* Posts by Robert Jenkins

40 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jun 2007

The clock is ticking on a possible US import ban for Apple Watch

Robert Jenkins

Old hat and legal nonsense

The Pebble 2 / Time 2 smartwatches incorporated heart monitoring & they were released on Kickstarter in May 2016, a while before Apple incorporated heart rate in their watches.

There is nothing truly original that I can see from a quick look through the main patent claims, just a compilation of existing ideas from other devices or systems.

One of the fundamental requirements of a truly valid patent was originally that to be patentable at all, the ideas or concepts in the patent had to be something significantly beyond a simple step in progress that a "competent engineer in the field" (or something along those lines) would likely be able to produce.

Miniaturising and combining existing devices concepts as technology advances is just linear progress, not the technological leap beyond that which a patent was supposed to protect.

Patents now appear to have become simply an anti-competition tool for big business to tie up or hold back its competitors by legal action and ludicrous expenses, rather than anything to do with genuinely new and original ideas.

Move over, Kraftwerk: These musical instruments really are the robots

Robert Jenkins

Re: old news

This appears to be a simplified set of the instruments from the "Compressorhead" robot band; quite likely inspired by those?

Not knocking it, the creator is using very different and easier to replicate techniques.

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy

Robert Jenkins

Re: Virgin, bringing you the barely-adequate security from 2002


Ten uppercase/lowercase/digits, using random characters, is *extremely* secure!

I can only guess few people actually bother to work out the number of combinations that gives.

There is no way such a password can be repeatedly cracked in a day or so.

The victim must have something like a keylogger or RAT on their machine that's allowing the cracker to read the password they are entering, for them to get is so quickly.

"26,614,008,303 a second for a whole year" - correct, and totally impossible.

It takes time to try a password, even with an automated system, anything from (I'd estimate) ten milliseconds upwards for the entry, test and response using a remote internet connection.

That means a likely maximum of under ten million attempts per day - and in excess of a hundred million years for the average search time to match a random password.

And does Virgin not even have a lockout period after a number of fails? That slows cracking attempts by orders of magnitude.

Alarm raised after Microsoft wins data-encoding patent

Robert Jenkins

Re: Ban software patents.


They are now "Protection of extortive claims", not "Protection of innovative claims".

Ad blockers altering website code is not a copyright violation, German court rules

Robert Jenkins

It's not ads vs. no ads - it's who controls your device / PC screen

So: They are trying to make illegal something the device USER just has an *option* or ability to expand and cover their page.

If they win against google, what's their logical next step and progression from that - ban phone alert banners & system popups that "deface" their pages?

Or ban tab selection that allow you to switch between their page and a competitors?

What next? Remove the option to exit the browser or go to any other page, once theirs is being displayed??

It's the browser/device users choice to have something else displayed, not any web site owners right to _force_ a user to see a specific thing and nothing else.

The whole concept needs stamping out before such things get any toehold.

Missouri governor demands prosecution of reporter for 'decoding HTML source code' and reporting a data breach

Robert Jenkins

Re: Dare I admit to the govenor ...

Re. having a C compiler:

One of the older Windows antivirus or antimalware tools, some years ago, used to produce "Hack tool" alerts for some common compilers or IDEs (I can't remember the exact details now).

The authors of those "malware" signatures would likely have got one well with certain politicians!

The perils of building a career on YouTube: Guitar teacher's channel nearly deleted after music publisher complains

Robert Jenkins

Re: No Appeal

Does a truly false copyright infringement claim count as libel?

It would be interesting if it happened to someone with money and legal ability to counterclaim against whoever claimed infringement, for defamation and loss of income.

A successful case could make the copyright claimants a bit more cautious.

Keepnet kerfuffle: Firing legal threats at bloggers did infosec biz more damage than its exposed database

Robert Jenkins

On the subject of GDPR - how is that database content in any way legal?

OK, the the leaked database contains other peoples information.

How can a company legally retain data that was never legally released to them or its use authorised by the people who it relates to?

Anyone want to play "Spot the GDPR Brteaches?



Have they contacted every single person whos data is involved?



Cali court backs ex-Apple engineer who says he invented Find My iPhone and Passbook

Robert Jenkins

"Find my iphone" is in virtually a clone of "Lojack for laptops" / Computrace, which existed well before 2006.

It's so close, including location and remote erasure etc., that I do not see any changes radical enough to be patentable?

Checkmate, Qualcomm: Apple in billion-dollar bid to gobble Intel’s 5G modem blueprints, staff – new claim

Robert Jenkins

Re: As long as they don't use their CPUs..

But possibly not for long - don't you read The Register ? :))

Apple Macs will, supposedly, be using ARM CPUs within a year or two.


