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* Posts by Terry Barnes

328 posts • joined 21 Jul 2008

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Be prepared... for your Scouts-loving sprog to become tiny spin doctor

Terry Barnes
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And I had a Computing badge in 1984. It was 'proper' too - I had to write a program on my Oric-1 that allowed the entry of scores for a football league, assigned the appropriate points based on the scores and then sort and display the league table.

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

Terry Barnes
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Re: IBM's skeletons in the basement

And how many of the employees who took the business decisions to serve that customer are still working there do you think? How many of the engineers or technicians or clerks involved still work for IBM? How many of them are even alive?

Show me a business or organisation or even a person who's never done a bad thing, never made a poor decision. They can't be undone. If every bad thing resulted in a business closing, there'd not be many businesses left.

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MPs attack BT's 'monopolistic' grip on gov-subsidised £1.2bn rural broadband rollout

Terry Barnes
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Re: The scene from the ground

" I think it's time all utilities should be re-privatised as Thatcher's free market experiment does not work for us."

They'd become less efficient and would cost more - the difference being I guess that your service would be subsidised by the tax bills of city dwellers who cost much less to provide with utility service.

There are more city dwellers than rural dwellers and so I'm not sure a democratic vote would deliver the change you want. Equally, rural areas tend to return MPs for Team Blue and your proposal doesn't tend to fit with their world view.

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Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

Terry Barnes
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Re: Historical

"one of the few brands that doesn't need an accident to endanger its owner - it catches fire all by itself.."

Car fires are pretty common. It's incorrect to claim that Tesla is "one of the few brands" that have been afflicted by this issue. In the decade I've lived in my street, three neighbours have lost cars to fire - a Ford and a Citroen that caught fire in use, and a Volvo that caught fire parked on the street at night. That was apparently down to damaged insulation on a headlight 12v wire that made a circuit with the bodywork large enough to create sufficient heat to ignite the bonnet soundproofing.

What none of those three cars did was raise an alarm to the occupants that an incident had occurred and that evacuation should occur.

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NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Terry Barnes
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Re: Obviously

"Here's an idea: the five-year old computers that people are throwing away as junk now, why not bury them in caves far underground, so that we can use them after a solar storm fries all our computers up here"

Not many would survive an extended period out of use. Capacitors dry out, batteries leak - and what are you going to do with it anyway? Manual skills for shelter, warmth, clothing and food would be far more important. Once those basic needs are met, we need electricity, comms and healthcare.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Analogue Nuclear?

An emergency shutdown can be carried out - but power will be required before too long for cooling and the like in most designs. If the onsite generator is dead and there's no power incoming from the grid then it becomes problematic.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: could be worse

"Glad I have a 2CV"

Your luminition probably won't work after the storm, so make sure your points and accumulator are fitted and in working order. Make sure you have the starting handle somewhere handy too. 8-)

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Dying for an Ubuntu Linux phone? Here's how much it'll cost you

Terry Barnes
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Re: Will users have proper control of their phones?

"proper control of their own hardware"

No cellular network operator is going to let a device loose on its network that gives a user full control over the hardware.

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Windows Phone beats BLACKBERRY in mobe OS popularity stakes

Terry Barnes
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Given that this research tracks usage, and given Blackberry's huge lead from phones already sold and in use, I think that means a pretty dramatic surge in the uptake of Windows Phone. To go from zero and then overtake Blackberry's install base is quite a feat.

Anecdotally, I'm seeing lots of WP use. I've got one, as has my wife. My father-in-law and brother-in-law have them, our babysitter and the two people I share a desk with. In fact, everyone I know personally who has bought a smartphone in the past six months has bought Windows Phone.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Terry Barnes
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Re: Great headline! re: prices

"You can never find an economist when you need one."

Convenience cost. You can buy cheaper online - but you're not - which must mean that your need is urgent and thus there's additional value to you in getting the thing now. Never be a panicked buyer.

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Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

Terry Barnes
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Re: IS MICROSOFT AN INNOVATOR?

