* Posts by loopy lou

74 posts • joined 11 Nov 2009


Possessed baby monitor shouts obscenities at Texas tot

loopy lou

Re: Not a baby monitor?

Agreed - a disembodied voice talking to the baby is very unlikely to help.

But it is dead handy if parent1 is with the baby and says something intended for parent2 who can then press the button even if it is only ot say "OK,got it, I'm coming".

Study: Most projects on GitHub not open source licensed

loopy lou

And what's the problem?

If you happen to use a publicly visible source code repository for a hobby project, it seems pretty sensible to leave license terms unclear. In the unlikely event someone is interested in your code, they get in touch and you can decide how to handle it.

Netbooks projected to become EXTINCT by 2015

loopy lou

Spot on

Would anyone buy a tablet that you could only use in landscape? Even if i want to wath a movie, I find the thing in portrait and then turn it round to play it.

A lightbulb that does IPv6: You know you want it

loopy lou

Depends who is doing it

I tend to agree, but once the tech is there to record it, we can't really stop them changing the price according to demand during the day.

And if they do that, I definitely want to have a box that addresses my power hungry devices (dishwasher, tumble drier) to shut off anything non-essential when the price is high, or preferably wait till it is low to start them.

Torygraph and Currant Bun stand by to repel freeloaders

loopy lou

I'd pay 2 quid a month for el-reg withouth the ads, no question. Yes, yes, I know - AdBlock Plus, but it feels kind of stingy on here (unlike moronic sites like National Rail Enquiries where it is the only way to render the thing usable).

US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

loopy lou

food != fossil fuel

Not sure about the rest of you, but most of the C02 I relesase when cycling was recently captured from the atmosphere when the wheat, carrot, potato or whatever grew. As such, we're part of a closed loop with the food we eat: C02 + H2O + Sunlight -> carrots + O2 -> exercise + CO2 + H2O.

So there's no net effect on CO2 from the food itself or how much you eat. It just changes how fast things go through the loop.

What does matter is the energy cost in getting the food to you (C02 and H20 make their way back to plants on their own) which is often driven by fossil fuels, but I suspect that subtlety is lost on the gentleman.

Inside the new climate row as Mystic Met Office goes cool on warming

loopy lou

Completely lost

I can't make sense of this argument. In para 8: the met said "days of heavy rainfall had become more common" and the rest of the article is about annual or monthly averages. As far as I can see, the met said in effect that the variance of the daily rainfall figure had increased, or at least that there were more days above a particular threshold. As long as there are also more dry days, then this doesn't have any bearing on the total rainfall. So how does looking at the monthly or annual totals help confirm or refute this?

Hm, nice idea that. But somebody's already doing it less well

loopy lou

Innovation != growth

I'm not sure that's the only reason. Inventing the washing machine must have been great for growth because it frees up lots of time to be productive with. But Twitter, Facebook, and on-line news sites with comments (erm...) suck up huge amounts of time that that might well have been used more productively if they didn't exist. So even though they are innovations they actually reduce economic activity.

File-sharing mom begs US Supremes to void bloated RIAA fine

loopy lou

What really happened?

I don't agree with your sentiment, but the same thought struck me: what happened that made the juries impose such absurd fines each time it came before them? Was it to censure her legal team for some reason? Does anyone know more than what's in the article, please?

Facebook T&Cs vote falls 299.5 million short of quorum

loopy lou

Gogol would have been proud.

My cat has a facebook account. She died a few months ago but they still send her email.

Apple engineers 'pay no attention to anyone's patents', court told

loopy lou

"Does" not "Should"

The way it should work is:

1) engineer does something which takes weeks or few months. Because they just came up with it in the course of their work, they assume thousands of other engineers could have done the same and therefore that its not patentable. No problem, business goes on as usual.

2) engineer comes across tough problem thats likely to be very long and costly to solve, and may even demand exceptional inventive steps that they can't be sure of getting. Hunts around to see if anyone else has solved it already and published a patent. Business chooses whether to license existing IP or invest heavily in generating their own alternative IP.

Graun Aid: Don't They Know It's Christmas 2.0?

loopy lou

Re: Charge the commentards

Only the moron commentards of the soapbox variety that, er, get lots of downvotes, er... um.

loopy lou

Charge the commentards

They should charge people for writing drivel in the comments threads. Kind of like vanity publsihing, which seems to be thriving. Maybe the readers' votes could even change how much a comment costs, so the good ones could be free and downvoting someone would hit the moron in the wallet.

Brains behind Kazaa and Morpheus unleash patent storm

loopy lou

Re: If legal systems could mate...

Mix in the inlaws and you've really got something.

