* Posts by John

203 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Aug 2007


Fox terminates The Sarah Connor Chronicles


saw one episode, didn't like it

to be fair, the episode I saw made about as much sense as Space: Above and Beyond's 'Who Monitors the Birds' ep and the rest of that series was almost as good as Firefly. Also, props to Shirley Manson for getting such a big role, but she wasn't that good an actress. Neither was Summer Glau any good in the ep I saw compared to what she'd done in Firefly.

besides, the timeline of the Terminator universe doesn't bear thinking about. To my mind, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey had the best time travelling.

while I'm on the subject, JJ Abraham shouldn't have done Star Trek. By using an alternate timeline he might as well have done a Sliders movie (now that was a good show).

Inside USB 3.0


FW vs USB ... vs eSATA ... vs HDMI vs DisplayPort

Quit whining about Firewire being better than USB and vice versa. Don't forget eSATA! USB 3 is going to compete with HDMI and DP as well (there are already some displays that use USB 2 for video). Thing is: each technology is going to have it's own good points and bad points. The people who need lots of fast data transfer that doesn't hit the CPU aren't going to use USB. The people who don't care about a few seconds of transfer time and a slight CPU hit will use USB to get stuff done and they might even be happy.

Sony Bravia KDL-37S5500


entry level?

granted this is 37" and 1080p, but I recently got a 32" 720p Samsung series 4 for £350 from Curry's and it's a great TV (normally £400 apparently). just a shame I don't have any HD sources yet. I can tolerate normal DVDs cos they're only £3 and the players aren't much more than that :)

Canon EOS 500D


sample shots

liking the composition of the sample shots more and more.

hopefully when my 400D croaks I'll either be rich enough for a proper camera or the manufacturers will have sorted out their video offerings.

What on earth do you think you are doing, Darling?


eat the rich!

take one bite and spit out the rest!


Sorry, couldn't resist the aerosmith. I believe there is some merit in taxing everyone to a degree. It's the other side of the principle of no taxation without representation. If the people who demand and spend taxes should be accountable to the electorate, then the electorate, as a society should all be contributing. It's along the lines of 'buying' a stake in the country. Poor countries with despotic leaders tend to have large numbers of untaxed people. It's a lever for the despot to increase his power: leave the peasants largely alone so that at worst they are ambivalent to you no matter what crimes you commit against humanity elsewhere. If the government doesn't tax you, why get involved in the government or politics?

However, since nearly everyone in the UK pays some amount of VAT (even if just enough so that suspicion in the tax office is not aroused) and whatever other hidden taxes, it is unfair to tax people's income at 20% from £6000-odd. Even 10% would be too much in my proposal for broader income taxation. 5% or less might be a starting point.

Anyway: note that government ministers are paid less than £150000pa and hence should be under the 50% radar. Expect if ministers' pay goes up they will increase the threshold pretty sharpish. don't forget capital gains is still at 18% for the time being. I suspect to keep the rich from flocking away immediately and to artificially inflate the stock market by 'encouraging' high earners to take a reduced salary, but take the rest in options/investments.

Finally, whilst I have shown I'm not a flat-taxer, politicians and ultra-progressives tend to forget that the rich do pay more tax when they earn more money. 40% of lots is very much more than 20% of a little. Ah, socialism, and making everyone equally poor.

Bluetooth 3.0+HS arrives without the HS



With my trusty, but unfortunately now mildly broken, SE k750i, I could transfer files via bluetooth to and from my MacBook. It could be pretty slow, but it was handy (it was also a fantastic remote control for presentations). My dad's Motorola phone didn't come with a data cable, so I've used the MacBook for getting his photos off his phone.

Now, with my iPhone, I can't use bluetooth for arbitrary transfers. It's sync everything with the cable or nothing. Hopefully BT 3.0 doesn't need extra hardware and it can be added to the current iPhone for wireless sync and at least transfer of photos. iPhoto isn't usually the way I want to manage my iPhone's photo library. It's possible the media/content conglomerates would be able to force Apple to nix the ability to transfer files arbitrarily to any device, but could we at least be allowed to swap photos wirelessly without recourse to email?

Homeless Frank and Microsoft's cookie-cutter PC campaign


one size fits all?

