* Posts by Kevin Hall

59 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Sep 2006


Chernobyl to get new steel lid

Kevin Hall

Been an international disgrace

The international community has been dragging its feet on this for years. Instead of trying to contain a threat that is a danger to everyone we've been bickering for years on how to get away with paying as little as possible. I think we all have a joint responsibility for cleaning up the debris of the Cold War and the sooner Chernobyl is stabalised the safer we will all be. I just wonder at how many potential Chernobyl sites are lurking around the world.

Patient info ends up on eBay

Kevin Hall

Farce of using profiteers

This proves again that private industry is again more interested in lining its pockets than doing a job well; these wretched profiteers are ripping off the taxpayer whilst delivering third rate service and proving once again the miricle of private industry to be absolute bullshit. Doubles all round!

O2 starts charging for calls to non-places

Kevin Hall

Scares me to death

I'm currently looking for a contract phone and signing up with anyone just scares me silly. Most of them have already stretched the minimum contracts to 18 months and the call charges outside of allowances are identical to pay as you go so what's the benefit? I don't think any industry is populated with more crooks than the mobile phone companies. Charges are being hiked up endlessly and what you get for your money constantly declines. May be they need to start ending the massive subsidies on handsets, stop ridiculous giveaways like PS3s which are worth more than the annual value of the contract and stop the cash-back bullshit and just start reducing prices. I wouldn't mind but even the "free" handsets they giveaway are just marginally better than most PAYGs anyway, getting locked into a 18 month contract for a 100 quid handset hardly seems like a good deal to me. A good recession would sort the men from the boys, they're getting far too used to the free flow of easy money where £35 a month contracts are supposedly "good" value. I don't know anyone with any kind of mobile phone who doesn't feel endlessly ripped off.

Pentagon: Chinese military hacked us

Kevin Hall

Sounds a bit worrying to me

I know it all sounds funny but we've went to war on much feebler evidence than this; do you really want anything approaching a conflict between two superpower states armed to the teeth with nuclear and conventional weapons?

Spammers add a new dimension to junk mail

Kevin Hall

Problem with open relays

The problem with blocking and detecting open relays is the administrative burden it puts on ISPs. ISPs themselves should only allow SMTP traffic to their own servers and prefrably should require credentials to send anything. The problem is malware either uses the legitimate SMTP relay anyway or simply directs the traffic to other servers using port numbers other than 25. People like Verizon and EarthLink block port 25 by default but this hasn't really slowed the deluge of spam coming from compromised systems on those networks.

I think the problem is much more fundamental, SMTP was designed without any security in mind, it's a mechanism to send email not a security gateway. I'm not a software engineer and I have no idea how you make SMTP more secure, all I do know is that before long the only people sending any email will be spammers themselves. May be it'll be fitting end to them, like madmen screaming in the darkness, no one will be listening.

Kevin Hall

The war is lost

As an email administrator products like SpamAssassin only work to a certain point. As I see it the whole email war is completely lost to spammers. We need something more robust like Instant Messaging that at least has authentication functionality. Unfortunately my job as an administrator means trying to protect the most novice of users, people like receptionists and administrators who frankly have no idea about spam. It's not that they're deliberately ignorant which is always the implication of people with elitist tendencies; they're paid to do admin work or work on the reception not be experts at email security. I don't know if one of the answers is to either white-list email or remove Internet email altogether. No matter how careful you are you'll email someone who's PC is infected or compromised and your address will be stolen that way. If email continues to be a sewerage pipe it'll virtually disappear from some organisations altogether.

Microsoft vs. Google – the open source shame

Kevin Hall

Re: The Bottom Line

Well said Greg. If it wasn't Microsoft and Google it would just be someone else. I think you really have to take the personalities out of this, corporations like Microsoft and Google are products of a much larger phenomenon. Not least the fact they're obligated, by US law, to make money for their shareholders over and above any other responsibility. If you've ever read "The Corporation" you get a better understanding that they're amoral products of an immoral economic system. If you want to change Microsoft and Google you better start thinking about changing the capitalist system, as Noam Chomsky said "this is a business run society."

Patientline looks for debt help

Kevin Hall

Don't laugh - we'll be paying for this

It's very unlikely the government will let this go to the wall, it's too politically embarrassing (free markets don't don't fail, do they?) and a big fat bail out from the taxpayer seems inevitable. The fall-out from having phones and telly's removed from the bed of sick patients would make the NHS look worse than ever and we all know there's nothing profiteers like better than paying subsidised by the public.

