* Posts by Tim Porter

27 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jun 2007

Iraqi weapons inspector accused in online sex sting

Tim Porter

re: That'll learn him.

Correction, he has been caught twice in two similar stings - both in 2001 - so after he was no longer involved in weapons inspections but before the Iraq War.

No charges were made the first time, whilst with the second time, charges were dropped and sealed - so after a period of time, if he didn't reoffend, they would be effectively 'forgotten'. To the fevered conspiratiorial mind, no doubt that this is proof that Ritter was being 'warned' by the powers that be to shut up.

Yeah, he's been framed... right.....

US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

Tim Porter

Better link


Not only is there her mugshot, but there's a copy of the police report and you can even listen to her phone calls.

Apple shares MacBook break-in tips

Tim Porter

Hard drive is now a user replaceable item

"Upgrading your Mac has never been easy. And it just got harder" Except that if you want to change your hard drive, you're no longer voiding your warranty.

Ten of the Best... Pocket Camcorders

Tim Porter

Kodak Zi6

Absolutely agree - can't understand why the Flip was put here, but not this one.

BBC to 'reimagine' The Thirty-nine Steps

Tim Porter

None of the previous adapations have been that faithful...

...for the simple fact that a lot of the book concentrates on Hannay in the Scottish moors - great to read, but it doesn't lend itself to thrilling visual pleasure. Consequently, all the previous versions have departed in their own way from the book.

Blogging: made in England?

Tim Porter

re: Origin of the Species and Snafu

With regards to your comments about 'Not Only, But Also'', Guy didn't pick a very good example when he compared blogs to this. If 'lost' blogs are no longer on the Net, but are preserved in some way (e.g. on a printout or hard drive) then the content has been preserved; although we still have scripts of the shows that 'NOBA', it's hard to to get a sense of what they were actually like performed when you are unable to see it. It's a little like if every single recording by Hendrix was destroyed, but we had his work transposed to sheet music - we might get the gist, but it would be hard to realise the full effect of his work by being unable to judge it work the way it was performed.

Whether or not, NOBA made you or me laugh is irrelevant - in terms of TV comedy, it was ground-breaking. Peter Cook was a huge influence on many, many comedians (the Pythons would be the first to admit this) and he played a huge role in the Sixties satire scene - without him, there probably would have be no That Was The Week That Was (if for no other reeason, that David Frost was a slavish imitator of Cook). Personally, because of stuff like that and Private Eye, I reckon Cook's name will live on for a little while longer...

But all this misses the point that Guy was trying to make - that somethings are worth preserving historically, but through carelessness, they are being lost for the ages. In the case of NOBA, Peter Cook offered to pay for the tapes to have safe storage, pay for new tapes so they NOBA ones wouldn't have to be wiped etc etc. But the BBC decided no, because it couldn't see the point and disn't want to deal with the paperwork.

@ Snafu - I was just commenting that you (well, not you) can't really make this comparison (not well, anyway) well are blogs and performed comedy are two different types of media.

Tim Porter

Oh Please....

"The irritating thing is, the site which hosted his blog went and lost most of the stuff from those early years. It's a loss, pretty much on a level with the BBC's decision to re-use the video tapes which contained "Not Only But Also" with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, or the loss of the Goon Show audio grams earlier."

I'm assuming that this is a kind of wind-up.

Restored Dam Busters fly again

Tim Porter

Jackson is not actually making the film

'Regular readers will recall that Peter Jackson last year announced he would remake the film, and promised his version would be "as authentic as possible and as close to the spirit of the original as possible". This assertion provoked a certain amount of speculation as to how he would deal with the delicate matter of Guy Gibson's mutt.'

I would imagine he will leave such decisions to the director and his creative team. As reported on many a film/entertainment/news site around the time of El Reg ran its misleading story about the remake, Jackson is to produce the film and that's it.

Warner Bros to remake Enter the Dragon

Tim Porter

Lest we forget...

Hollywood has _never_ been about creativity - profit has always been the principle force that drives a studio.

