* Posts by Chris Hamilton

69 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Sep 2007


Who's got more cash? Apple or Microsoft?

Chris Hamilton
Gates Halo

Apple catching up with Microsoft??

I'm not convinced.

The mobile phone business is notoriously fickle and difficult to make a profit out of. Even the giants such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson have lean years (usually towards the end of a product cycle). Apple's PC business seems to be becoming even more obscure than it used to be, and Linux has run away with any potential business from the poor launch of Vista, which Apple should have been ready to cash in on.

Microsoft are taking an ever increasing slice of the Smartphone market (while cleverly staying away from the hardware business; more profits in software). The Jesus phone meanwhile uses proprietry (and heftily locked down) software in a single device.

As for the iPod+iTunes, as the industry moves towards more DRM-free music, and formats that are compatible with many devices, I believe their business model will become increasingly unsustainable. Do they have the ability to alter that model quickly enough and sustain revenue streams?

Mine's the one with the copy of Windows 7 in the pocket.

Fifty years later, steam appears on British railway

Chris Hamilton

I'll grab my anorak and be right with you....

@ Michael - The loco was built merely to show it can be done. This type of steam loco was popular in it's day, but quite short-lived due to the 1955 BR Modernisation Plan, and no example was preserved. This particular loco has managed to retain all grandfather rights with regards to modern build standards as it is being considered a continuation of the original production run (with a 50 year gap for re-tooling) and has been numbered as such.

@ Jon H - The loco named Flying Scotsman is an A3, though any suitable express locomotive (including an A1) would have provided the "Flying Scotsman" (London to Edinburgh non-stop) service back in the day.

@ Jeremy - You are right, if it was hauling anything other than another locomotive, then it was not a light engine, more a testing move.

As lovely as Steam locomotives are, I'm a much bigger fan of the diesel preservation movement. Nothing better than sitting behind a Class 50 powering up the Lickey. :-)

Mine is the yellow mac, with the notebook and thermos in the pocket.

America's second largest ethanol producer goes titsup

Chris Hamilton

Bio-ethanol from corn = Starving millions!

I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for these companies. Corn is a highly valuable food stock, in a world where a quarter of the population are hungry.

Yes, we need to do more to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels, but using a food crop is not the right move.

I think that until someone masters an effcient method of electrolysis for Hydrogen, GM crops are the way forward for fuel. We could engineer them to grow in places not normally suited for food crops (desert fringes for instance). We could engineer them to grow bigger and faster (maybe we could even get 2 crops a year).

For now, I will continue to use good old fashioned, just like yer mum used to make, Unleaded.

Gov approval given for Saudi Eurofighter sale

Chris Hamilton

I'm impressed.

The fact here in Blighty we even have (or are going to have) 144 of the crates is pretty impressive. Given the constant cutbacks to our defence, I had imagined that the RAF were flying around in half a dozen Tornados, held together with sellotape and brylcreem. Now we just need the budget for fuel and pilots, maybe some bombs, though we need to make sure the bombs are "people-friendly" given the recent hoo-haa over cluster bombs.

As for our chums over the briney, they were probabaly more annoyed that if we sell the Saudis our jets, then they won't buy any from the US. Now, if and when we eventually go to war with our distant friends in the middle east (you all know it will happen some day), it will be a fair evenly-matched fight. Maybe we should sell them some Nukes, just to be sure.

Mine is the camouflage one, with the grenades in the pocket.

TfL considers life without Oyster

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Oyster is a brilliant system.

Anyone who has ever tried to use the myriad of paper ticket types available for travel on RATP Metro, Tram, Bus, RER and Transilien services in Paris will agree with me. They don't yet have a contactless PAYG system in place yet, but it's coming.

I just hope it is a simple software upgrade that is required to allow the current readers to accept any new type of card. I don't give a monkeys about the cost to TfL and Londons taxpayers, but as a railway employee I would be very much aggrieved if FGW, SWT and others had to implement new technologies at the expense of the British taxpayer, only 2-3 years after first implementing them. All because Boris has had a falling out with TranSys.

Paris, because I am still waiting for her to start accepting RATP NaviGo cards for a free ride.

Sarko demands withdrawal of voodoo doll

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Wacko Sarko

Il sommes de voyage le ruisseau de merde, sans paddle.

Forgive my pigeon French... Im just a beginner.

Paris.... cos I learned my dodgy Franglais during a night in Paris. I also got a nasty itch.

