* Posts by BatCat

82 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Aug 2007


How to strip pesky copyright watermarks from photos ... says a FACEBOOK photo bod


I'm just happy...

... to see my pics used. So I'm not bothered about enforcing my copyright ownership. Then again, I'm not a professional photographer.

The only thing that bugs me about photography at certain venues is where the don't allow you to take your own photos, thereby forcing you to pay for the "professional" ones. Quite often, my photos are just as good. If there is an outstanding professional photo then I'll probably buy that as well.

Samsung Galaxy S III


It's just like the HTC One X...

...way too big.

Why do all the Android manufacturers seem to think that everyone wants a handset half the size of Wales?

There's a gap emerging in the market for a high spec android phone that's no bigger than my current Wildfire S.

SaaS brings software to the masses


Freame's friend's child? Really?

That video of a kid appearing to try and make magazine pages "swipe" like a tablet UI has been doing the rounds for a while. Try searching for "a magazine is a broken iPad" or something similar. I doubt the child in the video is a child of a friend of his, I think he just appropriated that little anecdote from off of the interwebs...

It's not even a good anecdote though, because in the shots of the kid "using" the iPad, he's just randomly swiping stuff about. I know that to a lot of iPad owners this random swiping constitutes "using", but to me "using" means performing a set of actions with a device to achieve a goal...

Ubuntu hoists skirt, flashes 'concept' gadget at CES


I've got...

... Unity and an Applications menu.


Using a wide-screen laptop, I appreciate the extra vertical space provided by moving everything into one status / menu bar - even if it takes a bit of getting used to, but agree that searching for applications is counter intuitive after 20-odd years of using an application menu of some sort.

New account of Flight 447 disaster published


Mistake number 1...

... was not re-routing round the storm. The report says other aircraft routed round it so why didn't this one? Maybe they didn't have enough fuel contingency? A few years ago, when I was involved in reporting an incident to the CAA, I spent a bit of time reading around the causes of incidents in UK airspace. Apparently, one of the major reasons for requesting emergency / priority landings at UK airports was lack of fuel. Airlines were cutting corners on fuel contingency because of the cost of hauling spare fuel around the place. I wouldn't be surprised if cost-cutting in this way was the primary cause of the incident.

I'm not a pilot, real or virtual, but I do know that when I had a car with traction control I got into the habit of accelerating far too hard and early exiting corners - when it was in for a service, I had a lower spec car on loan, I nearly crashed it on the first wet roundabout - sounds like a similar thing going on here with dependency on fly by wire.

Star Wars 3D holo displays becomes a reality


I mean 20 years ago...

God, I'm feeling old now.... :o)


This was way better about 10 years ago...


Ten... best Blu-ray movies of 2011

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Sucker Punch

Yeay! Someone else on the planet that actually gets Sucker Punch. I was starting to think it was just me...

Fixing Android mobes costs telcos millions


Expectation management failure...

... is how I'd describe it.

I have an entry-level android phone that can be bought sim-free for about £150 - although I got it free from my employer. Yes it's disappointing that it doesn't support flash or TV streaming services, it runs out of memory with less than a handful of apps installed and it even struggles to run Angry Birds smoothly sometimes let alone any games with 3D graphics. But, it's like 1/4 the cost of an iPhone and half the cost of a decent spec Android phone - so what should you expect? It's still perfectly capable of web browsing, mapping, taking pics, playing music, social networking, email & making phone calls, so in that respect it's great value for money.

Steve Jobs' last words: 'OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.'

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... you beat me to it!

UK shamed in high-speed broadband study


Recently upgraded...

... to 100MB on Virgin Media and reliably getting 99.25MB/s down and 8.58MB/s up all day long.

I live in a semi-rural location that just happens to have been cabled up before the cable roll-out hit the buffers. There's no technical reason why just about every location in the UK could have similar speed services. Maybe instead of wasting billions on HS2, the government should invest the money in a fibre-optic network infrastructure to promote business development outside London, rather than ruining what's left of the British countryside.

