* Posts by AlexH

61 publicly visible posts • joined 17 May 2010


Snowden: Hey fellow NSA worker, mind if I copy your PASSWORD?


Just passwords? The 1980's called...

Yet another of the many things about this whole debacle that beggars belief: that only a *password* was required to gain access to classified information.

Two factor authentication? Biometric usernames? There's plenty new-fangled (...!) authentication methods that would have helped prevent this.

(I realise that may all be nonsense as perhaps they were in place and his access as a systems admin allowed him to bypass them. Maybe.)

Google cursed its own phones with wacked Wi-Fi, say Nexus users

Big Brother

Re: but that application fills me with rage

I'm a very infrequent Skype user but a video call I was making at the weekend crashed out (rebooted the phone) three times last Sunday.

Replying to Shirley's post as I remember joking with the other party that "I sense a conspiracy - like someone's pushing me to say 'next time let's use Hangouts!'" haha

(Big Brother because vague electronic communication theme)

Brits: Give us £1m and we'll build a crack ALIEN-HUNTING TEAM


Re: SETI was defunded by the US Gov. I'm more concerned about NEO's.

The last 'large-ish' impact was the Tunguska event in which the offending party was estimated to be between 60m and 190m. So whilst you're perhaps a little unduly worried about the ending of life as we know it, I will concede that it wouldn't be very nice were that to happen today over a major urban centre.

Following on from Ansbro's suggestion reported in the article: why do the two goals have to be mutually exclusive? To an extent, both goals can be achieved by having a better knowledge of our local (in space terms) environment.

I also really like Ansbro's idea because I'm a little impatient (I typically like things to happen within my lifetime - I know, right?!). Were we to receive some signal from a distant star there is precisely f-all we could do about it that would be fruitful any time soon.

'Smart ring' revealed by upstart Chinese mobe-maker


Halfway there...

Going to guess it's an unpowered NFC chip that does the magic - perhaps one that can be reprogrammed by putting it on a stand that induces current into some more 'active' circuitry.

I think this would be really useful if you could exchange contact details between two rings - for example, during a handshake. If these became the norm in business it would completely eliminate business cards and solve the problem of putting faces to names after a busy networking session. Obviously, this would be more challenging, assuming the ring in the article is passive.

FAVI smacks your dumb TV with £30 Android SmartStick


Re: Do what?

I remember the Reg running an article a few years ago that basically stated that unless you have AMAZING eyesight, a HUGE screen, or a TINY living room, anything over HD is pretty pointless. (It was actually making the point that HD is often wasted, but seen as we're upping the ante...).

For those reasons, I can't see 4K going mainstream any time soon.

To contradict myself, the old broadcasters might go as far as subsidising 4K displays to get everyone hooked and prevent us all turning to a variety of upstart internet services in the next 5 years.

Texan schoolgirl expelled for refusing to wear RFID tag



That's actually not a terrible idea!

Use WiFi and associate the phones' MACs with the students - give phone-less students a free smartphone (should also help the scheme be more popular), then use existing (or new, if they can't be used) access points to triangulate students' locations.

Cost: if (big if) existing APs can be used and they don't need to buy tons of new phones, then pretty cheap - loading the software and a few days on-site calibrating the triangulation.

Bonus: You're able to detect people wandering around who shouldn't be there. Legit visitors can have their phones registered onto the system at reception.

I did consider that the kids would just switch them off, but if it's the 'official' method of registration for classes, then phone off = truancy, regardless of whether you're off site or not.

NOTE: just a thought exercise, I actually really disagree with tracking and monitoring kids like this!

NASA SECRET DISCOVERY ON MARS: Meteor offers possible clue


Strengthen the case for boots on Mars

Whilst I'm fairly sure (but can't stop myself from hoping/speculating!) it won't be anything considered Earth-shattering from the point of view of your average lay person, I think it will be something that strengthens the case for current/past life on Mars.

Anything that strengthens the case for getting people out there is a massive bonus in my opinion. Just wish I didn't know about this announcement ahead of time - it's killing me!

