* Posts by Alex

109 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jun 2007


Thailand bans GTA after video game style murder



"Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner."

Yeah! Tomorrow it could be a person that someone actually gives a shit about!

...That's probably what he was saying, right?

*Obligatory unfunny joke about him only being homicidal because he bought GTA IV on PS3 instead of 360.*

Congress accuses American Phorm of 'beating consumers'

IT Angle

@"If I don't want Google to see my data, I don't use Google" arguments

How does Google Analytics fit into this? How many websites using it clearly tell you they pass data to Google's servers? How do you know how anonymous the data being sent them is or what that data even consists of?

Sure, it's more easily circumventable than Phorm/Nebuad but still...

(Corrections welcome where I'm mistaken. However, corrections sourced from the Wikipedia article will be ignored - check it out, it's pretty much an ad for GA)

EU tells UK to deal with Phorm - or else


@What a load of rubbish

"BT just have to sit there ignoring everybody until the noise made by the really vocal minority becomes less than the background noise. Then they'll get on with implementing it."

Apparently, they think they've waited long enough.


Sony names date for Euro 80GB PS3



"Available content - in the US only, alas - includes about 1200 TV shows and roughly 300 movies."


That didn't even imply that video downloads would eventually be available in Europe.

So, you're saying that The Register chose not to report the brilliant news that Sony IS going to add this feature for Europe, just not this year??

I call anti-PS3 bias.

Sony PS3 movie downloads are go



I'm not sure 'The Reg' do give a fuck about playing favourites to any particular console. Although, if it would enrage people who live and die over their choice of console, which might hypothetically be an Xbox 360, I'm all for that.

MS DNS patch snuffs net connection for ZoneAlarm users


This problem stole 2.5 hours of my life

A temporary solution for anyone suffering from the same problem who doesn't want to uninstall the patch or switch off/uninstall Zonealarm:

Open ZA>>Firewall>>Main>>Internet Zone Security>>Slider bar is on high? Move it to medium.

So, you can get semi-protection with the patch in the interim. This was tried and tested on two XP PCs and an XP laptop.

Hope someone finds that helpful.


Europe drafts law to disconnect suspected filesharers

IT Angle


"The Industry Committee and Internal Market Committees will vote on the telecom package on Monday. The plenary discussion and vote for the whole package will take place in September."

So, now this has presumably been voted on, does anyone know the result?

Court slaps UK BitTorrenters with landmark damages award



Unsurprisingly, the court found in favour of the plaintiff in the absence of the defendants. The injustice was that they were almost certainly innocent of illegally downloading Dream Pinball 3D. Reasoning being as follows:

It's Dream Pinball 3D, ffs.

Bloke finds illegal immigrants living in loft


mark my wurds!!

they wil b campin in you're socks draw before chrismas!!! o wait i forgot its winterval now cause of pc gone mad!!!!! why wont Bordom Clown get the mesage and ban imiggrants?!?? cos hed hav too go bak to i bet.


BBC deploys the Tw*t-O-Tron


Oh my...

This might actually be the best thing that has happened anywhere, ever. I'm sure I'm starting off a chorus of "I'm Spartacus" but I THINK that one is actually mine. It certainly sounds very, very like the output of the Tw*t-O-Tron that I submitted to HYS around that time...

Comment "recommended by 178 people". Hm.

9/11 an inside job, says Irish pop folkster


@AC 14.15

Haha, that was brilliant! I don't see a playmobil article on El Reg this Friday, are you the comic relief that will help bridge the gap between now and pub o'clock?


@AC 11:05

Spot on! The maths claimed by the authorities is clearly bogus (in hex or otherwise). Now, excuse me, I've lined up a dozen dominos and I need to knock over the first one to knock over the others.

British newspaper websites liable in France for privacy invasion


Very funny

"The big thing is that for the first time the [court] considered that UK publishers are liable for their contents in France since it is viewable here and the UK is a member of the EU"

This would mean that online content providers in every EU country should ensure that their content is legal according to every other EU country.

Best of luck with that. I think that's as feasible as it will be for Martinez is extract a cent from MGN.

Ofcom pulls plug on wholesale broadband regulation



I'm fairly ignorant here but if "a spokeswoman for BT welcomed the changes" then I feel like I'm about to get hit by a train...

