* Posts by ScottME

133 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Aug 2009


Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


Misreporting for clicks

They haven't banned the beer, they've banned its sale in packaging that a child might mistake for a chocolate drink. Totally different things, but I get why it's going to attract more attention to claim the beer has been banned.

Researchers trick Tesla into massively breaking the speed limit by sticking a 2-inch piece of electrical tape on a sign


Why do idiots blame Tesla for their mischief making?

Can someone explain how it is Tesla's problem that MobileEye incorrectly detects a sign that's been maliciously tampered with? Tesla haven't been using MobileEye hardware for at least the last three years.

I guess some people just love to hate.

Wanted: Big iron geeks to help restore IBM 360 mainframe rescued from defunct German factory by other big iron geeks



UK Home Office's £885m crim records digi effort: A 'masterclass in incompetence'


Have there been any successful government IT projects?

It's hardly news that yet another government IT project has gone wrong. The degree of incompetence displayed is almost the only variable factor.

But there must have been some successful projects? Surely? Maybe it'd be worth examining those to see what went right, then try to replicate the process?

Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge


Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

The wind doesn't stop at night. Nor does hydro-electric power, pumped storage power, and various other forms of renewable energy. Obviously.

Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap



Lithium, the most reactive metal in the universe, in the same package as oxygen. What could possibly go wrong?

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists


Yeah but no but who's asking for the reasoning? Wouldn't the basic facts of location, direction, velocity, etc. together with sensor logs (camera images, video, etc.) be enough?

Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers


Ancient scam

How is this essentially any different from the years-old scam where they claim to be Microsoft and tell you your computer has been sending error reports and they just need you to give them control of it? Seriously, anyone who is dumb enough to fall for this deserves what's coming to them.

They continue to try it on with me, but as I don't use Windows, and I don't use BT for my broadband, it's rather obviously a scam.

Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network


Re: I can't see the point.

Your argument hinges on an extraordinary, once-per-year journey. If you're happy to pay the additional price of all the fuel you'll use across the entire year for the sake of doing that one journey a few hours faster than you *think* it could be done in an EV, then I suggest your sense of perspective is a tad skewed.

I have done many journeys of well over 500 miles in a single day in the Model S and arrived in a much more relaxed state than I ever would have done in previous ICE cars, including high end Audi and Mercedes. Yes it helps if you have a partner to drive shifts, but don't forget the Tesla's autopilot feature which is a huge stress-reliever. Also the enforced charging breaks really do make you return to the wheel more refreshed, relaxed and alert than you'll be after a 10 minute fume-filled wallet-bashing session at the pumps. And you are seriously underestimating the range of the Tesla -- on long highway journeys I can easily do 240 miles, maybe more on a charge. So 1500 miles in three days? Piece of proverbial. And you'll have spent a small fortune on fuel, while my recharges will have been totally free.

It's obviously an expensive car, but there's a good reason why it's the best selling car in its segment. If you look at the likely total lifetime costs, it stacks up far better than equivalently priced oil-burners. I'd bet you'll be driving electric within ten years. You'd probably be doing it now if you had the wherewithal.


Re: I can't see the point.

I never need to visit a filling station. My Model S is ready with a fully-charged battery every morning. The Economy 7 electricity works out at about 2p to 3p per mile.

If I'm going on a long journey, I stop every few hours to plug in at a Tesla Supercharger, while I take a toilet break and have a leisurely cup of coffee, and 45 minutes later I'm good for another three hours' driving. And that electricity costs me nothing.

Now do you see the point?


This could be interesting

Right now, one of Tesla's major advantages is its network of "superchargers", which in about 40 minutes can recharge a car's batteries with enough energy for up to 200 miles of range - plenty to get to the next supercharger, if not one's destination. The enforced charging stop every 3 hours or so generally comes at a point when it is welcomed by one's bladder, thirst, appetite or state of wakefulness. Overall, this makes long-distance journeys entirely practical, rather than the nightmare of range anxiety that prevails with most other current EVs. So it's hardly surprising that would-be EV players including the German manufacturers see the necessity of a pervasive rapid charging network.

But there are hard laws of physics and chemistry that limit the maximum rates of charge and discharge possible with current lithium battery technology. Tesla superchargers currently operate at up to 120kW, or about a third what these new German units are promised to deliver. To be able to accept current at that rate, Tesla battery packs already have a highly sophisticated cooling/heating system, and intelligent software to manage the task of balancing out the charge across the 7000+ individual cells in the pack. It'll be interesting to see how our Teutonic cousins manage to engineer their battery packs to operate with three times as much current.

Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other


Black Mirror

Season 3 episode 3, "Shut up and dance" goes right to this point. On Netflix.

The case for ethical ad-blocking


Any musician who feels entitled to earn a living from YouTube needs to re-examine their business model. YouTube is advertising for the artists whose material it hosts -- the commercial ads are there to earn the revenue to pay for that service. Cut off your nose to spite your face if you like, and see what happens to your viewer numbers.

Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history


Weak analogy

Finding terrorists on the Internet is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. These proposals will certainly give the spooks a much bigger haystack to search through, but I'm not entirely clear as to how that will help them find the needle.

You Musk be joking: Tesla's zero to 60MPH in 2.8 SECONDS is literally 'ludicrous'


Re: My car is still faster...

I know I'm really late on this but I only just noticed your lame reply.

At a guess I'd say there are several orders of magnitude more charging points than filling stations in most developed countries.

You don't seem to be aware that EVs can charge off of virtually any electrical output socket. You probably have a couple in your home. It takes longer of course, but I find that my car often spends long periods of time sitting at home -- time when it can be charging, so there is as much range as I need ready and waiting. Never need to visit one of those smelly cold pumps.

Oh, and while I don't currently own a Tesla, I do have one on order.


Re: My car is still faster...

You don't have to charge to full capacity. Start with a full charge, and at some point, top up just enough to get you the required distance.


Re: My car is still faster...

I understand that a Supercharger is able to add about 150 miles of range in an hour. So five minutes could give you an extra 10 or 12 miles, could be enough to get past the mythical 300 mile mark?. Besides, many performance ICE cars won't do much more than 300 miles on a tank of fuel.

Stupid, non-argument, non-objection to what is surely a game-changing vehicle.

BBC shuts off iPlayer to UK VPNs, cutting access to overseas fans


Did your mother never teach you that "I want doesn't get"?

Your one-minute guide to IBM's financial future – or just imagine a skier tumbling down a slope


Re: Unless the management stops behaving like a bunch of accountants

These days the intelligent people at IBM are increasingly leaving well before retirement, after using the place to settle on a field of expertise and build their networks -- and it's still probably the best place for that in the whole IT industry. Loyalty is dead there, in either direction. For a couple of decades now it's been no place to rest on your laurels and relax towards retirement - IBM has well-honed and well-practised techniques to target coasters and manage them out of the company. (I'm not saying their targeting is accurate, mind.)

Ubuntu 15.10: More kitten than beast – but beware the claws


Still no reason to upgrade

Thanks for the review. Once more I can see no compelling reason to upgrade from 14.04 which continues to give sterling service.

Grinning BBC boss blows raspberry at UK.gov, eyes up buffet


Re: Great

"Democratically elected" - don't make me laugh. Over two thirds of voters picked someone other than the Tories.

Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast


No thanks

Why would I want this behind my TV rather than a Roku stick at less than half the price?

Ofcom coverage map: 7/10 – must try harder next time


Looks like fantasy

I checked out a few places where I have personal knowledge of the signal levels (O2 and 3) and so far as I can see the map's "predictions" bear virtually no resemblance to the reality.

For example, I sat on a SouthWest Trains mainline service from Southampton to Waterloo the other day and the average data connection success was below 10% for the entire journey, and the on-board WiFi was no better at delivering the bits either.

Until there's an incontrovertible volume of real-life data from actual users (such as I try to contribute via the Rootmetrics app), Ofcom and the operators are going to continue to sit fat and happy with the abysmal state of mobile coverage in UK.

Tesla still burning cash: each car loses $4,000


Re: So?

"everything is extra" - really? Here's some of the standard features:

17” capacitive touchscreen with digital instrument cluster

Onboard maps and navigation with free updates for 7 years

Automatic keyless entry

WiFi and Internet connectivity

Mobile app remote control

Automatic Xenon headlights

Retracting door handles

One touch power windows

High definition backup camera

Rain sensing automatic windshield wipers

Hands free talking with Bluetooth

Voice activated controls

AM, FM, and Internet streaming radio

Power folding, heated side mirrors with memory

Twelve way power adjustable, heated front seats with memory and driver profile

Apart from powertrain options, the "extras" are virtually all cosmetic things like metallic paint, alternative upholstery, fancier alloys, etc.


