40 posts • joined Tuesday 3rd April 2007 05:56 GMT
Not for me
I'm not a big fan of anything that lets the market create difficult-to-compare plans - mobile phone plans are already a pain in the arse. The current system mostly works - if you want better, ad-free email, you can pay for it.
If the idea is simply to create an easy micropayment mechanism, then fine - a cheap, easy to use and integrate, ubiquitous Paypal alternative would be fantastic. I'd prefer it not be linked to my ISP though, as the other reason people (including me) use services like Gmail is to avoid roadblocks transferring ISPs. If your email address, Steam library, and Netflix account are tied to your ISP, changing supplier becomes a major hassle.
Re: No surprise here - It is DRM that increases piracy
I agree that there are costs to the publisher to make ebooks available; I might, given enough evidence, believe that the cost of paper, print, binding and shipping is negligible / approximately the same as the VAT so the price should be the same from the publishers point of view, but look at it from a customer point of view instead.
I get the same content to read, but not the property rights with the ebook. I can't lend it to a friend; I can't sell it on when I'm done with it. I can't pick up a completely unknown book second hand and go "you know what, for a couple of quid I'll take a chance" because there isn't a second hand market.
I'm not getting the same standard of product, so the price should reflect that. Alternately, create a market for 2nd hand ebooks - if you're using the honour system (no DRM) then allow resale, if you're using DRM allow transfer of ownership. At the moment, the publishers are screwing us both ways.
Rather than get a tiny capacity charger like the Proporta 830mAh which claims to be able to provide 23% power to an S3, why not just get a 2nd battery? Its smaller, cheaper, lighter and more 4 times the capacity they claim.
I see the point of the bigger beasts (5,000mAh upwards) for long trips, but most of these are tiny compared to modern smartphone batteries.
Doesn't look that useful for adults
"Researchers examined the properties of the muscles in both adult and newborn mice and discovered that the alterations caused by loss of Grb10 function had mainly occurred during prenatal development."
So no muscles-in-a-pill from this research (or restoration of muscles for people with degenerative diseases, sadly).
Seems like good science
Hopefully will be followed up and replicated.
What I don't understand if people saying things like "Soon the climate hoax will be exposed", or "None of this will matter to the True Believers" - they're still showing warming effects.
The big problem with global warming is that it is inherently slow - you don't walk out of the door one morning and find that the trees are on fire, you get get steadily nastier weather, which you get used to a little at a time, and doing anything about it is incredibly difficult and depending how you go about it, extremely disruptive.
We need a bit more science like this to understand exactly where we stand, and a lot more science directed at reducing emissions, finding alternate energy sources (e.g. thorium reactors, fusion, big tidal and solar projects) and increasing efficiency. There is something badly wrong with a society that takes 20 years to approve spending €5 billion (albeit now approaching €16billion) across the entire world for ITER, and yet finds £12 billion from the UK alone for a couple of weeks of running around in lycra.
Not that impressive...
320x240 display with a 1 hr battery life isn't very impressive, especially compared to commercially available stuff like the ST1080, which is full HD and has a 4 hr life. True, it doesn't have GPS, but you're going to be hooking this thing up to a smartphone anyway. Build head tracking in, make it more transparent (10% isn't going to cut it when you're walking around) and do all the processing on the phone to save power.
As one of a (small?) overlap between Gmail and Thunderbird, I find this annoying:
Thunderbird may claim more than 20 million users, but Gmail alone boasts 425 million active users worldwide
Yes, true. And hotmail has how many users? And myspace has how many users? Can we get past some kind of signup metric, because it isn't exactly useful, especially for legacy services, to looking at active user numbers?
I thought astroturfing was paying people to support you who otherwise wouldn't (fake grass roots) rather than sending out an alert email to people who have expressed an interest in an issue.
As long as there isn't anything inappropriate going on (eg Google are paying Consumer Focus for support) then I'm not seeing anything requiring sarcastic quotes around 'independent' - if they add you to the email list, are you no longer 'independent'?
Google are not a particularly nice company, and I disagree with a lot of their data-hoovering practices, but this isn't exactly sinister machinations in a smoke-filled back room.
Wondering why copyright holders are reviled?
