* Posts by Les

62 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2006


Website liable for Google-generated page summary


Proves my theory...

That the entire legal profession is populated by bat-guano-sanity-challenged twits....

Ingram sore over Belgian warehouse burglary


Why would you talk to their lawyers at all?

Surely the correct procedure if you suspect someone's trying to sell you stolen property is to report it to the police?

And I've now added them to my mental list of companies not to do business with. Ever.

Lost laptops cost companies $50k apiece

Thumb Down

Averages make good headlines...

Good for amusement purposes that is. Or good as in provoking a "who makes up these numbers?" reaction.

The fact that some companies may value their (potentially) lost or exposed data at several squillion arbitrary currency units will skew the average well above a level that's meaningful for *most* of the participants in the study.

And if it's anything like the surveys I fail to avoid, people will just have made up numbers to make the pollster[1] go away....

[1] I love the ones where they read a list of options at you without showing any underastanding of what any of the words mean...

Sky calls for access to cable network


Why don't they do something useful instead?

Why don't they offer to lay cable in places where there isn't any already?

Mormons demand ICANN plugs net smut hole


OK, my turn

I want all religion banned from the web. Make them use port 666 for it if we can't have it removed. Oh, and I'm not keen on sport, either, so let's get rid of that, too.

Come on, let's make a definitive list and ban everything that anyone doesn't like. Won't be much left after that, of course, but at least someone will have thought of the children.

Sarcasm? Moi? Never!

*Lie mode off*

How to backup and restore your netbook


Bootable USB is the way to go....

PING works nicely from a partitioned USB stick. You have the PING bootimage on a small partition (the ISO being transferred using UNetbootin). It will then happily save your backups on the remainder of the stick.

The advantage of this approach is that you can restore from a single device. And you can always copy your backups to other media for backup/storage...

Nude Apple iMac pics leaked to web

Jobs Halo


While the standard keyboard on the new iMacs is indeed the one without the numberpad, the normal Apple keyboard is available as an option from the Apple Store. And quite remarkably for Apple, they won't charge you extra for the extra keys.

Debt collection can be harassment, rules court


In the good old days....

...British Gas (or whatever they were called then) were just brutally mocked on "That's Life" for this kind of thing, without all that annoying legal stuff.

"But I've got no gas...."

Earthworm blamed for laptop crash


Latest phase in the feline war against computers

They've moved on from keyboard sitting to more serious forms of sabotage...

Ryanair trades blows with 'idiot blogger'


If you would be more intelligent you would be more in English writing

Fascinating that the Ryanair spokesdroid should use the word "idiot" for the person who has the stronger grasp of the English language in that deligtful discourse.

Chicago Bears fan hit for thirty grand for a bit of Slingbox


@AC - That's not the question....

I think the $220 was his typical bill amount, not the amount he'd expect to spend watching a game...

Windows 7 'upgrade' doesn't mark XP spot


Much the best way

In-place upgrades are best avoided when moving to a new version of Windows. A clean install will generally result in a more stable system, and it's an ideal opportunity to get rid of the 3,187[1] applications you installed, used once then forgot about. And are you suggesting that people shouldn't be routinely backing up their data anyway?

Mine's the one with the "ODFO" sign on the back, apparently...

[1] Approximately

Apple iPhoto gets in your face


Conversions? Who mentioned conversions?

What the office here has to do is look up the actual UK retail price. No maths required, and no dependency on fluctuating exchange rates, which would indeed be pointless. Especially as UK prices bear little relation to US ones in many cases.

Dead Vulture

@Sarah Bee

Having looked at the Playmobil article, I'd have to say the ODFO should be directed at the editorial policy of not being arsed to translate articles from your US office. It wouldn't be all that difficult to insert UK prices in brackets, would it?


UK translation required...

Tell me, is el Reg still a UK-based site? Is that .co.uk an illusion? Have you been secretly taken over by people from over the pond?

Or is there some less sinister reason for running a product review which mentions US pricing in those "dollar" things rather than the "pound" things Apple accept here? Whether the software is "worth $79" is not a relevant question to most UK readers, who will have to consider if it's worth £69.

Deducting VAT at 15% (important to do that, as US prices exclude sales taxes, and we need to make a fair comparison) takes it to £60, which at the current exchange rate seems to be about £86. Though this is subject to fluctuation. And once Apple realise they're not overcharging us by their usual margin, it'll probably go up....

Birmingham drops the possessive apostrophe


Surely not

@Paul Murphy

King's <--- Belonging to one King, or indeed a contraction of "King is", as in "the King's here". Which is meant can generally be deduced from the context.

