* Posts by JMcL

76 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Aug 2007


No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences


Re: Airbus & China

"Just trade wars?"

Well to be fair to him (sarcasm off), he was aware enough of the Vietnam war to avoid going there on 5 occasions

Is Oppo short for Opportunistic? BBK opens UK doors


Too big

6.4 inches is just too big for a phone. Yes it's great having a big screen for watching media and web surfing, but as a device to carry with you all day it's impractical. The screen on my OnePlus 3T cracked recently from being in my trousers pocket, which is uncomfortable in the first place. I now find myself having to pick tops with pockets just to carry the damn phone - and that's merely got a 5.5" screen

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good


Re: ignoring the fact of Prior Art ?

"The US patent office generally takes your fee and grants the patent.

Prior art is left for the lawyers to sort out later.

If you're small fry, and can't afford a lawyer, sorry, you're screwed."

Just submitted a project proposal fur EU funding this week, and discovered on the patent search a whopping great broad patent claim has just been filled in the US asserting ownership of a bunch of IP which we already developed under a separate EU funded project 2 years ago. We looked at patents at the time, but decided there was no point as it was all software and mathematical methods

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again


Re: As a dev system? No, startup biz!


"This article has reminded me that the same Motorola 68000 chip was used in the massively under-appreciated Sinclair QL! "

The QL had a hobbled 68000 with an 8 bit data bus and some other oddities AFAI recall, and its own err... Idiosyncrasies (microdrives anyone?). It was a capable machine for the time though which didn't really reach its potential given the 16 bit offerings from Atari and Commodore a year or so later

OnePlus 6T: Tasteful, powerful – and much cheaper than a flagship


Re: Past meets future

"There's an adapter in the box, plug your old headphones in if you need to. If you're out and about you don't need the USB-C port for charging and if you're at home you don't need to use your headphones for music"

Deal breaker for me. USB-C port=fragile and device is hosed if it's damaged, 3.5mm port=robust (generally) I don't want to have something hanging out of my data/charging port when I've got the phone in my pocket. The more bits you put in a chain, the greater the chance of failure. Headphone technology is mature and there's something there to suit all needs and budgets - set of earbuds for a tenner, fine, want to spend a grand? be my guest.

Bluetooth headphones on the other hand are frequently meh from an audio quality perspective, more often than not lead to a pairing dance, and are yet another thing that needs charged (and are usually low in charge just when you want to use the damn things). The other thing about devices with batteries - the batteries are usually toast after a couple of years and are non-replaceable. Throw the headphones away, and buy new ones - kerchinggg. Meanwhile my 25 year old Sennheisers are still excellent and usable interchangeably with my phone, amp, etc

The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt


Re: Perspective


"Probably took a full minute to decompress with the VAX ... Things sure have changed."

In uni in the late 80's we had an 11/780 in the lab. During the course of a lecture in public/private keys, the lecturer set us a challenge to find the factors of R11 (i.e. 11111111111). I set an overnight brute force batch job going on the Vax at lowish priority in the unlikely event anybody would get annoyed. After around 6-7 hours processing time it spat out the answers and I was £5 to the better (a good night in the pub back in the day)

Out of curiousity about 10 years ago I was playing around with multi-threading on a very bog standard Dell desktop and decided to see what effect multiple cores would have. Tried single threaded first to to make sure I'd gotten it right. Answer back immediately. Can't be right thought I. Checked it, it was right, the factorisation had taken approx 10ms.

In retrospect, looking at the number written out it shouldn't have been a surprise, but I still think it's a fine example of the advances over a 20-25 year period.

Don't mean to alarm you – but NASA is about to pummel the planet with huge frikkin' space laser


Re: I'm not worried...

Would ye all stop, you're only codding me

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


Re: Failure version 2.10.6

Speaking as someone who's used GIMP for over 20 years, and Photoshop almost as long, I'll always turn to PS for photographic heavy lifting (though I've relied mostly on Lightroom for the past 10 years or so).

The biggest barrier for GIMP as regards photography for me was always lack of bit depth - GEGL simply stagnated for years. Anything other than extremely basic adjustments would quickly result in a histogram like a wide toothed comb. GEGL support seems to finally be getting there in recent versions, so I may need to check it out, though awkward raw workflows remain an obstacle.

Sadly, photography remains really the only reason I still have to keep Windoze around - wish it were otherwise (and yes, I've given most serious Linux only options a go over the years).

Unpicking the Pixel puzzle: Why Google is struggling to impress


Re: Conspiracy theory.