"opposing views had been submitted on other planned reforms to copyright, including allowing education bodies to copy protected works into new formats for student learning"
AKA We like screwing money out of schools - they aren''t spending their own money so ridiculous fees are easier to extract
"There was also dispute over whether copyrighted works could be used in quotation and in reporting current events without infringement"
AKA We'd like to stop anyone posting negative articles about our stuff
Rights holders, though, argued that introducing any "general measure" to prevent contractual override of copyright exceptions "would constitute an unduly excessive restriction of freedom to contract"
AKA We'd like to avoid following those laws designed to stop unfair practices - "Slave owners argued that introducing a general measure preventing contractual override of human rights would constitute an unduly excessive restriction of freedom to contract"
Rights holders also campaigned for a planned 'private copying' exception to be limited to physical products only, and specifically prevent individuals copying digital content into cloud storage services for private use.
AKA feel free to allow stuff that no-one will be doing by the time this comes into force, we want to carry on screwing our customers in the future.
Really, el reg?
As many people pointed out on the previous article, eg replies to http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/06/12/inman_dmca_dumb/#c_143920 , the DMCA isn't applicable to sites outside the US.
Despite that, and the inherent ridiculousness of Charles Carreon's behaviour, you seem to be supporting him in this article. Seriously, the man is suing two charities (who will no doubt have to spend money defending against this asshat) because a random person on the internet has said they're going to donate them money, and your response is "Carreon's no dummy"?
Content vs Techies
The issue isn't that technology companies are being obstructive, it is that the content industries are asking for ridiculously disproportionate things, and indeed have already had successes (see the DMCA and copyright term extension). If the postal service was just setting up, the content industries would be campaigning to have every parcel sent in clear bags and require the postal service to inspect each one to ensure no contraband got through, and ban anyone caught sending a CD in the post from sending mail in the future.
To prevent the "you only ever say we can't do things" response, how about this as a suggestion:
A Spotify-like service that allowed all content companies to offer their wares and had the same rates for paying all companies (big or small, otherwise the independents won't join), that had all content available, at different qualities for different devices, and customers can download anything you like for use on offline devices. The stick is that the downloads are traceable to your account (through some kind of watermarking). If the customer's stuff ends up on the wider web (probably repeatedly, or with added promotion, or something to avoid catching the innocently careless), you've got their details and can sue them directly. Of course, the devil is in the details - can you watermark files without it being easy to strip watermarks out, how much would people pay, exactly how you'd split the money, etc) but it'd be a start...
Microsoft have (finally) seen the advantages of ZFS, and implemented (a few) of the the features. There seems to be a fair bit of conflicting info floating around on the web, but if ReFS with Storage Spaces does have full checksumming then I might consider it as an upgrade path for my Solaris / ZFS file server.
Yes, I agree, it'd be nice if they'd play nicely with open source and help get BTRFS up to production standard (or somehow make a deal with Oracle and use ZFS) but failing that this is a good second best.
While I agree with you on the main thing (100,000 feet isn't space), I've got to point out that:
A) their balloon did, in fact, pop and
B) depending on friction, having a more defined boundary and surface tension, you could get the duck to "hover" - it'll still have a bit of velocity when acceleration drops to zero, so it'll pop out of the tub and fall back under gravity. Let go of a closed empty plastic bottle at the bottom of a swimming pool and watch it fly!
Copyright protection measures
Imagine I'm responsible for keeping the streets clean. I suggest that there are solutions to littering: to not allow the culprit out of their house, or to restrict their access to certain areas, or to have a network of cameras covering the entire country. You'd (rightly) say it was an overreaction.
It wouldn't be your responsibility to suggest alternatives - you'd be welcome to do so, naturally - but it isn't your problem and not liking my solutions doesn't make it your problem.
When you suggest cutting off internet access, or blocking based on sites / protocol, or making the ISPs into the copyright police, I say you're overreacting. Throwing your hands up and saying "is there nothing you like?" isn't helpful.
From the article...
"Or ... you travel overseas and are keen to use a smartphone's net-connected apps without getting stung by roaming charges but don't want to mess around swapping Sims."
PAYG data in most countries, while still horribly expensive, is much much cheaper than roaming. At £5+ a meg, it doesn't take long for £80 to look like a bargain.
Not so fast...
"This will provide sequential bandwidth up to 500MB/sec."
