* Posts by FredScummer

93 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Oct 2011


Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer



I heard a rumour that HP was going into the 3D printer world. With these sorts of prices maybe they are already there.

HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, extends Windows 7 option for new machines


Re: You've touched on the reason why there's a problem

The point was that 12 months ago when I got my HP laptop, W7 wasn't an option.


Re: Windows 3.1 had a start menu??? (o_O)

Sorry, should've been a bit more accurate in my definition. IIRC it all began with Windoze 95?


I don't know what the problem is with W8. I've had it here for the last 12 months. I recall the first 3 days were a bit nauseating because I couldn't figure out how to do anything. Then I downloaded a cheap 3rd party add-on and everything has been hunky-dory since.

....that 3rd party add-on gave me back the popup Start menu....

If Microsoft wanted to know why W8 has been such a massive failure then in my view they only need to look at why they decided to ditch the Start menu which everyone has been so familiar with since the birth of Windoze. I consider it's too late for W8 now - it's gone the way of Vista in terms of public perception and they'd be better off awarding it pensionable status and working on a better W9.

W7 was in my view a great operating system. It didn't need to be replaced - just updated.

Microsoft have penalised loyal customers twice now (with Vista and W8), I don't think they will be given another chance to screw up.

Oz sawbones extract fork from old boy's todger: Gents, start your wincing


This is yet another confirmation that I must have led a very sheltered life. I mean, I find it very gruesome that many people shove pins thru their nose or hang a loop on their lip. But shoving something up your todger? Could someone please explain in words of single syllables where on earth would one expect to get sexual pleasure from something like this?

Good job he wasn't trying it with a stanley knife!

Microsoft touts business features of Windows 8.1



Bought a new Windows 8 laptop a short time ago. Then spent several days trying to make sense of the new layout. Completely unusable IMHO.

Then google'd the issue and came up with a software product called StartIsBack. Downloaded, installed and was instantly back in the land of happy camping. Familiar start menu and boot to desktop, without being bothered by Microsoft's awful start screen. Registration fee of $3 took nanoseconds to confirm.

I am not connected with StartIsBack. Just a very happy customer.

Incompatible IT systems blamed for bank sale collapse


> This all ends when we put the fucking banksters and the regulators in prison.

Sounds like the fairy godmother has been experimenting with the happy pills again.

This farce will actually end when the Euro is recognised as being a failed experiment, and countries return to being in control of their own monetary policies and exchange rates. Unfortunately with the EU now having received the Nobel peace prize in relation to services embracing democracy (hah, hah, hah!), it is far less likely to happen - and we've got years ahead of us whilst this banking crisis stumbles from one disaster to another.

Vote for UKIP at the next election. Nigel Farrage for prime minister!

UK's new drivers now in safe hands... of laser-wielding robots


Re: Will the DVLA remember what vehicles you're allowed to drive/ ride, though?

i passed my bike test 35+ years ago, and I haven't experienced the throbbing sensation of 250cc going rapidly up and down inside an aluminium case between my legs for more than 30 of those years now. So a part of me says that just maybe I should be encouraged to do a retest.

I've been a long term advocate of regular drivers having to be reconfirmed every few years anyway. I'm not talking full retest - just sit an examiner in the passenger seat and take him round the block, It'll quickly be obvious to him whether you might need some extra tuition, without any fancy test procedures, Would also help the employment situation for examiners too.

It just doesn't seem sensible that having passed a test back in the early 70's that it should be assumed that I'm a safe driver today. I mean, we force MP's to retake their test every 5 years even though they'd vote for a job for life change given the opportunity.

Google boss points to low-end tablet for fight with Amazon



I treated myself to an Android based tablet a couple of weeks ago, and whilst I have never been a tablet worshipper I have to admit that it has changed my life.

I was never up for spending megabucks on Apple's tablet, and the Amazon Kindle Fire was received by me with what I can only describe as a lukewarm response. Paying Amazon money so that they can collect my surfing habits in their DNS servers, which they can then sell and turn around and hit me with targetted junk mail was not my idea of a good arrangement.

