* Posts by Dave

444 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jun 2008


New York cops seek tech solution to plod-v-plod shootings



"Clearly, the military has worked on problems like this one"

Indeed, and for hundreds of years, the military has worn standard uniforms for this very reason. Armed, but un-uniformed men are generally considered to by spies, and the Geneva convention allows them to be shot if captured.

German hacker-tool law snares...no-one



"there's a big difference between writing a tool that looks for SQL injection weaknesses and simply reports them, or one which then goes ahead to take over the system"

Unfortunatly, it is not possible for a computer program to 'see' whether a door is open, it must instead give each door a push. In the case of a brute-force password check, that is fine, but for SQL injection, or similar, the only way to prove that something is vulnerable is to break it.

A better analogy might be checking the strength of a rope or shackle - pull it hard and see if it breaks - but you can't carry out the test without _some_ risk of damaging the article under test.

Russia stings Microsoft with monopoly case


@Mr ChriZ

I think a better example would be if Ford decided to stop selling the Fiesta, and sold the Maverick in its place. Sure, they are both cars, but not exactly equal, especially if Ford then re-called millions of Fiestas back from their dealers and crushed them.

Anyway, good luck to the Russians on this one - I have always believed that a pre-condition to any supplier withdrawing support for software should be the free release of same software. That would then provide at least a small degree of balance.

Great Panjandrum menaces North Devon


Previous History

Have none of you seen (Col.) Dick Strawbridge's recreations of this device?

I seem to remember that it required a set of 'reins' to keep it under any semblance of control.

Judge backs Halifax in Chip and PIN clone case


@M A Walters

It is pretty clear from that article that the customer raised the action against the bank, and therefore the burden of proof lies against him. This time, the bank does not have to prove anything, just show that he is talking crap, and in this case it looks like he was trying to pull a fast one, and didn't do a very good job.

BT slammed for 'importing' cheap Indian contractors


@Big Bear and lots of AC

What is it that you don't understand about market forces and _short-term_ contracts?

Geez, last week you were all bragging about how organised you were, so that a little lay off didn't matter, but it's a different story now isn't it?

Huawei stymied by India security fears


Open Source

If it doesn't run open-source software, then don't buy it, whether it comes from Russia, the USA or from China, they are all as bad as each other, (though none as bad as Wacky Jacqui)

Google to slip SVG into Internet Explorer


@Edward Apostol

Nice name for an Adobe Fanboy - would you be the fourteenth apostle?

Adobe are pushing Flash as an open standard in much the same way (and for much the same reasons) as Microsoft pushed OOOXML as a standard, and are currently pushing Silverlight.

Believe me, non of this is for the greater good of mankind.

To be fair, I am reasonably certain that Google are doing this out of a 50/50 mixture of spite and self interest (note the comment that they make use of SVG in their own products.)

Microsoft sues John Does for bilking search bribery machine


$5000 is my title

Seriously, how man lawyer-hours does $5000 buy you these days ?

Airport ID cards only for the newbies



So, for ages to come, all you have to say is: "No, been working at [Some Other Airport] for ages, never been given one of those stupid new cards." "Oh, okay then, in you go!"

Google Wave - a developer's eye view



"coding in a Playskool language"

What was that little thow-away all about? JavaScript _syntax_ may look pretty simple compared to many server-side languages, but the subtleties run pretty deep.

Royal Navy warship almost fires on UFOs



Seems most likely to me that an RAF plane happened to be in the area, got 'lit up' by the ship's radar, and followed his training without thinking about where he was.

Triangular buttons key to touchscreen typing success - inventor


@ (The other) Dave

Didn't I see you at the end of the platform at Crewe the other day?

Thumb Down


I have to say, my intuition says that this isn't any use on a small keyboard, where the primary issue is space, but I would be prepared to believe him if I had seen a study that showed error rates and typing speeds compared to a more conventional layout. If it is implemented exactly as described, it may well prove worse, as the contact area for each key is lower.

Gordon 'to sacky' Wacky Jacqui




Irish politicos try to cut off call girls' mobiles



Sounds like time for these girls to go a little more high-tech - lets see the Gov block Skype!

Also, if they want to ban ALL mobile phones then I would be quite happy - not least because that would kill off the Crazy Frog for ever as well.

'Cloned' CGI faces mimic people 'better than skilled actors'


@AC 19:07

No, with this technology, you don't even need the 'Great Actor', just do a short interview with your 'Beautiful Person', make sure you pop a balloon when they aren't expecting it, upset them a little and you're done. No need for them to act at all, just wander round the set a little, do a full-body scan for the trickier bits, and overlay the genuine emotions from part A.


When was the last time you watched a good film where you were totally able to suspend your disbelief? For me, the best films are always the ones where you don't know any of the actors, so that their previous behaviour doesn't colour the role, but now you can have a great actor that you can't recognise, by overlaying his/her acting onto an extra - no more type-casting!

