* Posts by Gareth Jones

103 posts • joined 9 Mar 2008

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Opera 10 debuts with 'Turbo' boost

Gareth Jones
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Selling Points

One of the big selling points is it's interaction with webmail services, a feature that looked useful to me. Unfortunately it turns out it only works with four webmail services: Yandex, Fastmail, Opera Web Mail and Mail.ru. I know it's only a beta, but if they want users to test this feature then they should include the big players in that field and, frankly, they don't.

Failed on that one then.

Turbo? Don't really see the point in such a service these days.

Speed. Yup it renders pages quickly, but what doesn't these days?

The other selling points are pretty minor by comparison. A resizable search field? Woo!

I'm a big fan of Opera and most of the innovation in the browser sphere over the years has started with them. However, I think that they have run out of new ideas. To be fair to Opera, however, I think that all the other browser developers are all out of ideas too. If Opera are out of worthwhile ideas, then it looks like it's game over for all the big players.

Has the browser reached it's zenith then? No. I just think we need some new players on the field. Google? Nah, it's run by ex-Mozilla staff no new blood there. The market needs somebody from a different space altogether.

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Boffins: Ordinary lightbulbs can be made efficient, cheaply

Gareth Jones
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Meet the new boss, etc.

So we're mercury must be irradicated from all products because it' so bad for the planet.

Then we're told we have to cut carbon emissions so we have to convert to low energy bulbs (which are essentially the same tech as the flourescent strip lights that illuminated the seventies and eighties).

So how long will it be before we're told that we need to convert to these new incandescent bulbs because the mercury in the low energy bulbs will destroy the planet?

And then when everybody has converted how long will it be before some other reason is found to convert again?

Does anybody really believe any of this crap is about saving the planet? It's all about tax revenue and funding big business who will in turn fund political parties. Oh and if it helps to save the planet that's just a happy coincidence.

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Microsoft, Asus launch anti-Linuxbook campaign

Gareth Jones
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Funny isn't it?

Of late the only real selling point MS can come up with is that their products are very common (note I didn't say popular).

Either we have this new campaign which hinges on the fact that if you are used to Windows you should stick with it. Or the "I'm a sheep^H^H^H^H^HPC"* campaign, which seems to hinge on the idea that you should copy everybody else. A curious idea really since it actually argues against other MS products. If they think you should use Windows because everybody else does, then surely that argues against buying, for example, a Zune since nobody else has got one.

The fact that they are completely out of advertising ideas fits like a thingy in one of those whatsits that they are completely out of product ideas too.

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Yorkshire boozer establishes 'smoking research centre'

Gareth Jones
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@Richard

It's about time you came to live in the real world. Pubs have been going to the wall in droves since well before the smoking ban was implemented.

All sorts of explanations have been offered for this, (blame supermarkets for selling cheap booze if you want, many do) but essentially our use of leisure time is changing and people would, on the whole, prefer to spend their leisure time in places other than the local boozer. It probably doesn't help that the pub industry have decided to counter this by following one of two paths; either pretend to be a restaurant or become a location to watch foot on Sky Sports. If you don't want to eat or watch football, but actually fancy a quiet drink with your mates there are precious few pubs within miles of here which cater for you. It seems a curious business strategy when you are losing customers to try to alienate what probably makes up the largest proportion of your clientelle.

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How gov scapegoats systems for man-made errors

Gareth Jones
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The Meeja

The problem here is the meeja's habit of trying to apportion blame the second a story comes to light. It is no longer good enough to report the facts, journalists (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) feel that they have to do the job of a public enquiry in no more than three hurriedly scribbled paragraphs.

Public bodies have got used to this and as soon as anything goes wrong or the slightest criticism is leveled in their direction they issue a hastilly constructed statement laying the blame at anybody else's door. The real problem here appears to be that somebody at Capita wasn't so media savvy and fessed to a bug rather than contacting somebody who knew the system.

Instead of admitting that a rewrite was necessary a more sensible response from Capita would be to threaten the council with legal action.

There are two standard responses from school's when they f*ck up with pupil's data; if letters are written or data is released when it shouldn't happen then they blame the computer system; if letters are not written or data is not released when it should be then they blame the data protection act. The majority of people employed as journalists have no knowledge of the DPA or computer systems and are too lazy to do any research and just print whatever press officers tell them. Twats!

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Hyundai readies Volt-style hybrid

Gareth Jones
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Lip service will be resumed...