Steve Jobs memorial brings out tech titans... and Bono



...who actually believes Steve Jobs changed the world must live in a very small and privileged world indeed.

iPad baby baffled by paper magazine



in 15 years time, exams will be taken using the iPad 17S


Looks like it's just me...

... that noticed the baby isn't actually doing anything productive with the iPad, just randomly making stuff move about on the screen. But I suppose that's exactly what the baby has seen its parents doing... :oP

Laptop shoots spike into owner's hand


Of course...

... he didn't sustain the injury by violently slamming the disk tray in with the palm of his hand did he?

Google hits the boozer with own brand of beer


Why is American beer like making love in a canoe?


Because it's fucking close to water.

Been waiting ages to get that old joke into an el-reg comment!


Fedora 16: Linux home for lost Ubuntu GNOMEs


Maybe it's just me...

... but when I tried GNOME 3 on Fedora 15 (I think) I found it just as much of a culture shock as Unity.

I don't really get all the anti-unity fuss, well certainly that from the GNOME 3 fanbois anyway, to me they're almost as bad / good as each other. They're just different. Like the chap before said, the beauty of Linux is if you don't like something you can usually swap it out for something that suits you better without too much fuss.

Faster-than-light back with surprising CERN discovery


That's easy...

... when none of it has to be right. :oP


Next time...

...I'm wrong then, I'll just say I was right within the boundaries of the universe I described.

Great excuse, thanks. :o)

Google+ opened to world+dog


Imagine my delight...

... when I was logged on to my google apps account, went to the search page and saw the you+ and arrow inviting me to join up. Then my disappointment when having clicked the you+ I got the same apps user apology page I've been seeing for months.

Oh well....

Sony Tablet P in pictures


It's a bit like...

...the current implementation of the Flying Car concept. And, in the same way that a light aircraft with folding wings and headlights isn't a really Flying Car, a tablet with two screens and a hinge down the middle isn't really a Folding Tablet...

Hobbyist killed by home-made hovercraft


Riding hats...

...can look pretty cool I think. I always wear one, just pointing out that if you want a dangerous hobby with little H&S interference, horse riding is a pretty good one.

Tally Ho!



... forgot about that. And that is definitely a self-protection rule as at 14 it's unlikely that you'd have any dependants to burden the state with if you were killed.

Then again I'd most likely be dead or brain damaged if I'd not been wearing a helmet when some twat knocked me off my push-bike one time - and there's no legal obligation to wear bike helmets at any age...


No helmet...

...probably means there's less burden on the health service as you're more likely to be killed in an accident than survive it but with life-changing injuries.

I don't see how forcing bikers to wear helmets protects anyone else, other than maybe from the financial implications of losing the family bread-winner.

Stick to horse riding, no nanny-state regulations in play there unless you're in certain organised competitions....

Google's Facebook: It rocks, but who cares?


Main issue for me...

... is that it doesn't work with my Google Apps account, even though they're supposed to have merged the platform.

By the time it's available to me, it will have died through lack of interest.

Truth is, first to market wins, not necessarily the best.


Atlantis blasts off on last shuttle mission


The rest of the world has moved on quite a bit...

I watched the first shuttle launch at school, gathered round a big CRT TV that probably weighed ~70kg - watched the last one on a screen in the palm of my hand...

Natty Narwahl: Ubuntu marine mammal not fully evolved


Failed upgrade / install on Lenovo W500

I was successfully running 10.10 on my Lenovo W500. Ran the automated upgrade and now fails to boot. Tried booting from a USB (should have probably tried that first LOL) and again failed to boot. Errors pointing to some kind of graphics hardware compatibility issue.

Just glad I wasn't using it for anything serious - if I was I'd have tested it first of course ;o)

Back to 10.10 for me...

Japanese gov makes Fukushima evac zone compulsory

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BP Gulf of Mexico Accident

How does this measure up against the oil drilling accident last year?

11 people killed during the accident

countless animals and sea organisms killed by the oil pollution

livelihoods wrecked

continuing human and wildlife ill-effects from the lingering pollution.

Measured on the same scale as a nuclear accident, that's got to be a 10 surely??

And, it was caused by cost cutting / incompetence not an almost unprecedented natural disaster...

