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* Posts by Richard 12

1541 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Why GM slammed the brakes on its $10m Facebook ads

Richard 12
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Re: Larry Kim is wrong.

However, if you annoy visitors enough one of two things happens:

1) They go away and never come back.

2) They install an ad blocker and never see another web advert.

Both of these are failures for the advertiser, and the latter is more serious.

Option 2 is more likely on a site that the user finds compelling because they want it despite the annoyance, and becomes almost certain if it has a social element that allows users to talk to each other.

Somebody will discover ad blockers, and then everyone will get one.

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75,000 Raspberry Pi baked before August

Richard 12
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Re: not really the same thing

They've got to get the GPU firmware into it somehow, I thought that was a pretty elegant solution that allows later updates to GPU firmware quite nicely.

- and keeps the price down as no need for any extra onboard Flash or seperate BIOS/bootloader silicon.

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SpaceX sets new blastoff date for Dragon: 19 May

Richard 12
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Re: Software tweaks?

They have had quite a long time to be doing and testing those tweaks, IIRC it was the final approach and dock.

Given that docking takes a few minutes, they can do a hell of a lot of cycles of hardware-in-the-loop tests, and even more sim-only tests in the time they've had.

My guess is they've been testing what to do if it's gone to hell in as many different ways as NASA can think of.

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UK milk wastage = 20,000 cars = actually completely unimportant

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Something missing from this analysis, surely?

The CAP is a truly insane little treaty, with a great many examples of this kind of stupid waste.

It really does need to be completely abandoned, as although there probably are some good parts, they're lost in the mire.

It's what happens when you put a load of politicians together and tell them to solve the problem of food production - they invent a bureaucracy and give it the most complex rules they can come up with, forcing farmers to game the system in order to make a living.

Then as soon as they do that, the rules are changed to stop that particular way of gaming it, some farmers go bust and the rest have to find another way.

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Richard 12
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Coat

Re: So...

MuckyD's is where you go if you want to eat more of the cow.

All that lovely mechanically-reclaimed "beef product"....

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Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

Richard 12
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@ShelLuser - Not sure what you're trying to say there.

At the time of posting, a Blackberry sits at number 8 and the LG Xpression feature phone at number 16, followed by Nokia Lumia 900 at 17 and 18.

Everything else in the top 20 is an Android - most are Samsung, and there's a couple of Motorolas and HTCs.

The real question is whether they're actually making any money.

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Freecom Hard Drive Sq 2TB

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: The drive needs to be re-formatted?

It's usually EXT2 or EXT3 as almost all STBs and Smart TVs run on some form of Linux.

FAT32 doesn't allow big enough file sizes for most HD recordings and quite a few SD recordings.

- Though on a Sony TV it's probably something completely proprietary that is impossible to mount on anything else (including other Sony TVs) by design intent. Or have they learned that lesson yet?

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Grab your L-plates, flying cars of sci-fi dreams have landed

Richard 12
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Re: his engineers have found batteries that could power a flight for 100km (62 miles).

More to the point, they never said how big the flying thing was.

Perhaps a 60 mile range TacoCopter?

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Mozilla and Google blast IE-only Windows on ARM

Richard 12
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Re: An operating system is what it's creators want it to be

It's not a God-given right, it's a law-given right.

Monopolies are universally known to be bad for the consumer in the medium to long run, for exactly the same reasons that they are good for the monopoly holder.

Namely that you can sell rubbish at very high margin, refuse to improve the product and still the consumer is forced to buy it.

Thus there are laws to limit monopoly powers.

You may disagree with the extent of these laws, but they do exist and must be followed. At least until the lobbying arm gets them changed, anyway.

Microsoft are hoping that Apple and Android save them from charges of abuse of monopoly, whether that will work is yet to be seen, but the more they lock it down the more likely that is to get tested in court.

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Richard 12
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Re: hmm

WinRT (WoA) does not have a classic desktop, it's Metro only, and locked to the hardware that uses technical measures to ensure you cannot run anything else.

