* Posts by Matt K

61 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Sep 2008


Bitcoinica sued for $460,000 by 'out-of-pocket' punters

Matt K

Good grief

"Bitcoinica has remained closed to trading whilst "the transitional process" for upgrading the exchange "to a professional level of security" is completed."

Head spinning. What did they have before if not "a professional level of security"? And how on earth did they think they'd operate without it?

O2 launches Wallet: Plays pay-by-text card, again

Matt K

Re: from http://www.idtfinance.com/

IDT is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, which is fundamentally a telecoms outfit. IDT Europe is best known for discount phonecards (call Uzbekistan for 1p per thousand years...) and those discounted international call numbers. Worked for them very briefly many years ago and never realised they were getting into the banking market...

Google farewells apps in spring clean

Matt K


...nothing in that announcement about withdrawing Picasa for Mac, unless I've missed it?

It's been withdrawn for Linux, and the Picasa Web Albums Uploader withdrawn, but nothing about the main app (not that its loss would be a great worry).

HTC One S Android smartphone

Matt K

Re: "Liù to the One X’s Turandot."?

With that, the Lone Ranger and Panther tanks I think he was getting paid by the metaphor.

Solicitors from hell website unplugged by libel judge

Matt K


I think you're right about what the interpretation was, but apparently it is covered by the DPA. I've skimmed the judgement and the two relevant bits are:

"The DPA s.1 provides that 'personal data' means "data which relate to a living individual who can be identified (a) from that data…""


"The data processed by the Defendant about the Third Claimant is personal data, and sensitive personal data, as it included statements (which are false) about the alleged commission of offences by the Third Claimant."

Whilst it does seem a bit of a stretch at first read to call that personal data, if I was a legit solicitor (yes, I know, many will think that an oxymoron) getting unjustified anonymous grief, I'd consider it to be inaccurate personal data.

(Just to be clear: I'm not defending the legal profession, there are plenty of firms that seem nothing more than shysters to me, but this looks like someone who crossed a line when he started demanding money.)

Matt K

Zero sympathy

Maybe there was some libel there, maybe there wasn't. But I have zero sympathy for the owner given that he published personal data and demanded money to take it down, then tried to sell it to someone overseas,

Motorola Xoom 2 10in Android tablet

Matt K

Normally I can't be bothered quibbling with review ratings (they're subjective and as a reader I'll take what I need from the actual text of the review) but this one fairly leapt out.

For a suggested price of £399 (per the review):

"A feature of the design that really gets my goat is the positioning of the micro USB and mini HDMI ports"

"the extra speed has little if any discernible impact"

"the Xoom 2 doesn’t really feel any faster and still struggles to play 1080p video in any other format than MP4"

"the Xoom 2 doesn’t even have a slot so you are stuck with the built-in 16GB, or 12 and a bit after the system's taken its share"

"File transfer is handled solely through the MTP protocol so anyone with a Mac or Linux box is up a gumtree"

"without a stylus writing a note is far very from easy and you can’t use the keyboard"

"the 5Mp main cameras has been yanked from the old Xoom parts bin because it’s equally mediocre"

"the Xoom 2 isn’t certified to make Skype video calls but I was still rather surprised to find that the 1.3Mp webcam couldn’t manage them anyway"

"[the price] is a lot extra for a machine that albeit lighter and slimmer is only faster on paper and lacks storage expansion"

"it’s no major leap forward from the original Xoom"

"The extra 200KHz of chip speed has little measurable impact on performance"

So a device with little improvement in speed, a poor camera, no Skype, doesn't play nicely with Linux or Macs, and has no expandable or swappable storage...

And this gets 75%? I'd hate to see what a bad tablet gets...

Apple posts 'battery fix' iOS update

Matt K


I got a pop-up message on my phone alerting me to the (46 MB) update. Didn't go anywhere near iTunes, thankfully.

UK biz: Fax us and explain what this cloud thing is

Matt K


Not sure I buy the first premise of this article. Is it really so wrong using fax machines?

Depends on what you're sending and receiving, of course (do you need assurance around guaranteed delivery, security, authenticity, etc, etc), but with that caveat I'm not sure I buy the outright assumption that old technology = bad technology.

Isn't spending unnecessarily on technology which may or may not turn out to be any more secure or reliable (hello, "cloud") even worse?

The whole article has a sales spin: it's bad for the country that small businesses aren't hurling cash at their IT infrastructure - regardless of whether that's actually wise.

Virgin Media broadband in two-day wobble

Matt K

@ Gavin 8

I feel your pain. Had to switch from BE to Virgin cable for the same reason (lack of a BT landline or TV aerial in these flats). I miss a steady, reliable connection and responsive, intelligent support staff. (And I miss my HD Fox T2.) Sigh.

