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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2722 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Google goes looking for more GLASSHOLES

I ain't Spartacus
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Boffin

I'm interested in what Glass can do. Despite the cynicism displayed on here. Perhaps it ought to be forced to make a noise while photographing/recording, in the way that I believe Japanese mobile phones have to.

If I could read the screen of course... Which Google say is the equivalent of a 25" HD telly at 8 feet. Sadly I can't read text on that size screen from that distance - so I guess it won't help me. Because it would be great to be able to go somewhere with a GPS that outputs turn-by-turn directions to a pair of glasses. Also when in the train station it would be nice to point a camera at the information displays so helpfully placed 20' in the air, so they're impossible to read. At the moment I carry a monocular for this purpose, but at airports/stations it can be a bit of a juggling job with bag, case, coat, passport, tickets, coffee, sausage roll, monocular... However I suspect I'll be swapping peering at a 100" screen from 20 feet away to peering at a 1/2" screen from 2 inches away, that's equivalent to a 25" screen 8 feet away - and they'll all end up being equally useless.

Oh well, I guess it's not aimed at me anyway. A quick look at Google's promo for Glass suggest that it's aimed at ice-skating, sky-diving hipsters who're obsessed with social networking and videoing everything they do, while looking at weather forecasts the rest of the time.

Oddly when I'm outside, I consider it too late to look at the weather forecast. Looking at the sky will do at that point, it was before I came out into the rain that I needed to have remembered my umbrella. Which is another thing taking up a hand that could usefully be holding a monocular... This tech will probably make it's way to low-vision aids by about the time I'm ready for the nursing home. At least I might get some nice nursey-porn out of it to help pay the bills.

There's no speccy icon (either with rainbow or glasses...), so I'll have to settle for the lab goggles one. I guess I'll stick to my bag with magnifying glass, reading glasses, TV watching glasses, polarised and photo-chromic sunglasses, monocular and jewellers screwdrivers to fix the one of them that will inevitably break.

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Brit boffin brews INSTANT HANGOVER RELIEF

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Re: Hangover cure

(avoid allowing someone without a measure to make cocktails, that is a recipe for disaster as I found out one evening)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NONONONONONO!!!!!!!!!

The stronger the cocktail, the better the cocktail. Assuming it's still in proportion and tasting yummy. The trick is to train yourself to taste the strength, then ration appropriately.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Well, sales of kebabs should only be effected if people are forced to take the antidote before leaving the pub. That would be disastrous for the trade, as nobody eats them sober.

However bacon sandwiches will be totally unaffected, BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY TOTALLY DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! Even vegetarians know this, and it's why they fear their weakness.

Perhaps Professor Nutt ought to be concentrating on a chemical which gives all the pleasure of bacon-y yumminess - without the unfortunate side-effects of addiction and heart trouble. If his chemical could also replicate the nice cuppa that goes with the sandwich, then all the better.

Then I'd wake up every morning, reach for my bedside table glass of water and bacon-sarnie-and-cuppa pill, and be set up for the day.

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Google makes Gmail EVEN NOISIER, or should that be nosier?

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Re: While marketing is important to Google,

Well I don't think they should totally get rid of the marketing people. They actually seem to have an idea of how to create a noticeable button. Whereas the new GMail UI designers seem to have been brought up in the Egyptian hieroglyphics school - where if you translate this then the Gods will bring a curse down upon you...

So what we need to do is send the techies into the marketing department. Where their natural grumpiness and cynicism will destroy marketing from within. And get the marketroids sent to developing, where they'll be unable to make any further changes to the product, but we might get some shinier buttons. Win - win methinks...

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Norks unlikely to beat the USA in the death-ray race

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Happy

Re: That diagram

My cars often had rocket motors. So I guess I was doing both. I'm afraid they often had guns as well. Shall we say I came from the Wacky Races school of car design. Dick Dastardly branch...

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Well, let's see...

