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* Posts by Lee Dowling

1188 posts • joined 28 Mar 2007

New iPad 4G data connection will only work in America

Lee Dowling
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Re: 4g in Germany

Given the complexity of antenna-theory, you're in a lot of trouble if you don't design for the frequencies you use - especially in a small, low-powered, portable device that wants to operate at high-speed.

That's not to say they haven't, but it would seem weird for them to arrive at a generic design for all those frequencies and then not release it using all frequencies it was designed for. It's probably NOT just a case of switching a chip for a pin-equivalent (if it even exists), but a whole new range of FCC / CE certifications as to whether the radio emissions are valid and within limits. The fact that Apple are selling the device already means they've already done those and the design is pretty "locked" into the frequencies.

So to create an EU revision, you're looking at new chips (hopefully as simple as just soldering on a different one, but maybe not if they rely on external crystals, etc.), new antenna (possibly), new certifications, and then production on that model to the point you can supply the EU with it. That's a HECK of a lot of work. I'm not saying Apple won't do it, but it would appear unlikely given that they have already started selling the "US" version over here anyway - it would cause merry hell if you could pick up two seemingly-identical iPads in Dixons and find out that one can get 4G over here and one can't.

Looks like they just said "Oh, feck it, that's close enough" and decided against 4G functionality that was in any way different to the US versions.

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Crims fall back on old-school cons to avoid anti-fraud tech

Lee Dowling
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Re: Time to phase out cheques

Have window-cleaners stopped taking cash then? Gosh.

If you can't pay with cash (extremely unlikely), then they are unlikely to take cheques without verification of a cheque-guarantee card (do those still exist?) and even then they are absorbing a huge risk of a bounce (but at least they know where you are!). If they don't want to absorb that risk or customers don't want to pay by cheque (seriously, who pays a window-cleaner by cheque?), they can either accept cash, invoice for the work (if it's a business), or just take cards somehow (incredibly unlikely).

Cheques are now and always were a silly idea. They are promisary notes, an IOU, and nothing more, and incredibly unreliable - what you're paid for today can bounce in a month's time and you have to go track it down. If your business relies on cheques to operate, and cheques are going away, you WILL have to find another way to take monies (and my bet is, you already did, about 10 years ago). Card is unlikely because of the X% commission, but anyone will just take cash, or alternatively, invoice you in advance (which is exactly the same as a cheque, in essence). And when there are myriad ways to take cards or electronic payment in some form (bank transfer or PayPal, even) then nobody is going to miss cheques.

The window cleaner who takes card is actually no more rare than the window-cleaner who takes cheque, in my experience. But all will take cash and anyone dealing with a business will either expect cash or invoice you for regular work. In the absolute worst case, I'd take a postal order over a cheque any day of my life.

Cheque is dead. Most bank accounts don't even come with one nowadays. Most places won't accept them (try paying for fuel with one!). Nobody "demands" payment by cheque (there are always other payment methods).

Hell, even my workplace only issue/take cheques as an absolute exception. Card, bank payments, or cash, or don't even bother turning up. The bursar is much more likely to give me the business credit card to buy something than have me make him write out a cheque.

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Restaurant takes the piss, recycles it as fertiliser

Lee Dowling
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Re: Piss was used to make gunpowder...

Urine was the major mordant for centuries - up to and including people being paid to collect buckets of it from households in some major UK cities in the last century. A mordant helps dye stick to a fabric.

You know tweed? Proper tweed smells of pee when it rains, as did the clothing used in the House of Lords up until the previous decade. There's a reason for that.

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Peter Molyneux parts with Microsoft and Lionhead

Lee Dowling
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Populous, I'll give you.

Syndicate, I'll give you.

Hell, even Theme Park, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper were good.

Since then? All downhill. And little that's "famous" outside of the Fable franchise. Black & White was the tipping point. After that, it's all just junk.

Some games designers were brilliant in the 90's, less so nowadays. He's one. And the franchises he did create, were sold off to junk and poor remakes (Syndicate! Gah!).

But still - Bullfrog got you a lot of credit, but I'll never forget what you did to me with Black & White, where the second level in basically took my creature (the whole POINT of the new game and I'd barely learned how to control it) away from me. It never lived up to the hype, and nothing since has been able to.

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Three curbs data tariff excesses

Lee Dowling
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Eventually, someone will realise that the difference between 499Mb a month and 500Mb a month is less than one-499th of your phone package cost, and make them charge relative to that.

And then, hopefully, someone will spot that data local to the cell tower is virtually free to the operators (hell, buy an 100Mbps business cable connection on each antenna if it comes to it - and 100 users can get simultaneous 1Mbps for less than the cost of a single smartphone package) and make them price according.

