* Posts by Matthew

120 publicly visible posts • joined 21 May 2007


Volvo readies plug-in hybrid V70 estate


Citroen's version sounds cleverer

Citroen have been reported as making a diesel-electric hybrid which offers all the benefits of this car, but with the added bonus of being able to use *both* technologies simulaneously at low speeds. An example of this is on snow/ice etc when four wheel drive would help, without the complexity of integrating two technologies for all speeds and conditions. Diesel only does the front wheels, electric motors do the back ones, disengaging above 17 (?) mph.

This sounds much more useful, and not too technologically difficult to engineer, since the two technologies don't have to work together at higher speeds. This is far cheaper and easier than Prius-style technology too.

BNP DDoS 'mega-assault' not actually mega in the least



Did you mean "...privately owned businesses... can deny service to anyone they see as UNfit"?


Daimler buys ten per cent of Tesla


Company cars?

looking at the picture it seems that the recession is affecting Tesla less than Daimler... I know which of these two I'd prefer to drive home in.

Workplace dispute laws change today


28days' leave?

I'm fairly confident that this will exclude public holidays. So the net effect is no change for the vast majority of us: our employers will start to include these in the numbers.

Brussels: Old-school lightbulbs to be gone by 2012


Migraine sufferers?

If you're one of those who have migraines triggered by the compact fluorescent bulbs, tough! The EU's targets are more important than someone with a 'headache'.

What on Earth is wrong with allowing people to buy what they want? By all means subsidise the efficient bulbs or, more likely, tax the inefficient ones, but why an outright ban? Is it so bad to allow a bit of independence if you just don't like the newer bulbs r if they make you ill?

I predict that by 2012 the old-style bulbs will sell for a huge premium on eBay. Stock up now!

Mobes will save the world - just give us some spectrum!



I thought this execrable abomination had been banished by popular decree?

Yes! It's the cardboard PC!


Missing something?

Surely anyone who is this tight-fisted will have considered the option of reusing a free cardboard box from the recycling bin instead?

RIM Vodafone BlackBerry Storm


No '@' symbol on the keyboard?

Are you saying that this Blackberry no longer inserts an '@' when you press the space key in an email address field?

(First press does '@' and subsequent spaces are replaced with '.')

A vital feature I'd really miss!

BBC's TV detector vans to remain a state secret


Detector vans

I used to live in the East End and, about twice a year, they'd park a 'detector van' prominently in the local Asda car park. The local post office would get a big rush of sudden licence purchases and then the cycle would repeat six months later.

I looked in the van out of curiosity and aside from the vaguely-arialish roofrack there were just two obviously mocked-up consoles that were probably straight off a sci-fi film set.

So it is just for scare value and the database rules: as has been said they'd use more obvious technology like a directional microphone if detection was the goal.

Speed cams ditched in Wiltshire


@the guy who got caught 3 times in one trip...

If the *whole journey* was done at over the limit, you have only committed *one* offence. You can only be prosecuted three times for speeding on one journey if they can prove you slowed down to under the limit and then exceeded the limit *again*.

Definitely worth a punt to see if you can get two of those offences thrown out....

BMW unwraps electric Mini

Thumb Down

Why do the yanks get it first?

I drive past the bloody factory where these things are built, twice a day.

I can't see why the country that designs and produces these cars should be seen as second class. (Hmm, wait a mo, actually I can but I don't have to like it...)

They showed the same lack of respect for the home nations with the traveller version - the extra door (a bit like the old AMC Pacer) forces your kids to step into traffic.

Well, just to spite them, I'll have to buy an electrically powered bike I suppose.

Ofcom confirms three Freeview HD channels 'by end of next year'


At last, some good news...

...for all those cheapskates like myself who stuck with a big old clunky CRT television!

I couldn't see why to spend a huge wodge on a flat panel when the old one still worked fine and I only had an elderly Freeview PVR and a DVD player to plug in. Hell, I still use my old VHS video on occasion!

Now there'll be a good reason to replace the PVR and the TV around the same time, after I've had a good few years' use out of both.

To all of you who rushed out to buy HD tellies the second they were available I ask: did you also rush out to buy Vista when it was shiny and new? Or did you resist 'new just for the sake of it' and allow the technology to settle down and have the bugs ironed out first?

Serial troll bitchslaps Reg hack


@Roger Carlson

" However, it *is* true that America came to her aid when it wasn't obliged to."

As I recall from my history lessons, we were obliged to pay vast sums in order to have that assistance - it wasn't quite as benevolent as you suggest.

