* Posts by Ben Smith

22 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jul 2007

Get whimsical and win a Western Digital Black 6TB hard drive

Ben Smith

Ooh...look who's e-mail address *I've* found on the Ashley Madison database. I always knew that one in the next enclosure was a cheetah...

Windows 10 marks the end of 'pay once, use forever' software

Ben Smith

Everyone seems to imagine that this statement that "Windows 10" will be the "last" version of Windows is carved in stone somewhere.

Ever heard of a company changing its mind ? "New" Coke may be remembered by the over 40s as an example of a company doing a 180, more exist.

Microsoft has a "duty" to its shareholders to generate income. If the model they're relying on for revenue doesn't work, they will change it. I'm prepared to make a large bet that by 2025, we won't be running Windows 10.

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

Ben Smith

Don't install it !

After your article earlier this week on Windows 10, like a muppet I thought I'd give it a go. And I broke the cardinal rule - do NOT do this on the PC you rely upon for work etc.Anyway, I downloaded the ISO from the link and started the upgrade...

Now, initially the upgrade from Windows 7 worked rather nicely. Took about an hour, everything migrated over without any issues. So far, so good.

The problem came when I was asked to link my Microsoft account to my Windows account. This, unthinkingly, I did, and then went to bed. Yesterday, when I booted in, I noticed the login was now for my Microsoft account, so different name, a photo of me, different (i.e. Microsoft account) password.

Logged in, and got the message that the Start menu and Cortana weren't working. Only option - restart. Stuck in a loop until I found (thank god for my laptop which was still on Windows 7) a YouTube video showing me how to create an admin account. Which I did, then created a new user account (you can't use the admin account for much apart from creating another account), copied files over from old knackered account to new account, however all my settings / icons etc had disappeared.

Downloaded a new build - another hour gone. Tried logging in with old account, got a "This is taking longer than usual, please wait" message on login. Waited half an hour, re-started, finally logged in to the same Start Menu / Cortana message, only this time it said it would fix it if I logged back in and re-started. It lied. Had to go into the "new" account I set up, now the option to revert back to Windows 7 had vanished. Tried about 3 fixes posted on line involving command line and Powershell shenanigans - which didn't work..

Rolled back the update hoping the "go back to Windows 7" option would come back - it didn't.

I back my machine up every Sunday, so I thought - right, let's create a Windows 7 recovery disc on my laptop, and use my System Recovery backup to get Windows 7 back.

Windows 7 system recovery wanted to format BOTH my hard discs. I only wanted my SSD - which holds the OS and nothing else - to be formatted. No, said system recovery, it's both discs or nothing. Screw that.

Guess who spent yesterday re-building his machine from scratch. 4 hours of Windows Update, even on a 150Meg internet connection.

YES, I should have followed the "don't install this on your main PC" advice, but stupidly I thought with 3 weeks left to go, the build would be stable by now. Looking on the forums, there are lots of people who say that everything works fine until you link your MS account, at which point it fails.

Like everyone else, will be waiting for a stable build which may be out I suppose before the end of the year.

MS are in for a world of pain if most people do migrate at the end of this month. A world of pain.

Learn by my mistake - don't do it !

Portsmouth redefines the Olympic-sized swimming pool

Ben Smith

Why isn't this headline news ?

After all, at a time of unprecedented tension in the Middle East, the economy gradually falling to pieces, our being involved in a "conflict" that has gone on longer than WW2, I can see that a 50m pool that is "short" by the critical amount of 2 inches which will doubtless cause severe grief to a multitude of people should in fact be our top priority.

Sheesh. Some people need to put things into a sense of perspective.

I wonder how many jobs will be cut at this council due to lack of funds. Frankly luxuries such as Olympic swimming pools or Olympic anything are irrelevancies.

Sun's Facebook-slapping hits wrong target

Ben Smith

Nobody's fault but mine

Yet again, it's a case of "blame anyone but me". With respect to the mother of the young woman who prompted this, blaming Facebook for what happened - sorry, but in real life nasty people exist and it's up to you to educate your child to be safe.

