* Posts by Thomas Gray

104 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jun 2010


Firefox points the way to eradicating one of the rudest words online: PDF

Thomas Gray

Collaborative alternative?

My school sends out a weekly newsletter to parents which is written in a Google doc and then wxported as a PDF. Can anyone suggest an alternative? It needs to be editable by all staff (i.e. as easy as a word processor), read-only by the recipients, allow for interactive response (to avoid the “print this page, sign and return” issue), be not too expensive, and not look like arse.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE

Thomas Gray

Re: It affected other things too

When the exam board MEG (Midland Examining Group) merged to form OCR, they did a quick search and replace on all syllabi. What fun we had in the Physics department teaching our young charges about power stations producing Ocrawatts of power…

Thomas Gray

Then there is the joke about the combined business/home/portable version of the operating system...

Windows CEMeNT

You were supposed to be watching him. Letters from SEC claim Tesla breached deal to police Elon Musk's tweets

Thomas Gray

If aTesla is stolen…

… does it become an Edison?

I’ll get my coat.

Feature bloat: Psychology boffins find people tend to add elements to solve a problem rather than take things away

Thomas Gray

Re: people tend to add elements to solve a problem

Wasn’t it Colin Chapman of Lotus (cars) who said “simplify and add lightness”?

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

Thomas Gray

Re: Correct me if I’m wrong

Successfully designed, built and launched. It was rather heavily implied, but the full clause made the original post awkward to read. My point stands though. Soyuz is a ‘60s design, Shuttle came from the ‘70s and since then nada.

Thomas Gray

Correct me if I’m wrong

But isn’t it the first manned capsule to have been designed since the ‘70s? That’s more impressive to me than the 9 year stat that always gets bandied around.

Amount of pixels needed to make VR less crap may set your PC on fire

Thomas Gray


Assuming the problem of fovea focus could be dealt with, would it save processing power to place the surroundings in monochrome, since rods only detect light intensity rather than actual frequency?

No wonder Marvin the robot was miserable: AI will make the rich richer – and the poor poorer

Thomas Gray

Marvin the robot? Shurley Shome Mishtake

He was a Paranoid Android, not a robot.

.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Thomas Gray

Re: "are the seamen equipped with oars?"

"One of the incidental uses of Morse code - apart from the belated Beethoven's 5th Symphony attribution - was in the theme to the TV detective series about Inspector Morse"

Also the theme to Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em, in which the piccolo part sounds out the name of the show in Morse.

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

Thomas Gray

I told you so

Computing Science (which existed as a GCSE for years before this "initiative" - heck, it was originally an O-Level) isn't for everyone. ICT is the gateway drug for most people, teaching as it did problem solving skills through 4th Gen tools. It should never have been dropped in the name of "progress" from (ironically) the Conservative party

Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

Thomas Gray

Re: Not the compact cassette.

I'd love an updated Psion 5 with Bluetooth and WiFI. I wouldn't even need a colour screen, just the superb Agenda programme and keyboard. It only needs updating for wireless comms to allow emailing and printing.

Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Thomas Gray

Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

I think Apple missed an opportunity with the 7 to switch to a USB C connector. Since they were mucking about anyway, it was the ideal time - and would have synced up nicely with the decision to go that way with the MacBook and MB Pro.

Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux

Thomas Gray

Does no-one remember Minix?

MS have been there, done that already.

All in all, it's just another hit in the stalls: Roger Waters The Wall

Thomas Gray

Cut scenes?

If the narrative of the album/story is being interrupted by cut scenes of Roger gadding around Europe, I'll pass on this. The impact of The Wall is in the immersion: the only bit of the album I don't like is the middle stanza of "Hey You", when the fourth wall is broken by Roger singing "But it was only a fantasy/the wall was too high, as you can see/No matter how he tried he could not break free/And the worms ate into his brain". The story loses its immediacy and impact because suddenly the narrative voice has shifted to a third person, and I fear that telling "the story of The Wall" will take away from the the story of The Wall.

Perhaps it would have been better to have the documentary part as an opening film, before the main event?

Thomas Gray

Re: Riddle.

That's kind of the point. The central character ("Pink") gets so wrapped up in his own delusion, and the isolation he creates for himself by building his wall, that he begins to see himself as the dictator of his own personal reality. Being obsessed with the war that took his father, he naturally leans towards Nazi symbolism to express this. What Waters is trying to convey is the danger of this kind of thing, both to the individual and the wider world.

World finally ready for USB-bootable OS/2

Thomas Gray

Russian? Shurely Shome mishtake:

eComStation is owned by XEU.com, a Dutch company, and presumably the successor to Mensys BV who co-owned it with Serenity Systems, an American company set up by a former IBM-er. It has never been a Russian owned venture, as far as I know.

