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* Posts by Fenwar

58 posts • joined 1 May 2007

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Apple patent: 'Pour' your data from iPhone to iPad

Fenwar
Meh

The whole point is...

Apple surely don't think this is actually going to make their products more usable or intuitive.

This is purely to make the next generation of products look fantastic on the TV ad, with two beautiful friends flicking photos to each other, the man on business trip blowing a picture of some flowers to his wife over the video call and the happy kids pouring their scribbles into the photo printer.

Everyone is sufficiently wowed into upgrading from the current generation, and they use all these functions exactly once - while demoing their new toy to their friends - before turning them off because it's faster and easier to hit "send" like the rest of us...

In the meantime Apple patents a multicoloured laser beam for directional data transfer between devices and the cycle continues.

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Elite coder readies £15 programming gadget for schools

Fenwar

The Mechanoid demands that you put him down

Mercenary - surely the best wireframe romp there ever was - featured visual gags poking fun at its own graphical style too. 12939 anyone?

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Red Hat: 'Yes, we undercut Oracle with hidden Linux patches'

Fenwar

Almost...

"""Forcing your competitor to commit resources to something that actually improves their offering in the long run is not a good idea."""

But then Oracle's kernel development team would also be pushing some stuff back upstream, which should in turn benefit Red Hat, as well as the rest of us. The point is that investment in Linux (theoretically) benefits everyone who uses it, so fair play to Red Hat for trying to force a bit more of it?

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Facebook introduces one-time passwords

Fenwar

... except they need your real password to change it.

(I'm *assuming* that that bit isn't going to work with a one-time password.)

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Adobe patches critical Flash Player vuln under attack

Fenwar
Stop

The workaround for Flash Player on Windows...

(...without all the download manager/free security scam nonsense)

If you use Firefox as your default browser:

1. Open Internet Explorer

2. Go to Adobe Flash Player site

3. Click the "Different operating system or browser?" link

4. Select the "other browsers" option.

If you use IE as your default browser, reverse the above steps by using Firefox (or any other non-IE-based browser).

This will let you download a standalone executable installer.

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Thieves jam key-fob lock signals in mystery car thefts

Fenwar
Black Helicopters

That's me safe then

1 Shut door.

2 Click fob once

3 Click fob again to activate "extra secure" mode.

4 Walk away from car.

5 Stop and wonder if I really clicked it?

6 Walk back towards car clicking fob to make sure it's properly locked.

7 GOTO 4

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Developers more 'satisfied' with PHP than other codes

Fenwar

a few replies

"""I like how "all those code samples to copy/paste" is considered a bad thing. Because saving time on a project by reusing code someone has already made is such a terrible thing and should never be done!"""

Reusing well-written code libraries rather than reinventing the wheel is one thing. Googling your current task and pasting in the first snippet you find that seems to achieve it, without any understanding of what it's doing, is another. To be fair, I guess the same thing can happen in whatever language you choose. IM[recent]E it just seems more prevalent in PHP, but a decade ago, this was exactly how I learned Javascript ;-)

Don't get me wrong - PHP is one of the best tools around if you're knocking together a website. Feel free to drop out of the interpreter during nested if/else statements if dumping HTML is going to get the job done quicker; I'm not going to keep a man from his pint! And having tried both, I'd much rather be working in PHP than ASP.

My personal aversion to PHP is partly fuelled by the fact that I had to pick up the pieces of a site written using pretty much the above Google-and-paste technique, and figure out how to accommodate the fact that it was about to be translated into Chinese...

Maybe it's also because even after extensive rewriting, introducing an OO approach, and even applying consistent formatting, PHP code still looks dog ugly. "$object->member" is just a brain-wrong compared to "object.member". Stare at a screenful of PHP and a screenful of Python for 8 hours and I know which one will make you wish you'd put all the sharp objects in a locked drawer. Even squiggly brackets and public static void main( String[] aaaargh ) are easier on the eye than that.

""" why don't you get involved in it's development and fix what you think is broken instead of spouting your somewhat arrogant ignorance about the language? """

I don't know if it's possible to submit "ugliness" as a bug report. I've just taken a peek at the forthcoming namespace syntax (backslashes...!) and I don't see it getting any better. All because somewhere really early on it was decided to use the dot for string concatenation, and that meant they decided to use -> for object accessors, and... and... PHP's syntax betrays the fact that it's been built kludge-on-kludge.

