* Posts by The Grinning Duck

44 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Mar 2011

Sane people, I BEG you: Stop the software defined moronocalypse

The Grinning Duck

Re: The 80% of us who think they are "better than average" drivers

It's not the formal test that's the problem, people tend to get it right when they know they're being watched. It's the informal one, otherwise known as the real world (that you clearly cocked up, hence the 'too many tickets' part), where the laziness, bravado, stupidity, whatever creeps in.

More chance you came a cropper on a UK road than bought a Chromebook this year

The Grinning Duck

Re: Another Gullible Twat Dribbles into Pint (no beard, see)

Blimey. Who pissed on your chips?

If I'd have known buying a cheap little laptop would nark you off so much I'd have bought three of them.

What happened, buddy, did Google steal your girlfriend or something?

The Grinning Duck

Another Gullible Twat Dribbles into Pint (no beard, see)

I bought one (the Samsung Series 3). And I think it's bloody brilliant.

It's perfect for what I'm doing right now, which is sitting in a pub writing.

It's light (I think I've had heavier phones in my time), silent, boots in seconds, and is just a great no fuss device.

It's not a proper laptop, but I wasn't looking for a proper laptop, I was looking for something ultra portable that I could comfortably write on. The rest of the stuff that it can do (which is an ever growing list - roll on Wacom Tablet support) is just an added bonus. At £200, it's hands down the best value techy thing I've bought in ages.

It also works perfectly well tethered to my 3G phone, no 4G whizz-bangery required. I too use mine on train journeys, it doesn't shit the bed when the signal flips in and out; it seamlessly swaps between saving to the cloud and local storage as and when the signal is present.

If purchasing a device that not only meets but surpasses my requirements, costs bugger all money, and is an all round pleasure to use makes me gullible then... No wait, it doesn't make me gullible, does it?


Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise

The Grinning Duck

@Don Jefe's Unraveled Knickers

(That title is way weirder than I thought it would be)

Jolly nice and thoroughly civilised apology accepted.

Though, of course, you didn't call me an idiot. @ItsNotMe took the brunt of that outburst, and well, ItsNotMe, ummm, is not me (this is getting very complicated, very quickly).

Anyhoo. Glad we're all happy friends again, and hopefully @ItsNotMe will join us in a conciliatory pint while we work on the real issue. Which, if I've understood my own post correctly, is possibly Justin Beiber.

The Grinning Duck

@Don Jefe - Unravel thy knickers, please.


Yes, yes, it's individuals that gather under banners and do 'orrible things to other individuals gathered under different (presumably less fancy) banners. Same old in-group/out-group gubbins and silly that's been going on since banners were first invented. And your point is?

Well, your point appears to be that some banners are in no way to blame for anything, and should be left alone. Not really how it works, though, is it? People, as you pointed out do gather under banners. It's human nature. I do, and so do you. I'm guessing you'd like to think you don't, but you do. You are showing every sign of doing so in what you're writing here. There's ostensibly nothing wrong with banners. I like heavy metal music, they like Justin Beiber. Oh, they're so silly. But no harm, no foul, I've got a bunch of people with whom it's really easy to start a conversation, and so do they. And we can all harmlessly roll our eyes at each other, all safe in the knowledge that the other group has it wrong. Yes, it's daft, but it appears to be an inescapable part of human nature; we will seek and find our in-group, and by definition be less cool and groovy to our out-group.

The problem isn't that we gather under banners per se; it's that some banners are overwhelmingly more problematic than others when it comes to the treatment of the out-group. You can write a big list of the banners which are really, really harmful. You'd have Nationalism on there, Race would probably have to make an appearance, as would Sexuality and possibly Football. But make no fucking mistake (ahem), Religion would be on there too.

The way civilisation copes with all these potentially harmful banners is to attempt to domesticate them, calm them down, blur the boundaries and have as many banners as possible so that an individual has numerous banners under which to gather, and thus numerous out-groups to scowl at. The more banners you're under, the more likely it is that someone in one of your out-groups is also in one of your in-groups. It's blurry, messy, confusing, and as a result people are less likely to stab each other in the face. Groovy.

Religion, to its (dis)credit has the extra-special sauce of offering extra-special in-group benefits even after death, and extra-nasty warrants against the out-group(s). It also has a history of fighting tooth and nail against letting its followers gather under too many banners. Religion, to put it bluntly, has not enjoyed the process of being civilised.

