* Posts by Stewart Stevens

27 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jun 2007

Duff Mars probe's flaming shards to rain down mid-January

Stewart Stevens

What's the word size on a Spectrum?

Facebook IPO said to set value at $100bn

Stewart Stevens


If investors can't even remember back as far as MySpace, then they very much deserve to loose their money.

Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'

Stewart Stevens

Saccharomyces Cerevisiae = Yeast

Just in case anyone didn't know saccharomyces cerevisiae = yeast. The russians are obviously trying to kill us with a yeast infection directed from space. Either that or they're trying to brew beer up there.

I think this "conspiracy theory" doesn't even make good satire.

NASA working on nuclear rocket for manned Mars trips

Stewart Stevens

Asteroid ship

Why not identify a small asteroid on a suitable orbit, intercept it, attach rockets and slingshot round the earth? On the way make a hole in the asteroid suitable for receiving a manned craft. The manned craft could then dock with the asteroid prior to the journey to mars. Plenty of mass for shielding and its all in orbit already.

I'm sure this has been imagined before. I guess its harder than it sounds over lunch.

Hack attacks on US could spark military action

Stewart Stevens


Do you think they might set some half decent passwords up on their machines before firing off the missiles?

"The administration went on to say military force would be used only after all other options have been exhausted."

iPad 2? Let's be kind and call it iPad 1.5

Stewart Stevens

Not saying its bug free.

The SBOD has annoyed me for time to time over the last few years of using a Macbook. No one is trying to make the claim that Apple software is bug free.

I'm not sure if there has been an attempt to meaningfully compare bug lists and how they are dealt with in operating systems and associated applications. I've never used a system that didn't have bugs. My feeling is that Apple does a really good job.

The point is the design philosophy. That is what makes it just work. Apple software pays a lot of attention in design to the user experience. For a desktop / laptop or handheld system that really matters. Other companies have a lot to learn from Apple's attention to design - I think Google is succeeding there. Apple aren't the only ones making good software.

The other point of course is the hardware. The workmanship and design are simply outstanding. If someone can't see the quality and utility then I can understand them not wanting to pay the extra.

Stewart Stevens

1.5? Is that the best you can do?

Call it what you will, v1.5 or v 2, calling it a FondleSlab is more amusing though.

I for one want one. Thing is Apple products do the job. Its not just talk, they do just work.

It'd be better if El Reg's criticism of Apple focused on the more constructive side - like the rigidity of the requirement to use Apple's distribution channels and philosophies to deploy software. There is an argument for keeping abominations like Flash off people's devices - it is partly the reason why said devices do just work. Given the right constructive criticism Apple may be kept honest and provide mechanisms that allow openness without compromising functionality for unwitting users.

AMD's Bulldozer cores to push to 3.5 GHz and beyond

Stewart Stevens
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Nice article

Good stuff, enjoyed reading it.

Like the sound of the 'AVX mode'. Neat

US woman sues again over XP 'downgrade', seeks class action

Stewart Stevens

Vista Upgrade

I purchased a system from Dell on behalf of my father with the promise of an upgrade to Windows 7 from the known to be defective Vista. I really felt an Apple would've been a better option but my father wanted Windows because he was used to it.

Several months later when I was back in the UK and able to deal with my dad's computer Dell turned round and said the upgrade offer had expired - leaving us with a defective system. I spent a while on the phone with Dell trying to resolve this but to no effect.

I don't have the energy to waste fighting this. I'm not sure whose fault it is but I'd be very reluctant to involve myself in the purchase of Microsoft software or Dell systems again. I will however be honest and open about my experiences.

US rejected Brown's McKinnon case plea

Stewart Stevens

Not just the sysadmins

It is hard not to doubt the competence of the sysadmins involved. But what about those responsible for hiring said sysadmins? What were the security policies in place and who was responsible for those decision makers and the managers of the sysadmins? Who was responsible for appointing those managers?

