* Posts by Paul

67 publicly visible posts • joined 25 May 2007


MPs slap HMRC for lack of joined-up IT

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So let me get this straight...

...EDS agreed to give the government money, but only if the government gave them even more.

Nuts, utterly nuts. No wonder EDS and the like love doing business with the government, even when they screw up they get to extract even more money from us.

BNP pleads for cash after reported DDoS assault


This gives me hope...

If they are having trouble raising £5,000 for additional server capacity, they are obviously not as big and important as they would like everyone to think they are.

"in largest cyber attack in recorded history" - riiight, sure. So it was bigger than the one that took out Ukrain for a week? And 'A conspiracy by "Marxist cyber criminals"' - no, just a couple of script kiddies with a bonet.

They do like to flatter themselves and make out that they are this huge force in politics. If anything, the release of their membership list was quite heartening, it showed just how few members they actually have around the country.

The BNP are a joke.

Although that doesn't mean we should stop watching them.

Net closes on NZ bank error fugitives


Sigh, does no-one have any brains these days?

I'm impressed that they managed to get $3.8m out of the country, but obviously the brains don't run in the family. Undone by their own 21st century nepotism.

I'm waiting for the first person to get done for murder after posting it on their FaceSpaceTwitBook.

"Fred Blog is washing the blood off his hands and disposing of the knife"

It'll happen, I give it about five years.

O2 inked as UK's official Pré distributor


Palm taking a marketing lesson from Apple?

If Palm had just released the Pré months ago, no-one would care, it would have just been another smart phone. By not releasing for so long Palm have had much more publicity for the thing. Not that I'm saying it was intentional, but all these delays have certainly helped raise the profile of the Pré.

If they have given O2 an exclusive deal, it will make comparing it with the iPhone much easier, presumably we can expect them to be on similar contracts. Will be interesting to see how this goes down.

DHS to field Star Trek 'Tricorder' medscanner


As a trained first aider...

...I can confirm Ash's comments about screamers.

In a mass casualty situation, the ones with enough energy to do any screaming will be towards the bottom of the triage list. If they shut up, then we start getting worried.

Not saying you wouldn't treat them, but when there is one of you, and three casualties, they will be last in line until you've had a good look at the others.

Everyone should get themselves some first aid training. One day it might come in very useful, and it's quite interesting if you like science. You can do half day and one day courses to learn the basics. They have made a lot of it much simpler in the last few years (especially CPR), so it's even easier to learn, and harder to screw up.

On topic, this bit of kit looks really neat if it works well. Taking pulses and assessing patients is one of the hardest things to do in an emergency situation. Having something that can assess the patient quickly, and accurately would be a godsend.

Home Office: IPS to hang onto snaps of fingerprints

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How is "the prevention and detection of crime or where it is in the interests of national security" in any sense limited circumstances?

Why else would the *police* need finger prints and be denied access to them? To decorate their offices with?

So it is limited to just the circumstances when the police might need them. So this is bringing in mass fingerprinting through the back door.


Sikh coppers request bulletproof turbans


When did the Daily Fail take over El Reg?

Or have the residents of the BBC message boards all decamped here? Most of the comments here would not be out of place on the Twat-o-tron.

You lot need to simmer down a bit before we all get covered in your mouth froth.

Virgin Media switches to Gmail


@Blasmeme - yes you did miss something

If you read the article, you'd see that you will get to keep the same facilities as before, i.e. IMAP/POP3 access to your mail.

Quote: " and the same features including POP3 and IMAP access"

I use gmail for domains and hardly ever login to the web interface, I just use my normal mail client with google's IMAP/SMTP access.

So you get more space, from a more reliable provider (it does have its moments, but it still beats Virgin's system), and the same facilities. So stop being such a drama queen.

What's wrong with a Twitter degree?


Just like sociology then...

Really, this just sounds like some of the more stupid crap that comes out of the social sciences.

The sad thing is, there is quite a lot of the social sciences that are academically rigourous, well thought out, and backed up by evidence and study.