UK.gov's minimum booze price dream demolished

loopy lou

Unintended consequences

One consequence I've noticed, (in Scotland, even though minimum pricing hasn't even come in yet) is that instead of filling three shelves with boring £4 - £4.50 plonk and half a shelf of more expensive stuff, my local co-op now stocks a wider range of more interesting stuff spread across the £5 - £10 range. Not that wine is the real target, but presumably they realise that no-one is going to buy something that used to cost £3.50 for £4.69 when they can get something that used to cost £4.69 for the same price.

(or maybe they are just upping the prices in advance so we forget what things used to cost).

People-powered Olympic shopping mall: A sign of utter tech illiteracy

loopy lou

Well said Lewis

You were pretty restrained. This utter idocy makes me weep. Apart from it being a pathetic quantity of energy, faced with walking on tiles that extracts energy from your motion (presumably they give a bit so you have to work that bit harder to take the next step) I for one would walk round the side just like I won't wade through snow if there is a clear path to walk on. I suspect 99.9% of the population would do the same.


Grab your L-plates, flying cars of sci-fi dreams have landed

loopy lou

Re: Parking on a skyscraper

Or just get the computer to drive the car so it doesn't need multiple car-lengths of empty space in front of it just to cope with the distance it travels before the driver even realizes something has happened.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: Like it or not, this Linux grows on you

loopy lou

High praise indeed!

"As someone who started off disliking Unity I'll admit I've come around. Somewhat."

I can't say I have, and I've really tried. It still causes more expletives even than Vista did. If they are going to foist this on LTS users, I'd expect it to be getting a more enthusistic reception than that.

But what really bothers me is the lack of attention to the classic mode in Gnome3. This should be a workable alternative to unity, but there are too many rough issues with the default version - scrollbars overlapping resize contrils, window borders where you have to be within one pixel to operate them. Silly stuff that should never have got out of the door like that.

Ubuntu 12.04 hits beta, brings smooth Unity for marching masses

loopy lou

totally agree

I've tried to give it a fair chance, but unity has been the source of more expletives in my household than anything I can remember, even including Windows Vista. The windows leaping around at random and then hiding themselves like demented ferrets really takes the biscuit.

Boffin's blog blast births boycott of publisher Elsevier

loopy lou
Thumb Up

Not just PLoS

There is also BioMed Central, publisher of several hundred open access journals, and Frontiers, likewise with a rapidly growing stable of highly regarded publications. The review process is pretty much the same, but the money is collected from the author's institution, not the reader's; there is no print edition and anyone can read it online. So in this field there's really no need at all to sell your soul to the likes of Elseveir any longer. I suspect all of scientific publishing will go this way within the next decade or so.

Skype founder to offer FREE mobile broadband for all

loopy lou


My minimally informed guess is that he's onto something. Think of the scientific literature which used to be pay-to-consume is now in a rapid transition to a free-to-consume (open access) pay-to-publish model driven by the vanishing cost of accessing stuff online.

If you're and advertiser and you want to get people to see stuff, it seems a bit churlish to expect them to pay for the bandwidth, not to mention expensive: as the means of getting on-line multiply, the cost of collection money from every consumer for every access route will rapidly become the dominant cost in providing access. At that point, it makes sense to make consumption free, and charge people to get stuff onto the system in the first place. Of course, content producers will often charge the end user for some service or other, but that's between them. The money will flow from the user to the content provider and from them in big dollops to the pipe provider.

Bagged salad contained decomposed AVIAN CORPSE

loopy lou

No it was "baby, leaf, and rocket" salad. Cheapskates put in baby birds instead of proper ones and left out the rockets completely.

Can general relativity explain the OPERA neutrino result?

loopy lou

Not what is usually meant by peer review

This is gold standard peer review, not what is normally understood as "peer review" in the context of the media saying "it was peer reviewed so it must be right". Here lots of the best people are interested in getting to the bottom of the issue and real science is being done in the process.

Normal peer review is rather less edifying. The hundreds of thousands of papers submitted to journals each year all have to be read by other scientists to weed out glaring errors, and dodgy claims, but very few get the kind of scrutiny this result is getting. I've certainly ticked the "accept" box on occasions after a couple of revisions thinking "well, it could be better but its not obviously wrong and no-one is going to read this paper anyway".

MS denies secure boot will exclude Linux

loopy lou

What's more...

Much of my linux hardware spend over the last 10 years has actually included a windows license.

But if machines that ship with windows 8 won't run linux then anyone buying a machine for linux will have to choose one without the firmware restrictions. It may not be a huge market, but if an oem can service it with a simple variant, then maybe this will inadvertently boost the availability of os-free hardware.

Well, here's hoping at least...

Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time

loopy lou


I ordered something from CCL recently. They sent me a text giving the 1 hour timeslot that it would be delivered in. So now Google "owns" that process?

