145 posts • joined Tuesday 17th April 2007 13:11 GMT
Simple fix: VAT+=CorpTax; CorpTax=0
This is really easy to solve, and would prevent all the complex tax dodging.
Increase VAT, and zero out corporation tax.
Provided this is done sensibly, prices will remain the same, and customers won't be hurt.
The best button arrangement by far was the HTC DesireHD which has 4 soft-buttons. The physical home button is too hard to press one handed, collects lint, and consumes too much vertical space. But we should go back to the proper Android "Home + Menu + Search + Back" quartet.
Also, OLED displays aren't as good as LCD, except one thing... they have much better battery life because there's no backlight. For this, I can forgive them for not being able to produce a properly white white (and the consequently ruined color matching).
Now... where's the laser pointer, heart-rate monitor, hand-warmer, geiger-counter, quantum-cryptography, and self-destruct function?
Is this really a bad thing?
It always seems to me that copyright-by-default is a bad idea - most of the time, we gain hugely by sharing and remixing culture. Also, remember that every time you forward an email, or use a google-image in your presentation, you are breaking copyright law. We simply cannot operate in a strictly copyright-maximalist manner without making 99.99% of the citizens into law-breakers. (For that matter, how many of the Reg's own icons are you sure you licensed properly?)
If I could go back in time and tweak the first HTML spec, I'd clarify that "all content placed on the web is implicitly public domain, unless explicitly marked otherwise". After all, that's how most people think the web works, and actually how it does work anyway (because individuals can almost never afford to sue).
It's not as if putting a copyright tag into a jpeg/tiff comment field is difficult.
What happened to the idea that the user that the app runs as shouldn't have write permission to the binaries anyway?
Surely only root should be able to change the apks, (with access via sudo for google play, the terminal, and cron's auto-updater).
This is particuarly stupid, given that, in flight mode, my phone will stay in flight mode till I unlock the screen with a code.. But in poweroff mode, I just have to bump the power button. So airplane+locked is safer.
Remember... he *couldn't* have told the donors in advance of his plans to seek Asylum, or they would have been criminally culpable if they didn't prevent it. At least some of them think he did the right thing.,
Swap to general taxation please
As most people pay the TV license, can we please move to paying it out of general taxation rather than a dedicated license? That would save about 5% of the cost, which is purely wasted on the TVLA. It would also make it fairer on the poorest. Personally, I don't own a TV, but I do use the BBC radio, website, and sometimes iPlayer; i'd be very happy to pay for what is, even with its faults, an exceptional service.
Headphone drive capability?
The S3 is great, but its one weakness is that the headphone amplifier is rather feeble. It would be nice if the new one had a bit more grunt. Notably, larger headphones need more power. For example, listening to classical music on an aircraft... even the quiet bits need more gain.
The other thing is, I wish they'd get rid of the physical home button. It's Apple's worst misfeature, and it's awkward to press, needing far more foce than the 2 soft buttons either side. (for that matter, can we please have the search button back).
Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?
In the "near-field" for RF coupling, with a resonant antenna, it's not the case that power is broadcast into the distance. You can get 80%+ efficiency. Basically the inverse square law doesn't apply until you get several antenna-lengths away from the antenna.
Lack of GPL'd userspace to blame
It's a shame that Android removed so much GPL'd code from userspace. It makes fragmentation inevitable.
(By comparison, look at Desktop Linux - it hasn't fragmented in anywhere near the same way. Of course people make different choices, but the GPL means that both forks and merges are possible).
Aspect ratio 16 x 10.6
Nice to see at least one laptop maker moving back towards full-height screens. With luck, the trend may catch on, and we can go back to 16x12 rather than the tendency towards 16x8.
ipad smart cover not so smart
It's very easy, when holding your iPad + smart cover, to grip it like an open book, holding just the cover in the left hand. This places a torque on the magnetic joint, and it can sometimes unexpectedly unzip, letting the iPad crash to the floor (unless your reflexes are fast enough).
Simple maths: 10-fold improvement needed; every little doesn't help.
1. We probably need to halve our CO2 emissions by 2050.
2. In order to bring the 3rd world out of poverty, they need to increase energy consumption 5-fold.
3. 1% here and 1% there adds up to 1% on the total... unplugging your phone charger at night isn't good enough!
=> 10-fold improvement in Energy generation efficacy needed.
The only realistic solution is nuclear power, NOW.
Simle: make a genuinely high-end laptop and people will buy it.
Why is it so hard to find a machine these days which:
- has a decent screen (especially vertical pixel count)
- doesn't weigh too much.
- is fanless.
IBM used to sell a 15" screen at 2048x1536 pixels - how about some more of these?