Then there is this kind of self rationalising crud. Far too much of the social sciences is dominated by liberal doctrine (and I say that as a committed liberal), and not enough questioning of preconceptions.

It's a shame really, because you only really hear about the "well duh!' kinds of studies, or this kind of shallow intellectual masturbation.

On the other hand, if you are prepared to spend £4k on it then go knock yourself out. At least if keeps you away from anyone with a brain for a year.

Brussels: Old-school lightbulbs to be gone by 2012


"more performant technologies"

Err, what?

Really, I think the Local Government Association should have a stern word with these guys.

And the EU wonders why people think of them as a bunch of faceless bureaucrats....

On topic:

I hope this is going to be a rule that says, "thou shalt not use more than X watts per lumin" rather than "thou shalt use technology X"

If they had insisted on pollution limits, rather than obligating catalytic converters, we might have had more efficient cars by now.

Come on, Sir Tim!


" By then, of course, we will all be coding in Occam"

Made me chuckle.

Nice one V, that's put in a good mood for the day.


ICO raids and shuts builder blacklist firm


When did the ICO grow balls?

Seriously. Recently they've been doing lots of good work.

Not enough, and they are too small and understaffed to be a major force, they seem to have some people there with common sense and a belief that their job is to protect the public.

Won't last, someone in the gov will stamp that out.

Pro-Heathrow demo challenges Carbon Cult killjoys


Kind of agree

It's not often that I agree with A. O. when it comes to climate science, but in this case he is spot on.

Unfortunately for the green movement it is too dominated by soft-headed Panda huggers with overly poetic and short-sighted concepts of what environmental protection is really about. They are obsessed with fantastical concepts of "mother earth" and sh*t like that, and forget that the earth is our life support system, that's what's important.

That's why we spend a fortune saving cute and furry evolutionary dead ends like the Panda, and nothing on researching why bees, amphibians and lots of species of insect all appear to be dying out. The latter has a much bigger impact on the environment we live in.

It's also the reason that we won't get any significant nuclear build any time soon, and what will get built won't be the best types of reactors available lest we end up with a bit of plutonium (shock!).

When James Lovelock came out in favour of nuclear, the rest of the environmental movement pounced on him like a pack of hyenas. All this environmental orthodoxy is as bad as the anti-environmental crap spouted by the oil industry, and will do as much damage in the long run.

We need a bit more realism and cold-hard maths, and a bit less druidic clap-trap about living in teepees and keeping warm through our smugness.

It all reminds me of the South Park episode where the town gets engulfed in a cloud of smug from all the Prius drivers.


Spy boss damns government's culture of fear


Good to know she is on the ball

It's only taken her the best part of a decade to work out what everyone else has been saying for so long.

Shame she couldn't have had this little brainstorm when it really mattered and she was in a position to do something about it.


Toshiba wows crowds with sexy touch smartphone

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Good to see some real competition

After the embarresment of the G1 it's good to see someone applying a bit of style to it.

Competition helps everyone and stops Apple resting on their laurels.


Woman jailed for texting while driving


I'm not normally one...

...to jump on the "lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key" bandwagon, but seriously, hitting a stationary car while travelling at 70mph is just nuts. Three years really isn't enough for that sort of behaviour. Killing someone through gross irresponsibility in a situation where you should know better (like driving a car at 70) should get a lot more than that.

In some ways her claims that she wasn't texting at the time actually make it worse. You mean you were paying full attention to the road and you *still* hit a stationary car?



Lucky Mancs could get ID cards first, Jacqui declares


Why I don't like the cards

@Evil Auditor

My personal objection to ID cards isn't the cards themselves, after all, I have a driving license that functions perfectly adequately as one.

One of my problems is the requirement to have or carry one, at my expense (one way or another, direct or taxes).

