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* Posts by Paul 25

111 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

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Virgin Media's blighted SuperHub NOW comes with extra squeal (oink)

Paul 25

Their engineers hate the NotSoSuperHub

I had some issues with my cable service recently. Both engineers who came out to sort it (both excellent), we quite surprised that not only was my super hub not the cause of my problems. but that I didn't have any issues at all with it.

Both said that the SH accounted for at least 50% of their callouts, normally due to its woeful WiFi performance in many older houses (which we have a lot of here in Bath). I seemed to be unusual in having a good signal.

They need to ditch and replace them all ASAP, it must be costing them a fortune in callouts and helpdesk time, and it ruining what is (at least for me) an otherwise excellent service.

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Happy 30th Birthday, Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Paul 25

Thanks for everything Clive

And thanks for the nostalgia El Reg :)

I was 3 when the Speccy was released, and between that and a +2A (basically the +3 but with a tape deck), it laid the foundations for who I am today.

I think it's pretty hard to overstate the impact that it had on making me the person, and the developer I am today.

And I still think BASIC is underrated as a beginner's programming language. Nothing teaches you the benefits of structured programming, functions, packages, objects, sophisticated types etc, than not having any of those.

Having GOSUB as your most sophisticated programming feature really makes you appreciate modern languages :)

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Mac OS X ARM port by Apple work experience kid revealed

Paul 25

Tought this was SOP at Apple?

I was under the impression that Apple are continually working to make sure OS X works on multiple platforms and are always trying to cross compile to different processors.

Something about not wanting to get stuck being reliant on one processor manufacturer again.

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Virgin Media to push out nimble new broadband speeds

Paul 25
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Well according to Ofcom...

...so you can take it or leave it, but their average speeds are pretty much on a par with the advertised.

I'm on their 50mb package, and I get a pretty consistent rate very close to or spot on that.

I've never had 'jitteryness' but that may be down to which part of their network you are on. Generally when I have that sort of problem it's down to wi-fi problems. From what I understand the Telewest network is better than the NTL part, but that might be historical and no longer true.

I'm really looking forward to being bumped to 100mb. Although with a mostly wireless network I'm not sure how much use it will be to me.

It reminds me of the good old days of Telewest when they used to bump your speed every year or so, just because they could. We went from 1mb/s (this was a long while ago) to about 5mb in the space of a few years.

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EU stalls Googorola anti-competition probe

Paul 25

The US can do the same to EU companies

If two european companies that operate in the US want to merge the US competition authorities would be able to stop the deal just as the EU can do in this case.

If the companies don't want to be covered by european competition law then they can not operate in the EU, same goes for the US.

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Slip of a lad to play James Bond's Q

Paul 25

Agreed

I'm not a grumpy old man, but I really enjoyed Casino Royale precisely because it didn't have too many of those Deus Ex Machina moments, where Bond escapes from something because he was given just the right gadget for the situation at the start of the film (although that bit with the defibrillator in the car was pretty dumb)

I hope that after the cluster-fuck that was Quantum of Solace they haven't decided to just revert to the old model rather than build on the hard edge of Casino Royale.

Of course, Q being a young bloke might signal that they are not simply going to make him the same old character, like they tried with Cleese. The worst thing they could do is try and make him some kind of young version of the original Q.

Fingers crossed.

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Punters even more dissatisfied by Virgin Media's package

Paul 25

I wonder if VM service depends on your region?

I'm in Bath, which is in the old Telewest part of Virgin Media and I've never had anything other than excellent service from VM. But I know quite a few people in other parts of the country who've had woeful service over the years.

Telewest were fantastic, and from what I've heard NTL were bloody awful, so I wonder if the customer service organisations are still split?

I've also never had a problem with my Superhub, but I might have just got lucky with that (although I'd love one I can attach to the wall like the old modems).