OCZ's current lineup, including the Vertex 3, will kick out 550MB/s with 500MB/s writes, so you'd expect their next gen hardware to be a bit quicker.
Admittedly, I seem to be one of the only happy Vertex 3 owners, as I've not had any problems and love the insane speed.
Mobile broadband, Oz-style
" the average mobile user’s download throughput was far less than the fixed user: around 2.5 GB per customer, per month."
An *average* mobile user managed to download 2.5GB a month? Wow, I wish we had that in the UK. The outliers must be astonishing. Try finding a UK plan over 500 Mb that isn't 3 (their service is, charitably, awful).
Customer bandwidth shouldn't be charged to Google
Am I missing something? The $344 million is Google's bandwidth bill, the $44 billion is all the customers' bandwidth bills. Google apparently gets 16.5% of all bandwidth usage in the US (Really? That's a Tesco-like dominance. Worrying) so that'd be $7.26 billion's worth of customer bills. That isn't a subsidy.
Well, you could argue that Google is providing, at a cost to themselves of $344 million, $7.26 billion worth of business for ISPs - after all, if customers used 16.5% less bandwidth, they'd want to pay 16.5% less right? So its a subsidy for the ISPs. You seem to be saying Google should pay customer's bandwidth bills for the priviledge of delivering them videos that they asked for - are you saying shops should pay for customer's cars?
Oh, and as for the centralised net thing, CDN is almost certainly the way to go - can you imagine the size the cabinets would have to be? And thats assuming the neighbourhood scrotes haven't ripped it open and nicked everything. Oh, and updates to every cabinet in the world whenever something new came out would be horribly wasteful when most stuff isn't going to be watched by that many people.
Re: Telly on holiday
Of course, iPlayer (and pretty much all legal streaming services) are locked down by region, so when you get off the plane you'll be pretty disappointed. It isn't like you're going to be storing much HD video on the thing.
Why would you buy a media device that isn't pocket-portable? If you have to carry it in a bag you might as well carry a laptop!
Oh well, back to looking at standalone eReaders.
Why not just add a unique key to each TV licence (if it doesn't already have one). Set up an account on the beeb's site, enter your TV licence number, and viola, you've got access to BBC programs from anywhere in the world (carrot as well as stick please). If more than a certain number of accounts register with the same licence (20? 30? You're only really trying to stop massive distribution so it can be fairly high), ask the customer to give you a call to sort it out.
Doesn't seem like too much hassle, and to its credit iPlayer is massively better than the competing services like 4oD.
Blurring together two debates?
It seems there are three positions here - global warming isn't happening, global warming is happening but isn't caused by human activities, and global warming is happening and it is being caused by humans. Science can, and has, shown warming happening. That is the scientific consensus, though the cause is more contentious. As with most things in the real world, the likely cause is a mixture of effects from natural causes and from human actions. Really, does it matter who is to blame?
The question is simple: how do we respond? This is the point where science can only give options. From conservational measures like cutting greenhouse gas output to interventionist measures like promoting cloud formation, the decision on what will be done has to be made by politicians. Maybe we will choose to simply ignore warming and deal with the consequences. Maybe we'll go for a huge engineering fix. Maybe we'll all be forced to stop using nonrenewable resources. This is the interesting debate that needs opening up to everyone, not whether warming is happening.
"According to Ofcom a 155Mb central from BT costs £316200 annually " - this seems a bit steep, but then it is BT. So, lets max this sucker out. 155Mb/s = 19.375MB/s, so over the course of a year you can grab 19.375*3600*24*365=611,010,000 MB of data. That works out at a cost of £0.53 per gig for the ISP, assuming they can saturate their connections. If a heavy user grabs 150GB a month, then they are costing the ISP close to £80 before other business costs.
The best traffic shaping I've been subjected to is PlusNets (not sure if its been changed since), where if you shifted more than a certain (high) amount in a month in peak hours, you were warned. If you went over again the next month, you got moved onto the "heavy users" pipe, where you still had the same contention ratio, but everyone else on the pipe liked to download too. If you spent a month under the cap, you went back up a level. Simple, easy, and relatively fair.
*Life* will continue
...but not necessarily humanity. While I agree that the solution to global warming can only come from improved technology and not from somehow persuading everyone to huddle in caves eating locally-grown lentils, I'm a bit wary over the author's optimism.
