Feeds

* Posts by Mike Richards

3579 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

The Mac that saved Apple (and Steve Jobs)

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Great introductory computer

I would never have dreamt of buying a computer for my parents before the original iMac came along. But when it appeared, it looked like something they could have in their house. Getting rid of the separate monitor and computer and with it, all those cabled, dumping the unfamiliar floppy disk made the machine much more approachable. All the difficulties were hidden away behind a very tactile surface - all smooth curves moulded in high gloss, brilliantly coloured or textured plastic that resembled the stuff you'd put into toys or even bits of art. With no trailing cables and that useful little handle on the top, it was easy to find a spot for the machine on a regularly sized desk in a spare bedroom.

And when they got it, the reaction of my parents was complete acceptance even love of this machine. Many guests to their house were asked 'have you seen our computer?' and they were delighted to show just what it could do.

They're still using, and loving, a G5 iMac which does everything they want quietly, unobtrusively and hasn't given them a single day's trouble. As far as I know, their G3 has found a new home at a friend's house where it chugs away as a second computer.

0
0

ISPs under pressure to control online porn

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Ed Vaizey is thinking of that

I wouldn't be surprised if the odious runt won't try telling us that ending net neutrality will mean porn free surfing (for a price).

1
0

'Mad captain' sole entrant in Vodafone compo

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'Base of pyramid'

As in scheme?

0
0

Payback orders for eBay squaddie

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Feedback

'My BAE frigate came without the advertised weaponry and broke down the first time I sailed it round the block. Would not recommend.'

15
0

Apple throws a wobbly over Steve Jobs dolly

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Replacement

A Steve Balmer doll trampling a city; shake it and it screams 'developers! developers! developers!'

0
0

Tube to get phone coverage by the Olympics

Mike Richards
Silver badge

If people really must telephone on the train

Then there should be a red cast iron telephone box mounted in a separate carriage.

Users will form an orderly queue and follow the instructions provided to talk to the operator. Once they are 'put through' in the modern parlance, and so long as the operator is satisfied that the recipient is not working class, the user will deposit their shilling pieces in the slot and press the A button.

Calls will last no longer than two minutes and must always be terminated with a cheery 'goodbye'.

Failure to obey these common sense rules will result in the automatic release of the box's resident alcoholic.

8
0

Sarah Palin calls for US to stand by North Korea

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Pssst...

'how's that criticism of US companies such as Exxon being guilty of spills in Nigeria '

That's Shell - Anglo-Dutch.

1
1
Mike Richards
Silver badge

You know you're in trouble

When Glenn (cry baby) Beck is the intellectual of the team.

8
0

Plasma space-drive aces efficiency numbers: Set for ISS in 2014

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Lunokhod

'(It will not have escaped the notice of solar-powered Mars rover fans that despite the machines' tremendous longevity they have still not travelled as far as the much shorter-lived Soviet Moon rovers of the 1970s did.)'

It's nothing to do with the amount of power. The Mars rovers haven't travelled as far because their moves have to be calculated and pre-programmed before they go for their next trundle. When they get there, that location is surveyed and the results passed to the team in charge of the next leg. Lunokhod was remote controlled from Earth by humans, so it could be driven further and faster.

0
0

Brits blow millions on over-priced ink

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Vintage lasers

My HP 4MPlus is still chugging along perfectly. About £30 to refill a couple of years ago and still plenty of ink in the toner cartridge. HP must be kicking themselves for making something quite so indestructible.

0
0

US ARMY prepares force of GIGANTIC BOMB RATS

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Thanks for the link

I think that's some Christmas presents for the 'I've got everything' crowd sorted out.

2
0

Unarmed Royal Navy T45 destroyer breaks down mid-Atlantic

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Nice in theory...

...except the nice lady in Bangalore told the captain that they can't proceed until he provides the ship's serial number which is painted in 10 point characters on the ship's bottom.