My Android (with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich) has instant access to literally thousands of utility programs - many of which are completely free of charge. And those I have to pay for mostly come with a cost of less than a cup of decent coffee. And I can read my Kindle documents on this tablet no problem, using the free Android Kindle application.

IT urine bandit fired and charged


Should be interesting if he needs to be supplied with a reference!

Most sacked employees are dismissed for taking the p, not giving it....

Capita job cuts, offshoring 'driven by expectations', says MD


Those who are agile enough in the IT job market will recognise that this outsourcing of UK jobs was always bound to happen. And those with more than half a brain would realise that starting up a new business teaching people how to read and write in languages used commonly in India is the way to go.

However that rules out most UK workers who expect to have work handed to them on a plate.

Yes, Prime Minister to return after 24 years

Thumb Up

If they are doing Yes Minister then they should do Spitting Images too!

UK drivers' privates fondled overseas in new outsource plan


It's a choice thing really. Taxpayers money (public funds) being used to pay overseas workers who make zero contribution to the UK. Or the same money being used to prop up gold-plated public sector pensions which the UK cannot afford.

Incidentally, it isn't all taxpayers money being used. Activities such as selling cherished number plates can actually create revenue and be profitable. The problem comes where those profits are being earned outside of the UK, and in that respect I'm not in favour of DVLA work being outsourced.

More evidence that neutrinos are NOT faster than light


Re: Don't Tell Me.....

Not withstanding that being a member of the Euro club would mean that we would be required to hand over fiscal control of UK economics to unelected buerocrats. I never agreed to us joining the EEC so that we would have fiscal as well as trading union.

Our ancestors gave their lives to prevent this country falling into the clutches of bad people from abroad, and here we are arguing to hand over that same power. And one of the major players in that arrangement is Germany. I have more respect for my forefathers and consider it a shame that so many people within the UK seem committed to handing over what they fought to protect.

Of course the Euro has certain advantages as you rightly suggest. However, just because it happens to be convenient for you with respect to managing different currencies does not mean that it should apply to folks back home. As for me, when I'm travelling abroad I tend to pay by credit card - and I really couldn't give a t0ss which currency I am buying in. Having a few Francs, Deutschmarks and so on in my wallet never inconvenienced me to the point where I was willing to give up the UK controlling its own currency.


Don't Tell Me.....

.....these boffins must be the same ones who work for the EU in Brussels doing everything within their power to deny that the Euro is a good currency. They will be able to look back in the future and realise that they got it all wrong.

Newly discovered asteroid will not ANNIHILATE THE EARTH


Never Mind Bruce Willis

I'll go for Will Smith if you don't mind. Bruce's problem was suggesting that you could fly a space shuttle like an aircraft to go round the moon - and everyone knows that ain't possible.

Whereas Will Smith had this alien craft hidden in Area 51, and we know they've got one of those.

Death Star SUCKS PLASMA FROM SUN in NASA riddle vid


Tut, Tut, Tut....

You silly earth dwellers, who are living in the cosmic equivalent of cavemen....

I suppose we should award you some brownie points to have advanced to the stage where you can view the outline of our mothership. But you make two significant mistakes in your analysis.

Firstly, our mothership isn't at the same distance between you and the Sun, it's about halfway between, and just so happens on this visit to be on this side of the Sun - often we park up on the far side, where you'd never see us.

Secondly, we aren't sucking energy or anything else from your Sun. We are in fact emptying our starfleet garbage system. After all, you earth dwellers figured out long ago that an incinerator plant is a good way of disposing of unwanted waste, and like all good space dwellers we try to keep the environment clean for everyone. If we were bad neighbours we'd be dumping our loo system on earth as we passed by, but you'd probably not respect us for doing something like that - our operatives make use of the cosmic equivalents of vindaloo curry topped up with large volumes of Tiger lager, but unlike some earth dwellers we don't puke it up on the high street.

We'd love to come and say hello but sadly now isn't the right time. Your stupid indoctrination systems where the gods you invented seem to preach that destroying the lives of non-believers in your own religions means you haven't reached the plateau of respecting your own kind yet. You will, but it won't be for a while.

Tech industry climbs out of Silicon Valley, moves abroad


> They really should not count

Government contractors can count? Is this a new breed of contractor then?

