* Posts by Andrew Oakley

89 posts • joined 18 Apr 2006


I'm lost without Google Wi-Fi snoop

Andrew Oakley

Skyhook are dreadful at updating their database

I've submitted my address change and my WiFi router's SSID/MAC countless times in the six months since I moved house, and it still shows my location as my old house fifteen miles away.

Giving poor kids computers, internet makes them stupider

Andrew Oakley

Makes them stupid...er?

I like El Reg's assumption that poor == stupid already, and that therefore computers must be making the children stupid-er, rather than perhaps being responsible for making otherwise intelligent poor people become stupid in the first place.

Government wastes millions on redundant cycle route planner

Andrew Oakley
Black Helicopters


Surprised to see this Reg hack not adhering to the editorial line that FREE IS BAD, M'KAY? I expect John will be sent for capitalist re-education camp in the Arizona desert by the end of the day.

Don't these freetards know that almost half a dozen civil service contractor's girlfriends may be relying on the income from this two million pound government overspend nobody ever thinks of the henchmen's families etc. etc. etc.

Tesco Internet Phone rings off the hook

Andrew Oakley

It's the handsets, stupid

The plethora of proprietary VOIP handsets is the problem. The way to make this work is to buy a Linksys SPA3102 (£45) plus a BT socket master adapter from Maplins (£5) and plug in your normal, existing, BT-compatible handsets into that. Hey presto, you can get VOIP on normal phones. Then just pick any of the gazillions of domestic/traveller-oriented VOIP SIP providers, such as webcalldirect, sipgate, budgetsip, justvoip etc. etc. etc. and enjoy free landline calls plus dirt cheap international and mobile calls. I wrote a guide: http://tinyurl.com/aovoip

Chinese gamer survives knife through skull

Andrew Oakley

wallhack =

wallhack = backstab + headshot

'Health and safety killjoys' kill cheese-rolling race

Andrew Oakley
IT Angle

A local writes...

The problem is the audience, not the participants. It's just a large local hill, there is no car park, there is no significant access for anything. It's densely wooded, other than the bit that people throw themselves down. The bits that aren't covered in trees are covered in mud. They put up a rope bannister along the side of the hill, and you haul yourself up the rope to watch assorted rugby-club veterans and peer-pressured teens injure themselves.

There is simply no infrastructure to cope with the increased audience. There's nowhere for them to leave their cars. There's nowhere for coaches to pick up / drop off people.

It worked fine as a local event for local people. But there is simply no way for this to work as a national or international spectacle.

Long/lat 51.831,-2.158 if you're interested.

Zero* welcome for 200 Welsh TV shows - in Wales

Andrew Oakley

Shropshire - disputed territory

"Wales' Welsh-speaking community, and apparently a number of English speakers who have maladjusted TV aerials." - or English Welsh speakers from Oswestry and other parts of Shropshire where Welsh is the language of choice in the home.

Daily Mail commentard out-tw*ts the Tw*t-O-Tron

Andrew Oakley
IT Angle

He has a Facebook page

Top Google result for "Pritesh Hathalia" is a Facebook page with that name from Leicester. Could it be..?

Beeb deletes iPlayer app from iPhone

Andrew Oakley
Thumb Down

Always the bloody tube

What is it with El Reg and their presumption that the London Underground is the only place that broadband / streaming / 3G / WiFi is not available?

This app would be ideal for me, commuting across the Cotswolds. We get 3G in the larger villages and market towns, but in the open countryside, you're lucky to get EGPRS. And we all know (or should know) that 3G mast handover doesn't really work at anything over 20mph; try using 3G on an intercity train, even on a "posh" route like Oxford - Paddington, and it's a whole world of fail.

Stop wittering on about the damned tube as if it's the only disconnected place in existence.

(And yes, we get the Metro on Cotswold buses. It has theatre reviews for Bristol, for some reason. Dunno why the buses need flat-screen CCTV, though, given that the most anti-social behaviour we witness is some deaf old dear failing to thank the driver as she disembarks. And yes, we do actually use buses. Just because I own a 4x4 for scuttling around the countryside, doesn't necessarily mean I want to waste time driving it through Cheltenham or Oxford city centre traffic jams only to fail to find somewhere to park. A £70/month bus pass takes me anywhere from the M50 to the M4).