You can't refuel your internal combustion engined vehicle at home - you can refuel an electric vehicle, albeit at lower rates. And you typically have many many hours available for that home refuelling, so how much of a problem is it really?


Re: So?

Model S starts at around £50K - for a car that's comparable in size, performance and practicality with BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-class, Audi A8, etc. all of which fall in that price bracket. Move up the spec range and it's entirely competitive with high-end Jaguars, Aston Martin, Porsche, Maserati, etc. Model S was never meant to be a volume car, but I hear it's the best-seller in its class in some markets. Hardly a failure.

Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics


Re: Private Eye is left wing? @LucreLout

As a long-time subscriber and admirer of the Eye I have to say that I don't think it has any real left- or right-wing bias. They expose corruption, humbug and hypocrisy from any and all parts of the political spectrum. No-one is immune.

Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees


Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

Use PlayOnLinux - it makes installing MS Office a stroll in the park. https://www.playonlinux.com

Verizon: fibre is MUCH cheaper than copper, we're going all-FTTP

Thumb Up

Perhaps this story is really telling us that the telcos have learned from the pikeys - and the real motivation for switching to fibre is the profit to be made on all the copper they'll be ripping out?

Radio 4 and Dr K on programming languages: Full of Java Kool-Aid


Re: “Goto statement considred harmful”

The cheerleaders of GOTOs are missing the point of Dijkstra's criticism. He was basically just saying that readability and comprehensibility of the programming language is the important thing, and that GOTOs complicate the programmer's task by obscuring the logical structure of a program.

No-one's suggesting that the execution path of a program can't have GOTOs in it - a compiler for a structured, GOTO-less programming language will of course emit machine code that's full of branch instructions, and in all probability (if the compiler is any good) that code will be more efficient than hand-written, GOTO-ridden code.

Apple boots Windows 7 out of Boot Camp


Why --

would anyone want to buy a new Apple computer to run an old version of Windows?

Osbo: Choose a IoT fridge. Choose spirit-crushing driverless cars


Digital tax accounts - can't wait for that!

Can I have your bets gentlemen, please, on when we can expect the project to go tits up like virtually every other major government IT initiative?

Seriously, I've not seen or heard any talk of this being in development - does anyone know who is putting the necessary systems in place to support this announcement?

Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes


Re: Didn't PCs used to require switching a jumper to flash the BIOS?

Yes but... as I understand it, physical access to the machine is needed in order to install the hacked BIOS - so a simple hardware switch isn't going to help a lot.

Our 4King benders are so ace we're going full OLED, says LG


I reckon the real reason they make these ridiculously thin screens bent is so they're able to stand without wobbling too much. Same trick I used to use when making playing card towers.

Phabba-dabba-do: Samsung hypes up Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge


Re: Why

Also, the S3 was the last Samsung flagship phone with an FM radio. Mock if you like, but for me that's a feature I use every day.

3 spectastic Lumias for price of 1 rival flagship: Microsoft sells biz on cheapie experience


Bargain hardware

...has anyone hacked it to run Android yet?

Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage


Re: Makes Sense

Mate of mine on Windows 8.1, trying to be helpful, created a document for me using Powerpoint, and saved it in "native" ODP format. LibreOffice (on my Ubuntu 14.04) would not even open it. He then saved it again as ppt, and LibreOffice rendered it perfectly. If that's the best interoperability that MS can achieve, fsck 'em is what I say.

Three to pleasure bumpkins with 800MHz


Three has been great for me

I am still totally happy with my PAYG SIM from Three in my Galaxy S3 (3G only), which costs me a £10 topup every 45 days, and I generally spend £5 of that credit on a 2GB data add-on every 30 days. Each topup gets me 5000 free texts, 150MB data and unlimited calls to other Three users, which includes almost everyone I ever call on a regular basis. Apart from that I don't make many voice calls (because of Zoiper VOIP client on the S3). And recently they started giving me "free" roaming in France, USA and a bunch of other places.

I joined the network originally because they had the best coverage where I live by some margin; I've rarely been out of luck elsewhere either.

So hell yes, it's a low cost network as far as I can see.

Landlines: The tech that just won't die


Objections to landlines are irrational

My summary of the article:

Don't like paying 15 quid a month for a landline you think you don't use (despite the fact that your broadband service comes over it)?

