* Posts by Chris Wood

55 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Aug 2007


Virgin Media blames Activision for Call of Duty lag problems

Chris Wood

Packet loss always the problem for me

I'm on VM and have experienced huge problems with packet loss and jitter which I've really struggled to explain to their support staff. On the surface the download speeds and latency seem fine, which is all they seem to care about, however any kind of 'real-time' application such as VOIP, gaming etc really suffers.

Having spoken to about 10 different support workers in India who all seem convinced that Internet Explorer settings are to blame (despite the same problems persisting across Linux and iOS devices) I've pretty much given up. The problem does seem to have lessened recently, so maybe VM have started addressing some of their capacity issues.

Windows Home Server 2011 signed off

Chris Wood

re: Still waiting

I thought it was possible to buy a Mac Mini with Apple's server OS installed?

Microsoft locks down Windows Phone 7 code

Chris Wood

re: About those hours

Erm, they probably had more than one tester.

2000 testers would give 208 days if my maths is right. They probably just had a load of MS staff use them as their primary phone for a while and counted that as testing, even though for most of those hours the phone probably wasn't being used.

Of course with a load of automated tests you could simulate months of usage (with varying usage patterns) in quite a short timeframe.

Apple spews Judas Phone signal bar 'fix' to world+dog

Chris Wood
Jobs Horns

Size of update

Apple really need to sort out the way they deliver updates for the iPhone - 378MB to deliver a change to a single, very simply, algorithm is a bit of a joke. Given the number of iPhones out there, that's a significant amount of wasted internet bandwidth we're talking about.

iPhone keeps buried earthquake victim alive for three days

Chris Wood

Battery Life

I eeked out my iPhone battery for over three days by turning off 3G, location services, bluetooth, WiFi etc (basically everything except your standard GSM) whilst I was at a festival. I had a cigarette-lighter based charger in the car but didn't have to bother with it.

Granted I didn't do anything but send the occasional SMS for the whole weekend, not sure what the battery usage of a medical app would be.

Appeal Court: Mod chips infringe game copyright after all

Chris Wood

Surely non-modded consoles infringe copyright too?

By that logic surely non-modded consoles infringe copyright too? Or is that not the case because the software licence explicitly allows a copy to be made by an official console? It would be interesting to see if there is actually such a clause in the EULA or equivalent for every officially released game.

Microsoft ropes in Family Guy to pimp Windows 7

Chris Wood

What about Weezer?

On the other hand, the bundling of Weezer's Buddy Holly video with Windows 95 probably helped them cross over into the mainstream at the time.

Maybe Microsoft should be looking for up and coming talent willing to whore themselves out rather then established names.

Ten sizzling gizmos survive economic nightmare

Chris Wood

re: Hero?

That's the US version of the Hero. It has the same internal hardware and firmware/software as the UK one but in a different case.

Apple sends iPhones into 'Coma Mode'

Chris Wood

Loss of signal here

I've had problems with loss of signal that can only be fixed by resetting the device on my 3GS.

Battery life seems slightly worse when Wi-Fi is enabled, but I haven't done any scientific testing of this so I may just be imagining things.

ARM wrestles Intel for netbook crown

Chris Wood

Timed for Chrome OS

Seems to me this has been timed so there will be hardware available around the time that Chrome OS is released.

As Google have already said they will support both ARM and x86 there will be a proper head-to-head on Chrome-based devices.

iTablet suppliers named

Chris Wood
Jobs Halo

re: So very un-Apple like

Actually Apple tends to announce the new iPod range (including the iPod Touch) each September, so this is very Apple-like.

Makes sense to align this with the iPods so it's thought of as a 'jumbo iPod Touch', i.e. a media-centric device, rather than a stripped-down MacBook with touch controls.

Owners say iPhone 3GS is a scorcher

Chris Wood
Jobs Halo

No problems here either

I can't say I've noticed my 3GS 16GB getting particularly hot, but I've not used it for more than an hour continuously.