Again it seems that manufacturers are paying lip service to the concept of green motoring. Like most hybrids this thing will run on IC most of the time. It will however cost a lot more than a purely IC powered car. So the manufacturer will make more money if they can convince everybody to buy "green".

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Drunken BOFH wreaks $1.2m in Oz damage

Gareth Jones
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Jumping to conclusions

Maybe I'm making the wrong connections, but...

His fiance had broken off their engagement.

He used the logon creds of a former workmate with whom he was living.

Surely it's not too much of a stretch to assume the former workmate and the fiance were one and the same sheila. In which case was he actually trying to lay the blame at the door of his fiance?

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Facebook nemesis sues Google (and wins)

Gareth Jones
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So?

So he starts by suing Facebook for squillions and ends up taking Google for 540 quid? Woohoo! That proves he was right about inventing Facebook all along then. I bet Zuckerberg is bootling in his trems now.

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Did TomTom test Microsoft's Linux patent lock-down?

Gareth Jones
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Chicken and Egg

Isn't the tone of this story a little one sided.

So Microsoft are entering into these licence deals to stop these companies from distributing the Linux kernel? But hang on a mo, weren't Microsoft persuing such cases before GPL v2 came along? In which case wasn't the "Liberty or Death" clause actually introduced to try to stop distributors from entering into such deals with Microsoft, or anybody else?

Now I'm no fan of Microshaft and their tactics in fighting open source, or indeed any other competitor. However I do feel that the introduction of clause 7 was just as bad for anybody wanting to use Linux. It will in the long run be just as harmful to the development of Linux as the actions of Microsoft or any other company trying to license their IP. If the clause is enforced then potential commercial distributors will shy away from Linux and go for an alternative, and what alternative will they settle on? Windows of course.

An alternative to the view taken in the article is that the introduction of the "Liberty or Death" clause was short sighted and counter productive. It doesn't prevent Microsoft, or anybody else, from bringing these cases, so all it will do is hinder the development and uptake of Linux.

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Enormous pain-ray patio heater towers erected in California

Gareth Jones
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Cost

Which would be cheaper then? A whole load of these things and their attendant electriciy bills. Or a batch of polytunnels? Maybe year one the microwaves would look cheap, but after a few years of 'leccy bills, maybe not so cheap.

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Gareth Jones
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Unhappy

Okay, but...

IF you believe in human fuelled global warming, then why (once again) should the needs of business come before the needs of the planet? The only reason I can see is that the population will be able to buy cheap fruit. Well that's OK then.

Just like the hauliers who believe that they shouldn't have to pay the duty on fuel because it would make goods cheaper. Oh and as a side effect they would make more profit.

Even if you're not convinced that we are responsible for global warming I'm still not sure this is a good idea. Farming used to be about working in harmony with nature, ideas like this are about messing with nature to suit the farmers. Why do I have the image of the inventor of these gadgets rubbing his hands together while laughing maniacally? "Muah hah hah hah!"

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The Borings renew Street View fight

Gareth Jones
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Paris Hilton

Irony?

I've often been told that the Merkins don't do irony. This is surely the evidence. A couple who live on a private road and own a swimming pool claiming to be "the little guy".

Priceless.

Paris, because she likes her privacy as much as the Borings.

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KTM: electric dirt-bike out next year

Gareth Jones
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@Bounty

Motor in the wheel? Regenerative braking?

On a vehicle that light the unsprung mass would create a handling disaster. Unsprung weight is bad, but the real killer is the ratio of sprung to unsprung mass.

Also CoG height is always an interesting area for debate for motorcycle designers. There was a time when a low CoG was considered the be all and end all. Honda tried an underslung fuel tank on their GP500 bikes in the eighties, but dropped the idea as experience showed a higher CoG made a bike easier to drop into corners. When it comes to performance bikes you need a certain amount of instability built in. The weight of the battery pack may help in positioning the CoG, however the size of the battery pack may hinder same. Consider that a small object is easy to place where you want it within the structure of the bike. A large object actually dictates the design of that structure.

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IE8 Suggested Sites suggested to be snoopy

Gareth Jones
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Choice?

People, people, people.

There's this little thing called choice, see. If you don't like a particular feature in a particular browser you are free to use a different browser.

What's so fucking hard to understand about that?

So go and get Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari or whatever browser you like and stop whinging.

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'Interfering' BT Vision attracts campaigner glares

Gareth Jones
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@Consider this #2

"Also! its not inaccurate to call this a BT/Comtrend problem because the video is of a BT Comtrend system."

Right, here's a considered response: The video is absolutely nothing to do with Comtrend! Have you done no research at all?