BBC clarifies location of England

Chris Hamilton

I can understand some of the confusion....

We, as a nation (the UK, that is), have no real identity.

British Isles - An archipelago in North Western Europe. Including Great Britain, Ireland, Hebrides, Shetlands, Orkneys, Man and others (does not include the Channel Islands, no matter what the jersey tourist board say). The term British Isles is controversial in Ireland though, as it implies UK ownership over the whole archipelago.

Great Britain - Not a country, but the largest island in the British Isles. Includes Scotland, England and Wales, which together make up 3/4 of the United Kingdoms constituent nations.

Ireland - Not a country, but the second largest island in the British Isles. Includes the nation of the Republic of Ireland and also the Northern Ireland part of the United Kingdom (which is technically the sole surviving part of the Kingdom of Ireland).

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or UK) - A nation made up of the whole of Great Britain, plus the northern part of the island of Ireland. It's capital is London, the head of state is HM Queen Elizabeth II, and the Prime Minister is Gordon Brown.

Scotland - A constituent nation of the UK, taking up the northern 1/3 of Great Britain. Many, many miles from London. Has devolved powers, and is self-governing in respect to domestic policy. Immigration, defence and foreign policy are still handled by the UK gov. Also includes most of the islands on the northern and western coasts of Scotland.

England - A constituent nation of the UK, taking up the southern 2/3 of Great Britain. This contains London, though London has many devolved powers and is becoming increasingly self-governing.

Wales - A principality of the UK, on the western side of England. Was annexed by England long before the act of union, and has only been recognised as seperate to England in the latter part of the 20th Century. Is largely self-governing, with a strong gaelic speaking community and identity.

Northern Ireland (or Ulster) - A province of the UK. On the NE part of the island of Ireland. Is populated by a majority of Scots protestant descendants, which is the primary reason why it did not gain independence at the same time as the catholic dominated Republic.

Republic of Ireland (or Eire) - A sovereign nation, taking up most of the southern and NW parts of the island of Ireland. Has not been part of the UK since the early part of the 20th Century.

Isle of Man - Not a part of the UK, but a self governing Crown dependency.

Channel Islands - A chain of islands of NW France. Not a part of the UK, but a group of self governing Crown dependencies.

Now, try explaining that to our colonial cousins.

Ofcom denies lifeboat spectrum squeeze

Chris Hamilton
Dead Vulture

Value of a life saved.

I used to work for a large UK based public transport operator. Our staff were informed that a human life was valued at £8m. This was apparently based on a figure provided by our insurers as the average cost to the economy of a life lost. (Financial settlement, lost employee, spending power, taxes and many others) Pretty cold, but financially sound.

However, I don't believe you can put a price on human life, and these core organisations, such as the RNLI, Mountain Rescue, Cave Rescue should be gifted their spectrum. Ofcom can keep control of the spectrum, and if this wonderous new technology which uses half the bandwidth comes along, then they can work with the RNLI and others to implement it, with the ultimate threat of being made to pay for the excess bandwidth they are consuming, which they otherwise wouldn't. Seems reasonable to me. Ofcom are supposed to be regulating the industry after all, not merely selling it off.

UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Won't somebody, please, think of the Children?

I have a suggestion or two.

1) Don't let Ofcom anywhere near t'internet. They are making enough of a mess of TV, Radio and Telecoms. Before we know it, we will all be expected to bid for bandwidth.

2) Concentrate on the stuff on the interweb that is actually illegal in the UK (which is of course almost everything these days), and not just what some Daily Mail reader thinks is immoral.

3) Parents could maybe consider keeping a watchful eye on their darling offspring. Rather than saying, "There is the worlds largest collection of pr0n, violence and Wikitruth, go entertain yourselves", maybe they could apply some parenting skills.

I don't like the idea of 'across the board' content filtering... bit too Chinese for my tastes.

Paris.... because I am sure she would be considered immoral. But not to worry... I already downloaded the video.

Google UK honours Queen Liz 2.0

Chris Hamilton

Queen on a segway?

That would boost her popularity no end.... even the most hardened Norn Irish republican would struggle to hold a back a chuckle.

Gawd bless her!

Brussels bemoans low take-up of electronic cash

Chris Hamilton


It's the dogs danglies!

