* Posts by Leo Maxwell

111 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Apr 2007


iPad app that lets mute kids speak menaced by patent lawsuit

Leo Maxwell

The trouble with patents

Is that there seems to be no due diligence in exposing prior art.

Often companies license because it is cheaper than fighting.

Look at the guy who patented yellow beans, and then sued someone who had been importing them into the US for 20 years.

Often there is loads of prior art, but it is simply ignored by the big companies, who also tend to ignore patents belonging to smaller companies.

Dyson couldn't sell his ideas for a bagless vacuum cleaner, so he built a company to sell them, now all the companies who turned him down are selling Dyson ripoffs.

The patent is now so devalued as to be almost worthless unless you can afford a top lawyer.

I hope Barnes and Noble stuff MS.

Big Media drags 142,000 through UK's courts in a year

Leo Maxwell

Bully boys

Someone mentioned the Radio4 lineup, "count Arthur Strong" is the best argument for ending the license fee I've ever heard :P

I know several people who have been unmercifully chased over license fees when they don't own a TV, including one of my friends who lives in a valley in Wales where he can't actually receive terrestrial TV.

My daughter just never bought a TV when she moved out 7 years ago, and she still gets 1 or 2 threatening letters a year.

My wife's boss had a DVD player from Amazon delivered to his shop for convenience, and they started pestering him!

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Leo Maxwell


Ben Stiller in a film that makes the Heartbreak kid look like Oscar material.

I was almost unable to hit the power button on my remote for sheer despair.

Charge of the Metro brigade: Did Microsoft execs plan to take a hit?

Leo Maxwell

Re: What?

Oh yeah? See any Ratner's shops in the high street these days?

TV market stalls as LCD sales slow

Leo Maxwell

Re: Hardly surprising...

Just to clarify, for some reason, CRT monitors use much more power than LCD monitors, but the same does not appear to be tru for TVs.

I use a monitor hooked up to my home server for watching TV, so I wonder how that works out?

Leo Maxwell

Re: Hardly surprising...

Actually, that is incorrect. The energy differential is not that great, and people tend to replace CRT TVs with larger LCD ones, which use more energy, and plasma TVs use much more.


According to the California Energy Commission, the average CRT uses about 0.23 watts per square inch of the screen. By comparison, the average LCD uses 0.27 watts per square inch, and plasmas, which are the least energy efficient, use 0.36 watts per square inch. This means that a flat-panel TV that is the same screen size as a CRT will use more power. The typical CRT screen is 30 inches, and the unit consumes about 101 watts of electricity, according to the California Energy Commission. By comparison, the average LCD is 36 inches and consumes 144 watts, while the average plasma is 48 inches and consumes 361 watts.


Windows 8: Thrown into a multi-tasking mosh pit

Leo Maxwell

Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

Windows+r etc are OK if you are in one desktop.

If you have multiple terminals, VMs, remote sessions, etc, that sort of keyboard shortcut only works in the main session.

So you're connected to a remote PC via RDP you hit win+r and it opens a run dialogue on your PC, not the remote host.

Microsoft 'yanked optical drive from Xbox 720'

Leo Maxwell

No surprise there

When was the last time you used an optical drive?

I can't really remember needing one for a while, except maybe when installing an OS, and for

Linux, not even then.

And the price for memory sticks in wholesale quantities is probably tiny, considering many application installs still don't fill a CD.

Downloaded content is the norm these days, you get an email with a link and a license key.

They've even stopped putting hardware manuals on CD, you get a slip of paper with a URL.

Oz says 41 hits a day turn bloggers into publishers

Leo Maxwell

You can complain about the register everywhere but Oz?

Who do I complain to?

Apple snags blockbuster multi-touch patent

Leo Maxwell

Obviously the judges don't watch TV

Even adverts have been showing off multi-touch devices for years.