Thus if it actually takes off, we're back where IE6 came from - unpublished APIs that only MS code can access, preventing 3rd parties from making competing apps.

That can only be bad.

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British 4G mobile data rollout 'will mean NO TELLY for 2m homes'

Richard 12
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Re: Adjacent?

It would, except that almost everywhere now has or still needs wideband antenna and amps.

Originally because of Channel 5, later due to the various Freeview shuffling stages as even if the final result was a given band, the muxes went through others to get there.

Most of greater london has no need of amps anyway, it's once again people in the countryside (notably Scotland and Wales) that will get hit the worst.

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Google's self-driving car snags first-ever license in Nevada

Richard 12
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Re: @Filippo

That last part implies a computer driver would be safer, because it would not drive off the cliff.

It might still hit the deer, but it should be better at braking and steering accurately than an average driver so is more likely to avoid an obstacle as long as it can detect it.

Probably not Stig quality, but most drivers are not that good.

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Pirate island attracts more than 100 startup tenants

Richard 12
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Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

Modern lifeboats take quite a lot of people.

100-man boats are easily available, so that's a possible 1800 lifeboat capacity - before you even start to consider the liferafts.

Of course, you've forgotten to include the crew. There are probably going to be 1000 crew members to run the vessel - it's not just serviced apartments attached to office premises.

They have to generate their electricity, maintain the propulsion (you can't just anchor that far out), plus all the general maintenance of a steel vessel in an ocean and the sailing.

I think there are two real killers of this project though. Latency and fuel.

Latency of satellite internet links can easily top 500ms. Laser is only viable in good visibility and within sight of shore, so any laser link is going to fail much of the time.

Then there's the fuel - they are going to have to bunker a lot of fuel simply to run the ship.

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Microsoft's dumpster-diver partner strategy is rubbish

Richard 12
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Re: Droves.

If you count Windows Mobile, then yes.

A lot of corporate "emailphones" used to be either Blackberry or Windows Mobile - don't have figures for the split, but pretty sure WM was a clear second place due to the Exchange server integration.

WM is now properly dead and being buried (even the app store is closed) so corporates are forced to leave WM, and the WP7 marketing position appears to be "Don't want the corporate market", so WP7 won't even get considered..

My next company phone looks practically certain to be either an iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S II/III.

So the 'droves' is fairly accurate as all the corporate contracts vanish - probably mostly to iPhone

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Ten... alternatives to Samsung's Galaxy S III

Richard 12
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Unhappy

@Manu T - Nokia/Symbian no longer exists.

What you forget is that Nokia's CEO publicly stated that Symbian was rubbish and dead.

This is a terrible shame, because neither of those were actually true when he said it - though the former had been fairly accurate about a year prior.

Now the latter is true, because nobody in their right minds buys an operating system that the manufacturer has publicly declared dead.

Face it, Elop personally killed Symbian. It's all over bar the lawsuits, and unfortunately lawsuits take so long that they can only find blame and never correct stupidity. It's also fairly unlikely that he'll ever be held properly responsible for the destruction of shareholder value he has caused. All we can hope is that he won't be given the opportunity to kill any other companies.

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Microsoft ejects DVD playback from Windows 8

Richard 12
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Unhappy

@A J Stiles

Except in the United States of America, where the DMCA specifically makes doing that illegal.

So far that isn't the case in the rest of the world, though several parties are clearly pushing for it.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: This still costs real money?

Actually, MPEG-2 is expensive!

H.264 is much cheaper as well as being a better codec.

That said, given that MS are part of the MPEG-LA in the first place, I would have thought their cost was zero (even if it's an out-and-back) while an OEM's cost is high.

I suspect this may actually be an attack on MPEG-LA. I wonder why.

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US, Euro e-car makers back 'standard' AC/DC jack

Richard 12
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Ceeform?

What exactly was wrong with CEEFORM?

Was it simply that it's already a standard for all the voltages and currents used, colour-coded, tested and has pilot pins available to ensure a good connection is made before applying power and to unpower during disconnection?

