* Posts by Dave, Portsmouth

56 posts • joined 9 Jul 2012


Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court

Dave, Portsmouth

5 minute wait

Saw a comment that, following this judgement, there are still possible new rules being considered which would amongst other things include a ban on taxis (or Uber cars, if you care about the distinction) arriving in less than 5 minutes. And that this new rule was in the public interest. Easy question: on this very specific point, can someone please explain to me the logic as to why this is in the public interest? Yes I fully understand it protects black cab drivers from competition, but that doesn't seem like it's in my interest at all! In fact, it sounds like an srbitrary limit imposed purely to prevent competition, and hence likely to lead to me paying more for my taxi. Why is that good?

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

Dave, Portsmouth

Fastest... for a week!

Isn't every high-end laptop / computer / phone / tablet always touted as the "fastest ever"? It's a basic consequence of Moore's Law. No doubt Samsung will release something faster in November, and maybe Dell in December, and Apple again in Jan...!?

3D printer blueprints for TSA luggage-unlocking master keys leak online

Dave, Portsmouth

Does anyone seriously believe crappy little suitcase locks perform any security function? They're more "privacy" locks than anything else - stops a nosey baggage handler at most. If someone wants to steal your stuff, they'll just take a knife to the usually flimsy fabric sides or zip it's attached to.

China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

Dave, Portsmouth

And I bet it only costs them about the same as we in the UK are going to pay for HS2!

Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

Dave, Portsmouth


So, in conclusion, environmental types should be campaigning strongly against BitCoin and everything like it, because it essentially requires the wasting of energy (on a massive scale) to generate "value". There is no real tangible benefit from any of this BitCoin mining - unlike (at least hypothetically) the various other distributed computing projects we've had over the years (SETI, genome folding, etc).

It's a purely artificial waste of energy - kinda like doing a soduku, but one which takes millions of computers months to solve, just for the "prize" from being the first to do it.

UN: Fossil fuels should be terminaated 86 years from now

Dave, Portsmouth

IPCC Credibility

Admittedly I'm not an expert in climate change, but do read a lot and am an analyst by background, which means I like to see the reasons and data behind papers like this. For me, I find it hard to attribute much credibility to the IPCC because over the past few years I've seen a few too many things which makes me see them as a body which is trying to "prove" climate change, rather than taking an unbiased and independent look. I'd have much more confidence if I saw them occasionally recognising or acknowledging some of the data which *doesn't* support their conclusions, rather than omiting it.

Basically, as a scientific organisation, they should be comfortable saying that "this is the evidence for A", "this is the evidence for the contrary view", and then "on balance we believe A is the true picture". Rather than "we believe A - this is everything thst supports A being true".

Samsung launches 'perfect pair' of skinny mid-range phones

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Way ahead?

I was wondering the same. In fairness to the Reg, it's a Friday afternoon so maybe their quality control department (editor!?) has gone home and left the students to write the news, and that's the best comparison they could come up with.

T-Mobile US chief SUCKS UP to Apple, gently ridicules rivals over SIM lockdown play

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Complicated ?

More precisely, Apple charged one person $5. Someone else said it was free. And you don't *need* an Apple SIM, you can use any SIM from any network - which are usually free from those networks.

FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for

Dave, Portsmouth


Worst case, if someone hadn't seen or read anything about the changes, then the very first time they use Spotlight they'd see results from Google / Bing / Wikipedia / whatever and should immediately know that in order to do that it must have sent the query to Apple. They can then choose not to use it, or look up how to disable it. Easy, no?

In other news: Google search sends information to the internet!!!


Dave, Portsmouth

Re: never forget though

Except the lightbulb idea only stands if there's a monopoly or collusion. Otherwise there is a very big incentive to be the one company that does sell the 50 year lightbulb, because you will take the market share from all of the other companies. Ok so it would shrink the market longer term, but not until after you've made your billions!

Same with phones, or indeed any technology - I don't believe anyone deliberately makes things which fail or which *need* to be upgraded. Rather, three related things are at play.

