* Posts by Alex 0.1

63 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Alex 0.1

Easy workaround

I know this must be a challenging concept for some people, but if you're in the vanishingly small group who

1) want to buy an iThing

2) haven't done so before

3) have some oddities in your order such as details mismatches which means Apple are rightly wary of it being fraudulent, and

4) don't want to prove that you are, in fact, you and that your card isn't being used without your permission (and are also blind to the fact that if Apple didn't do this, you same outraged people would be claiming that Apple are crappy for not verifying orders properly and letting people's cards be fraudulently used

then couldn't you:

5) walk into a shop and physically, you know, buy one? How's that hard?

"and was told by her bank that they had never heard of private companies asking for this information."

Whoever told her that is an idiot, and so's she for believing them. Private companies ask for verification documents all the time, leaving aside the fact that many online retailers will do exactly this for suspicious orders, the likes of solicitors, estate agents, letting agents, investment advisors, banks etc all do exactly the same for everyone that walks through the door (and are all private companies), though more for money-laundering than card fraud reasons.

Forget Apple's AirPlay - it's Windows 8 you want, says speaker maker

Alex 0.1

There is.

There is a standard, and Microsoft are following it. "Play To" is simply a subset of DLNA, A Windows system's Play To functionality is simply it acting as a DLNA DMC, and a "compatible" speaker/amp/tv/whatever for Play To is simply one which can function as a DLNA DMR. There's nothing unstandardized about either of these.

This is really no different to the various "technologies" used by TV/blu-ray device makers for unified remote control, Samsung's Anynet+/Sony Bravia Sync/Sharp Aquos Link/LG Simplink etc etc are all just CEC under different names.

New broadband minister snubs 'ugly' fibre cabinet gripes

Alex 0.1

Re: Pictures?

There are a few varieties of both old and new cabinets, the new full size ones look like this:



Random people next to one for scale:


O2 leaks 3G users' mobile numbers to every website visited

Alex 0.1


Users can work around this by using the username "bypass" in their APN settings rather than "o2web" or similar, this bypasses o2's proxy and prevents the number leak (as well as stopping the javascript link insertion and image compression o2's proxies also carry out).

This works for standard contracts, I have no idea whether PAYG or iPhone users can use the bypass username and still get a data connection.

Go Daddy mass hack points surfers towards malware

Alex 0.1

Nothing new

This is nothing new. Malware specifically designed to target FTP clients and either retrieve stored passwords or monitor connections when the password is manually provided is nothing new, see Gumblar for one example dating back to 2009.

These account access details are then used for a whole variety of reasons, sometimes the details are used to upload PHP/Perl junk mailers to accounts, sometimes they add iframe links into all content into an account, or sometimes they upload content to folders' .htaccess files.

These attacks are generally carried out in batches as a matter of course, where large numbers of different accounts will be compromised in a short period of time, the only thing that may seem unusual about this particular round is the number of accounts being hosted by a single host.

As mentioned in the article, it wasn't an attack on GoDaddy's systems or security procedure, it's sloppy users not updating crummy insecure Adobe software and having their own passwords compromised as a result.

4G auctions - illegal and immoral?

Alex 0.1


"But users are already proving reluctant to pay for the additional speed of 3G"

This is because "additional speed" that's only a bit faster, is often pretty sketchy, and has vast swathes of the country with no coverage at all, isnt a particularly attractive service to pay for.

As some of the objections hint at, saying "wow our 3g covers 95% of the population" is all well and good, but that 95% is basically cities., which leaves vast swathes of the country (upto and including fairly sizeable towns, not just ass-end-of-nowhere countryside) with no 3G signal - And guess what? The one place I dont particularly need coverage is 1) the city where I live because i'm at/close to home and 2) the city where I live that has wifi hotspots everywhere anyway.

Superfast mobile net connections are utterly worthless if they cant be used while mobile, which also (funny this) includes outside of cities. Right now, for 3G, that's basically nonexistant. So why is this something networks are suprised people dont fancy paying for?

"Mobile broadband" to be worthwhile and mobile, whether 3G or 4G, needs a requirement of 95% LAND AREA not where-people-live.

Personally, I would fairly happily pay what would probably amount to a small fortune for a 3G or 4G service that actually achieved anything remotely close to the speed advertised and would actually always work everywhere, or at least mostly everywhere, instead of here and there, sometimes.

Nissan Leaf electric car

Alex 0.1
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A bit of maths can answer the cost comparison questions, at least. Disclaimer: The following might all be bullshit/wrong, but I tried.

