* Posts by Mark

59 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Aug 2007


Windows Update to trumpet Vista Capable debacle?


Two Mark's

It seems both me and another Mark are posting at cross purposes... I guess I need to change my nick to something a little more recognisable!

In any case "Dabbling with semantics" by M is correct, this is all about assumptions. The advertising misled people to think Vista Capable meant the Vista they saw in the shiny adverts. This is not the case as everyone here seems to agree. Hence why there is a lawsuit.


Re: David Hayes - by D@v3

That is all well and good but remember the readers here are clued up enough to understand the differences between the flavours of Vista.

For the majority of the population Vista **was** the shiny aero interface and funky media player that was advertised. These consumers would not have understood that these were optional functionalities and were not part of the Vista that they would run on the advertised "Vista Capable" machines.

Mosley asks Europe to change UK privacy laws

IT Angle


This actually makes some sense it is a shame there is absolutely no chance of anything like it becoming law. Unfortunately it would be completely unworkable in the vast majority of cases. Can you imagine Hello or Today having to notify every C-List Celeb they publish a photo or line about every time? They would go out of business... oh... wait... that might be a good thing....!

But getting back to reality, the reasoning behind the idea is totally valid. Newspapers can effectively publish what they like in this regard since the financial penalties are relatively small. Perhaps instead of just suing the newspaper the person in question could bring criminal charges against the editor (and others) who allowed the story to be run. That might make editors and similar think more carefully about whether they can defend the publication of the story.

In any case the problem is that once run, whatever the validity and/or legality of a story, it can't be un-run. Similarly once our privacy has been invaded and broken there is no way to unbreak it, and in some situations no amount of money can compensate for the loss so you can't use money to mend the wounds. The question then remains how do we reconcile this situation?

In any case - what's the IT angle here?

OMFG, what have you done?



I'll admit that the layout of the site is growing on me. It looks nicer than before, but one of the things I liked about the old site was the non-shiny design.

Still not too sure about the front page where I now see fewer stories in a smaller font before I scroll down.

The fixed width is also a little annoying since now I can't hide a reg article I want to read in a narrow window and pretend it is the help file for whatever program I am using.

As to the icons - the reappearance of the old photo icons is great, but I still want the old flame, pirate and dead vulture logos back. The rest are fine although I think making the colours a little brighter so the new icons don't look so washed out might be nice.

The banner on the top is good but I can't actually read the text below the "The Register", it looks to me like a large white blob rather than actual text.

Finally I just noticed that the new special report section might need a quite play with since I am getting multiple "adverts" for the same story using different pictures. By all means have a number of possible pictures for each story, but try to ensure that only one appears on each page...

IBM, PGP fill Bletchley Park's rattling tin

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World Heritage Site!

Indeed Bletchley Park should be made a World Heritage site forthwith. The Government should give seed money to allow the museum to run without needing to charge admission and the national lottery should give money for the repair and restoration work that is needed!

Phorm: Our business is fine, honest


10,000 users?

Where do they expect to find 10,000 users who will willing sign up for this? The only people to do so will be the ones the advertisers aren't interested in getting. My grandmother for example, who uses the internet for email, the BBC website, and weather reports. Go go Phorm sell her browsing history, fat lot of use it will be to advertisers.....heh....

Another 60 days' free MobileMe service, madam?


60+one month+one month+(the initial free trial period) = 180 days?

I assume the initial free trial period was 60 days. So total free time is 180 days, although only 120 of those are actually apology.

Philips Cineos 42PFL9603D Ambilight LCD TV



There is actually good thinking behind the Ambilight system. It is attempting to replicate both the felling of a cinema and of old school CRT televisions.

In the cinema the screen is white and reflective - it reflects light from the projector into your eyes. However, since the screen is not a perfect mirror it scatters the light thus there are other paths for light rays to follow to reach the eye. As these light rays are not direct reflections they change drastically with every tiny movement of the projector, your head and even the movements of the building as a whole. Hence you do not see a picture but merely get a wash of the colour components of the picture on the screen. This is actually a reason why cinema's are often painted with dark colours - you don't want too many reflective surfaces making the wash too bright.

From a visual processing point of view - most of your colour perception is in the fovea, while outside the fovea you see mostly in greyscale with the colour being filled in by the brain. Hence the wash effect affects how you perceive the colours outside the area you are focusing on.

