* Posts by Neil Jones

35 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

Police nick 460 a day for using mobiles while driving

Neil Jones

@AC (Bad Logic...) & Red Bren

Nicely put both of you. Speed limits are set by law. You break the law, you pay the price. You might not agree with the law, but that’s a different issue. It’s not a principal of UK law that you only have to comply with those laws you agree with.

Yes, like the majority of drivers you think you’re a better than average driver and are qualified to make a decision that the speed limit is inappropriately low to the road conditions and your driving skills, but you’re just as positive of this as that as the Chav doing 60mph through a 30mph built-up area is. Basically, take anyone who’s just had an accident back in time by 10 seconds and I guarantee that they’ll feel they’re driving perfectly safely.

And yes, I do also exceed the speed limit. But before you call me a hypocrite I also accept that if I get caught, I will be punished. I won’t somehow feel hard done by or some great sense of injustice. I know the rules as we all do. Let’s be grown up and play by them.

Spy regs used against dogs, litterbugs

Neil Jones

@ Dean

So you want to remove any regulation of this type of activity?

Neil Jones


I’m starting to get a bit bored of all of these dramatic headlines about ill-informed RIPA stories. The clue is in the name: REGULATION of INVESTIGATORY POWERS Act (2000). So, starting from the back, we’ve got “2000”... that’s a whole year before we all went terrorism mad, and the Act was being drafted for several years before that. So it’s not a “terrorism law”, it’s an act of Parliament that’s equally applicable to surveillance against terrorists as it is to surveillance against benefit cheats.

Then we get to the “Investigatory Powers” bit, and that definition includes not only the police, intelligence services and armed forces, but Government departments (DSS, MAFF, DETR etc), local authorities, and other bodies including the Post Office, The Financial Services Authority and the Food Standards Agency.

And then we’ve got the key word, “Regulation”. And that’s what RIPA is about. It doesn’t suddenly give bodies new powers to spy on us as the media like to portray, it exists to control this kind of activity. Before RIPA, there was very little control over -for example- the DSS watching people whom they suspected of being benefit frauds, now that is governed by RIPA. It’s therefore wrong or at least misleading to say that “X used RIPA to spy on Y”, it should be “X was governed by RIPA when spying on Y”. And it’s also misleading in that any surveillance activity carried out by a council is by its very definition covered by RIPA. Bottom line is that if you’re a council and you want to undertake some form of surveillance then you’re governed by RIPA. Or as the media prefer, you’ve got to use this “terror law” whether you like it or not. Yes, you can question whether certain surveillance operations should have been sanctioned, and maybe RIPA needs tightening up in a few areas, but RIPA is not black helicopter legislation any more than the Road Traffic Act is responsible for car crashes.

Oldham murders owl with whalesong

Neil Jones
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Change for the Sake of it

I love it when organisations do away with long-established branding, tradition being the one genuine and often priceless thing that can't be bought at any cost, and replace it with something modern and up to the minute that within 5 years will look "so 2008" (or in this case "so 2002" already). So have heart, people of Oldham, you'll only be stuck with this for a couple of years, then maybe you can buy the rights to the London 2012 logo when they've finished with it.

As an aside, I can't wait till they extend the PR attempts to modernise the Royal Family to include a replacement of the Royal Coat of Arms. Maybe rather than use the College of Arms they could run a competition on Blue Peter?

And finally, thanks for reminding me to top up my Oyster Card.

UK Wii Fit pre-orders cause shortage

Neil Jones
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Her We Go Again...

And I wonder how many of those pre-orders will be appearing on eBay on launch day (or even before) at fantastically marked-up "Buy it Now" prices?

Local council uses snooping laws to spy on three-year-old

Neil Jones

Police State?

If you really think that the UK is bordering on becoming a "police state" then I'd suggest that you don't even understand what the term means. To compare the freedoms that you take so much for granted to the living conditions of those who live in *real* police states is risible to the point of being offensive.

Neil Jones

Don't Blame RIPA!

Whilst RIPA is still far from perfect, let's be clear that its introduction didn't suddenly *allow* surveillance, it *regulated it*. Before RIPA there was very little or no effective control over snooping such as this, so to start saying that "RIPA allowed this" is ambiguous and paints a rather misleading picture. It's positive legislation, but like all new acts it take a few years and amendments to get it working properly.