I'm not suggesting that religion is the biggest problem, but it is a problem. What individuals do is, I agree, their responsibility. But the idea that an individual doing something shitty like flying a plane into a building hasn't been dramatically influenced by religion is a little myopic. Is that individual still responsible? Yes. Should the religion also shoulder some responsibility? Most assuredly Yes. Were there a bunch of other reasons like economics and politics? Yes. Is it all sorts of complicated? Well, yeah.

You can call people short sighted idiots all you like. You can pretend that every man is an island, and you can keep glibly pointing to free will as if it were some magic shield warding off all influence. You can, hilariously enough, attempt to say that calling out the problems religion has caused is admitting that god is real. You can, apparently do this without seeing that ideas do matter, do have power, and can incite all sorts of shit without actually being correct.

You are free to do all of that. But, naturally enough, other people can look at what you've written and see it as obscurantism. I certainly did.

But hey, at least I didn't call you a fucking idiot, eh?

Internet is a tool of Satan that destroys belief, study claims

The Grinning Duck

Outstanding Work, El Reg. Outstanding.

The 'That's me in the chatroom...' sub-heading for some reason had me giggling like a giddy squirrel.

When one of my young whipper-snapper co-workers asked why I was unceremoniously spilling tea everywhere I showed her the article, and was met with a blank; "I don't get it."

The young lass had no idea what either REM or a Chatroom were.

So, not only is the internet killing religion, it's also showing signs of evolution before our very eyes.

The whole thing has amused me so much that I can, for the moment at least, manage to not be too bothered by the fact that I appear to be a doddery old git at the ripe old age of 35.

Ubuntu unleashes dual boot tool for Android mobes'n'slabs

The Grinning Duck

Re: Any chance they can...

Thanks, folks.

I've put that there Crouton on my Samsung, and so far so spiffy.

Easy to do, too, even a techtard like me managed to follow the instructions without anything falling off, despite being fuelled up on Winter Solstice Merry Juice at the time.

The Grinning Duck

Any chance they can...

...do the same thing for my Chromebook?

It would, on occasion, be useful.

Not, of course, that I regret purchasing a device based primarily on the fact that the keys are all in lower case...

Not at all. Not in the slightest...

But seriously, the Chromebook just what I need 90% of the time, and then utterly useless for the remaining 10%, which I knew in advance, but dual boot would solve that issue neatly.

The Big Debate: OK gloomsters, how can the music biz be FIXED?

The Grinning Duck

Silly question, but...

What was wrong with allofmp3.com? Aside from the obvious, of course.

Strikes me as being a pretty straight forward solution to have all the labels (big, small, eeeevil and cuddly) get together and provide a library for which access can be licenced to new middle men who put their own front end on it and sell music at a sensible price. Surely then everyone is happy? People can go to their favourite front end (like when we all used to have our favourite record shop), and the front ends would live or die based on their ability to attract custom, marketing malarkey, etc. The old model in shiny (but cheaper) digital clothing.

Personally, I still spend a colossal amount of money on music and all I want is the following three things:

1) To spend A LOT less on a digital album than a physical one.

2) To only have to go to one place to get everything.

3) To have a wide choice of options as to where that one place is.

After all these years, my ghast is flabbered that this still doesn't exist. Perhaps there is a perfectly rational reason why I can't have what I want, but I'll be buggered if I can figure out what it is. Unless the reason is that idiots like me still spend colossal amounts of money on music while we're waiting for a sensible solution – in which case I'll be quiet.

Pirate Bay struggling to get on feet after DDoS to the knee

The Grinning Duck
Paris Hilton

I'm confused

How do Anonymous know Anonymous didn't do it? The more I think about that, the more my head hurts.

The true, tragic cost of British wind power

The Grinning Duck
Thumb Down

Re: Reality Check

The 5% VAT rate on gas and electricity is qualified. ‘Qualified use’ is the domestic use of energy and energy used by charities for non business purposes. Everyone else pays the full-fat standard rate, and this 'everyone else' (businesses, industry, etc) make up just over 80% of total UK demand. So, only 20% of the total qualifies, and it qualifies regardless of generation method. I'm not sure where this Fossil Fuel VAT subsidy stuff is coming from, but I suspect it's someone's arse.

Man surfs slopes at night in LED suit

The Grinning Duck
Thumb Up

That's all sorts of pretty

Every winter we film a (skate)boarding line or two in the dark with either LEDs or, more amusingly, fire on the boards or spots. It always looks cool, but now methinks this year we may have to try a little harder.