It would be interested to know whether the users that have complained have been keeping their phone in any kind of case since that's not going to help heat dissipation (neither is smothering it with a pillow to be honest).

iPhone 3G S in the UK: what you need to know

Chris Wood

iPhone coming to Vodafone?

Just spoke to someone at Vodafone who told me to "hold off for a month or so" when I said I wanted to leave for O2 and the iPhone as they believed that "the new iPhone is not exclusive to O2".

Could be bullshit, or could be the reason why O2 aren't able to offer the same discounts as AT&T in the states: their exclusive agreement with Apple has expired, along with any discounts from Apple that might have come along with that agreement.

Apple 'Kindle killer' rumor gets touch-screen

Chris Wood

re: ebook?

Didn't the XO from the OLPC folks have a dual-use screen that was either a standard LCD or a low-power monochrome display depending on how you were using the device?

If the OLPC people could do this a couple of years ago at a very low cost then I'm sure an improved, touchscreen version in ebook form-factor is possible.

Apple eyes patent for web silence

Chris Wood
Gates Halo

Already possible in Vista?

Well, on Vista you can set the volume of applications independently of the master volume from the standard volume control widget. Regardless of whether you run IE, Firefox or god-forbid Safari on Vista you could mute your browser and leave all other audio alone.

Seems like Microsoft have an elegant solution here already.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 compact camera

Chris Wood


Sony seem to have been taking backwards steps ever since the DSC-T100 which I own and love. All the later models with touchscreen have been rubbish and produce worse images from what I can see despite all the new gimmicks that have been added to the product.

It's a shame because I could use a new pocket snapper with slightly higher resolution (think the T100 is 'only' 8MP) and improved manual controls and although I've had a good experience with my current Sony they don't seem to be delivering in the newer versions of the camera.

Sharp to ship 'world's first' Blu-ray recording TV

Chris Wood

re: Why?

I'm sure the embedded recorder works as a player too. I guess you could record something and give it to your mate.

I wonder if this gets around the encryption that Sky uses, since you would be recording what the TV is displaying rather than some output from the Sky box itself? Do they even still scramble the output from the Sky box?

Microsoft breaks IE8 interoperability promise

Chris Wood

Slightly unfair

My employer hasn't even deployed IE7 yet as our Intranet pages were coded to work with IE6 and are broken under 7, so maybe Microsoft is actually listening to the enterprise and doing the right thing by making compatibility mode the default for Intranet pages.

No idea what's going on with the icon though, surely the 'broken page' icon should be for compatibility mode not standards mode!

Acer Aspire One A110

Chris Wood

Eee 901

I'll stick with my Eee 901 thanks - I easily get 6 hours out of the battery plus the spec is better (larger touchpad, 1.3M webcam, 1GB RAM, bluetooth, wireless N, included soft case).

Sure the keyboard is more cramped but it's fine for the odd e-mail or web address once you work out not to lean on the touchpad whilst typing! Makes the whole thing easier to dump into my bag too - a colleague has the MSI Wind/Advent SCC and the whole thing including power adapter is slightly too big.

BT updates Home Hub Wi-Fi box with 802.11n

Chris Wood

How many ethernet ports?

The big question for me is whether they've added more Ethernet ports. The old model only has two, one of which has to be connected to the BT Vision box if you have that service, leaving one for the main PC and then none for games consoles and the like.

I'd love to switch to a different router for this reason (and also the fact that the hub crashes every couple of days), but as I understand it BT Vision and BT FON *require* the use of the Home Hub.

TVonics MFR-300 micro digital TV set-top box

Chris Wood

re: ONDigital

Indeed, those old OnDigital boxes have both Aerial and SCART sockets. They're slow as hell at changing channels and rendering interactive content though.

HD TV in the UK

Chris Wood

re: BT Vision

No HD on BT Vision yet as it's based on Freeview, although it does upscale SD to 720p over HDMI and does a pretty good job of it. Also means the user interface is in HD.

The video-on-demand stuff from BT Vision isn't HD either (there are some vague mumblings from BT about offering HD in the future), although it's much better quality than the iPlayer. The sound is all in stereo rather than 5.1 though.