I see no pilot pins on the plug shown, so this thing is really going to arc.

It looks like it has all the disadvantages of CEEform and none of the advantages.

No covers over the pins on either side, so kids can stick spoons in them.

Send the designers home, they have no clue.

Bring back the people who designed the UK plug.

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UK Border Agency servers go titsup, thousands grounded

Richard 12
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Re: Being a civil serpent means you can mess with people

The difference is when the customers can leave and cause the place to close.

Your supermarket is slow and awful? Change it.

ISP? Change that one... Oh, some people can't and oddly they are the ones who get the worst service.

It's all about being able to deprive the organisation of revenue, and for that lack of revenue to be able to close the organisation.

When the organisation cannot fail, it will rapidily become terrible.

The civil service is a classic example of a set of organisations that cannot fail no matter what they do. The management are never held personally responsible for anything and that makes it even worse.

Who is going to eat the consequences of this latest failure? An underling, a manager or nobody at all?

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Why embossed credit cards are here to stay

Richard 12
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Re: Never use credit cards.

Exactly right!

In the UK simply using a credit card gives you the protection of the consumer credit act and a big bank that wants to keep its reputation and business.

Reversing a fraudulent credit card transaction is easy, and you won't be out of pocket during the process.

With debit card transactions it takes a while to get the money back, and you may end up overdrawn or worse before discovering the fraud.

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Phone-hack saga: Murdoch 'not fit' to run News Corp, blast MPs

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: "tories still support him"....

Don't think the Tories support him, they just agree with you that they have no clue whatsoever what it takes to run a company so can't make such a pronouncement. Seems that the other parties hold no such compunctions.

They are also right that the committee did not have the scope or power to state that Murdoch is unfit in any meaningful way and so should not have done so - that's the job of OFCOM and/or Companies House (depending on the reason - both are plausible in this case).

However, they could still recommend to Parliament that he be locked up for contempt for a few years.

It concerns me that the only 'punishment' Parliament seem to be considering is simply telling him that he was a very naughty boy and really shouldn't do it again.

That makes Parliament look weaker than the ASA for $deity's sake.

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Over 1,200 dot-word bids flood ICANN at $180k a pop

Richard 12
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Re: Oh Crap

The fun part is that it doesn't matter.

Nobody will actually use these gTLDs, and the only people who may be affected are browsers who might get asked to alter the heuristics for the autocomplete.

If they don't bother, no end user will give a damn if they never see a .marketing domain.

The weird part is really that marketers think they are valuable. The most valuable part of a URL is clearly the first few characters, becuase that is what a user types first. If your site comes up top of autocomplete...

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MIT boffins play BUILDING-SIZED Tetris

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: re. Performance

The data requirements for this are minute -153 x 3 bytes per frame, 459 bytes. 24fps is plenty, so the necessary data rate is less then 90kbps.

This prank is almost trivially easy to design and can be built quite cheaply.

It'll cost you a £40 LED parcan or LED strip with driver per window, and for a building this size with openable windows, a drum of Cat5 cable and a £10 USB DMX adapter. (This is less than one DMX universe.)

Then you just need a suitable version of the game application, and the basic Tetris is pretty trivial.

The reason it's not done more often is politics - it's hard to get permission to do this kind of thing to office buildings that are big enough for it to be any fun, and unlike projection, you can't tear down fast enough to escape if you try it without permission.

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Samsung overtakes Nokia, Apple in mobile handset race

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Agreed

>> Nokia destroyed themselves by focusing on Symbian.

> No. Nokia destroyed themselves by focusing on Windows.

No, Nokia killed themselves by changing their minds every few months.

Symbian is the future, develop this, no that, no the other way!

Meamo/Meego is the future, develop with Qt!

Symbian and Meamo/Meego are the future, develop both with Qt! (sigh of relief)

Actually, no, **** you all. Windows Phone is the future, develop with Silverlight.

