* Posts by Steve again

21 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jul 2007

US states mulling Google book-scan pact

Steve again

Copyright duration: another suggestion

OK, how about this:

You get 10 years copyright free of charge. If you want to extend it, go ahead, have another 10 years, that will be $1000 please (so I won't bother renewing all those poems I wrote for my wife). Not enough? No problem, extend from 20 to 30 years for a mere $10000 (and the majority of books drop into the public domain). Still not satisfied? At 30 years register for another 10 years for only $100000 (really popular authors only by now). To get from there to 50 years will cost you $1m (and JK Rowling - or her estate - and Disney Corp will probably consider it a bargain) and so on up.

This suggestion wasn't the result of hours of thought so you can probably point out a number of faults - the worldwide thing being the first that springs to mind - oh, and where should the money go? - but it does recognise that copyright has a monetary value and it stops publishing houses from holding back catalogues of books that they have no intention of ever doing anything with but that they're theirs so you can't have them.

I've been thinking books, mainly; I've no idea how this might work for music, movies, software, you name it.

Apple sued over iPhone e-bookiness

Steve again

My PRS-505 is safe

This one had me worried for about three and a half seconds - until a quick look at Apple Insider showed that Monec had made a fatal mistake back in 1999 when they filed for this patent. They have described an e-Reader quite well but they do specify an LCD screen - and my Sony PRS-505 uses e-Ink.

What joy. I care not a toss, of course, as to whether the patent covers the iPhone but I suspect there is too much prior art and obviousness for Steve Jobs to lose too much sleep over it. Although, if this is the case, why did HP settle?

Pirate Bay prosecutor argues for one year prison terms

Steve again
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The technical objection

Unlike Gerhardt above, I fear there WILL be a conviction. Although it is clear to everyone here that the technical objection is actually the key point, it still falls to the defense to make the distinction and I suspect they haven't done so sufficiently well in words of one syllable for a non-technical judge to understand.

Time to invest in supplies of non-slip soap, lads.

Pirate Bay prosecutor tosses infringement charges overboard

Steve again

Making available

OK, the usual disclaimer - IANAL but:

As I understand it (from other blog posts somewhere) there actually is an offence of "making available" in Sweden which is taken fairly seriously but probably doesn't translate to exactly the same concept as you or I would understand those words in English. It will be interesting to see whether the courts believe TPB is guilty of this offence, most of the English-speaking commentators seem to think a not guilty is in the bag but a number of bloggers with suspiciously Scandanavian sounding handles seem a lot more cautious, even pessimistic.

And of course the problem with crowing about the prosecution's lack of technical knowledge and how if the lawyers knew anything they would never have taken the case misses the point that if judges in Sweden are anything like judges anywhere else they will have started out as lawyers and so will have a similar technical backgeround. It then comes down to whether the defence lawyer can get the technical concepts across or whether the prosecution can convince the judge otherwise.

Flash cells near shrinkage limit

Steve again


> Before you read on, be forewarned: The acronyms will come thick and fast.

I was going to be pedantic here - this being a pet peeve of mine - and observe that while I could see plenty of abbreviations, none of them appeared to be acronyms. However a quick check of dictionary.com to double check I wasn't making a complete arse of myself indicated that while in real life abbreviations do indeed need to form a word on their own before they can be honestly referred to as acronyms, it is possible - according to the previously unknown to me "Free On-line Dictionary of Computing" - to use the term acronym in computing for any "identifier formed from some of the letters (often the initials) of a phrase".

So what think you all? Is the FOLDOC correct or just being lazy?

US protests to WTO over EU 'IT' tariffs

Steve again

Re: Dual use foodstuff

Simon, I've always had problems pronouncing Antigua correctly, for some reason.

I suspect that the WTO's spinal fortitude is inversely proportional to the member country's fiscal contribution to its operating costs.

DARPA hands out cash for tiny bugbot-thopter

Steve again

@Spend for spend's sake

And of course there is the old chestnut of NASA spending millions of dollars to develop a pen that would work in space.

The Russians used pencils.

FBI preps $1bn biometric database

Steve again

Non-US governments delighted

According to a recent article about this in the NZ Herald newspaper, the New Zealand government (and probably all non-US governments) are absolutely delighted by the biometric data requirements the US is going to demand from visa applicants - earlobes are particularly mentioned, probably for their joke value. This is because current and forseeable law prohibits the NZ government from collecting most of this information itself but it will have access to the FBI database so if it can just encourage everyone to holiday in Hawaii or California . . .

Of course strictly speaking, NZ (and UK and Brunei and 24 other countries) citizens don't need visas for a holiday in the US but we are still subject to the "US-VISIT" program which, according to its website, exists "to match your identity against the data captured by the State Department at the time the visa was issued to ensure that you are the same person who received the visa."

Space brains resign over efforts to attract ET attention

Steve again

Sail boats

Um Mark, I think I disagree with you - boats CAN sail faster than the wind - but you give enough of an explanation to make me think that perhaps I just don't understand exactly what you are saying. See:


BBC's iPlayer launches Christmas Day

Steve again

Purely hypothetically . . .

. . . for those of us who are expats - if we wanted to, what would be the best way to get around the UK only requirement. Not that we would, of course, we're far too honest for that.