Chris Wood
Gates Halo

HD film rentals via XBox 360

One option you've missed is downloading HD films to watch on XBox 360. I think you need an XBox Live account (not sure if silver is enough) and the choice isn't great (maybe a bit better than Apple's?), but it's there.

I think it's about £5 per rental for the HD version and about £3 for the SD version. Quality is OK, downloads seem to clock in at about 4.5GB for a 720p WMV file, so either the Elite or Pro version of the XBox is required (as these have 20GB and 120GB hard disks respectively).

Extreme porn bill gets final reading

Chris Wood


There's an ePetition on the 10 Downing Street website to remove the offending section of this bill here:


UK government websites out of control

Chris Wood

TFL Website

Some .gov.uk websites are pretty decent.

The TFL (www.tfl.gov.uk) website was even shortlisted for a Design Week award, and I think it's up for a Webby too:


Firefox and Safari updates tackle alternative browser bugs

Chris Wood
Jobs Horns

Annoying Safari Updates

Even though I don't have Safari installed on my Windows Vista machine, I was still notified of the update with a pop-up asking me to install Safari (with the option to do so ticked by default, naturally).

I do use iTunes for syncing with my iPod Touch, but when will Apple stop trying to push other software on Windows users? It's bad enough that I have to install Quicktime (and disable its start-up services every time I update iTunes) to use iTunes without the constant nagging to install Safari.

Microsoft rolls out Vista SP1

Chris Wood
Thumb Up

Seems fine to me

Installed SP1 last night, it took about 20 minutes. My PC seems a lot more responsive, which is quite surprising really. I was fully expecting not to notice any difference.

Lot's of little glitches seem to have gone away, like the sub-second pause I used to get when connecting a mobile device and the screen flicker when tabbing in and out of games.

All in all, as a home user I'm pretty happy with it.

Apple unleashes monster patch batch on Mac faithful

Chris Wood

re: Monster Patch?

Sure Vista SP1 is 435MB if you download the whole thing,but it's more like 60MB if you get it over Windows Update.

Who cares how big the patches are anyway? The more bugs and vulnerabilities that are fixed the better, surely?

T-Mobile sinks money into femtocells

Chris Wood

Data really a selling point?

I can't help but think that if someone was that bothered about getting free data at home they would just go out and get a phone with Wi-Fi like the iPhone or a Nokia N Series (some of which are offered as free upgrades by Vodafone etc.)

The only people likely to be interested in Femtocells for the home are those out in the sticks where coverage is rubbish.

Odeon kicks Rambo in the 'nads

Chris Wood

At least Rambo has a plot...

...of sorts, unlike Jumper: Guy can teleport, other guy tries to kill him, other guy doesn't quite manage it, the end.

Samsung laptop battery burns

Chris Wood

Desktop machines don't allow this

My desktop machine shuts itself down if it starts overheating - I had a CPU fan fail and I quickly found out this was the case as the PC would shut down after running for a couple of minutes from cold.

Why don't laptop PCs do the same? OK, so maybe it's not the CPU heating up that's the problem, but it should be relatively straightforward to monitor the temperatures of other key components at the same time.

The evolution of Crystal Reports

Chris Wood

Being phased out in favour of BOWI?

I get the feeling that Business Objects bought Crystal with the intention of phasing out Crystal Reports in favour of solutions where reports are built using Business Objects Web Intelligence. Although you can build Crystal Reports on top of a Business Objects universe, BOWI is much more flexible.

Yeah, so I'm fairly surprised to see Crystal Reports being pushed in this way.

Sony begins tracking customers' movements

Chris Wood

Been out in the UK ages?

I looked at getting one of these (or something extremely similar) to go with my Sony T100 camera about a year ago.

You can buy them on Amazon for £69.99 here:


HD snapping comes to Panasonic

Chris Wood

1920 x 1080 != 8Mp

1920 x 1080 is only about 2Mp! I would hope it could do more than snap at "up to" that resolution with an 8Mp sensor.

