* Posts by johnnytruant

316 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Aug 2008


Microsoft's nightmare DEEPENS: Windows 8 market share falling fast


I don't get it

I mean, I don't use Windows very often, but I just can't see the problem with 8/8.1. It seems to be no more or less annoying than any other version. Obviously it's slow and it's unstable and it's frustrating but that's hardly news - so is every version of Windows ever. At least 8 looks pretty.

FCC mulls two-speed internet, axing net neutrality ... unless you convince it otherwise


Re: Kind of figures....

So here's the thing - has the internet been ruined? Or is it just those bits of it which reside within the last few miles of US connections?

I mean, obviously I'm all for neutrality and I'll sign petitions and so on if I think it will help you guys - but how will this FCC decision affect me, here in the UK?

I'm not trying to be facetious, I'm genuinely not sure.

Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point


Re: Multiple thises, thats, and whatsits...

It can be played through the label.

Although for one side you'll need a turntable which goes at 78rpm to play it back.

The hologram thing is cool though.


Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC


Re: my 2 cents

Not on Debian Edition. It is, as the name suggests, tracking Debian, so it's rolling releases.

GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless


Re: Nope

The thing is, making shortcuts isn't something you need to do in Gnome Shell, so of course it's hard to do. Shortcuts aren't a thing because the interface doesn't work that way. It's like complaining that your new motorbike doesn't have a very good cup holder.

Once you start using search-based interfaces as search based interfaces rather than trying to use them as menu-based ones, you wonder why anyone would want to use anything else. I can barely remember the last time I launched an app by anything so old school as locating an icon onscreen and clicking on it.

Creating Shell dock entries, if you like that sort of thing, is two clicks once the app is launched. Can't imagine how that could be easier.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Friday is Pi Day


A day for the rest of the world

I tried to find a date which would work in the more normal way of representing time, so I present to you, coming for the first time later this year: muon-proton mass ratio day

It's the zeroth of November.

Failing that, the first of August could be ζ(4) day.

New password system lets planet Earth do the hard work


Re: Not much better than regular passwords

"Your password must contain at least one tree or traffic light, and an uppercase building"

Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly


Re: Sex is Not Gender

"a man who might conceivably sleep with a masculine man if the circumstances were right, but finds effeminate and camp gay men really irritating"

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't you talking about sexuality not gender?

"Occasionally gay for the right sort of dude" isn't a gender, it's a sexual orientation.

Or have the definitions changed around again? I can't keep up.

HTC: Shipping Android updates is harder than you think – here's why


Re: Not much of an excuse

CM11 (AOSP 4.4.2) on my rather creaky Sony Xperia P is just about flawless.

Bearing in mind it's still on nightly releases, once the OMX (video playback/recording) issue is sorted out, which is half done and always the last bit to get fixed on Xperia devices, it'll be perfect. I expect RC versions before the end of January if not sooner. CM is considerably faster and more stable than Sony's offerings ever have been on this phone.

From what I can tell over at XDA, there's only two people developing CM for the Xperia P. Part time, unpaid.

Obviously milage varies depending on device, but in my experience CM is superb.

DJANGO UNCHAINED: Don't let 'preview' apps put you off Fedora 20


Re: the header bar.

I don't miss minimise.

If I need some screen space, I just hop to another desktop. It's faster and easier than fiddling about making windows bigger and smaller, and the keyboard shortcut is right under my fingers most of the time.

Gnome Shell is the fastest, least-bothersome UI I've used for a long while. Once you've adjusted to the couple of things it does differently, it fades away to un-noticeability in no time. I really don't miss the bad old days.

Co-op Bank to splash £500m on system revamp


Me too. I've been banking with smile for over a decade and - although they haven't significantly updated their website the whole time - it does work perfectly well.

Been with the co-op for another account for a couple of years and it is a bit clunkier but it does work. It's not like I need to use it every day.

Google Glass is high fashion in September Vogue magazine


You have a choice:

"What is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde.

"Fashion is something so ugly it has to be changed every fifteen minutes, but style is something versatile, it's in the way you walk and in the way you smile" - 'What's Going On' by 90's rap-rock-politico-punks, Senser.

Apple files 'Bonk to Gift' near field communication patent application


Re: Oh dear fscking Lord...

The Sony branded tags are well pricey if you're not getting them free.

RapidNFC make much cheaper ones which are functionally identical. Also smaller and in sticker form.