I think the real loser here, aside from Aaron of course, is the 'merkin education system which seems unable to teach history. I'd love to point out a long list of things from which Aaron personally benefits - all due to the UK. However space doesn't permit so I've put them in a database... If nothing else scares him, the number of things he owes to us ought to...

Yours truly, angry mob


They don't understand human nature...

...because now I want to host a mirror, just to spite these nutters.

Brussels bounces BT-Phorm quiz back to UK.gov


Nobody seems to care...

I've raised a Number 10 petition for the law to be enforced - BT & Phorm to be prosecuted - for illegal data interception. This was rejected as 'it is a matter for the CPS and Police'.

So I contacted the CPS - they said it's the Police's decision.

So I contacted the City of London Police - who haven't responded.

There we go: our world-class legal system in action!

IBM delivers baby SAN


Wall power?

I thought 240v *was* 'wall power'?

Phorm mulls incentives for ad targeting wiretaps



Would Tor be enough to scupper their plans?


About bloody time!

It was the whole underhanded cloak-and-dagger stuff that pissed everyone off. I don't mind making an *informed* decision to give up some privacy in exchange for a clearly defined benefit.

But these muppets were greedy and thought they could get our data on the sly *and* keep the profits. They had their chance - now they better offer something pretty damn special (all of the above?) for me to feel giving data to a bunch of [expletive removed] is an acceptable trade-off.

Secret Windows 7 screens leaked?


Did anyone grab the screenshots?

Would be nice to see what everyone's talking about. All the links in Google seem to point back to the same 'account suspended' page...

Axon takes 100mpg wonder car for a spin



My Citroen - bought specifically for its high mpg figure - often tops 70mpg on long trips and has less challenging styling than this 'car' (quadricycle?). OK so mine is a diesel but since I'm running it on biodiesel the exhaust is cleaner and carbon neutral. In fact, as the veg oil would've gone to landfill it is arguably greener even than this Axon.

I'm convinced that with stop/start technology and *diesel* hybrids 100mpg would be achievable on an ordinary car without any loss of crash-protection, performance or equipment. Conventional cars these days are also much more readily recycled than most other complex equipment whereas carbon fibre is an environmental disaster to produce and dispose of.

But I do agree that the drop-in engine idea is inspired and would make breakdowns and roadside repair less of a lottery.

OMFG, what have you done?

Black Helicopters

Dead Vulture icon...

...has been removed, in an article where we get to critically comment on El Reg's decision. I suspect foul play...


Fixed width sucks

On a widescreen monitor. Why not reformat for two-column articles on larger screens?

Otherwise, I don't hate it but it'll take some getting useful. Reminds me of the learning curve for Office 2007: seems awful at first and it takes time to get used to it.

EU plans cross border database of rogue motorists


4 offences...

>speeding, drink-driving, non-use of a seatbelt and failing to stop at a red traffic

>light - which currently account for some for 75 per cent of road deaths.

Oh really? In what way do these specifically cause road deaths then? I think you'll find that all of these need to actually result in a crash of some kind before someone dies... Running a red light or being a drink-driver may make you *more likely* to crash but that's still an influencing factor rather than a direct cause. These offences could all be argued as 'inadvisable' but never *inherently* fatal!

After you have crashed and killed someone (and one of these four offences turns out to have led to the crash) the local manslaughter/murder laws would apply. I remain to be convinced this isn't just revenue-raising tactics.

Academic wants to 'free up' English spelling


It's illogical: live with it!

English regularly has some nutter proposing this kind of change; and they always fade into the sunset with everyone ignoring their misguided rants. Take time to read Bill Bryson's excellent book, 'Mother Tongue', which lists several previous proponents of such changes...

The facts are that English retains numerous illogical constructions but they are so entrenched that to propose change represents the worst option. Would the prof also suggest abolishing the words 'children' and 'oxen' on the basis that they use the archaic '-en' plural rather than tack an 's' on the end?

Where these arguments always fall down is that they need universal acceptance. The millions of people for whom English is a second language frequently demonstrate a better understanding than native speakers: a clear indictment of poor education rather than issues with the language. Even when there are national standards bodies, such as in France, the language's evolution continues in its own direction. I don't recall 'le weekend' and 'le jumbo jet' being approved...

P.S. I'm with Sarah Bee on the apostrophe issue.

Does an imported PS3 need power conversion kit?


PS3 voltage

A thread on PS3 forums (http://www.ps3forums.com/showthread.php?t=50037) asks this same question.