One thing is clear - the security was a shambles. Instead of face up to that and kick some ass - which I thought was the American way - they instead chose to scape goat some unemployed British idiot.

Its not surprising that their information continued to be insecure and the latest wikileaks happened.

Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Stewart Stevens

Giving FB your email account

I've always thought it was crazy how so many people accepted that it was all right to let facebook log in to their email service and acquire their contact lists / anything else. Then you see on your facebook page a list of your friends who have "found friends" using this method - encouraging you to join in the "fun". I think its a breach of trust. I'm not sure if it is within the terms of service of these email services - but it shouldn't be.

I think if you mail person@domain.com then it is clear you are trusting person with the information and domain.com with the information. However we now have a situation where any person can be commonly expected to give away personal access to their account. You don't know who you are trusting any more and the flow of any meaningful information is stifled.

The forgotten, fat generation of Mac Portables

Stewart Stevens
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Thanks for the walk through.

Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

Stewart Stevens



Stewart Stevens
IT Angle


Perhaps the techies could provide a filter to block out Orlowski and Page articles.

There had to be a an IT angle there somewhere!

SCO: jurors too busy Facebooking to rule on Unix claim

Stewart Stevens

Who are the movers and shakers at SCO?

SCO has been in the stocks for the last decade. So many rotten eggs and cabbages have been thrown that SCO is now just a big pile of putrid rotting detritus.

We need fresh targets. Has anyone got a good link to who is pulling the strings at SCO?

Microsoft 'offered sex and drugs to distributors'

Stewart Stevens

Teenage Volleyball Team

One of the most embarrassing evenings I've ever had to endure was the Friday night entertainment provided by Microsoft at the end of a week long TechEd conference in Auckland.

They got a local teen girl volleyball team into play us geeks!

There were lots of cool games though and the buffet was great - including a whole King fish.

McKinnon wins extradition delay

Stewart Stevens

@ Steve Cragg - Quite Right

If the village idiot walked into a military base and took a plane / tank for a joy ride your concern wouldn't be for the village idiot would it? We can safely predict a high level of idiots in the population for years to come.

The problem here is that the people in charge of security have been shown to be idiots - a state of affairs not entirely compatible with their jobs. Its abundantly clear that McKinnon isn't the world's most talented software guy and that his hacking methods were lo-tech. Even if he were, the network security of "the world's most powerful military" should certainly be safe from an individual attacker. More so for a prolonged attack.

In reality I'm sure there are some smart people in the US military. They'll be pretty concerned about what happened and hopefully want some big changes for real security reasons. The idiots responsible for all this would love to draw attention to Gary but I hope the American public is beginning to see this for what it is and instead support the smart people in their military to allow them to do a better job so that we don't see a repeat of this kind of debacle.

Israeli Linux fan squeezes Windows refund out of Dell

Stewart Stevens

UK, 2001

I bought a high end Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop in the UK in 2001. I phoned up the sales phone number when trying to purchase online because you couldn't remove Windows from the order. They deducted the license fee but shipped the Windows license in any case saying that if there were support issues I'd have to install it.

Ubisoft pirates game fix from pirates

Stewart Stevens


The scenario you paint sounds very likely. Still, what else might be in that crack? I never install cracks because I don't trust the authors. The support people at Ubisoft do deserve to be hit with a big stick over this - people's data could wind up compromised / damaged by software downloaded from Ubisoft.

Now supposing a junior support person put up the "fix", I'd say they were naive but as you suggest had their heart in the right place. The person whose head should roll in this case would be whoever it is who is responsible for proper software release procedures / their implementation......unless the junior willfuly ignored those procedures. All quite speculative I guess, but it'd be interesting to know what happened and I hope the Reg finds this out. Very sloppy procedures from a fair sized vendor.

Stewart Stevens

Steam is not so bad anymore

I once thought that Steam from Valve was a pile of complete crap. Very annoying and buggy. However they have put more effort into making a decent bit of software and at the moment it is sweet.