Simple fix: VAT++; CorpTax=0
The solution is very easy. Put VAT to 35% and scrap corporation tax. All the loopholes go away. We also become more competitive as a country because our talent can go towards productive work rather than the huge overheads involved in dealing with tax (and finding or removing loopholes). Also, VAT has exemptions for certain necessities, so this is fairer on the poorest.
Re-balance from corp. tax to VAT
Why not simply change the mechanism. Increase VAT, decrease Corporation tax. VAT is paid in the UK no matter what. And if the sliding re-balance is done rightly, it won't affect consumer prices. It would remove the competitive advantage currently granted to companies that don't "play fair".
N900 ... so close to exceptional, but not open source enough
The N900 was a wonderful device to develop for... it had a proper Linux environment, and could even run openoffice!
Unlike Android, it uses the desktop Linux approach, and runs X (and GTK), so all the applications just work without porting. It was a delight to develop for, and the SDK was easy to use, well documented, and helpful. Out of the box, I could SSH in and do X-forwarding, no need to "root" it first. The hardware was also ahead of its time (excepting the resistive touchscreen). Sadly, Nokia wouldn't make the whole thing open-source.
For example, I needed to be able to take photos during a phone call. This would have been easy to fix (it just needed to disable the shutter sound, so that the camera app didn't need a lock on the soundcard) - but the camera app was closed source. Yes, I could use the library to write my own app... but only if I didn't want autofocus.
Nokia didn't get that open hardware means *everything*, not most of it, excepting a few essential bits.
Simple: session cookies OK; other cookies bad
Why is this whole thing so complicated?
1. Session cookies are the only things we really need(*), for advanced functionality such as login, shopping-carts etc - and these are already allowed via the exemption - no need to ask the user.
3. There's no legitimate reason to use any other form of cookie - 3rd-party analytics or tracking cookies. Sites that do use them deserve the ire of the ICO.
(*) PHP has session.use_trans_sid as a workaround - it's possible to avoid session cookies, though the result is inelegant.
All eggs in one basket, make it a good basket
If you expect your electronics to fail, you're already toast. Besides which, the most likely failure would be the battery (if it freezes). Wire up the electronics carefully, check it works in low temp, and package it inside a styrofoam box (these are really quite good; you can even mail ice-cream and it will arrive frozen). Otherwise, your mechanical trigger just adds weight, and the significant risk of a false positive.
BTW, the easiest way to detect balloon burst is actually to measure the G force on the truss. Have a G-sensor, which is armed by the altimeter. Once a decent height is reached, you'll be going at approximately constant velocity, and the acceleration measured by the sensor will be 1.0 G (within 10%). At burst, it will suddenly become 0G as you go into free-fall. Use this to drive a MOSFET and the ignitor.
Why the fuss?
This is really simple (and for once, the EU got it right).
* If you're using Session cookies, you don't need to change anything. Implicit consent is fine.
* If you're using tracking cookies (for cross-site advertising), then the law is quite rightly targeting you. Basically that behaviour is pretty evil, and although you can persuade the user to waive their privacy rights by "accepting" the tracking, this shouldn't happen.
* 3rd party analytics (eg Google) and non-tracking advertising are the grey-areas.
Here's a simple test;: if the average geek would consider your cookie beneficial to him, then you don't need to ask for consent. If you think the average geek would prefer to reject your cookie, then you do need to ask for consent (but you shouldn't be using that type of cookie anyway).
Another way of looking at this: very few businesses work with the "free content, ad-supported" model. Some do (eg The Reg; Facebook). But, If you aren't reliant on advertising, then this rule doesn't affect you, (or you are completely incompetent.)
Hydrogen has better lift and leakage
H2 being diatomic is a much larger molecule than He, therefore diffuses through the latex more slowly. You may notice that party balloons lose buoyancy within about 8 hours; this is why.
Also, there is about 8% more lift available from H2 than He.
Privacy and Copyright are unrelated
Please don't muddle different concepts.
* It would be perfectly logically consistent to have strong privacy protections and weak copyright.
* Also,while we do need consumer protection from Facebook & Google, the real threat to privacy is our own government, and that of the US. So, for example, if we wanted to implement a "right to be forgotten", it needs to also apply to the spooks.
...and if they'd open sourced it *properly*
I bought an N900 for development work. Resistive-touchscreen notwithstanding, it was a delight to use, and to develop for: it actually ran regular "desktop" Linux natively: Gtk, X, etc. You could even run X applications via SSH forwarding. The apps weren't all there, but it was so close: the next rev would have been awesome. It even contained neat hardware (IR and FM transmitters), and had a much better camera. Getting started with Maemo was really easy (Nokia made the environment and cross-compiler easy to set up), and it used Gtk rather than Qt (so apps ran quickly and could be written in mostly plain-C). The "Hildon" extensions to Gtk for the phone were actually rather good.
