* Posts by Roger Hughes

18 posts • joined 14 May 2007

London Olympics shop in Union Jack outrage

Roger Hughes
Paris Hilton


To maximise throughput on escalators, everybody should stand still using the whole width of the thing. The traditional London arrangement means that you can get up it faster by walking, but when you have rush hour or Olympic crowds, you won't save as much time as the extra time you spent queuing to get on it in the first place. These foreigners know a thing or two, see.

Paris because I prefer the metro, obviously.

Spooks' secret TEMPEST-busting tech reinvented by US student

Roger Hughes


... when's his extradition hearing?

Govt working on 'browser-based' solution for new cookie law

Roger Hughes

@AC "twats"

Um, since the MS Browser Choice thing you cite only exists as a result of European Commission action, it would seem fairly self-evident that, yes, they really do realise that there is more than IE out there. Maybe you need to think your prejudices through a little more carefully.

Fifty Quid Bloke, meet Spotify's 14p man

Roger Hughes


But Spotify is totally song-oriented, at least in the basic version. The ads are, as people have noted, really pretty unobtrusive scattered between renditions of your rockaboogie faves, but getting plugs for the Killers between movements of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater is a completely different kettle of aaaaargh. And the tagging and cataloguing of classical stuff is, well, just about as complete and consistent as you get by plucking random stuff of your favourite P2P network.

New Windows virus attacks PHP, HTML, and ASP scripts

Roger Hughes

@ Euh!

If all the thing is doing is searching for accessible and editable files that will be served as HTML from a server and inserting <iframe width=1 height=1src="whereIhostmymalware.com">, then yes, plain HTML files will be as vulnerable as those which include scripting. Don't even have to be on a server, in fact - HTML opened locally in a browser will do the job too.

Web 2.0rhea hack mistaken for end of universe

Roger Hughes

@ Paul McConkey

"Down Syndrome" is normal American usage, "Down's Syndrome" is normal UK usage, so it only needs changing if Sarah's going to rewrite the whole thing in British English.

In my role as parent-of-kid-with-Down's, I'd probably have shrugged off the stuff deleted from the article, but some of the comments are downright poisonous. Jemma in particular sounds like someone in need of a punch in the face.

Oxford student vote kyboshed by email

Roger Hughes

academic standards

Can we discount Peter Nordberg's opinion? He's clearly not an insider, since anyone at Oxford would naturally be capable of distinguishing between principle and principal.

It would certainly be the case at one of the great universities, at any rate.

Tories, retail ISVs decry Darling's VAT cut

Roger Hughes

My 2.12765957% worth

As my small business has already had to change the VAT rate once (we moved countries), it's indeed no big deal for us this time, even with our cobbled-together PHP/MySQL accounting system - the canonical $VAT_rate=0.15 will do nicely (I even have a web interface to change it...). But even so I can clearly see that if we'd had a nice big bunch of Christmas catalogues and POS advertising printed up, or a shop full of clothes with price tags to be reduced by 1/47th, it would be a different matter. Far too short a lead time even if it was not just a pointless exercise which manages to combine minimal public impact with a substantial loss of revenue.

The True Confessions of an Election Official

Roger Hughes

@Jon Smit

"And there is still vote rigging on a massive scale in the largest democracy."

Although it's probably very interesting, I can't see what relevance the situation in India has to this article...

Brussels bemoans low take-up of electronic cash

Roger Hughes

La Vie bancaire des belges

Belgium introduced a more or less workable e-cash system, Proton, in about 1995, mainly piggy backing on existing bank debit cards (which had been chip and PIN for some years even then). It was accepted (no PIN required) for loaf-of-bread sized purchases by small shopkeepers who couldn't afford to take debit cards and, crucially (ie, an actual advantage over a fistful of 100 franc notes) if you lived in a little village in the middle of nowhere, it could be charged up from your bank account at any phone box (it worked as a phone card too, IIRC).

Obviously this is not relevant to the UK, though, since if you live anywhere more than a short walk from an ATM there won't be any shops there either. Or a phone box.

El Reg reconstructs Heathrow T5 chaos

Roger Hughes
Paris Hilton


Is that arrivals board intended to imply that Ryanair are some kind of a toy airline?

