* Posts by Kirk Northrop

36 posts • joined 8 Apr 2010

Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Kirk Northrop

Re: Jaywalking

Actually, pedestrians have the right of way. No human crosses the road intending to be killed, I assume this unfortunate pedestrian thought that the car would slow for her, as a real human would have done.

Kirk Northrop

Re: What's with the victim blaming AC?

Erm, well the reason Uber care is that you have to call that self driving car from somewhere. There’s a reason why Uber currently run their service with disposable meat, so they can switch to self driving with no repercussions in the future.

Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

Kirk Northrop

Re: And sometimes the flood is concrete

They sent someone out to a nearby shop to buy sugar, and tipped it in. Sugar stops concrete from setting, apparently.

Look on the bright side, Pebble fans. At least your gizmo will work long enough for you to get beach body ready

Kirk Northrop

But it's not their product. They bought the team behind it, and offered a lifeline clearly and almost brazenly as a way to sell their own products in the future. But it's not theirs. It was discontinued a year ago when Pebble went bust.

UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'

Kirk Northrop

Re: Good !

Not Just Eat related, but a while ago I bought from a company online. The service was meh, and they forgot to send an item. After contacting them, they posted that out by second class post.

They asked for a TrustPilot Review, and so I gave one, 3*, along the lines of "nothing special, forgot an item and sent it out second class which suggested they weren't too bothered about forgetting an item."

Ten minutes later, my phone rings, and it's the CEO of the company wanting to know why I only gave a 3* review, and if he "could work something out" so I would change it.

So I did. To 2*. And mentioned that they had tried to bribe me to improve the review.

BOFH: Buttock And Departmental Defence ... As A Service

Kirk Northrop

Re: COMPLETE walls?

No, the gap is to stop litter getting trapped in the shelter and making it look untidy. Same with the "new" phone booths. (New being about 1991)

WikiLeave? Assange tipped for Ecuadorian eviction

Kirk Northrop

I do wonder if he could just leave unhindered. I believe the UK were at one point on the record as having said "Mr Assange is free to leave at any time" or something similar.

So he leaves, gets driven to a private airport, and off he goes. And the UK will turn a blind eye because they don't really want him here either...

Maplin Electronics CEO ups stakes for steak house

Kirk Northrop

I think the problem is that if it was only 120%, that might be OK. £3.99 for 8 red LEDs. As in the bog standard cheapo red LED that's been around forever.

Uber: Hackers stole 57m passengers, drivers' info. We also bribed the thieves $100k to STFU

Kirk Northrop

"The incident did not breach our corporate systems or infrastructure."

Many startups don't have "corporate systems or infrastructure" outside of AWS and GitHub. This isn't IBM with a huge worldwide network in their own data centres. So considering they got access to both, it suggests that they did...

GarageBanned: Apple's music app silenced in iOS 11 iCloud blunder

Kirk Northrop

Re: Yawn

This is very true, and shows when you look at Microsoft's insistence at keeping everything hanging around forever. Can you still run 16 bit Windows applications on Windows 10? If so, is that *really* helpful?

Apple have forced the death of floppy drives and optical drives, helped the introduction of USB (and the death of all the other ports) and moved everyone to 64-bit by default. In each case, there's been a good, managed and encouraged several year change over.

It's also why many businesses could not afford to use Apple products (aside from the cost differences) - businesses often happily keep their ancient systems rolling on with the minimum of upgrades and effort.

It also exemplifies that old Joel Spolsky thing of every check box is a decision someone wasn't bold enough to make. Microsoft are scared to turn off support because one person somewhere is still using it. Their settings menus are ever longer because one person uses that obscure option. Apple just make the decision and tell people to like it or lump it. Not always perfect, but much better at shuffling on the tech world.

Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

Kirk Northrop

Re: "the printer was no longer visible"

Actually, Apple very much can and will decrypt iCloud data including device backups - it's data on the devices they can't do.

