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* Posts by John Robson

735 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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Home Office stonewalls ID findings

John Robson

Possibly...

"We've asked the anonymous spinner when the end of the process is likely to be, and whether the people concerned will still be young. They've not got back to us yet. We'll get back to you when they do..."

You'll have retired, it'll be your successors who have to get back to us in our graves...

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USB 3.0 slouches towards Bethlehem

John Robson

Speed...

"Not too shabby - although no one in the right mind would ever connect to such a speedy hard drive using USB 2.0."

I would - not as a permanent fixture, but recovery from a dead machine is generally a USB function if you have the required cables...

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Citroën redesigns the 2CV

John Robson
FAIL

No plans...

No plans for productions.

So why say anything.

Here's a car we though of over toast this morning...

Just build something, then tell us about it

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T-Mobile's G2 denied the update Touch

John Robson
FAIL

Oh great ****ing install process.

"Slightly irritatingly for some, you need a Windows PC to install the ROM - Linux and Macs are a no-go"

Slightly irritating?

It means I cannot install it.

That's more than slightly annoying for a device I chose because with WiFi and Mass Storage support it should never require a Windows OS to do anything.

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Cyclists give TV chef a Wikikicking

John Robson

Dangerous driving

Looks like a clear confession of dangerous driving to me...

Get him arrested and banned

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Asus' Eee keyboard out next month - official

John Robson
Go

Wow

That's a nice machine...

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No more premium rate numbers for docs

John Robson
Megaphone

@Steve Loughran - NHS Car parks are optional

"You are free to not drive to a NHS hospital, you can therefore opt out of paying. If the hospitals did offer free parking, all that would happen is the car parks would be full all the time. Patients receiving long-term out-patient care that requires daily visits (dialysis, cancer treatments) can usually get rebates on all parking charges."

Yes - and while my daughter was in special care I cycled to the hospital every day. My wife however had just had major abdominal surgery (an emergency cesarean).

The 4 (I think) bus journey would have been slow, and been very uncomfortable (especially waiting for each bus) in the circumstances.

Yes we can get a rebate on the parking (at our "local" hospital ~12 miles from home):

- Anything over £150 in 6 months

- If you keep ALL car park receipts (which isn't displayed anywhere)

- With a letter from the appropriate ward matron (or equivalent)

Objections:

- By cycling I managed to keep our bill to ~£160 - still ALOT* in ~4 weeks

- I'm paranoid about receipts, but most people aren't. Why not simply have swipe machines or tokens dispensed in the wards?

- Ward seniors have better things to do than write letters confirming each of the 4 wards we'd passed through in the 4 weeks in hospital (assuming the stages of special care are all considered one, else 6 wards)

- Had we not visited each day, it would have been noted...

- Anyone requiring long term (i.e. inpatient) hospital care needs visitors for their recovery. Granting a free parking ticket to each patient, valid for the duration of their stay, is hardly rocket science.

* Without the cycling it could easily have been double or triple that...

--

Surgery phone systems are generally shocking, but there is no competition available, you get a doctor where you can...

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Orange data users turning red as data dries up

John Robson

Down - -

flicking between 50 and 100% packet loss much of the morning, our house seems to be back now though...

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Colt Telecom cable cut mystery

John Robson
FAIL

And out again...

Oh goody.

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Lotus details meths-drinking hybrid e-car engine

John Robson
Stop

Performance is fine, what about efficiency

I know we're not used to kWh/gallon yet, but we should get used to it...

Or at least come up with an elReg unit, look at a few old cars and work out their engines performance...

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iPhones get sun, leg power

John Robson
Go

@ Mr. Omega

I could charge any device multiple times for that much leccy.

BUT leccy isn't available when out and about on a long ride. On my commute this morning my GPS cycle computer shutdown from low battery :(

I must have accidentally left it on after my weekend jaunt (yes it should have an auto shutoff if it doesn't move for 10 minutes, but that's not my fault)

I actually like this idea, although one that would run off my existing battery packs already on the bike would be good (8*AA pack runs my lights, must be able to get 5v regulated out of that...)

