* Posts by RDW

42 posts • joined 20 Mar 2009

Meet ELIoT – the EU project that wants to commercialize Internet-over-lightbulb


"It could also be more secure: no chance of hackers infiltrating the network, if they need to be in the room to access it."

Apparently hackers will still be able to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows...

Upgrade refuseniks, beware: Adobe snips away legacy versions of its Creative Cloud apps


Re: Dear CS6 user, you ungrateful person....

I wonder how long they'll keep the activation servers running? You can't install without them. They did at least have the good grace to release generic keys that didn't need activation when they switched off the CS2 servers, but does the CS6 licence small print actually require them to support activations for ever?

Brits' DNA data sent to military base after 'foreign' hack attacks – report


Re: "100,000 Genomes Project is secure, insists chair"...

"The data may be 'safe' in a bunker, but it's only going to be useful in the hands of researchers. And they will be in universities and big pharma research labs all round the world. Granted, many will only have a subset of the whole, but they certainly won't be in bunkers. I wonder what kind of security conditions will be imposed, and how well those conditions will be policed?"


GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Black Helicopters

Direct (Current) approach

In other news, CIA interrogators are pushing for the use of 'actual crocodile clips' on the nipples of suspected terrorists.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


"Because she discovered DNA and was basically screwed over by the scientific establishment when it then gave credit to two men - James Watson and Francis Crick – who basically confirmed her findings."

DNA was first isolated by Friedrich Miescher in around 1869, and by the beginning of the 20th century Albrecht Kossel, who got a Nobel for his trouble, had characterised the nucleotides that are the key components of DNA and RNA. Franklin's work was of course crucial for the discovery of the _structure_ of DNA, but she did not arrive at Watson's critical insight (informed by Erwin Chargaff's work on nucleotide ratios in DNA, discussions with colleague Jerry Donohue, and published work by June Broomhead and others) - that Adenine pairs specifically with Thymine, while Guanine pairs with Cytosine, on the inside of the double helix. Franklin should receive full recognition for the importance of her work without over-simplifying or distorting the events that led to the DNA structure. It's tragic that she was not honoured for it in her lifetime, as she may have been in one of the 1962 Nobels if she had lived.

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings


"Opening a file written on macOS, Mac OS, Linux, or Unix-flavored computers in Windows Notepad therefore looked like a long wall of text with no separation between paragraphs and lines."

Which was quite a useful warning to naive users that there was something different about that file they downloaded that is mysteriously breaking their other application. Now it will be 'There's nothing wrong with the text file, it looks fine in Notepad!'. Experienced users who know about things like line endings will, of course, have ditched Notepad a long time ago.

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return


Re: Nokia 6 - does it work ok?

"I have a Nokia 6 too, but sometimes the screen and fingerprint sensor just don't respond properly. It's driving me crazy."

A couple of times I've noticed a lack of response at the top of the screen, but it has worked perfectly after a reboot, so I assumed a transient software issue rather than a hardware problem.

I find the fingerprint sensor works best if (a) I make sure the narrow sensor learns a broad area of my fingerprint when calibrating by pressing different parts of my finger to it, and (b) I press it firmly and keep pressing until the screen visibly unlocks (which is just after the haptic vibration) - it needs a firmer and longer touch than the main screen.

So, Nokia. What makes you think the world wants your phones?


Re: Realism

TechnicianJack is basically me - also just got a Nokia 6 to replace a Nexus 4. No nonsense near-stock Android, nice big screen, solid build, SD slot, FM tuner, has the magnetometer the Moto G5 leaves out, and is readily available. Gamers would go for something different, but for me it ticks all the boxes for the price.

His Muskiness wheels out the Tesla Model 3


'Tesla hiked its prices for Brits by 5 per cent at the end of last year, blaming "currency fluctuations"'

Not an entirely unreasonable explanation given what the Brexit vote did to the GBP/USD exchange rate last year. Lots of other prices on imported goods have gone up by much more than this.

'Leaky' LG returns to sanity for 2017 flagship


This may be stating the obvious, but the 18:9 / 2:1 thing might be an attempt to make large screen phones that, for a given area, are still comfortable to hold with one hand. Shrinking the bezel will only take you so far. The downside is pillarboxed 16:9 video, and perhaps an over-stretched thumb!

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'


Re: overhaul?

The Night is Dark and Full of Lawyers.

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

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Re: And yet...

Badger Vacuum is now the name of my new band.

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers


"Since they only studied published papers and (by the sound of it) did not also study the papers as-submitted to publishers or at any even earlier stage of drafting, I'd say they haven't a clue when the errors are creeping in or which piece of software is responsible."