People should NOT, out of fear of running up costs, need to manage their data. The phone should do it. The operator should do it (BY LAW!). Or it should be so damned cheap that it doesn't matter.

Don't even get me starting on roaming, which the EU really needs to clamp down on (and costs the operators NOTHING if they weren't all stinging each other for money so millions of ponds changes hands back and forth but they all make the same HUMONGOUS profit from each other in the end anyway - again, what's to stop you charging me the same as you charge those other customers who are local data users? Does a FLAG_FOREIGNER bit in the packet cause the cost to the local cell's Internet connection to sky-rocket?)

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X-com reboot's gameplay showcased

Lee Dowling
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If you make it join this list (of remakes that never have been allowed license to the title), I will kill you:

Bionic Commando

Deus Ex

Master of Orion

Spy Hunter

Syndicate

Stop remaking old games. Seriously the probability of failure is very high, and the users will hate you forever. And yet, nobody, NOBODY, ever re-makes the games that we could REALLY do justice to nowadays:

Carmageddon

Magic Carpet

Syndicate (yeah, a proper faithful remake could work wonders - not the junk listed above).

Don't even get me started on The Italian Job movie. Yeah, that's right. THE. Singular. Only one. Remake that and you should just shoot yourself.

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Suitably-endowed punters lured into bonking for Vaseline loving

Lee Dowling
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Re: Only about a fifth of my life has been spent in Blighty ...

I call my Oyster card a "doinker". I "doink" in and out of the stations.

I'll license my idea to them for several billion dollars if they are interested.

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Ford: kick your car to open the boot

Lee Dowling
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Re: I'm also reminded of an earlier Ford

Did the guy who sold it to you describe its one-speed wiper and automatic window, by any chance?

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Lee Dowling
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Re: GIMMICK ALERT!

Ah, you're from a country that uses the stupid idea of paper bags for groceries, eh? How's that idea looking now? Plastic ones. Handles. If in doubt, use a thing called a trolley and don't carry so damned much in one go.

And how does a one-handed man drive a car without having to have special adaptations anyway?

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Lee Dowling
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GIMMICK ALERT!

Seriously, this is what Ford R&D money is going on now, is it? Apparently we've given up on making cars people want to buy (e.g. good fuel consumption, low maintenance, etc.) and now make ones that look like something from a Japanese version of Dragon's Den.

If you have your hands full, put things down - don't go kicking out randomly at a car which puts you off-balance, in the middle of the road, while carrying heavy shopping, and potentially damages your back and foot, while flinging up a metal door into your face. I have a car key (old fashioned concept, I know) and it's never been worth even 10p for me to be able to open my boot like this (and, as pointed out, automated closing of the boot is a recipe for disaster - dog catches head in it, child puts arm out to grab toy at last moment, scalping yourself senseless, etc.).

Plus, it's just more drain on the battery for no reason.

Want to shock me into buying a car because it's just such a great concept? Make car doors that *DON'T* damage other cars if you catch the edge. Make a paint-job that doesn't need a respray after a slight scratch. Make an exhaust that isn't hanging precariously in the most vulnerable part of the car for obstacles (e.g. speed humps, potholes, etc.). Make a car whose battery *CAN'T* be run so low that it won't let you start it (e.g. "emergency" single-start backup battery built-in but only activated by a big red switch) or even unlock the doors. Make a car that comes with it's own set of 20ft jump leads in the boot, under the spare tyre, and are permanently connected to the battery (isolation switch, of course) so you can jump-start / be-jump-started without having to lift the bonnet (and while you're at it, make it one of those that "senses" polarity/voltage and won't do anything if you touch the leads together accidentally). Make one that uses a type of tyre that *can't* be punctured, or warns you about alignment/tracking. Make one that has a fuel cap on BOTH sides of the damn car. Make a car bumper that can be replaced without having to spend almost as much as the damn car (and if you can do it with just a screwdriver and not having to get under the car, even better). Make a whole series of cars with different usages (from sports car up to 4x4) that use lots of similar parts so spares are cheap (business issues with this one, I realise, but about bloody time we standardised on tyre sizes / windscreen shapes / mounting brackets / ways to change a bulb etc.). Make a car where add-ons can be purchased and installed with zero expertise (and I don't mean lots of complicated stuff - just things like electric wing-mirrors with a standard mounting that you just remove the old and clip on the new to upgrade, or air-con units that come as a £100 module that you just plug in without having to have a mechanic (there's no reason that can't literally be a "plug-and-play" upgrade), or sunroof (pop out blanking panel, insert sunroof panel), etc. Let students buy a dirt-cheap modular car and buy modules for it as and when they can to get to a higher model. Hell, you could get someone the module as a birthday present, that way.