A Leaf has a battery rated at 24kWh - On my current electric tarrif, my night rate per kWh is 4.14p plus VAT (4.97p inc VAT) - Assuming 80% efficiency through the home charger (which seems to be the figure most used on the interweb for this car's charger, though I cant find any proper source), 30kWh are needed to charge the car, totalling £1.49 per full charge at night rate.

That full charge will get you 109 miles according to the spec, or anywhere from 47 to 138 miles according to EPA testing under various conditions - 100 miles seems a fair rounding.

Current diesel price round these parts is around 137p (about £6.23 a gallon) - So, getting 100 miles out of a £1.49 charge equates to about 424 MPG in pure cost terms.

A Polo Bluemotion has a tank size of 45 litres. Assuming empty-to-full refuels and recharges, you're looking at £61.65 per tank for the Polo, and £1.49 per tank for the Leaf. Reviews seem to give the Polo a theoretical range of 800 miles, and a practical average of about 700.

So, the Leaf needs 7 charges per 1 of the Polo, and costs become £61.65 vs £10.43 over 700 miles - A saving of £51.22 with the Leaf every comparible distance driven in both.

List price of a Polo bluemotion seems to be £14,445, vs £25,990 according to this article for the Leaf - A difference of £11,545. Using a £51.22 cost difference per 700 mile range as above, you'd need to make that saving 225 times to recoup the difference (225 full bluemotion refuels, or 1577 Leaf recharges).

So, if you're driving 100 miles a day, you can probably assume the Leaf will start working out cheaper than the bluemotion after 4 and a half years, assuming prices etc all stay equal (and discounting other differences such as tax/congestion charges (though afaik, the polo bluemotion is also exempt from congestion charges, and is in the cheapest tax band).

Obviously, using a less efficient/more expensive diesel car would make the Leaf look much more favourable, as £1.50 per charge (or 100-ish miles) is an absolutely tiny charging cost, assuming you do all your charging at home overnight.

BT reveals fibre-to-the-cabinet plans for 156 exchanges

Alex 0.1


1) What Grease Monkey said.

2) Not all of Norfolk and Suffolk is farmland spread miles apart, ya know. We do have these things called "towns" and "cities" here just like the rest of the country. Except, none of them have yet been earmarked for FTTC upgrades, while piddling little rural villages elsewhere in the country already have it, and countless are on the "to-be-upgraded" list.

Wind power: Even worse than you thought

Alex 0.1


The problem with jokers and your "well how would you rather have a nuclear plant close to you instead" is that my answer, along with that of anyone with any modicum of sense, is yes, please do.

I live not terribly far away from Sizewell, which houses Sizewell B (1195MW operating capacity) and is hopefully soon going to house Sizewell C (projected 1600MW capacity) giving a total generation at the fairly small discreet sizewell site of 2,795MW of power.

A quick google tells me that the largest onshore wind farm in the UK is Whitelee, which houses 140 turbines in an area of roughly 13 square miles - and has a generating capacity of 322MW total (2.3MW per turbine).

EVEN ASSUMING that these turbines could produce 100% output, a replacement of the sizewell plant would require 1,216 of these turbines, over an area of 111 square miles.

If we take the accepted average of 30% average capacity, that increases to 4,053 turbines over 370 square miles, which per this article still doesn't help with production of power when it's actually needed.

So when you ask me if i'd rather have the nuclear plants there or a windfarm, the obvious answer is that yes i'd much rather have a nuclear plant on a 245 acre site (1/3 of a square mile) than have my home, my town, and approximately a quarter of the total land area of Suffolk demolished to make way for the room needed for a replacement wind farm.

Middle England chokes on Nice Baps

Alex 0.1

Uptight or what

There's a burger van every day in a layby on a major road near here called "Angie's Big Baps" that's been running for years, so presumably not many people have objected to that. Maybe people round here can just take a joke.

Tesla Motors sues BBC for defamation

Alex 0.1

Minor correction

"1. The gearbox wasn't working - couldn't get 2nd gear.

Drive around in 1st gear in your petrol car foot-to-the-floor, and you're gonna get crappy range too. (well...you know what I mean)."

The gearbox was working fine, the Tesla only has a single gear. Clarkson was talking about during the design phase, they were originally trying for 2 gears but it didnt work properly, so the car was built to use only one gear - This was an alteration in the design of the car, not a fault in the one TG was testing.

