* Posts by Grant

35 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jul 2007

Best Buy leaked memo spills Windows 7 upgrade details


@Geoffrey W

I run Vista x64 Ultimate SP2 on a decent sort of HP lappy with 3GB of memory. For every small nice feature I have noticed (like renaming files defaulting to renaming stem names) there are some extremely annoying stuff that just gets in the way of working.

Probably partly due to Hp/Intel video drivers, but the laptop is very unhappy about waking from sleep in two locations (work/home) with different external displays. Generally takes several attempts to get video sorted and minutes go by getting the machine awake, just to do a quick check on mail (Outlook 2007). Oh, and UAC is now turned off, even though I persevered with it for ages as I really think running as root is a bad idea. COM+ subsystem is broken (I am a developer and needed this). Oh and and the only Ultimate extras I tried are broken - video wallpaper is borked with multiple monitors & waking from sleep, while backup does strange things.

Ok, it might be my subjective experience, but we have an identical machine running XP (I upgraded mine to develop & test software on a 64-bit platform) and the acid test whether is Vista is overall better than cheaper alternatives like XP or Ubuntu?. Honestly, I have to say no.

I feel for the guy trying to make a decision as to buy now or later. For me, Win7 will be helping me make the decision to buy another laptop later rather than pre-October, (though at least one guy here is now running OSX which does seem nicer), but if you need new machines now, you might as well just tote up the cost benefits; it will cost more later to upgrade vs the benfits of having a new XP/Vista machine now

Sony shows off PS3 motion-control magic wand


Two problems?

1) The chicken & egg problem of console peripherals does not appear to be the problem that it used to be; wildly popular games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, SingStar, Wii Fit, Buzz and EyeToy all prove that. The PS3 wand, MS camera and Wii MotionPlus will also start from the same low base (MotionPlus only benefits a few games at the moment). Part of the reason is that the cost of software is approaching that of the hardware. Clever developers can either make the game usable without the add-on i.e. SingStar requires Mic's but will use an Eyetoy if one is present; or just target a niche market of people prepared to buy games that use them; probably more people have a Wii Fit board than had original X-Box or GameCubes.

2) "There are now three consoles with completely disparate motion control schemes". Er, and these consoles also have disparate CPU, graphic sub-systems, SDK's, and optical disk formats. At the moment, all 3 consoles offer different controllers anyway, with the PS3 DualShock 3 providing 3D tilt sensing, the Wii giving that +acceleration and rough position.. and the 360 giving bugger all. The cross-platform games; at least those across the PC/360/PS3 systems work through cross-compilers and good libraries that can hide some of the complex details. Dev's will get a hook into a data stream that feeds XYZ position and acceleration from whatever controller - its just in some cases it will more accurate than others. So may be better in the future when all offer accurate controller information, rather than as at present. The Wii is still the odd one out in that it doesn't have enough CPU or graphics grunt to to run simple ports.

"If you can't make a game easily ported to all three, you'll probably limit yourself to just one. And chances are you'll pick the console with the enormous user base guaranteed to have the right equipment: the Nintendo Wii"

If you are going purely on user base, you might target a PS2. Probably not, because, like the Wii, people doesn't buy rush out and buy many new 3rd party games for the PS2/Wii as with other consoles. Many of the Wii enormous user base appear to be using the Wii as a dedicated Wii Play device.

As for the right equipment, the Wii might have a Wii Fit .. or not, might have Motion Plus.. or not, and probably doesn't have the disk-space, CPU grunt or online play capability you might want for your great new game. Making a cross-platform game (PS3/360/PC) still makes sense.

Microsoft squirts out Vista SP2

Gates Horns

Applying it now

Almost got the 350Mb version, but noticed that I needed the x64 version instead - at twice the size.

Thought they would would just download a small installer which sucks down what is required as required?

I had a few languages installed for testing Vista, so install failed. Two separate reboots which took ages to apply, just to remove the extra languages. Now to reboot again with the SP2. only taken about 90 minutes of my life which I really would like back some time

Getting real about Linux on the desktop



"Photoshop is a flagship for an application that will never come to Linux--Adobe has made that abundantly clear"

Maybe but Photoshop runs very well on OSX. In-fact most serious CS3/CS4 users I know use it on OSX. Again this is a niche product - most corporate desktops users don't need it (or the Gimp for that matter). Adobe have apparently talked about Creative Suite as SaaS - can't see it happening but Picasa runs on Linux / Mac / Windows and version 3 is getting up to Photoshop Elements level.

