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* Posts by Richard Barnes

76 posts • joined 12 Mar 2008

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Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

Richard Barnes

Re: Now let's see part 2. Where you point out that inequatiy is *rising"

I'm afraid that the facts disagree with you.

The Gini co-efficient has been decreasing for several years now, meaning that inequality is reducing. Indeed the Guardian reported last year that the Gini co-efficient was at its lowest point in the UK since 1986.

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Buying memory in the iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills

Richard Barnes

Paying 50 times the price

How about the cost of a cup of coffee made at home (about 6p) with the cost of a cup of coffee from Starbucks (about 3 quid, or more if you're at an airport / motorway service station)?

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iPhone 6: Most exquisite MOBILE? No. It is the Most Exquisite THING. EVER

Richard Barnes

Re: is it double irony

And possibly the shitest camera ever put in a smartphone.

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UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco

Richard Barnes

Re: Are there ANY success stories?

Projects which involve us mugs paying more money to the government seem to have gone in OK.

As examples:

- HMRC Real-time Information

- London congestion-charging scheme

- Automatic issuing of fines triggered by speed cameras

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Richard Barnes

22%.

We're definitely in the wrong business. My NHS dentist sends his son to Eton and his daughter to Wycombe Abbey - that will buy you a Panamera every 15 months.

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Balls to the World Cup: Brazuca wins in the wind

Richard Barnes

Re: I remember the old leather footballs

In the professional game of the 50's, apparently it used to be part of the skill of a winger to cross the ball with the laces facing away from the centre-forward's head!

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What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...

Richard Barnes

For real expertise...

..... in manipulating different data sets to produce misleading statistics, look at the marketing departments of Fund and Asset Managers. When one fund gets closed down and merged with another, all sorts of statistical shenanigans are possible.

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NASA stitches 3.2 gigapixel 'Global Selfie' mosaic

Richard Barnes

Re: The location of the selfies

I spotted HM The Queen amongst the pictures - I'm pretty sure she's not a Yank.

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Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release

Richard Barnes

Moving averages

Back in 1998, I noticed that the temperature in my fridge (an old one, which I'd had since 1980) was a little too cold and I upped it from 4c to 5c. I'm lucky enough that my fridge is still working and still at 5c.

I note that the average temperature of my fridge for 2000 to 2010 was higher than for 1990 to 2000, which in turn was higher than for 1980 to 1990. Based on the latest decadal figures, my fridge is continuing its warming trend - maybe it's time for a new one.

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UK cops: Keep yer golden doubloons, ad folk. Yon websites belong ta PIRATES

Richard Barnes

Re: 'Evidenced and verified'

Exactly. It seems that the police need to be reminded that it's a court of law that decides on whether a crime or a tort has been committed, not them. I'm sure they'd love to do away with that whole tedious trial process, but hey, rule of law etc.

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Bono bests Bezos in Fortune's 'World's 50 Greatest Leaders' list

Richard Barnes

WTF is Bono doing in that list?

This is supposed to be a list of leaders. OK, I can see why we might recognise a good number of people on this list as leaders, including Bezos. But Bono? WTF has he ever led?

Fortune magazine's editorial judgment is now worth nothing.

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Microsoft loses grip on Christmas shoppers... despite XBox boost

Richard Barnes

Re: My experience with Windows Phone

Over the last couple of years, I've had a Samsung Galaxy S2 as a personal phone and an iPhone 5 as a work phone. The S2 was OK, but battery life was poor to mediocre even with batterysaver apps activated, the screen was so-so and I found Android slightly hard work. The iPhone had the same mediocre battery life and the great screen and app ecosystem, but it was absolutely useless as a phone both where I live and work - dropped calls all the time.

Now I have a Nokia Lumia 720. The app ecosystem is obviously not as good and there are some annoying gaps, but it has all the basics plus a much better battery life, better onboard keyboard for typing (similar to the ones available for Android) and MUCH better call quality (with the same network provider). No dropped calls now. Haven't had the phone for long, so can't comment on build quality, but to be honest it does feel a little plasticky.

So what I think I really want is an iPhone with the battery life and call quality of the Lumia, Any chances do you think?

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Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

Richard Barnes

The Golden Thread

If you are a fan of Rumpole of the Bailey, you'll remember his waxing lyrical over the Golden Thread that ran through British justice. These were:

- The right to silence

- The presumption of innocence and the fact that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution

- The right not to be tried twice for the same offence.

Pillars of justice that had stood for centuries were removed in the space of about 10 years between 1994 and 2004 after terrorist attacks that killed, in this country, rather fewer than the number dying in road accidents in two weeks. Rumpole's Golden Thread is no more.

