* Posts by Thomas Bottrill

114 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2008


Council urges army drinkers to break the law

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Bloody silly

As far as I understand, it IS the council's fault.

The Licensing Act doesn't specify what is acceptable ID, and doesn't require you to ID people. It sounds as if the council have imposed conditions on the licence that they issue that restrict which forms of ID are acceptable, and possibly state who should be IDed.

Apple iPad 3G 32GB

Thomas Bottrill


A couple of operators, such as O2, also offer day-to-day options. Rather amusingly, O2's day package still offers unlimited use of The Cloud and BT Openzone for that day, but at a price that us lower than either provider's minimum PAYG package. So it's also good for sitting in a train station.

Knowing your GPPs from your GPSes

Thomas Bottrill


Are scenarios 4 & 5 the wrong way round?

Google can kill or install apps on citizen Androids

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Let's see

Windows Update must be explicitly enabled (it asks you during setup) and can be disabled at any time.

I'm not sure if this can be disabled.

Apple to sell unlocked iPhone 4

Thomas Bottrill

It's working now

Also, £499 isn't really that pricey for an unlocked smartphone.

Vodafone UK iPhone tariffs leaked

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Well let's hope

O2 has the tethering charge in place because the T&Cs for unlimited data say that you can't use tethering.

Microsoft trumps Kinect with 'sleek, silent, sexy' Xbox

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Sure.. they copied the Eyetoy

It's more of an evolved EyeToy.

For one, it has depth perception. For another, it tracks a number of points of your body, so that it's possible to mimic your movements on screen.

50 million user Scribd scraps Flash for HTML5

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Er no

SWF file format specification: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/

Microsoft defends death of free video in IE 9

Thomas Bottrill

RE: MS lose money on H264

The post didn't say that MS lost money - it said that MS pay more to MPEG-LA than they receive in royalties. The cost of licensing will be included in the cost of the operating system.

I agree that it's stupid that Microsoft isn't using Windows' underlying media framework in IE9. So what if I have to download the Theora codec for a website that only supports that particular codec? It's better than not being able to watch the video at all.

Sony's PS3 firmware update shows how retailers can be exposed

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Pathetic

"Microsoft removed the ability to batch download all titles from XBLA in the NXE Update."

You are talking about the ability to automatically download XBLA demos.

This was never a feature of the original Xbox 360 firmware. It was added in a later firmware revision. Further, I'm not sure that Microsoft ever used this feature in their console advertising, whereas Sony advertised the Other OS option as part of the PS3.

Lower termination rates will bring pricey data

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Transparency

"And why should I be tied into an 18 month contract. It's my phone (I've had it years and it's long sence been paid for), but every 18 months I have to negotiate a new "package" with the telco. How did it ever come to this? Fair enough if you're getting a subsidised phone from them, but of not then there is no excuse for this. Ofcom should stop it."

You don't - you get a SIM-only tariff that you only have to give a month's notice to cancel.

PS3 update to rid all consoles of Linux support

Thomas Bottrill


"Microsoft regularly remove functionality from firmware updates, however it does not set the internet on fire like when Sony removed a obscure, underused and previously called "gimped" feature..


The difference of course, is this is Sony, a foreign company, and the American press just love to hate foreign companies...."

1) That was never a feature that was extensively advertised - the ability to run Linux on a PS3 was.

2) Automatic XBLA downloading wasn't a feature in the original firmware. It was added at a later date. Linux on a PS3 was available in every single fat PS3 from launch.

Opera Mini hits iTunes, awaits Apple verdict

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Who's phone is it anyway?

"Surely this must fall foul of the same EU anti-competition laws that forced MS to ask us all what browser we wanted to use? Or perhaps the courts don't dislike Apple as much?"

Microsoft hasn't banned alternative browsers from WP7S. They have disallowed native code for the time being (according to them, because it's hard to sandbox native code). However, they are allowing exceptions to this rule for their partners, so it's entirely possible that Mozilla would be able to develop a native Firefox for WP7S if they asked (though I don't know how this would affect it being open source).

