* Posts by Tom Sparrow

33 posts • joined 26 Sep 2007

BSkyB, CityFibre, TalkTalk pull clear of bigwig BT's bundles – plan to set fibre to York

Tom Sparrow

Re: They're FibreCity

CityFibre own the infrastructure in Bournemouth, but don't offer end user packages directly - that's what Gigler do. (Gigler could be a subsidiary/brand name, not looked into that)

And it's far too small an amount of coverage if you ask me, or at least in the wrong area. And yes, by wrong area, I mean not my house, and yes it's just sour grapes. It's painful to be so close and yet so far from a Gb connection.

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BT-owned ISP Plusnet fails to plug security hole on its customer signup page

Tom Sparrow
Meh

No, but...

It did eliminate the open WiFi hotspot, which is the most worrying problem. The rest of the route is across ISP networks, so at least it's only the ISP staff who realistically have access. Not entirely trustworthy, but better than anyone within spitting distance of the local coffee shop.

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Send dosh (insecurely) via email, Jack Dorsey's Square tells punters

Tom Sparrow

not quite

SMTP is how you send outgoing emails, but it's also how the mail servers transfer emails between themselves. You may need log into your mail server to send mails, but only when sending to domains not hosted on that server (i.e. when relaying).

If it's the host server for the domain, there's no need to log in before it will accept your email.

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Ten pi-fect projects for your new Raspberry Pi

Tom Sparrow

Re: My project...

See here http://www.saveonheatingbills.co.uk/ for details.

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Tom Sparrow
Go

Re: My project...

Motorised TRV's definately exist - we got them put in at work initially from Honeywell (not my project) - £80 per valve and £150 for the control panel to set the target temperature (on a schedule).

When I did my heating at home recently I looked for something a little more sensible in price - Pegler make a TRV that is motorised/scheduled target temperature changes all in one for around £25. Each room is now turned up and down to a schedule as necessary (i.e. kids rooms off while they're at school, dining room turns right down in the evening & our bedroom doesn't start warming up until 9 or 10). They can be adjusted manually at any point, and revert to programmed temp at the next scheduled change.

There's a USB programming stick and remote available (600MHz). The programming only has s/w for windows at the moment, but it's just a USB/Serial interface from what I can tell so that's a project for later on.

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Tom Sparrow
Mushroom

Doing similar

Have a spare wireless thermostat/receiver that I'm cannibalising for actual switching. The transmitter is simple 3v pulse signal to an on or off pin (the actualy upload codez are all on the little daughter board thankfully).

USB thermometer currently in the post (£8 / ebay) and than it's all software - I'm hoping to persuade it to look up the outside temp & wind chill from the met office then reference a schedule of when the church hall is in use and calculate when to turn the heating on so it's suitably warm when needed. In winter, that can be 3am some weeks, despite having a boiler the size and power of the flying scotsman (probably about as efficient, too).

Thermonuclear boiler might be a suitable replacement, hence icon.

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Red supergiant Betelgeuse heads for SMACKDOWN with 'dust bar'

Tom Sparrow
Boffin

Re: Red Shift

Redshift only applies as a means of judging distance on large cosmological scales, that is extra-galactic at least, where the overall expansion of the universe applies. Not that you can't measure the shift, but it doesn't tell you how far away the object is (because the galaxy isn't expanding, at least not in the way the universe is)

Within the galaxy, you need to rely on other factors - parallax measurement as the earth goes round the sun is good, if you can measure accurately enough.

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Latest exoplanet discovery is a virtual CLONE of Earth

Tom Sparrow
Unhappy

Re: How far?

Time was I could have made that calculation without an envelope, but no more, alas.

Science aside, there's also something strangely satisfying about seeing it on the sky, even if it's a virtual sky (easier to zoom in on the right place as well then, plus you can draw pretty pictures over the constellations)

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Tom Sparrow
Boffin

How far?

So people (including me) keep asking how far this star is. Here's what I've found so far:

According to the NASA database at http://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/ExoTables/nph-exotbls?dataset=cumulative - rowID 1509, this star is at ra 293.260925 dec 44.868889

I found this using Stellarium (a lovely little tool for the amateur, though I had to download the smaller magnitude maps to find it) at RA 19h 33m 2.62s / Dec 44 52m 7.8s but unfortunately it doesn't seem to have a name or a distance. Magnitude matches at 13.8 though, so I think it's the right one

I leave this information here for anyone with more time to dig than me.

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END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH: TalkTalk no longer worst ISP in UK

Tom Sparrow
Boffin

Re: Note that "industry average" bar and also that there are about 450 ISP's in the UK.