Apple's the one with the one size fits all attitude! I don't care about garageband (much) but I have to have get it if I want iPhoto 09. iPhoto 06 may be a little old and sometimes buggy, but it'll do me for a while yet.

MS is the one with home basic, premium, business, ultimate, etc (though I admit the segmentation of features is annoying)

Microsoft's online Office variant preps for business



it wouldn't surprise me if Office 2010 will have been developed for .NET rather than in unmanaged C++, hence the ability to run via silverlight.

What is more interesting is that they would have bothered making a single-document interface in Javascript at all. wonder if having multiple tabs will allow you to have a multi-document interface without silverlight...

Wanted: Creative spark for iPhone games


just wait for OS3.0!

when the new hardware comes out with the new version of the OS, there will be even more developers.

the deeper malaise is the pesky consumers. buy a cartridge in a shop and you don't so much mind spending £20. Download something for your phone and there's no physical product except the space in memory. Add to that the fact that it's a phone (well, the iTouch isn't, but most people are buying the nano right now) and people don't want to waste all their battery charge playing games (or they'll learn the hard way) and it wasn't designed with game controls in mind, so people only expect mini-games, so they only pay mini-game prices.

The difference with the Wii etc is that they have killer apps. The iPhone's only killer app is coolness. (and some conveniences). Apple hasn't hired anyone like Shigeru Miyamoto or Free Radical. How many N64s were sold because of Mario64 and Goldeneye? (I know Rare developed Goldeneye, but most of the team left for Free Radical)

/me might develop modern text adventures, sounds cheap and easy on iPhone. oops, I was eaten by a grue :(

NASA rejects democracy, names ISS node 'Tranquility'


should have called it Socks

Actually I'm glad they didn't call it Serenity. Serenity is supposed to be a spaceship!

Though if it was the Serenity, would the starboard Shuttle docking bay be used for, ahem, conjugal visits, or the International Guild of Seamstresses*.

* Obscure Discworld link

The Quick - and the Dead in the Water


risk to public

I'm not one to advocate putting the public at risk when making arrests, but at least people have a better chance to see how the police works. Not everything the police does should be public knowledge, at least immediately, but night-time operations and too much secrecy in the police should be avoided.

Acer rides little netbooks to big profit



lots of mentions of revenue/income, but no word on profits

Profs design AK47-locating 'smart dust' helmets


face detection

I was watching an episode of Enterprise the other night (Hello, I'm John and I'm a Star Trek addict) and Captain Archer kept missing when he fired his phaser. Then I remembered that cameras nowadays have face detection. I would imagine similar targetting systems are being put into guns as I type and that in a few years people will laugh that anyone other than olympic marksmen actually aimed manually.

Sun packs 150 billion web pages into meat locker


cue obligatory

IT Crowd reference


Michael Dell licks chops over Bigger Indigo


an opportunity?

like the opportunity in the PC market when HP and Compaq merged? Many customers didn't like it at the time, but HP has won a lot of business since then, at Dell's expense.

Pure Digital Evoke-2S DAB and FM radio


I'll wait

until I can actually get DAB on a whip antenna where I live. FM for the win!

We only get about half the freeview channels with the new Yagi in the roofspace as well, so it could be the house location.

Robo-fish to hunt pollution in Spanish seas



for all the fish the spanish take from British waters (allegedly), I hope they can they cut through nets as well.

eSATA: A doomed stopgap?


USB vs eSATA vs FW

USB relies on the host CPU (unless there's some fancy accelerator tech I haven't heard about though I am aware not all USB motherboard controllers are created equal), but eSATA is presumably DMA - using the same motherboard controller as the other internal SATA ports and FW has it's own processor.

However, since USB can be used for _everything_ wired to your PC, including your coffee cup warmer, it will be used for everything, because the interface will be extremely cheap. If you want real throughput you probably won't be using USB, but since not everyone needs real throughput, those people will make do with USB.

FW can also be used for more than just HDDs, so it might be cheap, but it might get abandoned in the face of USB 3. That would leave POeSATA to be the storage choice. BUT we're forgetting power over ethernet might be just as appealing.

