* Posts by Mike Richards

3615 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

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. ;)

0
0

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.

0
0

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.

0
0

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.

0
0

Swedish transsexuals offered prosthetic todgers

Mike Richards

Interesting whitepaper link

Just below the headline:

'Free whitepaper: Prosthetic Penises in the Data Centre'

0
0

Cream drummer may flash ginger nuts in court

Mike Richards

We demand!

A PlayMobil reconstruction.

Hey, it makes a difference from court artist sketches.

0
0

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.

0
0

MP calls for Jezza Clarkson's head

Mike Richards

As theyworkforyou says

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/chris_mole/ipswich

Voted for the Iraq war, ID cards, foundation hospitals, student fees, current anti-terror laws and for replacing Trident. Since he doesn't have any independent thoughs on the big issues, he's got plenty of time to come up with stupid irrelevances of his own.

0
0

Sony pitches blue-laser Compact Disc revival

Mike Richards

Hold on a moment

When they launched CD Sony promised 'Perfect Sound - Forever.'

Have I been lied to by an advertiser? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!

0
0

Nasty Toryboy bloggers ate my politics, claims Blears

Mike Richards

@ Chris

'Is she seriously suggesting that there are people who think the Labour government is left of centre?'

Ah but that's the joy of New Labour. They talk (a lot) about 'moving the centre of British politics' to wherever it is that New Labour is camped out at any given time. The gutless rump of the Labour Party that is to the left of New Labour can then be given a Blearsian hug and called 'left-of-centre'. It's genius when you think about it; New Labour can move ever rightwards to appeal to the Daily Mail, call itself a centrist party AND mop up the Left Wing vote.

0
0

Lords demand DNA database deletions

Mike Richards

Ummm folks...

The Lords haven't done anything that can't be undone by the Commons. The Lords have voted to amend part of the current Counter Terrorism Bill rather than pass it unchanged. The amended bill now has to go back to the House of Commons where the government can simply remove the amendment, pass *that* version of the Bill and send THAT back to the Lords for a further reading. The Lords could then choose to re-amend the bill and send that back - so-called Parliamentary Ping Pong - when all sorts of loathsome government toadies come out of the wood work to rail against the Lords frustrating democracy.

However, I don't think it'll go that far, because of Parliamentary timing. The current session is coming to an end later this month and it is unusual for a bill to be carried from one session to another. If the bill is not given Royal Approval before Parliament is preroged then the whole bill falls and must be reintroduced from the very beginning. So the government will be expecting the Lords to accept Parliamentary Supremacy and to accept the original version passed by the Commons on the grounds that the House of Commons (and don't laugh now) represents the will of the people - okay take a few minutes to compose yourselves.

For the Lords to stand firm and refuse to let the Commons get its way would be incredible. The government could choose to force the bill through using one of the two Parliament Acts, but I'm not sure if this is one of the bills the PAs are supposed to apply to.

All of which shows why the British model of the legislature is broken. We still have a bicamaral assembly, but the Commons has decided that all of the power is held in one chamber. Much better if we had either a unicamaral parliament or the American model of two elected chambers with different voting systems and different election dates. The Labour Party approach to reforming the HoL would be to make it just as toadying to the executive as the Commons. So like most of the people here, I'm with the Lords on this one.

Now if only we could get a proper consitution...

0
0

Michael Crichton dead at 66

Mike Richards

'Eaters of the Dead'

Thomas Shinnick wrote: 're-imagined an old Anglo-Saxon tale'.

Actually it's based on an incomplete account by the Arab Ibn Fadlan of his encounters with Swedes ;) Crichton's brilliant idea was to start his book where the Ibn Fadlan account suddenly breaks off.

The book is excellent, the movie much less so. An annotated version of the original Ibn Fadlan narrative is here:

http://www.uib.no/jais/v003ht/03-001-025Montgom1.htm

0
0

US air force inks 'tactical' space-war deal

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward

'So the real gig is to slide up next to it and covertly disable it somehow. You could spray stuff on its solar cells, you could bend or snip antennas, etc. and hopefully make it look like standard random failures and debris impacts.'

The Soviet Union tried something like this from 1967 with a series of tests by Kosmos satellites which sidled up close to other satellites and then - ummm - exploded - so 9 out of 10 for effort, 2 out fo 10 for covertness.

The program was declared a success and was said to be operational from 1971 until 1987 when it was going to be replaced by a mysterious program called Polyus. Only one Polyus launch was attempted but rather than reach orbit it ended up in the South Pacific - that had lasers, presumably it now has sharks AND lasers.

