* Posts by Alain Moran

107 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jul 2007


The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Alain Moran

Register Red of course!

Everybody knows that painting something red makes it go faster ... especially if you add some stripes down the side!

Badger bloodbath brouhaha brings 'bodge' bumpkin bank burgle bluster

Alain Moran

Wow ... what a bunch of incompetent fools ... don't they realise that NFU will insure anyone who lives in a rural area?

I'm a coder, I've always been a coder ... and my house & car are insured through the NFU.

A mate of mine (who is a builder - he lays flooring) put me onto them because they're often cheaper and more flexible to deal with - I switch back and forth between running a Morris Minor, and a modern car when the Minor is off the road, so it means my no-claims for the modern often goes 'out of date' - the NFU were the only company who would pick up my no-claims and give me a reasonable quote.

IT bloke publishes comprehensive maps of CALL CENTRE menu HELL

Alain Moran

Seven years?

Am I the only one who is wondering why on earth he navigated these systems manually?

Speech recognition software might not be 100% accurate, but you could automate navigating the options and record the prompts for later manual correction & have an up-to date map in a couple of weeks!

The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Alain Moran

Where is the QL?

You list the ugly ZX-series but not the gorgeous QL ... are you mad?

Facebook buys Dummly from outernet prodigy Dick D'Miner

Alain Moran


Could do better.

Printed electronics firm prints more money in quest for safer poultry

Alain Moran

Re: Finally a use for QR codes

Possibly, however that's something they can work towards solving ... after all if they're only up to creating a couple of transistors, then how useful is that really? An entire ATMega48 on the other hand could be really interesting!


Alain Moran

Finally a use for QR codes

Just have the display generate a QR code containing the data - scanners are ubiquitous and don't require contact.

Kickstarted mobe charger 'kicked to death by Apple'

Alain Moran

Simple solution ... have a nice standard jack output and then bundle free adaptors with the product itself!

Brits swallow Google Nexus 4 supply 'in 30 minutes'

Alain Moran

According to google

All of the Nexuses are sold out ... the 7's and the 10's too ... despite them still being apparently on sale.

Broadband minister's fibre cabinet gripe snub sparks revolt

Alain Moran

Simple solution

Dig up their roads and bury the boxes ... not only will this require their street to be closed for a week or so while a hole big enough can be dug so that engineers will have access, but will also hide the boxes and allow the telco's to add a surcharge to their bills to pay for the extra work.

No doubt when they realise that it will not only inconvenience them but also put them out of pocket then they may change their tune ;)

Exhibitionist Shamoon virus blows PCs' minds

Alain Moran


Could be the work of a disgruntled (ex?) employee?

New UK network touts FREE* mobile broadband

Alain Moran

google not blocking

Google is not blocking searches for this ... a quick look turns up www.sambamobile.com

Mad Apple patent: Cloneware to convince trackers you don't like porn

Alain Moran

Re: new for old

MS-Agent was the base technology behind clippy ... "it looks like you're writing a letter" ;)

Alain Moran

Even weirder ...

What would be weirder than basket weaving kits arriving at your house? ... being in a chat room about basket-weaving that's suddenly invaded by thousands of apple bots talking nonsense to each other! :o

British Waterways charity mapping data handed to Google for free

Alain Moran

Coming to a browser near you soon

Google River-View & Google Canal-View ... you heard it here first!

PS: No I don't have any inside information, but it's a bit obvious if british waterways are talking up new ways of promoting the rivers and canals.

Atlassian seeks geeks in Europe

Alain Moran

Gotta love em

I've seen these guys buy a beer for an entire java conference before ... they really are great blokes.

Nokia: No Belle download for Apple users

Alain Moran

Not the only one...

Nokia are by far and away not the only hardware supplier that does this!

For example Neato, makers of fine vacuum cleaning robots, still can't be bothered to supply the binaries that they push down the wire to the robot! Despite, from what I can gather, them using nothing more complex than 'dd' to do the transfer!

Boffins quarrel over ridding world of leap seconds

Alain Moran

One Question

So if we go with the atomic time & ignore sunrise, does this mean that at some point we'll end up with '12 midnight' some time in the middle of the afternoon? Or maybe starting work at '9am' - two hours after sunset.

IMO, despite the difficulties behind a computer fix, fixing people's perception that 9am should be in 'the morning' and midnight should be 'at night' is going to be much much harder.