UK tax fraud IT project 'missed virtually every delivery date'


Well if this "tax dodge" was so brilliant I'm surprised that more people aren't doing it.

No-one is exempt from paying income tax, and that includes contractors. Arranging your remuneration to include payment by dividends CAN save national insurance payment, because dividends are not subject to national insurance. But income tax is still paid on the divvies. Furthermore, so is corporation tax on company income.

On the downside of being a contractor is that whilst HMRC are keen to infer that the contractor is an employee and tax him accordingly, unlike the employee the contractor gets no sickness, holiday. training or long term employment benefits. The contractor can turn up for work one day and be dismissed without there ever being a hint of an industrial tribunal or redundancy payment. Try that with an employee and the employer would face criminal action.

Furthermore, contracts are undertaken for a specific period of time. At the end there is no right to be redeployed elsewhere - you are on your bike looking for the next gig, and that can mean several weeks if not months of having no income. So the savvy contractor is putting something away during the good times so as to pay for the bad times.

For sure, there are contractors who take the mickey. But by the same token there are employees who don't exactly conform to their contract of employment.

Many contractors, myself included, would be happy to sign away those employment rights in return for fair treatment under IR35 where everyone is treated equally.

So before you start moaning about how contractors are working unfairly, ask yourself why you aren't taking advantage of the obvious tax advantages that becoming a contractor would bring. The answer is probably that you like your pay to turn up in your bank account every month and take paid holidays with your family without having any of the hardships that being a contractor could bring.

GIANT blood-guzzling Jurassic fleas ambushed dino prey


Double the size

The OP is probably getting confused with bedbugs, which I believe can be up to about 1cm. They have a probiscus to obtain blood, and they don't jump either - they just crawl onto their host and then go off to sleep on their meal for months on end.

Cue Rolf Harris singing "Tie me 2cm flea down, sport...".


Re: Not for the squeamish

Used in modern medicine I believe, pretty much the same as maggots are.

HP culls nearly half remaining webOS team


Having worked as a contractor with HP previously one gets used to things like having the rate trimmed by 10% in a take-it-or-go arrangement. They aren't the company they once were, and I doubt ever will be again.

Child abuse suspect won't be forced to decrypt hard drive


> Use dynamite, it's far more fun !

Do you mean on the kiddy fiddler or the hard disk?

I venture to suggest that using it on the kiddy fiddler would have a more permanent result for society.

Whitman says HP turnaround will not happen overnight


Same old, same old.....

Whilst I am prepared to give all new CEO's the benefit of the doubt, Meg's start to running the company hasn't produced the turnaround that the industry analysts would have wanted. And she's taken the same path as previous holders of her position in declaring that the problems that HP has got today is due to issues which were fixed yesterday.

It's very different to the days where Bill and Dave were running the company, where customer respect and employee motivation were considered just as important as maintaining a good profit profile. Unfortunately industry leaders today are focussed only on the profits demanded by the industry and whilst I'm sure Meg means well I have my doubts that she will succeed in pulling HP back from the precipice.

The best way of bringing HP back from the dead would be hire some of the people who made the company the envy of the world back in the 80's. My CV is available should it be needed.

Bung a tenner to a mate's mobile number with new Barclays app


Another Virus Target?

Am I alone in thinking this is going to become yet another sneaky virus target, where the smartphone will be encouraged to send payments to numbers which you never realised were in your phonebook?

Or am I panicking unnecessarily.....

Swiss space-cleaning bot grabs flying junk, hurls itself into furnace


Re: or...

Warning: Space weaponry being deployed. Alert responsible space agencies that someone is breaking the terms of the space treaty.


An electro-magnet might be a good idea, but would require that the space junk to be cleared contained ferrous metals (in layman's language, iron). Ordinarily because such metals would tend to be heavy to lift into space I would think that space junk would tend to be made of non-ferrous materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre.

Personally I'd fire up an object which when it got near to a piece of space junk it spat out a spiders web of something gooey, or maybe splat the junk with a goo-ball with a weight which gravity could act upon, so as to degrade the orbit of the junk, so that the junk did a graceful swan-dive into the earths atmosphere.