Storage world asks: Is a copy a backup?

Thumb Down

@Adriaan Serfontein and others

Nah, the important bit is that you never use the word Backup on its own: there are 'Good Backups' and there are 'Offsite Backups' and there are 'Quick Backups' and there are 'Disaster Recovery Backups'

(And probably a few more, but you probably get the picture now)

They are all different, and they all have different criteria as a result.

So do restores: sometimes you need to restore within an hour, sometimes you have a week or two, and that is the primary definition of a 'Good Backup': one that gives you your data back when you need to, within a reasonable time frame, whatever that means to you.

So, what was the point of this article? If it was meant to be edumacational, then there was more info in the comments; if it was intended as a sales pitch, then I've just lowered my score for these vendors by a point or two; if it was intended to be entertainment, then the humour missed me completely.

Blighty’s barmy for e-cars, poll discovers

Paris Hilton


I'm guessing the sample all live in inner london, and are aware of the implications with regard to the 'Congestion Charge".

It would be interesting to see what happens to that if the majority do manage to buy electric cars, and get to drive around the centre for free.

On a similar line to other people, I would have to point out that I am 'considering' a liaison with Ms Hilton...

World's first electric jet ski surfaces



Just watch how quickly the noise limiting regulations get changed to something else if these come out in force. Not that they will be silent anyway - a large part of the noise of a JetSki or similar comes from the Jet and impeller itself.

Hopefully the manufacturer will have the sense to fit a limp-home mode, similar to the idea of a reserve tank, so that these can still get back to shore when they run flat. Not that I care about the kind of person who rides these, just the pollution from them sinking in the middle of a drinking water reservoir.

<- Flames, 'cos that's what power is supposed to be about.

Hackintosher to open US storefront


@Allan Rutland and others

Please note that the EULA has more than one clause; aside from the installation bit, it also forbids anyone from encouraging its use on un-authorised hardware.

If the store only contains two items: PC's and OSX media, then there is very little doubt that that restriction is being breached.

With regard to the AutoCad and similar cases, these were all about intent - the original purchase had been honourable, therefore the subsequent resale was considered okay, this guy has no such defence, he intends to obtain OSX media (good luck with that, by the way) for no other reason than to undercut Apple, by selling (with/alongside) un-supported hardware.

Incidentally, my reading of the 'labeled' clause is that the OS may only be used on hardware that has been labeled by Apple Inc, but I don't have a degree in English or Law, so that may not be the only interpreation.

Surely this has to be either a publicity stunt for his next enterprise, or a money-laundering operation via his lawyers, because there is no way that he is going to make money off this deal in the long term. (Nor should he be allowed to.)

Bada Bing tickles UK fancies



No time for a witty comment, over to Bing! to check this out in the interests of technical research...

Boffins: Ordinary lightbulbs can be made efficient, cheaply



By the sounds of it, these should still work with the dimmer switches that most normal people have fitted around the house, which none of the CFL or LED ones do.

I know that some of them claim to be, but what you have to do is fit a normal light switch, and flick it a few times to step between OFF, Dim and "reasonably bright but not quite as good as they used to be", ie exactly the sort of thing that adults have been telling kids not to do for years, as it causing arcing of the switch contacts.

Can anyone explain why they don't put coatings on the inside of tungsten bulbs to react to the IR radiation, the way that they do with fluorescent tubes?

Microsoft's Google challenger is not a search engine



Bing! is the sound-effect that goes along with the cartoon light-bulb that will appear when anyone tries to use this. Probably because of the realisation that it really is MS little paperclip behind the scenes.

Anyway, as for all the BS about wanting decisions, I got there first with my site. Don't want to be censored, Ms Bee, so I won't even try to say the name.

Audi working on electric R8?



When was the last time that Audi built a supercar? Probably back in the days when they were just plain Auto Union.

Sharp creates true-hue five-colours-per-pixel LCD



"are you thinking that people film in just 3 colours or something?"

Yes, most of us are thinking that. Probably because it is true: That is why RGB connections have three conductors: one each for Red Green and Blue.

Most printing is done in CMY or CMYK, where again there is only three colours (plus grey-scale).

This is even true for 'old' celluloid film - there are several layers, each containing a different dye. Not sure which, or how many, but still a descrete number, not the infinite rainbow that some people like to pretend.

Summer debut for Judge Dredd computer smart-rifle



Half - correct.

Where there is a massive difference, technology usually wins - but not always.

Rorke's Drift, anyone? A pirhic victory at best, and the battle of Isindlwala (sp?) a day or two before was a complete loss to the British, due to overwhelming numbers, and greater self-belief. It would be more factually correct to say that the braver side always wins - the man who remains calm retains his skills better, and both negative and positive-reinforcement starts to occur then, depending on which side you are on.


