* Posts by StephenD

74 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Jul 2010


0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'


The UK font has them identical when close up, not just at a distance.


Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

Correction - it's possible to know which are letters and which are numbers. Not everyone does, and why should they be expected to?

I've seen plenty of UK number plates like OOO7 ABC - the first two are O's, the third is a zero. I know this because I happen to understand the format, but it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to do so, and to base parking enforcement fines on this, particularly when the UK number plate font has identical characters for O and zero, and for I and one.

Fitness freaks flummoxed as massive global Garmin outage leaves them high and dry for hours


Re: But I NEED to know how 'old' I am

Agreed. I rely on Garmin telling me I'm as fit as a 20-year-old (I'm 46) to balance out Strava telling me after every run that my training is "unproductive". A minimum of one of them is telling porkies.

Openreach asks UK what it thinks about 10 million 'full fibre' connections



You don't need to be a cynic to suggest that.

London City airport swaps control tower for digital cameras



Superficially: https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-12807380-stock-footage-london-united-kingdom-september-airplane-landing-at-city-airport-in-london-with.html?src=rel/12752318:3/gg

But the angle is misleading and the planes really pass a long way to the north of the tall buildings.

It's paydaygeddon! NatWest account transfers 'disappearing' (not really)


Re: How slow is slow?

Or as it helpfully says when I transfer money "The money should arrive in the destination account in less than two hours, though it can take longer." Very informative.

But I agree, my experience is of almost instant transfers - how quickly we've got used to that, when it used to take days.

Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads


Re: The timing of this 'release'


Ordinary punters will get squat from smart meters, reckons report


Possibly. If the market is functioning perfectly. Which few do.

If you haven't changed your Dropbox password for 4 years, do so now


Re: Sounds fishy to me

But, cumulatively, my banks require me to have:

telephone password

Internet password

Internet userid

father's middle name

favourite subject at school

favourite holiday destination

secure key password

memorable address

memorable date

street grew up on

sports personality

favourite actor

Verified by Visa password

personal greeting

memorable word

memorable information

online PIN

mother's birthday

city born in

first boss's first name


first pet

spouse born

make of first car

memorable place

memorable date

memorable name

telephone banking passnumber

Internet banking passnumber

rewards password

mobile app passcode

memorable singer

secret question

starting salary

memorable image

place of birth

first school

secondary school

security number

most memorable teacher

first car

Some of these could be subject to your rules, but in practice the only way to deal with them is unique answers, fictitious where appropriate, stored securely (preferably offline).

O2 sales dip 9% as tight-fisted Brits cling to their old handsets


Re: Well

Contracts longer than 2 years are banned by Ofcom, implementing the EU Electronic Communications Framework. (Of course, rules might change.)

Pollster who called the EU referendum right: No late Leave swing after all


Re: Do-over poll

Poll for Daily Mail, reported in Metro, was that 7% of Leave voters had changed their mind, as had 4% of Remain voters, which if translated into a vote at that time would have resulted in a Leave vote with the margin below 1 million votes.


What Brexit means for you as a motorist


Re: Trucks

But, if I've understood correctly, all the new ones are required to be fitted with a 56mph speed-limiter.


Re: So essentially

Anyone who thought good would come five days after the vote had seriously not understood things. On the optimistic scenarios, then maybe in five or ten years. Possibly. Perhaps.

Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition


Did the genuine signatories actually read it?

It calls for a majority of 60% for either Leave or Remain, and a turnout of 75%. Failing any of those would result in another referendum.

Quite apart from the ridiculous idea that the rules should be amended after the event (even if a 60% threshold for major constitutional change might have been justifiable beforehand), then what the change would bring would be a neverending series of referendums, probably each with a result between 60:40 and 40:60, and certainly each with a turnout lower than the previous one.

Botnet-powered ballot stuffing suspected in 2nd referendum petition


Did the genuine signatories actually read it?

It calls for a majority of 60% for either Leave *or* Remain, and a turnout of 75%. Failing any of those would result in another referendum.

Quite apart from the ridiculous idea that the rules should be amended after the event (even if a 60% threshold for major constitutional change might have been justifiable beforehand), then what the change would bring would be a neverending series of referendums, probably each with a result between 60:40 and 40:60, and certainly each with a turnout lower than the previous one.

Exercise apps track you after you stop exercising


Re: Why does the phone permit this?

"All Android permissions should by default *not* be granted when the app isn't running in the foreground...."

I don't disagree, particularly for the camera and microphone cases you cite (though even there a user on a video call may quite reasonably want to check information in another app while on a call) but in practice Runkeeper et al. will be running in the background in a significant proportion of cases, and with the screen switched off almost universally.

The problem is whether the app tracks the user when not actively (by user action) monitoring an activity (after the user has pressed "stop" or whatever), and what is done with that information. I don't think either can easily be dealt with by Android permissions.

EU set to bin €500 note


Re: Re:It's time to start hoarding gold while you still can

Indeed. Gold has its own food additive E-number (as a colourant): E175.