Google trials Street View face-blurring tech


That's rubbish!

If that photo is representative of the extent of GBlur then they might as well not bother. Distinct physiques, distinct clothing, only slightly blurred faces and the obvious point of the locations being a predictor of whether it's a given person in shot (e.g. a view happens to be near a person's workplace).

Texas graverobbers 'used skull to smoke dope'


To the cannabis supporters

Now you can't claim that cannabis is an innocent drug. Would these kids have desecrated a grave if they didn't want a bong to smoke their pot?

I think not.

Phorm in phormulaic logo phorm storm



Welcome to Friday afternoon at The Register.

GTA IV PS3 fights off resolution woes in the UK


@AC Comparing e-size

It's not the size of your e-penis, it's what you do with it. Lolololol Wii ftw etc. etc.

It's baffling, isn't it? Presumably, people are being offered an inferiority complex alongside the warranty when they buy a new console.

Your Xbox 360 is better than my PS3? That's nothing! My Zanussi dishwasher wipes the floor with your Hotpoint!

Brown opts for morality over science on 'lethal skunk'



I'm very flattered that my rephrasing has made it easier for you to understand my argument (phrasing of the second fact notwithstanding, Spleen's is right).

Supposing a majority of people consider a law unjust and pursuing 'legal avenues' will not change that law, what then?



No, Jon, that is clearly not what I'm saying. You are a troll. However, it gives me a perverse pleasure to read your comments. Out of interest, how would you go about twisting my words when I present them as these simple facts?:

A goverment can make laws which are unjust.

A citizen cannot in good conscience obey an unjust law.


@Dave - "Don't feed the trolls'

Seconded. No-one can read this:

"The government just made it illegal for you to leave your chair and/or communicate with others (I've no idea why either, it seems pointless and irrational). Of course, you will be obeying it because the law is the law."

And genuinely miss the point so badly with this:

"FFS You need cannabis to sit down and/or communicate with people?"


Hypothetical new law

Bad news, JonB. The government just made it illegal for you to leave your chair and/or communicate with others (I've no idea why either, it seems pointless and irrational).

Of course, you will be obeying it because the law is the law.

Sucks, doesn't it?

Maybe you should rethink your outlook on the link between law and morality.


@AC (at me)

You might well be right on all counts. I'd still like to know what he actually 'made clear' though. ;)

Paris Hilton


"Mr Brown has made clear that, notwithstanding the scientific evidence, there are other considerations."

Such as?

'Extreme porn' law could criminalise millions


@Pr0n a subject very close to a geek's heart

"Obviously. 168 replies, Christ Almighty, you guys must spend a lot of time typing one-handed."

169, including your comment.

170, including mine.

Ho hum.

Home Office defends 'dangerously misleading' Phorm thumbs-up


My answer (so far)

OK, so if I understand you rightly that Phorm doesn't necessarily make wiretapping any easier but rather the issue is with how it re-frames the rules for wiretapping, then I'd have to agree with Alexander.

I don't see how it follows that because authorities can monitor data passing through Phorm instead of through the ISP then they will no longer require a reason to tap.

As for the capability to modify/block traffic, I'm not so sure. Can you give me a plausible scenario where the goverment (or whoever) might interfere with traffic in this way rather than, say, simply blocking the IPs of websites they don't want people looking at?

I expect it goes without saying but just in case: I'm no kind of Phorm sympathiser, but I don't think it's productive to chase our tails over what might be unwarranted suspicion (in this case) towards The Man.

IT Angle

Question (on the silliness subject)

The government have the power under RIPA to intercept your data in certain circumstances, why is this any easier with Phorm?

Is an ISP not already technically capable of providing authorities with a 'wiretap' to your datastream?

Pirate Bay to sue music industry



Why should 'genuine artists' be the only ones rewarded? So what if someone makes music for the money - so long as it's actually good, doesn't it still deserve rewarding?

It's because the money driven artists are working for The Man, right? That's bad.

UK.gov will force paedophiles to register email addresses


@Damian Gabriel Moran

""Not saying that being gay is the same as being a paedophile, but it's the closest equivalent"

i know a few gay people that would not take kindly to that kind of thinking"

At the risk of derailing this thread (although it's El Reg and derailed by default), why would that be? Would those gay people say that, unlike paedophilia, being gay is a choice and that Oscar Wilde just wasn't imprisoned long enough to be made less gay?