There are a billion ideas that could be put into cars. Not all of them are useful, sensible or practical. But for every crackpot idea you put in, I'll find you a sensible idea that's just as cheap and is of more use. (And, yes, some of my ideas will be considered "crackpot" too, but at least I don't claim it to be my job).

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Google ups max Android app size to 4GB

Lee Dowling
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Cue the calls of "My child only downloaded one app that cost £0.50p while I was on holiday and now I have a £2000.00 bill!"

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iOnRoad Augmented Driving

Lee Dowling
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Re: 'Oh, it was the SatNav/Phones fault'

This is a pet-hate of mine. Drive or don't. You tell your kids off for crossing a road while looking at their phone, you should tell yourself off a thousand-fold for looking at a phone while driving on a road.

I have satnav. I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't weld it to the glass in front of the steering wheel, right in the field of view (and totally illegal! People get fines for things hanging from the mirror, for God's sake!). It's actually hanging out of an envelope-shaped pocket under my radio on an L-adaptor so it sits just in front of my gear stick, facing the gear stick. You can't see the screen from the driving seat (so it's actually LEGAL), but it's just close enough for you to plug in a charger and hear it and not get in the way.

On the once-a-year occasion that I actually need to interpret its route by sight rather than the voice, at a traffic light I can just lift it with two fingers to point upwards, and then replace it. A passenger can operate it fully without distracting me, either. And if it falls off (which is another worry of mine with a glass-held satnav), it falls into the passenger footwell, not my steering wheel, footwell or instrumentation.

We really need a zero-tolerance year. We'll let you do 100mph on the motorway, legally, but in return we'll take away the licenses of anyone who does 101mph, has anything on their screen in their field of view, has worn tyres, has a phone anywhere other than a pocket, is using one of those emergency tyres or doesn't have working lights on their car on the motorway (I'd let you off on smaller roads, possibly).

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Bikini clad Princess Leia spied shakin' booty in Star Wars game

Lee Dowling
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There have been many things in my life that have made me want to brand "WHY" into George Lucas' head with a red-hot poker.

This one, though, makes me want to fashion a "24-pin" red-hot poker out of an old Epson and use that instead.... it'll take longer, be more painful, and we all know what a carriage return can do to an unsuspecting nose.

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Lee Dowling
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WTF?

A Star-Wars motion-controlled dancing game?!

That's it. I give up. Where do I hand my "old-school gamer" membership card in? What an abomination.

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Ubuntu 12.04 hits beta, brings smooth Unity for marching masses

Lee Dowling
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Re: Well...

Long-term support vs normal distro vs bleeding edge.

You made your choice. If your choice was wrong, that was your fault.

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Warner Bros boss moots 'disc-to-digital' scheme

Lee Dowling
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So you want me to trade me my physical, unrevokable, hard copy of digital data that I can perfectly on any standardised machine, can rip to a perfect digital copy in a matter of minutes, including removing all those horrendous ten-minute adverts and unskippable menus (not to mention region encoding), so that I receive in return an online, revokable, copy of the digital data (format not specified) where i can't do any of that stuff at all.

That's a real nice plan. For you. I don't see anything in it for me. I don't do piracy, but I do make digital copies of my own disks onto a hard drive so that I can get rid of all that junk and - shock, horror - just play the damn movie that I bought.

I've yet to buy one of those "we'll give you an online copy too" DVD's that are already out (so this isn't really news). My dad asked me what they were the other week and after I explained what you'd need to do to play them, he just said "Wouldn't be easier to just copy the disc that's in the same box onto your computer?" This is a man who doesn't know how to right-click.

Seriously. If you want me to do it, advertise to me using words that I can appreciate: No region-encoding. No UOP's. No adverts. Same digital data. And not having to trade in my original copy at all.

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ISP Be admits crippling iPlayer demand burst its pipes

Lee Dowling
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Re: "It's the only thing that can do ALL the jobs at once. "

Ah, so you want me to buy a PC and dedicate it to watching TV, insert a device into it that receives TV, subscribe to a TV listings website to make the device work properly (or buy a pre-made PVR), and predict what I want to watch in advance (which I can't remember doing in the last ten years except possibly for Christmas specials, etc.). If I miss it, forget it, misprogram it, it gets rescheduled then I have to revert to my usual plan anyway. I also have to pay for local storage and (presumably) a UPS for anything vaguely important that I might miss. I also need an aerial with a good digital signal (don't own one, can't get one in my area yet) and/or a cable/satellite TV package. I have to tune yet-another-device in every time the channels juggle, have to have yet-another remote control, yet-another box on top of the TV and yet-more cabling behind the TV.