Which brings me to this:

"""On what do you base your claim that PHP programmers have little exposure to other languages?"""

This wasn't my quote - but someone seemed to "agree" with the above; my own point was with regards to the survey sample.

Surely the only way PHP can ever outscore Python on "Maintainability/Readability" is if the person doing the marking has never actually read (let alone written or maintained) Python code. Of all the languages I've come across, Python has been the easiest in terms of quickly understanding Someone Else's Code without even needing reference to documentation. (And if you can't follow an indentation convention properly, please don't ever make another person read your code in any language.)

I've never used Ruby myself but even a cursory glance suggests to me that its readability is similar to Python's (i.e. miles nicer than PHP).

In the other categories, fair enough. Python's online documentation, although complete, is horrible to use (the current search facility is a case in point, retrieving and drawing the results one at a time using a needless AJAX-y step, and sorting them *alphabetically* - try finding the entry for "str()" ...) and performance as a server-side language is significantly slower than PHP.

But does anyone seriously think PHP is more readable than Python?

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Fenwar
Boffin

Relatively...

I was laughing at the "relatively large and complex applications" bit; relative to each other, perhaps, but none of these languages are really suitable for enterprise-scale work, even Python, since the advantages of its flexibility rapidly diminish as the number of developers increases. Python is a fantastic tool for a lot of things, and PHP is effective when you need to get a web app from prototype to live in about 5 minutes. (3rd party libraries allow much nicer database abstraction, but if you're trying to work with character encodings, use of a gumshield and padded work area is strongly advised.)

But having worked with a few of the languages on that list I can only think that PHP topped it because the majority of developers surveyed only had real-world experience in that language, and were comparing it to the more rigid language (e.g. Java) that they were "forced" to learn at college... so they plumped for PHP since it "gave them more freedom".

As Chris mentions, quite possibly PHP also scored highly since the online documentation is littered with handy code snippets, which save newcomers the trouble of actually learning to write the language. That task, of course, can safely be left to "the next guy" who will inherit a truly hideous, inefficient and inextensible code base...

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Obama bloats Vista by 11MB

Fenwar

RE: Consider updating both dictionaries with complete new word list...

Of course there need to be various data for the grammar checker too - for nouns, verbs etc., a flag for proper nouns, and possibly more (e.g. an index of common misspellings to speed up auto-replacement/alternative suggestion - you wouldn't put it past them, after all drive indexing is supposedly a useful service...)

If the dictionary file also contains several non-updated languages that probably accounts for the rest of it... but why would there be more than one language in the same dictionary anyway?

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World+Dog tosses orb in public on Byron Review

Fenwar
Thumb Up

Well I'll toss my own orb then

A lot of games have movie-like content - both in-game and in cutscenes - so there's a strong case for closing the loophole and classifying them like movies.

Its a lot more work for the BBFC though - there's a big difference between watching a 2 hour film or playing through 20+ hours of gaming (and ensuring any "hidden" content is checked too?) Perhaps they don't have the expertise right now but if they're going to do the job, it'd be easy enough to get it in.

Parents taking responsibility for what their kids play is what it's all about, but as a parent myself I want to be able to make an informed choice.

Then again, it's rarely the case that you can't tell what to expect from a game just by checking the screenshots on the box or a few reviews.

Or playing the whole game through myself first... just to check it, of course... you understand...?

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Microsoft's smiley browser face turns sour

Fenwar

@Chris Ovenden

"It is fairly safe to assume that a site that has a proper DOCTYPE has been coded to work properly in Firefox"

If only...

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Fenwar
Gates Horns

It's about the users though.

Whatever MS does it's going to be a ballache for developers. I'd love it if they finally bit the bullet and went fully standards-compliant; I'd have a bit of work to do fixing the sites I've built but that would be the end of it.

The trouble is the large swathe of unmaintained/unmaintainable content out there. If a standards-compliant IE8 fails to render it at all, the majority of non-technical users who've never even heard of W3C and wouldn't know a doctype from a div tag aren't going to know what's happened. The support headache would be massive.