Hackers crack Texan bank, Experian credit records come flooding out


Credit to Experian

Actually says something very positive about Experian's security when banks and law-enforcement agencies' systems are seen as the soft/easy way in!

If I had a shop next to a bank and criminals broke in by going through the vault and tunnelling into my premesis, I'd probably buy my security contractor a beer or two.

Scrunched Street View spymobile spied in India


Re: Was this one of their...

No. No, it wasn't.

For two reasons:

1) Google don't have (nor have they ever claimed to have) 'self drive cars that never have accidents'

2) Any self-drive cars Google do have are being tested in San-Francisco and, more recently, Nevada. Incidentally, they appear to be performing very well.

Some might argue that the self-driving car was jumping the gun when they've still to invent the self-typing keyboard that never posts retarded comments...

Google Maps adds aircraft, tricycles and skiers to cover all bases


Re: Useless retards

If they are using the same dataset for routing then I'm pretty sure you'll find that the data for the areas they're trialling their self-driving cars will have been double-checked and actually delightfully accurate.

And/or the car will be reading the road signs itself as it trundles along to double-check it isn't doing anything stupid like a one-way-street f*ckup.

Cloud data fiasco forces bosses to break out the whiteboards


Where printed 'cloud' read...

... 'complicated server farm that cost a lot of money and we hope is pretty good'.

I know there isn't a standard definition of 'cloud', but at the very least it should mean that someone can start yanking cables without risk of significant data loss. (Ideally, this should extend to availability.)

Doesn't sound like they have a 'cloud', more like a 'crappy SAN and a load of servers'.

Ten... two-bay Nas boxes


Re: These are just for the lazy and technical illiterates.

Jason, and many of the other people replying are dead right.

How about this one, Infernoz: Spending hours building things from scratch is for the lazy and poor.

How much is your time worth?

Half of UK smart TV owners don't know what the 'smart' bit is for


Re: Wifi

Completely agree - came to the comments to make exactly this point!

My parents bought a 'Smart' TV a year or two ago which is effectively useless because the mfr wanted to gouge another £60 out of them for a WiFi adaptor. When people don't know what exactly they're going to get for that extra outlay, most aren't going to bother.

Gemini outs trio of budget Android 4 tablets


Re: dozens...

I asked for a similar product round-up some months ago and Reg delivered (they'd probably planned it already, but we all like to live in a world where we're important, don't we ;) ). I'd certainl;y agree with you that it's time for another one :)

HTC sues fans for premature unboxing


Re: So, HTC hate their fans.

I honestly don't know where I stand wrt Mr (I'm fairly sure he isn't a real doctor) Dre's 'Beats' product line - on one hand, it's easy to be snobby about those that have forked out a ton of cash that could have been better spent. OTOH most people sporting Beats kit wouldn't have otherwise considered spending proper money on headphones and ordinarily couldn't care less about audio quality - disregarding the bulls*it-factor, they are at least now more open the concept of it perhaps being worth spending a little more to get better quality audio.

I'm writing this from the perspective of someone brought up to love HiFi and have feared (watched?) its demise for some time.

Fanboi logo, as that's my natural reaction to spotting a pair of the aforementioned cans...

Microsoft tech turns any object into a touchscreen


Didn't MIT do something really similar a few years back? Their implementation was about the size of a large mobile phone which was hung from the wearer's neck like a pendant.

Here it is: http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/

Younger generation taking 'sledgehammer' to security


What's new?

Seems to be saying that you'll no longer be able to trust the client devices on your network - been like that since attacking the client-side became all the rage, oh say 10-15 years ago.

Apparently you need to watch what info/data your employees are leaking. We've been doing this for years, by restricting access to sensitive information to those who need it and have correspondingly high salaries to lose.

