* Posts by Jim Wilkinson

108 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Aug 2008


Apple OS X Yosemite 4 TIMES more popular than Mavericks

Jim Wilkinson

I want no cloud

The moment I found out that Mavy user accounts had to be synchronised in the cloud was the point at which I gave up on OS-X upgrades. Forcing users to use cloud services for such a basic need is unacceptable IMO and negates any other 'features' of the OS.

We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Jim Wilkinson


John's right about the communications part. But the task of amplifying the signal to drive the loudspeaker requires power and that is not really the realm of digital wireless links. And DSP is already in use in many amplifiers.

A better scenario is where the digital link feeds the speaker directly and the speaker contains the DSP, ADC and power amplifier. Speakers can only work on an analogue signal (or a high power PWM signal), but the DSP could be used to provide better optimized speaker crossover circuits and use a separate power amp for each speaker unit. This also means that such speakers will need another plug for the mains power feed. Where this technique wins is that the hunky power bit is up close to the actual speaker units and not being sent through those 'oh so special' speaker cables that claim so much performance. This is what many pro-monitor speakers do today, so what's really new?

The downside will be trying to get all interested manufacturers to agree the digital link interface specification.

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Er...what?

Spell checker alert - "one home resistor" -> "one ohm resistor". Quite amusing bug though :)

BBC: Bumpkins, hobbits need fairer coverage

Jim Wilkinson

Regional news?

We do have our 1/2 hour daily regional news in the south-west and that certainly does cover local issues. But even in this rural area, coverage of farming and other countryside issues is meager at best.

As for 'Countryside'; it's bit like some country magazines - all gloss and no muck.

EU ministers respond sleepily to Viv Reding's 'Snowden wake-up call' on data protection

Jim Wilkinson

EU Citizens

....ought to be sceptical. The bigger the bureaucracy - the lower the skills available to do this work properly. Per 'moiety' it needs to be done by a group of international specialists who know what they are doing and can get their proposals accepted worldwide.

Sony Xperia Z2: What we REALLY thought of this Android fondleslab

Jim Wilkinson

Sound quality?

I didn't spot any reference to sound quality. I only comment because my Sony P phone has the best sound of any music player I've ever had (certainly better than the fruit-pod I have - though it's a bit ancient now.). Did the sound quality hold up well?

Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Jim Wilkinson
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Re: Fog Computing

I too am cynical about "cloud" computing and have successfully avoided it so far. As a mac user, I did not upgrade to Mavericks because they removed sync services to force users to sync calendar and contact accounts via their cloud server. I keep separate personal and business accounts and need to sync these accounts. There's no way I'll accept syncing of such personal information via cloud services. So I now remain at 10.8 unless there's a change of policy. Probably for as long as I continue to use Macs then. But why force something to be cloud-based when there's a perfectly acceptable non-cloud solution? And what the hell do you do when you're off-line for any reason?

Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

Jim Wilkinson
Black Helicopters

Me worried?

I do have a smart TV. But only in the sense of having internet video playback - yes iPlayer and other multicast services. But I *would* worry about a mic and/or camera. You have to ask the first question - what problems do they solve, followed rapidly by the second question - are there obvious risks? Answers - none & yes.

Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

Jim Wilkinson

Memory limit?

Only 12GB of user accessible flash storage? For the high price of this handset, I'd expect more than double that. My Xperia P has the same memory at a much lower price. Superb audio quality BTW.

Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Jim Wilkinson

Any TV is vastly improved by a decent amp with a pair of stereo speakers either side of the TV (or better still, a 5.1 setup). This sort of product only makes sense if there's no space for anything better.

Apple flops out latest OS X Mavericks beta, hopes sound+graphics sorted

Jim Wilkinson

Stuff Mavericks

Another reader stqying on Snow Leopard because account syncing has to use the cloud in Mavericks (I separate my personal and business accounts for obvious reasons - I cannot be alone in this requirement).

The fruit company made a very bad move AFAIAC.

Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

Jim Wilkinson

Engineering Institutes provide the recognition

Most "STEM" graduates are viewed from a business sense as potentially good material that needs several years of real-world application before they become recognised as a valuable engineering resource that can command good pay and conditions.

No-one has yet mentioned the role of the engineering institutions that provide the backbone for the recognition of chartered engineers as those who have the necessary academic qualifications plus a period of recognized engineering achievement(s). They have the post nominals C.Eng etc., which can, for many, command good pay.

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Jim Wilkinson

Great in their time

I've still got several organisers - now gathering dust under my work desk. Psion Revo of course, but also the 5MX. Plus the Sony NX70 and a TH55. This last item is very similar in style to modern gadgets - but way lower specs, memory etc. None were phones of course though the last could bluetooth messages to the candybar phones of the day. That was a killer at the time (I could never get the hang of texting on candybar mobiles).

Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Jim Wilkinson
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Last 'upgrade' failed for me

I'm on 10.8 and generally upgrade. But 10.9 was a no-no when they finally removed sync services (earlier "upgrades" left out SS, but they could easily be re-installed - but not so 10.9). I like to sync the contacts and calendars between my personal and business accounts locally (using Sync Together which I kept installed in spite of its removal in earlier "upgrades"). The latest OS now forces all users towards using the cloud. But no way am I going to use the cloud for intra-machine account syncing). The worst thing Apple have done in all the time I've used the OS (and I started with a NeXT slab).

This latest "upgrade" is a definite downgrade for me. AFAIAC, Apple has gone sour. I sympathize with others who are using Snow Leopard.

Apple Safari, Mail and more hit by SSL spying bug on OS X, fix 'soon'

Jim Wilkinson

Glad I didn't "upgrade" to 10.9

I dumped 10.9 the day I upgraded. Went back to 10.8 straight away. The reason - sync services were removed so I had to use a "cloud" account to sync my personal and business address books and calendars. No thanks Apple, I lost my faith in you that day.

'The Mystery of the Martian Doughnut' solved by NASA sleuths

Jim Wilkinson

Windy on Mars?

So what is the surface pressure? And what are the constituent gases and ratios? I guess the gas types and pressure could lead to some interesting experiments here on earth. Just curious.

10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Jim Wilkinson

Re: GPS in smartphones

My handheld GPS device uses 2 AA cells (rechargable or standard) and lasts over 24 hours. I do long cycle rides and rely on the GPS to get me around - typically 10 or 12 hours. I did the 1000 mile Lands to John O'Groats ride and only used 6 AA cells in total with continuous map location tracking.

OTOH, my smartphone lasts a limited number of hours on a charge and is not sufficiently rugged to use in inclement weather, vibration etc. so it's kept well protected from the elements.

Both have their uses, but if I wanted to have a reliable location for all conditions, it's the dedicated device that wins hands down.

It'll be interesting to see if this low level of battery usage remains when tracking several GPS systems.

Yet another Brit mobe tower borg: Three and EE ink network-sharing deal

Jim Wilkinson

Networking - not...

I have always struggled to understand why there was never a single network provider that had the responsibility to provide good national coverage and the mobile companies paid the network provider through usage charges. That's the way the TV system works and it ensures mostly good coverage.

I guess they're heading the right way with the mast/aerial sharing. As it is, coverage is always quoted as % population and not % area. They are far from the same thing and this will not do much to improve areal coverage.

Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

Jim Wilkinson

I agree

"Recent disclosures over domestic surveillance and GCHQ spying on citizens aren't much of an issue to the public"

The trouble is that those who wish to create mayhem for whatever reason are not so easily identifiable and keep a low profile. So how do you find out if there is terrorist activity afoot? I'd rather GCHQ did their job than end up with a major terrorist incident. I guess most folks recognise that domestic surveillance is both a curse and a blessing. The question is whether surveillance is used for the right reasons. It's not an excuse for keeping tabs on everyone. It's also essential we maintain an independent press to bring wayward politicos to heel. My 2c.

Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Have to agree with many points

Your vague memory is correct. FWIW I don't know the current status.

Fancy a little kinky sex? GCHQ+NSA will know - thanks to Angry Birds

Jim Wilkinson

Neurotic Firefox User

Surely a user of a cross-plaform browser is aiming to be platform agnostic, right? But neurotic?

Sony brings 4K shooting to the masses in weeks

Jim Wilkinson

4K will be available real soon now.....

As I've posted before, 4K is about the same resolution of the eye. For large screens it really does makes a difference. D-Cinema wrote 4K resolution into their standards (but 24Fps only, not 48Fps and so no stereo-3D - hurrah!). It's not new. I suspect there are 4K D-Cinema systems in use already.

Engineers have been talking about 4K and beyond for years. NHK even demo-ed 8K at IBC some years ago. As with all new tech developments, the prices will fall to levels that will sell - to those with fat wallets first, but with trickle down over the years to the more cost-conscious. Optical discs first at a guess (Violet-Ray?). Then maybe sat channels. Freeview bandwidth is somewhat limited so that'll probably be last. But it will happen IMO.

To "Piro" - optics and quality is a given. There's no point in doing this unless you can see the difference.

Our Milky Way galaxy is INSIDE OUT. Just as we suspected, mutter boffins

Jim Wilkinson

But here's a puzzle...

When stuff emerged from the BB, why did it get clumpy? There must have been something that pushed matter apart before gravity took over to coalesce matter into stars and galaxies.

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Just a simple question.

This post is very enlightening. I'm reading a book ATM which shocked me... when the universe began, it was space-time that started. There was no time before the BB. How could time alone exist when there was nothing else? So prior to the BB, there was nothing, no matter, no space, no time, absolutely nothing at all. It makes sense but it's still hard to grasp because it's beyond our experience.

Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Sadly too

The medics requested I desist drinking coffee as it was contributing to my heart flutter. I managed to negotiate 1 mug a day. It's great stuff, but too much can allegedly affect some folks adversely. A quick search of recent literature (http://www.menshealth.com/health/protect-your-heart-with-coffee - other sources also available) suggests that a daily cup or 2 might actually help heart function, but drinking 10 or more is asking for trouble.

New snaps show dazzling young galaxies furiously spawning stars - 13 BILLION years ago

Jim Wilkinson

Lenz Flair?

They used gravitational lensing so I could guess that this would result in some flaring. That's just my guess though. Maybe someone has a more definitive explanation.

Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

Jim Wilkinson

We've been here before....

It's a bit like CD v SACD in the audio world where Joe Punter responded with a yawn. Yes, SACDs exist and if you have good kit and ears you can tell the difference, but it hasn't been the success that was originally anticipated.

Likewise with 4K TV - a just noticeable difference compared to 2K TV that many could not care less about. Cinema also has 4K imaging, but most theaters use 2K and their screens impact more of the viewers eyeballs than a typical domestic TV layout.

This one time at Apple Camp... Tech titan offers to school US fanbois on coding

Jim Wilkinson

You still need that techie shit

You can create a great UI with minimal effort using Cocoa. But the bit under the hood still needs real work, depending, of course, on what exactly you want to do. Maybe there's core code out there that does the tricky bits you want, but then it's hardly going to be a truly novel app if you're just putting together a few lego blocks. But Cocoa is really great if you're a creative and need to create a custom or non-commercial app that can address some specific requirements not met by commercial software.

Two million TERRIBLE PASSWORDS stolen by malware attackers

Jim Wilkinson

Use a software passbook?

It's good policy to use a different password for everything. So you know what they all are, use a password keychain with one memorable but really strong master keyword to unlock the keychain. Yeh, I know that word is used by the fruit vendor, but there are third party cross-platform keychains which also do the job. The one I use is available for at least android and apple on both desktop and portable devices. But it doesn't excuse using a poor password in any instance. It only makes it easier to assign strong and different passwords for everything and have easy access to each of those individual passwords through a master password.