However I do think their packages are starting to look increasingly uncompetitive. If/when we move, hopefully next year if the housing market starts moving again, we'll probably switch to BT Infinity which should be city wide by the end of the year.

I never thought I'd see the day when I was seriously considering moving back to BT.

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Hire-car data scraper becomes Catcher in the Rye

Paul 25

Bad measure of sucess

"of the 732 Year 11 students identified by the software in February, 648 were currently in some kind of further education or job"

That isn't a good measure of how well the system works. If the system is getting a lot of false positives (i.e. marking kids at risk when they will do just fine on their own, then of course the stats will look good).

Surely the measure of success should be how many kids in the area, and of that age are classified as NEETs.

I'd also be interested to see what the stats are for those who refused to be part of the scheme, There's a risk that this is a self selecting group.

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India uncloaks new thorium nuke plants

Paul 25
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Good to see thorium designs being pushed again

My understanding is that in the early days of nuclear thorium was the preferred route among many engineers and scientists as the reaction is inherently safe - it will shutdown unless you actively keep it going, unlike a uranium pile - and the fuel is more abundant than uranium and requires less processing.

However the uranium/plutonium cycle won the race for research funding as it was more suited to use on things like nuclear subs, and of course resulted in material suitable for use in weapons.

Thorium reactors are inherently safe (in the sense that you can't have a meltdown) and don't put nasty stuff in the hands of nasty people.

Of course I'm sure someone with more knowledge of these things will probably correct me on some of that IANANS.

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Apple iOS 5.0 downloads drive all-time UK net traffic high

Paul 25

Not just iOS5

There was also OS X 10.7.2. If you downloaded the slipstreamed recovery partition image as well, that came in at about a gig.

Also there was the new iTunes to support iCloud.

Then there was all the iCloud synching going on.

All-in-all I'm astonished Apple's systems coped as well as they did (which is to say quite badly, but it could have been a lot worse).

I was very glad I was on Virgin Cable.

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C and Unix pioneer Dennis Ritchie reported dead

Paul 25

K&R

Don't forget that he also co-wrote "The C Programming Language" which I still consider the gold standard in how to write a clear and yet concise book about a programming language.

Of course some of that is simply a reflection on the simplicity of C itself, but it was the first non-BASIC programming book I read and I have yet to read a more clearly written (and short) programming book that is not a "nutshell" style reference.

It's also a great demonstration of why nerds need to be good communicators.

For me personally this is a far more significant passing than Jobs, and I say that as an Apple user.

It's a shame that so few people (including in the industry) understand how much we owe to the old guard of early software pioneers, many of whom are still kicking around.

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Get your numbers right, NBN Co tells Economist

Paul 25
Thumb Up

Thumbs up for Scott Ludlam

You've got to love Aussie politicians. I'm sure they are just as bad as everyone else's for being venal and corrupt lying bastards, but they do like to speak their minds.

We could do with at bit more of that straight talking here, rather than all the passive and indirect speech crap we get.

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Facebook security profiling doesn't like African log-ins

Paul 25

Ummm

The comparison is between Singapore and Kenya.

Singapore is one of the counties in the world with the highest standards of living, with extremely low levels of corruption (according to Transparancy International) and very low levels of crime.

Kenya on the other hand, while significantly more developed than many in Africa is still nowhere near the same level of development. Just like many less developed nations, I'm sure Kenya is a prime recruiting ground for the kind of people who phish, hack and generally abuse the internet, just like poorer parts of south-east asia, and other african nations like Nigeria, home to the 419 scam.

I would be stunned if Singapore had the same level of fraudulent account activity coming from it as Kenya.

If it had been Cambodia, or China, instead of Singapore, then I'd think there was something amiss, but this seems perfectly reasonable.

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Paul 25

No sympathy

He's trying to use Facebook in a way it clearly isn't designed for, by doing something they explicitly tell you not to.

If you are going to base your business around someone else's service, then you really need to learn to play by their rules. If you don't like it then find another line of business.