I can't remember what I paid for a sheet of ten, but it was less than a quid each.

No distro diva drama here: Penguinista favourite Debian turns 20


I started on Debian in 2001

Took me many slow, small steps, lots of time reading man pages and mailing lists and so on, but now it's so familiar it's like home.

Derivative distros like *buntu/mint/etc will come and go (anyone remember Knoppix?) but Debian is always there and always dependable. I don't always run it on my machines (although always on servers) but it's nice to know it's there.

Cheers, Debian, and thanks for all the awesome. Here's to another 20 years.

Wow! British Gas bungs a million remote-controlled sales-droids in UK homes


not sure how accurate this is

..but one electricity company told me that sending a chap round to do a meter read costs them £50 a time.

On that basis alone, a smart meter should save me at least £100/year.

While I'm sure someone will be saving that money, I'm fairly sure it won't be me.

Apple KILLER decloaked? Google lovingly unboxes Nexus 7 Android 4.3 slablette


Re: Nice but...

32GB is a lot of apps. You keep your personal data on Drive/Dropbox/your local NAS/whatever.

At least that's how it's supposed to work in Googleland.. and how it does work for me. My tablet has almost nothing actually on it. It's a streaming target from my big hard-disked media server and the internet.

US: We spied on you Europeans but we can still be chums. Right?


If they've got nothing to hide, they've got nothing to fear.

That enough, folks? Starbucks tosses £5m into UK taxman's coffers


Re: Re :- Maybe we need some physical beatdown on the.....

Just because something is within the law doesn't guarantee un-nefariousness.

Just ask GCHQ's gigantic, entirely legal, wiretap department.

A Bluetooth door lock that puts the kettle on? NOW we're in the future


Re: Maybe

brb, wiring all lights into front door lock.


Re: OK if you don't care about insurance

Many home insurers won't cover you if you have these puny little cylinder locks anyway, regardless of electronic or not.

Multipoint frame locks or hefty Yales only.


Re: What's the point?

Not sure if this lock does it, but I'd really like one which, when it detects my phone has left the immediate area shortly after being opened and closed (ie, me going out) sends me a text if I haven't locked it.

Or better, just locks itself and doesn't bother me at all.

So there's one use at least.

(No, I don't have Yale locks. I wish I did.)

Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL


Re: I can't imagine Steve Jobs

I was talking about the iPhone. The clue was the date. The iPad didn't come out until 2010.

When the iPhone launched, most of my friends had very small mobile phones and the trend had broadly been for things to get smaller and smaller. In 2006 my mobile was less than a half the size of my current handset, for example. Then the iPhone comes along - a big slab of glass compared to a lot of other devices around at the time.


I can't imagine Steve Jobs

saying that "nothing will convince a kid who's only ever had a tiny little phone to carry around a big slab of glass" back in 2007...

Review: Sony Xperia SP



So unlock the bootloader, root the phone and delete them. Or just load a slimmed-down stock ROM onto there, sans bloat.

It's not hard. Sony deliberately make it easy. Takes longer to download the Android SDK than it does to unlock the phone with it.

Which petite model likes a fondle and GETTING WET? Sony's Xperia ZR


a friend has an Xperia Z

and also a young child who has been a bit ill.

He recently confirmed that the phone was not just water-proof, but also puke and piss proof.

Which is good to know.

Brits on benefits: 'Dole office site only works on PCs over 10 YEARS OLD'


Yes they do

As far as I know yes. Under the DDA as I understand it this website is - if as inaccessible as described - illegal.

Companies have been successfully prosecuted for way less than this.

Voda: Brit kids will drown in TIDAL WAVE of FILTH - it's all Ofcom's fault


Since when have Vodafone...

....given a damn about spamming their users?

One of the reasons I left VF was their constant spam by all the channels they could possibly contact me on.

Also (at least a few years ago) their terrible web portal thing, VodafoneLive, is plastered with 18+ content after 10pm at night. I don't think I ever told them I was over 18. I could easily have been running my child's phone in my name.

Less bothered about the children when they're selling smutty ringtones at £3.50 a go, I suppose.

Review: Sony Xperia Z


Re: Should be nice and hackable...

My non-techie friend who has a Z rooted it on day one with no problems at all. He's a little annoyed that he stuck with Apple for so long.

