* Posts by Steve Taylor 3

58 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

Steve Taylor 3
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Old Timer

That's bizarre - I used to work at Beam/Melbourne House (amongst other things I worked on the ill fated buggy and badly reviewed sequel - The Lord of the Rings) not too long after The Hobbit came out, and I never realised The Hobbit wasn't written entirely by Phil. Not doubting - just surprised at my own ignorance.

The Hobbit: once I was working back late at night - 2 or 3 in the morning I guess - and the phone rang. I picked it up and a kid with an English accent said (with no introduction or preamble of any sort) "I'm stuck in the cellar and I can't work out how to stand on the barrel." or something similarly adventure-gameish. I presume he had obtained his parents permission before making an expensive international phone call.

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Gigantic Roman bathtime-fun mosaic found under Turkish field

Steve Taylor 3
Alert

Re: "Buried treasure, me hearties! Darr, there be no gold here"

But that's not Somali *or* Thai!

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Dropbox drops JavaScript, brews CoffeeScript

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Re: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Way back at the dawn of time I *was* an assembly programmer. I'm actually quite glad we've moved on, even though it was fun at the time.

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Fired Toyota coder trashes systems, steals data

Steve Taylor 3
Meh

Re: Common sense not common...

Didn't feel much sense of obligation to my evil boss (Hi Richard) but knew that anything I didn't do or did wrong would have to be fixed by my co-workers who are good guys. Also it's uncool - leave the being evil to the actual evil people.

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Steve Taylor 3
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Common sense not common...

I once quit a job under very antagonistic conditions: I believed my boss owed me a substantial amount of money, he believed I owed him a substantial amount of money, and we were a long way from being best pals. We were at the stage of threatening each other with lawyers.

Imagine my surprise when after handing in my resignation I got to work out my notice period, dealing with servers responsible for processing large amounts of mobile phone based commerce in a number of countries. I didn't - and wouldn't - sabotage them, but I sure had been looking forward to being told 'get the hell out', and walking out into the sunshine and fresh spring breeze, instead of going back to my dungeon and doing some more coding :(

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love IPv6

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Re: After reading this, Verity and Simon...

> should definitely collaborate on an issue or 2 of the BOFH!

Noooo!! I stopped reading BOFH many years ago when it stopped being funny. Many *many* years ago.

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Job ad seeks 'mediocre' developers

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Re: HHHHmmmmmmmm

> Great coffee - What a stereotypical piece of crap.

But Melbourne *does* have the best coffee in the world. That's what happens when you get a city full of immigrants from Italy, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. (Plenty of immigrants from other places too, but they didn't help with the coffee.)

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Fruit Ninja bites into multi-platform games tech

Steve Taylor 3
Facepalm

Where's the cheap shot?

What have you done with the *real* Register journos? They would never have missed the chance to make a cheap pun about Onanism,

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Met Office wants better supercomputer to predict EXTREME weather

Steve Taylor 3
Flame

Re: Upgrade the software, not the hardware

> Surely they're not suggesting if they had, say, 10x more processing power their predictions would be more accurate?

Of course they bloody well are! Do you have any idea at all about how their models work?

They always involve dividing the world into a series of coarse gridsand performing calculations on the values which (approximately) model the weather of one grid square/cube. Finer grids mean more accuarate calculations but also a much greater need for computing power.

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Microsoft explains bland new Windows logo

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Re: Re: Memories

> If you are going to run business computers you need to use commercial grade software.

You most certainly do. And for that very reason nearly every job I've had for many years has been based around one Linux flavour or another.

I did work for one place that used Windows, but their hands were tied, as they'd allied themselves with a Windows only GIS server. Poor guys...

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Doctor Who girl Amy Pond axed in 'heartbreaking' exit

Steve Taylor 3
Alert

The Doctors Girlfriend

Damn right. One of the things the new incarnation of Dr Who has seriously screwed up is this tiresome crap of having a steamy romance between the Doctor and each new assistant. It was ok with Rose, as it was something different, but that's plenty for a while.

