* Posts by nemo20000

85 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Nov 2009


UK electric car funding - another subsidy for the rich say MPs


You are almost all talking bollocks

The amount of ignorance or wilful misinformation in these comments is staggering.

If you think that an internal combustion engine is more efficient than electric along the whole supply chain, you are wrong. Stop repeating that shite.

If you think electric cars would melt the grid, require more power stations or cause rationing, you are wrong. Stop repeating that shite.

If you think that hydrogen fuel cells are "the answer", you are not only wrong, you have absolutely no grasp of the laws of physics or are paid by the fossil fuel companies that manufacture the vast majority of available hydrogen supply.

If you think ALL people who have electric cars are richer than you or vainer than you or that solar panels only exist to assuage privileged people's guilt, then you have issues that no forum post can cure, so I won't bother.

Writing this is the ultimate in futility but I'm calling you out anyway. You're an idiot, whether you know it or not.

It's Lego's 80th birthday party, but only the boys are invited


Re: Best article - WTF?

@BinaryDad wrote: If she still wants these sets when she's old enough for them, then I'll happily buy them.

Buy Lego now! My daughter built the Winter Village Toy Shop http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=10199-1 when she was four years and eleven months old, and that's marked as a 12+. Mind you she now has over 300 minifigures, so here be dragons (and crocodiles, and kittens, and goats even).

Annoyingly, she also likes the Friends figures, even though she says "they're not as good as the minifigures". I've tried to explain how sexist she is, but she'd only six and doesn't seem to get it.

As for Lego, their sexist City range can at least be populated by the slightly more varied collectible minifigure series. But why we need dayglo pet grooming Friends products when the City line could have a female Vet, Doctor, Garden Centre or Architect I don't know.

Gov must act on 'innocent' web-browsing copyright timebomb


Stuff and nonsense

You can’t copyright a URL. You cannot copyright anything that cannot be expressed any other way - if there’s only one (or a small number) of URLs that will fetch particular content, then that URL (not the content, the URL) CANNOT be copyrighted. That’s already law with plenty of precedent (eg SEGA). Since the URL cannot be copyrighted, copying the URL (linking) is not an infringement.

As to trying to enforce copyright on something that cannot be seen (or express its copyright status) until it has been transiently copied... good luck.

Sony: Walkman, meet Android


Re: Damnit....

My Archos AV300 had 80GB in 2005. Where have you been?

Android Trojan leaves 100,000 users out of pocket


Re: YAY more Android FUD stories

@g e “I don't know why Google don't allow users to individually grant/revoke privileges to apps regardless of whether it knackers the app functionality or not.”

I fully agree, and this was first requested as an “Android Issue” back in 2009: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=3778

Google’s response then, and every time it crops up again, is “Works as intended”. There’s a lot of people insisting they want the functionality, and a lot of fud in response such as “would increase complexity of writing apps” (which is nonsense).

The way such functionality would behave is that any “revoked” permission would appear (to the app) to work, but fruitlessly – http would return 404; accessing contacts would find none; sending an SMS would send it to the bit bucket; GPS would return some default location; etc.

The reason Google won’t implement it is simple and obvious: If you could revoke internet access for an app, how could it serve Google Ads to you the whole time?

I believe there was some possibility of a Cyanogenmod patch to revoke individual permissions, but I don’t think it faked results as above.

Brits get to fondle Google Nexus 7 slab in just a fortnight


Re: $49 for 8GB

“Give me unified internal storage any day, the myth of SD cards being a solution to limited storage needs to end.”

Here’s the reality of unified storage: Drunk knocks pint of beer over ‘unified’ device, all photos, videos, books, music, notes, child’s favourite drawings, game saves etc DISAPPEAR.

The pint of beer thing just happened to the wife’s HTC Desire. She’d been hankering after an HTC One X until the moment the beer flowed and the lights went out. Fortunately the SD card from the Desire slotted right into a new Galaxy S3 and hey presto.

