* Posts by Gavin Nottage

32 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jul 2007

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Gavin Nottage

My Renault R-Link told me about an urgent update for this. It's been applied but keeps on telling me there's an update. It looked like there would be one for the Carminat as well. You may be surprised...

Apple iDevice dock port to drive wireless streaming

Gavin Nottage

Apple might have it right for car audio

Besides the speakers, another place where I think the IPod with dock blazed a trail with the dock connector was for in-car entertainment connectivity. You could get a box to connect your iPod to the head unit and be controlled remotely, pretneding to be an OEM CD changer. With Android not having a common dock, there is no chance of any box to wire in your phone to the stereo. Of course bluetooth is all well and good for calls, but you need a seperate charger or run down your battery even more when driving and listening to music using it.

Where the new dock might succeed is that it has digital audio output (presumably on the S/PDIF standard), which is great - car head units have this (mine requires conversion from analogue of iPod to S/PDIF). However the control and data over serial is useful for this purpose, so if that's been dropped in favour of USB then any car audio converter isn't going to get easier to build.

TalkTalk Q1 sales fall as number of broadband punters declines

Gavin Nottage

Managed to leave

Not in Q1, but recently I managed to leave TalkTalk Business (simply because I wanted a fixed IP address). The service had descended from 2Mbit to ~600kbit since TalkTalk took over Pipex, and weren't able to offer FTTC. I went with a leading FTTC provider and saw immense improvments in bandwidth (but no fixed IP address).

I think that TalkTalk (non business) offer FTTC, but their website was so confusing for me (upgrade pack for FTTC - huh?) that I couldn't get a "what it will cost me each month" price. The provider I went with for FFTC hass substantially lower price than my old ADSL too, which means I could afford a hosted site for Emails etc.

Fiat shows solar-panel wrapped 'Panda of the future'

Gavin Nottage

@Anonymous Coward

0-60 in 6 seconds? Where did you read that? I read 0 to 30mph in the same 6 seconds, which is reasonable for a city car. I say well done Fiat, for a good show car. Now get something for the real world...

Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

Gavin Nottage
Gates Horns

Isn't it Microsofts fault?

M$ introduced a non-standards compliant browser, meaning sites designed to that. Now they move back to standards compliance, those sites who have the tweaks for M$ no longer display correctly. Had Microsoft not gone down its own route there wouldn't be this problem in the first place. Perhaps website should detect M$ IE and then tell the user to get a browser that doesn't keep changing how it displays websites...

Sony Ericsson to reduce handset range by 20 per cent

Gavin Nottage

Phone names

How about having the clamshell designs named "Flipping Good" and "Flipping Awesome".

I can see that there is some differentiation between Walkman and Cybershot phones, but they all overlap. I ended up with a SE K800i Cybershot, even although I wanted it to play music more than have a camera (although I'm pleased I got that one as the camera is actually pretty good for my usage). So I'd agree with a small model range. Perhaps 5 is too small as some people will want different things, but keep it under 10 on sale (as new) at any one time, sharing as much hardware and software as is possible. Some people want thin, some want a big screen,some clamshell, some no camera...

Logitech V550 Nano wireless laptop mouse

Gavin Nottage

@Goat Jam

Trackballs don't suck... They can require a bit of time to get used to. So some users try them for a few minutes, then give up and deem them rubbish. Take the effort with a comfortable one and they can become a joy to use.

But then what do I know - laptop trackpads to me are pretty much unusable (although trackpoints, the nipple like devices in Thinkpads are far better). I guess that's why they need to have these mice for laptops...

Ofcom considers termination charges

Gavin Nottage

Killing mobile telephony

Should this termination fee come in, then I would turn on my mobile phones only when I need to make a call, or am explicitly expecting a call. Which would mean it's not usually worth bothering to carry them around. So then the operators are going to fast-track themselves out of business!

EU grabs 30MHz of spectrum for talking cars

Gavin Nottage

@ H2Nick, seatbelts

"Seatbelts came in 31.01.1983"

Wasn't that the day they became compulsory to wear if fitted to the car? So intelligent people who wanted the safety they afford in the event of an accident hadn't been using them before that? The uptake of seatbelt usage was never a step change, it was much more gradual - some people still don't like to wear them...

Home Office to order fingerprinting of air passengers

Gavin Nottage

UK Road Deaths

AC above said: "But 10,000 people A YEAR are killed on the UK's roads"

No, in 2007 road deaths have dropped under 3000. Still too many, and your point is very valid, just check the facts...