They actually looked at supplementary data files, which were already in Excel format, rather than the main text of the papers. Typically, these files would be uploaded by the journal in the format provided by the authors, unedited. Since exactly this form of data corruption is a well-known 'feature' of Excel (there are previous published studies about Excel and gene names, which even located corrupted 'Excel genes' in one of the major NCBI databases), it's very likely its use is being correctly blamed for the problem. It's easy to see how this happens. Some upstream software spits out data with a gene symbol 'column' in CSV format. A naive user simply double-clicks the file, which will typically be registered to Excel, rather than using the import function and specifying data types for columns. Everything seems to have worked correctly, but in fact Excel has silently corrupted gene symbols that look like dates, with the first affected cell perhaps hundreds or thousands of rows down from the top. We've seen this problem in the lab, and warn new students about it.

Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies


Leave Campaign website - age rating 40+

Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button


Orlowski button

Can we have an anonymous button in the Comments section that emails the author of the article to let them know them when they've (a) made a story that's mostly about smoking into one about vaping or (b) Godwined the discussion with a gratuitous Nazi reference?

Discworld fans stake claim to element 117


Alexander Borodin is most famous today as a composer (you will recognise the tune of his Polovtsian Dances from 'Prince Igor'), but at his day job he was a world-class research chemist - he co-discovered the Aldol Addition, which features in every organic chemistry textbook. I can't think of anyone else who has significantly added to 'the canon' of both science and music, though there are plenty of scientists who are also skilled musicians, and professional musicians with a science or maths background.

The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016


Re: Page and Worstall "moved on" in the Autumn, right?

I read the second question on the alexa report as 'How enraged are visitors to theregister.co.uk?'


Now that Lewis Page isn't listed as the Editor, does that mean he will no longer be able to use the Reg as his personal climate change denial blog? Just curious.

UK research network Janet under ongoing and persistent DDoS attack


Re: Guilty


Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone


The imitation game

Well of course they don't want to support Thunderbird. Chrome doesn't have a separate email client, does it?

Doctor Who's good/bad duality, war futility tale in The Zygon Inversion fails to fizz


Re: We got our Osgood answer, though

I think she's geekier than you - she's heard 'a couple of different versions', which sounds like a joke about whether the 'D' is for 'Dimension' or 'Dimensions' (both have been used in the series, which some people stay up all night worrying about).

Best episode for a while, with the speech that everyone will probably remember Capaldi's Doctor for. Nice exchange at the end, too ("I'll be the judge of time").

Photoshop for 40 quid: Affinity Photo pushes pixels further than most


It looks like there may well be a Windows version, perhaps next year - several comments from staff accounts on the Serif blog suggest this could happen once development of the Mac version is complete:


Frankly, they'd be silly to ignore the Windows market. Adobe's switch to the rental model has created a 'buy once' niche that's ripe for exploitation. At work, we used to buy 'Creative Suite Design Standard' (PS, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, etc.) which had everything we needed. To get all these packages now, we'd need a complete Creative Cloud subscription. We qualify for academic pricing, but the cost of a single year of CC is about the same as we used to pay for a perpetual CS Design Standard licence. Since this software isn't central to what we do, and we still have current machines with CS6, we haven't subscribed to CC. In future, I suspect we'll either manage with GIMP and Inkscape, or buy Corel Suite. But Affinity for Windows might well be exactly what we're looking for.

Roll up, roll up, for the Meta35: The hybrid snapper's data dumpster


Re: A very strange product

"However more seriously if they've gone to the bother of designing interfaces for various 35mm cameras, then (with all respect for LF users) why on earth not for the Medium Format users of 120-rollfilm cameras such as the Mamiya RZ-67 or the Mamiya 645 Pro?"

I don't know about those specific Mamiyas, but this will only work with cameras that already have the ability to store shooting data electronically. Back in the day, the camera manufacturers (and some third party companies) sold their own interfaces and software to retrieve it. This is just a modern alternative to the original cables and software, which today may be hard to find/expensive/tricky to get running on current OSs.


Re: A very strange product

"And surely at least part of the point of using film is exactly not having to use horrid plastic 90s cameras."

Agree about the size of the niche, but not about the quality of the cameras. The F90 and the Dynax 7 are a bit plasticky, but the the EOS-1v, F100, F5, F6 and Dynax 9 are very solid and beautifully constructed cameras, made mostly from lightweight alloys for professional or semi-professional use. If you want an autofocus film SLR at all, you probably want one of these.

Four tuner frenzy: The all-you-can-EEat TV Freeview PVR

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No 4od / ITVplayer is a bit of a dealbreaker. Even a £10 Now TV box has the full set of UK catchup services...

A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally


Re: No real market

The only problem I see with this is that the black box will cost slightly more than the usual contents of my checked luggage...