" change would have happened more quickly without Microsoft."

That seems unlikely. For pretty much the first time in computing history the same OS ran on a range of hardware from a range of manufacturers and people could buy software knowing it would probably work. Windows95 was just good enough to bring in people who wouldn't otherwise have bought a computer.

"16-bit consumer computing with pre-emptive multitasking, graphics and sound was already available by the mid-80s in the Amiga. Other windowed GUIs were already available from DR (Gem) and Apple."

I had a number of Amigas and a Mac. Both were too expensive for mass market adoption. How much did an Amiga-1000 cost? How much was an Amiga4000 compared to a 486/100 running Windows 95? About three times as much money.

"And what did MS give the market? DOS."

Yes, and the market *chose* Microsoft.

Win3.11 drove homologation in the business world and Win95 did the same for consumers. Prior to Win3.11 my work environment had such an array of different machines and user experiences that anyone who didn't consider themselves a computer expert threw their hands up in despair. We had SunSparcs, a Mac Classic, a luggable Intel thing, IBM5250s for terminal access, a Merlin Tonto, heck even a BBC-B plugged into an EPROM programmer. Gradually we stopped using specific machines for specific things and began using whatever application we needed on a generic PC. It was a tremendous change.

"Without MS competition in both software and hardware would have accelerated, and it's likely the Internet would have happened 2-3 years earlier"

Windows led to an unprecedented acceleration in hardware design, leaving single manufacturer platforms dead in the water in a handful of years. That was possible *because* of a single mainstream O/S, not despite it. Consumer Internet became possible once 56K modems dropped into affordability and was largely enabled by large drops in the cost of telecommunications. I paid over £200 for a 2400bps modem in 1990 - how would the absence of Microsoft have removed that barrier to entry?

"What MS did was kill all competition and create a monopoly selling stupid, crippled, boring, computers"

That's your view. My view is that they enabled a dramatic increase in business productivity. They weren't amazing, mind-blowing machines, but they were just good enough and just cheap enough, and that's what the market demanded. If there was a better option on the table, that's what the market would have chosen. It didn't.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: IS MICROSOFT AN INNOVATOR?

Wasn't the key innovation to put 'good enough' affordable computing into the hands of the masses? A PC on every desk, a PC in most homes? A PC running Windows wasn't the technically best solution, or the most elegant, or most usable or stylish, but it was 'good enough'.

There are all sorts of reasons to not like Microsoft or their products, but to pretend that they weren't the driving force behind a massive and beneficial societal change is a little blinkered.

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Bill Gates is BACK... as CHIEF RICH human of PLANET EARTH

Terry Barnes
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Re: Toilets

It's also quite easy to sneer at other people who are doing good in the world from behind your keyboard.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Terry Barnes
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Re: The biggest hurdle

"In Bedfordshire our oh so politically correct police commissioner and chief constable have deemed certain minority groups can only be arrested for "significant crime"

Do you have any evidence for that? A cite? A link?

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Terry Barnes
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The crackdown in the UK has seen stolen metal heading for the continent instead - hence more thefts recently in the south east.

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Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

Terry Barnes
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Re: He previously complained bitterly about the lack of hand lotion.

"Sadly norways idea of justice for a mass child murderer is putting him in a cosy prison with a playstation."

An eye for an eye leaves us all blind. Violence begets violence. Norway's response was admirable and mature, the sign of a country at peace with itself and confident of its place in the world. Breivik is in a place where he can harm no-one else, no-one has been made a martyr for others to avenge or imitate, Norwegians continue their lives in the manner they did before. Your anger says more about you than it does about Norway.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: He previously complained bitterly about the lack of hand lotion.

"I'm really beginning to wonder if the liberal ideology in scandinavia is more of a religion than a political point of view as they seem to cling onto it like a life raft regardless of anything that happens in the real world."

You mean their astonishingly low crime rate and a murder rate the envy of the word? Those kinds of things that happen in the real world? Equality, fair-mindedness and justice aren't some form of hypothetical politically correct concepts, they're how modern nation states should operate.