Try sometime watching a film outside and see how the experience differs, without walls and similar for the light to reflect off the experience is much worse. For example an explosion on screen no longer lights up the room drawing you in and making you feel closer to the action.

The effect is similar with a CRT, the phosphors on the screen emit in a wide beam (hence why you can see a CRT picture from any angle - unlike a flat screen) and so there are multiple paths for the light to reach your eye and you get the same lighting effect in the room and in your perception of the picture as in a cinema.

Unfortunately because of the way flat screen LCD panels work, using polarised light from a rear mounted source, the light from an LCD is polarised and the vast majority heads out perpendicular to the plane of the panel (hence why it is difficult to see a panel at an angle). Thus you do not get this nice colour wash effect that you get with both CRT and projection. Hence why there is a need to have a system similar to Ambilight for LCD systems - it brings this colour wash effect back into play and enhances the experience. Try it sometime and you will see how much better a system with Ambilight is than a system without. Note than since Plasma display systems do not have the same problems with polarised light there is no need for such a system.

Disclaimer: I don't work for Phillips, I don't currently have an Ambilight TV, I have taken a course in visual processing as part of my IT degree.

Olympic Committee wins gold for foot shooting


@John Oates

Ok, cheers for that, I guess it makes some sort of sense to someone...

Paris Hilton

erm what?

How do the IOC have the right to make a takedown request on a video of a protest out side a Chinese Consulate in the US? I mean a little explanation would be great here....

Even Paris doesn't know why

Boris boots Transys off Oyster contract


@and again at you Mr Dalek

So it would seem I am. But I don't see how the fact that an infrequent traveller subsidises a frequent one is at all related to the benefits or not of Oyster.

As to whether I believe I am getting a good deal I don't see what you are trying to say? I think I have clearly proved that at the current time from an analytical viewpoint Oyster >> Paper Tickets so no hype there.

Moving on to price adjustments, so prices have gone up? Well imagine that, to fund much needed upgrades to the entire system you have to raise ticket prices...


@Back at Equivalency Dalek

I will rebut your points one by one!

1)(a) Statement: Yes, I am willing to give TfL the interest on my prepay money.

Explanation: There are two reasons for this. Making the assumption that I keep £50 prepay on my card at all times, at 5% interest (ie the interest gained from having the money in a good bank account) the opportunity cost of the lost interest is £2.50 for the year.

The first reason I am not worried is that this is actually a completely insignificant amount of money. I lose more than this a year through change falling out of my pocket.

Secondly, we make the further assumption that Oyster saves me, an infrequent traveller, an average of 30 seconds on any day I use the TfL network. I think on average it takes longer than 30 seconds to queue and buy a ticket but I'll be generous. If we value my time at the average perceived value of travel time of £22.11 per hour then to save £2.50, you only need to save 7 minutes over the year and the loss of interest is offset by the value of the time saved. So in other words use Oyster for 14 days and you have offset the cost of the lost interest with the reduction in the travel time.

(see http://www.webtag.org.uk/webdocuments/3_Expert/5_Economy_Objective/3.5.6.htm for details on the value of travel time)

1)(b) Actually I think Oyster saves me money because I don't have to plan ahead, I use the system as and when needed and I never pay more than the total cost of a travel card. Before either I bought a travel card and then felt stupid when I ended up using it for only one journey because my plans changed, or I bought a single and if my plans changed I ended up paying more in total than the cost of the travel card I didn't think I would need. With Oyster this is not a problem. Plus tapping in and out isn't exactly rocket science, with a modicum of intelligence it is perfectly possible to always tap in and out.

2) I think you own argument fails here, Oyster may not be cheaper now than paper tickets were 5 years ago but it is still cheaper than other payment methods today!

3) It may or may not be the case that Oyster is slightly slower than the old paper tickets, I haven't found it to be the case. As to human checking, it is fallible and relatively expensive so is not actually a viable option.

4) Erm - who cares about the class of passenger - I'm not there to strike up a conversation with them. Ok, so the system treats everyone like a fare evader instead of trusting people to be honest. Well I'm sorry to say this but the majority of the population are not honest, if they can get away without paying for something they will. However, by making paying easier I think you'll find that the number of people freeloading will actually have gone down.

5) So given you aren't using Oyster you'll actually have been paying more. Heck I don't mind if you want to pay more for the same service, all it does is subsidise my use of the system!!!