Trying to police Twitter or Facebook is akin to trying to monitor what gets sent through e-mail, post or what gets said on the phone.

It's a dangerous world out there - protection is down to the individual, or if they are minor, their parents.

And a world in which The Sun makes the laws or establishes the moral code - well, God help us all...

HTC Hero Android smartphone

Ben Smith
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re: the Jay Leno effect

I have a G2 Touch aka the Hero and the "chin" has no impact at all in terms of fitting in jean's pockets - I can't really notice the chin at all.

I don't really find the phone sluggish either.

It gets a definite "thumbs up" from me.

Projector-phones due by Christmas?

Ben Smith
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Agreed. The main reason I have to avoid a SmartPhone is that my need for a mobile phone is strangely enough to be able to call people whilst on the move. Having a laptop with a 3G card I can generally access the Net whilst out and about, but of course Skype doesn't work that well on 3G. I had one phone (one of the earlier Three ones, an LG model) that required charging all the time, which was a complete pain. Never again will I get a phone that requires charging more than every 2 days, no matter what it offers. Which rules out the iPhone for me, especially with lack of ability to swap a replacement battery in.

If they can break the law, why can't we?

Ben Smith

@AC - "there is not a dope-smoker alive who would help a policeman"

Yes there is - I would.

It's pointless having a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" attitude.

I would certainly help a policeman out in the course of his duties. By and large they don't do a bad job, and are fairly nice people doing a thankless task.

Being libertarian != being an anarchist.

Ben Smith
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Well said sir or madam.

It's far, far too easy for us to point the finger of blame at anyone but ourselves.

We have know that many MPs are crooked (financially) for years, since before the present administration was in power. We did nothing.

We have known about the obscene remunerations of "fat cat" directors - we did nothing whilst the economy made us all richer.

We knew that the war in Iraq was a joke before we went in, we thought that several marches might help - instead of calling a general strike which would have stopped it from happening.

Direct, non-violent action by enough people - forcing the motorways to shut for instance by parking on them - would force change. We whinge at the French for having the gall to take direct action, but they seem to be able to tell their government who is in power.

We don't because we are lazy, apathetic whingers, happiest when moaning, ultimately all talk and no action.

I'm seriously considering standing as an Independent MP in the next elections. If there was ever a time for it, it is now. Full representation via e-government - giving my constituents a vote on any proposed legislation via the Internet or a voting hot-line - would be my manifesto, and God knows if we can vote for Pop Idol we can and should vote for the laws that we want.

And no, I am not Dave Spart from Private Eye...I'm just fed up of all the erosions of our civil liberties that are taking place. I'd describe myself as a centrist, now thoroughly fed-up that even the Lib Dems abused the expenses scandal, and worried that nutters like the BNP and UKIP look like viable candidates to the electorate thanks to the manifest failings of the main three parties.

But the solution is in our hands / feet / voice - and without taking action of some kind, we all represent the People's Front of Judea.

IR35 tax is a huge failure

Ben Smith

To recap on what has been said

re: AC and "Contractors, not that much different from MP's really. No surprise really .. FFS just pay your bloody NI contribution and tax like everyone else."

Yeah, I'd love to pay the Govt. effectively double the NI contributions - employers and employees - just so I could claim no benefits from these payments.

I've been out of contract since August. Net amount claimed off the Govt. during this time - zilch. Tax paid during 12 year's contracting and running several businesses - well north of £1m. Well north.

I don't mind taking the risk of being unemployed and having to rely on myself. Ditto sickness / holiday / pension. But I'm damned if I'm paying shedloads of NI and not getting anything back in return. And no, I don't pay myself a stupidly low salary either.

AC - I'd put a pound to a penny that you are a frustrated permie, probably managing contractors, and in envy of their "lifestyle". Well, from where I am right now, the market's shot and I won't work again this year, I imagine. That's the risk I've been prepared to take. If you are risk-averse, fair enough, but don't get green with envy. We *do* pay taxes, and lots of them. Try directing your ire at major plcs who pay <10% tax in total.

