* Posts by MartinB105

54 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Apr 2012


Oz to turn pirates into vampires: You won't see their images in mirrors


I pirate because the entertainment industry don't give me an option to buy content

Maybe the entertainment industry should think about... oh, I don't know... actually giving me the opportunity to buy their products?

I'm not interested in streaming services, I don't have an optical drive to rip blu-rays (and even if I did, I don't want video content in an non-environmentally-friendly physical format when digital is so feasible).

Is it too much to ask to be able to just purchase a movie or a TV show and add it to my Kodi library?

VR going mainstream? Yeah, next year, says Facebook, for the third year in a row



PSVR has sold over 3 million according to Sony in August.

I think what VR really needs is standardisation. i.e. the ability to buy any headset from any manufacturer and have it work on any platform - just like a TV does. Would be nice to be able to choose different headsets based on price and specs/quality, and not have to worry about buying a new one for every different platform.

Smart bulbs turn dumb: Lights out for Philips as Hue API goes dark


No problems here

I have Hue bulbs throughout my entire house (around 20 in total) and I never noticed any problems.

But then why would I need to control my lights from outside my home?

Aside from that, the Hue Bridge runs a local web server that lets any web capable client application control the lights, and the documentation for the Hue web API is fully available to customers, and its not very difficult to understand.

So literally anyone can develop software to control Hue bulbs using any web-capable technology of their choice, which means someone could easily make Hue bulbs work remotely without relying on the Philips online service.

I have to give credit to Philips for being so open with the Hue system; I don't know many device manufacturers who make their systems as open as Hue is.

An outage of a service that is little more than a bonus periphery feature of the system isn't going to change my opinion that Hue is a great system.

TalkTalk to splash £1.5bn laying full fibre on 3 million doorsteps


TalkTalk crapiness aside, will people actually be able to take advantage of this?

I have 200Mb/sec cable (and yes, I actually get 200Mb/sec!). But last year, I looked into ADSL options to save money. The various ISP's claimed to offer speeds of up to 500Mb, but when I contacted them for details, they all told me that I'd have to place their router in my electrical cabinet at the entrance to my apartment, which is at the opposite end of my apartment to my living room where all my connected devices are located (PC, consoles, TV, HTPC, etc.).

When I asked how I was supposed to connect my devices, they just mumbled something about "wifi". So I'm being offered a 500Mb connection that will either be bottlenecked by horrible wifi, or I need to mess up my hallway by running ethernet cables from one end of my apartment to the other. They were absolutely no help in offering any options to actually get my devices connected to the service (isn't that the point of the service they're supposed to be offering!?).

So naturally I decided to stick with my slightly more expensive cable Internet, where my router is in the living room right next to my PC.

GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online


That sounds more like IT than Computer Science.

Man prosecuted for posting a picture of his hobby on Facebook


I wonder what kind of trouble I'd be in?

I've posted photos of myself on Facebook holding actual, real weapons: AK-47, AR-15, Magnum 357, CZ-75, 12 Gauge Shotgun, Uzi and a TIGR Dragunov sniper rifle. I even had one of these photos as my profile picture for a good few months.

(I visited a shooting range in Prague while on holiday a few years ago. I also no longer live in the UK, so I'm not really concerned about sharing this information here)

Europe-wide BitTorrent indexer blockade looms after Pirate Bay blow


To those suggestion I buy the albums on CD and rip them instead:

1. I don't own a CD drive and have no intention of buying one.

2. These two albums were videogame soundtracks; one of them isn't even available on CD. Availability of these albums is not exactly widespread.

3. It's 2017 and I think we should be done with physical media for music by now.

To those suggesting I'm making up excuses to justify piracy:

1. OK. Believe what you like. I couldn't care less what you think.

2. Amazon UK/DE has worked for me in the past. Now it doesn't.

3. Here's a copy of the follow up email from Amazon sent on 16th May explaining that it is not possible to buy digital music from Amazon in the Netherlands:


Hello Martin,

Thank you for the nice phone call!

I am sorry that Amazon Music is not available in the Netherlands.

Sadly one can only purchase Amazon Music from Amazon.de in Germany and Austria.