Worth remembering though that there have been successful remakes as well, including:

John Huston's version of The Maltest Falcon (the third film version), John Carpenter's The Thing, Hitchcock's second version of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much, Ian McKellen's Richard III, De Palma's Scarface, Cronenberg's The Fly, Scorsese's Cape Fear, the Dawn of the Dead remake, The Magnificent Seven (remake of the Seven Samurai), A Fistful of Dollars (remake of Yojimbo ).

Although it's not a straight remake, I'll bring up Reservoir Dogs as it ripped off the by far more superior City On Fire wholesale.

YouTube-Viacom trial turns comic

Tim Porter

Colbert has already slated Viacom

Kind of surprised to see this hasn't already been mentioned in the story, but Colbert has ridiculed Viacom over the whole YouTube spat on more than one The Colbert Report- and very funnily too.

Also surprised to see no mention another Viacomm sued YouTube for having a video of a Colbert _parody_ .

Dutch police arrest six in 419 scam

Tim Porter

re: It still amazes me and re: I have to wonder

In the last year or two, Tony Thompson (who is the Observer's [Sunday UK newspaper] crime editor) wrote a book on gangs, a follow-up to an earlier work, looking at how organised crime has changed.

There was a very interesting section on 419 scams - although everyone thinks of virtually illiterate emails, according to Thompson some are considerably more sophisticated and plausible than that, as are the scammers themselves.

Like all cons, these scams are reliant on the greed of the victim (and if you can exploit a willingness on their part to break the law, all more the better) - it's got nothing to do with how much money they've got. Arguably, if you're desperate and looking for an easy way out, you're going to be very susceptible to this kind of things.

Regardless of that they are victims of crime - foolish ones, yes but still victims.

Apple unwraps trio of aluminium iMacs

Tim Porter

re: wierd...

"You used to be able to upgrade the graphics card..."

Well, the previous 24" iMac model was upgradeable via MXM PCI Express - whether you could find a card to buy was another thing. Other that, you could upgrade the VRAM of the origin iMac from 2MB to 6GB, but I think that's it.

I would be exceedingly surprised if many iMac users have done any of the above.

On an different note, the FSB in these new machines is 800MHz as opposed to the 667MHz of the previous models.

Vodafone pulls Facebook ads

Tim Porter

Good bit of free advertising for Vodafone

Whether or not this is its intention, Vodafone has generated a bit of publicity for itself - that it wouldn't want to be associated with such groups will only make this good publicity.

I'm intrigued, though, when exactly it occurred to the powers that be, that when advertising on a social networking website, your ads may appear on pages relating to a social network that you would rather not be associated with.

Police want DNA collection superpowers

Tim Porter

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others...

"Current powers allow the coppers to collect samples, which are digitised and stored permanently, from anyone arrested on suspicion of, but not neccesarily charged with, a recordable offence. This is normally an offence that would qualify for a custodial sentence."

Funnily enough, there's an article in the latest Private Eye that suggested those arrested in connection of with the 'Cash for Honours' fiasco didn't have DNA samples taken from them.

None of the parties responded to Private Eye's enquiries, no doubt thinking a dignified silence would be best....

UK gov should move into PC reseller biz, says report

Tim Porter

re: Computers are too prevalent for this.

Nail meet head.

Forgetting the inherent problems of such as a scheme for a moment, given coverage NAO head, Sir John Bourn, has received in Private Eye of late (e.g. the mag obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that showed that Sir J had racked up over £330,000 in travel expenses), I think the NAO needs to get its own house in order before telling off others for wasting money.

Apple takes flak as AT&T drops iPhone bomb

Tim Porter

Why forgive?

"This is one time no one can forgive Apple."

What exactly is there to forgive?

When you cover IT news (or any other news for that matter), you report the facts and, hopefully, offer some analysis.

When corporations (no matter WHICH) make business decisions, you question the logic and wisdom, not offer opinions if decisions are 'forgiveable'. What's next? "X Corporation did blah, blah, blah, but leading to millions dead hey, it did have good intentions."