IEEE names 28-year-old woman its new 'Face of Engineering'

Andrew Oakley


The IEEE pick a black female role model, and her employers describe her as a "Bunny"?

Class. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Echelon computers can't cope with bad lines

Andrew Oakley
IT Angle

Metadata, not data

Was Echelon really ever about real-time speech recognition? I doubt it. Most of the power would have surely come the enveloper - from knowing who was phoning who, from where and when. If a chap you suspect to be a religious fundamentalist phones a chap you suspect to be a passport forger, then that is surely already enough to flag up the communication as worthy of further investigation, without having to pick out key words or whole conversations.

Too fat to fly: Kevin Smith and OpenOffice

Andrew Oakley

CPU grunt not storage space

I'd have thought that Ubuntu's decision to ditch OpenOffice on Netbook Remix has nothing to do with storage space (as El Reg suggests) and a lot more to do with processing power. Most netbooks are single-core 1.6GHz affairs which lack the oomph to run OpenOffice - which is not only already bloated, but also runs in Java. If Sun made a native X86 version of OOo then I'm sure it would be a much better experience all round. Sun could also cut down the bloat by moving much of the "features" into plug-ins (OOo 3 already supports plugins).

Weeny SIM Wi-Fi hotspot is here! But why?

Andrew Oakley


And this has an advantage over the existing, working, popular Joiku Spot app how?

Peppa Pig told to belt up

Andrew Oakley
IT Angle

Pigs ... In ... SpaaaaAAAAaace!

Strangely, the Peppa Pig space rocket toy *does* have seat belts, although the car toy does not.

Walking With Dinosaurs star goes walkabout

Andrew Oakley

Can't believe you missed...

...the opportunity for a Peter Ustinov "One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" headline

Mozilla lights fire under Thunderbird

Andrew Oakley

After 8 years, still can't Print Selection

Given that in eight years, Thunderbird still hasn't fixed basic functionality bugs such as the inability to "Print Selection" ( https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=66806 ) I wouldn't hold out much hope. It's an excellent traditional SMTP/POP3/IMAP client, but it needs to concentrate on finishing off the basic bugs which have been around for nearly a decade, before worrying about webmail and modern frippery.

PC Refresh Equals PC Disposal

Andrew Oakley

Wiped and moved on

Most of the places I've worked for in the past 20-odd years have one of two policies for whole systems (ie. working desktop machines). First option, they start by wiping the hard drives, such as with DBAN, then they're either sold to staff (typically with income going to a local charity). Second option, they're donated to a PCs-for-third-world charity who have an audited hard disk wiping policy.

For working peripherals and components (except hard drives), they usually sit around in a cardboard box somewhere in IT, staff can help themselves, and once every so often the box gets emptied and the contents taken for WEEE recycling. Typical examples include network switches and graphics cards.

For removed hard drives, they usually get taken apart and then the platters destroyed (with a vice and hammer, or with a dedicated platter-destroying tool), then the remains go to WEEE.

Subaru set to show stylish hybrid

Andrew Oakley

How do you get out in a car park?

Given the enormous size of the gull-wing doors, how do you get out in a typical car park where there are other cars parked within 40cm either side of you?

UK population to abandon Midlands

Andrew Oakley

Birmingham is in Liverpool now?

Since when as the West Midlands had access to the coast?

Apollo 11 - The Owners' Workshop Manual

Andrew Oakley
Thumb Up

Reassembly is not the reverse of disassembly

Given that most of the lander is still in situ on the Moon, and most of the rocket burned up in the athmosphere, it would appear that this is the one Haynes manual where reassembly is not the reverse of disassembly.