Although at this rate I'll be saving a bit. Currently getting about a 30% service credit a month thanks to repeated Virgin problems (broadband, TV, phone, the works).

BlackBerry services splutter back into action, again

Matt K

Trying to find any information at all about RIM's resilience/contingency arrangements/promises on uptime is proving difficult. Anyone know anything about what they claim to have/promise to deliver?

'iTunes in the Cloud' has arrived in iTunes 10.5 update

Matt K

Music now in the UK?

Music seems to be downloadable now. Last night it was just apps and books, but there's music showing up this morning.

On its first birthday, LibreOffice has reason to celebrate

Matt K

Thanks to all for the replies - seems there may be some mileage in me switching after all. Ta.

Matt K

Does anyone have a decent breakdown of the differences between OpenOffice and LibreOffice? I tried hunting one down a few months ago and found very little that gave any clue to an end user why they should switch. I'd be happy to consider it, but am not sure why I should or shouldn't (other than if I wanted to support a particular side in the dispute).

Why modern music sounds rubbish

Matt K


I was hoping someone would reference that Quietus article, it's what first got me vaguely interested in the subject.

How are we going to search our hard disks now?

Matt K

Spotlight — hmm

I don't like Spotlight deciding what files I want to include in my searches. I'd quite like to have my Library files - particularly things like my Firefox userchrome.css - come up in searches, but Spotlight stubbornly refuses to index it, even if I try to force it to include the target directories. A search engine that thinks it knows better than me where I want to look, and won't let me change that, ain't on to a winner.

A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

Matt K

EPO switches

...another on the subject of EPO switches.

When told that your switch should be covered to avoid being accidentally triggered, don't forget, call your local electrician in a panic when reminded, and watch as said electrician sticks a drill bit into your PDU in the middle of your peak processing window...

Change management: more than just the logical stuff.

Help - my desktop in the cloud has evaporated!

Matt K

Not just US export control..

...I'd guess for many readers on this site "the most prominent and common reason" for concern will be European data protection regulations and local financial regulations. For example, and I'm a bit hazy on the wording, the FSA's SYSC handbook generally says that you can't outsource your responsibility for systems and controls.

Firefox 4 gets yet another final test build release

Matt K

Final version is out now

...and I don't even remember downloading it. My Firefox install seems to have switched from RC2 to 4.0 at some point today.

The only thing that doesn't work for me, frustratingly, is embedded PDF viewing. A known bug using FF4 on 64-bit OSX machines, apparently.

Twitter adds HTTPS opt-in button to micro-blogging service

Matt K


...of course, only a cynic would speculate that Twitter offer https, not provide APIs to other developers that support it, then complain loudly about how third party clients are insecure and ban them "for the good of users".

I'm sure that in no way would they dream of doing this so they could block access to all but their own clients/interfaces, and find fun ways to monetise those (cough, quick bar, cough)...

Man sentenced for breaching former employer's computers

Matt K


"Alvarez [...] joins a long list of disgruntled employees who sought revenge by breaching their employees' computer systems."

And an equally long list of incompetent employers who are incapable of securing their systems against breaches by former employees.

IT job seekers can't smell spell

Matt K

Don't quite agree, sorry

A CV should list skills relevant to the job. If I want someone with, say, SAP R/3 experience, I couldn't care less how well they know Oracle HR. At best I'll treat it as vaguely useful background on their all-round skills or ignore those bits of their CV. At worst I'll assume they didn't read the spec, or they did but couldn't be bothered to spend a few minutes tweaking their CV. When there's forty CVs to review for a job, the ones who at least look like they want it have already got a headstart towards getting an interview.

Matt K

Sometimes not the candidates' fault

I've seen more than a few CVs that were clearly hacked about by a recruitment consultant with no clue. And once or twice I've seen CVs where their job titles had clearly been rewritten to meet the job spec, despite the actual experience being for different jobs. Ended up with one very angry candidate when we pointed out what his recruitment consultant had done...

Facebook goes all a twitter with Beluga buy

Matt K

Probably just as well...

...they didn't go with "Sperm" or "Killer" as the company name, really.


Matt K


Ah, thanks for reminding me of that one. I used to love Paradroid 90 (the remake) on my Atari ST.

Disgruntled TSA data analyst sentenced for sabotage attempt

Matt K

How did he get his co-worker's credentials?

Either their security is so poor that staff can access (or guess) each other's credentials, or there's a co-worker who shouldn't be writing passwords down on Post-Its.