Kings' <--- Belonging to more than one King

Microsoft IE8 rolls out the astroturf


OK, I'll bite...

Astroturfing? Is this some well-known idiom I was previously unaware of, or just random word selection?

Maybe a "Huh? What?" icon would be useful

Acer to phase out 8.9in Aspire One netbook?


Should I buy a couple of spares?

I like my little SSD AA1. I had a lot of fun playing with a few Linux distros before settling on Ubuntu NBR. The price at the time I bought was at a comfortable level for what was going to be mostly a toy - though it is great to take on short trips.

Something bigger (and presumably heavier and more expensive) wouldn't have done the trick at all. Maybe a bigger SSD and more RAM, but i don't need a full-size HDD, I don't need a bigger screen and I get quite enough of Windows at work, thanks...

But I suspect I'm in the geeky minority, and the mass market will want Windows. Mutter.

How the Google stole Christmas


Hold on, you're saying people *click* on ads?

If I'm using something that doesn't actually block them, I mentally blank them out anyway...

Late bets on new Who hit Paddy Power's pocket

Thumb Up

@Liam - he just looks young...

The Doctor has looked quite young before, but you'd have been very young at the time. And as a Time Lord, he can look as young as he likes. Some of us have got quite used to him being younger than we are, without ill effect...

Tesla takes Top Gear test to task


Silly Tesla People

Surely they aren't mistaking a popular comedy show for a serious motoring review thingy?[1] Makes about as much sense as complaining that "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" only has about two music questions per series these days....

[1] If it was a serious motoring review thingy, I wouldn't have the slightest interest in watching it...

Man trademarks ;-) emoticon


Prior art, or something...

As Despair, Inc have already (allegedly) trademarked the :-( emoticon, and could claim that others are similar, I don't think this will stand..


Of course, it was *funny* when they did it...

Brit ISPs censor Wikipedia over 'child porn' album cover



As the album cover can be seen on other sites, arbitrarily blocking Wikipedia makes remarkably little sense.

Having seen it on the "Museum of bad album covers"[1], I'd describe it as in poor taste, but not actually pornographic...

[1] Link not provided to avoid anyone thinking the Reg is a pr0n site[2], but it's the first hit if you use a well-known search engine on that phrase

[2] As the loonies have not only taken over the asylum but sold it off to the lowest bidder and generally trashed it, anything seems possible....

BOFH: The paperless cafeteria

Thumb Up


Sapphire and Steel references and some good quality evil-doing. Good stuff.

My PFY tells me I must be old because Sapphire and Steel comes from before he was born. Mutter.

Home Office guides plods on photography


El Reg got it right

"Our Jacqui hasn’t completely taken leave of her senses" is quite true in the sense that she was never actually in possession of any....

Mine's the one with the DSLR round the neck and a compact in the pocket

Bryan Adams pulls a Prince on fan sites


So he's changed sides?

Or was he really working with the Sheriff of Nottingham all through those 17 hideous weeks? I suppose it could have been a Baldrick-worthy Cunning Plan to make the general population hate Robin Hood. Certainly put me off....

NASA's greatest clanger

Thumb Up

Good URL, too

Nicely done.

Brits happy to hand over password details for £5 gift voucher


78.3% of statistics are made up on the spot

So you're saying that 40% of those surveyed are too dim to make up a fake password for a £5 voucher? These alleged surveys keep coming up and the same claims are made, without anyone (from the people doing the survey to the journalists who uncritically reproduce the results) apparently considering that 56.98% of people[1] will tell porkies to get free stuff.

Offer me money/vouchers/chocolate/booze and I'll happily give you lots of passwords. I can't promise that any of them will get you anywhere, but they will be passwords...

Of course, it's quite possible that 78.21%[2] of those handing over passwords were completely silly, and gave real ones, but there's no real way of telling, is there?

[1] I'm sure that figure is right. Somebody did a survey....

[2] There was a survey about that, too. Probably

Sony PRS-505 Reader e-book

Thumb Up

Nice kit

When this was first announced, I was interested. My interest waned a bit when I saw the currently excessive prices Waterstone's are asking for DRM eBooks.

My interest waxed again when I found more sources of reading material at more friendly prices (free is a nicely friendly price).

Then I played with one in my local Waterstone's. Well, it took me a few seconds to realise I *could* play. At first glance, I though the crisp, clear display was a mock-up. A quick fiddle convinced me that the UI is just about right.

If you haven't actually seen an eInk display, you need to have a look at one before dismissing it. It's nothing like an LCD...

So yeah, I bought one.

And Lee - there's no backlight, but there is an optional light accessory thingy.

