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* Posts by Edward Noad

51 posts • joined 1 May 2007

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Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

Edward Noad
FAIL

Where to start?

Nuclear weapons are no deterrent as anyone who would attack us also appreciates that we are politically unable to deploy WMDs. I also think the link between opposition of nuclear weapons and nuclear power is extremely tenuous. How about we scrap Trident and invest the money in kickstarting development of updated nuclear power stations? Or does that make too much sense?

This awful piece just convinced me to kick El Reg off my RSS feeds list.

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Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses

Edward Noad

Privacy risk? What privacy risk?

This makes no sense to me. Someone has collected a bunch of data that is blasted out across the radio spectrum across a fairly wide area by every wireless network router in the world. I can see 6 other wireless networks from the couch in my lounge on my reception-impared aluminium Powerbook G4 - have I violated the privacy of their owners by looking at the network selection drop-down menu?

Bottom line: What complete idiot (with tosspot clusters) could ever possibly think that a wireless MAC address (or SSID) could ever be considered private?

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Brits still getting bull from broadband providers

Edward Noad
Megaphone

Everyone worries about bandwidth...

...but no-one mentions latency. I was under the impression that dealing with the latter was a far better way of increasing the former, AKA WAN optimisation.

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Apple vs the iPad Bedwetters

Edward Noad

Yes, Very Clever

Apple played a very smart game from the first moment someone suggested they should launch a netbook. Everyone 'knew' they'd have to release something 'in response' to everyone elses netbook releases (cue lots of fake photoshopped mini-macbook images) and Apple took that expectation and whipped it up into a frenzy. And then the iPad actually came out and all I could think was "is that it?!" It's a big screen iPod Touch with a slightly reworked OS. Hardly deserving of all the hype it got.

Yes, the software "whitelist" (AKA The Apple Store) makes it a closed system, but the hardware has limited appeal and limited functionality as well. If you don't recognise all these factors when you buy it and then find out it doesn't do what you want it to, then boo-hoo sucks to be you. Don't come crying to me for sympathy. Read the specs next time, just like when you buy a new iPod/PMP/phone/whatever. Disappointed and limited, but on closer to being the end of the world as we know it than anything else Apple has ever sold. (And I'm writing this on a Powerbook G4, BTW)

Can we get a "shrug" icon please?

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ARM wrestling: Apple iPad chip to overpower rivals?

Edward Noad

Exactly what we can expect of Apple

@Schultz: Apple's computers may only account for 5% of systems sales, but their cashflow is actually more on par with Big MS themselves. As for per-unit profit - can you say "ecosystem"?

Jobs has seen to it that all his company's products have a variety of selling points. (I won't mention them here, fanbois are attracted to flames.) If they truly have managed to steal a march on everyone else in terms of processing power, battery life and chip size, then you can be damn sure that they'll make the utmost of the opportunity to dominate the new* tablet device market. It's a feasible set of moves.

*It did exist before rumours of Apple's entry, but (lets be honest) outside of a few niche applications no-one cared,

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Latest Asus Eee Keyboard desktop demo'd

Edward Noad
FAIL

I wouldn't mind buying one of those...

...if it wasn't for that stupid, waste of space multi-touch screen. How many applications will it ever be compatible with? Will I ever have to take my shoes off to count them on my appendages? I doubt it somewhat.

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Bosses warned over Scrooge-like approach to snow problems

Edward Noad

3 Things to sum it all up...

1 - Employers are conflicted because they have to make everyone work to the utmost of their capability but also have to take care of them. (Granted: some employers take the piss)

2 - Employees are conflicted because they have a duty to work to the utmost of their ability but the uncertainty caused by changing conditions prevents any decision from being guaranteed right 8 hours later. (Granted: some employees take the piss)

3 - The amount of snowfall we've had is just enough to turn into a perfect sheet of ice directly on top of the floor as it is trodden down and refrozen overnight. If more snow fell, like in past decades or other countries, the ice would instead just be a frosted top-layer of snow that breaks apart easily.

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BOFH: Made of win

Edward Noad

Soooo glad...

...I'd swallowed my tea and put my mug down when I read that line, or I'd be buying my better half another new laptop by now...

