* Posts by Ian Ferguson

1368 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Sep 2006


Story gone

Ian Ferguson

Boring answer

Competitions have token easy questions so

a) they get round gambling laws (= a game of skill, not chance, which would be naughty)

b) more people enter (= more lovely customer data)

c) we read the review (= better awareness of product)

Apple Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion review

Ian Ferguson

I don't see anything compelling, even for fourteen pounds. I think I'll give this upgrade a miss, as my iMac is noticeably slower with every upgrade.

If only Apple built in some efficiency savings to their OSX and iOS upgrades for older hardware, and made the newer features optional, rather than building them as showcases for their latest shinies.

CO2 warms Earth FASTER than previously thought

Ian Ferguson

I see that the Reg is suspiciously quiet about NASA's news on Greenland today.

LG, Samsung, Sony: Smutty Smart TV apps turn us off

Ian Ferguson


I've got a million ways to get porn. I'm more annoyed by the lack of 4oD on my LG smart TV.

Slash for cash: boozers' bladders primed for Olympic pee game

Ian Ferguson


Please could we have a game that encourages male pub patrons to aim steadily and accurately? The pub loos around here make me ashamed of my sex.

Oatmealer rubs Operation Bear Love cash in troll's face

Ian Ferguson

I hope he's either very honest, or has a lawyer auditing his fundraising. That's an awful lot of money given to a man who withdraws it in cash and SAYS he's going to donate it to charity.

In the red corner: TV star and prof in Beijing blogger brawl

Ian Ferguson

I don't see this ending happily for Wu, despite her (from our point of view) occupying the moral high ground. (except, maybe, from the punching somebody in the head point of view)

I hope this retains enough publicity to ensure she is treated fairly.

I like the sound of the Chinese Fiddy Cent club.

Microsoft sets October date for Windows 8 release

Ian Ferguson

is it shit or is it good? is it shit or is it good?

Major consumer releases:

Windows 3.1 = good

Windows 95 = shit

Windows 98 = good

Windows Me = shit

Windows XP = good

Windows Vista = shit

Windows 7 = good

Windows 8 = ...

I think I'll follow the pattern and wait for Windows 9.

Olympus MEG4.0 smart glasses will photoshop the REAL WORLD

Ian Ferguson

They Live!

My dad found the Higgs boson! Reminiscences of a CERN kid

Ian Ferguson

Ask your dad

Why he still pursues his so-called 'science' when he has PROVED that God exists by finding the God Particle!

Not so mouthy now, are you Atheists!

(or buy him a pint from me. Either way is good)

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Haggis pakora v huevos rancheros

Ian Ferguson

Chinese pub grub

The true kings of dubious-food-with-booze have got to be the Chinese. Some of the snacks I have had there were truly disturbing, and definitely only worth trying with a liberal serving of (cheap nasty) beer.

May I suggest:

Fried chicken feet (popular snack. Fry with chilli and spices; suck skin and meat off bones)

Stinky tofu (deep fried mature mouldy tofu. The Chinese equivalent of blue cheese. You can easily smell a stinky tofu stand a couple of streets away, and will almost certainly gag from just the smell the first time you experience it. The smell was described by my lovely better half as 'like old period')

Then of course there's many varieties of mystery meat onna stick, but those can only really be experienced from a dodgy unlicensed food stand.

Door creaks and girl farts: computing in the real world

Ian Ferguson
Thumb Up

Brilliant article

I can empathise completely, especially with the infra-red.

In 1999, I could use my Handspring Visor's infra-red port to instantly control my TV and stereo from one screen.

In 2012, my LG TV has an iPhone app for controlling it over WiFi. Lovely, except that every time I want to use it I have to connect to WiFi, launch the app, wait for it to find compatible devices on the network, then select the TV, all before I can push the 'volume up' button. And no chance of using it to control the stereo.

Kepler space telescope peers at hot alien couple

Ian Ferguson

Re: How do they do that?

I'm no scientist but I believe they look at how the radiation spectrum differs when the planet is in front of the star.

It's pretty much the only way to tell that a planet even exists - we don't know much if anything about planets that don't happen to orbit between their star and us.

Chick-lit naughty girl MP Mensch starts own web-jabber service

Ian Ferguson
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Not sure if I'd trust a political discussion site run by a hardcore conservative to be unbiased.

I'd suggest using the BBC forums instead, but in an overenthusiastic attempt to be completely unbiased, they tend to censor any political discussion completely.

Microsoft takes on tablets with keyboard-equipped Surface

Ian Ferguson



'Zombie bullets' fly off US shelves after wave of undead attacks

Ian Ferguson

Re: A-Max

Why would you want hollowpoints for target shooting?

Ian Ferguson


Look at their website - especially the promo video and accompanying blurb - and you'll notice that they carefully avoid mention of zombified people. Instead they show CGI zombie creatures of some kind and talk about 'Zombie Varmints'.

There's a minor possibility that it's for some minor legal reason, but I think it's because these bullets are of NO USE in a real zombie outbreak, and they're covering themselves. Back to the drawing board.