BOFH: Burying the hatchet


@John Shaw-Miller

I think you'll find your "Amrerican" dictionary is behind the sofa.

I haven't quite decided if Jim the Boss is a demented AI or an amusing troll. Either way, I've seen worse typing from actual bosses....

Russell T Davies bows out of Doctor Who

Dead Vulture

@Tim Brown

Human Nature/The Family of Blood was written by Paul Cornell, not Steven Moffat.


There are some very silly people around

And it appears the Reg employs a few of them.

RTD did a spectacular job in bringing back Doctor Who. Unlike that tiny minority of very loud fans who like to whine[1], he knew that for the series to succeed, it had to be *popular television*, not just designed to appeal to hardcore fans.

The problem with those loud fans[2] is that they make a level of noise completely out of proportion to their numbers, which leads to journalists thinking that they represent a significant proportion of the population, which they don't.

A lot of these people (for an arbitrarily "12" value of "a lot") spent the time between the 1989 cancellation and the 2005 return reading a pile of Doctor Who books which took more adult and mature routes than the TV show ever did (or could, given its intended audience). So when the show came back and dared to be, well, *fun*, some of them got upset and whiny. And unlike the 80s, when whiners were confined to fanzines that nobody read, now they have the internet, and they get to expose many more people to their nonsense.

Steven Moffat is the best possible choice for a successor to RTD, but without RTD's work to date there wouldn't be a job for Steven to take.

And I give it half a series before the whiners start complaining about Steven Moffat.

[1] In the 1980s, John Nathan-Turner was the target of the same kind of tedious whining

[2] I had a computer with one of those once, it was very annoying

Gordon Brown claims a Brit invented the iPod


Sounds painful

"Companies will come and locate in Briton"

I just hope I'm not the Briton involved.

Go on, publish the comment and leave the typo!!

EMC's Mozy storage service is going global

Thumb Up

Seems to scale well...

I did pay for the unlimited service. So far, they've got around 90GB of my data, and it's working nicely. I've done a few test restores, and they worked.

The Mac client is finally out of beta (though the beta worked for me without any issues).

Regulator slams MoS premium rate promo



@AC - Surely the cover price of the Mail on Sunday *is* a fine for stupidity?

(New) dirt-cheap bots attack Hotmail Captchas

Dead Vulture

The only surprise...

...is that anyone is surprised.

CAPTCHAs are, not to put too fine a point on it, rubbish. They are a damn silly idea enthusiastically embraced by people who are either very naive or who like to make a show of "doing something" about spam.

Any CAPTCHA will, sooner or later, be cracked by some kind of bot, or by hordes of actual humans. And if you make them really hard for bots, you find more real people can't read the damn things. I have good eyesight with glasses, I use a nice big, clear screen and I keep running into CAPTCHAs that are hard to impossible to read.

As most spam seems to come from compromised PCs running their own little SMTP servers, applying CAPTCHAs to Hotmail and other such services isn't really going to make much difference, is it?

And "TranceMist" - how do you propose collecting that fee from a bot-infested PC? And who gets the money?

Your business communications are a mess


Solving the wrong problem

People need to develop a rare quality known as "patience". Rather than ringing every phone number you have for someone, try ringing one of them and leaving a message. Preferably a short but coherent one (I need help with 'x', or I need to talk to you about 'y'). Or send an email.

The problem in business today is that many people think that because we have near-instantaneous means of communication, they are entitled to near-instantaneous answers, which is both arrogant and silly.

Before everyone and his dog, cat and budgie had email, business communication worked like this:

1) Client writes to person asking for action on sometihng

2) Person gets letter a day or two later

3) Person has a day or so to think about it, then writes back

4) Client gets response

5) Everyone is happy

Now, it's more like this:

1) Client sends illiterate email to person.[1]

2) Person is working, out of the office, in meetings

3) 15 minutes later, client phones person demanding to know why he hasn't had an answer to email

4) Everyone is miserable

Unified communications are just another way of making more people miserable. Constant interruptions and demands for instant responses throw away any notion of time management, or indeed getting work done.

[1] When people had secretaries to type for them and translate their grunts into English, nobody was exposed to the horrors of highly paid executives who apparently can't spell, use punctuation or indeed string a sentence together.[2]

[2] And by the Laws of the Internet, now I've said that, there will be an amusing typo somewhere in this comment

Analysts call for secure Facebook access for workers


Gartner: says it all...

