* Posts by Dr Wadd

39 posts • joined 26 Jan 2011

Fitbit hit on Pebble kit cost just 20 million quid? Oh s**t!

Dr Wadd

If it is the same screen corruption problem as with some of the earlier Pebbles you can fix that by popping off the back and jamming in a ball of tissue paper to apply extra pressure to the screen's zebra connector.

BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix

Dr Wadd

Don't forget radio

I really regret the fact that the BBC decided to split radio and television in to two distinct entities within iPlayer. It's not so bad on mobile devices as there as in an app for each, but it used to be really useful to have the radio channels available on non-portable devices such as the XBox 360. It's almost as if the BBC are afraid of even mentioning iPlayer and radio in the same breath, it always seems that whenever the continuity announcer makes reference to streaming a show they only mention the Radio 4 website.

Jail incompetent council folk who leak our data, thunders furious BBW

Dr Wadd

The other factor which feeds in to councils' inability to handle data securely is the sheer amount of noise they want to collect with the useful data.

A few years back I had an argument with my local council over this very topic. They were conducting a periodic audit of people who had a council tax discount to ensure they were still elligible, that part I have no argument with. However, the way they went about it was utterly broken. They first, without informing me, attempted to access my credit history. Because I'd not taken out any new credit for a *long* time it was empty. They then decided they wanted to see my bank statements. This was all in an effort to determine that I was still elligible for the single-occupancy discount. I had a huge back and forth with them arguing that the information they were requesting was in no way suitable for confirming this. Eventually they backed down, but not without a fight and getting a local councillor involved.

However, if I'd not fought this the council would have ended up with copies of my credit history and bank statements in a context where providing that information was entirely pointless. If they keep can't manage data efficiently it is no surprise that they cannot handle it securely either.

ASA slaps Ebuyer AGAIN - this time for ignoring regulator

Dr Wadd

Re: Woeful customer service

I'm really gutted that Novatech have closed their stores other than the Portsmouth branch. It was very handy to have a bricks-and-mortar computer shop close by that isn't PC World.

Dixphone's half-year P&L accounts are in. So much RED INK

Dr Wadd

Re: A PITA to deal with

I went to a local Currys a couple of evenings ago to replace a television which had died. I was left standing around for about 10 minutes with no members of staff asking me if I needed assistance, when I finally asked for some help it finally arrived after another 10 minute wait. When I did finally get to speak to someone they were coming out with such rubbish I gave up and left without buying anything. I'm sure it helps to sell the overpriced HDMI cables by saying the poor image quality on the display sets is down to cheap HDMI, but that line isn't going to work with everyone.

I only went there because I needed a television quickly and Richer Sounds were shut. Instead I decided it was easier to be without a television for a few days.

Violet, you're turning violet! Imagination unveils graphics-tastic hobbyist board

Dr Wadd

I'd be interested to see what the XBMC/Kodi performance while running under Android is like on this device. According to the Kodi Wiki the Android version does support MIPS, so if that works nicely that would seem the simplest way to go at the moment.

Texan parks quadcopter atop Dallas Cowboys stadium

Dr Wadd

Re: 20m max altitude?

It can fly higher than 20m. However, once a connection with the controller is lost and it enters "return to home" mode it automatically maintains an altitude of 20m until it is directly over the take-off location. In most environments that would mean it would safely clear any buildings in the way, it would certainly be perfectly fine if I were using it where I live. Of course, this does present an issue if the return journey includes a particularly large building.

eBay faces multiple probes into mega-breach

Dr Wadd

I closed my eBay account, and since they own them my Paypal account too, a few months ago due to concerns regarding their attitude to security. I'd made some changes to my account which generated a couple of e-mails to me. Both e-mails contained what eBay claimed was the IP address from which the changes were made, for security purposes. One of the e-mails had my correct IP, the other one that geolocates to somewhere in India.

I appreciate that this issue could be due to factors outside of eBay's control, but equally it could be an issue with eBay. However, I found it virtually impossible to contact anyone with sufficient information to report this potentiall issue to, and everyone I spoke to was utterly clueless with regard to basic security issues. I was even asked at one point to explain to them what an IP address was.

The combination of ignorance and brick walls was enough to convince me that eBay don't take customer-side security particularly seriously, and since I'd not used them for years I decided I'd be better off without them. Now I just have to hope that the database that was breached isn't one that contains details of ex-customers, given how shockingly poor eBay have been with regard to contact current customers I highly doubt they would have the initiative to contact ex-customers who may be affected.