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Fanbois Apple buyers howl over crocked iMacs

Edward Noad
Coat

Apple suffer more...

...because they are more visible. Everyone has problems like this, I've seen entire orders of Dells arrive with cracked, broken bits of trim on the cases in pristine packing boxes. It's rare, but it happens, and Apple get talked about so much (I mean, come on, they make computers to a slightly different set of rules to everyone else, how much more controversial can you get?</sarcasm>) that when someone like this happens it gets blown into way bigger proportion than when it happens to anyone else. Like when that huge batch of fake capacitors got out into the market, many computer manufacturers got hit by swelling, bursting capacitors, but most people only heard about it because people kicked up a stink about (yup, you guessed it) failing iMacs. People need to get off Apple's back and start getting lives instead.

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Apple preempts Win 7 with fresh iMacs, Macbooks

Edward Noad
Grenade

Quit chasing the edge

Don't buy things because they are the fastest/smallest/etc, they never will be for long. Buy things because they are the best thing on the market at the time that has all the features you need, good value, good ergonomics, and good durability.

Oh, hang on, I think I just explained in two sentences why some people buy Macs instead of Windows machines. Oh, and I'm typing this on a Powerbook G4 that was discontinued about 4 years ago. Look at that...

One thing to point out in the whole Apple Tax debate: a 5 year old PC is so worthless it's almost impossible to give away, even to charity (speaking from experience on that one), and a 5 year old Mac in good condition will still be worth 30% of it's original value on eBay. Case in point: my 15" Powerbook G4 (the Hi-res 1.67GHz version) is still worth £400.

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Apple plans turbocharged Mac Pro speedster

Edward Noad
Go

Re: What's the point?

This is not a machine for the masses. This isn't a system intended for even the vast majority of creative pros. CS, Photoshop, Quark, InDesign etc are all used interactively for one operation at a time, so they can't really take that much advantage of parallel processing beyond CUDA-style GPU usage, and the iMac really is the best option for that.

The Mac Pro is more a heavy duty processing workstation-cum-server. Anything that's embarrassingly parallel, like rendering 3D animation or physics simulations or password cracking or the aforementioned protein folding, will eat this machine right up and love it, given software that's capable of running that many threads (which is slowly but surely becoming more and more common).

I can envision exactly how these things could be used "properly". You get a few of them packed out with GPU's, stick them on a shelf in a server room running aggregated network connections and configured as an X-Grid cluster (which all takes about 10 minutes per machine) and then give all the academics in the building an iMac or Mini in their nice comfy offices and bingo - one serious amount of easily shared, uber-simple to support supercomputer power that's a mere few clicks away.

And lets be honest, who wouldn't drool all over the mere possibility of having one of your own? Even the entry-level model would last a ridiculously long time as a desktop machine, and this is from someone typing this on a Powerbook G4.

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Video games linked to ADD? Say it ain't ooh butterfly

Edward Noad
Alert

Newsflash!

More experience at computer games makes them easier and thus less taxing on the gray matter.

I can haz reserch grant?

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Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?

Edward Noad
Megaphone

Had all the obvious ones...

...the cables kicked out, the keyboards / laptops full of congealed liquid, but the real problems come from managers and users of all kinds treating us more like the emergency services rather than employees just like them, or as their personal IT gurus for all their home problems.

But the biggest problems come from mentioning you've done or can do something that's relevant to the company in some way. I have designed, programmed, tested and implemented fairly complex new systems and pieces of software, but somehow it's always been covered by the word support* so I've never had a pay raise or bonus for any of this extra work, no matter how far outside my job description it's been. I sat down once and checked through what I'd spent my time doing for the last month then looked up the going rate for it on recruitment websites. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was being underpaid by £6-8k/yr.

*some strange new usage of the word "support" I wasn't previously aware of

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US Spec Ops operates psywar websites targeted at UK

Edward Noad
Stop

Yup, that's right...

...Richard Reid did indeed come from Britain, yes. But then where did the Oklahoma bombers come from? And who funded the IRA?

It doesn't seem to have occurred to SOCOM that the reason they need sites like this to try and convince *everyone* that they're right is because *everyone* thinks they're wrong. Maybe they should look into that instead, or perhaps military authorities prohibit anyone from thinking they might be wrong themselves?