Sony brags: We've hit over 2 MEELLION PS4 console 'sales' worldwide

Jim Wilkinson

Evolution - of course

When you buy a computer, it will be the subject of many upgrades during its lifetime.

So the PS4 console is no different? No surprise.

Blighty promises £49m to get more British yoof into engineering careers

Jim Wilkinson

Poly 2

I also went to a Poly and my employer (now BT) sponsored me to take HND. I then had to leave employment to get onto the CEI Pt2c course to get onto the C.Eng route. Got that and have the post-nominals. I did at least find a company that respected the qualifications and I was part of an r&d group full of well qualified people. But that was because the parent company was a well-known Japanese organisation that respects engineers and continues to do so.

I don't know why it is that so many engineering companies do not understand that highly qualified engineering staff may be expensive, but are the creative force that makes many a company tick. Accountants and managers do not create wealth, only re-distribute it (and then take the credit).

Nuke-whisperers stuff terabytes of flash into heretical 'Catalyst' super

Jim Wilkinson


With that amount of flash memory, I guess (and hope) it has embedded FEC for the inevitable bit errors (or at least some error detection).

Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Cool..but also oddly disturbing

If there's a chance of life, it will happen IMO. How that develops will depend on many factors, but intelligent life will depend on a long development trail under favorable conditions. I agree that, given the number of stars in our local galaxy it will be teeming with life. Some of it might be even beyond TV ;)

Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Jim Wilkinson

DAB - fix it or forget it

Doesn't exist where I live. I used to get it in Hampshire so I have a receiver, but here in West Devon - no chance. Unless this proposal also includes a plan to extend reception to remote locations plus reception on the move, it has to be a dead duck.

Android's defences against malicious apps dissed by security bods

Jim Wilkinson

Permissions Discovery

I use Pocket Permissions to see what's going on, Task Manager to see what's running and Uninstall Master to remove anything remotely untoward. Watchdog is useful too. But ack, there's always a risk with the Android market. Probably a greater risk on the alternative markets. But then which is more fun - a Volvo or an old-style Mini?

Apple handed Samsung-busting nuke after Steve Jobs patent U-turn

Jim Wilkinson

Apple innovate?

Errr, MacOS was derived from OpenStep on the Next box. Not to say they don't innovate as well as buy-in.

All cool kids' phones run ALTERNATIVE alternative custom Android ROM

Jim Wilkinson

New ROM - Why?

I've rooted my Xperia P so that I can get more control over my phone and get certain apps to work properly. I did install a new ROM for a previously rooted phone, but the difference wasn't worth the trouble. That's not to say there's no benefit to using a custom ROM; it's that getting control of your phone with root access allows a number of useful admin apps to do their job as intended.

Reg readers! You've got 100 MILLION QUID - what would you BLOW it on?

Jim Wilkinson

DAB coverage improvement

Get DAB rolled out to all parts of the country that have FM reception.

Kiwis (finally) confirm software ban under new patent law

Jim Wilkinson

It's the novelty surely

A patent requires novelty in whatever form the novelty is implemented. If it's implemented in software, so be it. Just as with hardware.

That patents are sometimes poorly examined for their novelty is down to the examiner. And there is a ton of prior art so sometimes a patent is granted mistakenly. An outright ban on software patents is a mistake IMO. But any proposed patent implemented in software does need to make clear that it is the novelty behind the code that is being patented - not the software itself. Specific software code should be protected under copyright, not patent.

Fanbois taught to use Apple's new killer app: Microsoft Windows

Jim Wilkinson

Re: Macs are "so expensive" - not.

Why? Apple USB ports will take any USB mouse.

Jim Wilkinson
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VMWare Rules

I tried various methods to get Wndows on a Mac disc partition and VMWare was the least painful and (IMO) proved the best way. In line with the Mac philosophy - "it just works". That said, there's only the rare occasion when I need to use it, but it's there when I do.

