* Posts by Nìall Tracey

69 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Dec 2006


Japanese games group to ban twisted 'sex torture' sims

Nìall Tracey

Dear Tony.

Dear Tony,

Unlike the readership of the Daily Mail, we, your humble readers, do not need to be told that rape is "depraved", "sick" or "twisted" -- we are intelligent enough to know this for ourselves.

Please stick to reporting the facts and desist from trying to tell us what to think or feel.


A. Reader.

12 of the best... mice

Nìall Tracey

Beg to differ...

I have to raise a couple of points about your reviews.

1) With regards to the Logitech trackball, you don't raise the ergonomic concerns with any thumb-operated trackball: namely that it involves excessive and unnatural movement of the thumb, whereas mousing should be done with more whole-arm movement.

2) The Evoluent Verticalmouse isn't quite the ergonomic dream the manufacturers would have you believe. Because all fingertips (except the thumb) fall onto mouse buttons, you cannot grip the mouse naturally using finger pressure. As a result, you end up pinching it between the ridge of the palm and the base of the thumb, introducing a lot of tension into the hand. This tension resists the clicking motion and serves to increase the risk of problems developing.

The 3M mouse is far superior in that curling a fist around a stick is just far easier on the muscles.

Facebook sues 'Spamford' Wallace over spam scam

Nìall Tracey

Facebook are suing...?

Isn't it the users who were spammed? As Facebook evidently knows who they are, will they be receiving their cut of any damages awarded?

Lockheed offers ready-to-go supersoldier exoskeleton

Nìall Tracey

What it needs....

What it needs is some way to attach a pair of PoweriZers.

BBC pumps 60 quid a head into Gaelic

Nìall Tracey

Life support?

You'd be on life support too if you'd been stabbed, kicked, punched and beaten as much as Gaelic has.

" So the Scottish Parliament, and the BBC, instead spend money promoting a language hardly anyone speaks, while forgetting that anyone who does speak Gaelic is perfectly fluent in English too "

Wrong. They're not promoting a language -- they're delivering a service to a minority in their own language, much as they do with the deaf community. Signed programs are not an attempt to "promote" BSL after all. The deaf population are all perfectly fluent in written English (as available on Ceefax page 888) but prefer to view TV in their own language (BSL -- British Sign Language). And several major channels are happy to deliver that service to them.

US prosthetic todger pair plead guilty to conspiracy

Nìall Tracey

Continue to pass...?

"Thanks to Puck Technology, I passed and will continue to pass."

Surely the point of the Whizzinator is that you don't need to "pass" anything?!?

Reg readers rage at comment icon outrage

Nìall Tracey

I've got one...

The school crossing sign (you know, red triangle, mother and child) and one word: "THINK".


Burned by Chrome - Fire put out

Nìall Tracey

How does this....

...tie up with the concept of "open source"?

Is this a new part of the BSD license?

Am I entitled to strip out this condition when I recompile the binaries?

Will these conditions be imposed on every FOSS project that imports code from the Chrome codebase?

In the end though, the license surely couldn't be upheld in court.

Why? "any Content that you ... display" -- that's why. So by viewing Doctor Who via BBC iPlayer on Chrome, I am granting Google a license to use Doctor Who in perpetuity, and saying that I'm liable? And the same for any other website I "display" via Chrome?

Even the least technologically-aware judge on the planet would see how this is incompatible with the concept of the internet. Because basically viewing anything other than Wikipedia and Google's own pages would make you criminally liable for fraud.

Sony e-book reader to debut in UK tomorrow

Nìall Tracey

Can we have...

...an SCC(TM) with an E-Ink display please?

Bring back the shell! Long live Lynx! Viva ncurses!

Obviously the default scrolling behaviour will have to change from the old teletype-linefeed style to a more conservation block-scroll (eg shift by five lines when you reach the bottom of the window

Let's shift the paradigm and get some good on-the-road performance.

Heck, we could even have an LCD overlay for additional quick-refresh display options.

Linux risks netbooks defeat to Microsoft

Nìall Tracey

@Goat Jam & @Mark

@Goat Jam

"I can run Linux on a MIPS processor, an ARM processor and a PowerPC processor (just to name a few)"

My point is that massive amounts of "Linux" software is really "Linux i386" software in that it only works on an x86 chip. The term "Linux software" is therefore a point of extreme confusion.

