* Posts by Stewart Rice

19 publicly visible posts • joined 22 May 2007

US court liberates Cablevision 'remote DVR'

Stewart Rice

UK Service

This type of service was available in the UK from www.tvcatchup.com between about 12th Dec 07 and 16th Feb 08 but they were suddenly shut down by the broadcasters (The lawyers complained, and the admins shut down the site without a fight. However, after talks with the aforementioned lawyers, they have apparently reopened the service, although only to closed beta users for the time being).

Also, the average Joe does care about whether or not the storage is remote or local, because local storage has limited space before the user has to start deleting things. Remote storage has no theoretical limit (only artificial ones that can be changed any time, when the service provider adds HDDs). Plus, local storage has no bandwidth issues, whereas remote storage can have problems (My Dad would be considered an 'Average Joe', but we are unable to use BT Vision because we cannot receive Freeview in our part of London, and our BT Broadband is not stable enough to use the On Demand features and be able to guarantee a watchable service. The fact that the service would be free because my Dad works for BT is not enough incentive to use something that doesn't work).

Cancer doctor cites 'early' data on cell phone danger

Stewart Rice

Radiation scaremongering...

RE: Outlaw cell phones

This is actually quite likely, although more because a cheap mobile can be used to create a remote detonator, rather than causing mass cancer (mass hyseria maybe, but not mass cancer)

@Greg Fleming

Hear hear... If mobile phones truely caused cancer, then why hasn't anyone sued Rupert Murdoch for giving them cancer from the Sky satelite signal? Or the BBC for transmitting from Crystal Palace (1MW per channel for BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, and C4 20kW per multiplex for all 6 digital multiplexes - each carrying 6-8 channels)

Son of 419 victim contacts El Reg

Stewart Rice

@Mike Crawshaw

I doubt it was sent only to El Reg. What's more likely is that even El Reg is not immune from bulk spam, since they give their email addresses out freely (and rightly so, given the market they cater to).

In the extremely unlikely event that this email IS genuine, then El Reg did the right thing. Else they might be forced to scam some of us to recoup the money they sent out to the unfortunate moron and his son (who appears to be trying to recoup his losses from a 419 by perpertrating a 419 - recursive loop anyone).

Of course, there's always the distinct possibility that one of those scam-baiting websites has actually paid off, and instead of replying to a 419, they passed on the address of another 419er and let them duke it out...

Fedora 9 - an OS that even the Linux challenged can love

Stewart Rice
Paris Hilton

@ James Pikett

"I'm looking forward to kissing Bill and Steve goodbye..."


Why the hell would you want to kiss Bill and Steve? I can't get that image out of my head...

Paris... because even she would be a better choise than Bill or Steve.

Sony OLED TV longevity claim challenged

Stewart Rice


So all you do is vacuum pack the OLED panel before you fit it into whatever frame, and that would increase it's lifespan.

Hummm... what other uses might there be for such a breakthough? Imagine the possiblities for vacuum-packing organic objects to preserve their freshness...

Unicaresoft loses MSNLock case against Microsoft

Stewart Rice
Gates Horns

Counting the days

If Microsoft want MSN removed from the dictionary to prevent other businesses from using it, how long before they insist on the removale of Windows from the same dictionary.

Hummm... the air is a bit stuffy in here. I'm going to open a *REMOVED PENDING LAWSUIT*

How to destroy 60 hard drives an hour

Stewart Rice

Some very effective methods...

Thermite has been suggested, but no-one seems to have thought of stacking drives and piling thermite on top. Depending on what the specific drives are made of, you could get through the whole lot in one run. Perhaps about 2 mins for 20 HDDs (pessimisstically).

Another possibility is to invest in a bolt driver or rivet gun. And for added extra carnage, power up the drive before-hand. A high-powered rivet smashing through spinning platters would be fun, spectaular and very, very effective.

Office 2007 fails OXML test

Stewart Rice


Isn't ASCII (the American Standard Code for Information Interchange) a ISO standard? And I believe M$ supports that... although I suspect that's only by necessity, and if M$ had their way MSCII would be the new standard.

Ballmer bitch slaps Vista

Stewart Rice


Who wants to be ultra cynical and say that StevieB is just jumping on the latest IT bandwagon (Bash Vista) without checking in advance what the bandwagon actually is?

OTOH, Vista appears to be par for the course, according to M$'s track record with desktop OS's:

Win 3.0 wasn't so good (reportedly - I started using Windows at 3.1), but they fixed that with 3.1

Win 95 wasn't so good (better than 3.x - maybe), but they fixed that with Win 98

Win ME just plain failed, so they killed off the DOS kernel in favour of the NT kernel

Win 2k wasn't so good (definitely better than 9x, though - mostly), but they fixed that with Win XP (eventually).

Vista is floundering, so they have a choice: Fix things with Win 7 or kill off the NT kernel in favour of something else.

The best option would be to choose the former path (which would also follow the established pattern) and fix things with the release of Win 7. Unfortunately the latest reports on Vienna seem to indicate that M$ are choosing the latter path of attempting to retire the NT kernel (at least in it's current form). This would be a major mistake, since the only reason they were able to successfully replace the DOS kernel with the NT kernel was because the NT kernel had already been in development alongside the DOS kernel since at least Win 3.1.

