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* Posts by Nick Drew

43 posts • joined 26 Mar 2007

NASA working on boomless supersonic jets

Nick Drew
Happy

Canards?

They custom-fitted *ducks* to the leading edges of the wings? That really is an interesting approach, although it didn't work too well for the US Airways flight out of NY last week...

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iPlayer chief pushes tiered charging for ISPs

Nick Drew
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Setting a precedent for content providers?

When you strip out the BBC's sense of self-satisfied self-importance - leading the way so that us proles can enjoy our meeja - what we have here is a content provider telling the consumers that they should pay more for their services (hmmmm) and that the carriers should charge their consumers more for the content provider's content.

Now the former is one issue - we already pay for content via our TV tax; if the BBC wants to diversify perhaps it should split into public service broadcasting and a for-profit subscription content service - but the latter is surely ridiculous? If the ISPs have any sense they will tell the BBC exactly where to shove it; unfortunately many of them appear blinkered to the fact that the BBC is nothing more than a content provider, albeit one paid for by the public purse, and with friends in very high places.

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HTC Touch HD Windows Mobile smartphone

Nick Drew
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Review?

Sorry, must have missed a few pages in reading this - no mention of TouchFlo or WM and how the actual UI is. Likewise, one of the iPhone's main shortfalls is in its lack of physical keyboard - does the Touch HD fall at the same hurdle?

A surprisingly thin and lacklustre review, really. Boo.

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Marketing body condemns 'draconian' Olympic law

Nick Drew
Unhappy

urgh

Good to see our legislature focussed on the really important pieces of legislation - namely, protecting huge-spending advertisers - rather than, oh, worrying about the creep of the police state, or debating the relative merits of untrained police being armed with potentially fatal tasers, to name just two examples.

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Congestion charge means less traffic, more congestion

Nick Drew
Stop

Interesting timing...

The report's come at an interesting time, as London is currently over-run with roadworks, causing huge amounts of additional congestion. A cynic might suggest that Red Ken approved them all just before he left office, leaving Boris with a city of annoyed locals...

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eBay breaks bread with luxury goods firms

Nick Drew
Joke

Choice of phrase?

" is described as an attempt to forge an agreement between eBay and the representatives of luxury brands" - perhaps not the best form of words...

In reality though, how is eBay supposed to police whether specific listings are for genuine or fake items, given that the items themselves change hands without ever passing through eBay's hands? Surely it's simply a marketplace, and it's only the fact that this marketplace happens to be a company with large coffers that's prompted the label houses to pursue these legal cases...

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Moody's to fix sub-prime computer error

Nick Drew
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'A bug'

Riiiight. So it had nothing to do with Moody's competing with other ratings agencies such as S&Ps for business, and essentially offering higher ratings in return for this business? Or indeed, being slack in their jobs and not bothering to really explore the possible risks of these financial instruments? Covering their arses after the fact, more like...

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Observers criticise London e-count

Nick Drew
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Showing the world...

...how to run an election properly! And then heading off to Zimbabwe and telling that lovely Mr Mugabe that no, you can't fix an election like that

...you should do it like THIS...

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Petrol stations deploy anti-theft stingers

Nick Drew
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'before abandoning the vehicle...'

Sounds like it wasn't his car, hence his reluctance to pay for the petrol...

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Toshiba to ship laptops with Cell-based GPUs this year

Nick Drew
Coat

SpursEngine?

So it'll massively underperform and look enviously at the PC on your other desk?

It's alright - it's warm out so I didn't bring a coat...

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Rock Group goes titsup

Nick Drew
Flame

So this fire at the battery factory...

Now they can't even get them out the door without them exploding/ igniting/ generally not being suitable for putting in a laptop. Probably not a funny occurence, but reading that made me chuckle...

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Yahoo! banks on the power of !

Nick Drew
Dead Vulture

@Pierre

er... not quite. Other search engines are now set as default by many OEM PC providers - Google in particular has been very aggressive at cornering its fair share of the market in this regard.

And there are people who choose to use Live search - not sure why, but they're there.

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US beak pecks at RIAA's 'making available' filesharing attack

Nick Drew

Better just to give in?

Given that the defendants' defence is that they weren't trying to distribute music, just some home-made p0rn, might it not have been better just to pay the fine?!

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Google's Great American Wireless Auction 'game' annoys US lawmakers

Nick Drew

So...

They're miffed that Google bid up the price beyond the $4.6bn trigger point, rather than letting the other bidders win it more cheaply? Methinks they're getting greedy, presumably thinking that if Google had played 'for real', they might have won even more money? And did they make any mention of the potential for getting around the full C-Block auction by bidding for separate areas of the country (as explained in another Reg article)?