And it was huge: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/polyus.htm

(Is it just me being of a certain age, but doesn't that erector look like something Gerry Anderson would have come up with?)

0
0

Orange ditches Phorm

Mike Richards

BT Phorm Trials

Remember them? Has anyone here know of a BT customer who got roped into the trials?

0
0

Mandelson's dept mulls UK internet power grab

Mike Richards

Can't kick the habit...

Looks like New Labour have become nationalisation junkies and are busy looking for things they can take into 'public' ownership without upsetting their gazillionaire friends and donors.

Brown's lot are getting like the Attlee government - albeit without the competence, decency, intelligence, sense of purpose or flat caps.

0
0

E-voting fears run high as election day looms

Mike Richards

Not a very good conspiracy

Let's get the paranoia out of the way first. This doesn't sound like a fraud to me - after all if you wanted to rig an election, would you let the voter know that you were doing it?

It sounds more like an HCI issue. Without seeing the machines it's hard to say what could be going wrong, but I'm going to guess... if these are touch screen machines either they've never been calibrated or the calibration has drifted so much that presses are being misregistered. Alternatively it it is an ATM style machine with hardware buttons, it's possible the layout of the on-screen ballot is just lousy.

0
0

MoD pledges greener buying

Mike Richards

Love it!

A sustainable development policy for an organisation that's going to be buying more hydrogen bombs.

0
0

Home Office acts to kick out Iceland's hate preachers

Mike Richards

Bloody Scandinavians

Coming over here raising uproar about their progressive social policies, high standards of literacy and education and preaching tolerance. Mind you, with the Icelandic economy officially titsup.com, have they thought about recapitalising their banks the old-fashioned Viking way?

Oh and just to remind Jacqui: Íslendingar eru ekki hryðjuverkamenn.

0
0

Financial meltdown hits Hilton where it hurts

Mike Richards

One for the physics boffins

'Well, it remains to be seen if Paris can survive on a paltry £25,000 or so a month, but if she does have trouble paying the rent we suggest she moves in with her new chum Katie Price, aka Jordan, who was recently spotted with our fave celebutard.'

If you keep adding micro-celebrities together, do they eventually reach some critical mass beyond which they coalesce into someone we might just care about?

0
0

BBC's TV detector vans to remain a state secret

Mike Richards

@ Damn Yank

'You have to pay a license fee for over-the-air television??'

It's a small price to avoid being told to ask your doctor about irritable bowels which appears to be the only way American TV is funded these days.

1
0

NASA's greatest clanger

Mike Richards

@ Tom Paine

'Things were fabulous in 1973, kids today have no idea. We only had to work three days a week, you know. Worker's paradise, it was...'

And it's back!

In 1973, we had an unpopular government, nationalisation, a run on the banks, collapsing house prices, rising unemployment, an economy in the crapper, energy supply problems and to top it all we were busy losing a war with Iceland.

Now all we need is Jon Pertwee back as the Doctor.

0
0

Oprah cuddles Kindle

Mike Richards

'Does no-one go to libraries anymore'

Ever since libraries became Internet cafes cum social centres cum kindergartens the number of books they stock has plummeted and been reduced to a selection ranging from 'Blood! Action! Death!' (the anonymised recollections of someone who may or may not have been in the SAS), to 'Look at Me! Look at Me!' (the autobiography of an 18-year old tattooed oik who lasted all the way to week 3 of 'Big Brother'), by way of 'Kiss Me You Fool' (romantic fiction for ladies of advanced years in which nothing more erotic than a cardigan is removed, and even then without teeth being involved - either in the romancing or indeed in the audience).

So if you want a book that, ooooh I dunno, involves thinking, you have to order a title which takes anything from a week to year before you get the inevitable, 'Sorry our only copy got eaten by a badger during the construction of a bypass.'

About time they put books back in libraries and developed a new generation of librarians (possibly even robot libraries with death rays) that know when to say Shhh! and fix people with a petrifying glare over half-moon spectacles.

0
0

'Magnetic Death Star' fragments unearthed in New Jersey

Mike Richards

Never wanting to doubt the mighty Register

But are you *sure* the Caltech boffins mentioned superpowers in their paper?

0
0

Gov approval given for Saudi Eurofighter sale

Mike Richards

Of course the US approved it...

...because now Israel will demand the latest gee-whizz hardware from American companies to tackle the new Saudi threat.