BUT, it wasn't properly open-source: as so often happens, there are just a few nasty binary blobs that mean you can't really truly build the entire environment yourself. In my case, this was a killer: we needed to be able to simultaneously multitask the camera and telephone calls. But the camera app needed full access to the sound-card for the shutter-click, so would block during the call. I could very easily re-build a separate application which worked as we wanted...but here is the ridiculous part: only if I didn't want to make use of the proprietary blob used for autofocus. Yes, really: I could use the camera, but only by not implementing the unnecessary "focussing" feature !!
So that was 200 N900s we didn't buy, and in the end we took a totally different approach. I wish companies would understand that open-source really means all-or-nothing.
Right to be forgotten: what about credit reference agencies?
Does the right to be forgotten include the right to have unflattering data removed. For example, can a person with a poor credit record force the credit rating agency to delete it? What about the right to be removed from CCTV footage? Or the right to have one's data-retention-act-mandated logs deleted.
Or even giving some teeth to the rules on criminal records expiring (many police forces aren't good enough about this).
This law might do some good if it were targeted at government and commercial agencies, rather than just at facebook.
Aside: would it also make companies fish out their backup tapes to delete data from them...
What would be really awesome is if we could use these to experience a changed reality. For example, one reason special relativity is hard to grasp is that we can't actually perceive it. So how about using these to let us walk about in a world in which the speed-of-light is reduced to 30mph...
Ideally, I want to walk around in the real-world, and have the computer calculate the effects for me...
Anyone who has read "Mr. Tompkins in Paperback" will know what I mean
QXGA would be nice
I upgraded my T60p with a 15" 2048×1536 panel, which is a wonderful device, but had to be found from new-old-stock, last made in about 2005. The best thing is that it includes a decent amount of vertical space too. Why is it so hard for manufacturers to offer a decent screen-height these days?
Patents really are immoral
Locking down your own platform is wrong, but at least consumers have a choice.
But using a patent for anything other than self-defense is immoral. Asserting patent "rights" is an attack on freedom of thought, and to use this legal weapon is unjust and hypocritical (if you stand on the shoulders of giants, you don't deserve to monopolise your own microscopic incremental invention).
Let's be clear: just because it is legal doesn't make it right. It was once legal to own people as property, but decent human beings chose not to have slaves. Likewise, choosing not to assert a patent is choosing not to to assert an unjust power over the independent thought of another.
Stallman may be a gadfly; he is frequently tactless; but I've never known him be wrong yet...
Why don't more mp3/ogg players/car-radios feature a compression knob as well as a volume knob? When I listen to classical music on an aircraft or an audio-book on a train, I want to crush the dynamic range, to compete with the background noise but not be deafened. But I want to hear the same music with full range on my home HiFi.
Microwaves and wifi
I actually did the opposite: with a (new) microwave, and a strong wifi signal, I put the netbook inside the microwave to see what happened. (Obviously I didn't turn on the microwave!). With the door ajar, wifi gets in easily; with the door closed, the Faraday cage really does work - no signal at all!
What about credit references?
For example, should someone be entitled to demand that Experian delete their credit record?
I think the answer here is yes - they are making money out of selling data on someone without that person's consent, (even if that data happens to be true).
Another way to achieve a similar goal would be that any data about a person is co-owned by that person. Example: the paparazzi take a compromising photo of a celebrity. That celeb shouldn't get the right to have the photo deleted, but he *should* get the right to re-use the photo as he sees fit. He is in it; the copyright would therefore be partly his. What he can do is then use his right as the subject of the photo to give away free copies. This would set the value of the photo to zero, making the paparazzi photographer's income less lucrative. It doesn't hurt free speech, but it does hurt those who invade privacy for profit.
Rock vs Hard Place
When starting a new project, there are 2 approaches:
1. Get the base functionality done first, noting bugs and security stuff as "todo", then fix it.
2. Build a perfect infrastructure, then add the functionality.
Approach #1 is potentially dangerous (if you get the architecture wrong, you have lots of changes to make, and if you don't build in security from the start, you may not be able to add it later). But it has some major advantages:
- You have a working environment early, for testing ideas and prototyping
- You have a working demo environment (so it's easy to get backers and funding)
- You can prove to yourself that it will work in principle, which aids motivation.
- Other hackers like working code...it's much more motivating for people to potentially join a new project if there is something released that works, at least a bit.
- It gives the artists, css, documentation, and translation people something to start work on earlier, helping with critical paths.
Approach #2 only works well if you have a very small group (ideally one) who already have the design fully-formed in their heads, or if you want ultra-perfection (eg NASA) and have a matching budget.
So I applaud them choosing model #1...provided that the FIXMEs do actually get fixed before release!