X-51 hypersonic scramjet test bird ready for second flight



Thankfully prolly don't get that many birds at the altitude where it's possible to do Mach 22... :o)

iPhone 4 coming to T-Mobile UK



... so who's selling a factory unlocked 3GS for £499? Expansys are charging at £665.

After-market unlocked ones don't count because every time the software gets updated they need unlocking again and the unlocking software always lags the updates.

Who's selling the iPhone 4 factory unlocked in the UK?

Jobs Horns

why oh why...

doesn't apple just sell its handsets unlocked and SIM free in the UK like HTC does? Surely, if I want to pay the full hardware price for a phone and put, lets say, a t-mobile PAYG SIM in it with unlimited internet & txt for £10 per month (sorry, they don't do that offer anymore, but I got on when they did ;o) ) then I should be allowed to.

People ought to realise that if they're paying more than £10 per month for a phone contract, what they're actually doing is paying for the "free" handset on monthly installments...

Microsoft rejiggers EU browser ballot after complaints


Computers can't do random

You beat me to it. It's impossible for computers to generate random numbers. They can generate complex sequences, but they're not random.

BMW opens up to haptic car doors



Open the front off-side door please ALV.


Open the front off-side door please ALV!




Report: Legalising drugs would save UK plc huge packet

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And I thought it was just me...

I've though this way for years. I'd go further and actually supply drugs for free on the NHS for those unfortunate enough to become addicted - often substitutes such as methadone just don't work well enough. There would be no need for addicts to then commit crime to finance a habit.

This should be coupled with adequate, open and truthful education programmes so people grow up fully aware of the risks. Also, a total ban on recreational drug advertising including alcohol - imagine how much harder it makes things for an alcoholic when they're bombarded with alcohol advertising everywhere...

It'll never happen though :o(

Lite-on eSAU208-16


Who uses...

... plastic discs anymore these days???

Windows 7: One compatibility label, no confusion


Puppy Love

Now I have configured a 3G connection via my Nokia E51 there's no going back. It's quite literally the dog's :o)

Oh, and it took about 2 mins to set up, only marginally more effort than clicking through Ubuntu 8.10's jesus-network-manager ;o)

Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager


Puppy Linux...

...is small, fast and fully featured, give it a try.

I used to be a Ubuntu fanboi, but the mainstream Linux distributions are getting just as bloated, resource hungry and inefficient as Windows.

Windows 7 'pre-beta' washes up on Pirate Bay and co


Puppy Linux...

... the antithesis of the bloated OS.

Check it out if you're fed up of the slow, bloated Operating Systems being heaved out by the usual suspects - MS, Apple, Ubuntu, SuSe, Fedora etc. 94MB download, fast & fully featured.

Kings of Leon to freetards: Y'all are trash


best 'tard ever...


What do you call a time travelling idiot?


A retardis!

Made me laugh anyway

Wall Street shudders under Lehman collapse

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@Solomon Grundy - drilling for money?

Even extracting natural resources isn't creating wealth. The products derived from the raw materials are ultimately exchanged for someone else's wealth when they buy them. Commodities are just another vehicle for moving wealth round the system.

I still maintain there *is* a fixed amount of wealth in the system - otherwise, why don't governments just print more money? Printing more money reduces a currency's value, the equilibrium is restored.

It's just not possible to become more wealthy without it being at someone else's expense.

In answer to the "Someone somewhere has got to be $613bn up. It can not have vanished into thin air" question - the fact is, the $613bn didn't exist in the first place, it was based on a massive over-valuation delusion. So nobody is up $613bn, but nobody has really lost $613bn either.

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@JonB - you didn't think about it did you...

You can reduce the value of a TV by trashing it, but the organisation you bought it from still has the money you paid for it.

Unless you value your time as worthless then writing software isn't creating something of value from nothing. And, when you get paid for it, that bit of wealth must have been taken from someone else - like customers of the organisation you're writing software for perhaps.

Even burning a bank note doesn't remove wealth from the system, it just means that little bit can't be exchanged for anything else, it's stuck as a pile of ash.