"And the argument 'get the latest Android first' does not appear to be convincing many consumers to take the bait either. AND it's available from other brands through 'One'."

Add to that chez Google products are EOLd in no short order. 2 years of Android updates for a Nexus 5 from release (meaning about 15 months after I'd bought mine) and a mere further 10 months of security updates. Add to which there was no upgrade path as Google had gone down the shiny-shiny Pixel path at that point. Kind of like generic vs big brand headache pills, I'm personally not interested in a 30% markup to support a marketing department.

Irish Supremes make shock decision to hear Facebook's appeal in Schrems II


Re: Who Done IT "Cluedo Data Law Edition"

"... so I suspect that the court may have been lent on by the Irish government"

Very doubtful, and it would want to be a particularly dumb politician that would try it (not that those are in short supply here). Constitutionally the judiciary is a completely separate arm of the state from Dail Eireann (the parliament). So much so that the government couldn't even reduce judges pay when everybody else got it in the neck when we were forced to cover the fsck ups of private business 10 a years ago. For any minister or civil servant to be seen to attempt to influence the supreme court would unleash the mother of all conditional crises.

Fitness app Polar even better at revealing secrets than Strava


Re: Not just national security

@Joe Werner

Strava have had it (privacy zones) a few years now, Garmin only recently

Virtue singing – Spotify to pull hateful songs and artists


Re: dangerous policy

Phil Spector would seem to be a case in point - despicable as a human being, but hugely influential and responsible for some utterly divine recordings

US citizen sues France over France-dot-com brouhaha


Re: Optional

As a comparison, the ireland.com was sold to Tourism Ireland for €495k in 2012 (https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2012/1016/341838-ireland-com-domain-sold-to-tourism-ireland/) It had been registered as a domain by the Irish Times newspaper probably around the same time as M. Frydman registered france.com and they offered an email service as well as content from the paper (long since moved to irishtimes.com). They apologised for inconvenience to their valued customers (15k active at the time so value is some number <€33). With a population 15 times that of Ireland, yoyo for yoyo that would value it around €7.5m. Given that he wasn't cybersquatting and was actively promoting France, it doesn't seem that excessive for a long established business

2018's Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop is a lovely lappie


Re: US$2,579.00

Very spendy alright, especially in light of the fact that a colleague picked up a Dell XPS 13 with very similar specs/performance (probably sports a few less ports) for under €1500 a few days ago. Yes, the X1 is probably all round a nicer laptop but not €1k nicer!

Some comments bemoan the lack of an Ethernet port, but this would impact on how thin the thing could be made, and I think a USB3 dongle is a perfectly acceptable compromise. When not on the road, it's reasonable to assume that a typical user of one of these will have access to a docking station anyway.

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case


Re: "Should've gone with C++ and HTML for their App needs."

"C++ has a fuckton of developers, you just don't hear much from us since we're busy working and getting the job done rather than making a big noise about how we're so cool for using [insert trendy language of the month here]."

I wouldn't deny that at all,speaking as somebody who spent a considerable part of their career programming in C and assembly of various shades.C/C++ IS hard for most developers (ability to easily shoot oneself in the foot, different architectures, endianness etc). To illustrate, you only have to look at the horrorshow that was Windows software until they handed out the blunt scissors in the form of C# to the more plebian masses (there were other reasons of course, but Imho, this was a major one). Unfortunately from my experience, a lot of blame must fall at the feet of educational curiculums. Graduates more often than not have no meaningful exposure to C/C++, often only scripting languages, because this is what "industry" demands.

I'm firmly of the opinion that if you have gone through the experience of freezing the machine solid a few times through uninitialized pointers, buffer overruns, etc., you'll (hopefully) have a better grasp of the underlying architecture and fundamental computer science concepts, and this understanding will better inform any software you develop even in the Java, Node or whatever you're having yourself world.

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history


"Try Oban. Pretty much zero GSM."

Who needs GSM when you've got whisky


Re: Why IMAP and not XNMP?

"Break down the functions. Product catalog management, reputation management, sales process mediation, escrow, insurance, payment handling, and other stuff. These functions can be provided a la carte. What Amazon and eBay do is bundle it for our convenience, which admittedly is a value provided as well."

Amazon in fairness do add logistics into the mix, marketplace excluded, and we do all like the large discounts which that sort of scale affords.

Alibaba fires up a cloudy quantum computer


Re: Hum.

Quantum Clippy. Be afraid, be very afraid!

Wait, what? The Linux Kernel Mailing List archives lived on ONE PC? One BROKEN PC?


Re: Oh, come on now!