I just got an Xperia P and - like with my last Sony - unlocking the bootloader was a matter of moments, all nice and official, no shifty hacks needed. Sony's instructions are clear and understandable even if you're not a software nerd like I am. Fresh kernel, nice clean ROM - sorted. Easy as pie.

For some reason lots of people seem not to like them but in all my years owning Sony/Ericsson phones (first was an Ericsson t28) I've only ever had one I didn't like. That was the S60-running Satio, which was pretty dire although did have it's plus points.

Brit firm PinPlus flogs another password 'n' PIN killer


the human factor

In a world where "password" and "123abc" are commonly used, perhaps PinPlus's advertising should be more along the lines of:

"Instead of remembering a password, you only have to remember to go straight across the top row of the grid"

Google reveals Glass details in patent application


I demand

That we remove the ROTATING IRON CORE of this planet immediately, and also move ourselves out of the magnetic field of that CANCER-CAUSING NEARBY STAR.

It's the only way to be sure.

VIA bakes a fruitier Rock cake to rival the Brit Raspberry Pi


Re: Cool...

Don't you mean shelf computing?

All your audio, video kit is about to become OBSOLETE


well that's all very well

But I think the question really should be how is all this going to affect my fridge?

Bendy screens are the future, screams maker of bendy screens


Re: Completely useless......

You're right, the technology we have now is all we will ever need and the way we use it is the only possible way anything can get done. People should stop wasting their time inventing new stuff. What a bunch of losers, eh?

The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux


Re: tl;dr

There's certainly an aspect of that, and that's fine. Sure, if X doesn't do what you want, just go with Y - no complaints here. Give reasons if you wish. I'm not saying there aren't people doing that, that's being going on since as long as I've been using linux and probably before too. That's fine - it's how forks happen, how new projects get going and how new (or old, like MATE) projects get started. People moving around with their interests and requirements is part of OSS.

But there's a lot of entitled-sounding whinging too, which is new. This article - much more so than the comments - sounded very whiny, like somehow Canonical/Gnome owed the author what they wanted, not what Gnome/Canonical had decided to do. "It's our way or the highway" isn't strictly true, that Gnome does what it wants regardless of it's users isn't true either - just because someone has decided to not be an active part of the community doesn't mean a project is ignoring the community.

Also it wasn't very well researched, but then the Reg has never let mere facts get in the way of a good nerd-rage-gasm. I use Shell and I alt-tab, I minimise windows (not often, I switch desktops rather than minimise - it's faster and easier), I change GTK and Shell themes and more. I won't get into the difference between Gnome 3 and Gnome Shell as for some reason that not-so-subtle distinction seems beyond almost every tech journalist out there.


"I just want a system that A. works, B doesn't get in the way of my work."

That's why I use Gnome Shell. It does all of that for me. It's fast, clean and efficient for the way I use my computer. I accept it may not be for other people but I don't get why that causes so much hate, I really don't. It's fine. It's just a UI. I use loads of different UIs every day. They all have their issues, they all have their plus points. At least it's not TIFKAM (which is still fine, although a bit less fine). Not one of the non-techie people I've introduced to Gnome Shell have moaned about it, rather they're all commented on how nice and easy it is to use.

This whole "our way or the highway" is such nonsense. Of course that's what happens, someone makes a decision and things happen. You want something different? Fork away. Nobody's stopping you. Just like nobody is stopping you going to the Gnome or Ubuntu developer conferences, joining in the discussions on the mailing lists, proposing other solutions and so on. Eg: Gnome shell doesn't have a great StickyKeys notification system, so I wrote a specification for one, did some graphical mockups, posted a bug report, got a developer interested and it's happening. It's happening pretty much exactly how I wanted it to as well, which is nice. It's happening quite slowly, but then that's consistent with how much I'm paying for it. Which is nothing at all.

tl;dr - Get involved in the process, or stop whining about how you're not part of that process.

The best e-readers for Christmas


Re: Tablets are NOT e-readers!

"I personally don't suffer from eyestrain when reading backlit text, but I do find it easier to read ebooks."

So what you're saying is that you do suffer from eyestrain with transmissive screens - albeit mildly - because eInk causes less strain on your eyes? Don't worry, that's perfectly normal. Eyestrain doesn't have to mean sore eyes.

Reading in the 'dark' was one of those things long-touted as causing eyestrain, but recent research suggests it's not actually the case. I read "in the dark" with a little clip-on led light, just enough to see by but not enough to wake up the person sleeping next to me. My personal feeling is that the difference in the amount of work your eyes have to do with different screen technologies is to do with refresh rates, colour temperature and resolution.