0
0

Apple I goes for twice the price of an Enigma

Mike Richards
Silver badge

It's all about context

The Apple I founded a hugely successful company and was made in very limited numbers. There's a huge demand for this sort of item which can be directly linked to two named people.

Tens of thousands of Enigmas were made for commercial, government and military use on a factory production line. There are no names associated with the mass manufactured machines and unless it came from a particular individual or location it, in itself isn't very significant. The market isn't short of Enigmas - lots survived.

The Enigma itself is only part of the story - after all Turing's breakthroughs were all made without actually having the machine in question. Had a Bombe survived and come up for auction then it would justify a fantastic valuation as would one of the rare as hens' teeth four-rotor Naval Enigmas.

But if anyone wants to give me an Enigma for Christmas, yeah I won't be disappointed.

2
0

'Phantom Ray' robot warjet to ride atop NASA shuttle-carrier 747

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Can't possibly compete

It doesn't have a sufficiently awesome name to beat the Avenger from a company called General Atomics.

0
0

Sony readies Reader e-book app for iPhone

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Pricing

Really needs some work. Okay eBooks are VATable unlike books, and yes, the cost of the paper and the binding are actually a relatively small share of the final sale price; and yes you still have to pay advances, editing and page-setting costs; and obviously there are hosting and bandwidth costs associated with delivering a book - but how do they calculate these prices?

Waterstone's regularly charges more than the hardback price for an eBook which no matter how you look at it, just seems bizarre. Even when the eBook is no more than the paperback edition, it is always discounted less. And they never try to match Amazon.

0
0

O2 outs liars and philanderers with live status feed

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'Good indoors and outdoors'

For my home.

So it MUST be fucking iPhone that sucks.

0
0

Has CERN made the VATICAN ANTIMATTER BOMB for real?*

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Come on...

...it was utterly saved by the not-at-all-Father-Tedesque ending of a parachuting pope.

5
0

Speak geek: The world of made-up language

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Icelandic

Is another ancient language which has to accommodate new concepts. Unlike fellow Scandinavian langauges, Icelandic does not tend to import English words and change the spelling; it actually relies on a committee to come up with new words - some of which are brilliant:

Þota (thota) - jet - translates pretty much as 'whoosh';

sími - telephone - literally 'a thread'

farsími - mobile phone - literally 'travel phone'

tölva - computer - a combination of tala (number) and völva (sorceress) - which is awesome

my favourite though is their word for jackpot - hvalreki which literally means 'beached whale'.

5
0

Those govt cuts - slasher horror or history-changing brilliance?

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Rent control

The devil of the proposal on housing benefit isn't the cap; it's that the rate at which it is going to be paid is dropping from 50% of the local median rate to 30%. And let's not fool ourselves that everyone on HB is a scrounger, there are plenty of sick and retirees that claim it as well. It's going to make lives very difficult - especially in big cities. Mind you I'd love to know how big City corporations are going to get their places cleaned when their cleaners are located outside the M25.

The problem is made worse by the insane price of renting properties in the UK. Rent control is common in Scandinavia and Germany and from my experience doesn't mean every rental property is a Rigsbyesque nightmare. Why not do it here? It might also finally kill off the parasitic buy-to-let market which has completely distorted the market for small homes and apartments.

10
3

'Spacetime cloak' could act as 'Star Trek transporter'

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Taking it to its logical conclusion

We stand at the threshold of a new era - one where it is possible to teleport an invisible shed.

5
0

Cyber cops crush plod-snapper site following Millbank riot

Mike Richards
Silver badge

The real criminals here

Are the sort of people who use the phrase 'de-host' in cold blood.

4
0

How to make boots on Mars affordable - One way trips

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Clearly...

...this is the Reg's next project after PARIS.

Come to think of it, Lester has gone very quiet of late - could he and our very favourite celebutante be about to colonise the Red Planet using nothing more than some bendy straws, gaffer tape and assorted plastic playthings?