Alex 0.1
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Inocrrect reporting - watch the actual show

"Clarkson claimed the Tesla cut out at 55 miles"

No, he didnt. The actual statement in the show was "we worked out that on out track it would run out after just 55 miles".

Not only is there a huge difference between "ran out" and "worked out it would run out", I fail to see how it running out after 55 miles would be a bad thing anyway. "on a track" clearly means you're thrashing the hell out of it, and tesla's 200-odd mile range is based on driving at something like 40mph - So there's most likely no misrepresentation whatsoever about that 55 mile figure, which seems perfectly reasonable for thrashing it round a track.

Tesla's complaint also moans that the show said one of the cars broke down through overheating - Again this seems a complete fiction, Clarkson's words were "the motor's overheating and i've got reduced power" - This is exactly what Tesla's own court filing says happened, while complaining that the show supposedly said the car had packed up entirely.

I really cant for the life of me see why Tesla's nickers are in a twist - Not only are their complaints just inaccurate/wrong, but the segment on the show was by and large very positive of the tesla, it seems amazing that they cant just take the range/reliability criticism and actually improve things (regardless of how the show may or may not have portrayed it, Tesla's own court filing agrees that one car suffered reduced power due to overheating and the other had a partial brake failure caused by a blown fuse, neither of which you exactly want to be common faults on any car, let alone one costing a hundred grand).

Fuel foolery, merger warnings and Budgetary boons

Alex 0.1


"The plan to subsidise deposits for first-time home buyers is even more glaringly insane. We've just seen most of the financial system of the western world collapse from the error of lending the money to buy a house to people who cannot afford to buy a house. As a method of digging our way out of this rubble lending more money to more people who cannot afford houses lacks a certain logic to it."

There's a huge difference between being able to afford to repay money loaned, and having tens of thousands of pounds sitting in the bank. I bought my first apartment 2 years ago with the help of a private shared equity scheme offered by the developer who put in 25% of the apartment's cost, enabling me to get a mortgage with effectively no deposit.

I'm in a perfectly stable job with decent career prospects and have absolutely no trouble whatsoever meeting my mortgage payments, but I did not have £16,500 sitting in the bank to put down a 15% deposit, which would have netted me a significantly more expensive mortgage than the one I currently have, having had 25% put down by the developer.

Without the help of a shared equity scheme, my currently perfectly-affordable situation would have been hopeless - No deposit, and the problem of getting one together becomes circular when you consider that renting an equivilent small apartment would have cost more per month than my mortgage currently does - Even if I did have a minimal deposit, it would have netted me a more expensive mortgage from the banks than i've managed to secure thanks to a shared equity deal.

I'm certainly not alone in this kind of situation, and was lucky as hell to have gotten a private shared equity deal from my apartment's developer that was actually a better deal than the Homebuy shared equity offered by the government at the time.

You (and the banks) need to seriously re-evaluate the difference between risky lending prospects (those who may well end up defaulting on loans that they cant afford, and who caused this mess) and perfectly good lending prospects with decent salaries, secure jobs and good credit histories, but who just dont happen to have tens of thousands of pounds kicking around in a bank account.

Anonymous hack showed password re-use becoming endemic

Alex 0.1
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I think it's exactly this. As with you and several other commentors, I simply use a shared semi-throwaway password for any of the myriad forums/commenting/random other website that wants a password for no good reason I use - I then have another password for fewer more important things (online shops I buy from regularly), another for email, and another for online banking.

If some sloppy admin of some random forum gets his password db exploited, sure, i'll look like a password re-user (though, my password is re-used but still not exactly short or easy to crack) but that password doesnt help get to anything important to me, and simply having to switch to a new password for any low-importance site I use is much easier than having to use and remember different passwords for all of the eleventy billion different places that want one (I don't particularly consider browser addons that generate + store passwords for me a solution, as I regularly want/need to access things from remote locations, plus, software developers do abandon their projects regularly).

Kid spanks a grand on Xbox using Mum's bank card

Alex 0.1


And the response from the FSA, will be that you agreed to the purchases, which you have.

The situation is either

1) The account is in your name, in which case you're responsible for the charges because it's your account with your card that you enteredto be used for payments (plus, your son shouldn't then be using the account in the first place), or

2) Your son is setup with his own child or teen account into which you entered your payment details, which in both cases automatically default to all purchasing and payments being blocked via parental controls.

You have to explicitly alter the parental controls to allow purchasing for either a teen or child account, and if you're capable enough of reading the screen to enable purchasing, it's your own problem if you're not capable of disabling said option again after making the purchase you want.