ISPs hijack BBC in tiered services push

Kevin Hall

Grabbing more cash?

Is it just me but do comments like "The internet was not set up with a view to distributing video" reveal these companies to be full of crap? Suely the Internet was originally designed to be a robust military network that would survive a conventional or nuclear attack. The Internet itself doesn't actually care what your data is, all data is binary and it's all sent in packets. The Internet was designed to be agnostic in what data it was sending or recieving, you can just as easily argue the Internet wasn't "designed" to buy goods on Amazon, browse for porn or download MP3s either.

You might have a legitimate complaint for obvious bandwidth hogs like Joost or for activities like file sharing that can be running foul of the law. However for something like iPlayer which presumably is using very modest amounts of resource given the poor image quality and that it's legally a legitimate service, it sounds like another scam to get you to pay for services you've already paid for...

'Portable' CD player puts MP3 into a spin

Kevin Hall

Will anyone buy it?

Sure it's a clever design but will anyone buy it? It clearly isn't a player you can use on the move as the rotating disk will snag on pockets or bags so I'm not sure where it'll be useful. I do think there is life in the MP3/Ogg format on a portable CD player but not in this form factor. You'll struggle to find any portable CD player these days as cheap MP3 players, especially flash based ones, have killed the market.

BSkyB buys Amstrad

Kevin Hall

Sky + Amstrad

"a wretched hive of scum and villainy" - Obi-Wan Kenobi. A long time ago...

ICSTIS wants your views on anonymous SMS

Kevin Hall

Anonymous texting...

You send me anonymous/junk texts and I break your fucking fingers. How's that for a response? Too subtle?

Burned by a MacBook

Kevin Hall

Hopeless Apple excuses

It always amuses me that the Apple fanboys blame the victim for the piece of shit they've bought. Regardless of whether she should have backups of data, backups of laptops and all that crap, you're completely missing the fucking point: you're blaming the victim for a terrible quality computer and terrible after sales service. Stop defending Apple like they're a fucking workers co-op who are for the betterment of mankind when they're just a money-grabbing piece of shit company like every other. Like all OEMs they value engineer their hardware to death trying to shave off a cent here and a cent and before you know it they're selling a plastic coated turd.

75-year-old has world's fastest private internet connection

Kevin Hall

Odd proof of concept

We all know fibre is blazing fast with unlimited bandwidth for all practical purposes. It seems a bit odd to prove what we all ready know. I don't think it'll ever be economically viable to use fibre instead of copper for home users.

Motorola Z8 'kick slider' media phone

Kevin Hall

Is Motorola getting better?

It sounds quite positive to me. The problem I always had with Motorola was the software on the phones was just horrendous with poorly designed menus and apps that absolutely repelled me. The stuck to peddling gimmicks like the Razr for too long. Still, given the huge streak of mediocrity on phone design it's encouraging that Motorola is actually trying to do better. The last Nokia and Sony Ericsson I've had have been hugely underwhelming.

Is your phone free?

Kevin Hall

Looks quite decent

Looks quite a good phone with some interesting ideas. The Sharp Zaurus was a great idea - I had one and the quality of the software was really quite good. Unfortunately the developer effort let it down a bit and I was forced back to Palm. I don't think it'll ever be a Nokia-killer but at least it shows some more imaginative thinking beyond adding more cameras/MP3 players and other crap to a phone.

Tories offer record industry cash for righteousness

Kevin Hall

No change Tories

Looking out for the rich and private property has always been one of the key beliefs of the Tory party so no change there, then. George said it best above when he said there are much more pressing issues then looking after Cliff Richard's pension fund.

Can't wait for Big Dave's Tory love-fest of handing the record companies an unlimited monopoly (like the phones, electicity, gas, trains, water...) and government approved music in all the stores! Tipper Gore must be so jealous!