Alternatively, see if the dolly-the-sheep people could do a job with Ronald Raygun, ressurect the star wars armenents from the 80's, and have some fun with a live asteroids game. Practice on some bunkers in Iran until you got your sights properly aimed.

5,000 Virgin Media workers unchained to slog away remotely


From the bath, or the bathroom? I don't even want to think about a VM support guy taking my call whilst he's busy taking care of other urgent business.

Spacemen urge NASA to build nuke ship for Mars trip


Good Information!

In reading the previous replies I'm rather glad that I share a forum with so many rocket scientists who know a thing or three - my education about the subject has improved dramatically just by reading the responses to this one very informative article. It's so much better than having to hang out with political retards who haven't got a clue.

Thank you everyone for bringing me up to speed on such a fascinating subject. Maybe someone could advise where I can get one of these fusion engines - I have a spare De Lorean in the back garden and as I understand the current situation a nuclear powered car wouldn't be subject to road tax (but I guess the yearly MOT might be a tad expensive).

NASA: Solar system may have alien origin


Sense of humour? Is that compatible with someone who accesses El Reg?

Plan hatched to view Milky Way's black hole heart


I don't know about NASA specifically, but as an international development I think it could have legs.

A telesccope on the far side of the moon would be good, but presumably blind 50% of every day when it is facing the sun? I imagine it would also be unbelievably hot during that time.

Wikipedia to shut down Wednesday in SOPA protest



I don't agree with politicians (many of whom are democratically elected) on some subjects either. But their selective hearing capability won't be damaged by actions such as this. Hitting them in the cash department definitely will.

Targetting ordinary Internet users, most of whom are very honest people, won't resolve this problem. The world community have to go after the paymasters who keep the politicians on the wrong side of the fence.

Bit-part actress slings sueball at IMDb over age gripe



Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't have thought that the movie business would use IMDB or Amazon as its first port of call when looking for an actress. It seems much more likely to me that word of mouth would have more effect, as in Directors who have used actresses or where other actors/actresses have made a suggestion.

Using IMDB/Amazon to find someone to play a part in a film sounds a bit like the LibDems referring to the good sense guide when choosing a policy.

Smart meter SSL screw-up exposes punters' TV habits

Black Helicopters

Don't Tell Chris Huhne!

This sounds mighty dangerous. If Chris Huhne gets to know about it he'll be getting the techies to rearranged the digital plumbing so that his missus gets his bill.

Duff Russian Mars probe spotted flying in reverse


Perhaps the ruskies have decided that they are going to take Iran's nuclear missile capability out, and this "failed satellite" is actually a delayed bomb, which when it falls on the nuclear facility in Iran they can say "oops" without actually admitting that they planned to take out Iran's nuclear capability.

We can live in hope anyway.


Earth to space junk, earth to space junk....

I know that I didn't sit my doctorate in space engineering, but if the problem is that the electrical system isn't working because the panels aren't getting sunlight, just how difficult can it be for an earth-based laser to light up those panels as the machine whizzes overhead? Presumably they'd only have to get the thing operational for a short time in order to give commands for it to turn itself around?

Damn silly design though if they didn't build in enough intelligence to make sure the thing would make sure it was the right way round.

Comet 'sold 94,000 pirate Windows CDs', claims Microsoft


Shame Really

Many (most?) non-techy PC users would struggle to recover a PC from a partition-based backup, and it's those people that need the extra help using a "pop in this CD and sit back" option.

It's a shame really if the option provided by Comet could not install a working copy of Windows, but I guess that's where the lawsuit will justify itself.

I hope that both Comet and Microsoft come out of this with positive results. Comet as a company are in dire straits and they employ lots of people who depend on them. Would be a real shame if at least some of those had to join the dole queue because Microsoft couldn't work out a satisfactory solution which could keep everyone happy.

PayPal dispute ends in 'violin destruction'


Anyone Out There?

Am I alone in thinking that destruction of a violin may have been a good thing?

Sure, vile din's played by the likes of Yahoodoo Menuine or Stephan Gropelli can sound brilliant, but my recollection of the screechy sounds coming from the string section of the school orchestra probably contributed to my hearing deficit.