Catherine Tate was a breath of fresh air - mind of her own, and not chasing the Doctor's hot timelord body.

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JB Hi-Fi rolls out own digital music service NOW

Steve Taylor 3
Meh

JB? The electronics retailer that can't even manage to make a website that shows what they've got in stock? Good luck to them...

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Has Google wasted $12bn on a dud patent poker-chip?

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Let's dream up a new language!

> Why didn't Google develop its own language and platform? The company is full of brilliant engineers, many of whom have mobile platform experience, and who have created some of the milestones in computer history. Why not use Go, the language Ken Thompson helped develop? Or something like it?

Existing languages come with existing programmers. It's easier to get people to mopve to your platform if they use the skills they already have.

There - now was that so hard?

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Dragon Bannatyne threatens to break arms of 'Russian' bloke

Steve Taylor 3
FAIL

Won't somebody think of the context...

> So what is this "speaking as a mother" then? Is that a euphemism for "talking out of my arse"?'

>

> So is "Speaking as a father" as similar thing?

The only real difference is that Rosie O'Donnell is talking irrelevant nonsense and the poster you're criticising is using the phrase in a meaningful context.

He could be paraphrased for the slow of thinking as saying something like "Being a father has affected my view of the world such that I would now say X when I formerly would have said Y."

Hope that helps.

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Endeavour bids adios to ISS

Steve Taylor 3
WTF?

Fanservice

> Shuttle missions ending...

Well yes, but it's being retired at least partially because it's an ageing unsafe overpriced white elephant. At the same time we appear to be living in the early days of genuine commercial spaceflight. Surely happy days for SF fans?

> Scientific studies losing ground to populist hysteria...

Are things really worse now than they've always been? I really don't know the answer to that, but various forms of pigheaded mysticism have always been with us, so I wouldn't bet on it. Remember that in the original Scopes Monkey Trial Scopes was actually found guilty.

> A work of fiction?

> http://www.baen.com/library/067172052x/067172052x.htm

Not just a work of fiction, but one of the worst works of fiction ever written. It's a noxious and embarrassing piece of fanservice, written to stroke the egos of SF fans. Niven started out so good, but he sunk so low... I blame Jerry Pournelle for eating his brain.

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Out of this World science fiction exhibition

Steve Taylor 3
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Quite so

> I think you have shown a page from Codex Seraphinianus.

Indeed. As the article says:

"I'd never seen or heard of Italian designer Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus,..."

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Adobe releases Wallaby to jump Jobsian Flash ban

Steve Taylor 3
Flame

*Animated* ads.

"Instead of a few harmless ads perhaps you can pay to write all the content and host all sites like this one, that rely on advertising."

So did you not read the bit where Wibble says "*animated* ads are the most loathsome..."? Guess not.

I am perfectly happy to have the internet supported by advertising - as long as said advertising doesn't animate, blink, talk to me, scoot around the page, pop up new windows, doge the cursor, hide under the current window or any other loathsome tricks.

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Qld police warn against Windows service scam

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Near miss

My mother in law almost got caught by this - she fell for it, but was too busy to cooperate with them at the time of the call. I've since given her the big lecture about scammers, so she should be inoculated against them now.

Wish the buggers would call me :(

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London's tube demands faster-than-NFC ticketing

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Slow cards

Melbourne's in the process of rolling out the Myki cards which are - I think - the same tech as Oyster. The old system (mag stripe cards fed into the turnstile) and the new are both in operation at the moment.

I've already noticed that it's at least an extra half second for people with the new cards to get through the turnstile - partly slow read times, and partly because with the mag stripe card you feed it into the front of the turnstile and walk an extra pace before retrieving it.

Anway, when the new system becomes compulsory we're all doomed.