Report: Legalising drugs would save UK plc huge packet

Ben Smith
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Lots of common sense here

Especially the bit:

"the fact that a certain proportion of people would rather lie about off their faces all day than get on with their lives - and will do that more or less regardless of the cost to themselves and those around them even if there's nothing better than cider or glue on offer. A certain proportion of these people will also go mad - become schizophrenic - though this has no measurable connection with cannabis use."

However, it doesn't matter how much sense it makes. Internationally, I can't see this happening, and unilaterally, no major country is going to dare to do it.

In the meantime, demand doesn't go away, education doesn't, dealers deal, gangsters make millions. We fail to face up to the fact that people will do as they want to, given their propensity to want to f*ck themselves up.

This argument will run and run and run and go...nowhere.

I expect to see the same conclusions, in a different report, every year or so until I die.

Mine's the one with a torn Rizla in the pocket

Study clears cannabis of schizophrenia rap

Ben Smith
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I've been reading the Reg for some years now

and I love it because it has articles like this one.

At the end of the day, all human tribes (bar the Inuit) experiment with drugs. Fact.

Cannabis is the least harmful drug. Fact.

The war on drugs cannot ever be won. Fact.

Legalise, tax, regulate. It's the only sensible option.

it's my mind and I'll do with it what I want to, thanks very much.

Microsoft dishes dirt on IE8 'pr0n mode'

Ben Smith
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About time really

Regardless of the moral issues regarding p0rn, the key issue should always be to protect innocent eyes. Ideally, adults should be able to use the computer for what they want and leave no traces behind them.

Most people's first experience of p0rn was in finding the stash that belonged to a parent or older sibling, and although this might have been relatively harmless stuff several decades ago, the stuff available nowadays is generally speaking much "harder" (no pun intended) than that in the days of old...

You won't, can't, stop people using p0rn.

What you can and should do is protect the innocence of children in such matters for as long as possible. That's not the same as being prudish - nothing wrong with sex, and children should be told that (once they are old enough for such a message to be appropriate). There is however danger in any child witnessing the sex scenes common on the Internet and thinking that they relate to standard human sexual behaviour rather than a (mostly) male-centric fantasy.

Not using the Paris icon because it's just far far too obvious...

Manchester's congestion charge: pay-to-leave

Ben Smith
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Well done for the New Order

song quote, but better would have been Everything's Gone Green.

Home Secretary goes crazy on drugs... policy

Ben Smith

Wonderful article

but sadly it seems with the cannabis debate that no matter how many of us know that the Government stance is pointless nothing will change, regardless of whoever is in power.

We are doomed to be locked into some sort of "groundhog day" on this issue - futile government action, mild public reaction, nothing changes...we'll still be having this "debate" in 20 years, just wait and see...

Sony Bluetooth Walkman NWZ-A826K

Ben Smith

I don't think

as per your article that in the 90s the Walkman was as ubiquitous as the iPod is today. Back then was the "dark ages" for personal stereos - when everyone had CDs but portable CD players were due to the media bulky, with low battery life and a tendency to skip. They also looked pants, and weren't that life-proof - trying to spin a disc around at a respectable RPM and read it with a laser isn't something designed for shove-it-in-your-pocket everyday use.

Nowadays, I'd estimate around 1 in 3 people seem to own and use a personal stereo. In the 90s, I reckon it was more like 1 in 10. It's also a demographics issue - punks are after all in their 50s now, and they come from the first personal stereo generation.

Anyway, I have a Sony Erricson W380i with Bluetooth headphones with a mic, and with a 4Gbyte card this acts fine as a personal stereo. I can't see why people bother having two devices now - 4Gbyte is more than enough music for me.

Sony bullish on Blu-ray dominance

Ben Smith

Where are the films (worth watching) ?

Idiot that I am, I bought a PS3 last weekend. Yes, GT5 is great. As are the couple of films I have seen on it. You can definitely tell the difference etc etc.

