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869 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jun 2009


Philips Fidelio DS8550 wireless iPad speaker


Does it make a difference?

"The secret, incidentally, is to treat the iDevice simply as a controller and music store. The Fidelio takes the digital data and runs it through its own digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) rather than rely on the one in the player. It does make a difference."

How do you know that? Does it have the ability to play analogue audio from the iPad?

Sex abuse fax leak costs council £100k



I once got an email from my local council with more than 200 people in the cc: field. I wrote to them and they said they'd modify their training procedures to point out how to get the Bcc: field (thank you for hiding it, Microsoft) and why it is a good idea to use it.

Jumpin' Meerkats! Ubuntu moving to daily downloads?


kernel updates

It's only minor (presumably security) updates to the kernel that occur between releases. For instance, the last release is all versions of 2.6.32 and 10.10 will only use versions of 2.6.35.

Apple MacBook Air 11.6in sub-notebook


Comparing apples with apples

"It doesn't cost much more than an iPad"

Yes, and? :o)


camera cards

Connecting the camera to the computer with a USB cable would be easier. And it might even charge it...


Ethernet speeds

"Finally ... Why do reviewers obsess about the bandwidth rating of various networking connector options? They are for all practical purposes irrelevant for a single machine connected to any network."

Because they matter if you want to move large files around. And large can mean a lot smaller than a DVD. 100Mbit/sec ethernet is slower than modern hard disks. And you can't get 1Gbit/sec out of a USB 2 port. Would have been nice if it had had one USB3 port.


Macs are not the only tough laptops

Exotic materials are used by many manufacturers. Look at the HP Elitebooks for instance - magnesium alloy chassis etc. Apple is just particularly good at making them look good.

BBC One HD to go live tonight



No you can't get a rebate on your "license fee," because you don't pay one.

Dane-Elec myDitto Nas device


Power consumption

Can you measure this, please? The spec says 12V 4A (i.e. 48W plus power supply losses), most of which is probably consumed spinning up two 7200 drives. Obviously it will be drive-dependent. The manual says the device can be programmed to spin down the drives during the long periods of inactivity such a thing will inevitably experience, and it would be great to know how much power is consumed in this mode.


2TB version price

Probably, like a top of the range car, it is aimed at people with more money than sense. If that means it subsidises the cheaper one then that can't be bad!



The concept of two-factor authentication has obviously gone straight over your head. It is intrinsically more secure to authenticate with something you have as well as something you know, and I'd far rather the inconvenience of carrying around the stick if it protects access properly.


Besides which, how are you going to make it plug and play without being able to run some software to do it? It's really gratifying that they have embraced Linux for this.

Yahoo! hit! by! hour-long! downtime! blues!


"may have might have"

Why are these people so mealy-mouthed in their statements? Do they thnk that if they actually admit to some inconvenience definitely having been caused, they'll open themselves up to being more sued than usual?

Lexmark adds Twitter to printer



...it should print out every tweet, thereby using up the extortionately-priced inks more quickly?

OOo's put the willies up Microsoft



"When confronted in the flesh by OOo evangelists I often ask "Can you do a mail merge from a source database that contains the information in stored queries or views?" and typically get back a blank look."

The blank look is because they haven't got a clue what you're talking about, because they have never wanted to do such a thing.

It simply proves what so many people keep saying - Microsoft Office is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of users.


You haven't lived

What about Wordwise on the BBC Micro?

Hefty physicist: Global warming is 'pseudoscientific fraud'


How ironic

And how many "trillions of dollars" (to use his meaningless phrase) do those who stand to lose from efforts to combat global warming pour into supporting *their* side of the argument?

Google open sources JPEG assassin



If the author is going to be that pedantic about the use of a subjunctive, he really ought to have noticed that later in the same sentence, a far worse crime is committed - the use of an adjective (faster) instead of an adverb ([more] quickly).

Virgin Media set-top box modder gets 5 years



So should the rapist get more, or this guy get less?

Dell readies flip-screen tablet-cum-netbook


The usual netbook

...has a screen of 1024 x 600, not 1024 x 768.

Second SMS Android Trojan targets smut-seeking Russians


Think it through

"All numbers found illegally on public areas are simply disconnected, rendering the adverts worthless. A total success in less than 9 months."

Yeah, so if you want to put your competitors out of business, all you do is put up some fake ads with their number on them. That's why the remedy is naive. It's called being framed and I thought it would be obvious.

Firefox 4 preview knocks back Jäger shot



Surely it won't make any difference to Flash? :-)


Yes it can be important

I refer the honourable gentleman to the following badly-named Reg article:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/07/google_buckyball_doodle/ - "Larry and Sergey's HTML5 balls drained my resources"

I presume the speed of the Javascript engine in Firefox 3.x (whatever Ubuntu has updated it to) is why, when I read the article and went to the Google home page on my six year old laptop, I failed to see what all the fuss was about as it was as smooth as silk.

Acer Stream Android smartphone


Scalded cat

In my experience, a scalded cat only runs as far as it really needs to, then stops and looks back at you balefully.

