* Posts by Mike Richards

3603 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Phorm losses shoot up by half

Mike Richards

@ Chris Simmons

Some are here:

http://badphorm.co.uk/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewforum.php?21

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Mike Richards

Any other BT Broadband people with flaky connections since yesterday?

Okay my BT connection* is slow, but it is pretty reliable. But since last night it has been falling over slightly more than a Reg journo coming back from a trade show. Websites timing out, URLs not being resolved, online gaming connections failing repeatedly.

Coincidence? Or has anyone else seen crapola performance since the Phorm trial allegedly started?

* Serving time until my contract ends or until I can summon the energy to do battle for hours on end with BT Total Broadband's appalling customer service and tell them I no longer feel bound by their unilaterally revised contract.

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Microsoft's Hotmail hybrid struggles to life

Mike Richards

Is anyone real still using Hotmail?

I assumed it had long since been lost to the spammers.

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BT's third Phorm trial starts tomorrow

Mike Richards

No sign of Phorm here

Though if any Reg reader does get the invitation of a lifetime, the lovely folks at SpyBlog would love to know more about how the system works and you could help:

http://spyblog.org.uk/

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Mike Richards

@Anony mouse

Thanks for the changes to the contract.

Since I haven't seen a BT contract since last year and I certainly haven't agreed to anything since then, I assume I'm still bound by the old T&C.

In which case, it's time to say 'bye bye BT'.

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Slimline Xbox 360 due in December?

Mike Richards

Strange timing...

...to announce a new product when the main Christmas shopping spree is in full flood.

If this thing is for real. it'll be interesting to see how they propose to support the hard disk which fits neatly on the side of the current machine and is not standard on all 360s. One way would be to make hard disks standard on all slimline 360s and gradually run down supplies of the older drives. Then to offer the newer drives with an adaptor allowing them to clip to the fatter older 360s.

Though knowing Microsoft they'll just keep two different lines of drives and gouge for each one.

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Hubble transmissions cease as computer fails

Mike Richards

Technical support enquiry

'Before we can continue, can you read me your serial number? It should be on the underside of your space telescope.'

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China wins, Symbian loses in Sony Ericsson reorg

Mike Richards

Excellent

Until now Sony Ericsson interfaces might have well been written in Chinese for all the sense they make - now they will be!

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Reg competition: Cisco goes isup

Mike Richards

Perhaps

The 't's have been outsourced to EDS and are running behind schedule?

Mind you when they come they'll probably turn out to be a consignment of unwanted 'å's.

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Iridium flares for another $500m

Mike Richards

@ Ralph B

The Iridium satellites are going to be up there a while yet; the only lifetimes I've seen quoted on them were the service lifetimes which were originally six to seven years. However, Iridium have extended the lifetimes as the satellites have been more reliable than expected. They have some spares in orbit and on the ground so can still provide a service even if one or more satellites dies. I think they've lost a couple already, but I'm not sure if they were DOA or died in service.

Iridium was a great idea, but like everything else from Motorola, the product sucked.

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Frenchman's pedalo dirigible Channel attempt blown out

Mike Richards

He needs...

...DARPA money!

It's insane, It's dangerous, It's pointless, It's going to end horribly, and most of all - it doesn't work.

So why oh why oh why haven't the Free World's favourite big brain brigade been in touch to design a pedal-powered blimp so that America's special forces and thought-controlled pet cyborg moths can fight terror?

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Chrysler grows iPod Peapod

Mike Richards

One thought?

Can you extend the range if you power it from the iPod?

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Mike Richards

Alternative?

For these tiny town cars, would a flywheel drive make more sense than heavy batteries? Plug in, spin up the flywheel, unplug, tootle off down to Harvey Nicks.

