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* Posts by Peter X

58 posts • joined 12 Apr 2008

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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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Acoustic trauma: How wind farms make you sick

Peter X

Charge more for distance from power source?

I guess no one really wants to be living near any kind of power generation facility, but we all want electricity. So maybe the solution is to charge people more the further they are from a power source?

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Captain Cyborg: Computers are alive, like bats or cows

Peter X

LulzSec should hack him!

...just for the lulz!

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Nokia: regular WinPho handset releases through 2012

Peter X

I'm surprised no one else picked up on this...

[quote]"Nokia could be punching out Windows Phone handsets at the rate or one every two months, the company has said."[/quote]

Are they sure there's that much demand?

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Samsung shows screen that folds seamlessly

Peter X

I just want a screen that can bend... slightly!

Rather than a whole, foldy-upy screen, I just want to not have to worry about bending my smart-phone when I stuff it in a pocket, so if it was just able to bend a bit without damaging the screen, that'd be great.

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W3C squeezes XML into portability

Peter X

Why XML is good

XML is good because it preserves the semantics of data, as opposed to say a comma delimited file, and includes namespaces so it's easier to add to, or remove data from without then having to change the software wot consumes said data.

The human readable bit is just that you can view/create/update XML data with a simple text editor. Or pretty much any programming language since it's just a text file. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you're stranded managing a legacy system and you need it to talk to something else, things like this really matter.

But don't misinterpret "human readable" as meaning it is intended to be consumed by end-users.

On a similar note, building applications in HTML/CSS/JavaScript seems *really* dumb if you're approaching the problem as a "real" programmer, but the advantage is that the barrier to entry is much much lower. So it could be argued that Firefox because popular because it's extension mechanism was much easier to hack about with. XML does the same for exchange of data.

Is XML efficient? Nope. But that wasn't the intent. But it is useful as a data exchange format that's easy to work with -- easy as in lower barrier to entry.

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Ex-UK spy boss says WikiLeaks sparked Egyptian revolution

Peter X

Captioning

I wish they had kept the captioning uniform rather than CAPITALISING a bunch of sections. It just makes the video-reporting seem a little biased. Plus the videographers sniggering didn't help much either.

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The Node Ahead: JavaScript leaps from browser into future

Peter X

Why all the TIFFs ?

FWIW .tiff files don't seem to render in Chrome -- so I can't see any of the images in this article. And who uses tiff files anyway... you weirdos! ;)

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Microsoft bricking lesson bodes badly for Elop's Brave New Nokia

Peter X

So how many WP7 deployments?

So MS haven't given any figures on WP7 deployments yet, but we know that "small number" of users were affected... and now also know that that's 10% of WP7 users. LOL! Clearly these two messages bypassed MS Public Relations.

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German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP

Peter X

Smells a bit funny!

I can kind of see why users might complain about OpenOffice over MS Office, but the former should still be workable. But everything else really shouldn't be an issue. According to the slashdot coverage of this story, printer and scanner drivers were cited as a problem.... apparently they were having to write their own? That sounds to me like either they've got a bunch of unusual legacy hardware -- in which case that'll likely not work in Windows 7 either, or they've bought new kit that doesn't play nicely with Linux -- in which case that's a procurement problem surely?!

If they'd already made the switch to Linux, I really can't see how they'll save switching back to Windows, *except* if they're being given sweeteners, which will obviously mean that long term it'll cost more.

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Binatone HomeSurf 7 Android tablet

Peter X

Styling is a bit rubbish but...

The styling looks kind of hideous, but the price isn't bad. Shame about it being such an old Android version though -- I wonder why they did that?

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How Nokia and Microsoft will carve up mobile services

Peter X

What happens when MS buy Nokia?

My main concern is that at some point in the future, MS might want to acquire what remains of Nokia, and then it'll own a lot of mobile phone IP. They might then use that "persuade" other mobile phone manufactures to go with WinMo7 perhaps?

