* Posts by Campbeltonian

101 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Aug 2009


Apple iMac 27in



The wired keyboard is still an option, and it has those keys. It's a shame that Apple still make you choose between a full-sized keyboard and a wireless one.

If you use the smaller keyboard for long enough, though, it doesn't take long to get used to just holding the Cmd key and using the arrow buttons though.

El Reg pays by phone – mmmm, free cookies!


Missed opportunity

I would have liked to see some form of off switch, to allow the user to disable the NFC in the phone, for this very reason. Such a thing is impractical for cards, but perfectly possible for phones.

That said, I would like to assume that there is *some* form of security involved on the card, and that an ordinary RFID reader can't read a PayWave card/phone. And that the readers are tied to the retailers, so that Visa/Mastercard can go after retailers who misbehave.


Not really

For the credit card companies, this is about entering the low-value transaction market. They want to make money from this that they weren't making before.

For retailers, this is about reducing (and eventually removing) the requirement to handle cash. It's a pain in the ass, especially for places like coffee shops where transaction values are low and involve a lot of coins.

MP headshot sex rating site: Gentlemen prefer Tories


Not exactly new...

sexymp.com (as opposed to .co.uk) was set up in order to rank Scottish Parliament election candidates in 2007.

iOS 5 said to sport over-the-air update facility


This almost never happens

"Bet they'll trumpet it as a new thing"

This almost never happens. In fact, sometimes Apple acknowledge that they've been left behind.

Usually, when you read an Apple hater's comment complaining that Apple is claiming to have invented something that was already commonplace, that comment has no basis in fact. It was made up. Other times, they're reacting to the media reaction rather than what Apple themselves are saying.

Amazon cloud sinks, smothers Web 2.0 darlings


Availability zones

What's curious about this is that it affected all four availability zones in US-EAST-1.

When one of my company's instances starting having problems this morning, I attempted to start a replacement instance in a different availability zone and restore from an EBS backup. This failed.

The whole point of having availability zones is meant to be that if one zone goes down, the others remain unaffected.

The long-standing issue with EC2 is that there's no easy way to copy images, instances and EBS volumes from one *region* to another. Ideally my company would have images and backups available in a number of different regions, so that if Virginia disappears off the map, we can just start a new instance in Dublin as if nothing had happened. As it stands, we have everything in the affected region because having anything anywhere else is impractical.

Fortunately, only one of our instances in US-EAST-1 was affected - most have carried on working fine.

iPhone 5? You might be waiting till 2012


Right click

No right clicks? Apple products have moved on since Mac OS 9, believe it or not.

Why Nokia failed: 'Wasted 2,000 man years' on UIs that didn't work



"US and Japanese companies now dictate the market."

What Japanese companies? Apple, Google, Microsoft, HP/Palm and Motorola are American. HTC are Taiwanese. Samsung and LG are Korean.

The only Japanese company I can think of that has a presence in the market is Sony Ericsson, and a) it's a joint venture between Sony and Swedish Ericsson, and b) they hardly have the market penetration at the moment necessary for them to start 'dictating the market'.

Apple security update leaves iPhone 3G users unprotected



That depends on your definition of 'works'. The perceived wisdom is that iOS 4.x never worked on the 3G at all.

iPad 2? Let's be kind and call it iPad 1.5


Downloading your podcast

Obvious question number one: I take it that you're downloading podcasts using a third party app, and not the iTunes app (which does allow it to run in the background)?

Obvious question number two: I take it you've upgraded your iPad to 4.2, which adds multitasking support?

If yes, then you *should* be able to leave the app and have the download continue in the background, at least up to a maximum of 10 minutes. That is, if the app developer has written the app to take advantage of the Task Completion API that appeared in iOS 4.

Boffins demand: Cull bogus A-Levels, hire brainier teachers


Re: A really confused Yank here

"Here, you need a minimum number of English, Math, Science, Art, and what we call Social Studies (civics, history, economics, etc.) to graduate."