TalkTalk, 3UK scratched off Ofcom's Xmas card list

Alain Moran


Three's billing systems have been up the creek since 2001 ... I had a handset with them back then and they botched my billing so badly I swore I'd never ever go back to using them even if they did have a handset/plan I wanted.

The complete buffoons also told me at the time that "People dont want the internet on their phones" (as a way of explaining their walled garden approach) ... and we all know how that turned out ;)

Duff Mars probe team sweats under Medvedev menaces

Alain Moran

Yay, what a great way to motivate your people

For sure, I've always found that standing over your employees shoulders and threatening them is a great way to get the best work out of them ... NOT!

Boffins find new 2012 glyph on 'secret' Mayan brick

Alain Moran


OK, so this isn't such a 'sexy' explanation, but is it possible that the block is actually the result of the mayans re-using an incorrectly carved block? - by putting the carved side on the inside 'nobody will ever see it' ;)

Engineers seek funds for world’s largest Tesla coil

Alain Moran


Transported to Nevada ey? ... let me guess, it'll be tested around the last weekend in August/first week in September!

Credit card companies plan to sell your purchase data to advertisers

Alain Moran

They *will* ask for your fully informed consent

However that informed consent will boil down to a choice between a 2% interest rate and a 29% interest rate.

Google breaks South African embargo on Dalai Lama

Alain Moran


The way I understand karma & reincarnation is that if you dont have enough 'good' karma then you are reincarnated, however when you reach enlightenment (ie have enough good karma) then you are freed from the cycle of birth, death & recincarnation ;)

Google hits the boozer with own brand of beer

Alain Moran


"Myrica gale is listed as an abortifacient and, therefore, should not be consumed by women who are, or might be, pregnant"

Hmm ... enough alcohol to open the legs, and enough added ingredients to ensure you get away with it too :o

Hospital data boob: Records left in bin room got binned

Alain Moran

Why bother with a bigger room?

Why not swap out the filing cabinets for a scanner and an old machine with a big hard-drive?

Bolt everything to the floor, disconnect the usb sockets, dont bother with a network connection and you wont have any problems with the data going walkies!

Next time you run out of space, just buy a bigger hard-drive, copy the old data across and swap out the old disk, once you have checked you have copied all the data over you should then take a standard steel drill and put a hole through the old drive casing & platters.

Data security is only as complicated as you make it.

Schoolteachers can't teach our kids to code, say engineers

Alain Moran

Just lock them in the room with a reference manual

Why not use the same method us fogies used to learn to code when we were 7!

Give them some magazines with listings of games in them that they can type in ... the listings inevitably have bugs in them requiring the students to either debug the code, or admit to having wasted hours on typing the stupid thing in!

Give them a reference manual and let them sort it out for themselves - they will be better coders for it!

Woman nabbed for 'senseless' stiletto ATM attack

Alain Moran

Never mind being caught on CCTV, I would imagine they have her bank details already anyway!

LOHAN team buried under ballockets

Alain Moran

Centre of Aerodynamic Pressure

Surely that should be the Centre of Relative Aerodynamic Pressure?

Already had my coat on, the door is now swinging shut behind me :D

MS advises drastic measures to fight hellish Trojan

Alain Moran

Master Book Record?


Brits stereotyped by app popularity chart

Alain Moran

Weather talk

IMO people talk about the weather as a way of discussing their innermost feelings!

If on a hot day, someone says how wonderful the weather is then you can be pretty sure they are happy inside, if they complain about how awful the heat is then there could be a deeper explanation ;)

Those people who ramble about how great it is to go running through the fallen leaves, or crunching about in deep snow probably have a different outlook to those whingeing about the overcast skies, or freezing cold ;)

Fourth Euro star truck christened Albert Einstein

Alain Moran


Aha ... that sounds like the piece of information I was missing ... thanks :D

Alain Moran

Sorry I should have been more explicit ...

If they remove the CO2 and replenish the O2 then they can retain the N2 they already have.

Alain Moran

I'm probably missing something here...

Why on earth (or even why on the ISS) do they take 'air' up with them ... surely pure oxygen would be more efficient?


"and 100 kg of air (oxygen and nitrogen)."

The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

Alain Moran


So that's my reading ilst sorted ... sod the movies, gimme a book anyday (just finishing Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald at the moment - really good, hard to put down, reading 'just another chapter' at 3am kind of book)

Fukushima update: No chance cooling fuel can breach vessels

Alain Moran

Control Rods

I could be wrong, however I always thought that control rods were inserted into the reactor to speed the reaction up not slow it down.