The video works perfectly well without the PLT devices. BT include a pair of Comtrend devices with each BT Vision STB just as a courtesy to customer's with a TV that is not conveniently near a phone socket. IOW the EU should only use the Comtrend devices if they can't manage without them, or are too lazy or stupid to run a few metres of cat 5.

Of course it does make me wonder how much those two devices cost and how much the obvious alternative would have cost. You need a Homehub for BT Vision to work so a wireless connection would seem to be the obvious solution. It wouldn't be too hard to include a basic wireless adapter along with the necessary setup wizard to associate it with your home hub.

I'd go for a wired solution. A 10m flat Cat5e patch cable specifically for under carpet use can be had for under a fiver. A perfectly acceptable solution when you consider that most houses seem to have at least one of coax, phone or burglar alarm cable already under the carpet. Quite why BT didn't include such a cable with the STB I don't know.

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Kamikaze ballooning Brazilian soars to Darwin Award

Gareth Jones
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Jobs Halo

Hmmm?

While this particular story seems to be true, the Darwin Awards people seem to believe any tale related to them with no need for corroboration or confirmation.

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In the ditch with DAB radio

Gareth Jones
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Comparisons with digital TV

It seems that the comittee have been emboldened (love that word) by the comparitive success of the switch over to digital TV, and think they can do the same with DAB radio. Sorry guys but there are major differences.

1. The impecunious can switch to digital TV buy spending under £20 on a freeview box. Can't do that with DAB.

2. The price of a freeview box is peanuts when compared to the price of a TV. The price of a DAB radio is not peanuts when compared with the radio it replaces.

3. Almost every new TV sold now has built in Freeview, but FM tuners are still widely available and generally cheaper than their DAB equivalent.

Many DAB adherents are comparing a £50-100 radio with an old FM "tranny" that cost 90% less. Of course DAB sounds better in that scenario. Does it, however, sound better than an FM radio costing the same as your DAB radio.

Inspite of what one of your posters seems to think Freeview doesn't degrade when the screen gets busy, nor is the video compression visible. I can only assume the poster has a cheap early Freeview decoder, some of those did have problems, but that's nothing to do with Freeview transmissions. DAB, however, does have enormous quality problems.

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Gareth Jones
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Where's the logic?

The logic seems a little flawed. They don't want to switch to DAB+ because it will upset those people who own a DAB radio. That's presumably somewhat less than 7 million people given how many pro DAB posters here own several DAB tuners. However they want to start to switch off FM when DAB listening exceeds 50%. So they don't mind pissing off everybody who owns an FM tuner, which will be considerably more than 7 million people.

Oh and for all the DAB adherents out there, I have a question. DAB sounds great to you, you have good coverage (and sod the rest of the nation), but how can you say it's so great if you've never heard DAB+?

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Gareth Jones
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What?

Did I read that right? Analogue switched off once digital listening exceeds 50% of the market? Or to look at it another way, lets just piss off 49% of the market. Are people going to rush out and replace their tuners, or are they just going to think "fuck that" and stop listening to radio.

To be honest though I think they're going to have to fiddle their figures in order to get their 50%. Unlike TV, most radio listeners stick to the same channel all the time. As a result you simply can't bribe them with extra channels.

They were also lucky with digital TV in that every sheep in the country simply had to have the latest 42 inch flat screen. Can't see that happening with radio. So they're stuck with waiting for radios to break and b replaced. However if the cheap little FM radio in my kitchen breaks it will be replaced with another cheap little FM radio, because DAB units cost far too much.

So what they really need to do to to improve the uptake of DAB is spend millions subsidising DAB radios so they are as cheap as a good old tranny and then people will buy them.

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UK gov to issue child boozing guidelines

Gareth Jones
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Nanny state?

No it's not an example of the nanny state meddling and nagging, although Daily Fail readers may think so. It's actually another example of the government and civil service wasting tax payers money.

We are now taxed more highly than ever and more highly than anywhere else in Europe, because the government say this will increase public sector spending. What it means in reality is that various boards and bodies have a larger budget than they know what to do with so things like this are happening every day. They've got the money, so they feel they have to spend it. Were they really public spirited they would pass on their excess budget to areas that really need it.

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Record industry refused Jammie Thomas appeal

Gareth Jones
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So...

...all we can expect is reduced damages.

I think the recording industry need to realise that threatening people with massive damage claims is pointless. Damages of that size are totally pointless, at least in this country, where the defendant would would either be declared bankrupt or plead poverty and end up paying £10 a month forever. Now while it may be a deterent such massive claims undermine their case.