Spend your paper £5 notes NOW: No longer legal tender after today

Kirk Northrop

Re: Banks will take fivers for a while

Yeah, the banks really don't care. A lot of the note removal/counterfeit identification happens at privately owned cash handling centres anyway - it just gets sent to one of them with the rest of the cash and spirited away.

iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war

Kirk Northrop

Re: Apple Records predates Apple Computers

And of course this result was the source of the bodged interview on BBC News that should have involved the late great Guy Kewney, but instead involved some random IT guy who had arrived for a job.

Amazon UK boss is 'most powerful' man in food and drink

Kirk Northrop

Amazon and Ocado could work - Ocado see themselves as a technology company that just happens to sell groceries, and their systems are very clever and nicely set up to make picking and packing lots of orders as efficient as possible, and their customer service is top notch.

Seeing as Amazon these days are a technology company that happens to sell everything, sounds like a good fit! (And would compete with Sainsbury-Argos)

The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Kirk Northrop

Oh. I was wondering why this place wasn't as fun any more. Now I find out it's deliberate.

I've been reading since 2001. When you used to do a few small articles a day, it was as much worth reading. I've always seen El Reg as the Private Eye of IT news. The plucky, funny and not-afraid little upstart.

Please don't lose this. Most of us who come here come because it's a different place to the other sites. You can't do serious news as well as they do (or haven't so far) so please don't try!

CVS shutters photo website in credit-card hack attack scare

Kirk Northrop

Indeed it has - edited by a user called PNIStaff...

Luckily the mods have been quite harsh and rolled it all back, and added in some stuff about the hack just for good measure.

Guy puts 1990s MacOS 7 on an Apple Watch – without jailbreaking it

Kirk Northrop

Re: Other than the IO challenge

Even without knowing the specs - I can confidently say yes. This is running an emulator of the machine and then the OS on top of that - not just the OS natively...

Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

Kirk Northrop

Re: @ Idiot ac: Defensive driving

Or the TV that uses a light bulb. Oh, hang on. TVs don't use light bulbs. Silly you.

Carry On Computing: Ten stylish laptop bags for him

Kirk Northrop

Re: Timbuk 2

From experience, their luggage is less awesome than their messenger bags - I assume because they change the range constantly and only seem to do one production run of each, all the little niggles don't get resolved.

Kirk Northrop

I'm amazed Timbuk2 wasn't represented too - I've had mine for three years now, and aside from the rubber coating on zipper tag I use the most becoming a bit worn, it looks good as new and holds loads!

Barclaycard axes bonking payments bracelet

Kirk Northrop

Indeed - the reason that it ends at the end of May and can't run longer is because the "cards" have an expiry date of May 2015.

Phabba-dabba-do: Samsung hypes up Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Kirk Northrop

Re: And their USP is...?

But Microsoft do. There are several reported cases of them writing apps for people and saying "have this, please support us".

And the companies still say no.

STOP! Pebble Time: New color watch clocks up $5m on Kickstarter

Kirk Northrop

Re: Almost backed it again..

Apparently they are bulk shipping them to their EU distributor and on from there this time, so *hopefully* no import duty. I have still budgeted for it though.

Kirk Northrop

Re: "back-lit color e-paper"?

It's a technology from Sharp which uses a line addressable display, and some sort of memory solution that means it uses 15uA when static.

As for readability the original pebble, based on the same technology, is fully readable in bright sunlight and indeed this helps much like it does with eInk. So they must be doing something different/right.

Samsung buys LoopPay ... to be better at bonking than Apple

Kirk Northrop

Re: Another mag stripe dead-end?

Yep, pretty much. It is contactless because the loop pay thing emits a magnetic field strong enough for the traditional mag stripe reader to detect.

Now to me this means Samsung have bought a complete pup, based on a major hack of outdated technology. What an investment!

Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Kirk Northrop

Re: truth in storage

Actually, I think this all stems from old dumb phones. When we had an Ericsson with 4Mb of memory, that was what it had, and all the OS was in flash. Therefore people understandably expect the same behaviour today.