At least when I have a real portrait of the queen in my wallet, I know that is £10 thats not going to go anywhere unless I exchange it for goods and/or services or some nefarious scoundrel theives it from me, even then I am likely to notice and have a good chance of fighting him/her off. That is a tenner that I know I have. Or in the case of my wallet as it stands now, that is EUR20 I know I have and can't spend in this country.

How often have we all gone up to the till in Tesco to pay for our goods, only to find that Joe Bloggs at the bank has mistakenly administered a £35 charge from your account, 4 times in the one day! (It happened to me, so i should know) Leaving you not only £100 in the red to the bank, but also a bit red faced to the checkout girl, as you put back your copy of Private Eye and healthy lunch options.

Plastic has it's place, I use mine with alarming regularity, but it will NEVER fully replace the type of money that crinkles and jingles.

Mines the one with the pockets full of portraits of the queen. Sadly, they are postage stamps.

Scotland Mountain Rescue turns on Ofcom

Chris Hamilton
Thumb Down

Never thought I would say this....

....But maybe we should consider bringing back the Radio Authority and the IBA.

Ofcom proves itself on an almost monthly basis to be incompetent, have no regard for public service and to be a law unto itself. They have ceased to be a regulator of the radio industry, merely an estate agent of prime spectrum.

Where is the national press on this one.... "Quango threatens existence of RNLI"... although maybe the thought of no mountain rescue will stop Nigel from Surrey attempting to scale Ben Nevis in sandals and cargo shorts.

Radiation warning for low-energy lightbulbs

Chris Hamilton
Thumb Down

Is it worth the 5p saving in my 'leccy bill?

Poisonous vapours when broken requiring special disposal techniques, dim useless light when lit, UV exposure from regular usage... forgive me if i just keep on using my 45W conventional lightbulbs until LED's take off. And I have enough of the things in a box in the attic to see me until about 2050.

Renault looks to wee-hued windows to cut car power draw

Chris Hamilton

Any chances.....

.... of a decent electric car, that actually looks like a car?

I actually like the styling of current cars, and don't really understand why whenever a new propulsion system is brought out, the car has to look like something out of a steven spielberg film!

I am fairly certain also, that wing mirrors can be aerodynamically designed. I used to have a late 90's Vectra and its wing mirrors swooped out of the wings, rather than like barn doors out of the sides. It was also the most aerodynamic car in its class at the time! Can you imagine how much fun the local yobbos would take in swiping the cameras or just knocking them off for fun.

I'm not sure the "Createur d'Automobiles" is on to a winner with this one.

EU confirms SMS and data roaming price caps

Chris Hamilton

Thats cheaper.....

... than I pay for text and data here in the UK? 9p for SMS and 79p/MB for data.

I currently (when my bundles run out) pay 10p for SMS and £1/MB, so unless these price caps are are also applying to home networks, it will be cheaper for me to use my phone abroad than in the UK.

Gov seeks UK nuclear competition for EDF

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

It's good news.

Campbell is right. Renewables have no hope of quenching our insatiable demand for energy in their current forms. Until such time as super efficient windfarms, solar panels and tidal installations are developed, we need a stop-gap measure. I much prefer the idea of a half dozen or so quiet and clean nuclear stations dotted round the country, to several tens of thousands of wind turbines or a dozen crap-spewing coal/gas plants.

Also, as a retort to the anonymous coward, British Energy actually has quite an advanced apprenticeship scheme, training young British people to work in the nuclear industry. One could only assume that with the future of the industry secured for another 40-50 years that this scheme would be rapidly expanded and developed.

Of course, I would much rather have seen British Energy go on as an independent UK entity, or enter into a JV with another British energy firm such as Centrica, BG or BP, but if going to EDF is what it takes to keep the lights on, then so be it.

Paris.... because thats where EDF is headquartered (well Nanterre to be precise).

Today be talk like a pirate day

Chris Hamilton


Avast, ye scurvy ridden buccaneers!

I found meself swashbuckling landside at a gathering of the family on the Friday of last, and my usually trusty first mate be not informing me of the events of the day!

This be why I continue with the pirate speak on this Monday morn, to make up for lost time. Y'arrr! Hoist the main sail, and yo ho ho and a bottle of grog! Bring me my copy of Monkey Island so i can trade insults.

P.S. Though down here in the darkest Westcountry no one would notice a change in my accent.

New Yorkers to pay for RFID in driving licences

Chris Hamilton

$45 for a passport card?

Thats what? £30?