This is no different from your credit card company flagging a transaction from a company or country that is likely to be fraudulent based on reported rates of fraud.

If Facebook genuinely see more fraudulent access from Kenya than they do from Singapore then this would seem entirely sensible.

So long as Facebook's blocking is based on real numbers of reports, and not some person in an office making arbitrary decisions then this is not at all like racial profiling of people in airports on for arbitrary stop and search.

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Apple iCloud pricing revealed

Paul 25
FAIL

Not this again...

Do we have to do this every time the Reg publishes an article about pricing differences?

It's called VAT.

Google makes $20 = £12.30 at the moment/.

Add VAT onto that at 20% and you get £14.76.

So unless the VAT rate for digital services is different* this is actually a better deal than the yanks are getting.

* Possible, I find the HMRC website basically useless unless you already know where to look for something. However I did find a bit that specifies that VAT on digital services is charged at the rate of the customer's location in the EU, so basing the service in a low VAT location makes no difference. That assumes I understood the tax-man's explanation.

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Asteroid hunter achieves Vesta orbit

Paul 25

What astronauts?

Umm, this *is* an unmanned probe.

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Brits lose out as iTunes prices jump

Paul 25

Import duty?

Also, is there import duty on downloaded software? I think there is on software on physical media.

However the HMRC website is such an opaque mess when it comes to things like this that I always end up giving up after about five minutes of fruitless searching.

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Paul 25

$1.99 is £1.48 after currency conversion + VAT

So Apple are making a whole 1p extra by "over charging" us (according to Google's currency conversion rate)

Oh the humanity!

These stories crop up with such regularity, concerning all sorts of companies not just Apple, that I'm pretty astonished that anyone would post an article like this without doing this very rudimentary bit of maths.

It makes you look really dumb.

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FBI fat-thumbs data centre raid

Paul 25

Cloud computing?

@ray What has any of this got to do with cloud computing? This is an old school hosting company, not a cloud provider.

If you had a well designed cloud based setup you could quickly rebuild your infrastructure at another location or even on another provider.

I'd be impressed if even the FBI could confiscate enough of Amazons AWS infrastructure to cause them a serious problem.

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Apple will 'own games industry'

Paul 25

Unrestrained growth?

Obligatory XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/605/

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Train firm offers phone-based ticketing across UK

Paul 25

Standard practice in Switzerland

I was in Switzerland last year and you could buy tickets online that you could either show on your smartphone or print out. It used a 2D barcode. Not sure if there were any special clients for it, you just got a PDF I think, but as I didn't have a smartphone at the time I went with the paper copy anyway.

It seemed to work exceptionally well.

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Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars'

Paul 25

Cheap rockets to mars...

If Musk can cheaply (relatively speaking) send capsules to mars and land them with a high level of accuracy it opens up the possibility of sending lots of supplies in advance of any manned landing.

If Musk can really get the cost down (and he seems to be managing it) any future Mars explorers would be far better equipped than the moon landers could have ever dreamed of being. You could send up enough stuff to keep them supplied for months. In fact you could keep supplying them on a regular basis. You could send the supplies using long but efficient routes well in advance of the meat-bags, who would follow on a more direct route using something like a VASIMR based craft.

You wouldn't want to send the entire journey to Mars in a Dragon capsule, and I doubt that's what Musk is planning. But it would be ideal for supplies and possibly as a lander once you get there,

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Virgin Media Superhub customers still hitting big speed bump

Paul 25

Feeling rather glad I haven't upgraded yet

I've been too lazy/tight to both upgrading yet.

Looks like I'll be sitting tight until these problems have all been sorted out.

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The Sun still not shining on Nintendo's 3DS

Paul 25

That doctor

She needs to be reported to the BMA for clearly not knowing anything about adrenalin.

Do they not teach things like that in medical school anymore?

"Getting excited increases pulse" shocker. I think that was on the first page of my A-level psych text-book.