Don't start talking about "recompiling", because most of it won't recompile, because of the complexities of library dependencies -- there's bound to be something in the critical path that just isn't available for your architecture of choice. Besides -- recompiling is not what beginners expect to have to do.


I'm not ignoring anything about Windows Mobile. There is enough of a specific by-version branding that most people know it's not Windows Windows, but I've heard a fair few people say that they don't want Windows on their phone because the screen and keyboard aren't big enough to use Word.

Nìall Tracey

Linux's new problem

Many people are now being introduced to Linux by the ultra-cheap Chinese SCCs.

The killer here is the lack of x86 compatibility. Lots of people will be put off Linux by the fact that most "Linux" software won't run on their "Linux" computer.

It's time for a serious fork: we must acknowledge that "Linux" as we know it is an x86 OS, and ports to other architectures are not truly Linux. Either that or Linux needs to become truly cross-platform -- but that's never going to happen.

Unless Linux = Linux = Linux, "customers" will never be confident in what they are getting, and they'll never "buy" in.

Warning sounded over black hole in UK physics teaching

Nìall Tracey
Dead Vulture


Reread the report.

A.2 By national we mean England. The countries of the UK run their own school

systems. This has always been the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and with

devolution those in England and Wales are growing further apart. Sometimes the

statistics, particularly older statistics, are for England and Wales combined, but

wherever possible we have separated them

So please don't mistake England for the UK. It's more than a little annoying for those of us who live outside of England but in the UK. In fact, it's downright rude.

Daewoo's laptop is child's play – literally

Nìall Tracey
Thumb Down

"nifty carry handle"?

Doesn't it ever rain in Korea?!?!

Boris Johnson bans boozing on London transport

Nìall Tracey

Wrong headline!

Big Bozza Bans Boozing on Buses!

F1 chief seeks French ban on orgy video

Nìall Tracey
Dead Vulture


' The judge accepted that the material was intrusive and demeaning, but: "The dam has effectively burst... the granting of an order against this respondent at the present juncture would merely be a futile gesture." '

What does that mean? If enough people demean you it's legal?

Great news for newspapers: want to slander someone? Just release the evidence to the internet before you go to the presses.

"We plead the Max Mosley cat-out-of-the-bag defence. Yeah, we smeared his reputation, but it was on the internet."

Do we have to add "so it must be true"?

(It's not a dead vulture, it's just a dead beak.)

El Reg decimates English language

Nìall Tracey

@Tom Welsh

"The fact that more and more people are ignorant of this word's meaning is unfortunate, but does not change that meaning."

If people are using it differently, then its meaning has changed. This is the very definition of language change.

Language is by nature democratic, and if the majority agree on a new definition then that is what the word means.

By your reasoning, it is erroneous for me to call you "you" -- for in sooth thou art "thou".

Mobo maker builds 'powerless' processor cooling fan

Nìall Tracey

Running in perpetuity...?

"It's not totally efficient, which is why it won't run in perpetuity,"

Oh dear.

Given a big enough thermal gradient between the item being cooled (the chip) and the surrounding medium (air), a Stirling engine should run indefinitely.

This thing won't stop due to *inefficiency*, it will stop once the CPU has cooled sufficiently.

Theoretically, if the chip is perpetually on, the engine will run in perpetuity, even though it is not a perpetual motion device.

DVD Jon aims to smash digital Tower of Babel

Nìall Tracey

DVD Jon: the RIAA's new best friend.

This technology is exactly what the copyright doctor ordered, and the RIAA will love him for it.

Seriously, think about it.

The slogan "Home taping is killing music" wasn't exactly prophetic, because in those days quality degraded with every copy made and a third generation copy was pretty damn-near unusable. With digital files there is no degradation.

That is to say that there's no degradation *if* *you* *don't* *transcode*. Think back to the MP3s available for download prior to the P2P boom and the ubiquitous drowing-in-a-radiator sound quality. Where did that come from?

During my student days I knew people who would download several MP3s from the net and burn them to an audio CD (everbody used their stereos in preference to their PCs). Should someone subsequently want a copy emailed to them, or if they put their collections up on a personal site, they'd reencode it to MP3. Some people would even reencode MP3s from low to high bitrates in the belief that this would improve the sound quality. After a few generations the results were unlistenable, so the stuff available on the net was not worth downloading.

The near ubiquity of the MP3 format (even £15 CD players play MP3s) has reduced the need for transcoding, and the tools available have always been a bit techy, so direct copying of files is now the norm.