Upgrade drags Stealth Bomber IT systems into the 90s

Gavin Nottage
Black Helicopters

Pentium & RTOS

I read only the other day that Intel gave the IP for the pre-MMX Pentium to the US defense once they were done making them. Recently Intel have asked for it back, with improvements since the military folk have debugged it some more.

The reason they are probably using C will be due to compiler and if they are using a COTS RTOS. Ada is supported by gcc, so if there is one t's probably not *NIX. Note that M$ don't do an RTOS, and this plane would need the real time functionality.

easyJet warns 'several websites' to stop selling its flights

Gavin Nottage

Travel Supermarket

Thought I'd check out the site with the poor TV adverts, just to see what all the fuss is about, comparing prices of flights I have already booked direct with BA for later this year (at the time easyjet were more expensive!). The site asks me how many travellers, so I respond 3 since there's 2 adults and an infant who'll sit on our laps- clicking through to easyjet there's no where to actually specify ages! I doubt I'll go back there...

I've flown Easyjet in the past, but the prices are just not low enough to put up with all the long queues, extra charges to check in baggage, seating (non assigned & squashed in). They should welcome any other site that generates them some traffic!

CherryPal out sweetens Apple with 2W, ultra-cheap PC

Gavin Nottage


Just to say it needs a DVI output, and the specs of the Ethernet aren't clear, but it really should be gigabit. Then it starts to make sense as a little box for a non-power user who lives with a power user. Or it could go in a kitchen etc where 1024x768 is OK.

VIA takes tiny mobo spec to second generation

Gavin Nottage

Home server

For any home user who wants a small server, but doesn't want to use much power, this looks good. onboard Gigabit Ethernet and multiple SATA ports make it "Via"ble. Dedicated to serving a few files and Email for a family doesn't need a fast CPU, even doing software RAID. How's the Linux support?

Microprocessors are the new cigarettes

Gavin Nottage
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The first JP Morgan

Last year I read a book about Tesla, a complete genius without who the world would have been a far worse place today, yet his further work was stifled by none other than JP Morgan refusing to give him more money to invest in the future (in that case it was wireless transmission of power - totally revolutionary). Why, simple financial sense: Back then JP Morgan had big investments in the copper industry, so made a lot of money from power cables, and thus had a lot to lose from Tesla's invention.

So I can only guess that the continued innovation from semiconductor companies is limiting the investment industry. Simple reasons are the upgrade wagon on new hardware and software; as well as the extra time/expense of keeping up with technology developments to get an informed decision to invest.

I'll always remember a friend from Uni who studied business stuff and ended up as a buyer - he disliked changes to a design since that meant having to recalculate the parts, find new suppliers, renegotiate etc. Totally at odds with development, and particularly the field of semiconductors.

Personally I will never knowingly deal with JP Morgan since they are opposed to innovation and advancement of the human race - just to try and get a bit richer. There's more to life than dividends and return on financial investment!

Hyundai and Kia's latest pitch to US drivers - Windows

Gavin Nottage

Re: Old paradigm ...

"They can choose Open Source (no viruses, oversight of thousands of skilled programmers) which is free - in both senses of the word - or they can pay Microsoft (the convicted, predatory US monopolist that refuses to obey the law in Europe) a licence fee for cruddy, badly-written software for which no source code is available (just as well, from Microsoft's point of view)..."

It's not as straightforward as downloading the code and then compiling it for the target hardware, loading it in and it all just works. There would be a complete software development cycle, with loads of testing to make sure it was up to scratch. Open source may be great for some things, but in the embedded world most manufacturers want a company to be responsible for such things. It's more a co-operation than a EULA. And it means that if it goes wrong, M$ engineers will be sorting it out at a cost to M$.

Also, if you don't want to line the pockets of M$, then don't chose the option on your new car. There will be enough competitors soon enough for OEMs, and you can retrofit this kind of technology anyway.

Wikipedia-reading boffins jimmy keyless door to entire universe

Gavin Nottage

re: One time pads now practical

Cars come with two keys, so would they have separate sequences, or try and sync up somehow? I guess they'd go for separate. It would mean if you lost a key, the stealership would just need to reprogram the car's part for a new key - or more likely open up some module and replace the corresponding chip/board for the new one - pretty expensive, but then people shouldn't lose keys!

Religious MPs get free vote on hybrid embryos

Gavin Nottage

Religion getting in the way?

I too thought the MPs were elected to represent their constituents rather than themselves.

As someone also with a Parkinsons sufferer in the family, who also follows the Christian faith (very non Catholic, and I would never call myself religious - it's a very different thing to faith), I have no problem with the proposed research using these stem cell techniques. I hope that there is a real debate, and parliament is educated to understand the real issues, not vote with some pre-conceived idea that it's wrong. The only thing that's wrong is to be prejudiced!