Webhost hack wipes out data for 100,000 sites

Andrew Oakley

Hope they come back soon

I lost my virtual server there too. I thought, and still think, their price, terms and conditions are ideal for non-mission-critical stuff run by people who have sufficient Clue to organise their own backups. Their network connectivity, for the price, was excellent, the support very quick, and their choice of pre-installed operating systems (notably, Ubuntu 8.04) sold it for me.

One of the few affordable UK VPS hosts, I do hope they stay in the market for a long time.

eBay driving world's tomb raiders out of business, says prof

Andrew Oakley

Fakes? Or reproductions?

Are these items actually fakes - ie. the seller claims they are genuine when they are not - or are they reproductions - ie. the seller notes their similarity to the original but is clear that they are not the original?

I'm not a billionaire and I don't know any antiques thieves. I wanted a good copy of the Mappa Mundi on my study wall. So I went to Hereford Cathedral and paid thirty odd quid for a nice reproduction (and given plenty of choice, I deliberately chose English labeling over the original Latin).

Was I swindled? No.

Did I get what I wanted? Yes.

What the professor seems to not understand is that there is a massive market for reproductions, especially if they can claim some local link with the original. A reproduction Mappa Mundi purchased from Hereford Cathedral is worth more than a reproduction Mappa Mundi purchased from a history museum in London. Equally, a reproduction Egyptian artifact produced by Egyptian craftsmen is worth more than the same artifact produced in a factory in Spain.

These people haven't gone more illegal (thieves moving info forgery), they've gone more legit (theives moving into craftsmanship).

Wi-Fi Beeb viewing may break law

Andrew Oakley

Licence covers hand held TVs away from home

Absolute tosh. The TV licence clearly states that you can watch TV away from home using a TV that has its own batteries contained within the device. This exemption has been in place since the Casio hand-held TVs of the late 70s / early 80s.

You show me a mobile phone that doesn't contain its own batteries within its case, and I'll show you an aging pre-GSM car-phone that can't receive video anyway.

UK.gov to get power to force ISPs to block child porn

Andrew Oakley

"internet pages"

"internet pages" ? Oh dear. Those two words demonstrate how completely and utterly out-of-touch governments are with the Internet. Do they mean "web pages"? If so, why bother, given that the vast majority of illegal content probably lies in torrents, not the World Wide Web? Is this law going to be aimed at novice child pornographers, whilst the expert kiddy-fiddlers are deliberately left alone?

Sounds like yet another announcement of a half-baked scheme which will only partially be put into action and never meet any its goals.

Which desktop Linux distribution?

Andrew Oakley

Best. April. Fools. Ever.

Best. April. Fools. Ever.

(Of course, the real answer is Ubuntu. Everyone knows that my Commodore 64 is better than your ZX Spec... er... I mean, my Ubuntu is better than your Red Hat)

You're barcoded: The sneaky under-25 route to compulsory ID

Andrew Oakley

Most people don't spend every night down the boozer

This article appears to assume that all people of all ages spend every waking hour in the off-licence, pub or nightclub. It may come as a shock, but the majority of people - EVEN YOUNG PEOPLE - rarely visit any of these establishments. For the vast majority, it's a once-a-week event at most.

The connection, therefore, between proof-of-age to buy booze, and some kind of stealth introduction of ID cards, is patent b*ll*cks. A scheme which only means you might voluntarily carry ID on the odd Friday or Saturday night can hardly be described as compulsory.

Of course, for Reg hacks, Booze Is Life.

But for most people, it's an occasional light beer a couple of times a month.

Ubuntu Eee undergoes cheesy Easy Peasy rebrand

Andrew Oakley
Thumb Up

A Fan

I use the previous version - Ubuntu Eee 8.04 - on my Asus Eee 901 and it knocks ten shades of poop out of Xandros. Even my rich Mac Air-owning friends were impressed by it.

As well as the Ubuntu Netbook interface, with large panels and buttons which work so well with a netbook's small screen, it features a kernel specifically designed for Intel Atom CPUs which boots up in next to no time. The Ubuntu Netbook interface also boasts a neat feature that automatically maximises all suitable windows, again ideal for small screens.