Less data required
Its reasonable for our government to know that you *are* a UK citizen. It is not right that it should record *which* UK citizen. Passport entry should only establish your right to move, and should be, by design, incapable of recording who is where.
Buy a good case and go for a silent PC
The upside to buying "silent" PCs (or at least very quiet ones), with good cases and air-filters is that they fill up with far less dust. I believe that a PC should be quiet to the point that you can hear birdsong through a closed window when the PC is running...and that makes a huge difference to how pleasant they are to use, as well as to re-build.
There is a creeping "disease" everywhere that is requiring authentication for trivial things. Most services shouldn't require *any* authentication, and we should make it harder for businesses and services to require it.
Every jobsworth in the country now seems to want proof of identity when 10 years ago, the same process used to be accomplished without doing so.
The very concept of "national security" is inimical to the nation actually being safe. When our government has secrets, and the electorate is not fully informed, then we encourage politicians to make bad decisions and act in a way in which we would not approve.
On another tack, why is it that, having failed so spectacularly in the past (no 9/11 warning; the dogy dossier etc), isn't it time we just give up on the "intelligence community"? I say we should fire the lot of them for incompetence(*), and spend the money on international aid instead.
(*)There is an argument that these people are doing a valuable job protecting us from threats which are too secret to tell us about, and that therefore we should just trust them. But in this country, we do not have completely secret trials. Therefore, if GCHQ et al had done anything useful, we'd know about it, at least in outline, after the court case. So we can be sure that these people have done nothing useful up to 2007 (though it is just conceivable that, notwithstanding the track record, they may currently be protecting us from a threat that will only become know in a few years.) I, for one, am unwilling to delegate trust to the security services without accountability.
who do the @#*&%* Met think they are?
Really, it's time we made these policemen realise they are the SERVANTS of the people, not our masters. The police must not have the power to require others to demand ID; furthermore, it should actually be illegal for the clubs to do so.
Wine is not an emulator
> They want their apps(esp. Games for home users) that they have paid for to run on it (before
> anyone points out 'but WINE will work" nobody wants to have to pay for additional hardware
> to run an app at the same speed that they were before)
Worth explaining here that wine really is not an emulator, it's an independent implementation of the Win32 API. Most applications run at similar speeds on Wine as they do on native Windows. Some run faster on Wine, because they can take advantage of a better underlying OS.
To be fair, not everything works yet on Wine, but it's pretty good.
And another one
I bought an Eeepc 701 last week as an emergency desktop replacement (it's surprisingly good with a sensible monitor and external keyboard). Of course, as I needed one there and then, I had to pay the Windows tax, though I deleted XP immediately in favour of Ubuntu.
Two things surprise me:
- why is it still so hard to get a refund on the "Microsoft tax"?
- why can't netbook manufacturers ship a decent version of Linux by default
Just as long as we don't over-saturate it.
This is the possible result:
The elephant in the room...
...is that our world-wide electricity production is going to go up by a factor of 7 by 2050 (as the 3rd-world countries come up to our standards of living), while the world-wide CO2 emissions need to go down 50%. That means that cosmetic changes are red herrings. The *only* solution that will work is nuclear power.
Lenovo, please try even harder
I've been a great fan of Thinkpads for years. However, Lenovo have been trying too hard to compete on price, and no longer do as well as they used to on providing a really excellent machine. The thinkpads are still pretty good, but Lenovo needs encouraging!
Also, please please will someone make a laptop with a proper full-height LCD again? 15",1600x1200 was the best I ever used.
There is a reason why Ubuntu doesn't ship with DVD and MP3 codecs. It's a pain, but it's really not their fault. If you look here:
then it's pretty much a one line fix.
Why are we making items that should be long-lived into throwaways?
PC cases ought to be made from sturdy metal, so that the machine can have a useful life of 10 years+ Even if the innards die, the case can usually be re-used for the next one! So this is a really inappropriate place to use cardboard. Built-in obsolescence?
Am I the only one
who doesn't see underage drinking (in moderation) as a bad thing? I would hope that pubs continue to accept fake IDs for 17-year-olds who want to enjoy a quiet pint. Far better that than have people out on the streets.
Free anytime minutes
The stupid thing here is that I have more inclusive minutes than I can ever use, and they include cross-network mobile calls and daytime calls to landlines. So I should be able to use these free minutes for the 0800/0845 calls. But I can't. It's really annoying!
Can't Ofcom fix this? Or could the kind businesses who provide 0800 numbers please give us a regular (charged) landline number so that I can call them for free...
[There must be a business opportunity here on the margin]
If I were the ISP, I'd want to make very sure indeed that I didn't know (and couldn't know) what information were passing over the link. As soon as they know, they lose the ability to be a common carrier.
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