* Posts by Colin Sharples

34 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Aug 2006

French won Waterloo, says Italian telecoms chief

Colin Sharples


I am not a sceptic tank, thank you very much.

Of course America is an empire, they just don't admit it.

And of course the ACW was a real war. The north just called it ACW to make it look as though it was an internal struggle, but the reality is that the USA invaded and conquered the CSA, which was a separate sovereign nation.

The point is, there are plenty of people in the US who like to make out that the US only ever fights righteous wars of liberation. That just ain't so.

[sits back and waits for the flames...]

Colin Sharples
Thumb Down


"The same could be said of America, They have never won a war that didn't include allies."

Um, apart from the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1845, the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War of 1898. All right, the 1812 War was a no-score draw, but the rest were victories square and fair, resulting in significant additions to the American empire, and all on their li'l old lonesome.

I guess America just doesn't like reminding people of their aggressive, expansionist past when they are trying to tell everyone they are the world's policeman...

Soviet-era JCP needs change, concedes top commissar

Colin Sharples

The biggest mistake


Log4J was already established as the best logging framework when JSR-47 came round, but the JCP said "not invented here" and had to come up with their own (crap) version. Result? No one, but no one, uses java.util.logging, while log4j is the first jar file I add to any new project.

Even when Apache asked very nicely for them to modify JSR-47 so that log4j could become the default provider, they said piss off - despite the fact that several other JSRs issued revised versions as a result of feedback from the community (JMS 1.1 did away with P2P and P/S domains, for example).

If the JCP wants to change, and wants to show that they have changed, the first thing they should do is throw away java.util.logging and incorporate log4j into the JDK (or at least provide an SPI so that log4j can be the default provider).

Sun dreams the impossible Java on Jesus Phone dream

Colin Sharples
Dead Vulture


Please get your similes right >:-|

Miss Havisham *was* committed to a life of marital bliss. It was her fiancé who got the jitters and ran away. So Sun is indeed like Miss Havisham - all dressed up and willing to come to the party, whereas Apple are the ones who don't really feel up to sharing the bed.

You just can't get the staff these days...

IPCC's 'evil twin' launches climate change sceptic's creed

Colin Sharples

Next up from NIPCC

More incontrovertible facts from NIPCC

- smoking extends life expectancy by 30 years

- driving a fast car makes your penis grow longer

- depleted uranium improves crop yields

- burying your head in the sand stops bad things happening to you

Who needs data when you can just make shit up...

HSBC forgets to renew its digital certificate

Colin Sharples

@Al Jones

So you read the error messages your browser gives you about these things? That puts you in a group of about 1% of internet users. Maybe 2% on a good day. *You* might think that those messages are very clear and simple, but the vast majority of users just see a big scary message, and are too afraid to even try and understand what they say.

For a bank to say "don't worry about the message, just go ahead and click OK" is irresponsible in the extreme. There is a whole bunch of users who will now click OK on *any* invalid certificate message, because HSBC has told them they don't need to worry about it.

Colin Sharples
Gates Horns

I'm glad I don't bank with HSBC

And I'm going to tell everyone I know not to use their internet banking. I particularly love their subtle implication that it was only certain silly people who had configured their browser "in a certain way" who got the message. Just set your browser to "Trust Everyone (TM Microsoft)" and everything is fine and dandy.

Still, not as bad as the Royal Bank of Scotland, who said that you could only use Internet Exploder on their website "for security reasons"... yeah right.

Flores Hobbits were stunted humans

Colin Sharples

Pedantic flame of the week

Binomial names always have a capital letter for the first part (genus) and lower case for the second part (species), i.e. Homo floresiensis, not Homo Floresiensis. At least you put it in italics, which, thanks to your completely useless markup-free comment editor, I am unable to do. Oh no, now I'll have to flame myself... AIEEEEE!

Stallman steps back from Emacs

Colin Sharples

Don't you love recursive acronyms...






Reduce your exposure to AJAX threats

Colin Sharples
Thumb Down

For RIA, use RCP

Bottom line is, HTML based browsers are a terrible platform for desktop applications. If you need to deliver rich client functionality, then use a real rich client platform such as Eclipse RCP. An RCP app can communicate with a server using SOAP web services, which can implement full scale WS-Security if necessary. You also then get a proper desktop app environment without having to worry about whether the different browser vendors have bothered to correctly implement Javascript, DOM, CSS etc.

El Reg collectible pops up on eBay

Colin Sharples

Chill out Jim

Okay, obviously I used the wrong icon. Take a deep breath and read the following very carefully: IT WAS A JOKE, DUDE.

The wikifiddlers have been running a campaign to get El Reg recognised as an unreliable source because they have run a couple of articles that say nasty things about them (diddums). Several editors have called it a "tabloid" - which is apparently a much worse insult in the US than in the UK. I was just pointing out that those dickheads would be delighted to see El Reg looking like a real tabloid.

