* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Amazon tosses gelded Kindle at UK readers

Mike Richards

Make or break

Will be the store - the Sony store in the US is superb, their one in the UK through Waterstones is woeful. If Amazon can bring their entire catalogue to the UK then they win the battle even though the hardware is inferior to the competition.

However, I suspect the book companies will force them to restrict the choice just as they have with Sony.

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Star-watchers: Famous moon left half-smeared by dirty ring

Mike Richards

@ Sillyfellow

'The excuse given is that this is an effort to find water deep under lunar surface.'

In which case you'll be horrified to know that we've been smashing things into the Moon since Luna 2 in 1959, including some pretty huge piece of metal such as the 15 tonne final stages of the Saturn V Moon rocket. You'd be amazed to know what you can learn by hitting the Moon hard enough.

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Welsh yobs clobbered by cross-dressing cage fighters

Mike Richards

Reducing crime, disorder and fear

Perhaps Britain's streets would be safer if all towns were to have undercover cage fighters in boob tubes and stilettos patrolling after dark?

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Philips BDP3000 Blu-ray disc player

Mike Richards

PS3

Craig 12 said: 'I'm not a fan of the PS3 as a gaming system, but just as a blu ray/network/media player it's definitely worth the price.'

It makes an excellent Blu-Ray player, but for some unfathomable reason, the PS3 sucks as an upscaling DVD player - the fan runs continuously and there are some weird artifacts on screen when images are moving rapidly or the camera is panning or zooming. I tried watching 'The Illusionist' on the PS3 and had to stop as it was making me nauseous. Put it in a bottom-of-the-market upscaling DVD player and it ran fine.

Now where are the region free Blu-Ray players?

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Beeb unveils new Doctor Who logo

Mike Richards

So far so m'eh

Just one request.

Can they turn the incidental music down from the current setting of 11 and boost the level of the dialogue? I thought my surround sound system had blown up when I tried to listen to DW - then I heard what RTD had written and wished the music could be ever so slightly louder.

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Home Office declines to detail DNA-for-foreigns trial

Mike Richards

Also from the Home Office

There's the e-phrenology scheme which works out an individual's prospective criminality based on mobile phone photos of the bumps on people's heads; citizen's juries where a mob of 'Sun' readers get to pass judgement on petty criminals using a ducking school and a lexicon of very short words; and literally bleeding-edge trials where small animals are sacrificed in front of a mad woman on an unstable platform who goes on to shriek gibberish about the crime. The last one is rumoured to be in trouble - though to be fair Jackie Smith hasn't been quite the same since her husband's ham-fisted exposure with the porn stash.

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Electro/photonic 'Excitonic' cryo-computing breakthrough

Mike Richards

I want one...

...I don't care what it does, anything with 'exciton' on the label does it for me.

And as Big, tattooed Fred pointed out - it's just Kelvin, no degrees, nothing.

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Nation's parents prepare to be vetted

Mike Richards

So...

Ofsted have no problems with schools run by religious maniacs and the shocking standard of [pick any or all of the following] literacy, numeracy, basic science, physical education, history, geography or languages; but woe betide anyone trying to do some babysitting.

Is it possible to pin down the actual date this country became a dystopian joke?

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Microsoft apes Google with chillerless* data center

Mike Richards

@ Dennis Healey

'When will some overpaid consultant come up with the bleeding obvious - put these things in cold parts of the world rather than the Arizona desert.

'At a stroke we could save the Icelandic economy'

Already being done: http://www.verneglobal.com/

And they get points for extra smugness because all their power is renewable.

I hope you haven't spent all that consultancy money ;)

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IBM in £24m battle with UK spooks

Mike Richards

Tessa Jowell?

Isn't it a little rich of the minister in charge of the 2012 bread and circuses farrago to be condemning others for going over budget and failing to deliver?

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Swedish military combustobra: Jubtastic snap

Mike Richards

That is...

...quite possibly the most awesome page on the website.

As for the flag (hell it took me ages to realise there *was* a flag - I was distracted)... US soldiers can be seen wearing 'backwards flags' on the right arms of their uniforms. Army regulations say that the stars always face forwards as if the flag is flying in the breeze.

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Honda develops motorised unicycle

Mike Richards

I want to see

Asimo on a unicycle...

...preferably juggling chickens.

Then we'll know AI has come of age.