Oh, and finally, what tf is an 'entree'? I presume they meant 'entrant', unless they're going all laa-di-daa in their spelling... Frickin Americanglish.

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Only one man can save Motorola

Nick Drew

hmm....

The thing is...the Razr is not (was not) a good phone. The menus were Motorola's usual incomprehensible mishmash; the battery life was dreadful and got worse inside 6 months of use; the user experience was not fantastic. Even to non-techy people (let's face it, El Reg has a biased sample), this was becoming something of an issue, and in the UK the impression I got was of a huge Razr user base who were NOT recommending it to friends and who would NOT buy another Motorola handset after their 12 month contract ended.

In a way, Motorola became a victim of its own success - the huge sales of the Razr served to highlight its flaws, whilst simultaneously raising consumer expectations for further innovation. Which didn't come, and still hasn't, probably due in part to Whosit having a heart attack.

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Carphone Warehouse stares down BPI and UK.gov on three strikes

Nick Drew
Stop

er... you mention Phorm but...

...hasn't CPW already said that it will only go for an opt-in model and anyway they're not very sure about the whole thing now (...that people are kicking up a stink)?

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New banking code cracks down on out-of-date software

Nick Drew
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The thing is....

...it's not actually the software that's the issue. It's the pink hardware with its nose pressed firmly to the screen and fat fingers on the keyboard that's the least secure part. Anti-phishing software isn't half as good as an anti-phishing frame of mind; you can have the best anti-virus software in the world but if you're a moron, it'll only have a limited effect.

But the banks can't mention idiocy in their terms and conditions (discrimination is a surprisingly easy word for the hard-of-thinking to work out how to use), so add a clause about software requirements that would probably be pretty damn impossible to enforce (who decides what's 'up to date', and how up to date does it have to be?)

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Ofcom says yes on more TV ads

Nick Drew
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Yebbut...

Many of E4's programmes (for example) are US-made, and so are timed to American advertising - 22 minutes for a half hour slot, 42(?) for an hour slot.

So... on those channels that carry mostly US programming, there won't actually be a difference in the amount of programming seen.

Still think it's feckin awful, mind.

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California Highway Patrol rounds up queens, workers

Nick Drew

High farce...

"The paper said it had trouble getting more information about the pile-up, as the onsite CHP spokesman was attacked by a bee in his car"

You couldn't make it up...

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Swedes demand return of heraldic lion's todger

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Filesharers petition Downing Street on 'three strikes'

Nick Drew
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You make it sound so simple...

Surely a more pertinent question is 'what right does the BPI have to monitor my internet activity?' Or indeed 'how are they going to find out *without* monitoring packets?' (as a non-techy person). And then again 'Why should the BPI be in a position to tell people whether or not I am a "good" e-citizen?'

After all, this is an industry body that spreads misinformation and unsubstantiated claims (filesharing costs them $xbn per year) while its members fritter away $80m at a time to sign up the likes of Blobby Williams for another 10 albums. There are data that suggest that filesharing leads to *more* legit music sales rather than fewer, but rather than look at their business model, the BPI and RIASS would rather sue filesharers for 'stealing' their revenue (which is, after all, theirs by god-given right).

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Google enters underwater cable business

Nick Drew
Joke

Wot, no jokes...

...about laying cable?

Mine's the brown one with sticky patches...

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Geordie cops arrest two for Wi-Fi squatting

Nick Drew

Just a stunt to improve crime figures...

Y'know, so that while the 'murderers mislaid/ ignored/ forgotten' column goes up, the 'evil WiFi-stealing gnomes arrested, locked away for good' column can also increase...

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Häagen-Dazs battles honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder

Nick Drew

Current research suggests...

Sorry to plss on the bonfire of the tinhat 'oh, it's GM crops' brigade (actually, I'm not. You're all mental), but the suggestion is so far that the bees' immune systems completely collapse, leaving them wide open to each and every infection out there. Current theories focus on a fungus or other infection. And show me how GM crop=> immune system meltdown??

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London Congestion Charge becomes CO2 tax

Nick Drew
Jobs Horns

"Nobody needs to damage the environment by driving a gas-guzzling Chelsea tractor in central London"

Unfortunately, it looks like you missed the rest of the quote from Ken. What he actually said was:

"Nobody needs to damage the environment by driving a gas-guzzling Chelsea tractor in central London, or by flying himself and 30 mates to an autocratic communist state in South America for a jolly. Oh wait, er... scrap that last bit. Erm... yeah, just stick to the bit about Chelsea tractors. And see if you can get it on the front page of the 'papers, save us having to actually discuss the issues"

Can we have an evil Ken icon please?

