* Posts by Martin 19

122 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


M&S whips out carbon-neutral bra

Martin 19
Paris Hilton

This comment is carbon neutral;

because while writing it I promised to myself not to cut down a particular tree that's growing on my land.

However I farted while typing, and the methane released has undone all of this good work.


Martin 19


he was referring to the "drink no more than x units per week" as being arbitary and pulled out of someone's bum; not the idea of a 'unit' itself.

Coalition fails business on banks, says survey

Martin 19

Mutually exclusive requirements

The banks MUST be compelled to stop lending money out willy-nilly, and they also MUST be compelled to lend out more money to anyone who wants it!

UK's oldest working telly up for sale

Martin 19

Reliable like Trigger's broom

Ahem; "Around a third of the TV's parts are not original, however, though they were replaced with parts identical to the originals."

Things often do keep working for a long time, as long as you replace the components when they break.

Martin 19

Typical; you buy a new TV

and then there isn't anything on the bloody thing...

Oxfordshire cops switch speed cameras back on

Martin 19
Thumb Down

West Mids cameras aren't being scrapped;

but the number of 'active' camera sites containing an actual camera is being massively reduced. Also, from today(!) all the cams will be operated by the police, not an arm of the council. The camera sites (ie the yellow boxes) are all being kept as this will 'save money'.

ref: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/election/2011/03/21/136800-speed-cameras-bill-feared/

It is also interesting to note that no budget is available to replace any vandalised cameras (or empty boxes), so all cameras currently burnt out or burnt out in the future won't be replaced.

Fight global warming with Asimov-style Psychohistory - profs

Martin 19
Black Helicopters

@DrXym: It's the jump to "you must do this now!" thats the problem

It's one thing saying "the climate is changing due to man's CO2 emmissions"- there is as you say a lot of evidence for that.

The problem that most people have is the doom predictions based on tenuous and often discredited modelling of the effects of that; and the instructions to "stop doing X" which are supposed to stop the doom from happening.

It's very different saying "CO2 is causing the world to warm" and saying "everyone must be stopped from doing XYZ otherwise the sea will consume London".

BBC-led RadioPlayer arrives at last

Martin 19

I believe the license referred to

is a standard broadcasting license, as in radio broadcasting using actual radio waves.

'Small station' meaning 'Turd FM 102.912' with it's groundbreaking 'guess the year' competitions and hours of 'high-quality' automated output, not the small internet stations you're thinking of.

I hear that there's some good internet radio around on friday nights, but that's another story entirely..

Martin 19

I for one welcome our big radio overlords

There's about as much chance of access for small internet stations as there is of a snowball fight in hell.

What will actually happen is that the big stations will do their damndest to convince everyone that RadioPlayer==Internet radio to stop the drip, drip of listeners to genuinely small stations.

The bad part is that it'll probably work too.

Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

Martin 19

Oh no!

So, it reduces the amount of "shit don't get that near me" waste, but increases the amount of "probably unsafe to insert rectally" waste.

Yeah, sounds like a real bad deal to me.

The vast vast majority of 'low level waste' is just general waste that has a sticker that says "from Sellafield" on it, and is about as radioactive as a pile of banana skins. It's normally just landfilled the same as household waste is.

I doubt that Mr Page would be happy to have any kind of waste disposed of in his house, even piles of common-or-garden builder's rubble. Mr Page probably wouldn't want you in his house either, but that doesn't mean you're dangerously radioactive. Just dangerously full of shit.

Martin 19

But.. but.. but.. it's DANGEROUS I tell you!

SEVERAL people have received minor injuries! There is a small area of land next to the plant that might not be suitable for farming for several years!

ALL of this is down to these "atoms" that these nuclear people are playing with! The consequences are much worse than from any other source of power! The pollution from this incident is unprecendented I tell you, unprecedented! There is now possibly an immensely small risk of cancer for some people! ITS SERIOUS DAMNIT!

We must abandon nuclear power NOW, and use coal/gas which emit no pollution whatsoever, or wind which can definitely supply all of our power needs!


TV election debate 'worm' graph found to undermine democracy

Martin 19

Bandwagon effect in action

"EVERYONE LOVES $CANDIDATE. You don't want to be left out do you? You don't want to be one of those weird, unpopular people, that others only talk about in hushed whispers? Vote for $CANDIDATE. It's the reasonable person's choice."

German Green extracts tracking info from mobile operator

Martin 19
Black Helicopters

TV detective work ain't exactly realistic

It's like in the UK's very own Spooks, where they have instant access to every CCTV camera in London (which are all in HD) to track a pedestrian suspect in real time, except on the tube where no CCTV exists. They can implant a grain-of-sand sized combined GPS tracker and audio bug into the neck of an agent, but when a suspect gets away in a car with known numberplates, MI5 are mysteriously unaware of the (real) national ANPR system that would soon pick said car up.