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iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Richard Barnes

Re: Bell Telephone

Reminds me of the comment Bjarne Stroustrup is alleged to have made: "I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone".

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Private UK torrent site closes, citing 'hostile climate'

Richard Barnes

Re: Stupid Big Media

Usenet (alt.binaries.sounds.radio.bbc) and radioarchive.cc are your friends here. The former contains very helpful people who are always ready to supply a missing programme from a series. You may find the latter also has many of the series you missed first time around.

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When UK.gov asks 'Who's your daddy', companies HAD BETTER reply

Richard Barnes

Bearer shares

IANAL, but as I understand it UK law still permits companies to issue bearer shares, which means the owner of a company is the person who physically possesses the shares at any one time. The opportunities for obfuscation of ownership are clear.

If it were me, I think I'd opt for the Robert Maxwell solution - have all my companies ending up in a family trust based in Lichtenstein.

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Amazon readying smartphone with 3D DISPLAY – report

Richard Barnes

3D phone, no thanks. 3 Day phone - YES PLEASE!

I think that 3D is a bit of a gimmick that doesn't really offer anything useful. However, I will go and buy right now any smartphone that lasts for 3 days. I'm so fed up discovering my phone is dead in the morning because I forgot to put it on charge before I went to bed.

Would any manufacturer's representative care to tell me which of their phones I can buy?

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Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

Richard Barnes

Re: Profits?

You're right - there are lots of us in that category. However, I'm not sure about the cost / benefit case of spending £90k on a car to get me to the station and back every day, even if I don't have to pay for petrol or road tax.

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Forget choice: 50% of firms will demand you BYOD by 2017

Richard Barnes

Why not make this a regular slot

Let's have a regular slot where an El Reg journo looks at previous predictions from Gartner etc. and sees how they panned out.

Should be a recurring source of good laughs!

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Senate clears bill to block warrantless email searches

Richard Barnes

Or...

...... use one of the many email encryption services springing up - preferably one which hosts its servers somewhere where they have some respect for individual privacy and a willingness to tell the U.S. to naff off when necessary. France, perhaps?

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Drunk driving: No more dangerous than talking on handsfree mobe

Richard Barnes

Re: Texting whilst driving leads to arrest

In Lord Ahmed's case, I think the police established that he sent his last text 2 minutes before the accident, so it was not possible to prove that the texting was the cause of the accident. That's one of the reasons his sentence was lighter.

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Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

Richard Barnes

What I'd like to see...

.... is a smartphone that can last a whole waking day of heavy use without having to re-charge or swap the battery out.

Pretty please?

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Competition crowdsources blisteringly-fast software

Richard Barnes

Re: The arrogance

Or what's almost as bad is that they assume they are merely competent in another field and fail to reach even those levels.

The biggest example that springs to mind is the numbers of non-specialists who think they're competent in statistics when in reality all they can do is (mis)apply formulae and algorithms whose derivation they don't understand.

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BlackBerry bets fans are willing to upgrade skills

Richard Barnes

Any word on web browsing?

I was wondering whether these new BB models were any better at web browsing than the horrible Blackberry Bold I used to have to use for work?

Wasn't it the general crapness of the web experience on Blackberries that led to their being overtaken by iOS and Android phones?

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Huddled immigrant masses face 'British values' quiz

Richard Barnes

Entrance examinations

'Don Flynn, head honcho at the Migrants' Rights Network, described it as ..."more like an entry examination for an elite public school". '

Hmm, let's see...

http://www.etoncollege.com/userfiles/file/KS%202011%20History,%20Geography%20&%20Divinity.pdf

I note a distressing absence of questions about thrashing the French here - what is Eton coming to?

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Delay climate mitigation, escalate the costs: study

Richard Barnes

Re: Propaganda still winning hearts and minds?

I think this comment requires a proper reply, so here goes...

Let's assume that it is possible that people, acting in good faith and with some knowledge of science, make the following observations:

1 - Human acivities are causing an increase in the amount of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

2 - The laws of physics would seem to suggest that, all other things remaining equal, an increase in greenhouse gases results in higher temperatures (noting that there is no experimental evidence that this is true, but believing that the physics is correct).

3 - From 1880 to 1998, global mean temperatures rose approx 0.8 degrees C.

4 - There has been no increase in global mean temperatures since 1998 and no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

5 - No-one seems to be able to state with certainty what has caused this pause in warming, whether and when it will resume, and whether positive and/or negative feedback in the global climate system will cause runaway warming or asymptotic warming or no further warming at all.

6 - Certain countries have agreed to try and limit and/or reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide. The methods by which this reduction is to be achieved will cost significant sums of money, paid by the consumers and taxpayers of those countries.

7 - Other significant emitting countries have not agreed to limit their CO2 emissions.

