* Posts by Mark Fenton

83 publicly visible posts • joined 31 May 2007


Toblerone's Brexit trim should be applied to bloatware

Mark Fenton

Brexit bias much?

Why the link to brexit here when Toblerone themselves said it had nothing to do with brexit?

El Reg is becoming the tech resource for snowflakes and leftards.

Apple hasn't announced the new iPhone 5SE and pundits already hate it

Mark Fenton

Re: I agree they need to keep a 4" phone in the lineup

I agree completely. The 5 I have at the moment is pretty much the max size that I want from a phone - for anything else I'll use a tablet or a PC. I could afford an iPhone 6 - budget isn't the issue. Size is. The 6 and all the new Android phones (of any decent spec) are all too big. Decent spec != big.

Give us lots of memory, decent CPU and battery in a smaller screen. I'd buy a 4S sized one if I could.

What would happen if Earth fell into a black hole?

Mark Fenton

Re: Breaking news!

When doing code reviews I used to refer to functions that return type "void *" as the blackhole of programming.


Sorry sorry. I thought it was funny.

Mark Fenton

Re: Spaghettification - not always

The mass required depends on the radius of the event horizon...

V = sqr (2.G.M/r)

Mark Fenton

Spaghettification - not always

Being stretched out depends on the gravitational gradient - however for a given event horizon diameter the gradient could be pretty much any value.

A very dense mass being a small sphere at the centre of the event horizon would have a much steeper gradient than a less dense mass that was just very big.

Also - many people forget that escape velocity (and hence escaping from a black hole) only applies to projectiles.

You don't need to reach escape velocity to get to the moon - you could walk there if there was a staircase long enough - in that case you are under power. The reason why our rockets go so quickly has little to do with escape velocity and more to do with energy density.

You could drive a car to the moon (250,000 miles). But you need fuel. So you pull a fuel tanker. And your fuel consumption goes up. So you need more fuel...and so on.

So you get a kind of fuel that is more energy dense - until the payload to the moon isn't quite such a tiny percentage of the mass of the fuel/payload combination.

Trouble is, with the fuels that we currently use that are energy dense enough - they are hard to control - and go off, well, like a rocket.

Got off track there a bit I think.

How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

Mark Fenton

Another science free article from the conversation

Why all the re-hashed science free/lite stuff from the conversation?

El Reg of old would have discussed things like the recent innovations and discoveries with regards impulse engines - giving us constant acceleration (ok, low acceleration - but still, it adds up pretty quickly) drives without a reaction mass.

Lets have some proper hard science in the science section of El Reg rather than a piece saying, essentially "wouldn't it be nice to go to another world".

Sena's multi-action camera monster, or Cardo's PackTalk club rider juggernaut?

Mark Fenton

Technology has regressed

I find that I have little need or desire to listen to music on the bike and also I don't want to be disturbed mid-corner by a telephone call. What I want from bike intercoms is the ability to easily talk to others in the group.

20yrs ago I had a radio intercom system - easy to use and the 2xAA batteries would last forever. It was vox activated and you could easily set it up - range was good for a mile line-of-sight and may be 1/2 mile in built up areas. Great for "which way at the next turning" and "watch out for the idiot in the blue car" and so on.

Recently looked to buy a new set of intercoms and I couldn't find any VOX activated and the Bluetooth ones (whilst giving me functionality that I didn't want) only had a minimal range.

Went down the line of buying some radio walky-talkies and a pair of vox headsets which allowed me Velcro the mic and speakers inside my lid no problems. No connections to a PTT button. Total cost for the pair about £150 and a range of 5miles line-of-sight.

Why don't manufacturers make things we want instead of giving us inferior range and gadgets we don't need?

I guess that's like the smartphone debate though - lots of great gadgets - less good for using as a phone for any length of time. Thing is, on a motorbike you don't want distracting gadgets....

Blocking out the Sun won't fix climate change – but it could buy us time

Mark Fenton

Refreeze the poles?

You do realise that polar ice is at a maximum right now - compared to many years previous.

Coding with dad on the Dragon 32

Mark Fenton

How HOW **HOW**

Do you interface the dragon (or in my case my Acorn Electron) to a modern TV?! I've managed to retrieve all my old data from my ADFS disks...and the Electron still boots with a nice "beep" - but nothing to plug it into.


Talk revealing p0wnable surveillance cams pulled after legal threat

Mark Fenton

Re: Or just put it behind a firewall?

I agree and I guess that's the problem - "security toy". Security isn't taken seriously enough by people that know little about it.

Mark Fenton

Or just put it behind a firewall?

Surely no-one puts a device directly onto the internet?

Put everything behind a firewall, open only the ports that *need* to be opened.

In the case of these cams - I think that I have a few of them, but they are secure behind my firewall and allow *no* ports to the outside world. I can access them via a .aspx page that in turn collates snapshots from the private network and turns that into a stream.

Yes, if someone gets access to my private network then all bets are off - but that is pretty much the case with everything.