Secondly, the massive database that the cards will be linked to will be accessible by tens of thousands of civil servants. Yes there will be protection mechanisms in place, but anyone who thinks that it won't be abused needs to check out the number of cases of police staff (cops or civilian) abusing access to the PNC. The PNC only holds your criminal records and other crime related data, the national ID database will hold an extraordinary amount of personal data from all aspects of your life.

I also have issue with the image being put forward by the government that the whole thing is going to be "perfect" and un-forgeable. This increases the value of forging/hacking or otherwise manipulating the cards to the point where someone *will* crack it, it'll become valuable enough to warrant significant investment by the criminal world.

Then there is the significant cost, many billions of pounds, for something whose benefits have been significantly exaggerated (does anyone really think it will stop a terrorist?).

So, in a sense I don't have a problem with the fundamental idea of ID cards as they exist in many other countries, it's the UK version that I have a problem.


Mayor Boris backs McKinnon in extradition fight


Make this man prime minister...

"How can the British government be so protoplasmic, so pathetic, so heedless of the well-being of its own people, as to sign the warrant for his extradition?"

It's a shame that so many people in government seem to have forgotten who they work for.

One of the downsides of having long lived governments I think. They get too used to being in power and forgot how and why they got there.

In the ditch with DAB radio


Battery life comparison


Battery life is one of my main reasons for not getting DAB. I normally listen to Radio 4 (yes, I'm a young fogey) on a small FM radio that takes two rechargeable AAs which get recharged about once every 3-6 months, that's for about 4 hours use per day.

The idea of changing the batteries every week just to get the same channels I've already got, at roughly the same quality (doesn't matter much on R4), is nuts and an atrocious waste of leccy. Claiming 40 hours battery time as good is also nuts when I'm getting 400+ with ease.

DAB really is a problem looking for a solution.


Never underestimate Radio 4 listeners

They can't even turn off the long-wave Radio 4 transmissions, what makes them think they'll be able to dump FM?

If they are planning to turn off analogue when there is 50% digital penetration, they will have a fight on their hands. They like to include things like DTV to inflate their calculations and stick their head in the sand over the real level of use. If they try to turn it off based on dodgy figures they are going to create a real backlash.

With an average of 6 radios per household, and all those car radios to replace it just isn't going to happen.

If DAB actually offered better quality (I can't tell the difference) I might think about it, but with the price differential between ok DAB receivers and excellent FM receivers, I'll plump for the cheaper/better FM ones.


It's Sadville: The Movie!


Binun - CSI: NY

CSI: NY did a terrible episode/advert for Sadvile (ok, *more* terrible than most CSI:NY episodes) that featured this same basic plotline.

It was as terrible and cringe-inducing as you would expect.

My non-techie girlfriend was (justifiably) utterly bemused by the whole concept of Sadville.


China 'bans' BBC's Chinese website


Is anyone really surprised?

The idea that the Olympics would somehow open up China was a nonsense. If that was the aim, a free and open press/internet should have been a prerequisite for several years before being awarded them, not just a vague promise to be a bit nicer for the duration.

Once the event was awarded to Beijing, the Chinese could do what they liked. The relaxation on restrictions was selective and minimal, targeting journalists and competitors.

Besides, the concept of the "Olympic Ideals" went out the window years ago. All the bullocks about it being about fair play and all that is just to cover up the stench of money and rabid nationalistic pissing competition.

RAF in plot against Fleet Air Arm again


Why two, why not just one?

I have never understood why there are multiple services in the first place. It all seems like a historic hangup.

The navy flies planes and has soldiers, the army flies planes and has boat, and the RAF has ground troops.

Why not just amalgamate them into "The department of killing people" and be done with it? You have one service that has people doing all those things, but as part of an integrated whole, with one budget and a single command structure.

Obviously you would have specialist sections, but an airman would be an airman, a soldier a soldier (not a soldier/marine/RAF Regiment member), a sailor a sailor. Just because you fly from the deck of a carrier, or from an air base, you are still a pilot.

Much like the Israelis in fact. Whatever you might think of the IDF, as an organisation they are much more efficient organisation than the UK military.