Buying music from Amazon is only available in Germany, Austria, Great-Britain, France, USA, Japan, Spain and Italy.

I have passed your suggestion, that Amazon Music should be available in the Netherlands, on to the appropriate department in our company for consideration.

We always want to know how our customers react to all aspects of shopping at Amazon.de as this helps us to continue to improve the selection and service we provide.

Thank you for writing to us with your proposal.



Last month, I tried to purchase two albums (I live in the Netherlands). Amazon UK and DE wouldn't allow me to do so because I couldn't provide a payment method issued within their respective regions. iTunes is out because I run Linux. Spotify and other similar services had the albums, but only available as streaming; no option to permanent download them to play on my Kodi HTPC + MP3 player.

I ended up pirating the albums because I exhausted all the legal options I could find.

So how about this: I'll stop pirating stuff when the industry starts providing a legal alternative. Seems like a fair deal, yes?

Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban


I'm not flying without my entertainment

I'm lucky enough to be in the position where I've only travelled to the US for holidays in the last few years, and I can just take it or leave it.

If I can't use my Gear VR or PlayStation Vita on a flight, then I won't be on that flight. I guess it's time for me to consider other options... Tokyo next year then. :)

Microsoft's new hardware: eight x86 cores, 40 GPU cores


Now all it needs is some games ...

... that aren't also coming out on PC.

Seriously, all the best games right now are on Sony's console. All the hardware in the world isn't going to help Microsoft if they don't put some good exclusive games on it to compete with the PS4.

Linux-using mates gone AWOL? Netflix just added Linux support


Re: re: I have no interest in streaming or renting TV shows and movies

@Geoffrey W

I'm not going to pay for the inconvenience of having to rip physical media myself (and I haven't owned an optical drive in years anyway). They can either offer a digital distribution option, or they can come to terms with the fact that people like me will never stop pirating their content. THIS is the world we live in, and it's their loss, not mine.


Re: re: I have no interest in streaming or renting TV shows and movies

Because the vast majority of my entertainment media consumption is games, and as such I sometimes go months without watching any new TV shows or movies, so a subscription service makes no sense to my situation.

I just want to pick the episodes and movies I actually want to watch, pay for them once so I can watch them whenever I feel like it (I tend to watch a lot of comedy TV shows and documentaries multiple times, so I feel they're worth keeping).

And it must work on Kodi too because that's what I'm using, and that's not going to change any time soon.

For what it's worth, I had a one-month trial of Netflix on my Gear VR and I found the content selection extremely limited. I couldn't really find any of the stuff that I normally want to watch. I cancelled it the same day.


I use both Linux and Firefox, but I have no interest in streaming or renting TV shows and movies, nor services that don't work on my Linux-based Kodi HTPC.

I'm willing and ready to give money to whichever company is first to offer me the option to purchase, download and keep TV shows and movies on my media server and add them to my Kodi library. I recently put a lot of effort into finding such a service, but it seems that no such option currently exists.

It's no wonder people just pirate the content when the industry aren't even bothering to offer it in a format that's compatible with one of the best media systems out there (Kodi).

It's happening! It's happening! W3C erects DRM as web standard


Another reason for me to continue with piracy

The movie/TV industry isn't interested in providing me with a legal option to purchase and keep video content in my OpenELEC (Linux + Kodi) library, so they won't be losing anything when I (continue to) just pirate whatever movies and TV shows I want.

The music industry went DRM-free years ago. They get my support.


Re: Oh, please.

The music industry went almost universally DRM free after an initial stint using DRM technology, so I don't see why it's impossible for the same thing to happen with the movie/TV industry as well.

Skype-on-Linux graduates from Alpha to Beta status


Skype has been on the decline ever since Microsoft bought it.

I've been using Skype on Linux since around 2004, and it worked great back then. Then Microsoft bought it and it's been on a steady decline ever since:

- Reliability and connection issues.

- forced use of PulseAudio (PulseAudio causes all kinds of problems on my system. Besides this, I have a good soundcard so I shouldn't need PA in the first place, and I don't know any other apps that require me to use it. I ended up installing a fake PA ALSA wrapper to get around this particular problem).

- Inability to be in multiple calls at once (this used to be possible, now it holds other calls if you take a new one. If I want to hold the first call, I'll do it myself - at least give me the option!)