If they claim such massive sums from individuals then surely they realise that they stand no chance of recovering them. In which case they are admitting that those massive sums are really a deterent. And so they are surely admitting that they don't really think that a single illegal file sharer is really damaging them that much.

So I don't agree with the recording industry's arguments, but neither do I agree with the freetards. The idea that somehow we all deserve free music is ridiculous. I wonder how many freetards think that they don't deserve to be paid for a days work.

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Motor quango thumbsup for satnav speed restrictions

Gareth Jones
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Oh really?

And where will they get the data? Many satnavs already have a similar feature, but every one I've tried has massive holes in the database. Any oficially punted system would need to have 100% accuracy. Not only on day one but also for updates. Otherwise there will, no doubt, be a raft of court cases where drivers argue that their officially sanctioned speed limitter was responsible for their breaking the limit.

Yes they could feature warnings that the system is only advisory and that drivers should still look out for signs, but any such warning would surely render the feature all but useless. If it is a safety system then it needs to be 100% reliable.

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Corrupt cop abused police database to blackmail child abusers

Gareth Jones
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Those Guidelines...

...are clearly useless. What is needed are systems that work.

We have here somebody employed to search the database on behalf of other officers. Surely all work on the database has to be entered against a particular case? If not then there's a massive hole that no guideline is ever going to close. If they are entered against a case then a summary of each search should automatically be emailed to the investigating officer on the case. If this was done then unnecessary searches would be picked up much more quickly.

Far too often in the event of a data security breach we are told that guidelines , policies or procedures should have prevented it from happening when clearly they did no such thing. Human nature is human nature and no amount of guidelines will change that.

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Chinese automaker launches 'leccy lizzie

Gareth Jones
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@Frank

220V in the US? Not a problem. A friend of mine tells me he uses his 240V buzz box welder plugged into the tumble dryer outlet in his garage. When I expressed surprise he told me that most houses he's visited have such a thing.

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Tesla takes Top Gear test to task

Gareth Jones
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Jeremy was being Generous

Full charge times from the 2008 Tesla Owners Manual:h

4 hours - 240V@70A

5 hours - 240V@60A

6 hours - 240V@48A

7 hours - 240V@40A

10 hours - 240V@32A

15 hours - 240V@24A

18 hours - 240V@16A

20 hours - 240V@12A

And those are for a "standard" charge, a maximum range charge would take 15% longer. Just out of interest who would use the standard charge mode? That's like stopping putting in petrol when there's still a couple of gallons space in the tank.

So Clarkson's sixteen hours for a domestic socket was a bit on the generous side.

Being something of a cynic I always assume car manufacturers exagerate their official fuel consumption figures, more so in the case of "green" cars. So I would also assume that Tesla have exagerated their official range of 220 miles. They wouldn't be including lots of hills, corners and heavy traffic in that distance, I presume.

Now then, lets assume you reached journeys end without conking out and your destination doesn't have a fast charger. Even Tesla owners won't be rich enough to buy all their friends and family a "fast" charger. So you could well be stuck with a 46 hour recharge before you can come home. "Sorry I won't be at work today. I drove down to visit my parents on saturday and the car won't be recharged until monday night."

Yes, it's clever. Yes, it's quick. Yes, it's a step in the right direction. All those things it is, but it's just an early prototype. They are selling it to fund further development. It should come with a big warning that reads, "THIS IS A GREAT TOY, BUT IT IS NOT A REPLACMENT FOR YOUR EXISTING CAR"

However the bit that startles me is that the "fast" charger requires a 70A supply. Not sure how this would play out in the US, but in the UK you would need a properly qualfied sparky to come along and wire this in straight after the main fuse. And even then 70A is a huge amount of current. Switch on the oven or the shower when you're charging your Tesla and that's the main fuse gone. I really hope the fast charger has some clever electronics in it that will prevent this, otherwise there will be a lot of unwashed Tesla owners around. No strike that. I doubt there will be "a lot" of Tesla owners around any time soon.

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Gareth Jones
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@Michael

You are, of course, right. While it is theoretically possible to charge the Tesla's batteries in a few seconds the practical means of doing so are not readilly available. However I don't think that little fact will stop the battery fanboys jerking off over the idea.

Battery cars in the real world of extended journeys will not take off until practical fast charging is sorted out. I'm sure something will be sorted out eventually, but it's not there yet.

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Amazon peddles Prince for pence

Gareth Jones
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That's still about...