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Cobain band mates denounce dead rocker's Guitar Hero gig

Edward Noad
WTF?

So unlocking Cobain...

...and playing weird songs in GH5 is wrong, because he's dead. But unlocking Slash and Tom Morello in GH3 and playing weird songs is fine, because they're alive to still have the piss taken out of them for that strange image on your screen?

Err...

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Apple admits iPhone apps not suitable for business

Edward Noad
Grenade

@lolcat

Oh, I'm sorry, were *us Brits* bashing the iPhone? I got the [impression] when I read it [through] that the article was about how Apple was [contradicting] itself by selling the iPhone on it's business [credentials] but then banning it's use as such in the T's and C's. It would certainly seem that Apple and it's carrier partners are all [encouraging] it.

So what happens when you contact Apple's support with some [esoteric] query, [mentioning] how it's messing up your business and you need a prompt response, only to have your iPhone quietly delete all your apps and data behind your back at Apple's [behest]?

I doubt they'd do that, but the mere [possibility] would certainly [dissuade] further [expansion] by the iPhone into the business [environment]. I'd say that was worth writing an article about. I wouldn't justify [describing] it as "a new low" merely because it was based on user comments and researched by the [journalist] rather than presented on TV by an [anchor-person] and explained in lowest-common [denominator] [lingual] terms by an expert with a [dubious] commercial [association] with [conflicting] interests.

[] around long/complex/properly-spelled words so you know which ones to look up, I know how hard a time "you Yanks" have with the English language, as well as taking criticism without instantly jumping to some perverted kind of patriotism in defense while waving the American flag over your burning wreck of a nation.

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Apple blogger legally unlocks iPhone

Edward Noad
Grenade

Last time I checked...

...locking phones to carriers was a purely economic thing.

Lump sum + contract(services) = Bad, initial costs too high for consumers

Contract(services + (lump sum / contract length)) = Good, no extra initial fee

Hence you have to pay the contract off, otherwise they're practically giving the phone away for free. Not to mention that if you renew the contract once the original period has expired, the amount per month you were paying for the phone is now pure profit.

The real problem was Apple allowing their baby to be exclusive to carriers in territories, that's what started all this in the first place.

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Philips Cinema 21:9 56in LCD TV

Edward Noad
FAIL

How retarded...

...is it possible to be?

1) If you've got a 16:9 ratio TV and you worry about black bars on the sides or top when watching stuff, you're an idiot. Especially if it's the tiny ones you get when watching 1.851:1. It may not be exactly what's used in the cinema, but the sheer number of slight variations used pretty much neuters the possibility of ever getting an exact universal standard. Get over it.

2) 16:9 is the middle ratio between 4:3 and 2.35:1, that's why we moved to 16:9 from 4:3. Remember trying to watch 2.35:1 content on a 4:3 screen? It's going to be exactly as bad watching 4:3 content on a 2.35:1 screen, and there is *far* more 4:3 content from TV than there is 2.35:1 from everything put together.

3) 2.35:1 is *not* the next technical step forward. Have you ever noticed how "Alien" is 2.35:1 and "Aliens" is 16:9? Spotted how "The Dark Knight" on Blu-Ray has those iMax scenes in it which effectively change between 2.35:1 for most of it and 16:9 for the really cool spectacular scenes? It's an artistic distinction. It always will be.

Result: It makes no sense what-so-ever to go for anything other than the middle ground, and anyone who buys one of these things quite obviously has more money than sense. This will *NEVER* take off.

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Kent Police clamp down on tall photographers

Edward Noad
Coat

I'm 6ft 0in...

...and 10 stone. If I'm out with my camera and the police arrest me, are they going to say it's under suspicion of being an under-cover ninja? Because the only way they could find me threatening.

I think the suggestions of rubbing the police's collective face in it are a good idea. Let's force some action, rather than sitting on our arses expecting an obviously incompetent legal system and police force to figure out what they're doing wrong and fix it properly, because that could take a reeeeally long time.

Mine's the coat with the anti-baton armour plating.

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Whining serial commentard bemoans Reg bullying

Edward Noad
FAIL

He Never Said...

...not to harass him offline, but then he does seem to have his own definition for the word "harrass".

