea in computing history. No software should ever automatically run *anything* from an untrusted source. If it's not a permanently installed piece of hardware then it's untrusted.

M$ and admins should get a clue and disable it permanently.

Ford to build 'boring-EV beating' eco-engine in Bridgend

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@ Ian S

"They'll be claiming the Pirius (sic) will save us all (which does 45 mpg on a good day)"

The Prius is that bad? My two litre diesel averages 45mpg (50+ on motorway cruise), is a country mile better to drive and has plenty in reserve for overtaking (not ironic, honest) Prius-tards and other morons who think 35-40mph is acceptable in 60mph roads.

Police poison speed debate with fuzzy figures



"Drive at 70 and relax. It's not a slow speed, you will get to your destination and you may even live longer."

You do know that the 70 limit was set in the 60's and was chosen because that was the maximum speed of a popular car? Are you seriously going to suggest that a 1960's car being driven flat out is exactly as safe as a modern mid-range saloon which is loafing along at the same speed? A camera can't tell the difference, a real copper can. The motoring world has moved on, the law needs to update. Many modern vehicles can cruise easily and safely well above 70 where conditions allow.

Let's step away from the inflated 12% (less than 1 in 8) fatal incidents attributed to speeding and concentrate on the nearly 100% we can attribute to human stupidity. Get real coppers to put the dangerously incompetent/stupid off the road and we can look forward to better safety from reducing that ignored 88% of non-speeding incidents with reduced congestion as a bonus.

Finally, put "unskilled and unaware" into google, read the paper and think about how well that models drivers. The sheer number of people who are both unskilled to take charge of a potentially lethal tool and are unaware of the consequences of their lack of skill is terrifying. Speed, taken as always completely out of context, is not the problem. Incompetence and stupidity is.

RIPA ruling closes encryption key loophole


Proof of encryption?

How exactly can they prove something is encrypted? Encrypted data looks exactly like random data. It would seem trivial to generate a large file of random data, drop it on someone's PC and when the non-existent key is demanded they get in hot water under RIPA. Similarly there is no way to prove that a person knows the key and is willfully withholding it.

Pity this is the UK where justice no longer lives, only stupidity.

Elvis has left the border: ePassport faking guide unleashed



Governments not make stupid mistakes? I needed a good laugh to get through the morning. Cheers El Reg :)

Developers to get Windows 7 pre beta next month

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@Rich Turner

<RT>Whilst many are annoyed by DRM, it's here to stay. Why? 3 primary reasons:</RT>

Here to stay? I doubt it. People are cottoning on to how crappy DRM really is. DRM is broken by design. Ultimately the aim of any content publisher is that consumers can view the plain text (the movie, song, whatever). Since this is encrypted by DRM the consumer must be in possession of: the cipher text (the DRM'd file), the cipher and the cipher's key (supposedly hidden in the OS/software). In case you hadn't figured it out yet, this is like giving someone a book to read which is in a locked box. You still have to give them the key so they can open the box and read it. If you give them the key then you may as well not bother with the locked box. DRM is security by obscurity and we've seen just how well that has worked... Have you noticed how even iTunes has moved towards unencumbered music? Dear, oh dear, what will those pesky users want next?

<RT>1) Content publishers demand it. If the DRM was stripped, MS would be open to multiple lawsuits from any number of powerful, well-backed organizations for deliberately releasing an OS that permits people to view/listen-to DRM protected content, but without protecting the DRM rights. Don't like DRM? Then go talk to your senators and overturn RIAA.</RT>

Talk to senators? I'm sure you mean MP's... The way to really hurt people like the RIAA is to hurt their revenue stream, stop buying their DRM infected crap. Buy the stuff that doesn't have DRM infestation. The indies who do not require DRM manage to sell just fine. The so called 'majors' need to realise that most pirated copies are not lost sales, most of those folks were never going to pay for it. Ironically, DRM causes reduced sales and increased piracy. Just look at the debacle over SecuROM in Spore: EA lost a lot of sales they would have had if they'd just avoided DRM and treating customers like criminals. The pirates had their DRM-free version in under 24 hours. Everytime people have figured out DRM is what's getting in their way, they've rebelled against it. Pissing your customers off is not a long term tactic and more and more people are getting wise to what DRM means for them.