Twitter diet spam splurge blamed on Gawker compromise

Alex 0.1

Think not.

That suggestion has more holes in it than a hole full of holes.

Here's a couple:

1) Spamvertised websites often point to compromised content on legitimate servers. Spammer sends out junk message pointing to compromised content hosted on a legit host's server. The server promptly dies, at which point the host of the server sues the developer of your antispam software for damages caused by the server outage, as well as contacting the police to file criminal charges (DDoS attackes are explicitly illegal in the UK, USA, and Sweden to name but some, and it'd probably be both the software developer and all the users of the software that're liable).

2) Instant free DDoS botnet to anyone that can send a few junk mails. I work for company A and decide that company B, my competitor, is doing a bit too well on its' online shop. Send out a few emails advertising company B's website, make the messages look a bit spammy, and bam, down goes my competitor's website.

Provincial outrage over BT's broadband upgrade race

Alex 0.1


>>>Surely upgrading the exchanges with highest density of users first is only sensible, espcially given that the upgrade is a fixed cost. More people will benefit quicker and it will cost less per user.

Yes, this is correct. BUT. The whole point of this race to infinity business is meant to be for *overlooked* areas that arent neccesarily massive density locations to gain a chance of being on the upgrade list.

BT have already announced / started upgrading hundreds of exchanges using their own basis to determine which ones to do, don't you think this list is already the list of the highest density, best-return-on-investment areas?

Hint: They already know where the highest density broadband areas are, because theyre the ones that supply it. They dont need some bullshit PR "competition" to tell them that, the competition is supposedly for exchanges that *arent* what BT consider to be high enough density to upgrade anyway, but have a high proportion of people wanting the upgrade.

ACS:Law's mocking of 4chan could cost it £500k

Alex 0.1

Nothing so complex

You guys think way to technically for this.

ACS dont have their own servers or anything of the sort, their account was previously hosted on a shared cPanel hosting account at Dataflame (probably costing them about a fiver a month) - When Dataflame cancelled their account following the DDoS they will have provided to ACS a backup of the account (cPanel will generate restorable account backups, including all email content) which ACS will have then uploaded to their new account with whoever their new shared cPanel host is, to then restore the backup into a working account.

Stupidity, however, meant that instead of uploading the backup to the account's root to be restored from there (which is not publicly accessible) they uploaded it to the account's public_html folder (which is).

Second piracy threat lawyers withstand DDoS attack

Alex 0.1


>>>>These assaults moved onto the website of solicitors ACS:Law on Tuesday, briefly taking it offline.

A bit more than briefly, I'd say - Not long after the attack, Dataflame suspended their account (it was simply hosted on a shared server, not really able to cope with a sizeable DOS attack) and then appear to have terminated it completely, the domain hasn't resolved for several days now.

BT feathers ruffled over pigeon-based file transfer caper

Alex 0.1


I'm quite amazed that with all the constant talk of no/feeble net connectivity people always seem to forget that satellite connections exist.

The setup cost for a satellite connection is pretty high (£250-£500 ish on average) but after that the monthly fee is no more than a reasonably good quality ADSL service, and to be honest as these complaints always center around "business needs" (assuming that isnt just fluff to provide a more legit reason than "I want to watch iplayer!") a £250-£500 one-off expense for something these people state as being essential for their businesses shouldn't really be breaking the bank.

I used a satellite connection myself 5-6 years ago when the best I could get at home was ISDN, the connection was downstream only (meaning traffic had to go out via ISDN then in via satellite) but that kind of service is long-dead now, current satellite connections are all two-way and from various providers offer in the 2-4mbit range for downstream and 256-768kbit up, and thats the speed you actually get - No "up to" nonsense.

Sure, its an expense people in the countryside can semi-legitimately argue they shouldn't have to bear, but the option is there.

ID fraudsters sell stolen Aus house

Alex 0.1

Out of pocket?

Leaving aside dumb aus laws that now make the property legally the purchasor's, might there be a possibility that the guy who got shafted can simply claim this against his home building's insurance? Certainly in the UK buildings insurance covers against theft with usually no conditions against this being upto and including theft of the entire house, which is essentially what's happened here.

Regardless of whether the aus legal system now considers the buyer the legal owner of the property because they werent involved in the fraud, the fraud still happened and resulted in the theft of the owner's house, which is (might be? Would in the UK anyway) be insured against theft.