Nothing I hate more than a Norton/Symnatec/McAfee press-release reprint :(

Google drive cloud to rain on Apple, Dropbox parade


Convergent encryption

Maybe they'll use convergent encryption like BitCasa. If I were me and I was implementing a cloud storage service, that's what I'd do. Alternatively, encryption could be full-fat (not convergent, as there are a few drawbacks from the user's point of view) but only available as a 'pro' option you have to pay for.

First ever private rocket to space station in launch delay


Bit of a mindless thumbs-down there. Unless I'm missing something?

I found Ridley's post to be pretty interesting and makes a lot of sense, unless of course it's untrue. Any comment from our faceless downvoter?

PayPal dispute ends in 'violin destruction'


I would agree that there are no counterfeit violins (if it looks like a violin and quacks like a violin, it's a duck), there are counterfeit stradiwhassisname violins.

Article's a bit thin on the facts that would allow the reader to really draw their own conclusions about fault/blame here.

I disagree with the notion that for not reading the entire T&Cs the seller is at fault (obviously, this is the case legally) - I'm sure most reasonable people selling antiques or similar over the internet would expect that if a dispute like this arose it would just be a case of 'return to seller and the deal's off'. The exception being repeat offenders, which I assume wasn't the case in this instance.

World's biggest music streaming service launches - for tech idiots


"Surely we can be as condescending about tech idiots as we like, it's our domain."

Can I send that to your GP?

I don't find people to be condescending to me when they're in their domain.

I don't find it necessary to be condescending to people whose specialisms lie elsewhere and they need my assistance.

I wonder if these two things are somehow linked...


They're called [a significant portion of] 'the over 35's. There's a lot of them about. They've been around and doing useful things since long before you had your first Internet 'girlfriend' and this has allowed them to accrue quite a bit of cash.

I recommend you get down off your high chair and start thinking about them in a more complimentary manner if you ever want any of that cash.

Elon Musk's private Dragon ship to dock with ISS in Feb


I'm not naive enough to think that SpaceX haven't engaged /any/ subcontractors, but I was under the impression that their operation involved a significant manufacturing component which eliminated much of the outsourcing their competitors rely on.

Can the Reg comment to clarify this? I'm as much a SpaceX fanboy as the next armchair *naut, but would be interested in an answer to this.

OnLive Game System cloud gaming console


Oh god, it's you!!!

I keep having this recurring nightmare where you corner me at a party and never stop talking...

Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'


Seriously disappointed/alarmed by Medvedev's response to this - whatever happened to waiting to see what happened and standing behind your team? Guess that's not his management style.

In an entirely connected note, I remember reading a throwaway comment somewhere about the pay levels for Russians working in aerospace. Basically, the claim was that after getting educated to post-doctorate levels and joining the industry, one could look forward to earning rather less than someone working in a mobile phone shop... Can anyone with a bit of knowledge here comment?

Pakistan bans rude text messages


@AC 15:39 - You really are an idiot.

Back in your box!

Huge potentially inhabited water lake found on Jupiter moon


Reactors in space isn't the issue - it's reactors a few km up in our atmosphere strapped to a device that has a bit of a tendency to explode.

(For the record I'm totally pro-nuclear and nuclear-in-space. Just that a few seem to have misunderstood the argument)

Japan develops powered armour suit for nuke workers


They certainly won't be inventing Skynet; Paradigm Secure Communications beat them to it when, in an exercise many might consider to be tempting (if not outright taunting) fate, they decided that would be the perfect name for their network of military communications satellites. Cheers for that, guys.

Can the Reg please keep their eyes peeled and alert us if/when the two companies start working together...

World's stealthiest rootkit gets a makeover


Someone's irony detector is malfunctioning.

(Currently studying natural language processing and we're covering text classification. Maybe I should train up a browser plugin to detect and highlight irony for those that can't do it themselves...)

Starbucks extends gratis Wi-Fi to UK


No - for tea.

I can't comment on their coffee, but I did get a really top-notch cup of tea from a Starbucks the other day...

Crazy pot smokers get high on wireless power



How much power are we losing just so we don't have to sacrifice a few seconds every day plugging things in?