@Tigra 07

"IMDB was hosted by a teenager in his basement before it became big and was sold on for big bucks."

It was actually hosted in Cardiff University and called the "Cardiff Movie Database" At one point in 1994 myself and a friend had discussed with the guys behind it setting up a mirror in Ireland (we were actively updating it at the time and were having increasing trouble with congestion). We'd gotten to the point where we had been sent the source code, but unfortunately never got round to actually doing anything about it.

80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S


Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

@cornz 1

"(some) Cyclists are an utter liability ATM.

Until the law requires mandatory HI-Vis clothing, lights and insurance my attitude towards quite a few of the two wheeled, lane hogging, red light ignoring arseholes isn't going to improve."

"Yet don't require insurance, an annual worthiness test, a proficiency test, to be visible at night and an understanding that red means STOP and green means GO"

Have a downvote nob, in fact have several, then go off and learn the actual provisions of the road traffic act or whatever it may be called in the UK - both from the perspective of motorists and cyclists

Red Hat speed fiends celebrate automation


I have two primary use cases for Ansible - 1) provisioning of (generally virtual) infrastructure, and 2) (re)deployment of applications. While the former is invaluable to me (I intend future dev environments to be Ansible provisions rather that Vagrant which is proving increasingly problematic), application deployment takes the lion's share of usage. I can tag and deploy an application, building it from Git if necessary with a single command. The beauty is that by just changing the configuration in the inventory I can do this from a dev environment, on to staging, and thenceforth production. In a microservices environment blue/green deployments are easily facilitated.

The real win though is that the playbooks become the infrastructure documentation, so there's no longer any need to keep a project wiki, if anything even more vulnerable to entropy, up to date. Anybody else on the team can just as easily and quickly deploy the application as me.

Oracle fires Java warning at IBM and Red Hat


@Spaceman Spiff

"The language wasn't officially released by Sun until about 5 years later."

I beg to differ - I was writing Servlet components on top of Apache Jserv in 1998 (Java 1.2 I think), your 5 years would leap right into Java 1.3.

On the other hand, Java EE 2 where you had to hand code EJB stubs skeletons and all that malarky (unless you had deep pockets for Rational Rose), now that was a "life's too short" style abomination

Ubuntu UNITY is GNOME-MORE: 'One Linux' dream of phone, slab, desktop UI axed


Missing you already (not)

As seems to be the consensus here, I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of it and never really got on with it - heavy, clunky looking, and flaky - random UI deadlocks (calendar/time widget on 14.04 was so flaky, I gave up on using it to look at the calendar), and especially flaky on multi monitor setups.

No, how about throwing their weight behind Cinnamon?

Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern


Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

@Charles 9

"Linux is not an option because I use Steam, and most of my library is Windows-ONLY."

Linux VM?

Pirate of the Caribbean to play Hacker of the Caribbean


Re: Robert Downey Jr.

He also has the real life chops of actually having been a drug crazed, gun waving, loon

Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon's AWS did


I'm not sure how much Amazon have actually contributed to MXNet, delving into some background on it seems to suggest it was driven by the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon, with Amazon coming to the conclusion it was pretty cool tech and promoting it on AWS.

I'd like to be proved wrong on this front as it'd be very nice to see Amazon start to step up and give something back to the open source community, where they seriously lag behind the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even <cough> Microsoft

'First ever' SHA-1 hash collision calculated. All it took were five clever brains... and 6,610 years of processor time


Re: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 sha1 calculations

...or insertion of 000 for that matter!

IETF 'reviewing' US event plans in the face of Trump's travel ban


Re: "City University New York has more than 100 affected. That's just one university."


"So not quite as many as got murdered and wounded by a Muslim terrorist loon in Orlando. That's just one night club."

Or not as many killed in the Oklahoma City bombing by a Mus.... oh wait.... a New York born, Irish American, Gulf war veteran loon.

Docker and storage – solving the problem of data persistence


Re: Containers

What works for me is to put the data onto an OpenStack data volume which can be attached to an instance, have the DB engine (Postgres, Mongo, whatever you're having yourself) run in a container on the instance and mount the data directory from the volume as a container volume. This gives me the DB engine container which can be freely recreated at any time, the instance VM is also relatively transient as it can be easily recreated and the volume containing the data reattached to the new instance.

This is on OpenStack which just happens to be the environment I'm using, but similar approaches seem to be applicable on AWS, Azure etc.