However, if this tool really does make transcoding effortless to the end-user, it'll once again become the norm -- files regularly being switched between MP3, ATRAC and AAC as it passes between users -- and the average punter will come to accept degradation of quality as a result of copying.

Once again, like in the audio-taped days of yore, the original will be perceived as a higher quality product.

That's something the RIAA can't help but celebrate.

Rendition lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary tossed

Nìall Tracey
Black Helicopters

Miaow... Oxford says

1 b. The surrender of a person.

1649 MILTON Eikon. Wks. 1851 III. 367 His rendition afterward to the Scotch Army. 1670 TEMPLE Let. Wks. 1731 II. 212 Their Answer was, That there was no need of distinguishing the Renditions of the Colony. 1860 S. ELIOT in Encycl. Brit. (ed. 8) XXI. 442/2 The rendition of fugitive slaves by the Northern States. 1864 SALA in Daily Tel. 13 Sept., Mr. Seward can scarcely place any obstacles in the way of the rendition of this man.


So I suppose the "extraordinary" bit is the fact that it's quite extraordinary to either:

A) Arrest someone with the sole purpose of "surrendering" him

B) "Surrender" someone who hasn't been requested....

P2P uploader hoaxes leading BitTorrent blog

Nìall Tracey

I be a filthy stinking pirate, yarr.

It was true what an AC said: "the removal of p2p would not stop people sharing your CD."

Yes, I have copied CDs in the past for friends and family. It's technically just as wrong as P2P. The difference is in scale. I only ever copied them once or twice, and it didn't start a domino-rally of copying -- I personally have never been offered a copy of a copy, only copies of originals. P2P instantly goes to anyone who wants it: people I've never met. The old copies of originals thing is fading and people are just redistributing in massive quantities.

Is what I did any less bad? No. It wasn't hugely damaging *in and of itself*, but it was still illegal and -- dagnabbit -- wrong; so it's useless to use that as a defense for the equally illegal and wrong, but massively more damaging, P2P.

P2P may be used as some as a mechanism for discovery, but here's the thing: if it wasn't, there'd be a gap in the market for a really good interactive streaming independent music radio thingummijig for discovery and recommendation. While blocking that gap, they continue to use that gap as justification for the availability of infringing -- pirated -- materials.

Meanwhile, the first really good technology for the distribution of legitimate free and public domain materials is letting the press and the industry bodies paint it as a den of thieves.

eBayer invites buyers to rip him off

Nìall Tracey

Re: viral marketing

Possibly, but if you check out the guy's feedback he has been a reasonably active eBay seller in the past. It could actually be a genuine protest.

French motorwonk savages hybrid cars

Nìall Tracey

@Jim Black

"The King Ranch in Texas is roughly 200,00 acres (call it 80,000 hectares) and you don't get around it with a bicycle - you need a pickup. If someone needs a large pickup truck to haul a 40-foot cattle trailer, it will frequently also be the family car because the budget only allows one vehicle."

Jim, we're not talking about people like you -- we're talking about the city dudes who buy a stupidly over-sized truck as a family car to play at being cowboys.

This is why we generally talk about dirt: a clean 4x4/pickup is driven by a poser who deserves a slapping whereas a dirty 4x4/pickup is driven by someone who needs a 4x4/pickup. The former is a waste of fuel, whereas the latter is a good use of fuel.

Nothing against you -- just against wasteful idiots.

Yahoo! launches! flat!-!-rate! web! hosting!

Nìall Tracey

Is this why?

theotherone said:

"You see, as any self respecting person who has any knowledge about hosting will tell you, diskspace and bandwidth are the least of you worries. What you're actually concerned with is resource usage of server ram/cpu. that's what bolloxs up a server (also disk i/o)"

Maybe by offering unlimited disk-space they're hoping customers will start generating more static pages rather than generating everything on-the-fly like we did in the good old days when disk space was expensive...?

Baylis Eco EP-MX71 hand-cranked media player

Nìall Tracey

Line-in -- slightly redundant...?

Given that you need a PC of some description to load most MP3s onto this thing, and that PCs generally have a line-in, isn't this a little less useful than first suggested...?

Tiny, take-apart handset enters the record books

Nìall Tracey

Not exactly...

"Modu Mobile claims to have signed agreements with several big-name manufacturers, such as ... in-car stereo manufacturer Blaupunkt, which suggests that Modu will be heavily music orientated."