"Another potential sticking point is Microsoft Office. Now, simple documents, spreadsheets, etc. can be ported over to OpenOffice with little trouble (I've done it for many documents in a relatively short period of time). The trouble is when you get to complex files filled with VBA code or custom screen templates"

I think I last saw a 'complex office document filled with VBA code' in the 90's. They are such a security risk (Excel 2007 switches off macro code be default, Outlook occasionally kills them) that they generally don't work well when passing documents around. The best version of Office is probably the Mac version - which has no VBA support so even transferring such files between MS office versions is problematic. I know the latest versions of OpenOffice has increased support for macro's but seems pointless; the world has moved on to sharing content via the web rather than complex documents with active code. Remember this sort of thing is going to hit Microsoft Office Live users as well.

"Another potential problem for migration is critical custom applications that have been in existence for a long time, cost a lot to acquire, and more than likely come from a company no longer in business. They're too expensive to replace, too critical to live without, and too touchy to move"

For an IT manager, these sorts of applications cause grief from a security point of view and would be a problem even if upgrading to Win7 (I have also seen older VB/.NET problems killed by service packs). They need to be isolated and run on a VM, (and earmarked to be replaced with better flexible and portable solutions in the future to avoid the same issue). MS are supplying a VM with Win7 (at least the expensive versions) exactly for this reason; which makes you wonder why you could just run the VM over VMWare ESX or on a Linux box?

Basically use the right tool for the job is the answer. In our (small) office,we have a mix of OSX, Vista (x32 + x64), XP and Linux. Opensource vs Windows is becoming less important all the time. I have Office 2007 including Outlook, but mail is google apps not exchange. Our Windows 2008 server (required for a specialist app) runs on an VM.. which is running on a Debian server. Some people use OfficeOffice and Thunderbird, others MS office. The decision are made on cost benefits not on fear of anything that is not MS or rabid open-source advocates.

I suspect at least some comments in threads like this are brought & paid for astroturfing or fan-boys but reality (at least for us) is that we are living in a heterogeneous world.

Microsoft rolls Netflix into Windows Media Center

Gates Horns

Netflix and Microsoft; no suprise

Just happens that the CEO of netflix is on the board of MS; and surprise, surprise, Microsoft plays nice with Netflix and Netflix suddenly decides that Silverlight is better than sliced bread.

Meanwhile Neflix clients have to put up with yet another plug in that they didn't ask for, because of these sorts of executive back-scratching deals. And Microsoft partners who might offer streaming get screwed.


The Great Spotify Mystery


Record companies - try the carrot

the pirate bay already has huge number of visitors - including me in the 30-50 age group looking for specific tracks, albums or movies - at least some of which I already own.

Instead of investing in new services like this which will take a long time to reach piratebay levels of traffic (if ever), why not try and place nice (revenue share?) with thepiratebay and/or rapidshare guys. I would reach for my creditcard to keep access to that & while it would still be p2p and 'pirated' music/movies/tv, the various media companies could at least get easy revenue - far more than they get without a login screen in front of the piratebay.

Mind you, if they had done that in the days of Napster (and people were recommending it) then they may not have got to the point of p2p and thepiratebay as it now standard. As iTunes shows (and I use iTunes & buy some tracks), just being convenient is enough for punters like me. Main reason I use torrents is that I want all the extra stuff (like obscure music from the 80's) available via p2p that is difficult to get elsewhere.

Canonical punts Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope


1st poster

Post & runs; I presume astro-turfers get paid, but paid enough to really believe the stuff being spouted?. Doesn't even irritate me too much as its not like I have to choose between Win7 and Ubuntu - the latter being free and runs fine on my VM.

As for MySQL ... yes, it will be around for a long time. With MySQL having 11m seats, mostly in simple LAMP sites, Oracle will no doubt keep it as the low-end RDB to complement there high-end solutions; and the beauty of MySQL is that unlike say SQLServer, it is open-source; which means that IBM or anybody such as Canonical can fork it.