AA-12 has its uses, so do sniper-rifles, area-suppression machine guns, mortars, RPGs etc etc.

That is why a typical infantry unit consists of a variety of specialists, but also why combined weapons like the under-slung grenade-launcher are favoured, but there is no chance that this will ever have a Judge-Dredd style selector on it, as every magazine ever made is strictly one-by-one loading: tracer always has to be pre-loaded, and only changing a belt/magazine can affect its usage pattern.

Water utility auditor resigns, transfers $9m offshore

Dead Vulture


How exactly did he resign?

If he left a sealed letter on his manager's desk, after said manager had left for the day, then it is hardly a big surprise that his access had not yet been revoked. If 'resigned' is the usual euphemism for marched out of the building kicking and screaming, then a little bit more blame can reasonably be assigned to the employer, but seriously, what was to stop him doing all of this, and then resigning five minutes later? Not really much different is it?

Nor does it have much to do with IT - in the old days, if he had that much responsibility, he would have walked down to the bank and asked for the cash, and as a long standing customer would have been given it without question.

eBay not obliged to protect trade marks, says High Court


Which side

Not at all sure which side I have less sympathy for: L'Oreal for trying to stop people re-selling stuff they have legitimate title to, just because it is the wrong part of the world, or EBAY who don't care about anything other than finding a way to get another cut of all the proceeds - how long before they insist that all of their fees get paid via PayPal, and therefore get a cut of their own charges.

Philips Streamium NP2900


@ (The other) Dave @Neil

The reason you can't find that research is probably because it is bunk.

The basic operation of a hard drive means that the disc spins, so your argument about static fields does not hold up, and basic physics says that a magnetic field in proximity to the right materials _temporarily_ changes their alignment, and _permanently_ changes it in other cases.

US lawmakers renew fight for legal online gambling



@Christopher Ahrens

Actually, I think you will find that it was gambling with non-existant money that caused most of the current problems.

Secondly, the big argument against gambling is that you only get a buzz when the money is meaningful, ie when you can't really afford to lose, so lack of money is only a problem to the gambler, not to the 'house'.


Can't quite work out whether you are being ironic or not - do you really enjoy having American tourists wandering our streets? Most people I know find them rather crass and obnoxious, but I suppose their money is always welcome, but see (a) above.

Stolen RAF files are blackmailer's dream



Who says that this all refers to high-ranking officers?

Most TOP SECRET stuff is actually simple comms equipment, which gets looked after by the very lowest ranks.

Buddy unveils Metro e-car



The range is nice and easy to work out:

13KWh battery / 13kW motor = 1hour at full throttle

Should be okay for most folk as a commuter car if those numbers for the battery are accurate.

What's the recharge time, though?

Federal judge muzzles Craigslist-threatening AG

Dead Vulture


How about a paragraph or so explaining exactly what this injunction means to either party?

IANAL - and I don't really understand what this means

If they can break the law, why can't we?



Lee, I am confused by your ramblings about PR: The initial days of a Labour Government in both Holyrood and Westminster provided very little change, but the current system where there is a reasonable balance between FOUR parties looks likely to be much better for Scotland, particularly once the current Labour administration in Westminster is ousted. The minorities / independants are able to raise issues that the main parties would not be interested in, but their lack of numbers prevents them from having an undue influence.

Funnily enough, in the first years of the Scottish Parliament, there were a few upsets over travel expenses, but after a while the MSPs realised that everything was open to scrutiny, and therefore learned not to abuse the system. This is in stark contrast to Westminster fighting for years to keep everything secret, (even as they eroded the liberties of the General Public.)

Atlantis safely back to Earth


@Anonymous John

I think that there were rather more flaws than just the heat-shield.

When Challenger (?) was lost, the inquiry pointed out that the crew could have survived if they had simply been placed on top of the rocket, as with the Apollo missions, instead of immediately alongside all of the explosive material.

This would also probably have prevented any damage to the heat-shield in the first place, saving the other shuttle entirely.

Wikipedia lets Creative Commons into its heart


@Flocke Kroes

At the risk of starting a flame-war, saying that Open Source Licensing is a large minefield shouldn't be particularly controversial. I think most people agree that Closed-Source Licensing is quite a large minefield as well, and so I would not take the AC comment at any kind of attack against the software itself, more a comment on the current legal system.

But since you appear to be an expert, perhaps you could explain, in simple terms, what the difference is between a commercial website and a non-commercial one, since that is one of the most common differentiators between open-source licences.

Boston dorm computer raid ruled illegal


@Chris C

I would have expected you to know the difference between "could not" and "would not", even when used the wrong way around.

It is not the job of the Police to tell you whether something is legal or not, partly because it would set awkward precedents, and partly because only the Judiciary are in a position to do so. (That is why lawyers are only ever able to give "advice" - however certain they may be, if a judge disagrees then that is that.)