Erm... no. Blaupunkt also produce in-car hands-free kits.

You also seem to be forgetting that this thing is modular -- there will doubtlessly be an audio sleeve for it, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't merely an option.

To suggest a modular phone is "heavily music orientated" is like saying that PCs are "heavily music orientated" simply because soundcards are available on the market.

US Army struggles with Windows to Linux overhaul

Nìall Tracey

Re French connection/Two points

French connection

Nigee said:

"IIRC a few years ago the French MoD if not the entire govt announced they were going to develop a secure version of Linux. Licensing presumably means this is/will be in the public domain."

Ken Hagan:

"IIRC, the NSA similarly announced that they would develop a secure linux kernel. I don't know what happened to either project, but if they actually exist then one wonders why the whole world isn't using them. Isn't "being open to third party improvements" supposed to be one of the major benefits of open source?"

Yes, but you've both missed the bit in the GPL where it says you only have to release your source code to recipients of your program. It follows logically that if you don't distribute the program outside your own organisation, you don't need to distribute teh source outside your own organisation.

The consequence of this is the SaaS controversy: companies such as Google who work from a GPL code-base, but by providing a "service" and not "software", sidestep the obligation to release improved source code that might interfere with their business model.

Parent power pulls Woolworth's 'Lolita' kiddies' bed

Nìall Tracey

Remember, folks...

"I am appalled at woolworths stupidity. The term lolita nowadays refers to a sexually precocious child!!!! taken from the novel and films of the same name. how much encouragement does the paedophile community need!"

If a cause is supported by one idiot, it does not follow that the cause itself is idiotic.

Woolworth's actions were tasteless and ignorant. That woman's reaction was merely ignorant.

AT&T to crush copyrighted network packets

Nìall Tracey

I've got Berne on the line...

...they said something about a convention and how it precluded copyright registration? They reckon you'd be setting up something called a "de facto copyright registrar" if you were to start filtering internet traffic for copyright material.

They want you to call back when you've got a moment.

GPS is killing children

Nìall Tracey

Re: Surely this is a dat problem


Your making the classic mistake of thinking "system" = "program". A system is at a bare minimum program + data, and under some definitions (eg ITIL) program + data+ user. If the SatNav suppliers can't providce reliable data, they can't provide a safe system.

Given the potential consequences of faults in the system, SatNav should be regarded as safety-critical, and I doubt any SatNav on the market would pass the tests that industry places on safety-critical systems.

Germans debut kitesurf-powered autonomous windjammer

Nìall Tracey

The reason for the end of the age of sail.....

The most important contributing factor to the end of the sailing ship wasn't speed at sea, as most people assume, but speed at port.

A fully-rigged square-rigger is almost impossible to unload with a crane -- there's just too much rope, wood and canvas in the way. Everything would need to be unloaded by a couple of dozen people and a sailing boat could spend a day or two in port, whereas an engine-powered boat could be emptied in an hour or two by a couple of crew-members.

One of the benefits of the skysail system is the minimal deck space required, meaning crane access is not restricted.

As for the "only sailing with the wind"... no.

A) This is an aerofoil -- it can be driven by winds in a range of ~270º and is at it's *least* efficient when travelling with the wind (due to a lower difference in speed between the wind and the sail)

B) I believe boats still travel with the prevailing wind wherever possible anyway (it's safer, smoother and quicker).

C) It's not the sole means of locomotion, and unlike a traditional rig isn't a source of drag when travelling under engine power.

It's an interesting project, and I hope it does well and survives a few stormy seas.

Opera hits Microsoft with EC complaint

Nìall Tracey

Why Opera is briinging this suit...

To everyone who's complaining about the idea of unbundling and stating the old "nobody's forcing you" line, here's the problem:

By bundling IE with the world's most commonly-used OS, they have made IE the world's most commonly-used browser by default.

This is not a problem, in and of itself.

However, IE does not comply to internationally agreed, documented web standards.

The world's most commonly-used web browser does not comply with web standards...!

Now, designers have a choice:

1) Design a standards-compliant website.

2) Design an IE compliant website.

3) Design one, then convert it.

The cost of supporting compliant browsers hasn't historically been worth the returns for a number of sites, most notably the banks (who could do without IE's security holes, frankly), so they've stuck with IE.

Early adopters of Firefox and Opera were locked out of the web by pages advising them to download IE. The situation is better now, but by no means perfect, and most Windows users know they have to open IE from time to time.