We regret to inform you the massive asteroid NASA's all excited about probably won't hit Earth

Robert Jenkins

Just wait for all the conspiracy site to appear relating to this.

2029 is one the key years in the Terminator series so skynet is guaranteed to be included. plus the date being the the 13th for the superstitious ones, especially as it will be a "Friday 13th" in 2029.

Former Apple engineer fights iPhone giant for patent credit and denied cash, says Steve Jobs loved his 'killer ideas'

Robert Jenkins

Since "Find my iphone" is pretty much a copy of Lojack for Laptops [aka Computrace] which existed before the iphone, I don't understand how Apple - or any Apple employee - can claim any "original technology" or patentable ideas in it..

Computrace licenced the Lojack name in 2005, the very first iphone was 2007..

What a mesh: BT Whole Home Wi-Fi users moan over update

Robert Jenkins

BT firmware update scheduling

At least the _tried_ to get an update to work for that system - and now have to keep working on the problem.

Home Hub 5 owners are still waiting for the promised "Early 2017" update to enable IPv6...

Core-blimey! Intel's Core i9 18-core monster – the numbers

Robert Jenkins

Re: Gamers?

Many games now support eight cores (at least).

The first one I got dates from 2011.

The "no more than four cores for games" thing is a total myth.

Nitwit has fit over twit hit: Troll takes timeless termination terribly

Robert Jenkins

Freedom of speech angle

No one seems to have picked up on the "Freedom of speech" angle;

My thought on it is that it always seems to be brought up as a "defence" by people trying to abuse or attack others verbally or online, for whatever means.

They all seem to dumb to realise that freedom of speech is exactly the same as freedom of action:-

There is nothing actively stopping _anyone_ from snatching a phone or handbag, walking up to someone and punching them etc.

The reason normal, sensible people do not do such things is because they know it is wrong and they know there will be unpleasant consequences.

No difference whatsoever with "Freedom of Speech" - you _can_ say whatever you want, but you should be prepared to suffer the consequences if you harm others or break laws in the process.

Server makers love Intel Xeons (true) - but not the price tag

Robert Jenkins

AMD are still fighting!

AMD is still not doing too badly.

This Passmark results page is interesting, though it very quickly became difficult to find for some odd reason...


AMD at the top, with more cores but for less money.

And Cray seem to think they are OK - the Oak Ridge XK7 has over 18,000 Opterons.


A Brit cloud biz and an angry customer wanting a refund: A Love Story

Robert Jenkins

Re: But a shame the full transcript wasnt published

Whoever wrote their T&Cs does not seem to have heard of the "Unfair terms in consumer contracts" regulations; from a quick look almost everything appears to be one-sided, in their favour. Have a browse here, specifically section 5:


US anti-encryption law is so 'braindead' it will outlaw file compression

Robert Jenkins

If non-reversible compression becomes illegal, that would include most if not all video codecs plus MP3, dolby digital, AAC etc..

No digital TV or Radio in the USA plus illegal to make/sell DVDs or Blu-ray discs etc ???

(CDs should be OK, at least).

2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

Robert Jenkins

Re: Moving on up!

As Android is basically another Linux-based distribution, it's generally outselling Windows etc. by a massive amount already.

AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Robert Jenkins

Re: My current rule of thumb is pretty simplistic

AMD are _still_ doing it, if you look at performance vs cost rather than performance per core.

The top systems in the Passmark v7 multi-CPU league were AMD Opteron based - each has more CPUs than the near-competitor Intel systems, but if you work out the actual component costs the AMD setups are cheaper that the Intel ones.


Mad Max: High-octane dystopian desert demolition derby

Robert Jenkins

RAGE remake?

Post apocalypse survival - Bandits - Weapons - Cars/combat/racing - Desert settings..

A RAGE clone (or at least inspired) , by the look of it.

The Reg gave that 80%, arguably a better score as well...


Pirate MEP: Microsoft's walled garden is no consumer pleasure park

Robert Jenkins

Dodgy legal ground..

Microsoft have always been on dodgy ground with the "agreements" you are required to click through on a new machine or after installing a retail copy of their software.

In English law (covering contracts), adding conditions after the sale is agreed is barred - so click-through or shrink-wrap style conditions are meaningless.

It's also now illegal under general sale of goods laws to even imply that the buyer has any less legal rights than they really do have in law - the old "You cannot do anything" (statutory rights not affected) style clause is banned..

If you ask Microsoft why they leave such clauses in English products, they don't seem to want to reply to the question - I have tried in the past..

This latest idea yet again changes or reveals conditions / agreements after purchase, which appears to again be illegal in English law.