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'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networks

Nick Drew
IT Angle

News?

I dunno, the take on this appears to be surprise/ amazement (although less so from El Reg). Anyone with half a brain who knows how fickle people are/ how short their attention spans are could tell you that this was always going to happen, in much the way that the buzz of MySpace moved to be the buzz of Facebook.

Interestingly, it means that sites such as MyFriendsFaceSpaceReunitedBook resemble nothing so much as a giant pyramid scheme, desperately reliant on pulling in more of the uninitiated to maintain parity, let alone growth. It also suggests that companies such as NewsCorp still haven't a clue about the interweb thingy and how to invest wisely in it.

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US Navy to test fire electric hypercannon

Nick Drew

'surgical strikes'

"They could take out a single vehicle from far out at sea, perhaps, rather than pulverising a whole area like present-day cruise missiles"

yeah, in much the same way that a plane currently could take out a single [enemy] vehicle from pretty close up, but generally tends to hit a hospital a few miles away instead.

As for 'pulverising a whole area' - yes, if you take 'area' to mean '3 countries or so' [ref: the American cruise missiles that hit Syria when supposed to be targetting Iraq...]

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EU data ruling slaps filesharers with red herring

Nick Drew
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petty, but worth making

'national newspaper of record' - the Times? Have you actually read the thing recently?! It's basically the Sun with (slightly) fewer nipples on show.

The only people who reckon the it's the national newspaper of record are the Murdochs and the editor-in-chief.

By that count, I'm actually the regent-in-waiting of this fine country.

Coat? Yep, it's the big red robe with the ermine, comes with a crown.

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VOIP and the web baffle Brit spook wiretappers

Nick Drew
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Of course their speeches 'reinforce the seriousness of these challenges'

Let's face it, if they didn't keep banging on about how we're all under threat from those evil terror clowns, they'd be out of a job.

Although some basic stats are quite revealing. Liiike...

- number of successful 'terror attacks' committed since 2005: zero.

- number of 'terror attacks' that might have been successful since 2005: zero. Those 'car bombs' last summer were a joke, as pointed out by El Reg.

- number of 'terror attacks' committed since 2001 where MI5 had the participants under surveillance then got bored and looked elsewhere: one big one.

- number of 'terror attacks' "broken up, but we can't tell you about them, for your own safety": oh, masses, according to MI5 and the like, but they can't tell us about them, so, y'know, we have to take their word for it.

Oh, and number of innocent people shot because they looked like/ could have been terrorists but weren't: at least two (de Menezes and the Muslim family in east London).

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Sociologists: Studying engineering turns you into a terrorist

Nick Drew
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Proof of falling edumacational standards?

Call me stupid, but surely higher education* would push people

a) away from the idea of blowing themselves up to prove a point/ go and visit virgins in the afterlife/ because some weird old nut told them to.

and b) to do things right, rather than the terror-clown approaches that we've seen so far.

*: Unless we include joke 'higher' education here - former poly's and universities that offer 'surfing studies', I'm looking at you....

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Germany flicks off-switch on DAB

Nick Drew
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'most people didn't seem to care for the clear digital-quality sound'

...sounds like the UK. And to be honest, 'clear digital-quality sound' in itself is something of an obfuscation; in this country Radio 3 is the only station to broadcast digitally at a decent bitrate.

Another way to read the story is that really, without the BBC pushing digital on us nonstop (have you ever stopped to listen to those freakin ads on Radio 5 every 10 minutes?!), even the UK wouldn't be making much headway with digital radio. It really is an answer in need of a question, particularly in its current format.

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Translate my website... bitch

Nick Drew
Boffin

So what else is new?

As soon as MS put a value on Facebook by buying an overpriced* piece of it, Zuckerberg (presumably after prompting by his heavily-invested backers) realised that he needed to find some way to turn this from a college project for spying on your ex girlfriends into an actual business. Y'know, for kids. With money being generated.

Perhaps it's unfair to say so, but it really looks like he only had one good idea in him, because all his ideas for putting a value on Facebook users have come apart, caught between needing to earn significant revenue, and not pushing away the site's users/ customers who, let's face it, could quite easily move to the next big thing (TM) in Web 2.0, leaving 'bltch' boy sobbing in their wake.

* - thing is, MS wasn't just pouring money into Facebook with no return. The other side of the deal is that they get to serve ads on Facebook, and so generate money the old fashioned way, with 'traditional' online display ads.

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Last.fm unveils 'free global jukebox'

Nick Drew
Thumb Up

Re: easier for pirates?

This could, just *could*, be a move by the majors to accept that while bootleggers are "stealing" their revenue, they have to embrace technology rather than pretend it doesn't exist, with their eyes shut, fingers in their ears singing "lalala" very loudly. And slapping a lawsuit on the odd 10-year old kid.