She also doesn't appear to know how to conduct an experiment. Where's the control? If they had tested this against someone using a normal DS then that might have been vaguely scientific.

Even your average GCSE science student could design a better "experiment"

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Online car-buying firm agrees to more transparent pricing

Paul 25

Shocked...

Next you'll be telling us that Cash4Gold and the likes are undervaluing the jewellery that people send them...

Sorry, I think I just sprained my sarcasm muscles.

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LG backs wireless charging for smartphones

Paul 25

So...

...how do I make a call while it's on charge?

I don't get the obsession with wireless charging, at least while it requires the device to be very close to the charger.

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iTunes gifting scam plunges Reg reader into the red

Paul 25

Another reason never to use debit cards for online or remote transactions

I only ever use credit cards for this sort of thing. If there are dodgy transactions, the worst that will happen is that they might max out my credit card, my bills and other payments go out just fine and my bank accounts remain un-touched.

Things may have improved, but last time I read about the rules credit card companies hold the liability for fraudulent transactions, whereas it is pretty much up to the bank as to how good they are to you in situations like this.

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Fanboys: updated OS X Lion MacBooks, iMacs in H1 '11

Paul 25

In other news

* The sun will rise tomorrow morning

* "Analysts" will continue to be paid for doing bugger-all

* I will continue to think that I'm in the wrong job

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Amazon Kindle 3 e-book reader

Paul 25

Lovely bit of kit, but oddly weighted

I've had a play with a friend's kindle and it's a lovely bit of kit.

The only thing that I found slightly annoying was that it seemed top heavy. It's not a massive issue, but I naturally hold it near the bottom so it was more effort to hold over a long period than if the weight had all been in the bottom.

Also, on the 3G front, if the RSS reader was able to read arbitrary feeds (rather than just the ones in the Amazon feed store) it would be really useful when travelling.

Combined with the access to wikipedia and travel sites, the free worldwide 3G makes the kindle a really interesting travel device.

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Apple's iPad is the hotcake of the 21st century

Paul 25

Ummm, what?

" the last thing Apple would want is for every every Tom, Dick or Harry to be walking around clutching its fondle slabs"

Yeah, because they really fought to make sure every Tom, Dick and Harry didn't get an iPhone.

What universe are you in? I can barely move in this one without bumping into someone on their iPhone. I know that Apple supposedly go for the premium end of the market (and the iPad is way too premium for my pocket), but they don't seem averse to selling millions of the buggers.

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Apple wants halt to $600m patent case

Paul 25
Thumb Down

Apple == Automatically guilty?

In any other article about someone losing a patent case everyone would be up in arms about the stupidity of software patents and how everyone that sues is a troll and the courts are dumb.

But when it's Apple they are automatically guilty? In this case software patents are entirely justified and the courts displayed insight and common sense?

Figures.

(Not an fan of the fruit, my next phone will be a droid, but I do think the double standards are entertaining).

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Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer

Paul 25

Would love to see it done, but which one would you build?

I would really love to see this built, but wasn't part of the problem originally that Babbage, being terrible at just sticking to one thing and getting it done, ended up coming up with loads of half-finished designs?

Also, I seem to remember that building the Difference Engine that lives in the Science Museum actually helped drive the engineering company that built it to bankruptcy.

This is all based on what I remember from the book "The Cogwheel Brain" so I might have it wrong.

I would be first in the cue to see a working AE though so I'm really hoping someone steps forward with the cash.

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How do you copy 60m files?

Paul 25

One word...

rsync

I don't know what the state of rsync servers on windows is, but on unix systems it's the one true way for copying files over a network.

It's fast, handles failure well, doesn't get it's nickers in a twist when doing large recursive copies, and will run over ssl with a bit of work. It can also give you plenty of feedback about progress if you need it.

The idea of copying that many files using something like a file manager or cp, no matter how good, just fills me with horror.