There are of course a number of options as to why this might be;

1) It's part of a conspiracy to make real world crims unaware of the real capabilities of the security services; or

2) TV writers are themselves unaware of the real capabilities of the security services, and when they are aware of something they tend to discard it if that would make the story cooler/flow better/easier to write

Handy radiation checker comes to iPhone

Martin 19


But I thought Radon was the secret to a nice relaxing bath?

Fuel foolery, merger warnings and Budgetary boons

Martin 19


"If this happens, let's see whether employers would actually pass the entire ER NI onto the staff, or miraculously not"

Disclosure: I am an employer

What would really happen is both; some employers would pass on the difference, others wouldn't. Those that don't would in the short term see reduced costs and therefore extra profits. That extra money would be in the pot to pay existing and/or new employees with.

The fact of the matter is that someone being 'paid' £24000 is actually costing their employer £27072, and the employee in question is actually receiving £18484. The employer pays this as the labour in question is worth £27k to them, and the employee considers the soul destroying drudgery worth the £18k

If employer's NI ceased to exist; the labour would still be worth £27k to them (at least for the existing job we're discussing here). Therefore the pay for that particular person could rise to that without the employer suffering. If the money wasn't passed on, the money would probably stay in the conceptual pay pot and be there for future rises or new employees, and even if the employer just banks it as profit it'll still be spent somewhere (towards a new Jag? redecorations?). If there's any competition whatsoever for the business, then the competitors will be doing the same sums. If employer A can afford £27k for a widget polisher, then employer B probably can too, meaning there will be increased pressure for pay rises because the others can afford to 'pay more' at the same actual cost.

Radioactive Tokyo tapwater HARMS BABIES ... if drunk for a year

Martin 19

Nitrogen is a well known asphyxiant too;

and that's in the air all around you! Run away! Panic!

I've also heard that they're injecting Dihydrogen Monoxide into the reactors, which is a well known corrosive solvent that is found in the vast majority of malignant cancers.

Martin 19


The Telegraph has consistently been one of the more alarmist papers, both about Fukushima and world events generally.

Channel Islands VAT loophole shut, petrol prices cut

Martin 19
Thumb Up

I'm quite confused.

Normally when there's a budget, a Scottish bloke whispers sweet nothings into my ear while stealing my wallet. This time some croaky posh bloke said "alright mate" and gave me a pint. What's going on??

Government to scrap COI, axe up to 1,000 communication jobs

Martin 19


You're right; every banker in the world was directly involved in foisting subprime mortgages and other dubious loans onto people who had no responsibility whatsoever for ensuring that they could repay loans that they took out. /sarcasm

I think you're totally and maybe dangerously wrong about this, but hell; you're probably a nice bloke, enjoy your evening. :)

Martin 19

FFS, the cuts and the bailout are separate things, and;

The current recession has multiple and interconnected causes, of which the 'bankers' are one.

Blaming 'bankers' is like there being a plane crash, and you beating a local lorry driver over the head because he's one of the "transport men" who are 'responsible'.

AND the generally accepted wisdom is that allowing the banks to fail would have resulted in a far worse recession than we have/are currently experiencing. How many lives would be 'wrecked' then? But that'd be OK, after all the 'bankers' would have been 'punished', right?

Fukushima situation as of Wednesday

Martin 19

RE Declaration of interests

Mikew, could you please declare your interests. Are you being paid by the wind turbine industry to post downbeat messages about this nuclear incident?

.. wow, this Ad Hominem 'declare someone to be a shill' stuff is piss-easy, isn't it?

Virgin Media, Readers - an apology

Martin 19

My cock reaches 20 million women

in the same way that VM 100Mb 'reaches 1 million homes'.

It *is* technically available to at least that many....although not all at the same time I have to say. That would present some insurmountable logistical issues.

Hated contractor tax might disappear

Martin 19

How would that encourage the use of public transport;

one would assume that £0.40/mile for driving could be deducted from gross income also?

Traffic-light plague sweeps UK: Safety culture strangles Blighty

Martin 19
Paris Hilton

God forbid that we realise that cars contain people;

and most of the time (outside London at least) a particular crossing will be set to give the one person who might cross per hour a good half minute to traverse the several yards of road, while keeping a couple of hundred people in cars/lorries/buses waiting at a red light.

Space truck docks with ISS

Martin 19

We need to get the space freight off space trucks;

and back on to space trains!

Also, I thought that 56mph (90km/h) was less than escape velocity? Has this truck had its limiter removed? ;)

Gov will pay £2.25m compo to ID card suppliers

Martin 19

Typical political scumbaggery

Complaining about the cost of the break clauses in contracts that Blunkett himself signed up to.