BBC iPlayer launches, but with limited viewer reach

Tim Porter

One reason they used to give for XP only

"Mr Highfield said Apple's "proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management gives us headaches," but, "it is one of our top priorities to re-engineer our proposed BBC iPlayer service to work on Macs"."

Burned by a MacBook

Tim Porter

Wow, I'm glad I missed that train wreck!

Philip, what Emily is really complaining about here is the customer service she got from Apple.

The early problems Emily had indicate that she got a bad unit – as other posters have mentioned, statistically this will happen, whatever the manufacturer.

Although Emily was sold a lemon, the magsafe problem (as I’ve stated above) was an issue identified by Apple, which in its wisdom chose to fix on the quiet, rather than do a product recall. Although this component was phased out (to the best of my knowledge) in January of this year, Emily chose not report this and from her final words on the subject, I’ve inferred that she was not aware of this. This is particularly sloppy as the site (Appledefects) she claims to have looked at, makes it very clear that Apple had replaced the older magsafe with a newer model – there was even a picture comparing the two models.

Similarly, the discoloured plastic palmrest problem she mentions in passing, was another issue affecting older MacBook models, which Apple rectified months ago – not saying this makes it okay, but it doesn’t affect current models.

Not that you could tell that from the article.

To me, this article reads like an impassioned forum post of the type, which is full of emotion and devoid of useful context. The type of post that confuses readers into thinking the technical problems being encountered is a current one – especially, as Emily is displaying the kind of logic that says ‘I have encountered this problem, and so have a small number of people who have said so on the Internet.. ipso facto, it must not be an uncommon problem.’

If Emily thinks not having a MacBook has cost her so much freelance work, does she really think coming up with this kind of article will have the opposite effect. Still, by mentioning her children, she could take over from Polly Filler at Private Eye.

Tim Porter

Any chance of some work?

"When I agreed to the upgrade as my compensation I thought my experience of a melted MagSafe was uncommon. But a quick check in flickr shows a different story, as do reports on AppleDefects.com.

Had I known this while talking to executive relations I would have pushed the issue of health and safety much further. Instead, I've asked Apple why there hasn't been a product recall and what it takes to agree to one. They have said...well, nothing.

So, I'll say this. Until there is a product recall, do not charge up your MacBooks unattended and never near flammable materials"

Apple, I believe should have done a product recall BUT I think the following is worth pointing out:

If Emily had gone through Appledefects.com a bit more carefully, she would have seen that it reported in February that Apple had introduced a new type of magsafe, as O’Grady’s Power Page reported a month earlier. Looking at the photo, she posted, it looks like she had the first-generation magsafe. Although this doesn’t mean there should’t be a recall, there is nothing in the story to reflect that this problem affects a component that is no longer being supplied by Apple - maybe for as long as seven months.

I don’t believe that there is any evidence that the problem is not “uncommon”. Given just how well the MacBooks have sold, I would have expected far more reports to have emerged. I’m not trying to underplay the seriousness of the problem that Emily and others have encountered, but given that Appledefects have had just two reports in the last five months, I don’t think it professional for Emily to suggest a cursory inspection of that site and flickr is all the evidence she needs.

Incidentally, if you check Mac tech sites like Macintouch and Macfixit (these two are great for coverage of all sorts of Mac problems, big and small), you’ll note that the magsafe problem has received very little coverage; I have no reason to suspect that this is anything other to do than the number of reports they have received.

Incidentally, Macintouch did a reader survey at the end of last year that covered about 3,000 Apple laptops, all using magsafes; there were six reports of unsafe magsafe. Personally, I feel that was six cases too many, but as Macintouch pointed out, it had been expecting far more reports if the magsafe was as unsafe as was being suggested by some forum posters.

Speaking as someone who has works now and then as a journalist, I think Emily should have taken a deep breath, step back and did a bit more research first. Certainly, the magsafe issue deserves a serious article, but I’m afraid this wasn’t it and I was put in mind of more than one forum poster than a pro.