- Inability to conference call between two Linux clients and one Android client (One Linux, one Windows and one Android works fine, but switching the Windows PC to Linux for some reason makes it impossible, although a standard two way Linux-to-Linux call still works).

- Other odd problems where Skype interferes with some other application while apparently doing nothing else (i.e. no ongoing call); as soon as Skype is closed the problem in the other application is suddenly gone.

- Terrible quality of the shared screen (resolution so low that it's literally impossible to read screen contents).

- And apparently, now a complete inability to share the screen at all from Linux.

I guess this will just speed up our migration to Hangouts.

'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'


I still haven't seen any explanation of what happens for those who don't have any social media accounts.

Also, if this becomes a real problem, we can just create dummy accounts with little/nothing on them and hand over the passwords to those instead.

Better yet, social media websites should fight back and allow us to define a second dummy password on our real account. When using the second password, it only shows content that we can predefine in advance, and any posted or shared content from the "dummy" account won't be shown to any of our friends.

Adblock again beats publishers' Adblock-blocking attempts


Why is this even a discussion?

My browser talks on behalf of me to a server talking on behalf of a company or other person. If loading a web page was a literal discussion between me and a company, it would go something like this:

Me: "Hi, I would like to request <x> information from you."

Company: "Okay. But first, can I interest you in some special offers from our affiliates?"

Me: "No thanks; I'm just interested in <x> today."

Company: "Okay, here is <x> information."

Ruling that Ad blocking should be illegal would be as absurd as ruling that saying "No thanks" in the above conversation should be illegal. And if it ever becomes law, it will be one law that I will never adhere to.

'What this video game needs is actual footage of real gruesome deaths'


Why is anyone still listening to these terrorists anyway!?

That is all.

Net neutrality activists claim victory in Europe


There's always one isn't there? If you want someone to blame for the high cost of your Internet, maybe instead of blaming net neutrality or customers you should be looking at all the ISP's who are VASTLY overcharging for their services?

Adblock Plus chalk talk takes stock: Facebook's gonna block our block of their block of our block? Let's rock


F.B. Purity does a great job of making Facebook more tolerable

If you must use Facebook, then the browser extension F.B. Purity does a very good job of turning it into a more tolerable experience. In addition to blocking ads, suggested posts and sponsored posts (which is still working perfectly as of right now), it has numerous other useful features that help to filter out crap from your News Feed and enhance and/or simplify the Facebook user interface. It also offers additional functionality like friend tracking, so you can get a notification when someone unfriends you.


Another similar option is Social Fixer, but it's been somewhat gimped after they gave in to legal threats from Facebook a while ago and removed some of the features. I haven't used this one for a while, but it might still be useful.


Thailand waters down alien-tracking plan


Re: Registration in most countries already

I've never heard of this. I've bought prepaid SIM cards several times in the UK and the Netherlands from various operators and I've never been asked to show ID (but then, maybe these two countries are exceptions?).

Thief dresses as Apple Store drone, walks off with $16,000 in iGear


There isn't much choice if you want VR support.

McDonald's says bigger fonts cooked up improved profits


Makes sense for people with vision similar to mine

I avoid places like McDonald's where the only available menu is near the ceiling behind the counter, because it's almost impossible for me to read any smaller items at that distance. Therefore increasing font sizes would help me a lot.

(I wouldn't go to McDonald's regardless of being able to read the menu though)

TalkTalk customers decide to StayStay after £3m in free upgrades


I was with TalkTalk some years ago...

This is the ISP that broke our Internet connection with DNS hijacking and then refused to provide any means of fixing it without calling an expensive premium rate number.

Then they continued billing us even after we'd left their crappy service. We got the money back eventually, but I heard from others that this situation was far from unique.

TalkTalk can go to hell.

Adobe scrambles to untangle itself from QuickTime after Apple throws it over a cliff


Quicktime still exists!?

I remember trying the Quicktime video player back in the late 90's, only to find that it was so terrible that it didn't even support such basic functionality as a fullscreen mode. I uninstalled it immediately and completely forgot about it since then.