Windows 7 Backup gets users' backs up

Alex 0.1

Biting back..

Just to bite back, though - The windows backup tool is, whether the rest of us like it or not, aimed primarily at home users, and aimed at backing up the operating system disk/partition in a machine.

In most cases, users tend to fall into either 1) a user that doesnt actually have much (<150GB) on their machine's only disk, regardless of how big it is, or 2) has lots of stuff, most of which is stored on a non-os disk, with the system disk/partition being, again, probably <150GB. User type 3 that has tons and tons of stuff floating round (>300gb), *and* has it all stuffed onto the same disk as the os, is, in my experience, fairly uncommon.

Alex 0.1

Big data sets only

As Microsoft pointed out, performance issues do only seem to exist on very big data sets - Granted that the scheduling and configuration flexibility of the backup software is woefully dreadful and horribly confusing almost to the point of uselessness to a home user, especially where the differences between backup types are concerned, but speeds for a "regular" sized backup are nothing really to worry about.

I currently use the backup tool to generate a weekly file backup and system image, the system image totals about 130GB and the total size of the file backup is about 30GB (though as it's incremental there's maybe 1GB of changes on average week by week) and the total process takes a couple of hours, and that's writing the 130GB of system image and 1GB of incremental file changes over a 100mbit network to a set of slow raid5 disks.

MS kernel patch skirts infected machines

Alex 0.1

And maybe...

How about scenario C, as follows:

User with virus attempts to install patch, thanks to MS gets the following incredibly clear message:

""Your computer might not be compatible with Microsoft Security Update MS10-015. Proceeding with installation of the update could prevent your system from starting successfully. For additional information please visit http://www.microsoft.com/security/updates/015." "

Page linked to in message says:

"These conditions on your system may be the result of a computer virus that modifies some operating system files, which renders your infected computer incompatible with the MS10-015 update. In some instances, installing security update MS10-015 in such a condition causes the computer to restart repeatedly."

Page then goes on to provide detailed information and guidance on what help and advice to seek to clean your computer.

User consequently knows theyre infected, can get pached, is not insecure forever, and did not have to brick their machine (and whine at microsoft for it) in the process.

But why let the truth get in the way of sensationalist bitching at microsoft, huh?

Oracle releases emergency security patch for Java

Alex 0.1

No update...

Seems there's no auto update available to some places yet at least... The "Update Now" function within the java control panel still insists I have no update available, despite the download clearly being available on their website.

Adobe man to Apple: 'Go screw yourself'

Alex 0.1


The whole point in the change of license is that you're no longer allowed to use code that's been translated from another language before compiling it.

Bloke threatens BT with giant plywood cheque

Alex 0.1
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Various, possibly

You'd probably have grounds to sue them for harassment if theyre constantly pestering and threatening you demanding a payment you've already sent them. The protection from harassment act covers this nicely.

Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers

Alex 0.1

Not quite

It's more like Ford entering into an agreement with Esso that you have to use Esso fuel in your car, but that you can fill your car up for free for the rest of your life using Esso fuel. Then, the price of what would otherwise be an £8000 car is hiked to £15000. If you don't like the fact that you're paying the extra cash for free fuel for life, the answer is go buy a different car and pay for your fuel, not buy it then whine about wanting the 7 grand back because you'd rather use Shell.

Alex 0.1

Missed point.

You and people quoting the EULA are utterly missing the point.

Yes, the eula says you can refuse it and return it for a refund, and you can. The bit you seem unable to understand though is that the refund you're entitled to is the amount you paid for the software and as the software is provided free with the hardware, that amount is zero.

It may suck for you if you didnt understand that before buying the machine from Dell, but hey, thats what dell's terms of sale are for and is why the operating system is clearly labelled within their configurators as costing £0.00.

Acer said to be readying glass-lidded laptop

Alex 0.1
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Gorilla Glass

The Digitimes source reporting that the reinforced glass is being provided by Corning, which means it's likely to be Gorilla Glass, which means the glass itself will be significantly stronger and more durable than the plastic outer panel a laptop would normally have anyway. Good news all round.

Archos merges PMP with... digital photo frame

Alex 0.1

Not so bad?

While I also will be sticking with my "basic" archos 7 with 160gb of storage (if and when archos fix+return it, the thing packed up 2 weeks ago :<), it is worth bearing in mind that the increased storage would seem to be the 7's only real significant advantage.

While I have no immense love of android, it is much more flexible than the homebrew *nix flavour installed to the basic 7 so will open up much greater functionality than playing music+video, surfing, email, and playing flash locally.

