* Posts by Jeremy Hooks

14 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jan 2007

Telling lies to a computer is still lying, rules High Court

Jeremy Hooks
Black Helicopters

Discounts for Pilots?

What I want to know is why are pilots entitled to a discount? Are they particularly low paid or something? Also I wonder how much it cost Renault to setup this scheme for the 3 pilots who legitimately purchased a discounted car. You would have thought that for the sake of 3 sales, they could have manually checked each order.

Perhaps all the people who bought a full price Renault during the time period should file a class action suit?

So Renault are complaining because 214 people got a cheap Renault. Balpa has approx. 10000 members, what would Renault have done if the other 9997 members had decided to get a discounted Renault? Would they have crapped themselves because they were making less profit than they might of or would they have congratulated themselves because the scheme was so successful in generating sales (something tell me it's the latter). Heck, just think of all the money Renault stand to make when these 214 car develop *possible* faults which can only be diagnosed by Renault garages - after all, the post sales service lock-in is where the *real* profit lies (£80 to plug a cable it into a computer).

Sat Navs

Jeremy Hooks

>> But how long will they last

The maps are out of date/plain wrong the minute you buy the Sat Nav. I have found countless mistakes on my brand new TomTom which aren't on my five year old road atlas.

I remember reading once that, many years ago, cartographers used to protect their maps using intentional "cartographers' error". If they found a map some else claimed to have created and it had the same errors as their's, it was clear that it was a copy. I think TeleAtlas have taken this to a whole new level for the DRM age - a cartographers' error these days would be to map a roundabout where there is actually a roundabout.

I don't understand the need for companies like TeleAtlas and Ordnance Survey, when it comes to mapping our roads. You would have thought that some government agency already has the correct information - after all roundabouts, one way systems, speed limits and height restrictions don't just grow out of the ground where they please.

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Jeremy Hooks

@According to yesterday's Telegraph

>> The NAO (not having a mainframe) then passed the database to KPMG to process. -- Anonymous John

That is an interesting addition to the story. The only reasons that I can see the NAO would need mainframe to handle 2 CD worth of data are (if they only wanted to process 100 random records):

1. Their desktop PCs are steam powered.

2. The data is in some sort of raw format which can only read by an obscure DBMS, which only runs on a mainframe.

Nintendo Wii: the world's greatest console?

Jeremy Hooks


>> Only game I bought it for, Metroid Prime 3, is great though.

>> ...

>> Try reading the comment again...

Martin, the sentence you wrote makes no sense, you can hardly blame Unwashed Mass for misreading it as a sentence which does make sense (i.e. 'The only game I bought FOR IT, Metroid Prime 3, is great though'). Perhaps you could try 'THE game I bought it for, ...'.

It's not Unwashed Mass's fault that that you comment only makes sense after the third reading.

BTW, congrats to the original Anon. Coward, you managed to turn a boring story about sales figures into an interesting flame war.

Darling admits Revenue loss of 25 million personal records

Jeremy Hooks

RE: RE: Actually, never mind the HMRC - What about the NAO??

>> I'm sure there are lots of readers of this site with experience of handling very

>> large datasets who could put together the SQL query to extract only the data

>> the NAO wanted (according to the BBC last night just the childrens names and

>> the relevent NI numbers of the claimants) in just a few minutes. The data extract

>> job itself might take a bit longer, but overall this is a job that should only take a

>> few hours, not days or weeks. After all the Child Benefit database cannot be

>> much more complicated than your average HR db used as training examples in

>> all my old oracle books.

On a regular PC the select might take a few hours, on the sort of hardware HMRC should be using for their database servers it oughtn't take more than a few minutes. I'm am somewhat surprised the bank details are even in the same table.

I agree, it is shocking that HMRC told the NAO that they would desensitize the data because of the cost of a contractor to do the job. I don't know that it is more shocking than the fact that a junior member of staff has full access to the database. Certainly a close call.

BTW to all those commenting about ID cards - whilst clearly worrying, I'm more worried about upcoming NHS database.

Speed-cam fines topped out in 2005

Jeremy Hooks
Thumb Down

@Graham Marsden

>> Eleven minutes over 100 miles. Wow, what a saving!

>> You get a similar saving (ten minute) if you undertook a 20 mile journey around town at 40mph instead of 30mph.

>> Obviously people's time is *so* precious that they're willing to risk the lives of others because the reduced reaction time and extended braking distances mean they have less chance to do something about a problem before it becomes an accident.

You do understand that 40 in a 30 is *significantly* more dangerous than 80 in a 70 don't you (espescially to other road users).

Jeremy Hooks


>> According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#United_Kingdom ), the speed limit for motorways was set at 70mph in 1965. Over 40 years of motor car evolution has meant cars are safer, have better brakes with ABS, better tyre construction, more stringent MOT's etc yet the speed hasn't been increased.

In 40 years the motorways have also become a heck of a lot more crowded (though faster speeds would theoretically reduce that).

>> It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane

without technically braking the speed limit.

