* Posts by A Twig

144 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jan 2013


UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

A Twig

Re: the great butter storm


Wet summer reduced supply, coupled with a huge increase in demand from Asia as baking becomes more popular.

Suddenly farmers realised they could tell European super markets with their low price own brands to stuff it, and coin it in from other buyers instead.

Lights, power, action! Smartplugs with a twist

A Twig

Re: Utterly idiotic

Depressingly the selfie stick was identified as Chindogu around 20 years ago and look at their popularity now..


Car radars gain sharper vision after ITU assigns special spectrum slice

A Twig

Re: Resolution

Yes, but if you shrink the antenna by 3x, you can then fit in 3 of them, making it 3x better... /sarcasm

Roamers rejoice! Google Maps gets offline regional navigation

A Twig

Re: Cough. (@cambsukguy)

Situation has improved, maps are cheaper than buying paper as you can just buy the tiles you need. Tiles can be bought at Explorer or Landranger, 70p per land ranger "tile" and ~£2 for explorer tile.

Using "OS MapFinder", the GPS tracker plonks you right onto the OS map, makes navigating a lot quicker, as you just need to do a few point of reference checks to make sure the GPS isn't telling porkies, rather than starting from scratch.

The confusingly similar "turn by turn" app "OS Maps" isn't bad either although not as many features as others.

Both allow you to plot / record routes etc.

Google takes old Chrome versions on that long drive in the country

A Twig

You'll have to pry my 2009 Snow Leopard running Macbook, with its 32bit compatability and often useful Rosetta out of my cold dead hands.

Oh well, come April, it'l just be FF on my machine then.

Here's the little-known legal loophole that permitted mass surveillance in the UK

A Twig

Re: Nah

Bow and arrow I'm afraid, and yes, repealed in 2012 - from that bastion of reliable journalism:


How Twitter can see the financial future – and change it

A Twig

Re: TheConverstation?

I believe Mr Worstall even wrote a suprisingly similar article not so long ago, ah, yes:


Mattel urged to scrap Wi-Fi mic Barbie after Register investigation

A Twig

I dunno, I saw an advert for an awesome MicroMachines military base on TV when I was a kid that I didn't even know existed. I talked about it with my parents, and some pocket money saving combined with a few relatives chipping in for Christmas meant I got it a few months later, and for me it was the best toy ever! Pretty sure I still have it in the loft.

I used to fight huge pitched battles on the living room floor, using a blanket with books under etc to create hills/valley. In short, it gave me a huge amount of fun, with total play time probably measured in weeks and gave me opportunities to exercise my imagination to come up with ways to incorporate it into different scenarios.

If I hadn't ever seen that advert as a ~8 year old, that's a whole load of very happy memories that I wouldn't have had.

I guess the difference though was that the advert (20 something years ago) wasn't very sophisticated, no CGI or funky graphics and clearly showed children playing with the toy so it was clear what it was and what its capabilities were.

We're not sure what it is, but we like it: Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV

A Twig

Re: Just driven in one

"Our friend bought it on the basis of 6 trouble-free years from his previous Lexus hybrid, which he bought as a two year old."

How the hell did he get a license?


Saygus aims buffed up V2 Android mobe at Samsung

A Twig

Oooooh, want want want want...

Shall be watching this with interest.

How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

A Twig

If ethics are so important to you in the first place, why does someone else's bit of paper matter a jot?

Sign the bloody thing, get the letters you need so a bureaucrat somewhere can tick the right box, then get your quals nailed and find the job you seek.

Once you are there, if you truly do "believe passionately in this concept" your own moral compass and personal pride/commitment will hold you to a much higher standard than any meaningless ethical code.

I'm not really sure why this merited such a verbose and rambling article. You know where you want to go, you know how to get there, it's within your means, so get on and do it.

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

A Twig

Good point, didn't thunk too much about the supply side of things, ta.

A Twig

Bit of a brain fart but a genuine question - could a basic minimum income be deflationary?

Only those who want to have more, go and work to get more. Thus presumably a chunk of the population who can't be arsed sat there on purely BMI. This would provide a sizeable chunk of people at a pretty fixed point on the S&D curve.