I did make a couple of tweaks. I installed eee-control which is a tray applet to allow you to quickly turn wifi, bluetooth and webcam on/off. This is included in the repositories that are set up by default. I also repartitioned the drive so that /home was on the faster SDA SSD; then created /home2 on the slower SDB SSD and symbolically linked my Music, Pictures, Videos etc. folders on to /home2/myusername . This means that .preferences files in the user's home directory are loaded faster.

Symantec swoops on Messagelabs

Andrew Oakley
Black Helicopters

Symantec's letter to its own hosted email customers

http://tinyurl.com/4x984c makes for an interesting read

Microsoft kicks Ubuntu update in the hardy herons

Andrew Oakley

Ubuntu doesn't automatically fall back to mirrors

Pierre: "So it would be 100% uptime from the client's point of view then?"

Sadly not. Ubuntu's update system doesn't automatically fall-back to the mirrors. I sense a feature request...

Gas crunch: Jatropha, kudzu, algae and magic to rescue

Andrew Oakley
Black Helicopters

Soylent Green

"algae as a cure-all for everything: carbon sequestration, water purification, automotive fuel and energy"

Algae. Yeah, right. Algae. That's what they said Soylent Green was made of.

Green biofuel is people!

UK's first caller ID-spoofing service shuttered after five days

Andrew Oakley

No neeeeed


Malicious Communications Act 1988, section 1.a.iii "Any person who sends to another person ... a[n] ... electronic communication ... which conveys ... information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender ... is guilty of an offence".

God makes you stupid, researchers claim

Andrew Oakley

Humpty Dumpty's God

When they asked the queston "do you believe in God?" did anyone stop to ask which definition of God they meant?

Some Anglicans will accept definitions as loose as "God is a metaphor for emergent patterns of human behaviour which benefit society as a whole". Do I, with an IQ of 175, believe in God according to that definition? Yes. Do I believe that extraterrestrial intelligence has ever been in contact with humans? No. Do I believe that a giant Europid man sporting a white beard and wearing a white robe lives in the clouds and throws thunderbolts at sinners? No.

Broadband bumpkins overtake city surfers

Andrew Oakley

It were all fields round here when I were a lad - and it still is

Danny wrote: Many countryside areas are saddled with <2meg and due to the distances ADSL2+ wont make much of a difference

To be honest, the lack of ADSL2 isn't really the problem. Download speed hasn't been an issue in rural areas since the inception of cheap all-you-can-eat ISDN. What matters is all-inclusive always-on connectivity and low latency (low ping times). Most non-video websites function perfectly acceptably on 128kbps so long as your ping is under 150ms, even flash stuff, and you can schedule anything really heavy overnight.

Download speed matters for video, but in a rural area you will typically get superb Freesat reception and usually good Freeview reception (less tall townhouses and no skyscrapers blocking your line-of-sight, not to mention no neighbours to whine about where you put your satellite dish), which combined with the new generation of dirt-cheap DVR/PVRs mean that the demand for video-over-IP is far less.

I would count myself as an extremely heavy internet user (run my own SMTP, work from home remotely), yet my rural Gloucestershire farmworker's cottage is limited to 2Mb/s (BT exchange is five hundred yards as the crow flies... or four kilometres as the cable runs through two other villages first). My parents in rural Shropshire have 512kbps and I can't honestly tell the difference whilst web browsing or remote working. To be honest I don't really notice much difference between ADSL and the unmetered ISDN "BT Home Highway" service I had at the turn of 2000; it certainly wasn't the huge step-change from modem to ISDN. If I want to download a video, it's the same procedure under ADSL as it was under ISDN; schedule a cron job for the early hours.

If the change from 128kbps to 512kbps or 2Mbps didn't make much difference, I really can't see what the fuss about 8Mb/s or 24Mb/s is. I've used 16Mb/s at work, and again, other than really, really massive file downloads, there is no huge paradigm shift for typical web browsing or remote working.

What matters is ping time, always on, unmetered, and a minimum 128kbps. ADSL2+ already provides this.