MS Patch Tuesday to include trio of 'critical' fixes

Kevin Hall

Patches are a fact of life

All this MS bashing is a bit pointless as I have never used an OS that didn't need patches, whether it was Windows, Solaris, VMS, Netware or Linux. About four months ago I installed Ubuntu 6.06 and it downloaded about 600MB of patches after installing. I don't regard that as "bad" more a case of that's as good as software is. The main problem I find with Linux distros is they come with so much software the requirement for patching can be significant. To be honest the worst patching experience I have ever known is with Oracle Applications where patching can be incredibly time consuming and very difficult to do. No one has a magic bullet for this problem.

Sky is 'silly' to whine about HD for All

Kevin Hall

Telly is going down the pan

For a whole raft of reason I would never pay one cent to Murdoch for his horrible telly. But like other have said we seem to be losing our way. Telly gets an endless list of technical upgrades whilst what's actually watching diminishes year on year. I seem to recall the whole rush for everything broadcast in Nicam stereo years ago and the appetite for upgrades has started then. The problem seems to be that the basic quality of what's on offer is at an all time low. I think endless tinkering with broadcast methods and technology doesn't address the basic problem that telly is crap and has been for about 15 years. The deregulation of TV in the UK was the biggest disaster for the viewing public in its history - we're now at the point where channels are so atomized and the viewing numbers so low there's only going to be a subscription model left. Sky and Virgin must be delighted.

Apple iPhone

Kevin Hall

Looks fab...

I have to say that the iPhone looks amazing but unfortunately my only criticism is it's so far out of my price range to be not even worth considering. I'm used to phones around the £100 mark - the cheaper Nokias and Sony Ericcsons tend to be what I buy and you really can discern the pedigree of Apple's phone.

I think ultimately unless the iPhone comes down in price to around the £200 mark it'll never be a mass-market device and I think attempts to Shuffle or Nano-ize the device might just end up with another cheap generic mobile phone of which there's already too much choice.

I think the only real downside is for quite a major investment I think there are quite a lot of question marks about build quality, after my 4th generation iPod I thought the thing was quite poorly made.

10 signs you're in a tech bubble

Kevin Hall

Excellent article

Great comments - the bullshit days of the dot-com bubble have only changed shape not gone away. I really don't see the sequence of waves and peaks stopping any time soon.

Doctor Who faces extermination

Kevin Hall

Who decides?

It isn't Russell T. Davies' decision anyway. Doctor Who belongs to the BBC and they'll be the ones to axe it if they feel the show is tired. It's current incarnation is not terribly interesting, the "Monster of the Week" gambit is hardly very profound - give me Tom Baker any day :)

How to fix your kids' education for $200m

Kevin Hall

Total bollocks...

The idea that there is an IT solution to teaching problems is absolutely ridiculous. I don't know what Mcnealy is angling for, either handing over more money to profiteers like himself so he can keep pushing over-priced Sun kit to run all this rubbish on. Okay the textbooks are rubbish but this is hardly a position that can't be fixed. If the books are crap then have them rewritten, better edited and introduce so academic quality control. California is the seventh wealthiest economy on Earth, more than most nation states, so there's hardly a problem with not having the money.

But the whole plan is just rubbish. Having all text books in a digital format would have enormous capital costs. Consider at the moment all the UK secondary schools are spending nearly £100,000 a year on IT, increasing at nearly 20% a year (http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000480/SFR27-2004v6.pdf). There are more than 3,500 secondary schools in the UK (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/ofsted/seced/chap-1.htm). So we're spending more than £318 million a year to provide about 200 computers per school. Those costs don't even include primary or special schools. Therefore each computer roughly costs £443. So considering there are nearly 4 million children in secondary education (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Social_Trends37/Social_Trends_37.pdf), this would require a computer/pupil ratio of 1:1 if we're replacing textbooks so at £443 per computer would cost £1,772,000,000 which buys an awful lot of textbooks.

As for BBC Jam being free, of course is wasn't free but the BBCs charter say that it must be a public service broadcaster to educate and inform. It seems to me that BBC Jam was a lot closer to its original remit that 99% of the other shite the corporation spews out. Is anyone going to seriously argue that using £150 million to help educate children isn't a good use of taxpayers money or would you rather (a) see that handed over to profiteers who'll hand in a product three times worse, twice as expensive and have no democratic accountability or (b) use the money to puke out more shite like EastEnders or Any Dream Will Do?