Nikon's D60 digital SLR blows in - literally

Chris Wood

Sensor cleaning just a gimmick

It's a shame Nikon has felt the need to copy other camera manufacturers gimmicks rather than add something that would actually be useful.

If you change lenses a lot you're still going to need to blow dust off the sensor occasionally, and if you're an amateur who never/hardly ever changes lenses then it's completely useless!

Only a very slight step-up from the D40X really; the new lenses however are of much more interest.

BT Vision targets Xbox gamers for growth

Chris Wood

Current kit not HD capable?

The current Philips kit can output a 720p or 1080i signal over HDMI - indeed that's how I have it set up at home and the user interface is rendered in HD along with an upscaled freeview picture.

I've no idea whether it will support over-the-air HD (if that ever happens), but given that BT often pushes firmware updates to the box (as it's always connected to the internet through the homehub) it doesn't seem impossible.

Mio intros 'true' 3D GPS

Chris Wood
Thumb Down

Defeats the point of SatNav?

Sounds like a rubbish idea. If I'm coming up to the crest of a hill and can't see what's coming up, I can look at my SatNav to find out that there's a killer bend just over the hill. With a 'true 3d' SatNav I won't be able to see over the crest of the computer-generated hill either.

Also, the landmarks stop you from seeing the details of roads off to the left and the right, and surely if you can see the landmarks on the SatNav you'll be able to see them for real anyway? Maybe it would help in the route planning stage but it seems pointless to show this stuff while you're driving.

Microsoft folds-in Multimap for '$50m'

Chris Wood

re: OpenStreetMap.org

Hats off to you guys - that's a really clear mapping service that shows useful points of interest and correctly labels my street as having a dead end, unlike google, TomTom et al.

I've lost count of the number of times I've seen cars driving up our street at 30mph only to be confronted with a set of bollards whilst their SatNav is telling them to turn left/right!

If you get the routing going I'll happily switch from using Google Maps (street view and terrain is quite cool, but not actually that useful - give me train stations!)

Daring Register raid snatches key government URL

Chris Wood

Nice try...

but I'm thinking they'll just replace the .co.uk with .gov.uk if this is a Government study.

iPhone tops mobile browsing charts

Chris Wood

Driven by unlimited data usage I'd say

Yeah, I'm sure people would use other mobile devices to browse the net if they were on bundles including unlimited data usage (the only option with the iPhone on O2).

Do these figures include the iPod Touch browser too?

O2 gets 225 guinea pigs drunk by phone

Chris Wood

re: Standardised secure smart card apps already exist

I remember a MONDEX trial that took place in Exeter about 5-7 years ago. If I remember rightly all the students there were given MONDEX cards as NUS cards and they could top them up at cashpoints in the city before using them to pay for stuff.

The end result? Nobody bothered because everyone has a debit card already - what's the point in having another card that you then have to load up with cash using your debit card?! The MONDEX cards were also accepted in less places than standard VISA debit, Maestro or Switch cards.

Until the day arrives where people can dispense with wallets altogether (i.e. when cash is no longer required *anywhere*) combining NFC payment with the phone is a bit pointless in my opinion - it's not much more effort to have a card in your wallet (like the Barclaycard) that is a combination of Oyster, debit and credit card.

Nokia and O2 get on the tube

Chris Wood

One way to get your mobile stolen

So people will be expected to get their mobiles out as they leave the tube... thieves are going to love that!

What with the police encouraging people not to get their phones out as soon as they leave the tube station to avoid being targeted by mobile thieves this doesn't seem like a good way to get the petty crime figures down.

Mozilla hits back at Firefox 3 quality slur

Chris Wood

No memory leaks here


I've had Firefox open for about a week now, with a couple of tabs that refresh every 5 minutes or so, and it's memory usage currently stands at about 83Mb.

I was under the impression that the majority of memory leak bugs were fixed back with the release of version 2.

Personally, as long as Firefox 3 isn't a backwards step in terms of stability from Firefox 2, I don't really mind how many bugs there are when it's released. I'm sure there are loads of Firefox 2 bugs that will get fixed in 3 so it's probably much of a muchness.