As opposed to:

Having an Internet connection.

Clicking on a website.

Clicking on what I want to watch on an official website provided by the original broadcaster.

(Optional, advanced extra: get_iplayer for permanent archives).

I have high-speed broadband for a reason, and it's not to send my email a fraction of a second faster. My ISP supports it and never has a problem and most IPTV broadcasts you see on your TV have been blatted across the Internet at least twice before you see them (footage colletion, editing, sending to broadcasters, etc.). Just because *your* ISP is oversubscribed, don't cry about how I should change the way I use my Internet.

On top of that - my PC plays DVD / Blu-rays, plugs into my TV, accepts remote controls of any flavour, has huge amounts of storage, etc. AND can do all the above already (even the PVR bit if I really want - £10 DVB-T stick!). I don't have to stick on a second device (third if you include the TV too) in order to watch something that I missed.

It's like saying to someone - "ITunes MP3's?! Why don't you just record the radio 24/7?!"

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Lee Dowling
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Re: re: idiots

Great. Can I watch BBC programs whenever I want on TV, up to two weeks after broadcast? Apparently not unless - and this will make you laugh - I use the on-demand streaming connections to things like BBC iPlayer which basically does the same as me accessing their website (e.g. if you use Virgin, the set-top-box just negotiates it's own Internet connection with IP - even if you have a separate modem - and accesses iPlayer content servers).

Can I watch the Saturday movie on Monday? Can I pause the TV without having to buy some fancy-schmancy subscription / box / TV? Can I zip back and show someone something that started at the beginning of the program, or show them the only funny "joke" in some of the modern "comedies"?

No? TV's dead then. Get with the programme. IP is already used for phones, for video-conferencing, for door-control, etc. It's the only thing that can do ALL the jobs at once. Your modern TV, meanwhile, is now trying to be a PC and access everything over the Internet. Haven't you noticed? Hell, I bought a £10 dual-DVB-T dongle for my laptop two years ago. I still haven't used it for anything yet. But iPlayer gets loaded once a day, minimum.

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Lee Dowling
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Re: Local caching?

I read articles a while back that basically said BBC have arrangements to put a "blackbox" in the ISP that does caching of BBC iPlayer content on their premises and thus save them a ton of bandwidth. Whether that's still true (I expect it is), it's Be at fault here for just sheer lack of capacity. They can blame iPlayer as much as they like (and my former ISP PlusNet often shared graphs that show that iPlayer takes up more than twice as much as all P2P traffic, for instance) but they just didn't have the systems in place to cope with demand.

If Akamai couldn't cope with it, then your alternate routes should always have done so and alarm bells should go mad about the huge utilisation of that particular route. You couldn't serve the traffic in a timely manner because you just did not have enough capacity. That's a failure of planning, management and pricing. Nothing "technical", really, at all.

iPlayer is also pretty cacheable, except for the live streams. Maybe they should have just put in emergency local caching (an afternoon job) until they could bring up more capacity?

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Tory minister: Let's exploit our rich resource of mud, er, wind

Lee Dowling
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Pence per watt, nothing else matters. Environmental effects have a mitigation cost that you include in those pence. As do fuel shortages. As does everything else.

I once priced up a small top-of-the-range "home" wind-turbine that I saw in B&Q. The thing was as big as my car. It required planning permission to install. It required electrical expertise that involves calling in your electricity company. It cost more than I've ever paid for anything, ever, except my house.

I worked out that, at theoretical maximum output, you could probably pay its costs back by "savings" on your electricity within about 30-35 years, if you INCLUDED subsidies and took into account how much it would cost to install (even based on doing as much as possible yourself). It had a design life and warranty for 5 years (and considering it would have to weather outside storms for more than 5 years and not degrade it's production capacity in that time one iota, it was unlikely to last). So if I ran the thing for the majority of my adult life, in a force-9 gale that didn't damage it, I would just about break even, even if I included the subsidies in my utopian wind-generating environment. Me blowing on a pound-shop cooling fan, or winding up a "clockwork" torch, was actually more profitable per watt.

Sadly, those figures pretty much match up to everything else I've seen deployed from small ones on boats to huge ones in fields in Belgium. You can make money off them - if you ignore most of the actual costs (i.e. where the hell did you get that plastic from and how would you do that if we'd run out of oil?), run them for decades and have the government pay you lots of money for doing so. Otherwise, it's a complete waste.

