* Posts by Mike Richards

3605 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB

Mike Richards

Call me back

Apple UK now have a 'call me back' system (like Amazon) which gets you a human being within seconds.

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Pakistan bans 'immoral' late night mobe deals

Mike Richards

Re: Very sad

Sadly true.

Every sign of a failing state that is actively throwing itself into the abyss - with nuclear weapons.

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Why did Comet fail? Hint: It wasn't just the credit insurers

Mike Richards

Re: OpCapita didn't fail

'Who said Gordon Gecko was dead ?'

Didn't he just stand for the Republicans?

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Mike Richards

Re: "consumers stay away .. avoid dogged selling of extended and expensive warranties"

It's not just the extended warranties - it's the hard selling of peripherals, such as Monster cables that puts people off. My parents were conned into spending £80 on Monster HDMI cables by Comet staff. When they asked if cheaper cables were available they were told that cheaper cables would ruin the quality of the image on their new HDTV. Sadly, they didn't tell Comet where to stick their cables and walk out of the store. Instead they paid up.

When I found out I hit the roof and got on to Comet HQ - eventually getting to the then CEO. It was only his personal intervention that got a refund for the unwanted cable and an apology. Yet Comet continued to aggressively promote Monster over no-brand cables that were just as good.

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BRITISH BIGFOOT ON LOOSE in Tunbridge Wells

Mike Richards

Re: Hmmmm......

He's been getting noticeably less hirsute over the last few years.

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AARGH! We're ALL DOOMED, bellows UN - right on schedule

Mike Richards

'The issue here is resources - especially fossil fuels'

I suspect lack of phosphates and declining access to fresh water will do for us first.

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Why do Smart TV UIs suck?

Mike Richards

Sony Bravia

I've got a 2.5 year old Sony Bravia whose remote control also controls a Sony amplifier.

It's not meant to. It just happens to.

Changing to the Blu-Ray input shouldn't mute the sound, switching to teletext shouldn't start the test tones - but it does.

Sony's response - oh that problem was addressed in the updated firmware for your tv (which has never been pumped out to existing sets). But you really should know that amplifier is discontinued, you should get a new one. Have you thought about the Sony....[click]?

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Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

Mike Richards

Re: The review lost all credibility on line one

'From the photo it appears that the light on the Kobo Glo is less evenly distributed than on a PaperWhite, for example. Is that an artefact of the photography, or a genuine advantage of the Kindle technology ?'

I've got the Glo, a colleague has the Paperwhite, we put them side by side and displaywise they are very similar. Both have a slightly darker band running along the bottom of the screen and in the ones we examined the Kindle seemed to be slightly more even horizontally than the Glo - but it was marginal. The Glo was much brighter on maximum illumination than the Paperwhite, but the contrast suffered.

I've been very happy with my Glo and I can't fault either the construction or comfort in use. For £99 it's a bargain.

Oh and another thing in their favour, the Kobo developers are active participants on the various eBook forums.

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HP: AUTONOMY 'misrepresented' its value by $5 BILLION, calls in SEC

Mike Richards

Holy crap!

That's a shocker of a story. It's hard to believe companies like that still exist.

Tell me things have got better since.

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Register boffinry confab: Mass debate on the Perfect Kilogram

Mike Richards

Alternatively

We could just replace that horribly expensive lump of platinum with a bag of sugar.

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Kiwis demo DARPA-funded rocket project

Mike Richards

Re: I seem to remember that the Kiwis...

'We need to keep an eye on our antipodean cousins - and not only on the rugger field...'

Don't worry they'll go after the Aussies first.

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Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'

Mike Richards

Whether you agree with him or not

Nielsen is actually reporting research conducted with users. Whether you agree with his opinions he is highlighting issues with products that designers would be wise to consider.

Personally I like not-Metro and haven't found it that difficult to get used to, but then I was one of the three people who bought a Windows Phone 7 handset.

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Telcos react coldly to renewed UK.gov smut-censoring push

Mike Richards

'Labour MP Helen Goodman, who is the shadow culture secretary, recently displayed her woefully inadequate knowledge of installing software on a computer, which makes her brain go "bzzzz", apparently.'

Maybe they need to change the batteries on her New Labour era thought-control chip?

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Mike Richards

The telcos should install the filter

And block the Daily Mail on the grounds that it has an unhealthy obsession with photographs of teenage girls.

Then see how long it is before the Mail changes its tune.