From the Ofcom report:

"The ‘industry average’ refers to the average of providers included in the Ofcom research. Complaints about other smaller providers are not included in this average."

Statistically speaking of course, if only the worst three had more than average complaints out of 450 then they would have to be truly appalling.

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Copper-obsessed BT means UK misses out on ultrafast fibre gold

Tom Sparrow
Unhappy

Re: Dark fibre?

Ah yes, Sewernet. A great idea and I was one of the first to sign up for 'when it became available'. 3 years later and it's still not here ( Bournemouth, first FibreCity in Europe!). Got fed up of waiting for inifnity as well (April 2012, still no sign of anything happening at my exchange).

Came to the conclusion that all ISPs will promise anything as long as you don't expect them to deliver. Might as well ignore the promises and go with whoever gives you the closest to what you want when you want it. I went back to Virgin who do actually provide the 30Mb/s I asked for, and don't force me to take a phone line to go with it. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with their tech support yet....

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Apple iGlasses

Tom Sparrow

Pretty much what I thought - it's Philips ambilight on a pair of glasses.

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Brits get to fondle Google Nexus 7 slab in just a fortnight

Tom Sparrow
Go

Re: USB Question

Just been looking this up - the (rather pathetic) user guide says you can connect USB keyboard/mouse/joystick etc 'with an adapter' (and recommends powered hub for multiple peripherals) so I guess host mode is available.

I'm unsure whether host mode and OTG adapter = USB storage support, but I'm one step closer to an impulse buy.

For 3g, I'd stick to wireless tether via my phone, 'cos it's simple and I already pay for bandwidth.

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Euro banks slam dot-bank plan

Tom Sparrow
Stop

Very little point

not sure why they're trying to foist more domain names on us. Based on what I see from recent advertising trends, all urls in the future will be in the format facebook.com/brandname.

Except mine and your's, of course. We know better.

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Sick of Ubuntu's bad breath? Suck on a Linux Mint instead

Tom Sparrow
Linux

Tried mint for a month or so

and I quite liked it, but found strangely that the repositories were lacking in quite a bit of software I wanted. I thought this was very odd, given from a quick glance they seemed to be using the ubuntu repositories, at least in part.

Went back to ubuntu (and wavered between gnome3 and unity for a while, before sticking with gnome3). Never got on with kde for reasons I have never quite understood. I've got used to the new gnome now, so I'm quite happy.

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Doctor Who girl Amy Pond axed in 'heartbreaking' exit

Tom Sparrow
Unhappy

GAAAAH

Could you PLEASE not put huge spoilers like that in the headlines. I avoid all the Dr Who news I can for a reason, but having it in large print at the top of one of my regular websites makes that very difficult.

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Are IP addresses personal data?

Tom Sparrow

I'd have to agree with Ken

My IP address is definitely personal data - it's a static address, and if you run a reverse DNS lookup it resolves to my name. Perhaps in hindsight not the smartest choice for a username, but I've had it for years and a static address is hard to come by in the consumer space these days so I'm not about to give it up.

I'd click the anonymous button, but there doesn't seem much point really.

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Microsoft's Android patent ransom to 'total $444m' next year

Tom Sparrow
Meh

That's assuming patent lawyers are free. I'd think it's fairly safe to assume they're not.

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Memo to open source moralists: Put a sock in it

Tom Sparrow
Stop

@Jeff11

I think you may have missed the point a little. I don't think Matt's talking about the software, rather the large donations to worthy causes that selling bucketloads of the software has enabled him to make.

I don't think giving a copy of windows to someone (even if he'd done that) counts as 'doing more for the worlds poor'. Putting millions/billions into funds to cure nasty diseases does though (even if the funds are named after himself, a practice I rather dislike)

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Piles of unshiftable HP fondle-slabs choke Best Buy

Tom Sparrow

Linux

WebOS is linux.

Unless they've changed it since my Pixi, proper linux too - terminal access via USB cable with novacom or directly with a small app install.

I don't think it would be too hard, by phone/tablet standards (though way above most people) to install your own distro on there. Be nice to to see it running meego...

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Bluetooth goes 3D with Apple

Tom Sparrow
Thumb Up

Re: At last! - Absolutely

I've been wondering for years why remote controls are still IR.

Anyone who thinks otherwise has obviously never had a child sit directly in front of the DVD player and demand to know why Little Red Tractor isn't playing yet.

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Apple pilfers rips off student's rejected iPhone app

Tom Sparrow
Thumb Up

@AC 08:58

That's exactly how it works, didn't you know? http://xkcd.com/827/

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Linux Foundation chief dubs MeeGo 'unstoppable force'

Tom Sparrow

Have a look on ebay

There's loads of random chinese tablets running on intel processors. I think they'd be pretty good for the price (if they turn up).