A long time ago, in a mailing list far away, we developed a theory about Gartner reports - simply put, any Gartner report will fall into one of two categories:

1) A statement of the mind-bogglingly obvious

2) A statement of the mind-bogglingly ludicrous

This would appear to be one of the latter. Some time ago, we (not the same "we" as the mailing list) noticed that web usage had increased during working hours, and that an overwhelming majority of that use was on one site: Facebook.

The management decison was to block access during working hours. Anyone sad enough to be around before 8:30 or after 5:30 is welcome to do whatever people do on Facebook. (Don't ask me, I looked at it for all of five minutes before deciding that it was of no interest to me at all...).

Facebook is just the current trend, which no doubt will go the same way as Fiends Reuntied (or whatever it was) and whatever was popular before that. Suggesting that it's of business value is, well, silly. Pretty much normal for the Gartner Grope, really...

Ten years old: the world's first MP3 player

Jobs Halo

Thomson Lyra

Another early player - used CF cards for content (I seem to recall a *huge* 32MB card). The fun bit was the parallel port card reader, which worked just fine under NT4, but didn't like Windows 2000 at first, which dates it to around 1999 or thereabouts.

It had a big enough display to tell you what was playing, wasn't all that big for the time, and worked moderately well.

I think I've still got it somewhere....

Murdoch could save Yahoo! from Microsoft!


Frying pan, fire, etc

Cool! Saved from the Evil Empire by the Really Evil Empire!

English language succumbs to Symbiotic Ephemeralization



My Buzzword Bingo card spontaneously combusted and burnt my desk. I'd sue somebody or other if I could be bothered.

The art of software murder

Gates Horns

All so true...

I used to love PSP. Used to recommend it. Bought numerous copies at work for people who needed image editing. Great software at a good price. Now it has delusions of being Photoshop, takes longer than Adobe Reader to load and has too much stuff in it. Meanwhile, Adobe got sneaky, turned Photoshop Elements into something useful and cheap, and that's what I now recommend for people who don't really need actual Photoshop.

Oh, and .docx files? You'd bee surprised. I see several helldesk requests most weeks from people unable to open a file someone has sent them. We'll be giving everyone the converter...

Canadian runs up $85,000 mobe bill


The best bit..

..was a quote the weaselcorp, sorry, telco's spokesdroid gave to the Canadian media (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/12/12/cell-phone.html)

"Bell cannot monitor the activities of every one of its customers"

Really? Must make it a bit tricky to send them bills every month.

Microsoft squeezes out early release of 2007 Office SP1


Google Whats?

The main barrier for corporates adopting Office 2007 is that Office 2003 works, and doesn't require extensive and expensive[1] retraining of users. Well, that's the ones who get it "free" thanks to licensing arrangements. For others, it's a matter of cost - if there is no perceived benefit in an upgrade, why would a company pay for it?

Google Apps (or whatever) is a red wossname, fishy thing, kipper, err, herring - that's the one. Just like Vista's real competition is Win XP, Office 2007's is Office 2003 (or earlier in a lot of cases).

Penguin icon because penguins are cute, not for any Linuxy reasons.

[1] Average users who know where to find the features they use in Office tend to be a wee bit confused when faced with a completely different interface...

Racist Reg hacks slammed for 'vitriolic hatred'



I'm Welsh, albeit resident in England for an arbitrary time period. I laughed.

Trade unions demand right to Facebook


I can read, actually...

If we're talking about "break times", that's actually a little difficult to enforce. It is possible with various web filtering products to set time limits and quotas for particular sites, but a little more difficult to detect when any given user is on an actual break. Looking at our web statistics, facebook is now the most visited site - significantly more than the business-related site that *used* to be on top.

We're considering much the same plan that Andy S mentions - it seems like a viable solution...


Oh dear....

Now normally, I'm all for the rights of the workers over the evil capitalist overlords, but this is just silly. Of course employees have a right to a life outside work, they just need to work on having that life outside of work rather than playing on facebook[1] all day.

[1] Obviously, techies playing on El Reg all day is *quite different*.[2]

[2] And just in case of anyone who enjoys missing points, please add your own virtual "joke alert" graphic to this comment.

Virgin Media boss in shock exit



That's on Paramount Comedy 2, 7pm weeknights.

El Reg protests North Korean internet domain



I hate to break it to David Goldstein, but I suspect the article may have been slightly tongue in cheek. You're not American, by any chance, are you David?

Time to bring back the flashing "Joke Alert" button....

Tories aim to ditch data protection laws


This confirms my theory

The Conservative Party appears to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Labour plc. "Conservative" MPs are actually agents paid to come up with increasingly bonkers "ideas" which will ensure that under no circumstances will there be a change in government.

Either that, or they've *really* lost what little plot they had...