Hunt's paperless future: NHS watches £60m vanish down plughole

Dr Wadd

Pharmacies are not perfectly stocked all of the time. With the paper prescription, if the first pharmacy I go to doesn't have the item in stock I can always try another a little way down the road which may. How is this going to work if prescriptions are only handled via electronic means? Am I going to be effectively tied to just a single pharmacy, to me that would more than eliminate any potential benefit of doing away with paper prescriptions.

Stone the crows, Bouncer! BT defends TV recorder upgrade DELETION snafu

Dr Wadd

Re: Typical

The best set-up I've found for my own needs is to use a TVHeadEnd server with Freeview (it also works with FreeSAT, and I believe that if you use a tuner card that accepts a CAM it can also work with Sky).

TVHeadEnd is running on an old Atom netbook I had spare with a couple of USB tuners connected. Playback on my TV is handled by a Raspberry Pi running RaspBMC. It gives me all the functionality that I would need from a commerical vendor with the flexibility of being able to customise the system as I see fit. If I want to record more channels simultaneously I can just add more tuners. Any recordings I make can be copied from TVHeadEnd and saved to my main file server. I can access the recordings from multiple devices, and I can stream the live TV it pumps out to multiple devices.

Yes, it did require a bit of effort in my part to get everything up and running, but other than not having all the channels I could get on a pay service the end result is far superior than any paid offerings out there.

Lost artworks by Andy Warhol found on 80s-era FLOPPY DISKS

Dr Wadd

Re: Not that easy

It would be perfectly simple to save these files in an non-Amiga specific format using an Amiga. I don't recally my Amiga having problems working with JPGs or PNGs. It's also fairly trivial to get the Amiga to use MS-DOS formatted floppies, so no need to worry about how you'd get the files off of the Amiga either.

It's true that it wouldn't be possible to read these discs using a standard PC floppy drive, but there are ways to connect an old Amiga floppy drive to a PC and get that to read the discs instead.

MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

Dr Wadd

I may be wrong (I'm not going to Google for confirmation since I'm at work), but I thought it there was already a US law that mandates the use of a credit card payment as an age check for adult sites. I appreciate that strictly speaking this legislation doesn't apply to the UK, but UK users would still need to sign-up with a valid credit card.

The proposals of the UK government don't seem to offer any additional protections as far as sites that operate within the law are concerned, and those that operate outside the law aren't going to be bothered by this announcement. Of course, given that the vast majority of site operators are going to be based outside the UK not only is this announcement apparently redundant, it is also entirely pointless as it can't be broadly applied.

Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Dr Wadd

Re: I had full id but I was still denied...

Another supposedly "useful" data footprint is now apparently your credit record. A while back the local council were questioning whether I was eligible for the single occupancy discount on my council tax (I am). They were arguing that they weren't sure if I was actually living at the address in question, or if anyone else was living there. There explanation for raising these questions was because they were unable to locate any recent credit activity at that address. This was for a very good reason, I'd engaged in no activity in recent years that would result in a credit check. It took a reasonably lengthy fight with the council and getting my local councillor involved to get them to back down and stop demanding "evidence" I refused to provide, primarily because, as I explained to them, it would be trivially simple to produce "evidence" that calmed their fears but did not objectively prove that I was entitled to the discount.

Mac fans: You don't need Windows to get ripped off in tech support scams

Dr Wadd

It would be rather amusing if protection.com modified their settings so the ping started to return a message informing the recipient of the call that someone was attempting to scam them.

Axe falls: Virgin Media plans to kill 600 management jobs

Dr Wadd

Re: I expect to be greeting them soon - DITTO!

It certainly made me wince when the BBC were interviewing someone in the last couple of days about the plans to sort out failing hospitals and the talking head was stating how important it was to get top level managers in place. No doubt these are going to be managers plucked from the business world with no clue about medical matters so I see them as more of a burden than a help.

Shop-a-suspect web security system: 'We've helped cops nab 100 suspects'

Dr Wadd

Google still has cached versions of the old directory listings exposed via the HTTPS SNAFU. I've not tested clicking on them from work in case they see it as a hacking attempt, but it is possible that there are still routes to this data.