Mozilla have discontinued Fennec because they don't want to have to/are unable to port their browser to the version of .NET CF running on WP7S.

So it isn't a deliberately anti-competitive move. Besides which, Microsoft isn't absuing it's dominant power in the smartphone market because it hasn't got any.

Employers call for end to Mickey Mouse degrees

Thomas Bottrill
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University for academics

I'm of the opinion that you should only have to go to university if you're looking to work in an academic field, such as research. Most jobs work better if you have more vocational learning. For example, if you're looking to be a manager at a business, surely it's much better to learn while you're working there (and therefore learning about all the subtle ways in which your company is unique) than to spend three years learning about generic business methods and then spending a further 18 months on a "graduate training scheme"?

University should be free, and should only be for those people looking to academic subjects. There should be more companies offering on-the-job training schemes, which would include courses at a local college, and the government should be part-funding this. You shouldn't need a degree to get a good job, as a degree is less useful for some professions than it is for others.

Oz censorship debate censored on Comms minister's website

Thomas Bottrill

Two questions

1) Why isn't "ISP filtering" just omitted from the variable "a"?

2) Why is there a variable called "mullet"?

Actually, this code should probably be on The Daily WTF. It looks like this "search cloud" is generated by counting the number of occurences of a string in the variable "a". Wonder which poor bastard has to keep that updated?

Secondary pupils get free iPhones in edu-app trials

Thomas Bottrill

Why iPhone?

""We went for the iPhone because it gives children more of a facility to customise applications than they can get at the moment with Windows based devices," he said. Another advantage is that many of the applications transfer data for use on the device, rather than demanding that the pupil logs onto the internet to use an application."

On the other hand, if they used any other smartphone platform, they could write their own apps for it, or even teach the kids how to, without having to pay to join a developer program.

Plus, a WinMo, Symbian, Android et. al. phone would probably be cheaper. Hell, if you really wanted to teach kids stuff that's useful for the future, get them prodding around the Android source code.

I don't really get the point about iPhone apps being easier to customise than WinMo apps. Surely WinMo beats iPhone in that respect, considering how many undocumented settings you can tweak. Or is he just talking about how the app store is more integrated?

Google and MS sued over links to file-sharing site

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Not Links

I don't think that RapidShare has any advertising - they make their money through premium subscriptions. The point about the advertising in the law suit is that Google and Microsoft display ads alongside search results, and so essentially make money from linking to RapidShare.

Google expands plan to run own internet

Thomas Bottrill

Open DNS

"Can't help but wonder if they'll start 404 hijacking once they get a significant part of the whole DNS pie? However, if they actually are honest in their intentions and actions (in this case anyway), then I can only really see good to come from a truly standard, non-hijinx DNS server.

Unlike OpenDNS, for instance."

NX redirection can be turned off on OpenDNS, if you're a paying customer (about $10 a year). Seems fair enough that they redirect you to an advertising page if you don't pay - how else are they going to make the money to support the service?

GoogleDNS and OpenDNS are two different services really. GoogleDNS is a simple replacement for an ISP's DNS servers, whereas OpenDNS gives you a lot of options (such as blocking certain types of sites and a basic level of typo-correction).

I'd definitely be very wary about using GoogleDNS though. While they haven't really shown themselves to be completely dishonest, it would obviously be of massive benefit to Google to tie your DNS requests with your AdSense data. Then again, how many of us trust Google with their e-mails?

Splinter Cell hack smells more like publicity stunt

Thomas Bottrill

Google Translate

Page title: Raven


Subject: System Maintenance

Occasionally the security system will be switched off for planned work and data protection. During such work may be a breach in security from external threats. Thus, all off would be a random character in accordance with a random pattern of Delta-3-6-Oscar

ICANN condemns registry DNS redirection

Thomas Bottrill


"Other services, most notably, OpenDNS, have built an entire business off of the practice. What sets this last one against the rest is that it's entirely opt-in. That means users who want to prevent themselves from accidentally ending up at a harmful site because they mistyped a URL have to go through the trouble of configuring their systems to use the service."

You can also disable NXDOMAIN redirection, if you give them some money.