The hammer falls: Feds propose drastic controls on Apple's iTunes Store

Jim Wilkinson

He who pays the piper....

<an "external monitor" – whose salary would be paid by Apple>

What guarantee is there that the monitor would report on compliance issues if paid by Apple?

People really liked our Xperia. Throw in a weak yen and KERCHING - Sony

Jim Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Had a P model for nearly a year now and loving it. Yes, some compromises with memory etc, but that was my choice. Sound quality on the supplied earphones is outstanding. Camera shots acceptable, but no mobile phone can really compete with a dedicated camera that has a decent lens. Syncs contacts and calendar to my Mac with SyncMate. Biggest issue is that Android apps are less well presented than equivalents on my iPod. But that's Android and not the phone.

Apple files patent for iPhone enabled auto-adjustable auto interior

Jim Wilkinson

It might have merit

There are already cars with settings customizable for an individual driver. Useful, but don't pick up the wife's key :)

This all hinges on car designers wanting to offer the interface and protocols to operate with a mobile device. If one of the big manufacturers really wants this, then it might just take off and other car manufacturers adopt. Though patent licensing fees would need to be low IMO. Or wait until the patent(s) expire.

I'm no defender of the fruity firm, but this patent could just have some legs. And if it does get implemented, don't pick up the wife's PDA....

Brits: Give us £1m and we'll build a crack ALIEN-HUNTING TEAM

Jim Wilkinson

The questions are....

Even our local galaxy is so large that it's almost certain that there's life in some form within it. So the questions are one of transmitted power and temporal coincidence rather than "if".

Even in terms of our local galaxy, the probability of having those two factors in our favour is very, very small IMO. Our problem is that if (and that's a big "if") we receive a signal with some form of structure that could be regarded as having some form of intelligent component, any response we sent would probably not be received until after our demise. But that should not stop us trying. It's part of human nature to be curious about our surroundings - even if they are beyond reach.

Given the choice, I agree we need to pay more attention to the large rocky objects within our own solar system that could do us serious harm. Hugely more important than the detection of LGM.

Elon Musk's Grasshopper tops 300m, lands safely

Jim Wilkinson


Seriously impressive

Run for your (private) lives! Facebook's creepy Graph Search is upon us

Jim Wilkinson


How many FB users realise, or care, their posts are accessible and subject to data harvesting? It's not 1984, but I wonder what George Orwell would have made of it?

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Jim Wilkinson
Thumb Up


Interesting comment on interlace. For the record, it was a neat attempt at the time to halve the bandwidth by deleting information the eye could not see so well. Crude, but effective. There's no excuse now with far better methods to get the transmission/recording bandwidth reduced which, for the most part, keep the important parts of the picture intact. In an ideal world, we'd shoot the original material at obscenely high picture rates and resolutions, then use the best techniques to get the bandwidth down to the available transmission rate or recording capacity for optimal reception at the eyeballs. We're not there yet, but we've now at least got away from the crude analogue compression techniques.

Nice article BTW.

Silicon Valley digiterati to brainstorm at 30,000 ft

Jim Wilkinson
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Isn't oxygen needed to brainstorm?

Noticably low levels of oxygen on a commercial flight in my experience. In all the flying I've done, I found creativity is poor at altitude. Unless they pump up the oxygen level for this boondoggle.....

Thinktank: 'Lab-smashing' Stuxnet helped Iran's nuke effort

Jim Wilkinson

The lesson is stealth

Enigma was cracked by Bletchley Park, but actions were only taken when it could not point back to the code-crackers success. This undoubtedly meant some tough decisions at times. Clearly the art is to act in stealth and leave your target perhaps guessing, but not knowing. The devil is in the detail; but leaving any form of evidence is careless and can only lead to the target trying to evade the embrace and perhaps succeeding in their endeavour.

Since the intelligence agencies know this well, I suspect it's more complex than made out. Then again......