I saw Gropelli in person several years ago - Concorde Club in Southampton for those who know it. Outstanding, as you would expect from one of the masters.

UK cops disciplined, sacked, quit over Facebook misdeeds



....as this involves the police using the Internet, is this crime going to be called iPlod?


Playboy model's complaints against HP chief Hurd laid bare by court


> ...she is a cynical little nobody

Not the way I read it. She was a career woman. She put up with this mischievnous for 2 years and then the golden hello came to an end. Can't say I blame her for wanting to make further profit from a company exec who couldn't control his lust.

Where I think she failed in the process was not to have recorded these proceedings, or made viable witnesses available.

I feel genuinely sorry for her. What if this had been a horny guy trying it on with a male colleague?


> ....there was no hard evidence of it

I get the impression that there might have been plenty of hard evidence, however I doubt it would have stood up in court.

Software bug fingered as cause of Aussie A330 plunge


Do you have to be a redneck in order to shoot a green? Personally I'd make it open season all year round, and twice on Sundays.


I hear all of the arguments about replacing this box, including "bean counters". However bean counters usually get persuaded by arguments involving loss of life and planes falling out of the sky - tends to be a bit more costly when that happens. I cannot imagine a bean counter saying no if his future depended upon making sure the airline was robustly protected against serious outages.

Connection issues: Really? Sounds pretty doubtful to me if the connectivity relies upon simple pressure fittings between components. I would expect every connection within and without the box to be clamped, with no margin for "iffy" connections.

With regard to swap-out, given the cost of these devices I would reasonably expect both the airline and the supplier to have worked out a support option on the contract which provides a hot-swap on demand. Presumably the original supply contract was for a few dozen units - and I would reasonably expect any competent supplier to add a few more to the quantity for build purposes.

And as for identifying which unit - a possible contender obviously, however under the circumstances I'd be up for swapping everything which could have played a part. As a hardware engineer (not with avionics) I have been in the situation where I swapped everything which could have been a cause. I never had a problem with a bean-counter declaring I had gone overboard, I was the on-site guy with responsibility for keeping the customer working and what I said was never questioned. Okay, most times I didn't swap everything, but it was always an option.


> If it does fail twice

If it fails, or is suspected of failing, just once then I'd be up for swapping that unit out for a new one. After all, it's a simple bolt-on box, it's not as if you would have to tear the plane apart to replace it.

Waiting for a unit to fail again amounts to gambling in my book. Someone in the supply chain was thinking "profit" before "danger" with that earlier decision.


Personally I wear a seat belt at all times when I'm on an aircraft, except when I need to physically get out of the seat. I believe there are atmospheric conditions which can cause an aircraft to suddenly drop without warning.

Car seat belts must be worn at all times, so why not aircraft seat belts? Or is this another of those "green brigade" options where one's liberty is being threatened?


I don't know my PAN and MAYDAY regulations, so thanks for the heads-up on those.

However, PAN seems to suggest to me that the pilot is advising that he is coming in and would like a priority over landing if possible. Whereas MAYDAY suggests "I'm coming in with wheels down on my first approach, get everything else out of the way right now and give me landing rights over everything else".

Maybe that inference is wrong, but I always thought that MAYDAY would be the panic of last resort.

At the end of the day it's up to the pilot to determine his priority level for landing, and if he has passengers on board that are hurt and who may require hospitalisation then MAYDAY may have been the correct level.

IBM: 'Your PC will read your mind by 2016'


Prediction Or What?

If the PC is going to be reading minds within the next 5 years then does this mean that the blue screen of death which was a favourite in Windows NT days will be making a reappearance?

I'd hate to think what this could lead to. Companies will be installing secret software taps in the corporate PC's to ensure that employees are fully committed to the company. It could be very troublesome if those statistics started revealing that employees were having thoughts about what the company secretary looked like without clothing....


> the only web-site I look at is El Reg, and that's getting dull...

Wash your mouth out! How can you be so nasty towards one of the greatest information web sites there is?

I'll bet you don't have a subscription to Private Eye either.