The consensus is that the PS3 is multi-voltage aware, and should be OK. Several people note that the US-only models only state 120v capability but that many people have used them successfully on European voltages. If you are still concerned, several firms offer a transformer that will definitely be OK (such as: http://www.hobuk.co.uk/acatalog/3kVA-Transformer.html)

However there may be issues with region encoding on films. Although the capability to do so exists, games are not usually region-encoded.

Garmin: Nuvi satnav phone release set for Q1 2009


Locked phones...

...just give the crackers something to do. The thriving industry in hacking and cracking the iphone would be tiny if it wasn't for the network tie.

If the vendor or network has disabled capabilities that I deem essential then I look elsewhere or work around the restriction, as does every savvy purchaser. But as a way for a manufacturer to manage (or artificially restrict) supply it is quite effective, even if it does piss off a large minority of customers. If they choose to cripple a desirable product, persuade them to do otherwise by refusing to buy it!

Road Pricing 2.0 is two years away



>If people don't adjust their choice of job/living place etc to match the practicality >of motor car commute how come the average journey to work has increased so >much over the last thirty years...

So are you saying that everyone moves house solely because a new road is built? I think you'll find that other factors are involved in where people choose to live and how they commute...

And to answer your questions: In my case, when I changed jobs the radius of travel decreased because I wanted a shorter commute and to be home in time to see my kids before they went to bed. When I moved house it was to find a larger home at an affordable price: the travel radius barely altered.

Nobody wants to sit in a queue and, over time, people will (if they have the option and all other factors are equal) move to places with an easier, quieter journey. People only choose a congested route if there is no better viable alternative (such as through redundancy or overpriced property). That would contribute to the effect you describe but not the act of road-building itself.

The same social manipulation that is being attempted to introduce road pricing is similar to the idea of putting speed humps on alternative routes or, as in London, re-phasing traffic lights, making bus lanes operate 24/7 and removing the cut-in bus stops. Funnily enough this has made the congestion as bad as it was before the charging was introduced.

I have no objection to encouraging people out of their cars by making the alternatives *better* - but all we ever see is Government and councils trying to make driving as bad as the alternatives.


@Jon Kale

There was no need to be abusive, but hey, thanks for the well-thought out response and, oh look, it contains a swear word. We all think you're very clever.

I am astonished you really believe everyone is going to change their weekend plans and go for a drive just because a new road has been built. Maybe in 1965: just how old are you? And are you seriously suggesting that people mow the lawn at weekends only because it avoids sitting in a traffic jam?!

Please get a sense of proportion!

And as to your 'people will move and commute' argument - well if they have moved house then their journey has *also moved* to the new road. The road that they would previously have occupied has one car less on it!

Then you give the example of Reading (which has no easy east-west alternative to the M4) and you are surprised that people choose the M-way... How about the problem that I sometimes drive all the way to Reading rather than drive the (shorter) distance into Oxford (to avoid the least car-friendly place in the UK)? As I said, all it does is moves the problem elsewhere.

I stand by my point: new roads ease congestion by offering an alternative route - and unless more drivers miraculously appear it works.

Black Helicopters

'New roads will fill up straight away'?

How exactly?

Unless someone finds a way to drive two cars at once, or there is a huge poulation explosion, it *can*t get worse.

If a new road is built and it 'fills up', then other roads don't have those cars on them any more: they have *less* traffic. Look at the roads used before a motorway was built to see this: I nominate the A40 from Beaconsfield to Oxford as proof of this effect.

I genuinely can't see how people can assume this ever-increasing congestion when the number of *drivers* is virtually static.

Funnily enough I can't find figures on the exact numbers of illegal immigrants and those who drive without a licence but I'd bet they don't make that much difference.

The only reason for road charging is Governmental paranoia. Congestion is just today's excuse for liberty-removal.

Sub £200 mini laptop launched


Wireless channels

'Anyone with any sense uses...'?

Anyone with any sense checks what channels the neighbours' kit is using, and what their own equipment can support and then chooses the channel that causes least conflicts while supporting all of your devices.

By avoiding the 'sensible' channels suggested I get a much more reliable stable connection.

Japan kicks off electric car format war



My commuting car - with a 1.4 turbodiesel engine - beats any Prius' figures anywhere.

I *average* 55mpg mostly because there is a sweet spot at about 80mph where it will top 70mpg. (I'm guessing that the French engine was optimised for the French speed limit)

But, unlike a Prius which still uses petrol and has those environment-destroying batteries, I can run carbon neutral using old cooking oil. The way forward is therefore the 19th century ideas of old Mr Diesel, maybe with the addition of stop/start technology, maybe hybridised with supercapacitors and regenerative braking.

