* Posts by Richard Hodgson

57 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jul 2007


Hear that? Of course it's Indiegogo's deadline for a Vega+ whooshing by

Richard Hodgson

More the pity that it's not even like it's some pie in the sky technology or gadget of questionable scientific principles like so many other crowdfunded products; it's a handheld with an emulator installed. About a twelve dozen different models of handhelds that would do the same thing have probably been produced in China since they first announced the campaign, all they had to do was produce one of their own.

Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Richard Hodgson


Well, there are at least enough games on Steam Linux to warrant maybe needing that amount of HDD space.

On-demand streamed music services compared

Richard Hodgson

I still find it strange...

...that I'm paying Netflix £5.99 a month to stream hours high definition video to my PC and mobile, and paying Spotify a tenner to stream music to my PC and mobile, that are a fraction of the size - and not even streaming, when I use offline access, saving them bandwidth costs.

I might have to give some of these alternatives a go, thanks El Reg!

Dropbox brings in crack team to probe spam leakage

Richard Hodgson

It'd be interesting to see the mail headers for some of these; the last time I saw this happen (Moonpig), it turned out that someone had broken into their account with their mailing list provider and started sending out spam.

Anybody care to post a pastebin link to the full source for some of the messages?

PayPal is bleeding market share and it's all eBay's fault

Richard Hodgson

Am I the only one around here...

Who's never heard of Square, Braintree, or Stripe?

Apple iGlasses

Richard Hodgson

Prototype Apple glasses found in bar!


I'll get my coat...

HTC One V Android smartphone

Richard Hodgson

512B of memory?

512 bytes? Seems a little low for the price!

Steve Jobs' last design: New Apple HQ pics

Richard Hodgson

"The architects wanted the windows to open. Jobs said no. He had never liked the idea of people being able to open things. ‘That would just allow people to screw things up.’"

Well this certainly explains a lot...

iPhone users are sad and mentally unfocused

Richard Hodgson

How about this?

If we get people to fill in a piece of paper with a pen rating how happy they are, can we say that pen users are generally mentally unfocused and unhappy?

I see no mention of a control group here, so what exactly are they comparing the results against?

Virgin Media to warn malware-infected customers

Richard Hodgson

Used to do something similar...

...at the first ISP I worked at; if we got a lot of spam reports regarding a particular user, we'd restrict them and send them an email explaining how to clean a machine.

Better than having a zombie sending out thousands of emails a day!

Google's WiFi snoop - who knew and who didn't?

Richard Hodgson

The wonders...

...of trilateration, which can be fairly accurate with large enough sets of data including known sets of coordinates during the monitoring process.


Newspapers slam BBC iPhone app plans

Richard Hodgson

I am trying...

...to figure out what the complaint is actually regarding: The BBC carried out a poll, that poll revealed that people wanted apps that would give them access to the content on their iPhones, and the beeb dutifully responded.

Surely that's an excellent use of the licence fee money?

Brits take iTablet moniker for 12in iPad rival

Richard Hodgson
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That looks...

...oddly like Windows XP to me. Thought it was meant to be Windows 7?

At least it has USB ports and, I'm assuming, support for booting from them - I'm sure someone will make a good Linux port for it.

Adultery website boosted by Christian publicity campaign

Richard Hodgson

Don't look where I'm pointing!

Always love these, unless it is a viral campaign, of course, which is always a possibility.

T-Mobile to revamp tariffs

Richard Hodgson
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So basically they're making their tariffs less attractive? After negotiating my new contract last year, I ended up paying just under £25 a month for 800 free minutes, unlimited texts, and their web and walk data plan, which suits my needs and wallet perfectly.

I'm certain that when June rolls about, I'll be reconsidering my provider if they keep this funny business up.

Knuckle rap for riot shield sledging coppers

Richard Hodgson
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Gotta say...

This is getting involved with the community at its best - Showing that the police are human and have a sense of humour too.

Then the superintendent had to go and spoil it all!

Chocolate Factory does url shortening

Richard Hodgson

Can't wait...

...for the spammers using these services to try and steal people's Google Account details, posing as a site hosted by them!

Bank snafu Gmail missive never opened

Richard Hodgson

Where's the investigation?!

A bank sends confidential, and I'm assuming completely unencrypted financial information about their clients to an external email address hosted on a third party mail server? There are so many security issues here it's ridiculous.

If this were a UK organisation, they'd have been investigated for their terrible data practices. Understandably, the bank panicked and tried to get the information deleted, even if they went about it in the worst way possible.