Adobe turns on to Flash TVs



I run Vista x64 on my Work machine; and there is very little 64-bit native software - including MS Office, Google desktop etc.

MS ship 64-bit IE7 (and I guess) IE8, but support seems to be limited on that as well.

In the end, it really doesn't matter; I have FF3.1b3 as my main browser and all Flash sites work fine. Given that 32-bit flash plug in is fine, I would never have noticed it, other than one day I tested a broken site in IE7 & notice flash was not installed.

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Adobe Flash on Win64

Makes sense for them to make this lowish priority.

I run Vista x64 on my work machine & little software comes in 64-bit versions; including MS Office 2007, Google desktop etc.

Given that MS haven't produced a 64-bit Silverlight version even though they make a x64 version of IE7/IE8, I don't expect Adobe to be ahead of MS here.

In actual fact, I run FF 3.1b3 on my machine & Flash works fine; making me wonder what would the point of a x64 version would really be? Maybe some performance gain, but if its running in a 32-bit browser...

On the other-hand, UI's on a lot of setup boxes & TV's pretty much suck, so having nice, rich UI's via Flash (or more likely DHTML + Flash via Adobe Air) is useful.

Tesla Roadster runs for 241 miles in Monte Carlo e-rally


Replacing batteries

"Replacing batteries doesn't seem like the answer either as you still have the same battery degrade problem, if a battery capacity is reduced say 20%, which happens very quickly do you get a 20% reduction in your erm..... battery... bill?"

Check your laptop battery sometime. The battery on my Thinkpad died so I checked IBM diagnostics - the detail was amazing; max temperature, average temp, number of charges, date first used etc. Given the size and cost of a Tesla battery pack (which may not need to be the entire car pack), they could build a Wifi enabled computer capable of storing gigs of data. Possibly deals could be done so that a computer swaps packs so that on average you end up with a similar level of usage even if sometimes you get a newer/older pack.

Like inkjet carts, you could imagine a hacking community or 3rd party dodgy Chinese versions of the battery pack for half the price coming available over time, but initially you could imagine that you pay a premium (petrol like prices or more), for getting a new battery pack swapped over at a charge station. For most people such as myself, charging will be done on the cheap at home frequently and charge stations only used very infrequently.

There are other issues; who pays for the battery swap infrastructure (same issue with Hydrogen and others), and battery design compatibility? I like Top Gear, but they are wrong when it comes to EV's - hydrogen is ultimately a dead-end & batteries will power EV's in the future. Hybrids still offer a interim solution though, that solve the problem of range.

Miss Universe pops into Guantánamo Bay


GULAG, Belsen, North Korea, the Khmer Roug

Sorry, Rupert, but I spotted the Belsen reference; so your troll fail godwins law.

If the US really thinks, hey, at least we are better than the Russians with gulags, it's not really setting the bar for standards very high is it? Given that most of your references were historical and belong in the history book of shame... exactly where Guantanamo Bay is going.

In fact the US military do exchange in more than a little propaganda with Guantanamo by inviting guests (excluding investigative reporters of course) such as vacant beauty queens & country western singers to say how lovely it was. http://www.snopes.com/rumors/soapbox/charlie2.asp Note that he claims that they are all dangerous terrorists; shortly before the US let hundreds of them go; presumably because they weren't any threat at all.

Google designer quits over performance obsession


@ Eddy Ito

Performance is not just about speed or focus groups. We are talking about Google here - and I presume evidence based decisions.

The creative arty types will no doubt hate it, but somebody like google could do 100,000 A/B tests a day; i.e. switch some subtle details and observe the results. For instance, in 10% of sessions hitting the site, move the results 3 pixels to the left, in another 10%, move them to the right. Crunch some stats on what people do next & see if there is a statistically significant difference.

You might get your arty director types wanting a lovely subtle battle-ship gray text on a pinkish dove gray background, but find that real evidence from actual consumers of the service is that they like the black text on white background & react faster on clicking links. How annoying would that be?

Reminds me of reading about Frank Lloyd Wright & his attempts at artistic architecture perfection being ruined by real people actually wanting to have comfortable furniture, curtains and light-shades...

Personally I am happy for Google to keep putting performance (no matter how it is measured) first. Maybe Microsoft could learn from this as well (why, yes, I am posting this from a Vista box..)