‘Unified memory’ devices are for the “it won’t happen to me” brigade, and good luck to you.

Sony SmartWatch Android remote


No chance. NO. CHANCE.

I had the original. To say “it didn’t work” is an understatement.

They’d have to give me this, refund the original AND compensate me for the stress and wasted time of trying to get it to work before I’d even consider using it.

And then IF I considered using it I’d choose not to. It’s a watch that you have to press a button to find out the time – that was rubbish in 1975 never mind 37 years later. What century is this?

Ten... Qwerty mobiles


But what have they ever done for us?

To date nothing has beaten the venerable G1’s keyboard – that was superb. I’d like a G1 mark II with appropriate hardware improvements, but the form factor was right (for me) from day one.

I’m currently using a Desire Z, which is good, but I miss the G1’s keyboard. But I fear the future is bleak for those of us who were sold on the G1 – they’ve shed the physical phone buttons, they’ve discarded the trackerball, and now they’re scorning keyboards.

It’s the Fall of the Roman Empire all over again. It’ll be glass windows, central heating and decent roads we lose next.

Best and the Rest: ARM Mini PCs


Re: RISC OS wasn't first

@VinceH “Wasn't there a ARM processor for the BBC using the tube interface? If so, what ran on that? (Or was it just an internal thing, when they were developing the ARM?)”

It was semi-commercial, in that I remember Acorn sending me a photocopied “brochure” for it in 1986 which bore the £4000 price tag. I don’t think they made many! Pictures here: http://www.stumpie.com/armeval/

Like the 6502 second processor it ran a tiny veneer that could hardly be called a kernel, never mind an OS. It just mapped a few SWIs to the host’s equivalents over the Tube. It didn’t support modules.

The full list of SWIs it implemented was (OS_ prefix omitted): WriteC, WriteS, Write0, WriteI+, NewLine, ReadC, CLI, Byte, Word, File, Args, BGet, BPut, Open, ReadLine (all mapped to the Beeb’s OS routines), GetEnv, Exit, SetEnv, IntOn, IntOff, CallBack, EnterOS, Control, BreakPT, BreakCT, SetCallB, SetMEMC (all familiar from Arthur and RISC OS) and the mysterious UnUsed and Multiple.

It came with Twin (a dual-buffer text editor I was still using in RO2 days), BASIC, ObjAsm and AAsm (still used in RO), Lisp, Prolog and Fortran77.

ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber


Unravelled? Who was pulling the string?

Acorn didn’t unravel, it was systematically and clinically dissected to liberate its incredibly valuable ARM shares whose dividends were subsidising Acorn’s latter-day navel gazing.

Acorn shares were worth a fraction of the ARM shares it owned, and cunning bean-counters worked out a cunning wheeze to get much richer more quickly. In the process they destroyed one of the most innovative and influential computer companies in the world.

Psion committed suicide, but Acorn was murdered.

Nympho hauled to loon-cooler after serial bonkathon brutality


Re: What bus route?


RIP Ceefax: Digital switchover kills off last teletext service


Badly rendered text?

There’s an interesting history of Teletext text rendering. The text produced by the SAA5050 (etc) used in the BBC Micro and most TVs of the period was really good.

Although it only used a 5x7 bitimage font, it used a clever wheeze to double the resolution. Taking advantage of interlacing it delayed the interlace field by half a pixel horizontally (matching the “half pixel” vertical offset of the interlace) and then output a pixel wherever two and only two pixels met diagonally – smoothing the jagged diagonals. The result was in effect a 10x14 bitimage font, with a few idiosyncratic design decisions!

Later chips and software emulations didn’t do this hardware resolution enhancement, so newer TV’s just used the original 5x7 shapes, or even some other generic 8x8 instead. In addition, the roughly square SAA output was (often) stretched into the 5:4 aspect, resulting in non-square pixels.

I wrote a Teletext editor a long time ago and producing the anti-aliased glyphs to perfectly emulate the old SAA5050 was the best bit.

