* Posts by Ashley Stevens

91 posts • joined 4 Jun 2007


Barnes & Noble mulls Android SDK for Nook reader

Ashley Stevens


Android is open source so they presumably have to provide the source code to anyone who requests it? But then how does that square with presumably DRM'd epub book files?

Google-branded Android smartphone inbound?

Ashley Stevens
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SIM free

People in the UK where the mobile market is more open won't get this. But here in the US nearly every handset is exclusive to one carrier. Google has been a champion of open access networks. A readily available, decent smartphone handset offered SIM-free could help to open up the market. Although at present, a SIM-only deal is no cheaper than getting a subsidised handset, possibly more expensive even. If this helps to open up the market (SIM-fee iPhone anyone?) it's good by me.

MoD pays quadruple in money + blood for Afghan helicopters

Ashley Stevens
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Macro vs Micro

It's not quite as simple as that though.

If you look at it from the macro level, spending in the UK isn't really spending at all. Because the money stays in the UK economy. It pays UK workers, who get taxed (therefore a lot goes straight back to HM Guv). Some goes to UK companies but then they get taxed (guess where that goes). Then the UK workers spend the money in shops, mostly in the UK and pay VAT (tax). And the UK workers have a job so they don't claim benefits either.

So if you look at it that way, as a government surely does, then it's not really spending money so much as recycling it in the UK economy. As opposed to money spending overseas, which is just money that's gone.

So it's a fallacy to equate spending in the UK and overseas. It can only be compared like that on a very simple micro level that doesn't show the true macro economic picture. It's thinking like this that killed off the VBomber programme, the UK's own nuclear programme and the UK space programme.

Canonical rents out Ubuntu mavens

Ashley Stevens

@Multiple Monitors - ATI

I've found (with an ATI card) that if you stick to the FOSS ATI drivers, multi-head works perfectly. OTOH if you install the ATI drivers you're screwed for multi-head support.

So surprisingly, the free drivers are better if you use more than 1 monitor. I don't notice any performance drop with the free drivers either, although I don't play games or any of those heavy 3D type apps.

NASA orbiter returns first shots of Apollo moon sites

Ashley Stevens


Nice photoshop! Now where's my tin hat?

Plod offered SIM confiscation powers by Tories

Ashley Stevens

Innocent until proven guilty

I was hoping that the old fashioned idea of being innocent until proven guilty would come back once Gordon Brown had finally finished off Labour for good. Now it seems like we're in for more of the same, but even worse! Who's left to vote for?

China Green Dam crumbles after protests

Ashley Stevens


Presumably this thing is Windows software? In which case, it likely can be removed. Either by removing the app or else re-installing Windows. Or better yet, install Ubuntu (or whatever your favourite flavour of Linux is) and then you are in complete control of what runs on your PC.

So, this software was only ever going to apply to the stupid anyway (those who didn't know how, or couldn't be bothered to wipe the hard drive and re-format when they got their new PC). Anyone 'subversive' would already have wiped and re-installed anway.

So, utterly pointless in the first place hence no big deal on the climb down.

SCO inks last-second life-saving Unix pact

Ashley Stevens


This sounds like a slightly shady deal to move all the assets of SCO into a different company from the one with the liabilities.

New Labour: Chainsaws out, maybe Contactpoint, too

Ashley Stevens

...just not necessarily in the right order....

"That’s a lot of heavy hitters to lose"

Err no....... That's a lot of losers hit heavily.

Right words, wrong order.

Conservative US shock-jock to sue Wacky Jacqui

Ashley Stevens

Busy week Jacqui?

Why is the Home Secretary wasting her time banning people who had no intention of traveling to the UK anyway? Savage had no intention of traveling to the UK. Two on the list are in foreign prisons FFS! Surely she has something more important to do than sit on her fat arse thinking up who she wouldn't let into the country if they were to try to get in? (and get out of gaol in some cases). Any why only 21 worldwide? Charles Manson? Lay out the red carpet..... Joseph Fritzel? Come on down! You're welcome!