MS packs yet more tweaks into 'near-ready' Windows 7

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"He quite possibly used the various versions of windows which included a GUI in the decade before windows 95? Or did you not realise that win95 wasnt, in fact, ms's first OS release?"

Decade before Windows 95? Which version of 'Windows' would that be in 1985?

Some of us remember those days; I remember using a Mac, Sun, Amiga and even an Acorn RiscOS machine while at university in 1986-1990. I even looked at developing on a GEOS system at one stage after being disappointed with Windows 3.0, but the company I worked for went down the OS2 route after advise from MS and others. All these OS's had GUI 's and didn't see to have odd restrictions like 8 character file-names.

So without MS, we would have had decent GUI's a long time ago. Looks like MS are doing a far better job of marketing Win7 this time around, even though it will share a bunch of issues with its Vista parent (and I am running Vista x64 at the moment).

Personally, I think W7 would be better if MS bundled a bunch of useful tools with it (like Ubuntu) - say Firefox/Safari, Ifranview, Python etc

Microsoft trades TV dreams for priorities with Comcast share dump


Epic fail

when even a company you brought into won't run your software.

how bad could it have been to do an EPG on dedicated hardware?

EU says Microsoft violated law with IE on Windows


Think about it

For all the "what about Safari on Macs' comments, Microsoft after a long court case, were found guilty of abusing their monopoly position to destroy competition. Apple have not. Potentially MS could have forced a situation with IE and IIS that no other web-browser or OS would work properly on the net; so innovation in Firefox and Opera etc would have ground to a halt - and almost did so. As it is, people have to give away browsers to compete. Apple don't have a monopoly on OS's, nor does Linux distro's so they have to play by different rules. And Apple have to play nice with others on there near monopoly on online music distribution (iTunes) and Google with search, or they will get slapped as well.

For the 'how will we download without a browser', the web is not the internet; iTunes, bit-torrents, windows updates, instant messaging could all run without a browser. Nothing stopping the Windows update service offering a range of browsers when you first go online. That said, I am happy to use IE to download FF - the first thing I do on an fresh install, but it bugs me that I have to do a couple of extra steps to move IE start page and default search from Live.

Nobody has a problem with Notepad or Paint etc being bundled; these things are not used to kill competition (though a Photoshop clone might damage Adobe I guess) and they use open standards like ASCII/Unicode text and PNG/JPG. It is not wrong for MS to bundle stuff with Windows; just if they use this to try and stop competition.

Microsoft knew about Xbox 360 disc-scratch problem, employee claims


echo chamber

Dozens of posts claiming people are stupid to move an Xbox while it is reading a disk & the law suit is frivolous, totally miss a couple of major points:

1) This is happening with Xbox 360's and only Xbox 360s'- to the point that about 55,000 complained (how many didn't?). If there was an army of idiots out there juggling players while the disk was spinning, you would expect similar large numbers of Wii, PS2 and PS3 owners to have problems. They don't. Wii owners have other problems such as flying remotes, but no class-action law suits on scratched disks. On the other hand MS had to put aside $1 billion for Xbox warranty repairs - mostly RRoD, but also scratching.

2) MS claim it only happen when people tilt the player; but plenty of evidence including a repair shop that conducted a test on a batch of machines, say that it happens without tilting the player.

3) MS keep swapping the DVD player used in the 360; as with most consoles they are trying hard to keep the cost per unit down, but experts have pointed out that they are missing some components like a clamp or bumpers that would make the drives more robust. I doubt lawyers jump into class-action lawsuits with MS's army of evil lawyers without having a modicum of evidence.

4) When you scratch a game disk (which spins for hours on end during logn games) you potentially lose an expensive game. Not like burning a disk & finding you have a coaster. Not just a slightly scratched disk either; people are talking about the optical reader mech, grinding a channel into the disk killing them.

5) Advice to keep the 360 horizontal, level & stable, may not work anyway, and ignores the expected operating environment - MS publicity shots pretty much always show it vertically. Often they operating with kids jumping around (watch somebody playing Guitar Hero), sub-woofers pumping, maybe sitting on the carpet in front of or beside the TV. Not totally unexpected that the 360 might vibrate or move a little. Most devices work fine; including my old PS2 with the kids yanking on controller cords and jumping around the floor with eyetoy. My laptop even works fine while moving & tilting the player; I just tried it, though it was only about the 2nd or 3rd time I ever used the optical drive in the HP.