However what really concerns me is this: They don't seem to show any sign of conscience here, and no acknowledgement that they have done anything wrong beyond accidentally sending it to the wrong email address. There's no mention of a review of their current security practices, or of the employee involved being reprimanded, or of a plan to better train their employees regarding the security of confidential information.

If my bank acted so nonchalantly after a major security incident, I sure as hell wouldn't hang around and let it happen again.

Sonic the Hedgehog to make 2D comeback

Richard Hodgson
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If they do it right...

I could absolutely go for this. I'm surprised that Sega haven't done this sooner, with the rise in casual gaming, and the low development cost involved.

But Sega also have a habit of messing things up, along with a complete inability to market even the best products. I'm a little sceptical.

Louis Vuitton stings ISPs for their customers' infringements

Richard Hodgson


It depends; do you consider web hosting an Internet Service?

T-Orange: How it's going to work

Richard Hodgson
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As a T-Mobile customer....

If Orange kept T-Mobile's excellent, and far superior customer service team and decided to take on their generous data plans, I'd be a very happy T-Orange customer.

Unfortunately, I don't hold out much hope for either of these possibilities.

HTC inks in Android-based Tattoo

Richard Hodgson


Except that operating systems could no longer be tweaked to match the hardware, at least not without needing to install a bunch of kernel patches after every update, which would make future software updates difficult at best.

Labour calls for free Wi-Fi on trains

Richard Hodgson

Wow, this will be useful!

Except for the part where they'll use it as another excuse to raise ticket prices and put yet more people off using public transport whilst spending huge amounts of money to implement a technology that's likely going to be outdated within a decade, superseded by improved wireless and cheaper mobile broadband technologies, and in an era where improved mobile data services and speeds mean that the use of a laptop 'on the move' is becoming less and less popular as mobile phones take over their previous roles as internet service devices.

But aside from that, it's brilliant: At least I'll be able to use my laptop on a bus where the seating is barely adequate to fit my legs in! What a fantastically well thought out plan!

And we wonder why government IT projects have such a high rate of failure combined with such a high level of spending. Dumb, short-sighted ideas that are based on hype, rather than level-headed thinking.

iPhone security cracked, smacked and broken

Richard Hodgson

@ Corin

Sure, you steal a phone used for business. I'm assuming that since it's a business phone, it comes unjailbroken, so it shouldn't have SSH running. IN order to jailbreak it, you need to put the phone in recovery mode and flash it with a modified firmware.

This is the important part: By flashing the phone, you erase all data on the device.

I've never been a massive supporter of Apple: I only picked up an iPhone because I managed to get one at a massive discount, but I really do think that this is some of the laziest 'research' I've seen in a while. Do we really need a professional researcher to tell us that by installing SSH, leaving the service running, and leaving the password set as its default that you are opening up your machine to security risks? I'd hope that if you knew what SSH was and had installed it, you'd know the potential implications of using such a service.

Richard Hodgson


In Apple's defence, wouldn't you need access to the phone in order to install SSH in the first place? I know that when I jailbroke my phone and installed it, I had to go through a series of processes to do it, including restoring my firmware which involved losing the data on the phone anyway.

If you've installed SSH already, well, if you haven't changed the default password, more fool you. I always disable the SSH service whenever I'm not using it: I doubt anyone will try, but it's better to not leave any potential holes open.

BT brings jobs back from India

Richard Hodgson


At least we can say that BT were at least honest?

I am interested to know exactly how this won't improve customer service though; maybe their call centres will now only be staffed by two Brits, one of which is the cleaner?

Plod offered SIM confiscation powers by Tories

Richard Hodgson


I'm trying to get the point in this: It doesn't seem like a logical punishment, or particularly effective, seeing as they can surely just call up their provider and get a new SIM shipped to them in a few days?

iPhone makes eyes at T-Mobile and Orange

Richard Hodgson

Here's hoping...

...that this means that you can finally purchase an iPhone on contract without O2's pitiful contract offerings. Anything that offers less than 500 free texts on the lowest plan is pretty ridiculous nowadays, when most other networks are happy to offer you unlimited free texting on similarly priced plans.

Yes, it's for the Jesus phone specifically, but whilst I would love to get an iPhone on contract, the price plans are the only thing that's putting me off converting back to O2 this September when my T-Mobile contract is up.

Schneier says he was 'probably wrong' on masked passwords

Richard Hodgson


That's only because they're not displayed on the screen though. No doubt that they would read the screen, given the opportunity.

But seriously, Schneier; duh?

Conviction overturned in MySpace suicide case

Richard Hodgson

Relevancy of the medium?

