* Posts by Gareth.

86 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess


Didn't he also want to build EVs in UK too?

Whatever happened to his plan to build EVs in Blighty? I've not heard anything for years so presumably it's not happening any longer.

Schools email marketing company told us to go away when we told them of exposed database creds, say infoseccers


If I were a teacher in the UK...

...I'd be submitting a DSAR to understand what details they may hold about me.

Experian says it recovered and deleted data on 24 million South Africans after giving it to random 'marketing' person


Me fail English? That's unpossible

Come on, El Reg. "24 million people's data was transferred"... you can do better than that.

Bug-hunter reveals another 'make me admin' Windows 10 zero-day – and vows: 'There's more where that came from'


Re: She? How do you know?

She has previously posted on Twitter - although that account has since been suspended - and is still active on at least one other social media site. Some of those posts concern details of her (sadly quite troubled) personal life.

Xiaomi: Hidden Android dragon is growing fast, despite being unknown in the West



They've also announced a 4K TV running Android that costs less than £400. Despite the low price, it's had some very good reviews. No news of it making its way over to Blighty sadly.

Netflix dares UK freetards: Watch new Breaking Bad NOW or torrent it?


Tread Lightly!

On-demand streamed music services compared


Soundrop app for Spotify

Just thought I'd also use this as an opportunity to recommend everyone who uses Spotify give the Soundrop app a try. I've been using it for a few weeks now and have discovered loads of new artists as a result.

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Re: Thought I'd mention di.fm

Another Digitally Imported fan here but I listen more to After Hours, or AH.fm, these days.

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S III


Re: The new...

I know you were just trolling so I don't take your comment seriously but if the phone does cost £499 sim-free then it's not for poor men (or women)... which instead means your comment should've been "the new [deleted] iphone."

Spotify dances onto iPad


Re: Why is it only for premium users?

Ahhh, yes, I see now. Thanks for the replies, guys.

Oh, and LOL @ Chicken Marengo... very true. :-)


Why is it only for premium users?

OK, so I'm gonna come across as a cheapskate here, but why do Spotify only make access to mobile devices available for Premium users?

I'm on the not-freetard-but-not-quite-Premium £5 p/month package and would love to be able to use Spotify on my Android tablet (yeah, it's not an iPad... I'm a cheapskate, remember) but when I last tried using it, I would've had to upgrade my account to the £10 p/month one to get it to work.

I'm happy paying a fiver a month for Spotify as it doesn't have much of the 90s trance music I mostly listen to... but for me a tenner a month is harder to justify.

They couldn't get away with charging Mac users more than Windows users, so why differentiate based on type of device? I don't see how my choice of what I use to access their service costs Spotify Inc any more money to distribute.

Virgin Media's latest throttling rules


Anyone know how much bandwidth something like iPlayer or LoveFilm uses?

Also, I got a letter from VM saying they were upgrading me from 50Mb to 120Mb, but their chart only shows 100Mb as the top tier. Anyone else get such a letter or did I dream it?


Re: A few things on this

Ahhh... you mean for their Catch Up and Video on Demand stuff. I read your comment as meaning those OSes were being blocked from accessing the internet (my Um Bongo boxes connect happily via my 50Mb VM connection).

As I understand things that's because they can't implement DRM on those platforms. But as I don't use it I've not really looked into it (Yay for Couchpotato and Sickbeard with Newsgroups instead!).

Microsoft licensing hike sparks UK piracy, bankruptcy fears

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Completely agree

Agree - as much as I'm an advocat of Linux, I've also been around long enough to know that there are many cases where using something other than Windows isn't an option. Unfortunately, too often people will just switch off when they see the word Linux being banded about in discussions such as this because they're not in a position to switch OSes..

That's a shame because FOSS doesn't exclusively mean Linux. There are plenty of open source applications that can be run under a Windows OS, such as OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, Gimp, Blender, etc... which those people who have switched off and started doing something else may not even be aware of.

