* Posts by Mike Richards

3602 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Sony PlayStation Move: your questions answered

Mike Richards

Late 2010?

Then I guess Natal is going to wipe it off the face of the planet.

Agree with the folks above, this is a pitiful copy of the Wiimote/Nunchuk that isn't core to the PS3 in the same way as the Wii is built around the Wiimote. It's going to be here nearly four years after the Wii and it seems to do very little extra. I reckon there will be a few games at launch and then it will quietly die a death.

Put this alongside Natal in a game store and it's not going to look good. Put this and a PS3 against a Wii and people will only see the price difference and wonder what's so good about it.

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Body of James Brown disappears from family tomb

Mike Richards
Coat

Alternatively

The more awesome (and entirely reasonable) solution is that even now a zombie James Brown is stalking America! He's 'Doing it to Death' and 'Living in America'.

The spangly one with 'Make It Funky' on the back please.

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Sarah Palin to testify in email hack trial

Mike Richards

This could be awesome

Sarah Palin under oath being asked to explain her knowledge of security and IT.

Is this going to be televised?

If not, can we have it dramatised with Britain's newly-discovered not-terribly-bright, badly briefed, screeching, right wing, nutcase - Carol Vorderman in the lead role?

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Daily Mail commentard out-tw*ts the Tw*t-O-Tron

Mike Richards

Gets worse

If you think Mail comments are bad, you should flick through the letters page to the Daily Express. It's hair-raising stuff, sort of a Völkischer Beobachter for retards with the likes of Richard Madeley and Anne Widdecombe standing in for the Goebbels family - only without the easy going charm.

The Mail is a horrible newspaper but it is brilliantly put together to target its audience with the sort of precision the US Air Force can only dream of. The Express is just a sordid pile of hatred and inadequacies with Alan Titchmarsh on the front.

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Florida woman prangs car while shaving her privates

Mike Richards

Seconded

But proof in the form of PlayMobil is the only sort of evidence we accept around here.

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Top exorcist says Satan at work in Vatican

Mike Richards

Indulgences

Yes they still exist in the Catholic church, but it's not been permitted to buy them since the Council of Trent sometime in the 16th Century. They can now only granted by the Apostolic Penitentiary in the Vatican itself.

The production of blank indulgences was one of the first uses of Gutenberg's printing press Beforehand they had to be laboriously written out from beginning to end; along comes the printing press and voila - a whole new market was born.

Just fill in your name, mortal sin and a suitable donation to Christ's Kingdom on Earth and you - yes YOU - could save HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of years in Pergatory. No sin too big or too small! Apply today. The price of eternal salvation may fall as well as rise. Contact your local catamite for details.

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Mike Richards

Oldest excuse in the book

'It wasn't me that did those terrible things; the Devil made me do it!'

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Mike Richards

'That is 3 exorcisms a day, 7 days a week, for about 64 years.'

I don't know how these things work, but perhaps there are loyalty schemes run along the lines of 'excommunicate two creatures from the Pit and we'll throw in a further lost soul absolutely free.' Or maybe he once exorcised a demonic beehive and is counting all the residents?

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Home Sec says 17m ID cards in circulation by 2017

Mike Richards

It's kind of sweet when you think about it

Dear easily bewildered Alan Johnson still thinks he and his crowd are going to be in any position to say what happens to ID cards after a couple more months.

Bless.

Hello Alan, you've got some nice visitors. I SAID do you want a cup of tea? Oh, it's not one of his good days. best keep back and not make any sudden movements, he gets a bit like this close to an election.

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Paris Hilton crowned 'Worst Actress of the Decade'

Mike Richards

Nicholas Cage was robbed!

' Eddie Murphy was similarly crowned worst actor of the last ten years.'

I defy anyone to sit through Nick Cage's 'The Knowing' and not try to make an escape for the exit.

I was 35,000ft over Greenland when I saw it and still wanted to leave.

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'Negatively strange' antihypermatter made out of gold

Mike Richards

New word needed?

'*We would suggest a special name for the quality of negative strangeness. Perhaps "ultramundanity" or "hyper-boringness".'

May I propose 'Bracknell'?

BTW. One thing you left out of this article - does the new stuff confer superpowers?

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Photographers rue Mandy's copyright landgrab

Mike Richards

LibDems

Before voting for them you might want to know about the LibDem's Lord Clement-Jones.

