* Posts by mccp

252 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


Can't pay $349 for an Apple Watch? Get a Chinese knockoff for less than $50


In my experience a Rolex should keep time pretty accurately - maybe not good enough for sniping on eBay but good enough for real life.

Rolex will service any of their watches for around £400. Your watch and the movement is completely dismantled, anything worn in the movement is replaced, then it is reassembled, calibrated, polished and returned looking brand new.

That might be too pricey for some, but they don't depreciate.

YouTube flushes Flash for future flicks



Is it just me? I keep seeing the word p0wned in El Reg and I don't know if I like it.

I thought that pwned was an online gamer's misspelling of owned, due to the proximity of O and P on the keyboard. The misspelling is used widely in an ironic manner.

Is p0wned a post-modern ironic mis-misspelling? Or is it just wrong?

French Google fund to pay for 1 million print run of Charlie Hebdo next week


+1 for publishing the covers

Unlike the mainstream UK press...

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.



The byline on an article is now very insignificant, usually hidden below the fold in my browser because of the big picture.

Any chance you can improve that? It's always good to set the correct prejudice configuration _before_ reading the copy.

Gangnam Style BREAKS YouTube


I've just looked at a Google coding standards document for C++ in which the arguments for not using unsigned integers are incomprehensible.


At one point it states this:


for (unsigned int i = foo.Length()-1; i >= 0; --i) ...

This code will never terminate!"

The fact that you can write stupid code which includes the type 'unsigned' does not seem to me to be a good reason not to use 'unsigned'. I can write stupid code using any C type you like.

Perhaps you could point to the good arguments that you found.

Ten Mac freeware apps for your new Apple baby


Re: F.Lux @ Jai

If you considered the way your screen works for a moment you would realise that there is no problem with this.

LCD panels have a white backlight that is usually fixed at one level of intensity, or varied in intensity according to the ambient light. Colour is added by shining the white light through an array of red, green and blue filters. The LCD part of your screen simply blocks or unblocks the light emerging from any one particular filter.

The LCD doesn't care about the screen colour, the filters are passive and the backlight only varies its intensity to adjust for ambient light levels.

Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows



Might be a bit less used than 7-zip and VLC, but Wireshark is the dog's bollocks for any network diagnostics.

Bug fixes! Get your APPLE BUG FIXES! iOS and OS X updates right here!


Re: Yeah, but ...

I have IOS 8.1 on my iPhone 5 and I get the same battery performance as I did with IOS 7.

Apple did replace my battery for free last month though - there is a battery replacement program for some iPhone 5s that have faulty batteries - find the page here: https://www.apple.com/uk/support/iphone5-battery/.

Apple blats WireLurker OS X, iOS malware – but fanbois aren't safe yet



"I’m not scared of WireLurker, but I am concerned that this technique could be weaponized in the future"

Is this guy living in an Iain M. Banks novel?

Got a spare $600k? Then an ancient Apple-1 could be yours


Re: The machine that started the digital revolution?

You have a point, but I'm finding it hard to think of any company that started off making single board microcomputers back in the seventies, that still makes personal computers today, _apart_ from Apple.

Trolls pop malformed heads above bridge to sling abuse at Tim Cook


@ John Sanders

"so you now say you're gay and your point is?"

If you had actually read the original article you would know:

"I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others," Cook wrote in an open letter published in Bloomberg.

"So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

NTT thinks it's defined the PERFECT AMPERE with a cunning trap


Re: @Reg Number of electrons != current

Resistance is futile.

It's ok, Ohm leaving.

Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012


@Brenda McViking

At present in the UK, a shareholder in receipt of a dividend gets a tax credit to take account of the fact that the company paying the dividend has already had to pay corporation tax. If the shareholder's dividend income added to any other income is below the higher rate threshold, they pay no tax at all. If the shareholder pays 40% tax on their earned income, the tax credit means that the effective tax rate for the dividend is only 25%.

There's no double taxation for companies that distribute profit as dividends, it might look like it, but all that happens is an adjustment to the tax rate to take account of the personal circumstances of the person who receives the dividend.

Customers pay a sales tax, which the company collects on behalf of HMRC. The company doesn't pay it. No double taxation there either.

Companies only pay corporation tax on profits. Gross pay (i.e. salaries including income tax) is an allowable expense and therefore no double taxation there.

Corporation tax is _not_ double taxation, pure and simple.

If a company retains profits, they will (and should IMHO) pay tax on them. If they invest those profits in things that are useful to the country (like investing in capital equipment to develop the business) then there are further tax credits available.