Cops hunt charred power cable thief

Stewart Rice

Darwin Awards

More likely, they should be searching for a smoking corpse in a nearby hedge or tree...

The 'blem wit' error messages

Stewart Rice


My personal Top 3 error messages would have to be (in no particular order):

"Error contacting Real Networks Technical Support. Please contact Real Networks Technical Support for more information." (or something to that effect) when using RealPlayer (before it became RealOne, I believe) without an internet connection.

"Amnesia Error: Out of Memory" Self explanatory error from Jazz Jackrabbit 1 & 2 by Epic (then Epic MegaGames)

And the fully fictional error from the Halo 2 video game:


A total FU exception has occured at your location. All system functionality will be terminated.

Press any key to power cycle the system. If system does not restart; scream at top of lungs and pound on keyboard.

If you need to talk to a programmer press any other key.

Press any key to continue."

There is a point in the game where you must use a computer console to open a door. Continuing to use the console after the door has been opened results in the screen turning blue and displaying the message above.

EVE Online update kills Windows PCs

Stewart Rice
Thumb Up

The reason for the problem...

Eve has a file in it's main install directory called boot.ini which it reads whenever you start up the game. The patcher was obviously missing a single full-stop ('period' for the yanks) when removing the old files to prepare for the patch, and so removed the root file instead of the game file.

The problem (as reported) only affects Win XP and older, and only if you patched before 4am. They even posted the contents of a default boot.ini file in-game to allow you to copy/paste into notepad and thus repair the damage.

Oh and Bryce appears to have been playing Excel-Online and got himself confused.

One plug to rule them all

Stewart Rice

Induction plates.

Why not dispense with chargers altogether, and use a nice, large, multi-device, induction plate. All you would need then is a large flat device, no thicker than 2 CDs/DVDs stacked, lying on your desk (or even built-in) onto which you place - loosely - your phone, mp3 player, PDA, and any other portable device you can think of. Why must this technology be restricted to charging toothbrushes?

Peruvian 'meteorite' strike provokes noxious gas attack

Stewart Rice


Please don't let them say the fireball was green...

Beethoven's barnet fused into diamond

Stewart Rice

Burn without Oxygen

It is perfectly possible to burn something without oxygen as only fire needs oxygen. Simply raising the temperature in a vacuum (perhaps by heating the walls of the container - in a similar way to cooking on a hotplate) would be enough to reduce the hair to carbon ash, thus allowing safe extraction.

Movie pirate forced to ditch Linux

Stewart Rice

The real point of the article...

The guy pleaded guilty to uploading a torrent in breach of copyright... fine.

He was sentenced to 5 months inside, which he served... I don't see a problem yet.

He was also sentenced to 5 months house arrest, with a monitoring order... I don't see him complaining about it.

He was NOT sentenced to pay any kind of fine... why should he then be to spend money in order to serve the rest of his sentence?

His guilt is not the issue, here. The issue is whether or not the judge(s) can add extra requirements onto a sentence for no reason.

Spacesuit entrepreneurs plan parachute jumps from orbit

Stewart Rice

He probably followed the Starfleet Survival Guide


The Starfleet Survival Guide has a section about surviving Atmospheric re-entry in a pressure suit - no parachutes involved.

Wheelchair user hitches lift on front of lorry

Stewart Rice

IT Angle

There doesn't need to be an IT angle... It's a humourous news article and therefore fits nicely in the Odds & Sods section where it has been placed.

Although I'm not surprised the driver couldn't see the guy or hear his inevitable 'Wheeeeeee!' since those trucks are rather large and loud (IE American).

Cars could run on aluminium, say US boffins

Stewart Rice


The process of converting a Petrol engime to Hydrogen is a simple one as both are injected into the engine as a vapour (ie. a gas). In some cases, the pitson heads and the gasket may need to be reinforced as Hydrogen explodes slightly more violently than Petrol. This is exactly the same logic and reasoning behind why you should never put Petrol in a Diesel engine.

Also it's very easy to create a 'violent poof' with Aluminium: Simply wipe a sheet of Aluminium with a piece of cotton wool soaked in Silver Nitrate. Then submerse in water to create a 'violent poof' of steam. Add a catalyst like Gallium to the mix and it will just be more violent (as the Aluminium will heat up much faster). Yay for KS3 Chemistry!

Also the beauty of alloys over compounds is that another metal can (in most cases) be added to the mix without affecting the desired result. Thus trace amounts of Iron could be added, which would allow the pellets to be moved via magnetics (allowing easy removal of spent pellets).

It has also been mentioned that making pellets and adding Gallium would push up the price of recycling the Alumina (or Alum). Since the Gallium is untouched by the entire process, there would almost always be the required amount available, and replacing any that has somehow been 'spoilt' would be a relatively cheap affair. As for making pellets, Aluminium and Gallium are both fairly easy to shape and press, so pellets are not a problem. Of course the pellets would need to be vacuum sealed before being used to create the hydrogen, otherwise they would react with the air and become effectively useless. Although perhaps a Silver Nitrate -based lubricant could be developed for the delivery mechanism.

As to the weight problem I see two possible solutions. a) Phil's idea of a static Hydrogen generator producing fuel at home, or b) just drop the pellets by the side of the road, once they're spent and a road-sweeper could collect them at regular intervals, This would be pretty simple with added iron :P