Its a classic game theory square - Global Warming Catastrophe True / False versus Prepared True / False. The four cases are True / True, in which case we've got a chance of fixing the problems before they become too severe, False / True, in which case we've wasted a good amount of money, True / False, in which case we have to do panic research and implementation in a very short time (which is usually ruinously expensive and not very good) and False / False, in which case most people are happy. For me, the risk of massive numbers of lives lost in the True / False situation (eg coastal cities flooding) outweighs the concern about money possibly spent needlessly.
Of course, the long term solution of getting into space via elevator / active structures like fountains / bolas) and performing most of the really nasty industries (metal refining and smelting, energy generation, some forms of manufacturing) helpfully above the atmosphere would be nice. A man can dream!
"Saying you want "unlimited" when they promised you "unlimited" eh
"Saying you want "unlimited" when they promised you "unlimited" seems to me like a display of bad faith."
My God, really? You believed the company from whom you purchased a service? What were you thinking?
Well, I have an unlimited deal with my water company. I use water, I pay a fixed rate. If I use an absolutely ungodly amount of water, they are allowed to contact me and request that I go onto a metered service. I don't actually have any obligation to do so - I can continue to the end of the contract quite happily. So unlimited is in fact unlimited. For a company with fixed resources. And their network really is made of tubes!
If you can't afford to do unlimited services, because for example bandwidth is too expensive, then DO NOT ADVERTISE YOUR SERVICE AS UNLIMITED. Advertise it like Be do - it has clearly defined caps, but my God they are high. (yes, if I was in a Be area I'd be with them. As I'm not, I'm with Sky. Who seem fairly good at this game).
@Brent, one last note...
If you wrote a web spider that followed HTTP (and being a responsible person, it would follow standards eg robots.txt) I suspect that pointing at Google would be a fairly good defence...
Well, like throwing bloody fish in the water draws away the sharks anyway - if the new prey kills the shark you dont have to worry :)
Tiers for no fears!
The tiers system is one of the best - I only have 3 tiers at the moment (Banking/Financial, Email/Personal, Forums/Etc and a semi-4th of disposable) but if I ever really catch on to the whole social networking privacy disaster, I'll add a tier between E/P and Forums (social networks tend to accumulate personal info, but not at the same rate as email).
B/F has a long, semi-random password that is changed often (sub-weekly).
E/P has a long, semi random password that are changed less often (weekly-monthly).
Forums has a random choice from 3 passwords, with FF password manager remembering which one I used. If I reinstall, most sites give you 3 choices, so security isn't exactly assured, but it gives a crooked forum op a 2/3 chance of failure on a different board that he knows I am using. Its changed rarely, but has been changed several times (average is probably under yearly, but only just).
As illustrated by this article, you can use trusted accounts to extract money from other members of the community. However, I suspect most forum members aren't sufficiently friendly to part with $3500 to a random member! (I hope so, anyway - if you know any forums where this isn't true, please contact my colleague DR MASABA HIRATA, who has a business offer for these TRUSTWORTHY people - his email address is available in your spam folder).
Not the UK - immigrate here and we'll take your DNA, your retina, fingerprints, hell, we might just get you to roll over in a puddle of ink then roll on this bit of paper - it might be necessary later!
Oh, sorry, you're emigrating from the USA? I meant, of course, rose retals at Heathrow and an invitation to No10. Sorry.
Well, as long as you aren't worshipping the wrong god of course (hint: if your god is Money, thats fine; if it is a God with a Capital G and a complex about other deities, fine - don't consider declaring the 3rd religion of the Book unless you have ample supplies of KY and an attractive customs agent).
Oh, and if you make it through customs without giving the gov your soul, wait until you drop a bit of litter...
"GNU/Linux does a far superior job of hardware drivers"
"I can install any linux distro and have a good chance of having working drivers for most hardware."
All I can say is that you are very lucky - I've had a go at installing two distros recently, both of which failed due to poor driver support (Fedora and Ubuntu). My RAID card doesn't function with any kernel higher than 2.4 (cheers, Hitachi!), and installation of the ATI drivers is hardly as userfriendly as Windows.
"Do you need driver disks or CDs Ashley for windows?"
Occasionally, yes. And when I do, I pick up the driver disk and 5 mins of pointing and clicking and a reboot later, the hardware Just Works. If the hardware is sufficiently new or just something Linux doesn't recognise, getting it working is a nightmare.