(The icon isn't actually Paris, it's somewhere near Amiens)

BT targets 10,000 data pimping guinea pigs

Roger Hughes

@Alexander Hanff

Reading too many reports of American court cases, then ;-)

There's a Group Litigation Order, but it is opt-in rather than opt-out as a US class action is - it does not automatically include all potential plaintiffs (nor provide the defendants with a once-and-for-all ruling), so you have a bigger recruiting job on your hands. It also leaves all the plaintiffs potentially liable (I suspect jointly and severally) to their own (contingency fees/no-cure-no-pay can't be used) and any defence costs if they lose the case, which could be nasty.

Mind you, I think (IANAL,) this isn't relevant to anything under the Data Protection Act, where it looks like a criminal offence is being committed rather than a civil tort anyway. So you want to get the DPP on the case...

This doesn't mean that I don't think that hanging's too good for them, though...

Roger Hughes

@Alexander Hanff

There is no such thing as a "class action" in English or Scottish law. Been watching too much American TV?

El Reg decimates English language

Roger Hughes

@ g e

The Oxford University Press has always preferred -ize endings, although its rules provide for rather more -ise exceptions than those normally used for American spellings. The idea that British English should only ever use the later Frenchified -ise endings appears to date back to some point in the late 1990s, when Microsoft Office's spell-checker became ubiquitous - imposed on us by the Americans, in other words.

And in the most recent instances of decimation (officially thus described) as a military punishment that I know of - in the Italian army during World War 1 - the numbers of soldiers executed in the units being punished were much lower than one in ten, somewhere along the lines of two or three per company - so much for mathematical prescriptivism as well.

Polish teen derails tram after hacking train network

Roger Hughes

Forget the kid...

... I'd be a bit more worried about their training standards if one of their drivers was actually trying to steer their tram to the right...

Swede with UK betting licence held in Amsterdam for 'breaking' ancient French law

Roger Hughes

Ignoring the usual Europhobe nonsense...

There are exemptions from the single market legislation (which would normally mean that anything that you can do in one bit of the EU you can do in another) on the grounds of the protection of public health and morality, which the French have claimed allows them to limit gambling provision to PMU and FDJ, but the Commission is adamant that if that if it is a matter of public morality then the French monopolies should not be being advertised either. This looks likely to get the Commission lumbering into action on the matter.

As it stands, FDJ have been long-standing sponsors in cycling and PMU is the main sponsor for the green jersey competition in the Tour de France, which is where this whole affair started, largely as the by-product of another more localised power struggle, between the would-be monopolist ASO (the organisers of the Tour de France and most other bike races you may have heard of in France and Belgium), who basically want to run the entire sport for their own business ends, and the UCI, the more or less democratic international cycling federation, who wanted to include the Tour in its ProTour competition which would inter alia allow them to dictate which teams were allowed to ride. The lowest ranked and newest ProTour team was none other than that sponsored by Unibet (which had been around for a few years under its previous sponsor MrBookmaker.com, and allowed to ride without any objection in lower level races all over France and elsewhere), and ASO pulled this law out of the bag in an attempt (apparently successful) to scupper the ProTour by preventing a lawfully registered team from riding any of its races (even those outside France).

French teen held over online Potter translation

Roger Hughes

Translation quality?

"The police said they were astounded by how good the translation was. They said it was very professional."

As I am a professional translator, does that mean that you will be seeking my opinions of police work? I assume that they mean that it had been spellchecked and didn't contain any gross grammatical errors. It's not clear how much he had actually translated (if it was only the first three chapters I guess that's a plausible 10000 words or so) but if - as suggested elsewhere - http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/08/arts/EU-A-E-BKS-France-Harry-Potter.php - he'd translated the whole thing he must have been working at a staggeringly impressive speed (a professional translator will normally be looking at doing something 2-3000 words a day, and although JKR's prose is not desperately challenging, spotting and reinventing made-up words and phrases in a foreign language is likely to slow anyone down), and is probably largely the product of some MT system, gawd help us (or the francophones at any rate).

There is, as far as I am aware, no law in France or anywhere else much against trying to translate anything you like for your own entertainment and/or edification, merely against distributing it. Of course it's obviously all about money, and the publishers' decision not to allow translation work to be started before the EN publication date is rather silly - although paranoia about the story getting out before the Big Day is just part of the highly successful hype around the whole Potter series - but even translators have to eat...

Satnav driver's car totalled by train

Roger Hughes

Dunno about Canada but...

... in the UK we do this driving test thing in which you are tested, inter alia, on your ability to identify all the (international standard) signs for things like level crossings. That sign is in use at crossings pretty much everywhere from here to Vladivostok.


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