The current zombie-fighting instrument of choice appears to be the crossbow. Silent (to avoid attracting further zombies), deadly accurate and recoverable (ideal for a low-ammo situation). See Dead Rising for reference.

How to get a job in Australia

Ian Ferguson


Good article, bookmarked for reference.

I'd be interested in similar articles about working in New Zealand, the USA, Hong Kong, etc.

I was recently offered a job in the USA and only then found out that I wasn't eligible for a visa, even with a sponsoring company, as my further education wasn't quite sufficient. Oops.

White AMERICANS will have become MEKON brain-men by 3000AD

Ian Ferguson

Unlikely to be evolution

Isn't this more likely to be due to improved diet than evolution?

Up until the last century, greater intelligence would have given an evolutionary advantage; and this may still be the case in undeveloped countries. But I would argue that in the developed West, including America, intelligence is no longer a trait that leads to successful breeding.

Trekkie wants to build USS Enterprise … in twenty years

Ian Ferguson

Slight gravity mishap

Rotating gravity wheel (at equivalent of 1g?) plus 1g of acceleration across the plane of that wheel would cause a slightly bumpy ride.

New Brit nano-satellite to use Xbox Kinect for docking in space

Ian Ferguson
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Great idea

Outer space is pretty much the only place with enough room for Kinect to work properly.

Top Facebook exec begs students: 'Click on an ad or two'

Ian Ferguson

Wow, really?

I wonder how her customers have taken that statement.

Her customers are, of course, the advertising companies. Facebook users are merely assets.

'Dated and cheesy' Aero ripped from Windows 8

Ian Ferguson

Windows 9...

...will style a modern 'retro giant pixel' look. Curves and anti-aliasing are so last year.

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Mealy pudding v migas

Ian Ferguson
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Re: Wot! No beanz?

Beans might be a good contender for a future Special Projects Bureau breakfast-off?

I have endless arguments with my American girlfriend about the merits of good old English baked beans versus the whole host of different Mexican beans.

One thing we can agree on - beans themselves are much too bloody healthy and should be accompanied by as much unhealthy assorted fatty meats as possible to counteract this travesty.

English - baked beans, preferably Heinz, presented with bacon/egg/black pudding/etc.

Mexican - breakfast tortilla with plenty of assorted beans. I'd have to consult my girlfriend on the proper types of beans to use in this case as apparently we just don't have the taste or linguistics here to describe the full range of varieties.

Also possibly the American breakfast of chicken fried steak and hash; and I'm sure your Spanish friends have strong ideas on beans as well.

Britain has 10 million twits, tweets Twitter

Ian Ferguson

Also remember:

Facebook - one account per person

Google+ - one account per person

Twitter - Often multiple accounts per person.

Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

Ian Ferguson

I'd support such complaints, but why aren't there similar complaints about browsers on the iPad?

Wolfenstein 3D shoots onto web

Ian Ferguson

At least it's easier to play than the iOS version. Strafing, turning and shooting at the same time is kind of tricky with a touchscreen.

Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

Ian Ferguson

This year's fashion!

1. Grey is in

2. Grey on grey is HOT


Let’s send 3D printers TO THE MOON

Ian Ferguson

Re: Cold water alert

A big useless rock... stuffed with Helium-3.

Not to mention that it's a hell of a lot more convenient than Mars. Not all science has to have an end result in mind - most of it is research and development. The original moon landings had no particular end purpose (well, apart from political) but look at the resulting explosion in technology and computing.

Ian Ferguson

Re: The most obvious and required project-

The concept of the B Ark is amusing enough until you realise that's exactly what Pol Pot did.

Ian Ferguson


Space is not 'cold'

A lack of atmosphere makes temperature redundant.

It also makes disposing of excess heat somewhat problematic, except through radiation.

Head over Heels

Ian Ferguson


Seeing as the 'Buy from Amazon' link at the bottom of this article helpfully suggests the riveting books 'All About Joints: A Maintenance Guide' and 'The Science of Beauty Therapy', may I suggest this rather more helpful link to the free download of the remake, available for Windows, OSX, BeOS and Linux:


The Pirate Bay cries foul over Pirate Bay copycats

Ian Ferguson

Try reading your sources before hurrying out a story

The Pirate Bay dislike these sites for charging users for access, not for 'copying' TPB's material.

In fact they actively encourage proxies.

Neither of the quoted articles mention 'trademark' once.

I'm sorry that the facts aren't bending to the convenience of your article, Andrew.

Facebook button triggers tidal wave of human organs

Ian Ferguson

I bet all of them ticked the consent box without reading the full terms and conditions.

*sharpens knives*

Bank dumps customers in 'irrigation ditch'

Ian Ferguson

Rather than picking on their English, you could always conduct domestic Spanish business in, you know, Spanish. Being in Spain and all.

Microsoft tears the wraps off Windows 8 Enterprise

Ian Ferguson

Three versions, eh

So there's three versions of Windows 8 in the same way that Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a trilogy?

Paying by connection speed?

Ian Ferguson

I signed up for 20Mbps from WightCable (the Isle of Wight's version of Virgin cable). Did a speed test at a variety of times and only got 7Mbps (due to BT's archaic cabling - other customers get better). WightCable let me move to the 8Mbps package without quibble. Proportions were similar with the upstream rates. So now at least I'm paying for what I'm getting.