Then there'll be short range high performance wireless links coupled with wireless induction for power.

Brussels: Old-school lightbulbs to be gone by 2012


LED ftw

I want LEDs. CFLs in comparison to LEDs take far too many resources to produce and contain mercury.

Apple plays catch-up with new iPhone features



I want custom fonts! Deja Vu for the win

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7



seconded on the lack of interior sample shots. Daylight vs indoors is a huge difference.

I like the consistency of the euro, the blue door and the cathedral as standard samples, but I'm not such a fan of the general composition. the camera seems to be pointed downward a little too much for me.

Pininfarina, Bolloré bullish about Bluecar


what car?

Seriously, there's a car in the pictures? Oh, you mean the thing the woman is standing beside.

Scion xB is excellent looking at a distance (just needs diagonal red stripes), but is really a yaris in drag.

Nude Apple iMac pics leaked to web


duct tape

The word is 'duck'. In some jurisdictions it is illegal to use it on air ducts.

As 'hotforwords' (http://www.hotforwords.com/) once explained, the term comes from the dutch word 'doek' meaning cloth. The tape we love today being a woven material with adhesive.

Sonim XP3 Enduro ultra-rugged mobile phone

Dead Vulture

we need pics and video. and a blendtec blender.

Arstechnica did a stress test on the first iPhone. The second iPhone has a plastic back, so it won't be as durable, but the screen's glass is still the same. The point is they have photos and videos!


though it appears the videos haven't survived the site's redesign in Opera :(

The real question is 'Will it blend?'

Nortel to cut 3,200 workers


@Nigel Wright

Aboat* Nortel, it's Canadian, eh. Nortel has historically paid quite well, so I'll give you that that does stimulate economy a bit, but it hasn't made much profit since 2000. Only profitable companies stimulate the economy long term. Nortel was also chosen by the Canadian government as a national champion corporation, we know how well that worked for British Leyland.

* how do you tell the difference between a Canadian and US accent? it's how they pronounce 'out'. Usually the tell-tale is 'about' pronounced as 'aboat'. And don't forget the 'eh'.

Sony shows off wacky fuel cell designs


pouring liquids

you don't have to construct your own batteries, so I don't think you'd have to carry jugs of meths around the house.

I'm sure Sony will sell you proprietary methanol capsules that will be incompatible with everyone else's fuel cells.

US Navy orders new electric hyper-kill railgun


there will be danger

what's going to power it? I think whatever that is might be susceptible to 'splodin. Tho it could be controlled more easily than moving munitions around everywhere

Authors Guild to Amazon Kindle: Shut up


it's time to stop

indeed it is time to stop animators of all types. they draw on acetate or in their computer modelling packages images that are only there to stop decent law-abiding unemployed actors from getting a job and feeding their families. Just think of all the cartoons in the world and how many actors could be employed if they were filmed with real people!

Prime Minister out-nonsensed by Conservative Wikifiddler


++Graham Marsden

the questions planted by the government whips and those asked by MPs keen to impress the government whips so they can be junior ministers are a disgrace. Some people don't like our 'punch and judy' politics, but they probably haven't watched a whole PMQs. The grandstanding of the party leaders is far preferable to anyone greasily congratulating their right honourable friend on some minor policy initiative. Ugh, I typed 'policy iniative', I must cleanse my hands and keyboard immediately.

Wasn't the German guy in Monty Python sketch?

Red Dwarf touches down in Coronation Street


are they going to rescue Lister

from Steve McDonald's mum?

Nokia N85 smartphone


was that Man Utd vs Barnsley?

I hope Barnsley won!

Amazon unveils Kindle 2.0


cf iMac

And people say the iMac bezel had too much of a chin. There is far too much plastic round the outside of that screen

Google faces post-Fleetwood Mac comedown


Quick, hire Ted for

Comic Relief and Children in Need!

Where's the Red Nose icon?

El Reg pays tribute to father of Playmobil

Thumb Up

His genius should inspire all

I was always a Lego-boy, but when I heard on Radio 4's Last Word how on Hans Beck was inspired to design the toys, I was greatly impressed by his genius. He noted how children draw people, with big heads, big facial features and simple bodies and crafted the Playmobil system in that image. That's the genius, designing for children, not at children.