The bank that likes to say... crash: TSB's online banking goes titsup on launch day

Dr Wadd

The problems with Lloyds online banking certainly aren't all resolved. Somehow they've managed to disconnect my accounts from my online banking. I can log-in to the site and change my personal details, but don't have any access to my money. This has been going on since yesterday and they've told me they don't know when it will be resolved.

Mystery of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

Dr Wadd

According to The Guardian they were given the choice of handing over the data or destroying it, and chose to go the destruction route. If, as the authorities claim, this was in the pursuit of stopping the data spreading then destruction could have been provided as the only choice.

It makes me wonder whether the UK spooks want to get their hands on this data not because they want to keep it secret, but because it contains information about foreign powers they want to get their hands on. I'm sure the US isn't entirely transparent with the UK with regard to its intelligence operations, there's a good chance that GCHQ saw this as a potentially easy route to grab some intelligence on their colleagues overseas, only for that to go SNAFU when The Guardian chose the destruction option.

PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Dr Wadd

Re: Normalization with the real world......

If that were the case we'd only be able to access pornography via WIFI at train stations as I believe those are the only branches of WH Smith that still stock pornography, they pulled it from their high-street stores many years ago (excepting magazines like FHM and Nuts, which I've always assumed were for men too cowardly to buy real porn). Of course, Smith's "think of the children move" was somewhat hypocritical as at the time at least they were one of the largest, if not the largest, distributor of pornographic material to independent newsagents.

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

Dr Wadd

The hunt starts for a new definition of "David Cameron"

Surely the obvious solution to this is to start a campaign to have the phrase "David Cameron" become slang for something utterly depraved much in the same way "Santorum" has taken on an entirely new meaning in recent years? Once Dave realises that he can't search online for his own name perhaps he'll have a bit of a think about this issue (I'm deliberately not using the word "re-think" as I see no evidence of cogent thought flowing from 10 Downing Street).

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Dr Wadd

Re: Deinterlacing

Why not leave the ripped video as interlaced and allow the playback device to deal with any deinterlacing issues? I've been ripping all my DVDs with Handbrake, for interlaced material I tell Handbrake to set the interlaced flag in the output file, RaspBMC picks that up and handles the deinterlacing for me.

Apple dangles Spangles while Dabbsy's cables rankle

Dr Wadd


At least until you dig your old Amiga out of storage to grab some 3D models out of it, only to run in to the problem that the output is configured for 75Hz and the LCD panels I have with VGA ports only support up to 60Hz, but I concede, that is a bit of an edge case.

Virgin Media slides fat 10Gbps pipes into Murdoch's BSkyB

Dr Wadd

Re: Is that core IPv6 ready?

Plusnet allow you to switch over to a fixed IP for a one-off £5 charge which I found more than reasonable.

Queen's Speech: 'Problem of matching IP addresses' to be probed

Dr Wadd

Re: Not going to happen

I've just changed ISP to Plusnet, with them there is a single one-off charge of a fiver to get a fixed IP, I was actually surprised at just how reasonable that was.

Japan promised Ultra HD TV broadcasts two years early

Dr Wadd

"Click" on BBC News were covering the latest TV developments in Japan a few weeks ago where they interviewed a chap from NHK. He stated that they weren't going to be investing at all in 4k technology and were instead going to wait and jump straight to 8k. While I appreciate things may have changed in the interim, I wouldn't be so sure that it would be NHK handling these broadcasts.

China may axe 13-year console ban, games OK for kids after all

Dr Wadd

I too am somewhat puzzled how this console "ban" operates in China, the Chinese specific version of the N64, the iQue Player, was released in China in 2003, apparently 3 years after the ban came in to force.

Crap security lands Sony £250k fine for PlayStation Network hack

Dr Wadd

There was someone from the ICO on BBC News this morning and he was asked why the fine was so relatively low. He attempted to argue that there were mitigating factors, one of which was the loss of revenue that Sony had suffered as a result of a lack of customer trust. In effect, he was claiming that the lost business was tantamount to a fine. I find that to be an absolutely ludicrous argument and it certainly wouldn't be applied to other sectors. I'm sure sales of Gary Glitter records dropped drastically following his arrest and conviction which have an impact on his earnings, I don't think anybody would even start to argue that his punishment should be more lenient because he had suffered financially as a result of his actions.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum FAILS latest radio noise rules SHOCK

Dr Wadd

Re: Music via radio.