Also, I quite like being able to plug my phone in and still use it to make calls, thanks to the magical properties of old-fashioned wires!

Finally - I'm not sure how much I trust all this wireless power stuff. I consider myself a rational believer in science and evidence - but even still, there's something about the whole thing I don't like. I'd struggle to sleep with one a few inches away from my head. Yes, this is completely irrational - no two ways about it!

Hunt for long-lost Apollo 10 moon lander adrift in space


Interesting bit of trivia, that :)

I wonder if they were sent up without that component not only to save costs/weight but also to prevent them just going 'sod it, let's do it - it'll be totally worth losing our jobs for!' and landing anyway...

Also, is the lack of fuel the key contributing factor for their speed record, as subsequent missions all had the extra weight?

Google opens digital Wallet on Nexus S phones


I believe it's supposed to work even when the phone's switched off - at least that's what I gathered when initially reading about it some time ago. This would go against there being a password-protected app though... can anyone clarify the situation?

Pint, because I look forward to buying them with NFC and not returning home after a session weighed down with about £20 in change...

LG to demo mouse with diddy doc scanner


Looks good

...for £30. £40, tops. Not £90

People don't want tablets, they want iPads


Feature idea

I don't know if this might be a bit too DIY/hackerish to have on the Reg, but perhaps not as they have covered things like Hackintoshes before (if I remember correctly):

Would love to see a review of the decent budget Android tablets available at the moment (like the Hannspad mentioned above). I would (somewhat arbitrarily suggest) that the criteria for selection would be: sub-£200; capacitive touchscreen (unless resistives have lately become quite usable - idk); comes with a decent Android version or the community have provided a good custom ROM which can be applied without performing TOO many technical back-flips (hence the hack-y bit); usable spec (ie not ones that are a constant reminder of your lack of funds); no huge obvious flaws that render them unusable.

I'm fairly sure they're out there, and would be attractive/useful to many, but nobody wants to burn ~£180 on something that might turn out to be a turkey...

Hey dumbo, Facebook isn't sharing telephone numbers



I must admit, I was surprised. Before the 'contact sync' functionality being implemented in the Facebook App I had previously used a third-party program that performed a contact sync; it beefed-up my iPhone's contacts' with information from Facebook. This is what I ASSUMED (yes, which ultimately makes it my own stupid fault) would happen when I hit 'Sync' in Facebook - NOT that it would send all the info from my phone up into the clouds...

Not overly bothered as I'm aware I'm not all that interesting, but better/clearer UI decisions could have been made...

Cybercrime figures 'as true as sexual-conquest scores'

Paris Hilton

Anger management

Calm down, anger management boy. I've always been fond of 'guesstimate' but didn't realise it was making its way towards 'proper word' status until I noticed the other day the spellchecker happily accepts it.

Furthermore, 'guesstimate' arguably conveys more information than either of your 'acceptable' choices...

Google lobbying to make driverless cars legal in Nevada


Price of progress...

The price of progress, I guess.

Similarly, I happen to believe that we should stop propping up the Royal Mail, whose job appears to boil down to wastefully transporting pointless bits of paper around the country. I know there are still requirements for legal documents and such to be presented in hardcopy, but for those rare occasions I would be more than happy to pay a courier a tenner...



It's all the benefits of the current car-sharing scheme but without those two (very major) drawbacks.


@AC and Veldan

@AC: Although you're right about the extra mileage in theory, I believe there would be net energy savings due to always travelling in a vehicle appropriate for your journey (most people waste energy lugging around 3/4 empty seats and a whole extra weight of car - very inefficient). Also the car-sharing thing DaveyDaveDave pointed out - I hadn't even considered that. Also, for the most part, I really don't think these cars would be driving themselves all that far to get to the next person, on average. Your other points are all valid, but they'd be trumped by the massive savings involved.

@Veldan: I have to completely disagree with you on this one! http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/running_costs/petrol2011.pdf The 'standing costs' of owning your own car are substantial. This isn't so much about 'owning vs renting' - it's about increasing the utilisation of the vehicles by a factor of maybe 20.