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Moms stand firm against antenna madness

Paul 25
FAIL

Also...

I say the phone companies should just give up and shut down all their antennas in the area.

That would teach the busybody cretins.

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Defence Minister 'to big up electropulse threat' - report

Paul 25
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Isn't this called a conflict of interests?

The chair of a parliamentary committee being a board member of an organisation with interests in the same area?

Surely that shouldn't be allowed.

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'Spintronic' computing gets closer with laser 'lectron discovery

Paul 25

@max allen

The uncertainty principal links velocity and position, not spin.

The more accurately you measure the position the less accurately you know the velocity, and vice-versa.

At least that's my understanding of it. I'm sure someone with actual physics training will correct me :)

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Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

Paul 25
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@AC

There will still be meteors this evening.

Last night was the peak of the shower, but it lasts for several days. Tonight won't be quite as good as last night but if you can find somewhere dark then you should still see something, assuming the weather is ok.

If anyone is in Bath this evening there is a star/meteor spotting evening in Victoria Park, starts at 9pm outside No 1 The Royal Crescent. I think there will be some astronomers and possibly some telescopes (I think), although I'll probably take my binoculars with me. Details at http://www.bptlearning.org.uk/index.php?cat=6

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Germany bans BlackBerrys and iPhones on snooping fears

Paul 25

Shock

German government recommends using technology provided by German company (T-Systems is part of Deutche Telekom) rather than foreign companies under the guise of "security".

Yeah, right. And why would the T-Systems stuff be any more immune to attack than RIM's?

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'Biggest thing in farming for 10,000 years on horizon'

Paul 25

Harvesting

I would think it would work just like mowing a lawn.

That doesn't seem to do grass any harm, and corn and wheat are (I think) just big grasses.

You might have to set up your combine harvester a little differently, raising the blades perhaps rather than taking the whole stalk.

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Did the iPad just save Wired, and Conde-Nast?

Paul 25

Not a surprise people pay

@AC - That's the same slice that Google take on the Android Marketplace as well. I think it's a bit steep, but seems to be the standard rate for things like this. Given that they handle everything from credit card fees to hosting for you I can kind of see why though.

I'm also not surprised that people who are willing to spend at least $500 on an iPad would be happy to spend $5 on the magazine, at least as a one-off. If you've got that much money sloshing around in your wallet then you'd probably not notice $5. Not sure it'll work long-term though.

Personally I don't see the benefit, but then if you are buying Wired on a regular basis you are probably not that bright.

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Robobeachcop demands licence from Poole snapper

Paul 25

Ownership of beaches

I thought the land between low and high tide was actually all a funny kind of common land and not technically owned by anyone (other than the crown)?

Or is that a legal urban myth?

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New cycle helmets emit stench if they need replacement

Paul 25

Not sure I'd want to smell...

...in the event of an accident.

Even as a trained first aider, treating people can be pretty unpleasant with all the bodily fluids involved. Not sure I like the sound of trying to give CPR to someone whose head is covered in something designed to smell horrible.

So long as it doesn't actually leak out it should be ok though.

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Blunkett threatens to sue for £30 ID card refund

Paul 25

"it won't change anything for anyone out there"

If cancelling the ID card scheme "won't change anything for anyone out there" it rather implies that the whole idea was rather pointless, doesn't it?

And I'm sorry, but you do not need some über-database in order to provide an ID card the is sufficient for travel in Europe or to control access to public services.

They (the politicos and journalists) keep missing the fact that my objection (and many others) was not to a voluntary ID card, after all my driving license already gives me that, it was to the database and the amount of data that was to be collected and then made available to so many petty bureaucrats.

They had some muppet who had paid for one on the Today programme this morning claiming it was useful because he could open a bank account with it, although he still needed his driving license to prove where he lived. So just like using a passport and driving license then to open a bank account then.

If you want an id card that lets you travel in Europe we can still have that, just upgrade the driving license, or provide a card version of the passport. You don't need an über-database for any of that.