Compulsory coding in schools: The new Nerd Tourism


Re: It might help give children a better model of what a computer is and does

Spreadsheets (of which Excel is but one) ARE useful tools used for important jobs... but usage of them should be part of maths (or business, or physics as appropriate) and NOT “computing”.


Re: optional

Schoolboy error in line 1. You’d be happier in BASIC. ;-)

Gmail goes titsup for 30 MILLION PUNTERS



I’ve recently started receiving somebody else’s Gmail. Without naming the accounts in question, my example@... account is now also getting exam.ple@... mails.

Surely that’s not right.

Minister blows away plans for more turbines


Re: Workable form of mass electricity storage

“and to manufacture it without needing to pollute more than you supposedly 'save'”

That’s the usual oil industry rubbish repeated ad nauseam despite all scientific refutations. Please stop repeating that kind of nonsense. It is usually based on some study that showed that Chinese coal-fired power stations are more polluting than diesel VWs, or that an EV with batteries takes more emissions to manufacture than a petrol car with no fuel in. Yeah? No great surprises there, but no relevance either.

The only important point is that as energy generation decarbonises, the EV you’ve already bought gets less and less polluting. That doesn’t happen with oil.




Can we stop all the anti-EV lies now? They cost more to buy and don’t have the same range as oil powered cars... but they cost less to run and can be “filled up” anywhere. That’s it. Get over it.


Workable form of mass electricity storage

@PlacidCasual “Until a workable form of mass electricity storage is invented”

It has been invented – the electric car and smart meter.

It’s not inventing that’s hard, it’s getting people to buy the result.

Lesser-spotted Raspberry Pi FINALLY dished up


Re: Millions of homes

@Steve Evans “Not to forget the huge expansion possibilities on the Beeb. RGB, composite or modulated video out, serial ports, parallel printer ports and 8 bit user I/O. I personally had great fun with those.”

This I think is a crucial point not addressed by the Raspberry Pi project – what is the point? What is the point of programming this machine, if you can’t plug it into anything? I know it has USB, but what use is that to someone with a couple of potentiometers and a soldering iron? Where is the connectivity board, with all the lovely interfaces on it you mention, easily accessible by ALL the languages one might employ?

The BBC Micro was NOT a processor in a box, that was the Master ET. Where are the interfaces?!

I suspect I may be betraying my middle-aged-dad credentials here.

Devs cheer as Osborne okays game coding tax relief



But what about the rest of us software developers. You know, the ones who don’t get to play games all day? <runs and hides>

New steganography technique relies on letter shapes


I just invented this

Make a handwriting font with four versions of each letter. Write an innocuous letter. Hide actual message two bits per character by the choice of letterform. Receiver OCRs the result and extracts the 2 bits per character.

There, we are now ALL in possession of information that may be of use to a terrorist. :-(

BBC Micro team to celebrate historic machine's 30th year


Re: BBC Basic on the Pi

There is also the commercial BBC BASIC for Windows by the self-same Richard ‘T’ Russell, attendee and ex-BBC boffin. It too can access its host’s OS properly, but runs under Windows, obviously: http://www.bbcbasic.co.uk/index.html

There’s a free demo version which is fine for small programs (<8K). As good a place to start as any.


Re: BBC Basic on the Pi

As there is a RISC OS port in process, there will be a BBC BASIC available for the Pi, and one running in an OS it can make full use of (unlike Brandy, for example).

Sony PlayStation Vita


It’s surprisingly good

“but a reliance on the display for navigating the UI is unnecessary”

To clarify, the Vita’s OS does not use the hardware buttons AT ALL... which is a bit like running an Android app on the Desire Z and finding it ignores the hardware keyboard. Minecraft PE I’m looking at you.

It’s a terrible mistake and a very bad bit of UI design – you cannot even move the text cursor using the D-pad! This needs to be fixed. Jabbing at the screen to try and move the cursor a few pixels to the left is a ridiculous encumbrance when the device is loaded with HCI hardware.

As for the “overpriced memory cards” are you sure you’re not comparing apples with oranges?