We've had a few problems lately in the UK with people arbitrarily reassigning ownership of things. How exactly is this different from what the USPTO does? It is time there was some hefty punishment for them when they do idiotic things like this.

Hitchhiking snails scoffed, pooped out alive by birds

loopy lou
Thumb Up

Brave snails

A lot like going to Mars then?

Samsung threatens Apple in response to patent lawsuit

loopy lou

Rounded rectangles

And don't those Korean's look a lot like us in Cupertino too? Two arms, legs, same way of moving.... Wow! why didn't we see it before? Lets get a patent and sue the socks off them. My god, socks, they wear socks. Blatant copying! Quick, get a patent on socks and go after them..

Godson: China shuns US silicon with faux x86 superchip

loopy lou

No need to steal

16 projects with $5bn - $10bn budgets sounds like it would do the trick.

In terms of overtaking, you don't need to be X times smarter, you just need the money and for everyone to keep their lawyer's under control. Not having the USPTO planting mines and feeding trolls right left and center will also help.

Of course, US companies may spend all their time trying to stop Chinese tech being imported, but I'm not sure the Chinese would care that much, and it isn't likely to endear them to the US consumer either. Perhaps we can all return to the good old fashioned pursuit of building your business by making something better than the competition?

Electric forcefield space sailing-ship tech gets EU funding

loopy lou

Pluto in 5 years

Very nice (if you're into extremely cold and dark lumps of rock), but how do you stop when you get there?

Bloated US patent holder sues 9 tech companies

loopy lou

On the bright side

The rise of Intellectual Ventures may just be what is needed to get this absurd situation sorted out.

While the big players were mainly just cross-licensing and using trivial patents to screw small newcomers, they didn't have much incentive to change things. But with the appearance of a powerful parasite that generates no value and just wants to tax everyone else perhaps the guys with the power to fix the problem will actually get fed up enough to push the lawmakers to sort it out.

WikiLeaks payment service threatens to sue Visa, MasterCard

loopy lou

Thank you

Adding this to the debate deserves more than the 1 upvote I can give it.

The wikileaks issue is just illustrating the problem: as normal people become more dependent on credit cards to get on with their lives, we have to make sure the Ts and Cs don't give corporations (and the governments that lean on them) excessive power. States have to start saying "if you want to provide credit card services to our businesses and citizens, here are Ts and Cs YOU have to abide by".

Good on the Russians for realizing this and starting to do something.

Apple patents glasses-free, multi-viewer 3D

loopy lou

Monitor replacement?

I'm deeply skeptical too. But if it could be made to work for just one viewer and just targeting a face sized area (so no 3D) it would make a pretty neat monitor replacement. The screen could be at a comfortable distance and the projector could be very low power since most of the light would be getting to the viewer - and no-one would be able to see over your shoulder...

WikiLeaks re-taunts feds with US Amazon mirrors

loopy lou
Black Helicopters

Why the focus on wikileaks, not the original leaker?

Is it too much to suggest that the powers that be actually prefer wikileaks to the alternatives?

Without it, some guy gets hold of some files he thinks the public should see, dumps a big zip file anonymously somewhere and it spreads from there with unredacted copies multiplying like rabbits.

With wikileaks, everyone leaves it up to them to distribute the stuff. We accept being drip fed redacted content. Governments just have to play a careful game pretending to beg and plead so we think wikileaks is on our side, while in fact they are managing the disclosure in a controlled fashion.

Don't hold your breath for wikileaks to publish a leak on how it operates itself...

Brits blow millions on over-priced ink

loopy lou

DIY refils

I bought a pack of 1 liter bottles of ink and syringes a couple of years ago (for about 40 quid if I remember) and have refilled two cannon printers from them ever since. The black is almost out now, so that's the equivalent of about 30 standard cartridges.

Its a bit fiddly sometimes, but nothing too awkward, and frankly I quite enjoy a few minutes poking around in the printer. Its much better than the hassle of going to the shops or ordering on-line and having to be in to receive the stuff. One less thing to think about...

HTC inks patent pact with Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures

loopy lou

Uh huh?

"What we’re really trying to do is create a capital market for inventions"

If I ever hear of a company looking through those 30,000 patents to get a new idea about something it could make, I might just believe this.

In the meantime, it seems infinitely more likely that the company will develop their new product on their own only to find that the USPTO in its infinite wisdom has assigned ownership of some of the ideas it involves to this gang of vultures who wait until it is too costly to change the design and then demand exorbitant sums of money.

NY youth makes $130k selling real(-ish) white iPhone 4s

loopy lou
Jobs Horns

Legal fees

His mistake was to be based in the US

How to make boots on Mars affordable - One way trips

loopy lou

@The "Gobi Desert" Question

What would you do there? Spend every waking minute trying to construct a rocket to get back to earth again.

