* Posts by Mike Wilson

59 publicly visible posts • joined 13 May 2008


Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

Mike Wilson

Re: Not tried an induction hob

Off grid homes I've visited use bottled gas for cooking. Even the "low impact" hippies. That's what I'd do, too.

Mike Wilson

Surplus power

I'd rather be on a nuclear powered grid. If every home has its own battery and the household uses, for example, an average of 80% of the capacity each day, there's a lot of unused energy. Kind of like having millions of litres of fuel sitting in peoples' car tanks. Battery only makes sense to me where there's no grid.

Cash'n'Carrion restocks atomic keyrings

Mike Wilson

£4 shipping to UK?!

Fancied one right up until I saw that.

Bad news: Robo-cars will make you work billions more hours. Good news: In 2040

Mike Wilson

At last!

We'll finally get that life of leisure we were promised technology would deliver in 1976.

Google bakes W3C malware-buster into Gmail

Mike Wilson

Gmail extensions?

They've got Gmail extensions now? That was a surprise.

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Mike Wilson

"We have introduced a half-second delay before the mouseover triggers the drop down navbar."

5% less horrible than it was. Still horrible. And why are some pictures so effing huge? The page doesn't fit on my laptop screen. (As with most sites, a little zoom is essential as I don't wish to read with a microscope).

Mike Wilson

Arrrghhhh... Drop down menus

Stuff that drops down/pops up/whatever when the mouse passes over is ghastly, infuriating UI design. Whoever thought this was a good idea? The web is heavily polluted with this wretched nonsense. To make it even worse, the behaviour is different on different sites, so it never becomes intuitive.

Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie fired in three-way fsck row

Mike Wilson

Dear Mattel

1930 called and they want their attitudes back. Strewth, I'm an old bloke and I'm offended by this. I'm reminded of that ambitious but otherwise useless bimbo who was running some govt scheme to teach kids to code but admitted she couldn't code herself. I expect she's the prospective Labour candidate for somewhere or other by now. How's that for an idea for the next Barbie role model book & doll? £200 from all good toy shops and most crappy ones as well.

Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair

Mike Wilson

With those terms...

Why would anyone in their right mind have a Facebook account?

Drone captures shots of budding APPLE SPACESHIP HQ

Mike Wilson

Mic on drone

I'm wondering about the idea of putting a microphone on a drone. Would it ever record anything but engine noise?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

Mike Wilson

Re: Whither Nexus 8@ FartingHippo

"Replace the stuffing battery then".

I did consider that. My problem is, I don't know how to tell angels from crooks on Amazon, eBay etc. The last two phone batteries I bought on-line were useless. One wasn't even new as claimed -- an old one with a half-hearted attempt to polish out some scratches.

Mike Wilson

Whither Nexus 8

I will want to replace my Mk1 Nexus 7 soon. The battery is tired and doesn't hold much charge. The case has been dropped once too often. I've coveted a friend's Nexus 10, but it's too heavy to hold one handed for long. The rumours of a Google Nexus 8 have gone quiet. Perhaps I'll have one of these instead.

£100m DMI omnifail: BBC managers' emails trawled by employment tribunal

Mike Wilson

At least it's not my money these buffoons are burning

Got rid of my telly in 2009 and haven't missed it. No license fee needed for Radio 4 which is the only BBC product I consume. The world has changed and the Beeb seems to have not changed with it. They remain a bloated money pit in a world with Netflix & Lovefilm. I like the idea of free to view telly with no advertising, but not run like this.

Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Mike Wilson


...it's on Amazon. I closed my account as I no longer wish to do business with them. I can see now how dystopian futures can come into being -- it can become too inconvenient to protest or the public can become too complacent. I'm drawing a line here and will live with the inconvenience.

Top 10 tech essentials for the festival season

Mike Wilson

Holy Fucking Shit

A hundred and fifty quid for a camping stove? Get out of here. And keep it topped up with twigs for three hours to charge a typical smart phone? I don't think so.

eBay slammed for daft post-hack password swap advice

Mike Wilson

Re: Keepass...

In reply to my own whinge, here's how to change the PayPal password to something long and gibberish without having to retype the sucker: https://gist.github.com/nikolaplejic/3654637

Mike Wilson

Re: Keepass...

I had a long and fruitless conversation with PayPal's dim witted support people about exactly this password paste problem yesterday. No way am I going to type a 20 character gibberish password TWICE and have a faint hope of getting it right. So I type a shorter one instead. Well done half wits -- you REDUCED the security of my PayPal account. It took three e-mails for them to even understand the problem then they fell back on defending the status quo and repeatedly failed to answer my question "how does this improve security as you claim?". I'm tempted to bin my PayPal account but then I don't think I would be able to use eBay. And no matter how sordid eBay seems, life without it would be inconvenient.

Selfies are so 2013. Get ready for DRONIES – the next hipster-cam-gasm

Mike Wilson


Never mind dronie, WTF is a belfie? I missed that memo. Words are getting added to the language at such a pace, I predict a time, not too long from now, when everyone will have their own version of English and no one will know what anyone else is on about.