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Virgin Galactic spaceliner-piggyback craft delayed

Mike Richards

@Rob

'Don't NASA or the AirForce have a plane that does this already for training purposes,'

They use an old McDonnell Douglas C9 (the military version of the DC9), nick-named 'The Vomit Comet' to fly parabolic paths at relatively low altitude. Branson's latest publicity machine will go a bit faster and hit 100km which technically puts it into space - albeit not at orbital velocity.

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Elon Musk's Falcon 1 launches successfully

Mike Richards

@ Matthew

'Is there any new technology involved or this just news because it is privately funded?'

No technological breakthroughs, but new designs for engines and pumps. This is the first time a rocket has been designed by a private company without huge injections of government money, so that's new.

It will be significant if they can design a reusable liquid-fuelled first stage. These have been really troublesome because they need lots of delicate turbo-pumps and miles of plumbing which can be easily damaged when they come back to Earth. NASA scrapped reusable boosters on the Shuttle in favour of simpler, more robust SRBs - and we know how that ended up. The Soviet Union developed reusable boosters for its Energia monster rocket, but I don't think they ever got reused after the two Energia launches.

So if they can get their technology to work, they'll be able to rival the cheap Soyuz system and the Chinese Long March - which will please Western satellite companies looking to put loads into orbit without paying through the nose and without giving away their technology. Arianespace could be the big loser here as they currently only have the big Ariane V rocket. They're planning on offering Soyuz launches out of French Guyana in the near future - getting the Earth's spin to give that some extra kick compared to launching from Kazakhstan; but they're also building a small solid-fuelled booster called Vega which is due next year.

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Elgato EyeTV DTT Deluxe 'world's smallest' USB TV tuner

Mike Richards

Excellent!

I like this!

Ever since TiVo left the UK, the default PVR has been the horrible, buggy, crashy, retarded Sky+, but it looks like EyeTV could be the replacement for my TiVo.

Unless TiVo actually decide to start - oooh I dunno - selling their product?

Either Elgato or AppleTV with TiVo software? Unbeatable!

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Phorm mulls incentives for ad targeting wiretaps

Mike Richards

Hmmm

> An upgrade to a faster broadband package at no extra cost

Still capped and throttled.

> £1 off monthly broadband bills

Your generosity astounds me.

> £1 cashback per month

No cut-price store will be safe!

> A cut of advertising revenues

Shrivelling up even as we speak thanks to Wall Street.

> A free premium technical support line

Who will still ask Mac users to click the Start button at the bottom of the screen.

> Free music download vouchers

Torrentastic!

> Free anti-virus software

Got a Mac, and isn't AVG still free?

> Parental content controls

I gave up trying to control my parents long ago.

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'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous Coward re: Theory and Hypothesis

'ID remains a hypothesis. (an idea without data or observation to support it).'

Actually it's not a hypothesis as there is no way of testing ID.

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Daily Mail hacks get emergency bird flu jabs

Mike Richards

Fantastic news!

With this sort of antiviral protection, journos at the Mail will be able to report on collapsing house prices and engage in a monarchic mournathon right up to the moment of the death rattle of human civilisation.

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PM Brown dusts off one interweb per child plan (again)

Mike Richards

Free broadband

Just so long as the little dears accept Phorm into their lives.

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Net Suicide Bill would breathe life into government censorship

Mike Richards

Why not just buy censoring software from China?

We buy everything else there and New Labour should get along famously with the Beijing Politburo.

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LHC downed until after Xmas - Boo

Mike Richards

Okay Lewis...

...perhaps it's time to switch to decaff?

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Labour minister says 14 year olds should get ID cards

Mike Richards

@ Ken Hagan

'Nail those responsible for maladministration and surcharge them.'

Sadly Parliament considers itself above such things as the law and ministers are not liable to surcharging. Yep, your local councillor can be surcharged for the most trivial purpose, but a government which mismanages billions can simply laugh at us.

Worse still, don't expect the next lot to be any better; I can't imagine ANY government of ANY colour changing the law to weaken its own powers.

You can't even get individual ministers under the Human Rights Act, only the government as a whole - and you end up footing the bill even if you win.