The price is also pretty phenomenal for people looking for a new device, the archos site quotes £129 for the base model, at that price it's half a normal archos 7 (which has been on the market for over a year) while being able to do quite a bit more, barring store stuff. While that's a pretty big limitation for a travel media player, if this thing's aimed at living in the home, small amounts of storage and upnp streaming are all it needs. Pretty compelling for the price, imo.

Microsoft warns over rogue Security Essentials

Alex 0.1


So that all of the commercial antivirus companies can whinge and moan at microsoft for "anti competitiveness " and "monopoly abuse" and "restricting choice" ad infinitum along exactly the same lines as the browser choice battle microsoft have just lost?

Working antivirus software out of the box would be great and a real serious benefit to a large amount of users, but the commercial antivirus producers know that it'd marginally hurt their bottom line, so will happily see large amounts of users who don't know any better going av-softwareless just so that they can keep the business of a very small minority that would go for a paid offering instead of microsofts if ms's wasnt preinstalled. And they'd do it all in the name of "choice for users".

Student racks up £8000 mobile broadband bill

Alex 0.1

stupid customer

What's unreasonable about it, the £15 base rate on the contract is exactly that, it's a base rate. If you dont bother to read the actual charges you acrrue while using the service your (effectively) line rental provides, who's problem is that but your own?

There's no difference here to paying BT £11.50 a month for line rental then spending several hours a day every day hooked up to a £1 a minute 090 premium rate phone line. How would that be BT's fault? Book a taxi, for a, what, £2.50 callout charge or so, then have him drive you to the other side of the country and be suprised when you get hit for a several hundred pound bill? Take out a £10/month sky subscription then spend 24x7 glued to the pay-per-view porn channels and be suprised at a whopping bill on your card?

These are all exactly the same situations here, just because you pay a small amount for the base access to a service does not mean the end result bill is or should be small, if you use it abnormally and don't bother reading the clearly published costs involved.

No sympathy whatsoever.

Nokia, Intel merge mobile Linux offerings

Alex 0.1


The "clear path" you're after from Nokia, is to write for Qt. Nokia have been saying this for a while, and porting Qt applications between Qt-supporting OS's (both Symbian and MeeGo) is trivial.

Google's Nexus One sales still sluggish

Alex 0.1


It's also doomed to fail because ultimately it also works out more expensive to the consumer, for almost all higher-end phones.

As an example, I just picked up a free N900 upgrade on O2 through the carphone warehouse for £30/month for 24 months, without the phone the lower tarrif that still gives me what I need in terms of airtime and data would be ~£20/month - A £240 saving over 2 years and no phone, or a free £450-500 phone? Easy choice, for me.

Brits take iTablet moniker for 12in iPad rival

Alex 0.1


Pricing's the important bit, it's a shame umpc/tablet makers are constantly announcing these upcoming products with the one important fact left out. As long as the price point's right this thing basically demolishes the ipad, lets hope they can hit the <£500 magic baseline.

The Borings get another whack at Street View

Alex 0.1


Under english law at least, you're trespassing on any private land unless you have the owner's permission, there's right of public access (footpaths that cross fields, for example), or you have a specific legal right to be there.

Trespass in the sense of refusing to leave private property when directed to by the owner is only the case when you were originally given permission to be there (entering a zoo via the front gate by buying a ticket = not trespass as you've been allowed to enter, but then refusing to leave if asked to = trespass), unless you've been given that permission originally you're trespassing just by being there.

French mock British G-spot probe

Alex 0.1

Reading's hard

Yep, damn those male british scientists coming to stupid conclusions because theyre so dumb.

The only minor little place that complaint falls down at is that the lead scientist, Andrea Burri, is neither male or british. She's a female genetic epidemiologist from switzerland. What does that say to your and these french muppets' conclusions?

Apple iPad vs netbooks: fight not over yet

Alex 0.1


Several things strike me about this...

>>> No, the only real difference between netbook and iPad - the price of the two devices being much of a muchness

It is? At $499 for a base model (which will undoubtedly convert to £400 at least) this iPad's 50% more expensive than a middle of the road netbook like an Eee 1005HA, which has significantly more flexibility and a similar battery life. That's not really much of a muchness at all, in my book.

>>> But netbooks' future is limited. They'll get touchscreens, and Windows will get better at working with touch control, and then they'll become Tablet PCs before finally morphing into keyboard-less devices like... the iPad.