The paperless office? Don’t talk sheet


And that means that on the rare occasions I do choose to print such an email, it now takes up an additional piece of paper because of the footnote telling me not to waste paper.

Open APIs for UK banking: It's happening, people


Does your bank offer the midata download? That's a .CSV of the last 12 months' transactions, intended to facilitate account comparison by uploading the resultant file to comparison websites (e.g. gocompare.com), but obviously available for other purposes.

When it was launched in March, Barclays, HSBC (including First Direct), Lloyds, RBS (including NatWest) and Santander offered it. Possibly others have followed suit.

Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack


Re: 'precision docking of oil tankers, as well as navigation'

But the metre is based on being one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole of an utterly insignificant little blue green planet orbitting a small unregarded yellow sun, far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy. Not much better, really.

Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'


Re: We make our own prisons

Because the Swedish government has no power to offer such a guarantee to Ecuador or anyone else. An extradition request (should one be forthcoming, and should JA reach Sweden) would be dealt with by the independent legal system on its merits - the law (rightly) makes no provision for the Executive to meddle in individual cases.

Three: We won't hike prices if you say yes to £10.5bn O2 merger


Meaningless promise

Putting aside the poorly timed decision (from a PR point of view) to turf people off old contracts, the costs of mobile comms have consistently fallen, and it would be reasonable to expect them to continue to fall (notably cost per GB of data - it's not that long since prices were quoted per MB). To promise that the prices won't rise is therefore an easy promise to make, and pretty meaningless.

With three rather than four main players, there will tend to be less competition and prices will be higher than they would otherwise have been, even while they continue their downward trend.

NetNames confirms easily.co.uk whacked by cyber crims


Re: "Told punters yesterday", did they?

My communication arrived 1205 on Thursday.

Apple and Google are KILLING KIDS with encryption, whine lawyers


Re: Tough titty, this is the price we have to pay

The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 contains many provisions not related to terrorism, including the ones used in connection with Iceland.

If Brown had acted under the similar powers when they were in the Emergency Laws (Re-enactments and Repeals) Act 1964 then perhaps Iceland (which was reneging on its agreed responsibilities for its banks) wouldn't have had such a PR coup.

West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless


Re: Bad luck Estonia

Have you looked at a map or a globe recently? Estonia is between about 22° and 28° East. Indeed, in sunny Suffolk in the UK I'm also in the eastern hemisphere, along with the large majority of Europe.

The Register's resident space boffin: All you need to know about the Pluto mission


P4 and P5

Surely named a little while ago (2 July 2013, to be precise) as Kerberos and Styx - image and caption both therefore out of date.

Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key


Re: Why not just use the Windows key?

Personally I find the Windows key useful for a variety of shortcuts: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/keyboard-shortcuts#keyboard-shortcuts=windows-7

But I doubt anyone who will use Cortana is using any of those shortcuts (and vice versa) so your suggestion is sound.

The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet


Release date

Originally scheduled for November (Thanksgiving in the US) but a variety of reports suggest it will now be 2 October instead (e.g. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/fox-moves-ridley-scotts-martian-801733).

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?


Re: @Paul 25 - Tons of inflation

The Mars bar I have in hand, bought yesterday, weighs 51g and has 230 calories. Very tasty it will be too.

Yes, there are smaller ones around - in part driven by the Poundland phenomenon.

The time on Microsoft Azure will be: Different by a second, everywhere


"The world is divided into 24 time zones"

No, I count 40 of them. One might expect more than 24 if some are separated by less than an hour.

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly


Re: Registration bias

Yes, it means exactly that - students had to register themselves this time, but didn't previously (at least not in the early 90s at any rate).

When I was at uni, I was on the electoral roll at home and at university, through no action of my own (the 'home' registration because my father completed the household information; the 'university' registration because the university/college did; in neither case was it discussed with me in advance).

I never voted twice, but presumably could have with pretty minimal chances of being caught, and it seems likely that some students did exactly that.

Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama


Re: Get it right!

Concise Oxford Dictionary:

"2. to deny (a statement or accusation)".

The COD goes on to point out that "traditionalists object to the second use, but it is now widely accepted in standard English".

UK banks ill-prepared for return of the rabid POODLE


Updating not their thing

This is the same RBS who helpfully tell us:

"We've thoroughly tested the One account website to make sure you can view it with the following browsers:

Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 for PCs and 5.0 for Macs

Netscape Navigator Version 7 for PCs and Macs."

They then go on to provide a (broken) link to download the latest version of Netscape Navigator for those who haven't yet reached v7.

Very helpful. You also need a 28.8k modem to access online banking, apparently.

The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback


Re: or just buy an efficient diesel?

From the article:

"The official NEDC consumption figure for the A3 is 176.6mpg but as with all plug-in hybrids that figure depends entirely on how much driving you do using just the electrical charge harvested from the mains. Charge the thing every day and never drive more than 30 miles between charges and you’ll never use a drop of unleaded."

The figures quoted were for a car "being driven with gusto along hilly, switchback A and B roads in the wilds of Northumberland", in two of the cases not in a mode intended to promote economy.

Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then


Re: Which services are they actually talking about?

Remarkably, I get Gmail at number 19 when searching for 'free webmail'.

France kicks UK into third place for public Wi-Fi hotspots


Re: Who cares?

Agreed: by the time you've eliminated those which require the elaborate sign-up dance, and the elaborate login dance, and the give-us-your-money dance, and those which are broken because the host doesn't know how to maintain the system, and those where the connection is so slow as to be useless, and those which require me to receive a verification text message on my data-only tablet, and those that are time-limited, what's left is far more often a hindrance than a help.

Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are out of luck


Re: A year?

In the temperate southern hemisphere, spring 2015 is about a year from now.

Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one FUGLY space rock


"More or less nothing"?

If you've heard nothing, maybe it's because you haven't been listening in the right places.

Try http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/ or http://rosetta.esa.int/ or https://www.facebook.com/RosettaMission or https://twitter.com/ESA_Rosetta, plus various tech/astronomy websites, etc. etc.

Even the Mail Online, once past the populist dross, gives reasonable coverage: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2721752/The-face-Rosettas-comet-Eerily-human-features-spotted-67P-icy-rock-hurtles-deep-space.html

Ofcom: UK beats the US... in race to buy online tat


Re: Que?

The weird thing is my brain substituted 'month' for 'week' automatically, and I couldn't understand the original problem until I read AC's reply.

Shopping list for Tesco: Eggs, milk, bread, tablets (the £60 7in Android kind)


But not on Sundays, so they have a Monday opening time (6am round here).

Londoners in mass test of telly tech savvy as 4G filters mailed out


I read it to mean that 63% of primary TVs (living room) are watching via satellite (whether that be Sky or Freesat) or cable. Seems high to me, but it at least makes sense in principle. Most secondary TVs (bedrooms, kitchens, etc.) are then still using Freeview, which is where the wording of the article perhaps becomes loose.

The supercomputers LIED: UK rainfall is rising, but won't drown our phones


Re: Not wanting to pour cold water on a good rant....

Not quite.

The data shows the increase (or decrease) in extreme rainfall events. Ofcom couldn't care less about how often it rains or the total rainfall, but extremely heavy rain is what it is apparently interested in.

The data show that the heaviest rainfall rates (the 0.01% of top rainfall rates) have generally got heavier, and therefore more likely to interfere with communications (among other problems).

Belgian boffins find colossal meteorite


Re: Why...

If a bit of rock is found on the surface of the ice in Antarctica (or at any rate in an intelligently chosen subset of such locations), it is a meteorite, pretty much guaranteed. And rocks show on ice very well. And not many people about. And in places the ability to survey large areas with relative ease.

Taken together, they make it an ideal hunting ground. Compare temperate zones where there are rocks everywhere, lots of forest and private land, etc.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Thumb Down

Still no buttons

Still no page-turning buttons on these new Kindles. Why? Sure, the touch-screen interface is great for navigation, etc., but I spend very little time navigating, and most of the time reading. The page-turn buttons on my Kindle Keyboard get pressed thousands of times a week. Surely the cost of including real page-turn buttons in addition to the touchscreen would be tiny. The focus should be on making the reading experience perfect. That "horribly intrusive" flash to refresh the screen bothers me not one jot - but having to stick my thumb in front of the text every page seems a lot more intrusive and is definitely a retrograde step.

Amazon quietly un-wipes remotely wiped Kindle


Re: Restored?

...but Norway is in the Single Market (except for agriculture and fisheries).

OLYMPIC SECRETS to stay locked up for 15 YEARS


Re: 50km if they were printed out...

The 0.73 might raise a few eyebrows.

BT gets postcode knickers in twist, plants Shoreditch on Mount Everest


To be fair...

...the site does say to "Enter your full postcode". It should deal more elegantly with those who fail to follow instructions and enter "N1" and the like, but garbage in, garbage out, and all that.

What a surprise - the 13 exchanges around me are all described as "Not currently in rollout plans".

Spy under your car bonnet 'worth billions by 2016'


Clearly not for me

I thought I'd look for interest at the quotes being offered for me.

One refused to quote because I'm too old (at 38)

One refused to quote because I do too many miles per year (25,000)

One refused to quote because I use the car to drive to business meetings.

One refused to quote because parking sensors have been fitted to the car.

Not quite ready for the mainstream yet?

Shock sales surge sends Amazon shares soaring


Re: How is it a shock sales surge...

I don't think there is any requirement for a shock to be nasty, just surprising, though they often go together.

Chambers: 1 a strong emotional disturbance, especially a feeling of extreme surprise, outrage or disgust.

Concise OED: 1. a sudden upsetting or surprising event or experience

Amazon Kindle Touch touches down early


Touch easier?

Agree with all of that, but actually I spent 95% of the time on my Kindle reading books (who'd have guessed it?) and much prefer the handily placed buttons for page advance than moving a finger over the screen and back every page. Each to their own, but retaining the page advance buttons on the touch versions would have seemed to have kept the best of both worlds.