Now bend over again, the next version of Windows Phone will need WinRT! (If you're lucky it'll still run your Silverlight but you won't have access to anything new.)

Telling their third party developers to throw away their codebases every few months is what killed Nokia, and part of the reason Windows Phone is flatlined.

No third party developers want to waste paid man hours on Windows Phone. Tiny userbase and they already know that it's all getting thrown away - so the only things worth doing are "coffeeshop fart apps", and things Microsoft or Nokia have paid you directly to write.

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Killers laugh in face of death penalty threat, say US experts

Richard 12
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Re: Since when were sentences supposed to be a deterrent?

Killing someone doesn't really manage much in the way of rehabilitation, so it can only be a deterrent or revenge.

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Richard 12
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Re: Mind numbingly simple

Ninjas, that's not a valid comparison.

The contractual relationship between you and HMRC is essentially you paying the Government to supply you with the various useful stuff of a nation - education, healthcare, law and order, defence etc.

If you don't want to accept that contract then you do technically have the option to leave the country and move somewhere where some or all of the above is not provided and therefore doesn't need paying for.

You probably don't want to do that though.

Most states do sanction killing in self-defence, however I fail to see how killing someone who's already locked up can ever be considered that.

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Stray SMS leads to aborted landing

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Go arounds

They aren't.

I offer the evidence that "The Day Britain Stopped" is a drama based on the premise of a disaster occuring, and therefore contains a similar amount of truth as "The Day After Tomorrow" and "The Day Of the Triffids".

If they did their research and found that the disaster they based the programme or film on was either impossible or extremely improbable, they'd have no entertainment. Thus either no research is done, or the research is ignored when inconvenient.

In this case I'd guess the former, given the statement from NATS.

"This programme presents itself as dramatised documentary. However, it is not only based on a highly unlikely scenario, but deliberately ignores - or misrepresents - almost every standard safety system or procedure currently in use."

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Ten... smartphone survival accessories

Richard 12
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iPod chargers were weird.

They used to actually communicate with the charger to determine the charge rate, presumably so Apple could charge more for their chargers.

They now follow the standard - shorted data pins means no data, so eat as much power as you want.

That multi cable looks great - captive adapters are a great idea, usually the tip you need gets lost.

A Tumi is a Peruvian knife used for human sacrifices, so it might put ideas into peoples' heads when stuck in the back of beyond...

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'Not guilty' plea in Utah cop site hacking case

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Handing the defense a gift

"Tweeting" isn't a domain for nerds, and never has been.

Unless Katy Price is a nerd, in which case I no longer understand what the word means.

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Richard 12
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Once again, prejudicial

Even if we accept without proof that the website was actually hacked in the first place - ssomething that legally must be proven at trial first - this specific individual is only a suspect, you legally cannot say that he did it unless he has been found guilty.

Otherwise you are being prejudicial, may be in contempt and may cause a mistrial.

You would expect a police spokesperson to know that.

It is alleged that this guy hacked the site. That is all.

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Apple TV third-generation (2012)

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: AirPlay

I can go one better.

It's already been done using one of the Alpha boards.

You don't even need to "Hackintosh" anyway, as a ported AirPlay service already exists for Linux.

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PLANET-SWAP shock: Stars grabbed dirtballs from other clusters

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Non-Zero

What they mean is that a gas giant-type planet would have been spotted by now on account of it being huge (thus occluding stars) and massive (notably affect the orbits of stuff we know about).

Something small, like Earth/Venus or smaller might not have been.

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Apple fights off ebook suit with anti-Amazon defence

Richard 12
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Re: Can't have it both ways

They are accused of abusing the near-monopoly they have on tablets to gain their current position and profit margin in the eBook market.

It would be fundamentally stupid to wait until a company have actually gained a second monopoly by abusive methods, that's how IE6 happened.

The abusive methods must be challenged in the courts before irreparable damage can be done, swhich means going after them when they start tto use them, not dependent on results.

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RIP wind power: Minister blows away plans for more turbines

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Workable form of mass electricity storage

No nemo, it hasn't, you can tell because almost nobody is buying it. That's the "workable" part, you see?