BT: 'We did not let anyone down over Phorm... it was not illegal'



Maybe I'm reading too much into this but I found it very interesting when Sanderson said,

"We obtained [hurried correction] SOUGHT internal and external legal advice".

A suspicious person might think that "sought internal and external legal advice" was the carefully crafted, damage-limiting line that BT did not want to deviate from. As I am that person, I suspect that they didn't even obtain advice, rubbish or not.

Brown ignores scientists and pushes pot reclassification


Reclassified to class B?

What is Gordon Brown on?

Mine's the rather fetching hemp number.

BT and Phorm secretly tracked 18,000 customers in 2006



I'm meant to accept that because websites can see some of my data if I choose to visit them, a service that sees almost all of my data even if choose not to use it is tickety boo. This, I have 'reservations' over.

However, I must say I'm impressed that Phorm is able to offer a time-travel service in offering the ability to undo previous participation. That is something that Google is sorely lacking.

Furthermore, the magic power that means data held by Phorm can never be accidentally or maliciously disclosed is in contrast to every single data-holding device ever made ever. So credit where it's due.

World+Dog tosses orb in public on Byron Review

Paris Hilton

Just wondering

Initially, I was thinking the games industry must be feeling cautious towards the possibility of a greater role for the BBFC, particularly after they banned Manhunt 2.

Thing is, if I understand the current PEGI/BBFC system correctly, the BBFC only rates a game when a developer chooses not to use PEGI, in which case, why didn't Take Two do the obvious thing and get it released with a PEGI rating in the first place?

Is there already some kind of dependance on the BBFC?

Byron review calls for computer game ratings


@Andrew Williams

Stop with the common sense please. You put a crimp in the day of the angry nutters who prefer to paint Dr Tanya Byron, MSc, PsychD, as nothing but a TV celebrity who knows less about developmental psychology than me and my mate Dave.

US Wi-Fi piggybacking won't put you in pokey



Wouldn't you say that the hypothetical grandmother would be capable of handling a motorbike providing she had recently passed her test confirming that she has enough knowledge and skill to use it?

Similarly, if you agree that a test is necessary for a motorbike, and a PC is somehow more powerful than a motorbike, then a test is also needed before using a PC?

However, without such a test in existance, how can we reasonably expect everyone to know what their systems may be doing?

China blocks YouTube


I'm confused

Could someone explain this reasoning for me:

Democracy has failings in the countries that use it. Therefore, citizens of those countries should only criticise their own governments.


Why you should care that Jimmy Wales ignores reality


Cracked it

Cade Metz is clearly jealous of Andrew Orlowski for having his own Wikipedia article.

The "criticism of Wikipedia" section on that page makes up half the text because that's the stuff that will most interest the Wikipedia editor who wrote it (and also because he's pretty quiet when it comes to other tech issues like the ISP industry and filesharing...r-right?).

Metz is blatanly trying to game Wikipedia by criticising it enough to come up on their radar. ;-)

Seriously, I don't think I'll ever really get bored of watching the antics of Wikipedia and Jimbo. The ridiculously lofty claims about his site that he takes very seriously (publically at least) are a classic comedy set-up for all the times it fails. Still, after the glorious farce of Essjay and Gary Weissgate, it'll take a lot to actually make me think less of it.

In the meantime, I'll continue to be horrified that anyone still considers it credible when it's so obviously broken. Though it's still good for:

. Trivia that doesn't matter if it's wrong,

. A very basic starting point for finding something else,

. Massive lolz from so many discussion pages (my favourite).

Finally, here's my favourite quote from Wikipedia ever:

"The Register is a tabloid blog with a tiny audience and of virtually no importance outside a certain subculture" - Jimmy Wales


Aww, man!

My last comment got nuked before making it here? But it was excellent! Surely the best conspiracy theory ever.