Jonathan King in Harold Shipman song rumpus

Tim Porter

Have to agree with the previous poster

Particularly as most people would have been otherwise unaware of King's latest offering, something I suspect that most of us would have been happy to remain in blissful ignorance about.

MySpace succumbs to The Buttock

Tim Porter

The French don't have a sense of humour?

I can’t believe that I’m writing to an IT site about this, but to those say the French have no sense of humour, what about anything by Jacques Tati, La Cage aux Folles, Delicatessen, Diner de Cons, Les Visteurs, Le Cop, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgesie, the farces of Feydeau….

Alleged Apple ultra-thin MacBook rumour restoked

Tim Porter

Deja Vu

With last year's MacScoop's story, its sources were trusted and reliable, evidence came there none.

I was amused to see that the site proudly notes it was the first to report on this mythical product and has basically blown the cobwebs off an unsubstantiated report and republished it adding very little, as you say.

But I guess, if they just keep repeating themselves they'll get it right one day.

I certainly wouldn't bet one way or another whether this product is in the pipeline, but I know there'll be more than a few fanboys in the forums loudly proclaiming that they're holding off a purchase until this machine is released... so on that score, I hope the reports are just smoke and mirrors.

JP Morgan's iPhone Nano report is rubbish

Tim Porter

Spot on to report this

Now I can understand people being sick of another iPhone story, but this one was necessary to qualify an earlier story.

Whether the orginal story should have been updated or a new one was warranted is another matter - but it was only fair and proper that this be covered... especially as it's good example of that it's normally best to view analyst's opinion with a good deal of caution.

Women prefer well-built blokes: official

Tim Porter

So let me get this right....

...part of this infallable research was asking the question "how many women have you had sex with?"

Is it difficult getting a research grant?

Woman arrested for WoW love affair

Tim Porter

Any reason for the photo?

El Reg doesn't normally post photos of people mentioned in stories.

I'm pretty sure you haven't done this in the past when people have been convicted of offences, rather than merely being charged; any reason why this story appears to be the exception to the rule?

Apple, Ebay and Amazon receive failing grade from environmentalists

Tim Porter

A PR exercise?

Given that Climate Counts launched last month, what would be a better way to garner a bit of much-needed publicity than putting the boot into a few corporations?

Maybe Climate Counts has got it right, but I did think it interesting that the reporting of this article only saw fit to mention that this system used by the organisation may have "extremely limited validity".

It's a shame that the reporter didn't feel qualified to give an opinion on whether Climate Counts had got it right - but hey, that might have got in the way of an eye-catching headline.

Celebrating the iPhone's Newtonian past

Tim Porter

It was the maketing wot killed Newton

The major reason why the Newton failed was down to the marketing.

Apple hired Steven Speilberg’s company to produce a short film that was shown to journalists. We didn’t get to see the device itself, instead ‘Newton’ was a slightly more masculine version of Pee-Wee Herman assisting a college professor; over the course of the film when the prof. moaned that he had forgotten to send flowers or book a restaurant table, Newton smugly replied he had already spoken to the relevant companies and it was taken care of.

So when the Newton was finally unveiled, the journos were rather unimpressed. Many had been expecting a revolutionary communication device and were distinctly lukewarm what most judged to be an extortionately priced ‘electronic diary’. That the handwriting recognition was buggy, didn’t exactly help matters.

And who was the Newton marketed at? Corporate businessmen – not exactly the type of person to be using Macs. One television advert shows two overweight and balding businessmen in a meeting; one isn’t paying attention, gets asked a question by the boss…. but luckily his mate beams the answer from Newton to Newton!!! Did Apple really expect people to think ‘ That could have been me! I must get a Newton.’

Considering that the Newton was meant to be the legacy of John Sculley, you would have thought the man who brought us the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ (the reason why Steve Jobs wanted him as Apple CEO) could have at least got the marketing right.