Countless Belkin routers go TITSUP in massive mystery meltdown

Robert Jenkins

It's not just Belkin..

I've seen a number of instances of intermittent loss of connectivity over the last few months, with people on different ISPs and with different makes of routers.

In every case, it's been DNS failures and moving the PCs / devices off the ISP DNS or it's router proxy has cured the problem.

Belkin may be more susceptible, but it's not a problem limited to their gear.

Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Robert Jenkins

I was thinking RICO - the Corrupt Organisations bit.

The only people who can possibly make any money from this are the American 'Lawyers' fighting over it.

There have been so many dubious patents issued in the last few years, with blatantly obvious prior, that the only reason for issue can be to create business for lawyers, at the expense of businesses & the public.

That smells like racketeering & corruption to me.

Apple: You're a copycat! Samsung: This is really about Google, isn't it?

Robert Jenkins

Handheld Linux & the touch / icon interface date back to 2000...

A lot of the interface features they keep fighting over originated long before either Android or the iphone.

I have an old Sharp Zaurus PDA, which runs Linux using a touchscreen interface.

Mine's a 5600, but the first Linux-based one was the 5000, released in the year 2000.

Android is basically another version of Linux for mobile devices.

The first iphone was not not released until several years later.

The Zaurus also had a full QUERTY keyboard, very similar to that later used on the Blackberry devices.


The patent fights are purely to try and hold back competitors, not due to any genuine, dramatic innovations.

Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Robert Jenkins

Old hat...

Even the stand-alone 'clipboard' style drawing board / notepad digitisers available from some office supplies places (and occasionally Aldi) for many years, have styluses with interchangeable tips.

You can use a plastic tip to 'draw' on the bare unit or a ballpoint insert when drawing on paper.

You can flog 'used' software, but read Ts&Cs first – ECJ

Robert Jenkins

Basic contract law!

This also seems to ignore the basic English law of Contract.

That explicitly states that the terms of a contract are those known at the time the contract is formed - ie when payment is made & accepted.

Conditions cannot be added after that point in time.

It generally applies to the garbage on the back of delivery notes etc., but also covers any form of shrink-wrap or click-through licence discovered after purchase - all that American-style 'legal junk' is completely irrelevant here.

Windows Defender Offline: For PCs too hosed to go online

Robert Jenkins

Microsoft years behind as usual.

As others have said, there are already some very good, free tools for cleaning badly infected machines offline.

My favorite is the DrWeb live CD - that's assisted in repairing several machines people have brought me that would otherwise have needed a re-format.

I wonder if the Microsoft one will actually disinfect executable files, or just delete them & finish wrecking the OS itself, as so many typical antivirus programs do...

(Another reason to like the DrWeb one).

Wi-Fi may damage sperm, boffins warn

Robert Jenkins

Tiny RF power, masses of heat

So; comparing exposure from a laptop producing tens of watts of heat, plus milliwatts or RF, or no laptop at all.

Sperm are 3 - 5um body size.

WiFi at 2.4GHz has a wavelength of about 120mm.

Infra red radiation (radiant heat) has wavelengths in roughly the 1 - 10um range.

A sperm cell looks to be a pretty good IR resonator, but completely invisible at 2.4GHz..

If they had been testing RF exposure, they would have used the same laptop with WiFi on & off.

Laptop or No laptop implies they wanted a result, then assumed the cause...

Boffins insert 3D objects into any old photo... realistically

Robert Jenkins

Shadow errors

Most look pretty good, however the outdoor 'dragon' exposes a serious bug:

The real shadow of the tree falls within the added shadow of the dragon - but it's still visible, just darkened.

In the real world, you don't get shadows through solid objects.

Apollo 17 Moon landing: Shock revelations

Robert Jenkins

Already documented

Come on guys, get serious - this is the Cheese-powered, spacegoing airliner told of by Harry Harrison in his book 'Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers' back in 1973!

Aussie retailer accuses UK shops of HDMI 'scam'

Robert Jenkins

I'll stick to pound shop quality!



The argument that "10110" is "10110" is only part of the story. There's slew rate, ringing, over-shoot and under-shoot.

Why do digital signals become unusable at some particular distance? Look up 'capacitance per metre' of cables. Now imagine a length that works but with a different capacitance. It's simple really.


Now look up 'Transmission line' -

Capacitance per metre is closely linked with characteristic impedance; it does not cause distortion of the signal.

Slew-rate is primarily a characteristic of the Driver, not the cable.

Ringing and overshoot occur with un-terminated connections, not propertly matched transmission lines.

The ONLY relevent characteristic of a balanced digital transmission line is the attenuation; the signal at the receiver must be a suitable amount above the receiver threshold levels.