So why the legion of people blaming the user? Think about it; there is more to it than just the odd failure due to idiots

Microsoft's Silverlight 'so good' it claims Netflix tech jobs

Gates Horns

Netflix promoting silverlight for a reason...

Just happens that the NetFlix CEO gets nice (presumably well paid) cushy job by Microsoft;


and suddenly they find (unlike others) that Silverlight is the best thing since sliced bread. Coincidence?

Or just Microsoft doing what they do; trying to buy opinion.

The question that NetFlix shareholders should ask, is why use a new & immature technology that will turn away at least some customers (80%+ of their customers don't have SL installed when they hit the site), because their CEO happens to be in the pay of MS?

And the question that I want to know, is if they had replaced Windows Media Player grief with VLC, Flash or other technology, how much better could they have done? I bet they get plenty of 'I don't have SL installed, how can I see the movie on my (Win2k? etc) machine?" support calls

- and i don't have SL installed on my machine - FF 3.1b2 running Vista x64 despite being a developer..

Harvard prof slams US nut allergy hysteria

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re: How have we survived?

"Our remote ancestors had guts full of worms and had no allergy"

yes, but they generally died very young:


tribal people in 3rd world countries also have less allergies, but being dead is not a good substitute.

Apple's Snow Leopard set to exploit GPU power

Gates Horns

More difficult for Microsoft?

As with the Vista Compatible debacle, the issue is that Windows is supposed to run on everything from Net-books up.

Apple can simply make sure that all machines they make have the right video chip set & Snow Leopard will run well.

MS have much more of an issue that Windows 7 is supposed to be lighter & less clunky than Vista; but if it doesn't take advantage of the many chip-sets out there - like the on-board Intel graphics my Vista laptop suffers from, then it just won't look as good. Of course there will no doubt be many versions of Windows that have performance that varies a lot depending on the hardware as per usual, but the message from Apple will be clean & simple; buy a machine running Snow Leopard and watch video editing performance skyrocket.

Vista SP2 to land in April 2009-ish?

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Justablock + Vista

Here I am using Vista x64 for some development work as well; and it is not great, even given the reasonable spec laptop (Intel 8100 processor & 3GB) I use. I do use it every day so can say it really is a backwards step compared with Server 2008 or XP SP3 which I also use fairly frequently.

Not that it is unusable or anything, but I have had a couple of BSOD (almost never had that on XP). The Intel 965 drivers are brain dead - everytime I wake the laptop at home/work or without an external monitor, I have to manually configure the extended monitor set-up - maybe not a MS problem specifically but MS/ Intel seem to have not sorted this even post SP1.

In day to day use, I still find little niggly problems like with Explorer choosing random columns to display in detail view, or the right hand panel and left hand panel of Explorer getting out of sync, strange permission problems and UAC getting in the way on safe activities (yes, I have UAC still switched on through shear bloody-mindlessness. Search is pretty bad when searching source code etc.

There are some small improvements over XP - trivial features, but I like the search list in the Start Menu (though why isn't this available on all folders?) and editing file-names, it automatically selects the stem name. Given this is expensive (I brought the ultimate edition to get 64-bit support), it really is not good enough.

Roll on SP2 for Vista, but I am not impressed; and MS typical solution - rename and relaunch shows that they know it is not good.

'Bloody' is an offensive word, declares ASA


Bugger me

Similar fuss here in NZ a few years back when Toyota featured an advert using the word 'bugger'.

At least one person complained, but unlike this case, common sense prevailed and they were told to go away. Simple rule is that it has to cause offence to the 'average' person; not just the odd prissy idiot.

The 'bugger' advert can be found on this page among others:


yes, I am a penguin from the deep south.

Formula One kinetic energy recovery rigs debut


30kg weight

F1 cars have a minimum weight - so I would think that they are capable of stripping that weight out of the car elsewhere and using it to boost performance; the total car weight may not increase by 30kg.

Interesting to see how it affects racing; brakes should last a little longer and potentially fuel is saved - in turn meaning less pit stops (though that might require switching to harder compound tyres).