The web doesn't exist for developers. Some of us make a decent living from it, some do it because we have something to say or just because we're geeks and we love it. We make the effort to understand these things and make our pages render in all the browsers so Joe Public doesn't have to, and it looks like that's going to be the case for the forseeable future...

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Sysadmin jailed for 30 months over failed logic bomb

Fenwar
IT Angle

"logic bomb"

That sounds all very sophisticated and hacker-ish... but what are the odds it was a windows scheduled task to run something like rmdir, only it didn't work because he forgot the quiet flag?

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EU mandates electronic IDs for sheep and goats

Fenwar
Alert

@Alan Gregson

'"Bollocks to it" says Jesus, he sends the whole lot to Heck and phones his dad to get the whole process started again.'

According to some interpreters that's exactly what happened last time...

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Beeb censors Fairytale of New York

Fenwar
Thumb Up

you scumbag, you mucker...

The bleep is great. Just sing along and insert even ruder words according to [lack of] taste.

And of course the more bleeps, the more funny it gets. In my head is now playing the following version:

You're a b**

You're a p***

You're an old s*** on j***

Lying there almost dead on a d*** in that bed

You s******, you m*****

You cheap lousy f*****

Happy C******** your a***

I pray G** it's our last

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The year's biggest big thing? You be the judge!

Fenwar
Pirate

It's all about the data

2007 was the year the general public finally woke up to the fact that UK.gov can't be trusted with their data.

For all the persistent hard work by campaigners like no2id, of course the organisation that finally achieved this was Her Maj's Revenue & Customs.

Easily my favourite news story of the year.

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Microsoft folds-in Multimap for '$50m'

Fenwar
Coat

Sans serif mapping

"Plus I love being able to switch to arial view."

Great for when Times New Roman is just too damn pointy.

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Transformers director blames MS for HD DVD/Blu-ray format war

Fenwar
Gates Horns

If MS really wants downloads to win...

...then they should put the cash into building a network infrastructure that can actually deliver that level of HD bandwidth direct to my house, at the same time as everyone else on my street watches something different.

Until we have an Internet so fast and ubiquitous that access is indistiguishable from physical media, physical media will not die. Unless he is willing to put real money where his mouth is, BillG's assertion remains as much a pipe dream as the paperless office.

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Video games blamed for England Euro flop

Fenwar
Boffin

To be fair

When I first got into computer games (on the Commodore 64) most of us playing them were the geeky, unsporty kids anyway. The fit sporty kids still went out and played sports, and laughed at us for hiding inside with the curtains drawn to stop the summer sun from ruining our quest for that Elite combat rating.

These days even the sporty kids play FIFA and Pro Evo. It's actually become socially acceptable to spend time practising so that you can pull off the special moves/tricks. In the meantime no-one kicks a ball around on the street (even in the 20mph safe zones the roads are consistently and thoroughly double-parked so there's no room). And whereas even the geeks were forced to endure the freezing mud of the school footy pitch once a week, now there is a block of flats there so they can't.

On the other hand, it's true that England have been a crap team for a long time. And I don't think our failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup was directly attributable to Pong.

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Audit bodies should merge, report says

Fenwar
Paris Hilton

Can't fail

It worked so well for their pals at the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise.

Why can't they just leave things alone? The biggest problem in public services is the constant reorganisation which is more of a drain on resources than any "efficiencies" gained by carrying it out.

In the meantime 90% of public sector management move sideways every 12 months, making it impossible to hold anyone to account for past mistakes, let alone actually learn from them and make natural improvements to the existing structure.

(Obligatory Icon Explanation: I initally read the headline as "adult bodies should merge"?)

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Net watchdog goes pig-sticking on Comcast

Fenwar
Flame

Tackling the wrong problem.

Comcast may be acting like scumbags, but it *is* their bandwidth. The legal challenge should extend to forcing them to tell customers explicitly what they will do to bittorrent traffic, in their Ts & Cs. Customers who want to use bittorrent should vote with their feet, and encourage others to do so.