Nivio betas hosted Windows

Kevin Hall

Sounds like Citrix to me

Citrix have already been doing this for years; it does have problems with latency but I think this can be only expected when trying to run GUI apps over the Internet. Universities already do this but not as one correspondent to reuse old PCs. Many Citrix sessions are actually run from new PCs or thin Linux or Windows CE clients. You tend to find that Citrix has very significant costs, the reason it tends to be done is for management, rather than cost.

Right-to-reply website launches

Kevin Hall

Another propaganda outlet

Is anyone really stupid enough to believe this is anything other than another Tory propaganda outlet with a business plan a three year old could see through. It'll be "impartial" in the way Fox News calls itself "fair and balanced."

It really is designed as very clever, under the radar propaganda. The whole thing is run by Tories and profiteers which for a "impartial" news service has all the credibility of Norman Tebbitt running a refuge for single mothers.

Dell's dance with Ubuntu: True love or farce?

Kevin Hall

More Linux irrelevancy

Can the Linux advocates please stop the juvenille attacks like "Gutted Gates" because it makes you and the OS look like a joke? No one is going to take seriously an OS being peddled with all the emotional maturity of a 7 year old. Try making a proper argument for your OS instead.

As far as I see there is no market for a big box shifter like Dell sticking Linux on its PCs. Given how easy it is to install Linux in the first place I really don't see the point. Ubuntu installs in about six clicks of the mouse and providing it finds all your hardware (which unless it's really exotic it will) almost anyone can do. Linux is still far too much of an unknown quanity for Harry Homeowner to order sight-unseen. People need Windows preinstalling because for amateurs it can be difficult, Ubuntu on the other hand is a no-brainer. If I really need Dell to click the mouse to install Ubuntu then really I shouldn't be running Linux at all.

'IE8 compatible' - the cure for web standards headache?

Kevin Hall

The web was lost years ago

Hang on a second. Before you all start blaming the browser, how many standards compliant pages are there? Most pages I visit would never be W3C compliant. Then again most web designers don't seem to care about this, pages are saturated in Flash or Shockwave (not exactly a W3C standard the last time I checked) and the pages are made excessively complicated. Most pages are marked up for presentation not information but then again most web designers wouldn't know the difference. Blaming Microsoft for the current state of the web is, frankly rubbish. Every Joe Q. with a text editor and a web server is contributing to how poor the state of the web is.

Of course before you all start trumpeting Firefox I think you're missing a lot of points. Up until Netscape dumped its browser and went open source in 1999, Netscape 4 was a joke. It could barely render any CSS at all. To get to Firefox, it has took Mozilla the best part of five years demonstrating the difficulties of the task. Of course there is the even thornier subject of what is a standard and who decides on one. When standards in this context are purely arbitary, I really don't see how any company is under any obligation to follow it.

Sky customers spending more than £400 a year

Kevin Hall

Four times better?

Nice to know that since what punters are paying for Sky is creeping closer to four times the TV license, it's nice to actually see some figures on what a Sky-dominated TV market would actually cost the viewer. 400 quid a year for crap like Lost and 24? Hmm...sounds like a deal to me!

Dell Linux is go

Kevin Hall

Publicity stunt

The whole thing is absolutely irrelevant. Firstly most open source fans have no problem in installing their OS of choice. Second, if, as Linux is so often touted, so easy to install then having it preloaded is neither here nor there. Also, although 100,000 people have said they'll buy a system preinstalled with Linux there's no guarantee even 10% will pony up the money. Out of selling nearly 9 million PCs a year that isn't many, personally I would like to be the one antagonising Microsoft for what will be a lot less than 100,000 PC sales. Dell are just trying to drum up business as they're in trouble, their sales are down nearly 10% and market share has shrunk by 4%.

I am frankly shocked at how naive most readers seem to be. No company the size of Dell or Microsoft has any interest whatsoever in fair competition. They all want to be the only game in town.

Peter Gabriel takes sledgehammer to music downloads (again)

Kevin Hall

Do they know what they're doing?

Hang on a sec: "The tracks will be MP3-encoded, and unencumbered by DRM...saying "three, four or five" listens will be needed."

Without DRM, how do you do this? As an MP3 the first thing you'd do is stick it into any one of a million MP3 editors and delete the advert. The whole business model sounds like bollocks. I'll stick to buying CDs thanks, without the adverts/DRM/crap sound quality/illegality (take your pick).