Surface 2 and iPad Air: Prepare to meet YOUR DOOM under a 'Landfill Android' AVALANCHE


No matter how many times you use the phrase 'Landfill Android', it's never going to catch on.

Space truck Cygnus left idling outside ISS after data format snafu borks docking


>In that case the ISS is still trying to locate a driver for the new device in the port.

Yes, cygwin1.dll is almost certainly missing.

Web ad giant (Google) pops Adwords into Maps for iOS and Android


Re: Ads? Solution: Don't Update.

>The latest update was a pretty major one though with a totally new system and interface.

There are major changes, but most of them downgrades. 'My maps' are gone, offline caching has been crippled, local search and navigation are degraded, the large text and measurement options are gone, and (at least in the UK) the colour scheme has changed for the worse (e.g. B-roads are no longer a different colour to unclassified roads):


The road colouring problem affects the old and new desktop versions of Google Maps too, but the old Android version (6.x) still works as before. Any 'improvements' to the Android app seem to be trivial (slightly prettier appearance, etc.), or designed to please the advertisers. I've switched off automatic updates to keep the old version, which is still fully functional (though Latitude is about to be killed off). Maps 7.x is by far the worst 'update' I've seen for any Google app.

How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95


Microsoft faked the moon landings!

Did Gnome, KDE, Xfce and everyone else originally copy Windows 95? Yes, of course they did. This is blindingly obvious and hardly worth writing an article about. Do we need to invent a silly conspiracy theory to explain the current 'fragmentation' of the Linux desktop? Not so much. Like most conspiracy theories, this one falls apart on close (or even cursory) examination:

- What did Microsoft claim when they made their dubious statment about 235 patents? From a random CNN article:


"But he does break down the total number allegedly violated - 235 - into categories. He says that the Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68. "

So even if you throw away all Windows-style GUI elements completely, if MS is to be believed (hah!) that still leaves 170 patents they can supposedly sue your favourite Linux distribution over (and MS would presumably claim that even Unity infringes some of their 65 GUI patents, so you're probably still dealing with a couple of hundred). Redesigning the GUI doesn't make you substantially less 'liable' (if you actually buy into the MS FUD).

- If a Linux distribution switches to a new primary desktop, does that actually mean it's no longer 'infringing' the supposed GUI patents? Not really. 'Classic' modes that look suspiciously like Windows 95 are still available as lawyer bait, as are alternative 'traditional' desktops like Xfce in the distro's repository. The legal threat, if there is one, is no less than before. Incidentally, Redhat, which never signed a patent deal with MS, chose Gnome 2 as the default RHEL 6 desktop in 2010, 3 years after MS's posturing about the patents, and is still using it today, which ought to tell you something about exactly how seriously RH took the threats.

- Is there a more plausible explanation for the recent proliferation of DEs? Yes. Gnome developers got bored with the Win95 style GUI, thought they could do better, and were arrogant enough to ignore the wishes of a large proportion of their users by (partially) ditching the old interface. Canonical got upset by this, and re-purposed a netbook GUI as their primary desktop in a bid to differentiate Ubuntu from everyone else and make an interface that was equally irritating on a wide range of devices. All the other projects mentioned (MATE, Cinnamon, etc.) are simply attempts to restore sanity by returning to the Win95/Gnome 2 'metaphor' by one means or another. If Gnome had not deprecated the traditional GUI, nobody would have bothered forking or emulating Gnome 2. There's nothing about Unity and Gnome 3 that can't be explained by hubris, obsessing over tablets, and more or less misguided attempts to re-invent the wheel. MS itself has recently caught the same disease, but there seems little risk of anyone copying Windows 8. When someone (like Gnome!) pulls a stunt like this in the FLOSS world, the natural instinct is to fork or write something new, which is exactly what we've seen with MATE and the various attempts to tame Gnome 3 with alternate shells or addons. Projects then proliferate until natural selection kills the less viable alternatives off.

Software patents and threats of legal action have a lot to answer for, but fragmentation of Linux desktops? Yeah, maybe it was a 'controlled demolition', as the 911 conspiracy nuts say.

Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know


Re: First Website Ever?

"wonder how long it took before porn made it to the web"

If you count usenet URLs, it was only 5 clicks away right at the beginning:

First website->What's out there->by Type->Network News->alt->alt.sex.pictures

Logitech launches MEGA-PRICEY 15-in-1 remote



I struggled with an old One4All remote that had the same sort of problem that Scott mentions - needed to use learning mode, but not enough memory. Then I discovered an equally cheap Sony learning remote with enough capacity to deal with anything I threw at it. Mine is the old RM-VL600T model, and it looks like the RM-VLZ620T is a more recent equivalent. No screen, just buttons, but the batteries last a year or two, and they can be had for under £30 (make sure you get the 'T' version for full UK compatibility).

