* Posts by Peter X

90 posts • joined 12 Apr 2008

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Smart toys spring dumb vulns. Again. This time: Cuddly bears, watches

Peter X

"Johnny, what have I told you about not talking to toys?"

Honestly, when you step back from it and look at it... it's sooo stupid putting internet connectivity in these things not least because local data-storage and raw CPU power aren't particularly expensive these days.

It probably won't change, at least not whilst it's mere childrens privacy being violated. Once we have a high-ranking GCHQ/NSA operative's super-secrets stolen by their own childs toy bear*, *then* maybe they'll start to take it seriously!

* (note to self... contact Charlie Brooker about a possible Black Books script entitled "Rupert-Gate: the tale of an entire government brought down by actions of a rogue soft-toy")

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Uni of Manchester IT director resigns after sacking 68 people

Peter X

Bird-skeleton

...is titled "Crucified Hope".

Or "The Crucified Hope of Gerry Pennell" these days I'd imagine.

His Wikipedia page says he's an IT Executive and he studied maths, but I can't see anything else - presumably he did something else to qualify him for these jobs?

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Peter X

Re: Lower to uppercase

I appreciate that was probably very old code... but you do realise that changing case in ASCII is just a bitwise operation? You could probably speed up your old code ten-fold! :D

That said, I just did a Google and discovered people on stack exchange marvelling at such wonders. Makes me feel old!

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TalkTalk CuffCuffs 'ScamScam CrimCrims'

Peter X

Re: "We are also reviewing our relationship with Wipro."

"We are also reviewing our relationship with Wipro."

I think this piece of management-speak actually means they're negotiating terminating the contract due to supplier (Wipro) breach... but it depends how much they're prepared to drop versus their utility as a scape-goat for PR purposes.

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

Peter X

Trumps America

Once Donald Trump is president, this will be normal everyday life.

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BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot

Peter X

Also, if I enter a bot called "The Clarkson", do you think they'll just ban me outright? 'cos I think that's a really good name!

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Peter X

Spotty overlords

Still giggling at that one!

So I think I'm right in saying that in the previous series, the robots were just remote controlled things? Will that be the case in the new series, or will they be completely autonomous? Or a bit of both?

[SPOLIER]

Don't the fly-wheel-bots always win?

[/SPOLIER]

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Rebels defeat the Empire (again) by giving BB-8 an API

Peter X

Not the droid I'm looking for

Is Tickle available for, you know... 'droids?

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Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent

Peter X

Great episode.

That said... he could've saved himself a billion or so years if he'd just punched a smaller hold in the crystal wall. Pretty sure he only needed a hole he could wriggle through rather than a whole archway to walk through! :D

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Peter X

Re: @d3vy

I was seeing Pertwee too. I think it was the velvety jacket and permed grey/white hair!

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Fifth arrest in TalkTalk hacking probe: Now Plod cuff chap in Wales

Peter X
Facepalm

What with TalkTalks down playing the impact, have they actually got a case any more?

I thought the official story was that only a handful of customer details were lifted, and in any case, there were no bank details... so it almost seems like the police are wasting money investigating this surely?

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EE plans to block annoying ads on mobile network

Peter X

Re: It's not about the customer

Exactly this. It's the same as when the service providers were complaining about BBC iPlayer and this like using too much bandwidth, basically trying to frame it so they can charge people on both ends of the wire*.

It should be illegal to tamper with content over the wire*.

* you know what I mean! :D

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Openreach boss quits BT in midst of split uncertainty

Peter X

He's one of them there fair weather CEOs.

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TalkTalk hired BAE Systems' infosec bods before THAT hack

Peter X

BAE... bah!

I think that El Reg is being too nice to BAE. An *Evil* reporter would point out to BAE how they really fk'ed it up with TalkTalk given the fact that they not only got hacked, but apparently with vulnerabilities so easy to hack a child could do it. Because that *is* the reality of it. Kind of makes BAE look like the last company you'd want to use to secure anything. Perhaps BAE would like to comment on that?

Also, given that we don't know the details of how the hack occurred, and given how BAE had been contracted only months before, is it not possible that BAE itself was in some way responsible? I.e. bad advice left TalkTalk *more* vulnerable than it was before, or even worse, maybe a BAE employee, privy to inside information, leaked something?