I used to own a copy of Rainbow 6 and then lent it to a colleague whose son tried to eat it. The disc was left unreadable. It was annoying enough to have to find the cd each time you wanted to play but no way am I going to buy another Ubisoft product until they have satisfactory copy protection. No way am I going to install a cracked version.

NZ hydropower drought could see leccy rationing

Stewart Stevens

Cut the cable.

We have a cable connecting the North and South Island. Sounds like a good time to renew the call to cut it. Most of the power and other cool stuff comes from the South. The North Island is ridiculously over populated, barren and is mostly full of bureaucrats and politicians. A great place to make efficiency savings.

Also this won't stop us continuing to produce the finest Aluminum in the world (energy expensive.) We are contractually obliged to maintain power generation for this though. Don't worry the smelter is in the South so no problems there with cutting the cable between the islands.

Facebook loses a few bitches

Stewart Stevens

Those figures may be a bit misleading

Facebook has started emailing you the contents of messages friends write on your wall / send as messages. You don't need to log on in order to read a quick message anymore.

I think this strategy is likely to improve its longevity.

NZ bans Brit immigrant's overweight missus

Stewart Stevens

Fat People

Obviously NZ has to consider liability when filtering its immigration intake. Clearly policy can't account for every specific case. It is a useful generalisation.

Recently some guy over here had a problem getting health insurance because of his high BMI. It turned out that he was a serious body builder, the insurance company on review of his specific case granted an exception.

Similar recourse is available in NZ where the Minister for Immigration (some minister anyway, not sure about the title) can intervene on immigration issues.

The policy is sensible.

One of the great things about living in NZ is the population density. Where I live 5 cars is a traffic jam. Yeah there might be "economic" reasons for allowing immigration but life is pretty dam good and I think you're going to find it is going to be harder and harder to move here.

Fairly realistic flying car offered for 2009 delivery

Stewart Stevens
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It'd work here

I'd consider buying one in NZ. There'd probably only be 2 / 3 destination airstrips I'd use so I'd want to compare the price with using a traditional light aircraft and keeping a few old bangers at the other end.

Could it land in a paddock? How would it cope with rough back country roads? I want a hilux version.

Facebook application hawks your personal opinions for cash

Stewart Stevens

This is an application issue not a facebook one.

People need to be educated on this. It is unfortunate that people seem to pay as much attention to the warnings on the add application pages as they do to other software licenses.

Personally I'm slightly sceptical about whether its a good idea to let facebook itself have all that data about me, however I don't feel a great need to be secretive about myself and if for an example an employer wouldn't want to employ me based on my personal activities such as they are, I would not want to work for them anyway.

The extensibility of facebook is a great feature. As far as other user's access to your data goes there are some quite fine grained permissions. I doubt if many non-techys go near them. It'd be nice to have finer grained permissions for application access, but this won't be effective without further interface improvement and education.

People should only add applications that add real value and as things stand it seems foolish to add a purely frivolous application.

Perhaps there should be some non-technical points on the add application page. People should be encouraged to question "What information am I providing to whom?"

Pentagon: Chinese military hacked us

Stewart Stevens

Get Real

Well when an unemployed, technically illiterate person, the likes of Gary McKinnon hacks into your networks and your response is to get the arse with him rather than get the arse with yourselves for being such muppets then you'd have to be a moron to think that you didn't have a wide open door to the Chineese military.

Their biggest problem isn't technical, my bet is they first need to get rid of the morons and then change their attitudes.

140mph YouTube boy racer facing jail

Stewart Stevens

Camera work

No one has mentioned the shocking camera work. Practically the whole video spent staring at the speedo. Shocking. He should be slapped for that.

I'm sure his dad regrets letting him drive this car. Remember this kid is 18 so don't be too hard on him.....he should never have been driving that car.