Outlets catering to these particular demographic could this have the effect of "anchoring" prices, at least making inflation more stable if not actually deflationary?

Keyless vehicle theft suspects cuffed after key Met Police, er, 'lockdown'

A Twig

"Police reckon the parts – some of which appear to belong to 12 BMWs reported as stolen from east London – would have been exported from Cyprus to other countries for sale."

Not surprised, given the amount of Cyprus based Land Rover parts dealers that have appeared on eBay over the last year or so, who always have those "hard to get hold of" bits, particularly for classic LRs. I know the British Army had a big presence there which accounts for a fair chunk, but the amount and range of parts always seemed a bit too large to be just army cast offs.

NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

A Twig

Oh God, it can do stairs!

Win! The Ultimate Cash 'n' Carrion Survival Kit

A Twig

But only if you give us all your employment data... :)

Mad Frankie Maude hangs up his axe

A Twig

Re: The golden rule

Generally cured by rubbing their noses in it?

A Bombe Called Christopher, or A Very Poor Imitation

A Twig

Re: The Hodges biography


Reading some of the more revisionist historians, the famous "guns before butter" was actually in their view some some rather brilliant propaganda. I can't off the top of my head cite the particular historians, it has been ~12 years since I did any meaningful reading on the subject.

Proportion of military spend was actually quite low initially, and as Germany emerged from the depression living standards were starting to rise rapidly in the late 30s. So while being told they were making sacrifices, the general populace was actually seeing a better lifestyle.

This helped to further cement popular support.

"Apparently we are making sacrifices yet my life hasn't been this good for 15 years, these guys know what they are doing!"

This could be a case for Mulder and Scully: Fox 'in talks' to bring back The X-Files

A Twig

Re: I'd rather see another Chris Carter series

I miss Fringe...

Increased gov spy powers are NOT the way to stay safe against terrorism

A Twig

Re: Lack of choice

NOTA - the None of the Above Party. A single issue party, with the aim of getting a "None of the Above" option added to the ballot paper.


Interestingly, despite having previously been approved twice before, the party has now just been banned by the Electoral Commission...

A Twig

Re: One Bright Light

ethics - that's just east of London innit?

'Yeah, I'm like, SO backing Microsoft over Google, YAH'

A Twig

Can I please register my displeasure at the Wooden Twig award, I find it very offensive to both myself and all other twigs out there.

Could you please leaf this alone and consider branching out into alternative award names? Perhaps a root and branch review would be appropriate.

Power, patriotism, paranoia and envy wrestle for attention in Foxcatcher

A Twig

"Their wrestling training gives the film the perfect excuse to demonstrate that despite the envy and discord that runs through their relationship. The brothers are close, their sparring and grappling is both violent and affectionate, culminating in a gruff request from David to “Gimme a hug”."

Maybe want to review the choice and positioning of the punctuation in this paragraph? Or is it English 2.0 and I'm just out of touch...

Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

A Twig

I'm still waiting for my OTA Lollipop update for my dual SIM Moto G that was supposed to be rolling out week 2 of December...

UK.gov binds mobe operators to £5bn not-spot deal

A Twig

Re: 69 per cent to 85 per cent of Blighty

So mobco hated the national roaming idea so much they were prepared to invents £5bn to avoid it!?

Sounds like the national roaming must have been a good idea then!

How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

A Twig

Re: How to deal with airport "security"

Try telling that to my quadraplegic mate who was asked if he could stand up so they could search his wheelchair...


A Twig

Re: A happy AI

There is the view that the "automation = no jobs" argument is a fallacy, based on two things:

1) That things will not get cheaper - they will:

Increased automation will only be brought in under the current capitalist conditions if there are benefits to a bottom line somewhere. Thus marginal costs will decrease, throwing all those price/demand charts out the window. What we would end up with is a surplus of supply. Thus maintaining a given standard of living will be cheaper.