Firefox to banish hidden Flash files – and kill off sneaky ad snoopers


The BBC website was still demanding I install Flash on my Android tablet when I tried to look at a news clip at the weekend. Good luck with that one (and I know there's an app for that, but I don't want yet another app taking up space for no good reason)

Amazon rekindles e-readers and Fire OS without weeks of whack-a-leak fun


Re: Wait for reviews...

I originally had the keyboard with the case with built in light and it was great. I lost it unfortunately and replaced it with a Paperwhite which despite the screen and light being excellent, is touch to turn the pages, and given the rubbish sensitivity of the screen, sometimes means several touches. It's annoying and I'd have happily paid a few quid extra to have page turn buttons on the side. Even the Android app, with a proper capacitive screen, allows use of the volume buttons to change page

James Bond producers sign on for Edward Snowden movie


"Perhaps they could jazz it up a bit by making out he broke a 128bit encryption whilst getting a blow-job (with a gun to his head) ? Nah, no-one would be stupid enough to believe that."

Nah you're confused, that's the John McAfee biopic isn't it?

Oculus Rift? Tchah, try 'Oculus Thrift' ... You bet your vrAse we tested these bargain VR specs


Re: Might want to re-think the name

Well, it'll lend substance to accusations of users having their heads up their (vr)Arse.

Police pen shortage threatens Irish public order


I blame Michael O'Leary

After all Ryanair have been expanding in Shannon of late haven't they? The customer service agents probably need extra pens to drum on the counter while ignoring complaints:


Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader


Add Amazon to the wall of shame

Amazon UK asked me for a scan of my passport last year when I had the temerity to buy, yes BUY, a Kindle book from the UK store, and have it delivered wirelessly in Ireland. This obviously caused an alarm and flashing red light to go off in the Amazon bunker warning that somebody might be trying to buy something via the UK (EU) rather than the US (err... not EU), where Amazon decided (in SOME fairness to them as a result of territorial rights bollox) that somebody who might not be living in the UK had to buy their books. I gave them a short and not very polite suggestion as to where they could stick their demand, and haven't heard from them since.

Speaking as an author with a book available on Kindle, frankly I don't give a flying f**k if somebody lives on the moon if they want to buy a copy of my book.

Help selecting a 7" tablet.


I'd favour the Nexus 7

I'm going to echo what seems to be the consensus in the replies so far.

The Playbook is a really nice piece of kit, solid construction, nice velvety finish on the back so that it never feels like it's going to slip out of your hand, very nice screen, good sound, and the UI is very nice to use.

That's the plus side. App support is somewhat wanting. My main bugbears are no Skype (and it looks like no possibility of it coming), a lack of anything to connect to a media server (I point it at a web server I've installed on my NAS), and an inability to play video with anything other than AAC audio.

I can't say about the iPlayer, 4oD etc as I've never tried.

Android apps can be sideloaded as has been pointed out, but there are some restrictions on what will work (camera access is out for one thing). Another problem I've found is that the sideloaded Greader app I use to read blog posts is a bit unstable and when it goes down, the only way to recover involves rebooting the tablet, which is a lengthy process.

There are a few other little niggly issues as well, but you'll get that with any device.

Now, having said all that, I got mine for free via a RIM developer program last year, so I can't complain about being hard done by, Despite what looks like a list of woes, I like it a lot as a simple convenient net access device (I used it almost exclusively while in France for 3 weeks last year). If I had to part with my cash however, I'd go the Nexus route, and I don't think I'd recommend it for your mum with regard to the issues above.

Merde! French Prez palace blueprints nicked from cable layer


Re: Le Reg foreign desk,

"It's nice to see the French commit a faux pas!"

I didn't know the French had a word for that

16GB BlackBerry PlayBook flushed away by RIM


3/4 baked tablet

I've had a 16GB Playbook for a few months now that I picked up as part of the developer offer for porting an Android app.

In ways it's a really nice piece of kit. Bright clear display, UI beats IOS hands down IMHO (that should attract a few flames, but hey, as I said, it's my opinion :-) ). The native email app *does* support gmail accounts, and works fine, as does the calendar app (though the latter appears to only support a single calendar which is a pain). OS 2 from what I read seems to be a big step forward from OS 1.

My gripes with it are mostly software related. No Skype app - yes I know this technically is in the remit of Skype/MS, but I'm sure RIM could egg the pudding here if they wanted it (sorry, only being able to talk to other RIM device users doesn't cut it for me). My other main bugbear is the lack of a DLNA or at least a UPnP media client - the media player will only play local content. Other problems are that there's no native file browser, nor is there anything that'll access a share on a NAS (other than by the web browser). Wi-fi can be a bit flakey as well with random disconnects.

