* Posts by Nigel Callaghan

95 publicly visible posts • joined 11 May 2007


Ofcom imposes new rules on silent callers

Nigel Callaghan

Overseas calls

Yeah - biggest problem now is dodgy sales calls, silent or otherwise, from overseas. How about Ofcom start talking to the phone operators to see about blocking these, or at least giving a guaranteed accurate number that is calling rather than 'International' - and if their excuse is that the other country can't provide the information, then just cut those countries off from direct dial calling to the UK until they can provide the information!

Personally my solution when I get one of the calls asking for 'Mr whoever' is to say that "he's just seeing a client out, please hang on a moment" and then put the handset down next to the radio. They usually last about 5 mins before disconnecting, but the best was over seven. I consider this to be a public service as that five minutes wasted by them is five minutes they can never get back, and means a dozen other poor sods won't have their day interrupted. And of course, it gives the call-centre drones a breather.

A similar tactic works with the 'you have won a holiday' automated messages from the US - select the 'hear more' option and when you get to speak to some human let them get started and then tell them 'Hang on, there's someone at the door, I'll be back in a moment' and then leave them hanging until they give up.

It's the only language they understand....

Crash grounds RAF Eurofighters - for Battle of Britain Day!

Nigel Callaghan


Isn't it lucky the Vulcan to the Sky trust managed to get XH558 restored and airworthy! Maybe they can cover some of the running costs by renting it out for the occasional sortie against Johnnie Foreigner

Recession drives pies sky high

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Up

Ooooh, memories!

This all reminds me of visits years ago to Nelsons Butchers in Red Lion Square in Stamford, stacked high with wonderful pies and other goodies. And after a quick Google I find they're still there and now sell on-line - yippee!

As soon as the diet's over, I'll see if they're as good as I remember.

The important thing is that a bowl of stew with a sheet of cardboard 'pastry' popped on top (as served in far too many pubs) is NOT a pie!

ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces

Nigel Callaghan

Catch 22

So, if I understand it rightly...if I'm videoing something (which isn't criminal activity) and a plod who doesn't understand the law comes up to me and demands my camera, and then attempts to seize it, then said plod is committing a criminal activity which means that if the video is still running it now contains evidence of criminal activity which means the plod CAN now seize the camera, but that in itself means that the plod is now acting legally which means that there is no evidence in the camera of anything illegal which means that the plod is now acting illegally again...

...this could go on all day.

Simple solution. Amend PACE so that seizing of cameras or request to delete images is illegal - but if plod has reason to believe that camera contains material that could materially assist in the investigation of a serious crime then plod can present a written request (with details of alleged crime) to owner of camera to provide access to the material to the plods within say 48hrs to allow them to make certified copies. If request is refused then plods ask for court order to make a forcible copy - and the original and any equipment must be returned within 6hrs.

Or they could just ask nicely...

Facebook Places - why, and why not

Nigel Callaghan

Can it be spoofed?

This will be greatl when there's an add-on that allows you to set your location to any place on the surface of the planet! Then it becomes simultaneously useful (location shows as home in bed with flu instead of the pub) and useless (people know it can be spoofed so don't believe any of the locations)

UK population to be guaranteed mobile 768Kb/sec service

Nigel Callaghan

what about the other 10%?

So the guarantee is there for the 90% who live in the 10% of the UK land area covered by major towns and cities - what about the other 10% who live outside the larger towns? With government trying to deliver as many services as possible electronically they will soon assume that everyone (well, everyone who matters) will have mobile broadband - and tuff to the rest of us. 99% coverage would be a rather better target to aim for.

Interestingly, in terms of access to public services, we accept the need to ensure disabled access to buildings with ramps, lifts etc ( and a jolly good thing too) - but in fact only about 1% of the UK population is in a wheelchair.

EU climate exchange website hit by green-hat hacker

Nigel Callaghan


I didn't realise that science had advanced so far as to allow Climate Exchange. Is it a bit like town twinning and school exchanges? Can I put in a bid to exchange our local climate (wet West Wales) for something a bit sunnier and warmer? South of France?

BT hikes call charges

Nigel Callaghan

I can't believe I'm doing this...