If people start by using open source applications and find that, contrary to what they may have thought previously, just because something is 'free' doesn't mean it's not professionally written and equally as good if not better than their paid-for equivalents, then they're more likely to be open-minded about trying a FOSS operating system. It's much easier for someone to switch OS if they're already au fait with the applications that they'll run on it.

As I said, I am a big fan of Linux but sometimes I think it's better to demonstrate the benefits of it as an OS if you've already got people on-board the open source boat.


RE: AC @ 10:48 GMT


In other news, nice weather we're having at the moment, isn't it?

Microsoft ad campaign savages Google over privacy


...and another thing

Google doesn't charge me for using their products so I'm more inclined to cut them some slack about tracking my online behaviour because I'm getting lots of stuff in return. Whereas Microsoft makes mega dollars from software sales; advertising revenue isn't their primary source of income.

Some of Microsoft's products are free (IE, Hotmail, Bing, etc...) but until they offer Windows for free like Google offers Chrome OS, or Office for free like Google has done with Google Docs then I'm not prepared to be as lenient with them as I am with Google. Even if they only did it for home users and kept the lucrative corporate market as it currently is then that would be enough to buy my loyalty.

Seems that I'm pretty cheap and Google has bought my soul by offering me stuff for free.

Virgin Media broadband goes titsup for 3 hours



I suggest you contact their technical support department because my colleagues, friends and family who are also VM customers don't experience many (if any) problems at all with our connections, and that's across numerous locations spread throughout the country.

If we were talking about their customer services or their billing departments, however, then I'd be agreeing with you. Those areas of VM do appear to be run by a bunch of incompetent idiots who are, undoubtedly, the first generation within their families to actually walk upright. But, I find the techie side of the company to be exceptionally well run, and they put BT and the ADSL companies I've used to shame.

Before I get downvoted as being some sort of VM shill, I'll just point out that I have no connection with them at all apart from being a broadband customer (although I ditched them for telly and phone after they messed me around after moving house).

World's biggest music streaming service launches - for tech idiots


@H4rm0ny & Tom

Yep, like you guys I'm another user frustrated with the Spotify GUI.

Their back catalogue is OK (although there's not enough trance music for my liking), and I love the speed with which tracks start after I press the play button... but bejusus I get frustrated when using the GUI. It resembles something a first year student of A Level computing would come up with... and would then instantly improve once they'd realised how bad it is to use.

Creating playlists is tedious, searching tracks is painful unless you happen to use the exact term, searching for new artists using their radio feature is a (not funny) joke, searching for albums with generic titles is virtually impossible. And as you say, it has an annoying tendancy to want to share details of every song I might've listened to on Facebook... or rather, it shares on my Facebook page any song my nipper listens to - and we've definitely not got the same taste in music, so my friends are often puzzled by those updates.

I keep hoping that someone, somewhere will write a decent UI that hooks in to Spotify's APIs... but I've not seen anything decent yet. If someone knows a better client, please post details here - thanks.

Best Buy fires parting shot at Dixons with closing down sale


Kindle Schmindle

Just tried to buy a Kindle at 10% off the RRP, but when I click to 'reserve and collect' it instead takes me to a page where I can instead buy a Sony Touch Patent Black Leather Cover at £19.95.

I think I'm gonna struggle to read any books on a leather cover so I'll give it a miss, thanks all the same, Best Buy.

Asda 'geekend' offers are for the birds


Hard Drive Prices

They also haven't increased their hard drive prices, unlike almost other retailers I've checked. They sell an external 1TB drive for about sixty quid. Looking on ebuyer I'd have to pay that price, if not more, for an internal 1TB drive at the moment thanks to the pesky floods in Thailand.

Virgin Media broadband in two-day wobble


Working from home

Being a Vermin Media user myself I can sympathise with those who have been affected by this, but I think that people who pay for a residential service whilst using it to work from home can hardly complain.