Paris Hilton

@Equivalency Dalek & paul fox

@Equivalency Dalek - So you would be one of the bastards who cause the ticket prices to be higher for the rest of us because you have decided you don't want to pay. In any case linking travel cards and a token system and saying the resulting system is as good as Oyster is a joke:

1 ) Tokens are just as complicated as cash since when they run out you have to go find a machine to get more as your wallet isn't automatically topped up when they run out. This negates one of the major advantages of Oyster - the auto top up system!

2) Tokens also only work if you have a transit system where it is feasible to have a single ticket price for all journeys - is it really fair to have someone going from Heathrow to Epping pay the same as someone using the drain between Waterloo and Bank? This may work for a relatively small transit system, but for a system as big as the one in London it would be infeasible.

3) Tokens are expensive, either you print paper tokens and then have to collect and recycle them (which isn't exactly great for the environment) or you have something more durable which then has to be collected and redistributed. In both cases you need more staff than under Oyster, either to keep ticket machines topped up or to do the redistribution.

4) Fraud - fraudulent tickets are much harder under Oyster. Anything leading to a reduction in the level of fraud is a good thing. This includes people like paul fox above passing on a travel card to someone else when they are done with it. (As a note, in my opinion, this is different from selling an unused return part of a return ticket) The price of a travel card is based on estimated average use of that card, by passing on the card you increase the use and thus the cost of the card. The increased cost of the card will not cover the lost revenue from the person the card was passed on to, think marginal costs here...

5) You still have to faff around and buy a travelcard, this means fiddling with a machine, so again Oyster is easier!

On your other points so what if it cost £400m to set up Oyster with the barriers and ticket machines, that is like saying BA repainting its planes with new livery costs x millions ignoring the fact that you have to repaint a plane every couple of years anyway so the new livery doesn't actually cost any more than the old. The fact is that the barriers and machines have to be replaced over time anyway, if I remember rightly they started installing the Oyster barriers as part of the normal replacement cycle well before the system went live, so part of the cost comes from the maintenance/replacement budget.

Paris - since her tubes have no barriers....

US judge says University can ignore Christian course credits



I am amazed, a victory for common sense! I merely await the flames of religious wrath that are sure to imminently appear. I will therefore pre-emptively submit a riposte.

A US judge says a University can ignore a course that isn't academically rigorous and balanced. As far as I can tell he is not saying it can be rejected because it is religious. I think this is a good thing, the University should be allowed to decide what courses they consider are sufficiently balanced and rigorous to count towards their entry requirements.

Cheers... mine is the fireproof one...


@Ahh, these American judges......!!

Actually "animus" is exactly what he means - it describes a feeling of animosity...

Mine is the one with the dictionary in the pocket!

Lateral thought saves sizzling server

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@@@AC - i got a stupid one

Dude that is f*cking excellent!

I think everyone in my building heard me laughing at that one!!

The return of Killer Chlorine

Dead Vulture

@Joseph Jones et Al Re:Cycle Helmets

The first Mark again...

You seem to have rather missed my point. Statistics can be used prove anything you like - you have to be really careful what they actually show. I mean look at the info about helmets only helping in accidents below 12mph. What does this actually mean? Is this the limit speed at which helmets have a beneficial effect and above this speed they reduce survivability or is it above this limit there is just no discernible benefit? There is a big difference between the two!

You also have to look at accident rates between helmet wearers and non helmet wearers and try to explain any difference. Also all the stats I have seen quoted so far look at rate per number of cyclists, why not rate per number of miles travelled or time spent cycling? If helmet wearers cycle twice as far on average or for twice as long as non helmet wearers then of course there will be more accidents per cyclist. What about unreported accidents? I know I reported neither of my accidents but I'm sure I would have had to have some treatment if I had not been wearing a helmet so it would have entered statistics somewhere. This would skew the statistics to make it seem like helmets have no effect when in fact they are having an effect.

The real question each person must ask is "Do I think I am safer with or without a helmet?". In my case I believe that helmets have prevented an injury being more serious on two occasions. I am not quoting statistics at you, just my personal experience. I can't talk about everyone but I don't think wearing a helmet makes me a worse cyclist, perhaps there is a chance car drivers will go closer to me but I'm not sure. I know I don't treat cyclists with or without helmets any differently when I'm driving (I always give them the maximum possible clearance and won't overtake them if there isn't space for me to give them at least 1m clearance).