- Firstly, we (collectively) demand cheap, and often buy cheap, which means that companies will make what we want. We often refuse to pay the extra for the quality, long-lasting version.

- Secondly, the "better upgrade" is obvious - technology moves on, things get smaller, things get faster, you can do more in a smaller space. I'd be frankly upset if Apple / Samsung / Microsoft weren't changing their designs every year. They don't do it to make our existing products look old, they do it because design moves on. Would you really be happy if your brand new car was styled like an 80's Rover?

- Third thing is the oft-quoted inability to repair consumer products. I agree that's largely true, but again I think attributes the reason incorrectly. It reads like a conspiracy theory. Car's don't use ECU's to make them hard to repair - it just allows them to do more, more safely, and more cheaply. The fact it's harder to repair yourself is a side-effect. Same with phones and batteries - they're not glued in to make it hard to replace, but rather because we demand the biggest possible battery with the most features in the smallest possible space, the thing that has to be sacrified if the screws and clips and mechanisms which allow everything to be quickly taken apart. We asked for that, and we got it!

I think people too often attribute companies' decisions to some reason that makes it sound like they're conspiring against us. More often, they're just giving us what we want, and somewhere burried within that is a trade-off which has had to be made to achieve it.

Finally, remember - people do make long life bulbs, but the light quality isn't as good. People to make phones with replaceable batteries, but they're bigger or with less battery life so less popular. People do make old style "mechanical" cars still, but they find it hard to meet safety and environmental regulations so sell much less.

Apple is too shallow, must go deeper to beat TouchID fingerprint hack, say securo-bods

Dave, Portsmouth

"Appropriate" Security

if someone's going to go to the trouble of dusting for prints, gently transferring that to a Haribo and eventually unlocking my phone... well good luck to them. If the CIA or the KGB were after me for state secrets, then maybe I'd be more concerned!

Vodafone pay-by-bonk launch may signal iPhone 6 NFC plans

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Welcome to 2012...

You mean when compared to the approach of "lets put the chip in there and claim we do NFC"... without having ever talked to any commercial partners, outlets, customers etc to actually make it usable?

I saw some stats recently from (I think) TfL that suggested in the couple of years (ish) that buses have accepted NFC / contactless payments, they have now hit something like 0.1% of customers actually use the NFC-via-phone option. If we take the huge Android / Samsung market share figures, that suggests something's not quite working yet with their brilliant innovation of sticking the chip in and hoping for the best!

Good luck with Project Wing, Google. This drone moonshot is NEVER going to happen

Dave, Portsmouth

If at first you don't succeed...

... Reg says we should give up, claim it's impossible and not bother to try!

That's the spirit, you'd hope for a little more vision from a technology (ish) news site.

Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

Dave, Portsmouth

Apple Fan... But I like it!

So, most of my stuff is Apple. And the previous "smart watches" have all been pointless for me. But this one... we're getting there!

So they've removed the screws from the front, which is a definite bonus. But mainly I like the fact it's got GPS, wifi and Bouetooth - means I can use it while out running to keep track of where I've been, hopefully via NikePlus show me a current time / pace / maybe even a little map if I get lost. Bluetooth means I could use it with some bluetooth headphones for music. And wifi means it can hopefully synchronise itself online when I get home, without needing to faff syncing it to the phone first or anything like that. Sounds ideal!

Just needs to be a tually proven to do all of that stuff, for the battery to last long enough to use NikePlus or Bluetooth music for a good few hours each, for it to sync seamlessly with my contacts, music, etc, and for it to be cheap! Problem with my usage is that I'd only wear it for running, cycling and a few other bits - so don't want something too expensive! Oh, and waterproof would be good too!

Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

Dave, Portsmouth

Why would authorities need a kill-switch in your mobile? If they wanted to shut you down they'd go straight to the networks and pull the plug!

Cnn only see benefits, and actually it only needs one or two big markets to do it before manufacturers introduce it by default everywhere.

Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: C'mon Moore's Law, Hit The Wall.