Actually a filter which *only* blocked the Mail would improve the world in so many ways.

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LOHAN to join mile-high club with BRITNEY or NAOMI?

Mike Richards

Re: I'd vote for NAOMI

Well there you have it. The Reg is wondering what it should add to its review sections; publishing the effect of a well-aimed mobe (ranging from 'ouch!' through to 'quick trip to casualty and police caution') would set you apart from the competition.

'Whilst some would criticise the Lumia 920 for its large size and weight, our ballistics test (video below) shows that the handset is a new benchmark when settling disputes with the domestic help. Recommended.'

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Mike Richards

Re: I'd vote for NAOMI

NAOMI should be reserved for a future project - such as determining the terminal velocity of a mobile phone.

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Galapagos islands bombed with 22 tonnes of Blue Death Cornflakes

Mike Richards

You have hit the nail on the head

'Drop starving celebs on the island. Including hairy cornflakes.'

Who wouldn't want to see Nadine Dorries chasing rats around the Galagapos?

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Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

Mike Richards

Polygamy

'On a somewhat related matter -- I never understood why polygamy isn't allowed. Surely, if it's consenting adults...'

It's also permitted in the Bible.

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LOHAN to slip in sexy little black number

Mike Richards

Oh that is awesome

But I think it was Playtex that used that slogan. In which case:

PLAYmonaut

Transport

EXtractor

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Mike Richards

TART

Trans Atmospheric Remote Trigger

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ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

Mike Richards

Re: Too obvious?

And another important question.

d) Is it coming our way?

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Mike Richards

Re: Very strange stuff

It's very young so its going to be generating a lot of internal heat as it compacts under gravity and then differentiates according to density. And we're talking about an enormous amount of energy - the Earth obtained something like 2.5 * 10^32J from compression and another 1 * 10^31J during the formation of the Core.

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Mike Richards

Re: Or...

Anorak primed.

I think you meant Mondas from 'The Tenth Planet' in which William Hartnell had a lie down and woke up as Patrick Troughton.

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Cawing retail vultures circle dying Comet, might rip some chunks off

Mike Richards

Poor old Comet

Having Dixons come to pick over your retail carcass must be like being molested by a syphilitic hyena.

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Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 1

Mike Richards

Re: Cambridge Z88

Any chance of a detailed history of the Z88 in a future episode? That was a terrific little machine with so much potential.

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Plastic screen outfit teams with Epson to offer screen on your plastic

Mike Richards

Brilliant idea

Now I can put my PIN on my card so I never forget it!

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LOHAN slips BRA over BOOBIES in ballocket backronym buffoonery

Mike Richards

FLASHR

Firmware

Location

Altitude

Signalling

Hardware

Reusable

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HORNY ALIEN vegetarian monsters once ROAMED CANADA

Mike Richards

Re: That's a lot of horn for veggies to support

'Given the expenditure of energy needed to haul around all that plate armor, Xeno C must have found the Canada of its days full of some seriously rough predatorial neighbours.'

They had to deal with the Canadian members of the Tyrannosauridae family, which like modern Canadians are less terrifying than their American neighbours, but still included the delightfully betoothed Gorgosaurus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgosaurus_libratus

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Malaysia protests rare earth processing plant

Mike Richards

It's purely historic. Earth elements got their name from chemists who found it extremely hard to extract the metals from their oxides. The rare earths had similar chemistry but were thought to be rare at a time when chemists were largely confined to looking at what came out of European mines. The majority of the then-known rare earths were extracted from gadolinite which was known only in a single mine in Ytterby not far from Stockholm.

Gadolinite was originally thought to be a tungsten ore but the great Swedish chemist Johan Gadolin discovered it was something else. He was a bit worried he was going to turn chemistry upside down 'It is not without great trepidation I dare speak of a new earth because they are right now becoming far too numerous for it seem to me rather fatal if each of the new earths should only be found in one site or one mineral.' Gadolin discovered four new elements in gadolinite (named after him) - erbium, terbium, ytterbium and yttrium, all named after the town itself. Later, the same ore also revealed holmium (named after Stockholm) and thulium (from Thule), whilst euxenite again from the same mine, was the original source of tantalum/

Remember me if you win on 'Pointless'.

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Swedish boffins: An ICE AGE is coming, only CO2 can save us

Mike Richards

An alternative conclusion can be had by *reading the paper*

In fact you just need the abstract:

'We estimate the potential extent of peatland in Sweden, based on slope properties of possible areas excluding lakes and glaciofluvial deposits. We assume no human presence or anthropic effects, so the calculation is speculative. It may have been relevant for previous interglacials.'