Why can't our government do something similar? Why do I need a 40 page, £80, full blown passport to travel to EU countries? Why not a cut down (and more importantly, cut price) version like this for "nearby" EU borders like France, Belgium and The Netherlands? It's not like I'm going to get a Visa stamp for going to Disneyland. Better still.... why not join Schengen, and I can save £80 and not bother renewing my passport at all.

But then why did they issue use with credit card sized driving licenses, only to tell us it should be kept with the big paper version at all times?

Holiday text messages to cost less than 9p

Chris Hamilton

Driving up usage 100%...

I have a package from Orange that gives me 300 free UK texts, 4MB data (enough to get email headers for a month) and calls to 4 other Orange UK users for 15p/hr anytime. All for a mere £10/month.

I travel fairly regularly in Europe, and of course I lose all my inclusive texts/data etc. Therefore I use my phone minimally. Texts become 32p each, data goes up to £4/MB and voice calls are so expensive I don't use them at all. In fact I block all incoming calls from numbers not in my address book while roaming.

If the rates for each of these items were brought down to a reasonable level, I would use them a lot more. If texts were only 10p, I would probably send 3-4x as many... if voice calls were down to about 20p/min I wouldnt mind speaking to all and sundry.... and if data was (a still ridiculous) £1/MB I might consider taking off the data roaming block on my phone.

I don't believe capping the prices is counter-profit. I think it will drive up usage and encourage people to treat their phones as if they were still here in Blighty. A further suggestion to the telcos would be to allow customers to maintain their packages while roaming with an international partner.... i.e. let me treat Orange F the same way I use Orange UK.

This is what the EU is supposed to be all about.

Scottish beavers (and Cali cacti) get their chips

Chris Hamilton

Scottish beavers are scary!

I should know.... as a Scotsman who fled my native land for the wetter and more civilised Westcountry to be closer to my beloved English beaver. Although, if they import some of those scandinavian beavers I might be tempted to return.

Hold on.... we talking about the same thing here??

TAXI!!!!! Where's my coat?

Mythbusters RFID episode axed after 'pressure' from credit card firms

Chris Hamilton

Attention : Contenu Scientifique!

I was so looking forward to seeing the lovely Kari Byron doing some ass-modelling again in order to ascertain whether RFID enabled cards are better off in a side or back pocket.

As for Adam retracting his statement... do you not think he was maybe gently nudged by Beyond and/or Discovery? Maybe with the line "Retract your statement, or you will be replaced"? After all, he is one of the few on the show that doesn't actually work for M5I (Jamies SFX company), making him much easier to replace with a loyal drone.

In the meantime, I will go back to some harmless obsessing about Kari.

The Google-isation of all the net's access points

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

A creeping threat.

I fear that Google has the potential to be a much bigger threat than Microsoft ever was.

Google not only have a good deal of control of the data collection from the internet, they now seek to control the distribution of that data (see last weeks story on their submarine cables), they have made clear their aspirations in the mobile and OS markets and now they want a piece of the browser pie as well.

Maybe, when the EU/US regulators have stopped whipping Microsoft, they could wake up and smell the coffee.

Paris, cos she would enjoy a whipping by the EU.

Wi-Fi: You old new smoothie?

Chris Hamilton

@ Robert EA Harvey

The largest hotel chain in the world, Accor, (owner of such worldwide brands as Ibis, F1, Motel 6, Etap, Novotel, Mercure and many more) charges for WiFi in every single hotel in the world under its stewardship.

They do offer it for more reasonable prices than others (10EUR/24h), and have started throwing in a full multimedia package for the price but I think it disproves your theory.

However, it has been a while since I paid for WiFi in the UK. I can usually find an unsecured network, and where I can't I just give £15 to 3 for a months HSDPA access (heck of a lot cheaper than WiFi).

Acorn alumni to toast tech pioneer's 30th anniversary

Chris Hamilton

Archimedes memories.

My first real exposure to anything resembling a modern PC was an Acorn Archimedes. My primary school owned one of these machines (to be shared between 200+ pupils). When I got to Secondary School in 1994, they had loads of the machines, and many a lunchtime was spent playing network Doom. My school certainly hadn't even heard of Windows at that time.

If Acorn were really trying to flog off a surplus of Electrons in 2004 then I'm not surprised the company went bust! A niche market at best. :-)

Google stretching underwater comms cable?

Chris Hamilton

Google Earth?

I for one bow down to our new masters at Google.