0
0

Putin's dog gets satnav tracker collar

Mike Richards

Hold on...

''but Moscow is probably more interested in military operations and the guidance systems of missiles.''

They're putting labradors into missiles? The bastards.

0
0

Designer touts 'super sight' sunglasses

Mike Richards

Impressive

Especially if it could expand certain cyclists' vision to tell them when they're cycling on the pavement.

0
0

Thrust SSC team to build 1000 mph 'Bloodhound' car

Mike Richards

Fantastic sense of priorities here

Only a few weeks ago the government said that the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it straight up will encourage children to take an interest in science and technology; now the expensively useless practice of strapping someone in a tin can and firing it sideways will encourage kids to take an interest in science and technology.

Because obviously no one could be interested in dinosaurs, volcanoes, explosions and radiation just because they're awesome could they????

The only important question these pork barrel projects can answer is - 'What is the effect on science and technology education when the men in spaulas arrive to scrape the test subject into a bucket?'

0
0

Bank of England prescribes 'boredom'

Mike Richards

On the upside...

The Pound is still stronger than the Icelandic Krona.

0
0

India's Moon shot takes to the skies

Mike Richards

Re: photographic Apollo sites

The camera on Chandrayaan-1 has a minimum resolution of 5m - really amazing for a geological survey - but not quite enough to pick out details Apollo LM lower stages and the Moon Rovers left by the America. It *MAY* be enough to show SOMETHING is there, especially if they can photograph one of the landing sites in favourable lighting conditions when the American kit is all a twinkle, but don't get to hopeful of seeing Richard Nixon's lunar signature any time soon.

Your best hope is next year's Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) due to blast off from Kennedy late next April. It has a stunning 0.5m resolution, easily capable of resolving the landing sites and it is planned to make several passes over each of the Apollo sites.

0
0

Top prosecutor warns against growing state power

Mike Richards

Home Office consultation, New Labour style

'We asked a representative panel of intellectuals comprised of David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, Jon Gaunt, Melanie Phillips and Gary Bushell under the prestigious chairmanship of Kelvin McKenzie to discuss their opinion of government proposals.'

0
0

Amazon UK downplays Kindle Christmas

Mike Richards

Dumb quote

Kindle will work just fine on the beach, it has 180Mb of online storage and has an SD card. You just won't be able to get the downloads over EVDO.

0
0

BBC clarifies location of England

Mike Richards

Further help for the still confused

Shouldn't it also have an arrow pointing left to show where Wales is relative to America? And one sort of north, north west to show the all important geographic Cambrian relationship to Iceland. Not to mention one pointing sort of south so I can locate Wales' position from Tristan da Cunha.

Bloody dumbing down of the BBC...

0
0

UK puts £55m into disabled parking reform

Mike Richards

Easier solution

Bring back those weird pale blue 2mph 'Invalid Carriages' that used to potter round in the 1960s and 70s*.

Under my new policy, if you wanted a disabled badge you'd have to use one of those. The new policy would be like Biblical feel-good story; with the prospect of being forced to use an Invalid Carriage, tens of thousands of drivers all across Britain would be mysteriously healed of their crippling (but strangely unidentifiable) diseases and be free to continue driving sportscars and SUVs.

* For youngsters, they were something like the GWizz (favoured by slebs in London) but without the social stigma.

0
0

UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

Mike Richards

Outsourcing...

Why doesn't the UK government save a shed-load of money by simply outsourcing Internet policing to the People's Republic of China?

0
0

Invest in Britain, it's fingerprinting good

Mike Richards

Entertainer visas will be easier to get

So our best defence against terror is the hope that Osama bin Laden can't get his comic exploding dog act booked for the panto season in Margate.

0
0

HP-EDS combo makes General Motors 'uncomfortable'

Mike Richards

Blimey

GM were in the economic crapper before HP got their hands on EDS. With them on board it'll be like the captain of the Titanic deciding to take another swing at the iceberg because they didn't quite hit it last time.

0
0

NASA's nuclear Mars tank is go

Mike Richards

One drawback with nuclear

Is that the total amount of power that can be got from the RTG is strictly limited, it's highly unlikely this rover's mission can be extended time and time again like the current pair.

0
0

Das überdatabase: Inside Wacky Jacqui's motherbrain

Mike Richards

Lucky TOR is free

'Cos if they charged, they could make a fortune from everyone with a tiny bit of sense deciding this government is the scariest thing in Britain since Oswald Mosley decided that black really was his colour.