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Marketing body condemns 'draconian' Olympic law

Mike Richards

No 2012?

Microsoft's marketing department is going to be screwed.

This law is ludicrous - gold, silver and bronze are widely used words in advertising, think of all the 'gold' cards out there, or 'gold' service plans and support schemes. Are the banks going to stop offering gold credit cards, or will we all be automatically upgraded to platinum?

This is a laughably bad piece of legislation, but pretty much typical of the ever-increasing number of laws Parliament churns out without ever thinking through.

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Met Office: Global warming sceptics 'have heads in sand'

Mike Richards

@Anonymous John

'So? The thermometer was invented during the Little Ice Age. We've no record of temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period.'

Absolutely correct - apart from the evidence obtained from pollen, varves, ice cores, oxygen isotopes, insect remains, soils, crop residues...

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Has the war on terror scored a virtual victory?

Mike Richards

'Amateur spooks put willies up Al-Qaeda'

I'm pretty sure that sort of thing is what's got Al-Qaeda so upset in the first place.

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UK.gov IDs identity vendors

Mike Richards

EDS!

Yes, oh yes!

With those three letters we know the project is surely doomed.

And nice to see IBM finally living up to its image in the original Apple Mac ad.

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Gov seeks UK nuclear competition for EDF

Mike Richards

Uh oh

One of the problems with the original British programme was that costs were made much higher by our inability to roll out a programme of building identical reactors sharing common technology; rather we kept 'improving' them so each one was practically a bespoke piece of engineering.

Would it be too much to expect the government to order the companies building our new plants to insist on a common design?

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Miracle airship tech sustained by DARPA pork trickle

Mike Richards

Another solution

Which was proposed for the original Hindenberg when that was going to be inflated with helium following the R101 design.

There would be two sets of gas bags, large doughnut shaped ones containing the helium lifting gas, and smaller cylindrical bags embedded in the helium bags containing hydrogen 'anti-ballast'. As the airship burned fuel it would become lighter. Cheap hydrogen would be vented from the bags, reducing lift and returning the vessel to trim.

The plan was abandoned when the US refused to sell helium to Nazi Germany and the Hindenberg was redesigned as a cheaper hydrogen ship.

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What's the cost of global warming?

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Mitsubishi electric car to get Iceland test run in 2009

Mike Richards

£1.68 for a cup of coffee

Sounds like a bargain compared to most of London.

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Apple fans besieged by iPhone Trojan and iTunes attack

Mike Richards

'...creates an opportunity to crash browser applications'

Safari needs help to crash regularly?

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Democratic rep fathered alleged Palin hacker

Mike Richards

Surprised she uses a computer

After all it was invented after the 13th Century and doesn't get a mention in Leviticus.

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ePassport tests put biometrics through their paces

Mike Richards

This is fantastic news - for passport companies

If they keep changing the biometrics every couple of years, they'll soon get into the IT mindset of forcing you to upgrade your passport regularly or be deemed a security risk and be doomed to stay in this crappy country.

'Sorry luv, you're passport's only the Wombat Edition with facial, fingerprint, retina and earlobe analysis. We're only allowing Bushbaby Xtreme with arse-reading on the plane today. Good news though, we're offering a special upgrade price of just £500 and a free cavity search.'

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500,000 oppose Red Arrows Olympic ban

Mike Richards

Red Arrows planes

How old are they now? Won't every other country in the World just piss themselves laughing that we'd be flying such relics?

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No uranium for Russia, say Oz MPs

Mike Richards

@Anonymous Coward - Non-proliferation treaty

Building mini-nukes does not violate the NNPT.

The US is still within the treaty - just. So far the US and the other declared nuclear powers have not abided by the Second Pillar of the NNPT to work towards final multilateral disarmament.

