* Posts by Dale

123 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jun 2007


Spectral Spector Twitterer admits hoax


Revenue opportunity

Sounds like a revenue opportunity for a savvy web developer who is less lazy than I am and will actually bother to do the implementation. Set up a web service that makes a note of all your user names on all the various social networking sites, so people can check whether a particular site profile actually belongs to you. If there is a profile on a site but you haven't registered it yourself, a quick will reveal that you aren't the owner. There isn't any need for the new service to have any connection with the social sites, but I guess it could have for added value. Needs a way of proving who you say you are to stop the jokers from grabbing your name on the new service, but cleverer people can work out those details themselves.

Microsoft uncloaks invisible XBox controller


Nice acting

At least this video states at the beginning (white letters on a slightly less white background) that it is just an imagination of what might be possible one day. The video on the BBC news story, which appears to be the one Microsoft showed to demonstrate the "actual capabilities possible right now", is very suspiciously acted.

It shows a woman apparently interacting with a young boy, going fishing and offering to help with his homework. At one point she splashes around in the fish pond: at times the splashes come before her hand movements and at other times they lag behind.

Nice theatrics, but I won't be holding my breath.

Massive ID fraud and cheque scam busted in NYC


Catch them if you can

Where is Frank Abagnale Jr when you need him?

Official next-gen PlayStation Portable details leaked



A Sony executive makes a video and you call this a leak? When are you going to wake up and call it what it really is: marketing. Come on, we're not stupid over here.

Ingram sore over Belgian warehouse burglary


Don't check

So if you don't check the serial numbers then you are blissfully unaware and therefore safe from their threat of prosecution.

To be fair, it sounds like a bit of a kneejerk reaction from an over-stressed warehouse manager who is clearly having a bad day. I'm sure after he calms down and hears from the insurance company he will be back to his usual friendly self.

4K by 2K resolution, Ethernet-equipped HDMI 1.4 announced



Oh goody, another new connector shape. We don't have enough of those.

Sims 3 leaked two weeks before release


Leak = Announcement

Isn't a "leak" just a modern way of getting hacks to report a product release as "news"?

Take-Two sues over death of Duke Nukem Forever



Come on! How stupid do you have to be to carry on believing for 10 years that the game will ever be delivered? It's a commercial enterprise, not a government project. If they can't get *something* out the door in 12 months, they aren't ever going to get it out. They should have given up and moved on 8 years ago.

Hacked flight sim site in catastrophic crash and burn


BOTH servers got hacked?

Who would have thought if one server got hacked, and the second was a copy of the first, that the second would also get hacked? Wow, unpredictable!

Daydreaming? You're actually solving complex problems


Looking up

I have long found when trying to work out a complicated problem at work, that it helps to lean back and stare at the ceiling for a while. It really does help sort out my thinking. Nice to see this apparently validated.

Ireland bucks trend with anti-blasphemy law


@Wouldn't this law mean...

So the short kid in the playground needs to become a Christian, tell the bully about it, and once the bullying because of his new belief starts... instant remediation.

'Lunatic' Smith doubles ID card costs for Mancunians



You know, a few years ago the South African government came up with a grand plan to spend billions of Rands on a huge arms deal which included ships, submarines, planes, and who knows what else. Almost everyone thought it was a bad idea, that the money would be better spent elsewhere but government pushed it through regardless. Wasn't long before the allegations of backhanders, corruption and personal enrichment schemes starting ringing out, some of which were proved true by the resulting convictions and many more either still under investigation or involving high-enough politicians that they are unlikely to ever come to trial.

The Tories say they will can ID cards if they get elected, which is an entirely likely possibility. You have to wonder why some people in government are pushing so hard to get as much of the ID card scheme through as possible before the next election when it has so little support. The vendors will still get their billions if the plan is cancelled because of cancellation penalties built into contracts they negotiated with the politicians, so there is a great incentive to ensure the contracts are signed before they get voted out.

Windows 7: MS plays a Jedi mind trick on netbook owners


Flying Reg

I'm loving the Flying-Toasters-reminiscent screensaver-of-sorts.

As for the Windows 7 cripple version, how long before someone finds the MaxRunningApplications registry key and "hacks" it to run more apps? Or will this be one of those de-facto limitations caused by the OS consuming 90% of the available RAM?

Security researchers fret over Adobe PDF flaw


Why Javascript

Why does a PDF reader need to be able to run Javascript? To drive upgrades?

Koreans cook up glow-in-the-dark beagles


Fluorescent ≠ Glow-in-the-dark

Come on, fluorescent under ultra violet light is not the same as glow-in-the-dark. I want a proper glow-in-the-dark puppy that doesn't need an external light source.

T-Mobile flips bird to alternative voicemail



Sounds like the best petition to sign to end this practise is one of the competitors' contracts.

London cops trial 'leccy patrol cars



I'm cheering for electric bendy buses. Not only can they squish cyclists into the railings, but they can sneak up behind cyclists and then squish them into the railings.