Google dumps ISP email support. Virgin Media takes ball, stomps home

Mark Fenton

Hold on...passwords remain the same?

Surely this means that the passwords are stored and not hashed?

Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

Mark Fenton

Agree with this

Played over the Christmas period - as guests and children and dogs would allow. Didn't notice any issues.

Having a great time with it.

Re the solo mode - it requires such low bandwidth that you can play it with your mobile phone (3G) as a WiFi hotspot on a train...

I think most of the +tive players will be just playing, and all the -tive ones will be whining about it.

Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

Mark Fenton

I don't understand the problem...

...ok so not everyone has high speed broadband all the time...but I've just spent a happy few hours playing it using my phone as a 3G hotspot - in the middle of nowhere in Wales where phone reception is poor. The solo mode uses very little bandwidth.

Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Mark Fenton

Re: Can you even still buy Surface RT?

In the UK....

Mark Fenton

Can you even still buy Surface RT?

Just been the MS website to look at how much the RT actually is (end of year, tax write off, all that) - and if you click on the RT links, it takes you round and round and only ever shows you Surface Pro details!

Have they killed it?

Fanbois get Outlook app for iOS, but only if they sign up for Office 365

Mark Fenton

But why even use the app?

The support built into iOS is pretty comprehensive - no need for anything else. The only thing the native app doesn't support is tasks - and, as they say, there is an app for that.

Lego X-wing fighter touches down in New York's Times Square

Mark Fenton

"Larger than life size"

Quoth the Legoid Marketing Brick :"larger-than-life sized creations"

Errr...no. It can't be both "Larger than life size" and "1:1" scale.

Pffft...marketing types - they never actually understand what they are saying.

Yay for iOS 6.1, grey Wi-Fi iPhone bug is fix- AWW, SNAP

Mark Fenton

Works for on my machine

...(I know I shouldn't say that...I slap testers for saying that...)....but still...I bought my iPhone 4s because it is the only modern device that works with my in car bluetooth. I'd rather be having a....that is a different story.

Anyways - upgraded through all the various OS incarnations through to 6.1 - and all is still well. WiFi can be switched on/off no problems. In fact I'd never even heard of this issue before.

That said, if it had happened to me - I'd be right royally ticked off. And yes - Apple are supposed to be about standard hardware/firmware - so this shouldn't ever happen!

Getting my coat for saying "it works on my machine"

Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

Mark Fenton

In the winter count on electric range being <10miles

In normal British weather you need a heater of some sort in the car. Try powering that from a battery and see how far you get on a charge...

The Register is rocking on Windows Phone 7

Mark Fenton

Fixed the iPhone version yet?

Please fix the iPhone version. It really does blow. The app, not the phone. Well, maybe the phone too, but the app certainly does.

Microsoft mulls backside display for mobiles

Mark Fenton


How the **** is this patentable? It is not a new concept - infact I had a mobile about 10yrs ago with 2 screens on it.

Surprise: Neil Young still hates digital music

Mark Fenton

Neil Young singing.....

...he sounds just like the old creepy guy from Family Guy.

The only way to make him sound better is to turn it off. Quickly.

James Bond savages the Kardashians

Mark Fenton

Mr Craig...

Top dood.


Kindle Fire gets root access

Mark Fenton

Not only don't Amazon care about folks rooting their Kindles - they don't de-root them when they issue an upgrade. I had installed a screensaver hack on my Kindle - then the s/w updated itself and I was all prepared to have to sort out the screensaver again - but no - the update preserved the original hack for me.

Very different from "other" suppliers.

Agency sends contractors' day rates to 800 RBS staff

Mark Fenton

Agency rates

...are usually 30% or above.

I like to call them pimps.

And yes - I know what that makes me - but hey, pay me enough and I'll code it and smile whilst doing so.

Apple iCloud pricing revealed

Mark Fenton

What is the point of storage where...

..the seller monitors what you store there and stops you storing music and photos?

dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

Mark Fenton

Shipping costs vary

I wonder if now they'll stop the practise of charging more for shipping for business customers?

That reason alone was enough to put me in the direction of Scan. Who give excellent service.

Open source .NET mimic rises from Novell ashes

Mark Fenton
Jobs Horns

Erm, mono on iPhone?

Surely this breaks the editct "thou shall only code in what we say" ?

Bloke with hammer fixes London's Olympic clock

Mark Fenton
Paris Hilton

@Piro re logo...

..yup, once you've envisaged young Ms Simpson on her knees, that is all you can see.


Home Office crime maps go to street-level detail

Mark Fenton

Just like Ticketmaster et-al...

...it doesn't work properly (at all) on WIndows 7 x64...

Cable vendor slapped for unproven claims

Mark Fenton

Actually...unlikely to be a kettle lead...

...more likely to be an IEC power lead - a kettle lead has a slightly different connector on the end.

And, I imagine the Russ Andrews would be charging £2k for one of those - due to its high power handling in extreme environments!