The US is arguably in violation of Articles I and II of the NNPT by continuing to deploy nuclear weapons in non-nuclear NATO countries and modifying these countries weapons systems to use nuclear weapons. There is also a question over the US's sharing of weapons designs and materials such as tritium with the UK and French weapons programmes. The UK may have violated it in the past by supplying the UK with plutonium diverted from our civilian reprocessing plant.

All of the original three signatories - the US, USSR (whose responsibilities were assumed by Russia) and UK have probably been in violation of public statements not to target non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons. The US certainly targeted North Korea, Russia has recently threatened to target Poland and the UK has said it will nuke anyone who uses WMD on British citizens. This is not a violation of the NNPT per-se as the statements were made outside of the treaty.

On another front the Bush administration has recently signed a civilian nuclear technology transfer with India which is not a signatory to the NNPT. It was agreed that India had not proliferated weapons knowledge and was in desperate need of nuclear energy so an exemption was made in the NNPT by the IAEA to allow the treaty to go through. IIRC it has still not been ratified by Congress, so it's possible the situation might change.

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Chrysler plans electric car production model

Mike Richards

Ooooh I take back everything I said about the Chevvy Volt

This really is ugly. It's like a chromed banana-flavoured rollerskate.

Whatever happened to the Chrysler designers who came up with cars like Batman's weekend getaway car - the Atlantic concept?

http://www.kudzumonthly.com/kudzu/jan03/Atlantic.html

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Media standard backers attempt Apple-less solo run

Mike Richards

Ahem!

"DECE is taking the lessons learned from the successful 'buy once, play anywhere' experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray..."

That'd be region-coded, copy-protected DVD and Blu-ray 'buy once, play anywhere' experience then?

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US Congress votes for some offshore oil relaxations

Mike Richards

@ Matt Bryant

'Which of course completely ignores the fact that Chinese and African demands for fuel - which are currently driving the oil shortage - will have risen at a much faster rate, and will have increased the worldwide demand exponentially, or did you think they're just going to stop using fuel because Obama will ask them nicely if he gets to be Prez?'

No, I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security.

With over 1 million wells drilled, North America is a mature region for oil and gas exploration and the potential for huge new reserves are very small. Proven reserves are around 21 billion barrels (sounds a lot, but it's only 3 years of total US demand).

If you add the Federal Outer Continental Shelf, the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, and the Bakken Formation in North-Dakota/Montana you can get up to 134 billion barrels of TECHNICALLY recoverable crude. However, technically recoverable does not mean it will be ECONOMICALLY recoverable, nor does it discuss the RATE that oil can be recovered from those resources. So a good portion of US oil will never be as cheap as competing sources from the Middle East, Nigeria or Central and South America. And then you're into markets - will the US legislate to exclude cheaper oil from their markets.

'or stimulating US companies to produce oil from oil-shale'

Ah that old canard - oil shale. Shale oil was supposedly economic when oil was above $50ppb, and yet it is still not being recovered. And why is that? Geography. To make one barrel of shale oil on the surface you need anything between one and five barrels of water. The majority of US shale deposits lie in the Green River Formation in the Rocky Mountains. The Green River is a tributary of the Colorado, a river which is already over-committed for other uses - such as keeping people alive.

Sub-surface retorting is an alternative, but it is a potentially huge hazard to ground water quality (see above). All methods of making shale oil produce large amounts of CO2 and SO2 and create vast quantities of waste material. So it's actually even less clean than coal.

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Mike Richards

Bush on the ball as ever

"At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development,"

Which means - assuming they find any substantial fields, the first trickle of new oil coming ashore sometime around 2015. By which time American demand for crude will have grown so much and US onshore production fallen so far, they'll be importing even more oil.

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Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar

Mike Richards

The problem with Reiss' idea is...

...he was trying to address the problem of kids not believing in evolution because they come from the closed-minded part of the readership of the Bumper Book of Fairy Stories.