Well done, those men, well done. Colour me inspired.

Why I'd pay Apple more to give iPad factory workers a break

The Grinning Duck

I don't see why not, Chad.

Currently, Foxconn are contractually obliged by Apple to meet certain workplace conditions, which, ostensibly at least, they seem happy enough to comply with so there's no reason why employee pay can't be among those obligations. What are Foxconn going to do, tell them to shove the order up their arse? I think not.

As you pointed out, Apple do seem to get an unhealthy share of the blame, partly due to them being an easy target for internet-shouty-man (they're popular and successful, which he, well, isn't) but also because the brand image they've spent ungodly amounts of time and money buffing to a wallet emptying perfect sheen demands that they be cool, or suffer under the label of duplicity. Sweatshops and worker exploitation just aren't cool any more (even if the exploitation is allegedly mitigated by relative local conditions).

The problem with any discussion about 'ethical capitalism' is that it's always met with a sort of weary cynicism that says there's no point in even thinking about making things better because the problem is too big, the players too powerful, and the home-truths a little too uncomfortable. It's a fair enough argument; you can't change things overnight. But you can make small incremental steps in the right direction. An organisation like Apple has the money, influence and marketing talent to not only 'do the right thing' but also loudly point out that they're 'doing the right thing' and make money off that fact.

Will Apple 'do the right thing'? Possibly not. But there's certainly no harm in suggesting that they do.

The Grinning Duck

I see what you're saying, but...

Isn't that just making a virtue out of being a little bit less shitty than others? It's not virtuous; it's still shitty. The fact that Apple make their suppliers wade through shit that's only waist high as opposed to chin high doesn't alter the fact that everyone is still covered in shit.

I've no real idea how much margin Apple makes, but I am willing to bet that kicking 10% of that back down the chain would make a monumental difference to people's lives. But that's not what it's about is it?

And then we're surprised when people set up camp outside St. Paul's.

Hackers crack PlayStation 3 hardware, again

The Grinning Duck
Paris Hilton

Stupid question, but I'm a bit confused.

If you don't connect your console to the internet, and so never download system updates, does this stop you from installing games to your HDD, or does the required update come on the newer game disks? Is this the same with the xbox360?

I always assumed (because it rather annoyingly never actually tells me what the update is doing) that the updates were either non essential GUI tweaks or patches related to online play for games. I never even considered the anti-piracy angle. The reason I ask is that I've just bought a second 360 to put in the spare room to play games which, by virtue of breaking a 'no visible cables in the living room' rule, annoy the hell out of the other half, namely driving games that I use a wheel with. I had (and have) no intention of wiring that room, or console to the network but not being able to install games to the HDD would be most annoying as the 'new' console is a second hand Elite which makes more noise than is acceptable in polite society when running games from the DVD.

Neil Armstrong: US space program 'embarrassing'

The Grinning Duck

Why can't we just have a global version?

Share the cost, experience, technology, etc between everyone who wants to play?

A GASA, if you will.

I mean, frankly, the last thing we need in space are nations.

Online gamers strike major blow in battle against AIDS

The Grinning Duck

You automatically unlock the Boffin Pro perk, and Labcoat cammo.

Facebook music dashboard: Revenue at last?

The Grinning Duck
Thumb Up

…some large silver Rizla, and a £10 Facebook top-up, please.

Hell yes, I’d buy into this in a flash. Facebook is now the number one place I learn about new bands, with a lot of them offering free albums in the crush to get noticed.

If Facebook could set up a pay-as-you go style payment system similar to mobile phone top-ups, and charge a super-low price to add an album to your stream, I think they’d be onto a winner. They could even be crafty like Microsoft and invent their own currency to obscure how much you’re paying (I certainly rarely bother to work out how much buying a dancing monkey for my xbox avatar really costs in real money, and as a result impulse buying is more frequent – look at the monkey dance!).

Of course, they’d have to not take the piss on the price, I’d say 50p to add an album is about as high as they could go without causing people to question the value (since you’re not downloading anything), and if enough went to the bands this would be a godsend to the unsigned. The question, as always, is whether the established labels would go for it.

Does Cameron dare ditch poor-bashing green energy?

The Grinning Duck


"We need *local, stable and predictable* energy sources to secure our long-term energy supply, independently of whether we're producing too much CO2"

Which is more or less What Mr Orlowski said, but I don't think people are getting what makes the energy price move.