Jimbo Wales dumps lover on Wikipedia



1. We actually agree on this point. You said you were an editor in some sense and so did I.

2. I think you're clutching at straws here. "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing" is exactly what encyclopedias claim to do but for a price. How can a (claimed) identical concept offered for free NOT be a replacement? Presumably, the goalposts have now shifted such that you won't be happy unless you see a quote, "Wikipedia will replace traditional encyclopedias" and even then perhaps you will say that 'traditional' is over '100 years old' rather than the relevant definition of being expert-led.

3. I don't even think you really believe this unless you have never heard of Essjay.

4. Jimmy "reviewed her bio and [he] found it not to be up to [Wikipedia's] standards" and so he forwarded it to OTRS because Rachel didn't like it. Think OTRS (whoever they really are) would have disagreed with their de facto boss and not ultimately over-ruled the original writer? Jimmy intervened. Jimmy led to the original writer being over-ruled. Incidentally, note the weasel-worded, "I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography". No further OFFICIAL action? You see, a good liar would realise that 'official' is redundant if he had really never edited it again.

5. This is a clear straw man. You're claiming that because I object to the threshold of inclusion on Wikipedia being "verifiability, not truth", I'm in favour of "BS, and not verifiability". Consider, amongst the many possibilities, "verifiability and truth" as being preferable.

Your final point is not sensible. If Wikipedia not gospel but is a hell of a lot better with than virtually everything else you've looked at (I expect you to now claim that you never meant 'better with respect to accuracy'), you have either:

. found every 'thing' you've looked at for information to not be highly accurate, in which case you have surely looked at too little to qualify your original statement.

. come to the conclusion that Wikipedia is highly accurate, in which case you're double-hatting continues.



is a fun word to say. Moving on...

"Bite the hand that feeds it, OK, but take the whole arm?"

As of today, I'm inclined to agree you, B166er! Another negative article on Wikipedia is on the front page...There's a reason it matters - misuse of donations being potentially scandalous etc. - but I'm a pretty incessant critic of Wikipedia and even I'm struggling to care. I'm sure Mr Metz will be ever-so disappointed by that.



Hi, no such assertion was made. Whilst it's obvious that we don't know everything, what I asserted was that practically none of us know enough about where an article comes from to ultimately have faith in it as a source of information.

I think it goes without saying that there is nothing like this problem with traditional encyclopedias where the element of distrust in source exists only so far as you can't tell if someone has falsified their qualifications.

I can get information from wikipedia, but I know I can hardly rely on it being true. This is a problem for something claiming to be an encyclopedia of "the sum total of human knowledge". I don't believe I have claimed anywhere that wikipedia is worthless as a starting point (which is exactly how I use it) so I'm not going to try and find a worthless article. What it is not worthy of is being thought of as the source it claims to be.

And it's not just what it claims to be, it's how it's used. How many people don't take the much harder step of verifying the information they find on wikipedia and simply accept it? The list includes journalists, lawyers and scientists, all of whom should know better.

I still stand by my point that you could have equally said "X is flawed, humanity is flawed, therefore get over the flaws of X" unless there is something implicit in what you said that I've overlooked.



1. I think it was fairly safe to say you were some kind of editor once you used the phrase "non-NPOV"

2. From Jimmy's article: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." "The sum of human knowledge" is an encyclopedia slogan. "For free" competes with "not for free", which is the price of traditional encyclopedias.

3. Take a look at my point above. There are subject matter experts on wikipedia but the fact that you can't tell who is an expert and who is an eloquent moron mean that it absolutely is not a meritocracy. A meritocracy means valuing a PhD higher than a GCSE, not valuing JoshuaJ over MkZ because JoshuaJ has 1,240 edits more to his name. And you're overlooking the point of this article. For all you or I know, the Rachel Marsden article was originally written by a Rachel Marsden expert. Then Jimmy came along and overuled that person because Rachel didn't like it.

4. NPOV depends on this not being allowed to happen. If you value it, you must condemn Jimmy for intervening. Again, the story is not that two semi-famous people slept together.

5. I actually have no axe to grind. I simply have no interest in editing a site which holds a core principle of "verifiability, not truth".

On another tack, you seem to be wearing two hats depending on what you want to praise wikipedia for. On the one hand, you're praising it for being a great source of highly accurate information and on the other you're praising it for having plenty of people who correct the ton of inaccurate information that exists.



"There are many well-formed accurate and enjoyable pieces on Wikipedia and the fact that some of you attribute these to less intelligent individuals with too much time on their hands would be probably quite insulting to those intelligent individuals that wrote them."