Insisting that you should be allowed to use a particular protocol without restriction is completely missing the point of net neutrality. We want the net to provide a good service for all. Some protocols currently use so much bandwidth that this is impossible on the current infrastructure. It is better to block those protocols than let them drown the other traffic.*

ISTM that net neutrality the way the EFF see it would mean that in a couple of years' time all the available bandwidth will be devoured by video on demand services and the aforementioned torrents/p2p bulk transfer protocol du jour. Everything else will suffer as a result and time-critical applications are pretty much screwed.

(* yes there are better ways of doing it than blocking - traffic shaping, throttling etc are all perfickly doable. And yes it would be better still to improve the infrastructure to support everything that everyone wants to do. But who's going to pay for that?)

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Firefox update puts lid on Jar bug

Fenwar
Thumb Up

fine for me

2.0.0.10, perfectly stable on XP and Windows 2000. No problems with my various plugins of choice or anything.

If it crashes, submit a bug report and it could be fixed by the next version.

Try *that* with IE.

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Senior officials now in frame for HMRC data fiasco

Fenwar
Boffin

re: How they would filter out the sensitive fields : Ssssshhhh!

"Being a computer science student, he realised that this could be done in a matter of seconds with an awk script, or similar. But if he had done that, he would have been congratulated and then fired since there was nothing else for him to do. So he spent the allocated 6 weeks doing it manually, as instructed."

Surely the correct approach in these situations is:

1. Write the script and run it

2. Spend rest of the summer getting paid to sit back, play Minesweeper or (if you're lucky) browse the web.

3. Hand in your results (and if you're feeling nice, the script) at the end of the contract, having been paid the full amount.

(For career bonus points, shave up to a third off the boss's expectations. They will be amazed, you will get 4 weeks pay for a day's work; the next guy still gets room to "improve" the process further still, everyone's happy, right? For geek bonus points, spend the rest of the summer benchmarking and optimising the code until it's mathematically impossible to tighten...

We've all been there, surely?)

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Most doctors plan to dodge health database

Fenwar
Joke

....and the NHS remains a joke.

Anyone who has been referred for specialist treatment on the NHS knows that half the time, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. There is often a complete lack of co-ordination not just between, say, your GP and your hospital consultant on two different sites - but between different departments of the same hospital, both of whom rely on the same set of paper records and must transfer them physically between departments in order to know what treatment has been prescribed etc.

There *is* a strong case for being able to share data electronically, at least on a case-by-case basis. The present system is archaic, slow and potentially lethal.

On the other hand, I have full confidence that our illustrious leaders and their trusted suppliers can competently implement a system that is *not* archaic (by the time it's actually delivered), slow or potentially lethal...

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Californian sues Comcast over BitTorrent throttling

Fenwar
Pirate

@AC

"Why is it that BitTorrent automatically equals to pirating music, movies or warez?"

It doesn't. But that doesn't mean that bittorrent traffic deserves equal priority to other protocols. It is a bulk transfer protocol, so it *should* take lowest priority. Meanwhile time-critical traffic like gaming and VOIP should take highest priority.

Now Comcast's cack-handed implementation of this is not great, but it's a start towards ensuring that time-critical traffic isn't swamped by bulk transfers, and true "net neutrality" ensuring that everyone can still do exactly what they want, within the limitations of the available bandwidth.

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Fenwar
Alert

priorities

"Why should the ISP decide that I don't have the same priority to download my distros vs my 3 kids watching on demand TV over the net."

Because on demand TV will noticably deteriorate in quality, to the point of being unwatchable, if there isn't enough bandwidth. Whereas you're not going to suffer awfully if your distro arrives in 3 hours as opposed to 1; it will still get there in perfect working order *and* your kids wont be constantly pestering you because they've got nothing else to do, leaving you free to install in peace... ;)

(Not that I think video on demand is a particularly clever use of such limited bandwidth either... in fact I think torrents are the best way of distributing video, and I regularly download US TV shows etc. I just plan ahead and set them going the night before I want to watch something, is all.)

[Btw: my earlier post may have appeared to suggest that "misleading advertising ... [is] not unethical". Of course I didn't mean that. What I meant was the torrent-throttling was not unethical.]

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Fenwar
Stop

help! help! I'm being oppressed.

"Defendents' scheme was and is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, and/or substantially injurious to consumers."

Really.