2) That capitalism will always be the modus operandi of the majority of the world:

Capitalism is based on scarce resources. To hit the level of technology required in this doomsday "no work for anyone" scenario, we would have had to conquer some pretty big challenges along the way - in particular energy. AIs and automated supply and production chains will only come about once energy is no longer a scarce resource (be that via fusion/whatever). At this point, the marginal cost of producing anything will be trending towards zero, and capitalism will become defunct.

Yes this is a bit of a utopian future, and not necessarily one that will happen, but it is a possibility and one that gets ignored all too readily. Once everyone can get everything they want when they want it, concepts like ownership and materialism ultimately become obsolete. It's a bit of a head fuck and a concept that a lot of people are innately hostile to as a result of our current society, but it is certainly well worth thinking about.

People usually reference the Iain M. Banks "Culture" books here at this point, so I may as well!

UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

A Twig

Which is ironic given that O2 and Vodafone generally are supposed to be sharing infrastructure.

Vodafone customer support expressed great surprise that on my dual SIM phone I can get full O2 signal at home, yet zero Vodafone - "we share sites, it should be the same"

Well its not, the only place I see full signal on both is a city centre, and then congestion is usually so bad that I can;t make the call/use the data I want anyway!

UK.gov mulls three-point turn on three-point turn thanks to satnav. Weeeeeeee. THUD

A Twig

My driving improved no end when I got into driving older cars.

Old drum brakes, no abs/traction control/limited slip diffs, no power steering etc, suddenly gave me a huge appreciation for good anticipation, driving at a speed appropriate for the conditions, and correct application of braking distances.

An issue I've noticed recently is that modern automotive technology is now at such a state where one can drive really pretty badly and 90% of the time the technology will get you out of trouble. For example, entering a corner too quickly and slamming on the brakes halfway round in most modern cars no longer spits you into a tree on the far side of the road in the same way that a car of 30 years ago would have done. this means that driving becomes a mental background activity for many drivers, so bad driving becomes self fulfilling.

Within that 10% area of driving badly and it really going wrong, it is then beyond even that scope of modern driving aids to recover. You then are seriously in the shit, as invariably it is a driver who has never experienced anything like this before in a car that is out of control to such an extent that even the various technologies cannot cope. A lot of the technologies also reduce the feedback to the driver. In an old car it is invariably easier to sense when things are getting a bit hairy and ease off, whereas in my experience of modern vehicles it seems a lot more binary (everything is fine up to the point where it all goes wrong).

I don't think it is feasible for all drivers to learn in old vehicles (nor is it a particularly good idea), but I think a power/size/weight/speed restriction for new drivers might not be such a bad idea. Such a vehicle would inevitably be small, slow and missing many of the "sports" features which facilitate poor/aggressive driving, thus learning would be improved.

I also think that driving lessons should contain a mandatory skid pan session simulating icy/very wet conditions to ensure that drivers do not freeze up when it does all go wrong (as it inevitably will at some point in a drivers life).

Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

A Twig

Re: Vehicle Excise Duty

If the chassis is already registered you then get into the fun and games of the points system as to whether you need an IVA or not... joy...

If you do, it gets a new identity anyway, so back to the above document :)

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

A Twig

Re: Awkward sod here.

spelt flour?

Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

A Twig

Re: Lightbulbs are perceived to have a short life

@ James Ashton

Was lab proven in 2012 ;)


Can now be bought - wakey wakey! ;)


Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110

A Twig

Re: What makes it the e-THP?

The name comes from the noise you get when carrying a little too much speed into a corner on a greasy day combines with its traditional understeer...

Eeeeee - THUMP...

Kingston's aviation empire: From industry firsts to Airfix heroes

A Twig

Re: Can I just ask here

Off the top of my head:

AgustaWestland still make helicopters here I believe - the new AW159 is being developed in Yeovil.

Rolls Royce make components (wings, engines etc) but not full aircraft.

Airbus wings are made in Broughton by Airbus UK.

Final assembly of the Eurofighter Typhoon is done by BAe in Warton.

Britten-Norman build small transport aircraft completely in the UK - airframes were outsourced to Romania but now back.