Then why not pay upwards of £30 a month for a wireless broadband service that probably caps the volume of data you can send and receive, and suffers just as much if not more from multi-user contention, and can only really be expected to work properly if you're unfortunate enough to live in a major population centre?

If you like, you can also spend hundreds of pounds extra on additional kit to filter out those few spam calls, and why not replace that free router you got from your ISP with a complicated and expensive one that also does VOIP, and then you can subscribe to a VOIP service from someone - oh, did we forget to mention the VOIP subscription charges?


Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons


Some problems are just hard

Where I live there is a once-per hour bus service between 9am and 5pm that typically arrives anything up to 50 minutes adrift from its published timetable. The large 55-seater single-decker buses that run the route typically carry no more than five passengers and I'd guess that on average four of them will be travelling on senior-citizen bus passes and the other is of student age. The remaining non-car options for getting to town are walk (five miles), cycle (on a *very* busy main road, no thanks), or call a taxi, typically £10-15 one way (the bus costs £3 ffs). This is why the average household round here has 2+ cars and part of the reason why the main road is so busy. I really wish there was a better solution, but I can't think what it would be.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Fun, but not for all


Great cars

I'd not long passed my driving test - mid 1970's I'd guess - when my father acquired an Alfetta, and I was allowed to drive it. To this day, I've never driven a car that was so engaging, so communicative, and so lively. It was also ridiculously unreliable, and he'd have got rid of it far sooner if it hadn't been such fun, and more importantly, if his employer hadn't been footing the repair bills.

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows


Re: We all paid for Brown's auction

"Mobile voice does not have the same competition."

Sure it does - install a VOIP client on your mobile, and use cheap mobile data or WiFi rather than paying extortionate voice call rates. You can also appear to be at home wherever you are in the world.

Goes like the blazes: Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 late 2014 edition


Expensive for a lock-in

I don't really care how whazzy the technology inside it is, because all I would seem to get for the rather high purchase price is the opportunity to send an ongoing stream of yet more money into Amazon's coffers. I'd only consider something like this if it was readily rootable to allow stock Android as a replacement for the proprietary Amazon OS. On second thoughts, perhaps I'll get a Nexus 9.

REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control


Properly engineered systems!

IBM mainframes are boring and predictable. Exactly what you want for safety-critical infrastructure. Who cares how "old" it is - it gets the job done, with uptimes in years. Rather surprised a bad flight plan can cause problems though.

UK slaps 25 per cent 'Google Tax' on tech multinationals


Better/easier ways to tackle the problem

Why don't they put rules in place to close the loopholes and accounting tricks that companies use to avoid tax? For example, they could refuse to give tax relief on "loans" that companies make to themselves via overseas subsidiaries/parent/child companies. If the company to which the "loan repayments" are made has the same ultimate ownership, then you can't offset the repayments against your profits to avoid paying tax.

Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report


Re: Good hardware... but

The trick to differentiating yourself is to offer something different - not like Samsung's "me too" apps which have absolutely no compelling advantage over de-facto standard Android apps most of which are popular, well-established, trusted, and free. Samsung Push Service - WTF?

Programming Office 365: Hands On with Microsoft's new APIs


Re: Another Auth System

"They just don't seem to know what they want to do."

Oh but they do, They know exactly what they want, and in case you didn't realise: It's your money they are after, now and in future, as they lock you into their "ecosystem", which they keep "enhancing", to keep you running after them and paying them for all the changes you never asked for.

Ubuntu's shiny 10th birthday Unicorn: An upgrade fantasy


Choice is good

I've been loyally installing each successive Ubuntu release since 2007 but for the first time, I'll be giving this release a miss. I've only just installed 14.04 on a second-user ThinkPad X220 (£300 for a grade A refurb from Tier 1 online, better than any new laptop), and it works a treat on this older hardware for which the 14.04 software is properly sorted. 14.10 has nothing I need or want.

PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users


Re: The Future might be laptop + phone

The watch is not going to be the engine of personal computing without a small revolution in battery technology. It's bad enough having to recharge my smartphone's 2500+mAh battery at least daily and sometimes more often; how much of a drag will it be to have to unstrap a wristwatch every few hours to juice it up?

UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know


Re: Macros

That's just tickety-boo. But "people who have invested time and money into integrated workbooks and documents with dozens of macros & templates" have no right to expect that their complex documents will survive being exchanged outside of their organization.