Linux PC-in-a-stick to cost coders £139

Leo Maxwell
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horses for courses

One of these with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, connected via wifi to your network, and HDMI to a TV or monitor, becomes a useful PC, which you can carry in your pocket, smaller and lighter than a phone. And the price is the same or cheaper than many media streamers on the market.

Or the basis for a wearable PC, there are many other options. I expect the people pooh-poohing it are the same ones who rubbished the iPad when it first appeared.

A lot of people said that the iPad was rubbish because it wasn't a PC.

They totally missed the point. It was a success BECAUSE it wasn't a PC.

This unit and the Raspberry Pi are aimed at different markets, but they are both innovative products.

They both have multiple uses, and I will probably try out both.

Hey Commentard! - or is that Commenter?

Leo Maxwell

(As a matter of interest, a female Polish person is 'polka', in Polish)

Really changes the meaning of a chorus in an old song I heard recently.

"Will she dance the polka"

Leo Maxwell

offensive, no

Just rather childish, and really quite sad.

I don't find "Freetard" offensive, but I do find it irritating, and would rather it was shown the door.

HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

Leo Maxwell

wrong colours

Type in a search box, oh wow.

Maybe it should be a black box with white text, type the first couple of letters and hit tab. Oh wait that's the CLI.--AAARGH!

Let's face it the menu system is the best we have to date. Don't know what options are available? just browse the menus and find out.

You can't do that with any of these rubbish menu replacements, because they are not easily browseable.

The ribbon is a bad marketing exercise, and all these attempts to redefine the GUI paradigm offer a poorer experience.

EU asks why credit cards are so expensive

Leo Maxwell

10 years ago, it didn't

10 years ago, paying by debit card in France cost you the price.

now it costs the price plus a conversion fee from pounds to euro.

which is pants, because it is just an electronic credit transaction, there is no conversion involved.

The banks are just parasites

Murdoch slams White House over SOPA in Twitter row

Leo Maxwell

If we stopped piracy tommorrow, I don't see DVD sales rising

The nonsense that each downloaded file is a lost sale is just so lame.

If you believe the Media industry figures, everyone on the planet would have bought every DVD and CD if they didn't download.

While there is a problem with piracy, it is far far less than the media people would have us believe.

Especially as large chunks of Murdochs IP is already stolen from others.

Bill Gates strangled Microsoft's 'tablet for creatives'

Leo Maxwell
Paris Hilton

Once acain the dinosaur turns in its sleep

Not surprising really, given previous decisions.

Zune, MSN, etc.

The behemoth that MS has become does not turn easily.

MS smartphone share falls despite WinPho 7

Leo Maxwell

No surprises

My company (or rather our remote call clearing software company) has been forced to move to Android due to lack of multitasking and kernel access on Winphony7. So our new company phones will be Android devices.

That is one service company with a few hundred thousand users, worldwide, but I it won't be the only one.

HP uncloaks wristwatch 'aggregation point'

Leo Maxwell

Who wears a watch these days anyway?

I stopped wearing a watch about 3 years ago.

The strap broke, and I was going to get it fixed, but then I realised that there are clocks everywhere, on my phone, my PC, in my car, on the wall in my kitchen, etc. etc.

In fact, I am never without a way of telling the time, and yet I don't wear a watch.

NSPCC blurs lines as vetting debate kicks off

Leo Maxwell

I'm, sure it was in this pocket, I'll find it in a minute.....

This CRB check thing has got ludicrous.

From the London based Paediatric surgeon that could not operate on a sick baby in Birmingham because he needed a separate check for each health authority, to my engineers being asked for proof of one before they are allowed into a school to fix the photocopier in the Staffroom.

One of our staff volunteers at school, for Brownies, etc, and has needed 7 different CRB checks.

The way it was going, nearly everyone in the country would need one or more CRB checks to do anything.

British Airways sorry for 'landing on water' nonsense

Leo Maxwell

Cleaning Bills

Who will cover the dry cleaning bills, the airline or the travel insurers?