If that isn't their (MS's) long-term game, then surely this buddying up with Nokia is just going to distance them from all their other "partners" marginalising them even more... so that's why I'm wondering if IP buy-out isn't the real end-game.

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Linux vulnerable to Windows-style autorun exploits

Peter X

Was sceptical, watched the video and....

Having watched the video, it was interesting. To sum up, when a user inserts a USB, it auto-mounts (which is fine*), opens a nautilus windows (Gnome file browser) which in turn will try to generate thumbnail images of the files on the USB drive. There's skip-loads of code that could get run doing this though -- an example mentioned was the totem video thumbnailer which covers a large number of video formats and therefore has multiple code paths.

Net result - it's entirely likely the some thumbnailer code somewhere has vulnerabilities and can be exploited this way.

Yes an example did use evince (PDF viewer) which has been fixed, but they didn't side-step too much real-world code. If I recall correctly, I think he said that AppArmour doesn't cover evince by default anyway, and certainly apparmour didn't cover all thumbnailers. There were other mitigations, but none seemed absolutely water tight.

* Although possibly a malformed file-system could exploit a flaw in a FS driver if you can find one!

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Microsoft reinfects Chrome with closed video codec

Peter X

Presumably there's a Firefox plugin too?

Presumably MS have also released a Firefox plugin considering it currently has more market share than Chrome? Or is this _formally_ a pissing contest?

Is there any where I can see the the user-base for H.264, 'cos it seems to me that only OS X and Win7/Vista (ignoring mobile users) users get H.264 out of the box? So as far as I can tell, Flash still seems to be the best* way to deliver video over the interwob to desktop/laptop clients.

*best in this case meaning least likely to fail.

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Google Maps for Droid phones becomes a LOT better

Peter X

Still can't customise routes though

Nice updates, but I still find the Navigation feature sometimes takes the wrong route, but I still can't manually tweak the route like I can on the web-based Google Maps.

Also, although my phone supports two finger gestures, I don't need to be able to two-finger drag the screen to change the 3D angle... not that it matters that much, but it'd be nice to do! I also don't seem to be able to rotate the map using fingers either.

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Google speeds Chrome JavaScript engine with 'Crankshaft'

Peter X

Re: Have you been to Orange's web site at all?

[slightly-OT-rant]

Nothing can help the Orange website. It frequently doesn't work -- enter details, submit, wait... wait... wait... and *then* it says it's not working and to try later --and even when it does work it's slow. And it's been exactly like this since... I dunno... 2005 or earlier maybe? I think the only reason Orange exist is because of good branding/advertising. Also their mobile network is acceptably reliable. Everything else Orange is kind of sucky though.

[/slightly-OT-rant]

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WP7 vs Android: a struggle for supremacy

Peter X

Fragmentation less of an issue than security?

Whilst I don't doubt Android fragmentation (varied hardware & software specification) is an issue for app developers, hardware is *always* going to change over time. The underlying OS is more likely to stabilise I'd guess, although the UI might evolve and cause problems for app devs.

I think a far bigger problem for Android is that security updates don't get to end-users handsets in a timely fashion... if at all. As a result, there's a risk of Android phones becoming the security disaster-area that has historically been Windows. So I think that Google should really require that OEMs/Carriers that wish to bundle Google software *must* supply security updates in a reasonable time-frame. I think that is a reasonable requirement and shouldn't cause them any problems since security updates should not change functionality.

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Hacker sinks Royal Navy website

Peter X

Re: Invalid HTML

Also, using <center> in 2010 is pretty embarrassing. And then spelling it wrong (should be spelt "center") isn't great either!

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Nominet to flog short domains

Peter X

nic.uk

@Simon Mayes - I never knew about that one. The only other sans-SLD domain I know of is nic.uk which is owned by.... Nominet!

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Dixons touts tablets

Peter X

Rory Cellan-Jones wasn't impressed with the Next tablet!