As to those who say helmets make me look like an idiot and are hot and annoying to carry around. Go buy a decent helmet then not a crap £10 job that looks better and has ventilation it will also protect you better and remember you can always do what I do and lock it to the bike when I'm out. Put a plastic bag around it and run a cable lock through one of the holes - sorted!

The dead vulture because he forgot his flying helmet....

Paris Hilton

@Darkside Re:Bicycle Helmets

I know my cycle helmets have saved my life (or at least prevented a nasty cracked head) twice during bicycle accidents. The first time was on a cycle path when someone stepped out in front of me and in avoiding them I came off and totally trashed my helmet, the second was when the new chain on the bike snapped as I accelerated away from traffic lights and I went over the handlebars.

I personally think you would find it quite hard to prove cycling without a helmet is safer than cycling with one!

One thing I can't get over is why not wear a helmet? It isn't exactly onerous to remember to put it on before you go out? But the thing that gets me the most is where you see parents cycling with their kids, the kids with helmets and the parents without... I mean do the parents think they are immune to accidents?

Because even Paris knows a helmet when she sees one...

Registrars turn blind eye to sites selling illegal steroids


erm registrars?

How would a registrar know at registration that the domain will be used for an illegal site? Surely what is actually needed is some central site for reporting abused domain names, if the use of the domain name breaks ICANN (or regional) rules then it is removed without a refund and blocked from use for a given period.

Government kids website pays £6 for every visitor



What the hell do they mean? A consultation on play? What is play? Is it some sort of new street drug?

Surely it would be cheaper and easier to just look at which equipment wears out the fastest?

Busts 4 Justice battles Bulgarian airbag tax


Free Market?

I would only like to point out that it is a free market, if these well endowed ladies dislike M&S's pricing policies then can I suggest that they go somewhere else to buy their undergarments? This would be the best way to express their distaste with the situation.

I personally have no problem with shops charging more for different sizes. But they should at least give all their reasons, just saying its all down to the amount of fabric used makes the whole thing sound a little stupid. I suppose if the fabric is very expensive (say fine lace or silk) then you could say having to use 50% more for a larger item might mean that costs are higher. I know historically that you paid for what you got in clothes, generally you paid a tailor an amount (which would generally be fixed) for his work plus the cost of the fabric - more fabric meant higher prices, it is only in modern times that we have ready made clothes available in a shop at a listed price.

However, there other reasons, if you consider that outsize sizes, both small and large (but more so for large - since you can only go so small), sell less than the more standard sizes then you pay a premium for buying something that sells less well.

As for airline seats I completely support increased pricing based on the total weight of passenger + luggage, why shouldn't very large people with a lot of luggage pay the same as I do with no luggage and who weighs rather less than they do? Having spent numerous flights stuck next to fat people, including one who couldn't fit into the seat without raising the armrest and thus crushing me, I can't see why they should be allowed to complain if anyone suggests they pay more. In just about every other aspect of life you pay for what you use. Would it be fair for me to complain that it costs me twice as much to fill my car with fuel as it does you and that everyone should pay the same to fill their cars up?

Brit carrier deals inked at last


Good points Lewis

Lewis again makes many good points!

We could buy 2 US Nimitz class carriers for £4bn, a far more capable piece of kit. Alternatively we could get ourselves a couple of the new Gerald R Ford class, at about the same price (although we would have to wait a little longer).

My personal choice would be to build 2 or 3 more Helicopter Carriers like HMS Ocean (with enough upgrades to allow them to actually operate the Harrier), which could be ready in about 4 years at a unit cost of probably £300mill per ship. At the same time we contract the US for a couple of large, mostly automated supercarriers for £4bill total to be ready in about 2016. We could then flog the interim Helicopter carriers off to anyone who wants them. We also get the rights to build 6 nuclear Aegis cruisers instead of the Type 45, perhaps fitting them with our (well sort of) SAMPSON radar and Aster missiles, to act as escort ships that can actually keep up with the carrier.

This would be cheaper and faster than designing and building the damn things ourselves.

US imposes 72 hour pre-reg for Visa waiver travellers



Europeans Shouldn't Travel to America?

Everyone Suspected of Terrorist Affiliation?

Expected Sources of Terrorist Activity?

or perhaps just



Electronic Scheme for Travel Authorization?