Mr. and Mrs. Boring sue Google over Street View pics

Neil Jones

Like the rest of us...

Everyone can see my back garden on Google Earth, despite the fact it's got a 6' fence surrounding it - can I sue?

Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

Neil Jones

C'mon people....

What an insular short-sited bunch us "geeks" are - and I use the term apologetically. Are we really so self-centered to convince ourselves that we represent the wider world? No, we're a minority. Forum users are a minority, those who use the internet as a proper tool are a minority. And the big Corporates know that. Don't let us fool ourselves that because Creative's (or insert your own love-to-hate corporate monster) latest naughtiness is splashed all over the interweb that Creative will be teetering on the edge. Compared to the NASDAQ as a whole, I can't see any indication that their share price has suffered in light of this incident.

The fact is, the majority of personal IT users do not spend hours trawling forums to research their purchases; they go into PC World and get what's cheapest, what the "expert" in there recommends, what's got the coolest and biggest box, what's been reviewed in the latest PC Newbie Monthly, or a name they've heard of (e.g. hey, Creative Labs, I've heard of them, they must be good, or the amount of people who chose AOL as there ISP a few years back just because they got a free sign-up CD). They may be the great unwashed, but they're still the majority. Most people buying a sound card this weekend won't have a clue abour Creative's attitude.

Even when corporate sins do get a wider billing, such as Sony's DRM rootkit issue that got picked up by the non-IT media, it doesn't really do as much damage as we might like to think. Walk away from your IT crowd and ask the bloke in the street what he thinks of Sony. He'll probably say that they make some cool kit, though it's a bit expensive. Ask him what about how they've screwed their customers in the past, and I think you'll get a blank look in return.

I know that all sounds very defeatist, and yes, the little man can always make an impression, but lets just venture beyond the end of our noses and take a reality check.

Dead wife contacts Lancs man via SMS

Neil Jones


Cue Dom Joly....


Blu-ray Xbox 360 to be sold at a loss?

Neil Jones

Missing the Point?

The fanbois comparing sales figures are missing a point here - the reason MS are incorporating a BR HD is because they realise that many PS3s are being bought as BR players, not games consoles. I (like many others) have both a 360 and a PS3 - the 360's for games; the PS3's for BR. If the Xbox had a built-in BR that was implemented as well as Sony's is in the PS3, then I wouldn't have bought the PS3. So to comment that "The 360 is dead" in response to a move by MS that is likely to bring about an sway in sales in the Xbox's favour by taking away an undisputed advantage that the PS3 currently has seems ill-considered.

If MS integrate a decent BR player, Sony lose a potential market of Xbox owners who want a BR player, as well as suddenly facing competition in the "next gen+BR drive" console market.

Nintendo works out UK Wii Fit price

Neil Jones

Or Alternatively...

Nah thanks, I'll just jump on my Xbox HD-DVD drive until it breaks, no need to pay £70 to do the same with the Wii.

Official: Toshiba discontinues HD DVD

Neil Jones
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Life in the Old Dog Yet

This might be the end of the future of HD-DVD, but it's not over yet for the format. There's already several hundred (thousand?) titles available on HD-DVD which will no doubt now be destined for the bargain bins, so those who've already got HD-DVD hardware can laugh as they pay less than us Blu-ray owners.

Plus, to recoup some of it's losses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Toshiba licensing HD-DVD technology on the cheap to manufacturers wanting to build dual-format machines to tempt HD-DVD owners who'll need to change camps in the future, but will still want to play their existing HD-DVD libraries. So if you did back the wrong horse, milk it while you can, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor

Obituary: HD DVD 2002-2008

Neil Jones
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Life in the Old Dog Yet

This might be the end of the future of HD-DVD, but it's not over yet for the format. There's already several hundred titles available on HD-DVD which will no doubt now be destined for the bargain bins, so those who've already got HD-DVD hardware can laugh as they pay less than us Blu-ray owners.