So overall, the PB is quite a nice piece of kit let down by software support, at least some of which should be there out of the box.

Ten... laptop accessories



Once upon a time I'd have thought it'd be a distinctly chilly day in hell that I'd be recommending something from Microsoft, but the MS Arc mouse is a really nice bit of design, and works well. It folds down into a fairly teeny package to put in a laptop bag, and when unfolded (also powers it up) is really comfortable to use. It's symetric too, so should at least be a bit leftie friendly (don't quote me on that though).

Bit-part actress slings sueball at IMDb over age gripe


They do have an IMDBPro site as well.

Ten... mini hi-fi systems


Also the Denon DM38 is an excellent unit available for around the £200 mark (excluding speakers). Solid build, good sound, and the USB when used with an iPod/iWhatever will use the DACs in the Denon rather than those on the player.

I nearly plumped for this when looking for a system a few months ago, but while trying to source one locally, but in the end up got an offer I couldn't refuse on an Arcam amp (HiFi nerd in me came out), and decided it was time to go the NAS/FLAC + digital radio streaming route with a Squeezebox


From what I can see, having done a fair amount of research on these a few months ago, I'd say your only option is a separate phono stage. The Arcam Mini doesn't even seem to have a phono option (unlike the FMJ or older Alpha/Delta amps).

Oracle: Java 8 will be revolution, not evolution


..if you want to write C#, oh, and pay (I know there's a free version, but you're not supposed to develop anything commercial on it, and it's hobbled in quite a few areas so not that suitable for developing much beyond Windows console and forms apps.

Eclipse is a dog, there's no two ways about it. As an IDE I prefer Netbeans (or at least did when I last used it in the dying days of Sun). Unfortunately world+dog (Spring etc.) all seem to have Eclipse based dev environments

Mozilla forces Firefox 7 on memory diet


Still memory hungry as ever

FF 7 is still routinely chewing up well over half a gig of memory on my work PC, with not a huge amount of stuff open (in number mainly tabs of El Reg stories).

The only real reason I'm sticking with it is Adblock which every time I see a non-adblocked site I realise I can't live without. At this stage though I'm tempted to try Chrome with their version

TalkTalk still the most whinged about telco


As the man said, don't expect customer service to improve anytime soon, since they've cynically canned almost 600 support staff that actually knew where the UK is. Wankers

RAM prices set to 'free fall'


Seems incredible, but that is a bit steep

I just bought a new kit last week with 16GB (4x4GB) for about €75. I have to pinch myself sometimes to put those two figures together!

Just for laughs, I went along to the Dell website to try to spec up a similar machine. To go from the base 4GB to 16GB they wanted €470! I think they were also looking for about €200 to upgrade to a fairly bog standard 2TB hard drive. I stopped at this point

Gerard Depardieu takes piss on plane, gets tossed off


Big man, small plane, long bus ride

For anybody who's never used the Cityjet CdG-Dublin service, the planes more often than not get parked out on the outer apron of the airport (feels like somewhere near Calais sometimes) necessitating a lengthy bus ride to get to them.

Gerard is a big man, in his 60s, and CityJet planes are tiny, so in fairness to him, trying to get to the loo past people trying to shove stuff into the miniscule overhead bins wouldn't be the easiest operation in the world (tip to anybody ever using this service, don't go along with a standard carry-on size luggage and put anything whatsoever valuable in it - it'll end up in the hold and they nobody tells you this til you're at the steps).

David May, parallel processing pioneer


Blast from the past

I'd entirely forgotten about Transputers. We got our hands on an Atari ABAQ in the first company I worked in, must have been '88 I guess. I remember the demos on the machine were awesome in terms of speed for the time. It wasn't to last however, as the machine was shipped off to the company's German office after a few weeks, and never arrived :-(

Canon EOS 600D 18Mp DSLR



The first two, especially the waterfall, are probably upwards of 2 stops overexposed. There's no retention of detail in the water whatsoever, and it doesn't demonstrate anything in terms of image quality.

Amazon Kindle Lighted Leather Cover

Thumb Up

Have one and really like it

Yes, it's outrageously overpriced, but it does the job really well.

A few commentors complain about the weight - it brings the whole lot up to the weight of an average sized paperback, and I prefer a wee bit of heft.

The light does a great job of illuminating the screen, and I generally use it as my sole source of illumination when reading at night - whether it be in bed, or in the sitting room with the lights turned down.

I probably use it on average about an hour per night, and I'll usually get 3-4 weeks on a full charge.

So not for everyone, but if you have the cash and want a neat solution, it's hard to beat