4
0

Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Non-Facebook users

Bearing in mind the company's erm - unconventional - approach to respecting consumer privacy. I'm not sure I want *anything* to do with anyone who has a Facebook email account. I don't use Facebook and I don't want anything to do with them. But if I reply to an email sent from one of their accounts; I'd fully expect them to start mining it, acquiring and misusing information about me.

So I'll be adding a general Facebook email address rule to my blacklist.

3
0

3D printers, one-dimensional enemies

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Cory Doctorow

Wrote a short story called Printcrime about how the authorities are just going to love 3D printing:

http://craphound.com/?p=573

5
0

Pussy-slurping: You think you understand it, BUT YOU DON'T

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Trademark it quickly Lewis

Hands up everyone who wants to see Lewis and Lester pitch a paper and bendy straw Pussy Slurper(TM) on 'Dragons' Den'.

0
0

Global warming is actually good for rainforests, say boffins

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Misleading headline

Warmer temperatures might be good for rainforests, but the important bit is how long did it take for those temperatures to become established, and did rainfall patterns match those expected from the current warming?

One thing we do know from pollen cores is that the Amazon has repeatedly dried out in the past and been replaced by savannah-like landscapes dominated by grasses. The climate models suggest the Amazon is going to become more dominated by a wet and dry season which would encourage the die-off of trees.

2
0

Plods scrap crap stealth spy blimp

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Incredible

Who'd have thought the cloud deck in Manchester was ever much above head-height?

0
0

Falklands hero Marine: Save the Harrier, scrap the Tornado

Mike Richards
Silver badge

What I'd like to see

Is Lewis give a quick run through some countries he thinks are doing things right vis a vis their militaries. Obviously none are a precise match for the UK, but it'd be interesting to know if the Germans, Swedes and the like are doing better and spending less.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

US assistance

It's reasonably well known the US provided the UK with Sidewinder missiles and satellite pictures of the area.

0
0

Lincs authority lets schools decide on Pagan lessons

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Awesome

I really hope the practical work involves constructing a wicker man in woodwork classes.

2
0

Reg hacks crawl from London to Brighton

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Ah I think I know what's wrong

You seem to have bought the model of Crestmobile that has an espresso maker rather than an engine under the bonnet.

Honestly - that thing's an engine? And I thought miniaturisation was a new thing, this must have been built by elves - incompetent elves I grant you, but elves all the same.

BTW. Is it just me who suspects that Lester has realised that 'Top Gear' is a bit (and this is something the Crestmobile could only dream of) 'over the hill' and is setting himself up as chief purveyor of daring japes and tomfoolery to the nation? Think about it - Playmobil in space and an unreliable car race. Next, a daring crossing of Lake Baikal on an amphibious traction engine!

0
0

US Army's new $0.5bn British airship will fly 'mid-next summer'

Mike Richards
Silver badge

LZ129 wasn't the last

The Hindenberg had a later sister ship, the LZ130, the second Graf Zeppelin; the LZ131 was also under construction when war broke out and Zeppelin switched to aircraft production.

0
0

PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Awesome - and what of the Playmobilnaut

The brave toy who mounted PARIS and took her to heaven and back hasn't yet been seen in public. Surely there's a juicy kiss and tell story to be told?

More seriously, if you're not appallingly attached to the little piece of plastic - how about running a fund-raising competition - say a tenner a ticket - to win the pilot. All money to the charity (preferably registered) of your choice or to the LOHAN construction project.

0
0

North Korean PDA hits shelves

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Is it true

That the North Korean government is getting advice from Steve Jobs on how to be a real dictator?

5
0

Clive Sinclair unveils 'X-1' battery pedalo bubble-bike

Mike Richards
Silver badge

'deliveries are expected next summer'

If this is a Sinclair delivery time then it'll be closer to 2015 when it will ship alongside the ZX Microdrive.

2
0

Oz journo pokes PARIS

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Great interview

I'm surprised any of it is intelligible bearing in mind both the interviewer and the interviewee have their tongues jammed so firmly in their cheeks.