Let's get that database up and running, preferably using distributed open-source community-supported cloudware, then use it to capture, user-tag and geo-locate everything he ever does so a world-wide community, connected using viral marketeering, can share the workload (via aggregated Twitter, Podcasts and Wikiforums) to universally "HarRass" him, simultaneously incentivizing the maintenance of optimum efficiency and thus generating the smallest carbon footprint possible to deliver a dynamic example of just how green an integrated harassment mashup policy can be using Internetworked HarRassment 2.0.

...

Oh god, I think I just threw up.

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Russian porn starlet brands DD jubs

Edward Noad
Stop

She doesn't exist

Interesting how there is no porn starlet called Anna Morgan. She doesn't turn up any search results anywhere, from my limited looking around. The only thing you get is links to various articles covering this story.

Why was I looking? .... *ahem* ....

Hey! Look! Over there! It's Elvis!

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Spielberg: Games consoles doomed

Edward Noad
Coat

Deja Vu...

...from about 15 years ago. Wasn't Virtual Reality supposed to wipe out all computers *and* TV, some time last millenium?

Mines the one with the bivisual headset in the pocket.

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Obama science chief: Geo-engineer to save Gaia!

Edward Noad
Coat

Did anyone else notice...

...the subtitle is a M*A*S*H quote?

Mines the one with the Korean War Memorabilia catalog in the pocket

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Asus cracks out of its shell with Air-esque Eee PC

Edward Noad
Paris Hilton

Been Too Long!

Haven't seen that picture for ages, unless I just wasn't paying attention.

Paris, because she doesn't know which picture I'm talking about.

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Apple Mac-sprucing bores fanbois

Edward Noad
Flame

re: Pricing

"What gave them the idea that a 28% price hike was what they needed to tempt customers to bin their PC in these recession hit times?"

Apple's price hikes are pretty much in line with everyone elses. If Dell and HP are having to increase the cost of their machines, why do you think Apple can somehow be immune to the same market forces? The recession is forcing the prices rises, dumbass.

Oh, wait, why am I arguing with an anonymous coward when there's coffee brewing over there?

*buggers off to watch the dripping from the filter instead*

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Edward Noad
Happy

Not Disappointed Here

So the fanbois, who generally have completely unrealistic expectations and then cry and moan when their fantasies turn out to be just that, have been disappointed again. <sarcasm> What a shame. </sarcasm>

I'm a Mac Support Tech. We still use PowerMac G5s because when a business buys a computer, it has to last 4-5 years before it's replaced. We can't afford to suddenly replace all our Macs just because something new comes along. The "rumoured" Atom-based Mac Mini would have been a disaster for us, we use them a lot for DTP (yes, you heard, DTP, it *IS* powerful enough)

So thank you, Apple, for not rocking the boat. We can happily wait until 10.6 comes out before we upgrade from 10.4 (with a scattering of 10.5) without worrying about "revolutionary" changes messing up our business strategy in the middle of a recession. And don't worry about the price rises, *everything* is 20-25% more expensive now.

Now, if only the fanbois could wipe the rabid foam from their mouths and stop clogging up the Apple news channels with 85th-hand rumours about things that'll never *ever* happen...

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Etailer flogs signed Jade Goody biog for £1,000

Edward Noad
Coat

So I Shouldn't Mention...

...the dozen or so signed Terry Pratchett books I have on my shelves?

It's a little tasteless to start the memorabilia flogging when Jade is still alive, they could at least wait until after the funeral. Other than that, fair play to them. Jade's cancer is getting played up as a bigger-tragedy-than-thou, expect it to get more profiteers. I personally know people who've died from cancer who made much bigger contributions to the world than Jade ever possibly could have, but they passed away relatively unknown. I could make comparisons, but I'd rather not get all judgmental over personalities.

Mines the one with all the paperback novels stuffed into it.

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Study slams brain-training games' mental improvement claims

Edward Noad
Stop

Look at me! I'm in the news!

So this study "slams" Brain Training games, and then goes on to show that actually it is beneficial, but a puzzle book from your local newsagent is better.