"I empathise with you, my 3 man company, run from my spare bedroom, paid around £18k last year in corp tax, plus about £8k per quarter in VAT."

Businesses don't _pay_ VAT they _collect_ it on behalf of HMRC.

Fiat 500S: So pleasingly sporty we didn't want to give it back


Pricy spares

My daughter's 2009 500 sport needed to have a new electric steering motor at 3 and a half years old.

It cost about £1500. The most irritating thing about the whole episode was that the dealer had an offer on a brand new 500 for £8500. Not the same model admittedly, but definitely the same steering motor.

Fiat's customer service didn't want to know, the dealership were embarrassed, but in the end, not very helpful.

Nice car though.

DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire


Abolish it

As VED bands are organised so that it is cheaper for more fuel efficient cars, there seems to be absolutely no reason why there can't be a VED element to the tax on fuel.

Try evading that.

I suppose there would no longer be jobs for people tasked with creating hopeless online services that conk out at the first sign of load; or for those who make money flogging ANPR cameras and software to look up and flag evaders.

In France, you pay to register a car in the first place, then the only recurring cost is fuel and insurance (and an MOT every 2 years from 4 years old). Fuel is cheaper than the UK, roads generally in better repair. Figure that out.

Buying memory in an iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills


Re: One more...

s/Dollar bills/Pound notes/

Spies would need superpowers to tap undersea cables



Surely it would be easy enough to make sure that the continuity of the power cable was maintained with a couple of jumper leads?

The rest sounds hard but not impossible.

Hot Celebrity? Stash of SELFIES where you're wearing sweet FA? Get 2FA. Now


Re: unlimited login attempts/client certificates

"In that case have a 30 minute time out..."

That still gives you a DoS vector - just script something to constantly try logging in.

"720 passwords can then be tried in a day..."

I make it 144 - max 6 an hour, 24 hours a day.

Broadcom reveals $20 'Pi in the sky' IoT development widget


Re: Uhm, not really

I'm not sure what point you're making here - the ESP8266 looks like it gives you WiFi and serial with the LwIP stack.

The Broadcom board looks like it gives you gyroscope, accelerometer, eCompass, pressure sensor, humidity & temperature sensor, a small red box, Bluetooth SMART, companion app – iOS for now, Android in October, Windows or Linux SDK, ARM RealView RVDS, CodeSourcery G++ Lite tool-chains and the Eclipse IDE.

Not really the same thing at all.

Can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of PUREST ... BLACK?


Re: "looks like a patent is going to be tough"

Probably not.

They either have a patent already (or imminently) which is why they have made an announcement, or (more likely) they will patent the method of production which doesn't seem to have been included in the publicity.

What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'


Re: right to change history

@diodesign: you should have realised that reporting facts in a comment would only attract downvotes here.

'Ribbed' for your pleasure: Jony Ive unveils NAKED IPHONE


Re: I've seen the video in question

Weren't you even mildly impressed when he stood on one end of the screen and bent it through 90 degrees while failing to inflict any damage to it whatsoever?

Nationwide Building Society's services out for the count


Re: It seems to be working again now

Me too. And the login popup says that all services are working normally.

NASA preps flying saucer ballocket flight



Surely it's a Rockoon?

Working on the definition that a Ballocket is first balloon-like on the way up followed by rocket-assisted ascent, rather than rocket-assisted ascent followed by balloon-assisted descent?

I'll get my coat.

Granny's Guardian: Acorn BBC Micro hero touts OAP watchdog kit


Re: Just what elderly people need!


Having once rescued my downstairs neighbour who had fallen in her kitchen and lay immobile with a broken hip for 4 hours before I happened to hear her calls for help when I returned home, any kind of smart alarm system has to be worthwhile.


Re: Hmmm...

Ahem, ZX81.

Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]


Re: Note to all C programmers

"surely it's a rare device these days that needs the raw minimalism of C."

I agree with many of the comments that you've made so far, but I'm afraid that this is simply wrong. I am still writing performance critical code for devices that use 64 MHz CPUs with 16 MB of RAM. In the embedded world, that is Maserati-style resources but still the additional memory overhead and performance reduction of C++ rules it out in favour of C. The vast majority of embedded work will be done on slower processors with an order of magnitude less RAM so C will be required for many years to come.

Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight


Re: three times as light as

Of course - if 'as light as' is the linguistic equivalent of 'to the power of -1'. In this context, the 'three times' becomes 'three times to the power -1' or 'one third' in English. The correct inverse of 'light' is 'heavy' therefore:

'Three times as light as' == 'One third as heavy as'. QED.