All we do by earning and spending money is move it around a system. Sometimes people or organisations manage to build up a stockpile, but eventually the equilibrium has to be restored. Or, as seems more likely the case, the pendulum swings in another direction.

Lehman's and others thought that the housing market was creating wealth from nothing and could therefore carry on ad-infinitum - this little adjustment has shown how wrong they were. Like others have said, it's like thinking that pyramid scams create wealth from nothing, they don't, it has to come from somewhere.

BTW, it was an *invite* not an instruction. Why did you assume it was an instruction? Judging others by your own standards maybe?


The first law of econodynamics is: Conservation of Wealth

Wealth cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form.

Think about it...

gOS - a Google good OS for your Mum


"The Laptop now flies along"

It would fly along with a fresh installation of XP too, Linux isn't magically boosting the performance of the PC. XP performance does tend to degrade over time, specially if users are installing lots of demo / free software downloads and plugin widgets. My kids' laptops fly along after I've restored a clean XP image onto them. It takes about 15 minutes using acronis true image every few months. They can enjoy all the same user experience as their mates and if they screw up the OS, I just restore it again. Perfect solution.


@Mark - xpilot / PyGames on windows

Xpilot has been ported to windows. Python and the PyGames libraries are also available for windows. But, I wouldn't ever even suggest you switch to windows - you're happy with Linux as your desktop OS & that's great - for you. However, It doesn't mean Linux is right for everyone else. Not because they're too stupid to use Linux, but because Linux doesn't support the features they want to use.

Want another example? MS Office compatibility. Yes, Open Office does a pretty good job at cross-compatibility - but it's not 100%. When I was running Linux as my primary desktop OS I was always getting formatting problems with MS Word and Power Point documents using Open Office. Not to mention a complete lack of support for Visio and MS Project.

Linux Fanbois never seem willing to accept that there are plenty of real-world issues for users wanting to switch over from Windows. They always try to dismiss them with partial solutions or complex workarounds - I know, I've done it myself. But then I grew up.


@ Mark - gOS - a good OS for your Mum

I was originally commenting on the article.

The article, as indicated by its title, suggests that gOS is a suitable desktop OS for general PC users such as "your mum".The point I'm making is that it depends on what "your mum" wants to do with it. I illustrated this point with examples from my own experience of trying to get general PC users ( my family ) to use Linux instead of XP. I have highlighted some of the problems I had and I'm suggesting that many people, particularly in the gOS target demographic, will also likely face the same or similar problems. Therefore, my original comment is very much on-topic, gOS or any Linux distro for that matter, is not necessarily a good OS for "your mum" or anyone else who may need features that it doesn't support.

If I was just out to criticise Linux, I'd be moaning about the hours I spent getting the wireless adaptors and sound working properly on the kids' laptops. Those problems I could fix, it's the problems that don't have a fix that are the killers.

BTW, on Ubuntu, try

sudo bash

That runs a shell with root privileges so you don't need to sudo any other commands in that shell instance - surely anyone who knows what they're doing can figure that one out. ;o)


@ Mark - You're missing the point...

1) I'm not putting Vista on my kids PCs, they have XP. When did I ever mention Vista?

2) I've never found a Linux MSN client that supports video & voice. I *know* this is because MS doesn't stick to standards, but that's not the point. The point is, it does not work & probably never will - unless MS adopts some FOS standards, which is highly unlikely.

3) Errrm... yes I do mean my kids (and my wife) are my users in this scenario. It's just an example. Most of the gOS target demographic will be in the same boat. See the title of the article - "gOS - a good OS for your Mum" - well, yes, unless "your mum" wants to use video or voice on MSN, for example. And, like it or not, the vast majority of the people "your mum" will want to chat with will be using MSN on windows.

4) You're right, I've not tested every game on the market. Maybe I'm just unlucky and it's just most of the ones I have that don't work. Still, it doesn't matter, it's *those* games I want to work, not other games. And, yes, those games probably won't work on vista either, but I don't care, they run on XP, which is what is installed on the game players' PCs.

5) Sounds like you don't know what shockwave is.

