* Posts by kiwi8mail

25 posts • joined 28 Jan 2011

Dick Smith database, web store sold to Kogan


An odd way to go about things...

I had the same experience of Phil Kingston - users wanting to opt out need to enter information into four separate fields on four separate screens - in sequence: first name, last name, email address, and confirm email address.

It seemed needlessly complicated when a single personalised opt-out link could have been provided in the email body. The fact that they make opting-out so unnecessarily long-winded intrigues me.

2013: A Space Odyssey - a cosmological review of the year


Umm, I don't know how you define the "first bona-fide British astronaut in space", but surely this should be Helen Sharman in 1991 - 22 years ago...

Amazon boss salvages Apollo engines from watery grave


Re: "Most Powerful"

Yes, but it has always been debatable whether the RD-170 is a single engine, or in fact four separate ones...

HYPERSONIC METEOR smashes into Russia, injuring hundreds


"Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactic upsets...

... Only Dr Hans Zarkov, formerly at NASA, has provided any explanation... This morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm."

New Zealand court hands out second peppercorn downloading penalty


Re: Let me get this straight

As a general principle, it is not unknown for tax departments in various countries to find such a ratio acceptable. It seems stupid until you factor in assumptions about the deterrent effects of enforcement, and a calculation done on this basis may show it to be logical form of expenditure. I’m not defending such a tactic of course, and this story doesn’t relate to general taxation in any case. But they may have decided that deterrence is the best policy.

I am incidentally using an installation of Ubuntu that came with a bittorrent client pre-installed, so I’m automatically a suspect… Having said that, I have used it for legitimate purposes – and that does literally include downloading Linux disk images!

Microsoft can't even shift Windows 8 slabs in the middle of a tablet frenzy


Re: Telling the customer what they really want...

I'd hate to be accused of invoking Godwin's law or anything... but was this the same Henry Ford who sympathized with Hitler, and who was a recipant of Nazi Germany's Grand Cross of the German Eagle?

But apart from that, no, I can't abide Windows 8 myself...

Microsoft 'touches 16k shop workers' to flog Windows 8 hard


Fear is one solution...

I once had an hour free while passing through central Birmingham, and was browsing in the local PC World. Not that I buy there, I was just checking out the laptop market. It was around the time of the release of Vista.

An assistant made a half-hearted effort to sell me something, and I made a half-hearted effort to sound interested. But then I told them that yes, the laptops were all very nice, but I had heard terrible things about Vista, and I mused it would be ideal if they could instead sell laptops with no operating system on them at all.

I knew it was pointless to say such a thing, although I wasn’t deliberately trying to waste their time – I do make genuine purchases (three separate computers since then) from manufacturers who don’t bundle Windows.

“No, we can’t do that,” replied the assistant. “That would be ILLEGAL.”

It seemed the assistant was accidentally mixing up the idea of civil legal liability (in terms of the agreements that manufacturers have with Microsoft), with that of criminal liability. But as a sales tactic, it seems solid gold…

ESA, NASA agree on Orion module supply


Re: Tell me something

Yes and no. The Saturn 5 had a long and complicated development history, commencing in the late 1950's. The F-1 is important because it was a milestone in rocket engine development. The engine could have been used on any design of moon rocket, but without it (or an equivalent), the moon would not have been reached.

The point is that that work was already well underway prior to Kennedy’s speech.


Re: Tell me something

The "8 years" is a little misleading. By the time of Kennedy's speech, the Saturn 5 rocket had already been designed. The F-1 rocket that powered it had had its first test back in 1959.

Stallman: Ubuntu spyware makes it JUST AS BAD as Windows


Is the Amazon search feature now been disabled by default?

I did a fresh install of Ubuntu about a week ago, and didn't see any sign of this Amazon search functionality. The suggested method of disabling it gave a message that seem to suggest the component wasn't installed.

Is it because I have switched to the Gnome desktop that this functionality is missing?

Anyone else experience this?