Royal Society opens inquiry into why kids hate tech

Leo Maxwell

This is NOT a dig at Microsoft

Honestly teaching kids how to use Windows and Office is a waste of time.

You end up with lots of people who can use a PC to type a letter, but end up reinstalling the OS if something goes wrong, instead of learning how to fix it properly.

That's OK, if you want a lot of point and click support people.

When I went to school, they did have computers, but a disk drive was the size of a washing machine.

Teach them how to get into the bowels of an OS, and let them play with it, which means Linux or BSD etc, as Microsoft OSes are deliberately obscured.

Or teach them how to put a PC together, and understand how the different parts interact (I know that my 13 year old grandson is fascinated by this)

Or teach them how networks operate, (I know I was fascinated by it about 20 years ago)

Only trouble is then you end up with a lot of kids who can hack your PC.

Policing personal calls on business mobiles

Leo Maxwell


Yes, but these are service engineers whose areas are all within the West Midlands.

So justifying a monthly £150 phone bill for calling the office is a little difficult.

Leo Maxwell

There are always one or two who take the p***

We introduced a monthly cap some time ago, where we had a dozen engineers, all doing the same job, but 2 of them had monthly bills into 3 figures, whereas all the others hovered around £20-25.

So we introduced a £30 cap, where we did not charge for personal calls, but exceeding the limit led to the balance being charged back to them.

We average it over 3 months, so exceeding it slightly now and again was not penalised.

It works very well, and the 2 (who insisted that they were only using the phone for business) have dropped their usage, without any apparent impact on their work.

Obviously, this will not work for all companies, but it has for us.

3D TV: Avatar or Ishtar?

Leo Maxwell

Nobody has mentioned...

That about 5% of the population (including my wife) can't even see the 3D effect, due to an eye dysfunction. Many more who have even an extremely mild sight dysfunction will get headaches, etc.

And really, is it all worth it?

The Linux Chronicles, Part 1

Leo Maxwell

trading floors?

Read about MS software being dropped by the Uk stock market because buying a Linux company and writing their own app was actually cheaper by a factor of ten compared to paying MS license fees.The new app is an order of magnitude faster and more reliable.

Leo Maxwell

Not practical in the real world?

Our customer service staff have been using Suse Linux, with various applications, including Evolution and OOo, for 4 or 5 years now.

With NO issues at all, apart from the advent of office 2007 and its new file format, which also caused problems for our Windows users.

Now they use Ubuntu 10.4, and love it.

Leo Maxwell

"meaningless error messages"? WTF?

Linux has no patent on meaningless error messages, Windows is full of them:

"Connection failed, error 243, more data is available"

Or OSX "an error has occurred because: An error has occurred"

The difference is that Linux has a comprehensive logging system that can be used to track that error down and solve it, Windows has the morass of Technet..

Leo Maxwell
Thumb Up

Me too

I have to agree.

My day job is supporting a multiuser, multiOS company network.

Windows2003, 2008, XP,Vista, 7.


Linux, Redhat server, and until recently, Suse desktops.

We are now an Ubuntu 10.4 shop where Linux desktops are concerned, and the Windows users are becoming restless.

At home, Ubuntu, UNR, and Mythbuntu.

At least a dozen installs on very different hardware combinations, and no problems.

Evolution even works well with our Exchange server.

News gatherers urge court to protect 'hot news' doctrine

Leo Maxwell

sauce for the goose....

And maybe it should apply to all blogs and twitters as well....oh, hang on, that would hurt News International, CNN, ABC and all the other "freeloading" news sitesand TV channels.

Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx stalks PC and Mac converts

Leo Maxwell
Thumb Up

It is a good release

The new Ubuntu is excellent from what I've seen, been testing for a couple of weeks now.

The desktop is easier to configure than Win7 (which I am testing side by side).

A lot of stuff is easier to do compared to windows,

I support multiple MFDs on Networks, and the network printer install goes like this:

Open printer dialogue

click Search

choose printer

wait while the driver is downloaded and installed,

tick any extra accessories


No adding TCP/IP ports or any other faffing around, and no need for a driver disk.