It’s high time the Reg wrote an article about how the energy market in the UK actually functions, because until people understand that (and it is abundantly clear that they do not), you’re just going to get the same shit posted after every article.

Alternatively, as I understand it, you guys have a line to Optimus Prime, so you could give him a call and ask him how to make Energon Cubes. So as to keep the “What we need is storage” types happy.

Either, or.

Why modern music sounds rubbish

The Grinning Duck

If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Seriously though, I think the trend is already shifting. My main music of choice is technical metal, and the production values have gone through the roof over the last 10 or so years. Compare Gojira’s ‘The Way of All Flesh’ to Meshuggah’s ‘Destroy, Erase, Improve’ for a prime example of that. What I don’t quite get is where/when the sound is getting mushed. The CD of Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ I bought in the early 90s seems to have way better production value that the copy I bought a couple of years ago (someone spilt wine on the inlay of my original, I’m not normally that anal but this is Slayer). That just makes no sense to me.

NASA releases stunning new moon-landing snaps

The Grinning Duck

Why I Love NASA

Timing. It’s all about the timing. They release these images just as that new documentary about Apollo 18 comes out and just prior to the 9/11 anniversary. I think they’re about to launch a Mars mission powered entirely by the impending conspiracy nut hot air outburst.

That’s some lateral thinking there, NASA, well done chaps.

Google in freetard-friendly copyright infringement update

The Grinning Duck
Paris Hilton

Guns don’t kill people; Search Engines do?

I just did a test, based on three albums I’ve recently acquired (all legally and above board, mind, cos I’m cool like that).

The test was quite simple:

test1: Put the band name into Google and see what it spits out.

test2: Put the band name plus the word ‘Download’ into Google and see what it spits out.

test3: Put the band name plus the word ‘Torrent’ into Google and see what it spits out.

To mimic general interweb use, I only looked at the results on page 1.

The results were thus:

Band 1 – Red Seas Fire (Brand Spanking New UK tech metal – free EP released yesterday)

Test 1 – Top three results were their myspace page, their own website and their facebook page, followed by some YouTube clips and some blog entries.

Test2 – All results were from blogs announcing the EP download, with the last result on page 1 being their facebook page. Their actual website (where you can download the EP for free) wasn’t listed.

Test3 – Top result was their web site, then their myspace page followed by a slew of torrent sites (none of which had a live torrent)

Band 2 – Atari Teenage Riot (Digital Hardcore types who have just released a new album after a decade of not releasing new albums)

Test1 – Official site; Wikipedia page; myspace page; youtube clips; label’s site, last.fm page; facebook and some blogs

Test 2 – soundcloud page; blogs; itunes page, and then the pirate bay, rapidshare and a bunch of other dubious looking places offering free downloads

Test3 – Every torrent site I’ve heard of plus some I haven’t, all offering what looked like live torrents

Band 3 – Ellie Goulding (Non-threatening pop songstress for whom I have a hitherto unexplained sonic soft-spot)

Test1 – Official site; Wikipedia page; myspace page; youtube clips; last.fm page; fan sites, then stories from the Daily Mail, BBC and the Sun.

Test2 – Official site; Wikipedia page; a shady looking site called mp3raid.com; YouTube Clips; iTunes page; some blogs and the last result was the Pirate Bay with what looked like a live torrent

Test3 - Every torrent site I’ve heard of plus some more I haven’t, all offering what looked like live torrents.

I don’t really see what Google are doing wrong here; I search for the band and I get legitimate links to the band. I search for torrents and I get links to torrents. If I search for downloads, I get a mixed bag, some legit, some shady. Now, I must admit that I’m one of those old-skool crazies who still orders CDs so I’m not up to speed with all of the legal digital options, but outside of iTunes (which was listed) what else is there? Be fair to Google, it is quite hard for them to display results for sites which don’t exist.

Beyonce's belly: Most important thing ever, on Twitter

The Grinning Duck

Re: Re: Who?

She and Mr Z are married. No idea if she took his name, but rather unsurprisingly his real name isn't Jay Z, it's Shawn Carter.

Not at all ashamed to know that, I met Jay Z once and he's a really nice bloke. For saying he's a giga-bazzilionair and hip-hop royalty, he's rather quiet and down to earth. Which is nice.

Free Ride: Disney, Fela Kuti and Google's war on copyright

The Grinning Duck

I’m too old for this shit. And they’re doing it wrong.