Yeah you pay £40 a month for the service but, compared to the costs of a dedicated business line, that ain't really that much. If you are working from home and stability of your connection is really that important, then maybe you should look into paying for something that is better suited to your needs, i.e. something with an SLA on resolving faults, guaranteed uptime, etc... and quit whinging when your residential service proves to not be up to scratch for your business needs.

22,000 'freetards' escape Hurt Locker piracy suit


So is the movie actually any good and worth a download?

Faking reviews? You should fret about more than illegality


Was your post for real..?

What I look for in a review is an honest account from someone who has experienced / bought / used the product or service I'm potentially interested in using / doing / buying.

I'd much rather it be badly written but truthful than professionally written but fabricated.

Otherwise I'd just read the adverts.

Hacker kills his own Pwn2Own bug for Android phones



It is the difference between what he might have got for winning pwn2own and what he definitely got for reporting it to Google.

Virgin extends 100Mb/s broadband reach


Title Schmitle

Yep, same here.

There are some sites which struggle - like you say, the Beeb is one of them (although only some of the time) but GooTube is the worst for me - but I can max out my 50Mb/s line using usenet so I too don't think that Vermin Media are necessarily to blame... but I'm sure that won't stop people moaning about them on here.

As for exceeding the Fair Usage Policy... I've been known to download a helluva lot yet haven't been affected by their traffic management. Bring on the 100Mb/s...!!!

I do agree, though, that their customer service is diabolical.

Alan Sugar's 'cockup braindead in call centre clueless' BT row


Suralan Identified as Pantsman

"told BT bloke on phone who I was and I make pc's and routers for day job."

If that had been me, I'd have replied saying, "I know the words to Candle in the Wind, don't make me Elton John"

Google sacks Eric Schmidt memo leaker


RE: Way to go....

That was my thought - why fire the guy? He's given you some free publicity that suggests Google Inc. is a nice employer (I wish mine gave me a 10% bonus that it then added to my base salary) and they turn around and sack him.

What exactly is Google embarrassed by about this whole affair? Why feel the need to 'terminate' the fella?

Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond

Gates Horns

This is why they're pissed off...

I think this could explain why Rovio are pissed off that MS used their IP (even if the game itself isn't original, the graphics are their own and MS pinched the icon not just the name of the game).

Imagine you're (stupid enough to be) considering buying a Windows-based Smart Phone - if that's not an oxymoron then I don't know what is - and you're looking at the apps that are available / coming soon to help you decide whether to buy it or not. Contrary to the article's author, I know plenty of people that bought an iPhone specifically because of the apps.

So, you see that Angry Birds... that game that all the iPhone owners rave about, and that El Reg covered when it was announced for Android... is available for Windows Mobile. That sounds promising... software vendors are taking this phone OS seriously after all, and it won't be a wasted purchase that ends up in the kitchen drawer along with the N-Gage. So you buy the phone and tie yourself in to a 24-month contract.

However, then you find out that Angry Birds isn't available on the WIndows equivalent of the App Store / Market Place. It's not just delayed, the game isn't even being made for your new phone... in fact that's not the only game or app that's not gonna work on it.

So, who do you blame for this? Are you more likely to think that it's Microsoft who used the logo without asking first, or are you gonna think that Rovio are being bastards and backing out of a (non-existant) deal that you'd banked on happening? My money is on people blaming Rovio for this happening, not Microsoft... so when they next buy another phone, Android or iPhone most likely, and can get games from Rovio they're gonna remember that they got their fingers burnt with that Windows phone that had no apps or games - all because Rovio backed out of releasing Angry Birds for Windows. There's no way that Rovio will get that person's money now.

So Rovio will lose out on potential sales because Microsoft - not Rovio - fooled punters into buying a phone running their dodgy OS.

Amazon poaches Microsoft games chief


XBox a viable contender for top-spot

I don't know if I'm a fanboi or an anti-fanboi - I hate all 3 companies equally (I'm not an avid game player so I doubt any of them is worried about it). However, I'm intrigued by what criteria you're judging Microsoft's XBox as being a viable contender for top-spot in the console market.