Apple accused of iPhone ban on 'all single-station radio apps'

Matt K

What I don't get is...

...if Apple are trying to sell this as "improving the user experience by removing spam apps" (whether anyone believes that or not), why not start with the genuine dross? (The fart apps, the sexual positions apps, the mirror apps, the apps that clog up the new app feeds day-in, day-out, and that you can tell instantly are just low quality junk.)

Apple's sales figures have bred an arrogance that may not cripple them in the near future, but surely only the most naive business would deliberately bite the hands that feed it.

I have an iPhone and like it, but I'm not blind to the ridiculous actions Apple take, and I'm gobsmacked as to why a company seemingly goes out of its way to make people dislike it for little or no reason. Particularly when it would be relatively easy for them to make some good, sensible decisions that don't alienate customers or developers. Isn't this basic business sense?

Top Ten Arcade Classics

Matt K

A few more to add to the list...

Gauntlet II - I can still hear "warrior needs food badly" echoing in my head.

Rampage - giant gorilla for the win.

Operation Thunderbolt - me and a friend once spent £13 on a school day trip to Brighton completing this in the arcade rather than checking out the talent on the beaches. We never spoke again after the whole "who shot the hostage?" debacle at the end.

Scarlett Johansson unleashes voracious sexuality in steamy alien film

Matt K


A made-for-Channel-Five version of Species, then?

Fallout: New Vegas

Matt K

First thoughts...

...after a day or two's play this weekend. I don't know how quick Obsidian were off the mark to address the complaints of bugs (the Gamespot review is particularly scathing) but an update downloaded when I started playing on Saturday night and I've had only one glitch in about nine hours' play (character got stuck 'falling' through rock and I had to reload the last save).

It's definitely a game to take your time on or you'll blink-and-miss important points or end up having made a game-changing decision without thinking about it (like siding with the NCR over the Legion, betraying the NCR or the Powder Gangers, or in my case accidentally siding with the loony spacefaring ghoul cult and having to exterminate the folks in their basement who I could otherwise have sided with).

The reviewer's comments on graphics are spot-on. Fallout 3 had that brilliant moment where you emerged from the vault into a blasted world, and while Washington's ruins did feel a bit mundane and linear the overall scenery felt more varied. So far NV is a bit more pleasant, a bit less varied, and the insides of buildings are identical to Fallout 3 (wander round a few houses and you'll know what to expect).

Weapon modding is a nice touch, although mods are few and far between. The companions haven't thrilled me so far - there's no sense of Dragon Age-style interaction, they just become your silent shooting buddies (although they're a damn sight more useful and able to look after themselves than in Fallout 3). The quests have a nice variety and the plot is very, very dark in places (without spoiling it, Boone's back story and the quest for him, and the story of what happened to Nipton).

Twitter blames website upgrade for re-introducing XSS hole

Matt K


"creating hundreds of thousands of spam message in the process"

Isn't that business as usual for Twitter?

Just 5% of workers ever truly leave the office

Matt K


"even where there's good 3G coverage Wi-Fi is still the preferred connection option. That's particularly interesting given that 3G should be able to offer a comparable experience"

No, er, surprise, Sherlock. 3G counts towards data allowances on most devices I can think of. Wireless doesn't. And you can factor in cellular data roaming charges for people away from their home networks too.

Facebook Places 'sparks interest in similar services'

Matt K

Location whores

Another quality subhead - although now I have a very short snippet of that song stuck in my head.

Gmail pushes onto the iPhone

Matt K

So how much will ActiveSync kill my battery?

I wasn't particularly impressed with the Google Mobile App approach to notifications (which means launching Safari to read anything, rather than downloading it to the mail app, which is no good if I only notice the notification once I've got on the tube).

So I switched from the standard Gmail setup on my iPhone to the Exchange ActiveSync version. How much will this cripple my battery? Does it work the same way as the learned posters above describe for push notifications? Ta.

Mobile 3D planned for MeeGo Linux

Matt K


"3D will finally see off gaming and collaboration on the multi-touch iPad and iPhone"

Of course it will. Because what everyone wants is an overhyped, buzzword-laden "look at me" technology rather than, say, the ability to play a quick game of Scrabble or Angry Birds on the tube.

"Twenty four researchers will work during the next three years to build and release projects and code under an open-source license, Intel and Nokia said Monday."

So not something for Android, Microsoft or Apple developers to worry about yet, then. Do Nokia and Intel expect that their competitors won't also be trying to innovate over the next three years?