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Walmart falls in with Washington's war on terror

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

You may have missed a clue.

So - Walmart came to town and they were really good for a while, and all the other businesses disappeared. Then with only Walmart left, they went to crap - but you were stuck with them because they were the only game left in town.

It's almost enough to make you think, isn't it?

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Windows 0day allows malicious code execution

Steve Taylor 3
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Kind of awesome

It's kind of awe inspiring just how many security flaws a large chunk of code can hold. You'd think we'd run out eventually, but it's like some sort of magic perpetual motion machine.

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Scarlett Johansson unleashes voracious sexuality in steamy alien film

Steve Taylor 3
WTF?

Clever, moody, low key book.

Though the plot description is sorta-kinda-not-completely-inaccurate, the book 'Under the Skin' is actually low key, miserable, and clever. It's not within a squillion miles of Species/Predator/Aliens/pick-your-alien-monster-movie and is more about dislocation and loneliness than it is about eviscerating random hitchhikers.

SF book->movie adaptions have a long history of completely ignoring their source material, but I hope in this case they know what they're doing and that the trashiness here is just The Reg doing its standard "look at us - we're pretending to be a tabloid" schtick.

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Royal Navy running-jump method confirmed for F-35B

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

even simpler

> use the tension to help launch the next one?

or even the same one right away?

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Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond

Steve Taylor 3
Grenade

Applications are everything

> We're not yet at the stage where a customer will pick a phone based on the software it runs

You're kidding, right?

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LG takes Optimus into Android prime time

Steve Taylor 3
Alert

Shovelware?

Looks like a nice phone, but this:

"The device includes "App advisor", a tool that recommends ten highly rated apps every two weeks."

makes me sad. It's such a struggle to buy a phone without extra crap installed on it.

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Transit site coughs up private info for 168,000 passengers

Steve Taylor 3
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Don't trust the client software.

> SQL injection flaws are the result of poorly written web applications that fail to vet user-supplied input before passing it to back-end systems.

Yes and no - the security needs to be present on the back-end systems too, or what's to stop people circumventing the front-end system entirely and just sending their own hand crafted queries and commands to the back end.

Server software shouldn't assume it's talking to a friend.

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Adobe tilts at windmills with image apps for iPad

Steve Taylor 3
Flame

Re: Adobe, just go out of business already

> I wouldn't miss any of your apps on any of my operating systems,

No Photoshop? There's no way I'd use Gimp for anything if I had a choice.

> and I'd be much happier that people couldn't use that Flash abomination and actually had to DESIGN websites for a living.

i) I don't care about Flash for websites - I care about if for games.

ii) Do you really imagine that in a world of fully supported HTML5 people won't make excruciatingly bad websites?

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This witch-hunt will hurt Adobe more than Apple

Steve Taylor 3
Flame

Flash "Monopoly"

> And, um, remind me who is the monopoly supplier of Flash developer kits, the one's you really need to develop Flash apps?

No one is any more. There are a number of open source development tools which directly output for the Flash VM. Why not have a look at http://osflash.org to see some of them.

Thanks for the misinformation.

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Motorola buys own mobile Linux firm

Steve Taylor 3
FAIL

Excellent!

market fragmentation will make us strong!

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Google waves goodbye to Docs offline function

Steve Taylor 3
WTF?

Help me here

What exactly do Google gain by rolling out the new system before it's finished?

If they're going to put offline editing into the new HTML5 version, why not just go ahead and implement the damn thing *before* retiring the perfectly functional current version?

I'm genuinely baffled.

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Google mocks Steve Jobs with Chrome-Flash merger

Steve Taylor 3
Go

Re: Horrific

> What's that? it plays games? Yeah right it does. Badly.

Is there a better alternative? (Hint: 'no').

And no, I'm not interested in a computer where I can't play and write games.

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Is iFlorist the greatest website in the universe, ever?