Dixon of Threadneedle Street plan threatens confusion


Bobbies on the beat

Cheaper than having a bunch of bobbies on trains picking up stray briefcases and laptops, but less effective, I would guess.

'Soon soldiers will have 3 tiny choppers in their pocket'



When will we see those on IWOOT? Because IWOOT!

Epson gets into interactive coffee tables


No different to Surface

Is anything about the Epson thing at all different from MS Surface? I can't see any difference. Surely MS has patents? That said, I like the idea of the technology, regardless of the provider. Any competition can only be good for the customers, if nothing else by driving down the price, even if the features are identical. Now scale that down to half an inch thickness so it doesn't have to be a coffee table (think of the neck and back pain after sitting hunched over one of those for a couple of hours) and you have a winner.

Scammers use Ford to drive users to scareware sites


9,287 packages

9,287 scareware packages? Crikey, how do they come up with credible sounding names for all these things?

Google taps your IP address for Starbucks targeting



I just asked Google, "where can I get a good coffee" and it came back with the Mighty Good Coffee Roasting Co. of Ann Arbor, MI., a mere 6101km away from London where I am currently. I'm sure the coffee's great, but I might give it a skip this coffee break.

GM, Segway to unveil iPhone-driven wheelchair e-car



You can go shopping at Bluewater and not even bother parking at all. Just drive it around the centre.

Oh, they might not let you do that. Rather just get an electric wheelchair then; no-one is going to challenge that!

Google juices in-photo ads biz


Streetview ads

Unusually, I don't like adverts. I flip channels when they come on live TV (hence a developing seven minute attention span) or skip them on the PVR. I block them in Firefox, ignore those that get past the block, and scroll or resize the window to hide the big flashy animated ones that are hard to ignore.

That said, I think having ads on Google Streetview would be a great idea if they were implemented nicely. By that I mean find a business in Streetview, click on its door and up comes its website. Not in a stupid little popup window, a proper new browser window. No funny little tags or icons or pins sticking out of the image, just click on the door (or some other sensible part of the image).

Leaving PCs on costing UK business millions


BIOS autostart

I leave my PC on all through Monday to Friday and switch it off at the weekend. Main reason is so that all the apps and documents are left in the same state and position when I arrive so I can remember what I was up to the day before. After a weekend, I can't remember anyway so might as well shut it down.

Many PCs have a BIOS option to switch it on automatically at a set time. On mine I have it set to start up about an hour before I usually get in on weekdays only, which means on Monday morning the PC is waiting for me to log myself in when I get there. As a bonus it lets me avoid the company-wide enforced weekly virus scan, which grinds the machine to a halt for an hour, because that happens before I arrive. If I'm away on holiday, I unplug the machine so it doesn't wake up at all.

BMW driver follows satnav to edge of cliff



This is actually a feature of newer TomToms designed to make driving safer by removing people who shouldn't be driving from the roads. In this case it was successful for at least nine hours.

Google designer quits over performance obsession



I thought the problem with huge corporations was that they think they DON'T have to answer any criticisms. Something else for their committees to debate?

ISS spared space junk avoidance manoeuvre


Dib dib dib

When are we going to start seeing groups of orbiting boy scout volunteers floating about and picking up the rubbish?

Sun lands Sparc-Xeon super on Cape Town



Presumably all that computing power is needed to overcome the logistical nightmare of counting all the votes of South African expats living overseas who have just been re-enfranchised by the Constitutional Court, at great expense to the South African economy. See what you lot have done?

Google Voice goes call-forward crazy in US



I'm struggling to think why an individual would want to use this. (Corporates, alright.) The other way round makes sense, aggregating many different numbers (for home, work, etc use) to all ring through to a single telephone. But why would you want your one number to ring on six different phones? I would have thought if you wanted one number to rule them all, you would also only want it ringing on the one phone to rule them all.

Superfast-charging batteries? Whoa there, MIT


In seconds

My mobile already charges in seconds... 10800 of them.

Seagate revs up SATA speed



Obviously a drive with the same physical disc size and double the capacity will be able to read data off the disc faster, up to double the speed. It might be because there are two physical discs inside when previously there was one, with two heads reading in parallel; or it might be that the storage density has doubled so that twice as many bits pass under the head in the same time for the same rotational speed. That's not to say that any of these things are actually done in real drives, or that the transfer speed really is higher in real drives, but you can see that at least in principle a speed increase is *possible* without increasing the rotation speed.

Barclays heralds new wave of wallet-waving



The retailer may be in a terrible hurry, to need such technology to make transactions go faster, but I'm not. I don't mind opening my wallet, taking out the notes, waiting for the change... Life doesn't have to go at a frenetic pace all the time. Slow down a bit and look at the trees

Yahoo! tosses! video! ads! into! search! engine!


@terry doyle

Terry, welcome. You forgot to mention "Paris, because..." or make a witty reference to getting your coat.