Nintendo sounds Wii-free Xmas warning

Chris Wood

Get them from Germany

I know quite a few people who have ordered Wiis from the German Amazon site and had them shipped to the UK. They seem to have less problem with stock shortages over there.

I think the only downside is that you'll need an adapter for the plug.

Marvel launches digicomics initiative

Chris Wood


So it appears that this is flash based and the application seems pretty good (basically a web version of CDisplay). Not as good as the online version of Ultimate Spiderman that was available a few years back (I think that site won some awards for best use of flash it was that good), but still OK for a first release.

The quality of the images isn't very high (compared to the common scan-to-jpeg downloads you can find), but what's to stop people just taking screenshots and sticking them in a torrent?

I think Marvel have missed the point here. I'd happily pay £5 a month for access to the back catalogue in a high quality downloadble format that I could take on the road (on my iPod touch for example).

Eurostar cancels 29 Feb 2008

Chris Wood

re: -20 mins + 20 mins

"Yeah but it will take 20 mins+ longer for anyone to the South or West of London to reach St. Pancras compared with Waterloo."

Well as the majority of the UK is to the north of London I think you're in the minority here (plus a lot of locations to the south of London have train services to Victoria, which is a short tube ride to St Pancras without changing)

Tool opens iPhone, iPod Touch via web

Chris Wood
Thumb Up

Works just fine

I tried this last night and within half an hour I managed to Jailbreak my iPod Touch, install the BSD SubSystem and OpenSSH so I could connect using SFTP from my PC and then put the 'missing' iPhone applications like mail and maps onto my iPod - fantastic!

If Apple decides to release new firmware with some amazing extra features then maybe I'll reset to factory defaults and upgrade, but I really can't see myself doing that unless they offer some compelling feature I can't get through 3rd party applications.

There's really nothing to lose by Jailbreaking an iPod Touch at the moment, iTunes works exactly as it did before the Jailbreak and I have some great extra functionality. Coupled with my BT-FON Wireless access I can now get my mail on the move in a very friendly UI :-)

BT battens down Home Hub backdoor

Chris Wood

RE: You think that's bad?

Gordon, BT have shipped their routers with wireless encryption turned on by default for years now (only WEP, admittedly); unless the engineer went out of his way to turn it off then I doubt what you're saying is true.

As for leaving user's PCs pointing at the nearest unsecured network, that could happen I guess but I've never had a BT engineer round to install my (BT provided) networking equipment so I can't comment.

Orange's Apple deal to bear unlocked iPhones

Chris Wood

Still need an Orange contract?

Am I missing something here? Who said the unlocked iPhones would be SIM-free (and hence contract free)?

Surely you would still be required to sign up for a contract with Orange in France to get the unlocked iPhone? This would probably require a French address for credit checking and direct debit purposes which would probably stop any foreigners from easily picking one up.

Of course iPhones would probably start popping up on the French eBay at inflated prices before long, and the unlocked iPhone might offer some help when trying to unlock those already available.

Apple iPod Touch

Chris Wood
Thumb Up

Probably the best iPod so far

I've had an iPod Touch for nearly a month now after picking one up on a recent trip to New York and I can't stress enough what an absolute joy it is to use. The user interface is better than anything I've ever experienced. The iPod is slick as ever and the brightness and contrast of the screen really lend themselves to watching videos. I've been watching episodes of 24 on the iPod, a series with a lot of dark scenes, and I've had no issues at all.

The web browser is simply astonishing when compared to Opera Mini on a mobile phone; it is nearly the equivalent of a desktop browser save for flash support (and let's the honest, you'd only want that for YouTube and there's a dedicated YouTube app anyway).

Minor niggles: the lack of hardware volume controls, not being able to add calendar events (although you can add contacts despite what this article implies) and some syncing issues with album art in iTunes. 2 out of those 3 can be fixed with firmware updates. Maybe Apple should have included some kind of inline remote to deal with the volume control issue; I'm sure someone else will release one if they don't.