Silicon Valley gets its first 1Gbps home bro– oh, there's a big catch


AdBlock makes this a solved problem

So they gather data to serve ads, which then get blocked by AdBlock, thus having an end effect of doing precisely nothing? I'd be fine with that.

Big Content picks on small Australian ISPs again


Re: Alternative to piracy?

@PCS, Find me a system that's free, supports DRM and still does everything that XBMC can do, then we'll talk.

If the industry isn't willing to meet me halfway, then that's their problem, not mine. Either way, I get the content that I want. I pay for music because the music industry learned. I also pay for games (I've contributed several hundred dollars to Humble Indie Bundles over the years - how's that for a "freetard"?). The TV and movie industry need to catch up. I've tried my best to solve the problem; I've contacted various companies and organisations within the industry to find solutions, but most don't care enough to even respond, and those that do respond aren't willing to offer a solution. Clearly they're not interested in making content legally accessible to people who would be willing to pay for it.


Alternative to piracy?

Maybe Big Content should offer an alternative to piracy before pursuing the pirates and ISP's?

It's baffling that I still can't legally purchase, download and play TV or film content on my Linux-based XBMC system. Until they fix that, piracy is the only choice for people like me.

Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix


Re: SOS, DD, more phoney money baloney..

Arguing that artists should only get paid for performing is stupid. Some musical works are not designed or intended to be performed. For example, have you ever seen how many dozens of individual tracks a typical work of Shpongle is composed of!? There's no way Shpongle are going to be performing every single piece of that manually live on stage, especially since Shpongle is just two individuals. This is just one example; there are MANY more.

Let's not be stupid about this, OK?

HALF A BILLION TERRORISTS: WhatsApp encrypts ALL its worldwide jabber


A messaging app that's artificially restricted to use on smartphones, so you can't use it on a normal PC like every other messaging app in existence.

One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins


C64 version had the best music!

I played the C64 version growing up. I could never get very far in it. I was so disappointed by the music when I later played the original arcade and Amiga 500 versions.

Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine


What happened to USER requests?

A search engine is supposed to work for the user, not some unrelated organisation.

If the film studios want stop me from accessing piracy websites, then they'd be wiser to come up with a legal alternative that lets me purchase films to play on my Linux-based XBMC media center system. Why can't I do this already in 2014!?

Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY


Re: There are much better alternatives to iPod

I don't drive myself, but the last car I was in had USB ports for music connectivity. I'm guessing this should allow you to use the stalk to control your music from any USB Mass Storage device, MP3 player or otherwise.

Of course, you'll be limited to the basic functionality and supported formats of the software provided by the car rather than the fancy software installed on your device, but I don't think advanced functionality and exotic formats are of much concern to those who would choose an iPod anyway.


There are much better alternatives to iPod

There have always been much better alternatives to the iPod for those who are just looking for a dedicated music player and willing to do a small amount of research.

My current player of choice is the Sansa Clip+. Put RockBox on this thing, and you can use micro SD cards beyond the normal 32GB limit, so you can upgrade the capacity as the card technology moves forward. I currently have 64GB in mine, though I'm considering an upgrade to 128GB.

Additionally, it supports far more formats than any Apple device, has folder browsing and allows USB Mass Storage for data transfer (no crappy iTunes necessary, works on Linux, etc.). Sound quality is also better, it's cheaper and you can operate many functions without looking at the screen.

USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe


Re: And what about electronic items WITHOUT batteries?

"If it won't power up, check it in your luggage."

I make a deliberate choice to NOT check delicate and expensive electronic devices in my luggage.


And what about electronic items WITHOUT batteries?

I've flown several times carrying electronic devices that do not operate on batteries, such as my Acer Revo 3600 and my various games consoles (Wii, Wii U, PS2, PS3 and PS4). How will they handle those devices?

PlayStation daddy on new PS4: She's ALL 'PLAY', NO 'Station' this time


Re: Yes, because MP3 playback is "too hard."

They probably require Facebook photos because it removes the burden of cleaning up the naughty pictures from Sony. If Facebook take pics down because they violate TOS, then it presumably will disappear from PSN too.

As for MP3 support... I find it very hard to get worked up about something that I already have in dozens of devices, including my XBMC system on my TV, which completely crushes anything that any console can do in terms of media.