Mine's the standalone one in the corner, with no internet connection and a copy of Encyclopedia Britannica in the pocket.

Watchdog hits 070 swindlers with big fine

Chris Hamilton

What a cock-up....

It's getting hard to keep a track of all the new number ranges, and it seems to me that Ofcom are going to need yet another re-organisation to sort it out.

When it was all started by Oftel it was pretty simple....

01/02 were Geographic numbers

07 was assumed to be all mobile networks

080 was freephone

084 was local rate

087 was national rate

09 was premium rate

Now I assume the plan is to use 03 for non-geographic numbers? Which should be for the likes of Skype and other IP telephone providers. And these scammers should be moved into the 09 range. Then if people want to call them, then thats their own problem.

Who decided to put this essentially premium rate numbering system in amongst the mobile range?? They (even if it was more than one person) should be hauled up before a man in a curly wig for decieving the public.

Ofcom are an utter shambles! Interested in nothing more than generating money by flogging off precious spectrum no matter what the public interest might be, and seem more concerned with constantly hounding BT and trying to destroy their business than ensuring that the public are actually getting what they want.

Bring back the IBA/ITC/RA and Oftel!

Boris boots Transys off Oyster contract

Chris Hamilton

@ The old favourite.... it's better in Europe!

Try going to Paris, where the Carte Navigo is slowly taking over from paper tickets in the same way as Oyster did.

You try figuring out what paper tickets are valid where. At what point on RER Ligne A you will all of a sudden find yourself outside Paris (even though you are still within eyeshot of the Arc de Triomphe). Try understanding why you can go to La Defense with a normal Paris ticket on the Metro, but not the RER. Why you can travel all over the RATP area on a Bus, but not by train, unless you buy a different zonal ticket, the option for which is hidden in a tricky menu system on the ticket machine.

Then there is the problem of keeping track of the paper ticket, being careful not to damage it (or its flimsy magnetic strip) or lose it. Having to produce it from your pocket every time you encounter a barrier.

Then imagine having one contactless ticket, that could stay inside your wallet, that charges you for whatever journey you make automatically, no matter whether you use the RER, Metro or the Bus. That can be used by anyone in any language as it does not require the user to decifer ticket booth menu systems, and that never charges you more than the appropriate travelcard for your days travelling.

Paper tickets are dead, and about time too.

Amazon launches self-cloning experiment

Chris Hamilton

There's room in this town for both....

I know popular opinion is to bash the dominant market player, PayPal, but I actually quite like the eBay tentacle. I have been regularly using PP (both on and off eBay) almost since its inception, and have not had a single problem.

I have never used Google Checkout, but thats not because I don't want to, just that it's never came up. It would seem to me that most of the large e-commerce companies are reluctant to let Google get a foothold in another market.

As for Amazon, they are another company I have been using since the early days. I already liked their one account for the whole world approach, which has allowed me to purchase items from Amazon.fr and Amazon.com not otherwise available in the UK. Now the possibility of having a few more sites where I don't need to enter my payment details sounds quite appealing.

Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills

Chris Hamilton

Riddle me this...???

I have a few questions.... what is the response speed of the cameras? Could they read clearly the registration of a car passing at 150mph+? Do they flag up to independent scrutiny any anomalies? What is the accuracy rate of the ANPR? When I bought my car, another car in the dealership of the same model was only one letter different on the reg (also a very close E changed to an F), can i expect speeding tickets from him? How do they deal with the scourge of speeding motorcycles, no front reg plate on them? Are they now equipped to capture drunk/drugged/tax dodging drivers?

In a funny note though.... there were SPECS cameras on the M4 near Swindon for a while recently during roadworks (The HA were installing their ridiculously high capacity data network). Made me chuckle when you see the BMW drivers approach them at 100mph, brake hard for the entry camera, then zoom off at 100mph. Twats. Lol.

Apple is sorry (again) over MobileMe

Chris Hamilton
Gates Halo

Where's the unjustified and ill-informed anger?

If this had been a problem involving Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! or any of the various Telcos then there would have been all cries of derision from Apple fans everywhere claiming that this would never have happened in MacWorld.

But, when it does happen in MacWorld, all of a sudden its normal teething problems and the excuses flow wildly.

Face up to the truth at Apple. Formerly a company that sold good, solid, reliable computers. Now so widely diversified and overpriced that quality control appears to have gone out the window.

UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

Chris Hamilton

Just like the M6 is just now surely??