However, I'm now wondering why I bothered. There is basically sweet FA (worth watching) on Blu ray right now. The choice of films available is really poor. I may have chosen the "winning" format but when there is bugger all worth watching on that format, it's not a sensible decision to have made given that prices of PS3s will have to drop.

Fasthosts customers blindsided by emergency password reset

Ben Smith

I looked into using FastHosts years ago

and thankfully came to the conclusion that they were cr*p.

I use Titan Internet to host my sites. No, I'm not related, friends with them or anything - they are just very very good indeed.

But you get what you pay for. People who used FastHosts because they were "cheap" are now finding out why. If your server is mission-critical - spend money on hosting - otherwise you only have yourselves to blame.

Chilis could struggle in 'Californication' lawsuit

Ben Smith
Paris Hilton


If was the main character in that show, I wouldn't be having a mid-life crisis, because I would be being laid more frequently than tarmac on the M1, as well as driving a Porsche, living in LA, and not seeming to do much work. And being able to get away with frequently insulting my ex- and her husband and my agent (in fact, everyone) and somehow getting away with it.

"Californication" doesn't examine any issues in depth, apart from "how many hot women can take their top off in any one episode whilst Duchnovy looks bored / suave / ruffled ?"

Personally, I'd like to see him catch an STD, get a good shoeing from one of the cuckolded husbands / partners, and conspicuously fail to get laid for several months, whilst getting fat and addicted to Internet porn, then gambling away all his money on-line due to boredom.

Jealous, moi ?

Actually - no, but there we are.

Ben Smith
Paris Hilton



As you may have noticed, the Internet is full of porn of all shapes and flavours. The days of being reliant on a Channel 4 "Red Triangle" film to get your quota of mild filth for the week are long since over. Yes, if it was the early 90s I'd be *more* than happy to see Californication simply for the nipple-count - now that such things are available at the click of a mouse, I'd rather that TV dramas have a semblance of plot about them - or certainly more than "David Duchovny gets women with large breasts to bounce on top of him" which seriously constitutes around 40% of the screen time.

If TV shows on channels like ShowTime are able to deal with real life issues such as sex and drugs, at least let them attempt to do so within a dramatic framework. "Californication" is little more than a middle-aged man's w*nk fantasy, and I've enough of those myself without watching someone else's...

Ben Smith
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The album's good, the show is...

...rubbish. David D. just wanders round from shag to shag, with every woman in sight immune to his charms. Although he doesn't seem to do anything to charm them, really. The first 3 episodes - which was as much time as I was prepared to give it - are nothing more than an excuse to show lots of breasts.

And the Dani California character is - in the series - a secretary who is also a Suicide Girl (i.e. Goth porn star) who lets her boss spank her. Of course, that scenario is going to happen every day.

The show is really just an excuse to show as much sex as possible, with a little violence and drug taking to keep it "edgy" - the plot is laughably thin, and with Duchovny as Executive Producer, the obvious question of why every woman in sight throws herself at a character who is meant to be on the skids is never dealt with, because the answer's obvious - because he's David Duchovny. Avoid.

Suit blows £105k in London bar

Ben Smith

re: Cleaning

Rob, any "hefty cleaning bill" is likely to contain as much of a mark-up as was on the drinks. The club in question is hardly likely to open at 8am the next morning, so I don't see that as a problem - and the cleaners, sadly, are almost certainly minimum-wage immigrants (sadly: that they are minimum wage. Not that they are immigrants).

Certainly, if I'd have spent that amount of money on the drinks, I would dispute any need to have a £10K service charge. But there again, had I have spent that amount of money on booze full stop, I would feel obliged to kill myself for being a completely and utterly selfish, ignorant human being.

Funny that the person in question comes from Dubai - makes me think of the great quote from "Syriana":

"Twenty years ago you had the highest Gross National Product in the world, now you're tied with Albania. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, closely followed by dates which you're losing five cents a pound on... You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years"