Hacker frees iPhone from Jobsian tyranny (again)

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Crazy Apple

Because Apple gets a cut of all revenues from official iPhone service providers.

Nokia to shut down N-Gage

Thomas Bottrill

I had an N-Gage

I won it from one of those Sky channels in the 200s. I kept it for about three years before it broke (the microphone only intermittently worked), and I quite liked it.

Though Nokia really gave up on it quite early on.

Norway warns Amazon against Kindle launch

Thomas Bottrill


"I love Norway as a country, but demanding a 5 year warranty on all devices is incredibly stupid, especially with so many not even being designed to last that long these days."

The UK Sale of Goods Act requires products to last for a reasonable period of time. Watchdog seems to think that reasonable for an electronic product is about six years.

Apple confirms Windows 7 support for Mac OS X boot camp

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Not sure that this is news

"Happily somebody has created a modded version you can download but I'd prefer a pukka driver..."


All it requires is an alteration of one of the config files in the driver setup folder. Though it would be nice if the optical light wasn't also constantly on, and it would be VERY nice if Windows 7 power management worked properly (particularly the screen dimming).

Still, Apple have never been particularly renowned for their Windows software.

Nokia sues Apple over iPhone

Thomas Bottrill

What El Reg fails to mention...

..., and what is mentioned on other sites and in the linked press release, is that virtually all other mobile manufacturers already licence these patents. Nokia isn't trolling or targeting Apple because they're successful - it's suing because Apple are refusing to licence the patents which everyone else seems to agree are valid.

Apple Magic Mouse

Thomas Bottrill

Does it work in Windows?

And, more importantly, does the right-click register in games?

I like my MacBook Pro's multi-touch pad a lot, but a lot of games don't pick up on the two-finger right-click.

UK cops to be kitted out with smartphones

Thomas Bottrill


I thought that Airwave was supposed to be able to do all this. Their website specifically mentions access to the PNC.

Sky confirms telly-on-Xbox launch date

Thomas Bottrill

Some answers

"Will this service be world wide or do the distributors/networks still don't get it? World wide service would be nice :D"

I would imagine Sky only have UK broadcast rights for most of their shows.

"If you watch Sky, streamed to your Xbox, and Iplayer on your PC (and no satellite dish, or TV aerial etc) and live in the UK, do you need to still pay a TV licence?"

If it's streamed live (as in, if you're watching a feed that's also being broadcast over the air) then yes. If you're just using the on-demand service then no.

"Is the multiroom subscription required for everything or just streaming live channels, as it already is for the PC version of Sky Player?"

I can't imagine it'd be different to the exisiting Sky Player service.

"We are now in the world of HD so it's rather pathetic providing VHS quality on demand services and expecting people to pay for it. The best streamed quality I've seen is from the BBC iPlayer, but even that looks terrible full screen on a 40" TV."

No idea what quality the Sky service will use, but the upcoming update will include the 1080p live streaming from Zune Marketplace, so it's possible that the Sky service could stream in HD.

"and pay for multiroom? when i don't get the same quality or amount of channels over skyplayer that i would do normally? wtf? yeah sure, that bird'll fly. if it was a free service like PC skyplayer, then cool. but it's not. so bye bye."

The PC service requires multiroom for live streaming (as opposed to VOD). However, I think that Sky Player on Xbox will require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

PLDS iHES208 Blu-ray drive

Thomas Bottrill


I picked up an LG GGCH20L Blu-ray combo drive from PC World for about £80, which reads everything (including HD-DVD) and writes to everything except Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

Seems like a better deal than this drive, unless this drive also writes to Blu-ray, though the Blu-ray writer version of the LG drive (GGWH20L) is only about £125.

Virgin Media to trial IPTV off-cable network

Thomas Bottrill

RE: It won't work

"For the trial they are using the nearest BT exchange, but will be shortening the sub-loop by installing their own cabinet. Plans for any wider deployment aren't decided."

Will they be installing their own cabinet or using BT's existing cabinets (don't know if it's already an option, but ISPs are definitely able to do it in 21CN)?