OFT waves through UK.gov's national addressing database

Martin 19


Then someone would be able to determine the geographic co-ordinates of your street address! They could do this on their local machine, in addition to being able to do this on Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc etc etc etc etc!

Starbucks' iPhone barcode app easily scammed by screengrab

Martin 19

In other news...

Library cards are inherently insecure. If someone steals the wallet of a library user, the thief will be able to borrow books in the victim's name. This is definitely the worst possible outcome of the theft of a wallet.

BBC iPlayer iPad app out this week

Martin 19

License money well spent

I'm so glad that the Beeb is spending wads of my sodding cash making an 'app' for a specific fashionable device that duplicates existing functionality.

I might cancel my subsc... oh wait, it's the law that I have to pay them. Fantastic.

Vodafone txt loses revenue crown to data

Martin 19

How do they divide bundling revenue?

eg. where someone pays £30/mo for X minutes, Y texts and Z Mb of data per month, and uses A mins, B texts and C Mb, how does the £30 of revenue get divided up into the different pots?

Maybe I'm wrongly assuming that more people are on contracts than really are? Do most people use top-ups which are depleted per-minute/text/meg?

Pothole-spotter app aims to stop arse ache

Martin 19

To be fair to Brum;

Every single pothole I've reported to the council has been fixed fairly quickly; and the worst stretches (eg Belgrave Middleway) have been completely resurfaced instead of patched.

If you want to see real potholes go to south Staffs....

More than just snow hurting small biz

Martin 19

No to 'stabiliser', yes to duty freeze, double yes to duty cut

The idea of a 'fuel stabiliser' concerns me; they proposed this the last time fuel prices were where they are now (mid 2008) and then went very quiet when prices dropped back down again. I can only presume that such a 'stabiliser' would lock us in to £1.30/l diesel if oil prices go down, yet if they go up then of course there will be 'no choice' but to increase prices.

Also, if the government was to 'stabilise' the price by making duty inversely proportional to oil prices or wholesale fuel prices; then I imagine that OilCos might be tempted to massage those prices a little higher, knowing that the government will take the hit as pump prices are locked.

As a small business type with a small fleet of vans (and a lorry for good measure) I think a good start would be to stop putting the bastard duty up; never mind stabilisers. Our particular industry is still very tender after a brief spurt of recovery last year, we really dont need one of our main costs (and our customers' too) being hiked. I know the govt needs the cash at the moment, but I would draw their attention to an old saying about geese and golden eggs.

Amazon offers cloud based bulk emailer to SMEs

Martin 19

No, a thousand times no

I *am* a SME. We do advertise online, but only to those actively searching for the products we sell (adwords, etc). We do not send out spam, and neither should you.

If I had a penny for every spam email, sales call and pushy salesman who turns up expecting to see a director RIGHT NOW; I could pack in work tomorrow. All you gits are doing is annoying every single one of your potential customers. Please stop. Please.

Man killed by own cock

Martin 19

Angry Birds turns sour IRL

'tis much safer on your jesus phone.

Official: music is a brain stimulating drug

Martin 19

These legal highs must be banned!

Music is the GATEWAY DRUG! Kids should get high on LIFE, not DRUGS!

Hang on, that means life is a drug! Ban life! Death to all kids!

ASA goes online to swing stick at new media advertisers

Martin 19

So basically

The ASA is telling everyone in the UK that "It's alright, everything on the internet is truthful now" while never having even the possibility of being able to enforce anything, ever; as well as scaring reputable players shitless with fuzzy rules that no doubt 'consultants' will offer to decipher for a suitably large wad of cash.

How could this possibly go wrong?

Custom ICs in small numbers to be cheap as (normal) chips

Martin 19
Big Brother

Agree, but

I agree with everything you've said, but there is an upside. For a particular chip that *is* examined closely, it is easier to audit the functions of the hardware than it is to examine any firmware programmed into it.

You can if you really want to X-ray (or dissolve the casing and use a microscope, etc) a chip and see all the circuitry, and given a little computation devise the full functionality of it. Extracting the firmware from a device that doesn't want you to have it is very difficult.

(All is AFAIK, if I'm wrong say so :) )

PS: From what you say it seems you think that the US Gov. (for one) is planning using 'trojan horse' ASICs as an espionage tool. Do you think that (in the US) this could be achieved with products from major manufacturers; and do you think this could be done with the OEM's knowledge, or do you think they would use more covert means (eg. agent working in production)?

Martin 19


What will happen is this technology will basically allow cheap ASICs to displace "microcontroller-and-software" based systems, for applications where an ASIC would be better (eg for high performance). As such, any new hardware bugs will replace software bugs; and for high performance real time kit software bugs are particularly devious and are a big problem.

Overall reliability will probably go up.

/ex hardware man

Runaway hydroponic fungus attacks real-world Starship Voyager

Martin 19

Space opera vs. space cadets

One flat was expensively fitted out to enable people to feel like they're in space; while the other is owned by a trekkie...

