* Posts by Mike Richards

3608 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Jacqui calls Vodafone man to run massive snoop database

Mike Richards

eStasi

With the productive part of the economy seriously screwed by the non-productive part (New Labour and investment banking alike); there's soon going to be millions of people out of work and desperately needing new forms of employment.

And what better way than having the jobless pressed into service snooping on all our phone calls, IMs and web surfing? Even better, single mums will be able to spy on people from the comfort of their own homes - so no need to pay child care.

In Jacqui's world, every day will be like waking up in Pyongyang without the Dear Leader's sense of whimsy.

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Sony Rolly dancing MP3 player

Mike Richards

Should make a bright pink one

'Cos I'd pay money to see a pack of AIBOs chasing that around the room.

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Battery builders beg for $1bn

Mike Richards

Sounds familiar

Older readers will remember 1980s America pouring billions into fabs so it would have a guaranteed supply of memory chips in case of war with Japan.

How well did that go again?

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Attack of the quarter-ton, 'fridge-sized' killer jellyfish

Mike Richards

Lewis: you missed out a key piece of advice

For some of us with busy lives*; El Reg is the only place to look for post Cnidarian survival guides (and Paris Hilton updates).

You should have included the useful hint that many jellyfish venoms can by pissing on it - the wound, not the jellyfish - that just makes them angry.

* for certain definitions of the word 'busy'.

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Hutton robs forces, pours MoD cash into UK arms biz

Mike Richards

Our ongoing delusion

When are British politicians finally going to grasp the fact we're not a major power any more and we really don't have huge interests around the World that need defending. We're just the latest big European power to find the world's moved on. The Swedes used to dominate the military balance in Central Europe, now they've decided they can do much better selling flat-pack to the rest of the World whilst defending their own territory. Do the Dutch really miss their global empire and massive Navy? What about the Portuguese and the Spanish?

Let's just accept it, Britain: it's a bit crap.

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Bollywood to remake The Italian Job

Mike Richards

“lots of singing and dancing”

Not a good plan when your van is teetering on the brink of a cliff.

As for M7S's idea of other Bollywood remakes.

'Die Hard'

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UK e-tailers scurry to scrap dodgy Heavy Metal covers

Mike Richards

Surely time for an in-depth Reg investigation of the IWF?

My eminently sensible suggestion is that anyone who wants to apply for a job with the IWF is the sort of reactionary Daily Mail 'just think of the children' busybody who should be banned from such a responsible position. The one who slimed his way on to Channel 4 last night - well he's the sort of creep that my mum used to warn me about.

The only people getting aroused by this album are the likes of Jacqui Smith who even now is probably writhing in ecstasy at the prospect of lots more stuff getting banned soon.

Yeah I know, I've put the thought of an aroused Jacqui Smith in your mind now...

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Carphone co-founder quits over secret share pledge

Mike Richards

£100 million in borrowing?

What was he doing, paying off an Ocean Finance loan?

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Jacqui Smith denies any knowledge of police search

Mike Richards

Why don't I believe her?

(Apart from the obvious)

Boris Johnson knew beforehand and David Cameron was also informed immediately before.

Are we supposed to believe that servants would have left either the Home Secretary or Prime Minister ignorant of the situation if a senior Tory had got on the phone to tell them this was an outrage?

That Jacqui Smith is ignorant is a given, that she was ignorant of this is a good old fashioned Melton Mowbray of a lie.

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'Faith-based' investment firm fingers holiday's most sinful games

Mike Richards

This could backfire

Clever games companies will simply stick the Timothy score on the box.

'A must have game!' (Joystick wigglers)

'Awesome' (The Times)

'36/39' (Timothy Guide)

'New Diana Revelations' (The Daily Express)

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Human rights court rules UK DNA grab illegal

Mike Richards

One for the lawyers

Now the highest court in Europe has concluded that the UK has breached the ECHR, does this mean that anyone else who has had their records retained on the database can sue the government?

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Mike Richards

ECHR != EU

They are completely different organisations.

Having said which - bloody good decision, Jacqui really is having a shitola week isn't she?

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Merseyside plant to punch out Chevy Volt

Mike Richards

Government money?

Going into GM, a American company that's about to go spectacularly tits-up.com? What could possibly go wrong?

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Supersonic fighters could snuff out hurricanes

Mike Richards

Now if only...

...someone had built a supersonic airliner that could supercruise for hours on end without needing an afterburner...

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Tories release MP office raid footage

Mike Richards

Kettle meet pot, pot meet kettle

'She accused the Tories of condoning "systematic" leaking of confidential Home Office information.'