Pence per watt. The reason our electricity keeps going up is partly oil-price rises and partly these nutty schemes that actually make things worse. I've always wondered what the pence-per-watt would be in a country entirely powered by nuclear.

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Microsoft tripped up by Blighty's techie skills gap

Lee Dowling
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That's right, Oxford's a complete dump!

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Lee Dowling
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FAIL

If you think the software in use makes any difference, you're as disillusioned as Microsoft. Most of the famous engineers there were brought up on BASIC.

If they use the Unreal editor - so what? A lot of modern games still use that engine. Are they tinkering with the engine? Are they understanding it?

The best bits of maths / computer science I've seen are tucked away in under-documented lines of the Doom and Quake source code.

If you expect the uni to upgrade EVERYTHING on its courses every year, you're mad. The *knowledge* required to make use of any modern computer science relies on no software at all but applies to them ALL. Unreal uses no more different equations or principles to manipulate a 3D transform matrix than any other.

This is the problem with modern computer science students - they think the subject has ANYTHING to do with what software you have installed on your desktop and/or how old it is. It doesn't.

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Epic net outage in Africa as FOUR undersea cables chopped

Lee Dowling
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Several thousand kilometres at 100m per junction? I think it'd be more a pain in powering those intermediate hubs/switches than anything else (but otherwise would be perfectly feasible for runs on the same order of magnitude).

Gimme a solar-powered, floating, 2-port Gigabit Ethernet repeater/switch and you could cable just about anywhere. :-)

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Microsoft 'fesses credit cards exposed by Indian store hack

Lee Dowling
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Re: Forced by who ?

Whether you're right or not, it was an "over-hasty", "optimistic" and premature announcement for MS to make before MS itself had checked the facts. Nothing wrong there, in terms of journalism.

Don't say "It hasn't happened" unless you've absolutely, cast-iron, 100% verified it hasn't. Or you'll look like a pillock who doesn't know what the hell their own company is doing. You could say "We're investigating", or "Our inquiries are still being pursued but we don't believe that..." etc.

If you say, in effect, "Your card numbers are safe", you better be damn sure they are.

When Steam was compromised a few months back, they took WEEKS to investigate and still gave only "We think they only got encrypted copies". As such, they didn't look half as incompetent as MS have here (and it's still believed that not one single card number has been stolen from Steam BECAUSE everything was properly encrypted in the first place).

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Molesworth and the New Latin

Lee Dowling
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FAIL

WTH?

Completely unreadable, even if that was supposed to be the point.

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Syndicate

Lee Dowling
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FAIL

Summary: Save your money. Buy the original (GoG.com sell a pre-DOSBox'd version, without the American Revolt expansion, unfortunately). Spit on those who spat on Syndicate's grave.

The sad thing is that I've seen LOTS of good team-based real-time strategies, usually in free mods and indie games, that with a graphical change would be ideal. Seriously, how hard was it to keep the formula the same? Hell, even Space Hulk form back-in-the-day would have made a closer Syndicate-like game today - see through all your squad's eyes and control which ones are in trouble.

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Freetard-friendly MP allegedly cuffed after scrap in Commons bar

Lee Dowling
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Sorry, but I don't want that man representing anything to do with my country, or its politics. Failing to provide a breath test, long history of breaking the law and now a punch-up in the Commons. This guy isn't a politician, he's a government-paid thug.

You can be sure that if *I'd* done those things in my local pub, I would lose my job, whether or not it happened in a work bar. What the hell is the political system coming to when this kind of thing even HAPPENS within earshot of the halls of government by its own representatives?

He's a law-breaking thug. It makes me question exactly how he got to where he is (A degree in religious studies? Really?), the power he has, the budget/expenses he's given, and what methods he uses in his work-life if a head-butt is used in his personal one.

I'm apolitical, because of shite like this. How many of you would be allowed to keep your job after refusing a breath test and/or a punch-up with your work colleagues? Remind me again what happened to some of the rioters who did a lot less?

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UK.gov vows to purify TV with £180m from mobile networks

Lee Dowling
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I thought that the point of all this digital TV stuff was to free up channels that we couldn't use at the time because they would interfere. The concept was, correct me if I'm wrong, along the lines of:

"We'll move all the TV into its own frequency band that takes up less room - then that leaves us buckets of old very sought-after analogue space that we can use willy-nilly and not worry about taking out someone's TV signal".

I will never understand Ofcom and frequency allocation at all. Either allocate something or don't. If you do allocate it, your whole JOB is to make sure it doesn't interfere with others at all. That's it. That's all you have to worry about. And you can't even do that.