My £0.02.

Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills


Stupid prats who say 'Speed Kills'

Does this mean that far more people die in aircraft than in cars? After all they are doing several hundred miles an hour...

No? In fact, the fastest (civilian) method of travel is actually the safest. In other words:

S P E E D D O E S N O T K I L L !

The word this pillocks always forget to include in that sentence is 'inappropriate'. You could kill someone by driving over them at 5mph - and without breaking any speed limit anywhere.

The reason these cameras are all so hated is because the limits are now deliberately being set lower: national-speed-limit-applies roads become 40mph, towns go from 30 to 20mph and cameras are sure to follow.

I'd like to see us following the Dutch example of removing unnecessary signs, markings, cameras and the rest and letting people use their own intelligence.

Deadly Oz snake bites tourist's todger



I thought the expression was 'God's own country'. When did this expression corrupt into a religious boy-band?

Teapot backdoor probed by German telescope boffins



...has been on the internet for as long as people take photos while naked. A similar vulnerability, but well worth a Google for comedy value.

NHS IT four years late and over budget


"Outlook uncertain but expensive"?

Surely that comment should be attached to an article about Microsoft Office?

Son of 419 victim contacts El Reg


Sounds like lots of you didn't read the message in full.


1. It's a scam too.

El Reg seem to be giving the author the benefit of the doubt however. That, to me, adds at least some credibility.

2. It's genuine.

The writer of the message clearly states that it was his *father* who was scammed. I think that there should therefore be some leeway granted in the description of amounts and circumstances. If I fell victim to a scam I'd be so embarrassed I wouldn't want to describe the gory details with all of the specifics spelt out. It is also likely that the writer is significantly younger than El Reg's readership and may even still be in school. I made a few spelling and grammatical errors when I was learning...

We are all mostly world-weary and cynical about these things because we've seen so many scam messages and are generally immune to them. But let me ask the cynics this: if it is a genuine request for help would you *really* gladly let this guy's father top himself for being greedy and/or stupid? Have your parents never made a silly mistake? Would you not do anything you could to try and help them out of the hole they'd dug themselves into?

Prank callers crash Dublin Zoo phone system


Battersea Dog's home...

I always thought it was Jack Russell you were supposed to ask for...

'We could wake up smarter' - Ballmer hints at Win XP reprieve


Finding SP3

Is it just me that is having trouble finding the download for SP3? All I can find is release notes...

Sky One to resurrect Blake's 7?


Should be good...

I went to the bother of re-watching Blake's 7 again recently. It helped a lot that I loved it as an 8 year old the first time around but I think it's still true that many of the ideas and stories more than made up for lousy effects.

If you look at the number of B7 ideas that were rehashed by Star Trek TNG it shows how much potential there was. And looking at the UK right now, the idea of an evil federation brainwashing everyone seems a damn sight more believable that TNG's lovey-dovey Federation...

<geek>...oh and Miranda Sirtis/Troi even auditioned for the very similar part of Cally I believe) </geek>

eBay defies 'softening' economy


'Auction house'? Shouldn't that be 'tat bazaar'?

I'm sick of inflated postage charges on eBay. The changes to billing mean this is an easy way for sellers to sell at a loss and make back the profit on the part that isn't subject to charges.

All it will take is a rival to get a half-decent advert so that the unwashed masses know about the alternatives.

Asus launches second-gen Eee PC


Thought you'd missed that pic for a mo...

Not quite as funny as the long-running Andrew Neil 'and friend' pic in Private Eye but thanks for keeping up the tradition!

O2: We didn't know we were capping 3G data speeds


@Ben Bufton

I for one would be grateful you couldn't stay on the phone for an entire train trip. I'm sick to death of hearing 'I'M ON THE TRAIN" type stuff yelled (supposedly) down the phone but actually at an entire carriage.

Ever considered it could be public-spirited anti-phone window mesh or portable jammers that could be your issue here?

Where were you when you learned e-voting was unreliable?



We saw in 'heroes' how easy this was...

Local council uses snooping laws to spy on three-year-old


And they wonder why we're cynical?!

This kind of 'fuction creep' is why I'm against DNA databases and ID cards. The reason they cite today for the technology has nothing in common with the uses they come up with later.

CCTV: on introduction - 'Will stop vandalism'. Now: 'we'll catch you on a double-yellow line'...

Opera tunes itself for Android


@ Neil Hoskins

'...fanboys can go around saying, quite correctly, "Well, it's not the *real* web, is it?"'