Nothing like a life or death challenge to focus the mind.

Apache threatens Oracle with Java exit

loopy lou


So what next? Java fragments, everyone's job gets a bit harder, Oracle make more money.

Just like the Microsoft and Internet Explorer story really.

Maybe Stallman was right exhorting us not to trust Java all those years ago. Had the open source community held out against Sun and refused to have anything to do with it until the whole thing was protected from the potential for this kind of abuse, then we wouldn't have this mess now.

National Rail tweaks departure board API, 'orders' coder to kill site

loopy lou

Recent arrivals?

Does anyone know if there is a way to get recent arrivals from their service?

I often seem to arrive to meet someone just after the train got in only to find that the platform (there are 20+ to choose from) is no longer on the board and the staff can't tell you either.

Are they trying to make it difficult for people to independently monitor how late trains are, or is it just utter incompetence?

Apple unloads patent suits on Motorola Androids

loopy lou

@ I look forward...

Absolutely. In principle, we, the humans, make up the rules that govern those other intelligent entities, the corporations. Having a rule about ownership of IP seems like a good idea in many cases, particularly where such IP is hard to come by (like discovering new drugs) since without ownership, companies wouldn't have a reason to put in the effort to discover them in the first place.

Unfortunately, the existing rules have a lot of unintended side-effects, notably that they can be used to claim ownership of things that already exist or that would have been invented independently very soon anyway. If you're exploring a large space where progress is very costly, it makes sense to give people the territory they discover (for a while). If on the other hand, there is a tidal wave of activity likely to swamp any newly discovered area within a year or two (as in the multi-touch patents), it makes no sense to allow a company to claim ownership and fight others off.

But, unfortunately, the current situation is great for the agents who handle the ownership and defense process, and to some extent it works well for the very big players too. The agents (patent lawyers) have no interest in taking away their source of livelihood, even if they are essentially just parasitic on the real activity of making cool things.

So, in principle, we, the voters could just adjust the laws to make the rules reflect what is economically optimal. Unfortunately, the biggest players like the rules, because they keep competition at bay, and the parasites have got themselves into the rule-adjusting process too - lawyers arguing about laws etc. Geez, I'm almost making myself sympathize with the Tea party.

Various things could improve the situation, like making the patent office pay if they award a patent that is later proved invalid or making the claimant pay if their claim is declared frivolous but these don't really fix the core issue that as a society it isn't very sensible of us to impose a notion of single ownership around things that multiple entities are likely to invent independently at relatively modest cost. The tricky thing, of course, is knowing whether someone else is likely to invent something. Having a look to see if it has been done already would be a good guide, but even this appears to be beyond the patent' office's remit.

HP whips out iPad challenger Windows 7 fondle-slab

loopy lou

I found a use

Two in fact:

1) cooking from recipes (no keyboard to get grease and crumbs on)

2) settling dinner time arguments of the "Andorra is bigger than Luxembourg" variety without looking more than usually sad and geeky.

Rogue engineer supplied dodgy power to 1,500 homes

loopy lou

Still thin

That bit was obvious. The original poster seemed to be under the impression (as I was from reading the article) that he was then going on to put in meters and charge people for supplying electricity to them. Then it seemed puzzling that he just got community service.

The article doesn't explain that the stealing electricity bit was committed by the landlords, at least one of whom got a custodial sentence.

loopy lou

Clarification needed

Reg reporting seems a bit thin on this one.

Other sources explain these were multi-occupancy houses where the landlord managed the revenue and he did the electrical work to branch a supply to the newly-created flats.

That's why he only got a suspended sentence and one landlord got 9 months. Others are still under investigation it seems.

Super-tough wireless sensors 'to be dropped into volcanoes'

loopy lou
Thumb Up


Now there's the answer to those noisy fans.

Nominet chief tells domainers to grow up

loopy lou

Which end?

"Respectable end of the domaining community"? Which end would that be then? It is an activity that adds costs to other businesses while creating no value in return whatsoever.

The only other group I can think of that are as parasitical as domainers are software patent lawyers and even they may be of some value now and again.

Iron-on armpit BO stench-filters 'ideal for modern lifestyle'

loopy lou
Thumb Down

Budding romance?

...as long as you keep your clothes on that is.

Cleveland residents get RFID-equipped recycling

loopy lou


Not $4 per tonne, its $56 per tonne - they have to pay $30 to put it in landfill, but can actually sell it for $26 if it is sorted.

If it costs $100/household to set up, then it will pay off once a household has produced a couple of tons of recycling - probably quite a few years. But I guess costs are in the vans, not the bin tags, so marginal cost per household should be much lower. And landfill costs will probably only go up, so it seems plausible that it is commercially viable.



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