France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

Mike Wilson
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Excellent idea

Those who work long and hard shall be rewarded and their reward shall be... More work.

Fukushima radioactivity a complete non-issue on West Coast: Also for Fukushima locals, in fact

Mike Wilson

"If there's one lesson to learn from it, it's that nuclear power is very safe indeed"

Thank you. Now, can we please have a new nuclear power plant or three in the UK? They're a lot safer than the alternatives.

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Mike Wilson

Teaching kids to code?

So the money set aside to teach kids to code will be gobbled up by consultants, PR types and other useless people who won't be teaching kids to code. Is anyone surprised by this?

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

Mike Wilson

Ohh shiny

Mst hav moar like ths pls

Connecting Gmail to Google+ is SENSELESS, says Digg founder

Mike Wilson

Re: If full integration is what they are ....

I've been wondering much the same. I would have bailed out of Gmail ages ago if I didn't have Android phone & tablet. I wouldn't touch any of the iThings with a 10' pole for the same reasons I don't trust Google. I haven't looked at WinPhone yet. How ironic would it be if Microsoft turned out to be the safest people to trust with personal information?

If not for the privacy issues, I'd be happy to stay with Android. Having mail, calendar and contacts synchronised across multiple devices if wonderfully convenient but the price is getting too high.

App to manage Android app permissions

Mike Wilson
Thumb Down

Not nice

Hidden costs and fiddly to uninstall. Best avoided, I reckon.

Google tells EFF: Android 4.3's privacy tool was a MISTAKE, we've yanked it

Mike Wilson

Some creepy apps out there

After the permission manager went missing, I went through my installed apps and removed all the ones with sinister permissions. Air Droid, for example, wants access to SMS. Why? I can't think of a good reason, so it's back to moving files over a cable for me. Several wanted to read phone status and id. Those are mostly history as well.

Giving excessive permissions to apps isn't just about paying for "free" apps by looking at ads, it's about paying by handing over personal information. Many people won't realise what they are paying. If they did, they might decide the price is too high.

If someone wants to keep track of my location and sell that information to an advertising network, they're going to have to give me something a lot more valuable than a crappy little app. A house might cover it, but it'd have to be a nice house by the sea.

Google makes Compute Engine official

Mike Wilson


"The Reg's Kid Cloud Jack Clark is working on a pricing comparison of the major after...".

This would be very welcome. I never found my way through Amazon's absurdly complicated pricing stuff to work out whether to go with AWS or stay with old-fashioned hosting. I'm still using hosting. It works fine

I wonder if I am paying too much but can only bear so much baffling pricing stuff before giving up and signing up for another year with A Small Orange.

DVLA declares J14 HAD on BU14 SHT and SL14 AGS

Mike Wilson

Re: History

I saw PEN 15 on a white Roller, a Silver Cloud I think, near Kew Bridge (London) in around 1974. Made my day.

KILL SWITCH 'BLOCKED by cell operators' to pad PROFITS, thunders D.A.

Mike Wilson

Corporate profits sequences

"Corporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences," Gascón said.

OMG, he must be a communist. Does he not understand the slightest thing about business?

Whovians, your Doctor needs you: Take back the Day from One Direction

Mike Wilson

Too many tellies to worry

In the distant past when most households had, at most, one telly, this might have caused even more teenage angst. Or a huge family row about which channel to watch. Not any more, so who give a damn?

Europe, SAVE US! Patriot Act author begs for help to curb NSA spying

Mike Wilson


Is it possible to get legislation passed in the USA without a good acronym? Some of these legislators must have a team of acronymists working for them.

Ten top stories from New Who

Mike Wilson

"Dalek" my favourite, "Father's Day" also excellent

I'm pleased to see "Dalek" on that list, it's the best Who I've seen. Christopher Eccleston really getting his teeth into a brilliantly written episode. Second to that for me is "Father's Day", the only one to bring a tear to this old softie's eye.

Funds flung at 9-inch fan-built Raspberry Pi monitor

Mike Wilson

Just what I've been waiting for ive

I've fancied a Pi for a while but have been put off by the cost of the other bits I'd need. I just backed a Kickstarter project for the first time. Hurry up and make 'em, please.

I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Mike Wilson

Re: Oh,ffs...

We also have artificial scarcity enabled by intellectual property rights. There are many choices of smart phone, for example. Many humans are attracted to high status objects and Apple have done some genius marketing to make iPhone a high status, high price and highly desirable (by many) object. We could probably remove much scarcity already, some of what remains is artificial, created to keep prices high. (And no, mine isn't an iPhone).

Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

Mike Wilson

So long and thanks for all the chips

I'm grateful to have lived through the Moore's law years, it has been fascinating. It has also been expensive buying a new PC every year or two. I started out with a Commodore PET which had, if memory serves, a 1MHz clock and 8k RAM. It cost about £800 in 1978. I haven't seen significant performance improvements for a decade. I recently used a five year old laptop and it was fine. Apart from having Windows Vista, obviously.

Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

Mike Wilson

Nuclear power will be a terrible loss

The hysterical reporting in mainstream media means the majority of the public think nuclear power plants are dangerous and a bad thing. I think it is unlikely we will get any new nuclear plants in time to stop the lights going out when peak oil/gas/coal hit and the cost of energy goes up exponentially. The damage to our economy and way of life are likely to be huge. Then, perhaps, people will ask why we can't have some of those wonderful thorium reactors. By then we won't be able to afford them. We'll be waiting for the boffins to get fusion working - only another ten years and it'll be ready. Unfortunately, fusion boffins have been saying "give us ten years" since the 1970s.

Voyager 1 'close' to breaking through to DEEP SPACE - boffins

Mike Wilson
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Awesome reliability

I realise someone out there is probably still watching a telly from the 70s, but Voyager has been in a hostile environment for decades and is still working. Amazing.

NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

Mike Wilson

Excellent article - I agree action is necessary

If braver people than me are prepared to die for liberty, the least I can do is work out how to live without gmail. If a non-US company offers "not subject to US law" web mail, they've got my business. If it's as useful as gmail, that's a bonus. And there's the problem with a boycott - for many people it will be too much effort and too many of us won't realise how valuable privacy and liberty are until it's too late.

GNOME project picks JavaScript as sole app dev language

Mike Wilson

What a dreadful decision

Every generation gets to use a language apparently designed by people who know little about programming languages. Over the years we've had COBOL, BASIC, PERL to name a few of the horrors visited on innocent programmers. By now, JavaScript should have faded away. Instead, another wilfully ugly and utterly inappropriate language is still growing.

Craig, Connery or ... Dalton? Vote now for the ultimate James Bond

Mike Wilson
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Difficult choice

I think you're on to something with the age thing. Until recently it was obviously Connery for this old fart, but Craig is so bloody good he gets my vote.

Miniature Baumgartner jumps from 128,000ft

Mike Wilson
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Re: Record?

I salute your comic genius.

Is it not time there was an Oscar for work like this?

UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode

Mike Wilson

Time of the essence, I think

If that block of addresses is really worth as much as $1.5bn, they'd better move quickly. As soon as everyone gives up on IPv6 denial and actually starts implementing it, IPv4 blocks will be worthless.

Google Nexus 7 price, details confirmed in pre-I/O leak

Mike Wilson
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Re: You know that all looks okay to me

Looks good to me too. I have been waiting for the contract on my feature phone to end (next Dec) so I can get a smart phone (probably Samsung Galaxy S III). If Google or anyone else offers a reasonably priced and reasonably ok tablet before then, I'll keep the phone and get the tablet.

Leave small market for absurdly expensive ones to Apple.

Larry Ellison buys island 1000x bigger than Branson's

Mike Wilson

Vulcano, submarine dock etc

Well, Ellison looks much more like a Bond villain than Branson, so it's only right he has the larger island.

Ludicrously lucky teen survives spear through brain

Mike Wilson

Ludicrously lucky teen survives spear through brain

"Ludicrously lucky"? If he was ludicrously lucky his careless pal would have shot himself in the foot. Getting shot in the head is not lucky even if you survive.

El Reg posts dirty pics for old computer buffs

Mike Wilson

Picture 11 barrel printer

I remember those from my days as an operator in the 70s. Noisy buggers they were. 120 columns on the ICT one I operated. A hammer came from behind the paper to push it onto the drum forming a letter. The one in the photo is smarter than the ICT one which has a whole row of the same character in line. That meant a line of hyphens used to make a separator on a report all fired at once and could blow a fuse. I'm told a cleverly designed report could play interesting rhythms but I never heard one. An icon for nostalgia is needed.

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics

Mike Wilson
Paris Hilton

Ford or Volkswagen

"OK, the plastics and fabrics aren’t quite up there with the best from Ford or Volkswagen...".

Ford have come a long way in the last 10 years, haven't they? I never used to hear them mentioned as a paragon of quality.

A few years back when people laughed at horrid Korean cars, I told them to remember what early Japanese cars were like and to give the Koreans a few years. Looks like they have got where they probably planned to be all along.

Solarcars are hot!

Mike Wilson


"...we also like the purpose of the event..."

And I expect you like Australian beer as well.

Ten... all-in-one inkjet printers

Mike Wilson

If you're on a budget...

The HP 1050 is £25 in Tesco and works fine. Amazing value and probably cheap to run if, like me, you buy cheapskate unbranded ink on eBay. It works fine on Linux too, but I expect all of the reviewed printers do. Actually, it probably works BETTER on Linux -- I just plugged it in and a few seconds later it installed itself and just worked. Getting it working on Windows 7 involved a > 50Mb download.

DARPA shells out $21m for IBM cat brain chip

Mike Wilson

Was cat a good choice?

If I wanted to simulate a brain to do something useful, I don't think I would choose cat. Will the US military get a (very) expensive new machine which which pukes on the carpet, kills small furry animals and sleeps 23 hours a day in the warmest spot it can find?