Just a ThoughtThought! (me Walk[walk]s away whistling)

Oh... whilst I'm posting, don't know if anyone saw that BBC Panorama about hackers that was on recently, but the guy who the US is trying to get extradited for hacking (you know, he looked like Rodney's mate, Micky from Only Fools and Horses), well he seemed to think that TalkTalks site was still vulnerable. Whilst that isn't exactly concrete evidence of incompetence at TalkTalk, he (Micky) does still have slightly more credibility than TalkTalk do!

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TalkTalk boss: 'Customers think we're doing right thing after attack'

Peter X
FAIL

Encryption? No... we've got OBFUSCATION!

In todays BBC article* on the subject, apparently the business community is pleased with TalkTalk's performance... and apparent retention of most of their customers.

Dido/TalkTalk PR machine is/are now trying to defuse the lack of encryption with:

"I can confirm that we're compliant with all encryption requirements for the industry, but actually it's not just about encryption," she said.

"So one of the reasons why none of our customers' credit card details were stolen in a way that means they can be used is because they were more than encrypted.

"They were what's called obfuscated - obscured. So that nowhere in the system did we actually hold all of their credit card number.

So yeah, it's all about obfuscation. It's better than encryption. Riiiiight!

* http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34786786

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TalkTalk incident management: A timeline

Peter X

Re: christ

Not wishing to detract from beating up TalkTalk, but since people here might have an answer, I have a question...

Q. Why don't credit-card companies tell providers NOT to store card details ever, and instead, issue them a token on receipt of a valid card number? E.g.

Customer (unwisely) decides to sign up with TalkTalk. Enters their contact details and card number on the TT website and agree to (say) a sign up fee of £X and recurring debits of ~£Y based on call-usage etc.

For £X, since it's a one-off, TT don't need to store a card number. For ~£Y they do currently because they need to debit the customer (usually) once a month. So instead the card company supplies a token (like a disposable card number) but this one is constrained such that ONLY TT can use it... so even if it leaks, it's useless. And it could be further constrained by number of debits per month, or limited value ranges.

I've wondered this for years... basically whenever a leak ends up in the news. It's an obvious solution, so I'm guessing there's a good reason it's not implemented?

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Slacker vendors' one-fix-a-year effort leaves 88% of Androids vulnerable

Peter X

Re: Moto G

Is your 1st gen. Moto G a 3G or 4G model? I've got the 3G one and I've still not seen any updates to 5.0.2, which given the number of security issues Android has had this year, is a bit of a concern.

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Hurrah! Doctor Who brings us a bootstrap paradox treat in Before the Flood

Peter X

Re: Hmmm...

At the end of part one the major question left unanswered was why the one person who hadn't been inside the ship was spared by the ghosts. And in part 2 this was used to dramatic effect to... go and find a phone?!? What a waste of a good plot point.

I believe Clara said something about him not having "the signal" in him because he hadn't seen the message, so presumably that meant he wasn't worth turning into a ghost because he couldn't be used to transmit the signal. They did kind of blast through that point rather quickly though!

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Apple's iPad Pro: We're making a Surface Pro WITH A STYLUS over Steve Jobs' DEAD BODY

Peter X

Re: Embarrassing

In fairness, Steve was correct in that a stylus was a crap *primary* input method for a small handheld device such as a phone. But for tablets, particularly for people artistically/design inclined (like many Apple customers), a Wacom-like, full-bells-and-whistles pressure/angle sensitive, isn't a bad *optional extra*.

So whilst *every single* report has mentioned the stylus, and "oh Steve said they were wrong"... blah blah... I do think it's a useful addition.

A keyboard on the other hand is crap idea for a tablet... acceptable as a third-party add-on for a small sub-set of users who do find a use, but for the majority, if you really need a keyboard, get a laptop, and then it'll sit better on your lap when you're using it.

I've not heard if Apple got a place to store the "Pencil" in the device? Because where the Surface Pro 3 seems to be largely well designed, the thing that always made me laugh was how the storage place for it's stylus was... on the keyboard... which always struck me as being a typically MS-not-quite-as-well-thought-out-as-it-should-be solution!

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Hacktivists congratulate Daily Show's Jon Stewart via Donald Trump's website

Peter X

trump.com

Visit www.trump.com

View source

Feel strange urge to "pupulate variables"

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Google burnishes Chrome to patch over 43 bugs

Peter X

Even newer new version

I just got the update to 44.0.2403.107

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Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next

Peter X

Brakes

Okay, so most of the bits about the hack I get. But I'm struggling with *why* the brakes are entirely electronic. Anyone know why?

I appreciate that shutting down systems might prevent ABS from working, and if the engine is shutdown, then I guess the brake servo won't work. But I can't understand brakes not working at all. Seems like a huge design issue, and potential liability to the manufacturer... and that alone, I would have hoped, would have prevented them from using such a system.