As I understand it, Microsoft - or rather the gaming department - are not the most profitable of the 3 console manufacturers so it can't be based on revenue.

Similarly, the Wii has consistently outsold the XBox since its launch - Wikipedia told me that Microsoft has sold 41M XBoxes whereas Nintendo has sold 74M Wiis, therefore it's not based on userbase either.

I'm not saying the XBox360 is a bad console - I own one even though I'm not a gamer. I just don't think that it's ready to be in the number one slot. At the end of the day, though, competition is good for the consumer, so I'm glad the XBox360 was released. However, it's blatantly clear that if Microsoft didn't have such deep pockets then the XBox would have gone the same way as the Sega Saturn.

Google boss turns Wave demise into success of sorts


To be fair...

I actually agree with Schmidt's reasoning that Google is a company that is prepared to invest in new stuff (although Wave wasn't really new, it was just shite) and accepts that some / most of those projects will fail miserably and never be seen again.

If it wasn't for that level of risk taking then we'd not have had some of the Google products I love to use, such as Android, Google Maps with Street View, Chrome, etc...

OK, the language he used was vomit-inducing, but what do you expect...? He's American and a high powered businessman working in IT - Ballmer and Jobs are just as bad, if not worse, than Schmidt at this kind of thing. Jobs' recent press conference about the new iPhone and how Apple were inventing video conference calls was more galling than Schmidt's comments about Wave. Pretty much everything that Ballmer says is cring-worthy to the extreme.

Gotta agree with your comment about Buzz only being used by millions of people because it had been snuck into GMail - it loads in my browser but I never ever use it because if I did want to use IM, I'd use whatever everybody else is using (invariably MSN)... Google are playing catch-up with Buzz, but are still losing the game. Can't blame Schmidt for trying to put a spin on it though, even if none of us are convinced.


Swedes decline to FCKU2MF



I am being a bit slow today, so can you explain this one to me? What's offensive about it?

Microsoft patches Freetard-by-design bug



I'm anything but a fan of Microsoft and their products, but even I'm struggling to see the humour here. It just makes the author of the article look like an "anti-fanboy" (if such a thing exists).

Motorola advert revels in anti-iPhone schadenfreude


Please someone make it stop...

FFS, this is worse than the playground arguments of Spectrum versus C64, or ST versus Amiga, or Windows versus Mac / Linux, etc...

Anyone else tired of all this pointless bickering?

Google to buy flight data company for $700m


Google Copying Bing..... let's hope not!

It's about time Google started offering this kind of service... I've been wondering for ages when they'd do it. Local cinema listings is another thing I want to see Google start doing.

Back to flight searches... let's hope that Google do a much better version than Bing's useless offering.

I used Bing the other day to try and find some flights between London and the South of France. I went to the UK version of Bing, searched and navigated to the flights section - still within their UK site - and entered my details. I wasn't even surprised when Bing assumed I was interested in having all the prices shown in US dollars, despite me browsing the UK site and entering flights leaving and returning to the UK.

I did a facepalm for a few seconds then went to kayak.co.uk instead, which worked how I wanted and expected it to.

Microsoft really are useless, even at doing the simple stuff. I'm sure they simply got to where they are because there was no decent competition around at the time. If only Google had been around back then!

The Reg guide to Linux, part 1: Picking a distro


O2 Joggler

Last night I installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my O2 Joggler using the image and the instructions found here...


It was so easy and everything seems to work well. The tactile screen works well, and I use the on-screen keyboard whenever I need to type something, e.g. my WPA key.

The Joggler cost me fifty quid to buy from O2, and the OS was free... all in all, that's a bargain in my book!

Beeb sends teaboy outside with iPhone

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Next article...

Can you write an article about the Beeb not broadcasting the F1 in HD please :o)

Google outs source code for Android 2.2


LOL... I wish.

I'd love it to be out that quickly but even I know it ain't gonna happen. Maybe I should have got a Nexus One instead of the Desire.