DAB: A very British failure

Gavin Nottage
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My take

OK, so I've skipped a lot of the comments, and this may only ever be read by some bot, as shirley everyone else will get bored before reading down here; but here goes...

I have radios, I've had them years: Hi-Fi, surround receiver, alarm clock, oh and in car, (as in the ones that are standard and work with the remote controls and remote display). I don't listen other than occasionally, having got bored of the tediousness and inability to have any control over the music selection. So to go DAB I have to find a new radio that would replace an existing one - and the only way I'd consider it is it looks good (as in it fits in with the rest of my hi-fi or car), and be cheap enough to be bothered, which isn't £100, or even £20 as I already have the functioning radio already.

DAB has never taken off as car manufacturers didn't immediately starting adding DAB to car radios AS STANDARD. They'd need good functionality to switch back to FM as well, so it's a pure investment. I think some offer them as options, but unless you buy your own brand new car and want to spend hundreds more to get DAB, nobody buys them.

DAB is chicken and egg - to make it work there needs to be legislation banning the sale of non-DAB radios, and while they're at it, the sound quality needs to be better, and why not throw in a few more features that could be useful like immediate last traffic announcement replay, and playlistings (ie what's just played, what's playing, and what's going to be played). Without these kind of useful features it's worse than analogue, and thus you would have to pay me to take a DAB radio that blends in with my existing equipment.

Healthy? You're a burden on the state

Gavin Nottage
Thumb Up


I always knew that smokers and drinkers paid more tax, and thus helped oil the wheels of the treasury. Statistically more likely to die earlier too, so that's less pension paid out. Thanks to everyone who dies earlier than they would have done. I may feel slightly sorry that you have to stand out in the cold and wet to smoke, since you're subsidising things for me. It does go some way to giving a rational reason for so many health workers smoking - so that they don't have to be on the other side of treatment (and are instead on "the other side").

I also feel miffed at the large gas guzzlers on the road paying more fuel duty per mile than my econobox, since it means the world will run out of fuel sooner. On one hand thank you for keeping my taxes a bit lower, on the other, let me past!

The world has too many people, and the UK is increasingly getting an aged population. What should be done? Perhaps nothing...

US Army struggles with Windows to Linux overhaul

Gavin Nottage

Re: This is a custom implementation

"It is always a disconcerting to me that folks forget they are tying themselves to Intel when they go with Linux but nothing is ever perfect."

So Linux doesn't run on alpha, arm, ia64, m68k, mips, ppc, sparc etc.?

IPv6 roots planted on the net

Gavin Nottage

Re: Router firmware

"What I want to know is whether companies such as Netgear will put out new IPv6-compatible firmware for their routers and, if so, how many of their older products will they support? If it wasn't for the recent trend of using very small, purpose-built software such as VxWorks over more generic, memory-hungry software such as Linux, I would flash my router with OpenWRT. Sadly, they really skimped on the RAM for this particular model. My older router has much more."

You do know that it works out cheaper to use an OS that requires less hardware resources (flash, RAM, CPU) at the expense of licenses for the volume that routers are made now. VxWorks supports IPv6 from 6.x, so the router manufacturer should be able to offer firmware upgrades, if they want to. Whether they bother is another question, (my guess being that they won't unless forced to as the wont see any return on the extra work).

Google opens Maps for editing

Gavin Nottage
Paris Hilton

More stuff to add

I'd appreciate being able to add in roads, for example, the one where I live (so that visitors could find us). Also details of the usability of roads, you know, like impassable for large vehicles; steep, single track with no passing places; potholed to resemble Bosnia/Iraq; Closed for resurfacing; floods easily;

Paris angle: Could give her location like that machine on last weeks Mighty Boosh

Toyota ponders plug-in hybrids

Gavin Nottage

@ Anne van der Bom

"I own a Prius, and with careful driving I manage about 4.7 l/ 100 km on average (summer & winter). This is better than a 1.2 l Corsa. Don't forget that the Prius offers more room and comfort than a Corsa. A Corsa-sized Prius would defnitely be more economical. Be careful with comparisons!"

I'm running a diesel Megane estate with 1.5 dCi engine, achieving the same 4.7 l/100km (which is 60mpg). I have even more room than the Prius, and it's cheaper to buy and maintain. It wouldn't get me into London for free, but I don't go there anyway. If you look at smaller cars with good diesel engines then the economy is even better.

To me, the world needs to use less fossil fuels. They're a finite resource, so will run out.

Sony unveils third-gen 'portable' PS2

Gavin Nottage

@What's the point

It takes less juice to power and is lower profile. No doubt it's cheaper to produce too.