It surely shouldn't matter whether this was done via computer, letter or phonecall: Mentally abusing someone in this manner to the point where you drive them to suicide, and with intent, based on the comments made to the girl by the defendant, should be illegal. Even if you aren't holding a knife to their throat, purposely abusing someone to this kind of level simply isn't right.

Masked passwords must go

Richard Hodgson

Wait, what?

Usability expert, maybe, but certainly no security expert. Shoulder surfing is absolutely a problem, but is far less common than it would be if say, passwords were left unmasked and easily readable.

Security is always a compromise between usability and effectiveness,, regardless of its application. You could keep your door wide open, making the accessibility to your home far better, but killing a layer of security in the process. By adding security, a lack of accessibility is inevitable, but the entire system is wide open for exploitation without it.

What's needed is a new compromise, or an alternative, more accessible security solution, but making passwords viewable to casual viewers is not it.

Google taps your IP address for Starbucks targeting

Richard Hodgson

Oh good.

I'll be getting targeted content based around Telford then. Shame I don't actually work for Entanet any more!

Wi-Fi phobes hijack disability legislation

Richard Hodgson


...are they allergic to themselves then?

Because we produce electromagnetic radiation o_O

MS: Xbox will not go Blu

Richard Hodgson

Doubt it'll happen...

It's too late into the console's life for such an accessory to make a difference. The existing consumer base, as it is, is going to be unwilling to adopt an accessory that is going to add a little functionality to their existing hardware, when a new console will likely appear a few years down the line, resulting in them having to toss out/shelf a perfectly good accessory in the process. It makes more sense to just buy a standalone player that you don't plan on replacing until the next major format comes along, or just to wait until the next generation of consoles appears and buy one that supports Bluray, assuming that they're unwilling to purchase a PS3 on top of their current console.

No pr0n surfing for Qantas A380 passengers

Richard Hodgson

What's wrong with...

...good old fashioned internet filtering?

Surely it's easier and less bandwidth intensive to regularly update a set of filters than it is to regularly update their cache? It saves them the future headaches from customers who don't understand what caching is, and can't understand why Gmail and Hotmail aren't logging in properly, or why BBC News will only show articles from 3 weeks ago, too.

Hell, if they can't afford to employ people to keep the filters up to date, pay one of the multitude of filtering companies out there to get a regularly updated version of their filters instead.

Yes, people can use proxies to bypass them, but if people really want to rack off a sly one on the plane, they'll find a way: It'd be far easier just to download a load of porn before they leave, and take that on a USB stick, or on their mobile for convenience, and how exactly are the airlines going to prevent that?

Apple unsheathes Jesus Phone 2.1

Richard Hodgson
Paris Hilton


That's a lot of issues for one piece of hardware. If I bought a phone that was dropping calls like that, I'd be complaining to my provider and replacing it with another model. How the hell does Apple get away with this?

More importantly, how can I cash in on this depressingly dim demographic?!

Acer raises UK prices

Richard Hodgson
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...there goes that shiny new Aspire One I wanted for university then.

Beeb readies iPlayer app for Nokia N96

Richard Hodgson

Wot? N96 only?!

Seems like a massive waste of development time if they're only going to allow this to work with the Nokia N96. There are a ton of Symbian S60 phones out there, including Nokia's own very popular N95 series, that would benefit from this.

I know that it creates an additional marketing point for the N96, but there's nothing like screwing over current customers to put them off buying your product in the future.

Houston, we have a virus

Richard Hodgson
Paris Hilton

Non-mission critical...

People are thinking too far in the box here: I'm thinking that these were the crew's in-flight entertainment to combat the stress and loneliness of living in space. They were probably using Windows rather than Linux because they were probably using the laptops to play games.

Paris, because the laptops probably contain a few of her videos. In-flight entertainment indeed...

MS redesigns Xbox 360 controller key

Richard Hodgson
Paris Hilton

Is it just me...

...who can't see the difference, colour aside?

Paris, due to immediate confusion.

UK.gov pushes £50,000 fine for online copyright infringement

Richard Hodgson
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Wow, I could get fined less...

...for committing financial fraud, knocking over a petrol station, or mugging an old lady.

Thanks for protecting us, Mr. Government!

Gmail outage causes outrage

Richard Hodgson

Oh god...

I was there for the great Gmail outage of 2008. It was down for at most an hour. I'm not even sure how I managed to cope.

Oh yeah, I fired up mail2web.com and logged in through the Gmail POP server on there. No big deal, really.

Robotic hand relief

Richard Hodgson
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Better names?