Abandoning their principles because of Breivik would award him a victory for his terrorism - he would have achieved the societal change he intended.

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Yet ANOTHER Brit MOBE tower BORG: Three and EE ink network-sharing deal

Terry Barnes
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Re: Networking - not...

"I have always struggled to understand why there was never a single network provider that had the responsibility to provide good national coverage "

It would cost more. The last 10% in a ubiquitous network tends to cost about the same as the first 90%. That single provider would need to make some kind of return, even if they work on a utility basis, to be able to pay back whoever lent them the money to build it.

That leaves you with a more expensive network, and an additional party who needs to make a profit, being paid for from the same pool of users. Vertical integration only requires one profit.

All that boils down, I guess, to a fairly simple question - along the lines of; Does every mobile phone user want to pay an extra £5 a month to provide coverage where no-one lives, works or plays? The answer is likely to be "no".

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Terry Barnes
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Re: 2014?

You pay much, much less than you used to.

I bought my first phone in 1992/3 - it cost me £170, my contract was £25 a month AND calls cost 50p a minute.

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Life support's ABOUT to be switched off, but XP's suddenly COOL again

Terry Barnes
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Re: Am I imagining things?

"ISTR there is an EU-wide mandatory 6 year warranty against design faults."

That would be pretty hard to apply to someone hacking your computer. It would be similar to claiming that because your car was stolen there must have been a design fault and thus the manufacturer should give you another for free.

A vulnerability isn't a fault, in the same way that a car having windows made of glass isn't a fault. The obvious solution for MS if a court tried that approach would simply be to release one last update that disabled all networking capability, rendering the OS completely secure.

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Anonymous means NO identifying element left behind – EU handbook

Terry Barnes
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Re: A false mask of respectability...

I'm not sure why you've posted an extract of an ECHR document as evidence to support your claims about the EU. They're different bodies.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: A false mask of respectability...

"We have a right to life, unless the EU decrees that we should be executed."

What on earth are you talking about?

The EU is consistently a stronger defender of the rights of people than national governments. We should applaud its efforts.

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KC engineer 'exposed unencrypted spreadsheet with phone numbers, user IDs, PASSWORDS'

Terry Barnes
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Re: Verizon USA knows your passwords

I'm not seeing the risk.

Presumably your web account is userid and password protected? Presumably you don't have said userid and password printed on a poster mounted outside your front door?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'social engineering' your internal network passwords - social engineering requires an individual to be tricked into revealing something they shouldn't have done. Why does knowing your WiFi passcode make that easier? And why not just set the router to not allow new, unknown devices to connect?

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ZyXEL router attack: HUNDREDS of Brit biz bods knocked offline

Terry Barnes
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Re: This is why

I'm guessing you're, erm, not a lawyer?

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FCC honcho: Shifting our crusty phone network to IP packets starts now

Terry Barnes
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Re: In an all-IP network, a packet is a packet is a packet.

"The big reason is that some packets will always try to cheat:"

IP doesn't mean public. It would be madness to put the public telephone network on a public platform. The replacement IP core would either be a single purpose voice network, or it would be part of a private MPLS core where there's no incentive for packets to cheat.

It's even conceivable that a telephony core could use IP addressing with circuit or connection-oriented switching. As long as the external facing interfaces comply with whatever standard the FCC sets, the telcos are free I'd imagine to design the most efficient core they can.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: So is this gonna be Obamacom or what?

"Yeah, we could have avoided the horror of the invention of the transistor if we'd kept them small."

...and that pesky UNIX stuff...

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How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

Terry Barnes
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Re: It's like reading a CDW catalog from evil mirror-world!!

"Subsonic acoustics is a contradiction in terms."

No it's not. There are audio signals that are rendered inaudible to humans by frequency or amplitude. Just because you can't hear them doesn't mean they aren't there - or that they couldn't be used for signalling to a device that can.