See here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11475015

So I'd be kind of wary of the Dixon one for the same reason, although they've got more to loose trying to punt a duff product.

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Youth jailed for not handing over encryption password

Peter X

Re TrueCrypt and plausible deniability

One thing occurs to me; I use TrueCrypt to encrypt backup data. If the plod decide I might be a terrorist or whatever and pull me in for questioning, and I give them my password -- no point in me not given that there's nothing more exciting than my bank details -- surely there's still the possibility that I've not told them the "other" password, and therefore I must be guilty?

So even though I don't have a hidden part of my TrueCrypt data, no one can prove that I don't and therefore I may not have disclosed a password!!

Seriously... this is nuts!

Also, what if I've simply created a file in some app or other, passworded it, and then forgotten about it? E.g. if I'm testing the application. Or if I've genuinely lost the password but I've not deleted the file.... because of course, I wouldn't because I'd be hoping I'd find/remember the password at some juncture. And *then* I find that because of this I'm guilty.

I honestly can't believe this can be legal.

I can understand why this is an issue to the police/MI5/who-ever, but their approach is terrible. Would they not be better keeping the encrypted data on file and waiting until they do have the tech to decrypt? In many cases I'd expect there will either be a crack discovered which weakens the encryption algo and certainly there will be more computing power available for brute-forcing over time, so I'm sure they'd have the tech to decrypt within 10 years? Not ideal I guess, but better than throwing people in jail for a different crime.

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vBulletin sues ex-devs over 'from scratch' competitor

Peter X

vBulletin = worst search function ever!

I've always really really really hated vBulletin for having a search function that is pretty much useless. If you search for multiple keywords it's always an "OR" search, and you can't change the boolean logic. UbuntuForums.org is where I've been forced to use this rubbish -- I never understood why they went with something commercial anyway -- anyone know?

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Samsung Galaxy Apollo Android smartphone

Peter X

So anyway... when the Orange San Francisco review?

I've got bored waiting for an Orange San Francisco review and I've order one and it arrives tomorrow -- but it's a similar spec to the Sammy, but has a 480x800 OLED capacitive screen and only costs £99. I know I keep banging on about this phone like I work for Orange (I don't btw!), but it does seem like a significant product in that it's price rather under cuts... pretty much everything by a significant margin. It deserves a review!!!

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£180 7in Android tablet launched

Peter X

Resistive vs capacitive

I know it's always said that the cheaper end products probably have resistive screens, but what is the price difference? Are we talking a significant chunk of the product price or just a few quid?

I've just read a review* of the Orange San Francisco (still waiting for the el-Reg review!!) that says it comes with a " 3.5″ OLED capacitive screen and 800×480, just like the Nexus One, Desire, Galaxy S. It’s crisp, clear and the colours look great. If this is a cheaply made phone, it doesn’t show here, that’s for sure ". Accepting that the 'cisco screen is only 3.5", but Orange have still managed to supply a high-quality screen at a very low cost... so it's doable!

*Source: http://hemorrdroids.net/orange-san-francisco-review/

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Windows Phone 7 launch dates leak

Peter X

So MS believe they can compete at the higher end?

I'm not sure how MS will try to position their phones, although I guess they can't really compete with Android on price, but I can't see anyone outside corporates likely to be willing to spend much on something that isn't an iPhone/Blackberry/Android.

Also, will elReg be reviewing the Orange San Francisco (£99 pay as you go Android) soon?

http://newsroom.orange.co.uk/2010/09/21/orange-brings-android-to-the-masses-with-the-launch-of-san-francisco/

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Apple's 11.6in MacBook Air release imminent?

Peter X

Replacement for MacBook?

To me, the white-plastic MacBook has looked awkward in the Mac range for a long time -- I suspect it has only hung on because the uni-body Macs appeared just at the time the global economy tanked, so having a lower cost alternative probably seemed like a good idea. But even now, having something to compete with netbooks and low-cost laptops seems wise.