Geoff Hoon is on TV right now saying he's prepared to go 'quite a long way actually' to undermine civil liberties (yep, he said that); and:

'If they are going to use the internet to communicate with each other and we don't have the power to deal with that, then you are giving a licence to terrorists to kill people.'

Won't be long before we're all called traitors.

0
0

Hubble's 486 back-up springs into life

Mike Richards

@ greg

'What's the point in resilliency testing a system in space? It's sored in a cold vacuum, and can't gather dust or anything else that might cause damage.'

The temperature of space is not the most important factor; Hubble's orbit takes into the Earth's shadow and into direct sunlight so it is exposed to extremes of about -160C to 200C on a regular basis.

There are also resiliency tests needed to see how the hardware copes with the highly reactive monatomic oxygen you find around the Earth and for energetic particles trapped in the Earth's magnetic field, especially in places like the South Atlantic Anomaly where the Van Allen Belts come close to the Earth's surface.

0
0

'U-turn' West: MI5 watching 'great' terror plot right now

Mike Richards

Home Office lost 42 days

But they can't wait to be in a position to tell us 'look what happens when you don't trust the government'.

And you can be sure Jacqui Smith and her acolytes won't be satisfied with a mere 42 days detention if there is (imaginary bearded bloke forbid) another terrorist attack in the UK.

0
0

Jacqui Smith trails überdatabase plans

Mike Richards

Hmmmm

So social networking and gaming companies will be obliged to store and hand over data when the government asks for it.

But only those based in Britain.

That'll be Faceboo - oh no, ummm MySpace - errr maybe not, World of War - ahhhhh.

Looks like a bad day for Bebo then.

And after last week's example of how anti-terror legislation allows the government to seize foreign companies' assets in the UK, you'd have thought New Labour wouldn't be trying to further show why not to invest in the UK.

0
0

Alien crustaceans clash claws in UK waterways

Mike Richards
Thumb Up

oh my!

Alien lobsters versus oriental crabs in our rivers?

Tell me this isn't the very definition of Saturday night family entertainment?

It'd be like Robowars in chitinaceous exoskeletons with the added attraction that it'd appeal to a fast food promotional tie-in; 'You've seen the show! Now eat the stars coated in delicious crispy batter!'

0
0

Seagoing slime-skimmer snail ships punted

Mike Richards

A slime-dripping American invention?

Has to be called the USS Karl Rove.

0
0

Blackswift hypersonic plane cancelled

Mike Richards

Not necessarily cancelled

Couldn't it come back from the dead as a zombie hypersonic plane funded by the 'black' budget?

0
0

Channel 4 in Heathrow Playmobil reconstruction shocker

Mike Richards

Guys, guys, guys - think of the licensing possibilities

Since Channel 4 are clearly big Reg fans, its time for a full make-over. No more Davina - instead the lovely Asus lady will front (and what a front) all life-style programming. Phil and Kirstie will be replaced by Optimus Prime, Paris becomes the station's international correspondent, and Lester and a Devil Dog can host the evening news programme - politicians answer the questions or have their faces torn off (repeated later on More 4 + Pi).

Let's do lunch and I'm in it for 10%. Call me11

0
0

US military: Electropulse bombs now from next year

Mike Richards

Easier solution

Judging by the number of stories like this:

http://www.kxly.com/global/story.asp?s=9145810

it'd just be easier to carpet bomb the enemy with squirrels and let the vermin scamper happily into the nearest electrical substation. Result - lights go out AND fewer arborial rats.

0
0

Brussels bounces BT-Phorm quiz back to UK.gov

Mike Richards

Webwise trials?

Has anyone been invited, or know ANYONE who's been asked to join the lastest Phormulaic trials?

Or are they solely targetting the type of people who used to get excited over AOL disks coming through the letterbox?

Mike.

0
0

MEPs vote to recognise flag, anthem, motto

Mike Richards

@ Steven Knox

'a flag with stars representing the founding members '

Ummm no it doesn't. There were six founding members of the EEC - Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Instead, the flag is derived from the flag of the Council of Europe and has twelve stars because the number twelve has no political significance, is commonly found in European heritage and myth, and twelve stars were considered especially attractive when laid out in a circle.

0
0

Martin Sheen backs Paris for president

Mike Richards

@Anonymous Coward (re: age)

The minimum age is 35 (Constitution of the United States, Article 2, Section 1).

0
0

Bebo users release interstellar spamgasm at Gliese 581

Mike Richards

Better approach...

...would be to fire Bebo users at Gliese 581.

0
0

Forums