I suspect also when you had the old iPods the situation was the same, and if the OS did take up space on the disk it was 100Mb or so...

SKYPE has the HOTS for my NAKED WIFE

Kirk Northrop


Oh, I hate this new reliance on videos. Give me some sensible worked examples and some nice api documentation any day. Especially as most videos are poorly recorded at conferences and you can't see or hear a thing.

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

Kirk Northrop

Oh, can't we just all get on? The Bletchley stuff is an important adjunct to the history of computing, and they should all work together to have it as one exhibition. Someone mentioned Duxford Airfield - they have a commercial aircraft collection and an Anglia regiment museum on the same site, all run by separate people, but all included in one admission* and one "museum".

Someone needs to bang some heads together down there and get it all happy as one site, one entrance fee, and one important memorial for British technology.

* They do charge you nominally to go on some of the airliners. That money goes to the charity that looks after that plane.

Ban-dodging Mac Pro to hit Blighty's shops as Apple bows to fan fears

Kirk Northrop

Re: Ditched the floppy without supplying a practical replacement

I agree that it could be considered jumping the gun somewhat, and that at the time it seemed a very silly move. But it's also fair to say that someone had to do it, and for Apple with their demographics (at the time) of education and content creators, who were either a) on a LAN or b) the files were bigger than 1.44Mb anyway, maybe they were the right ones to lead it.

My point was more that we are heading that way anyway, with more and more closed box PCs, and maybe this is a sensible solution that we'll come back in a few years and go "yes. Good move". If nothing else, a few of the big Apple accessory houses will build things for Thunderbolt, which will trickle down, and we'll all be using it at last.

Kirk Northrop

Ooh, it sounds like "Apple's dropping Floppy Drives" all over again.

Namely a lot of people will make a lot of noise, Apple will end up being right and we'll all be expanding our computers mostly externally in five years time.

Pebble smartwatch app guys! Put your mind at WRIST: New SDK + iOS 7 alerts

Kirk Northrop

Re: Speed of development

There is at least now access to the accelerometer though.

I do agree that the lack of any official app store is a significant issue, seeing as the only ones out there seem to be overrun by the sort of crappy copy and paste jobs you got with Winamp themes back in the 90s.

Kirk Northrop

This is exactly what the platform needed. All the fluff about supporting developers looked so flimsy given the poor quality of the v1 SDK.

But the Javascript sandbox, which uses the same AppMessage framework as other apps have available, is a real boon, the new SDK seems easier to use and the documentation feels a bit more finished - especially for those of us who haven't used C for a while and need a bit of hand holding.

Looking forward to finally making a useful app for it...

Please, PLEASE, Skype... Don't kill our apps and headsets, plead devs

Kirk Northrop

Re: Every time. EVERY TIME.

How about big company eBay who owned Skype before MS did?

Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

Kirk Northrop

Re: the digital era

You're not the only one, no. I very rarely listen to albums on shuffle, the flow of an album really is something that a lot of casual music listeners miss.

Reader input required: review our reviews

Kirk Northrop

The problem with reg reviews all too often is that they are "I thought this product was this, it's not, so I'm going to moan about it for three pages".

Balanced, objective reviews please. Less benchmarks, we don't need a page of tables, just a paragraph (but always doing a battery life test if applicable), as there are sites out there that will do the benchmarks better than you can anyway.

Product photos are good, but not the ones from the manufacturer as we've seen them all already. If there's a special thing about a product, let's have a picture of it. If not, more shots of it on a white background from far away are pointless.

Obviously I expect a good deal of irreverence from El Reg, it's why I've been coming here for so long.

But please keep up the good work, I like your reviews on a whole, but the ever increasing minority are letting the side down.

Guy Kewney dies at 63

Kirk Northrop

How sad

How sad - one of the few journalists I trusted the opinion of, and who always seemed such a genuinely nice guy.

He will be well missed, I'm sure.


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