However, that option is not available outside of Windows.

What's Opera's biggest market? Mobiles and PDAs, a market IE really doesn't provide for. Mobile internet access is the holy grail we've been promised since the millenium bug was still a larva, and it still hasn't taken off.

Why not? Screen size does have a part to play, but the biggest problem is non-compliant sites. To the user who has only ever used IE, the internet on his phone is more like a maze than a web, littered with unexpected dead ends.

The other thing we've been promised for years is the "internet appliance", the set-top box or video-phone that allows you to browse away without a PC. With HD TVs gaining widespread acceptance, the set-top is finally a practical proposition.

This isn't really a question of Internet Explorer's monopoly over the internet, or even Microsoft's monopoly of the internet: rather, it is the PC that is monopolising the internet. This is blocking the ubiquity of internet access, as well as leading old folk to spending an unnecessary 400 quid on something just to email the grandkids every other month.

Nìall Tracey

You mean I forgot to tick "Post Anonymously"?

...oh dash it all.

Thanks to the anonymous coward who reminded me that my LinkedIn profile is out of date (you're in as good a position to check the Edinburgh weather as me). I'll update it as soon as I remember my password. Do you know what an OU diploma is? Clearly you don't -- it's not a one year qualification, for a start.

I'm sorry this is getting a little off-topic, but let me just defend myself here.

You notice all the website designers here that say "IE is bugged to hell and should be banned, but I code for it because that's my job", and you know all those Linux zealots who make a living supporting Windows systems? I'm no different from them. I teach my students what they need to know: how people really speak and how people really write.

I will never teach them how I or anyone else thinks people *should* speak or *should* write -- I teach them how people **do** speak and write.

@other AC

"I say "I'd have" all the time and also "Wozniak and I" instead of "Me and Wozniak" like most other people of lesser IQ seem to do."

Ah, right. Anyone who speaks differently from you is stupid. No two people speak identically. Therefore, I can conclude that you are the most intelligent person in the world. Congratulations.

Believe me, I was once as much of a grammar nazi as anyone, then I did some actual scientific investigation of my assumptions (for the OU -- an excellent institution) and saw just how wrong they were. Do a bit of reading on "corpus linguistics" and pick up one of the excellent corpus-derived grammars by Longman or Collins and you'll see that I'm not some lone, raving crackpot.

Nìall Tracey

@Mark Rendle (I'd of)

The abomination isn't "I'd of", it's "I'd have". The reason people keep writing "I'd of" is because conservative private schoolboys refuse to let them write what they say: "I'd've" or "I'da'".

Most people never say "I'd have" in their entire lives. However, they try to please the grammar nazis and make a "full word". Their best guess is "of".

The thing with the Nazis was that they believed in a pure master race that never existed.

The thing with grammar nazis is that they believe in some pure master tongue that never existed.

(The Anonymous English teacher.)

French high court thumps Google Video

Nìall Tracey

Publisher, not printer.

Google et al have convinced the USA that they're a mere printers, when for all the world they appear to be publishers.

US law protects hosts from copyright suits where their customers have uploaded infringing content, because the traditional host had no stake in a content, just as a printer has no stake in a book.

A printer gets paid the same regardless of the content of the book he prints, and the book contains only a tiny notice saying who printed it. The printer even gets paid if the book doesn't shift a single copy.

A publisher splashes his branding all over the book, writing it in the "house style". At the back of his books, you'll often also get a list of other books by the same publisher (note: publisher, NOT author). Crucially, his profits are a direct result of the popularity of his books' contents and he doesn't make any money if the book doesn't sell.

A traditional subscription-based hosting service is like a printer. You pay, you get the "paper" of your webpage. The host doesn't need to look at your content. There's a tiny sentence (6 or 8 pt font) at the bottom of the page saying who hosts it.

Google Video, YouTube et al are massively branded in their own "house style", peppered with logos and glyphs. On each page there is a house-generated list of other videos you might be interested in, all published on the same site but by different users. Google's profit is heavily dependant on the content: being an ad-driven model, they need eye-holding content.

They argue that they can't monitor all content. Would we accept that from other publishers? A newspaper that printed reader submissions without any editorial control would be sued to high heavens for libel.

And to those who continually complain that "the business model wouldn't work" if they were legally obliged to screen content, couldn't that same argument be applied to any crime?

EG "The honorable member for London South proposes that grievous bodily harm be legalised as this law is interfering with the business plan set out by Ned White's for his Kneecap Removal Service."