Do we know when it will happen, even what year, yet...? I love Eclair but am looking forward to trying Froyo.

By the way, good to see you again, James. I used to enjoy watching your Radio Show on late night TV when I was a teenager.

Google vanishes Android apps from citizen phones

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Well Said, AC

I agree with you, Mr AC.

What options were available to Google? Leave the app until it does do some damage, or be proactive and remove it before it does? I'm glad they chose to take the sensible approach and remove it. TBH, though, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

It's not as if the apps actually did anything other than lie dormant until instructed to start doing naughty things. Nobody has lost out on this (apart from Google undeservedly getting some bad press). Luckily for those who downloaded the apps, they were POCs written by researchers - I wonder how many programs aren't as obviously rubbish yet have the same capability, e.g. is that app to show how little battery life is left really legit, and does that torch app really need to access the internet as well as all your personal data?

Would there be such an uproar if you switch the platform and imagine this being a rogue application being deleted by your antivirus solution?

Microsoft update secretly fixed two 'severe' bugs


Your Windose boxen ist kaput

Yeah, I still have that option for the many thousands of boxes I have to patch each month. I guess it's a problem your end.... good luck finding what's causing it.

McAfee sued over third-party pop-up pitches



I dislike McAfee as much as the next person, but can someone explain to me why on earth this lawsuit is being filed - is it really because the end (l)user didn't read the terms and conditions or the EULA before they clicked and signed-up for this thing?

Americans seem prepared to sue someone because of their own ignorance. It'd be quite funny if it wasn't so sad.

Third of XP security suites flunk tests



13 comments so far, and not one mention of Linux or OS X being more secure than Windows.

What's happened to the Reg's faithful readership?

Last.fm now offers Less.fm


Bronfman..... what a stupid name!


Others, such as Warner's boss Ed Bronfman, are skeptical. In an earnings call in February Bronfman said Spotify-type services were "not net positive for the industry", He vowed Warner would not license Spotify and similar services in the US.

End Quote.

And that, Mr Bronfman, is the reason why you and your company deserve to suffer the same fate of the dinosaur... extinction followed by becoming an exhibition in a museum.

Your old business model is broken, kaput, cassé... It's time to wake up, Mr Bronfman. You no longer hold consumers over a barrel. Those consumers you rodgered for oh-so-many years have found alternative ways to acquire your product, and it doesn't involve anal penetration on their part.

Although you don't want to accept it and you continue to try everything you can to delay it, you and your company are now surplus to requirement. For many years artists were unable to distribute their music without your intervention... but then along came the internet and MP3 and iPods and *shudder* iTunes and MySpace and... yes, dare I say it...... Spotify.

Now, it seems as though you're the ones who are 'not net positive for the industry' - the music industry, that is. The music industry managed for centuries without you, and it will survive when you and your cronies are just a distant memory.

Java bug exposes users to serious code-execution risk

Jobs Horns

Steve's real reason

Steve's real reason for not allowing Java (or Flash for that matter) has nothing to do with security - although that's a very convenient excuse for him to use - but has everything to do it being possible to run apps or play games via Java (or Flash for that matter) without paying for it via the App Store. Anyone that thinks any differently is delusional.

HTC Desire


T-Mobile Deals

T-Mobile's site is actually pretty good for working out which tariff you want.


The most interesting ones, imho, are the following scenarios...

If you pay a tenner a month for 24 months then you can get 100 mins & 100 texts, and it'll cost you £164.

If you pay fifteen quid a month for 18 months then you can get 100 mins & 100 texts, and it'll still cost you £164.

If you pay fifteen quid a month for 24 months then you can get 100 mins & 100 texts, and it'll now cost you £95.

If you pay fifteen quid a month for 24 months then you can get 300 mins and 300 texts, and it'll cost you £164.

It's also very worth signing-up with those money back sites such as Top Cash Back or QuidCo... I got £40 from Top Cash Back when I went for the 300 mins / 300 texts on a 24 month contract, which was nice :-)

BT mops up after flood and fire

Big Brother

Re: Never played half life?!