Woman admits fleecing shopping network of more than $412,000

Gavin Nottage

More Change than you paid

One comment reminded me about when Debenhams (I think) first allowed customers to pay in Euro's, but the change was only in sterling. So some youth tried it and got more change than he'd paid. He did it again, ending up with a bit more money and the goods before telling Debenhams what was happening. They said nothing was wrong etc, so he did it a few more times. Finally they realised the exchange rates were wrong.

If this woman could prove she tried informing QVC of their mistake(s), then she'd get off, but it looks like she didn't.

Vauxhall recalls self-combusting Corsas

Gavin Nottage

Another recall

Crikey! This will be the third recall for our 54 plate Corsa in under 2 years of ownership and 7k miles. It's at the garage almost as much as out 307 was, except Vauxhall pick up the tab rather than us. Still, nice semi-auto gearbox for town driving, and it fits through smallish gaps. I bet sales of hatchback Astra's have plummeted since the new Corsa 'D' arrived - they're the same size!

@SImon, was the 1.4CDTI mis-badged, or an old one? Vauxhall these days do their own 1.7 100bhp, and a Fiat 1.3 (really 1248cc) with 90bhp. I think they used to use a 1.5 as well before GM's Italian affair.

BOFH: Damsels in distress

Gavin Nottage

Microsoft on a plane?

I know that the Navy now use M$ on some warships, but aeroplanes would not be running Microsoft OSes for anything remotely critical. And although it could be fairly standard Intel type hardware, it's unlikely to boot from USB by nature of a locked down BIOS and lack of accessible physical ports.

Of course it's only in the dream of the BOFH that he fixed the "system" and saved the plane etc...

National Express bus kingpin ditches biofuel trial

Gavin Nottage

Re: Going Green

David, I totally agree that F1 needs to look towards the future, which is why the FIA are introducing regenerative braking (I think it's for 2011, but can be voted in earlier by the teams) and other such technologies, hopefully along with a 1.2 litre 4 cylinder turbo engine that is comparatively fuel efficient.

Biofuels as we know them today don't seem to be the answer, but from what the comments are here, the world already knows better solutions, and with the right permissions and financing from governments can significantly aid their countries reliance on fossil fuels. Of course some leaders would rather go to war to secure easy oil than pump the money into a longer term objective.

Developing both the technology and infrastructure, together with reducing the amount of fuel required seems the best way forward.

DVLA turns censor on grubby number plates

Gavin Nottage


So I guess Ambrosia or Birds-Eye etc will start a bidding war for CU57ARD

No doubt that FA57CAR will go quick, and twin girls will want to be seen driving around in SI57ERS.

Tories offer record industry cash for righteousness

Gavin Nottage

What if...

Rather than the Con-swerve-atives pandering to the record companies, what if the UK voted in a party that took nationalisation seriously (no idea if any party exists). What if they said there are no more record companies, that it's all state owned. That from everyone's tax all musicians/bands get paid according the number of downloads/streams/physical sales (which would be a lot cheaper). No barriers for anyone to become a musician with a "recording contract", but leave the gigging/merchandise side for private companies. The current A&R men can hype up acts for their salary. the big studios would hopefully still get used by the big stars who will use the facilities. Once the 50 years copyright is up no more royalties on each recording, but obviously the publishing would be a bit different. Just an idea...

McLaren suspends top F1 engineer

Gavin Nottage

Just a moment

You do know that Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan worked together at Benetton and Ferrari, and are thus friends. So if they met up in April, and Nigel says take a look at this aero on the new Ferrari, and Mike says thanks, it doesn't mean that McLaren suddenly have used that information. A simple FIA check through the changes to the car from April will reveal if the info has been used, and by whom. Seeing that it takes time to actually fabricate parts, test them and find them beneficial and thus make some more to go into use for a race, McLaren's upturn in form is highly unlikely to have come from this source (IMHO, but I await the official verdict). This years cars are now only using Bridgestones, and McLaren seem to have worked out how to get them working well on their car for Canada/USA. Now Ferrari with their longer wheelbase car are getting a benefit in France, and possibly the British GP this weekend. Just like Honda improved in France, at least with Button.

F1 is very technical, to me it should stay at the cutting edge. A1GP is there, GP2 is there for those who don't want to see so much decided by engineers. But the best drivers will get into F1, although not always into the team of the moment. If you think lower formulae are without technical input, then recall how Senna was annoyed that Brundle had been given a better tune of engine in Formula Ford (I think), and was thus leading the championship. Ayrton made sure he got the same engine and then could beat Martin.