Oh, and by the way I don't play games, I hate the Office ribbon, and I use linux on all my home PCs

Lucid Lynx fights 'major' X-Server memory leak

Leo Maxwell

not really

It was a bug in 3 patches, not the RC, and the patches were actually rolled back to cure it before the article was published.

Leo Maxwell


Parches were rolled back in yesterdays updates.

Plus it doesn't affect those using proprietary drivers anyway.

Atom runs Android, Google plans tablet

Leo Maxwell

Not as distressing as a console we know

Actually, if Steve Jobs sues about the use of "Pad", it could just become the "We". Oh, hang on a minute.........

Leo Maxwell

End of the month, perhaps?

The WePad :)


Murdoch tells old media to 'stand up' to Google, Bing

Leo Maxwell

Of course, it's HIS news

Despite the amount of news that is sourced from twitter et al, not to mention blogs and even facebook.

Read it on their site 2 or 3 days after everyone else has reported it and moved on.....

Trojan armed with hardware-based anti-piracy control

Leo Maxwell
Jobs Horns

One more reason to dump windows then:)

Of course, Macs and Linux are pretty much safe from this C**P, (maybe not for ever, but for now)

Which? warns on pirate letters

Leo Maxwell


An IP address is not proof, it can be spoofed, it can change, logs can be incorrect, times can be set incorrectly.

For the "devils advocate", the German courts have already stopped accepting their demands because the data was dodgy in various ways, e.g. wrong time on their server, not allowing for international time zones, etc

Leo Maxwell

Attempted extortion

These letters have no valid basis in law, in fact they are demanding money with menaces.

They are worded as a threat of court action unless the recipient pays a fairly substantial sum. and they offer little proof.

File with ambulance chasers and car clampers

Apple's Tablet won't save Big Dumb Media

Leo Maxwell

Pound a day?

Is that how much newspapers cost these days?

The last time I looked at one it was given to me free on a channel ferry.

After I had discarded the advertising, the copy that was actually lifestyle advertising posing as reporting, the braying little Britain opinion. and the sport section (also mainly advertising for the corporate sponsor) I was left with 3 small articles of moderate interest from half a pound of Sunday pulp.

Remove the cost of distribution and physical production, markup for the newsagent and distributor, and how much is left from the pound?

I haven't read them for years,and please note, nor do any but a small minority of the population.

More people illegally download music than read the newspapers (if you believe the newspapers, that is).

Brits left cold by mobile internet

Leo Maxwell

hardly surprising

Our company has around a dozen HTC devices, they are used by our engineers for an FTP link to our service database.

Out of those, only 2 ever tried mobile internet for more than a day or two, even their traffic virtually disappeared after a month.

But then, these are WM devices, and the WM interface is seriously pants.

We just upgraded to the touch pro 2, and the best part of that is the HTC GUI.

We also have had several Windows smartphones that were likewise never used for the Internet, and were heartily disliked by the staff that had them.

The mobile internet experience is pretty poor in general, it is bad enough trying to view websites with a netbook, having to scroll down on every page in order to see more than the advertising.

Sony plots death of Amazon Kindle

Leo Maxwell

It is all academic

Until they start selling unDRMed ebooks for less than paperback prices anyway.

I can buy a hardback (why would I want to unless it was the only version available), or 4 months later the paperback for a lower price (see above)

Or an ebook for a price usually between the two.


I only ever read a book once, in any format. I get hardbacks of the latest release of my favourite authors as gifts. I would rather read them as ebooks, but they cost more than the hard copy, and I can't resell or lend them!

Ebooks will take off when the hard copy finally dies (which is probably closer then most people think)

What is the point of shelves full of transient art.

Mozilla to open - gasp! - Firefox add-on store

Leo Maxwell

I have already paid for add-ons

I have happily donated using paypal, to FireFTP,

An excellent add-on, even if I only use it rarely. (although it is one of the few that I use)

The fact that the donations going to charity was just a bonus,

Open source doesn't mean that people should starve while producing software that everyone enjoys.