These have existed for quite a while, i'd love to know how come suddenly after yesterday everything similar will be morphing into an iPad, and not the countless "prior art" devices that already exist and work fine?

An Eee T91MT is a good example... touchscreen (with multi-touch), check, windows, check, works fantastically well with touch control, check, is a tablet pc, check, still has a keyboard to allow input as well as consumption to be much more a flexible device than an ipad, check, still costs around the same as a base model iPad, check.

The only place it falls down is battery life, and hell, portable media tablets that can achieve 10 hours are nothing new either, an archos 7 can manage about 10 hours of straight video (or signifiantly more when browsing / listening to music), has been around for a year, has a browser (*cough*which supports flash*cough*), and again, is significantly cheaper than a base model iPad.

Nokia N97 Mini

Alex 0.1


I don't really get the E90 comment - I've had an E90 for two years now and it's by far the best phone i've ever owned, it's never crashed once, and is quick and responsive - The only slowdowns it's ever experienced are rendering complex loaded-with-flash web pages, but this is a phone that dates back to the time when a sizeable portion of phones couldnt even handle full-size pages, let alone embedded flash in them.

Alex 0.1


Has your brother ever updated the phone? Nokia released two firmware updates (11.0.021 then 12.2.024) wayyy back in july+august which killed most of the stability and glitching bugs, then the 20.2.019 firmware in october which polished the device off a bit and added extra functionality (and is essentially same firmware the n97 mini has used from release) - With this latest firmware your brother shouldn't really be having any sizeable problems, unless he has a fubar unit.

Nokia opens Ovi Store for N900s

Alex 0.1


It is available sim-free, £430-£500 depending on where you choose to buy it.

>>So I have ended up on O2's sim-only for £20 a month, 600 mins, 1000 texts, unlimited internet.

With that in mind then, it's likely not going to be cheaper going sim-free. £30/month will get you that same contract with the phone for £100 (as a new customer, and going by their HD2 contract prices which will likely be similar / the same for the N900 as the phones cost about the same) or free as a longstanding existing-customer upgrade. The only caveat is the 24 month contract, but you're paying £10 extra for the phone every month, getting you the phone for an effective cost of £340 spread over 2 years as a new customer, or £240 as an upgrade, vs £430 minimum sim-free.

Essentially it's generally only cheaper to go for a sim-free phone and a sim-only contract if you can then get away with only needing the allocations provided by a £10/month or so contract, if you need the extra minutes/free internet and end up paying £20+ anyway, get a cheaper phone to go with it.

Alex 0.1

Voda not needed, hopefully

Apparently the word is that by late january / early february both t-mobile and o2 should have this phone (the vodafone exclusive ends late january and t-mobile at least had intended to stock the phone right from release) so hopefully, we can see it on more than just the one network within a month.

The charge of the alternative gadget chargers

Alex 0.1

Altered figures, still maybe not adding up?

There don't immediately seem to be any orders of magnitude dropped, but perhaps a couple of incorrect assumptions....

I would initially suggest that 100m from a base station is an awfully long way, while you're around the home you're looking at more like 20m at the absolute maximum, which is probably also fair for when at your local starbucks / maccy d's / airport / whatever. Assuming being 20m from a base station instead of 100m, instantly increases the potential power charge of the device by roughly 125x over your calculations.

Additionally, there is no maximum limit of 100mW on wireless devices - 100mW is the most common transmit power for a lot of devices, but plenty of commercial home routers can and do transmit at 24dBm (250mW) and there're ample commercial wireless routers (the kind installed into plenty of larger business premesis) with built in power amplifiers that happily transmit at 26dBm (400mW) - taking 250mW as the max available on a home router, that increases your power availability by 2.5x before taking anything further into account.

I would also suggest that the large majority of places that have one wifi hotspot available generally have multiple, and as theyre all outputting their signals the device will be able to draw power multiplied by the number of hotspots available.

I'll leave the rest of the maths up to you (having quickly done it myself it still comes to a piddling small amount of power so there may still also be orders of magnitude missing here, as I can't see any manufacture even trying to punt a device that'd take decades to charge a phone battery) but based on the above i'd say realistically you can increase your estimate on the charging capability by at least 300x, then further multiply that by a potential for multiple hotspots at any one time (granted I live in an apartment building, but i'm currently in range, at various distances, of 9 wifi signals)

Google open sources flash-happy Chrome OS

Alex 0.1

Full circle

I wonder how many other people note the irony in the fact that MS got slammed for years, to the point of getting taken to various courts and fined untold billions, for tightly integrating a browser into an OS (an OS that can actually do more than just run the browser, too!) yet when Google do the same thing but to a far far greater and infinitely more restrictive extent, it's apparently some revolutionary new way of approaching operating systems...