It may seem fatalistic/ playing into their hands/ downright backwards, but face it, downloading does happen, illegally or otherwise. Why not accept it - and the fact that for the majority of people downloading goes hand in hand with buying more legitimate music such as CDs - and work out how to make money from it? Hopefully this is the first step on the way to a more mature attitude to the interweb and its implications for the music industry.

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Microsoft takes a shine to Logitech?

Nick Drew

Not mice

<pedant> The plural of (computer) mouse is, I believe, mouses.

Or meese, according to many people. Not to be confused with meese (the plural of moose).

</pedant>

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Beeb's iPlayer reaps streaming traffic dividends

Nick Drew
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'gift' is not a verb!!!

FFS, this is an article on a UK website about something happening in the UK, written by someone in the UK. The language is called 'English' - try using it occasionally!!

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Microsoft spits out final XP service pack, beta version

Nick Drew
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"Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

Thank heavens for that! Do I want some airy-fairy rotating view of the different windows open? No! Do I want my OS to run as if through treacle on even a highly specced machine? No!

As an aside, do I want to have to use Vista at work - no!

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Credit crunch cranks up pain for SMBs

Nick Drew
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Likely and...

probably are not the same either!! One is an adjective, the other's an adverb. Given that this story has nothing to do with the US, you can't even cite American grammar.

And yes, RBS might be a bit miffed to be associated with the story if it is in fact HBOS that produced the figures.

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How much does El Reg cost the global economy?

Nick Drew
Paris Hilton

You forgot a variable...

which is the value to the economy of specific articles. For example, an article about Microsoft and Google's advances in online software delivery could be extremely useful to me with my work hat on.

While an article about Paris Hilton obviously has zero value for my work. Unless I plan to stay there on my next work trip to France... You need to include, therefore, some kind of 'work page rank' for El Reg articles.

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Ofcom grabs reins on premium rate scams

Nick Drew

er.... 00 wouldn't work

...as it's the international dialling code. But beyond that, yes, it makes sense.

Thing is, the idea originally was that 07x would be mobile numbers, 08x non-geographic and 01 and 02 (as they are now) geographic. But it's basically turned into 087x and 084x being money-spinners (even supposedly local rate numbers) and 070x is just a con.

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Facebook CEO capitulates (again) on Beacon

Nick Drew
Boffin

Why this sudden drive to 'monetize' users?

It's rhetorical, wise-ass.

Truth is, the theoretical valuation that MS has now provided to Facebook (and the real money that they've pumped into the site) has suddenly put pressure on whatsisface ('bitch' guy) to show a return. Until that point, it was a fun venture that could get by on the kudos of being the new rising star of 'web 2.0'. After that point, there was a sudden realisation that companies that put money into Facebook are going to want a business model and financial returns.

And voila - lots of ill-thought outget rich quick schemes based on 'monetizing' (I hate that word) Facebook's users. Followed, amusingly enough, by a fair few retractions and apologies. In the longer term, it does nothing for his credibility, or, I suspect, the credibility of the next plan to make money from the site.

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French high court thumps Google Video

Nick Drew

Video fingerprinting doesn't work though?

Intrinsic problem here though - as I understand it, the two video clips (the one used as the copyright reference, the other being the one posted by a user) have to have the same size, exact same length and cover the same period of time, right? This size, length, colour, pixellation etc is then turned into a long-string number that's used as the 'fingerprint'.

While I'm guessing google will have developed it somewhat further than that, the truth surely is that there are myriad ways to vary the clip slightly (generally unintentionally) so that it doesn't match the 'fingerprint' - by it being a couple of seconds shorter, low quality with static etc.

Oh, and why is it that the French courts seem utterly oblivious to the *actual* way things work?! Handing down judgments that are generally meaningless because they're not economically or technologically viable.

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VoIP is Dead. It's just another feature, now

Nick Drew

'Excellent network'?!

I have to question your assertion that 3's network is excellent and 'covers most of the country'. It's not particularly great - 3G is still some way off its touted broadband speeds - and 3's coverage is pretty patchy outside urban centres.

Notwithstanding that, a very interesting article, and one wonders what the implications might be for Apple/ O2's 'free Wifi, but you have to pay £35 a month for the tariff' idea.

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LG Prada KE850 touchscreen phone

Nick Drew

Bit short on usability info...

Fairly good review, but as a tech site I thought you might be more interested in the functionality and usability of the phone for texting, web-browsing and so on. It's unlikely to sell on feature set, but given that it's the first (kind of) competitor for the iPhone, it would make more sense to see where the battle lines have been drawn.

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