So much for rainbows, Zuck: Facebook staff still overwhelmingly male and white

Thomas Gray

Going out on a limb here...

If 100% of Facebook's employers were homosexual, wouldn't they still be overwhelmingly white and male? IOW, the diversity rating of the company has nothing at all to do with celebrating gay rights and rainbow filters.

Sniffing and sharing Wi-Fi passwords? There's an app for that!

Thomas Gray

"all of whom get to see adds "

Which subtracts from the user experience, but presumably multiplies revenue. Divisive, eh?

So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?

Thomas Gray

Re: Fair Tax?

My understanding of FT is that the businesses don't charge the tax, it is collected at the tills. So no-one in the supply chain would need to, or be able to, defraud. No tax is collected at any part of the supply side.

Thomas Gray

Fair Tax?

I'd be interested in hearing Mr Worstall's view of the Fair Tax proposal that is currently waiting in bothhouses of the US congress for some action to be taken. It seems to me to be very straightforward, simple but with the danger of being regressive. What do you think?

Drones to bring DEBT FROM ABOVE in Switzerland

Thomas Gray

Re: "Tests of drone-delivered ail"

No, they are delivering garlic (at least in the French part...)

Thomas Gray

They have it covered from the other angle too

It is also possible to have the Swiss Post Office open your mail, scan it and email it to you, meaning only packets and letters with stuff in them need be delivered. All covered by the famous Swiss secrecy laws.

Churchill's blood valued at £560,000. Take that Stalin!

Thomas Gray

New measures for the Reg Standards Soviet?

Just think, now you can convert monetary amounts into ml/pints/Churchills of blood, and value volumes in the same way...

Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Thomas Gray

Good video presentation available

Episode one of the rather good Ham Radio show TX Factor (http://www.txfilms.co.uk/txfactor/txfactor.shtml) contained a segment about Poldhu, well worth a watch if you are interested.

TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'NAUTS FLEE 'gas leak' to Russian module

Thomas Gray

Faulty sensor?

Is it an AE-35 unit?

World's largest ship swallows 900 MEGATINS of baked beans

Thomas Gray

How long would a line made of all those baked beans make? Enquiring minds wish to know!

Renewable energy 'simply won't work': Top Google engineers

Thomas Gray

Re: reducing energy consumption

Except you'd pretty much have to stop using any sort of power for anything other than making renewable energy generating plant. Which means there wouldn't be any money for building that plant, nor any food to feed the people building that plant, nor and heat for them in the winter or light in the dark.

Reducing energy use is a real goal, particularly as nearly all raw energy eventually ends up as heat. But it is a separate issue to where the energy comes from.

Forget the climate: Fatties are a much bigger problem - study

Thomas Gray

How about "Graph Grappling" as descriptor?

Would fit in with El Reg's penchant for alliteration.

Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to real photography?

Thomas Gray

The best way to learn photography - a dSLR

The author dismisses dSLRs as being too cheap, but then asks how can someone learn to move from a point 'n' shoot (or phone camera) to a "proper" camera. The answer is obvious: through the cheap dSLR. Yes, they all have full Auto mode and more Scene presets than you probably need, but they also all have the 'classic' PASM (Programme, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual) modes, user-controllable ISO, off body flash - in fact, everything that we old farts were desperate to automate back in the day. The only reason most dSLR users don't get better photographs is because they don't learn to use the tool they have. And there are plenty of upgrade paths available from the "bargain basement" plastic dSLRs available in Currys.

Apple's new 'iPad Air 2' sliced open, revealing (possible) A8X core

Thomas Gray

I suspect

the event will be to announce a new Mac Mini, or even a new design of iMac - neither of which have really changed for several years.

Our Vultures peck at new Doctor Who: Exterminate or, er ... carrion?

Thomas Gray

The problem is Moffat

He claims to be a fan, and yet he does not seem to have watched any of the episodes, otherwise he wouldn't contradict the canon (and himself) so much. He also seems to think that the show is *about* the Doctor, rather than simply utilising the vehicle of the character to tell stories. Watch the classic series: the only time we have any exposition about the character of the Doctor and his past is during the "X Doctors" specials, perhaps at regeneration time, and when it was absolutely necessary for the story. Now it seems that every damn episode is about whether the Doctor is a good man or not. That isn't what the show is about.

At least Russel T. knew that much.

NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years

Thomas Gray

Old film reader?

Why would NASA need to help them find an "old film reader"? If the photographs were on 35mm, surely it would be trivial to scan them. All current film labs (yes, people still use 35mm!) will scan your film at the same time as processing and printing it.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning

Thomas Gray

Bring it on

Cloud cover reduced following the eruption of efefeofeoifjoeifjoeifoeifoeifjoeifoeifjoeifjoeifj (or something like that...) with an attendant drop in air temperatures of about 3°C, IIRC.