Iraq did have chemical weapons. Those nice people at the UN found loads of them in the 90s, and when they left the country because Saddam was making it so hard to operate, they still had a list of stuff where they'd found the paper trail, but not destroyed the naughty stuff yet.

in between then and the invasion, they were either destroyed or possibly sent off somewhere. Almost all that the Dossier with the 45 minute claim said was based on those UN reports. Admittedly it didn't have enough of the caveats, like how badly Iraq had done at building decent chemical warheads - although I seem to remember it did say how bad they'd been at weaponising their biological weapons. The 45 minute claim was about hitting Cyprus (or Israel, anywhere else in the Middle East), and never mentioned London. Admittedly they should have put in the caveats about that intel, that it was estimated with reasonable probability - or whatever the exact wording was.

Check the IAEA and UN reports. Iran has broken a bunch of the rules of the NPT - that it signed up to. Israel hasn't signed, and North Korea un-signed... Iran has admitted (after they were found out) to building a secret underground base to centrifuge the 'fuel' for their nuclear reactor to a higher purity than is required for nuclear fuel. And has the ability to do so on an industrial scale. Whether they actually want to build a nuke, or whether they want to have the assurance of being close, is a matter for debate. But the fact that their nuclear program is aimed as much at weapons as at power, really isn't.

Take the old tinfoil hat off there, it'll keep your brain cooler.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Are you disputing that Iran have some kind of nuclear weapons program? Because nobody else seriously is.

Admittedly the CIA have wavered from 'we expect them to have a nuke any day now' to 'they're at least a couple of years away', several times over the last decade. But that's a reflection of the fact that intel is hard - as well as political interference as to what report they release.

Also remember the same things were said about the North Korean nuke. And it turns out that one of those reports was correct, and that they were months from developing a nuke. Well there's still some doubt, because, as I understand it, both their tests were small enough to possibly be faked - but probably weren't. I haven't seen a final analysis of the last one.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Screw EMP...

I think they're about hafway there...

[dons coat and runs]

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: It really breaks down into 2 problems

Aha! That explains Tesla's battery problems...

I don't see the point in North Korea bothering. They may as well just lob a nuke and be done with it. Although they'll probably struggle to do that - I doubt their are very portable.

They're not going to win any conventional war - they're too out of date. So once war starts the regime is probably doomed.

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BT Sport scores own goal with £897m Champions League footie rights deal

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Re: I don't subscribe to BT Vision,

I've got bad news for you. ITV now have 90 minutes more to fill every Wednesday.

I predict either: Midweek X Factor, or movie length Coronation Street.

It's unlikely to be an improvement on the footie. I just hope that BT do their attacking of Sky by messing up football. And leave the cricket alone! Although if they force Sky Sports to be cheaper (fat chance!) then I'd be happy. There was some idiot on the Today Program this morning, saying this BT thing would be good for consumers. Tee hee! As if it doesn't just mean that footie fans will end up having to pay 2 subscriptions, rather than just one.

Roll on sensible sports governing bodies. The NFL will let you buy TV rights for a whole season online for £160. That's all games, and access to all sorts of other stuff, and an archive of all the games since they started doing internet broadcasting (about 6 years). Or for half that you can just have access to all the games for the team you support.

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'Burning platform' Elop: I'd SLASH and BURN stuff at Microsoft, TOO

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Re: Business leadership for the 21st Century:

To be fair, it's sometimes good management to get out of markets that you don't think are important to the company. Or areas you have no management experience of.

Especially if there's someone out there who really wants to be in that market, because they think it would be a good fit with their business, in which case you may get a better price for selling that division than you could make in profit from running it.

On t'other hand, MS are just buying a consumer devices company, with manufacturing and distribution, and all that jazz. So it would seem a shame to dump XBox, when you've just bought in some of the expertise to manage it - and when so many other companies are desperate to get space on that TV. Although I think the future of living room computing is here, and it ain't the telly, it's the phone and tablet. Smart TVs are so horrible to use, that people would prefer to sit on the sofa using a laptop...