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Crap PINs give wallet thieves 1-in-11 jackpot shot

Lee Dowling
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Never understood the fuss. If you use the card often enough, the bank's PIN is more than enough to cater for and it is the only number you NEED to remember (and years ago, we were all memorising 5-10 phone numbers but we don't do that now). If you don't use your card that often, the only way is to write it somewhere (NOT WITH YOUR CARD!). Inconvenient, yes, but you also have to ask yourself why you're carrying around a card that you don't use and forget the PIN to. From a security point of view, that's probably worse than just leaving it in a safe at home.

That said, I don't think I've ever heard of someone having their PIN guessed by a robber. Forced out of them, possibly. Card used on t'Internet, sure. Try a transaction in a store that lets you sign and is lax on CCTV, of course. But PIN's, in general, do their job. If you're stupid enough to write them on the card and/or use something that's quite obvious (year of birth), that's your tough luck.

Longer PIN's? Almost all European countries accept them and the software change is entirely minimal BECAUSE almost all European countries, card manufacturers, banks, etc. already accept them. Why do you think you have to press the Enter button after the 4-digit PIN? To tell the machine you're finished. I've seen people type 6-digit PIN's into UK machines without a problem, but maybe it depends on the bank.

We should all follow Joey-from-Friend's example - scratch the number on the ATM... :-)

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Ten... sub-£100 mono laser printers

Lee Dowling
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Samsng ML-4500

When my printer dies, I'll surely be buying one of the Brother's or a Samsung. We use them in work and they are good, quick, clean and cheap.

But given that my printer's been running for, oh, must be 10 years now and only has a £30 cartridge about once every two years (and even that's only because the toner contains the light-sensitive drum - the cartridge itself can be refilled with any-old-toner-powder at least 2-3 times if you really want - they even have removable plastic "caps" on the official toners!), works on Linux and Windows, laughs at envelopes and cost me about £80 all that time ago, it will have to die before I move on.

I don't think mono-laser technology has ever really moved on since then. Sure, gimmicks and new interface but nothing significantly better (so my combination of Samsung ML-4500 and Intel NetportExpress - which uses an Intel 386 chip, for goodness sake! - has managed to future-proof me all that time). But colour laser has come on a storm since then, coming into the sub-£100 market itself.

Does anyone really still buy inkjets, even for home use? If I pay £60 for some ink/toner, I want to feel like I'm changing car components when I put it in, not decanting a thimble.

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Climate models need revising: Droughts, heat waves not such a big deal

Lee Dowling
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Re: Science - what it's about !

Unfortunately you missed a step:

Politics - we'll misconstrue something scientific (up to and including running our own "research" and shouting loudly about it around the globe) in order to focus people's minds on issues that nobody in the world has any reasonable control over anyway and where our billions of investment in alternatives has actually done bugger-all (and isn't likely to do much more), but since we started penalizing people, companies and countries for failing to make those things change we actually end up with more money for the country.

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Boy died after satnav fault delays ambulance

Lee Dowling
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Re: Non story

On the news next week:

Satnavs made legally compulsory on all emergency service vehicles at great expense (plus backhanders) to "reassure the public" and "provide a better service".

Seriously - think what would have happened WITHOUT satnav to so many people over the last decade or so. It still doesn't mean it should be compulsory, or that they should totally ignore GPS technology. But a failure of a technology like that is not something you can predict or reasonably guard against.

The ambulance got there. Slightly delayed, but it got there. I bet the driver was cursing the satnav just as much as the mother. But, as the article points out, there were ALREADY trained, qualified, emergency-response, medical people on the scene. The ambulance coming or not at that exact moment is unlikely to be the major factor in any death and, if it was, similarly risking would be a traffic jam, or a puncture, or an engine failure, or the driver fainting, or, or, or...

I can understand the mother being upset about it, but I don't think it deserves the press it's got. What next? A ten-billion-pound constant treatment could have given my son one minute longer alive, so we have to make it compulsory in every doctor's surgery and have backup units standing by at all times? No.

The ambulance crew did their job and got to the place. Maybe not as fast as was theoretically possible, but for sure as damn fast as they were able to, through no fault of their own (or that of the ambulance service). I imagine the press is killing *the crew* right now, more than anyone else.

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BOFH: Moon landings, Pong and the case of the smoking server

Lee Dowling
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Oh ho ho ho!

Tell your friend that I have an amazing deal on a water-powered car if he's interested...

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Hey Commentards! This pre-populated 'reply to' is for you

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: tarded.

About time. I hate sites that roll their own "forums" and then never add features that people have time enough to take for granted. The Reg and Slashdot are both culprits here, with different things.