In case you hadn't noticed DVD Jon, the author of DeCSS, could not be prosecuted because he was not breaking any laws. He has a right to watch his legally purchased content on whatever OS he wanted. The argument of major lawsuits against OS vendors for not supporting DRM is little more than a spectre cooked up by the content companies who want to maintain their pitifully out of date, stranglehold business model.

<RT>2) DRM is actually extremely useful in a corporate setting - it allows you to determine who can read the documents/spreadsheets etc., that you create. If you DRM your Word/Excel/Etc. files, and they happen to fall into the wrong hands, then they can't be cracked and read. If only more apps and more people used DRM to protect content by default, there'd be less hullabaloo each time a civil servant left their laptop on a train and/or had it stolen!</RT>

Please don't confuse DRM with proper encryption of sensitive data. DRM is a smokescreen which uses supposedly secret keys which are actually distributed to everyone who wants to read the content (your DVD player for example). Encrypting data involves (and this is the important bit) KEEPING THE KEY SECRET and only giving the key to those who need it. Full-drive encryption of a laptop, for example, does not involve distributing the keys to every Blu-ray player in the world. Your argument is a straw man.

<RT>3) DRM is actually used to protect some of your most personal data and settings within the OS itself ... things you most certainly would NOT want someone else to be able to easily obtain.</RT>

Bollocks. See point 2. Encryption of sensitive data is not the same as DRM. The difference is in the publication of the keys.

<RT>Regarding the questions about whether Win7 is faster and more stable than Vista ... I think you're going to be pleasently surprised.</RT>

Having used Vista, that really won't be hard.


DRM, hammering on the theme...

If they've ripped out the DRM core of Vista then I might actually consider buying Windows 7. I'm philosophically opposed to DRM since it cannot work (and has repeatedly been demonstrated not to) and I really resent being assumed to be a criminal. AFAIK a huge amount of Vista's crap performance is simply down to the DRM, anyone knowing better I'd welcome enlightenment... Make Windows 7 about as quick as XP on the same hardware and MS might actually have a product. Make it run in 64-bit natively and happily run 32-bit apps seamlessly and fast (like OS X does) then MS might have a credible replacement for XP.

I can hope but I definitely won't hold my breath :P

Skull and crossbones since pirates are the only people not inconvenienced by DRM

Miracle airship tech sustained by DARPA pork trickle

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Missing the point

While the buoyancy issue is problematic, the article and comments seem to have missed the other huge problem with lighter than air craft. Being lighter than air they're very easy to blow around using air. Anything other than dry, windless weather and the things become really difficult to fly. Rain can be a right bugger, lots of nasty unbuoyant stuff sticking to the enormous surface area...

They're just a crap idea, let them die in peace...

Axon 100mpg car gallery

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Fuel economy more a bonus than the only factor in car purchase

So, just another lot that ignore what *other* factors people consider when they purchase cars.

Safety is a big one, lighter cars fare much worse in any collision. Having seen a Nissan Micra crushed to little more than the passenger cell when it barely damaged the body coloured bumper of a Range Rover, I know that I want a decent amount of heavy metal around me. Airbag systems are bulky and heavy, look at how thick the A-pillars of cars are now to accomodate the airbags.

Comfort is another. A 500cc two stroke is going to be noisy as hell and stink of oil fumes. To be able to use such a tiny engine you *need* a light car so kiss creature comforts good bye. Mainstream cars are heavy for many reasons. All that sound-proofing, air conditioning, side impact bars, airbags etc adds weight and bulk. Tiny, under-powered cars are hell to drive on a motorway.

Usefulness. That thing look like it could carry a family? Didn't think so. You could barely get a regular family's weekly shopping in that thing. It's only useful for one person's short commute. If you only have one car it won't be this one...

Fuel economy is just one factor, and easily overridden by others.