Those mirror the requirements in a Scottish Standard Grade pretty well, at least at my high school. English, maths, a social science, a language, a science and an art were all required, leaving two timetable slots to fill with other subjects. Standard Grade takes place in the third and fourth years of high school (we have 7 years of primary school and 6 years of high school), before we take Highers. I believe your perspective is skewed slightly by the fact that the article discusses Highers and A-levels almost exclusively, at which point some specialisation kicks in (to a greater degree south of the border).

Students that decide to leave school at the age of 16 (after completing Standard Grades, usually) almost always go on to study a vocational course at a further education college, so it's not like they're dumped out of the education system at that point.


Re: Highers???

"I went from the England with a-levels to Scotland for a degree and found the first year was about half n half "easy" and "new". I think degrees are too narrow focussed myself."

The whole point of the 'easy' first year in Scottish universities is to allow you to take a breadth of subjects so that your degree *isn't* too narrowly focused. In the first and second years of my computing degree I studied geology, astrophysics and history and philosophy of science (a history course, not a science course). I hadn't done any of these before, and they're 'easy' precisely so that people studying other subjects can achieve a breadth of education.

If you have good enough Advanced Highers (roughly equivalent to a full-term A-level or the old CSYS that they replaced), you can skip the first year entirely. Or if you have good Highers you can skip your high school 6th year and go straight into uni (something I sometimes wish I'd done). In these situations the Scottish degree is essentially the same length as an English one.

Equinux Tizi iPhone TV tuner


Only if...

Only if you're using WiFi. If you're streaming over 3G, it can't really be described as free. And if you've only got 2G connectivity you can't stream anything at all.

Three punts UNLIMITED smartphone package


I had a similar experience

I was looking for a SIM-only contract, and I got a PAYG SIM from each of the networks to try them out.

At home on Three, I consistently got 4 or 5 bars of HSDPA, but struggled to download a meaningful amount of data, and sometimes had problems connecting to the network at all.

I ended up going for Vodafone, which gave me a good 3G connection at work (a lifesaver when BT knocked the broadband out in the entire region) and a good EDGE connection at home.

Visa approves wireless payment chip


The solution is obvious

All these problems would be solved if the NFC antenna in the phone was physically connected to the MicroSD slot.

I wonder how my bank would feel if I took one of these and just duct taped it to the back of my iPhone. Or sewed it into the palm of a glove, that would be cool.

WTF is... up with e-book pricing?


Just print it on the receipt.

It can't be beyond the wit of man.

iAds to flood UK iPhones, iPads



You can't turn the ads off, as such.

But you will only see an iAd in apps you've downloaded, where the developer has decided to use them. You could always just not use those apps. There are no iAds on the phone itself.

US may disable all in-car mobile phones


Re: Sure, what's the problem

If you have a kid that suffers from travel sickness, a book is the worst thing you can possibly give them. I know, because I was once that kid.

Has CERN made the VATICAN ANTIMATTER BOMB for real?*


Re: Collective noun for Lewises

No, a Lewis Book.

Hopefully there are female versions. It would make Lewis Page 3 a bit more pleasant.

Wikileaks outs 400,000 classified Iraq War docs



What put lives at risk was the fact that these things were done in the first place. Complaining about publication is far too little, far too late.

Sony Reader PRS-350 Pocket Edition


Expensive device for expensive ebooks

I see that Sony's new batch of Readers still can't display ePubs with justified text. Poor.

It's not just the extra £51 for the device that you have to think about, but the extra cost of the ebooks themselves relative to the Kindle store. Most places that sell ePub/Adept books price them higher than paperbacks.

I've taken to buying eBooks from the Kindle store, cracking the DRM and converting them into BBeB format, the old, proprietary, deprecated Sony format that my PRS-300 can display with justified text. It's far from ideal but it's a hell of a lot cheaper, and the end result is superior.

I wouldn't be surprised if I've dumped the Sony and bought one of those new Kindles by the end of the year.

Windows Phone 7 leaves operators on the hook


It's not up to them

This is all very well, but don't the networks have to compete with each other? If one network relegates the latest smartphone to the back of the shop because it can't customise it, and another network gives it pride of place in its window displays, then where are the customers who actually want to buy the phone going to go?