Believing these observations to be valid (while open to being corrected on the facts), some ask the following questions:

- Is it fair that we are being asked to lower our incomes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when others aren't and when there is a lack of clarity as to the outcome if we don't?

- Is the magnitude of the danger from inaction so clearly defined that we must commit significant resources to emission reduction now, regardless of the uncertainty of outcome?

I believe that a large number of Reg readers think that the answer to those 2 questions is No.

Whether or not you agree that the answers are No, I hope you can agree that this is a reasonable opinion to hold given the observations made.

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Brits are so outraged by Amazon, they voted it TOP for shopping

Richard Barnes

One thing which annoys me about Amazon...

.. and it's not the tax issue - imho everybody and every organisation is entitled to arrange their affairs so as legally to minimise the tax they pay.

No, the issue which really gets my goat is the inability to know or to choose in advance who delivers your parcels. If I'm not in when the Post Office delivers then I can nip to my local post office and pick the parcel up. If I'm not in when City Link (fails to) deliver then I can take a 100 mile round trip to their depot in the next county - no thanks. The new Amazon locker option helps, but there are certain things that can't be delivered to a locker.

Other organisations make it clear who their delivery partners are so you can avoid buying from the ones whose couriers are the least helpful. I'd like it if I were able to decline to purchase an item from Amazon on the basis of who was going to deliver the package.

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Google puts Nexus 4 back on sale, sells out pronto

Richard Barnes

Re: Storage too small for us cheapskates...

If there's still time before you switch, you might want to search the Reg's forums for comments on GiffGaff - it's not universal praise by any means.

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2012: an epoch-defining year for home entertainment

Richard Barnes
Thumb Up

A small upgrade but significant

For me, the biggest change in 2012 was that the Sky+ box can now record programmes directly off BBC iplayer (& its equivalents on ITV, C5 and Sky). No more faffing around having to convert video files - hurrah!

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Apple ships 'completely redesigned' iTunes 11

Richard Barnes

Gave up on iTunes a while back...

.... as it was too slow and unresponsive. I use MediaMonkey these days - much quicker and more flexible.

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YouView: The long march to... er, where exactly?

Richard Barnes

Quick question

I'm guessing that you won't be able to use the DVR to record past programmes - is that right?

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Nokia details 808 Pureview release

Richard Barnes

Or....

.. if you're that keen on photography you could buy a camera. Just a thought.

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Top Italian OPERA boffin steps down after faster-than-light mistake

Richard Barnes

Agreed

Of course, we don't know exactly why he resigned, but it's a bit worrying if scientists feel that they have to resign simply for getting something wrong. If that's true, they may feel slightly less inclined to share results, and that doesn't help anybody.

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Everything Everywhere grabs UK 4G wheel, rivals thrown off bus

Richard Barnes

First things first

Forget LTE - how about a decent, widely available 3G signal on EE first?

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Rub Facebook pals in your wealth with 'social' credit card

Richard Barnes

Re: F'ing Citibank (bit off topic)

HMRC's bank account to receive self assment tax is with Santander, which is Spanish.

Do you think they've got something against British banks?

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Kids should be making software, not just using it - Gove

Richard Barnes

A couple of thoughts

The question is, why should children learn to code? One answer could be that it teaches skills such as thinking logically and breaking problems down into manageable chunks. But if this is the reason, there are any number of disciplines that could offer these, from cooking to Latin prose composition. Another answer could be that it helps UK plc if a proportion of children leave school knowing how to write code. But why? Are there really very many pure coding jobs left in the UK that haven't been oursourced? Lots of analysis jobs, sure, but coding jobs? So are we teaching children to code so that they can become analysts? If so, why don't we miss out the first stage and jump straight to teaching them analysis?
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Jobs was 'working on future product day before he died'

Richard Barnes

Pancreatic cancer

Not sure how many medics read The Register, but I'm prepared to be shot down in flames here.

According to a post I read elsewhere (http://www.quora.com/Steve-Jobs/Why-did-Steve-Jobs-choose-not-to-effectively-treat-his-cancer#ans757123) from someone who claimed to be a researcher in the field, there are (at least) 2 types of pancreatic cancer. Adenocarcinoma is the common form of pancreatic cancer and has a low 5 year survival rate. The other type is something called a GEP-Neuro Endocrine Tumour, which was apparently what Steve Jobs had and which the author of the article said had a very high (approaching 100% in his research experience) 5 year survival rate. Apparently a significant number of autopsies show an asymptomatic presence of a GEP-NET.

By all reports, Steve Jobs' GEP-NET was caught early so the likelihood is that he would not have died from what he did die of if he had sought conventional medical treatment as soon as the tumour had been found.