Hey, reg, is there an easy way to get to the "view my posts" page without having to find an article with comments, view the comments, login, view my posts?

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Muscle pants give girls that skin-stripped look

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

I suggest you read http://www.birnbaumgarment.com/2011/09/10/the-300-denim-jeans-3/ which is from someone in the industry. The fabrics are the same, the costs are the same, even the factories are often the same. It's only the scale (Armani makes ten suits, some unknown brand makes a hundred thousand of the sam designs) and brand that makes any difference at all.

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Lee Dowling
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Welcome to the world of women's clothing.

If you can't measure the price of the garment in tens of pounds per square foot, it will never be bought by a woman.

I'm yet to work out exactly what it is that women's clothes are made of, because my cheap £1 T-shirts look *exactly* the same material (if not the same cut) as hers, but hers cost £10's of pounds for less actual material. Maybe they oxygenate them with rarefied air from the top of the Alps or something. Even her jeans cost more and I'm pretty sure the cost of denim is fixed and not reliant on whether you're making jeans for a woman or a man.

You could add up every bit of money that I've ever spent on anything I've ever owned (including historically, presents given to me, things bought for me, etc.) and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't come to 50% of what my girlfriend / ex-wife paid their *current* wardrobe (and that's not even counting shoes!).

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Virtual Nazi-code-cracking Colossus in fundraising appeal

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Nah, but there's probably already a Linux port in the making. :-)

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Lee Dowling
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Dunno, but I just put a tenner on.

My entire career, and favourite hobby, exists only because of the work those people did. In a way, you can also say that they are the reason I don't speak German today, except in polite and peaceful concourse with our European neighbours.

This is my (small, but all I can really spare) birthday present for Turing (100 on the 23rd of June this year!), my thank you for everyone's hard work (good old fashioned elbow-grease and brain-power - which may well have saved dozens of lives of ordinary people I actually *knew* / still know), my contribution to Bletchey Park's restoration, and my hope that interest in this subject provides the schools I work for with future incentive to teach proper computing once again.

That's a lot for a tenner to say.

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IT guy answers daughter's Facebook rant by shooting her laptop

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Parenting: +100.

Unnecessary use of a lethal weapon when you could have just dropped it into a skip, into a rubbish crusher, into a river, thrown it off the top of the house, stamped on it, hit it with a sledgehammer, etc.: -99

Still, I doubt with modern "yoof" that this will stop her moaning - she'll just be more discrete about it next time and only whinge to her friends that her dad destroyed her laptop too, and she'll "bloody get away from them when I get the chance", etc.

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Indonesian train roof fare-dodgers given the brush off

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Am I the only one that sees the solution here?

Stop them getting on the roof? Either by personal force (which is what would happen over here), or by the simple precept of painting the train roof in anti-climb paint? Why some fancy-schmancy system of hanging deadly devices in the path of fast-moving trains?

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Russians drill into buried 20 million-year-old Antarctic lake

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Don't worry - could just be a tripod placed there by an alien civilisation, waiting to be woken up so it can suck all our blood.

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Hackers spunk 'pcAnywhere source' after negotiation breakdown

Lee Dowling
Silver badge
FAIL

That's the problem with an anoymous, open, unregulated group of people. Anyone could do anything and blame it on Anonymous and there's no way that anyone can definitively say it *wasn't* them, even other members of Anonymous.

That was *always* the problem with flying under that moniker or condemning/condoning any of their actions. There is no magical group of people called Anonymous that decides things and acts coherently. It's just a name, like John Doe, used by anyone who wants to do anything they wouldn't do with a real name attached. As such, you have no control over what the group does or where it goes. Even if lots of members of Anonymous discredit a particular act, that's not what anyone else hears - the guy doing it said he was part of Anonymous - a group famed for not knowing who its own members are.

I would be *incredibly* surprised if Anonymous doesn't keep coming up and up time and again in the news as various random people do things and blame it on them (What about that guy that gunned down the kids on the island? What if he'd been a "member" of Anonymous, etc.? What about MegaUpload? What about an unsavoury porn group? What about infiltration by government departments to discredit the name and turn Anonymous into the next "Terrorism"?).

You can't be a group, and let all your members do whatever they want, and then claim that you have a purpose.

Please stop referring to Anonymous as an entity. It's not. It's a moniker that anyone can use at any time and for any purpose. You cannot stop people using that name any more than you can part the Red Sea. If you decide to condone the actions of a group like that, you're more stupid than you think. It's like condoning every action of every Fred in the world because one Fred did something good for you once.

15
2

Mac OS X ARM port by Apple work experience kid revealed

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

I spent my work experience crashing a Wyse terminal.