Sony Vita 16GB memory card at Play.com £39.99

Sony PSP 16GB pro duo mark 2 at Play.com £48.99

So if you’re saying that Sony stuff is more expensive than cheaper brands, you’re right. But as a Sony memory card the Vita is not particularly expensive. Do we want third-party memory cards on the Vita? My considered response, having suffered a fake Pro Duo and having witnessed the impact piracy had on the PSP, is no. I bought a 16GB on launch day, I won’t need to buy another. So be it.

BTW Having lamented the poor functionality of the non-game apps compared to a phone (apart from Flickr, which is very good indeed), and immediately wished the Vita ran Android, I realised that the non-game functionality has to be merely competent, but not good enough to sell the Vita on their own. Otherwise non-gamers might buy it, and Sony won’t claw back the game profits.

It’s a shame though. The Twitter application in particular needs fixing – there’s no point clicking a link because the browser probably won’t display the page right and then Twitter will have forgotten where you were in the feed.

It’s early days, I’m hoping for a lot more to come. In fact I was so impressed that if you could stick Warhawk and Skyrim on it I could lose the PS3 entirely.

Court rejects Tesla’s latest libel spat with Top Gear


Where are the steam trains these days?

“I bought a Tesla, ignored the instructions and didn’t keep the battery topped up, and now I have an expensive repair bill” – ooh, class action, end of Tesla, fragile toy.

“I bought <any other supercar>, ignored the instructions and didn’t keep the oil topped up, and now I have an expensive repair bill” – you are an idiot, don’t deserve the car, don’t know what you’re doing.

But of course that’s DIFFERENT isn’t it? Yes. Definitely. I’m sure the rationalisation will be along any moment now... Yes. Oh I know! Something about moving or not moving. Yes. Phew! For a moment there I was in danger of having to rethink my prejudices.

Space: 1999 returning to TV?

IT Angle

It’ll go the same way as the UFO film

Meanwhile, I want one of these: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHU7-0NMXbs

Sexy Girls Puzzle: Android Trojan or eager ad-slinger?



The thing I’ve been caught out by twice now is innocuous little apps that only ask for internet access permission and behave themselves perfectly for a month, then suddenly you start getting push notifications. When you check the Market to see other user’s reports you find the app has disappeared (so no feedback possible). Meanwhile the only real clue is the “unimportant” permission for the app to start at boot – that’s the giveaway.

I do think that Market pages for withdrawn apps should stay (perhaps only accessible through “My Apps”/“Download”) with no download button, but still there to act as a discussion centre for the app in question. And not just for malicious apps.

Man recreates ZX81... in Lego


I Am Not An AFOL but

Needs some black cheese slopes to smooth out the peak at the back, and the raised keys are all wrong.

Archos G9 101 8GB Android tablet


Pay your money, take your choice

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but the AV300 I got back when they were cutting edge in 2004 (and which I upgraded to 80GB!) was a fantastic device, and is still useful.

Got an Archos 70 for my five year old at Christmas and I’ve been impressed with it (for the money).

One has to bear in mind that an Archos is a PMP that happens to run Android – I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a general purpose Android device (they often have too little app storage or RAM) but they’re superb PMPs.

2011's Best... Cars


Opinion is easy

So far I’m enjoying the comments about the Leaf and the McLaren – neither of which will have been driven by the people commenting about them.

Sony region-locks digital content on PS Vita

IT Angle


So identical to the PSP then?

As long as they don’t repeat the region locking fiasco of the PSP where the locking was based on where your machine was purchased instead of where you live and your account is registered... one can but hope.

Happy birthday, Apple QuickTime


Moving blocks, moving lines

Issue 1 of the Acorn Replay API documents were dated March 1992 – if finished and documented for third party use by then it would certainly have been demonstrable in 1991.

Lord British: Games consoles 'fundamentally doomed'


What’s he selling this week?

And why can’t he just do a press release about that instead of trolling?

The BBC Micro turns 30


Wasn’t it...