The flip side of that was being shown once how touching a screwdriver to the right point on a BBC B's motherboard caused it to play a particular radio station from the speaker. I wish I could remember how to pull of that particular trick.

Google, Amazon, Starbucks are 'immoral' and 'ridiculous' over UK tax

Dr Wadd

Re: Ethics Morality and Law

Somewhat ironically, when attempting to click through for the PDF detailing Starbucks' ethical stance the file can't be found.

Inside the mind of a Bond supervillain: Psychotic, autistic - or neither?

Dr Wadd

Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

I was rather amused by an interview I saw with Tom Clancy not long after 9/11 where he described an attack with a passenger jet as "unimaginable". I thought somewhat odd given that he had been able to imagine it perfectly well just a few years earlier.

Ten apps to install on your Nexus 7 first

Dr Wadd

After reading this article I tried Apex Launcher, which stayed on my tablet for less than 5 minutes. It seems very flakey on the Nexus 7 with icons being incorrectly positioned and the dock disappearing every time I rotate the tablet.

Jobless yoofs! Get on your bike, er, mobe, and look for work

Dr Wadd

From my experience of Reading Borough Council I fully expect this app to increase unemployment in the area.

Scots council: 9-yr-old lunch blogger was causing 'distress and harm'

Dr Wadd

I'd probably be "distressed" too if the someone was if someone was publishing a blog with photographs proving my work wasn't up to snuff. That doesn't mean that the blog is in the wrong though.

As for the charge of misrepresentation, if there were two choices each day, unless one was something she absolutely hated then it would seem reasonable that she chose the better of the two options. Therefore, the photos potentially show the school dinners in an overly flattering light as they don't factor in the less palatable option. I suppose technically that is misrepresentation, but surely one that if anything is in the school's favour.

Ten... eight-bit classic games

Dr Wadd

Manic Miner, Jetpac and Sabre Wulf were all available for the BBC B as well, and I'd argue they were superior versions compared to the Spectrum.

Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

Dr Wadd

Re: A few things on this

Where have you got this notion that they block devices that aren't running Windows or OSX. My Ubuntu box has no trouble connecting to the net via their services, neither does my Android phone. Is this a misunderstanding on your part, or something they are rolling out incrementally that has yet to effect me?

Microsoft, Nokia, HTC fight Apple's 'App store' trademark

Dr Wadd

Tron 2.0 : Killer App

Released for the XBox in 2004, suggests that back in 2004 the publishers felt that the term "app" was sufficiently widespread to allow customers to understand the title.

Card surcharges face super-complaint

Dr Wadd

There's a simple solution to this

According to the BBC's coverage of this story, the card issues are supporting Which, not the retailers. There's a very simple solution to this, the card issuers could make it part of their T&Cs with retailers that they do not charge excessive surcharges. It's not as though they don't already impose a raft of rules and regulations, so one more isn't going to make much of a difference. This appears to be pure hypocrisy on the part of the card issuer's simply so they can look like the good guys.

AFAIK, in the US the card issuers can revoke a retailer's use of the service if they demand ID when making a purchase. A similar rule here for excessive surcharges would be the obvious solution.

Ryanair disses booking system security fears

Dr Wadd

Better than National Geographic

The National Geographic website only needs your subscription number in order to access your account settings. This would be the account number that is printed on the shipping label of every issue I receive. Granted, the scope for mischief is somewhat smaller, but it would appear that you can do things like change the delivery address this way.

I contacted their customer support to express my concerns only to receive a rather generic response that they would take the comments in to consideration. In comparison Ryanair's security methods seem positively robust.

UK tech retailers are rubbish

Dr Wadd

Comet's Diamond in the Rough

While I normally find this sort of retailer absolutely terrible, I did have a good experience buying a HD television from Comet a couple of years ago. I went in with a stack of questions that the sales assistant couldn't actually answer, but rather than risk losing a sale he actually got on the phone to Samsung to find out the answers. It was quite a revelation, but sadly it has only happened the once.

As for televisions configured to present them in an unfavourable light, when I was visiting various shops looking for that television I checked to see what sort of connections the demo model was using. If the set wasn't being displayed using appropriate connections I asked them to connect something up to it using HDMI. Some shops would help, some didn't want to know. The latter would lose the sale there and then. If they aren't prepared to help the customer then the simple answer is they don't get my money.


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