All this chin scratching and looking at who’s screwing who is all fine and well, and does indeed make for interesting reading, but why is it these articles never seem to ask the people doing the pirating why they’re doing it? It’s not that hard to do. When you do look at the reasons they give, the issue suddenly, and rather dramatically, widens way beyond ‘freetards’ and ‘evil’ record labels.

When I was sixteen, I had a part time job and two passions; skateboarding and music. All of my money went on those two things. All of it. It was the mid 90’s, the music scene was vibrant and exciting, it never rained and Wagon Wheels were fucking massive (easily the size of your face). Life was awesome. Skateboarding has always had a close link with music, and my peers and I lived and breathed both, they were simply all that mattered, as far as I remember there were only two shops in town; the skate shop and the independent music shop. Fast forward sixteen years to the present day and not much has changed for me. Well, I earn a lot more, and I no longer have to pay for the skateboards, but the music scene is still vibrant and exiting (if you know where to look) and I still spend a lot of money on music. Wagon Wheels are smaller (or maybe my face is bigger), but life’s still awesome. But the kids at the skatepark, the little versions of me? Well something’s happened there. They’re skint, they’re stressed and culturally speaking, they’re utterly detached.

That part time job I had at sixteen is no longer held by a teenage skater, it’s held by a twenty-something who has a degree. Where I used to go to two or three gigs a month at a fiver a show, the young ‘uns can only tag along if us older guys pay the £15+ for their ticket (and go through mindboggling hoops to persuade the doorstaff that they really are 18, honest). Where we used to sit at the skatepark talking about music, girls and well, just music and girls really, the kids are worrying about getting shanked on the way home and whether or not getting a C in GCSE Maths means they’ll have to join the army. But the kids do listen to a lot of music, almost all of which they get from torrents. They’re not making a statement by using torrents, they’re not making a stand for freedom of information; they’ve got other shit to worry about. They don’t pirate the odd track here and there, simply put, the torrent sites are where they get music from.

Ok, they’re skint, but on top of that, they don’t care about bands. Scenes, a bit, but not individual bands. Labels only seem to focus on a band for one album, two at a push, before moving onto someone else. Even the indies are guilty of this now. How do they expect kids to develop an attachment to a band if they’re only around for 5minutes? It’s that attachment that will make them spend the little they do have. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been driving a van full of skaters to a park, plugged one of the young ‘uns phones into the stereo, heard something cool, asked them who it is only to be met with the reply; “Dunno, I just downloaded it last night, I’ll facebook you the link later” It’s not that they don’t like the music; they love it, it’s just that the band is bizarrely no longer important, to them it’s simply a cool sounding noise that will be on their phone for a week until it’s replaced by something else. If I try and suggest they’re potentially damaging the artist, they don’t care. There’s nothing mean or callous in their reaction, it just simply doesn’t register as a valid point to them; they weren’t expecting that band to be there next week, so why would they worry? That’s a part of what I mean when I say they’re culturally detached, and rather than rectify this, the ‘culture industry’ seems hell bent on exasperating the issue by being even more flippant with bands than the kids are. If that were possible. And it’s the kids the industry needs to impress, I mean, if you’re 30 and torrenting music, that’s not lost sales, the industry was never going to make any money out of you, but if you’re 16 and doing it? Well, that does mean lost sales because it’s the habits and traits you pick up in your teens that drive your spending when you do eventually have disposable income.

We can sit here all we want and argue the toss over the rights and wrongs of piracy and copyright laws, but unless they find a way to really engage the kids, long term, the industry will remain spectacularly fucked. While I think that’s a great shame, and the labels are partly to blame, the issue is way, way deeper than IP and copyrights.

Vandal posts official's nude pic to protest cell shutdown

The Grinning Duck

Sir, I take my hat (and only my hat) off to you.

I think you're safe mate. Not even Anonymous would fuck with a bloke with the, umm, balls to wield a light sabre sans knacker protection. Screw anonymous, remind me not to piss you off.

Apple after Steve Jobs is still Steve Jobs' Apple

The Grinning Duck

Money Ferrets

I just read that under Mr Jobs’ stewardship, the Apple share price rose by 6000%. Which is nice. Assuming the new guy doesn’t have the same zingy x-factor that attracts those emotional investor types and keeps the share price climbing like a ferret up a trouser leg, who’s going to be buying into Apple now? That Apple don’t pay dividends doesn’t matter so much if you can more or less guarantee that your investment will be worth a metric fucktonne more next week than last, but now? I guess we’re about to find out what people buy into, the man or the (shiny shiny) machines. Interesting times.