...80p too much.

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Amazon intros early VAT cut

Gareth Jones
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Bit slow

They're behind wiggle.co.uk

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Ballmer's bid to swerve 'Vista Capable' row comes unstuck

Gareth Jones
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@JW Otherworld

Now lawyers could make anything mean anything if they want to, however purely in terms of the English language you are talking nonsense.

To say a machine can run Vista does not in any way suggest it can run every version of Vista, it only tells us that it can run A version of Vista. It doesn't even tell us that it will run that version quickly just that it can run it. You cannot infer what isn't said just because you choose to do so.

I am continually suprised by the verdicts of the US courts and no doubt I will be suprised by this one, but then I wonder why. After all they've had a president for years who murders the English language on a daily basis, why should we expect their lawyers to understand it?

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Net pedants dismantle Quantum of Solace

Gareth Jones
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Oh, for fu...

Continuity errors are fair game, but factual errors? I don't know if these saddos have noticed, but Bond is fiction.

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Vote now for your top net neologism

Gareth Jones
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@David Hill

I would have thought Kenny Everett's use of the word predates Sarah Kennedy. And in the best possible taste.

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Teen discussed suicide plan online 12 hours before webcam death

Gareth Jones
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Illusory anonimity

As usual we have a bunch of pricks hiding behing the net. Is it a crime in the US to encourage somebody to take their own life? If it is I hope the police track down these idiots and prosecute them.

There are far too many tossers on the net who think that they can say and do what they like online because they are anonymous. Sometimes though it backfires. Some arsehole kid was harassing and threatening a friend of mine online a few years ago. He thought hiding behind an anonymous proxy made him safe. Unfortunately for him the extended internet community we were part of meant that people, knew people who knew people and it wasn't too long before we'd tracked the idiot down to his home address in Austin, TX. An email to his father threatening to involve the police elicited a written apology and the father promised us his son would be barred from using the net for some considerable time. There's one little prick who realised he was not as anonymous as he thought. I for one wanted to involve the police rather than his father but was outvoted.

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Promoter hunts stars for McKinnon benefit gig

Gareth Jones
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@Pierre

Consider this:

A man posts a letter bomb in one country in explodes upon delivery in another country. In which country did he commit his crime?

Yes its on a completely different scale, but the legal principal is the same.

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Main BBC channels to be broadcast live via web

Gareth Jones
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Mythconceptions

There are a number of misconceptions about the licence fee, many of the are being bandied about as facts here.

1. The licence only covers TV sets.

Shite. The licence already covers computers and laptops. From the TV Licensing website: "You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. " That's it. If it can show live TV then you need a licence. No mention of BBC channels or how the signal is transmitted. Note the mention of DVD and video recorders. There was a myth many years ago that you could use a video recorder as a tuner to feed a monitor and you would be exempt from the licence fee. I knew a student who was fined for doing that very thing.

2. The TV Licensing people can't enter your home.

Crap. They can with a court order. However they seldom need to. The most common way they catch people by simply looking in through their front window.

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"TV detector man. You don't have a licence do you?"

"No, but we don't need one."

"But you've got a TV."

"We only use it for watching DVDs."

"Funny that we've just spent the last ten minutes watching you watch Jeremy Kyle from our van."

There used to be a story that you were safe from the TV detector van if you lived in a block of flats because the detector vans couldn't distinguish between a TV in one flat and the next. In reality you were safer because the detector boys would need a very long ladder to see you watching TV on the 13th floor.

3. Squillions of people don't pay the TV licence.

Cock. The TV licence is like the poll tax. It's unpopular and lot's of people claim they don't pay it, but figures show that the vast majority of people do actually pay up. I remember an anti poll tax demo where a council officer came out of the town hall and told the crowd that their main speaker was actually up to date with his poll tax payments. What a laugh that was. Although it was of course a clear breach of the DPA.

4. Only the BBC receive the money.

This is not strictly true. Although the fee does all go to the BBC (except for the money paid by the BBC to the collection and enforcement agencies) the BBC must use some of the fee to make programmes for S4C, S4C do not pay for these programmes so in effect some of the fee goes to S4C.

5. The detector vans don't do anything.

Sorry, but they do. They don't have to disclose how their detectors work, but this doesn't mean they don't work. In the old days it was pretty easy to pick up the presence of a CRT, but in these days of LCD TVs and the like things are harder. One thing I am pretty sure of is that they actually use sensitve directional listening devices to pick up the audio signal and compare it with currently transmitted channels. Not actually that high tech, but it's enough in most cases.