But the white MacBook isn't a million miles from a low-end MacBook Pro in terms of spec. So perhaps they'll replace the white MacBook with a range of low-power, non-optical-drived, small light-weight MacBooks.... kind of like the MacBook Air, but this time re-positioned as the low-end portable Mac?

For the same reason, I'd suggest MacBook Pro pricing can remain the same, the existing MacBook disappears but is replaced with this MacBook Air-like machine at the current MacBook price level..... all pure speculation of course! ;)

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Twitpic pulls 50 Cent bum burger snap

Peter X
Happy

50cent on Charlie Brooker's gameswipe

Whenever I hear the name "50cent", I'm always reminded of the 50cent game mentioned on Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe. See here, and skip to 4:10 minutes in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmucAjnfyTk

It hilarious!

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Ellison wrestles Google to strangle 'unofficial' Java

Peter X

Google should move to the EU

Google should move to the EU to make a protest at software patents!

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Private lessons

Peter X

Ad-blocking in Chrome

AFAIK, Ad-blocking in Chrome merely hides the advert but does not prevent it from downloading and presumably executing.

Is there any kind of light-weight personal web proxy that you can run locally, that doesn't bother with caching (no point if it's on a single computer and the browser already caches) but that allows for inspecting/tweaking http requests/responses?

For example, I sometimes want to kill referers, tweak my user-agent string, and maybe block google-analytics when I'm testing a website locally. As it is now, Firefox is pretty flexible and probably has an extension for those things, but other browsers can be a bit more bothersome.

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iPads for hospitals: is this a good idea?

Peter X

title

I would've thought it would be cheaper to just bolt lots of web-terminals to the walls of the hospital -- given that the design wouldn't have to be as super slim as an iPad, and given that it wouldn't need any batteries (which really, is going to make it a lot easier to manage long term anyway), it should work out cheaper... even if you need more of them so that there's always one in easy reach. Plus they'd be less nickable!

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The Reg guide to Linux, part 2: Preparing to dual-boot

Peter X

Is a swap partition necessary?

I'm using one myself, but I believe the 2.6 Kernel allows a swap file to be just as fast as a swap partition according to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paging#Linux

0
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Superslim iPhone 4 enough to fend off Android?

Peter X

What about iPhone nano

It was mentioned in another post here, but whilst Apple aren't talking about an iPhone nano, it is the obvious next product. But they couldn't do that before without removing features from their existing phones... and there wasn't much scope for that! But with iPhone 4, they can now produce a "nano" product based on the iPhone 3G or 3GS, but sans GPS, probably with giros (for gaming) and it shouldn't risk customers switching to the cheaper product.

Having said all that... Apple traditionally produce "premium" products. They look nice, they work well, they're desirable, but they also cost more. As such, they're never likely to totally dominate any market. Whilst they have done well with iPods in terms of market share, I'd say this is because they're inexpensive -- yes an iPod Shuffle is twice as expensive as a competing music player with similar features, but at that price point, it's not a huge purchasing decision.

iPhone on the other hand has always been too expensive to dominate, and given the number of Androids available, and given their lower cost, Apple will never achieve the same level of success as they did with the iPod. If they release an iPhone nano they'll do better though... but I suspect they're going to have a tough time with this.

And to conclude my rambling post, Apples market cap is high because they're profitable *and* they still have considerable scope for expanding market share. But they can only maintain this if they continue to increase profits... which requires increasing market share... which can only happen if they can capture customers at the lower end of the spectrum.

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Firefox takes walk down 64-bit Windows street

Peter X

Re 64bit linux

I wondered the same! I've installed 64bit Ubuntu 10.04 and I'd assumed the included Firefox was also 64bit. Certainly I'm running the 64bit Flash plugin (it's still in testing, although it is very stable) so surely it *must* be 64bit Firefox?!!

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