"Do this paper-and-pencil puzzle book! It's just like a school exam, and you hate those" vs "Do this DS-based brain training game. It's just like a computer game and you like those". Go figure which will actually get uptake in da yoof of 2day.

A work colleague of mine commented on my doing a logic puzzle from a book in my break, saying that her mother had forced her to do them when she was younger so she'd get a place in a good school, causing her to hate them.

Of course, my puzzle book doesn't need to be recharged, doesn't need a carry case when I put in my bag, is lighter, cheaper, can be recycled much more easily and probably already has been several times, it just doesn't have a psuedo-progress meter or a graph of my IQ cross-linked with my brain age, BMI and bio-rythmns, or cute little animations when I win/lose/draw.

So why do we by Brain Training et al? Because the marketing is better and puzzle books are sooooo uncool. Bet if we had Patrick Stewart advertising Puzzle Weekly as good for the mind, complete with minimalist furniture in the background and an added IQ test section in every issue, WHSmith wouldn't be able to keep them on the shelves.

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Serial commentard bitchslaps Reg hack

Edward Noad
Coat

My Heartfelt Appreciation...

...for America saving our country.

Now if only we could find someone to save us from America...

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MPs report back from internet's dark side

Edward Noad
Alert

Regulate the Unregulatable

So, some ministry is effectively saying they want everything on the Internet to have an age classification? Maybe not in so many words, but that's the implication. Do they have any ideas on how to find the person-hours to do all this classification? It seems they only workable idea is already in widespread use - A "Report This As Offensive" button to flag content for professional review would seem to be the only practical way of censo*coughcough*protecting our children from the objectionable content (nb: subject to highly variable individual interpretation) that everyone in the country is supposedly flooding the Internet with.

And the idea of an Internet watershed, TV-stylee? It worked for TV because of the nationally centralised nature of the broadcasting apparatus, but trying to impose a watershed on an internationally accessible distributed medium? MP's have this habit of biting off far more than they can even hold with both hands, let alone chew.

Well hey, maybe we should send this "YouTube-et-al Czar" to the Olympics to learn the tricks of the censorship trade from the Chinese.

Bill Hicks: "You are free to do as we tell you! You are free to do as we tell you!"

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Edward Noad
Paris Hilton

Re: Tanya Byron

I wouldn't say she was a pox on humanity. As I recall, her report basically said "Keep the same rating systems, just make sure the parents know what it means." That's a sentiment I've agreed with ever since I saw some parent with 10-year-old in Game about 10 years ago asking the serve-droid whether they had Blood (for the time, a particularly gory 18-rated game) in stock. The look of disappointed on small-child's face when told they didn't have it said it all really - neither parent or serve-droid knew/cared the game was 18-rated.

Props to Tanya for some common sense. And Paris, because even she knows what an 18-sticker is.

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Ballmer upset by Apple cart

Edward Noad
Paris Hilton

Best in the World at What?

"Best in the world at doing software and nobody should be confused about this"

And he's right. Everyone knows that 'doing' is a euphemism for *ahem* something and Microsoft 'does' software like no other company on the face of planet.

Paris, because she needs it explained to her.

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Chinese crackers blamed for US power blackouts

Edward Noad
Jobs Horns

Funny that....

....it should suddenly turn out to be the Chinese in an act of international aggression against America. So either:

1) a (private intelligence contractor / conflict-of-interested politician / corporate advisor to the previous)* is making it up to keep everyone on edge and continue making uber-profits from the privatised War On Terror.

2) a massive faliure by America's untelligence people has just been miraculously exposed 5 years after the incident itself.

I don't know which of those senarios scares me more. Goddamn Neocons with their cut-backs / privatisation.

*delete as prejudiced

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Welcome to Las Vegas - Home of the technology superpower you've never heard of

Edward Noad
Coat

Is it just a coincidence...

...that this guy is named Rob Roy (who is often mis-attributed as being a kind of Scottish Robin Hood), this amazing facility was previously owned by a company involved in the biggest fraud scandal of all time and "Rob Roy" has lots of pirate memorabilia in his office. He doesn't happen to have a parrot that says "Twelve and a Half Percent!" as well, does he?