Is the offside lane of the M6 between Birmingham and Preston (or the M5 from Cheltenham - Walsall) already covered by this scheme, because it seems man+dog want to be in this lane, which usually means it slows to between 40-60mph.

Often resulting in me contiuing to pootle on by at 70mph in the middle/nearside lanes. Apparently undertaking is perfectly legal as long is you are doing it to keep up the flow of traffic. So just don't undertake at more than 70mph.

When will they learn? Nobody uses the one (actually useful) toll road we have, except the BMW (I'm more important than you, but couldn't afford indicator bulbs) brigade. So if it's a choice, then expect to see the free lanes jammed full.

El Reg net closes on Street View fleet

Chris Hamilton

@ Anonymous Coward....


So do they have dodgy reg plates on then? 'LJ' is one of the identifiers for Wimbledon DVLA office.

Bournemouth is HA - HJ. 'H' for Hampshire and Dorset, 'L' for London see. :-)

Street View spycar prowls Inverness

Chris Hamilton
Thumb Up

How many places can I be in at the same time???

It will be like the fun I am having at the moment with Google Earth, which not only shows me sitting in the garden outside my house in Bristol but also my car parked outside my office, as well as outside my mums house in Lanarkshire, Scotland at the same time, all seen from the aerial photography.

But according to the satellite images, I am also capable of time travel, and have retrieved my 1995 Rover 100 (in a distinctive purple colour) from the scrapyard I parked it in 4 years ago and have dumped it outside my ex-missus's house in East Kilbride.

So with StreetView lets see how many places I can be in at the same time again!

Plus.... why did Google buy a fleet of RHD Opels??? Vauxhalls not good enough for them?

Reding would OK charges to receive mobile calls

Chris Hamilton
Thumb Down

Piece of nonsense...

I receive a lot of calls on my personal mobile from my company (my Orange phone has better reception than the company issue O2 phone in our remote area of the country). Because we use a fixed line telephone network built by British Rail, which does not transmit CLID externally, I cannot differentiate calls from my employers offices to those which are from marketing/nuisance callers. Therefore I answer all unknown origin calls, hanging up quickly if its a marketing call.

Why should I be charged for that privilege? I also wouldn't expect my employer to upgrade its entire fixed line telephone network just to gain CLID.

If this happens (which I doubt it would), then I think all calls on my phone would be diverted to voicemail, unless I happen to be in a Wi-Fi hotspot.

I'm starting to think the Irish had the right idea......

SpaceShipOne firm to build Stealth Bomber 4.0?

Chris Hamilton

@ Chris Bradshaw

Undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers!

Undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers!

Undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers!

Undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers!

If you are looking for undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers, then come on down to Steve's undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers emporium. As a result of an overstocking issue we have hundreds of undetectable supersonic robot-controlled bombers at knock down prices.

* Sorry.... it reminded me of a line from Family Guy. I couldn't help myself.

Mine's the yellow PVC one with the radiation trefoil on the back!

Bletchley Park rattles tin for urgent repairs

Chris Hamilton

Definitely worth it.

I visited Bletchley Park a year or so ago, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in computing.... or even how we managed to win the war.

You could combine it with a day in Milton Keynes.... if only to try out their indoor Ski slope, which is great fun, and also to navigate their numbered streets and roundabouts (and try finding the shops, a challenge for all the family).

Just watch out for the car park attendant at Bletchley... i think he is an old General. Very bossy, old and felt I needed to be shown how to park my car between two others.

Heaviest Virgin Media downloaders face new daytime go-slow

Chris Hamilton

Re: Assholes

Spotted the same thing on my connection.... at 5pm every night my bandwidth hits rock bottom. I have even seriously contemplated resorting to dialup, just to be able to download my email because it was so pitiful.

I called Virgin fault control who just said it was "that time of the evening and it should go back to normal soon".... it did.... at around 1am.

I don't do heavy downloading during the day. Any P2P software I use is scheduled only to d/l between 2300-0800, so throttling shouldn't be a question.

Also, I am not with Virgin by choice, and wouldn't be if I had a choice. I have tolerated their piss-poor services by proxy through various guises since 1994. My parents thought cable was brilliant, I moved out only to find my housemates also think they are sticking it to Rupert by using Virgins piss poor excuse for a service.