DNA database costs soar



So let's get this straight, a system that is intended to uniquely identify individuals is erroneous to the extent that 1 in every 8 profiles has failed to be matched with a pre-existing one? Not even biochemists drawing straight lines through scatter plots would try to claim significance with a 1 in 8 chance of being wrong :P

PC Gamers get Bill of Rights


Specs of own PC

Games not working on a user's system are not always down to not meeting the specs listed. Some optical drives just don't read discs properly (firmware/design bugs?) and the latest and greatest drivers are hardly bug-free. Sometimes the drivers just don't exist *coughVistacoughCreativecough* allegedly. There are probably other reasons certain systems just won't run certain games but not meeting the minimum specs isn't the only one.

El Reg tells you what the Highway Code can't


Speed is One Single Aspect of Safety

'Speed' is usually implied to be 'excessive speed' while it would be more appropriate to refer to 'inappropriate speed'. Among the many arguments against speed cameras expounded above, there seems to be almost no mention of the fact speed doesn't kill, crap driving does (except for Steve).

Here are just a few dangerous things that I've seen that all occurred below the speed limit for cars and would have never been detected by speed cameras

* Overloaded trailer weaving down the road (not all vehicles share the same speed limit, trailers is one example) crossing the central reservation periodically.

* Joining a motorway at 40mph when the traffic is cruising at 70mph, causing numerous people to emergency brake.

* Changing lane without checking mirrors, either into a space occupied by another vehicle of into the space about to be occupied by a faster moving vehicle.

* Missing a motorway turning and reversing up the slip road

* Old banger, overloaded with teenagers weaving through dense traffic in the pouring rain.

* Elderly drivers crawling along at 40mph on dry straight main road, sticking to 40mph on entering a village with a 30mph limit.

* Prius drivers doing the same but while watching their efficiency meter

I could go on and on...

Get rid of cameras and replace them with competent traffic police who don't have spurious targets to meet and who have discretion to distinguish between people driving safely but quickly and those who are actually dangerous irrespective of how fast they drive.

Report fingers prints as ID scheme's point of failure

Paris Hilton

@Eddie Edwards

Who says you need to reconstruct the whole fingerprint? You'd only need to reconstruct enough to produce something that will fool a scanner. How about forensic science, you know, those chaps who can secure convictions using partial fingerprints? Even if it's not possible right this minute, I'd put money on the techies getting better reconstructions far faster than this tech-dazzled government will wise up to either information security or why biometrics are fatally flawed.

Paris cos there's (quite astonishingly) a "Govermental Stupidity" icon. Ideas on what that should look like to the usual address at El Reg ;)

Microsoft says ‘hasta la vista XP’ - well, kinda


Windows 7 will sink unless they ditch DRM

Let's face it, Vista performance is comparable to a dead dog with three broken legs. The DRM is the worst problem. There's plenty of other performance sapping and unnecessary crap but DRM's the killer. Literally and figuratively. I won't be upgrading Windows until DRM is out of the core. I'm philosophically and pragmatically against it. It shits on performance and it shits on the customer's rights to legally use their computer as they see fit without being automatically suspected of being a criminal.

NB Microsoft: what customers *really* want is sleeker, faster and without constant security holes in. We don't want new for the sake of it.

Big TV flips ad blockers the bird


Ads that don't sell are worthless

I use an ad blocker but I don't consider myself a freetard. If I like something, (music, game, movie, whatever) I have no problem buying it.

The reasons I block ads?

* They're pointless to me. If I want something, I'll go look for it. Ads won't influence that. Currently they don't cos I never see them. When I look for something, I'll seek independent reviews and the like.

* Ads piss me off. Static banners like I see on some webcomics don't bother me. My brain has become adept at ignoring them but anything animated distracts me. What tends to happen is that I note the brand and *blacklist it*. Yep, in the same way I will be rude to idiots who phone me late at night and make a point of never buying their products, I never buy products who's internet ads piss me off.

* External interference with my stuff REALLY pisses me off. I'm trying to read a news story, the last thing I want is animated crap in my browser. It's interfering with what I am trying, legitimately, to do. Trying to detect and counter the presence of ad blocking software on my browser is essentially trying to alter the behaviour of my computer for commercial gain. Absolute no-no. My PC, so the only person who gets to decide how it behaves is me. Ad companies can fuck off. And DRM too.