Apparently he also opposed guns from the Playmobil system until he got letters from children saying the police needed them.

Opera revs JavaScript engine of the future


can't wait!

but I hope Opera doesn't forget I use it more for ease of use than speed. Safari is nice and all, but I miss so much when I use it.

Jon Stokes recently dissed the Palm Pre for using a Javascript API that would be inefficient compared to a native API, but maybe the Palm people are doing something similar to the Opera people and also translating down to native where possible.

Big labels or Google - who is the songwriters' worst enemy?


me? pay for music? happily!

First I must confess to the grubby crime of listening to lots of music via free poscasts, but I have gone on to buy CDs and downloads because of what I heard.

I heard the Alabama 3 on John Peel's Radio 1 show, bought Exile On Coldharbour Lane and went to a concert, but I only ripped a few of the songs because of the swearin an a-cussin. U Don't Dans 2 Tekno is pure genius though.

I used to be a big fan of the singer-songwriter concept. Then I heard Nirvana's Unplugged album (on a C90 - long before Napster :) ) and realised their best songs were written by other people. Further, Burt Baccarach can perform, but it took a real singer to make it magical. Sometimes division of labour pays off.

GM talks up EV battery longevity tech


worst decision

was letting opek vauxhall call it the ampera.

waggoner was just saying that about the EV1 to be cool. no-one wanted the EV1! Now they have the Volt, which is a much better car.

Russian rides Phantom to OS immortality


too different

i might be wrong, with the VM porting going on, developers might like it enough to really use it, but what about porting the snapshotting to other systems?

could it be implemented in Linux or BSD/Darwin (and hence OS X) with a custom file-system?

or maybe I read too much into last night's top gear best of where they said the FCX Clarity was the most important car of the future because it is the same as the cars of today.

Feds: IT admin plotted to erase Fannie Mae


great lengths to hide his tracks?

I hope that was sarcastic! one page of whitespace and starting your script name with a period is almost an acceptable level of hubris. more like hiding in plain sight

Tories put toes on Linux bandwagon


Steve McConnell

hire him. Maybe get Joel Spolsky in as a consultant, though the coders might rather have Aeron chairs.

On OSS vs MS: use the best tool for the job. The government shouldn't be mandating technologies or solutions before the project begins.

Red Dwarf finally returns to Earth


some questions

which Kochanski? (if either)

which Holly?

will the Red Dwarf itself even feature? Starbug was cool and all, but it wasn't the Serenity.

plus, they've already been back to earth: everything went backwards.

Samsung LE40A786 'smart LED' 40in LCD TV

Thumb Down

the blue

make it stop!

Linux to spend eternity in shadow of 'little blue E'


we all *know* Linux is better?

bring back Otto!

Nokia N79 smartphone


big gaps

Nokia does seem to like putting a huge gap between the context-sensitive buttons and the screen, which is what tells you what those buttons actually do.

Cowon iAudio O2 personal media player


biblically straightforward?

that's a new one on me. very Karl Barth.

Microsoft releases Vista virtualization


the developer team was called


Opera sings praises of Microsoft-browser statement

Thumb Down

maybe it's just me

but as an hardcore opera fan who paid for it before it was free, I think Opera should leave the court action and focus on being the best browser. FF and Chrome are fast-moving competition, and FF has huge marketshare in some European countries.

And they should hurry up and get on the iphone! Even if they are only allowed to make a wrapper around webkit, I think they can still come up with a raft of usability enhancements, like fit to width, gesture-based navigation, etc.

UFO wind turbine prang site: Exclusive photos



surely the caption writer has a screw loose!

Nortel begs for bankruptcy protection


leave it to the big boys?

just because you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it's not a big player. the sad fact has been that on multi-billion dollar revenues Nortel has hardly ever posted a profit in the last few years.

plus, Nortel phones had much larger than normal NORTEL logos in West Wing and ER for a while. do pay attention.

Steve Jobs takes medical leave from Apple to focus on health


confidentiality? we've heard of it!

"Apple investors deserve to know. Apple devotees want to know. Apple workers have the right to know."

let the man have his privacy. it's not like he broke his foot 4 weeks before the world cup.