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Post Office will snap and dab for ID card scheme

Mike Richards

Fabulous

Went to the Post Office last week to send a parcel, took forever to get to the head of the queue and when I was being served the guy behind the desk was clearly following a script - did I want any holiday money? how about one of their low interest credit cards? did I need insurance on my home/car/life/cat? had I heard about their wide range of competitive savings schemes...? I guess 'do you want to have your eyeballs scanned?' is next.

Goodness knows how long it will be served if this becomes commonplace, it'll be quicker to walk a letter to the Orkneys than post it.

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There's water on the Moon, scientists confirm

Mike Richards

Ah the BBC

'The Indian Moon mission was launched late last year but has already stopped working due to a fault'

It worked for 312 days in lunar orbit which is considerably longer than the majority of American and Soviet probes. There's nothing 'only' about the probe's performance.

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UK council forced to swallow dick

Mike Richards

Not sure who's more pathetic...

...the Council for changing the name of a pudding, or the people who have time to write letters expressing their outrage at the change.

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Secret teen hacker army ridiculed

Mike Richards

Biggest implausibility

A factual story appearing in the Sunday Express that doesn't involve Jordan (the Bulgarian airbag stand not the country).

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Mike Richards

'Topless lovelies'

Was the admiral aware of Sweden's top-secret lingerie division and their plans to re-enact the glory days of the Vikings? Boatloads of Scandinavian beauties storming the beaches of Eastern England, elastic twanging - we would have been (deliciously) defenceless without his bazooka nets.

If you'll excuse me, I think I need to go and lie down in a darkened room.

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Labour to push for broadband tax before election

Mike Richards

Taxes never go away

As other people have mentioned this may start at 50p per line, but it'll be seen as a relatively painless way of getting tax, so it'll go up and up.

And will it ever go away? When everyone is connected to digital Britain will they say 'thanks for the money, your bills will go down now', or will the money be diverted into some other slush fund.

There's a recent parallel here. When New Labour passed legislation to introduce digital TV the government made it obligatory for social landlords to convert their properties to digital TV. The cost of upgrading, (which in the case of blocks of flats can run into tens of thousands of Pounds), is passed on to the tenants and cannot be subsidised. Tenants have to pay their share of the cost even if they have no interest in receiving digital services or even don't have a TV.

So you may not want broadband but you're going to end up paying for it to be installed whether it's wanted or not.

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Bridge made of recycled plastic supports 70-ton tank

Mike Richards

Not so worried about UV

Is it flameproof?

If so, can they do a deal to supply Sweden's combat-bras?

Mike.

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Dual-screen Microsoft 'booklet' uncovered

Mike Richards

Reference design?

Could this just be a reference design for hardware manufacturers to use but one that Microsoft itself won't ever manufacture?

Still, it looks impressive, though I wonder how much stamina it will have with so little room for a battery.

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Swedish military bras burst, melt during 'rigorous exercise'

Mike Richards

Where's the Internet video?

And don't fob us off with Playmobil.

This is quite clearly Sweden's ultimate defence. Unlike more immature countries that rely on the threat of thermonuclear megadeath to protect against invasion, the cunning Swedes have worked out that a platoon of special forces striptease babes will bring any invaders to a grinding halt.

It's incredibly brilliant.

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LG GD910 Watch Phone

Mike Richards

It's either the season for surrealist bikes

Or that is one lousy camera lens.

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Harrods web Grotto snowed under

Mike Richards

Mmmm Christmassy

After all, nothing smells more like Christmas than fermenting penguin guano.

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Pull the plug on Pandas, declares BBC man

Mike Richards

What?

'Packham will have to settle for boring humans to death with the latest series of Autumnwatch'

Good god - TV's never boring when Kate Humble's about.

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Baroness Scotland fined for failing to follow own law

Mike Richards

Oh that's okay

She's explained it perfectly:

It's 'an administrative penalty' for a 'technical breach' of the law neither of which are like 'paying a fine for breaking the law' which only apply to people outside of government.

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Mike Richards

Translation service

The Home Office said: “The wider investigation is ongoing.”

The Mighty Reg replied: 'We asked what the last line meant but they were not able to elaborate.'

My translation is that the Home Office said: 'We're trying to find someone outside the Labour Party to blame.'

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Suicide bum-blast bombing startles Saudi prince

Mike Richards

Almost too awesome

'Of course we can only speculate regarding the firing system furnished by the back-alley bomb makers who stood behind the young terrorist.'