This sounds like you haven't even *seen*, let alone *used* Opera Mini!

Perhaps you could elaborate on exactly how a page - displayed identically to that viewed on a regular PC - fails to deliver the 'real' web? I accept that Opera Mini needs a lot of zooming and scrolling to view some pages: but that is limitation of the screen sizes of handheld devices. It *is* the real web!

Gates teases bankers with Windows 7 dates


Vista: aftermath

I have just taken delivery of a new PC, with Vista pre-installed. I was all ready to wipe it and 'upgrade' to my trusty copy of XP but I thought I'd leave it for a week or so just to see how bad it was...

My dislike was based on a very early Vista release running on my old upgraded-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Pentium IV. But you know what? On a new box it's actually nowhere near as bad as some folks here suggest. And a year on from release, most hardware now seems to be OK: I've found no driver problems (which was a very different experience to my first trial of Vista). Service Packs and patches sem to have mopped up a lot of the early trouble, just as happened with XP. In fact, there are enough features I like that I'll probably keep it.

It appears I may have been wrong about Vista. I've used Macs and several flavours of Linux in my time so I hope I'm reasonably well-informed about the alternatives. I accept it is resource-hungry by comparison but there do seem to be sufficient compensations. I can see why MS are rushing out a new version: the negative opinions seem so entrenched.

Wider London c-charge mooted as road pricing bounces back


Foreign cars...

I think I'll be popping over to France, buying an old heap of a car (but with a V8 to piss off Ken, maybe a Rangey or a Jag...) and keeping the frog plates.

Try getting me then with your ANPR! There do seem to be a lot of Poles, Belgians, French, and Dutch folks around London these days. Go Maltese or Irish and you don't even need a left-hooker...

And if they impound the car, so what? I'll be on the next ferry to buy another MOT-failing heap to replace it.

DAB: A very British failure


DAB is better than AM...

We have a DAB receiver for listening to radio5live. It doesn't matter how low the bitrate is, whether it's in mono, or if there's a time lag - it is soooooo much better than AM. As long as the rugby gets broadcast on Radio5 there'll be people choosing DAB for the better sound!

As to FM, most people think the quality is OK, and with RDS it's no harder to retune than DAB. There is no real reason to switch - unless you listen in several rooms at once and hate them being out of sync... (or set your watch on the time signal)

El Reg decimates English language


@ all this pedantry...

As a long-standing grammar pedant and member of Keith Waterhouse's AAAA (Association for the Annihilation of the Aberrant Apostrophe) I've been following this discussion with some interest.

My £0.02: most of these issues are technicalities.

- Decimate: means the loss of one tenth but, when it is misused, we all still understand the context. So I generally let this slip-up pass and don't correct it .

- Battery: without technical knowledge or analysis it is difficult to be certain how many cells are contained within a battery. Sometimes it is correct to use the term 'battery' and sometimes not: again, save the correction for when pedantry is essential.

- Aluminium: the reason we use this spelling is to ensure consistency in the periodic table with other metals. The '-ium' ending is so pervasive that consistency seems sensible.

- Apostrophes: I have never understood the problem with them; if one (or more) letters have been removed, an apostrophe shows where this contraction took place. On roadsigns, 'B'ham' has an apostrophe to show the contraction from 'Birmingham'. Alternatively an apostrophe is used to show possession (as with 'Bob's paper' equalling 'The paper that belongs to Bob'. It really is very simple!

- 'Me' and 'I': this is my personal most-hated misuse of the language - I can't stand those instances where people use 'me' when they should use 'I' (and vice versa). Simply re-read the sentence omitting any other referenced people and it's easy. If you're not sure whether 'Fred and me went to the pub' is correct, it is a lot easier to spot the correct usage when you read 'Me went to the pub'.

This debate has gone some way to show that there a great deal of people who do still care about their language. As long as people still care, the pedants among us can retain exalted status: I am sure I am not the only one consulted by the less-well-informed as to the correct usage of an expression.

Data pimping: surveillance expert raises illegal wiretap worries


gothicform is right

I host a website and any adverts I choose to serve from my website should be left alone: the site depends on them!

This idea sounds like it will rip out the ads the website owner provides - which possibly help fund a free site's existence - and replace them with 'targeted' ads for something else.

It'll kill thousands of small sites when they lose their advertisers, not to mention the problem of a teenager's pr0n-browsing-habits generating dodgy ads on, say, a five year old's view of a Disney page...

Imagine ITV's views on this kind of thing if, for example, a Freeview decoder replaced the ads they broadcast with something else. I'm looking forward to the first court case!