He's busy in the Lords on the Digital Economy Bill and proposed a change which would do good business for lawyers specialising in intellectual property disputes. Essentially he wants a judge to hear any dispute over copyright material that is found on a site, and if the judge rules there's been a dispute, he can order the page or indeed the whole site taken down. No bad? Well think how many copyright disputes there could be over a site like YouTube. You couldn't probably find enough lawyers to represent all the breaches on YouTube alone.

Lord Clement Jones' list of interests includes:

*12(b) Parliamentary lobbying

Partner of DLA Piper (international law firm) and adviser to its global government relations practice.

The member is paid £70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper’s global government relations practice

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldreg/reg06.htm (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

And who are DLA Piper I hear you ask?

'DLA Piper's Intellectual Property and Technology practice is one of the largest groups of IP lawyers in the world...

'When disputes arise, your commercial objectives are our main concern. Whether you turn to litigation, engage in arbitration or mediation, or employ some other innovative solution to the problem, our IP and Technology group will represent and support you at every stage. '

http://www.dlapiper.com/global/services/detail.aspx?service=53

You'd almost think he was being paid to drum up business for them. Which, when you think about it, he is.

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'Snowball Earth': Glaciers, ice packs once met at Equator

Mike Richards

Moving rocks

'Tropical rocks from the Sturtian, which have since migrated up to remote northwestern Canada, show unmistakable signs of having been covered in big ice back then.'

More correctly, the rocks haven't migrated. Canada has.

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Mike Richards

Holocene

Is an epoch not an era.

And there's plenty of reasons not to even consider it a real epoch at all. It's shorter than most of the Pleistocene interglacials and there's no reason to think the glaciations have ended. It'd be better if we just considered ourselves living in an ongoing Pleistocene.

Mind you I have some sympathies with those that consider anything after the end of the PreCambian as geological 'drift'.

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Mars Express skims past Phobos

Mike Richards

'Doom laden' more like

Phobos is in a degrading orbit and very soon* it is going to pile into Mars with the force of a million Michael Bay movies.

* Very soon here is in geological terms. About 11 million years give or take a rise and fall of civilisation.

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DARPA to build military App Store, battlefield 3G

Mike Richards

I like the camo skin

You could probably make good money selling iPhone sleeves in a range of camo patterns.

And charge double if you could make each one unique.

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Sony readies revamped netbook

Mike Richards

Whatever happened to Moore's Law?

The specs of the current crop of netbooks isn't that far removed from the original Eee. Only the screens and the bills have got significantly bigger.

2Gb RAM would make many of these machines much more usable for day-to-day use.

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New use found for 'world's most useful tree'

Mike Richards

Boiling

They know water can be purified by boiling.

But they don't have the fuel to do it.

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Climategate hits Westminster: MPs spring a surprise

Mike Richards

Huh?

Why do you choose 15 years as the point to start of your 'no more warming'? It's wrong anyway - NASA have 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 (in that order) as the warmest years on record,

The MWP was not warmer than the current period, it was drier and it was a localised effect.

Sea ice in the Arctic is thinning and diminishing, it is growing in the Antarctic. That doesn't mean Antarctica is cooling, in fact its warming faster than pretty much anywhere on Earth. It does mean the circulation in the Antarctic Ocean is changing and less heat is being convected to the surface because meltwater is diluting the salinity of the surface layers of the ocean, reducing its density.

So the ice in the Himalayas isn't going as fast as one report says. But the evidence is clear, the vast majority of Himalayan glaciers are retreating.

Yes the climate has always changed, but its rarely been changing as fast as it is now in human history, and we're particularly vulnerable because we already use so much of the available resources whether that's water, agricultural land or areas built close to the sea.

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Mike Richards

Graham Stringer

The guy calls for scientists to be more open yet on every occasion he voted against opening up Parliament to external scrutiny.

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BT blamed for Davina McCall spamcalls

Mike Richards

Lost in Showbusiness

Let's see...

Not funny, terminally unfunny, pointless little carbon sink, buttock-clenchingly unfunny, Irish and yet still unfunny, 'chocolate or cherry?' 'Shotgun please', not that funny actually.

Think of them as a bunch of overpaid Butlins entertainers on wheels.

Is it wrong to wonder if they'll hit a big truck coming the other way?