Campaigners nail amphibians to Google Earth



Sounds like a Darwin Award moment for the frogs. Surely natural selection will favour the ones that have a genetic predisposition for looking right, left and right again.

Too busy to make a jam sandwich? M&S can help


Not too frugal

I think there is good sense in not being too frugal before you have to. As long as you can afford to, you should buy your lunch each day. Yes it adds up to a lot of money over the course of the year which you could save if you made your own sandwiches, but if you spend that money on lunch you won't be spending it on some other expense that becomes indispensable. Then in a few years when you find it increasingly difficult to pay the indispensable bills, you can switch to making your own sandwiches and save that money to help ease the pressure.

If you trim all the fat now before you need to, then if a day comes when you really need to trim fat, there may not be any left to trim. Saving more money than you need to now just allows you to get used to a lifestyle which is greater than your income can support, or will be able to support in the future.

(Clarification: When I say "saving" in the above, I mean in the shopkeeper's sense - spending less money on goods you buy. As opposed to saving in the future-planning sense - putting cash into an ISA.)

Scots and pilots brace against ID cards


Three successful prosecutions

So let's see, £4.8bn divided by 3 = £1.6bn per successfully prosecuted illegal immigrant. If that is what government considers good economics then something tells me this country has more to worry about than three people living here and illegally paying taxes.

Prof: Save up fossil fuel reserves to fight the next ice age


Good idea

I think this is a good idea. How fortunate we are that our ancesters 170000 years ago had the forethought not to burn all the oil in their time, so that we would have some left to burn now to stave off the ice age for another 55000 years. It is only right that we should have the same forethought and concern for our offspring 8500 generations down the line. I'm also going to draw out my family tree so that future genealogists will know who to thank. I'm going to draw it on paper; CDs only last about 50 years I hear.

GM Volt to get regular software-style updates


Old joke

"Welcome to your car."

"Starting up..."

"There are updates for your vehicle. If you have any luggage in the boot, please remove it before continuing."

"Installing updates..."

"Finished. It is now necessary for you to exit the vehicle and re-enter it in order to complete the update process."

"Welcome to your car."

"Starting up..."

"Your battery is low. Remove any unnecessary luggage or save your current journey and exit the vehicle now."


Woz goes Strictly dancing



At first I presumed that casting Woz was an attempt by the producers to encourage people to stop referring to DWITS as "dimwits", but then I looked at the rest of the cast list and now I'm not so sure of their commitment.

Yes! It's the cardboard PC!


Fire risk

If any of the cooling fans were to fail you'd have a significant fire risk. Probably not such a good idea.

Windows 7 'upgrade' doesn't mark XP spot



So they shot themselves in the foot with Vista, and then realised they still had the other foot to take care of. Nice, balanced solution.

Half Life 2 used for firefight fire drill



Stop worrying about not closing the doors! You can hear them closing automatically in the background, which is what you would expect a decent fire door to do. I would be more concerned by the lack of suitable fire exit signage. Each sign ought to be pointing to where the next one is located so you can follow them out.

Germany announces ITER fusion-reactor supercomputer


Teraflops pedantry on a snowy winter morning

For you young folk out there, the origin of "teraflops" is "flops", which is an acronym standing for "FLoating point Operations Per Second". Therefore in traditional speak, one "teraflop" is one "trillion floating point operations per". We used to get quite annoyed by the missing "s" because "operations per" doesn't make a lot of sense without "second". Nowadays it doesn't bother us so much because we still derive a small amount of satisfaction from thinking we know better, but mostly we're too old to care.

EU funds Antipodes-in-90-mins rocketliner concept


Virgin Galactic

So the only difference between this and Virgin Galactic's offering is that you land in a different place from where you started, and about 60 years.

Airbus A380 bows out of Air Force One competition


Good call

A good call on the part of EADS. No way the contract would have gone to Airbus, so they just saved a good few million that it would have cost to mount a serious tender campaign only to "lose" in the end.

Windows 7 public beta end date named



Then you'd also have to remove all the "Paris, because..." comments, and everything else that was funny for a brief period in 2005 and then stopped.

Microsoft Songsmith ad trumps Seinfeld shocker


Finally, some serious competition for the P2P monopoly

Simon Cowell must be beside himself with worry over the future of his beloved industry. Mediocrity is no longer tightly controlled by music professionals, now ANYONE can Make Music.

According to the video you just sing your words and the software works out an appropriate accompanyment to fit your melody. Have they not noticed the modern tendancy in music is away from discernable tunefullness? This is doomed to failure.

419ers take Canadian for $150,000



I think the banks should send a copy of this article every time someone opens a new bank account, to help enlighten (in a knowledge sense, rather than in a wallet sense) all those people who seem not to have heard of advance fee fraud.

Asus' angular laptop-of-the-future designs spied



Stealth technology - developed for government departments: nobody will notice the laptop sitting there on the train seat and the official can come back and collect it at his leisure.