This is the same lack of understanding about fractions as using multiples of 100%. I.e. 300% to mean 3x, probably because 300 is so much more impressive than 3. I believe this happens because English graduates don't understand that '300%' literally means '300 hundredths'.

I blame the government.

Yes, Google can afford to lose $9bn in Motorola sale. But did it really?


Re: You lost me there

I'm also lost here:

"$700m a year in tax deductions from future profits"

I thought that a tax deduction was the amount that your were able to deduct from your taxable profits. In that case, you only save the tax that you would have paid on the $700M. I guess that makes the savings about 30% of what was stated.

Virgin Galactic's supersonic space ship in 71,000-ft record smash


The heat is not from friction

AFAIK and I'm not a rocket scientist or a physicist, I think you'll find that the heat on re-entry is generated by compression of the air in front of the aircraft, and not from anything to do with friction.

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear


Re: FX570 was a superb calculator

All those Casio calculators are superb - I still use my fx-39 almost daily. It was bought new for my O level maths around 1979 and it is by far the longest surviving piece of electronics that I've ever owned. In fact, I can't think of any other possession from my teenage years that I still use. I have a couple of colleagues who also have Casio calculators of a similar vintage on their desks.

Plus, it only seems to need new batteries every three or four years.

Intel pulls up SoCs, reveals 'integrated' memory on CPUs


Re: Why ?

"Why on earth make a difference between internal and external memory ?"

So that you can make your memory-bound workloads run faster by telling your application to use the internal rather than the external memory. It's quite likely that the memory mapping will be taken care of by the compiler so that it will all work like magic for programmers who don't like complexity.

Banknote campaigner's Twitter rape threats ordeal: Bloke, 21, cuffed


Re: All my banknotes...

The Queen does not count as a "woman of note" as there is a difference between attainment and an accident of birth.

Mass Sony DVR seppuku riddle: Freeview EPG update fingered


Re: Broadcast EPGs

"the broadcasters need to work on the robustness of the broadcast EPG - not everyone can achieve a perfect signal and tuners that are perfectly acceptable for viewing shouldn't need to be replaced because the EPG update requires perfection."

This is simply wrong.

The EPG is broadcast in system information tables specified by the DVB standards. It is easy enough to download copies of these either from ETSI or dvb.org.

The tables that are used for the EPG are broadcast repetitively at intervals that vary between 10 and 120 seconds. It doesn't matter one bit if your signal is dodgy, or that your installation is rubbish. In fact, there is so much redundancy and error detection in DVB signals that if you can see video you can guarantee that you will be receiving good system tables.

As is mentioned elsewhere, it is far more likely that a receiver's firmware doesn't implement the standards completely or correctly. Freeview are often at the bleeding edge of adopting the more difficult techniques that are described in the standards but are generally not used by other (less experimental) broadcasters. I suppose that may mean that STBs show up their shortcomings with Freeview more often than elsewhere.

I have written and maintain a commercial DVB stack so that's how I know this.

Apple Time Capsule 2013: Next-gen wireless networking, anyone?


Re: Disk or disks

Discs - the Time Capsule has one, the device you're backing up has another.

Although the prices are a bit eye-watering, the Time Capsule that I have has been one of the easiest networked backup systems I've ever set up. The WiFi has also trivial (with a Virgin cable modem). I will qualify this by saying that all three clients are running OSX. So far I've used the backup to restore an iMac after a disc upgrade and a MacBook Pro after a disc failure. Both restores were trivial to run and reasonable fast over GigE.

For anyone with an OSX device who wants fit and forget networked backup the Time Capsule is a no-brainer.

EU sets ball rolling on ominous telly spectrum review


@ Bill Ray

"It's strange to think that broadcast TV, probably the most significant technical development of a generation, will likely have an operational span of less than a human lifetime."

Even if _terrestrial_ broadcast TV is gone, it seems unlikely that satellite and cable broadcast TV won't be around for some time to come.

UHF band TV broadcasts made sense for a while in the analogue era, but arguably digital satellite broadcasts make more sense for TV (better use of available bandwidth, better coverage, more available bandwidth).

Digital terrestrial is a blip and the analogue switchover probably should have been to DVB-S and not to DVB-T. In fact, I'm struggling to think of any advantage that terrestrial TV broadcasts have over satellite.

STEVE JOBS hits back at ebook ruckus FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE


@sabroni Re: Puzzled

I've settled out of court before in a case where (a) I knew I was right and (b) I was pretty sure the court would agree with me. I settled out of court because the settlement cost me £1250 and the cost of the solicitor, barrister and lost billable time for a two day court hearing was going to be £8000+. I would not have been able to recover my costs from the other party.