Blimey. I am certain I had forgotten that yet you dug it up from a neuron somewhere.


It’s been a while, yet I will never forget:




James Bond savages the Kardashians


Entirely the wrong angle

From the headline I thought “why is Sean Connery whinging about Star Trek?”.

Just trolling: It's OK to poke fun at Christians, says ASA


Eee when I were a lad...

When I was a kid and someone didn’t get the joke, everyone else laughed and they felt bad.

These days when someone doesn’t get the joke it has to be reworded and everyone else has to feel bad.

Where are all the decent handheld scribbling tools?


Psion, of course

I was going to say the Psion Netbook/Series 7, but in fact its predecessor was even more astonishing in its time. Behold the MC400: http://justwebware.com/mc400/mc400.html

A fantastic beast which drew admiration wherever we took it, it had an amazing user interface, 60 hour battery life and superb industrial design. It was fantastically expensive, but worth every last penny.

Maggie Philbin on tech, teens and cardigan fear



I remember watching them (Michael Rod I think) demonstrate the first CD player. I say “watch” and not “hear” for the predictable reason. Hurrah for live TV.

PlayStation Network downloads limited to two devices


To be honest

I always thought the five device limit extraordinarily generous and out of all reasonable necessity. This is far more sensible.

Nude lady recreates Star Wars tauntaun scene in dead horse

IT Angle


Finding it difficult to see the IT angle.

And I zoomed in and everything.

Farewell then, Sony Ericsson


Sony > Sony Ericsson

I had three Sony phones before the merger with Ericsson, they were great. Never been tempted by an SE.

PCTV Broadway 2T network Freeview tuner

Thumb Down

Or for approximately £160 less


Ford spins pop-out anti-prang door shield


World’s most altruistic vehicle feature?

In the future I shall only park next to new Fords.

Security firms: Android malware set to skyrocket


There has long been a bug report on the Android Issues site regarding this issue.

Permissions should be optional, and should act in a safe manner – if I refuse permission for an app to access my contacts, then rather than being unable to use the app, there should simply be no contacts as far as that app can see. Refuse internet access and the app would always get a 404.

Google have shown as much interest in solving this issue as they have in the vast majority of Android Issues – namely no interest at all beyond the smug “Works as intended”.

Firesheep addon updated to exploit Google info leak



I prefer “they/their” to the thoughtless “he/his” and patronising “she/her”. Anyone complaining about the use of a singular “they” need look no further than the singular “you”.

Sony Tablet P in pictures


I must be getting old

I’d swap the bottom screen for a keyboard. Install some great EPOC-like programs. Put a Psion logo on it.

Amazon's cloudy vid-tablet breaks cover: Not an iClone


“e-ink is just better in bright light”

I wish you’d avoid this idiom. Do you mean “e-ink is simply better” or “e-ink is slightly better”? “Just” in this context is entirely ambiguous.

Deezer launches stunningly original music idea in the UK


We7 wins

I migrated from Last.FM to Spotify to We7. Very happy with We7 (especially the impossibly generous free Android app).

Until We7 screw it up, there’s no reason to change.

Sony ballyhoos budget PSP


No WiFi, no point

My PSP still gets used every single week... as a podcast and internet radio player.

I can’t believe the aerial and radio chip would be much of a saving when a USB WiFi adapter can be had on eBay for less than £4: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-150Mbps-USB-WiFi-Wireless-LAN-802-11-n-g-b-Adapter-/130557933085

Sony to can MiniDisc Walkman

Paris Hilton

Nothing but praise

Ripping CDs to MD via an optical cable. Recording stuff in great quality, then inserting edit points, instantly deleting sections, reordering, then amalgamating into a single track. Named discs, named tracks, brilliant little in-line remote control. All in a tiny, well made and extremely sturdy box that easily fits in a pocket?

MD was amazing at launch and still impresses, and now that part is over. As usual, I blame people. Paris wouldn’t have one – tiny buttons incompatible with fingernails being only the start of it.