Recent legislation in the UK has raised this very fact - there is only one certain method to determine whether an erotic image is legal, and that is via the courts. Even then, if the Obscene Publications Act is anything to go by, what is illegal today may be okay in a decade or so.

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun


@Daniel Palmer

Oh dear, not quite got your weekend head on any more have we?

Nice article. Keep it up.

Does make me wonder if MS are doing this just so they can turn round in a year or three and say: "Look, we always told you that ASP was better than PHP, what did you expect? Time for an upgrade and a re-write."

iTunes store Kama Sutra gives Apple warm cheeks



Does anyone at all, just possibly, think that the reason given isn't actually the reason that Apple don't want this app?

Since several people have pointed out that this stuff is available in other ways, it is reasonable to assume that this is just an excuse, so no point getting all upset over it.

Actually, what _is_ the point of this app? Is Project Gutenburg not already available via the web directly?

Atlantis landing postponed

Dead Vulture


Where's the light-hearted analysis of this news blurb?

Can Western Digital drives vary their spin speeds?


@Charles and AC 10:35

Friction of any kind is proportional to the square of velocity, hence a 10k disc will require four times as much power to spin it as a 5000 RPM disc of the same design.

Seek speed makes no difference - this is mostly down to how long the head takes to move across the disc, not waiting for the right sector to come around.


Generally speaking, a faster rotation speed means faster data transfers, whatever the interface speed - think of everything as a bottle-neck, and you will get the picture.

Jobsian cult indoctrinates American children



I know that Tux doesn't do retail stores, but can you imagine if they did try this -

"just read TFMan-Page, kid and don't be such a noob."

"What do you mean, you thought the software would be installed already?"

E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin



Trouble is, every other modern country is going the same way, ie going for massive token efforts: change every lightbulb to a more expensive version, change every car to a more expensive electric one...

What this means, is that if we can get ahead in this technology, then we can rake in a fortune from all of the other countries, enough money to actually do something worthwhile, and by then we may have worked out something that does make sense.

Oz man fined for drink-drive rumpy-pumpy

Dead Vulture


Yes, that's a pick-up truck.

Back to the article: did any part of the fine actually relate to the act that we are all interested in, or was it just for the alcohol and lack of seat-belt (sounds like he had a reasonable excuse - the girl on his lap would have stopped him from hitting the steering-wheel) and on that note, did she get in any trouble?

YouTube flooded with porn

Black Helicopters


Kids these days see porn everywhere - the soft porn that passes for music videos these days is far more intense than the stuff that got me excited as a teenager.

The birds and the bees are at it all around us, and often in quite extreme detail when Mr Attenborough is around. I simply do not see what possible harm it could do to a child of any age to watch a natural act.

There is far worse stuff on the internet, and on mainstream TV for that matter - the glorification of violance, and the support of anorexia should be where the clean up is concentrated.

And by the way, yes I am a father myself.

DHS to field Star Trek 'Tricorder' medscanner



Clearly you didn't do a very advanced first aid course:

First thing you have to work out is whether you have a hope of dealing with the number of casualties present, and the expected time before second or third-line support is reached/available etc. If you are a hundred miles from anywhere, with no comms, then the screamers are the ones you deal with first: they are the ones you have a chance of saving - ignore the guy that's lying there with a leg missing above the knee - he will be dead in a minute if you leave him alone, three if you give him all the help you can.

IR35 tax is a huge failure


@Andrew Austin and others

What I would like, is for you to pay tax at a rate that is proportionate to your actual income in the same way as permanent employees.

How anyone could ever claim with a straight face that a man and his wife constituted a company is beyond me - the clue is in the name there.

This analysis is clearly too biased to be entirely trustworthy, but even if taken at face value, all it proves it that the Governments attempts to close an _actual_ loophole didn't work as intended, which wouldn't exactly be the first time, not even for this year.

Geeks make least selfish lovers: Official



The breakdown REALLY should have been done by gender as well as vocation: how much of this is just down to gender bias?


I don't think that IT's "Universal Fix" works very well in most relationships: try "Press and hold the power button" with your other half tonight and see how far it gets you...

IntelliTouch Eos wireless iPod speaker system

Dead Vulture

Multi-room audio

I bought a wireless multi-room audio system two or three years back. You get a little transmitter that plugs into anything with a 3.5mm audio jack (or phono, with the right adapter) and you get two independant speakers, which can be used in different rooms in mono-configuration, or as a pair of stereo speakers at the flick of a switch. They run off six AA rechargeables each (built in charging system) so are plenty loud enough, and the whole setup only cost about 35 quid, so this seems like incredibly poor value to me.

If you can find the right model, one of those RF devices intended for a car will work reasonably well once you have soldered on a sensible antenna.

So, do you think I am going to be spending £350 to get a slightly worse setup?