In the end you realise that paying an extra £7K just so that you have a piece of paper from the court agreeing with you is not really worth it. If you're a corporation I guess that the decision is even easier.

Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride


Re: Completely Wrong (fastmail).

I just googled Fastmail and hit the first result to go to their website (www.fastmail.co.uk).

That gave me a certificate error as their web server's certificate is for www.fastmail.fs.

This kind of puts me off using them as a mail provider.

Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

Thumb Up

@ 0laf

Just read that - so far the best cheap Kindle book I've found. It's probably worth a fiver when it's republished later this year.

Google adds Atari Easter Egg for Breakout's birthday


Re: Re: AH HA!

bank check != blank cheque


WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?


Re: Freeview

As the article points out, you're more likely to see H.265 used to broadcast Freeview HD than Freeview 4K as you would be able to fit twice as many channels into a Freeview multiplex. In fact, the terrestrial TV broadcast frequencies are so valuable for mobile applications, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the 2019 row in your table was:

2019: Freeview switch off, viewers migrate to FreeSat.

The Lynx effect: The story of Camputers' mighty micro


Re: Geography is a bit screwed

I think the author is being confused by a Google maps cock up.

I'm pretty sure that Camputers were in the top floor of 32 Bridge Street (Cambridge wine merchants occupy teh ground floor nowadays) which is just next to Magdalene bridge. Google seems to think that this is in fact Magdalene street (wrong side of the river) and it places 32 Bridge Street on the wrong side of the road in St Johns College. Use Street View to look at the bridge and turn to face the wine shop. I'd insert a google link if I knew how.

I used to work for an educational software publisher that moved into the offices that Camputers vacated - there was a fair amount of Lynx detritus left behind. We spent quite a few years there developing software for the BBC Micro. I seem to remember that SOS Children's Villages were on the floor below and I don't remember who occupied the retail premises on the ground floor.

4K video may wow vidiots, but content creators see pitfalls


Vidiots is a perfectly good portmanteau word that I have been using since at least 2004 to describe those people who believe that because they watch kitten videos on YouTube, they know everything there is to know about digital video.

Don't like your cell network? Legal unlocking ends TONIGHT in US


Re: £4 per month discount (After the contract has expired)

@ AC 10:18

T-Mob will effectively give you £20/month discount if you switch to their full monty SIM only contract, currently £16/mo unlimited calls/texts/data. When I recently looked at contract phones vs SIM only + unlocked phone it was hard to find any great difference between any of them. With a contract phone you may have the convenience of an automatic upgrade, but SIM only gets you an unlocked phone from the start.

'Op! Op! Op!' Gangnam Style earns Google $8m


@ Jan Hargreaves

I imagine that once your songs' pages get to the hundreds of millions of views, you may be able to negotiate a higher fee per view from Google. You can bet that Google will charge more for adverts on the popular pages.

Apple 'slashes iPhone 5 screen orders', tight-fisted fanbois blamed



The reason for not showing lower-case key caps is probably because of Scott Forstall's adherence to skeuomorphism - the virtual iOS keyboard is made to be as alike to a real-life keyboard as possible. In the real world key caps don't change when you hit shift-lock so the iOS virtual keyboard doesn't change key caps either.

Just saying - not trying to defend it or anything.

Kickstarted mobe charger 'kicked to death by Apple'


Re: Hmmm

Isn't the point of this standardisation to make sure that you can use a single charger with any data enabled phone and not to ensure that every phone has a uUSB connector? God forbid that uUSB is the connector technology that any standards compliant manufacturer must now use forever.

Every iPhone I've had comes with a charger with a USB type A socket on it - I can use that charger with any phone designed to use the EU common external power supply by using the relevant cable. This seems more sensible than having a charger with a fixed uUSB terminated cable.

In any case, as far as I can tell, Apple comply with the EU common external power supply standard as long as they provide a cable that will connect the iPhone to an EU EPS, which they do.

What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks


@ AndrueC

You obviously never write code that implements standards or interacts with the outside world.

Of course it shouldn't be necessary to write a comment to explain what a line of code is going to do, but I often find it necessary to write comments explaining why it is doing it. I may need to refer to a standards document or another source that I used when writing the code. Sometimes it's one sentence in an entire standard or reference manual that's important - what should I do, hope the future me remembers or that someone else is psychic enough to find that reference?

Apple loses iPhone patent lawsuit


Re: Can I just say

Because the fat cat lawyers get fatter?

How do any of these software patent cases benefit the end user of any device?