He thought that a science teacher could say 'no, creationism is wrong because...' and win over his audience. When in fact, if you ever try talking to these people, you won't get anywhere - they believe it absolutely. The Creation is in the Bible, end of story, now let's go stone some gays and people who wear two kinds of cloth. The whole class would be given over to discussing the Great Flood when the 9/10 kids who are normal could have been learning about really exciting things like genetics, finches or Pangaea.

There's one answer to this. You teach evolution. It is compulsory. If someone doesn't believe in it or doesn't want to study it they fail the class. No loss to science there, they can join Sarah Palin and the population of Kansas back in the 13th Century.

If it upsets 'faith' - screw them, they can turn the other cheek.

* It is - TWICE! Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 and Genesis 2:4 - 2:25. Despite coming one after the other and being the Word of God (TM), they can't even agree on basic things like what happened in what order or even how long it took. Mind you, I've had plumbers like that.

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GM shows off production electric car

Mike Richards

@ Duncan Ellis

'An American Car I Actually Want '

Well there's always the Mustang designed with only the finest neolithic engineering, but oh that sound!

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Apple releases bumper patch batch

Mike Richards

@ Hud Dunlap

'Apple will always let me know about something new in iTunes but won't e-mail me about a critical security update. I check it every day but then again I am paranoid.'

Why don't you just set Software Update to check daily and forget about it?

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Chinese manned spaceshot set for 25 September

Mike Richards

Spacewalk

On only their third mission? That's a pretty impressive level of development. The Soviets only attempted it on their eighth manned mission, the US on their ninth. Even allowing for technology transfer from the Russians, it's clear that the Chinese are very confident about their hardware and their crews.

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Phorm: Our business is fine, honest

Mike Richards

@ David Hicks

'What sane customer would want this?'

Ah BT are ahead of you there. First they change the name to 'WebWise' and don't refer to Phorm anywhere in their documentation; then they sell it to customers on the grounds that it'll improve their security. And we all know how people act when they're told their security is under threat unless they conform.

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Mitsubishi eyes Middle Earth for 'early' electric car roll-out

Mike Richards

@ Matthew Terrell

'They just need to make a decent family type car. It's can't be that hard....'

You'll be wanting the Chevvy Volt then - a plug-in hybrid which if you're a regular commuter will let you spend most of your time tootling around on electric power, but gives you the extended range and performance of a small (1.4l) petrol engine. When you get home, plug it in to the household supply and recharge it overnight.

Due Yankside late 2010; likely to be built in Europe by Vauxhall or Opel the year after.

http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

Looks horrible (like almost all American cars) though.

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Northrop offer supersonic robot stealth raygun cyber-bomber

Mike Richards

@ Anonymous coward

'If the WTC floors collapsed in a 'pancake' fashion; how does that account for the collapse of the building's steel core? '

In both cases the core was severely damaged by the impact. The WTC's core was also not capable of supporting the entire weight of the structure, a good deal of the vertical load in the buildings were handled by the exterior vertical steel columns. With both sets of supports damaged the building collapsed pancake fashion, the lower part of the core crushing down on itself like a soda can under your boot.

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UK launches major road signage review

Mike Richards

Get rid of...

...the brown signs identifying 'places of interest' which have spread like wildfire across the country, and the bright-yellow signs pointing to new housing developments which are a new infestation in these parts.

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Robot airliner anti-missile escorts proposed

Mike Richards

Another airline tax?

So after charging extra for fuel, baggage, e-check-in, insurance, credit cards, airport improvements and wheelchairs; the airline will be able to add a £5000 drone charge to every £1 flight to Oslo.

Of course if you fly RyanAir you just get a paperplane reading 'Come get me ya bastards!' towed behind the 737.

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Hurricane Ike snuffs out Galveston webcam

Mike Richards

If you haven't read it

Erik Larsen's book about the 1900 hurricane which utterly destroyed Galveston, 'Isaac's Storm', is a fantastic read. (While you're shopping for it at Amazon, also take the time to pick up 'Devil in the White City' from the same author).

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