While I agree about colour depth, 4k vs 1080p on TVs (I'm still watching mostly SD content on my HDTV), etc, I can't agree about photography. That all comes down to what you want your photos for and how big you're going to view them! 2.2MP is probably fine for Facebook, Twitter et al, but I wouldn't want a 2.2MP photo printed on my wall, or even as my desktop wallpaper - it'd look crap!

So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Oh no

Market share is I think poorly understood by your typical journalist... possibly deliberately to make a statistically meaningless point which suits their own biases?

In the same way Aston Martin don't make a sub-£10k hatchback, Apple don't make a phone for the low-end mass market. I wouldn't say that Aston Martin is failing because it's market share of all cars is (I guess) a tiny fraction of 1%. Equally I wouldn't say that Apple is failing because it's market share of all phones (or "smart" phones) is, what, 15-20%ish these days? I'd say that in its target market, luxury /performance cars, Aston Martin is doing very well. In its target market of high-end phones, Apple equally is doing very well, and shows no sign of stopping, no matter how much journalists might want to find some numbers to make it look like that's the case, because that makes for an interesting headline (apparently).

Dave, Portsmouth


Innovation is something that comes up a lot in discussion about phones - that it's missing, that companies (particularly Apple) don't innovate anymore, etc. But why do you think we need more innovation? Where? There are lots of little new features coming through in all of the phones every few months (or annually, for Apple), none of which are massive in themselves, but represent useful progress and refinement. Isn't that good? I'm not sure I want something completely re-invented every year or two, because what I've currently got already does the job fine. Yes, make it a bit thinner, lighter, faster and with a longer battery life - and improve the camera, improve reception and call quality, make it more scratch / water resistant ideally... but fundamentally I'm (and I think this applies to most people) aren't looking for anything massive.

It might be boring for journalists writing about it, but for the consumer steady progress that refines something rather than flitting around all over the place is a good thing!

Incidentally, I'm also surprised to see Chromebooks selling so well. Do people really use them? Last time I looked people were only buying them as a cheaper way to get a larger netbook, and immediately reformatting them and sticking Linux or Windows on them! Maybe it's all changed and they can work usefully offline now, keeping copies of everything local so you can use them out-and-about without worrying about your web connection?

My big reveal as macro-economics analyst: It's a load of COBBLERS

Dave, Portsmouth

Weekdays Only Please!

Think the Reg was better when you all took a break for the weekend! As far as I can tell, this "story" is a "look at me, I knew everything, aren't I clever"... published following no particular trigger several years after the event. There's no insight, nothing new, nothing about the future. And it's not even vaguely tech related - so remind me why it's on the Reg?


Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV

Dave, Portsmouth

Driving test?

Surely if the autopilot can pass a standard human driving test, it's 95% of the way there? We don't test human drivers to be able to cope with stressful situations, deer in the road, etc... and many don't cope, hence so many road accidents! I think self-driving cars are definitely a big answer for our roads in the future - both for safety and to reduce congestion - but can foresee them getting bogged down in regulation and public fear. They shouldn't need to be perfect - the alternative isn't perfect either!

Kickstarter hopefuls promise high-res aerial maps for the masses

Dave, Portsmouth

Value of the Imagery?

Shouldn't they be paying me for my images?

With the caveat that I haven't read past what's in the Reg article, isn't there an opportunity to save all of the images and make them available online, like a crowd-sourced aerial mapping site? Then flip the points around so that they pay us instead.

Call me suspicious, but logically the only benefit of doing this stitching "in the cloud" would be to get some raw processing speed... the benefits of which will be entirely lost by having to upload and then download all of those images. Which surely means they're only doing it because either 1) they can, and some people will pay, or 2) they're going to keep your imagery anyway!

EE rolls out London bus pay-by-bonk app – only fandoids need apply

Dave, Portsmouth

Nice, if it wasn't run by the phone company!

I like the idea of contactless payments. Better than faffing with cash and change, better than waiting for slow chip and pin machines, and much better than having to top up an Oyster card or similar.