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Microsoft rejects call to fix SQL password-exposure risk

John Robson
WTF?

err...

My password should never be recoverable, hashes -yes, password no

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Google blames Gfail on 'availability' upgrade

John Robson

Monitoring

Didn't tell them to bring other request routers online at top speed???

I'd have thought that would have been automated..

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Sharp intros 5in ARM-based netbook

John Robson
Thumb Up

Hmm

Larger screen (lid fitting) would be nice, but it would drain the battery faster - this machine could be used all day if the figures are to be believed...

There's USB for 3g, what more do you want??

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Tesla Model S poses for cameras

John Robson

Hmmm.

Sensibly limited at the top end, replaceable battery packs - yes please.

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Intel X25-M 34nm Flash SSD

John Robson
FAIL

Max latency?

4k Random IO is the most important IO you do on most machines.

The MAXIMUM, not average latency of these operations is critical - remember the original non intel drives? Really fast, then stalled for a second, then really fast...

That seriously illustrated that the relevant benchmarks are not throughput for almost anyone...

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Perseid meteor shower set to dazzle disappoint

John Robson

A good few visible last night

But I fear that the clouds that have rolled in will still be around tonight...

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HTC Hero Android smartphone

John Robson
Thumb Up

Had mine for a few days now...

Really like it - the chin is unobtrusive (thank goodness), and the interface pretty slick.

Yes it pauses occasionally, but it's a mobile device, not a quad core PC. I'm really very happy, but would like to be able to use multiple google accounts (at last count I had 4 apps accounts and a personal one).

I'd also like a decent agenda applet - which can hide various calendars on request, but those are minor niggles.

Major thumbs up from me (especially as it cost me rather less than £400 :)

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BIND crash bug prompts urgent update call

John Robson

Ah, the joy...

Spent a while on this this morning. Fortunately the company for which I work implements DNS architectures which are not vulnerable.

Got to go and patch my own servers though ;)

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BMW to ride in with 115-mile range e-scooter?

John Robson
Go

Yeah

And bikes are the best format for such a vehicle, much more efficient than a big steel box.

Really hope they manage to do this properly, although I'm unlikely to buy one as a pedal cycle seems quite capable of getting me pretty much as far as I need to go...

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Samsung smartphone keyboard takes wing

John Robson

Nokia 6820

Had a flip system which provided the same function.

Of course that's too old to be prior art, or is swinging different from flipping?

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Schneier says he was 'probably wrong' on masked passwords

John Robson

Fairly obvious

"Schneier now backs an approach taken by BlackBerry devices and iPhones, which display each character briefly before masking it. "That seems like an excellent compromise," he said."

And a fairly obvious compromise given that they are the devices on which the keystrokes are hardest to judge. They've always been the most likely to have thought about this issue before.

I can normally tell on a "proper" keyboard when I've made a tpyo <sic>. So I need some other way on a "non-proper" keyboard...

What they should be saying is that you should never have to enter visible text twice - i.e. email addresses should only be entered once - the reason for entering passwords twice is that you can't read them back.

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A practical guide to disaster recovery planning

John Robson

Gartner quote

Doesn't say they'll go out of business within 24 hours, just that they'll go out of business.

I confidently predict that 100% of businesses will go out of business. Without a timescale I can't be proved wrong.

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Gmail turns into label junkie

John Robson

Labels

Are useful for automated messages.

Incoming mails can be usefully labelled and "skip inbox".

To be fair I don't need to see each "this server has exceeded the normal traffic" message in the inbox.

Don't do much more than that though...

Fraser - Labels are tags for emails, there are no directories in Gmail, only tags.

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ISPs vs BBC iPlayer: Missing the point?

John Robson
FAIL

They already pay

At the data centre the BBC are already charged for their share of the bandwidth

The ISP has simply sold futures in bandwidth to their customers and lost the bet...