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Old PS3s locked out of PlayStation Network

Mike Richards

Sony statement

Sony say they now know the cause of the problem and the fix should be along in the next 24 hours.

HOWEVER, they're saying all users of fat PS3s should NOT use their machines until the fix is released as there is a risk of data corruption for trophies and PSN purchases.

Details at: http://www.neowin.net/news/playstation-bug-cripples-quotfatquot-ps3-models-worldwide-2

Astonishingly, this info isn't even on the front page of the Playstation site. Sony's PR people should be taken out and lightly shot.

BTW. Sony's current slogan: 'It Only Does Everything (tm)'

Apart from work.

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DARPA wants military iPhone and Android apps

Mike Richards

Awesome new word

Deathnerd.

I want that on a T-shirt.

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Supersonic stealth jumpjet makes 'short landing'

Mike Richards

Good post

The other thing that did for our aircraft industry was putting all our eggs into the supersonic basket (thank you Tony Benn, another success to chalk up alongside ICL and the AGR). The money needed for that killed our relatively successful airliner business.

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Senators to NASA: Get your ass to Mars

Mike Richards

Congress vs. President

The President has proposed a budget which cancels Constellation. Congress has not yet approved the budget and might choose to reinstate the programme. Obama has said he will veto the revised budget if they do so.

But as many commentators above have said, this is a problem with a series of administrations and congresses who have kept chopping and changing NASA's mission whilst starving it of the money needed to engage in a long term project. NASA needs more money ring-fenced for these grand projects, but not just manned missions - it's time to go back to the Outer Solar System and start looking at those moons. We have nothing orbiting Jupiter looking at Europa and we should be seriously considering another probe to Saturn with the intention of seeing what the hell is going on down on Enceladus.

Let's have some of the excitement of the 1960s - yes it was expensive, but look at the advances America made in so many technological fields, look at the generation of engineers and scientists it spurred and look how much good will America garnered around the World. If America wants to be admired it needs something like an Apollo for the 21st Century.

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Jobs: I'll decide what to do with Apple's $40bn cash pile

Mike Richards

Debt

If you want to have a little weep at the UK's deficit - take a look at this graphic:

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-billion-pound-o-gram/

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Mike Richards

Just go and buy TiVo

Then the Apple TV becomes a useful product.

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Experts rubbish iPhone for health use

Mike Richards

Newton

Apple's original tablet had a faithful following as a device for medical applications. It's amazing battery life was one of the reasons it was so successful even after Windows CE machines came along with colour screens.

If only there was something like the Psion organisers around today that combined battery life, ergonomics and all-round loveliness.

One question - why are they allowed network devices in a hospital when we're expected to switch all our electronic gizmos off?

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ID cards: the first year report

Mike Richards

That's not the real question

He doesn't care about security or anything like that. His lifelong dream has been realised. Sir Joseph has been at the Home Office since year one and throughout that time the HO has been pressing for ID cards. It's hard to believe his anything other than a firm supporter of the scheme.

Our only hope is that Sir Joseph will be out of a job in a few weeks. No doubt to spend more time with his luxuriously furnished pension in the country.

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Mandy accused of screwing small biz

Mike Richards

Easy question

'Why is the UK Government using taxpayer's money to impose the use of products and services of a company that's currently being investigated by the EU for anti-competitive practices and breaches of EU privacy laws?'

Since the British government is also currently being investigated by the EU for anti-competitive practices (Northern Rock) and breaches of EU privacy laws (Phorm/BT), they might just want Google's company.

Of course where things differ is that most people like Google, Google is successful and Google has lots of money.

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Computer boffin on NHS Spine: Get out while you can

Mike Richards

Just got the bumph in the post

There's lots of stuff about the benefits, but the only way to opt out appears to be to make an appointment with your GP.

Well good luck with that around here. The only way of getting an appointment is to call at 08:15 (not 08:14 because the place is closed) and absolutely no later than 08:16 (because all of the places will be filled). Then, after being queued for ten minutes you have to satisfy the receptionist that you are suffering from something suitably serious to warrant an appointment, but not so serious that you should be at A&E. I'm pretty sure something along the line of 'I want to get off the spine' will be considered somewhat lower on the range of conditions than 'I cracked a nail.'