Mine's the coat with the three-corned hat on it

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Games consoles not green enough, claims Greenpeace

Edward Noad
Coat

Consoles... whoopee

I could understand if they're worried about the long-term dissemination of nasty chemicals into the ecosystem after the consoles have been land-filled.

But then again, we pump so many bad chemicals in to the ecosystem, a few million consoles is unlikely to make much difference. Hell, last time anyone checked there was a whole bunch of Russian nuclear submarines going rotten along the banks of the Volga (or some other river, I think it was that one) that'll start depositing reactor-grade nuclear material directly into the sea fairly soon, right near a major fishing zone.

Let's see Greenpeace get the Rainbow Warrior there and clean that mess up, then we'll talk about my controller f*cking up the delicate balance of nature.

Mines the coat with the Bill Hicks CDs in it

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Brown opts for morality over science on 'lethal skunk'

Edward Noad
Joke

Who has the number...

...of this dealer that supplies lethal weed? I've never seen/heard of anyone killed by smokin' da reeeefa and I'm feeling ripped off now, where can I get me some of that?

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Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

Edward Noad
Paris Hilton

Creative's Historical Record

Several years ago I admin'd a LAN gaming centre. When we upgraded to Windows XP I went a-hunting for drivers for our Creative soundcards. We'd already had endless trouble with them under Win98SE and I was looking forward to getting some stability out of them (this was post-XP SP1, btw)

I downloaded the drivers for the cards and they refused to install, saying we didn't have that Creative hardware installed. Hmm. They certainly have that name written on the card... maybe I downloaded the wrong thing... nope, that version didn't work either...

Then I found the search-by-product-ref box and typed in the reference on the card, SB0220. "Sorry, no products found." The soundcards we had owned (26 of them) for less than 15 months had caused so much trouble that Creative quietly disavowed all knowledge of their existence. And then two months later they removed anything but driver updates from their website.

Creative FTL.

Paris, because she wouldn't be able to find drivers on the Creative website either.

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Exec sounds death knell for games consoles

Edward Noad

Gaming is officially over

I seem to recall someone mentioned all the talk about PC gaming being dead too. So, if PC gaming is dead and consoles will be out in a decade, do we have to hand in all our hardware to be recycled into PDA's or what?

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Brain training game aids kids' learning skills, study claims

Edward Noad
Thumb Up

Ministry of the Bleeding Obvious

I remember sitting down for an hour of maths every morning at school. It was usually the most boring part of the day, our teacher did it to us so she could have a cup of tea and sort out any other problems she had before actually doing any teaching.

Giving kids a nice shiny toy and saying "Play this game! It's designed to stimulate your brain!" is a pretty damn obvious way to engage their enthusiasm. They'll want to come to school if they get the shiny toyz to play with every morning, plus they're actually doing something good for the brain into the bargain.

Can't see the problem with it anywhere, except that no-one thought of it earlier.

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California Highway Patrol rounds up queens, workers

Edward Noad
Alert

Do bees in transit...

...have a hazchem symbol?

Mines the coat with the veil & hood

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More videogames to face censor scrutiny

Edward Noad

I remember...

...when I was in Game a few years ago, paying for something at the counter (can't remember what) when a mother with a small child sans-front teeth asked the next sales-droid if they had the game "Blood" in stock. Said sales-droid doesn't bat an eyelid in telling her that it is currently not out on budget, being an older game, but will shortly be released and she should come back in a few weeks time.

1) Despite such an obvious title, she didn't think that it might have been unsuitable for little Jimmy. And I happened to know that the game included the ability to shoot people with a flare gun, watch them fall over, then get back up just in time to burst into flames and run towards screaming "Ahh! Ahh! It burns! Ahh!" before collapsing and continuing to burn/smoulder for a while.

2) Sales-droid didn't know / didn't care that the game was 18 rated and didn't think "Ooh, that game might get passed on to that lil kid down there and that would be illegal" but just told Mummy-dearest when to come back to buy it.

3) I remember thinking at the time that Mummy didn't know/care what her son was playing, son was possibly pulling a fast one on her, and the sales-droid was either completely ignorant of the regulations concerning supply of 18-rated games to minors or didn't want to get involved and was quite happy to let this uninformed woman commit a crime.

Oh what a wonderful world, and it doesn't seem to have got any better in the intervening 5/10ish years.