A bit like those helpful-to-the-Labour-Party leaks from inside the Treasury that kept ending up with Robert Peston at the BBC?

F'rkrissakes Jacqui when you're in a hole stop digging instead of asking for a bigger shovel.

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Gov beta test for grid-friendly, carbon-saving smart fridges

Mike Richards

Think big...

Lay a cable between Britain and Iceland and tap into some of their enormous untapped hydroelectric potential. We get a huge amount of clean electricity, they get lots of hard currency and a diversified economy.

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Teen-bothering sonic device now does grownups too

Mike Richards

Big question

'"It is quieter than a child playing the violin," inventor Howard Stapleton told the Beeb.'

Yes, but is it as annoying as a child playing the violin?

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Nuke-nobbler raygun 747 in first full-power blast

Mike Richards

Just wondering...

...how long it took to get all those nasty chemicals onboard using the regulation 100ml bottles.

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Lord Lamont joins Phorm board

Mike Richards

Bright side...

He might be as shite at this job as he was being Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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Portsmouth gets crime-predicting CCTV

Mike Richards

South West England?

Presumably this a version of the South West which encompasses everything West of Reading and South of Birmingham?

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Wireless comms and the end of civilisation

Mike Richards

Isn't the real problem with Survivors

That it's a terrible remake of a frankly-not-very-good original?

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MoD kit chief: Blighty unsure of supersonic stealth jumpjet

Mike Richards

One simple question

What are these carriers for?

Are they another part of the MoD's macho strategy to try and fool the world + dog into thinking that Britain isn't a clapped out medium-sized country, or a turbine powered job creation scheme for Gordon Brown's constituents?

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BBC relives The Day of The Triffids

Mike Richards

"fast-paced, futuristic and electrifying take"

So nothing like the book which imagined the slowest, dullest apocalypse ever to befall mankind.

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Counter-terror police arrest Tory frontbencher

Mike Richards

Jacqui Smith told me...

...that Britain was crawling with terrorists who were only minutes away from exploding a ricin laced fizzy drinks can containing anthrax.

So I'd have thought that the anti-terror police would have been far too busy protecting us from mad mullahs and animal rights nutters to bother investigating government leaks.

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Satanic net neologisms - nominations invited

Mike Richards

'Squee!'

which is usually found hanging around 'lolz' and should be permanently joined to it - with a rusty nail embedded in the hand of the person who typed it in - but then I'm just a soft-hearted liberal.

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Dixons plunges to loss

Mike Richards

@ Craig Roberts

'Is there (and if there isn't - why the hell not?) a way for the general public to force a General Election? '

In short. No there isn't. The UK constitution (written on the back of a thousand now long-lost fag packets) has a model where the electorate turn all political decisions over to their betters in the House of Commons and then has no involvement in the 'democratic process' for the next few years. The only way an election can be called are:

1: at the end of a Parliamentary term (a maximum of five years);

2: the decision of the then Prime Minister to call an election at a time of his or her choosing;

3: the government losing a vote of 'no confidence' in the House of Commons - although this is more the done thing than any particular piece of statute. This is how the last Labour government fell in 1979;

4: the government losing a finance bill (the Budget) - again, not constitutionally required, but IIRC it has happened at least once in the 19th Century.

The monarch has no ability to independently dissolve Parliament. There is a fig leaf of doing so when the Prime Minister requests it prior to an election.

I do like the Eddie Izzard idea though.

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Ashdown brain trust: Democracy isn't a human right

Mike Richards

Democracy

From the quote they're not saying we have to be friends with China, or even approve of their politics; only that we cannot change them into a Western democracy. I think the report is calling for a new form of detente - we have profound differences with the other powers in the World, but those differences should not prevent us from engaging with them on matters of common concern.

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Yes! It's the USB Toaster!

Mike Richards

In other breaking news...

...just in from Oregon - the story of the exploding whale.

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Jamming convicts' mobiles works

Mike Richards

First amendment?

An interesting defence - use of the part of the Constitution that guarantees your free speech to deprive people of theirs. Gotta love the First Amendment, it's pretty much good for any purpose - if only we had something similar over here on the right-hand bank of the Atlantic.

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Net pedants dismantle Quantum of Solace

Mike Richards

Have you spotted

That when James Bond appears in 'Dr. No' he's played by Sean Connery, but when he leaves 'A Quantum of Solace' he's played by Daniel Craig? How does this sort of basic continuity error slip through? I think someone in the BBC should apologise.

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DARPA wargamer calls for US X-Men superplane fleet

Mike Richards

'Ghost'

Don't remember the torture scene - was that before or after Demi Moore and the potter's wheel?