"Workable" means that it's feasible, economic to build and run, and consumers will accept it.

Electric cars at the required scale are none of the above.

Secondly, in this context, smart meters are only a method of remote disconnection at times of high demand. This is not a solution in the first place, and of course consumers will never accept it.

"At the end of EastEnders you will suffer a blackout to prevent you from making a cup of tea."

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Richard 12
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Re: Sounds reasonable.

Which valleys are volunteering for flooding then?

We've already built pretty much all the pumped-storage that people will accept - there are plenty of places where it could be built, but people either live there or it's an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Or there are newts.

This is the thing - hydro-electric is incredibly destructive. It's not green, it's only low-CO2.

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AWS bids for cloudy SharePoint

Richard 12
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Hang on, if I'm reading this right

Then all traffic is bouncing off your own servers going through two VPN connections, inbound and outbound to Amazon.

If that is the case what exactly is the benefit?

Running a Sharepoint server can't be that much of a load that swapping it for doubled VPN traffic is a significant saving, can it?

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ANU puts quantum random numbers online

Richard 12
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Oh dear, you confused theory with hypothesis.

Gravity is only a theory, yet you wouldn't jump out of a high building naked.

In science, a theory is something that fits all known observations better than anything else.

Quantum theory fits our observations of really tiny stuff incredibly well.

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Richard 12
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Re: Is that even a problem?

For a start, it's cooler.

Secondly, the oscillator technique is psuedo-random - that's a chaotic system, not a random one.

Thermal noise can be affected by external sources as it varies by temperature, so not properly random.

Until now the only really high quality self-contained RNGs are based on radioactive decay events, so produce bits fairly slowly and are hard to buy.

This apparently makes high quality randomness really quickly.

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New fake anti-virus shakes down frightened file-sharers

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: Any more on the delivery mechanism?

My guess would be that it takes a quick look through an infected system and drops itself into a Dropbox folder, getting itself automatically spread to everyone sharing that folder.

Going via email or browser relies on either unpatched holes or user error, while Dropbox will spread it by design.

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Laptop computers are crap

Richard 12
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Re: Amen on vertical screenspace.

My work laptop HDD is about 80% full, because it's what I use for development and customer support, in the office and in the field.

So I have most of the version history for several products and a few SDKs.

Those add up fast.

Though I suppose I don't need the local copies of 5 year old software installers anymore...

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Richard 12
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Re: Wise article

The reason there are no stick-up USB ports by Esc is you'd probably smash your screen.

How long do you think it would be before you accidentally close the lid (or someone shove by and do it) without removing the USB device?

It's bad enough the number that get ripped off the sides when putting into bags, but at least those usually only break the USB stick.

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Nokia on 'brink of failure', warns analyst

Richard 12
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Re: Why not revive the N9?

Meego was supposed to be for embedded systems, not laptops.

So cars, phones, ATMs, that kind of thing.

I gather it's doing OK in car entertainment systems.

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Renault Twizy budget e-car

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Or I could stick with my diesel

Exactly.

In London with the latest diesel prices I pay just under £70 for about 7 weeks commute, and mine's an older diesel in a relatively big car.

So my big car has only a little bit higher running costs (and cost me less to buy) than this quadbike - which nearly fits in the boot. (I think it's probably too tall, would have to cut the roof off and slip it in beside it.)

When comparing things of a similar size with newer engines do quite a bit better.

The baby Fiats, Toyotas and Citroens have similar 'up front' cost, are considerably cheaper to run, have windows, some of them aren't ugly*, and perhaps most importantly they can be charged in two minutes.

That said, this kind of golf cart runabout might suit a small Caribbean or Mediterranean island, or evil volanic lair.

* What is it with 'eco' models? Almost all of them look hideous, and there's no need for that.

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Netgear Powerline Nano 500 Ethernet-over-mains adaptor

Richard 12
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Re: Interference

Excellent question, and one to which I don't know the answer.