D-Link DHP-306AV powerline Ethernet adaptor


Radio 4

I replied to Tony's comment but it wasn't published. I made the same point as you (specifically, Radio 4 VHF/FM is on 93MHz or so, compared with Radio 4 long wave (LF/AM) which is on 200kHz or so, so LW would be much more vulnerable). The difference om frequency between R4 and R2 on VHF would be insignificant.

But there is an additional reason why interference would be suppressed: the FM system has a very non-linear response to interference, so you're unlikely to hear it until it approaches the strength of the wanted signal. With AM, in contrast, you will hear it even if it's quite a lot lower.


Radio 4 FM

Unfortunately that's not a fair test - at 93MHz or so it's a VHF frequency, and these things mangle lower frequencies than that. Moreover, FM has a very non-linear response to interference, so you'll hear nothing until it approaches the strength of the wanted signal. There is more than one sort of radio!

Try Radio 4 long wave at 198kHz, AM...

Verbatim MediaShare 1TB Nas


Power consumption?

You should be bothered to plug all the always-on hardware you review into a cheap energy monitor. It's easy to do and it would be very useful to know.

BBC adopts El Reg units


Prior art?

This one:


containing "The Drigg store currently contains 960,000 cubic metres - equivalent to 384 Olympic swimming pools - of waste."

is from 25th November 2006, according to Google.

Energy-saving LEDs 'will not save energy', say boffins


10x more light isn't that much

Remember we perceive light levels logarithmically; it's only about 10dB up.

The trend to plaster your ceiling in gross numbers of cheap mains halogen fitments isn't much to do with light levels but merely fashion. Replace those with 3W LEDs (which are available for about £5 a piece now if you shop around) and there will be a step change in energy consumption. The main problem with these LED replacements - assuming you buy reliable ones - is that they are deeper than the halogen dichroics.

Pupils find teacher's abuse images


"The children did not open the file"

Yeah right!

Once-in-a-lifetime gag tops Fringe quip list





Wooden spoons

Many pubs that serve food give you a wooden spoon with a number on it when you order, and when the food is ready they call out the number and you present the spoon to get the food. So presumably if you go to a pub with your own wooden spoon you can get the order with that number that someone else had paid for - so long as you can eat it before the fight breaks out.

Zeus botnet raid on UK bank accounts under the spotlight


Yes it WOULD stop a man in the middle attack

...because you enter more information into the device than the PIN, so the token is dependent on the specific operation you are performing, as I said in my earlier reply.

The man in the middle can therefore only repeat the same transaction you have just done, not generate a different transaction (such as transferring money into his account).

Presumably you took what the original poster said literally. But Nationwide's card reader doesn't generate a token from just the PIN, and I bet Barclays' doesn't, either.


Ditto Nationwide

I hope you punch in more than your PIN, or the authorisation code would always be the same, so you'd see them breaking that rather quickly! With Nationwide, you enter the account number of the recipient and the amount to transfer, so the miscreants could repeat that exact transaction ad nauseam...

Just a shame the reader won't work with other banks' cards. Whether there is a technical reason for this or whether they're just making life difficult I don't know.



No, because that would have been illegal...

Steve Jobs denies Judas Phone antenna problems


Why they haven't seen the problem

Because the problem only manifests itself when the phone is held in a certain way, and also in a limited set of circumstances - over a limited range of signal strengths. As you say, those in strong signal areas will not see the problem, but neither will those in dead spots. It is only in marginal areas that you will see it and not many people spend enough time in those areas to notice the difference. If you rapidly pass through a marginal area (say, entering a building) then you'll be unlikely to notice that the phone conks out slightly earlier than you expect. If the normal place you sit is in one of these areas, however, then it's quite likely you will.

Bendy bike inventor scores design prize win


easier to get it in a car

I forgot to say that.


NOT already done

A Moulton takes comparatively ages to split into two - it is not the same at all! That's why it's not classed or marketed as a folding bike. I'm afraid you've completely missed the point.


Cable-stretch is catered for

Clue: the article talks about a ratchet mechanism. Therefore the cable will always be tight, even if it has stretched.

I haven't heard of many proper folders such as Bromptons breaking in the way you describe.


Cable != snapping

Why have you got such a downer on cables? They do things like hold up suspension bridges and there's no reason why they can't be extremely strong. Easy to get one with more cross-sectional area than your average frame tube inside that tube, and the tubular form is not needed because it is a tension element, rather than one which mustn't bend.

A Brompton would also completely collapse if its folding mechanism failed, by the way - there is only one tube (with hinge) connecting the front and back wheels together.

Dunno why I'm posting so many comments defending this bike - I've no connection with it. There just seem to be so many silly objections to it though.


"Stout-chested creator"

Compare with innumerable "EEE and friend" pictures. He doesn't look very stout-chested though.

PS was going to make your comment about it being easier to lock up your bike properly - frame and both wheels.