Re: Bedtime reading...?

I used a little program called redshift on my ubuntu laptop to drop the colour temperature in the night-hours. I believe similar apps are available for other platforms. It makes a huge difference to eyestrain, haven't noticed particular impact on my (admittedly awful) sleeping patterns.

Broadly speaking blue light wakes you up, red light makes you sleepy.

Microsoft’s so.cl network now open to all


I have an account there

Have had since day one. I'm not a student, not sure why I got invited.

My impression six months ago was that it was confusing and weird and didn't work properly and I wasn't sure at all what the point of it was. I just loaded it up and it has done nothing to change my mind.

A valid use for Windows 8?


Re: Well, sort of.

Media Centre? http://xbmc.org

That's all you'll need. It can be a frontend to Myth as well if you want PVR stuff.


Re: My parents...

"Maybe the tile thing is pretty good and us seasoned and bitter IT types just don't get it yet?"

Yup. I've been saying this since the first time I saw a screenshot. Nerds gonna whine (because we always bloody do), Normals will like it. They're the people MS test on, after all - it's not like they chucked Win8 out at random. My mum recently bought a new laptop with Win8 on it and didn't even mention the UI. She complained about how the case colour wasn't right, the keyboard was different, how the trackpad was confusingly multitouch, how her old screensaver didn't work and how she had trouble setting up her email - but not one complaint about TIFKAM.

I can see why Win8 might make a good media centre, but why not just run XBMC on top of Win7/Vista?

On topic, I have a rather nice 3M touchscreen kicking around waiting for something to do, so will watch this thread with interest for suggestions.

Mint Linux gifts Unity haters with 'Nadia' ... plus her Mate


Re: Slightly odd?

Yes, of course. I use Chrome and I do use sync as well. Again, I picked Firefox as an example of a piece of software a recovering Windows user might recognise. If I'd said OH HEY MY KDENLIVE CONFIGS ARE ALL THERE it might have added confusion.

I softlink all my things like .fonts .vimrc, .bashrc and custom .desktop files in from a Dropbox'd folder, which also contains a script to make all the links and then install all my preferred apps, run a few gsettings commands and suchlike. So on a new install I install Dropbox, let it sync, run a script and that's install/setup done. Next stage is really a Puppet server, but I think that might be approaching overkill-land..


Re: Mint is great

> I'd find it very odd, and very uncool, if my configuration *wasn't* there after an upgrade. On every decent OS I've ever used.

Well played sir. Of course, with a proper modern operating system it's not that odd or surprising. I've been doing this sort of thing for years myself too. I was, however, assuming the OP was a recovering Windows user, in which case this kind of thing can come as a bit of a shock.


Re: Mint is great

Protip: When you next install, make a 20GB (or thereabouts, bigger if you want - make it ext4 and you can easily resize it anyway) partition for / and another much bigger one to mount as /home

Then when you reinstall the system to the small partition - don't format the /home partition, just tell the installer to mount it as /home - and when you boot up your fresh install all your files and settings (if not the actual apps which go with them, but that's easy to fix) will all still be there. It's slightly odd, and cool, installing a fresh copy of Firefox and booting it up to find all your bookmarks already there, even the tabs you had open before you reinstalled.

You can even have multiple systems installed sharing a single /home partition - I currently have a day-to-day-use Ubuntu, a messing-about Debian and a just-trying-it-out Fedora partition sharing the same /home partition on one disk. It's all fine.

Obviously keep backups of your stuff, but that goes without saying regardless of whether you're installing a new OS or now. Did I mention I make external hard disks which are perfect for the job of backups? http://etsy.com/shop/BeautifulComputers

Swollen SUPER-GIGANTO PLANET sighted in Andromeda


It's at the bottom end of the mass requirement to be a brown dwarf, but it's a bit too big which means the density is too low.


Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review


Re: Obvious flaws

I've been reading almost exclusively on eink for at least five years now and the flash-blacking is such a non-issue. I don't even see it. Ghosting is why I have a Sony (page refresh on every turn) over a Kindle (page refresh every six turns), although even that was minimal. Because eInk involves a physical motion inside each pixel it's unlikely these issues are going away soon. We're on generation 5 or 6 eInk now and it's getting better but is still a problem.