That's a masterclass in reportage.

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DARPA seeks orbital wheely-bin plan

Mike Richards

5km of Vapona fly paper in low orbit.

Simple - that'll be $1 billion please.

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'Do You Want To See My C*ck?' asks budding author

Mike Richards

The worrying bit is

We're all going to laugh at the stupidity of the idea, then some publisher will pick up on it, make millions and before we know it Duncan Webster will be on every TV panel show and radio comedy in much the same way Dave Gorman keeps dining out on the back of one good idea rather than any actual comedy ability.

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Volvo reveals electric C30's specs

Mike Richards

Bah! Humbug!

A good share of the Reg readership would have been quite at home a couple of centuries ago pointing out that Mr. Trevithick of Cambourne's frighteningly novel 'steam locomotive' was clearly doomed to failure. After all his latest didn't have the range or speed of a good horse, couldn't fertilise the rhubarb and that no one had bothered to consider where all the coal and iron was going to come from.

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Peugeot looks to 1940s for quirky e-car design

Mike Richards

Inspired by the 1940s?

Ummm...

Errr....

Hmmmm....

Aha! The doors face backwards and it has four wheels - magnificent.

But as for all the folks here claiming that it's ugly. Of course it's ugly - it's a French car.

Whatever elan the French have towards design goes out the window when they're asked to produce a modern car. Have a look at the petrol-powered monstrosities Peugeot are currently turning out with their gaping mouths, silly fiddly detailing and tin-foil construction, then there's the vile Megane with it's stupid stick-out rear end, the anodyne beyond words Picasso and the interchangeably awful pocket Citroens. There haven't been so many ugly cars in production since the dying days of Leyland.

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Sony and BBC clash over PS3 problems

Mike Richards

If in doubt - SoGA

''But since the issue appears to affect consoles after 18-24 months of use, the BBC claimed that Sony said it isn't liable.''

You might have a claim under the Sale of Goods Act for up to six years although the burden of proof will be on you to demonstrate the fault was inherent and not down to misuse. Though Sony could have a get out clause that novel technology is not expected to meet the same reliability standards as more established ones.

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Doctor Who fans name best episode ever

Mike Richards

Unearthly Child

Sure it's a bit slow, but has DW ever topped the sense of wonder and awe when they step out of a 1960s junkyard into the TARDIS for the first time?

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Renault unveils e-car foursome

Mike Richards

Twizy

It's going to take forever to get anywhere in that thing. The electric motors will be fast enough it's just that Renault's famous build quality means that as soon as you hit a speed bump you'll have to stop and nail all that plastic crap back on the body.

Fascinatingly horrible in a Gobbler Motel (go look it up) sort of way.

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US Spec Ops operates psywar websites targeted at UK

Mike Richards

Fabulous idea

They'll be sending squaddies off to watch Mary Poppins to ensure they have a perfect grasp of English (British dialect).

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Brown says the 'C' word

Mike Richards

' in making the low carbon cars that Britain is leading Europe in developing'

Eh?

Do we have a domestic car industry?

A battery business?

Or even a British-owned power generation company?

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Volkswagen unveils Yorkshire-friendly e-car

Mike Richards

Interior layout

This is a work of genius! As the diagram clearly shows, a car has finally been designed solely around the crucial activity of transporting cases of bottled beer.

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Asus' Eee keyboard out next month - official

Mike Richards

Blast from the past

Forget the Amiga, a quick glance and I thought the Sinclair QL had finally been released and Asus were about to give a whole new generation the unmatched thrill of using Sinclair MicroDrives.

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Most expensive RAF aircraft ever takes to the skies

Mike Richards

Not really a Comet

It's true the Nimrod was based on the Comet, but it was designed around the Comet 4 airframe which has precious little in common with the original 1949 Comet prototype. The Comet 4 first flew in 1958 which makes it younger than the American alternative.

Oh and its a much better looking plane.

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Ricoh GR Digital III compact camera

Mike Richards

Bit like the Sigma DP-1

Which has to be the World's most frustrating camera. That has a magnificent fixed-length lens and the (relatively) big Foveon sensor; but it's hooked up to what has to be the slowest hardware in creation - taking an age to read an image off the sensor before you can do anything again. I've really enjoyed some of my time with a DP-1, but more often than not I've hated its slow start up and read/write time.