Apple vs Amazon in ereader format smackdown


Not really a format war...

The Betamax/VHS format war comparison is a bit over the top isn't it?

The users who really care can remove the Kindle DRM, download Calibre for free, and convert books between epub and mobi in about 30 seconds.

I presume it won't take too long before the same thing is also possible with KF8.

What should a sci-fi spaceship REALLY look like?


Gravity in the podbay

Don't know about your other points, but they never pretended there was gravity in the podbay - if you look closely, you can see Velcro on the floor

Boffins fear killer gamma death blasts from space


Galactic reboot

Both Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clarke have speculated that Gamma-ray bursts are the reason there are no widespread galactic civilisations.

So, global warming, world economic collapse, and now Gamma-ray bursts to worry about…

Man builds gadget to silence annoying TV pundits


Yeah, that's right...

And I think it was the guy that John Hurt plays in the "Contact" movie - although this particular bit of background didn't make the movie


Carl Sagan had this idea in the novel "Contact"

From memory, he has some character making millions from a device that detects any preaching or religious reference on TV and censors them in some way - I think it was called "Preach-Nix".

Sagan was reacting I think to the evangelical US preachers of the 80's, which of course was when the novel was published.

Ten... Desktop USB 3.0 HDDs


Comes in both variants

I believe this model comes in both variants - and in the USB 2.0 model, the drive stand is removable and a USB 3.0 interface-stand can be installed.

Just saying this to prevent the threatened violence...

Can you handle LOHAN's substantial globes?


A horizontal launch?

Would it be possible to have a horizontal launch, with the spaceplane having crude control surfaces and guidance that can orientate it into a vertical climb within a few seconds of launch?


A shorter launch boom and...

... some sort of spirit level-type device (mercury switch?) on the launch arm.

The launch arm will presumably see-saw around, and the exact moment of ignition should be set to only happen at an instant when the launchpad is tilting out from the centre (i.e not towards the balloon.

Samsung pips rivals with 1TB internal 2.5-inch drive



Yes, but their staff know about two million times more about computers than the staff at PC World!


Why do they charge more for an external drive?

But the point my posting was making was that it is actually more economic to do the opposite of what you suggest - if you want a replacement laptop drive, its far cheaper (in Malpins at least) to buy an external drive and crack open the case, than it is to buy a designated internal laptop drive.

The only thing I can think of is economies of scale - the manufacturers of external drives can buy these components in huge numbers, rather than individual people buying single internal drives at a time.


Odd price differential between internal and external drives

Is there a mechanical difference between a drive intended to be sold as an external drive, and one designed to be installed into a laptop?

In some cases its seems not – for example, last month I bought a 640GB Seagate external drive, cracked open the case, cloned my laptop Ubuntu install onto it, and slotted it into my laptop – it worked fine.

But can someone tell me why for the same price of that 640GB external drive, the biggest internal laptop drive I could get from Maplin was a 120GB drive?

Whitehall to puff punters: 'Hide your fags'


Do you think it’s an accident that tobacco manufacturers love these displays?

I’m detecting a certain naivety in the slightly snarky tone of the original news item, and in the comments of many people responding on it.

These displays are one of the few ways that tobacco manufacturers can work to recruit new younger smokers. And they know from their market research that it works.

They are there to make money off you, and don’t care it kills you. Let me reiterate that point – they do NOT CARE if their product kills you. But they do care about recruiting the next generation of customers…

IBM floats Microsoft Office web challenger


I stopped reading at the word "Lotus"

As a former victim of a workplace where Lotus Notes was used, I can personally testify to how much anything with a “Lotus-“ prefix raises my blood pressure.

Aren’t they aware how much that word is poison to many people out there?!

Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle


Actually the chainsaw story was from New Zealand

Actually the chainsaw being allowed on a plane story was from New Zealand:


On one hand, as a kiwi I should perhaps be embarrassed by it happening. On the other hand, it's sort of good to know that because NZ is relatively free of the fear of terrorism, the passenger was allowed to board...


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