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Jobs: Blu-ray wins HD format war then loses to downloads

Edward Noad
Thumb Down

General Public = General Ignorance

I used to work as a projectionist. Many years ago, while explaining to a friend about the process of physically assembling the film from it's reels, he asked me why we didn't use DVDs. "They're digital, surely they're higher quality?" And he was a fairly techno-literate person too. These days I hear people saying how good their Freeview looks now it's Hi-Def when they've just replaced their TV. They just assume it's all Hi-Def and don't know / can't see that it isn't.

DVDs looked excellent on CRT displays. It's what they were designed for and it hid the inherent quality problems DVDs have always had. I remember people complaining about the low quality playback PCs were capable of before anyone saw through the marketing and realised that DVDs were not the crystal-clear quality everyone assumed they were.

Even DVD upscaling is nothing new. Any DVD software that plays back 576/480 content on your 768/1024/1200/higher monitor is at least a basic upscaler. DVD playback software has been developing more tricks over the years to squeeze the best picture from DVDs they can. We've got screens in our front rooms now that benefit from these techniques but they *still* look worse than CRTs running DVDs because DVDs were never designed to be viewed like this in the first place.

Now we've got another standard that claims "crystal clear quality" just like the last one only it's cashing in on a technical problem that "The Advance Of Technology" itself called into existance. Seeing as how most of the public doesn't comprehend what that means, does this whole HD buzz seem to anyone else like yet another attempt to move the goalposts and force*ahem*persuade us to buy new hardware to replace our "poor" quality current kit?

Capitalism + Marketing + Idiotic Masses = License To Print Money

And celluloid *still* looks and sounds better than anything you can get at home.

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ISPs nominate UK record industry as top internet villain

Edward Noad

Caption

For my next trick, I shall vomit money into this glass!

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Nintendo Wii: the world's greatest console?

Edward Noad
Stop

You thought the console wars were over...

...when Sega stopped produced consoles, but no. It seems there will always be a subset of the gaming community that judges consoles on their technical capabilities alone. And of course, after assessing the situation in the numbers game (which always seems to ignore the current state-of-the-art in PC land) they become extremely vocal in public forums, doing their best to slate anything that isn't their current console-de-chose and force-feed everyone else their opinion. After all, the numbers prove they are right! Right?

1080 versus 480. Obvious which is superior, right? Okay, so the Wii is a little behind in the eye-candy department, but then again so is practically every game on the Virtual Console it hosts and they're selling like hot cakes too. Guess what? Your opinion is just that. Your opinion. Which you probably formed after looking at a 42" display screen in your local video game outlet running some PS3 demo, then sneering at the lil 26" Wii demo station in the corner. Or perhaps you played Wii Sports or Zelda. Once. For a few minutes. Both launch titles, I might add, one of which was developed for a last-gen console.

While you masturbate over your eye-candy and HD support and whizzy-flashy design and billion-dollar budget, the rest of the world (who seem to be the majority) just want something they can have a bit of fun on without breaking the bank, in terms of both time and money.

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Mayor Ken buys hydrogen buses for London

Edward Noad
Mars

Bring Back The Tram!

Nice idea Fraser. No handy explosive tanks for people to blow up, no vehicles running around full of heavy batteries to reduce their performance or increase the environmental/economic TCO, and it's not like Ken can get any more unpopular by suggesting we dig up a quarter of the roads in London to lay (relay?) tram lines.

On top of which, you can centralise energy production to increase it's efficiency. I imagine you wouldn't lose 75% of the input energy that way, not if our trains are anything to go by.

On second thoughts, maybe I shouldn't be drawing and kind of parallels with our trains...

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Portrait of an (alleged) cyber bully as a young man

Edward Noad

"Example" of a "Hacker"

I can understand why all the harsh penalty figures are being bandied about - the authorities are trying to send the message that anyone else they catch doing that kind of thing will also be severly dealt with. Deterence through fear of the consequences.

Unfortunately, if they can only apply this kind of punishment to the ones they can catch, serious criminals have nothing to fear. The overt in-your-face nature of the attacks is why he was caught, not the methods he used.

The message really just comes out as "If you're a crap loser, we'll send you down!"