Savage is right on one issue at least- Jacqui really is a lunatic.

IE8 Suggested Sites suggested to be snoopy

Ashley Stevens


Even the URL of some intranets could give away secrets, eg the name of a secret project.

Mayor Boris backs McKinnon in extradition fight

Ashley Stevens


As much as I dislike GordonB he's in a bit of a Catch-22 on this. If he doesn't send McKinnon over to the States then that proves (to the 'merkins) that McKinnon's actually an agent of the British State. If he does then it proves Gordon's a heartless bastard. Which of course, he is, so guess what he'll want to do?

Apple awarded iPhone patent

Ashley Stevens

@the spectacularly refined chap

In the US (and only the US) you can apply for a patent up to 1 year after the product is publicly released. So the dates are possible.

However, application in April 2008, granted already?! That's amazingly fast. I have patents applied for in the US 5 years ago that aren't granted yet! I have patents applied for 1 year ago whose file hasn't even been opened yet by the USPTO. Either it's wrong, or Apple is getting some kind of special treatment with the USPTO?

Deviants, perverts, 'weirdos' - who's going down?

Ashley Stevens

@Ben Bawden

"So the law won't pick up anything that isn't already illegal? So what's the point of it then?"

Illegal to publish and distribute that is. This makes it illegal to possess. Slight difference.

It's still stupid though.....

Fisker posts Karma Sunset shots

Ashley Stevens


"The only American thing about the car is that it was built there - Henrik Fisker is Danish and Bernhard Koehler is German. "

Err no, it's built in Finland by Valmet automotive (who also build Porsche Boxsters). But it is an American company and it's design in America (by as you say, a Dane).


LibDem cheeky boy rides to Segway's rescue

Ashley Stevens
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Electric bikes

They should legalise electric vehicles under a certain weight and speed limit. That would also legalise electric bikes which are also illegal both on the road and on pavements at present. It shouldn't be just "self balancing" - human balanced vehicles should be OK'd too!

Confusion reigns ahead of comms überdatabase debate

Ashley Stevens


I don't understand how the uk.gov expects ISPs to do this? Most ISPs provide only the pipe to the home. My email provider is outside the EU and I use SSL to access it. Many people also use US-based webmail providers like Hotmail and GMail. How can my local ISP that provides my connection be expected to log every email unless it can decrypt SSL and then inspect the packets? Either my understanding is lacking, or (more likely since this is IT) the government's is. Surely all this will achieve is ensuring that everyone uses off-shore email providers? The government seems to be under the misapprehension that email is always provided by this ISP rather than another provider but I suspect this is the except rather than the rule.

BBC: Top Gear Tesla didn't run out of juice

Ashley Stevens

16 hours

The point seemed pretty clear to me. The Tesla takes 16 hours to recharge from a 13-amp mains socket, whereas a petrol or diesel car takes 2 mins to refuel. Although they didn't mention how long it would take from a 415V 3-phase supply which you can easily have installed (my house as one) which would have been a bit fairer. The FCX Clarity also takes only minutes to refuel - if you can find a station with hydrogen!

Amazon peddles Prince for pence

Ashley Stevens


Now been fixed (to £4.95)

Apologies after teacher's 'Linux holding back kids' claim

Ashley Stevens

HeliOs PR?

I'm no MS lover but unless the teacher is actually named then I would tend to assume that this is a PR stunt by HeliOS. Seems to have worked quite well......

Brussels bounces BT-Phorm quiz back to UK.gov

Ashley Stevens

Brtiain needs a national police force like the FBI

Well of course the City of London police are not interested, why should they be? They just a small force policing a tiny area of London. They're just a bunch of feckless bobbies really. They're not very far removed the Keystone Cops.

What's needed is a national, all-graduate police force like the FBI to handle issues like these. You can't expect a bunch of brainless coppers to understand this sort of thing. And you can't expect a local force to police a national issue like this.