Some idiot designed to software to work on a text-based menu where right-cursor went into a menu and left-cursor came out of it. That wasn't the idiot bit - the idiot bit was one-too-many lefts and you were randomly thrown back to the login screen and lost everything, or the machine crashed and lost everything (sometimes not just the local terminal either).

I lost count of the number of times I did it in the two weeks I was there. Typically, their IT guy had those weeks off sick so instead of learning some IT, as I'd hoped, I was left on the computer to do some admin and randomly crashing the system every few minutes (and *NOT* allowed to learn the process to get it back up and running again).

But the place was near a McDonald's for lunch, the placement paid me for my time there (which was totally optional), and I got one of the best ever reports sent back to the school and read out as an example of how to "move successfully into the business world" (fortunately, I was off the day they read it out in front of the whole school).

Hell, I think I spent more time laughing at their huge 9-pin dot-matrix (outdated even for those days) than I did actually getting anything useful done for them.

1
0

Has Microsoft finally killed off Windows 8 Start button?

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Microsoft Design Meeting:

"I know, let's replace the iconic and well-understood, most important part of the desktop that's always visible in the bottom-left hand corner with a mysterious, undocumented, hidden area that's still just as critical but only appears when people know or guess to hover over nothing in the same place as the previous method used to be."

In other words: Let's screw the desktop user until they complain, then put it back, and pretend we listened to them (while secretly having distracted them from all the other new problems we introduced to make people less productive on Windows 8 than on Windows 95 so they have to buy more computers and licenses to get the same amount of work done).

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3

Schools IT supplier RM swings to full year loss after sales dive

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

*COUGH*

Primary schools.

*COUGH*

Where your mocking, sarcastic remark is actually truth. How do I know? I spent 10 years as an independent IT guy formatting their crap and installing usable software on them, to the disgust of the local "bought" borough support (whom I cost many, many, many, many thousands of pounds of business by doing so, but whose support contracts strictly stipulate RM computers/software and HP printers ONLY) - all so the little kiddiewinks could get a fecking education and afford schoolbooks (which, in at least one school, was not an exaggeration given their annual support commitments for the existing RM gear they bought on Borough recommendation).

A school would hear about me, phone one of my "current" schools, I'd go round and survey their RM-unsupported, teachers-with-admin-privileges, worthless-security-software (RMGuard *COUGH*), manky IT nightmares and get them to something which could run Windows programs that they bought from a software supplier WITHOUT having to go through RM's "pre-approved / packaged" stuff (with is really just MSI's crippled to extremes so you can't use standard ones - couldn't even have a space in a package name without taking down the WHOLE network last I looked). Within weeks, they'd ditch their borough support, pay me half the equivalent and get ten times more use out of their computers. And, often, their next purchase would be one of those Borough-cringing "We're not touching RM, so tell us what else you can offer" arguments with some pencil-pusher.

Did it for 10 years before I got bored of the same stuff happening over and over again. Went to work for a private school who said, in the interview, "We don't touch that RM s***". Never was I more keen to accept a job offer.

1
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100 MEEELLION .com domains now registered

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

And at least 10 of them are useful.

And at least 10 of them are useful.

The rest of them are "holding pages", randomly generated spam-sources, or companies grabbing everything related to their business "just-in-case" and then redirecting them all to the same place.

0
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When a DNS outage isn't an outrage

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

We need to coin a new word.

Reg-vertisement?

Sorry, but there was no need to name the DNS provider, especially after they were named only the other week too. Naming them did not add anything to the article, and a lot of articles on here are posted with words like "big name company" or "well-known DNS provider", etc.

I don't read the adverts, Reg, whether you put them in the articles or on the side. The more effort I have to go to in order to avoid them, the less I'll visit.

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Brit pair deported from US for 'destroy America' tweet

Lee Dowling
Silver badge

Because, you know, you have to do EXACTLY what your Disney-brainwashed kids want, on their schedule and by their orders.

I don't think that the USA or Mickey Mouse has anywhere near as much to answer for as parents who can't say No.

18
1

Two million-degree matter from SLAC laser

Lee Dowling
Silver badge
Thumb Down

"fry the atmosphere"

Yeah - all that nitrogen. Frickin' dangerous that is, just sitting there waiting for an ignition source.

7
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Megaupload master loses Call of Duty crown

Lee Dowling
Silver badge
Thumb Up

You might think that. On at least two of those "moves", though I moved into an established house with the occupier after they'd already lived there several years (and thus the neighbourly relationships hadn't existed before I'd moved in either!).

You do start smelling your own armpits after a while, though... just to check.

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