Nuclear fission generates high energy neutrons, however these high speed particles tend to pass straight through the fissile material. To make the reaction sustainable a moderator such as graphite is lowered into the reactor to slow the neutrons down and encourage them to cause further fission.

So to shut a nuclear reactor down, you withdraw the control rods.

Of course I could be totally wrong here and have completely mis-remembered my nuclear tech lectures.

Malawi poised to outlaw farting

Alain Moran

beggin for a prankin

Oh boy, those chaps in the Malawian government are just ASKING to have their lunches topped off with a dusting of farting powder, followed by (of course) what every right-thinking and decent Malawian citizen would feel is their partiotic duty - a quick call to the boys in blue to tip them off about the indecent & criminal activities of the ruling classes ;)

Grenade because you can bet that politicians in Malawi dont have to go outside to smoke ... KABOOOM! (Guy Fawkes should have thought of this first)

How I invented Desktop Publishing

Alain Moran


IIRC there was a DTP-alike package on the TRS-80 ... it used a very much 'zoomed in' view to cope with the fact that the graphics hardware wasnt capable of displaying what was printed, but if you could cope with that then it was very much a WYSYWYG interface.

Robot teddy bears attack Alzheimer's

Alain Moran

Now I know what I want for christmas

Yay, that's pretty cool .. I want one :D

Google spits back at Oracle's Android suit

Alain Moran

Write once run anywhere?

You're having a laugh aren't you?

That should be 'Write once, debug EVERYWHERE' ... sigh :s

Reg hack celebrates happy event

Alain Moran
IT Angle

IT Angle

I would have thought the IT angle was obvious - the owner works for the best IT news site on the web :D

Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters

Alain Moran

Where did you get x-rays from?

Given that they are talking about paedophiles it makes a lot more sense that they are looking at the relative lengths of bones, ie: the ratio between the length of your forearm to your upper arm (think facial recognition but applied to your body)

This kind of information could easily be manually digitised from pictures of abuse and then compared against a digital model derived from your movements ... no doubt it will be using a similar technology to the gait tracking stuff, so a more reasonable assumption is that it will be fed by basic cameras not x-rays!

That said, some shoulder, elbow & knee pads and this code would likely be as broken as a facial recognition is when eye makeup or prosthetic noses are applied.

Cops cuff man who exposed holes in 'perfect' voting machines

Alain Moran


@Rob Farnell ... Hanging chad? Dimpled chad? ... punch-card systems are flawed too!

FFS: Just stick an X in the box and count it already, it's worked for years ... if it aint broke ;)

Besides if all the election results came in instantly it would ruin election night & all those natty graphics :D

I do worry for India though, they are trying hard to be viewed as a first-world country, but clapping people in irons for standing up for democracy is going to ruin decades of hard work.

Miracle-tech that could fix almost everything: Major advance

Alain Moran

Stun the imagination

Yep, that pdf is stunningly awful!!!

Apple swaps good iPhones for bad, say fanbois

Alain Moran

Quality Control

I recently had my MBP fixed due to the nVidia graphics chip bug, it's a known problem so Apple replaces the main-boards for free.

Mine was serviced by a third party service agent listed on Apple's site, and it took them almost three weeks to fix the problem due to Apple repeatedly sending out already fried main-boards!

Talking to the service agent this is a pretty common problem - it's cheaper for Apple to just keep sending out unknown quality boards than it is for them to kick their suppliers into touch and have them sort out their quality issues :s

Why we love to hate Microsoft

Alain Moran

What would Microsoft need to do and say to you for you to be happy to call yourself a fan?

1. Hand over their entire patent pool to the FSF

2. Open-source everything

3. Make their software free and charge for support

4. Provide a compelling support offering that is worth paying for

Leica Pinmaster rangefinder

Alain Moran


Did anyone actually read the rules before posting?

"A manufacturer should submit to the R&A a sample of an item to be manufactured for a ruling as to whether its use during a stipulated round would cause a player to be in breach of Rule 14-3. "

So basically, as long as you submit a sample to R&A and pay off the right committee members you can have your device approved even though it 'should' break 14.3

Still ... not being able to switch bewteen yards/metres/cubits/linguine/brontosauri is a bit pants!

Rancid IE6 'more secure' than Chrome and Opera US bank says

Alain Moran


So, IE is more secure than Chrome or Opera eh?

Note to self: ensure you don't have any money in a bank owned/operated by Chase - they are quite clearly smoking crack!