FLYING CAR, full hover, fairly quiet, offered to US Marines


"half as loud"

I bet that means half the noise power - 3dB down - which is barely noticeable to our logarithmic ears...

Pixel Qi releases sunlight-readable netbook screen


Cost of delivery

You forgot the import duty, VAT and handling charge that's likely to be added...

Ubuntu v iTunes: the music playoff for Applephobes


KDE is better cos you dislike Ubuntu's old colour scheme??

"KDE gave me a much cleaner experience. For a start, it looks nicer - don't argue, it just does. (It doesn't help that the guys at Ubuntu are experts in choosing horrific colour schemes.)"

I agree that we shouldn't be having desktop wars, but if we must then at least make sure we use facts, and substantive ones at that.

1) Ubuntu's colour scheme is no longer orange. You are no better than a Windows user dismissing Linux on the grounds that "you will have to recompile your kernel to do that" by justifying your arguments with out of date information.

2) We all know that it is trivial to change a colour scheme. The mere fact you have to mention it shows that you're grasping at straws.


Why? Because you just want to find fault with it.

Your argument goes along the lines of "the default configuration looks like Windows and I'm a Mac fan so the whole thing is crap." If you want a "start menu" with a box where you can search for an app by typing in its name then you can install one. If you want a Mac OS clone "dock" than you can install one. And for someone reading a site like this, you should not only realise that Linux has the versatility to customise it in so many ways, but you should have the intelligence to be able to do so. It's not hard.

Are you talking about dragging and dropping files between computers? Trivial - the default file manager will do that. Simply open one of the "places" and go File->Connect to Server. Assuming your computers have SSH servers installed (which they don't by default because it's not what most people want, but simply install them with the Software Manager) you choose the SSH protocol, fill in the details, and lo and behold, you can browse another computer's file system and drag files between them. It will even remember all the details including password so that you can do the same thing with one click the next time.

And that's just one example of how you can do it. Naturally, you can mount Windows shares as an alternative, or use, say FTP to a local or Internet server. It's all been done for you.

Not only that, but X-forwarding (usually done with SSH nowadays) allows you to run as many apps as you like on as many computers as you like, displayed on the local host. It's only been able to do that for 20 years or so.

Was that really so hard?


waste of space

If your friend had any sense then he'd compress his WAV with FLAC.


If Amarok is better than Rhythmbox, why can't it play CDs?

CDs are "the past", apparently - that was the developers' excuse. I was astonished when I did a distribution upgrade and I could no longer play CDs with Amarok. Just because hard disk and memory card space is cheap doesn't mean CDs are redundant - there are many reasons why you might want to play them, and the majority of computers have a drive which takes them, so why won't the music player play them?


May I pick your brain?

You seem to be an advocate of KDE applications. I use K3B to burn CDs, but have come across a major fault with it: although I have two drives it won't burn more than one disc simultaneously. It will automatically select the drive with the blank disc in it, but it won't allow you to burn two discs, nor will it allow another instance of itself to run to get round the problem. This omission is compounded by the fact that it won't make ISO images of audio CDs, so you can't even burn from the command line to make two discs at once.

Do you know of a CD burner with the power of K3B that doesn't have this limitation?

Legionnaire's Disease linked to driving, screenwash


"germs" in car aircon

I don't see why. The only water involved in a car air conditioner is that which condenses on the evaporator and will dry out between uses. The type of air conditioner that causes Legionnaire's Disease has a permanent body of warm water which is kept topped-up as it is sprayed around and lost due to evaporation. Those are the conditions the bacteria will flourish and spread.

Moto claims Android cameraphone first


Lack of xenon flashes in cameraphones

I did wonder why there aren't many phones with xenon flashes. I guess there could be several reasons for this:

- accommodating the large capacitor

- the safety issue of a large capacitor charged to a few hundred volts waiting to be dropped in the toilet and fished out again

- the RF interference from a large capacitor effectively being short-circuited when the tube fires potentially frying one of the radio receivers. I guess there could be quite a lot of RFI generated while it is being charged, too, and that could go on for several seconds.

BBC iPlayer to run on iPads. Eventually


@Big Yin

It's not "false dichotomy" - it's oversimplification on your part. I have already tried to explain that there is a compromise between the expense and effort of particular methods to prevent copying versus their effectiveness. As I pointed out, it is judged (rightly or wrongly I am not debating - I am just stating the situation agreed by the rights-holders) that DRM on downloads is necessary whilst on broadcasts it is not. We all know that there is no way of preventing piracy completely, so please stop erecting straw men to knock down.

Making it non-trivial to copy the material increases its value elsewhere, such as in DVD sales. The BBC makes money from sales of its material on DVD, as do the rights-holders.

I am no friend of DRM and how companies like Microsoft attempt to use it as a way of making money by its usual method of proprietary lock-in. I was particularly incensed by the release of the original iPlayer as a Windows-only service under the leadership of that idiot Ashley Highfield (now head of Microsoft UK - go figure). Fortunately the BBC Trust was savvy enough to knock that one on the head.