As others have said, dirt cheap CAT5e cable is rated for 100m per leg with each pair rated to 350 MHz. Cost of the cable itself is in no way a major factor in the selling price

The attenuation of any normal HDMI cable is trivial, over those distances any moderate quality paired cable should work.

Any argument that cable quality can cause subtle changes on a digital link are ludicrous.

If anyone is in doubt - try very slowly pulling an optical cable out of it's socket while you are playing music through it and see what happens when a digital signal degrades below the receiver threshold.

It is in no way subtle, so watch your speakers & eardrums!

3D printers, one-dimensional enemies

Robert Jenkins

They are more capable that you state.

To correct a point in the article, there have been 3D printers that will print objects with overhangs for some time.

They use either unset filler or a different, removable 'ink' to for support under or around objects.

Microsoft fans call for Opera boycott

Robert Jenkins

WINDOWS internet explorer

Microsoft have been asking for trouble..

Has no-one else noticed the change in IEs title bar - it used to be Microsoft internet explorer, it's now Windows internet explorer..

They get the hassle they deserve.

The BIG problem with excluding IE from Windows is - - - How does an average Joe User get online on their new PC to download a web browser - without a web browser.......

Microsoft trades goodwill for TomTom Linux satisfaction

Robert Jenkins

Microsoft are asking for trouble..

I think Microsoft are wanting to keep the Open Source aspect low key for one simple reason.

As soon the Linux / Open Source community feel they are under threat from Microsofts patents, Microsoft will find it's patent portfolio under scrutiny from millions of unhappy programmers and Open Source enthusiasts looking for flaws and prior art.

Although that scrutiny will probably start with the ones relating to Linux, it's unlikely to stop there - Microsoft could well lose a significant percentage of it's patents.

Hackintosh maker bites back at Apple

Robert Jenkins

You can't restrict usage in England!

>By Anonymous Coward<

>If I write the software and a user buys a license for that software then the license can stipulate that certain hardware should be used. <

Not under English law it can't!

Statute law explicitly voids any conditions or restrictions that you can't see until after purchase (unless, very specifically, you are buying a bus or train ticket with conditions on the back...)

The only restrictions on what you do with software etc. after you buy it are the most basic copyright ones like not making & selling copies without permission.

All other licence conditions etc. that say you must/must not do XYZ or the licence is void, or that you can't transfer it from one machine to another are absolutely meaningless.

This also covers any 'conditions' relating to online activation of software; they are irrelevant - You bought it, You can use it!

Data pimping: surveillance expert raises illegal wiretap worries

Robert Jenkins

Anyone told the BBC?

The BBC use the name 'WebWise' for their 'Beginners guide to the internet' - I wonder what they will think of BT etc. using it for an advertising service?


Better gadget battery-level readouts in pipeline

Robert Jenkins

Memory effect

Nicad 'Memory Effect' though misunderstood is very real.

It's another side effect of the cold crystallisation that occurs in NiCd cells.

If a cell is rarely discharged below a certain point, the deeper parts of the plates gradualy change from amorphous to crystalline metal.

If you then try to discharge the cell at anything like high current, it appears to go flat at it's 'usual' discharge level, as the crystalline metal is much less reactive than amorphous and the internal resistance of the cell gets much higher.

In this case, a deep discharge (2.2 ohm resistor across the cell & leave for a day or two) will completely recover the capacity of the cell.

Note that the 'dendrite' crystals are both prevented and destroyed by long-term trickle charging, if you can get the cell charged in the first place (high current 'zaps' help).

'I Go Chop Your Dollar' star arrested

Robert Jenkins

Don't spoil the fun

It's the bad English in the 419 emails that makes them fun to read!

Killer Wi-Fi panics London's chattering classes

Robert Jenkins

It's all headline grabbing and fear mongering...

The people making all the fuss seem to have no idea at all of basic electromagnetic propagation or relative power.

A typical cordless phone, with a power of 10mW and the antenna 25mm from your head, has the same effective field strength at the part of your head closest to it as a 160KW transmitter just 100m away (4000 times distance needs 16 Million times power to match the signal strength).

The signal from a typical cellular mast is rather weedy in comparison.

In terms of absolute power, a domestic WiFi access point with an output of about 50mW and an omnidirectional aerial would give a field strength of less than 1 microwatt per square centimeter at one meter distance. (The actual antenna is not perfectly omnidirectional, but the average over different directions and angles should work out about the same).

The current 'safe' limit is considered to be 10mW / square cm, 10,000 times higher.

In comparison to plain old full sunlight - which is of course electromagnetic radiation and generally taken as 1000 watts per square meter or higher (equivalent to 100mW per square centimeter) - the radio powers and field strengths being debated are weak to the point of insignificance.