How about 'The Stranger'?

Site guesses your sex via age-old web flaw

Richard Hodgson
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Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 71%

Likelihood of you being MALE is 29%

Maybe I should reconsider the operation...

Firefox sweeps away carpet bombing bug

Richard Hodgson

It's not the regularity...

...that annoys me, it's the fact that code for handling extensions uses the main software version number in order to determine compatibility of the extensions I have installed.

It's likely that the changes made wont affect 99% of the extensions out there, but regardless, Firefox will disable a number of the extensions I've installed because the compatibility number in their XPI file is less than the new version.

I know that this is partially down to the extension developers, and assuming that they ever update their plugins using the Mozilla site (which some don't, due to some of the methods the site uses being cumbersome), they'll update on their own, but at the same time, I wish that there was a better system for determining compatibility.

Canadian toddler dies after VOIP 911 call

Richard Hodgson

Who's at fault?

This seems like a very complicated issue, you see, the VoIP provider shouldn't be relying on their own records in order to dispatch emergency services.

Personally, I don't wouldn't use VoIP for emergency services (especially since the call is free!), but if I did, in my case this would cause a huge amount of confusion, since my VoIP client is my mobile phone, which utilises whatever data connection it is allowed access to connect to my VoIP provider. Basically, I could be anywhere at all when I make that call.

This brings up the issue that is inherent in VoIP: The service isn't static. I can carry around an ATA or SIP phone and hook it up to any broadband connection, and (assuming that the connection is fast enough and doesn't block any services) expect it to work, so how can anybody rely on set records with the VoIP company in order to pinpoint their location for something as important as the emergency services? They may as well do a geographic trace on the IP, it'll be about as reliable!

UK government websites out of control

Richard Hodgson

Google says...

Searched for site:.gov.uk

Results 1 - 10 of about 41,100,000 from .gov.uk. (0.13 seconds)

41,100,000 .gov.uk sites? I wouldn't actually be that surprised if it were true...

In my own experience, the UK government sites need a total overhaul: Especially the procedures regarding the government gateway ID system. I forgot my password, thanks to their stringent password rules requiring me to think up an unusually cryptic password. One year later I need to use their sites again to renew my car tax, I've forgotten my password. No problem, I'll just go through the 'forgotten password' process and sort this out. It asks me for secret keywords. I enter them, it says that they're wrong. I go through numerous combinations until I give up.

I drop them an email asking what I can do, and in response get told that the department linked to on the site doesn't support the gateway ID system. I'm told to contact another department. Not entirely unexpected, given the horrible bureaucracy in place, but i go along with it. After contacting this other department, I explain that I've filled in all of the possible combinations of secret answers and passwords, and that nothing seems to work, and that I now need some help in to regaining access to my account. I'm essentially told that there's nothing that can be done now. I can't even have my account reset, or be allowed to reregister with proof of identification. I'm simply never going to be allowed to do anything related to the government gateway system ever again.

I understand that it's my fault for not recalling my password, or whatever secret answers I entered originally, but the fact that there's no procedure in place for these cases just seems ridiculous. Anybody else had any headaches with the gateway ID system?

'Magnet boy' freezes Xbox

Richard Hodgson

Since when does...

...magnetic/electrical interference make the font in his office program huge and put up symbolic characters only?

Seems a little 'made for cinema' to me.

IT industry needs more women

Richard Hodgson

How will this work?

I mean, I'm currently studying for a BA in Computer Systems at the moment, and out of over 200 people I see in my System Analysis and Design lectures, we have a grand total of maybe 5 girls. Throughout my entire education, and IT related courses and modules always had a low turnout of women.

Now then, universities tend to accept people based on their mark, rather than their gender. If women aren't taking interest in IT at an educational level, then there aren't going to be many female IT graduates. If this is the case, then how are businesses meant to employ competent, qualified female IT staff?

Whilst I don't agree with 'requirements' for staff levels when it comes to minorities, since suitability for a job should take the lead, with race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. having no bearing, I do wonder were they plan to find female IT staff if the number of even remotely qualified people are outweighed so heavily by men.

Boffin icon picked, since some IT jobs may contain highly technical content requiring degree-level education or above :P

Bill Gates chuckles at Google Apps

Richard Hodgson


Google Docs worked fairly well for our university project recently: We collaborated and made our presentation online, then I edited, and copied and pasted people's entries into OpenOffice Impress. Worked wonderfully. Granted that we didn't use Docs for the actual presentation, but for collaborating across multiple operating systems (Ubuntu here, Arch on another, and Windows on another), and over the internet, it was perfect.