The Amercians don't often do things better but in this case they do. We need a UK equivalent of the FBI - national and all-graduate to investigate these matters.

Apple ups the ante in Psystar battle

Ashley Stevens

Mercedes analogy

>... I'd have to agree with Apple on this one. Does Mercedes create a monopoly

> by refusing to sell their engines to other carmakers?

That analogy is not quite right. It's actually like Mercedes refusing to sell replacement engines to people who don't own a Mercedes. Pystar is not selling OS X, it's selling PCs. The user must also buy an OS X license from Apple.

NZ judge saves girl from bloody silly name

Ashley Stevens
IT Angle


I don't see why she can't tell her chums her real name? It's Talula. Nothing silly about that, one of the girls in my son's class is called Talula. OK, the middle names are profoundly silly, but you don't need to disclose your middle name, and in any case, lots of people have pretty silly middle names anyway.

BTW, I think Midnight Chardonnay sounds quite good actually. Lots of Americans have sillier names than that. (Although some of the other examples cited are indeed very silly!)

Home Office classes openness review a secret

Ashley Stevens

....and Disney

It's not just the government that are idiots. US corporations can be too!

I live in Stow-Cum-Quy and the Disney website (I have a 5 year old son) refuses to send me information on holidays because my address contains a banned word (Cum). How dumb is that? It's not like I can change my address!

Trousers Brown: Blighty faces 'food security' threat

Ashley Stevens

Nothing to say - just follow the link


... and marvel at the hypocrisy

UK.gov serves up GM food as price hike fix

Ashley Stevens
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Set aside

The government pays farmers to not grow crops - they call this set-aside. Now they say we must all buy less food because there's a shortage. But they are the ones paying farmers not to grow it!? I say it's time for set-aside - set-aside the government that is.

Davis faces North Korean victory margin in civil liberty vote

Ashley Stevens
Paris Hilton

Beauties for Britain

Don't forget Gemma Garrett- she could be the dark horse in this race!

XM-I X-Mini capsule travel speakers

Ashley Stevens
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£24.99 delivered on Play.com

Best price I found was £24.99 on Play.com but not in stock yet. I've (pre) ordered a pair from there.

Heathrow T5 security tackles Transformers t-shirt threat

Ashley Stevens
Paris Hilton

Power and stupidity

Unfortunately that's what happens when you give too much power to very stupid people.

Well, that and the 10p tax fiasco...

Paris because even she's brighter than these goons.

'Boil a frog' ID card rollout to continue until 2012

Ashley Stevens
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Card carrying minister?

"From 2009, we want people working in specific sensitive roles or locations and their employees to start to benefit from the high level of identity assurance that the Scheme will provide"

Well locations and roles don't get much more sensitive than the Houses of Parliament and Government ministers, so I presume they'll be amongst the first to be forced to carry these cards then?

What do you mean, no...........?

Baylis Eco EP-MX71 hand-cranked media player

Ashley Stevens

Line out?

Turntable with a line-out? Do they have that these days? They certainly didn't in the old days when people bought records. They either had a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge which requires a phono amp to bring it up to line-out levels. That's what my Rega Planar 3 has - a MC cartridge that requires a phono preamp (which I built myself). If you buying a turntable with line-out (not likely to be a decent turntable) then why not buy a USB one?!

Government wants every English child on 'secure' database

Ashley Stevens

Money marking scheme?

No doubt they government plans to charge potential employers for access to this database; aledgedly to check up on whether little Johnny is lying about his GCSE grades on his CV. Of course, lots of other firms may also want to pay for access to the database, once it's been around for a few years. Could be a nice little earner for Darling & Brown.

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Ashley Stevens

Inter-departnmental politics

I'm surprised no one has spotted the obvious inter-departmental politics in the response that removing unnecessary data was too costly. The NAO website says "The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament.....Our work saves the taxpayer millions of pounds every year."