And 'supertroopers'? What are they; a low-key ABBA tribute band?

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NASA's curious climate capers

Mike Richards

@ jake @ Anonymous Coward

'Yes. The world is getting warmer. When was the last time the Thames froze over?'

Since you ask it was the winter of 1962 - 63 when it froze as far downstream as Teddington Lock. If you're asking when was the last Frost Fair then it was 1813 - 14 which is recognised as an exceptionally cold winter even for the Little Ice Age, possibly as a result of the colossal eruption of Tambora in Indonesia. It's questionable whether frost fairs were possible much later, not just because of a general warming trend, but also because the construction of London Bridge from 1825 and the Embankment changed the flow of the river, making it faster and much less likely to freeze.

'It's still not as warm as it was in Roman times. When was the last time you drank wine from grapes grown along Hadrian's Wall?'

Actually you could grow vines at Hadrian's Wall today, it's just that it doesn't make economic sense. I've heard this story about Romans and Northumberland wine a number of times, but I can't find a definitive source apart from Freddie Forsyth blustering on 'Question Time', so I wonder if the Romans ever did have vineyards that far north.

As for temperatures changing. Yes they do, it is the RATE of change in the current warming phase that is abnormal compared to other changes in the Holocene.

@ Anonymous Coward said:

'One problem we have is that severe volcanic activity a couple of centuries ago threw a lot of ash into the air and resulted in wonderful sunsets (no you don't see sunsets like Turner painted, but you did back then)'

Already factored into the calculations and we have plenty of empirical evidence from eruptions such as El Chichon and Pinatubo to know the amount of cooling these eruptions would cause.

As for not seeing sunsets like Turner's ummmm - perhaps some of Turner's paintings are impressionistic?

'Then of course we had the industrial revolution, you should therefore have seen all those CO2 emissions producing significant global warming over the 18th and 19th centuries - but that doesn't seem to be the case from the data we have.'

We're burning an order of magnitude more carbon than we were in the 18th and 19th Century when only a tiny minority of the population were consuming fossil fuels and even then only consuming a small fraction of the energy we use today.

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BNP races to get membership list off the net

Mike Richards

Human Rights Act

Strange they feel the need to use the Human Rights Act when the BNP officially opposes the introduction of the act into British Law.

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Most biometric checks will bypass ID database

Mike Richards

Eh?

Meg (yes I read it as Hitler as well) prattled: 'The Identity and Passport Service is still in the process of procurement of specific biometric systems,'

Ummm, according to Wacky Jacqui, 2009 will see the glorious issuing of the first ID cards to foreign residents and the great unwashed gagging for a Blunkettcard.

By the sounds of it they still haven't decided what system to buy, let alone install it, test it and enroll people. How the hell can the Home Office claim to be in a position to roll out the cards and infrastructure when the basics haven't been established?

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German bawdy house offers free entry for life

Mike Richards

Shagatoria

Word of the week.

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Wacky Jacqui's £12bn gIMP could be unleashed by 2012

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'but haven't the tories and that 3rd party stated they would not follow this through? And there will almost certainly be a general election in 2010-2011?'

Yes but there's a terrifyng prospect that Labour will go to the polls with a snap election in the next few months under a campaign that can be summed up as 'free money!', 'beastly Tories talking down the Pound', 'more money for pensioners!', 'horrible American mortgages', 'lovely money for nurses!', 'ooooh look - puppies.' And any mention of civil liberties won't get a look in.

Knowing the British public, a quick tax cut is all that Labour will need to get Jacqui's GIMP and ID cards.

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BNP membership list leaks online

Mike Richards

Let me get this straight...

...People in certain occupations are banned from joining extreme political parties. This is well known and yet it looks like people in these positions have still given their job details to the BNP - which then recorded it.

Guess the entry requirements for Master Race aren't what they used to be.

Now the thorny question remains - is this a shocking intrusion on personal information or just hilarious.

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Magazine faces legal action for bowing to legal action

Mike Richards

Libel laws

The English libel laws are now such a farce that I'm amazed they've not been comprehensively binned and replaced by something more compatible with human rights legislation such as the ECHR.

Since Labour have legislated on everything else up to and including selling squirrels (you can't!) why have they left these dreadful laws on the statute book?

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Still sending naked email? Get your protection here

Mike Richards

Have to agree - it's too complex

I've just tried installing GPG on a new Linux box, I followed the instructions and what happens? The make file doesn't - well - make. The error is unintelligible to me, I have absolutely no idea how to fix the problem and so my machine goes without protection.