The ad spewing idiots need to decide why people block ads and realise intrusiveness is the cause. Some folks might react to the ads but basically online ads are the same business model as spammers: if only 0.01% of your target population will respond then flooding the other 99.99% with masses of bandwidth wasting crap is the way to get revenue by brute force. No sane person complains about anti-spam on their email, why should it be different for embedded ads?


How would Hulu know?

In a properly designed browser there should be no way to know what extensions a user has installed from Hulu's end. The only way to do it should be to link video downloads with ad downloads. That would be trivial to by pass by downloading the ads and simply never displaying them.

Canon EOS 400D digital SLR


@ Who designed this camera???

Probably someone with similar size hands to my mother. She takes excellent photos with her 400D but find the 40D too big and heavy. Personally I find the 400D to feel like a plastic toy but different strokes for different folks....

@ Fine -- but what I want...

Depending on the lens the 400D has full time manual focus if you want it. Modern ring type AF servos are light, quiet and fast. You simply won't find one of the old film type split prism focus aids on a DSLR. The best you can hope for is the live view feature on the 450D/40D but bring a tripod...

Any/All the above applies to Canon, I know jack about Nikon simply because I don't own one....


IS, Kit Lens

The 18-55 kit lens is the cheapest kit lens for the 400D. New owners may be better off with the EF-S 17-85mm IS f/4-f/5.6. The larger zoom range I have found to be very useful (I have that lens for my 40D) and the build quality is better on the 17-85. Naturally the price is higher but it's worth knowing the 18-55 isn't the only kit lens out there.

Canon's view on image stabilisation is to put it in the lens and not the body (Nikon incidentally do the same) so to say the 400D has no image stabilisation is misleading. The 17-85 has IS and it works well. Don't forget that IS only helps with camera shake and will not affect blurring caused by subject motion and slow shutter speeds.

Best advice to give potential DSLR buyers is to go and try the real thing in a shop. Different people react very differently to the feel of an SLR in the hand. I tried a 400D next to a 30D and immediately knew which camera was better *for me*.

As with all things with DSLR's, YMMV...

Becta asks EC to probe Microsoft school deals


@Don Mitchell

<quote>Give useful software to kids or promote open source ideology?</quote>

Speaking as someone who was forced to use MS Office 2003 recently instead of my preferred OpenOffice.org, I was forcibly reminded of just how intensely dysfunctional and annoying MS Office is to use after OO.org. Detractors of OO.org say it's too simple. I would counter that it just works and never tries to second guess me.

I've lost track of how much time I've spent swearing at MS Office for automatically re-arranging my layout, second guessing me for font sizes or countless other aggravations. OO.org doesn't piss me off to use.

I recently found that I had to convert some old Office 95 .doc files to a current format and I tried in both MS Office and OO.org. OO.org did far better, shooting down MS's claims of backward compatibility.

You want to give kids useful software? Give them OO.org and let them see just how bad MS Office is when they try it. Promote open source ideology? Proof is in the pudding. OO.org is an example of open source really working, if giving kids this useful software means they get an object lesson in why vendor lock-in is bad, all the good I say.


Boris Johnson bans boozing on London transport

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Right target, wrong action

Pissed-up and anti-social sods on public transport is indeed a major problem. Getting some of them arrested and severely punished for it would go far further than criminalising the folks who can drink quietly without causing a problem.

Controversial DNA profiling technique approved


Flaw with DNA profiles not LCN

I can't help but think that the problem with DNA matching is not to do with LCN techniques but the fact it only looks at about 13 different stretches of the human genome. Sure, the likelihood of a DNA match for the whole genome is tens of billions to one but that's not what is measured and stored.

The small amount of data in the current NDNAD records only gives odds in the thousands against erroneous matching. As the NDNAD expands, this limitation is going to crop up more and more often.

FIPR: ICO gives BT 'green light for law breaking' with Phorm

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DPA is about more than storing personal data

The DPA also refers to processing personal data, not just storing it. In order to strip it out of their input stream, Phorm must process it even if they throw it away. Anyone using the DPA daily care to point out where my logic is wrong?