But I'd like to say a good(-ish) word for BT. I live (and work) in the sticks, and I use BT for my land line and BT Business for my Broadband. O2 do my mobile but in the sticks that's not an alternative to a landline for voice calls. There is reason behind my apparent madness. I've used a number of ISPs over the years, and ALL of them have problems now and again. I've also routed my calls via other providers. When things work, there's little to choose between providers (of phone or broadband) - it's what happens when things go wrong that interest me. With a mix of providers (and no matter who the ISP is BT are involved somewhere - Virgin won't do fibre to the house in our village for some reason) everyone always blame the other party - when it's BT end to end it's up to them to sort it - and BT Business are actually very good at shouting at the other bits of BT when things go wrong and usually get things sorted double-quick! Okay, they cost a bit more but it's basically a solid service, and for the sake of a quid or two a month I'm not fussed.

Landline calls are again a fairly good deal on the top-rate anytime packages - 0845 and 0870 calls included etc - I pay very little on top of the package each month.

But I still don't understand BT's crazy pricing, particularly for international. Standard rate to Chile f'rinstance is 95p/min - bung BT £1 a month for F&F International and that goes down to 5.3p/min - how can there be ANY justification for that sort of difference?

So only 2 cheers...

Mobile broadband: not up to the job?

Nigel Callaghan

99% coverage?

Very perceptive article - I keep thinking that these smartphones seem a pretty neat idea, but then I look at the 3G coverage maps of Wales - the only place with a signal in mid-wales is in a boat off Aberystwyth according to the maps. I don't even get a normal mobile signal in my house (we tend to live in cottages with 18in thick stone walls round here, not little boxes made of glass and plywood) - once the suppliers provide good 3G coverage for 99% of the land area of the UK then it'll be great, but until then I won't be wasting my dosh on a Judasphone.

School IT quango to be expelled

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Up

Go on, do a proper job...

Go on Ozzy, go for the biggie - cull Ofsted, and that's another £200+ million saved.

Young Boozer seeks Alabama offie office

Nigel Callaghan

What time is it?

>Well, it's Friday, so in honour of Young Boozer we're off right away to sink a few pints to the best of >our abilities

It may be Friday, but it's 9.45 a.m. and the sun isn't far over the horizon, much less the yard-arm. It's a hard life, working for el Reg! (Actually, if you're sinking pints at this time in the morning I hope el Reg offers an excellent staff health care plan...)

Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx: A (free) Mactastic experience

Nigel Callaghan


Don't get me wrong, I really like Ubuntu - been using it for a year or more as my main machine, and will upgrade shortly. But why on earth make it more 'MAC OSX'-like? Okay, perhaps the Mac OS is much smoother and better than the various flavours of Windows, but die-hard fanbois are unlikely to switch from Mac even if Ubuntu came with a free bar of gold, and the less it looks like Windows the harder it is to convince the everyday Windows user to switch. If Canonical are after increasing market share this seems a bit strange!

Shouldn't it be possible to have a simple 'OS look' choice screen on first boot? Do you want your Ubuntu to look and feel a lot like a) Mac b) Windows 95 c) Win XP d) Linux command prompt?

Jobsian drones shackle gamer with 'lifetime' iPad ban

Nigel Callaghan
Jobs Horns


...and yet there are STILL people out there who want to have anything to do with this bunch of control-freaks? Weird. Do they inject some sort of long-lasting hypnotic chemical into the aircon in Apple stores that induces lifetime worship and loss of critical facilities?

Watch out when they start offering free Kool-Aid with each purchase (although the lifetime limit of 2 drinks won't be a problem...)

India boasts more mobes than bogs

Nigel Callaghan

act now...

if you basically think this situation is a bad thing, then you can do something about it - either try and reduce the number of mobiles by grabbing every one you see (SatanPhones in particular) and smashing it (fun, but a bit negative) or be really positive and visit http://www.wateraid.org/uk and help to build a bog somewhere that really needs it.

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

what's a netbook?

The fundamentals haven't changed since the girl on the beach first got her netbook. The whole point was that a netbook was small, simple and cheap - you used it in odd places for a bit of email and a bit of surfing, and perhaps writing the great 21st century novel, but the important thing was CHEAP. Ideally sub £200, which means that it's the sort of thing you don't mind taking to the beach and possibly losing it or getting sand in the works, or even using while in the bath. And it isn't a laptop replacement - it's as well as, not instead of. Once it gets bigger than a 10" screen, has a vast HDD with moving parts rather than a small SSHDD, and costs over £250 it becomes an underpowered laptop, not a netbook.

This bit of kit may be quite nice, but at that price it's not a netbook.

Fear 2012? Bunker hustler has you covered

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

And if it doesn't work...

...he offers a full money-back guarantee!