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Hohm - save energy the Microsoft way

John Robson
Alert

HoHum

At least I presume that's how it's pronounced

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Vodafone builds community, sharing via email oops

John Robson

Only three short

Of an April 1st worthy error

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Acer Aspire Revo R3600

John Robson

Needs

Small SSD (£100) (or a no HDD option - netboot?)

DVI

HDMI

and I'll take two...

Nice pieces of kit, pity about the weird port layout, but I'll get over it.

OTOH if they supply mini keyboards I'll take one of those - why does noone make small keyboards for kids? With USB you can easily have a couple of keyboards plugged in to the family computer..

Teach them how to touch type nice and young - more important than writing nowadays, but their hands are too small to do so on a full sized keyboard.

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Designer pitches flat-pack power plug

John Robson

Safety

shoudl ened to have the flaps open to rotate the pins, but otherwise brilliant. I like the multiway adapter using them in the folded configuration.

Now can we please NOT have wall warts, and standardise on either the figure8, the clover leaf or the "kettle" style leads for transformers.

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Junior astronomer spots junior supernova

John Robson
Boffin

Aperture?

And pretty cool - I mean, I'm still at the "look, isn't it pretty" stage - to notice a new dot takes some serious interest and work, never mind how old (or young) the astronomer in question.

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Periodic table adding new element

John Robson
Boffin

Elements are indivisible

by chemical means.

Physicists have no such limitations.

We're currently limited to quarks and leptons - although they are just the smallest things we know of at the moment ;)

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StrongWebmail holds up hands to hack, plots further challenge

John Robson

But they're willing

And that makes a difference - they are trying,

OK they're a bit naive to claim absolute security, but challenges like this can't do anything but help their security...

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Apollo 11 - The Owners' Workshop Manual

John Robson

Ascent Propulsion system

Had no maintenance requirements - it couldn't even be tested, the first firing for each ascent rocket was on/near the moon (think 10 and 13)

The propellants were so corrosive that they basically destroyed the rocket bell when fired - one shot rockets don't have much call for maintenance...

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Mitsubishi finalises mass-market e-car production plans

John Robson

Excellent

About bloomin' time - they've been announcing this for years now

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Website liable for Google-generated page summary

John Robson

Bankrupt

Why would any court not say - "see those dots... they mean that this isn't a complete sentence, but two fragments. Case dismissed"

Google

(Now hopefully this comment will show up when "google" and "bankrupt" are used as a search terms)

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Microsoft, Asus launch anti-Linuxbook campaign

John Robson
Thumb Down

That's one short video

Cut together repeatedly...

And then put in a loop after you press play...

MS / Asus:

Familiar != better

Trusted != Good (we used to trust the banks)

Compatible isn't your game, never has been.

- Try reading my ext3 formatted SD cards on Windows...

- Try looking through just ubuntu's package management to see what "proprietary" devices are supported - and that's ignoring RedHat, SuSE et al.

I was hoping that the proliferation of netbooks would encourage the definition of some communications standards, and provide device manufacturers (e.g. nokia, garmin etc) to publish their interfaces (it's not as if I'm going to buy a device I can't talk to, or that talking to the device is useful without the physical device)

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Fans decry tennis gal's breast-slash plan

John Robson
Paris Hilton

sports bra?

Might help here - and I'm sure some sports bra manufacturer could come up with something better than she is wearing there, and get advertising out of it!

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Welsh mum amazed by Marmite Messiah

John Robson

We're really good

at seeing faces in things aren't we.

Just one of the optimisations in the human brain - dedicated facial recognition circuits mean that often we get a "face" signal for really weak images.

Ho hum...

I'm not going to hail our new yeast based overlords...

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E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin

John Robson

Single point emissions are easier to control / manage

And improve societal health through cleaner air in cities.

When (not if) we do manage to get fusion running in a stable and productive fashion on the planet we'll be bale to run 'leccy cars with very low CO2 emissions (because no other pollutants count)

Lektricty is a good choice of power for a vehicle - zero burn while stationery - maximum torque at zero revs (i.e. when you're likely to need it).

Unfortunately we can't go and dig up Lektricity, we have to make it.