Only bicarbonate of soda can save mankind!

Nìall Tracey

Hmmm... interesting.


says that:

"Our feed chemical for the reaction to remove the carbon is sodium hydroxide, which is produced on site as a part of the SkyMine™ process. This reaction to produce sodium hydroxide also produces hydrogen and chlorine as byproducts. These can be sold to market at a profit, not only defraying the cost of CO2 removal, but even generating a profit for the SkyMine™ operators."

It produces Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrogen and Chlorine. Sounds suspiciously like a salt-based reaction... The chloralkali process, mayhaps?

Is the super new technologically advanced "SkyMine™ process" on-site electrolysis of sea-water (cheaper at a power-station -- no transmission losses) followed by "scrubbing"? Followed by the disposal of half a million tons of water-soluble waste?

When I read this bit of the article I thought this was a mistake:

"Some googling, and little more serious research later,"

I thought it was supposed to be "*a* little more", but it doesn't take much serious research to come up with this (apparently) poorly thought-out system.

Sony pops cap on lippy-like music stick

Nìall Tracey


I thought it was foundation that was usually drip-proof, not lipstick.

(But then what do I know? I'm a bloke....)

IBM to shove ads onto DVDs

Nìall Tracey

They'll never be free....

Being pragmatic, I doubt they'll ever be free. If you make a mass source of free DVDs, you'll suddenly find Ultimate Frisbee becoming the new national sport. And given the amount of damage a flying CD/DVD can cause, not a good choice.

If there is a genuine choice, with a full-price and a (drastically) cut-price version (a couple of quid), fine.

If it's used for promos (eg newspaper/magazine giveaways, film festival goodie bags), fine.

I'd caution, though, that if it seems in too forced, it's likely to be less effective. I got so used to DVDs that use the "unskippable" trick for the opening ads, that I now put the DVD in the player five minutes or so before I want to watch it, eg before the end of the program I'm watching, before putting the kettle on, before making a phone call. Conversely, after watching a good film, I'll often browse through the film trailers if there's a menu option to do so.

Anyway, the whole thing'll fail until the end-of-life of BluRay and HD-DVD because there are just too many DVD, BluRay and HD-DVD drives that wouldn't be compatible. It won't exist for another 10 years.

Hitachi 'collision avoidance' bot does a Ballmer at press do

Nìall Tracey

@Pete (Complete Misrepresentation)

TWO wheels?!?!?


Kids today... don't know ye're born.

Researchers find massive mud flow off African coast

Nìall Tracey

Hey, I can't find....

I can't find the preglacial mudslide (pgmp) in the unit converter. How many Bulgarian wotsits is that?

Save the BBC - by setting it free

Nìall Tracey
Dead Vulture

Reg 2.0

It's interesting that in "Beeb Week", the same Beeb Week that brought us the excellent rant by Adam Curtis against blogs and the myth of the wisdom of the crowds/market, the Reg publishes a comment piece by a blogger praising the wisdom of the crowds/market.

"We are entering an age where competition will really start to drive production."

We are in an age where competition has singularly failed to drive production, where competition has led to increased profits for a minority of shows (Friends, The Simpsons, Buffy et al) and increased wages for a minority of actors, directors and producers. Competition in the world market has placed so little value on the main element of good TV -- writing -- that the writers have gone on strike.

Ironic that it is left to Andrew "Scourge of Sadville" Orlowski to defend this technocratic tripe....



"how many millions are the spending on a galic tv channel for the 3 people that speak it in scotland?"

Well, at the moment, maybe nothing.


For the 60,000 Gaelic speakers, this is a bit of a bummer. For the bigots who resent and belittle Gaelic, it means you'll still have Gaelic TV taking up BBC 2 Scotland's early evenings every Thursday for the foreseeable future.

iRSI: Something else to add to your health woes

Nìall Tracey

It does make sense.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical practitioner, so if anything that follows concerns you, please discuss with your GP or specialist. Any concerns about the equipment you have been provided with by your employer should be raised with your line management or health and safety department.

The article said:

"Why the iPhone is a worse culprit than any other mobile phone is unclear."

bRick said:

"The iPhone is almost entirely controlled by the touch screen, the very very least amount of effort is still enough to register on it.

How could this possibly cause more strain than actually depressing buttons- which would require more force???"