Actually, I remember a similar scam being run in Peterborough (of all places) back in the eighties, when some people were worried about Soviet nukes hitting Molesworth cruise missile base just down the road. Council turned down the planning application and it then went to a public enquiry - we had great fun looking for valid objections on planning grounds - e.g. if it's classed as residential property (which it obviously is) then it has to have adequate car parking for all the residents, sufficient windows, and, given the numbers, suitable outdoor play areas for the children! We argued that in fact there wasn't a planning 'Use Class' for nuclear bunkers and the closest we could find was 'Blood boilers and Fat renders'.

The question of the money-back guarantee was raised then as well...

Ten Essential Android Apps

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Up

Really useful review, thanks.

Just confirmed once again that I have absolutely no need of a smartphone, whether Android or from the Blessed Jobs! I'll stick to a simple mobile phone (that can both make and receive phone calls and texts - brilliant!) and a real computer for any serious work. Saved me a fortune - ta!

Photogs sue Google over Book Search culture grab

Nigel Callaghan

Old books

Google say that they only show snippets for books that are still in copyright, but they also only show snippets for books that are years outside copyright (even under the American 'Mickey Mouse' continuously extending copyright periods) - and there's no apparent method to appeal and to point out to them that a book published in 1880 by an author who died in 1903 is NOT in copyright! This makes me very, very irritated!

Irish civil rights group takes aim at iPad launch

Nigel Callaghan

Gaeilge go brách

Judging by the (pleasantly surprising) number of Reg commentards who seem to have at least a cúpla focal even if we're not absolutely líofa, the future of Gaeilge is assured! (after all, if Google translate can handle it then what more is needed)

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Up


'nuf said

Ofcom lays out £400m plans for 2010

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down


What has providing wireless for the Olympics (R)(TM(C) got to do with Ofcom? The Olympics (R)(TM(C) are just another sports event, albeit a ridiculously big, and insanely expensive one, that will do untold damage to British sport and cultural provision for years to come. If existing WiFi coverage in the area is inadequate for their needs then the organisers need to make the appropriate arrangements with the various providers to upgrade the service, at their expense. Purely a commercial matter, nowt to do with Ofcom or anyone else.

And anyway, why does someone running a marathon or swimming 100m actually need WiFi?

A quarter of underage children have social networking profiles

Nigel Callaghan

I blame the parents...

Interesting - 87% of the parents ARE aware that their children have these profiles, and do nothing about it, despite the rules about being over 13. Can't really blame Facebook then, can they?

Russia to crack down on abuse of .ru addresses

Nigel Callaghan

so what?

The bad boys will just carry on registering .com addresses in Hong Kong and hosting them in Russia. What kind of idiot scammer would use a .ru address anyway - no-one trusts them!

Loud sex ASBO woman back on the job

Nigel Callaghan


1. Sell story to the tabloids (with pictures)

2. Move to a private island in the Hebrides.

Madoff geeks charged for writing book-cooking code

Nigel Callaghan


"The reports were generated on "House 17," an IBM AS/400 server ... that had no link to the outside world,... the server pulled partial information from a separate AS/400 that was linked to the Depository Trust Company and other third parties.

How does it pull information from a machine that it's not linked to? Am I missing something here? Or is this a new form of invisible network?

BBC might pay for Tory broadband promises

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

'Most' of the population

Sounds good - give 100Mbps to 51% of the population (those in the major cities, the low-hanging fruit for the providers) and leave the other 49% to send messages via runner with cleft stick. That's the Tory way! Let's concentrate on satisfying the needs of the many before the greed of the few. What the country needs is decent broadband for *all* the population. Let's concentrate on getting 8Mbps to everyone before we give 100Mbps to the lucky 51%. Faster would obviously be nicer but what will people actually do with 100Mbps? Download a DVD in a few minutes? Why bother - it's going to take two hours to watch it!

Japanese phone boasts killer slacker-sensing app

Nigel Callaghan

Wrist movement?

And can it differentiate between rapid scrubbing and other rapid, repeated wrist movements?

Tories ask: Why BBC3, BBC4?

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down


It's obvious that BBC3 is targeted at those younger persons whose brains have been so addled with drink and other substances that they can't remember that the programme they're watching now is the same one they saw yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that and three times last week, and twice the week before. Wouldn't it be easier to have BBC5,6,7,8,9,10 etc - with one channel showing '2 pints of lager' on a continuous loop, another showing 'Being Human' on a loop, another with Dr Who etc.