Of course, they wouldn't be able to use this article to cite the fact that El Reg is a tabloid, because of course El Reg is a tabloid and therefore an unreliable source to be used to verify the fact that El Reg is a tabloid and an unrelia... AAARGH, I'm being swallowed up by a recursive argument...

See what I did there? It's called humour. Now fuck off.

Colin Sharples

Wikipedia is right after all...

... El Reg is in fact an unreliable red-top tabloid.

That's really the nail in the coffin for El Reg ever being accepted as a source for a Wikipedia.

Star Wars animation heads for the silver screen

Colin Sharples
IT Angle

Forget that, check out this...

The ultimate animated Star Wars: http://www.asciimation.co.nz/

Wikipedia COO was convicted felon

Colin Sharples
Black Helicopters

Duck and cover

What's really hilarious is the ass-covering going on at Wikipedia. The Carolyn Doran article has been deleted, but the discussion page is still there, and it makes fairly grim reading. All those guidelines that get trotted out when Patrick Byrne tries to post something just got thrown out the window in an attempt to cover the whole thing up. At least there were a couple of editors who were prepared to own up to it, and restored the discussion page, otherwise there would have been a complete Orwellian removal-from-history of Ms Doran.

One of the editors said: "The whole way this has been dealt with leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Every decision seems to have been made by some cabal, not by consensus."


Drink rats' milk, suggests battling Heather Mills

Colin Sharples

Vegetarians are just picking on plants

I've got no problem with someone being a vego because it's healthier, or they just don't like meat. What really fucks me off is when they try to take the moral high ground and tell you you're a bad person for eating meat. Meat is murder? What the fuck do you think eating plants is, then? Do the plants go on living happy little lives in your stomach? NO, they die. They go from being alive plants to being dead plants. And it doesn't matter that plants don't have a brain, as they have been shown to produce electrical signals in response to wounds that look exactly like nerve impulses in animals, only several orders of magnitude slower. Who is to say that a tomato plant doesn't feel pain when you pick a tomato? Certainly not Ms Mills, that's for sure. It makes me so angry, I'm going to throw the phone down >:-|

Music DRM 'dead by next summer'

Colin Sharples
Jobs Halo


You used the wrong icon, mate...

Don't be shy.

Biologist 'discovers' scentless giant peccary

Colin Sharples

Endangered species?

I'm not surprised it's endangered if it lacks "rooting behaviour"...

[Sorry, that one only works in Oz/NZ]

Gutting of Amazon patent was helped by Amazon-owned company

Colin Sharples


The meeja here in Godzone strangely neglected to mention that he did it because NZ is such a boring place. They just had the angle about wanting revenge for his late book order. Funny that...

Virgin Mary pebble provokes holy online bidding war

Colin Sharples

Catholic Church admits Lourdes was a hoax

NZ's Catholic church. Spokeswoman Lindsay Freer said: "The church's approach [to purported Virgin Mary simulacra] is always very cautious because no one has ever seen Mary, so how would they know what she looks like?"

No one has ever seen Mary, huh? So, the Catholic church will be shutting down the grotto at Lourdes any day now, yes? Not to mention Fatima and all the other places. In fact, wikipedia lists 12 people who have "church approved Marian visions".

So does Lindsay Freer just not know what she's talking about, or is the Catholic church finally admitted what the rest of us have known all along, that all these visions of Mary/Jesus/Brian are just a load of old cobblers?

Coming to terms with Raon's Everun tiny, Lolita-based PC

Colin Sharples

@Michael Sheils

And what exactly was your point?

Which online store was "repeatedly" plugged, in your opinion? There was one mention of iTunes, and one mention of MLB.com. Have you discovered some new meaning of the word "repeatedly" which means "exactly once"?

How much did the competitors of whoever-it-was-you-think-AV-was-plugging pay you to write your comment?

Yahoo! tops! Google! on! customer! satisfaction! survey!

Colin Sharples

And, for the love of all that's holy...

Where! is! the! IT! angle! in! this! story!?!?!

iPhone thumb trim hoax gets online media buy-in

Colin Sharples

re: Chordic keyboard

Yeah, those things were cool. A friend of mine at York Uni was doing a project with those around 1991. He rigged up a chordic keyboard (don't remember what make) on top of a mouse, so you could do everything with just one hand. It was mainly intended as an accessibility device.

He devised a test which involved having to click on various things interspersed with some text input. The rest of us in the class were roped in to be test subjects. After 20 minutes or so of practice to learn the chording (just numbers), we did the test. I was significantly faster using his device compared to using normal qwerty plus mouse.

Google juices Turing Award

Colin Sharples

Captain Cyborg Test

How about a Captain Cyborg test for the first human to successfully pose as a computer? I nominate amanFromMars :-)

Brainless civil servant amazes doctors

Colin Sharples

PC alert

Oh great, now the PC brigade will be telling us we can't say "no brainer" anymore, in case we hurt the guy's feelings...