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I can't see Elop being the right man for the job

At Nokia Elop wimped out. They had all these competing products and projects, and rather than sort out the mess and go with something they had, he dumped the lot and went Windows. A perfectly rational decision, in my opinion, despite the conspiracy theories. However, could a better CEO have been able to bang some management heads together, sort out the tangle, and make use of all that lovely R&D Nokia had so far wasted?

The reason I say this, is that Microsoft seems to be in the same mess. There are all these different management fiefdoms, and upper management don't ever seem to settle the bun-fights between them. Rather they seem to sit back, and see who wins. Which is usually nobody. The only recent exception seems to be Sinofsky, who half-managed to get Metro through the bureaucracy, on many different devices, although it wasn't as merged as he said/planned.

The difference is that MS still don't have the same level of competition on their main money-spinners, Windows and Office. Although it's getting there. Whereas Nokia were already deep in the doodoo when they called Elop in.

MS need a visionary as well as a manager though. They need someone to cut through the middle-management mess, but they also need to decide what they are. Are they a boring business services company, with server tools, Office and Windows for corporate desktops, or are they a consumer company too?

There's nothing wrong with cutting all the consumer stuff, accepting that 50% annual growth is no longer possible - and just sticking to the corporate market. They could just sit in that market, with 90% of deskops hoovering up the cash, and keeping the customers happy. Then, by all means, dump XBox, Bing and the like. On the other hand, there's been a lot of corporate cash spent on getting control of the TV, and computing into the living room. MS have done pretty damned well here, with the XBox, and if they lose the consumer PC market, but win the smart TV market, they could still be happy bunnies. Although the smart TV market is probably DOA, given how much nicer it is to control a tablet than a telly. But the XBox is a direct route to consumer computing nirvana, if you've got a credit card and you're hooked up to teh telly, then you're set to sell movies, and who knows what else. Seems a shame to throw it away...

In conclusion, they should give the job to me.

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Re: Effect on WP

MacroRodent,

Well if I was feeling all troll-like, I could counter-troll your troll by pointing out that MS could just release an update to Windows Phone, which would re-use the button for something else. Or just point it at Google, or make it user-changeable.

Google may have a broken update model on Android, but MS don't on Windows Phone.

They learnt from the security fun-and-games that really kicked off with XP, and the internet getting all popular. Surprisingly Google don't seem to have. With half the Android phones in use still being on 2.x, and phone manufacturers not even bothering to push out patches, there could be some big security screw-ups to come. Given how badly Microsoft's reputation was damaged by the saga of security - I'm amazed that Google have allowed this situation to continue. If it wasn't for all the pain it'll cause users, I'd want something to go spectacularly wrong, as a warning to numbskulls.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Bing is the reason for buying the entry level phone business

There's a downside to selling Office on iOS and Android. MS would have to sell through the app stores. That's 30% of the revenue going to Google and Apple. If they really went big on it, and sold Office suites for £50 a pop (aiming at the business market) - that could mean handing loadsamoney to their rivals.

Your point about dumping Bing and Google-opoply could be interesting. There are big rewards for controlling search. Not only advertising cash, but user-tracking and the fact that you have a lot of control of how people access information - and what information they see. So it's a big thing to give up, there's a good reason that they've splurged so much cash on Bing. Google could become unpopular quite quickly, and then Bing would be well placed to pick up the goodies. But there's a lot of 'if' in that plan...

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World's first 3D-printed metal gun 'more accurate' than factory-built cousin

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Re: Interesting.

Agreed. I can't see them replacing mass production for a long time to come. But they're already a great tool for prototyping and low volume / low complexity jobs - and I can only see that role growing as prices drop.