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Microsoft-loving (former) security czar calls for closed internet

Edward Noad

Close the Internet?

How exactly does he plan to "close" the internet? From where I'm watching the Internet seems to be wide open, not just to anyone who cares to get on it but also to anyone who cares to expand it or add new structure to it.

It's not like the institutions he listed can't remove themselves from the Internet and join/start some other private packet-switched network. If they aren't happy with encrypted tunnels over the net why don't they fund their own copper/fibre/whatever links to all the other worldwide sites they want to talk to?

Oh, that's right, because it's prohibitively expensive and a pain in the ass to administer all that gear yourselves, I remember now...

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PC superstore unhinged by Linux

Edward Noad

Windows Marketing At It's Best

How's this for search results:

Search results for: "linux"

PC World Recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium

Followed by the actual results, which don't include any Linux products. I wonder how much MS paid for that little *ahem* slip-up? Or is it irony at a base level?

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Day-of-silence protest hits Net radio

Edward Noad

Why Net Radio is a "Problem"

Traditional RF broadcast radio presents a few problems, the biggest one being range of broadcast and a limit on the number of stations you can cram in the allocated frequency space. This used to suit the labels fine, as it meant they could fairly easily monitor all the stations that used the music they controlled, making it simple for them to push particular bands. The radio stations themselves became marketing tools to be used in the search for higher profits.

Along comes net radio. No limits on the number of stations available here, so the labels can't get all cosy with all the station managers and DJs to influence them as to who's music they play. The more people that listen to net radio, the less that listen to traditional radio, and the less influence the labels have over what they hear.

The solution? The rattled marketing/pr peeps go down to see the legal eagles and they come up with a plan to force Internet radio stations to either move onto a commercial business plan or disappear entirely. Either way, the labels win. They get tame net radio broadcasters, desperate for the cash from the labels to stay afloat, or they kill some of the competition for those very same broadcasters.

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Hacking WoW and the pursuit of knowledge

Edward Noad

Blizzard's Primary Concern = Money

One of Blizzard's biggest legal sabre-rattling exercises has been against the writers of server software. There are quite a few projects that are working to write up-to-date WoW server packages that you can run and play the game for free. Not only that, but it also means you can change the world to suit yourself, maybe adjust the rate you gain experience to speed up leveling, or make your own items or whatever other bit of content you want to invent, as long as you don't want to change the world map layout at all.

Blizzard sees these servers as any corporation would - as threats to it's income. Having been a WoW player for quite some time, since the open beta in fact, I wholeheartedly support the idea of not paying Blizzard to play the game. Why? Because the end-game content is utter crap. And they've already taken enough of my money, thanks very much. Somewhere between £200 and £250.

Before the upgrade pack came out, I had got as far as Molten Core, a dungeon designed for a 40-person raid. I couldn't be bothered to get any further though, MC was the most boring thing I'd ever done. Kill something. Move to a new position. Kill something else. Move again. Kill again. Move. Kill. Etc. Not exactly a cutting edge example of game play. Even when the Burning Crusade was released, I had far more fun getting to the new maximum level than doing the raids when I got there. Karazhan, the first raid on the new list, is a beautiful place and the quest series to gain access to it is great fun. But then the game falls on it's arse again and uses the same kill-move-kill-move-kill-move game play dynamics. A massive disappointment.

And just how bad is it? Well, you can stand on one side of a room, engage a group of bad guys there, and the other bad guys on the other side of the room will stand around and talk and laugh and totally ignore the slaughter of their comrades not 50 yards away. Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. Certainly not worth continuing to hawk over cash on a monthly basis for the privilege of playing. If someone wants to rewrite those dungeons so they'ew more sophisticated, I say good luck to them. Hell, I'll help them write and test the improvements out. I'd love to see what someone could come up with.

Of course, by doing so, I'll be breaking the EULA. The one that prohibits developing and connecting to unofficial non-Blizzard servers. That not only protects their bottom line, but also stops people demonstrating just how bad the game really is by writing their own better versions. Blizzard have already directly lifted a whole bunch of interface improvements from scripted third-party plug-ins, I guess admitting that someone can write your game better than you can is a bitter pill to swallow. And that's also what I call *real* WoW hacking ;)

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