Though it sounds like, if they're doing this, they are pretty much are laying new fibre, and thus doing what they've done already. It would surely make more sense from a cost-saving point of view to become an LLU operator.

Top prices, old shows - the Beeb's iPlayer goes global

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Stupid

It doesn't really matter for BBC-owned shows, but for shows that they don't own (either the copyright is retained by the production company or it's an import), they may only have UK broadcast rights.

Of course, they also make quite a bit of money in selling international rights to broadcasters in other countries - probably a lot more than they'd get from a subscription service.

You have to rememeber that the licence fee is subsidised by the BBC's commercial activities, so if the BBC did move to a worldwide subscription service, you'd be paying a lot more than the UK licence fee for it.

Kindle to come to Blighty on 19 October

Thomas Bottrill

Still AT&T

"The device's built-in 3G and Wi-Fi networking will both operate over here, though Amazon didn't say which UK carrier's SIM is embedded in the device."

It doesn't, if this is the US & International Wireless version they posted about on Engadget. It uses AT&T roaming, and has a premium of $1.99 per item downloaded internationally.

It's probably better to wait for a proper UK version.

O2 Broadband puts brakes on BitTorrent

Thomas Bottrill

Storm in a teacup?

I'm surprised that O2 wasn't already restricting people on IPStream, considering that they'll be paying BT for bandwidth.

The LLU network is still unrestricted, which I'd imagine most O2 customers are on anyway (I'd be interested to know just how many use O2 on the IPStream product). This is just dealing with the higher costs that they have for running broadband over the BT network rather than their own.

"Thats the only reason O2 got my business - unlimited, unfettered access. Guess its time to move on again soon...."

If you're on one of the cheaper LLU products then you're unaffected by this. This only applies to the Access package.

Windows 7 OEM prices revealed

Thomas Bottrill

RE: UK prices

Windows 7 Ultimate has actually gone as low as £149.48 on Amazon, as this is what my pre-order is currently costing me. It'd be interesting to see what the OEM prices will be in the UK, though I remember Vista Ultimate costing about £120 from eBuyer.

Rather oddly, though, Amazon is still charging a tenner more for the upgrade version than the full verison of Windows 7 Ultimate.

OMG US states to ban txting + driving

Thomas Bottrill

Driving without due care and attention

How do US states not already have a law like this?

Bletchley Park earns first ever lottery grant

Thomas Bottrill
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English Heritage/National Trust

I'm surprised that neither of these have taken it on, though I guess Bletchley Park may be choosing to remain independent.

Still, at least the Lottery are spending money on worthwhile things.

Is Apple behind Intel's speedy optical link?

Thomas Bottrill

RE: What's the point?

"What's the point in having one cable that everything can use to connect to your computer with, if you have a dozen different things that need plugging in? You still need a dozen cables."

Yes, but you'd be able to plug whatever you want into those twelve ports. So you could have a keyboard, mouse and ten monitors, or keyboard, mouse, two monitors, a printer and seven hard drives.

I guess it should also reduce the costs of cables, since shops would only need to stock one type and manufactuers would only need to manufacture one type, but we all know that PC World et al would still try to charge you twenty quid a metre.

O2 launches democratically-minded MVNO

Thomas Bottrill

RE:OK, I'll bite

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (or something like that) - they're basically mobile operators that resell other operators' networks, rather than building their own. They're usually independent. Examples include Virgin Mobile (T-Mobile?) and Tesco Mobile (O2?).

Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome

Thomas Bottrill

No title

"Tell me seriously that you think IE is a better browser than Firefox."

I think that IE is better than Firefox. I hate Firefox.

Though I do like Chrome, and Safari is nice to use on my OS X partition. It's just Firefox that I don't like using.

Italian Job sat nav driver cops £900 fine

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Sounds harsh

If he had been exercising this level of care and attention on the public road, which he would've been on before going on to private land, then he WAS putting other people at risk. The point was that he was paying more attention to his satnav than to what was ahead of him, which he would've been doing before driving up the bridle path.

White hats release exploit for critical Windows vuln

Thomas Bottrill


"Rather, it means attackers can use the internet to take over vulnerable machines located half-way around the globe."