So in other words, Lewis has once again cherry-picked a headline not substantiated by the research.

The paper (an interesting read BTW) suggests that peatlands might be one mechanism by which the Earth tips from interglacial conditions - such as those we've had since the beginning of the Holocene - to glacial conditions.

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Sellafield's nuclear waste measured in El Reg units

Mike Richards

Re: Cornish sand

'Isn't the sand on some Cornish beaches sufficiently naturally radioactive to be classified as intermediate level waste?'

Cornish granite is enriched in K40, uranium and thorium plus all their delightfully unstable decay products so much of the county does have relatively high background radioactivity. I can't think of anywhere where the sand is especially radioactive, but I could imagine some alluvial deposits of heavy uranium and thorium minerals might exist where the waves have washed away less dense materials.

The average annual exposure to background radiation in West Cornwall is something like 8mSv most of which comes from radon bubbling up from the granite. The average additional annual exposure for nuclear workers is 0.2mSv. A full body CT scan is 10mSv and the annual limit for people working in the nuclear industry is just 20mSv.

I do know that the radioactive sources we had in our physics lectures back at Humphry Davy Grammar School were considerably less powerful than the chunks of uraninite in the walls. We probably had the only cloud chamber that was permanently closed through fog.

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Mike Richards

Re: High Level Waste

'I'm not sure how one converts the semi-detached family home into the Olympic sized swimming pool unfortunately...'

You use the standard IOC conversion and multiply through by nine billion quid.

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BIONIC MAN makes it to top of Chicago skyscraper

Mike Richards

Re: To put it in perspective

'$8m would get burnt through by a big automotive manufacturers R&D department in 4 to 6 weeks.'

It would possibly stretch to a couple of liquid lunches for Silicon Valley patent lawyers.

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China fingered for Coca Cola hack - report

Mike Richards

Bizarre

'China’s Ministry of Commerce eventually rejected the deal after raising competition concerns.'

Presumably the Chinese government doesn't want any competition?

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Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Mike Richards

Oh well done Apple!

You've managed to turn a story about which almost no one understood the detail and which would have been forgotten by now into a long running saga of corporate silly buggers.

Steve may have passed on, but his assholery lingers.

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O2 roaming rates to rise by up to 140%

Mike Richards

Re: in July and insists this merely brings its pricing in line with competitors....

They've seen all the shiny new Mercs being bought by bosses of the energy companies and want the same.

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Tesla Model S named '2013 Automobile of the Year'

Mike Richards

Rarest of things - a good looking American car

It's like Mr Mondeo met Ms Jaguar.

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Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'

Mike Richards

'Personally I'd keep the names in large text, and maybe have a subtitle beneath it that says what is actually in each drink, rather than replace the names of each drink entirely.'

Might as well go the whole McDonalds route and just give the drinks numbers.

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Mike Richards

Re: Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

I thought Starbucks applied homeopathy to coffee whilst Costa just set light to the beans rather than roast them?

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Mike Richards

Re: Tinned Spaghetti

'Tinned spaghetti is an insult in any culture, I imagine it's like a declaration of war to an Italian.'

Yeah, but we usually win those.

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NASA's long shot shows Titan glows in the dark

Mike Richards

Re: Titan. Fuel dump of the solar system.

Didn't Tom Baker's Doctor once visit a refuelling plant on Titan only to be menaced by a giant prawn with scary eyebrows?

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Monty Python legend Eric Idle and rockstar boffin Cox write a song

Mike Richards

Re: Class

Oh look on the bright side - it's not Richard Hammond.

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First eyes EVER SEEN (by definition) appeared 700 million years ago

Mike Richards

Re: But but...

Awww crap I'm gonna bite (wish me luck folks).

Since I've done radiodating of geological samples I might be speaking with a small amount of (slightly hung over) authority, or I could be part of the evil cabal of earth scientists who are hoping to become infinitely rich by telling people the world is really, really, really old (and very cool - apart from the hot bits obviously).

The age of the Earth isn't solely derived from U->Pb dating (although that was the first method tried). The relative volatility of lead is a real problem with older samples which are likely to have been metamorphosed since original crystallisation. Instead the range of dates for the formation of the Earth is based on various dating methods including Pb -> Pb, Sm -> Nd, Rb -> Sr and Re -> Os, all of which come in around 4.51 - 4.68 Gya with a typical range of +/- 0.15Gy.