But why on Earth would I want my phone company involved in payments? I have both credit and debit cards with contactless technology in them, which take money straight from my account. Why add the middle man of EE or anyone else wanting their slice of every payment? If the Barclays app or anyone else support NFC then great, I'll use it!

Would it be bad if the Amazon rainforest was all farms? Well it was, once

Dave, Portsmouth


Quite surprised that they were surprised by this. We only have Great Barrier Reef because of sea level rises. Lots of bits of Europe used to be underwater in the distant past. The world is always changing - we re-establish a balance and live on... except those species that don't! But that creates opportunities for new species, so it's all a balance. Humans are just a bit more arrogant now and believe that we should just stop that change and keep the world just as we like it now.

REVEALED: Reg trails claw along Apple's 'austerity' 21.5-inch iMac

Dave, Portsmouth

All some people need

Many years ago I used to upgrade regularly, always want newer / faster, played games, etc. now I use my tablet for most thinfs, and turn the computer on every few weeks to do a few things with some photos, maybe refresh some backups, and do a bit of Arduino development. For any of that,

I don't need a high performance computer, and in those circumstances it's surely better to have an option?

Always used to annoy me that bigger screen or better build quality also meant you had to pay more for higher specs you didn't want or need, just because it's seen as a more premium product. I'd rather have a 27" iMac with similar specs - the screen and keyboard and reliability are the bits I use and care about; the rest just needs to be enough to work.

DISPLAY DESTRUCTION D'OH! Teardown cracks Surface Pro 3 screen

Dave, Portsmouth

Still News?

Why do iFixIt even bother reporting this? We *know* that these aren't repairable. They're not intended to be, and the manufacturers (whether Microsoft, Google, Samsung or Apple) don't claim that they are.

The point about ruggedness in the article totally misses the point - the fact that the screen cracked whilst prising it out of its strong aluminium (?) case doesn't show that the Surface isn't rugged, it shows that it's designed for strength when fully constructed, not when pulled apart.

All that said, I don't think iFixIt is pointless - I actually used their guide once myself to change the dock connector on an old iPhone that got wet - but I wouldn't wish that phone to be made any easier to take apart because chances are that if it were it would have broken much sooner, or much more seriously.

China 'in discussions' about high-speed rail lines to London, Germany – and the US

Dave, Portsmouth

Beats HS2

You call it crazy, but if there wasn't so much international politics involved they could probably manage it quicker and cheaper than HS2!

'Software-defined anything' is NONSENSE. Don't bother pitching it

Dave, Portsmouth

Reg budget cuts?

Dear reg, you've either been hacked by a bored teenager (I hope), or you need to pay your writers more!

Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Unit police

I somehow don't think the author is worried about quoting "just numbers" - the battery capacity is remarkably sensible when compared to the stunning observation that the pixel density is higher than an iPhone (I'd challenge anyone to notice the difference without both phones side-by-side under a magnifying glass)!

Funny thing is I read this immediately after reading Alastair Dabbs' comments about lazy journalism, and just quoting press releases (or, here, statistics) with no thought or intelligent comment. Maybe Reg needs a mailing list amongst its contributors?

Returning a laptop to PC World ruined this bloke's credit score. Today the Supreme Court ended his 15-year nightmare

Dave, Portsmouth


Can't see any reasonable argument that one mark on a credit report could have cost him £250,000. Maybe next time I'm short-changed I'll sue them because I needed that to buy a lottery ticket, and I probably would have won!

So certainly give him his money back, with interest, and maybe even double it for the inconvenience. But he deserves everything he gets (or doesn't get) after appealing his £160,000ish first offer.

Gartner networked storage suppliers: Behold the Reg spaghetti-graphic

Dave, Portsmouth


Has the author ever drawn a graph before? This is genuinely the first I've ever seen where time decreases left to right!

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Dave, Portsmouth

So this is just a way to force everyone onto wireless charging then...?

If they mandate micro USB then that kills any hope of the recently proposed USB standard being adopted, unless everyone puts two ports on their phones for a few years. Or they mandate a new unproven standard, which doesn't seem ideal. Or they give two or more choices, which kinda defeates the point (there are already effectively only two choices anyway, micro USB or Lightning).