Steve Taylor 3
Badgers

Mechanical Turk

I wonder if this stuff might be being done using Amazon's 'Mechanical Turk' service? For those who don't know it, it's a fairly ingenious way of outsourcing and mechanising crappy tasks which require human effort (i.e. - reading street signs in photographs).

I quite like the basic idea of the service, but every time I look at the the site there seems to be more tasks like 'go to this site and write a glowing review' or 'make a link to my blog'.

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Curiouser and curiouser: Aussie gov censors the censorship news

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

National pride

I'm finding it harder and harder to be happy about being Australian. Please make the evil clowns stop.

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Is it ta-ta for Flash?

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Director vs. Flash

> Macromedia's Director was the more fully featured system with a "proper" programming interface and language,

Not really - it was no more sensible than earlier versions of Flash.

> and it was pretty good for its time if I remember correctly.

That it was. I miss programming it.

> Unfortunately the simplicity of Flash meant any designer could use it, whereas Director required a bit more programming nous and so faded into obscurity.

Sorta maybe - Director was still pretty open to producing the sort of simple useless animations which made Flash unpopular.

> The time since then has been spent bending and twisting Flash's Actionscript into something that resembles Director but is infinitely more annoying to use thanks to the timeline metaphor

No! Both Director and Flash are based around a timeline metaphor. The other thing they have in common is that no one past a certain level of programming ability actually *uses* the timeline because it's a pain in the ass.

Actually the timeline has some uses - namely for artists to do layout and pass it on to programmers - but it's certainly not the way to write an application. One of the good things about both Flash and Director is that they make it possible for artists and programmers to communicate - vital for all except those one in a billion freaks who are skilled in both fields.

> (at least until Flex arrived, I've not had a chance to play with that).

Sine Adobe has made the command line compiler free, you can make Flash apps - using the Flex libraries or not - for nothing. If you want to use an IDE there's a pretty decent one for Windows (sorry) called FlashDevelop - sadly there is no equivalent for Mac or Linux - but a bit of command line work won't kill you.

For a good starter on making flash/flex from the command line using free tools, look at http://www.senocular.com/flash/tutorials/as3withmxmlc/ - very good way to get started.

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Adobe apologizes for festering Flash crash bug

Steve Taylor 3
Alien

Who's minding the shop?

Does anyone know if Adobe has offshored Flash development or if it's still in the US?

Long before Flash was born, Director ruled the multimedia roost, and was a pretty decent program. Recent versions of Director (still not dead, but pretty marginalised) have been buggy rubbish, and people on the Director mailing list attribute this to Director development having been moved to India, to be taken on by an entirely new team who've never worked on it before. Clever clever Adobe for throwing away all the human capital that Director had accumulated over the years.

If (purely speculation) Flash was rubbish because Adobe had pulled a similar cost saving trick, it would make sense. On the other hand, if they're still developing in the US with the original team - well, they'll have to find another excuse then...

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Amazon deletes a 6th of its catalogue in book price barney

Steve Taylor 3
Alert

Dictating terms

Though I have heard that Amazon have pulled this trick before on small publishers, and the publishers blinked first. Not sure of the details, but if you have a look at what Charles Stross, John Scalzi and Teresa Nielsen Hayden are saying, you should get a pretty good picture of what's happening.

How I long for the good old days when all you had to do was hate Microsoft. These days there are so many companies vying for the "Most Evil":title.

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Playmobil throws down animation gauntlet

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Is there a Godwin's Law for Playmobil?

There's already been some interesting Nazi Lego:

http://wiseoldturtle.blogspot.com/2006/02/lego-concentration-camp.html

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Quarter of France Telecom staff 'psychologically vulnerable'

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Call centers

> Is it really that bad - just annoy someone a bit and they'll trawl through your call history and find something to get rid of you for?

The one piece of work I've done that I'm truly ashamed of is a big call center management project. The main focus of the software was on micromanaging time and extracting the last drop of blood from a stone.