'Leccy price hike: Greens to blame as well as energy biz

The Grinning Duck

Not only, but also

Demand profiling is a pain in the arse as it is, but stick a solar panel or wind turbine on the site and the grid demand becomes as unpredictable as, well, as the weather. Demand gets guessed up, which puts more risk on the supplier, which is promptly charged to Jonny Customer. I’d say the whole thing is a massive cluster-fuck waiting to happen, but that would be cynical of me.

Lara Croft returns in next-gen Tomb Raider title

The Grinning Duck


How much stuff has already crashed on that beach? I swear, if this game involves shooting Polar Bears, I'll be annoyed.

I will, of course be getting it regardless. Tomb Raider games are like Metallica albums; once you've started by buying the first one, you're compelled to buy them all, even if it's St Anger or Legend.

Wind power: Even worse than you thought

The Grinning Duck

In one ear, out the other.

It’s a noble effort, mate, but I think you’re fighting an uphill battle. When it comes to energy, people just want to hear that renewables will fix everything, anything else is anathema, and they certainly don’t want to have even a cursory glance at how the industry actually works. When it comes to the report that this article is based on, anyone with an internet connection who can build a (very) basic spreadsheet can verify the results. Anyone. But very few will. Even large businesses don’t really look at what’s going on; when CRC kicked off, I had clients who owned large retail chains and, quite spectacularly, let each individual store manage their energy (literally each site was choosing their own supplier(s), and keeping bills in a filing cabinet somewhere – if they kept them). I regularly meet clients who come in with just a vague idea that they want ‘green’ energy, but no idea what that means or really why they want it other than having the notion that it’d be good for corporate social responsibility. More often than not they’re looking to ‘go green’ because some renewable evangelist has worked his/her way to being influential just by virtue of being the only person in the company who even pretends to be interested in energy. It’s depressing, really, but it keeps me in a job, I guess.

Having said that, you could maybe calm down on your rational, knowledgeable posts; people might learn something and I don’t want to have to go out and get a real job just yet…

The Grinning Duck

Page 6, actually.

Eeer, are we reading the same report? It clearly states that there is unseen or ‘invisible’ generation going on (non metered). It further states that about 50% of industrial generation is not seen by National Grid. There’s no reason to assume that the unseen generation is somehow more efficient than the seen (metered) generation though, is there? Fair’s fair, it’s really rather difficult to perform analysis on data that doesn’t exist.

But yes, there is mention of non metered generation in the report. I mean, you have actually read the report, haven’t you?

The Grinning Duck

Not that odd

The reason for the date range is down to what Elexon have published. The historic data starts in Nov 08 and ends in Dec 10. Either way, Average outputs from the report:

2008 (Nov & Dec only) = 31.72%

2009 = 27.18%

2010 = 21.14%

To be fair, all the data are available from the Elexon Exchange website (it’s in the Operational Data section), and registration is free so you can check yourself if you want, they’ve not done anything fancy.

The Grinning Duck

Easy, tiger.

Well, I’ve been working in the energy game for the last decade. I call it ‘leccy. Or Electrickery. Or Go-Go-Juice, or just Juice if I’m in a rush. Sometimes it even gets labelled ‘The Crackle Magic’ if the previous evening was more beer fuelled than usual. Electricity? Power? We care not for such trifling terms, I mean this game can be dull enough at the best of times; you have to lighten it up (zing!)

Client: So, what does this forecast look like without nuclear?

Me: It doesn’t look like anything; I would have been beaten to death attempting to circumnavigate a fuel poverty riot on the way to your office... Ooh, are those chocolate biscuits..?

Teens who listen to music a lot are at high risk of depression

The Grinning Duck

Utter piffle

I grew up (well, I got older) listening to music pretty much all the time. I still listen to music pretty much all the time. I’m listening to it right now, in fact. All things considered, I’m a pretty happy, chirpy chappy. I also listen to music while reading, in fact I like to find the best mix of music to go with certain authors: Mars Volta and Between the Buried and Me go very nicely with the Dave Eggers and James Freys of the world, and Isis and Mouth of the Architect compliment Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds rather nicely.