The list of channels gets smaller with every passing month. We rarely get any new. The antique STB does not support a 7-day EPG, which my £25 Philips DVB-T box does. They tout VoD services, but try using them on a 2001 vintage Pace STB (So old it even has the Telewest star logo on it)! I don't have 5 minutes to wait for the box to load the content.

The broadband servcie is unreliable and their fix times when someone digs through a cable is ridiculous.

In fact the only good thing about their network is the plain old telephone service, which is reliable and crystal clear (and when hooked up to my modem, gets a solid 53.3kbps).

Ofcom plays precog on tomorrow's wireless world

Chris Hamilton

Regional nuclear war?

Something tells me that if we do end up in the midst of a nuclear war with France, that getting wireless congestion reports about the state of the M32 will be the least of my worries, regardless of spectrum concerns.....

"Congestion ahead! Please leave the Motorway at the next exit. The road ahead has been vapourised."

All hail our new masters at Ofcom. Mines the yellow plastic one with the trefoil on the back!

Windows XP SP3 leaps into the tubes

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

French ISO??

Why would a French ISO be marked "FRE", especially given that the French for French is "FRAncais" and that the three letter ISO 3166 code is FRA.

Avant de taper, engager cerveau!

Paris.... because I have been inside (the) Paris Hilton. Thats Paris, France for you Texans.

How to destroy 60 hard drives an hour

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Feel free to watch my YouTube instructional video....

I can't post the link as darn work computers block YouTube (I think too much bandwidth was being consumed by watching cartoons), but its a handy 10 second video demonstrating what happens when a 20GB Toshiba laptop IDE HD drive gets caught between a standard claw hammer and a concrete paving slab.

£4 for hammer from B&Q, £2 for little brush to sweep up the many billions of shards of platter on the work surface (guaranteed unreadable), £3 for a pair of protective goggles for the safety conscious, fun.... priceless.

Paris, because some of those billions of unreadable shards contain her best moments!

Regulator slams MoS premium rate promo

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Can you really trust....

....a regulator of premium rate phone lines whose name sounds as if they should be advertising dodgy "240 month contract, don't pay and we own your children" mobile phone deals in the back of the Daily Sport??

Paris, because according to another advert in the Daily Sport, you can listen to her talk dirty for only £17.95/minute on 0906 554.....

BOFH: PFY's mum pays a visit

Chris Hamilton

Absolute genius....

Could there be an entire family of BOFH's and PFY's out there???

Google tips hat to St George - finally

Chris Hamilton
Thumb Up

Petty racist xenophobia abounds....

As usual.... listen up peeps... yes some un-enlightened foreigners still think the UK = England. As a Scotsman (but also fiercely British), I don't get angry about it (there are 50 million of them and 5 million of us), I just correct them (with a standard 15 minute lecture on the geopolitical history of the British Isles) and move on. In the same way I would correct people for referring to The Netherlands as Holland.

And why shouldn't Gordon Brown and all the other Scots MP's vote on UK matters in a UK parliament. If the English want a parliament, then stop whingeing quietly, blaming everyone else for having some initiative and fight for a devolved parliament of your own. I live in England, and I have yet to see an agreed, consistent approach to a campaign for a devolved parliament that doesn't descend into either racist views or ridiculous opinion. In fact in my part of the country, the most vocal activists (the Wessex Party) would happily see England broken up altogether and their little corner return to the Kingdom of Wessex. It's that type of closed in, isolationist argument that causes the English Parliament debate to be thrown out.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is far greater as a whole than the sum of its parts.

BOFH: Lift laughs

Chris Hamilton

@ Jaowon

>BOFH = Chris O'Dowd

>PFY = Richard Ayoade

>BOSS = Chris Morris

>Hmm, I'm getting a strange deja-vu feeling at the mo

That would be the ideal cast, only I wouldn't have Chris Morris. The boss of IT has to be the lovely Katherine Parkinson. :-)

Or another dream cast to move away from the IT crowd....

BOFH = Bill Bailey

PFY = Simon Pegg

BOSS = Nick Frost

Rescuer = Peter Serafinowicz

Hold on.... wasn't that Spaced?? Why don't we just make a new series of that?

Top-end Fords will be watching your rear

Chris Hamilton

My invisible car and its great feature....

I am the proud owner of a 2004 Vauxhall Corsa and although it seems to have some kind of invisibility to the drivers of any expensive German or Scandinavian marque (the SAAB coming at me on my side of the road on the way into Bristol this morning caused me some concern) it did come out of the facory with an amazing feature..... slightly convex wing mirrors... amazing! No "expensive to replace when white van man takes it off radar or blinky light". I can see not only what is behind me, but also what is in my blind spots.