Vista SP1 on track for mid-March release?


Turd polishing

No matter how much M$ try and put a shine on Vista, it is still a piece of DRM-infected shit.

Phorm launches data pimping fight back

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Chalk up another user who ignores advertising. Even when it gets past Adblock, which is rare, I mentally edit it out. I will never buy things from adverts in the same way I will never buy anything from people who cold call me. I want something, I'll look for it or ask someone to recommend somewhere to get it. Personal recommendation and reputation have vastly more weight than an online ad, targeted or otherwise.

The one thing I wanted to see in this interview, which there was a conspicuous lack of, was the legal standing of the process. First off, they do not have my permission to intercept my internet traffic (RIPA). Secondly, despite what they say, they *will* be processing personally identifiable data. Even if they throw it away as they claim, they still have to process it in order to decide what to throw away and thus fall foul of the DPA since they do not have my permission to process my personal data.

Any lawyers want to comment/find fault with my interpretation?

Road charging, the sequel - Kelly unveils 'wired m-way' plans


Average Speed Measurement

Average speed measurements are even worse than speed cameras. They have them in parts of Northamptonshire where I occasionally drive. I can tell you from direct experience that what they do is encourage drivers to spend *MORE* time looking at the speedometer and *LESS* time looking at the road and assessing ongoing conditions.

This is even more dangerous than the sudden braking induced by regular speed cameras. It also falls foul of the standard arguments against cameras of failing to detect dangerous driving, human discretion, etc, etc.

FFS, employ real traffic police or at the very least deal with actual crime instead of going after he easy-target drivers who just want to get somewhere in artificially low speed limit areas.

Filesharers petition Downing Street on 'three strikes'

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"That the decisions are being made without public input suits the government down to the ground. It knows better than anyone that laws are formal, thorough beasts, and must be consulted upon."

Sorry, are you talking about some fictional government you'd like to be running this country? Recent laws may be formal but they are not thorough in conceptualisation, debate or anything else. Consultation is near non-existant and where it does happen it is ignored when it turns out to oppose what the government thinks is best (usually despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary). E-petitions being a visible example of this.

London Congestion Charge becomes CO2 tax


Pragmatism Required

Another point that I must make but will be ignored like all the others is that public transport simply is not the answer for many. No matter how reliable, clean and cheap they could (let's be honest this is a hypothetical situation) make it. It is still utterly unusable for some people.

I offer up myself as an example (ignore your prejudice about people justifying their use of cars and read the damn argument). I normally drive to work in a decently efficient car (45mpg/155g/km isn't the best but I feel shit loads safer and more comfortable in my car than the super-low emission cars on athe motorways which I have to drive regularly) and it takes 25 mins to get to work. Due to an eye injury, I am currently unsafe to drive so I don't (wish more people realised this sort of thing). I am condemned to using public transport which takes 2 hours, yes more than 4x as long, IF AND ONLY IF EVERYTHING IS WORKING PERFECTLY. Which it never does.

My time is valuable to me and I don't need to waste 3 hours a day commuting by train. Even if the trains were perfect and cheaper than driving, I would still drive until my employer increases my net salary by 3/8 to compensate for the additional time I'd waste on work-related activity. If I had kids, I would want to spend time with them so getting home after 8 pm after a 2 hour commute would simply not be a remotely acceptable option. I live 8 miles from my place of work FFS, I could bloody nearly WALK that in 2 hours!



"10m people come into London everyday and a lot of them use the underground. The system is old but it works."

Clearly you either have:

a) a different definition of "works"


b) a vastly higher tolerance of filth and overcrowding

than me. London Underground is a creaking, vastly overpriced, wreck unfit for purpose. I think you are the one in need of a reality check. I'm fully expecting London Underground to buckle under the increased usage the pointless 2012 Olympics will place on it. I'm all for the Olympics as long as the hosts can host it properly, pity London is woefully unequipped to do so.