Maybe I have a special kind of depression that presents itself as, well, not being depressed? Who knows? *Cue suspenseful music…*

Firefox 'Do Not Track' header wins first convert

The Grinning Duck
Dead Vulture

To Jake (@Jake just sounds a bit uncivilised)

All fine points, but the main one I can’t get past is that by blocking ads on this site you’re effectively saying that the content is worth nothing. Which begs the question of why you come to it. Do you see what I mean?

Presumably the nice people here at The Register get paid for their work, and since I don’t pay any money to read it, the money must be coming from the ads. So, when viewing a site I’ll make a value judgement along the lines of, “is the content worth the annoyance of any ads present.” For this site, the answer is yes, and for others the answer is no, and I don’t go back to them. You seem to be saying the content isn’t worth the annoyance of the ads, but you want it anyway; for nothing. You’ve valued the content at nothing. I mean it’s not stealing, but it is a bit cheeky, no? If *everyone* blocked the ads, there would be no funding and therefore no site to block and no tech-joy funnies for us to read.

The alternative to ads is a paywall on every site. Now, I’m certainly no expert in online journalism, but running it though my brainmeats I come to the conclusion that this would either make online information prohibitively expensive for a huge slice of society or dramatically reduce the breadth of content available. Probably a bit of both, but I’m certainly open to a more informed opinion from someone who knows about these things.

That said, since I had to look up what ‘IMNECTHO’ meant, I’m guessing this isn’t going anywhere, is it? Ah well.

The Grinning Duck

Stuff. And Things. Some of it shiny.

I'm going to have to go ahead and agree with Mr Dee here.

If I'm getting something for nowt, as I am on this website, I can't say I care much if there's ads on the page, so long as they're displayed in a useful manner. If the site's ads are obtrusive to the point where I can't easily get to the info I'm after without having some sort of fit, well, tab closed; no future clicky from me. It seems to me that the majority of sites have got this into their heads too, it's quite rare for me to come across a badly configured site these days. Perhaps I don't spend enough time in the darker pits of the internets?

Do ads work? Well, for me, idiotic schleb that I am, yes, sometimes they do. For casual purchases like CDs and videogames I'd say most of my purchases were initiated by adverts. I no longer buy magazines on those subjects so every now and again I'll happen across an ad that tells me a game or album I'd heard about a couple of months ago (via some form of advertisement) is now out, so then it's off to youtube for a sample, then down the shops for a purchase if I want it. It's a similar story when shit breaks in the flat. Sure, I could fix it myself, I'm not entirely useless, but there are people out there that do it for a living who are presumably a bit better at it than me and require people like me to not have a pop at it themselves so they can afford to eat. Since I don't keep a store of their info in my head at all times, I rely on their advertisements to tell me who they are. It's hardly the most evil of evils. As for ads for stuff I don't need or want? Well, I just ignore them.

So yes, ads on sites; get the layout right and most sane people are content, get it wrong and no sane person is coming back to your epilepsy inducing marketing disco.

Australians can’t read or count

The Grinning Duck

Not Nececelery

Well, Mr Bates, I’d go a little easier on you than the anonymous and the anomalous. I use math every day at work, some of it simple, some of it quite complicated and some somewhere in the middle. All of it however, is assisted by some form of computer because time, according to the boss, is money. And we listen to him because he pays for the sweeties. As such, at least once a year I find myself utterly stuck when confronted with a mathematical problem to which I really should know the solution but with no mathtard electronic trickery at hand to help. Having become institutionalised, my math-brain just sits there whirring along (possibly wondering which combination of goods on the shelf will initiate the correct macro), merrily not giving shit about how much embarrassment it’s causing the rest of me. It’s times like these that alert me to the fact that I need to spend an evening brushing up on the basics, which I do and all is well for another year. So no, mental-math-fails don’t automatically make you stupid, you’re probably just falling victim to relying on computer assistance a little too much. Now, not doing something about the over reliance once alerted to it, well, that’s possibly open to conjecture.

Arkansas governor spanks arse cleavage

The Grinning Duck

Persecution, this is

Won't somebody think of the skateboarders?

That bit of lag ’twixt groin n gusset acts as a remarkably effective airbag/crumplezone when things go a bit wrong and a board or rail is making kinetic designs on our dangly bits.

Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

The Grinning Duck

that's a bit harsh

Dissapointing? I have no idea what you mean!