For example, try loading this game on Linux:


More about the shockwave wine workaround can be found here:


The point I'm making is that, like it or not, there's still a few reasons why Linux isn't the best desktop OS choice for many PC users. I've been using Linux since Red Hat 5 in the late 90's so I know how much progress has been made to lower the technical barriers that used to rule out mass adoption. The barriers now are not purely technical ones, they are socioeconomic ones. FOS code-monkey propeller-heads never seem to grasp social or economic concepts very well though do they?

The good news for me though, is that the vast majority of server implementations I've worked on over the last 5 years have been on Linux. My commercial users have benefited from the lower TCO that this has delivered - freeing them from expensive proprietary server hardware / OS suppliers. This has been a fantastic outcome driven by Linux and the FOS software community, spurred on by a good dollop of bitter rivalry between some big players in the industry. The same forces are not at play in the domestic (or even the commercial) desktop PC market - PCs with Linux are not significantly cheaper than PCs with Windows and they have no compelling additional end-user features, they don't even look any nicer (ref. apple!). Microsoft has won the battle for the PC desktop, no it wasn't a fair fight, but that's just the way things are. Get over it, and move on.


@ Mark


There isn't a shockwave plugin that works natively on Linux, ie without running a windows version of a browser with wine. Shockwave isn't the same as flash, some games use shockwave, those games won't run on a linux browser. As luck would have it, most of the games my kids want to play are shockwave ones.


I don't give a monkey's *why* MSN clients on linux don't support the full feature set of the current Windows MSN client, the fact is they don't - the net result being a degraded user experience. No webcam, no audio, no plugin games, limited silly nudge / wink / smiley thingies.


Specifically, the games my kids want to run don't run on Linux with wine, they do run on XP though.

The most important thing to bear in mind with IT solutions are the User Requirements - unfortunately Linux fails to meet the requirements of my users so I can't use it as a solution - regardless of however much I want to. Yes, Linux is adequate for some users (me included) but it's unlikely to ever be the right OS for everyone, or even the majority of users.

The trouble with Linux is that there is no compelling reason to choose it instead of windows. Yes, we techies can all go on about some aspect that *technically* makes it better than windows - but most PC users aren't bothered about stuff like that. Betamax was technically superior to VHS, Philips V2000 was arguably superior to Betamax. VHS won - the history of technology is littered with similar stories...

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Jonti - Flash Vs Shockwave

It depends on the games, some use flash, some use shockwave.

eg http://www.flash-game.net/game/41/snowcraft.html

Looks like more games are using flash than they used to, but you can still bet that the ones your kid's mates are all playing is a shockwave one...

Anybody got Windows Live Messenger running on Linux??


@Simpson - don't waste your time mate!

I've been through all this with my kids.

Issue #1 - there is no Shockwave plugin for Linux.

Flash games don't use the flash player, they use shockwave which has no linux support. Yes, you can install wine and Windows firefox and then the widows shockwave plugin will work, but it's a bit glitchy even on a >1Ghz >1Gb machine.

Issue #2 - Linux MSN compatible chat clients are not 100% compatible.

Ok, with a 5yo you're probably not going to hit this one, but older kids want MSN with all the same features as their mates - ie voice, video, ridiculous 3rd party smilies / nudges / winks / plugin games etc.

Issue #3 - windows only games

Plenty of windows games, commercial and free downloads, don't work with wine.

My solution:

Install XP. Use something like Acronis to make an image of the clean installation. When the XP installation inevitably starts to degrade or gets a virus infection or gets overrun with downloaded crap - just restore it from the clean base image, takes about 15 mins.

Ten of the Best... Bluetooth Headsets


Money to burn...

Probably all the 4 or 5 new phones I've had over the last 5 years have come with a wired headset for free.


1) Don't need charging.

2) Talk & standby time only limited by the phone.

3) Great sound quality.

4) Recent ones are stereo.

5) Just as legal as BT headset whilst driving.

6) They don't cost anything

7) If you lose / break it, replacements are about £5.

9) You don't look like a cock.


1) You have to keep your phone less than 10M away, like maybe in your pocket - somewhere you'd never normally put it ;o)

Why would anybody pay anything for a BT headset, let alone £80-£100? Suckers!