Although it seems counter-intuitive, touch-screens and similar "zero-force" buttons/mechanism actually result in a greater pressure on the finger.

With a normal button, there is a big difference between pressing and not pressing. This means that you can relax up until the moment of depression.

However, with a touch-screen, the slightest contact can result in an accidental click, and slips and poor contact result in unintended actions. To avoid this, the user learns to tense both the flexors (bending muscles) and extensors (straightening muscles) in the fingers. The two muscles then fight against each other and strain the finger and arm slowly, over time.

The high sales of mini travel mice are a consequence of this: people hate trackpads as they cause finger-pain.

Scientists unearth 'missing link' jawbone

Nìall Tracey

Where are the intermediate fossils?

Chris Morrison asked:

"If this evolution takes millions of years where are all the intermediate fossils,"

Not all dead things fossilise -- the overwhelming majority get eaten or decompose. There may have been entire species, genuses or families of animals that simply weren't ever fossilised, so we'll never know about.

"and what went on with the cambrian explosion!"

According to George Bush it was the Iranians, and he's now planning a counter-strike.

Dublin designer branches out with 'tree' PC

Nìall Tracey

The word on the street....

Rumours are spreading fast that Frank Gehry has been invited to judge next year's competition....

Camelot pulls scratchcard amid numerical anarchy

Nìall Tracey

@Brian Mankin

I am not "complaining" that negative numbers are unnatural, merely observing.

Negative numbers are very useful mathematically, but the brain can't recognise them instantly and instinctively.

Teachers/parents/babysitters quickly recognise when someone's missing. Why? Pack instinct: our brains are wired to count positively.

Processing negative numbers requires more brainpower and more time than processing positive numbers --probably longer than the "quick-thrill" speed of scratchcards.

Nìall Tracey

Hang on people....

Look, negative numbers are a purely theoretical concept, as is zero.

Our brains haven't evolved to cope with quantities that imply non-existance, because quite plainly we have never been exposed to stimuli that don't exist.

Heck, when they first tried to introduce these systems in Europe they were so mind-bogglingly bizarre that it is claimed peolpe were burned at the stake for using them!

The majority of us here see negative numbers as second nature because we've been drilled with extended cartesian geometry (I believe Descartes himself started at zero and counted up) and modulo arithmetic in polar geometry.

In polar terms, by convention we see all angles in terms of clockwise rotation, and have to treat anti-clockwise rotation as a negative rotation. Have you ever told anyone to turn "negative right"? No, you say "left".

Negative numbers are not natural, and while it's a sad state of affairs that schools are failing to teach the concept adequately, it's not necessarily an indicator of individual stupidity.

Microsoft hopes to patent 'automatic goodbye messages'

Nìall Tracey

Invalid Patent!

There is no such word as "converser" -- does that mean the patent can be ignored?

Paris Hilton exits missionary position to save Universe

Nìall Tracey

In the great tradition of "What's the IT angle?"


Paris Hilton: who cares?


Not her!

Reg lexicographical Shock Army liberates mobe

Nìall Tracey


Richt ye bam. Ye maun unnerstaun that "wh" isnae snobbishness -- it's Scottishness.

Jus come up here wi yer "hoo" "wot" "wen" "weeeh" "wa-i" and ye'll ken whit ah'm talkin about!

Newegg serves up Asus Eee PC to US buyers

Nìall Tracey

Price "rises"...

Will everyone stop complaining about the increase in price? The majority of laptops in the US market were bought and paid for by the middlemen about 6 months ago. Since then the dollar has all but died, so your $200 isn't worth as much as it was. The east Asian economies aren't going to export at a loss just to keep US prices stable.

Prince's anti-YouTube crusade halted by American mommy

Nìall Tracey

"It's for family and friends"

The "it's for my friends" line is stupid. If I want my family and friends to see my videos, I'll burn them to CDs and give them a copy. Or email them a copy. Or put it in a private online album. What I wouldn't do is upload them to a global, fully-indexed public site. That action is wrong-headed and while not worth a law-suit is definitely worth a take-down notice.

The problem is that while it's fairly hard to imagine that this video was intended for anyone other than personal friends, there are many cases (eg "fanvids") where it's very easy to claim that it's for your friends, but in reality you're just trying to get your 10 minutes of fame. (Sorry Warhol, YouTube's restrictions mean we've had to revise your estimate.) It is impossible to police by intention, so in the end policing must be done by action.

The woman should admit her mistake and keep private videos private.