Enormo-display Apple iPhone prototype surfaces


Re: Could've filed for patents...

"Could've filed for patents.... on rectangles with chamfered corners and square corners judging by the Ars gallery."

Judging by this one:


Battlestar Galactica had prior art!

Crucial question after asteroid near-miss: How big was rock in Olympic pools?


Never mind the rock that didn't hit us. What I want to know is the size of the debris field of the Russian impact, relative to an Area the Size of Wales.

School caretaker harassed after Islamists hack EDL


Sinister organisation

Well, you might think the threat from these guys is overstated, but they've been using some pretty aggressive tactics lately:


Most smartphoners don't give a flip about apps



'Most smartphoners don't give a flip about apps'

You might get that impression if you just glance at the original article, and don't realise that it covers all kinds of phones, not just smartphones. Or you might give tha impression if you want to spin it a particular way. But if you read the survey report it says the exact opposite:

'For smartphone users, it would be reasonable to expect that the app stores would be more important in the purchase decision than preloaded applications. And, indeed, about 80 percent of the smartphone users said that the applications in the app store were a purchase factor. However, more than two thirds said the pre-installed apps also contributed to the purchase decision.'

So smartphone users like apps, downloaded or pre-installed.

Apple picks death not compliance for open source iPhone game

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Fair enough

'...why did they even bother submitting it, if they expected it to fail?'

'They' (the FSF) did not submit it. GNU GO was released over 20 years ago and runs on all common operating systems (most of which do not impose the sort of peculiar restrictions that Apple deems necessary for the iPhone). GNU GO is not only GPL software but also an official part of the GNU system (meaning that the FSF holds the copyright):


The iPhone port was written around the GNU Go engine by a third party, Robota Sotfwarehouse, and was released in 2008:


Robota is of course entitled to take the FSF's GPL'd code and write its own apps, but not to distribute such works in direct contravention of the GPL (except with the explicit permission of the FSF, who could choose to dual license but obviously won't). Robota and Apple should have read the (very well known!) licence of the code they were re-distributing. The terms of the GPL are very clear in this situation, and there's no reason why Apple should be exempt just because the iPhone is cool and shiny.

T-Orange merger approved


Oh great

T-mobile currently charges me 20 quid (total) for 6 months of pre-paid net access on PAYG. On Orange, that only buys me 4 weeks online. Anyone want to bet on the chances of the T-mobile tariff surviving the merger?

BBC to cull radio stations, halve websites in painful biz review


Radio 3 and Radio 6

'Scrap Radio 3 - there's a viable commercial alternative broadcasting on FM and digital in the form of Classic FM.'

Classic FM, which plays Themes from Well Known Adverts on heavy rotation and the Popular Classical equivalents of Boy Bands, has much the same relationship to Radio 3 as Radio 1 does to 6music. 3 & 6 broadcast intelligent programming for an (unfortunately limited) audience of actual music lovers and give exposure to less commercial artists, while 1 and CFM (generally) provide aural wallpaper for the masses. No surprise that 6 has struggled to survive while excluded from the 'media platform' that most people actually use - perhaps if they actually succeed in shoving DAB down all our throats by pulling the plug on FM, channels like 6 will stand a better chance of survival. No surprise either that the current gutless BBC adminstration is Assuming the Position in readiness for Cameron and Murdoch's loving attentions after May 6th, while the BBC Trust, fatally compromised by its conflicting remits to serve the audience and pander to the commercial competition, will doubtless rubber stamp the proposals (or add further cuts of their own).

Apple iPhone tops 2009 smartphone sales


Cheap Android phones

'I read today that a < €150 pre-pay android smartphone will be available in europe later this year.'

Already happened last year, when the T-mobile Pulse on PAYG went for under 100 GBP for a while (about £150 right now). T-mobile will also sell you 6 months of data access for 20 quid (total) and will unlock the phone for a reasonable fee after 3 months. Android isn't perfect, of course (and neither is T-mobile's coverage!) but when this sort of deal is offered you can get a really capable smartphone (with enough left over for a decent micro SD card) for less than the price of an iPod Touch (let alone the iPhone, which only seems cheap if you look at the contract models and forget about the price of the contract). Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more phones in this price range before long.

Blu-ray Disc added to UK shopping basket


MP3 vs MP4

'MP4/Video players... absolute rubbish... common spends? My arse.'

Doesn't 'mp4 player' now include every iPod with a screen?

Apple proves: It pays to be late



"--well thats not true is it ?! it was covered in the news, queues of people outside most apple, o2 and carphone warehouse stores..."

Yes, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia!

'that story about NASA's pen and the Russian's pencil is an urban myth....a pencil wasn't allowed in case the lead broke off and got stuck in an air duct or something...'

They actually carried on using pencils (and felt tips) alongside the Fisher pens:



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