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Universal Tech MyXerver Pro MX3800

Paul 25

No 802.11n?

That's a pretty big omission for something that is supposed to be a wireless NAS box.

I wouldn't want to use it as a backup box or start shunting big media files around.

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BT quotes pensioner £150,000 to get broadband

Paul 25
WTF?

Don't really see the problem

No one is forcing you to live in the sticks.

You don't move to a village in the middle of nowhere and then complain that there is no multiplex cinema nearby.

I f I decide to build a house in the middle of nowhere all the utility companies will charge me thousands to connect it up, which is why many opt for oil tanks, personal generators and digging their own wells.

As others have mentioned, there are alternatives for broadband. They might not be as good but that's what you get if you choose to live in the sticks.

Wherever you live you have to make compromises to an extent. I get good broadband, plenty of pubs and two local cinemas, but can't afford somewhere with a garden, get to have my lungs destroyed by pollution, and there is not much in the way of peace and quite.

I am curious as to exactly what they would have to upgrade given she is only three miles away, but £130k isn't that much given the cost of carrier grade gear, and the probability that it would involve digging up a road or two.

This is what happens in the open market, some customers are just not worth selling to. I'm sure BT would be happy to let her go to a satellite or wireless carrier rather than lose £130k on her.

If you want universal coverage then you have to nationalise BT Openreach (which I'm actually in favour of).

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Johnson: ID cards will pay for themselves

Paul 25
WTF?

A curious use of the phrase "pay for itself"

No Mr Johnson, it will not pay for itself

We will pay for it.

It's "voluntary"? Yeah right, try getting by without one in ten years time when every government agency will demand it if you want to do anything.

If everyone (or most people) in the country have to pay the government then it's a tax, one way or the other.

"Paying for itself" would indicate that the savings from using it will outweigh the cost. E.g. "This new car will pay for itself in five years through improved fuel efficiency".

Johnson is one of the (numerous) reasons I will not be voting Labour.

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'iPhone 4G' loser outed

Paul 25
Unhappy

Standard practice

I've got friends who worked for Nokia and Vodaphone and it was fairly standard practice for employees of both manufacturers and networks to use prototype phone in the real-world to get an idea of how well they perform.

They also get lost all the time, the reason you don't tend to hear about it is that mostly people are not that interested in the next minor increment of a Nokia, but are obsessed by everything iPhone related.

Given that this guy appears to be working on the baseband software (i.e. what connects the phone to the network), then it would be reasonable that he might have one with him to test out the reception and call handling.

Also, naming the guy really sucks. Gizmodo should be ashamed of themselves. There was no need to name the guy, he's probably in enough trouble as it is, there's no need to make sure that he is forever-more known as "the guy that left his 4G iPhone in a bar".

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Epic Fail: How the photographers won, while digital rights failed

Paul 25

Spot on about Jim Killock

Too often ORG's arguments sounded like the kind of thing you'd hear in student politics.

Shame really. The UK really needs a decent organisation to do what ORG is supposed to be doing.

They need to look and behave a little more Liberty, or other similarly principled but generally sensible campaign groups, and a little less like a campus political campaign about boycotting Nestle.

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Apple in Brazilian iPad shocker

Paul 25

Surely not actually a clash of trademarks?

I thought trademarks were only exclusive within an industry, where there might be confusion, not across the entire span of human endeavour.

So I could trademark Micro-Soft pillows without getting sued by the beast of redmond, but couldn't set up a software firm using that name unless I had very deep pockets and the desire for a fight.

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Adobe plots rebound with latest Creative Suite

Paul 25

Photoshop increasingly un-Mac

From what I've been told by graphic designer friends, Photoshop has been becoming a more PC centric product for a long time. Apparently the Mac version is feeling increasingly like a port from Windows, and less like a purpose built product.

I think the days of the mac as the be-all ad end-all of the designers world are pretty much over.

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