Royal Navy warships could run on sunflower oil - if fresh

IT Angle

@Re: 5% speed reduction? 13% endurance penalty

Indeed 5% lower speed is more efficient, but warships wouldn't reduce speed, they would just burn more fuel to stay at the same speed. In any case, you would get the same "benefits" using current fuel and reducing the speed by 5%...

Anyway the problem is less about the drag and more about the fact that the fuel itself has less energy per unit of measure, so to get the same power output from the engine you have to burn more. Hence why you get the speed reduction (since the engine is limited in the amount of fuel that can be burnt at any time) and the endurance penalty (since you have the same size fuel tanks)

PS It wasn't me who wrote the reply so why are there two Mark's????

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5% speed reduction? 13% endurance penalty

This may seem a little silly but of all the vehicles to run on bio-diesel I think warships might be my last choice. Do you really want to have to fill your ship up 20% more often because the fuel doesn't go as far and you have to burn more of it to go at the same speed? Doesn't necessarily seem like such a good plan to me given the problems with logistics in a combat ship!

I don't even want to comment on the 5% speed reduction. Captain to crew "I'm sorry gentlemen we won't be able to out run the oncoming fleet because we are running on plants and they are using real fuel...". To be honest in warships you want to be able to go as fast as possible sometimes, so cutting 5% off top speed might be a slight problem.

Why Microhoo! is like, so, totally dead

Paris Hilton

You always have other options?

You! Always! Have! Other! Options!

My order of preference for search engines...

1) Google

2) erm... there are other search engines???

3) The guy on my left

4) The chick on my right

5) Someone I met randomly on the street

6) Google

7) Bashing my head against a brick wall

8) A random number generator to generate IP addresses

9) oh yes - i remember that Yahoo thing, I think I used to use it back in the stone age.... does it still exist?

Paris - because even Paris doesn't use Yahoo!

Isabella Rossellini romps with praying mantis

Black Helicopters

Surely this is extreme pornography?

I think I hear those damn black 'copters heading over here.....

'Mad Scientist' developing powered suits for US military


Compliant media puppets?....

Surely you mean compliant meat puppets... That picture does rather remind me of HK47

Robot aircraft 'sense and avoid' gear in flight tests

Dead Vulture

Surely the real test....

is how it deals with another plane with the system?

On a lighter note, all it needs is a kid with a model plane and a radar reflector and you could have cargo planes flying everywhere to avoid non existent threats!

Predator kill-machine pilots suffering 'chronic burnout'


@Bring on the Gamers

Yes, great plan, only 2 small problems....

1) You know that after two days they would be dogfighting each other and trying to see what happens when you crash the drone in to various objects on the map.

2) Unless they improve the responsiveness and video quality, so the gamers can see every pixel perfectly who is going to give up on flight simulator? I mean it clearly looks more realistic....

Mine's the one with the aerial sticking out the back...

Dubai impounds cable slicing ships


@ Jaowon

Well the cables wouldn't be marked above sea level a long way from shore (they generally are marked close to shore to prevent this sort of thing), but they would certainly be marked on the nautical charts of the area. As any sailor knows you don't drop anchors near underwater obstructions since you can either get stuck on them, or you can break the item in question. The sea is a rather large place and with a little thought you can ensure you don't actually break anything.

BT's 'illegal' 2007 Phorm trial profiled tens of thousands


Law on Opt-In/Opt-Out?

Is there actually any law on what opt-in or opt-out actually mean and what is required/allowed as notification in either case? As far as I am concerned Opt-In should mean I am considered not to be in unless I specifically request to be, Opt-Out should mean in unless specifically requesting not to be in. No response should never be considered implicit approval for an opt-in, since if no response implies you are included I would think that makes the process by definition opt-out!

Seems that Phorm and BT need to learn exactly what Opt-in and Opt-out actually mean in English as opposed to PRinglish!

eBay forces Aussies to use Paypal

Paris Hilton


When I was still using said online tat merchant I merely noted that I expected to receive the full value of the auction (minus the tat's cut) after the costs of whatever payment method the buyer wanted to use were taken out. I should have just said if you use paypal I expect 3.4% + 20p over the auction price... This is exactly what I would do if I had to use said loathsome site again, either that or just note that there is a 3.4% discount if you pay by cash, cheque or money order. I really don't see why I should have to give up 3.4% of my item because the idiots can't be arsed to get a bank account.

On another note I have emailed "Consumer Direct" asking if ebay could legally require payment to only paypal since surely that would affect the right for a consumer to fulfil a contract with legal tender! I will post whatever response I get out of them.