Does anyone have any statistics on how many times each episode of Dr Who has actually been transmitted?

Okay, I know it's not just the Beeb at fault - how many times has each episode of Poirot appeared on ITV3.

In fact, come to think of it, shouldn't the Tories be asking 'Why Digital'?

Argentinians invade Falkland Islands website

Nigel Callaghan


I'm amazed at the Argentinians claiming that Las Malvinas are theirs. Surely they are Breton? Even the Argies acknowledge the superior claim of the Bretons, by using the name 'Malvinas' - which is, as any fule who can read Wikithing kno, derived from the french name 'Iles Malouines', reflecting the origin of the original settlers, the sailors from St Malo in Brittany.

And, given that the Bretons originally came from Britain, or more precisely that racial grouping within Britain called the Celts, that means that in fact WALES has the strongest claim on that god-forsaken (but possibly oil-rich) dump. Yippee - it's Wales' Oil!

Asus Eee PC 1005PE

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down


No SSD? No Linux?

Wikileaks finds cash to continue

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Up


Sounds a jolly good idea - we all need more fun in our lives - let's all raise our fun levels. Personally, if someone donated $600K to me I could have a hell of a lot of fun [please send donations to my Paypal a/c, assuming they haven't shut it down]

Huawei E5 Wi-Fi/3G modem

Nigel Callaghan

Quite pricey for a small paperweight

...which is all it's good for in a large proportion of the UK land mass. Could some provider start providing 3G outside the middle of the big cities?

Alreet, Apple!

Nigel Callaghan

Units again...

How much is that in double-decker buses per tennis-court?

Amateur CCTV sleuth site probed by privacy watchdog

Nigel Callaghan


so, no more webcams then? (unless they're on top of a VERY high building)

Super-soldier exoskeleton to get 3-day fuel cell powerpack

Nigel Callaghan

But how do they stand up?

I can see how this could make jogging for miles with a 200lb load a breeze, but when the poor grunts gets shot at (as sometimes happens) and they hit the ground fast, how does it feel to have your body followed down by 200lb of luggage, and how the hell do they stand up again? Does the gadgetry include bionic arms?

And if you can now carry 200lb of stuff, they're going to have to dig a mighty deep foxhole to cover the massive backpack. The traditional soldier used to carry an entrenching tool (folding shovel) - does the new version include a mini-JCB?

McKinnon: The longest ever game of pass the parcel

Nigel Callaghan

Don't hold your breath

Don't bet on a new Home Secretary, of whatever political persuasion, being any different. There's something about the job that turns everyone who gets it into a raving right wing totalitarian extremist. I always thought that no-one could be worse than Michael Howard - he's now fondly remembered as a pinko liberal. If Mother Theresa had been made Home Secretary then within hours she'd have pulled on the jackboots and starting to round up anyone guilty of 'wearing clothing that may conceal a terrorist weapon' , 'possessing equipment of potential use to a terrorist (e.g. a mobile phone)', or 'being in possession of an un-english name'.

Apart from that, good luck to him. The offence was committed in the UK, therefore he should answer to a British judge (and, hopefully, jury).

New Labour bring old Nuremberg Laws to Britain

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

How effective is this?

"Stop and search under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is an important tool in a package of measures in the on-going fight against terrorism."

Are figures available on how many people have actually been convicted of terrorism offences following an initial arrest after incriminating material was found on them during a stop-and-search in London under section 44?

'God help our smartphones,' vicar prays

Nigel Callaghan

Illiterate Yanquis!

That's PLOUGH not PLOW!

It's official: Blogging is a dangerous business

Nigel Callaghan

But what about the plod?

The £5K compensation for the MK journo is welcome, but the NUJ article doesn't mention what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against the plod who acted illegally. Is he still a plod? Has he been disciplined, demoted, sacked, 'retired sick' or what? Could El Reg find out?

MoD does everything right for once in Xmas shocker

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

Right-ish, but years too late.

But the first batch won't be delivered until 2013 - and British forces are due to start pulling out in 2010 or 2011, so how many troops will still be there when the first Chinooks arrive. And the rest won't arrive for years after that - so how exactly will this improve the situation in Helmand over the next couple of years? Why do I think of stable doors and bolting horses in this context?

And let's face it - the elephant in the room of defence spending is a certain WMD called Trident - axe that and every squadie in Helmand can have his own private Chinook (with en-suite bathroom and gold taps)!