Leaked Met letter questions Speaker's version of police raid



Oh the irony.

Competition watchdog bounces BBC, ITV and C4's web TV plan


Going down the wrong route

Instead of all the faffing around with websites like this, why not spend a fraction of the budget that goes towards maintaining the terrestrial broadcast system, and build a UK video content delivery system.

Put points of presence in all the major ISPs, provide a standardised "receiver" mechanism (which can be upgraded as video codecs improve) and then charge for access on the same basis that they currently do for the terrestrial broadcast system. That way anyone can join in, and the UK gets a fast, reliable and universally available (but geo restricted) TV over IP infrastructure.

The the broadcasters get a fast system to deliver content, and the ISPs can stop whinging about the internetwork transfer costs of all the iPlayer and 4OD usage.

Also, we could dump Flash for something purpose built for the task.


Nintendo in profit on each Wii sold


Re: Clearly Misleading

I think Ars would like to disagree with you: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081107-xbox-360-bests-rivals-on-games-sold-per-console-metric.html

The Wii is currently second to the XBox, with a much higher percentage of first party games, adding considerably to Nintendo's bottom line. Given that total Wiis sold is just below the combined total for the 360 and the PS3, I would say the big N is raking it it.

However I do also agree that $6 seems mighty low for a margin on a console that has been out this long, was making a profit at launch, and hasn't had a price drop.

Counter-terror police arrest Tory frontbencher


We really need a new government

I don't care which party wins (but lets face it, the Libs stand no chance), but we need this government out.

Long governments like this are a bad thing, no matter which party is in. The civil service get too close to the government, and the executive agencies like the police start getting political.

I can't help thinking that a bitter Ian Blair is having one last thrash out at the Tory party before he gets kicked out. I can't imagine this happening without his say-so. The earlier he is gone, the better, he's become an obvious Labour man, and that's a bad thing for any policemen.

Besides, all of this stuff should have been open information anyway. The only excuse for this kind of secrecy is to cover up incompetence. I don't see why we should have to file FOI requests for information that should be public by default.

US utilities moot huge electric vehicle order to boost car biz

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Li-ion batteries


From everything I've read, standard battery technology is unlikely to be the long-term solution, there are just too many problems with them: supply (as you mentioned), recharge times (impractical for many people) and the environmental aspect of disposal.

The long-term tech looks set to be ulta-capacitors. Less rare raw materials, potentially greater power/kg - and best of all - much faster recharge times (minutes rather than hours at a suitable outlet). With suitable UC tech, you could recharge on the road, not just overnight (which you could still do from normal home mains).

I don't consider swapping batteries at a charging station to be a sensible idea either. It would fix the shape if cars for good, as you would need a common form factor, and they are not small. UCs could be built to fit the structure of the car.


Spacewalking astronaut drops toolbag


A bit of string?

Could NASA not stretch to a bit of string to tie the kit bag to the suit?

I wonder how much ScrewFix charge for delivery :)

BNP membership list leaks online



This has cheered me up so much and will put a smile on my face and a spring in my step for the rest of the day.

One thing that struck me was the idea that you could get a "family membership" which includes your kids!? Signing your kids up-to a political party shouldn't be allowed.

I love the fact they are all so worried about being "outed". It says something when you know your views are so repellent that you want to keep secret the fact you are in a political party. And anyone who is in the army or other organisations that prohibit party membership deserve what they get. Those rules are there for a reason, and are not specific to the BNP. You shouldn't have joined up in the first place.

Anyway, to whoever is responsible, keep up the good work.

Beeb gets its rocks off in Second Life


More BBC tat

Really, what is the point of BBC news these days?

Carphone Warehouse considers TalkTalk amputation


Hope not

I use TalkTalk, and while their customer support sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, I like the fact that they are cheapskates. They don't seem to put the same effort into shoving "value added" crap at their customers, or filtering or monitoring your connection.

They just provide a pipe and let you use it however you want.