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Radio amateurs fret over G.fast interference

Terry Barnes
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Re: No, up to 212 MHz

That seems pretty unlikely - the power levels involved are very low - they have to be to allow this stuff to work without the crosstalk from one circuit killing every other service running on the cable. I suspect the very deliberate propagation characteristics of airborne / land to air radio services might also protect against interference.

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El Reg Contraption Confessional No.1: The Dragon 32 micro

Terry Barnes
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Re: While I was rummaging through a box...

There are companies selling a modern board that pretends to be a disk drive to your old computer and uses an SD card for actual storage. It's a clever solution - you don't need to mangle your old machine, you don't need to battle with analogue audio signals and you control it all using whatever user interface the manufacturer actually intended.

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Ultimate Doctor Tom Baker REGENERATES, RETURNS to WHO

Terry Barnes
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I don't believe it's compulsory to read them and I'm pretty sure other articles have continued to be produced during recent weeks.

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Nokia's phone division burned us so badly we HAD to flog it, says CEO

Terry Barnes
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Re: How the fcuk...

"going to garner 81% of the worldwide market share within a couple of years (Android), or go with the one that's going to be stuck on 3.6% market share (Win)."

You're mistaking O/S with manufacturer.

I've bought a Lumia, so has my wife. They feel like a distinct upgrade from Android and are far better value. I don't believe we're alone in this. It's been a pleasure to leave behind the tat-filled malware bazaar that is the Play Store - like Poundland with pickpockets.

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The REAL JUICE behind leaked BlackBerry OS: Android apps to slip in without protection

Terry Barnes
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What possible incentive would there be for a manufacturer to take on an additional O/S that runs the same apps as Android, when they already have Android?

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Choice

How does that work?

You can't install any OS on any hardware today - the two being somewhat inextricably linked. That's as true for a desktop or laptop computer as it is for a phone or tablet.

Show me AROS running natively on a Mac and I might change my mind...

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Terry Barnes
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"Personally I think the first company that brings out a device with a keyboard like the BB of old will make a killing, regardless of OS."

There are a wide range of such phones on the market right now, this second. Nokia alone sell 4.

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A steam punk VDU ?

Terry Barnes
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Re: Forgot editing

A strowger final selector has 100 selectable outlets (as opposed to a group selector which only has 10 selectable levels, horizontal rotation stopping at the first free outlet).

But if you're going to cheat and do it electrically there are easier ways and you might as well use your strowger kit to drive nixie tubes.

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Terry Barnes
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Praxinoscope

A praxinoscope with 40 slots of different height, each one making up a row of 80 pixels. The display is monochrome and each pixel is either white or black, achieved by a shutter being raised or not. As the drum rotates all the pixels in the slot are knocked down to display white when in a non-visible position and then a series of 80 punch pins that are 'scanning' the display activate the pixel to black (or not) by their position.

The whole thing is controlled by a series of gears to keep it in sync. The refresh rate is as fast as you can make the thing work reliably - the drum will need to rotate to at least 50RPM I think to make the illusion work properly but it's probably only realistic to refresh one or two rows per revolution.

If I could upload a picture I could sketch how this thing works - try this though; Imagine a clock face. At 12 is the aperture through which the illusion is viewed. The drum spins clockwise. At 2 is a bar that knock all the pixels in a given row back to white. At 5 is the pin mechanism to set the chosen pixels to black. The bar and mechanism are attached to a stepping mechanism that starts at row 1 and increments once with each revolution - returning to the top after row 40.

It's sort of time appropriate - the praxinoscope (using still photos) was invented in the 1870's.

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Hands on: We play with the slippery Lumia 1520, Nokia's first phondleslab

Terry Barnes
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Re: The last ever 'proper' Nok?

"but so little about them was Nokia apart from the branding and industrial design."

...erm - and the comprehensive suite of navigation, augmented reality, imaging and social networking apps.

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Very handy: Nokia’s DC-50 wireless-charging power brick for your mobe

Terry Barnes
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Re: So...

I think you're rather missing the point...