What matters is getting ADSL prices down to a level where they compete with cable and LLU, which aren't available in rural areas. I have to pay 24 quid a month for my 50GB/month download allowance ADSL, which in the town I could get for half that price or less.

Andrew Oakley

Rural people often rich, urban people often poor shocker

It costs more to live in the countryside (have you seen the price of petrol?), therefore it should come as no surprise that a higher percentage of rural people have broadband, because there is a higher percentage of rich people.

What this totally fails to address is rural poverty. There are more people classified as below the poverty line in rural areas in the UK than there are in any one major city. Rural poor outnumber London poor. Rural poor outnumber Manchester poor.

This is a problem for rural connectivity because cheap broadband is not available and there is little competition (there is essentially one monopoly - BT ADSL wholesale - who are resold in a number of guises, but never below the BT ADSL wholesale price). There are no cable providers, no local loop unbundling and no 3G coverage, so whilst a poor family in the city can afford 5-quid-a-month LLU broadband, this simply isn't available to poor families in the countryside.

Townies often ask "why don't they just move?" but the problem is that most of those who can, already have. The remainders are so poor, they can't. Rural poor live in run-down, low-demand housing, notably council houses which they may have bought at a discount, but their inability to refurbish their house means the value has not kept pace with the market. They can't get a job, or a better job, because they typically don't have cars or, if they do, can't afford to run them more than a couple of trips per week. They can't use public transport because buses and trains rely on large groups of people at point A all wanting to go to point B, and in rural areas, not only are the no large groups of people, but there is no common agreement on what points A and B are (typically there will be half a dozen nearby small towns, and no large city; the buses, if they exist at all, won't serve all the towns from all the villages).

The answer? Well, for connectivity BT WBMC looks promising, and 3G coverage is always expanding. And rural poverty? Ironically, the answer may well lie in telecommuting.

The real measure should be the percentage of poor connected, not the percentage of the populations as a whole.

After Debian's epic SSL blunder, a world of hurt for security pros

Andrew Oakley

Affects ALL distros, not just Debian/Ubuntu etc.

This bug affects ALL Linux distributions and indeed all systems that use SSL keys, including MS-Windows and MacOS.

Any user of your non-Debian system may have created their SSL keys on a Debian system.

For example, if you're running SSH on a Red Hat or MS-Windows server, you need to check whether any users have uploaded weak Debian keys to their .ssh user directories.

Thus spake the Moderatrix

Andrew Oakley

Thus spake the Usenet Oracle

Dear Usenet Oracle, whose occularities are recorded since the dawn of time, please can you zot El Reg's Moderatrix, who is clearly your inferior clone?

(I owe the Oracle six woodchucks and some spiky heels)

Neighbourhood Watch 2.0: Your tensions are being monitored

Andrew Oakley

What if there aren't any people from different backgrounds?

I live in the Cotswolds. There AREN'T any people from different backgrounds. We're all white middle class.

Does this mean our community is a non-cohesive society, despite having no crime and a well-attended village fete?

It would be nice if the government would spend some money improving drainage and flood defences, rather than tosh like "community cohesion". There are still people living in caravans in the village up the road, nine months after the 2007 floods made hundreds of houses uninhabitable and cut off our drinking water for two months. Our community had to be pretty damned neighbourly then, because the government sure as hell didn't give a toss about us.

Stolen satnav guides thieves to owner's home

Andrew Oakley

Home as your "local" police station... in Shropshire?

The suggestion to specify your local police station is an interesting one. The story states that the victims in question were from Shropshire, a very rural area. Their "local" police station was probably about a hundred miles away- in Worcestershire. If West Mercia Police really want to prevent crime, they could try actually having more than one police officer per thirty mile radius, rather than blaming the victims.

All my personal details for chocolate? Go on then

Andrew Oakley

Sure, my name is, erm... Ivor Bigunn

I'll happily give you personal information in return for chocolate, or even just the chance of chocolate. My name is Ivor Bigunn, and I live at number 6 Uphill Gardens...

The story should be headlined "People Make Up False Details To Con Stupid Market Research Agencies Out Of Chocolate".



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