0
0

Times celebrates disappearing readers

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Not forgetting

Are the sites profitable? On those sorts of numbers I'd guess the answer is a serious no.

1
0

Rocks, hard places and Congo minerals

Mike Richards
Silver badge
Coat

columbo tantalite?

That would be columbite-tantalite, a mixture of two related minerals; columbite ((Fe, Mn)(Nb, Ta)2O6) and tantalite (Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6).

Coat for obvious reasons - 2lb geological hammer in the right pocket.

0
0

PARIS in 89,000 ft climax

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Clearly fake

All the shadows are wrong.

Seriously, well done guys, I look forward to the follow up: PARIS goes down - to the Marianas Trench.

1
0

Enormous Paleozoic flesh-eaters created in lab

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Actually that's not the one that gives me the heebie jeebies

It's Arthropleura that does it for me - a 2-3m long centi/millipede thing which scuttled around in the Upper Carboniferous.

1
0

Daily Mail rails at Street View in women's refuge wrongness

Mike Richards
Silver badge

The question only the Mail can answer

Does using Street View give you cancer?

4
0

Israel to join list of 'adequate' data protection nations

Mike Richards
Silver badge

I'm sure it's going to be all right

After the Dubai murders, the Israeli government promised never to copy the passports of friendly nations ever again.

Just like they promised never to copy the passports of friendly nations ever again in 1987 - after Mossad was caught copying British passports.

5
1

Highest point on the Moon found: Higher than Mount Everest

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Mean spheroid

Generally you calculate the height of features by how much they diverge from the imaginary spheroid that most closely matches the Moon's shape. On the Moon that's a spheroid with an equatorial radius of 1,738.14 km and a polar radius of 1,735.97 km.

1
0

Boffins mount campaign against France's official kilogramme

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Why platinum and iridium

They're pretty unreactive elements so unlikely to accumulate mass by grabbing oxygen atoms from the atmosphere. The iridium is probably there to harden the platinum.

There is a project to calculate the kilogram as the mass of a certain number of atoms of a crystalline substance such as silicon:

http://www.npl.co.uk/engineering-measurements/mass-force-pressure/mass/research/avogadro-project

2
0

PARIS launch tomorrow come hell or high water

Mike Richards
Silver badge

and...

all those who ride in her.... errrrr.... on her.... ummmm..... under her?

0
0

BA slams stupid security checks

Mike Richards
Silver badge

But...

Cameras don't need to be taken out of your bag. Nor do eBook readers.

It's a complete farce and sadly it's spreading. Until now Iceland has been entirely sane about screening passengers, but last week it was shoes off and laptops out at Keflavik.

2
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

High camp theatre

A couple of weeks ago I was passing through Heathrow's Outer Circle of security hell when the arch went 'bing'. A very polite officer said would I be prepared to be patted down. I said yes. After a good rummage he said he wasn't sure why the machine was going 'ping' so would I accept a body scan.

In the interests of novelty I said yes, so I was taken through to the pervatron. En route I found a couple of things, including a pack of gum and a pack of wet wipes tucked into a pocket and passed them to the security guy. He put them on the table without examining them further, irradiated my produce section and said I was free to go.

But the two objects I took out of my pocket that might have triggered the arch were never rescanned.

3
0

Vanquish

Mike Richards
Silver badge

ARS?

Maximum win for the name alone.

1
0

PARIS grounded by whipping wind

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Alan Shepard

Had to go in his silver space suit whilst Freedom 7 was stuck on the pad. But he was only given permission after the people at mission control were sure it wouldn't cause a short circuit and fatal fire.

By the way where was Rui? That image is sadly lacking the air of sultry glamour he brought to earlier photoshoots.

0
0
Mike Richards
Silver badge

And...

...a tasting guide so we can join in at home.

At a guess they're knocking back a precocious little number of 10% rioja and 90% unused aircraft dope.

0
0