So you're saying the G-Man is to blame for this? Or maybe his 'employers'?

I knew it!

Sophos sorry for blog comment spam campaign


Where's Graham...?

Rent-a-quote Graham Cluley can normally be relied upon to provide some soundbite on any old topic, but surprisingly he's very quiet on this issue. Why is that, Graham? Do you, for once, not have an opinion on this matter?

PS3 will outsell Wii by 2013

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The 3d link is an interesting one - does anyone know if the sales figures they predicted for 2008 / 09 close to the actual sales?

Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers


The Power DVD EULA

<hypothetical situation> Does the PowerDVD EULA specifically state that you are entitled to a refund of PowerDVD should you not agree to the terms outlined in the EULA?</hypothetical situation>

As I understand it, the EULA for Windows refers to being entitled to a refund of Windows - not the entire product, i.e. hardware and software - if you disagree with their terms and conditions.

Personally, I never read EULAs but I'm not fussed as Microsoft gave me a free copy of Windows (Vista for attending InfoSec a few years back and Win7 for pretending to have a Launch Party.... the suckers!).

Similarly, I've not read the Apple EULA but I wouldn't have bought the hardware if I didn't want to run the software.

I'm sure my Xubuntu has an EULA but again I've not read it... anyone know if it's worth reading seeing as though I paid nothing for the OS in the first place?

Blighty surrenders to Street View


RE: Michael Hutchinson - Prize for 5%

Ooh, I hope so... they drove around my house from pretty much every angle but didn't bother driving into my cul-de-sac so my dustbin and recycling boxes aren't famous.

Where do I sign-up for my free gift? I do hope it's a free Google Phone :-)

Ballmer: One day, Bing will actually make money


My thoughts on a couple of Ballmer's quotes...

"First, we've got to get to break even. And then we're got to get to profitability."

No, first you have to go back to school to learn the correct use of the English language.

"The quality - both from a marketer and a user's experience - of a search engine depends heavily on the relevance of advertising, and the relevance of advertising depends heavily on the density of bids," Ballmer explained.

And that, Mr Ballmer, is the reason why your search engine will never be as successful as Google.

Google realised from very early on that the adverts are not the reason people use search engines. Funnily enough, we use them to - are you still with me, Steve? - search for things. Google was and still is the market leader because first and foremost they offer something we need.

They realised from the start that advertising would be a huge source of income, and sure there are adverts on pretty much everything Google does, but I consider them a necessary evil... they pay for the service that Google provides me with. They're inobtrusive - still there, Stevie? - and easily ignored (although some people must click them judging by Google's financial position).

In addition, Google have got my custom because they either come up with new ideas that I like or they take existing ones and revolutionise them sufficiently to make me switch from other providers.

I have used GMail since 2004, when other providers only offered something like 50MB of storage, and I've not paid a penny for it. I've not needed to use Hotmail since switching to GMail because GMail offers more of what I need and displays some adverts that I don't even notice most of the time.

Similarly, I used to use MultiMap until I saw Google Earth and Google Maps.... Street View is one of my favourite parts of Google's empire (have look at Street View coverage in France, hopefully the UK will get the same level soon). I tried Bing's version of Google Maps but it doesn't even begin to compare in terms of features, frequency of updates, ease-of-use, etc... You've got to be insane (or on Microsoft's payroll) to use Bing's version instead of using Google Maps.

I could go on... there are so many sites that Google owns, services that Google provides and features that Google allows me to use (Youtube, Google News, Google Chrome, etc... etc... etc...) but the common feature is that they are all of benefit to me primarily - not to some investors and shareholders.

I see that some people are starting to turn against Google, personally I still love 'em to bits. I'm happy to have them track my searches and display adverts accordingly as long as they keep offering me what I want. Microsoft doesn't offer me what I want, and it appears they're not about to do so judging by Ballmer's comments, so I can't see my allegiance shifting any time soon.

Now, if only Google would give me a Nexus One for free!