Bombardier make parts here, as do GE, as do GKN, There are probably some others...

Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

A Twig

Perfect - my previous Kobo Glo died, I repaired it with parts cannibalised from antother "spares or repair" one I got of ebay, but that now too has died. It survived 3 years of abuse though, including being thrown out of 4x4s etc so I wasn;t too upset.

Was going to buy another of the same, but now that this has come out - defo where my hard earned will be going. :)

One question - the software was a bit glitchy a couple years back, as every model has its own version and foibles, and at least one a month it required a reset. Any ideas if they have sorted these issues out?

White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

A Twig

Re: You can lead a horse to English, but you can't make it parse.

> you maybe need to learn the difference between "and" and "therefore"

Nope, which is why I also used the word "and", not "therefore". Parsing is something I don't have a problem with. You and comprehension on the other hand...

> You're reacting to something that isn't there.

Fine, you think it's all fine and dandy, I don't. Happy days. As I suspect this will start to descend towards the levels of a slanging match if it continues, how about we draw stumps on an enjoyable exchange of views?

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award


I'm pretty sure you're taking the piss - so have an upvote ;)

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award


"This enables blue LEDs to be produced, and once you've got those to add to red and green ones, white light is possible and the LED light bulb could become reality."

Pretty unequivocal in what it is saying. Add a blue LED to a Red one and a Green one and you can get a white "bulb". Not how it is done. Here's a simple textbook white LED structure diagram. http://www.thinkyusa.com/commentary/upload_images/image2-1%20LED-xsection_eng.jpg

So unequivocally wrong.

> practically dripping with bile-laden derision

Half your selective quotes don't refer to the LED work, but instead to other uses of GaN - not part of the Prize award. What was your point? If we are resorting to selectively quoting items of irrelevance out of context:

"might well change society... unlikely to happen... really not sure...Oops, upside your head...we will fight on the beaches..."

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award

> Their explications were certainly very interesting, but they were writing in response to an error that was not in fact in the article.


>Therefore no-one must respond to it? I don't get it.

You're right, you don't. If he's responding to a piece in the Guardian then fine, no problem with that - just write the article accordingly. But the article isn't written like that, instead it comes across as trying to downplay the significance of the Prize.

> Oh, and also, the Nobel Committee did write..

Yup - and what they wrote is correct. For any given light output, using LEDs for it will "save" resources compared to using incandescents. The Committee's missive does NOT say LEDs will ultimately lead to an absolute reduction in the amount of energy used for lighting. I would go so far as saying that it has been carefully worded to avoid saying it.

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award

@ Tim Worstall

I'm sorry Tim, I must have missed the full impact of that paragraph under the screaming banner headline proclaiming "LED lies" and appearing to cast aspersions on the awarding of the prize.

To be honest though, if that's the only point I raised that you have an issue with I must have been nearer the mark than I thought...

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award

@ Squander Two

> Unless you explain the bit Tim got wrong, you're not exactly outdoing him, are you?

The first 4 or 5 commentards already did a neat job. There was no point in my repeating them.

> It's hardly some obscure immaterial point, is it?

It's an eminent physicist, who is nothing to do with the invention nor the Nobel Committee, talking about energy savings that LEDs produce in relation to other lighting methods. It's a back of a fag packet illustration of how much of a difference the technology has made in terms of power consumption. He's not an expert in National Power management. Its a "could fill 4 football stadiums" moment.

That then gets cherry picked by the Guardian, who push a pro-renewables editorial agenda. That article then gets snipped and picked again by Tim, who needs a hook for some copy he wants to submit.

By which point we are so far away from the fact that it's a Physics prize, awarded for some bloody good work that the Nobel itself is irrelevant to the meat of Tim's article.

"Worstall on the Weekend - Will the LED revolution be all it's cracked up to be?" would have been far more apt and pissed me off far less.

A Twig

Re: It's a PHYSICS award

Exactly - whole article was basically:

"Ohhh - Nobel Prize - I'm an economist, I don't really understand that Physics stuff, so what I'll do is have a stab at explaining it, get it wrong, then focus in on a small quote from a commentary surrounding the actual awarding of the prize, blow it out of proportion, bang on about a load of shit to do with potential issues - then, wait for it, the killer conclusion - "I don't know..."