The so-called Congestion Charge is nothing more than a scam for making money for a mayor who shreds documents so we can't read what he gets up to under the Freedom of Information Act. London never needed a mayor and the last thing it needed was Ken as mayor. I'll be voting Boris, at least he says things before his brain kicks in to censor him and thus ends up remarkably honest for a politician.

UK men would stay out of bed for 50in plasma telly

Paris Hilton

Missing info

One thing missing from the survey is how many of those prepared to give up sex are actually getting any regularly. If those guys aren't getting any sex then giving it up is hardly a chore and they'd get a TV for free....

DfT magicians conjure a nation of car sharers


Car Sharing a Pipe Dream

No-one at work lives anywhere near me. No-one at work actually keeps the same hours as I do (I acknowledge that as someone working in academia that is possibly unusual).

Public transport from my home to my pace of work takes 2 hours and is hardly reliable or predictable. Driving (at an average 45mpg) takes just 25 minutes. Unless etiher my emplyer or the department for transport is prepared to up my salary by 11/8 to pay for my time commuting above that used by car then I will drive solo to work. Doing this is still cheaper in my diesel car than using the travesty the politicians call a pubic transport "service"

I won't even *start* on the reasons why a private car is so vastly more pleasant than a filthy train/bus..... :P

Most home routers 'vulnerable to remote take-over'


Fuckwit Protocol Designers - XBox Live

Whoever designed the XBox Live networking should be flayed. It does indeed like to use UPnP to control your router:


This idiocy from the clowns who want to bring you Trusted Computing

MoD sorts out 'turkey' helicopters for Xmas

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No IT angle needed

"Anyway. Merry Christmas to any of ours out there who happen to be reading this. Some of us at least back here are sorry we don't look after you better."

Well said, sir. My sentiments exactly.

No-humping 20mph limit for London

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@Graham Marsden

"A speed limit is exactly that, a *LIMIT* it is not a *TARGET*!"

I assume then that you have not heard of the simple concept of "making good progress" when you drive. Perhaps you are one of those delightful people who dawdle along significantly below the speed limit out of sheer incompetence to make good progress. Or worse, one of those who joins motorways at 40mph and causes havoc.

Stupidity kills, on the part of drivers and pedestrians/cyclists etc, not speed in and of itself. There are times when safety requires 20mph or lower (e.g. a single lane between lines of parked cars that can conceal children) but there are others when 30mph is perfectly safe. A competent driver can evaluate and choose correctly. The dangerous idiots need sorting out by real policemen not cameras. Fools who advocate mandating lower limits when they are not competent to choose the safe speed based on conditions can help solve the traffic problems by surrendering their license.

Most of the incompetent and dangerous driving I witness every day is done below the speed limit.

Fairly realistic flying car offered for 2009 delivery

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@...but, today's drivers....


A huge number of drivers in the UK range from plain incompetent to wilfully dangerous. I'm trying not to imagine the horror of "White Plane Man" and the consequences of whatever the equivalent of jumping red lights would be for aviation >_<

I can only hope that instead of the speed camera obsessed ground constabulary we have the splendid chaps of the RAF enforce the finer points of aviation law with air-to-air weaponry. Make stopping a traffic miscreant with a stinger really mean something :P



Science and religion collide for galactic conference


Atheist Fundamentalists?

What on earth is an atheist fundamentalist? If you follow the scientific method then the stance of the atheist is simply that a negative cannot be proven but a positive can be. This isn't fundamentalism, it's the refusal to believe fairy stories unless there's some solid evidence to back them up.

It is easy to be an exasperated atheist, however, as the frustration mounts with theists who don't understand simple scientific principles and the tenet:

It is not up to me to show there is no invisible unicorn in this room, it is up to you to prove that the invisible unicorn you claim is there, actually is.

Scientists have done amazing work unravelling the mysteries of the universe, previously and incorrectly attributed to god, and there are plenty left. A theist with a modicum of observation should be worried by the continued erosion of god's alleged role as he shrinks to become a vanishing "god of gaps". In defiance of reason the fundamentalist shrilly declares "There just is a god!" and is regarded as foolish by the non-fundamentalist scientific thinkers.