At worst, it's misleading advertising or Ts & Cs. Well, to be fair, it's definitely that - but it's not unethical - they are doing it to provide value for money to the majority of their users.

And who is "substantially injured" by not being able to use bittorrent? Sure, there are plenty of legitimate uses for the protocol. But the thing is, none of them are time-critical, and bittorrent was meant to be an efficient, decentralised protocol for bulk transfers, not a high-speed data pipe for critical applications.

Force them to change their Ts & Cs. Maybe allow customers to terminate and be fully refunded if they were expecting to use their line for 24/7 full speed torrents (and good luck to them finding an ISP that will actually allow this...)

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DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads

Fenwar
Thumb Up

@"This is why I don't feel guilty using ABP... "

I agree completely.

People accept other advertising-supported content (e.g. free newspapers, TV programmes), because in these media, you don't have to worry about the ads trying to track you, silently building a profile across the pages you read or the programmes you watch. They don't leap out of their space on the page and over the top of the article you're reading. And they definitely won't tell you that your TV has a virus which they will conveniently remove for £20.

If you want to generate revenue from your content, charge a subscription. If the content is good enough, people will pay. If it's not, then its not realistic to expect to make money by serving insipid Flash ads for dating sites and smiley packs(?!) on it either.

There are a handful of sites whose ads I don't block, because they are served from the same domain as the site I am browsing - so I know that the owners have chosen advertisers who are relevant to their audience, and have vetted the banners (and even the products they are promoting) beforehand. (Penny Arcade is a good example of this policy - but even on their site I have noticed Adblock removing Doubleclick's tracker too.)

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Tumbleweeds outnumber punters, as iPhone's First Night flops

Fenwar

a little bit of excitement...

...was to be found at the Trafford Centre on Friday night, where a small queue (maybe around 50-100 people) had formed outside the Apple shop by 6pm. However at the two O2 shops there were only a handful of punters, leading me to think that most of the people at Apple shop were just passing and fancied having a look at the thing, rather than actually wanting to buy one. (Some of the O2 punters may also have been attracted by the TV crew or free cakes...)

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Fedora 8 spins into action

Fenwar
Coat

Meanwhile, back in the article...

"The developers give you a single, avoidable package with all Fedora mentions."

Good for them. Imagine if they'd made an unavoidable package!

Oh wait, that's what Microsoft do with Windows Update...

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Harold and Kumar go to Comcastle

Fenwar
Flame

@ Colin Jackson

"Virgin have a cap of 3Gb per day. Not an average, mind you, but an absolute cap. So I might use nothing on Monday but on Tuesday, if I go over 3Gb then my connection is throttled brutally. But I'm precisely the kind of user they created 20Mb for - who else would need such speeds? My my calculation, 3Gb at 20Mb is about 20 minutes of full-speed downloading. So they're saying 'you pay for this speed, but you can only use it for 20 mins a day before we throttle you'? Would you buy a car that is capable of doing 100 miles an hour, but only for about 20 minutes day, whereupon it slows to a maximum of 25?"

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html

Virgin's cap applies at peak times (which they define as 4pm-midnight). If you download more than 3GB during this time, your maximum speed is reduced to 5Mbps for the next 4 hours. During this time, *you can still download as much as you want* at 5Mbps. Outside these hours, *you can still download as much as you want* at the full 20Mbps.

If you downloaded at 20Mbps for 24 hours, it is physically impossible to download much more than 200GB. Even if you're throttled down to 5Mbps for the entire peak period, in that 24 hour timeframe you can still download over 150GB. Or as the marketing blurb might put it, 30 .iso DVD images *per day*...

So there's no point crying about "brutal" throttling. I'm playing games on the same network, and I'm a paying customer too. You can still download *more video than you can physically watch*, and I don't get crippling lag that makes my game unplayable. Sound fair?

Like Joe Soap, I don't need full speed all the time. But when an update is released for my favourite game, or I join a server with a lot of custom content to download... or when the next episode of Heroes or Lost is aired in the US... or even if I fancy trying out Gutsy Gibbon - that speed is there and it's great. And I can do all of the above in a single evening without hitting 3 GB.