Plus, to recoup some of it's losses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Toshiba licensing HD-DVD technology on the cheap to manufacturers wanting to build dual-format machines to tempt HD-DVD owners who'll need to change camps in the future, but will still want to play their existing HD-DVD libraries. So if you did back the wrong horse, milk it while you can, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor.

BBC to put shows on iTunes 'next week'

Neil Jones
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@ tardigrade

Why ask the question if you knew the pretty obvious answer? Oh, I see, you were showing us all how clever you are.

Do you expect to walk out of HMV with an armfull of David Attenborough DVDs for free because you've paid your license fee?

If you want to watch it in the future without paying for it, then video it or burn it to DVD. No-ones taking away your right to do that, so what's your problem?

Dutch fire up petrol-pumping robot

Neil Jones

Better than the Alternative.

To all you "I wouldn't trust a robot" knee-jerk luddites, I have to say I'd prefer to be on a forecourt full of cars being filled by robots than standing in a freezing gale pumping petrol into my car whilst the bloke using the next pump is yakking away on his mobile phone trying not to let his fag drop out of his mouth whilst he does so.

Parent power pulls Woolworth's 'Lolita' kiddies' bed

Neil Jones
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I think we should now demand in-store translations of all those Ikea product names to make sure I don't inadvertently buy my wife a "Wanton Hussy" kitchen unit or a set of "Old Slapper" bath towels.

Woolworths stores to stop selling HD DVD

Neil Jones


"VOD and streaming downloads are going to replace physical media in the next 5-10 years."

Maybe, but so what? 10, even 5 years is a long time. If you go back 10 years to 1998, DVD was at about the same stage that HD-DVD/BR is now. So back then if I'd told you that high-definition DVD would replace DVD in another 10 years would you have stuck with VHS until now?

Neil Jones
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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Another way of looking at this is that HD-DVD is the way to go, because if the speculation does prove correct and Blu-ray wins the war, there's going to be some very cheap HD-DVD movies in the bargain bins.

Neil Jones

What's in a Name?

I wonder if the naming of the technologies has had any impact on the apparent demise of HD-DVD. "Blu-ray" leaps out at the great unwashed as something they've maybe never heard of before and sounds a bit space-age, so they read the small print or ask the salesman what it is; whereas "HD-DVD" sounds more like a generic term and is unlikely to inspire the same interest, as everyone knows what DVDs are and these days everything in Comet, Currys, PC World etc has got a "HD" prefix - I see I can now even buy "HD printers".

100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way

Neil Jones

And there's more...

Will it support Voice Over My Pee?

Heathrow 777 crash flattens servers

Neil Jones


Not wanting to take anything away from the aircrew, but why do the media always hail these people as heroes? I would hazard a guess that the pilot's actions were down to self-preservation as much as the survival of the passengers. So what would be the non-heroic (or even the cowardly) alternative? For the pilot to go "Yeah, whatever", sit back and admire the rapidly approaching houses? It's not as if the pilot willingly put himself in a more dangerous situation to improve the prospects for the passengers is it?

And, @anonymous coward at 23:11, grill over intake + birdstrike = bird AND bits of grill in engines.

Apple cuts UK iTunes prices

Neil Jones


I fully agree that pricing should be consistent globally, but currency fluctuations are always going to be an issue. It's all very well saying that with a $2=£1 exchange rate we should be paying 50p for what Americans are paying $1 for, but how does any company then keep its UK customers happy when the $ starts to recover and we all start moaning that our prices are increasing whilst the US prices are staying the same? And that's also the problem with Europe, when the £/€ exchange rate changes, do Apple increase the UK prices or decrease the EU ones? You can't have fixed consistent pricing across Europe with two currencies. I'm no fan of the € but the only way you can achieve this is price UK iTunes in € but allow users to pay in £ at the current exchange rate (though it would be interesting to see which exchange rate Apple would chose to apply)

Ofcom urged to clamp down on broadband speed deceit

Neil Jones

Whilst we're at it...

Several posters have used car/road analogies in these comments, let me offer this:

A private road builder builds a new motorway (think M6 toll). It’s a motorway, so they say you can do up to 70mph on it. But during rush hour the traffic builds up so maybe you’ll average 60mph, maybe you’ll only manage 30mph. Or you would, except your car is several decades old and not very well maintained, so it can only manage 20mph.