Like every poorly thought out bit of proposed legislation from the EU, it'll die sometime soon.

Google WILL wriggle away from Euro probe... but THEN what?

Dave, Portsmouth

Block sites from results?

Best feature Google could add would be the ability to block certain sites from ever appearing in my search results. What I *really* don't want from a search engine is a link to another search engine - I could go round in circles all day!

Sadly the EU are good at helping companies rather than consumers - link the old Windows stuff where MS had to take out certain features for the EU which just made it difficult for new users to get up and running. Or the stupid cookies rule that means I get stupid bloody popups / banners on every site asking if I want to accept cookies!

The bank that likes to say... crash: TSB's online banking goes titsup on launch day

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Side question

A modern, well designed bank site? I'd suggest you try Barclays! Their apps are particularly good, they even have a proper iPad app which is so much quicker and easier to use than the website.

Shame that I had to move to Halifax... stupid mortgage :o(

Samsung sets Sept 4 for Galaxy Gear smartwatch showoff

Dave, Portsmouth

Running Watch?

I'll be happy with something that works as a running watch (like the Nike+ GPS one), but with a couple of extra features over the current ones - mainly wireless syncing (wifi ideally), bluetooth for a headset for music, and a screen so I can see progress of my running. Happy to charge overnight, but needs to last a full day even when logging GPS tracks and playingmusic.

Beyond that, can't see myselfmaking phone calls through it, and don't just want a mini screen for my phone that won't work without being in bluetooth range of the phone. If it's just that then I can pull the phone out of my pocket just as easily.

Will be interesting to see how each company approaches the watch idea anyway. Suspect there'll be quite a few duds!

Your encrypted files are 'exponentially easier' to crack, warn MIT boffins

Dave, Portsmouth

70 Years Too Late?

Haven't we known this for a long time? Knowing, or at least being able to narrow down, part of the plain text is how lots of wartime messages were broken.

BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

Dave, Portsmouth

About Time!

I genuinely don't know anyone who likes 3D films, hever mind TV. No doubt the companies will bring out stats to "prove" that there is demand, but that's only because there isn't a choice. Last time I went to see a film the only 2D showings were during the day - all the evening ones were 3D. The time before the 2D one sold out very quickly, and we were left with lots of choice for the 3D showings before and after.

The sooner the cinemas follow the BBC and scrap it the better! Maybe try again in a few years when it works without glasses, works well off-centre (3D looks terrible if you aren't in one of the few seats in the middle), and when it can do rapid motion of things in 3D without breaking up.

Nominet resurrects second-level namespace plan: 'Before you say no...'

Dave, Portsmouth

Can they not just copy everything from .co.uk into .uk, run them in parallel for a few years, and we can phase out the .co bit? Obviously no more money for them, but one would hope they're not suggesting this purely to make more money!

Firefox OS mobilises HTML5, without the added Steve Jobs

Dave, Portsmouth

Presumably if the developer uses the useful APIs to make it interact with anything (or, in other words, make something that isn't just a website) then that's no longer portable, and hence defeats the point?

I also agree with the comment about why buy one - if the apps are cross platform (but see my point above), then I'd buy an iPhone / Android / WinPhone and run the same apps in their web browser, but *also* be able to run the hundreds of thousands of apps which can't.

Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Dave, Portsmouth

I'd rather see an "M25 train" - i.e. the ability to travel around the UK *without* having to change in central London. Unless London is your destination, then for all the minutes you can save with a fast line, you lose it all in London while dragging yourself across the tube from one side of the city to the other.

Something like an express train from Sevenoaks to Woking to Slough to Hemel to Epping, each with a big station that every main line train into and out of London stops at.

Adobe kills Creative Suite – all future features online only

Dave, Portsmouth

Place your bets...

How long do you think before we get the "we've listened to feedback from our customers, and now realise that the subscription model wasn't great" statement, and it's CEO and the board "agree that it would be best for the CEO to leave"?