Traffic shaping is necessary and effective. Like the majority of readers of this site I'm sure you are smart enough to know by now that the "headline speed" is a maximum in suitable network conditions, not a minimum or even an average to which you are entitled, and that you should take that into consideration when deciding whether a particular supplier is offering good value for money.

I'm actually very happy with Virgin broadband, it has never let me down. (Unlike their TV service, which is rapidly heading down the pan - but that's a different story altogether innit.)

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SaveTheInterneters to save the internet from Comcast

Fenwar
Unhappy

want to buy a bridge?

"Why is it so stupid to try and get what I pay them for?"

If a gullible tourist pays £500 for Tower Bridge, no matter how much they try they are not going to get the con man to give them Tower Bridge.

Yes - the ISPs are effectively con men. The situation is their fault, because they can't deliver on their promises.

But they can, as it happens, deliver a very good, stable and reliable service. My ISP uses throttling at peak hours (which it states in its Ts & Cs) and guess what - I get great download speeds when I need them, I can still use torrents whenever I want to, and I get a steady, low ping perfect for gaming in the evening when that's what I want to do.

I agree that Comcast oversteps the mark by blocking/disconnecting torrent traffic (is this happening at peak times only or at all hours?) when it is technically feasible to throttle or simply prioritise other traffic.

I would like to see legislation to change in the way ISPs sell speed and bandwidth. If they have to say up front "torrents/bulk transfers will be throttled or blocked at peak times," then fine - they can do what they want; I'll choose an ISP which suits my needs, and you can choose one which suits yours.

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Fenwar
Thumb Up

Traffic shaping is better for the majority of users.

I use my net connection heavily for both torrent downloads (TV shows) and gaming (Counter-Strike: Source). I leave my torrents going overnight because I don't care whether the next episode of Heroes arrives in 4 hours or 8 - but I turn them off when I'm playing games, because an extra 50ms of latency can mean the difference between winning and losing.

If your download is time-critical, don't expect to rely on .torrent. It's excellent for preventing excessive load on a single chokepoint and thus reducing the data costs of, say, a free software distribution.

"As a computer major, I get a bunch of stuff as torrents - it's actually faster than a regular download, when the ISP lets it go through."

Torrents are only as fast as the upstream provided by connected peers. I only occasionally reach my connection's advertised speed on torrents, whereas downloading an equivalent sized file directly over http/ftp I will usually see maximum speed for the entire download. The only exception is when the remote server is throttling (which happens to me when downloading free mp3s from archive.org) - again a non-time critical download...

"If I need something for a class, I can't be waiting three days because the ISP thinks I'm downloading illegal music and movies. If an executive needs an important file for a meeting, he can't be sitting there twiddling his thumbs because the file is coming in bit by bit (or is that byte by byte?)."

The ISP doesn't even "think you're downloading something illegal". They think you're using a protocol designed for bulk transfers that will use a large portion of the available upstream in your area of the network. If an executive is downloading an important file at the last minute before a meeting, he is guilty of bad planning (and lax security, why the hell is he using peer-to-peer transfer for mission-critical files?). I can't imagine what torrents you would *need* for a class but if you wanted to review, say, an old TV documentary for a research assignment, surely you have plenty of time to start your download a few days beforehand when the assignment is set?

ISPs are far from blameless - selling "unlimited" internet access is still wrong. But what's equally stupid is people trying to force them to actually *deliver* unlimited access...

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EU cracks down on fake blogger astroturfing

Fenwar
Happy

how about....

An EU ban on misleadingly labelled "unlimited" internet access?

Perhaps Brussels will learn to make itself useful after all?

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Guardian blogborg takes aim at global warming

Fenwar
Go

@ BitTwister

"Yes indeed - with compact flourescent bulbs you get to save money by creating an even BIGGER environmental mess [...]"

How so? In my house I used to replace incandescent bulbs at a rate of at least one per month. After switching to ESBs nearly two years ago, I have yet to replace a single one. In fact I'm not likely to need to for another 6-8 years.

The manufacturing process probably does need some improvement but as demand for ESBs increases so does the motivation to improve efficiency. Potentially harmful substances may also eventually be eliminated (if not by market forces then by legislation, as with lead in petrol).