Paris, because she even she would understand that this is blatent fraud!

O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'


They had it all wrong...

They act as if those of us who hang around here would consider being called "techie nerds" a bad thing! I am proud of my geeky techie nerd status!

Boffinry bigwig puts another boot into biofuels

Dead Vulture

@ Tim

Actually the set aside part of CAP went last year.... as a response to the huge grains prices worldwide!

Blu-ray 0, SDHC card 1, THX Chief Scientist predicts


@ Not until flash gets a lot faster

Erm really? Surely Blockbuster would just have a few copies of the more recent films and each time one is taken out they just write the film to a blank card and put it back in the stock. So long as you can write the data faster than you can rent the whole stock then customer doesn't wait. For older films they would just write on demand, and to be honest I've stood around for more than 5 minutes whilst the idiots go looking for the disc and can't find it.

A side benefit would be you would never get that blasted "oh we haven't got any of those left, someone has already rented it out" etc.


Erm.... you need a computer?

My new TV has an SD card slot built in. I regularly use the TV to browse photos and videos taken with my camera and stored on the card. Its not that big a leap from that to putting an entire movie on a SDHC card, hell the studios would probably be quite happy because you could easily make that HDMI/HDCP protected. I can easily see some Taiwanese dudes building a cheap SDHC card reader with HDMI (or whatever) output for those without such televisions.

That would certainly be a hell of a lot easier than fiddling around with discs, only downside is that you can't really lend the digital copy in the same way you can a physical DVD. I can't see myself letting a mate borrow my entire film library because I can't copy from card to card (which I'm certain the studios would require to be disabled in some way)

Northrop: battlefield rayguns to demo this year

Black Helicopters

When the mount these on the black helicopters...

I'll have to make sure I polish my tin foil hat up a bit.

Mine's the one covered in mirrors!

Selling off spare spectrum will fail


Anyone seen Gerry Anderson?

We have a report about WaSP and another about Spectrum, now all we need are Joe 90 to have the whole team here since I'm sure the vultures could be considered Thunderbirds....!

Mine is the one with all the strings....

ICO tells Cabinet Office to release Iraq docs




to be honest I think the reasoning for Iraq was wrong but the actual fact we did it was not. Heck I support us doing something about Zimbabwe... with force if necessary. So stop with the damn complaining and get on with your life.

Automated crack for Windows Live captcha goes wild



In fact it was Sri Lanka by 7 wickets. But I'm sure a computer can work that out.


@Simple Stop Spam Idea

That's all well and good but when the spammer gets hold of the antispam word you gave your bank/first born/local pub you would stop getting email from your bank/first born/local pub too. Ooops that's not a very good idea now is it? It wouldn't be too hard to get hold of said words given they would have to be unencrypted in the header to be of any use, and anyway what stops the spammer getting the words in the same way as they got the email address or just using a dictionary attack?

Any sort of system like this requires pre-authentication which kinda removes a rather large part of the point of email. It would be like only accepting letters from people you actually know. You could I suppose have a secure anti-spam word based on a encrypted hash of the message, but that still falls foul of the spammer using a social engineering hack to get the keys to the code.

My solution is to have 7+ different email addresses, 3 on free providers, 1 paid for web-mail, 2 domains with multiple aliases set up and that ignore anything not sent to one of said listed aliases, and finally my work address.

One of the free providers is for sign ups to sites I never want to hear from again and that I think are likely to sell the address on, one is for slightly less dodgy sites and Live Messenger, one for Google Talk and as a destination for a number of the aliases. The paid for web-mail is for personal use with friends and as the destination for the remainder of the aliases. The aliases allow me to have email addresses that won't change so are useful for things I want to sign-up to for the long term or where the address might need to be reachable by someone in a couple of years time (I often use them in code I write for people). The work address is surprise-surprise for work related stuff, nothing important goes there since I'd lose it if I left the company - It gets no spam since it is never published or used for signups.

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Surely a better Captcha system would be.....

Use the munged text to ask a question requiring data to be extracted from some other munged text.

So the first would be "Type the first/last number of green/red/blue/black capitals/non-capitals in forward/reverse order ignoring/using only the letters in the word as follows ......"

Or "type the number of bold capital M's in the text followed by the number of letter y's in the text" (this is clearly weaker than the one above)

Then you give a larger captcha image with a load of randomly generated letters in order in caps/small and with colours (although colours could be excluded to aid those who are colour blind)

This requires the computer to identify the text in the first captcha, parse it, understand the question, then decode the second captcha and extract the relevant data from it.