I should imagine teams are busy running simulations of there cars before and after changes to see how it affects performance over real word tracks. Passing might get easier if some drivers have braked hard & have 60KW boost for 5-6 seconds; up against a car that is maybe lighter and better on brakes and/or acceleration.


30kg weight

F1 cars have a minimum weight - so I would think that they are capable of stripping that weight out of the car elsewhere and using it to boost performance; the total car weight may not increase by 30kg.

Interesting to see how it affects racing; brakes should last a little longer and potentially fuel is saved - in turn meaning less pit stops (though that might require switching to harder compound tyres).

I should imagine teams are busy running simulations of there cars before and after changes to see how it affects performance over real word tracks. Passing might get easier if some drivers have braked hard & have 60KW boost for 5-6 seconds; up against a car that is maybe lighter and better on brakes and/or acceleration.

Webcast quango: One-third of UK teachers are creationists


Answers to anon

"There are those here who are demanding the right to their own opinions and beliefs. And if you do not agree with their beliefs for any reason then you are obviously a moron. Rational thinking here."

I have no problems with you believing in whatever invisible supernatural beings you want; but anyone trying to promote a great leap backwards to the dark ages where belief is more important than facts and pushing it to school kids deserves to be called on it.

"Now PLEASE explain the Big Bang to me rationally. I get a bit confused about the idea that everything suddenly appeared out of nothing, no-when and for no reason. Silly of me of course"

First answer me this; If you believe in a god, where did they come from? Rather silly if you assume it appeared out of nothing. If you believe it always existed (and only got around to creating Earth after teatime), then why not accept the simpler proposition that the universe always was; after all, we have known for nearly 100 years that space & time are linked, so time started with the big bang. Secondly, the big bang has nothing to do with evolution. Thirdly, why do you assume that the big bang appeared from nothing? Have you even bothered to read a Wikipedia article on the big-bang? It's not just another creation myth; there is real evidence such as the expansion of the universe; or did your god just forget to mention that in genesis?

"There are those in here who are demanding the segregation of taught subjects"

Really? At junior levels these are often taught combined by one teacher. Seems to have worked out pretty well over the last few hundred years of education policy to divide timetables into core subject areas so that specialist teachers can give deeper understanding. You expect a P.E teacher to be an expert on the works of Shakespeare, Calculus, Music, Physics, Chemistry and History? Personally, find that would lead to say teachers not understanding a shred of biology trying to comment on evolution & getting it wrong.

"I am quite frankly saddened with the predictable howls of rage and contempt from the commentators on this site whenever this type of subject matter arises. Evolution has a number of _glaring_ holes in it. Holes that Darwin himself admitted"

Its 2008 - Darwin wrote over 100 years ago so you might want to catch up if you think Darwin was the last word in evolution. DNA has been discovered & shown beautifully the links between species; including the linkage between apes and humans that Darwin could only have guessed at. Also huge numbers of fossils & live species that show transitional forms. Everything over the last 150 years has proven evolution & nothing disproved; the only real scientific arguments are subtle such as group selection vs individual.

"One example is the Peacock. Its huge, bright & colourfull tail feather display does nothing to assist its survival"

This is a logical fallacy called "argument from incredulity". Just because you find one example of a species morphology hard to understand, you throw out vast amounts of detailed evidence for evolution? Do you like women with long hair and large breasts? What is the survival advantage of a human women having these features? In fact 2 seconds search on google would answer your question (which was raised over a century ago), but you don't really want that do you? See: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/6/l_016_09.html

"Finally, if there is a God then there _must_ be a reason for living. If there is no God then there _cannot_ be a reason for living. I would rather not be just an irrelevant accident"

Fine, you believe that, but every animal seems to struggle for survival regardless of a believe in god. I want to live & I don't believe your god. Regardless of your particular reason for living (better reason to die surely, if you think you are going to heaven?) , it says nothing about the world around you or the plentiful evidence for evolution; including my children that share my genes. Not wanting to be "an irrelevant accident" is wishful thinking, about as rational as wanting the Earth to be the centre of the universe.