The response that removing unnecessary data was too costly was obviously a political response. "If you're so worried about costs to the public, you deal with it." It was obviously meant as a polite 'up yours' to the idea of creating more work and hence costs (however small) in order to perform the audit. In other words, a politically expedient way of avoiding doing extra work.

Hypersonic hydrogen airliner to bitchslap Concorde

Ashley Stevens


Flight International says 10m Euro. El Reg says 10bn. That's a big difference.

Dutch Consumer Association declares war on Vista

Ashley Stevens

Why Microsoft?

I think the Dutch are going about this all wrong. Why are they trying to get Microsoft to supply XP? They should be encouraging users to simply not buy Microsoft products if they are not happy with the products Microsoft offer. That's the way the market works in all other areas except operating systems Those buying new machines can buy Apple, those who insist on using PCs or who are upgrading old PCs can run Linux. I don't know why the Dutch aren't pursuing these options. If they did that, maybe Microsoft might take a bit more notice too.

Bluetooth comes to set-top boxes

Ashley Stevens

Great - do away with all those remotes

This is a good development. The article fails to point out the one main benefit - Doing away with all the remotes in the lounge except the one you always carry: Your mobile phone.

With the right app on your smartphone you'd be able to control all devices in the lounge. Although learning IR in the phone would help with legacy devices without Bluetooth - why don't phone OEMs add this? I suppose because there's no revenue for the operator so they're not allowed to?

Mobiles can upset hospital equipment, after all

Ashley Stevens

Legal not technical reasons

>The UK Government has suggested mobiles should be allowed in hospitals,

> though many trusts have maintained their ban on the basis that scientific

>study is lacking, and even where they are allowed they should be kept at

>least a meter from critical equipment.

No. Many hospitals have maintained their ban because they have entered into contracts with PatientLine saying that they will maintain their ban!

Top judge: put everyone in UK on the DNA database

Ashley Stevens

Guilty until proven innocent

Even assuming the database is properly administered and secure (unlikely) there are other severe issues.

A crime is committed. There are (say) 4 suspects on the basis of non-DNA evidence. DNA is found and all 4 suspects are tested. One proves positive with a match probability of 1 in a million, so he is charged and the other 3 cleared. This is acceptable use of DNA, but it doesn't require a database.

Now suppose the situation where everyone is on the database. Police don't bother collecting other evidence, they do straight for the DNA. They search the 60 million entry database and pull up 60 matches (at 1-in-a-million match probability) They then pull in all 60 'suspects' and then it's for the 'suspects' (59 innocent people and 1 criminal) to prove to the police that they are innocent. If they can't prove it they go down for a stretch.

This is the police's preferred approach, but it is not acceptable.

The BBC iPlayer 'launch' that wasn't

Ashley Stevens

Does the BBC know what 'beta' means?

>We know that some technically expert users are able to

>run BBC iPlayer Beta on Vista but we do not feel it is

>appropriate to advise the general user to try to use BBC

>iPlayer Beta on Vista until we have completed our

>programme of testing.

Err...isn't that what a beta programme is for - testing?

So they are not allowing use of the Beta on Vista until

it has been fully tested and is no longer Beta?

My head hurts....


Physics GCSE: 'insultingly easy, non scientific, and vague'

Ashley Stevens

Debating and Voting on Science

The politically-controlled curiculum today seems to teach that science is something that should be 'debated' and 'voted' upon, with the most popular position then being declared the 'truth (witness the government continually trotting out that 'most scientists now believe in man-made global warming', like that's really significant). It's more like social science (or politics) than the hard science that we learned 25 years ago. This is what happens when you put politicians (most of whom don't even know what science is) in charge of school curiculae. That's why I'm fundamentally opposed to the very idea of a "national" curiculum in the first place.

2012 Olympics logo debuts to whalesong

Ashley Stevens

London takes it up the arse

Clearly this depicts London taking it up the arse from a man with the Olympic logo on his head. This probably refers to the fact that Londoners will be paying for the Olympics for a generation.



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