At the moment we use much the same tech as we have for many years - but centralising this energy production makes it easier to monitor and control. CSS (for example, not a definitive solution) isn't practical for liquid fuelled cars, it's relatively simple at a large power plant.

Solar and wind are poor choices for many things, but for charging a UPS (i.e. my car plugged into my house) they're actually quite reasonable.

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Worldwide GPS may die in 2010, say US gov

John Robson

"@" is not a title apparently?

"I know all of my personal computers sync to one of my GPS units every now and then, just to keep them honest."

I assume you're accounting for the leap seconds introduced since the start of GPS time - they are not applied to GPS time, only earthbound time uses them...

And I want GPS to continue - It's nice being able to log my bike rides accurately... Fortunately for me I imagine I will be able to for a good long while, there are plenty of sats, and I'm sure sufficient will be replaced...

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BASF to develop 350-mile e-car 'super battery'

John Robson

@Dave

The right maths is what he did - a recharge cycle is generally not "any topup" it's generally a full discharge equivalent.

So if I use and recharge 10% each day then in ten days I'll use 1 charge cycle...

Mind you - I reckon I'm becoming clairvoyant: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/19/lithium_oxygen_stair_battery/

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John Robson

Batteries are the upgrades

Just define a shape, voltage and socket.

Then sell a car with mostly empty slots for round town, and battery upgrades whenever. In a couple of years when some newfangled technology "batteries" take in air, output roses and power we can simply* slot them in to our existing cars.

* Simply might involve a trip to the garage - but that's not a huge problem...

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Downing Street on Phorm: 'Meh'

John Robson

Independant?

"http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/pressreleases/2008/new_phorm_statement_040408.pdf

ICO is an independent body"

So why does it have a .gov.uk domain?

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ContactPoint goes live despite security fears

John Robson

Easier to spot kids at risk if they're the only ones there...

Surely?

I mean if we're looking for this to be useful then police/protection agencies should be able to search/add details of people with whom they have contact.

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Green GT rolls out sexy e-supercar

John Robson

Even a half decent performance at LeMans

Would shut up those people who claim batteries are no good.

Definitely the right contest!

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Swedish couple demand right to name baby 'Q'

John Robson

And in my defence

I present an XKCD cartoon, to show how evil I could have been :)

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Pudsey Bear refused UK passport

John Robson

Go away IPS

You can't claim to protect her identity by refusing to acknowledge it...

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Mitsubishi to release e-car in UK this year

John Robson

Cost?

'cos that's a sensible car...

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Honda executes 180° turn on plug-in e-cars

John Robson
Thumb Up

Tech

We seem to do quite well in terms of bashing individual techs, which is why they aren't getting built.

The electric motor is a good way of putting power to the road, even Sir Clarkson will agree - getting power to it is interesting, there are various methods for generating electricity, so we should look at standard INTERFACES.

If we decide on a size and shape of "power source" and a nominal voltage then we can stick LiON in there now, and replace them with carbon based fast chargers, fuel cells, or magic pixie dust when they become commercially viable.

If cars had a few such "slots" then you could buy a car with just one battery pack (the wife only goes to the shops in it...) for relatively little cost, and add more, better capacity, power sources later - as required.

This allows us to have decent vehicles, with upgradable and replaceable power sources. No LiON is a killer tech for all car journeys - but it would make perfect sense for most second cars, and for quite alot of "first" cars.

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Windows 7 and the Linux lesson

John Robson
Boffin

Windows isn't an OS

It's an ecosystem - there is just no way to only use the OS section of Windows.

Canonical have a reasonable method of continuous upgrades, even my wife keeps her laptop fully up to date.

There are always dependencies within software ecosystems - letting the software behave in a defined fashion, and declaring those dependencies means that aptitude just handles what is needed. I imagine that various machines around here and work will get an upgrade to Jaunty fairly soon.

If I could use different window managers on Windows then I might look at it, but the "you will use the mouse for everything" interface is just unpleasant. The only reason I touch a windows machine is to update a pesky manglement spreadsheet.

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