* Posts by Frozen Ghost

35 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Oct 2009

Elite coder readies £15 programming gadget for schools

Frozen Ghost

Great for projects not learning

This looks great for integrating into projects as long as its possible to get some serial or USB output and should be a bit more powerful than the usual diy micro kits, but as a learning device it doesn't seem that great.

Schools and homes are now kitted out with endless PC's and it would be more of an inconvenience to plug it into a TV - especially when an internet browser is so important nowadays when learning to program something.

My advice, add a little cheap touch-screen to it and it becomes a self contained toy to play without the bother of finding a screen.

Image recognition – defense against a Lampard replay?

Frozen Ghost
Dead Vulture


How can the writer of this article be so uninformed on GPS and its accuracy that it takes the whole second half of the article to conclude GPS is limited to "between 30 and 60 feet".

How about having another go and re-writing the article to explain how although carrier phase tracking technologies can be accurate to 2mm they would be inappropriate on a fast moving ball etc. rather than using the iPhone as the ultimate GPS example.

Observer columnist in online porn mixup

Frozen Ghost
Paris Hilton


Why would any porn company be unhappy about having a whole new address space to buy into with almost no competition from any other companies?

I can't see them ever forcing certain types of companies to have xxx on the end in the same way all the other top-level domains are not used by the correct companies most of the time.

Linux game-time refined with latest Wine

Frozen Ghost

Why does every program on Linux have to be community developed?

It's simply unrealistic to think that every program could be replaced with a community/open source alternative if only people would try harder. Some programs are extremely complex yet are used by very few people or firms who require a high level of support - writing new versions of these, while a noble endeavour, would be a waste of the limited development resources which exist.

If Wine got good enough it might have an even better effect on Linux, that developers like Adobe would see it as an easy way to make Linux versions of their programs with only a little outlay to make it play nice with Wine.

New wave of superphones poised to challenge iPhone 4

Frozen Ghost
Jobs Horns

Apple reinvents an old technology

IPS LCDs have been around almost as long as regular LCDs, yet because Apple uses the technology in a new product everyone acts like its some revolutionary invention.

Judges back Holland against Ladbrokes on online gaming

Frozen Ghost

Dutch IP addresses

Is this really the only protection they have!?

So I can pay with a Dutch Debit card, from a Dutch bank, giving a Dutch address and as long as my IP says otherwise its legal.

Changing my IP is something I might do to get around restrictions, setting up offshore bank accounts registered to an address outside the country is something I would not.

Satellite firm offers 4G network on back of 2G business model

Frozen Ghost

Real costs

"They valued the spectrum based on obligation to launch satellites - still an expensive business - and the business model for satellite telephones is far from proven."

If this is such a good idea how come the other telcos discounted it due to the cost of the satellites?

The untested satellite telephone bit can really be ignored as the actual plan seems to be to rely on blanket ground infrastructure - not like an actual satellite telephone at all.

The costs just don't make sense, Harbinger plans to 'save' $34b over the telco estimates yet the telcos have discounted this idea already because the cost of launching satellites. Even the worst case back of envelope guestimates would put 2 satellites+launch at $2b, still saving a ridiculous amount of money.

Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

Frozen Ghost

Nuclear Power

I don't care about Trident for all the aforementioned reasons, but the Lib Dems anti-nuclear power stance is one of the main reasons I would not vote for them. It's clear that they oppose it for ideological reasons rather than actual facts about supplying a country with power - I don't know if its the best choice but I sure as hell don't want some politician to rule it out in their manifesto before they even commission a review of power generation schemes.

Should all hard drives be encrypted?

Frozen Ghost

Hardware solution?

All the negative points seem to be from the software layer, using up computer resources or causing incompatibility with the OS - surely the solution is to build the encryption into the hardware so its transparent to the OS.

Seagate (and others I'm sure) make full disk encrypted (FDE) hard drives - as long as the processing power on the board is fast enough there should be no slowdown in performance and the OS will run as normal. Combine the risk of large fines with the support costs for software based FDE and the extra cost of these drives will start to look minimal.