But the thing about ESBs is that they are an easy first "green" step for a lot of people. They have a tangible benefit to the end user in reduced electricity bills, not to mention hardly ever having to change them. (Which should have a nice side bonus of reducing the number of injuries from people falling off step ladders, chairs, tables etc.)

And so more and more people get used to the concept of reducing their impact on the planet, leading to other steps like not using plastic carrier bags, increasing domestic insulation, switching TVs off at the wall, making energy efficiency ratings a priority when buying new appliances etc. This spreads to the workplace where people realise their PC can hibernate overnight instead of staying on, switching off lights at night and so forth. To really reverse the impact we've had on the planet, as Adam Williamson has pointed out, takes massive cultural changes that won't happen overnight. But if we don't make the small changes now, the big ones will never happen.

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Microsoft-Facebook: Welcome to the Hotel California

Fenwar
Thumb Up

@cadaverous coward

"Within six months, the user demographics of Facebook, Myspace, and their derivative buddies will be comprised of the following..."

This has pretty much already happened to Myspace. After the initial "excitement" of creating a profile and <s>stalking</s> tracking down and adding old friends, I have logged in about twice in the last 3 months. Maybe once or twice a week I get friend requests from "Brittany", "Lana" and "Jessica", all of whom are rather attractive females who would love to put more explicit pics on their pages, if only myspace would let them...

The only category you missed was the unsigned bands desperately trying to build a "fan base"; their "friend requests" get binned just as fast as the pr0n spam.

I haven't encountered any spam profiles on Facebook (perhaps I'm lucky), and it has been far more productive in terms of getting/keeping in touch with old friends (I've even created a group or two), but I'm logging in less and less as the noise from apps gets louder by the minute.

Opening the API should have been on a licence-only basis to companies that could afford to generate decent, stable and *useful* apps. Myspace drowned itself by letting anyone spray garish HTML and embedded audio all over their profile page. In a similar but slightly more sophisticated way, Facebook is now suffocating itself under the weight of thousands of amateur PHP developers.

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MySpace opens up to developers

Fenwar
Alert

Facebook chief executive Chris DeWolfe...

...is clearly a very sporting man, sharing a platform with the owner of his site's closest rival and even plugging its new API...

Oh wait.

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LucasArts to wield Wii Light Sabre in UK next week

Fenwar
Alien

But will it work like it should...

i.e.:

http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/games/2010.html

?

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Airbus delivers first A380

Fenwar
Paris Hilton

@Nick

"...it does increase the risk of one of your fellow passengers being Paris Hilton..."

At least if this happens you know you won't be short of elbow room?

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Sky's ITV stake anti-competitive, says regulator

Fenwar

Virgin?

I thought the whole point of BSkyB buying the shares was to keep out Virgin Media, although this isn't mentioned in the article.

Does this ruling open the door for Virgin to move in, or would their own investment be subject to similar scrutiny?

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MusicStation arrives, but will we pay for digital music?

Fenwar

Rental model betrays a bigger problem

"If you want to keep the music/DVD/car then buy it outright - don't rent it in the first place."

Except that rental is what is being offered here. Why? Not because it suits what we want to do with the music, but because the record & mobile companies want a guaranteed revenue stream, and they know the kids are getting bored of buying the filler-laden albums they've been relying on for most of their sales.

DRM does make sense for rentals, but this whole concept still stinks to me. It's much like the idea of moving software like Office to a subscription model because there isn't enough innovation to make everyone buy the latest version every two years. Squeezing every last penny out the same, tired approach instead of taking the challenge to come up with something new. (Which can be done - in the console world, look at the success of the Wii versus the "more of the same, only shinier" 360 and PS3.)

I'll stick to buying the few CDs that are actually any good, ripping to mp3 and playing whereever the hell I want. To support my favourite artists, of course, an even better way to do it is to go and see them live.

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Top judge: put everyone in UK on the DNA database

Fenwar

the only way it could "work"

Would be to insist that the database could only be used to match DNA to a *named* suspect. So it would be illegal to simply pop all the DNA found at the scene into the computer and find out who was there, the police would have to provide the name of a suspect - or at least a narrowed down list of suspects - first and then the database could say which were likely matches.

Of course the chances of it actually being implemented this way would be slim to none. It would have to be managed by an independent 3rd party which tends to mean they'd be either (a) toothless or (b) spineless.