With regard to the concern that people will leave the vehicles in a complete state - I really don't see that being an issue as it's very easy to see who's responsible and either fine them or bar them from the system.

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The future...

Really excited to hear that this is moving forward! I honestly believe that the future is a fleet of self-driving cars that customers do not own; instead some nifty algorithms keep the unused cars at optimum locations and you book and summon your nearest before you want to commence your journey (the sooner the better, though people would get used to the link between the remoteness of their house and the average arrival delay). Team this up with electric vehicles (my preference is the ones with the battery-swapping tech) and the masses get cheap (shared ownership), green (greatly increased vehicle utilisation chips away at the environmental impact of vehicle construction + electric tech + computer-controlled 'green' driving styles), safe (computers don't show off) and convenient transport. Winner.

Designer punts ultimate customisable keyboard


Laptop Musicians

I can see this being incredibly useful for laptop musicians - kind of like buying a laptop with a built-in JazzMutant Lemur control surface.

Not entirely convinced I'd use this in preference to a physical keyboard though.

Ubuntu 'Natty Narwhal' breaks the surface


wrong website?

You might be on the wrong website mate...

Motorola pushes laptop-dock Android phone at Brits


Why is the dock there?

For my money, the obvious place to dock the phone would have been where the trackpad is, and use the phone as a trackpad and possibly secondary display of some sort. How they've got it just looks clunky and needlessly increases the footprint of the whole setup.

Apple Square sallies forth from stores


Anything equivalent in the UK?

see title

Dell flings Froyo tablet at Brits


Android 2.3?!

I really don't get it! Is there a reason for this other than a requirement to get it to market fast? Surely throwing a bit more resources at it and shipping it with Android 3 would have more than paid off?

World pays tribute to Yuri Gagarin


Completely agree

Unfortunately, I wasn't around for all these 'firsts', but I still appreciate the magnitude of them and, more importantly, the sheer speed of progress from first human flight, to first satellite launch, to first manned orbit, to finally culminating in the first man on the Moon.

And yes, it makes me very sad that we just appear to have stopped there; I'm acutely aware that within my lifetime (mid-twenties now) I'm pretty unlikely to witness any similar firsts of this magnitude and I do find that thought incredibly depressing.

(Not as depressing as the alternative - that if I DO witness progress at this speed again, it will probably be because of WW3...)

STOP - because that's what we've done.

What will we do with 600MHz?

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well volunteered!

for the thankless task of sweating blood and tears to get everyone to buy into a community-operated wireless network, then spending the rest of your days as the troubleshooter for it all...


Community Television

Given how difficult it is for most 'communities' /not-for-profits to produce a sporadically-updated website that doesn't completely suck, let alone something like a radio station, I really don't see a future in 'Community Television'.

Given the report though, someone, somewhere, and his mates, know something I don't. Let's take potential program types:

* Fictional works/Dramas - a monumental amount of effort is required to make something half as polished and watchable as something pretty mediocre already on TV. Mum's of the cast will watch it on sufferance.

* Local news - what news could unpaid volunteers possibly find out above and beyond local newspapers, which are already dire: who would want to sit through a 20min news bulletin produced by their local paper?

* A communication channel for local organisations - would you rather read their website/newsletter or sit through 15 minutes awful video? Broadcast at a predetermined time...

* Local councils/NHS PCT (whatever) using it to broadcast advice and information and such - I can really see people tuning in to THAT.

The list goes on - can ANYONE tell me what I'm missing that people WOULD watch on this 'Community Television' thing? (not a rhetorical question - please, enlighten me)

Apple 'orders 12 petabytes of storage' from EMC


Silly promises

Why on earth would you give shareholders an ETA on a component of an unknown project? They aren't relying on the information to make investment decisions, the only thing that could come out of it would be egg+face if it's late.

Tell them realistic ETA+50% next time or they'll never be heroes!