I used to love my old Nokia candybar phones - simple, usable designs - but this just sounds like a company desperately clawing for attention by throwing buzzwords at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Rise in Latvian botnets prompts Spamhaus row

Matt K

"Internet access is a basic human right"

Eq - sadly some seem to think it is (based on a poll the BBC conducted in March).

Me, I think we've still got some way to go on the others - y'know, life, liberty and security of person, equal protection of the law, freedom of movement, etc.

Apple kills browse-and-get-hacked bugs in iOS

Matt K

To be fair to Apple...

(and there's a phrase I didn't think I'd ever use)

...they don't describe iOS 4.0.2 as a patch. Suspect it's just easy shorthand for others to report given it fixes one or two things and adds no new features.

I won't be updating. No intention of spending an hour or two downloading a file that size, resetting my phone, then restoring from a backup, just to fix a problem I can likely avoid with some common sense (don't open PDFs).

First MeeGo Linux needs love and scrub up

Matt K


Looks like a slightly swisher version of the "Easy Mode" interface you got on the original EeePCs. At least that you could disable.

Ofcom creates piracy havens at small ISPs

Matt K


...does this mean that, initially at least, the multitude of BT white-label resellers will be exempt providing they're under the 400,000 cap? (i.e. the restrictions apply at the business level, not depending on who owns or provides the infrastructure)

Ten free apps to install on every new Mac

Matt K


El Reg is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.


Free, open-source video transcoder. It just works and has some reasonable default template settings for the non-technically literate (like me).

Transport for London gobbles up Oyster

Matt K

Oyster on the overground

The big question for extending the use on overground rail is who pays for the infrastructure — ticket barriers in every station, machines to top up cards, ticket offices able to sell them. And I wish I could remember the details, but it also fits into the penalty fare setup; I could be wrong, but I think rail companies make a lot from penalty fares, and having Oyster cards reduces those (as well as costing them to implement).

I'll check and find out what the sticking point was.

High Court: Moderate user comments and you're liable

Matt K

Have I missed something?

Er...you all know the guy hasn't actually been found guilty of anything, right? And may not be?

He was claiming he shouldn't have to answer a case as he's just a publisher and didn't vet the libellous content.

The judge's view is that he may just be a publisher but he clearly vets some of his content. So, while he may be innocent of the specific charge (because he never vetted the particular post in question) he can't claim a blanket exemption to avoid a trial.

I'm sure there are many, many things wrong with libel laws, and there may be some very stupid things in the way moderation is treated, but I'm finding it hard to get riled that this is some terrible miscarriage of justice.

(And I'm happy to be corrected on this stuff if I've missed some obvious point.)

Mobile-phone wallet stymied by lack of understanding

Matt K

Thanks Ben & all

...so it is probably as stupid an idea as I'd imagined. If it's not tied to the phone (just stuck on) then it really doesn't add more than existing cashless payment systems, and if it is, you'll either be out of luck when your battery goes, muggers will be after your phone even more, and you'll have to rely on O2 (et al) for the integrity of your statements, micro-billing, etc...

(I think that last one worries me as much as the others.)

Matt K


I'll admit to being fairly new to this topic, but on what basis do they assume this will be popular with consumers?

If my ability to pay depends in any way on my phone working, I'm not interested. (Can't guarantee battery life, and if it offers features requiring a data connection I wouldn't rely on those either - not going to work underground, in many areas outside cities, etc.)

If it doesn't depend on the phone, what exactly does this add over other cashless payment methods? Why would I be interested in this rather than, say, an Oyster-style payment card?

Can anyone shed any light on these fairly noddy questions?

US 'Anubis' stealth assassin robo-missile nearly ready

Matt K

Call Tom Sellect and Gene Simmons

...this sounds remarkably like the guided bullets from the 1984 film Runaway (written and directed by Michael Crichton). Always worth a laugh to see how well it's aged...

Scots unleash world's strongest beer

Matt K

Not big, not clever

Maybe their more normal beers are decent - dunno, never tried one that I can remember - but this seems pretty juvenile to me. Woo! Look how witty we can be! Insult Germans and make a pointlessly strong beer at the same time, then bask in the publicity!

Guinness to hit three quid a pint

Matt K

£3 barrier?

Haha. I don't remember the last time I saw Guinness priced under £3. Got to love London prices.

Music industry website debut turns into a mosh pit

Matt K

"Q. Are we crocked, then? A. We are Vevo!"

Best subhead ever.

WikiReader feeds you factiness on the go

Matt K


So... it's a monochrome battery-powered unreliable user-generated encyclopedia for $99? Phew, just what the market's been crying out for!

Wheels come off O2's data network

Matt K

Deja vu?

Unless it's just me, it seems to be happening again. Can't get data access at all despite having a strong signal.