Seriously though, the cheapest option for Photoshop is going to be $360/year?? Presumably there will still be an Elements version available as a one-off purchase (please tell me they're not crazy enough to drop that?!?). But it's going to really cut the number of users down to a very small and dedicated bunch - I can't imagine many who (like me) use their products for a hobby / casual work shelling out $30/month for one app!

Monitor-makers ponder Android-powered touch screens

Dave, Portsmouth


Given that there are still vast swathest of apps which aren't well optimised for 7-10" Android tablets, and there are supposed to be a lot of those around these days, I don't hold much hope that developers will be rushing to redesign their apps to make good use of the extra space on a 21" monitor. A phone app scaled up to 21" just doesn't appeal.

Sounds like a "because we can" product, with little practical purpose.

Fanbois vs fandroids: Punters display 'tribal loyalty'

Dave, Portsmouth
Thumb Down


Why should brand loyalty - or, more accurately, consistency - be surprising? Yes you'd expect general trends to change over time, but I'd suggest anyone flipping between a different OS every year isn't making much use of that OS's features.

Has anyone here gone from Windows to Linus to a Mac then back the Windows then onto a Mac again in thespace of a few years, for their one-and-only desktop / laptop computer? It would be ridiculous. Why should mobiles be any different?

Smartphone and tablet displays: Reg readers weigh in

Dave, Portsmouth

What do they expect to see?

Not entirely sure what the people who wanted a Full HD 3.5" screen are expecting to see - given that I can *just* make out some pixels on my iPhone, if I hold it as close to my eye as is possible to focus. Presumably this is just the usual "bigger number in the spec list is better" thing...

The UK Energy Crisis in 3 simple awareness-raising pictures

Dave, Portsmouth

All your graphs show is "people use gas in winter". Where are the other 2995 words I apparently should have learnt by looking at your three pictures?

Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

Dave, Portsmouth

Dear Reg,

Could you please write a new story to explain to people what the TV License is, what it pays for, and when one would need a TV License. The vast majority of people posting on here haven't got a clue!

Thanks :-)

PS - the answers are all on the TV Licensing website.

Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Dave, Portsmouth

Does Excel count? :o)

For rearranging your table of values, is it bad that I'd have used Excel? Paste them in as CSV so each value gets its own cell, and concat a string together that you can copy and paste back into Notepad! Easy peasy... if not quite so elegant...

'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal

Dave, Portsmouth

Re: Still waiting

Surely someone must have sued them by now?! ;o)

I'm still not convinced of the point of the current wireless charging standards anyway. What's the betting that the next innovation from a charging mat is one with a stand built in. They'll probably call it... a "dock"! Oh, wait... :o\

Rid yourself of Adobe: New Firefox 19.0 gets JAVASCRIPT PDF viewer

Dave, Portsmouth
Thumb Up

Re: Now down to just two plugins

Do any websites use WMP? Given it's not supported on Linux or Mac (or at least not without uncommon extras) I'd be very surprised.

And I disabled Flash years ago, and haven't missed it at all. Probably in large part as a result of the iPad, most sites seem to have got rid of flash now.

So hurray, no plugins required!

Amazon, eBay, banks snub anti-fraud DNS tech, sniff securo bods

Dave, Portsmouth

Presumably there are downsides to DNSSEC too, though of course I wouldn't expect this company to highlight them. If so many big websites haven't implemented it, then I'd expect the reason to be either "it's ineffective", "it makes life difficult for our customers" or probably a trade-off of the two (ie "there are a few minor downsides, but we don't think it'll help at all therefore it's not worth it").

iOS 6.1 KNACKERED our mobile phone networks, claim Vodafone, Three

Dave, Portsmouth

Two Issues?

Seems odd that there would be two entirely separate but related issues at the same time...

Presumably if one issue is "it is continually trying to connect to my Exchange server", then that would also explain the second issue of "more network traffic, meaning warms up, meaning battery runs flat more quickly"? Or is that too simple? :o)



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