Pb -> Pb dates are referenced against a geochron which was taken from meteoritic dates of IIRC three stony meteorites of different compositions and two iron meteorites. If you want detail look up the Holmes-Houtermans method for Pb -> Pb dating. Basic chemistry tells us that the iron-nickel troilite alloy of iron meteorites is depleted in uranium so it will not contain radiogenic lead derived from uranium decay. So the ratios of lead isotopes in iron meteorites are those of the primeval solar system.

C-14 in diamonds? If you're talking about the Baumgardner and RATE work, it has been heavily criticised for not following proper procedures in handling carbon isotopes. Anomalous radiocarbon readings are occasionally found in studies of carbonates, but the fact the vast majority of geological samples do not show radiocarbon forces us to conclude that the problem is either with instrumentation or with the way samples are prepared for analysis.

Ocean salinity? Really? Seriously? You're still using that one. Look Edmond Halley didn't know how evaporite deposits form or how widespread they are. T. Mellard Reade, John Joly and George Becker didn't know about plate tectonics - they didn't know that ocean waters (containing salt) are in intimate contact with magma at mid-ocean ridges; that a volume of water equivalent to the entire ocean passes through the oceanic crust every 10 million years; or that salt water is subducted into the Mantle in ocean plates and sediments.

In short, a lot of science has happened.

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Mike Richards

'That jellyfish is a terrible design. Not complex enough. Back to the drawing board! ;)'

But it might be immortal...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/03/jellyfish_gone_wilder/

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Mike Richards

Re: Evolved from jellyfish?

It means the proteins used in vision evolved first in jellyfish so we probably have common genetics. Our system of vision evolved much later with the first vertebrates. Nautilus has a pin hole eye whilst other cephalopods have a completely different (and in some ways superior) vision system using the same basic chemistry and genetics, the trilobites had yet another and so on...

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Hitachi buys Horizon to save UK's nuclear future

Mike Richards

Re: " Four ABWRs have already been built on time and to budget "

The AGRs were horribly over-budget and had a pretty terrible reputation for reliability when they first came onstream, but they were incredibly ambitious pieces of engineering at a time when Britain was really losing the knack for big projects and industrial relations were in the crapper.

It's a real shame as some of the ideas were good ones, such as producing steam at the same temperature and pressure as a coal-fired plant allowed commonality of equipment between stations. By the time the AGRs were commissioned their price per unit far exceeded that of the PWR which had been churned out by the hundred. So when it came to ordering Britain's third generation stations there was no choice but to go with the PWR. Which was a real shame, because once the AGRs were debugged they turned out to be pretty reliable.

I'm still trying to work out why the Canadians have never tried to sell CANDU in the UK. It addresses all the cooling problems of the PWR and the contamination of coolant in the BWR and is ready to go.

But I won't believe this announcement amounts to anything until the ground is broken. I've lost count of how many times in the last 20 years the UK has announced the go-ahead for new nuclear only for it to be cancelled when the economics intervene. After all, the price per unit and the level of government subsidy that will be required if the cost of electricity falls below the floor required for new nuclear have yet to be agreed.

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Amazon ships Kindle Fire HD, Paperwhite to Brits

Mike Richards

Re: Works for me

Very happy Kobo Glo user here.

If you're not already in the Kindle ecosystem the Glo is every bit as capable as the Kindle.

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Dyson alleges spy stole 'leccy motor secrets for Bosch

Mike Richards

World beating

I trust that's world beating as it sweeps as it cleans. God I'm getting old.

I've got one of the Dyson fans (or air multipliers as they wankily like to call them). I dunno about the hi-techtitude of the brushless motors but they sound like Concorde starting up on a cold morning.

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Chinese boffins discover bizarro fish-oid creature with FOUR LIMBS

Mike Richards

Re: They lie!

Hopefully this helpful cut-out-and-keep chart will resolve all the problems between creationism and science:

http://scienceandcreation.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-fossil-record-according-to.html

Did you know dinosaurs died out in 1927?

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Australian volcano starts to blow

Mike Richards

Re: A new vent?

'This would mean a new vent. Am I looking at it wrong?'

I can't tell either. But it's not impossible - almost all volcanoes have parasitic cones and fissures low on their flanks - the pressure of pushing a column of magma into the vent is often greater than that required to open a vent on the side.

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