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MS store staff in spontaneous electric boogie

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Ripley said it first

"Nuke the site from orbit - it's the only way to be sure."

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HTC Tattoo

Steve Taylor 3
Thumb Up

Hurrah for 3.5mm plugs

Glad to see they've got a normal headphone socket - perhaps manufacturers are finally realising that stupid proprietary connectors are a major source of phone rage and user grumpiness.

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Green Berets get wearable combat smartphones

Steve Taylor 3

@Matt Bryany

> Having someone walking around blasting out Bluetooth or WiFi signals to the World in general will be a very quick way to get them dead.

I remember a story from a few years back about Israeli reservists getting their wrists slapped for taking their mobile phones along with them on deployments. Naughty!

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New Doctor Who is 'simply the best'

Steve Taylor 3
Go

Best of luck...

...to the new Doctor, but for God's sake can we have someone older next time? If things keep on as they are, we're on track for a pre pubescent doctor by 2012.

My non-negotiable demands:

- bring the Time Lords back

- 2 part episodes so there's room for an actual plot

- Doctor to take a break from snogging companions

- Dame Judi Dench as the next Doctor

Right then. I'm off to sulk for a bit.

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Apple blueprints the iShoe

Steve Taylor 3
Thumb Up

Inspired

So all I have to do now is subscribe to my shoe's Twitter feed?

Truly the modern world is... words fail me.

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Microsoft drops Family Guy like a hot deaf guy joke

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Anti Cool

> As for MacFarlane, he has arguably dodged the same cred bullet that has hit the likes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie.

And Brian Eno. I've always thought his ambient stuff was a bit drab anyway, but him designing "The Microsoft Sound" (Win95) didn't do much for his suppercoolcuttingedginess.

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Wolfram Alpha API lands with price tag attached

Steve Taylor 3
FAIL

Welcome Wolfram-Alpha

...to a world in which software which costs tens of thousands of dollars is typically available for free as a non-commercial, trial, or learning version.

This lets R&D teams in even the most hidebound company investigate new technologies and prototype new products without having to make a business case and screw some money out of the departmental budget.

It also generates a ready supply of experienced programmers who have gone and taught themselves to use said expensive products, just because programmers are curious little monkeys and like to learn stuff.

Best of luck and hope you enjoy your visit to our planet.

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WikiReader feeds you factiness on the go

Steve Taylor 3
Go

So pointless it's sublime

I'd definitely pay for it.

$5 from a remainder bin, that is. It's worth it for wackiness value.

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Welsh yobs clobbered by cross-dressing cage fighters

Steve Taylor 3
Happy

Turnaround is fair play

Lovely lovely story. Someone upstream mentioned enjoying hearing about the tables being turned, so here's another. My dear home city of Melbourne is becoming notorious for attacks on Indian students by racist dickheads, so it was nice to see:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/racist-skater-hospitalised-after-tussle-with-indian-wrestlers-20091005-gint.html

(Summary: if you want to go and beat up random Indians, do not do so at an Indian wrestling convention.)

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Google lobs coder's Microsoft badge into rubbish bin

Steve Taylor 3
Alert

MVP ==

Come on now - MVP doesn't *really* stand for "Most Valued Programmer":

http://www.object-arts.com/content/blog/mvpRevisted.html

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Machine rebellion begins: Killer robot destroyed by US jet

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Speak and Spell terminator

Minion Zero writes:

> Even if they loose comms with it

'Lose', dammit - 'Lose'. If you're going to infiltrate properly, you'll have to learn to spel gud so you can pass for human.

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Microsoft apologizes for digital head transplant

Steve Taylor 3
Unhappy

Too meta

>> "pairing a white man's head with a black man's hands, Microsoft is displaying a commitment to racial harmony"

> Give me a fuckin break!

So did AC miss the joke, or did I miss AC's meta joke? it's all too hard...

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