Mines the one with the bag full of snake oil in the pocket.

Windows Phone 7 gets unlocked

Mark Fenton


You said <<Android tries to sidestep the problem by providing a tick box to switch off the security mechanisms that prevent rogue applications being installed, but what proportion of users have ticked it we don't know.>>

At least on my HTC Desire, you have to find the check box and select before you can install non signed apps. The default is to not allow it.

Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?

Mark Fenton

I was going to buy one...

...but no. I don't want a toy phone. I want to be able to mount as USB drive on any computer I go to, I want to sync with Exchange and I don't have a Facebook account. I don't want a "social phone" I want a smartphone that I can use to do the tasks that I want it to...

I had high hopes for Mobile 7, but this really blows.

Opera Mobile for Android: Nearly there!

Mark Fenton

Will it support NTLM?

If it supports NTLM authentication, which the current Android browser doesn't, then I for one, will welcome our new operatic overlord.

At the moment I can't access my intranet due to the lack of NTLM on Android...


Mark Fenton

This may be what I've been looking for...

..I've been looking for a Battlezone replacement for a few years...hopefully this will be it!

BBC chief acknowledges DAB flop & internet radio

Mark Fenton

Radio 4 on internet is waste of bandwidth...

...I have internet radios all through my house. I listen to stations from all over the world, usually at 96Kbs - and this gives fine quality. However, why is BBC Radio 4 256Kbs?! It is only talking, and doesn't need the huge bandwidth required.

My neighbour has an internet radio similar to mine - where if you cycle the power it automatically starts playing the last station (Radio 4) - and there was a power cut when they were on holiday. 2 weeks later, they had used all their internet download allowance...

Whatever happened to the email app?

Mark Fenton

re re Zimbra

Zimbra would replace exchange....not act as a client for it.

I want an outlook replacement - which Zimbra isn't - unless I am missing something.

Mark Fenton

Exchange client

What I want is an alternative to outlook to act as a proper client to Exchange...I would buy that in a shot!

Sci-fi and fantasy authors wade into Amazon spat

Mark Fenton

Also...Amazon wanted a monopoly on eBooks...

...they wanted to have a contract such that MacMillan couldn't charge less (through any other distributor) than whatever Amazon wanted to charge - and MacMillan would have no say over what Amazon charged - so they could effectively give the books away

Council saves quarter mil' from mobile bill

Mark Fenton

A lot of complainers here...

...seem to be bitching cos Derby saved £250,000 - surely we should be complaining when councils waste £250,000 rather than just assuming that the saving wasn't a good deal?

That kind of thinking leaves us with a government that spends money and spends and spends and any suggestion of money saving is all about cutting services...

Oh, wait.,...

Lightning catches up with Thunderbird

Mark Fenton
Gates Horns

When can we have an open source Exchange Client...

....then I'll ditch Office and go OpenSource!

Please someone....

Brown says the 'C' word

Mark Fenton

I like how he has changed history...

...keep saying the lie long enough and everyone believes it.

"The 'downturn' is the fault of America".

Oh...so spending *way* beyond our means for the past umpteen years would have no impact at all...and didn't Northern Rock nearly fall before Lehman Brothers? The USA could even blame us for the start of it!

Clarkson was right in his description of Brown..."One eyed Scottish idiot".

Peugeot to offer in-car Wi-Fi in 2010

Mark Fenton
Thumb Up

Excellent! This will kill DAB off good and proper!

I can't wait for an internet radio in my car...no more listening to boring deary UK channels...

Microsoft cries foul over Google Outlookware

Mark Fenton
Gates Horns

Search on Outlook 2007...

..is hidden. The "advanced find" context menu option is no longer there. You can still use it though by press ctrl-shift-F. Why MS have hidden it I don't know.

I know this because I disabled Desktop Search on my vista installation (I have never had any problems finding my documents -so I don't need another service slowing my machine down) and then the search options went awol in Outlook 2007.

I've since gone back to Outlook 2003 because it is way faster...but that is another story.

Pirate Party wins seat in European Parliament

Mark Fenton

BNP not far right...

..their agenda is actually far left, but with added racism.

They want centralised / nationalised pretty much everything - which makes them far left. It is just their racism that folks equate with the right...

Plod called in on MPs' expenses leak

Mark Fenton

Oh good.

So...something embarrising happens and the police are called in? The police force is becoming increasingly politicised (sp?)...how long before the country ends up like that in the Gred Mandell novels.....

The A-Team flies into Hollywood

Mark Fenton

Pitying the fool....

If Mr T isn't involved I personally shall be taking up my pitchfork and flaming torch and getting the mob roused...

Brown backs down on expenses secrecy

Mark Fenton
Black Helicopters


ZaNuLabour more like...

UK scientists hit by lack of brains

Mark Fenton
Black Helicopters

Real request for help - or a cover up of a zombie outbreak?

I'm sharpening my axe, that's all I'm saying.