Only one man can save Motorola

Chris Hamilton

Orange lost it's way without Hans.

I was a technician for Orange when everyone there was still feeling the Hans Snook buzz (just after he had left), profits were high, we had leaped Vodafone to be #1 and had the largest most comprehensive GSM network infrastructure in the country (partly down to the handicap of the 1800MHz band we used, but still 13,000 TRx's was something to be proud of). Ask anyone there, and they would say it was all down to Hans.

Then the rot set in, two succesive takeovers later and Orange fell into the hands of one of those government telegraph departments you spoke of. Somebody appointed the worlds least favourite executive as CEO, Sol Trujillo, and France Telecom started draining the company of every Euro it could lay its hands on to bolster its own failing business.

Staff morale plummeted as redundancies were mentioned for the first time in the company. The company's small, focused head office operation in Bristol started to get diluted across Bristol, London and Paris leading to a lack of communication between key departments. Customer service levels, which had never really been Orange's strongpoint, fell even further, and with it went market share. Then after having been through 3 line managers in as many months as they kept being made redundant, I left to pursue a career with that other government monopoly, the railways.

I guess most of what happened after he left was just the usual story of a small successful company being swallowed by a government monopoly. But ask any old hands at Orange when the best time was for the company, and they will say "When Hans was in charge".

London Olympics drives dash for terrestrial HDTV

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

BSB were way ahead of their time....

BSB were broadcasting digital television?? I knew that they were an advanced TV system for their day, but not that advanced. Also, BSB were not a failure, but the subject of a takeover by Sky Television which formed British Sky Broadcasting plc.

And from my understanding ONDigital/ITV Digital didnt collapse due to a lack of channels, quite the opposite actually. Trying to overcompress and squeeze too many channels onto a transmission system that was underpowered and ill-equipped to handle it. Also, the slow and cumbersome STB's, the need for a pretty high-spec roof top aerial and the fact it was an overpriced subscription based system didn't help either.

Paris, because without E4, how else would we get our weekly dosage of the blonde (ex) heiress. Here's hoping for Paris in HD!

Local councils dish out shoddy computer recycling advice

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

Invest in a large magnet.

A big magnet ought to do it. Something I learned the hard way when I couldn't figure out why two PDA's in succession stopped working after I had been in the workshop at work, where some very large magnets are kept.

Paris, because lets face it, she is probably using up a good few meg on most warm blooded males drives.

Road charging, the sequel - Kelly unveils 'wired m-way' plans

Chris Hamilton
Paris Hilton

SPECS far better than Gatso

I dislike speed cameras in general. I have never been fined for speeding so don't hold a grudge, i just dont think they compare to an honest days police work.

But I would much rather see more SPECS cameras than those damnable Gatso's. On sections of the M4 recently that have had SPECS in place for long term road works, the traffic actually stayed at a constant 50mph (except of course the above noted camera surfers who haven't yet grasped the concept of "average speed", but they do provide some light entertainment on my very long drive to France), however when they put in place temporary Gatso's at a site near Bristol, the traffic often slowed to a sudden and frankly dangerous 40mph.

I would also hope that these are only installed in congested area's, because lets face it, is there any harm in doing 80mph on the often deserted M74 north of Carlisle?

On another note... from my experiences in Northern France, the 110kph speed limit seems to be well adhered to, but there are almost no speed cameras. How do they do it? Some new fangled inventions called the Gendarmerie and their more amiable colleagues in the Police Nationale.

All in a honest days police work monsieur.

GCap reaches for DAB off switch

Chris Hamilton

I was torn before...

... between 2 new Sony head-units for my car. The choice was down to a DAB/MP3 unit without Bluetooth, or a MP3/FM unit with Bluetooth.

I was prepared to forget the BT compatibility to gain more radio stations, but seems like the choice has been made for me.

I think that is where the problem lay though... I only know of one manufacturer that did (Vauxhall, don't know if they still do) offer DAB head units as a standard option. Most after market manufacturers products were also overpriced (often a £50-100 markup on standard FM units and a generally poor selection of products).

Given that 'in the car' is where most people listen to radio, I think it has been a major oversight of the powers that be in the medium to overlook such a valuable market.

Let's call it a day, and turn the DAB spectrum over to mobile TV.