Ofcom and DTI slam Murdoch TV strategy

Kevin Hall

Re: Branson the hypocrite

Whatever you think about Beardie is irrelevant. The problem here is Murdoch - you can't have any company, let alone a predatory company like his, owning nearly a fifth of its major rival. We all know Murdoch, News Corp, Fox and all the rest is an absolutely rotten mindset where nothing less than the absolute obliteration of any competitor will do. The goal of Murdoch is simple, drive out the competition and the force his tenth-rate sludge down our throats for £40 a month. Once Murdoch prevails he will make the current telly license seem like a utopia.

A modern-day Gerstner is needed to cure all of Microsoft’s ills

Kevin Hall

Can't ever see an MS Linux

Even if Microsoft ever pushed out a Linux distro I would have thought it would be a kiss of death to Linux. Given that so much of the Linux culture is derrived from an anti-Microsoft dialectic, I would imagine they would lose developers in droves. It would be a bitter pill to swollow knowing that as a Linux developer you'd be working for Microsoft for nothing while they sit on $29 billion. On the other hand it might be a business strategy, if Microsoft wanted to kill dead the Linux momentum. Oh the irony of Eric Raymond indirectly evanglising for Microsoft, now that I would pay to see...

Google glitch loses user data

Kevin Hall

You get what you pay for

Given that users pay absolutely nothing for Google services by definition you wave your right to complain when they go wrong. The Google SLA has so much wiggle room for the company, including saying they will *not* pay any monetary compensation, you haven't got much of a leg to stand on. In fairness to Google they have never described themselves as infallible anyone that believes so is an idiot. The chances are they don't back up much if any customer data, they might have fault tolerance and mirroring, but the idea your data is being backed up to another site or other media is probably a fantasy. My mail service is also online but since it's a paid for service I know it's being backed up and has a sensible SLA why my data actually has a value. There's nothing wrong unreliable or unstable about online services except when you're expecting a 2GB+ mailbox for nothing. If your not prepared to pay anything for your data, why should you think it's any more valuable to Google?

How did we all end up with Windows?

Kevin Hall

Whole premise is wrong...

Despite all the bullshit rhetoric about Microsoft and juvenile insults (Micro$oft...) the entire premise is crap. Hegemony is the default in every area of business from supermarkets to fast food. McDonald's is another hyper-monopoly but is anyone going to argue we pick their food because it's "the best." Microsoft is a natural conclusion to hyper-capitalism that's been growing for the past 30 years. The fact it's Microsoft is totally unimportant, there are no benevolent corporations, if it wasn't Microsoft someone else would have adopted the same position and the same tactics. In almost any field of business the days of real competition are in clear retreat as the current incumbents have such mass no one can shift them. Juggernauts like Tesco and Wal-Mart have profound implications on the way we live that go way beyond the petty arguments of what operating system we use. We ended up with Microsoft as our de facto software house because that is the absolute inevitability of the system of capitalism we have. Companies like Microsoft build up such a huge footprint that the technical successes or failings of their products are merely details, what matters is they have such momentum competitors might as well not bother. I can't even believe we are still having this debate with every Clueless Joe still thinking the problem is Microsoft when really Microsoft are just the symptom of how we choose to do business.

The Kremlin uses kryptonite to silence Sheryl Crow

Kevin Hall

He's right, you know...

The anonymous poster is spot on when he says Macs have a huge advantage in that so few people have them they're just not worth going after by criminal gangs as what you'll be able to steal just isn't worth the effort. I think it's also worth pointing out that although Windows has weaknesses any half way decent AV product stamps out most malware dead and a fraction of common sense would stop nearly all of it. You can't blame Microsoft if you act stupidly in exactly the same way you'd take any sensible precaution to avoid being the victim of any other crime (you do lock your car? Keep your wallet out your back pocket, don't you?). I think it's interesting that despite the myriad of Windows security problems people have hardly been abandoning the platform in droves which does make you wonder how much FUD is talked up about them.

Also, as a personal plea, I wish people would refrain from the nauseating and peurile word-forms like "Windoze" that might have been funny to a 14 year old in 1998, but now just make you look like a half-wit. It's funny the way the Internet encourages people to use such abusive language...