The MO of the detectors is usually simply to take a look through your windows for a TV during the working day. If they see one they will come along later usually at peak time and take another look to see if you are watching TV. If you are they've got you. However if they know you don't have a licence they will try other methods both technical and incredibly basic. One is to watch for people getting up and leaving the room, perhaps making a cuppa when popular programmes finish.

So how do you avoid detection? Keep your curtains closed at all times. Only listen to TV though headphones. Don't watch popular shows. Oh and live in rural and preferably affluent area. For maximum cost effectiveness they concentrate on areas with high concentrations of unlicensed premises. They are unlikey to spend time and money going after one unlicensed home miles from the nearest cluster when they can probably get several offenders in a day at £1000 quid a throw in a densely populated area.

It's likely that less affluent areas have higher concentrations of licence avoidance, and it does seem somewhat mean and nasty hitting these areas for a higher return.

I haven't got a problem with the BBC being publicly funded however the £3.2bn that licensing raises annually (something like 23 million licences) could be better raised. My socialist heart is offended by the flat licensing rate. OK so students and those over 74 get a concession. But why should you need to be 75 or over to get a concession, when other OAP concessions kick in at 65 or even 60? Surely it would be fairer to base the license fee on household income? "From each according to his means...."

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Reg readers in Firefox 3 lovefest

Gareth Jones
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@Francis Boyle & Cameron Colley

Problems posting comments with Opera? No problem with it here on Linux or XP (home or work). So it sure ain't Opera that's the problem.

Likewise cookie handling. It's simple and straight forward.

Firefox? Baaaaah. Baaaaaah. Baaaaaaah.

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Gareth Jones
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Well I would, but...

Firefox 3 crashes on me regularly, and it's the only app on by Intrepid install that does so it's nowt to do with the OS or the machine, just Firefox being unreliable.

Opera on the other hand is 100% reliable. So maybe your figures show that your readers prefer behaving like sheep to having a reliable browser.h

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Still sending naked email? Get your protection here

Gareth Jones
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No Title

So you start from the premise that it isn't really a hassle and then take seven pages to explain it, which invalidates that original argument.

The best advice is not to send anything even approaching the confidential by email. There are other much more secure ways of transferring confidential information these days.

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Judge says tech-addled jurors undermine justice

Gareth Jones
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@AC Time for Change

"We have been using the same Jury system for centuries"

No we haven't. The system of trial we have now is about 100 years old, although there have been minor changes since then. Beginning your own case with such an erroneous statement pretty much invalidates the rest of your argument.

On another point, those that argue no evidence should be omitted are missing quite a major point and that is simply that of relevence. Who is to decide what isn't and isn't relevant evidence? Is the defendants choice of breakfast on the morning of the alleged offence relevant to the case? Furthermore the available evicdence is not just simple scientific fact. It is open to debate, particularly in the case of witness testimony. If both sides had to include everything they have on the case then trials would be ten times as long as they are now and the jury would be too confused to come to a decision.

Getting back to the original story one of the worst things I noticed while on jury service was the number of jurors not taking notes. Do they really think they can sit there fir days on end and remember everything presented to them and make an informed decision? Of course they can't. I suspect that these idiots are not taking their duties as a juror seriously.

I also believe that jurors who are clearly not performing their role properly and with due diligence should be charged with contempt of court. The threat of this would probably make them do a proper job.

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Royal Society of Chemistry defines perfect Yorkshire pud

Gareth Jones
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Paris Hilton

@Simon

You remember that Yorshire pudding originates from Nottinghamshire? How old are you exactly? The now legendary pud is hundreds of years old.

Some would have you believe it comes from France (Fanny Craddock for one*). While other will tell you that it was introduced to France by the Normans who were of course of Viking descent, and that the Normans who came to France via britain actually took the recipe to France from britain. Then there are those who claim that the recipe is actually a Viking one, and so on and so forth.

Nobody really knows where it came from and many areas of the country have tried to claim it as their own usually on the grounds that "my great, great granny used to make them and she's from Cardiff" or some other solid proof of origin. The same is true of the likes of the Cornish Pasty. The reason they are called Yorkshire puddings is probably down to the Yorkshire tradition of the big pud as starter. Even as a Tyke I don't believe the pud originated here.

And of course discovering the earliest know recording of the recipe would prove nothing. Who is to say that the writer didn't simply copy an already tradtional receipe.