I'm a forecast analyst for an energy risk management consultancy. We like to try and keep vaguely clued up on the business of nuclear generation (obviously not too clued up, where's the fun in that), and as such we've been playing Crazy Argument Bingo in the office since this article was posted. I tell ye, it's been full houses all round.

I, for one, would like to thank the commenters for their sterling work, so far I've won a packet of sweets and a bottle of wine. Keep 'em coming guys, there's still the grand prize of 'next Tuesday off' to be won.

The Grinning Duck

No, no, no

Not horses. I'm scared of horses. I reckon a horse could eat a man in less than a minute, if it were so inclined. And given that we've been jumping on their backs for centuries, I'm pretty sure an equine revolution isn't far off. Once they get on facebook, it's all over.

I'm ok with bikes though.

My Taptu

The Grinning Duck


My main suggestion would be that you guys should branch off a customer service consultancy and spread your customer satisfaction mojo to every other company I have any dealings with.

The Grinning Duck
Thumb Up

Good stuff

Excellent app, two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Also really good to see the developers responding to feedback too.

Go Daddy CEO under fire for 'elephant snuff film'

The Grinning Duck


I'm sure there's some very serious underlying issues at hand here. But I simply can't get past the bees on a stick part.

That's going to have me giggling for days.

Nokia deal to 'rocket Windows Phone 7 past iPhone'

The Grinning Duck

Questions, questions

I was thinking the same thing. I'm guessing that other than a shareholder thing, and a baseline for CEO willy waving competitions, probably the only other people it has any bearing on is the people who make a living from selling apps (sorry, Applications, just in case I get sued) as presumably they want to spent time on the platform most likely to score them the sales they need so they can eat and continue to provide the little joy biscuits for my phone.

Since there's probably a few of those types reading this, I'd really like to know how that works. Do you developer people just go with the most popular platform, or are there other considerations at play? Is it difficult to develop cross-platform? How do you decide which platform to develop your app(lication) for?

(All genuine questions, they may not seem genuine, but I can't help it, I type with a facetious accent, it's genetic, I think.)

While we're at it, if anyone knows of a website that offers decent and regular reviews of Android apps please feel free to pass it on, the in-store user comments aren't exactly useful.

Apple bashes 'gay cure' app

The Grinning Duck

Censorship? Say Wha..?

Presumably, Goat Jam, the downvotes were on account of the fact that the eloquently presented post was talking about free speech as opposed to Apple yanking an app out of their own self-governed store. I'm guessing that anyone inclined to do so can use their Apple device to browse to the website of Exodus International and read all about their antics there. I can't confirm this as I don't own one, but my Android phone can do it, so can both of my PCs, so I see no reason why an iPhone couldn't. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that their website is still there, merrily doing its information spreading thang. Unless I've been craftily transplanted,without my knowledge, into a universe where the only way, or even the easiest way, to get information is from an iPhone, via an app, the free speech angle kind of falls flat on its arse. And I don't think I have because I just looked up how to make a sponge cake, and I did it on my Nexus1. Which isn't an iPhone. Or an iPhone app.

Apple run an app store and can do what the hell they want with it (so long as they can blag that it's in the interest of shareholders), and they do that with aplomb. You can't get an app onto (into?) their store that roundly slags off Apple products, because it's their store for which they set the rules, and they don't seem to be claiming that it is a medium of free information which has no rules. This is similar, in fact, to the reason why Exodus International probably don't have posters on their walls talking about how perfectly natural being gay is: It just doesn't gel with their brand identity. The free information stuff, that's what t'interwebs are for. That's the same t'interwebs you can access from the iPhone using its browser (so, for those at the back, even if your only way of getting this information was via an iPhone, the information is still not censored on your iPhone; you can use the browser). The only difference is that now Apple (which is a company, not a library) doesn't have to associate itself with the information by virtue of it no longer supplying it through its store. Rocket Surgery this is not. So please, how in the name of all things wibbly is this anything at all to do with free speech? Sure, if Apple controlled all the information in the world and you could only read about stuff on an iPhone, via an app, and they started pulling apps, then we can have this debate. Or rather you can, I'd have shot myself in the face by that point.

The news here seems to be “Walled Garden known to have walls is found to have walls. Which we knew about. But while a bit annoying for some developers, we didn't consider the walls to be a Threat To The Foundation Of Civilisation. But now we do. Because it involves the argument that fundies have a right to hate on gays in any garden they damn well please. Walls or not”. Is that it? No?

I'm confused. I'm going to eat my cake.