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Vulcan kept airborne by £400k refuel

Mike Richards

Tomahawks

We wouldn't need a Vulcan (which did practically no damage anyway). We have cruise missiles so rather than crater a runway at the arse end of nowhere we could (hypothetically) redecorate an office of our choice at the Argentine Defence Ministry.

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Mike Richards

Well if I could choose

It'd be the plane that Gerry Anderson must have designed - the TSR-2:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAC_TSR-2

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Sellafield gull cull mulled

Mike Richards

Jeez

These things are scary enough unmutated. Though it's possible Cornwall's flying velociraptors might have been caused by a natural high chip, high radioisotope diet.

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Mike Richards

'So how come theyre allowed to nuke the gulls?'

Because they're the ones with the plutonium.

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BT could face criminal case over Phorm trials

Mike Richards

Just hoping...

New Labour's most patronising politician, Patricia Hewitt, will be dragged in front of the court.

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Mike Richards

It's not as if BT stands for British Telecom is it?

BT stands for - erm - overcharging, inflexible, monopolistic, money-grabbing, scum-sucking knuckle-dragging parasites.

Seriously BT is the company's name, not an abbreviation. It's about as patriotic as BAe.

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Cyber attacks will 'catastrophically' spook public, warns GCHQ

Mike Richards

'"catastrophic" effect on public confidence in the government'

I don't think we need the cyberattack to have zero confidence in this bunch of control freak chimps.

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Silicon Valley hypegasm for miracle shoebox powerplants

Mike Richards

Problem with breeder reactors

Is one word.

Plutonium.

U238 is bred into Pu239 in a reactor. Fortunately for all of us, so far FBRs have been stupidly expensive, stupidly inefficient and stupidly unreliable so almost all countries have given up on the splendidly pyrotechnic mix of superheated plutonium, molten sodium and hot water.

We're already scared witless over the possibility of plutonium getting out of the fuel cycle and into the hands of the sort of people who shouldn't be trusted with a box of matches. And that's just with our existing light water reactors. Building reactors that are explicitly designed to make more of the stuff doesn't seem to be likely to end well.

The current treaties on the peaceful uses of nuclear power would give any country the right to make as much plutonium as they like in fast breeder reactors. They'd have to have reprocessing technology to recover the plutonium from the spent fuel and there is effectively no difference between bomb-grade and reactor grade plutonium if all you want is a relatively crude deterrent.

The thorium breeder has a similar problem. U233 is fast fissionable and as Operation Teapot showed in 1955 it makes for a delightfully pretty city buster.

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Tpotmet1.jpg

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Lost Nazi nuke-project uranium found in Dutch scrapyard

Mike Richards

Heisenberg

Wasn't ever core (ahem) to the German uranium project which was run mainly by Kurt Diebner. Early on the Germans had decided to concentrate on the power generation potential of fission rather than the bomb, so the Norsk Hydro heavy water was absolutely key to their objectives in calculating the fissionability of uranium.

Fortunately for us the whole project never got a very high profile in the Reich (Speer reported that Hitler only showed a passing interest in the subject) and for a long time ended up being funded by the Reich Postal Ministry of all places. By the time the Germans got round to experimenting with uranium enrichment they were being bombed back to the stone age and there was a crippling shortage of key components.

The German uranium project was eventually wrapped up by the Allies as Operation Alsos (alsos - 'grove' in Greek. The Manhattan Project was run by General Leslie Grove). They recovered a near-criticality experiment and several tonnes of uranium, but nothing close to what the Americans, British and Canadians had achieved.

Oh and trivia buffs. The Joachimsthaler mines which provided the Germans with their uranium were the only source of the metal in Europe. They had also provided Marie Curie with the pitchblende in which she discovered radium and polonium. Uranium extraction had been a side effect of mining silver. Which was used in the local currency, called the thaler. Whose name lives on as 'the dollar'.

Richard Rhodes' 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' is absolutely recommended reading for anyone interested in how we came to be where we are today.

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Kodak prompts ITC to consider iPhone ban

Mike Richards

Apple Xerox

It's unlikely that Xerox would have won the case anyway. After all they invited Apple in and got paid hard cash.

In 1979 Apple engineers had heard a lot about the Smalltalk work going on at PARC and got an agreement from Xerox that the company could buy 10,000 Apple shares (worth $1 million pre-IPO) in exchange for which Apple could see what was going on at PARC. Over the heads of some of PARC's staff, Xerox's management said Apple could see everything.