Been thinking about buying one for a while to try with Unity, and/or other linuxes.

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Desktop Linux: the final frontier

Tom Sparrow
Stop

rewrite/improve it?

(no, I've never done that before you ask)

Download it legally for free.

Run it on a clapped out old PC.

Give it to my kids without worrying they might break it.

Those are the obvious things, I'm sure there are others, but you only asked for 1.

Conversely, there's nothing I can't do on Linux that I care about, so why pay for windows?

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Tom Sparrow

I have 2 questions...

1) What is your desktop software?

2) Does it run on Linux?

Maybe Linux users aren't attracted to your software, or maybe your website tells them it doesn't work and they don't bother to ask. Surely you should do some actual market research if you're really interested, rather than assuming customers will come to you.

It's like only making Nikon fit lenses and not Canon because 'no-one asks for them'. Why would they ask when they can get them elsewhere? doesn't mean you wouldn't sell like hot cakes if you made them.

That said, I use Ubuntu at home and at work and think it's great, but also find 20% a difficult figure to believe.

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Apple to support reps: Don't confirm Mac infections

Tom Sparrow
Grenade

speaking of stupidity...

'a machine for which there are no viruses'?

There's a prime example right there.

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Microsoft stops ID-ing phones in jab at Google

Tom Sparrow
Stop

molehill maybe

but I don't want molehills one my lawn (though a mountain in my back garden would be cool).

They may give you the choice, but if you don't want your data sent out, you have no location functionality. Which is not much of a choice in my book.

GPS requires no data to be sent anywhere, cell tower and wifi based location tracking (and associated AGPS features) require a little data to be swapped ("I can see this base station" - "OK, that lives here...").

None of this requires anyone to know who's asking. Leave my phone ID out of it please. If I want you to know where I am, I'll log in and tell you.

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TomTom sorry for giving customer driving data to cops

Tom Sparrow

@AC

Sorry, but he's talking sense. Yes reducing accidents may be a nobler aim, but the police are there to catch criminals. If you break the speed limit then you are a criminal.

Yes the speed limit is a fairly arbitrary value, but it's not an injust law (or morally suspect) so you have to stick to it. If you don't like it, campaign against it. If you break the law, live with the consequences.

If it's a choice between giving fines to people who break the law and upping the tax in any other way, I know which I'd opt for.

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Google: Android fragmentation not 'bad thing'

Tom Sparrow
WTF?

yeah but, no but

Symbian has been on millions of handsets for years and failed to get this huge developer community they're talking about.

With the iPhone and Android handsets gaining market share this quickly, it's them that's going to benefit from the devs - as iPhone clearly already has. I can't see Symbian getting anything but smaller for the time being at least, which is a shame as I've always bought Symbian (well, Nokia I suppose) and do like it.

I'm thinking of going Android and doing some dev work in my spare time now though, just need to find what I did with my spare time first...

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UFO fleet menaces east London

Tom Sparrow

I thought a bag...

But when you look on streetview itself, doesn't look so much like one.

Whatever they are, there's a guy on the other side of the road taking a photo of them. Perhaps someone could ask him.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Wolverley+Street+london&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.554089,63.896484&ie=UTF8&t=h&layer=c&cbll=51.527148,-0.059647&panoid=i9VCs_VnVkv00M75nrPriQ&cbp=12,189.49573882942641,,1,9.841123703597443&ll=51.527022,-0.059631&spn=0.008557,0.017488&z=16&iwloc=addr

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Carpetbomb bug tarnishes Google Chrome

Tom Sparrow
Happy

not such a big problem

I tried the proof of concept - popped up a 'save file as' window (duly cancelled, no file downloaded), so no exploit here.

First thing I did was wade through the (very minimal) options. , turned on prompt for location to save downloads.

Not a difficult bug to work around, even from a user perspective

And I've found it a lot faster than firefox, but with no plugins and the ever present feeling of being watched I don't think I'll be swapping permanently.

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Amazon opens DRM-free music store

Tom Sparrow

EMusic & Amazon

I was with emusic for a while, but it's only worthwhile if you grab a significant portion of your allowance every month. I didn't have the time or inclination to trawl through the catalogue every couple of weeks (I have a fairly limited selection of stuff I'm interested in).

Still, you can browse without signing up - http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html

I like the amazon offering - we have a US office, so address is no problem (yet). Seems to have a better selection than EMusic, for the stuff I want anyway.

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