Video games go off quicker than tomatoes

Martin 19

I found the value

"amazon marketplace and ebay for a little extra work would offer a far better deal"

The "little extra work" is the value the retailers add, along with being a 'known' place to go and some peace of mind in getting cash there-and-then, as opposed to a hopeful payment from some bloke elsewhere.

'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

Martin 19

I have the answer

"Leaving aside the technical and philosophical flaws with the idea, examining all the worlds websites to decide which are naughty and which are nice is going to be an astronomically expensive and never ending process. So who's gonna pay for it?"

The government is investigating using a well experienced contractor based at the North Pole. Apparently this contractor is so scrupulous about their naughty/nice list that they even check it twice. Hence the announcement at this time of year...

Lock and load: Birmingham launches gunfire location IT

Martin 19

Just like speed cameras I suppoose;

in that they could be said to "only monitor speeds when high speed is detected", ie they (generally) only record/transmit speed/numberplate data* when their internal logic is activated by a speed >x.

It would be trivial and the best technical solution to have each of the microphones in the network sit dormant until activated by a sound >XdB, and then they begin processing/recording the sound input and transmitting the appropiate data to HQ.

I imagine the processing involves a little DSP to differentiate 'gunshot' type cracks from all other loud noises, and precise timing of the sound against something like a GPS clock. If you get the precise time that a given sound has reached at least 3 known points, the origin can then be calculated.

*referring to 'traditional' Gatso-type cameras, not ANPR or other hi-tech trickery.

Martin 19
Black Helicopters

"Gunshot detected at Five Ways..."

Hang on, that was just a misfiring minicab, never mind.

"Gunshot detected, industrial estate, Digbeth..."

No, that was a lorry running over a discarded pallet.

Yes, I can see this going slightly wrong.

Gov decides not to have scientific advice on drugs any more

Martin 19

£1k x 20Mil = £20 Billion

You're telling me that a single drug depencency unit costs £20,000,000,000 per year?

Do you know what *could* be bought/done/built with £20Bn of government money (deficit/debt repayment aside)?

500 miles of new motorway

20% of the entire NHS annual budget

Or to look at it in terms of existing tax receipts..

Half of all corporation tax

1/6 of all income tax

About the same as current tobacco&alcohol duties combined

£20,000,000,000 is a lot of money you know.

Diary of a Not-spot: One man's heroic struggle for broadband

Martin 19

To be fair

He's not saying "I demand that everyone else subsidises broadband for me"; he's trying to rig things up as best he can with his own money.

Fair play to the man.

Crazed buy-a-satellite-for-the-poor scheme raises $16k

Martin 19
Paris Hilton

What? A 'charity' wants to receive lots of money;

obstensibly to achieve an impossible aim that only appears possible to people utterly ignorant of the issues involved? Say it aint so!

Telegraph to charge for online news

Martin 19

As someone who likes a balanced news diet;

I'm already lamenting the effective disappearance of the Times from my daily reading. I will also miss the Telegraph.

The real horror of the situation is being left with the 'right wing' stupidity of the Mail and the 'left wing' stupidity of the Guarniad, with the general 'how can we miss the point completely today' stupidity of the Indy and the BBC. (Excluding the wonderful, if narrow, coverage of El Reg of course ;) )

Remember kids, stupidity + stupidity = stupidity.

Well never mind. Recently the Telegraph seems to have been on a "how can we get all angry about absolutely nothing like The Daily Mail does?" mission anyway.

Councils 'spend shedloads on CCTV'

Martin 19

Costs per capita would be useful;

IIRC Birmingham is the largest council in the country in terms of population (because it's all one council, unlike Greater London for example which has over 30 boroughs) so I'm not surprised it should top the list for total spending.

Giving us a cost per head of population would be far more useful. I present a few for your delectation below (in order of *total* spending):

Birmingham: £10.30

Sandwell: £18.52

Leeds: £4.98

Edinburgh: £7.63

Hounslow: £16.05

Lambeth: £12.50

Regional accent read-outs coming to satnavs

Martin 19
Paris Hilton

"Every other accent is bloody awful", says everyone

"I wish that everyone with a regional accent other than my own should STFU. They sound well fick, init?!?"

Ofcom mulls popular number charge

Martin 19

How about give VOIP phones their own area code?

This will also stop dodgy bastards from having a VOIP call centre in Whereverthehell with an '020' or '0121' or whatever code to trick people into thinking they're calling a local operation.

Just a thought.

There are 2 main users of POTS landlines these days, small businesses and the elderly; both of whom would be messed around royally by mandatory area code dialling. Then again, a large proportion of Londoners (for example) haven't yet figured out that their area code is '020' and not '0207' or '0208'.