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Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Peter X

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard did a sketch about this.

My mum's computer (yeah, I'm tech-support) runs Ubuntu and she has a wireless HP inkjet and that randomly decides it won't print... can't remember the error message, but it implies it can't see the printer, which therefore implies a networking problem... but you can *always* get to the printers own web interface thus proving that isn't the issue. When I try to investigate it will either start working, or CUPS will crash and I'll restart and then it'll probably work. Bloody thing.

Also, cars.

Driving a long one day, notice a yellow "EPC" light on the dash board. But it's yellow, so it can't be super serious can it? I get home, check the manual and it just says the engine management system has spotted a problem and you should take the car to a dealer. Doesn't say you can't drive or anything though. So that same night I had to go somewhere, so I drove. The car drove completely fine, but the EPC light is still on. Later that evening, I return to the car, switch on... and there's another light on. Didn't know what it was until I got home, but it was the emissions light. Still a yellow light though... not red... so not serious.

Anyway, at this point I'm concerned I'll damage the cat if I drive it any more so I make enquires with "people who know"... and they ask me "do the drake lights work?". Which struck me as a surprising question. Surely this was engine related? Anyway, the brake lights were not working because the little switch under the brake peddle that tells the engine management that the car is braking had broken which in turn led to it just flagging up a bunch of other non-related issues.

It's just all crap to make up for the fact that for the most part, modern kit is electronically and mechanically, far more reliable than ever before. So obscure software issues is the new growth area in annoying people!

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Google says its AI will jetwash all traces of malodorous spam from your box

Peter X

Analytics referral spam

Next, they need to deal with referral spam on Google Analytics.

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Ditching political Elop makes for a more Nadella Microsoft

Peter X

Re: Tremendous opportunity here for MSFT

I agree that MS do seem to be making much better decisions under Nadella. However, whilst I know a few people with Windows phones and they all seem to like using them, I suspect the business case for MS to continue developing the platform is.... difficult!

Given the market share of both Android and iOS, MS absolutely must have convincing Office apps running on them in order to ensure the Office revenue stream continues. All OS revenues however are likely to get a lot thinner - I doubt they've ever really made any money on WinPho, and the days of being able to charge much for a desktop OS appear to be ending.

So unless they can dramatically increase the market share for WinPho, it seems to me that it's simply a massive cost for MSFT. Obviously, in the past, under Ballmer, they'd have simply thrown money at it for years on end (like they haven't already) until eventually, at version 3+, it's not too crap (..and to be fair...!) and all the competition has been killed off (ah... this!) and then they'd have a winner.

Does anyone else think there's a good _business_ case for keeping WinPho?

Or looking at it another way, imagine you're a share holder, Nadella's saying WinPho is costing X per-annum to develop/maintain, developing apps (Skype/Office) for WinPho costs Y per-annum, and you will *never* actually make any money off it directly... then what are you left with? Just a bit of leverage over a very small percentage of the market?

On the other hand, I guess if Nadella _did_ announce WinPho was to be discontinued, then that might upset a lot of partners/customers who have bought into it.

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Holy SSH-it! Microsoft promises secure logins for Windows PowerShell

Peter X

MS obviously read the comments on el Reg!

Only 12 days ago I said they should do exactly this:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2015/05/21/first_look_windows_10_iot_core_on_raspberry_pi_2/

Can't be a coincidence! :D

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A good effort, if a bit odd: Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 2

Peter X

Windows should just include an SSH client (and server for that matter) and be done with it.

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Microsoft's cash-leaking Nokia phones rip off patents, face import ban

Peter X

[quote]That means it lost 12 cents per device it sold, on average.[/quote]

It's probably worse than that in reality, because anyone buying a Windows phone would likely have otherwise bought an Android. And then MS may have collected their [strike]protection racket[/strike] patent licencing fee.

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Dot-sucks sucks, say lawyers: ICANN urged to kill 'shakedown' now

Peter X

Vacuum cleaner manufacturers

I wonder if vacuum cleaner manufacturers feel the same need to purchase such a domain? I mean, if someone else registers it, it doesn't have quite the same negative connotation.

Agree that all these "new" TLDs are way too expensive. I'd imagine they're either going to get much cheaper in a few years time... or much more expensive!

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Still using Adobe Flash? Oh well, get updating: 15 hijack flaws patched

Peter X

Adobe

It's getting to the point where there's more bugs than bytes! I'm sure that if Adobe had software that compiled down to a single bit, there would still be six bugs in it.