To be fair to the ISPs, I'm not sure how they could advertise their services without the 'up to' caveat, as they generally don't provide the physical last mile infrastructure. They don't know what speed you'll get until you try.

BYOD sync 'n share

Ian Ferguson

Re: The classic line is:

Maybe, but they still should be careful not to put pictures of their face and somebody else's balls in the same frame on Dropbox.

Ian Ferguson
Paris Hilton

Re: An OS feature?

Not sure what your question is there. Dropbox already syncs between my Windows PC and iOS iPad. The cloud space is platform independent; the client syncs to local space on the device.

Ian Ferguson
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Good enough for private, not sure about business, but it's inevitable

Dropbox is good enough for me. It syncs files between my work PC, home Mac, work iPad, home iPhone, girlfriend's Windows laptop, etc. Does so very efficiently, quickly and without any fuss. In fact I prefer the experience on the iPad way more than using any of Apple's own file syncing features. I can't figure out exactly what iCloud is meant to do either.

A lot of our staff use it for work. I've given it a dubious OK, as long as they don't use their accounts for ANY customer data; make sure their accounts are registered with work email addresses, not home; and make sure the computers they access them comply with our security specifications.

I know Dropbox may be far from perfect but I prefer it to the alternatives:

- USB keys, which have a common habit of walking off

- Emailing documents to their private accounts

- Printing absolutely everything off

- Me being ultra paranoid and banning access to any data outside the network, which will just make it harder for people to do their jobs

Laptop computers are crap

Ian Ferguson

Re: I had a marvellous on-line argument the other week

I have road-tested a netbook and a tablet over the past year, mainly because of those arguments. Turns out I carry the tablet with me all the time, and use it multiple times a day, whereas the netbook is languishing under my sofa.

All the arguments become moot when held up against usability.

Ian Ferguson

I presume you have to employ a team of strong young boys to carry this unnamed wonder around on their shoulders?

Ten... Kitchen Gadget Treats

Ian Ferguson

Ice Cream Maker

I think this list is missing an ice cream maker - mine gets regular use. Unlike most of the items here (soup maker etc) its functions cannot be replicated with other kitchen implements.

Homemade ice cream is a revelation - a million times better than supermarket crap and a lot cheaper to make than premium brands.

The Cuisinart ICE30 a pretty good one. No need for the fancy ones with built in chillers, unless you're a chef - two litres of ice cream a day (with a good 12 hours to freeze the bowl again) is going to be enough for any home kitchen.


I've heard good things about the Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book, too.

Ian Ferguson
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Great top ten article

This is relevant to my interests.

However, I have had a Imperia pasta maker for over a decade and have used it a sum total of... once. Most of the other items would get more everyday use from me, as they reduce the amount of work, not increase it. (Comparing homemade pasta to dried, at least - I was disappointed by my sole experiment and went back to quality dried pasta)

Dream:ON iPhone app-maker seeks sleepy fanbois for testing

Ian Ferguson
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Ian Ferguson has tagged Angelina Jolie in 34 Dream:ON™ dreams.

I'm pretty sure this has advertising potential, too. How much does the developer want to insert subtle whisperings about lovely refreshing Diet Coke?

Xbox 360 credit card slurp alert under fire

Ian Ferguson

Wipe it?

"Podhradsky advises privacy-conscious gamers to remove the hard drive from an XBox and wipe it using a data-scrubbing program before giving away or sell their old console."

Well, that shows how my Podhradsky knows about the XBox. Even if you remove the HDD and plug it into a PC, you won't be able to scrub the data and keep it working, as the format is deliberately different to any PC file format. I guess you could wipe a magnet over it, but then your XBox wouldn't work any more. There's no easy way of formatting an unformatted disk in the XBox format; or at least, no easy way for regular consumers.

iPad app that lets mute kids speak menaced by patent lawsuit

Ian Ferguson

I used to work in the assisted technology field

The lack of innovation was mindboggling. The same outdated software and hardware solutions were being sold a decade after their invention.

The main reason for this was lack of sales to fund R&D. Assisted Technology has a tiny target market, and one solution may be all a customer requires in their entire lifetime. Prices for most solutions matched; despite their obvious datedness.

This has resulted in several stifling patents; generally you'll find exactly one highly priced product per solution, and aggressive defence of their niche market.

Yes, Prime Minister to return after 24 years

Ian Ferguson

"The modern mandarin is no longer a patrician High Tory; he's probably a Guardian-reading, carbon-offsetting Coldplay fan - with a risqué Tinie Tempah playlist for dinner parties."

Only Andrew Orlowski can complain that our government leans too far left.


Ian Ferguson

Is it compatible with Apple's iMessage system? The benefit of the current standard Messages app is that if the recipient also has an iOS device, it's sent over the data network, not as an SMS.

New Google tool lets you PROBE YOURSELF

Ian Ferguson
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Paranoid suspicion aside, this sounds like a Good Thing to me. Greater transparency and compliance with the Data Protection Act (whereby a consumer can request a copy of all personal data held on them by a company) is good.