NASA: Google Gulfstreams not science experiments


Good point Rich

NZ has an entire squadron of upgraded A4 Skyhawks sitting around very lonely in a South Island hanger just waiting for anybody to show up with some cash. These have the (earlyish) F-16 level avionics & can carry Sidewinders.

Since the A4's would own the (single) Google AlphaJet, perhaps the NZ govt should be talking to Ballmer about throwing more than chairs at the google guys?

I like the idea of the browser wars really heating up...

OpenOffice.org overwhelmed by demand for version 3.0


"it can't run my vba macros i don't want it."

Er, and the other issue is that as a 'feature' they now support VBA macros.

Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar



There is a marked ignorance from Martin about Evolution:

1. Abiogenesis has *nothing* to do with Evolution. You can believe that life was created by a supernatural being, but it doesn't say anything about which supernatural being or what created that supernatural being. Evolution is about evolution of species not the creation of life. Seriously look it up: Where did the aliens come from? Where did your particular god come from? And is your god not an alien? (i.e not of this earth?)

2. Evolution is "the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next". It does not claim that all life has developed from one original parent; if/when we find life on other planets, I would presume that there was an independent tree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution If you are going to argue about it, spend 2 minutes and at least find out what Evolution really is!

3. There is vast amounts of supporting evidence for evolution in the fossil record, including 'intermediate' fossils. You ever been to a real museum and touched fossils?


4. DNA variation between types of creatures supports evolution perfectly. DNA evidence (which obvious Darwin never knew about), provides I think the best possible evidence for evolution. You can test your DNA, your parents and your children's and find the shared traits passed down, the new variations. You can also compare your DNA with animals that look similar (i.e. a Chimp) and find huge degree of similarity and with other mammals like dolphins & show the relationships.


To not believe in DNA is probably the biggest WTF in your post.. which bit don't you believe? that DNA exists?, that it shows genetic traits and changes? or that it shows the relationships between species. Excuse yourself from serving on a jury of any court case that might require DNA evidence because you obvious can't understand evidence.

5. Creationists believe in all sort of crap; some believe that the original forms of life, by means of their 'inbuilt variability' have diverged into the many species we have today, others believe the world blinked into existence recently with all animals essentially unchanged. Which leaves all sorts of unanswered questions about why fossilised bones in the ground, and why all the evidence from a range of sciences prove evolution is a fact and yet creationists try and make up all sorts of crap.

6. Fossils are dated by a number of means - mainly by strata.


Right, that should be sufficient to prove that Martin knows nothing about evolution & should be ignored.

Just to be clear; evolution is a fact.


Mitsubishi eyes Middle Earth for 'early' electric car roll-out



"Releasing a 'leccy car at the start of a bitterly cold winter (remember 'down under' their summer is out winter). Techincally it'll be autumn ('fall' for the USA readers) but by the time it's generally available you'll be needing the 4x4 version with snow chains"

Er, two points: one is that they already have a couple of these cars running around Auckland; which makes sense, as these cars are more at home doing coffee runs around city CBD than a Hilux replacement on the farm. While it rains here more than enough, chances of needing snow chains in northern New Zealand is about 0%.

Secondly, NZ does get snow as well as weather hot enough to melt the odd plastic car, so given that they are beta testing the car, it makes sense to have some running around a country with the odd mountain and a bit of snow & ice. Wouldn't want to release them on mass in Europe & find the battery dies after a bit of ice.

OMFG, what have you done?



Pretty much all good as far as look goes, but why in gods name would anybody go fixed width in a world which is increasingly going wide screen? My lappy has a 1680 wide screen and now the reg no longer uses it. Seriously, until I took a second look, I though TheReg had opened up in a thumbnail or print-ready view as I all I saw was the reg front pages occupying a smaller part of a grey screen.

Even my 1440 wide desktop screen it has become far less readable.

Is this just sacrificing usability for looks? Or to make the webdesigner's job easier?

The IT Crowd goes west

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@Mike Smith

Do the BOFH thing; I think it could work as electrocution and other forms of death of various members of staff (pretty much every episode) could work visually. People got to like Dexter, so the BOFH could even become an anti-hero.

I like the idea of a fembot female BOFH villain as well!

So don't just think about it; do it & try a pitch to Simon.

Simon has never been the same since working at Waikato; Hamilton has that effect. Perhaps it could be set (or at least start) in a provincial North Island town in New Zealand?