DNA profiles should be removed from the current database if the person is not convicted of any crime. This doesn't make the database any less useful - if anything it makes the data in it *more* useful when trying to catch serial criminals.

Again. Slim to none.

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Comcast throttles BitTorrent users

Fenwar

Impossible Service Providers

The main problem of course is that *all* ISPs have developed the habit of selling a maximum transfer rate as the headline figure, when their infrastructure simply can not cope with even a fraction of all their subscribers using that rate simultaneously.

Is there any chance of an honest ISP that would actually come out and state a sustainable guaranteed rate (even if it's 256kbps down/64kbps up?), with no services blocked, alongside the maximum headline figure which is subject to traffic management (possibly only at peak times)?

Or would such an effort die on its arse in the cut-throat competitive world of Internet service provision?

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AMD's marketing chief bails ahead of Barcelona

Fenwar

Is there an inverse relationship...

... between the amount of newsworthy content in a story, and the length of the martian response?

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Cadbury bows to 'bring back Wispa' net campaign

Fenwar

Wispa Gold

The next question is, how long before they bring back Wispa Gold, which was far superior to the plain old Wispa?

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BT feels the need for 50Mb speed

Fenwar

Think of a number... and double it. And do that again.

JPA - "BT is spending GBP10 billion for a backbone whereas I patented a design of telecoms backbone which would have a much higher capacity, would enable fiberoptic to homes and businesses and would guarantee bandwidth from one customer to another with extremely low contention, would be much cheaper to maintain and upgrade and would cost GBP250-400 million tops."

But would anyone be shocked if the actual engineering costs of the upgrade turned out to be around £400m, with the rest spent on "planning" junkets, a massive rebranding/media campaign to tell us we've finally arrived in the 21st century, and big fat bonuses for the suits who "thought of" the whole idea...

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Zune DRM stripped

Fenwar

RE: Blaming hackers for M$ ineptitude?

"Its because of the thieves that that padlock and chain weigh more than the pushbike, not because of the cycle manufacturer."

Except that with a pushbike, I choose to use my own padlock and chain to *protect* my rights as the owner of that bike. I can chain it up wherever I want, and unlock it whenever I want, I can lend the bike to my friends. If I want to, I can make spare copies of the key, and I can sell the bike on when I no longer want it.

With DRM, the padlock and chain are imposed on me by the vendor and *restrict* my rights as the purchaser of that song or video. I have to use the file in the vendor's own player, I can never (legally) remove the locks, I can't lend it to my friends, and it's the vendor who decides whether or not I can copy it or sell it on.

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MS Patch Tuesday to include trio of 'critical' fixes

Fenwar

good patch / bad patch

As others have said, patches are unavoidable, whatever OS you're using, someone will always find another bug.

What I don't like about Windows update is the feeling that each patch is just as likely to disable some function that I was capable of using perfectly safely (e.g. active content on CDs), embed some horrible Digital Restrictions Management to quietly poison my media files, or just straight up install spyware like WGA.

Whereas with patches to a free, open source OS, you know that it's just going to fix the bug or plug the hole - and you can even go and check the diffs for yourself if you want.

Worse still are the scare tactics Windows throws at you, should you have the bare-faced cheek to *choose* when/whether you update your computer - leading to a false sense of security for those who do turn it on. "Your computer may be at risk!" - but that risk magically goes away if you're patched?

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Pensioner used live shell as doorstop

Fenwar

WWLD?

Another bomb story on the Reg... you're just giving the terrorists what they wa- oh, hang on...

Why wasn't this story covered by Lewis Page, who could have explained how miniscule the threat actually was and regaled us with an anecdote about how he was trained to defuse this type of shell in his shirt and slacks using nothing but a toothpick?

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Beavis and Butthead in London jihad

Fenwar

Chalk up a point for the government...

"Making a working bomb is a non-trivial, but not too difficult task. The basics are easily within the grasp of anyone who halfway paid attention in high school physics and chemistry. So why so many failures?"

We can thank the government and exam boards across the country for their sterling work in ensuring that this dangerous scientific knowledge no longer falls into the hands of <s>children</s> potential terrorists...

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