The last thing I want is to be with some other provider who thinks they have the right to tell me what I can do with my connection, or who desperately try and sell me their crap content and services for more on my line rental.

Give me cheap and functional any day.

Oh, and if you have technical problems with TalkTalk, check out talktalkmembers.com and bypass their call-centres. They actually have people that know what they are talking about on that site and can get stuff done without you sitting in a queue for hours. They also don't assume you are a cretin.


Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?


Excellent article as always

Is it me, or is the Navy all but redundant these days?

Their only purpose seems to be to provide portable landing strips or missile launch platforms and to defend those assets.

Everything else seems better suited to the Army or Airforce.

The Jesus Phone NDA - No one cares but you


As Napoleon once said...

"Never attribute to malice, that which can be adequately explained by incompetence."

Or in more Anglo-Saxon terms, "cock-up before conspiracy".

People seem to forget that companies are made up of people, who screw up, and sometimes take a long time to fix it.


Parliament's take on Freedom of Information


The point that has really been missed...

Why is anything that the government produces under copyright?

As far as I'm concerned, the vast majority of what the government produces should automatically be public domain.


Agile Development’s Secret Sauce

Paris Hilton

Of course

I don't see what's so surprising about all this. Most of the issues people cite as problems with Agile will occur in any method (no ology, it isn't a study).

Things like bad communication, or a poor programme overview, or lack of vision, or crap architecture will kill any project, irrespective of how you go about it.

The difference is that other techniques tend to produce lots of paperwork that makes it look like they are progressing (look Ma, binders!) while all the time the project is going nowhere.

Failure in Agile development tends to expose those problems faster while expending less effort. You can't hide a lack of communication in an Agile team by writing lots of reports or architecture docs or just working the processes.

Something to remember: in many ways Agile is rather like Lean Engineering (the Toyota process) but for software, and Toyota manage to run huge projects using many similar principals.


Stick health warnings on gays, says Stock Exchange chaplain


Nicola Beckley

"He's a great leader and doesn't cloud his views in political correctness."

Translation: We're both bigotted tits.

Sigh. Obligatory Marcus Brigstock link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY-ZrwFwLQg


Sega to launch PSP beater in 2009


Butt ugly

That really is butt ugly. While I'm not a huge PSP fan (more of a Nintendo man), the PSP is a nice piece of kit. Oh, and the 1990s called, they want their 4:3 screen back.

I doubt that Sony's eBook division is quaking in their boots. Simply no comparison with the Reader. Just because the iPhone has a camera, doesn't make it a competitor to Canon and Nikkon.


Artist to smoke Cobain's ashes

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Sub editing

Sarah, good to see you are starting to write like a proper reg hack :o)

Two points though: the correct form of address for my favorite crossword publisher is the Grauniad (not Graunida).

Also, it's "colombian marching powder", although I quite like "coloumbian naughty powder".

Otherwise excellent :o)

Sony revamps e-book Reader with reading lamp


Moving in the right direction

Not sure if it is just an optical illusion, but there looks to be less wasted space around the screen.

Personally I'll buy the first one that is almost all screen. The kindle, as clever as it is (I like the idea of the wireless connection) has that butt ugly keyboard getting in the way and making it much larger than it needs to be.


Credit crunch hitting IT mergers

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Most of the M&A activity seemed to be more about earning the advisors a nice fee than actually mergin two complementary businesses.

There has been far too much competition taken out of the market by all the mergers that took place over the last 20 years, and it took years for many of the companies to recover.

Good riddence to the lot of them.


Airline industry refuses to be ID card guinea pig

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Am I in a dream, or has the world just got sane?

* The judge in the Jammie Thomas case has realised that fining someone $200,000 for sharing a few files online is tad on the excessive side.

* EPO Patent examiners have started complaining that the patent system is broken

* The US DOJ has turned round and said it doesn't want to do the record/movie industry's dirty work for them,

* And now people are telling the governement where they can shove their stupid ID cards.