That said, I'll take such minor issues with eInk over reading on LCD any day. Just because your eyes have never felt tired reading onscreen, that doesn't mean you're not straining them more on LCD than eInk. I don't feel tired walking to the shops, but that doesn't mean driving isn't *less* tiring (although, bad example, walking to the shops is obviously better for me). I can feel my eyes relax when I put my screen down and pick my book up.

Phone lacking NFC pay-by-bonk tech? It can go on a SIM


payments, meh

but I am quite interested in using NFC tags to control my phone. Stick a tag in my car cradle, have it activate my GPS and fire up Navigation; pop a tag by my front door, have it turn on/off wifi as I enter/leave the house; another one by my bed, turns off ringtones and makes sure alarms are active, etc. etc.

WTF is... Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass?


Re: Dude

Well played sir. New keyboard invoice is in the post.

Canonical flings out Ubuntu 12.10 – now with OPTIONAL Bezos suck


Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?

@Vic - funnily enough, typing "the" gets you Firefox as the first result. The icon is orange. If you continue typing "the internet" Firefox is still the first result. It's almost like someone planned a system for - and tested on - low-technical-ability users. :)

@AC - 'discoverability' is a term well known in user interface design. You're welcome to think of a better one, just make sure you email the entire field with whatever you come up with and let us all know how clever you are. Maybe even put your name on, eh?


Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?

>How exactly is a novice user supposed to know that his video editor is called "kdenlive", his music player is >called "amarok", or his PDF viewer is called "acrobat"?

The point is exactly that that they don't need to know this any more. Typing "music player" or "video editor" or "PDF reader*" does the job, and in all cases on my machine I don't even need to get past the first four characters, and that's just the first time too. Typing "internet" or "web" finds Firefox. If you wanted to edit firefox.desktop to include the search string "the orange thing" then that would work too, but that does sort of defeat the object.

Also you can still browse the menu in the old style, by section, and the menu interface itself is way bigger and easier to use than the old-style start menus, so I would argue that discoverability is up. Not only are there multiple complementary - not contradictory - routes to find things, but the old menu systems have (imo) been improved as well. I hear a lot of techies complaining about big icons, but the fact is big icons and simple interfaces are easy to use. Personally, I like big icons, but that's just me.

* actually 'PDF Reader' doesn't work in Gnome. But in that case a user would be clicking on downloaded a pdf file or, even more likely, wouldn't know even they were looking at a pdf 'cos it had opened in-browser. "Document viewer" works.


Re: Has there been a paradigm shift and nobody told me?

In Linux at least you have that choice. Install Mint and run MATE or Cinnamon, uninstall Zeitgeist or whatever. It's your call. Pretty sure you can turn off indexing in WinX as well.

So let's say I want to launch a video editing app, something I do reasonably often but not often enough I have a dock shortcut (although frankly I've stopped making those because I never use them). My choice for video editing is KDenlive, and I use it fairly regularly. I can click a menu-opening button, navigate through one, maybe two levels of menu and click a thing (just checked, four clicks). Or, I can press a button, type 'K' and hit enter. I think the first time I launched it I had to type KDen, but Gnome has learned what I mean now and I don't have lots of apps whose names start with K.

In either case I have to know what the app is called, or at least recognise it's icon. Although in the second case I could just type "video editor" and still get the same result.

However, I can also type "video editor", hit tab and launch a google or wikipedia search for that term. Sure, I probably already have a browser open, but I might not. Same number of steps though, but it's all through one interface. My computer is not a web page, but web pages represent a lot of what I do with my computer and being able to hook into them painlessly is nice. It's not essential, at all, but neither is a lot of stuff we like to do.

A slightly better example is Stellarium, which I use a lot. That's Win-S-Enter now, but it can also be "planetarium" (it shows it's link alone after 'plane' on my machine). But where would I look for that in a category? Science? Graphics? The (n)ever-useful "Accessories" category? Then there are apps which create their own app categories. Thanks "Limbo", you really needed to make a top-level menu entry? Nested, categorical menus need sorting by hand. Search-based, learning interfaces don't - they sort and manage themselves based on use levels.

Just to be clear I use Gnome Shell, not Unity. I am a huge fan of how slick, easy and seamless it is compared to the old 2.x/Win95 UI style. I'm not in any way saying search-based UIs are better for everyone, but they are better for some people. They do very well in "normal" user testing, which is why they're appearing more and more - techies seem to like them less though. I have speculated about the reasons for this in the past on this very website.