It's interesting to see your take on it. The manufacturers I represent are a mix, some are making quite complex things, entirely of their own design. Whereas others are assembling standard bits of kit in clever ways to do specialised tasks. Nothing of high enough value to be worth keeping a plane for emergency deliveries.

So one of our principals used a 3D printer for a prototype about 4 years ago. It was an actual working model. Admittedly it broke after 2 days of testing - but that was enough to prove the design. But they make a small range of standardised stuff, so until printing can beat moulding, they'll only use it to prototype. I'd be surprised if it can.

One of the others have a larger product range, and often do custom jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if they got a 3D printer in tomorrow.

Someone also needs to do a 3D printer that works in chocolate. I've been trying to persuade our principal to model their signature product in choccie for ages, to give out as novelty Christmas promotional goodies. It's a bit of a running gag. If only you could clean out your 3D plastics printer, and whack in a cartridge of chocolatey goodness...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Interesting.

I was at a meeting last week with one of the engineering companies we work for. They're a small firm, with only a few million turnover, in a specialist area, and the product list is only 17 pages long (which includes about 5-10 options per item. So nothing huge. Yet they've just implemented a computerised stock control / quote system. This needed a code for every part and sub-assembly. They have 11,000 product codes!

They put out work for things like enclosures, castings and obviously they buy in fasteners and washers. But there are quite a few small fittings, that they might only use on one or two products. Which sell in the hundreds a year.

So I can see a niche for 3D printing. Instead of holding stock of huge numbers of rarely used, simple, parts - I can easily see it becoming economic to have a small printer in the corner of the factory. It'll be a while before you want to use it for anything complicated, but if you need a few simple fittings it could easily be cheaper than having to maintain stock, and keep up with 10 or 20 extra suppliers.

You get those funny economies, where you could end up making your own part for 10p, that you could buy in bulk for 1p each, and still be ahead on the deal because you don't have to order, stock and store all that extra stuff.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: I'm all for advances in technology

Anonymous,

Guns cost bugger all, in the grand scheme of things. Certainly if you're a loony dictator, with murder in mind. And you can always pay your own population to make them the old fashioned way. So I don't think this tech is going to make a great deal of difference.

Remember, 'guns don't kill people - rappers do.'

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Frickin Laser

raving angry loony,

I've got the SyFy Channel on line 1 for you. Apparently they're very interested in your script idea about a group of scientists who attempt to 3D print sharks. Don't worry if you've no experience of writing and no ear for dialogue. That's not considered important...

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Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

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Re: Two Questions

It's entirely WEEE complaint, because as the spaceship plungess inexorably towards its fiery doom, the playmonaut flying it shouts, "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!"

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Badges for Commentards

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: AC's and downvote divas

I've barely noticed any sock-puppetry on this site. In the realms of one poster says something, and then another replies immediately saying how wonderful, correct and perceptive they are. Also, despite many accusations, I don't notice many shills around here either. You see the accusation a lot, but it's rare that it looks convincing. More that it's a standard insult for people that don't agree. I've seen a few, very obvious ones, although it's obviously hard to tell if the marketing bods have been subtle (for once) and built up an account's reputation with regular non-shill posts.

I don't know if it's just me, but the numbers of votes seem to have gone down in the last month or two. Along with the number of forum posts on the non-article forums.

I remember commenting, on an article on Julian Assange I think, where I got a couple of up and down votes pretty quickly. I came back to the thread and read down about 10 comments, so we're only talking a minute, and clicked on 'My posts' again as the quicker way to get back to mine, and see if there was a reply. Suddenly, in under 2 minutes I'd gone from 2 up - 2 down to about 2 up - 12 down. I suppose it's possible, I'm not Julian's number one fan, and he does provoke some strong opinions. But I've never seen voting that fast before, up or down. It's also possible the site was just updating the votes slowly, and did a whole batch at once.

I've had most of a page of my comments, mostly in different articles, downvoted at once before. And a few other users have had that happen. Which is quite amusing. But they're obviously not using multiple accounts, or surely they'd have multi-downvoted the post that actually annoyed them, rather than resorting to the tedium of clicking through your post history.