And there are many variations on the receipe, how well the pudding rises depends on the combination of oven and receipe. I have found that moving from a gas oven to an electric fan oven has forced me to modify my receipe for the best product. And then there is the matter of the size of the pudding. Larger puddings must be cooked at a lower temperature or the edge of the pud will burn before it is fully cooked. The perfect pud comes with experience.

I was given the following as a starting point years ago. One or more eggs depending on the desired amount of batter. The same volume of plain, weak flower as egg. The same volume of liquid as egg. Salt to taste.

The liquid is a matter of taste, some like milk, some find water to be better and some prefer a mixture. You certainly wouldn't want to use proper fresh milk without any water, but the watery stuff they sell in supermarkets these days would be OK on it's own.

The very fact that the proportions vary so much from one recipe to the next would seem to demonstrate that the proportions aren't critical anyway.

DON'T cool the batter in the fridge. DON'T use a blender to mix it, do it slowly. And definitely DON'T open the oven door until the puds are cooked.

Paris is a bit of pudding isn't she?

* I can't hear that name without thinking - "Now all your doughnuts will be like Fanny's"

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McKinnon suffers further legal setback in extradition fight

Gareth Jones
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@Ian Johnston

"Anyway, Aspergers and autism diagnoses aren't worth much more than the £150 you pay a clinical psychologist for them."

I'd wondered about the diagnosis myself. How sound exactly is the diagnosis? Surely nobody would accept the defence's reasoning without some serious analysis of their own.

And can anybody explain how he managed to function perfectly well in society before that diagnosis, but will fall apart when imprisoned? From what I have read recently people with asperger's often (though not always) function better when institutionalised.

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Gareth Jones
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@Mark

Sorry to disapoint you but somebody could very easilly get into your house and steal your stuff. Our houses are not particulalry secure. Indeed it is often the case that they are not secure at all, how many people leave their doors unlocked when you are at home? Do you have the slightest clue how easy it would be for somebody to walk into most houses and access the kitchen, bedrooms, etc. while the occupants watch TV unawares? Do you have an inkling of how frequently that happens?

Now from what I understand the computers in question were password protected, and McKinnon used a simple script to cycle through common passwords. The physical security of most houses is no better than that.

However we continue to send burglars and housebreakers to prison.

You are suggesting that the solution to the problem of prison overcrowding is to make houses more secure so that ne'erdowells can't actually get into them.

You are also suggesting that it is perfectly acceptable to access somebody else's compter system and muck around with it as you choose, even when you know that the computer belongs to somebody else.

I cannot beging to express what a misguided fool I believe you to be.

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Gareth Jones
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@Matthew

" I think we can safely say he will not be doing any more bloody stupid things."

A standard arguement against jail and a right load of bollocks. Of course if he avoids extradition and jail then he will realise that he can do bloody stupid things and get away with it and will, therefore, be likely to do further bloody stupid things with the reasonable expectation that he will get about with them. And it will of course send out the message that others can do the same. Sentences for crimimals are not simply punishment, but also to discourage others from doing the same.

My personal view is that he should be tried in the US, but serve his time in the UK. This is perfectly reasonable when considered in terms of family visitors, rehabilitation and the like.

However he should very definitely serve the sentence handed down by the US courts, not have it shortened by a Home Office worried about prison overcrowding. There have been cases in the past where Brits sentenced abroad have been returned to Britain to serve the remainder of their time and been released in very short order having served only a tiny part of their sentence. So I can understand the US reluctance to have him serve his time over here.

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Fifty years later, steam appears on British railway

Gareth Jones
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@Warhelmet

The reason they built a new A1 was that no Peppercorn A1s were preserved. Nothing to do with any great need for steam engines or any technical experiments. Basically because they wanted to. There was no actual need for a steam engine to run on main lines, there are more than enough existing engines certified to run on main lines to fulfil the required role of pulling specials. I for one would rather be pulled by a genuine historic engine than a recreation.

There are those who would argue that the reason no Peppercorn A1s were preserved is that they weren't actually very good.

If somebody really wanted to build an old fashioned engine brought up to modern standards then the logical starting point was the 9F class alluded to in the article, those last engined built in 1960. Capable of hauling the heaviest freight trains and still pulling an express at 90mph. That was arguably the epitome of British mainline steam design. However they wouldn't want to do that because there are still some 9F's around.

Of course if you wanted to build a modern steam engine you would probably be looking at a steam turbine driving an alternator. Which is of course pretty much what we have with electric trains, it's just that the steam turbine is miles away from the train.