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AliExpress patches account mass harvesting flaw

Peter X

Amazon resellers

I've not used AliExpress myself... but I have ordered a few very cheap things through Amazon resellers that have actually been shipped direct from China. Should I worry that perhaps these resellers just re-enter my shipping details (and potentially payment) on another site?

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Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Peter X

Springseed

Springseed looked interesting, but their website is lacking any information.

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Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'

Peter X

Cunts

Usually I like Google, and I sort of like/hate Amazon too, basically because they're companies that push the boundaries, innovate, and actually deserve to do well. However, it's arrogant shit like this that really pissed me off. The reason I mention Amazon is because their fourth-gen Kindle will not work on WiFi channels outside the US's 1-11 range. I want to use Ch.13 though because there's a shit load of other WiFi signals where I live, but of all my devices with WiFi, and I have a lot, ONLY the stupid fucking Kindle was designed with apparently no care in the world for anyone outside the US.

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Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Peter X

Something kind of similarish a few years back:

http://hackaday.com/2012/03/20/birdwatching-meets-a-computer-controlled-water-cannon-awesomeness-ensues/

This one used OpenCV to try to visually identify the offender (squirrels in this case) and not affect anything else, e.g. birds.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Peter X

We've seen the cables, we've laughed at the reviews...

... but this... this... is un***king believable. People of el-Reg, it gives me a huge amount of pleasure to bring you:

Silent Mount SM5 Titanium 4 (yeah, just the four!) 50mm rack mount screw thingies!

Quoting: "Can the change of materials make a difference? Absolutely: the titanium Silent Mount SM5s are identical in size to the stainless steel SM5s but are considerable lighter. The reduced weight improves energy transfer and this is why the titanium version produces a better performance."

They're hand-crafted in Japan you know! And they cost: £599 - yeah, so that's near enough £150 quid for each one (shakes head in disbelief).

Honestly, I had to check the URL to make sure I hadn't accidentally strayed to audiophile.theonion.com.

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Peter X

@Fihart re snakeoil

The comments here reminded me of the guy who was claiming super-expensive audiophile-grade SATA cables made things sound better... and it turns out he's still of the opinion that he's right but oddly, without really detailing why; just some twaddle about some engineers have told him that he is right.

It's comedy-gold though. I especially like the whole Lamborghini vs. Audi TT being a hair-dressers car thing to justify a 16-hundred-quid ethernet cable. Classy!

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Tesco to tout its own smartphone – now THAT'S an unexpected item in the bagging area

Peter X

Better value than Moto G + GiffGaff?

You can buy a Moto G from Amazon for £120 now - completely unlocked, so Tesco will have to work hard to create something better value than that. Really, it'll have to be lower-spec and lower-price to be worth it.

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Teen girl arrested with 70-year-old man's four inch weapon inside her

Peter X

Hair!

Dunno if anyone noticed, but she appears to have a sea anemone attached to her head!

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The IT Crowd tops BAFTA nominations with four nods

Peter X

Re: I have to say

Damp squib is the one you want. Squids should be damp, squibs should not.

Peddle-stool, peddle-stool, Peddle-stool!

YouTube link for anyone not up to speed

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Ugh! This DUNKABLE wearable tech is REPELLENT

Peter X

There's an amusing demo of something similar here from the Big Breakfast [YouTube] in 1990-something (poor quality unfortunately).

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Peter X

Sharp EL-506P

I still have (and use) my old Sharp EL-506P from the 1980s and the thing that really surprises me is that it's still running on it's original batteries!

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Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

Peter X
Thumb Down

Too expensive

It looks a useful product but once all the extra bits have been added, it's waaay too expensive.

I know they're not directly comparable, but how can the Acer C720* only cost £200 and include memory and storage (yeah, I know!!) and a screen, keyboard, trackpad, wifi and battery when this thing costs half as much again even before you can use it?

If Acer stuck the C720's mobo on it's own in a box, I'd buy that instead... but I expect if they did, I suspect it would some how end up costing more. I guess we probably need more/better ARM based competitors to drive prices down.

* http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/01/acer_c720_chromebook/

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Ubuntu 13.04: No privacy controls as promised, but hey - photo search!

Peter X
Unhappy

Is it stable yet?