IBM prepared to break knuckles of low-income students

Kevin Hall

Ripping off the taxpayer

Given that it seems likely IBM sold the schools a load of bullshit at big prices absolutely defines the relationship profiteers have with the public sector. People like IBM are absolutely dependent on the public sector for their very existance and depend on extracting the maximum amount of money from the taxpayer they can. If you totalled up how many billions of dollars IBM has had from the public purse over the years in the forms of tax breaks, grants for land and capital purchases, government contracts, the value of employees educated at public expense it is an absolutely disgrace they are asking a bankrupt public body for money.

Daily Telegraph rattles legal sabre at Google

Kevin Hall

Good luck to the Torygraph...

They do have a point; newspapers don't publish material for the likes of Google to hoover up, Google sucks up millions of dollars in profits partly on the back of stories they didn't pay a cent for. When Google is such a patently commercial organisation, hawking ads for all manner of crap simply because you do a search, they can hardly claim any "fair use" argument (which they might be able to as a non-profit, as it is, Google answers to shareholders). Google can't go on treating the idea of copyright as nothing more than a speed bump, it is the ultimate example in externalising your costs, getting some other chump to write all your material and getting paid simply through cherry-picking the best bits.

If Google kills penguins, is it doing evil?

Kevin Hall

I thought it was well argued...

I think some people are trying to mitigate the salient points of the article, I think those that do need to stand in line with the climate change deniers, flat eathers and the like. It's not picking on Google as such - they're just a part of the problem. When just one company uses the equivalent of 5% of the UKs energy then we have a problem which ever way you cut it. Given that relative to the history of humankind, should we really be puking out 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for a dog and pony show like Google?

Kevin Hall

Hidden pollution?

Interesting article, it's amazing when you think that just by searching Google you're contributing to pollution. 5000 megawatts is more than the output of Drax power station, which supplies about 5% of the UKs electricity. To put it another way, it's Europe's second largest coal fired station, one of the most efficient and cleanest, yet can still chew its way through 36,000 tonnes of coal a day and pumps out nearly 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. In other words, the poorest 103 nations in the world, *combined*, consume and pollute less than Google. It's a frightening statistic when you think what Google is doing is hardly essential to the survival of mankind and in some respects is on the absolute periphery, if you think the biggest searches on Google for 2006 were Bebo and Myspace...

Thunderbird 2 is go

Kevin Hall

Thanks for validating what I said

I'm just amazed at how defensive some people get. The basic functionality of Thunderbird 2 is not hugely different from Outlook Express 4.72 and more importantly not that improved on Netscape 4. Considering both are years out of date that isn't hugely impressive.

First, there is no evidence that OE is unstable with large amounts of data. Please back this claim up.

Outlook Express has *always* supported add ons and still does.

OE is a commercial product, it's never pretended to be anything else. You're comparing apples and oranges.

Outlook Express from 7 years ago was also written for Macintosh OS and Solaris.

Okay, you can't skin OE, but so what? You can't skin Mulberry, Pegasus or most other email clients.

You *can't* innovate a POP client. POP is crap.

Outlook and Outlook Express are completely different products. I don't know why anyone is dragging this into the argument.

I think you're missing the point, I don't even like Outlook Express, my point was (before it got lost in all this feeble anti-Microsoft propaganda) Thunderbird is a decent but unremarkable email client and hasn't done that much more than rewrite Netscape 4.

Kevin Hall

Unremarkable software

I use the beta version with an IMAP account of and it is absolutely unremarkable software. Nothing about it seems that innovative - infact it's not really anymore advanced than Netscape 4 and Outlook Express was 7 or 8 years ago. If they don't innovate the client any further than this no one will be sticking around. It does its job but there's nothing to see, Mulberry had the potential to be much, much better.

Ubuntu launch marred by website woes

Kevin Hall


I thought the invincible world of Linux didn't have these kind of outages. I mean in the Linux fantasy world you don't have these problems, do you? Have you got your excuses ready yet?

Study: Users pay for Microsoft patent woes

Kevin Hall

Risible level of research

Really this is total crap. I don't think there is any company that hasn't been in litigation. And doing simplistic mathematics to try and prove X amount of what you pay for Windows goes into the costs of lawsuits is absolute shite. Not to mention the whole study is being peddled by free software evangelists, it's about as objective as Fox News.

ISP ejects whistle-blowing student

Kevin Hall

He broke the law

It doesn't matter which way you spin this, he broke the law. What he did falls under the Computer Misuse Act and he may be sued and he may even get a visit from Inspector Knacker. Everyone is equal under the law (supposedly) and given what he did was so deliberate, he can't really mitigate his way out of it.