Be the first millionaire on your block to go Tiltrotor

Dead Vulture

Power both props from one engine.

That is not so much the problem; though helps asymmetric thrust 'issues' a lot.

"If one of the props failed, well you are still better off than if you were in a helicopter with a failed rotor and probably no worse than in a twin engine plane with a failed engine"

Not quite true; a twin engine medium turbo-prop with an engine out can cope with some asymmetrical thrust with enough rudder & trim, and perform a reduced power landing safely. A helicopter can (with enough height) go and autorotate with a rough landing.

As far as I know, tilt-rotors can't land with engines horizontal; (another point of failure - they can't rotate the nacelles then horizontal landing is going to be a nightmare with the massive rotors) so they have to rotate & land on 50% power, which cannot be so easy. I guess with the right height, they could rotate to vertical mode (with ground effect?) and land vertically ; I presume with the remaining engine at emergency power for a rough put-down. Maybe they can collapse the rotors for power-off horizontal landing though...

Still very sensitive to interconnected shafts; long, light-weight shaft's, handling thousands of horse-power coming on fast; one snaps with a power outage and the craft is going to flip very quickly with chances of survival being... not so good..

icon: one sick bird

NZ hydropower drought could see leccy rationing


three terrestrial channels - pants

Terrestrial Freeview here now; but kiwifreeview != uk freeview which is a shame.

There is plenty of potential capacity; but an ex All Black hooker, didn't want a nice big wind farm in the middle of nowhere spoiling his view when he went for a drive... so we don't have enough wind-farms.

Not to mention people stopping more hydro being built - they just wanted the dam's for the irrigation thanks. Arrrgh - bring back the 70's when governments just whacked giant hydro dam's where-ever they felt like, whenever they felt like it.

SanDisk makes sub-SSDs for sub-laptops



'sub-laptop' makes sense, though I like The Reg's "Small Cheap Computer" moniker.

I actually wonder if "eeePC" was a more catchy name then it could have become a generic name for these things.

iPhone sparks counter measures from Verizon, RealNetworks and MTV


Doomed for failure

Rhapsody America? CDMA rather than GSM?

I would say that is is dead on arrival, as Apple understand the global market.

Compare this - I have an iPod & while I like iTunes, (the software) don't use the store much other than to grab the odd one-off song. Even here in NZ (a tiny market) there is a local iTunes where I can grab NZ related podcasts and music (Flight of the Conchords anyone?). it sucks that we can't yet get the TV service that Apple offer in the US, but I am happy enough for now. We are also a GSM country - Telecom have effectively admitted that CDMA has lost the war at consumer level & want to support GSM phones.

I recently brought a Sony 'DAC' MP3 player for my wife & while the hardware is quiet nice, the software supplied (SonicStage?) is hideous; and the Sony Connect service offers me 4 free tracks with my hardware - then denies me access to the service as I am outside of the US!

Apple are company that can put together a nicely integrated solution that makes hardware play nice with software and online services; I very much doubt any telco can do all that as they all have conflicting aims and have to play very nicely with others. Not something they are well known form. In the end, Verizon can just stick to providing pipes; I doubt they have the commitment or skills to work at the consumer products & content level.

Mobile-mast danger is all in your head


Science lesson

>There was an apparent correlation at first between UMTS signals and the sensitive >group's reports of "arousal"

"Um, so they did find some correlation, but wrote it off to fit their conclusion? Who funded this? Verizon and Motorla? "[sic]>

I read this as they used a proper random generator to turn off/on the signal generator. A random generator will give a random distribution over a large number of tests, but over a short number of tests may give a sequence like On, On, On, On, Off, On ... . So imagine if the random sequence starts with a sequence of on's while the subjects were still jumpy about being strapped into a seat near the 'evil' cellphone tower - you would get a +ve correlation, but after say 30 - 40 switches of the generator, and a more even mix of off/on, the correlation would go away. Repeating the experiment, you might get a random sequence at the beginning of Off, Off, Off etc and get a -ve correlation (which would actually still be significant if it continued).

Nice thing about science - they publish the results and the methodology. Any anti-cellphone tower group can repeat the experiment if they want or challenge the methodology, but not the results. It is not a conspiracy.