As others have pointed out - "Fast Lane"?? WTF. Surely the outer most overtaking lane you mean? If you are travelling at 70 off peak, there is little chance that you will have to spend much time in the third lane.

>> It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past.

Yes and those people are very nearly as annoying and just about more hazardous than those who hog the 'fast' lane.

>> I do a lot of motorway driving and I can tell you that I feel a lot safer when cars are driving at sensible fast speeds for the conditions with 2+ car distance between each other rather than all bunched up being limited to 70Mph.

What is a sensible fast speed when you are a 2 car length's distance from the car in front? Again WTF!!

6 metres certainly isn't a safe distance when you are travelling at 30 metres a second (70 MPH). Try adding a 10 to that number, i.e. 2 seconds distance, say 20 car lengths - as a minimum.

I agree that the speed limit should be raised for Motorways - Rob Farnell demonstrates there are many things more dangers taking place on the road which are rarely penalised i.e. tail gating, lane hogging and stupidity.

WRT to urban speed limits, I think they are fine as they stand (with the odd exception, where they have been wrongly applied). If you are attempting to merge onto a 30 MPH road, it is significantly more difficult and dangerous when cars are travelling at 40 MPH.

>> There are times when most of the UKs motorway network can safely be driven at 140MPH in the right car. (Dazed and Confused)

On a clear, straight road, in clear conditions perhaps - all of which are pretty rare in the UK. Travelling at 60 metres/second doesn't allow ther drivers travelling at half that speed much opportunity to see coming - and it would be entirely your fault if they moved into your path - likewise you would have very little oppourtunity to see a stationary queue of traffic.

Samsung glass breakthrough to slash LCD TV prices?

Jeremy Hooks

Much More expensive?

>>However, the non-alkaline glass is much more expensive - around ¥6122 ($53/£26/€37) per square metre, according to market watcher DisplaySearch.

£26 per 55in (i.e. 1 square meter) screen doesn't sound like a large percentage of the costs of an LCD screen.

Thirsty Koreans fight duff whisky with mobiles

Jeremy Hooks

re: Surely...

>> If you order a 20yo single malt, and get served some cheap

>> rot-gut, and don't notice it the moment you taste it, you don't didn't

>> deserve the single malt in the first place!

Whilst I agree with the sentinment expressed, I would like to point out that the article didn't refer to 20yo single malts. The article referred to 21yo local (Korean) blends. I am not sure I could tell the difference between a 21yo Korean blended whiskey and some cheap rot-gut.

CafePress drops Buddha-snap doggie G-strings

Jeremy Hooks

Re: War Monger

>> the practice of rubbing Buddha's belly for good luck. Good luck or no, it should be an "uplifting" experience.

Do you find rubbing a Dog's G-String/T-Shirt an "uplifting" experience?

On the Office format wars

Jeremy Hooks

Software Certification

When a document format becomes an ISO standard, does that mean the all software which claims to support that standard needs to be certified in order to carry the standard mark?

If that is the case, then I can't see ISO giving MS a free pass just because they had a large part creating the standard. This could really come back to bite MS.

Does anyone else remember the problems the final version of Office 2007 had reading documents created in the Office 2007 beta 2 (the final public beta)? An open interchanganble file format that isn't even compatible minor version changes of the same software? Incompatibilities which are so major that they can't be fixed by the company which has access to the source code of both applications?

It really would be the ultimate irony if OpenXML was granted ISO standard and OpenOffice.org was certified before MS-Office.

Expert KOs Rocky's artificial intelligence

Jeremy Hooks

Good question Chad

Darth Vader, as we all know, has a light sabre. Rocky however is the 'Good Guy'. Both characters are products of Hollywood.

We all know that in Hollywood movies the good guy wins. Therefore, Rocky can't loose, however he will take a good beating first - as is his trade mark.

Evesham iPlayer HD 80GB DVR

Jeremy Hooks

My Favourite PVR (so far)

The best PVRs I have seen so far are those from Reelbox http://www.reel-multimedia.co.uk

They have USB, Firewire, mini-PCI (so that you can add wireless), DVI-I(changable to HDMI), gigabit ethernet, IDE + 5.25 drivebay so you can add your choice of DVD-RW (or even Blueray). They support encryption cards.

The killer feature is that they support upto 4 tuners (most come with 2 and 2 empty slots), which can be of any type (i.e. Freeview, Satellite or Cable).

They are rather more expensive than the I-player (£550), but I reckon they offer better 'Bang for Buck'.

Jeremy Hooks

Shame it only has one tuner

I have to agree £300 is a lot of money considering it only has one tuner and only an 80GB harddisk.

Personally, I would be prepared to pay more for a box which had 3 or 4 tuners, particularly if I could have set them such that they tuned into default channels (so you could setup a few favourites and have rewind on them - even though you weren't watching them). The problems the article mentioned with regards some DivX and some MPEG files are a major turn off too.

I wonder if it would play ripped DVDs so you could create your own jukebox, given the dubious legality, not something that you are likely to cover in a review.

Does the box support a decoder card for encrypted Freeview channels (topup TV or whatever the latest name is)?