And I realise that some of these handsets are being released under exclusivity agreements, but these aren't going to be cheap. Networks pay for exclusivity if they think a handset has selling potential. I can't see them paying for exclusivity and then deliberately trying to make it fail because they're not getting their way.

iPhone mules are taking our handsets, damnit!


The start of this article...

...should be read in the voice of Grandpa Simpson.

Surprise Automotive X Prize winners announced


VLC and luggage

The issue I foresee with the VLC is that as soon as you put four people and enough luggage to fill the boot into the car, its performance will deteriorate drastically. I drive a small and not particularly powerful car (although not to this extent), and although it drives fine with just me in it, fill it with people and luggage and even the most modest hills become challenging.

My problem with the contest itself is that it doesn't take emissions into account. A car that emits nothing (electric), or only emits water (hydrogen) is going to be preferable in a city environment where air quality is important, and it's probably worth taking a hit in terms of total efficiency in that kind of situation.

Hands on with RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9800


Charging connector

Is there any reason to think that it won't use MicroUSB? It's what the Bold uses and it's what most manufacturers are standardising on.

UK supermarket starts contactless payments



I have a contact-only Bank of Scotland credit card and a contactless BoS debit card.

I had the contactless card sent to me entirely unsolicited by the bank, and they didn't make using it optional - a cash machine swallowed my old debit card, which would have still been valid until 2012, because I'd continued to use it.

I've decided never to use the contactless aspect of it. The ability to conduct anonymous cash transactions is something I don't want to give up.

Authentic Navy rum: Yours for £600 a bottle


Proper units, please.

* More correctly, 1/7041 cubed smoots.

The Wrath of Jobs' latest victim: Motorola


Pot, kettle, etc.

El Reg, accusing Apple of being petty? Surely not!

Google shutters Nexus One webstore


More unlocked Android phones.

Play.com have a decent selection of SIM-free Android phones:


They're expensive, but pair them with a PAYG SIM or a cheap SIM-only contract and you're laughing.

The Register comment guidelines 2010


Some observations

#3 is pretty difficult to adhere to given the pre-moderated nature of these forums. Just because there aren't any comments doesn't mean that someone hasn't posted the exact same thing as you - it just means that it's stuck in the moderation queue.

I'd like it if post-moderation was introduced on a trial basis. Or has this been tried before, with unsatisfactory results? Or even just showing how large the current moderation queue is.

#8 can be awkward with very short comments, and generally it's only done because we're forced to enter a title. Is there any particular reason for this?

Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'


Debate and ideas deficiency

I'm sure you could discover a broader range of debate and ideas by getting a DAB radio.

That said, you could discover a broader range of debate and ideas in the average petri dish than you ever could in a copy of the Daily Mail.

Vista-hating Microsoft throws poo at Apple's iPhone 4


Hold it

“You will be able to use Windows Phone 7 and not have to worry about how they hold it."

You *can't* hold it. It's software. Not to mention, at this point, vapourware.

Microsoft has strict requirements regarding what kind of hardware WP7 can be installed on (number and function of buttons, etc). Have they added a new requirement to the list, along the lines of "No iPhone 4 style antennas"?

Google: 'We did not follow Apple into phone market'


Being pedantic...

...it wasn't built from scratch at all, it's based on Linux.

New dinosaur dubbed 'Mojoceratops' - 'over a few beers'



It needs tightening now.

Or perhaps it was fired from a bow?

iPhone 4G blingmobe: Yours for £13k


Splashing out £12,995...

...seems to be the only way to obtain the unobtainable white iPhone, at any rate.

I've got to say, despite how ridiculous this is, it's at least nice to see one of these 'luxury' phones loaded with software designed around usability. Nothing depresses me more than seeing thousands of pounds worth of diamond-encrusted mobile phone running Nokia Series 40.

BT and TalkTalk threaten court to kill Mandybill


Won't happen

It won't be repealed, because the Tories supported it wholeheartedly, and the Lib Dems didn't care enough to actually turn up in parliament and vote against it.

Brighton NIMBYs complain over BT broadband upgrades


Phone box?