The Lisa team which was already well advanced with the OS, then began to implement a completely drag-and-drop interface which was well ahead of what Xerox had demonstrated. They were joined by many ex-PARC people who could see WiMP wasn't going anywhere under Xerox.

As for those shares. Xerox sold them for more than $17 million.

Apple did later agree to licence an ex-Xerox patent from a company called IP Innovation LLC, but that seems to relate to tabbed interfaces rather than WIMP per se.

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Swedish mother-daughter saint skulls are ringers, say boffins

Mike Richards

Now firmly in Blackadder territory

Edmund: Ah. Well, let's start with the pardons, shall we?

Baldrick: Right. Well, this is a fair selection. Basically, you seem to get what you pay for. They run all the way from this one, which is a pardon for talking with your mouth full, signed by an apprentice curate in Tukesbury.

Edmund: Ah. How much is that?

Baldrick: Two pebbles. ...all the way up to this one, which is a pardon for (reads) anything whatsoever, including murder, adultery, or dismemberment of (Edmund reads along) a friend or relative.

Edmund: Who's that signed by?

Baldrick: Both popes.

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Doctor Who attempted to overthrow Thatcher

Mike Richards

'current Dr Who with its multicultural & gay agenda'

What is this 'gay agenda'?

Did they include a timetable in the 'Radio Times' that I really should have paid more attention to? And is there homework?

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Wreck of 1930s flying aircraft carrier dubbed 'historic'

Mike Richards

Kind of...

Akron and Macon were built by Goodyear-Zeppelin, a partnership founded (quite brilliantly) in 1917, just before America joined World War I. Re-established in 1929, Goodyear got the rights to Zeppelin patents and people, Zeppelin (which was haemorraging money) got 10% of the partnership, hard cash and a guaranteed customer who could pay their bills.

The Zeppelin NT is still flying, there's one near the old Zeppelin works in Friedrichshafen that takes people over Lake Constance. IIRC there are two or three sister ships.

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Mike Richards

Wasn't the 'Akron'

Twas the LZ126 / ZR3 'Los Angeles':

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ZR3_USS_Los_Angeles_upright.jpg

After this the US Navy refused to allow their ships to use high masts.

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Chilean mint misspells Chile

Mike Richards

No, no, no...

It's an anti-fraud feature. Until El Reg broke the story, the Chilean Mint could identify real coins by checking to see if the name was spelt incorrectly. Now that cunning plan's been blown open they've had to resort to the back-up excuse that it was a terrible mistake.

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John Mayer tweets remorse over Playboy interview

Mike Richards

Oh thank god

It wasn't just me wondering if I've missed a meeting.

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Home Office to secure mobile phones

Mike Richards

Here's how the Home Office normally goes about solving the problem

LONDON. British boffins have opened their shed doors, clamped pipes between their teeth and proudly unveiled the Home Office's solution to street crime; a problem which afflicts even pleasant parts of our Metropolis. The half ton cast-iron and glass wonder is called The British Aerospace Mark I Telephonic Communications Enclosure'. This commodious device about the size of an average living room has been styled by a avant-garde cathedral architect and incorporates the very latest in Bakelite technology.

Her Majesty's Minister for the Interior, the Right Honourable Alan Johnson MP, told this correspondent that the government soon hopes to have enclosures on every street corner so that even working class people can indulge in the latest craze of making 'telephone calls' for a modest sum and to provide convenient advertising locations for ladies working night shifts.

The enclosures, which are already being called 'phone boxes' by the low orders will be painted in a patriotic shade of red. Once again, Britannia leads the way!

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Researchers rip iPad apart to reveal Apple's profits

Mike Richards

Bill Gates

Wasn't Bill Gates also unimpressed by the iPod and the iPhone? As a techno pundit he's somewhat lacking.

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Drayson locks Forces chiefs out of Defence budget carve-up

Mike Richards

'uniformed opposition' - should be 'informed opposition'

Drayson is a pointless waste of perfectly good carbon isn't he?

A jumped up Labour Party donor who made his first fortune selling a batch of life-expired vaccines to - oh - a Labour government and then made another one selling smallpox vaccines to - a Labour government - without ever having to tender for the contract.

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