Yes, the manufacturers of the hardware are to blame. Does having someone to blame make the pain go away? No. Go convince the manufacturers to support your toy, or stop whining about Windows driver installation.
Windows - the Ow starts Now!
Linux - get back to us sometime around 2015 - we'll have it working by then.
See? Windows is good for productivity - you can have your virus outbreak, help knock Estonia offline, lose all your data, restore from tape and be over it before you've got it working on your Linux machines :D
Chris - the drums *diameter* is 0.7m - the distance across the drum. The cable would normally be wrapped around the drum, so we use 2*pi*r = pi * diameter to work out the length of cable reeled per revolution.
Given its a GCSE question, the fact that this works out at around 2.2m therefore each trip in the lift takes pretty much exactly 1 minute acts as a bit of a confirmation.
7 mins was what I got too (GCSE maths 1998, grade A*, but back from a pub lunch).
Re: Cooling issues
The only methods of heat transfer are convection, conduction and radiation. Conduction - well, there isn't anything cold touching the spacecraft (unless they are really unlucky with a comet!). Convection involves the bulk movement of a fluid, so again not useful, which leaves radiation - which is not that easy to maximise (better call Panorama!)
1. Why not use a Swiss-like system in which you are not eligable for any benefits of being a citizen for a certain period of time? If you can survive with no benefits apart from the NHS for a few years, I'd suggest you are a pretty good citizen.
2. No argument form me - get the troops out, and ideally jail Blair for sending our troops to die for a lie.
3. The reason we don't have public consultations is because nothing would get done - for any proposal, you can find someone who would disagree. Instead, get the experts together and give them a free rein to improve stuff.
4. The NHS has a load more money poured into it. It doesn't need more. It needs managers who know what they are doing, processes that work (look at the private sector for inspiration) and a change of culture away from waiting lists and towards caring for people.
5. Do you mean renationalise the infrastructure or the operating companies? Both? British Rail wasn't exactly a utopian paradise.
6. Pride in our nation? I think you realise why there isn't pride in our nation - internally we have dodgy healthcare, lousy transport and an unaccountable government. Externally we have illegal wars, pushing biometric scanning for everyone through Europe, data retention for years at ISPs expense and the most heavily surveilled (is that a word? It should be) population in the world. Pride?
7. Homes and families are the business of the family in my opinion. The government should not be interfering in my home life, thank you very much.
8. I like the "None" option, but I'd expand it - if "None" gets more votes than the rest of the candidates, the voting should be reopened with new candidates until someone acceptable is presented.
9. Power generation isn't done by the government - its done by private companies. If you want green power, there are several providers who use only renewable energy (or use carbon offsetting).
10. Education, Education, education. That was the pledge, just before they introduced £12k of fees to do a course at uni.
I'll give you back your soap box now.
Privacy in the future
With the Internet becoming 99% spam, fake blogs and link sites, I think we'll end up giving up the pseudoanonymity of the Web for a system of authenticated users, possibly with a sort of reverse walled garden - a "walled chaos", where the things that require anonymity can go on (basically, posting information that someone somewhere doesn't want to be posted).
In the end, what we need isn't more services that give us an unrealistic sense of anonymity. We need a strict framework detailing what info a company can collect, and how it can be used, and how it can be displayed to and amended by the end user (including deletion of the data held). We need to stop trying to make individual threats to privacy illegal, and make privacy invasion as a whole regulated.
Just what I always wanted!
Wow, an advanced weapons research lab computer system thats still experimental - thats just what I want my tax money to fund. Hell, I'd rather they spent the money providing coke to journos - at least the news would be more interesting. Saying that, journos seem to do alright themselves...
Down with Tom & Jerry
Does the govermnet spend so much time in its own fantasy world that it can't work out what is real?
If we are banning cartoons because they influence people in the real world, the first step has to be getting rid of Tom & Jerry, Road Runner and Wacky Races cartoons - extreme violence, nudity (yes, its a cat and mouse - remember that when they go after the furries!) and they are being watched by kids! ("the defendent, Chuck Norris, claims not to know how old the Road Runner is, or indeed why he drew a dangerous predator stalking the Road Runner, licking his lips, on multiple occasions")