I'd love for you to be able to point me in the direction of an accurate wikipedia article but the fact is you can't. Not because they don't exist (they surely do) but because unless you're an expert on the subject of an article already, you can't determine an accurate article from an article held hostage by a student on holiday, no matter how well-written and well sourced it looks. Two problems:

. Determining content mostly lacks any real accountability

. Ignorance of a subject is rarely a barrier to being able to determine content

Mean that ultimately, you can't have faith in wikipedia as a source of information.

The idea that it's not perfect, but then neither is humanity seems an odd argument to me since it could be applied to absolutely everything ("drunk driving is not perfect but neither is humanity") without proving something has merit.



Logical fallacy of an appeal to an imagined majority aside, I'd like to comment on:

"It is a meritocracy"

which is untrue. It is a whoever-has-the-most-time-on-their-hands-to-edit-ocracy.

To put it another way: Professors have less time to edit the big ball o' fun than their students. There are also fewer professors than students, which compounds the problem. I'll agree that it is astonishing, even that it is a success, at least for those who make money through it. None of that adds to its value as an encyclopedia, which is what it claims to be.

And the idea that "if you can't beat them, join them" doesn't address this. To focus on the point of this article, why would anyone start editing, knowing that Mr Wikipedia can simply overide you if he so fancies?


Here's the bit that matters

He edited articles of the woman he was sleeping with in order to present her more favourably, which is a conflict of interest. The fact that he slept with a semi-famous human female doesn't matter.

One would have thought that preventing conflicts of interest would be important on a site that claims to be the sum total of all human knowledge and the 8th most popular site on the internet but the co-founder has carte blanche to determine content.

A Bad Thing, IMHO.



I refer you to the text in the top left corner of the page you are currently reading.

As for inventing "irrelevant, baseless or distorted reason[s] to have a go at the site", if you simply go to a Wikipedia article mentioned on The Register and click the 'discussion' tab, I think you'll find reason in spades.


El Reg decimates English language

Black Helicopters

Good article

Well put! Wait...do I mean "put well"? Oh, God...oh, God! They're coming for me!

Filesharers petition Downing Street on 'three strikes'


@Paul M

I think you may have missed the point.

You don't leech music and, quite rightly, don't want to subsidise people who do.

However, although you have done nothing wrong, you may in theory have something to worry about from someone using your internet connection without your knowledge or consent to download copyright material. Elsewhere, it might have been a fine, in the future it may be a disconnect.

Got it, yet? ;)

On a side note, here's a quote that I can't remember seeing on The Reg:

"Earlier this year it was reported that the government was considering a "three strikes" approach to tackling persistent offenders in the report.

But Mr Burnham denied this was the case and told the FT that the strategy had "never been in the [creative industries strategy] paper"."


It might be the rarest of events: a disingenuous politician, or it might be that we aren't actually moving towards a three-strike system with the rumbling inevitability that one might think.

Missing: 80GB PS3. Last seen: Sony's website


Equally confused

Perhaps it is the 60GB that has disappeared? If so, we'd know that was because it's been discontinued rather than any new console versions.

I'm not sure the 80GB was ever released in the US either.

Tiscali and BPI go to war over 'three strikes' payments


2 stupid points (probably):

I notice that all the pressure on ISPs is reported to be coming from the record industry rather than other media at the moment and 3-strike schemes focus on being detected in a torrent swarm (at least in the Tiscali setup). Presumably this means:

A) Movie/software p2p copyright infrigers are as safe now as they ever were

- until/unless a succesful scheme is set up after which other industries will obviously say "me too".

B) p2p copyright infringers who don't transfer via bittorrent are as safe as ever.

- until/unless ISPs start watching their own networks for unencrypted copyright material.

Meaning 3-strike schemes along these lines will lead to:

1) Music copyright infringers moving to Limewire etc and perhaps fewer people in the UK will leave their music folders being shared. BPI can only realistically catch (potential) uploaders, not downloaders on Limewire. To 'catch' a downloader, they would have to offer a whole copyrighted song for download, wait until someone accepted the file they offered...then get them disconnected, a method which won't stand for long.

2) For everything else, there's bittorrent.