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HTC reckons 'WinPho will give Android a run for its money'

Richard Barnes

Wanna bet?

So Winphone is going to overtake iOS by 2015 is it? Hmm.

I'm no fanboi, but I've got a crisp twenty waiting for anyone from Gartner or Pyramid research who cares to put their money where their mouth is.

Alternatively, perhaps Betfair could open a market and we'll see what general opinion is on this.

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Brit ISPs shift toward rapid pirate website blocking

Richard Barnes

I may have missed something here but....

.... won't simply using a VPN get round any ISP-based site blocking?

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AlertMe network power-meter kit: Suitable for techies?

Richard Barnes

Some positive things about Alertme

My neighbours have professionally installed security systems, which presumably cost upwards of £1000. Whenever the alarms go off, we all ignore them because from previous experience we know that they were set off by the cat or by electrical malfunction. These alarm systems seem to do nothing else but ring a loud bell. The owners of the houses know nothing about the alarm until they get home and pick up their answerphone message from one of the neighbours telling them that their alarm went off. I'm guessing that the alarms aren't wired up to the police station - and even if they were, I'm not sure our local constabulary would turn out.

I have an Alertme system which cost about £150. If the alarm goes off, it too rings a loud bell inside the house. But it also sends me an email and a text message. I can check on the house webcam and if all looks well I can reset the alarm remotely over the web with my phone. It can also tell me whenever certain people (children for instance) enter and leave the house.

The Alertme system always emails me if it can't see my hub and emails me again when the hub re-connects. It also emails me if it hasn't seen certain detection devices for a while.

It's true, the web interface is clunky, slow and not hugely well designed.

The telephone support is absolutely fantastic.

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Rescue privacy before it vanishes forever

Richard Barnes

Isn't there an easy answer to this?

Just don't bother with Facebook, Twitter or Google+. The world will still turn.

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Apps overrated in mobile web wars

Richard Barnes

Ease of use

I think Ralph's right - it's about ease of use.

I can think of 3 things which I've used both as a dedicated app and as a web site (ebay, The Times newspaper and the Next directory) and in each case I think the dedicated app is easier to use than the web site. Perhaps this is because the app is designed specifically for a hardware platform whereas the web site has to be able to be presented to any machine capable of running a browser?

No-one wants to have to download an app for every web site they might visit, but for activities performed sufficiently regularly, a well-designed dedicated app probably has the edge.

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Splashtop Remote Desktop

Richard Barnes

Doesn't work with Linux.......

........unlike Teamviewer.

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Nokia 'thinnest smartphone ever' slips out

Richard Barnes

But the thing is...

.... you still have to use a phone running Symbian. Having happily ditched my last Symbian phone for one running Android, I certainly wouldn't want to go back. I suspect others might think similarly.

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Sony brings Skype to Bravia HD TVs

Richard Barnes

Accessory

You have to buy a GBP89 accessory to attach to your Bravia.

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Sheila's Fails? The statistics of biological risk

Richard Barnes

Why everybody's premiums go up

The more uncertainty that an insurance company has about a risk, the greater the reserve that will have to be held. While the aggregate risk remains the same, the insurance companies will all have to hold greater reserves as they won't have as much information about the risks they are carrying. Bigger reserves mean bigger premiums.

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It's official: Nokia bets on Microsoft for smartphones

Richard Barnes

Re: Possible Success

How will they be able to create a $30 Winphone when MS are going to demand that or more per phone in licence fees for the OS?

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End of the line for ID cards

Richard Barnes

Re:Passports

If I remember rightly, Easyjet ask to see your photo ID when you check in.

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Online sync'n'store services

Richard Barnes

A couple of alternatives

It should be noted that Mozy has some limitations in my experience. There was no Linux client available the last time I looked and you can't back up a network drive as the Windows client will only let you back up disks that are part of the machine on which you're running the client. (This applies to many of the other services mentioned as well)

The only service I've found that lets you back up unlimited amounts of data, allows backup of NAS boxes, that's cheap and works with all platforms comes from www.onlinestoragesolutions.com. It has to be said that the connection is not the most robust I've come across and the software offered is pigging awful, but if you're prepared to use (Secure) FTP then for $39 p.a. you can back up all of that 2TB hard disk just in case your house or office burns down. Bear in mind that it'll take you a few weeks or months to get it up onto the remote server, though.

I used to use Memopal as their service works with Linux as well and is reasonably cheap - I think it was €120 for 200Gb for 2 years. Again, pretty frill-free software but it worked.

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Samsung launches 'world's first' Android MP3 player

Richard Barnes

Alternatively...

... buy an Orange San Francisco for £99, add a 16Gb micro sd card for £20 and you've got practically the same thing with added phone & internet functionality and spent £30 less.

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