Police moot pop-up social network warnings

Nigel Callaghan

Bye-bye DVLA

"...that allowing the public access or use of specific communications services could make them vulnerable to fraud, the theft of personal information or other attack" - so given that DVLA flog the details to anyone, or give them to dodgy Bulgarians for nothing, presumably DVLA online will include one of these wonderful pop-ups? - which IE and all the pop-up blockers will presumably block anyway as it's coming from a different address? And if it isn't will be ignored by everyone anyway.

Don't they have ANYONE in ACPO who knows how real people actually use the interwebs?

What a total waste of time and our money!

DVLA data powers likely to be abused by foreign officials

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

Not practical?

So they say a gatekeeper is 'not practical'? Why not? Given that the access can ONLY be for "serious crime, terrorism and illegal immigration" investigations (and so we're not talking thousands a day here) then it's totally practicable to route all enquiries via an appropriate office in the Met.

Gov confirms plans for Sky box in charge of your house

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

Meter readers?

What are these mysterious 'meter readers' of which you all speak? When the job was farmed out to some external business I think the quarterly reading happened about once a year - and this was after I'd gone to the trouble of putting the meter outside to cut down on the hassle of 'we called but you were out' cards. Most of the time I was just getting an estimated bill. Now I just read it myself and phone the reading in (or go via their website).

This is another case of government interference and overkill. The argument for saving costs on meter reading doesn't work because they don't read the meters anyway. The argument for giving people minute-by-minute readings of their consumption doesn't work either - well, it does, but one can buy a box that does that for less than £50 - and they are very effective - I'm really conscious of how much electricity I'm using now, and go round and switch things off. We don't need mega boxes at £250 each when we can do it for £50. The only extra is the remote control of our houses - which I have no particular need of - but the control freaks obviously love - and it means that they can just avoid providing new clean electricity generation capacity. So much easier to just ration what we have.

The expensive solution of course is to buy a lot of batteries and plug them into the mains and then run your house off that - they can stop them charging at peak times but I'll decide when I switch things on and off!

Or of course just get a load of PV cells and say goodbye to the grid for ever.

Queen's Speech slammed by small biz

Nigel Callaghan

Winge, winge...

Another daft knee-jerk comment from business spokesperson desperately seeking something to criticise: "A new telephone line levy will add to business costs at a time when they can least afford it." - if a business can't afford an extra £6/year in 'broadband tax' then they should already be in receivership!

Edward Woodward dies at 79

Nigel Callaghan

Tan ar y Comin?

And who could forget him in 'Tan ar y Comin/Fire on the Common' - filmed twice - once in Welsh

and once in English (i.e. not dubbed) and he had to learn his Welsh lines phonetically 'cos he didn't speak a word of the language of heaven. Not brilliant, but a damn good try! Heddwch i'w lwch...

Brussels agrees pan-European ID standard

Nigel Callaghan

Better acronym

As we don't seem to have to stick with the initials any more, how about

sEcure ideNtity Across borderZ lInked - E-NAZI

115,000 nabbed for in-car calling

Nigel Callaghan


Given the billions spent on dodgy gov.uk IT projects one would expect that by November they could produce a figure of how many fixed penalty tickets were issued in the previous year - in fact one would expect a total for year-to-date to be available. Or are there people in India still typing the hand-written tickets into the system?

Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 200Hz 46in LCD TV

Nigel Callaghan
Thumb Down

Eco-friendly? Hah!

An off switch doesn't make this eco-friendly - unless it's soldered to be permanently off (and then it's just a waste of manufacturing resources).

No-one really NEEDS a 46" TV. OK, this one is quite efficient (compared to some) but it's still sucking up 166W when it's on. What's wrong with a 26" TV - and sitting a bit closer to the screen!

Whitehall plans 'White Noise' phone network collapse

Nigel Callaghan

Mobile overload?

It's good they they do some contingency planning. But will they also simulate the resulting overload and failure of the mobile network? (as happens after every major incident) - then it really is back to carrier pigeons (or the Royal Mail - oops, no, of course, they'll have sold that off to Virgin by then and a postal service will only be available within the M25)

MPs give offender system drubbing in scathing report

Nigel Callaghan


How can they spend that much on a database - no matter how many bells and whistles you add at the end of the day it's a customer database (okay, the customers are scallys, but that's basically what it is)

I really think we need to set up the ElRegReaders Consultancy plc and underbid all these rip-off merchants - and we might actually deliver something that works as a bonus!