And how many people have the SMB2 ports forwarded to their machines?

Muse eye Bond theme

Thomas Bottrill

RE: Propellerheads

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is an awesome remix.

I quite liked the Casino Royale theme tune, but the Quantum of Solace one was a bit like the movie - not really Bond. It would be interesting to see what Muse would come up with for the next one.

Windows 7 versus Snow Leopard — The poison taste test

Thomas Bottrill

As good as each other

There's a lot right and a lot wrong with both operating systems. I dual-boot them on my Macbook Pro, and tend to switch between them. For gamers, Windows is still the better option (I've had no luck getting the Mac version of Wine to work), but I tend to use OS X a lot for day-to-day stuff (mainly because the Macbook runs a lot cooler in OS X, the multi-touch touchpad works fully, and the OS X drivers don't completely suck).

The Dock has actually had a lot of scorn heaped upon it (I don't really understand why, since I have no problems with it), and I find the Windows 7 taskbar to be superior to it (being able to mouse-over to switch between windows is fantastic - I haven't installed Snow Leopard yet, but AFAIK you have to click-and-hold and the icon for the same functionality).

Spotlight works a lot better than the quick search in the Start menu, but the quick search also functions as a run box, which seems to a bit buried in OS X. Freezes also occur on both Windows 7 and Leopard (and, I'm assuming, still in Snow Leopard), and on neither more often than the other.

As for Exchange support, this is a big plus for Snow Leopard. To be fair to Apple, I'm assuming they use the autoconfiguration available only from Exchange 2007, and public folders are only there so that Outlook 2003 and earlier clients can access the Exchange server - they're not supposed to be used in Outlook 2007 and up.

PS3 phone out next month

Thomas Bottrill

What does it control?

Is it just for accessing media stored on the PS3 via your phone?

Seems a bit pointless really - I have no media stored on any of my consoles. Instead, it's all streamed from my existing media server. I would imagine a fair few people also use their consoles to stream stuff from their desktops.

Then, it's a simple case of using something like Orb to allow you access to it over the internet through either another computer or your mobile phone.

Microsoft craves iPhone developers for Windows Mobile

Thomas Bottrill

Microsoft's problem

Surely the biggest problem with WinMo is the sheer variety of devices that ship with it? You can't guarantee the hardware that the phone will have, whereas with something like iPhone you can at least guarantee that every device will have a touchscreen and a high minimum spec.

If you're developing an application for WinMo that requires a touchscreen and a tilt sensor then you're already limiting your market quite considerably (moreso considering there's no common API for the tilt sensors in various phones).

The only way that Microsoft can truly compete with the iPhone experience is to enforce a certain minimum standard of hardware for phones that use WinMo. Really, Microsoft should be focussing on the enterprise side and not trying to sell WinMo phones to consumers.

Microsoft to launch UK ad-funded online video player

Thomas Bottrill

The Guardian...

...seemed to think that there was the option of DRM-free WMV as well (still streaming, I assume).

Microsoft's mobile marketplace opens for submissions

Thomas Bottrill

RE: do not see the difference

The real difference is that you don't have to jailbreak your WinMo phone in order to install apps that aren't in the app store.

The Microsoft app store sounds a lot like Apple's in terms of restrictions (though at least Microsoft has published a list of criteria) but you can also download applications from a whole host of other sites, or even write your own without joining the developer programme.

O2 leaves travellers in the lurch

Thomas Bottrill
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Also having UK problems

Got no service whatsoever at the moment, even after restarting my iPhone. According to someone on the O2 customer forums, calls aren't even being diverted to voicemail, so it sounds like a major problem.

Did someone trip over the power cable?

iPhone security cracked, smacked and broken

Thomas Bottrill

Affects all phones?

Surely any phone that you can install SSH on would be vulnerable to something like this?

Microsoft apes Spotify with ad-stuffed tune streaming

Thomas Bottrill

Zune Marketplace

"According to The Telegraph, Microsoft is in talks with several companies about provides a click-to-buy download option."

Surely Microsoft would do better to open Zune Marketplace in the UK and use that as its download service?