The suggestion above that Thunderbird needs to ship with this sort of security out of the box is an excellent one. Install it (preferably with a click interface) then follow the one-off wizard to set up protection.

Until then...

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Judge says tech-addled jurors undermine justice

Mike Richards

@ Dan

'judge who famously interrupted a trial to ask what a web page was'

Actually the judge was doing everyone a favour not showing ignorance. The defence and prosecution were using different definitions of Internet technology which could have had some bearing on the outcome.

There have been attempts to improve this situation by getting the two sides to agree terminology and to introduce experts called amici curiae into trials where large amounts of specialised information must be discussed.

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India draws up own Google Earth plan

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

So it's just me who thinks that building world-class technology that's in commercial demand might be a way for India to grow its economy and lift people out of poverty?

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Amazon UK pulls Scientology exposé for 'legal reasons'

Mike Richards

@ Tom Austin

'(Also, why hydrogen bombs in particular? What's wrong with basic atomic bombs? Or more hi-spec nuclear / neutron? Is there some kind of specific blast yield that only hydrogen bombs can deliver? Confused.)'

See it's cynics like you that spoil Scientology for everyone. L Ron spent literally *minutes* doing the exhaustive 'research' needed to come up with the 'evidence' that makes "Dianetics" the sort of book it is - a doorstop.

Somehow L Ron got that bit right*. H-bombs can have an unlimited yield, you're just limited by the amount of fusion fuel. Old-fashioned, bargain basement atom bombs are limited to less than a megaton - and here's a bit that will make the heart of a Brit swell with pride - the biggest ever fission bomb explosion was BRITISH - Orange Herald at 720 kilotonnes - even Xenu would be scared by that.

* I 'spose it's like monkeys and typewriters. If you leave a really shite science fiction author in front of a blank page long enough they might get something right. I think the BBC is trying something similar with their technology correspondents.

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Royal Society of Chemistry defines perfect Yorkshire pud

Mike Richards

To combine threads

How can I use a Yorkshire pudding to solve 'The Italian Job'?

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Carphone Warehouse denies mass Linux Webbook recall

Mike Richards

Love my Aspire One - but...

...the distributors of subnotebooks have got to get better at supporting the 'average' user. My Aspire One is brand new, but it has old versions of Firefox and Open Office pre-installed with no easy way of updating them to the newer releases.

So I've been on a steep learning curve to bring my machine up-to-date and make sure it is secure; I wouldn't like to see how my parents would cope. I've been using UNIX for [ahem] years now and it's still much fiddlier on the Aspire than it is on a Windows machine.

But it is kind of nice to be sudo ing again. ;)

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Half of Brits abuse apostrophe's

Mike Richards

My biggest bugbear...

...is that the greengrocers' apostrophe has escaped into the wild and can be found infesting the media section of Tesco like a particularly nasty boll weevil resulting in horrors like [and look away now if you're easily scared]

CD's and DVD's.

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Finland's flawed e-voting scheme - blame the voters?

Mike Richards

Ways of stopping this sort of problem

If this is more than someone covering their asses; then the supposed problem of voters removing their cards too early could have been prevented by basing the machine on an ATM which only releases a card when the transaction is complete. And perhaps a machine that displays 'Thank-you' to show the interaction is over.

Or a paper receipt containing a unique code and a phone number or URL that would let a voter check their vote at a later date.

Or, they could have used (and stop me if this gets too nose-bleedingly technical), a piece of paper, a pencil on a string and a box.

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White House network pwned 'multiple' times by Chinese

Mike Richards

On the upside...

...the Chinese might be able to provide investigators with Bush's 'missing' email archive.

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Swedish transsexuals offered prosthetic todgers

Mike Richards

Interesting whitepaper link

Just below the headline:

'Free whitepaper: Prosthetic Penises in the Data Centre'

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Cream drummer may flash ginger nuts in court

Mike Richards

We demand!

A PlayMobil reconstruction.

Hey, it makes a difference from court artist sketches.

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Passport and ID card price hike laundered via private sector

Mike Richards

Post Office - they must be joking?

I queued for 20 minutes at a post office yesterday to post a parcel. Every other person was there putting money in or taking money out, paying bills, getting travel money, you name it... am I now going to have to stand in line while people have their eyeballs scanned three or four times before being told the machine isn't working.

And how long before the Paul Daniels fronted advertising campaign for Tesco Biometrics - with Clubcard points? Oooh probably shouldn't give them ideas, half the population would flock to Tescos if they thought they could get half price KitKats in exchange for their liberty.

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