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Sail HO! Look out Bay Area - it's the GOOGLE GALLEON

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Happy

Re: By and Large

Will Wykeham,

I thought the correct nautical term was Bring & Buy. And one flew a blue peter in order to signal ones willingness to engage in tat-based commerce.

This was often signalled by the well know phrase, "by the multi-coloured Swapshop of Noel Edmonds, that be a hideous jumper!"

[It's Friday, it's late. I may be becoming hysterical...]

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Another "Eye of Sauron" transport mechanism?

Funny you should mention him. As BAL is also the first 3 letters of Balrog - which is what first sprung to my mind - rather than Baal.

On the other hand, it's also the first 3 letters of Balloon. Which is a far friendlier word. It's definitely better to think balloon than balrog. Life is less stressful that way. Right up to the point when a huge bloke with burning hair whips you, then sticks his sword through you.

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We've invented the FONBLET, says Samsung

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Re: I'm skeptical about tablets bigger than 10"

I had a Tablet PC, back before the iPad came out. It was about a 13" widescreen - so a decent sized, but still portable, laptop. And it was wonderful, but very heavy. OK if you could support your elbow on a table, and tuck it in the crook of your arm, but otherwise tough for long periods. And you needed quite strong arms and hands for prolonged use.

The screen size was nicer - although Apple's 4:3 is better than widescreen (in my opinion). The weight not so much though. Having just played with the new iPad air, that hundred and something grammes they've just shaved off is a massive difference compared to my iPad 3. It really is huge, if your reading on the sofa for a couple of hours. Also they've made the bezel smaller. Having not been remotely tempted to upgrade, I now really want one. But if Apple or Samsung did a 12" iPad of about the same weight as my current one, I'd also be tempted. Chuck in a stylus too, and I'd dance a happy jig while handing over my credit card...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Yes, Invented.

ChrisInAStrangeLand,

I think it speaks well for Samsung management that someone came up with an odd idea, for the Galaxy Note, which probably seemed a bit odd, and they made it. And it turned out to be a success. So they went with it. I'm sure plenty of their phone models have failed, but given their profits from the phone division, they're obviously doing something right.

Apple's rigidity makes them vulnerable to someone doing to them exactly what they did to Nokia, if at any point they fail to adapt in a timely fashion, and someone else comes out with something even shinier than current top-end smartphones. In the meantime though, it probably maximises their profits - as Sammy and Apple basically hoover up all the profits in the industry between them.

As happens, it's not a moronic market segment either. Just because you don't want one doesn't mean it's not a valid product idea. I hate on-screen keyboards, but don't get on with the Blackberry style ones either. Therefore a stylus would be ideal for me. Although I don't send many texts or mobile emails, so have a smaller screened smartphone and do without. My phone is primarily for voice comms.

My friend who's a designer now has a Galaxy Note II. Because it allows him to photograph on site, sketch information on it, and email it to the office (or clients), all from one single device that's costing him about £300. A separate smartphone and 7" tablet for sketching would have been more flexible, but he preferred one thing to rule them all. For perfectly valid reasons.

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Happy

Re: Trying too hard to be 'cool'

Anonymous Sir or Madam, for that comment I salute you.

Reading excellent comments on El Reg... Happy Days...

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OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

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They predict that you're going to eat a yummy Jaffa Cake. What more could you need to know about your life?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Headmaster

Oh dear. Double greengrocers' apostrophes in my post above. Shocking. Jaffa Cakes still rule though. I've got to go to the shops at lunchtime, now I'll have to buy some.

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Happy

Oreo's are horrible. Just more expensive Bourbon's with delusions of grandeur.

Bow down and all hail the mighty Jaffa Cake!!!!!!!

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Does 'Star Wars' casting call hint at DEATH of LUKE SKYWALKER?