'Suspicious looking' man hauled off translatlantic flight

Colin Sharples

LAX security - yeah, right

Security at LAX is a complete joke. It mainly consists of the security guards shouting at people for no apparent reason. When checking in my luggage, I was told that the bags had to be scanned first, and was shown to the scanner, which was about 10 feet away from the check-in desk. I walked straight over there, and was met by a scowling guard who demanded that I walk 20 yards down to the end of a divider rope, and 20 yards back up the other side, despite the fact that I was the only person in the whole check-in office. How in God's name does that improve security? The X-ray scanners were worse. Several guards just shouting at people - not actually explaining what you need to do, just telling you off for not doing whatever it was they wanted you to do. The whole thing was ripe for a bit of social engineering - just generate a bit more chaos, and you'd be able to slip something nasty past the scanners. And no, that doesn't make me a terrorist just for pointing out how incredibly crap LAX is at security.

Microsoft tells GPLv3 to talk to the hand

Colin Sharples


Don - what a load of shite.

You obviously haven't the faintest idea what GPL is about. There is nothing - absolutely nothing - in any free/open source license that restricts you the way you say.

If I use a GPL library to write an original program that has nothing to do with the library itself, then I can do whatever I want with it, just as you can with the Windows libraries.

If, on the other hand, I write an *extension* to that GPL library, say by providing extra functionality that other users of that library might find useful, then I can STILL do whatever I like with it - sell it, give it away free, print it out and make papier mache puppets, whatever. All I have to do is license my derivative work under the GPL and publish the source code.

Try doing that with a Windows library. Go on, I dare you.

El Reg to bite hand that feeds ICT?

Colin Sharples

Thank you AdamV

I was going to say the same thing - the C is completely redundant, and appears to be there only to turn it into a TLA, as if we need another one.

Perhaps the dickheads who thought that one up can show us a form of communication that doesn't involve information - then there might be some point in talking about Information AND Communication Technology. Until then IT does just fine.

On the other hand, we could start a new trend for turning all existing two letter acronyms into PTTs (Pointless Tautological TLAs), e.g.

PE -> PPE (Physical and Physiological Education)

RE -> RME (Religious and Mystical Education)

MP -> MPD (Member of Parliament and Dickhead)


Ghostly plastic bathtoy flotilla nears Cornish coast

Colin Sharples

Anatidaen is not a word

Family names end in -idae. To refer to a species as a member of a family, you drop the -ae, for example humans belong to the family Hominidae, and so are referred to as hominids. You should have said "plastic anatids", not "plastic anatidaens".

I'll get me coat...

Why do robot experts build such lousy robots?

Colin Sharples

Dinosaurs mating


Nuff said

How Google translates without understanding

Colin Sharples

Turing test

I'm reminded of Scott Adams' comments on the Turing test - there's no point in coming up with fancy algorithms to get a computer to pass the Turing test: just make it ignore any questions it's asked, and whinge about its job.

Language - especially conversational language - simply doesn't follow rules, regardless of what my Latin teacher always told me...

Yahoo! searches! abroad! for! online! gambling! riches!

Colin Sharples

This! joke's! getting! really! old!

'Nuff! Said!

500 dead in Hungarian motorway lapine bloodbath

Colin Sharples

Breeding like rabbits...

I hate to be pedantic (well, no I don't), but the reproductive capacity of rabbits isn't nearly as impressive as most people think. A female rabbit in good condition can produce a litter of 4-10 kittens every 30 days. In optimal conditions, they can do this for 8-9 months of the year, so potentially one female could produce close to a hundred offspring in one year. Young females can produce their first litter at 4 or 5 months, so it is possible for a female to produce grandchildren in one season.

In practice, the breeding rate is much lower than that (except in certain parts of Australia). The point that most people miss, though, is that 90% or more of rabbit offspring will never see their first birthday, due to predation and disease. The rate of population increase for rabbits is still pretty good for a mammal, but not nearly as explosive as people imagine.

So yes, the 4000 escaped rabbits may well be able to produce, say 10,000 offspring in a few weeks, but most of those will be dead by the end of the year anyway...

Ms Pac-Man celebrates 25 years with Apple

Colin Sharples

Wikipedia wrong? No way...

Wow, those wikifiddlers are really on the ball. The Ms PacMan article has *already* been updated to say 1982.

Nice to know that really important facts like release dates of computer games are being kept up to date - much more important than trivial things like bios being vandalised with defamatory comments, eh?

Getting to grips with Callisto

Colin Sharples

Out of memory errors

The out of memory errors seem to be caused by a bug in the Sun JDK. Update to the latest rev (update 8) of the JDK (http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp), and you should be okay. There is quite a big discussion about this in the Eclipse bugs system (https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=92250).