Isn’t it still reasonable to say that the motorway is capable of providing speeds of up to 70mph?

There’s a few good, intelligent and objective comments on here, but they’re lost in the rest of the irrelevant and unreasonable dross. I always seem to find that the ones who shout about “knowing their (consumer) rights” are the ones who know them least. Have you actually read your ISP’s T&Cs? You don’t sign up to an advert, you sign up to the contract T&Cs as anyone with even the most basic grasp of consumer law will tell you.

Yes, there is perhaps an issue that the theoretical maximums quoted by ISPs are only that, and maybe adverts could make this clearer. But what about those evil manufacturers of Cat5e cable, routers and switches with their claims of 100 Mbit/s and those pesky USB and Firewire products with their claims of impossible transfer rates...

Surely theoretical limits are an established fact of life in the IT world?

MIA in Iowa - personal data on 3m UK driving test candidates

Neil Jones

Driver Numbers

The genius way that the Driver number is generated is a risk in itself, armed with just that you can easily work out the driver's surname, initials and date of birth.

Neil Jones
Black Helicopters

@anon re: re: EU Data Laws

I guess like the Constitution and US domestic law, international agreements are all sacrasanct until someone plays the PATRIOT Act card and everything then seems to become null and void. And as we're foreigners that's probably enough in itself to invoke PATRIOT as that makes us potential terrorists.

wocka wocka WOCKA WOCKA.....

Neil Jones

EU Data Laws

Isn't there some restriction on processing of personal data outside of the EU? I'm too busy/idle to refresh my memory, but I'm sure someone can interject with their expertise?

When Commodore ruled the world

Neil Jones

Ahhhhh, Memories.....

Dragon 32 anyone? And all the jokes about it having 2 "L"s on the keyboard?

I remember reading a book about the development of the home computer between the mid 70's and end of the century, it was primarily focussed on the PC and Apple's efforts, although there was a lovely paragraph which said something along the lines of these being the pre-eminant systems across the world except "in Britain a number of home computers were developed, but only the British could understand them". I'm sure someone on here can provice the source and the proper quote.

Smiley celebrates 25th birthday

Neil Jones

Special Edition

Can I suggest we mark this anniversary and this memorable quote with a brand new smiley?


PC superstore unhinged by Linux

Neil Jones

From Disgusted on Middle England

As well as the normal personal experiences of PCW comptence (Do you sell network hubs? Er, I think we've got some USB hubs...) my most memorable impression of the group was being in a queue in Dixons behind an elderly gentleman who was trying to return an MP3 player, which the staff were refusing to accomodate owing to the fact that it was not faulty and had been opened and apparently used. From what I could ascertain, the man was virtually blind and listended to a lot of audio books. Having heard about these new fangled mp3 players he'd gone into Dixons to learn a bit more (you feel sorry for the guy already, don't you). He'd later left the store with a shiny new MP3 player, only problem was the technical expert hadn't thought of mentioning you actually needed a computer to connect it to, which the gentleman didn't have. I walked out in disgust.

Carphone Warehouse salesman dies in car boot

Neil Jones

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

>>> "Of course the filth wouldn't do you for that - not unless they had to meet this months arrest quota anyway (Google it - you'll find every constabulary in England & Wales has a "bonus" scheme related to arrests)."

Must be true then.

Motorbike crash man fails to notice loss of leg

Neil Jones

You missed one!

What's Japanese for "I'll take you to hospital, hop on the back"?

I'll get my coat...

Martha Stewart criticised for swoop on town name

Neil Jones


As the owner of a double-glazing company in the small village of Microsoft-on-the-Wold, this is a great relief to hear.

T-Mobile wins iPhone Germany exclusive, paper claims

Neil Jones


Don't know if the german newspaper article already says this, but apparently the US iPhone already includes the T-Mobile and Vodafone logo graphics in its ROM...

MoD boffins in Cornwall GPS-jamming trials

Neil Jones

Off the Plot

"Any satnav-using readers near Portreath who notice interesting effects over the next couple of days..."

...especially if they're actually in Yorkshire at the time?