Keep the aeroplanes out of the sky for as long as possible. In fact, ban any air travel between two points that can physically be reached by train, which should simultaneously improve the climate, and remove such carbuncles as Easyjet and Ryanair.

How practical is an electric car in London?

Thomas Gray

Re: On Street Parking

"spell the end of the ICE". Err, right. Not everyone lives in cities, you know. And some people even live near to power stations, which is simply where your pollution (in fact, a great deal more - given the inherently wasteful nature of electric generation and motive power) gets pushed.

I've an idea: re-build Battersea Power Station for the exclusive use of electric vehicles. Then London would see EXACTLY the consequences of all this "free, clean" electricity.

It's Google's no-wheel car. OMG... there aren't any BRAKES

Thomas Gray

Who is liable

in the event of a crash?

Welcome to Heathrow Terminal, er, Samsung Galaxy S5

Thomas Gray

More tiring?

I'd have thought "more tiresome" would be a better phrase.

And what happens when the Galaxy S6 comes out?

Users folder vanished after OS X 10.9.3 update? Here's a fix

Thomas Gray

Re: Looks like it was a cock up

Yes, I was just coming to post the same.

Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Thomas Gray

Dual track is nothing new

One of the Monty Python albums (I think it was Another...) did the same thing - two completely different Side Ones. For some reason I didn't catch the "other" groove until the third time of playing - imagine my surprise!

Shut up, Siri, I'm watching telly! iOS 7.1 code reveals new role for Apple's PA

Thomas Gray

Re: iWatch?

"Why would you want to shout at your watch?"

Because apparently people can't interact with a screen smaller than an A5 sheet of paper....

More seriously, the screen of any iTimeKeeper would be very small, and supporting the touch interface with voice commands could be very useful. It might even remove the need for a touchscreen at all, making the iTK more robust and cheaper.

Thomas Gray


Seems more likely than the Apple TV.

Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Thomas Gray

Oooh Matron

I could go for a Carry On... inspired MMORPG. Perhaps it could also crowdsource a solution to the problems of the NHS, thus delivering a double whammy?

X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

Thomas Gray

93 million miles

is roughly 149 million km. Not 1.49 billion.

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Thomas Gray

Now that no-one is using Symbian...

Couldn't it be ported back to a Series 5mx-alike? Surely Motorola (the current owner of the erstwhile PDA maker) would accept a few shekels to licence the the hinge design from the 5 - after all, again they aren't using it.

Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Thomas Gray

Re: What are we waiting for?


Yamaha 01x? That's what I have :)

If you are interested, there is an active Facebook (I know, I know) group supporting the 01x and associated hardware, and we are currently talking to a developer about the possibility of getting an updated mLAN driver written for OSX and Windows.

Thomas Gray

What are we waiting for?

Sadly, some of us are running legacy hardware that has been abandoned by the manufacturer, and the device drivers are not compatible with the later versions of OSX. I personally don't let that machine touch the internet now.

Big Beardie's watching: Gaze into the screen... it shall gaze also into you

Thomas Gray

Size nine chukka boots?

But will it offer you a jar of Anacondas?

10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Thomas Gray

Does this mean

That my GPS signal will have to be broadcast to different satellites, for them to bounce to each other? Will I have to replace my squariel with a round dish then?


Apple's Hacker Princess dumps fruity firm for Elon Musk's Tesla

Thomas Gray
IT Angle

Interesting, but

I can't imagine why the fact that she was once a man has any bearing on either the appointment or her work, past or present. That snippet, far from having no IT angle, doesn't even have a human interest angle.

Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Thomas Gray

Whether S. Fry is a technical genus or not...

... he is _presenting_ himself as one in the Torygraph article, and because he is associated with a programme that contains facts, non-technical readers will assume that he is correct. To my mind, the article here is justified because (a) Fry has got simple facts wrong, and he really should (and the Telegraph also should) do some basic checking before he publishes anything that claims to be remotely factual, and (b) Fry uses the word "cracked" to describe a man whom he has probably never met, clearly knows nothing concrete about, and who is dead and therefore cannot defend himself. Fry's use of the word "cracked" is itself a mystery, since there is nothing in the context of the article to explain what he even means by the word (although I concede that some sloppy editing by the 'graph may be to blame for that).

The fact that Fry has previously shown himself to be ignorant on technical matters does not help. As an aside, when he was "explaining" GPS on QI, he was clearly off-script - he spent the entire time during that speech looking at the panellists, rather than consulting his cards or reading the Autocue. It's interesting to watch the programme and spot the difference between the scripted and the unscripted stuff.