Ultimately, the reason I'm buying a PS4 is purely because that's where the great games will be from developers like Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream.

Ricoh Theta 360˚ camera: Point and click immersive imaging



The PlayStation Vita can do it too with the latest firmware, although it requires taking 38 photos in total and the resolution is pretty awful due to the poor camera in the Vita (640 x 480 if I remember correctly). It is extremely easy though and it lets you look around the resulting image using the Vita's motion sensing gyro. :)

GTA V Online hits speed bumps: Short wait before you can rough up that hooker


Re: bah haven't had many downvotes lately

I haven't played every GTA game in the series, but I seem to remember that even the very first game in the series had multiplayer support?

Congratulations, copyright infringers: You are the five per cent


When someone in the media industry decides to offers digital movie downloads in a format that plays on my Linux XBMC based HTPC, then I will consider switching to a legal service.

Simple as that.

Oh, Sony, you big tease: Mystery PlayStation reveal date set


Re: Meh, too early for PS4

Agreed. I still have a huge backlog of great PS3 content to get through before I even consider buying a PS4. Even if PS3 game production ceased today, I probably still wouldn't be finished with my backlog until at least 2015.

This generation of gaming has been amazing for me. :)


Re: SingStar on PS3 XMB anyone?

The SingStar icon appeared without notification in a firmware update. If you're not seeing it, then maybe you didn't download the latest firmware?

I believe that it only affects European users, and may be further limited to specific regions, so this may be another reason that you might not see it.

Six of the best Nintendo Wii U games


You will be glad to know...

If it's like Nintendo's previous system, you can adjust the volume of the sound from the controller. The lower you set it, the louder it will be on the TV. At 100%, it won't come through the TV at all. If you turn it all the way down, the sound will come through the TV at full volume instead.

This is handy for those who play using closed headphones where hearing the controller would be difficult.

Nintendo Wii U Review


I paid £199 for the premium

"Suggested Price: £260 (basic) £310 (premium)"

I paid £199 for the premium on Amazon.

I got lucky and happened to hit the site during a pricing error in mid-September. The error was fixed literally minutes later when my friend tried to order one at that price. I half expected them to cancel it, but my order dispatched yesterday and it should be arriving tomorrow. :)

I would not have paid £310 for the Wii U (or £260 for the basic for that matter), but I do enjoy some Nintendo franchises.

Ten PlayStation 3 games you may have missed


Re: Okami

The Wii version was very easy too; I don't remember ever dying in it.

Anyway, this is not a bad list of games. I want to get Okami HD, but I can't justify £15.99 as I already have the Wii version; I'm waiting for a discount.

The Unfinished Swan is an excellent (although very short) game too.

News Ltd's Australian chief demands copyright overhaul


Re: Some thoughts for Mr Williams

"It's not THAT hard to find legal options for your entertainment needs."

Name me just ONE legal way to get TV and film content onto my Linux + XBMC based HTPC. Just ONE.

Wired broadband adoption dips as wireless flies


UPC five terabyte limit...

I wonder if that's the same UPC as we have in The Netherlands, who have an unspecified transfer limit imposed by a "fair use policy", who told me outright when asked that no-one has ever exceeded it, despite me once transferring 525 GB of in one month.

That was in 2006 too. These days they're not even phased when I download 85 GB of torrents in one evening, like I did earlier this week - and that's not even factoring in the upload traffic!

Great ISP. :)

How to fix the broken internet economy: START HERE


A. Pay for film.

B. Download film.

C. Play film on my HTPC running XBMC.

It's so simple. Yet it is still impossible to this day. Piracy it is then.

Brits spent £334 each year on games


Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

The one word answer is "Games".

A PC may be more powerful and flexible, but what good is that if it can't run Uncharted, Resistance, God Of War, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, Heavy Rain, Journey, Mortal Kombat, and so many many more?

I'd estimate that about three quarters of my PS3 collection (97 games) never made it to the PC.

I just upgraded my PS3 hard drive yesterday to 1TB because I've managed to completely fill the 320GB drive that came with it with games (no media, I have a HTPC for that).

Tux, because he is the other reason I don't game much on my PC. :)