Fucking brilliant... I genuinely envy people who can turn in work like that with a straight face, and then manage to get paid for it.

Back to the Physics - working GaN LEDs was a tremendous achievement, and not at all trivial scientifically. Thus prize well deserved in my book.

Economists can fuck off back to their own brand of astrological hocus pocus on their own time...

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast

A Twig

Just saying - the video is more a hype video to get research funding, that an announcement of a break through. It's basically a fluff piece to tell the world that they are starting an R & D program - with the usual LockMart bullish confidence about delivering the earth.

Based on their more recent track record for OTD - I'd say we'll get something that sort of works in 50 years, and it will be 8 times the size, and cost at least 70x as much as originally projected...

A Twig

Re: Plentiful cheap energy? Never going to happen

But, it opens up the possibility for local community generation.

With this, when the Energy Company price hikes become to much to bear, it is no longer inconceivable that towns/villages could decide to fund their own community energy supplier - in the way we are starting to see with fibre optic broadband?

Not suggesting this is necessarily the way forward or that it will happen, but the consequences of it are an interesting thought experiment.

Vodafone does it in two places at once: Carrier aggregation to boost 4G

A Twig

Re: "Research justifies the sexy bits, so we'll ignore the bread & butter stuff"

It's almost as depressing has having direct LoS to the Voda mast yet still not getting any reception. Even more frustrating is getting full reception on O2, as in theory - due to Cornerstone - they should have the same coverage as they are sharing sites!

Stop ROBOT exploitation, cry striking Foxconn workers

A Twig

Surely Amazon/Starbucks etc are prime candidates for automation? And how many people actually enjoy working as a barista or as a warehouse picker? Those that say they do usually give reasons like "camaraderie" or "the social aspect".

With the current lot of baby boomers working through, the demand for personal care is however a huge growth market. While robots have been developed that can assist infirm people, a lot of people prefer the human aspect of it. Thus there is demand.

So in the medium term / next 20 years, I reckon a lot of the people made unemployed by automation will be re-training into those sort of roles (regardless of suitability as there will be ever fewer options) - and there's an argument that can be made that the recent spate of care home scandals are symptoms of this already starting.

Ultimately - capitalism (and perhaps religion although that is a separate argument) is a symptom of scarcity. If we can ever get to the root cause of "curing" scarcity, then you no longer need any of the -isms (capitalism, socialism, facism, whatever your choice is) and hopefully the world will be a lot happier place - but there will definitely be a lot of pain along the way...

A Twig

Re: Hmmmm

The other utopian view is that with increased automation etc, marginal cost will trend towards zero, thus everyone can get whatever they want for close to bugger all work, as it will all be cheap/free.

That view does hinge hugely on unlimited amounts of "free" energy (from fusion or whatever). Obviously conventional capitalism will be obsolete at that point as well - so could be one huge bun fight as the world sorts itself out.

Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function

A Twig

Re: Demographic

Our marketing department at work are going to love this - and I think this is precisely who it is aimed at - corporate branding zealots.

No matter what content those irritating engineers and technical types put in, all those horrible to prettify graphs and tables, those CAD drawings - Sway will make it all conform to the pre-designed and expensively consulted image outreach campaign of the business.

The it will expand to be the required format for all internal communications...

It's a marcomms wet dream - no escape from the brand - ever...

'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

A Twig

Re: Economists

The IMF has apologised over the last couple of years...



Sorry, not allowed HTML it seems :(

Philip Morris seeks pay-per-puff patent to help you STOP smoking

A Twig

Re: Once again the drug dealers attempt ...

Not quite old chap - it's the nicotine that is addictive - it is all the other shit that kills you (from inhaling the products of combustion of dried plant matter, various added chemicals etc).

Nicotine itself has relatively few harmful effects on the body - and indeed some positive ones (when taken in low doses) - its the delivery methods that are the issue.