Orange and Vodafone cripple Nokia's flagship

Kevin Hall

People expect too much

I think the networks have every right to restrict access to services that essentially compete with themselves. They're giving you a very expensive phone that's been subsidised to 100% so you can hardly blame them. This kind of "crippled" feature is no different to the fact that phones are locked to their parent network. You can't expect Vodafone to give you a free N95 and then use it on a cheaper network. Parasitic customers like these are the bane of every mobile company.

The logic about Pay As You Go is also nonsense. Nearly all PAYG phones are subsidised to a degree by the parent network. They do charge marginally more (T-mobile charge PAYG 2p a minute more than contracts) but PAYG customers cost more to administrate, have a higher churn rate and generally spend much less on calls. The Marxist argument might be the poorer end always subsidises the better off but It think it's unlikely in this case.

The answer is obvious to all the gadget obsessed crybabies who want a free N95 - if your credit cards weren't all maxed out you'd just need to buy a sim-free model. As it is you seem to expect endless upgrades and handouts that all other customers have to pay for indirectly. This just highlights the bigger issue that subsidised phones should be completely stamped out.

Software compliance is not just about licensing

Kevin Hall

Hard to enforce?

There's a couple of problems. I think the first one is, is there even such a thing as "commodity" code anyway? The thing about the GPL is who can actually enforce it? If a really big company violated the GPL who would have the money to take legal action? More to the point has the GPL even been tested in court?

Microsoft unhappy with Google DoubleClick marriage

Kevin Hall

Be careful what you wish for

Although I'm not defending Microsoft, I think gloating over this isn't very intelligent. It's clear to anyone that there are all the signs that Google will become another monopoly where if it turns out anything like Microsoft you'll find 96% of all advertising revenue going to Google and everyone else fighting for the crumbs. The implication that Google is some kind benevolent force is absolutely laughable, what do you think they are? Some kind of workers co-op? The anyone-but-Microsoft dialectic will just replace one tyranny with another.

Missing the PowerPoint of public speaking

Kevin Hall

Presentation tools are crap

Having been a student and now work at a university, PowerPoint is truly horrible tool. Of course, it could be any tool like OpenOffice Impress or Lotus Freelance Graphics, but the net result is the same. People spend a lot of time designing not-very-interesting presentations that I find counter productive. People seem to do presentations because they have the tools to do them, not because they need to. I seem to recall one company, it might have been Sun or Oracle (I can't remember) banned the use of PowerPoint and told employees to use sheets of acetate and coloured markers instead. I think it's a classic case of a solution in need of a problem and that dismal slide shows should really only be used as means of last resort. To quote someone else, PowerPoint is a tool "for people to think and speak like fuckheads."

Apple delays Leopard for your own good

Kevin Hall

Nokia the new Microsoft?

It's funny that Apple evangelists (apologists?) will back up any product Apple produce no matter how deficient. Chad H basically substitudes Nokia for Microsoft as the criticisms are identical. And even when Apple drops the ball the only defences people are putting up are "at least we're not Microsoft." I mean if that's the best you can do then don't bother. Although the iPod might be a brand leader, it's technologically so-so and suffers from poor quality construction and materials. I don't even think that's an article of faith, just ask any iPod owner about battery life and scratches. Given this history, Apple might sell this overpriced toy to the faithful, but there's better companies selling better phones already.

Orange punts two year lock-in

Kevin Hall

Wising up to the upgrade con

I think Orange are the first putting their toe into the water to get out of the endless cycle of supplying hugely subsidised handsets to punters on 15 quid a month tariffs who then expect another 300 quid handset in 12 months. This ludicrous situation has gone on for years and all credit for Orange being the first to start to tackle it. On one hand you have punters expecting hundreds of pounds in hardware subsidy and then the phone company has to rip off everyone else to pay for it. We're creeping closer and closer to £30 a month basic tariff for a pitiful amount of minutes and/or texts because of the endless handouts some customers expect. I think all the mobile companies need to eliminate hardware subsidies entirely and use the savings to give punters more service for their money. The glut of "free" upgrades being hoovered up by chavs and neds who then unlock and/or flog on eBay is costing us all money.