How a Tory gov will be the most tech-savvy in history

Frozen Ghost

More harm than good

Dear Tory Minister. If you want to spout some technological sounding political rhetoric aimed at actual technological minded people then please, next time, get it fact checked if you don't really understand the concepts behind what you are saying.

"Rather than defaulting to the creation of enormous new databases in the style of the late and over-budget NHS system, we will look to leverage the immense power of so-called cloud-based computing where information is decentralised, shared and improved by the wisdom of many."

So you want to store my medical records on twitter or some kind of wiki? and for some unknown reason the servers have to be "cloud-based".

"By introducing a powerful new 'Right to Government Data', we will enable the release of government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others, thereby empowering citizens with more useful, accurate information."

Ok now this is a good idea - but how is this different from the new(ish) Data.gov.uk of exactly the same idea.

"We'll publish online every item of central government spending over £25,000 and local expenditure over £500. As well as publishing every contract in full."

How about you start with the sensitive military purchases ... oh wait.

"And we'll throw open democracy too by introducing a technology enabled Public Reading Stage to each Bill so the wisdom of crowds can improve laws and spot potential problems."

It would be much better to use the wisdom of experts who actually know what they are tailking about, not what the media wants them to think. So when it comes to drug laws have a panel of people you don't just steam-roll every time a daily mail campaign starts and don't sack just because they don't spout the party line but instead science. That would be change I would want to vote for!

Don't get me wrong, I applaud the correct use of IT and would like to see a UK government with a greater competency (generally!) and understanding of technological issues. This just doesn't inspire me with too much confidence when you think the iPhone is open source and the cloud computing is amazing just because its the current in buzz word.

Google backtracks on cause of China search block

Frozen Ghost

On purpose?

Seems like this could be a ploy to show how the great firewall can inadvertently harm businesses on-line operations from working correctly through just including a series of 3 harmless letters in the url.

Victorinox offers hackers £100,000 challenge

Frozen Ghost


1. Tell the police that you think a someone in the Victorinox shop had a memory stick with some animal porn on (of it might have just been the sugar puffs honey monster, it wasn't clear)

2.Police come in and force the decryption under Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act



Only hard part is timing it correctly so end of the maximum allowed RIPA time falls within the 2 hour window.

In all seriousness the competition is a bit of a joke, fingerprint scanners can be quite susceptible to fake fingerprints made from a print of the original fingerprint (something fairly easy to pick up in real life but there is no chance of Victorinox providing one).

Mines the one with nitric acid and a microscope in the pocket.

VMware opens up Workstation 7.1 beta

Frozen Ghost

32GB / 2TB

Why limit the memory/disks to a feasible amount even nowadays - seems like a built in obsolescence which will only annoy people looking to run very large instances while providing no benefit. Even the high flavours of Windows 7 support 192GB memory now, so why not make the limit so far in excess of this that it would take a few generations of hardware to reach.

TomTom for iPhone gets traffic updates

Frozen Ghost

Thanks TomTom

So if you buy TomTom hardware - you know where you actually pay up to £240 for the device, then you get to pay £8/month, £48/half year or £80/year, with no option for that very useful daily pass.

China warns Google over uncensored search threat

Frozen Ghost

What is the point of Google indexing pages which people cant actually visit?

google.cn should run its spiders through the Chinese firewall and only index pages which people can actually visit. Then its not a case of actively filtering the results but building an index of the pages which the population has access to.

Cisco promises to 'forever change the internet'

Frozen Ghost

Shared responsibility?

Great - so I could be sued everytime someone in the vicinity did some copyright infringement (or worse) and it went down my line.

Also, in the UK at least, the majority of internet packages are nowhere near unlimited so you wouldn't be sharing an unlimited resource. The BT method of running a second open hotspot on the router is still the best solution as then they know who downloaded what.

Intel investigates after retailer sold fake CPUs

Frozen Ghost

Its easy

You wouldn't steal a car ... You wouldn't steal a handbag ... You wouldn't steal a television ... You wouldn't steal a dvd ...