Kindle ain't no e-book reader

Steve again

Nearly, but not quite

Actually, I think Amazon are onto something here. The idea of being able to load up half a dozen books just before I board the plane and not have to lug several kilos on board does have a lot of appeal to me. From what I can see from the - no doubt, completely unbiased - videos on Amazon's site, the Kindle seems to have all the e-book reader features I want and the instant connectivity to back it up.

But I won't be rushing out to get one. Even if I lived in range of the Sprint EVDO network which - like 100% of all non-US residents - I don't, the price, both for the reader and for books / magazines - is too high. I'm guessing that Amazon didn't know quite what to charge so aimed high to get the early adopters and, like the iPhone, we'll see the price drop in January and version 2.0 of the Kindle sold next Christmas for about half the current price.

Airbus delivers first A380

Steve again

And the second one?

I remember the initial flight of the A380 well, proudly huddled over my laptop watching the feed live on the internet from Tolouse - only to discover that my wife was watching it live on Sky in far more comfort in the next room. I've always considered a metaphor for our relationship - she'll be up in Business while I struggle in Cattle.

That aside, I'm pleased to see the first A380 has finally been delivered but does anyone have any idea when the second one is going to turn up? As far as I can tell from media reports it won't be until next year, possibly February or March. Is four to five months from first to second a record or do all new aircraft go through a similar delivery cycle?

Betfair catches whiff of tennis match fix

Steve again
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This IS a worry

Like a number of geeks I know, I earn I nice little bit of pocket money on the side on Betfair by betting on "in play" matches - tennis and cricket are the best, I find. I follow cricket much more than I follow tennis but I can still make a bit of money with a small but reasonable knowledge of the sport and a better knowledge of the betting patterns expected during the match. It isn't much of an edge, I aim for - and usually achieve - winnings of about £100 - 200 per month and will generally bet on about 20 matches to do so (winning a small amount on 80% of them and losing a lot on 20%), so a single fixed match is likely to wipe out my winnings for the month.

No, I didn't bet on either of the matches mentioned.

Google readies Pacific-spanning, Verizon-battling underwater comm cable

Steve again

Stopping in New Zealand


Worry yourself not. Of course Google will route the cable via New Zealand. In fact, the whole point of the cable is to prepare for their office move to a disused extinct volcano here as El Reg reported 18 months ago:


Artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince attacks internet

Steve again


For those of you who haven't discovered this yet, may I recommend a visit to http://thepiratebay.org/legal

This amusing collection will give you a good idea of what response The Pirate Bay will dish out.

Interestingly, you will notice that Web Sheriff have already had a go at The Pirate Bay - back in 2005 on behalf of White Stripes (whoever he, she or they may be). Web Sheriff's argument then seemed to be that although TPB's activities were legal in Sweden, their website could be accessed in the UK and US where those same activities were illegal so TPB should cease immediately.

On the same basis, I'm sure many of the comments made on El Reg are illegal in China, North Korea and Arkansas but people in those places can still view the website (well maybe not in China and North Korea) so I demand that El Reg close down immediately.

Online car tax saves planet from carbon hell

Steve again

How many trees were saved?

I can't speak for you Northerners but, regardless of the context, here in New Zealand the answer is generally always "none". We get our paper from trees in plantation forests which, for good economic reasons, are replanted as soon as they are torn down*. Hence we can use as much paper as we like and still have roughly the same number of trees at the end of the year.

*Actually this year is an exception. Due to some obscure regulation that is being blamed on Kyoto, forestry companies will from next year be penalised for reducing the number of acres they have in plantation forests and rewarded for increasing them. Strangely, all of them seem to have forgotten to replant this year.

France blames China for hack attacks

Steve again

Classified information?

"New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said that "foreign intelligence agencies" had attempted to hack into its systems. "What I can stress is that absolutely no classified information has ever been penetrated by these attacks," She added."

It is unfair to suggest that this is because there ISN'T any classified information in those systems. It is well known that the PLA has been seeking to identify the exact number of sheep on New Zealand pastures for many years.

All of world's biggest firms hit by typosquatting

Steve again

Diminishing returns for Google




Yahoo! seeks dismissal of China human rights lawsuit

Steve again

About! Time! Too!

While raising a chuckle the first couple of times I saw it, the old exclamation gag has got a bit tired from overuse. Perhaps it is time to declare it a Saga Lout and leave it to drink itself into oblivion in the retirement home. Like all elderly, conveniently sidelined relatives, it can be dragged out once a year at Christmas to remind us fondly of the old days and then return, thankfully, to obscurity.

Petrol latte for Kiwis in dairy biofuel push

Steve again

No downside?

"Gull manager Dave Bodger told Stuff: "If there's no downside for the choice, middle New Zealand will go for the green option.""

So Dave, how come normal petrol retails for $1.53 / litre but you're pricing Force 10 at $1.61 / litre? Given the choice, middle New Zealand will choose the cheaper option over the green option every time.

French high court rules in favor of online gambling industry

Steve again

No market for Tour de France?

"Conditions are not met to open bookmaking to all sports games, such as the Tour de France for example, since there is no market yet"

This is extremely good news. Does it mean that I can have back the £10 I lost on Betfair when Tom Boonen didn't win the second stage into Gent last week?