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Gareth Jones
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Title

Have they been messing with the calendar again? Surely 2008 is 48 years after 1960.

I don't recall the A1 being considered that good. The were designed, not to be particularly good engine, but to be able to cope with poor maintenance (this was British Rail remember) and poor quality coal. Which is probably why none of them was considered for preservation.

Oh and for those of you who think steam left British Railways in 1968 (excepting special services) you'd be wrong. The Vale of Rheidol line ran on steam until 1989 under BR ownership. The main reason for this was actually that BR were too tight to pay for new engines to run on the 23.75" gauge. The fact that it probably cost more to maintain the engines for 41 years than it would have done to buy new ones probably never occurred to them. Which means of course that we still have the line and it's old engines today, but tells you all you need to know about how BT was run.

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Doormen's database boss goes

Gareth Jones
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One rule for them

As usual with our lords and masters it seems that there is one rule for them and another for the rest of them. Had they been able to keep this whole thing quiet I doubt the guy would have been sacked.

I seriously believe that nobody should be employed to perform security checks unless they have a higher level of cetification. What's that? You've noticed the fatal flaw in my argument. You would have to keep creating ever higher levels of certification and there would never be a level high enough to check the highest level and the whole thing would collapse. Yup that's the idea.

People have lost their livliehoods as a result of erroneous CRB checks and if that happens to one person then that is one person too many. Worse still the way the system works if it comes up with a false positive that wrecks your life then it's up to you to spend a fortune disproving their "evidence". A fortune that you don't have because you are now unemployable. The whole CRB system stinks and needs to be torn appart and rebuilt from first principals.

Why is it that if I say something about you that isn't true, you can sue me for slander, but if a CRB check says something about you that isn't true and as a result causes potentially incalculable damage the government think you should have no rights? The government thinks that such victims are necessary for the system to work. What we need are a few damages payouts running into the millions plus massive costs and they'll rebuild the system properly.

The worst part of the whole CRB situation is, however, that it only picks up on people with convictions. Those who have faith in the system surely have a false sense of security. There seems to be a belief in government that the only people likely to offend are those who have already offended.

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WoW accused of turning man's mind into 'living video game'

Gareth Jones
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The problem is...

...that the courts do actually have to give it some consideration, even if they subsequently dismiss it. People filing frivolous papers to courts should be charged for the time the lawyers have to give it. That would discourage such frivolous nonsense.

Is the guy a proper nutjob? Possibly. Maybe he's just the one piece short of a jigsaw, but these ridiculous court filings are just a hobby and he gets a kick out of wasting the courts' time.

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Porn breath tests for PCs heralds 'stop and scan'

Gareth Jones
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@Jacob Reid

Where did you get that idea?

Yes if you modify any Linux code you have to publish your source code, but if you write a new application to run on Linux then, so long as it's all original code, then you don't have to publish a thing.

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Gareth Jones
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Incorrect order of Horse and Cart

It seems that the Australian authorities are not disimilar to tabloid journalists.

All these "please, somebody think of the children stories" about our antipodean friends have something in common. We all know that pdf files^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H paedophiles use the interenet to communicate and distribute material. As do many other criminal groups. The Aussie authorities seem to think that if they can stop this happening then they will stop paedophilia.

Errrr, no. By that reasoning, since we know that paedophiles use credit cards to pay for their jpegs and mpegs, wouldn't outlawing credit cards put an end to paedophilia?

Alright, so it's not just the Aussies, most politicians and civil servants the world over seem to think that the application of ridiculous blanket IT solutions can put an end to all crimes.

They need to be reminded that not much over a century ago many thought that fingerprinting would put an end to all crime. Yep, that worked, didn't it?

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Gareth Jones
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Altogether now...

But it won't catch the IT savvy, just poor old Joes who know nothing about computers. Yep it's one of those stories.

I find the empasis on border controls to be somewhat laughable. If you want to get some hard porn into the country why not use that little thing we have called the internet. Surely nobody would be so silly as to carry a laptop loaded with illegal porn through customs? And since they've advertised this technology won't the idiots who do want to do so just start using mules like drug traffickers do?

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Who's got more cash? Apple or Microsoft?

Gareth Jones
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IT Angle

Surely that's not the big news

The big news recently was that VW quietly became the richest company in the world, in terms of share value at least. That's right, not an IT company, a car company. The best bit of it is though that it cost a bunch of hedge funds $18bn when the share price rose sharply rather than the fall those short selling scum were expecting. Hopefully it will bankrupt the buggers.

Yeah I know, my post doesn't have an IT angle.

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