These cameras are very much for the serious studied and dare I say it - slow - photographer. The Sigma produces wonderful images, but it is not a camera for snapping away with. I dare say this Ricoh is going to feel much the same.

Certainly they're not impulse purchases.

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Ryanair faces ban on luggage charge auto-opt-in

Mike Richards

@ Number6

'I've got six years to return dodgy goods? I must have missed that one, I'd always worked on the principle that it was their problem for the first year and mine from then on, with very few exceptions.'

You've missed that one.

It's always been the case that the Sale of Goods Act has given protection over extended periods of time. The exact definition of durability depends on the item and its expected reasonable lifetime - so a prawn sandwich shouldn't last as long as a hammer.

Generally you are entitled to a replacement or a repair, but if a repair or replacement is too expensive, or not possible then you are entitled to a refund. In which case your rights to redress are dependent on a number of issues such as the amount of time the object worked perfectly before the fault occurred - if you got 5 years 364 days good service out of the hammer before it broke then you might be expected to settle for smaller amounts of compensation.

If the goods were faulty at the time of sale you can ask for your money back within a reasonable amount of time (the law does not specify 'reasonable' - but six months would be unusually long unless you can show you were working with the retailer or the manufacturer to resolve the issue until then).

For the first six months the retailer has to demonstrate that the goods were fit for purpose when sold - the presumption is that there was a defect and the customer is entitled to a refund. After six months, the burden of proof falls on the consumer who must show there is a problem.

And don't confuse your statutory rights (those given in law under SoGA and the Goods and Services Act etc.) with the manufacturer's warranty which is given in ADDITION to those protections.

As with all these things, if you're in any doubt about a contract and your rights under it - call your local trading standards office.

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Tory MP to sue over sex smear email

Mike Richards

If there's going to be any justice

Both of the equally odious parties in this case will lose.

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US Navy boffins invent aircraft-to-sub laser phone

Mike Richards

To be more environmentally friendly

Couldn't they just strap high explosives to dolphins and detonate them in sequence to sound out Morse messages?

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Swedish bloke attempts lactation

Mike Richards

Soon to be on Channel 4 no doubt

Lactating Vikings - sounds like an indie band to me.

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Nokia's £500 netbook: What were they thinking?

Mike Richards

If only...

Nokia owned a lightweight operating system designed for portable devices...

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NASA works on robo-podcab scheme

Mike Richards

Points?

As in what's the...

A huge problem for any monorail is switching traffic from one line to another. Any indication how they plan to do this without having huge chunks of metal swinging too and fro over people's heads?

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Bletchley Park to restore 112-byte* '50s Brit nuke computer

Mike Richards

Any chance...

Bletchley Park can get to work restoring XBox 360s to working condition?

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Xbox 360 'least reliable' console

Mike Richards

@ Ian Bonham

'My Amiga 2000 still works, with the original hard drive and GVP card. It also boots in under 10 seconds from cold start to working desktop.'

Sob! My stupidly expensive A4000 died a couple of years ago after the battery leaked all over the motherboard disgorging something about as corrosive as the blood in 'Alien'. Great computer.

Of the people I know with a 360, two of us are on our third machines (and mine sounds seriously unwell these days) and one is on his second. Only one has their original console and they seem to keep that in a hermetically sealed room.

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Forget solar panels, it's time for rooftop slime-tanks

Mike Richards

@Richard 81

'Perhaps, rather than pumping the carbon into the ground they could let it out near the sea bed in fine bubbles, so it dissolves in the sea. That way you're just increasing the rate at which the sea would naturally soak up carbon dioxide.'

Actually that's a really bad idea, the ocean is acidifying at an accelerating rate because of the CO2 its absorbing from the atmosphere. That makes life much harder for all the organisms who develop calcite skeletons from dissolved calcium - and who eventually take CO2 out of the environment and into deep marine sediments.

One solution might be to compress CO2 and dump it into the deep ocean where it would form a stable liquid - but that has a serious downside in that it would suffocated anything living on the ocean bottom.

Dissolving CO2 or pumping liquid CO2 into brine reservoirs - helpfully located under most major oil fields - is probably the best solution we have at the moment. It wouldn't even need new technology.

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Huge 'vampyrus' bats being hunted to extinction

Mike Richards
Paris Hilton

Vampyrus

Is an excellent name for a horror movie featuring a giant man-eating predator - preferably starring the talented thespasian next to this post.

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