Here's a suggestion: disguise it as an old red phone box. Maybe even put a phone in it, and a BT Openzone too. It'll be several times as large (I'm guessing; a Google image search has come up with nothing) and nobody will bat an eyelid.

6music wins possible reprieve from BBC Trust


Re: Good show

It was an Anonymous Coward on this thread (I remembered because I replied to it):


Apple iPhone 4


Couple of points

"I have to say, for a phone, the 3GS' display was perfectly adequate. While a higher resolution might be great when you're sitting down to watch a movie on TV, when you're just casting a glance at the Weather app, a lower resolution isn't an impediment."

Try using iSSH. It's the kind of app that requires very small text to make it useful, and it was almost illegible on the 3G. The iPhone 4 makes this app usable.

"The iPhone 4 is narrower than the 3G and closer in dimensions to the original iPhone. That makes it more comfortable to hold."

On the contrary, I think the rounded backs of the 3G and 3GS make the older models much more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 4.

RIM BlackBerry Pearl 3G phone



In addition to the reason you mentioned, when you're sitting with your phone/MP3 player on a desk, it's also preferable to have the headphone socket on the bottom.

It's something that Apple have got consistently right with their iPod Touch line, and consistently wrong with everything else in their non-Mac lineup.

Hoodies swipe bus for YouTube joyride



It obviously takes less training to drive a bus like that than it does to operate a video camera correctly. At least they managed to keep the bus upright.

Apple iOS4 upgrade adds multitasking, folders... and pain


Part of the process

Uh, you *have to* back up an iPhone before upgrading its OS. The process effectively restores the phone to factory settings. In fact, I'm pretty sure the very first step in the upgrade process is to back up the phone.

Apple's iOS 4 beams into unprepared world


Not invented here

Apple never claimed to have invented any of those things. Well, except Firewire, which they did 'invent'.

What they usually claim to do is to make things usable. The only time the word 'invented' gets used is when the haters start to complain.

Apple iOS 4 update due today


Thanks, that's cleared things up for me

If I ever happen to find myself in June 2009, I should buy an HTC Topaz.

Apple apologizes for iPhone 4 gaffe



"Ah, Apple — it can get ink even for admitting its poor planning."

Uh, I count nine Apple, iPhone, iPad or Mac related articles on the front page of El Reg as of now.

If you don't like the amount of press Apple get around the time of a product launch, stop frigging writing about them!

Inevitable Mac OS X 10.6.4 update problems surface


Ubuntu says otherwise

Every Ubuntu update is followed by a surge of online complaints about things breaking. Linux isn't the magic bullet.

Apple to sell unlocked iPhone 4


Re: I don't get it

There are plenty of SIM-only contracts available that bring the TCO of an unsubsidised, unlocked phone back down to roughly the same as a subsidised phone+contract.

Everybody who gets a phone as part of a contract is paying for their phone. Every month.

Superslim iPhone 4 enough to fend off Android?


Outside the US

I'm willing to bet that Android handsets are selling a lot better in the US than they are in the UK. It's very telling that the market share survey that showed Android as having a slight lead over the iPhone was a US-only survey.

My hunch is that it's got a lot to do with the fact that HTC have been the most prominent Android manufacturer. They seem to be relatively well known in the US because of their Windows Mobile handsets, but they were pretty much unknown here before the Android handsets started to ship.

As it stands, I know one person who owns an HTC Hero, and my boss wants to buy a Nexus One at some point. I know way more people with iPhones.

Steve Jobs talks Flash, 'lying S.O.B' devs, sex, and Gizmodocrime


Worst car analogy ever.

Cars were the playthings of people with more money than sense long before anyone actually found a use for them.

Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund



If you travel to a country where you are required to have your national ID card or passport on your person at all times, then having a card as opposed to a passport is a significant benefit.

I carry my driving licence, Oyster card (despite living in Scotland), credit and debit cards and railcard with me at all times simply because they fit in my wallet, but never my passport.

I opposed the ID card scheme because of the National Identity Register (and associated nonsense such as £1000 fines, etc.), not because of the cards. If, for an extra £30, I could get an additional card for travel to Europe when I renew my passport, I'd probably go for it.