* MEPs are demanding that govs can't just share crime data freely and might actually have to protect our personal data

* American politicos are starting to question if giving $700billion to the cretins that caused the financial crisis is actually such a good idea.

* And to top it off, Americans have finally started to see through tthe gitwizard David Blaine as the untalented cretin he really is

I think I need a lie down. Too much sanity in such a short time.


G1 Android launch pictures leaked?

Paris Hilton

4.6" screen?

I'd like it if it did have a 4.6" one, but given the form factor I think it would make the rest of the phone too large.

I've had a play with the iPhone, and while it might be really nice to use, it's way too large for me to carry around all the time.

I hope the gPhone give Apple a bit of serious competion over the next year. It might help Apple see the light and stop being such a bunch of arses about which apps to let in the app store. Remeber the G1 is just the first Android phone, there will be more to come from other manufacturers who will hopefully make it look significantly cuter.


(Paris, because she knows that size matters)

SanDisk pre-launches slotMusic


Solution looking for a problem

Why would anyone want to go back to the use of physical media? With the likes of 7digital offering DRM free downloads, and CDs still being around, I don't see the point.

I also don't get the idea of slotting them into phones etc. Why carry arround a card per album and have to swap them out, when you can just put everything on one much larger card and stick it in your music phone?


OpenSocial, OpenID, and Google Gears: Three technologies for history's dustbin

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" Never underestimate the disparity between developer excitement and user apathy."

That's my new motto.

I briefly looked into using OpenID for a site I'm developing but gave up when I realised that I would never be able to explain the concept to my users in a way that makes sense.

Mr. Wurst: you are right, having one login would be easier, which is why OpenID is so laughable. Somehow they made it more complex than juggling yet another login. Using a fully qualified URL (http://username.openid.org) was just plain weird, that's a web address, not a login name. How do you explain that to people who barely understand what a "yourall" actually is? Besides, it fails the "meh, too much effort" test for most people.

OpenID is also trapped in a catch-22. People will only use it widely when everyone supports it, but everyone will support it only when lots of people are using it (I mean actively not just because they have a yahoo account).

A perfect example of technical brilliance by people who have no idea about how norml people use the internet. Does anyone really think that most people use different passwords or different services? Of course not, they use the same one everywhere, then they use the password reminder when they forget what that is. So which problem is this actually solving? It's replacing easy to remember usernames with a flipping fully qualified URL. That's really going to make people use it.

Just because something is clever, doesn't make it useful.

Demand drops for games consoles Stateside


Or it could be basic economics at work?

This generation of console is now a maturing market. This kind of gradual slowdown is exactly the kind of thing you would expect as the number of people who want but don't have reduces.

Hilton documentary reveals hidden side of Paris

Paris Hilton


What an apt name for someone who spent a year making a documentary about Paris.


Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Paris Hilton

Good to hear someone in the press has a clue

Makes a change.

Paris - because she probably knows more about this than most of the "arrrrg, the world's going to end" press.

Too much money? Bling your iPhone with the $1000 app

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Ah, the personalised license plate comes to the mobile phone

It's no different from someone buying "R1CH W4NK3R" for their car. I've never understood that either.

Although complaining that iTunes is charging more to UK buyers is a little unfair in this case, $999 in £, +17.5% VAT = £600. Remember that sales tax is not listed on items in the US and varies between state. So British idiots get to pay basically the same, but the government gets to take a cut of their stupidity.

That's an idea, how about tying VAT rates to stupidity? I suggest 6000% for buyers of irritating ringtones.


Screwgle™ - Google's new ad revenue model

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Am I missing something?

I thought you only paid when someone clicked on an ad?

If that's the case, surely an advertiser would be happy if google had worked out a way to get more people to click on your ad. Why should it matter what someone searched for if they still clicked on your ad?

As Kit says, quite a lazy way to find new keywords.

Fair enough, the auto-opt-in is wrong, but the basic idea sounds quite useful.

Or am I missing something here?