This double captcha method would also work for audio systems for the blind. The first question could be something like - "what is the largest animal in the following list?" and the second audio would be a list like "house, airplane, cow, dog, road, balloon" - the computer would then have to identify both the question, the list of answers and then understand which is the correct answer. This task is possible for a computer but is computationally intensive so would make it expensive to break. On the other hand building the audio is fairly easy as you could merely distort stored audio in a way that makes it hard for a computer to recognise!

I don't know if anyone has thought of using systems like this but I don't see them being much harder to create than a normal captcha and they eliminate the need for images or similar.

Anyone got any better ideas than this?

eBay gets negative feedback about ban on negative feedback


What a great idea on the addresses....

I'm all for e-bay requiring a fixed non PO-Box address for all power sellers but less happy that it would have to be displayed so prominently. All those people running businesses out of their own homes would be put at risk because thieves could see exactly what is likely to be available if they were to go and burgle the house. Seems to me to be a bit of overkill to show it to just anyone who looks at the item, perhaps having a flag saying e-bay verified address linked to this account.

I'm all for requiring said address to be shown to a winning bidder in an auction so they have a verified contact address.

It would then be up to ebay to ensure that said address is verified by some means, perhaps bank statements or utility bills for the initial registration and then e-bay would contact that address on a random basis to ensure it is still valid.

Old aircraft artefacts become office accessories

Black Helicopters

@Graham Dawson

Actually it is the radar navigator and the navigator that eject downwards on the BUFF, the Pilot, Copilot, EWO and Gunner all eject upwards.

My coat is the anorak with the wires filling the pocket.

MySpace wins UK domain name that pre-dated its service

Dead Vulture

@ What about trademarks...?

So the fact that 18 people were using the domain for email services is not therefore active and legitimate use?

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> I think domain registrations should be less like Copyright and more like Patents - with a sliding payment scale according to how long you've held them.

That's a great idea so the BBC can lose the rights to bbc.co.uk because they would have to pay huge sums of money to keep it after 10 years.

Scammers/squatters wouldn't get hit because they would just register the domain under a different name once the ramp-up in fees started.

I also think that even if the domain is registered abusively then the result shouldn't just be hand it over but perhaps hand it over with compensation or require some sort of link to the site that the person might have been looking for. Take the example of bbc.com which had a link to bbc.co.uk for a while before the BBC bought the domain off Boston Business Computing.

I personally see nothing wrong with domain name squatting, if you weren't intelligent enough to register the variants of your domain name then power to those who did. Its not like those who went to myspace.co.uk and saw an advertising page wouldn't realise that this wasn't the myspace they were looking for!!

Paris Hilton

Looks a little screwy to me...

This is ridiculous. So what they are saying is that if I have a domain name that is used and which has externally served adverts on then if someone down the line founds a company that uses something similar to my domain name they can get the domain off me if the adverts on the site possibly make people confused.

As far as I am concerned if my registration pre-dates the company that is complaining about my use of the page then they have no rights what-so-ever to get it off me.

Paris since even she wouldn't try something like this.

BOFH: Defusing the enthusiast

Dead Vulture

Thank god...

there I was lamenting the recent absence of amanfrommars and here he pops up commenting not once but twice on a BOFH.

Come on amanfrommars give us more cryptic comments to decode in our non lunch hours, they are infinitely more readable than these bloody project design documents I am reading at the moment. They feel like they were written by amanfrommars's French cousin and translated to English using bablefish!

p.s. where had the lovely red moon for amanfrommars gone?

Ofcom tells BT to buck up on unbundling

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At least you aren't in Switzerland

Well consider yourself lucky you aren't in Switzerland. There are currently 3 or 4 ISP's in Geneva where I live. They all offer exactly the same service for exactly the same price and exactly the same rules. There is **NO** competition in the broadband market at all, there is supposed to be a cable broadband supplier but the insurance companies that own all the apartment buildings won't let then run wires into the buildings (at least where I am).

On the other hand we do have fibre to the curb, you can get VDSL with unlimited bandwidth with 20mbit down and 1mbit up (minimum 8mbit down and 600kbit up) all for the low price of 69CHF a month (which is about £30).

Not too bad really.....tiz a shame BT can't be that efficient in the UK