Had to lol at the LTS comments above; I'm running 12.04 (LTS) and I'm still waiting for it to stabilize! It's certainly the most crash-prone Ubuntu I've used, and I started on 06.06

So should I move to 13.04? Well, given that this presumably only gets 9 months support, I'll probably have to pass. But then again, I feel like 12.04 has been left to rot. It's crash-prone, but it's also got a skip-load of stupid bugs like the often-ghosted-paste-menu-item-in-nautilus bug, or a weird one that I see all the time where when the mouse rolls over menu items, they seem to change their size causing the whole menu to jump about... and I've no idea how to even search for a bug on that. It's hard enough to describe!

It's almost like Canonical are focusing on their business plans, and completely forgetting their users are what stops them from being a complete irrelevance.

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Tesco in unencrypted password email reminder rumble

Peter X

MORE TH>N password policy

The "More Than" insurance people have a kind of silly password policy also:

"

Please bear the following guidelines in mind:

* Be between 8 and 14 characters

* Not include more than 2 repeated characters in a row

* Not include the word 'guest'

* Not contain swear words

"

The first point isn't sooo terrible except for the top-end limit of 14 chars. The second point really doesn't help much with entropy. The third is kind of weird... firstly I wonder why? How can that upset the system, and secondly, what if my surname was "guest".. that'd be annoying. And the fourth point seems to indicate that they store things in clear text. That or their OS is easily offended.

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Mensch pal Bozier defends Menshn security, dubs critics 'snippy geeks'

Peter X
FAIL

Re: Buy British!

But they're using Media Temple for their unparalleled, rock-solid, reliability. Or... maybe not.

Good to see Luke remembered to put his name on the author meta tag though. That's an important thing to do. Oh, and there's a version meta tag. "1.0 (beta)"... well that's covered. Graphic design is a few years old... did Luke do that too? The rest of the markup is okayish; it's tidy, but too many javascript: hrefs and inline onClick handlers. Clearly coded by an amateur! :D

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'Space Monkey' craze: Texan students 'get high' by choking each other

Peter X
WTF?

"parents are warned to keep an eye out for telltale signs that their kids might be indulging in it."

What like turning blue? Or is that too late?

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Ten... digital voice recorders

Peter X
WTF?

Not Mac Compatible

Re the two Ultradisk products, when you say "not Mac compatible", are you really saying "Windows only"? Us Linux users need to know!

Also.... I'm intrigued how they managed to be incompatible with Macs. So my next questions is "Why?"

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HP's UK PC boss: We're going nowhere

Peter X
Boffin

Overpriced

I think where a lot of these companies screw up is that they want to make huge margins, but they don't have the product quality to do it. Apple are expensive, but at least they do manage to have a consistent fit and finish both though their hardware and software. Costs more, looks lovely, works pretty much perfectly provided you don't want to root it... which most "normal"** people don't.

Cheapy clones from China can compete on price alone.

But "brands" like HP and Dell seem to think they can knock out something pretty average looking, and still charge Apples margins. They can't. They might sell to business who can negotiate a slightly better deal plus support pacakge, but with consumers they need a better product. I'm guessing they don't lower their prices though because that would just kill their business market?

But the interesting thing with the HP TouchPad is that they were selling their own WebOS. But as WinMo7 proves, if you're starting on a back-foot (small user-base) you're unlikely to get anywhere. HP had an advantage over MS in that they have (had?) their own hardware AND software.... so, with the benefit of hindsight, if HP had built the TouchPad to the cost of say, the Hannspree Hannspad Tablet (10.1" ARM9 + Tegra II T20 1GHz), loaded WebOS on it, sold it at the same price as Hannspree (£149), then with an advertising push, they would've not made much money, but they would've likely gained much more market share which is important for WebOS and it's app-store. Once they have earned the right to charge a larger margin, they can.

Basically... HP should have *ME* as their CEO. Let's face it, it couldn't be much worse! :D

**Yeah, so not us lot!

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Watchdog washes hands of Lush hack

Peter X

Have the ICO ever actually done anything?

Do the ICO ever prosecute anyone? Only a few days ago I was reading about some clowns who lost a USB stick in a pub with thousands of housing association tenants details:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/05/0012209/Hundreds-of-Bank-Account-Details-Left-In-London-Pub

They got away without so much as a token fine!

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Google points finger at human after robo car accident

Peter X

I am most concerned at the lack of technophobia

In years gone by, this would have been reported by el-Reg as a Rise-Of-The-Machines(TM) incident! So contrary to the first poster, I can't help but wonder if the writer has been "turned".

It's also quite clear to me that the "human driver" of the Google PriusBot *was told* to say he/she was driving at the time by the car itself. On pain of death most probably.

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