Selling counterfeit Intel CPUs in elaborately designed packaging and then claiming they were demo units is STEALING.

Stealing is against the law!

Piracy, it's a crime

Microsoft's dual-screen booklet shows 'face' on web

Frozen Ghost


I like how at 0:25 it used Google Maps to show the position rather than Bing Maps - really gives me confidence that this rendering will be just like the real device!

BBC claims angry iPlayer plugin mob 'conflated' open source term

Frozen Ghost


For everyone who is saying this will push people (back) to piracy - the BBC just doesn't care.

Most of the original BBC content never makes it to DVD so the financial loss from piracy is nothing (or even beneficial considering bandwidth). All the BBC cares about is appeasing license holders to make them see iPlayer as a safe distribution system and hence granting the licence.

Microsoft wants to put infected PCs in rubber room

Frozen Ghost

You don't have the right to infect your neighbour

I thought most malware was spread through compromised webservers, dodgy downloads and stupid people. With most people behind a NAT nowadays I cannot believe that a malware infection on a normal PC could attack others and spread unless they were on a local network - which rather defeats the point of banning them from the internet.

Cryptome restored after Microsoft change of heart

Frozen Ghost

Streisand effect

Barbra would be proud.

Not only has this incident caused multiple media outlets to report on this documents existence but it also shows M$ in a bad light for a draconian reaction which feels more like restricting free speech than copyright infringement.

Virgin offers cut-price data roaming in Europe

Frozen Ghost


Why have they added time to the equation?

Would it not be so much simpler to have the same price increment and £1=1MB but all lasting for 30 days, instead you end up with the situation that:





So the longer the pass you buy, the less you can use per day.

O2 claims win in UK mobile broadband speed test

Frozen Ghost

All alone

Maybe its fast because no one else knows the secret location of the tiny amount of O2 3G coverage, so they got all the bandwidth to themselves.

My mother-in-law wants this! (For her birthday, you understand)

Frozen Ghost
Thumb Down

OAP = Over Amplified Price

What always gets me is the rip-off price that gadgets aimed at the older generation cost.

Take for instance the simplicITy computer - all it is is a very low spec box with a custom Linux GUI similar to most netbook distributions but they sell it for £455-£547 depending on whether you want a rubbish Intel or AMD chip in it.

Sweden to prosecute alleged Cisco, NASA hacker

Frozen Ghost

cough * Gary McKinnon * cough

So why on earth have the US tried to deport Gary McKinnon for so long when they are happy to send someone with a similar offence back to a European country?

Sci-fi and fantasy authors wade into Amazon spat

Frozen Ghost


These people are mad - the record industry decimated itself with lack of content, high pricing and DRM from the beginning - a state it looks like they will never fully recover from. Let me make this very simple for any publishers reading - you can already pirate books, have been for years and will be always able to - now work with that situation.

Compared to mp3s, ebooks are even worse to sell as they really don't provide much benefit to the consumer (outside of technical books).

This is a time of early adopters when the price should be low enough to make ebook readers attractive and move people away from print media (with the printing costs) to electronic distribution (with no costs). Once people are hooked they can bump the prices up every year slightly above the rate of inflation - and voilà expensive ebooks which people are used to buying.

Why is this so difficult for these idiot publishers to understand!

US airport body scanners can store and export images

Frozen Ghost

Useful to store them for evidence?

If there was ever a successfully attack on a plane wouldn't it be useful to go back and review the images of all passengers who boarded the plane to look for clues?

If the system was designed properly - e.g. encrypted storage that could only be accessed using master codes held by a central body, TSA/FBI/NSA (pick an acronym). As for pictures leaking, anybody can just photo the screen to get around the fact that pictures aren't stored.

Record-fine Napsterer wants retrial with RIAA

Frozen Ghost

25000 uploads?