ESA readies super-chilled space telescope


@Absolute zero?

Space, if it has a temperature would be at the 4K of the microwave background. Perhaps more to the point is that the instrumentation must be constantly chilled to ward off the experiment-ruining heating of the sunshine the observatory must bathe in to generate power.

World of Warcraft smites den of orc and elf sexual delinquency



OK, so the outside of the box says it's teen rated but the box also says it needs a recurring subscription. Generally that means a credit card which you cannot acquire until 18 here in the UK. So which is it? Adult game (18+ for subscription) or teen game (as per rating). I think Blizzard and the other MMOG companies are being deceptive by describing it as a teen game, you can't play unless you're an adult. If you're younger than 18 then you presumably have your parent's permission, they pay your subscription and thus they carry responsibility if you see something upsetting in an adult game.

However, it must be said that Blizzard are entirely right in cracking down on this stuff. Freaks and weirdos have credit cards too and some activities are unsuitable anywhere. All Blizzard need to do is make it unacceptable behaviour in the acceptable usage terms and then get busy with the banstick if it gets flouted.

Finally, this is not a free-speech issue at all. These are privately owned game and forums which you pay to use. Blizzard can censor as much as it likes.

At the Toyshop of Doom



You can't dissociate pictures of guns from their purpose yet you can ignore their necessity in the real world? A world where conflict is inevitable despite delusional wishes that it isn't so.

Ultimately freedom and law are defended with force. Diplomacy can work because it is backed by the threat of force if diplomacy fails. If this country is attacked by a hostile power, how would you like our government to respond? Offer the attackers a quick chat about their aggressive behaviour or armed, military response? What freedoms are left, that the government hasn't given/taken away, were fought for with guns. Your personal dislike of guns doesn't change the fact that guns are necessary and we need to arm our military with effective, modern weapons.

Good show, El Reg, for not being afraid to cover important topics like how technology affects how soldiers fight.

Pee-powered battery unveiled


Not much use

500mAh is pathetic, I can't think of any application I'd use these cells in. Currently I have 2600mAh NiMH rechargeables and they have acceptable life in GPS receivers and digicams. 20% of the lifespan just so I can recharge it by peeing on it? No thanks, I'll just plan a bit ahead and keep spare, charged NiMH cells with me.

Casio demos 'world's fastest-shooting' digicam


Superzoom != SLR

This is a fixed lens digicam with a 12x optical zoom. These are known as Superzooms. They're easy to use, popular and sell well but they're no more an SLR than an Escort XR3i is a Ferrari. The sensor will be pretty small and the quality of the glass (and thus the image) is lower than a real DSLR. As others have posted, try www.dpreview.com for a photographer's take on it.

Why 300fps? Can you even resolve that as a human? Even hardcore gamers are normally happy with a mere 60fps in-game and they're a tough crowd to please...

Court finds Qualcomm guilty of standards abuse


Punitive Damages

While I'm no fan of Broadcom (refusal to document its chips) I hope Qualcomm gets hit very hard with punitive damages. This sort of abuse of the patent and standards systems must not be tolerated or go unpunished.

Miserable Brits declare War on Comfort


Trees incomparably good relative to politicians

"They're far less damaging than chopping down the nearest tree - or setting fire to a passing local politician."

Setting fire to local politicians might be viewed as a public service in some quarters, the problem is that they are 70% water and difficult to light ;)

Leave the trees alone, they're good shade to drink under as well as being significantly more attractive than concrete :)

El Reg issues Satan word alert



Wow, mobisode is right up there with Doctor Who's tardisodes. Until my wife explained the term to me I assumed it was episodes written by that deus ex obsessed 'tard Russell T Davies instead of the better writers like Steven Moffat... >_<

Skype violates open source licence


GPL less than stellar

This seems more of a demonstration of why the GPL is a sometimes barrier to code re-use instead of an enabler. IIRC a CD of the machine-readable source with each phone would satisfy the GPL but would be an additional cost to the manufacturer. Whether this, coupled with the cost of the lawsuit, would be enough to make the manufacturer implement proprietary code or even use a BSD kernel I have no idea.