I have also contributed to other projects. I don't think that I could live with myself if I didn't.

Not all contributions have to be in cash, support, documentation, bug reports, and helping out on forums are all contributions to the common Weald.

Bing dies (briefly) after Microsoft hits wrong button

Leo Maxwell

this is the reason that the cloud will fail

The more that you put in the hands of others, the more the chance that you will lose everything.

One small mistake can bring everything down.

Universal to bond Blu-ray Discs to DVDs

Leo Maxwell

Waste of time really

Would I buy it?


I don't buy DVDs any more either, I rent them online.

But then I don't want my Living room taken over by a ridiculously large electronic screen, I hardly ever watch a film twice, and Blu-ray is just an expensive white elephant.

I am more interested in the story than the props and the set.

By the time that the price drops to DVD level, the download market will have outstripped it.

The CD and the DVD will last for a long time, but the BR disk is too big and too expensive to be useful as a data format, a pendrive is quicker to write to and more convenient, and the way things are going, it will soon be cheaper too.

For those who want to watch the same story over and over again, it might be a good investment, but I doubt it.

eBooks: What to read on which reader

Leo Maxwell

Its the message stupid

Thing is I like ebooks.

I have an iRex iLiad, which is excellent for machine manuals and properly formatted PDFs.

Then I look online, and I can buy an ebook for a dollar more than the paperback.

Sorry, but WTF?

Even without DRM, the ebook should be cheaper.

Why would I want a book that I cannot resell once read, at a higher price than the hard copy?

When I was (very)young, I used to read books 2 or 3 times, I used to watch Videos 2 or 3 times.

Not any more- I don't have time or inclination to revisit ephemeral media (especially as most of the plotlines are the same).

Once I have read, listened to or watched it, then it is history.

Wake up media city, or move into history.

kindles and similar DRM locked devices have a limited future

Early adopters bloodied by Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

Leo Maxwell

still no issues!

Installed it on several systems now, 32 bit, 64 bit, Acer aspire one SSD (UNR).

No problems at all!

In fact on the work system , it scanned the network and offered up a list of all network attached printers for install.

What driver problems?

Apart from a lot of cheap and nasty stuff, and just released hardware, most things work OOTB.

Most major Manufacturers are now offering Linux support ( HP, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, KonicaMinolta,Toshiba, etc,etc.)

In fact a lot of stuff that is no longer supported b y windows still works with Linux!

Leo Maxwell
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all fine here

Biggest complaint is that it is not easy to find the 64bit desktop variant on the website.

Installed it on my test rig -AM2 4200, no problems whatever.

Electronic ink: The whole story in black and white

Leo Maxwell
Thumb Up

It is surprising how people adapt

I use an iLiad, for technical manuals (PDF)

and ebooks.

As close as you get to the real book without paper.

For both, it is far superior to a Laptop, and it will only get cheaper and more versatile, and I can get my books almost instantly, and carry hundreds in a small pouch..

I am not a fan of dead tree ware.

Read Cory Doctorow's "content"

Microsoft harries XP-loving biz customers on to Windows 7

Leo Maxwell

Win7? sometime in 2010, I guess.

AC wrote: "Any admin worth his salt started testing Windows 7 6 months ago and will therefore be ready to roll out any time now"

Considering that many business applications will probably start supporting windows7 properly in 2010 at the earliest, that is a load of poop.

Any Sysadmin who is prepared to run his network on Beta software is worth something far less valuable than salt...

There are common business apps that have only recently started working on Vista, and some that still do not support it.

I can think of at least 3 large software companies that do not even have a 7 beta version in place, so how can you test it?

OK if all you use is Office 2007, (and have nice shiny new machines, unless you love the new circling timer that replaces the hourglass).

All 2008 and 7 mean to most SMEs is more unnecessary cost.