"At $1 per track it seems that 25,000 copies is not all that many"

Assuming the information I found with a quick search is still correct and with a $1 track price:

Apple gets 35 cents

The record label gets 55 cents

and the artist get around 10 cents (if they are lucky and don't have producers and recording costs to pay)

I assume that your support is mainly with the artist rather than the record label so it would require a full 225,000 uploads to deprive the artist of $22,500. With a 4MB song file this would equate to a wholly unrealistic 879GB of uploaded data (per track).

Even if you just consider a full $1 loss per upload, it would still require 88GB of transfer to upload it 22,500 times. Simple common sense dictates that there is almost no chance this occurred and so the fine is grossly disproportionate to even cover the theoretical loss of 1 upload = 1 lost sale.

GSHP: The green tech even carbon sceptics will like

Frozen Ghost
Thumb Up

Other methods

Groundsource also works with vertical boreholes so the area of land required is actually quite small, if loads of these type of systems were installed then the price of boring would probably fall to less than that of digging lots of trenches on the surface.

There are also airsource heat pumps which work almost exactly like air-conditioning units in reverse, removing heat from the air outside and putting it inside (as hot water). These work even with air temps below 0C but are obviously less efficient than GSHP but much cheaper and easier to install.

These are the kind of decent energy saving thing people should have been persuaded to install years ago - not pathetic wind/solar where 1kW is about as good as they get for residential installations. With GSHP you could put in 6kW of electric and get 18kW of heat out constantly. A 12kW wind turbine would be huge in comparison both physically and cost-wise.

Microsoft urges Flash makers to pay fat dollar for exFAT format

Frozen Ghost

"supports up to 256TB of data"

I was going to comment that this figure sounded a bit short sighted given how fast storage needs grow but then I had a look and found that MS specifies that exFAT supports volumes up to 64ZB with 512TB recommended maximum (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955704).

Where did MS pull the figure of 256TB from?

Is data overload killing off human initiative?

Frozen Ghost

Don't delete, ignore

Maybe the solution is more human than technological, only in the last few years has all this digital information really become available so it is still treated with the same attitude as before.

10 years ago there would have been so little information available in the public domain that finding drunken pictures or articles about LSD would have possibly indicated the tip of an iceberg and would have been treated accordingly.

Now they are simply applying the same reasoning to an internet search - with time they should get used to having large amounts of information and be able to logically prioritise the important bits - otherwise there will be a significant shortage of teachers in the coming years!

California votes in HD TV power pruning law

Frozen Ghost

Poor choice of device

If they had any sense they would choose devices which have a quantifiable performance - e.g. the PQ of a TV image is not quantifiable and therefore when the manufactures employ some control trickery to lower the energy consumption it will probably result in worse PQ for the owners but still follow the regulations.

If they were sensible they should have mandated 80%+ efficient PSUs or proper <1w standby for all devices or more efficient fridges/freezers or air conditioners.

Just not things which are audio visual!

Boffins fight pacemaker hacks with ultrasound security

Frozen Ghost

Power drain?

"They found the devices were susceptible to ... remote attacks that drained the batteries"

So with their new solution whenever the device receives a correct rf signal, a microphone has to be used to determine the distance away the reader is - how does this help as it will still drain the battery with constant rf requests?

Whenever obscurity is used for security rather than good cryptography it almost always fails

Murdoch threatens to yank News Corp. from Google News

Frozen Ghost

bring on the lesson

Better NewsCorp learn the lesson for everyone than a news outlet I care about.

The only reason I pay for a newspaper sometimes is because its on paper (gasp) and hence convenient to read away from a computer. The online section would need a serious 'value add' to make it worth paying for.

Possibly Murdoch knows something about large scale colour e-ink screens but I think he is 5+ years out.

Swissdisk suffers spectacular cloud snafu

Frozen Ghost

catastrophic what?

Can anyone explain how a "catastrophic hardware failure" can ever lead to the loss ALL data in a situation where there must be many racks of drives? - without using an EM pulse of course

Its not like they just had a NAS box in their basement and called it cloud storage...

I could possibly believe 'catastrophic software failure' but 'catastrophic human error' sounds about right