TalkTalk to fight net disconnection plan

Alex 0.1

Not a problem

In realistic terms, even if TalkTalk don't get this idea quashed before it gets started, it'll die a horrible and embarrasing death not long afterwards.

Being as WEP *is* so insecure and being as people like Mr Steve Davies 3 above think theyre secure when theyre really really not, if this disconnection policy does go through it'll take no time atall for someone of less-than-ethical character to hitch a ride on someone else's net connection. As with other people finding insecurities, I have 6 Wi-Fi connections in range of me not including my own, 1 open (a BT FON hotspot) 4 using WEP and 1 using WPA, with my own connection being the only WPA2.

Busting into any of the WEP secured connections is trivial, and the very first time the connection of a user of a major ISP gets used to download copywrite content, the ISP disconnects the user and the user complains, it's a near certainty that ISP will simply turn round and sue the government, and rightly so.

The end result will be a law which is very quickly discarded, all at significant cost to both the ISP's having to implement the technical measures briefly then bin them all again (passed on to the consumer) and to the government having to draft these proposals in the first place, implement them, fight the first wrongful disconnection in court, lose, and scrap the measures again (also passed on to us, the consumer).

Toshiba launches first domestic fuel-cell charger

Alex 0.1
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Any real purpose?

>>Toshiba claimed this enables Dynario to generate enough power to charge two mobile phones.

At 150x21x74mm, this thing is about 20 times the volume of a BL-5C (generic Nokia battery used across a fair portion of their phones) and at £191 is almost 50 times the price (£4 for a genuine nokia battery from a lot of outlets), AND needs the bulk + cost of fuel on top of it.

So, i'm kind of curious as to what the benefit of this product is if it's being marketed as an emergency phone charger. Instead of having this product you could simply carry 20 backup batteries for 20 "recharges" instead of 2, and save £110 in the process!

Guess it's okay if you have some form of crippled device that doesn't include a user-swappable battery (now where would we find one of those?), but hell, there're plenty of battery-based emergency phone chargers with charging adaptors for all major phones, that achieve far better energy density than this and cost far far less.

The future of fuel cells? Great! Right now? Hard to see why this thing ever made it past a concept model.

Windows 7 - the Reg reader verdict

Alex 0.1
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Overall decent

I've been running the RC since it was released and have just switched to final, 20 minute install from start to finish for me and as expected no problems of any kind with it - Haven't seen any major problems that some others are experiencing (either with RC or final), no slowdowns over time, when wiping the RC earlier the system was damn close to as fast as the day I installed it.

Just to address a few points made by Michael C though...

4) even LESS options for backup, including that now you can only keep 1 system image at a time

Not sure where this one comes from, the backup tool clearly gives you the option of only keeping one image at a time or making use of it's available space (it seems to max out at 4 images no matter how much space you give it so certainly could be configurable to allow a set number, but having more than one is a case of simply setting the option).

6) Task manager still sucks. they bought Sysinternals YEARS ago, yet nothing has moved from procxp to taskmanager yet...

Curious to know exactly what you're missing here - procxp's system info monitor is covered by taskmon's resource monitor (the resource monitor is actually much better than that included in procxp) and most of the process details provided by procxp are available in taskmon by simply enabling them (view > select columns) along with a fair bit of info that procxp doesn't give.

8) no equivalent to quick launch bar anymore

The fact that MS have removed this by default in favour of pinning is annoying, but it's very easy to put back to function exactly as it has on previous windows versions - Right click the taskbar, go to toolbars, select new toolbar, and add the path of the toolbar as "%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" - Okay it, and bam, you have your quicklaunch bar.

13) still no automated checkdisk/defrag functions

Defrag tool has a scheduler built into it, don't quite know how it's possible to miss this. Automated chkdsk is still missing, but frankly i'd say this is hardly crucial.

16) still no virtual desktops, yet again staying at least 5 years behind all the other competitors.

Granted it's not embedded into the OS and available by default as it should be and it's functionality is a bit limited, but MS have had a sysinternals tool available to allow virtual desktops for quite a while, available at:


4 in 10 Brits feel lonely without a daily texting

Alex 0.1
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Is it wrong that I...

..really did lol a bit while reading the last sentence?