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Analyst says Brit rail broadband plan is TRAIN CRAZY

Terry Barnes
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Re: seems to raise a lot more questions than it answers

The problem with that being that it's hard to provision capacity for a rapid rise and fall in users of a given cell as a crowded train passes through it's coverage area without also disrupting the service of people working or living next to that same railway line, also using that same cell. It's cheaper and easier to build an overlay than it is to accommodate that traffic on the main network.

In urban areas the cell handover signalling for hundreds of users passing through multiple small cells at high speed, while trying to use the data connections, is something of an engineering problem.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Sounds crazy and backwards

Comms and signalling to trains and staff uses GSM-R, a specialised variant of GSM. It's not appropriate to try and mix public traffic on that network and there's no provision for the kinds of bandwidth being talked about.

The rails can't be used as they are already carrying other, infrastructure level signalling information.

Without significant changes to the way mobiles pick a network connection cellular data's not a good option - which leaves WiFi. Hand-off between access points for a moving WiFi terminal device isn't great and so the remaining, easier technical option is APs on the train communicating with a regularly spaced set of wireless concentration and backhaul nodes, probably bolted to the frames for the overhead electrical wiring.

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Windows Phone market share hits double digits in UK and France

Terry Barnes
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Re: Here we go again

Erm, they're not all brightly coloured. Mine's black.

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BlackBerry inks deal to go private for $4.7bn

Terry Barnes
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Re: Moto X it is then!

Good grief, what is it with people wanting to run one company's OS or kit on another company's OS or kit?

I'd quite like to play Commodore 64 games on my Oric-1, but it's not going to happen. BB's environment and inherent security relies on the vertical integration of hardware, OS, servers and network.

If one of iOS, Android or Windows Phone (or a feature phone platform) doesn't do it for you, it might be your requirements that are wrong.

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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Terry Barnes
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Re: Am I the only one...

For the price of an i7 laptop I could buy a typewriter, some paper notebooks, a full set of felt-tip pens and a portable DVD player - but it kind of misses the point.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Just Imagine

Meego ended up such a tangled mess it needed starting again from scratch to be a viable long-term OS. that's exactly what Nokia didn't have the time or money to do. Their strength was always in hardware and their own apps - Android would have left them just another 'me too' with little to differentiate them - who buys an Android phone for the manufacturer's apps? This game's not over by a long shot.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Am I the only one...

The sensor is 2/3" - the same as most compact cameras.

I think you're missing just how deeply zoomed some of those images are.

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Terry Barnes
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It's interesting how in the space of maybe three months the comments on Lumia articles have gone from "no-one will ever buy one" to "I've just ordered one", "my 720 does this", "my 620 does that". I'm seeing a fair few in the wild, and both me and my wife have bought 820s - which means we can do the party trick of opening a photo on one phone and sending it to the other just by touching the cases together.

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Terry Barnes
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I bought an 820 - and like you found myself seriously impressed at how well it works after owning Android. The hardware is good, certainly, but the OS is really very, very good. The simplicity and integration between apps - especially the Nokia developed ones - is exactly how a phone should be.

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Nokia Lumia 625: Quality budget 4G phone ... but where's UK's budget 4G?

Terry Barnes
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That will be because of the price differential. Plastic is a dreadful material to use, if you price your phone at a point higher than the mean annual income of the world's population.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: More and more frustration...

Why? I've switched from Android to a Lumia and it's really rather good. WP8 is excellent.

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Nokia's 41Mp Lumia 1020 'launches' in UK - but hoi polloi must wait

Terry Barnes
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Re: Only one problem

Why?

We've got an array of devices on our house - iPad, Windows laptops and desktops, android phones and tablets and even a desktop running Edubuntu. I've got a WP8 Lumia - it's without doubt the best phone I've ever owned. When I switched from an Andoid mobile to my Lumia I felt like breathing a sigh of relief. That people think Android is a mature, reliable operating system ready for the big time amazes me. Don't get me started on the Play store rammed to the rafters with buggy, ad-crammed nonsense. It's the digital equivalent of poundland.

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