When I was doing these tests there weren't any "CE" EMC standards for PLTs, so we used the standards for normal PC equipment and looked at the complete point-to-point link over twin & Earth as being the "device under test".

- This also meant that every PLT shipped at the time was completely untested, the manufacturers claiming that as there was no "PLT" EMC standard they didn't need to meet anything.

We also looked at blocking PLT domains from each other - it needed seriously big blocking filters, and coupling between adjacent wiring easily bypassed it so we came to the conclusion it simply couldn't be blocked in any cost-effective way. This was before encryption as standard in PLT devices, so it's clear the manufacturers have realised this as well.

I gather that there are now standards for PLT, however I haven't read them - standards being very boring and PLT is not my day job.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Interference

Did similar tests a few years back when the standard was being worked out.

By using a radial spur, blocking filter and appropriately terminating* the mains wiring at both ends we managed to get a conducted emissions pass, and radiated didn't fail by much so could plausibly be sorted out.

However, the moment we used a ring final circuit (ring main) it failed quite spectacularly as this turns it into a loop antenna.

Notches work fine for avoiding radiated interference with specific other users, but you can't notch out everything so they will always squash somebody.

Put another way, it may be workable in much of mainland Europe because they mostly use radials, but it cannot work in the UK because we mostly use rings.

*Although the termination network drew more than half a Watt...

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Five charged after fanboi sells kidney for iPad and iPhone

Richard 12
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Re: Seriously?

I think it was the doctor who had the gambling debt.

The teenager just wanted an iPad and has no idea of the consequences - like most teenagers.

- When I was that age I built a zipline down a ravine with a couple of friends, and one of us swept through a holly bush when the brakeline snapped. So we tied the brakeline back together, tightened the zipline and had another few goes!

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The iPad 3 would make me so horny...

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

If you do it as PDF, then you've got to licence any embedded fonts. Let's say you do that and it doesn't cost much.

Now the text looks better as it's rasterised on demand to fit the display - although by some accounts the original iPad couldn't manage that fast enough anyway.

What about your pictures and diagrams?

Most of those images are not going to be available as vectors, and even those that are may not be in usable formats so you've got to rasterise those anyway.

So you still have to rasterise some of each page.

Yet in all magazines there are full-page images on many of the pages, so you still have to handle full-page images either way.

So why bother?

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CSC, NHS extend jaw-jaw on disaster deal: 500 jobs go

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: This lot almost make m$ look good

And that's why "big bang" implementations on this kind of scale are stupid and should never, ever be attempted under any circumstances whatsoever*.

You only find out that it's an abject failure once all the money has been spent with nothing to show for it, and either the customer pays huge cash for nothing or the supplier goes bankrupt.

Instead, if you do the project as a series of small changes, implementing each part of the system in a limited area (not the whole country) and expand it slowly, not only do you get a system that works (and is useful at each step) but there are many more companies that could bid for it because there's money at each stage so crazy credit isn't required.

As a bonus, when the credit requirements are smaller at shorter periods it's much cheaper to build, with less risk to all parties, and more of the cash goes towards the actual project rather than the banks that loaned the money.

As a bonus to the bonus, you can pause or even stop the project at almost any stage and still have something useful, and usually change the requirements of the next stage without penalties in time or money.

Yes, I just more or less described the Agile methodology.

It does work, unlike Waterfall which always fails.

*(C) Department of Redundancy Dept.

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IT urine bandit fired and charged

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: What or who did he deem attractive?

Is that even physically possible without killing the duck?

Horses are one thing, but ducks?

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Browsium rescues HMRC from IE6 – and multimillion-pound bill

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: Really a fix?

I would expect that Browsium are now the ones providing support for the "IE6 Frame" and all the associated components that aren't part of Windows 7, as that would all need to be rolled into their plugin for this to work under Windows 7.

It sounds like a very good way to escape from IE6 - that was always a tricky problem as most large corporates dare not go for a "Big Bang" approach to that migration, even if they could afford it.

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