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What do you mean goes to hell? It already went to hell with the Phantom Morass. There were a couple of big dumb fun set-piece fights in the second one, which raised it above the dire, but the third one was absolutely dreadful. I guess that's what comes of casting an actor who can't. And giving everyone rubbish dialogue.

I doubt Abrams can make it any worse. Although you never know...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Surely the world is now ready for: Star Wars! The musical!

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

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Re: In an ideal world.....

That's the problem. There's a whole bunch of good procedures, which are often followed.

But there's no comeback if they don't. It's very rare for anyone to get punished for obvious abuses of power, and the worst case seems to be early retirement with sickness benefits and full pension. Which ain't exactly hardship.

Therefore there's always that randomness - and fuck all you can do about it in terms of restitution.

This is why the Andrew Mitchell case may be a good thing. It's forced the politicians to notice how bad things have become again. There's always going to be some abuses of power, but they've now added that senior-management New Labour public service apparachik 'you can't do anything about what I do' atttitude.

It's not fair to blame it all on Labour, it's just theirs was the era when that senior public service management class really seemed to take hold of society. The professional quangocrats who will always get re-appointed, how ever many times they fuck up. And have managed to add City levels of pay to public service job security and pensions.

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Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

Indeed you aren't under any legal obligation to help. However if you're innocent then it's in your interests to get it over with as quickly as possible. There are many possible reasons why you may not wish to hand over certain information - and therefore there can be good reasons not to cooperate. But petulance isn't one of them, so in most circumstances you're probably better of cautiously talking to them.

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Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

If you're innocent and you don't cooperate, then they're much less likely to believe you. Also you're slowing down the investigation, which is unlikely to be in your own interests. So you may wish to consult a lawyer first, but you may well be advised to cooperate fully. Or not, as the case may be.

Of course, the police may be in the process of 'fitting you up', I doubt it happens to random people often, but it's not unknown. However, they can't use anything you say off the record against you in court, as they have no record of it. So the purpose of off the record chats is to find out where to point the investigation.

Your point about the caution is well-made though. That seems to be the easy thing for the police. They get a clear-up, and in a lot of cases I'm not sure they're too fussy about whether people are guilty or not. It's a nice way to get the paperwork done that makes plod look good.

I know someone who was being bullied into accepting one over a minor fight with her ex-husband. Now there's no way in hell they can convict, because there's no evidence, it was a minor thing, in private, and he'd never have pressed charges anyway. He reported her in a fit of pique (tempers being high), but thought better of it. However some fuckwit plod thought it would look good on their figures to still get her to take a caution before the whole thing collapsed. Although to be fair, one of the other officers directly advised her not to sign - so he clearly has a sense of proportion and some human decency.

I've also heard that this is a standard tactic with people on minor porn issues. It's not worth investigating, but a conviction would be nicer on the figures. So the suspect is offered a choice. Either take a caution, admit guild and go on the sex-offenders register. Hooray for us, we've got another percentage on our clear-up rate. Or plod will go to your family, friends and employer and loudly say we're investigation so-and-so for naughty porn, seize all their computers, make lots of noise and ruin their life.

Sadly the police lost a lot of their sense of proportion when decision to prosecute was removed, and given to the CPS. Now they must investigate, or get CPS' permission to stop. Of course, that discretion was taken away due to past miss-use...

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Re: Excellent stuff

Yes, the defence can hire computer experts too. In fact, lots of the consultants who work for the prosecution, also work for the defence. In different cases of course...

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Re: 3 of 19

I was thinking of conducting all my criminal activity on a Cray II. Or even a LEO, if I can get one. That way, they'll never get my computer into the evidence bags... No chain-of-evidence, no conviction.

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Twitter to flog IPO shares at $26, eyes $2bn prize ... IBM will be pleased

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This sale could actually be a real success. Like the Facebook one was.

I actually heard a market analyst on the radio the other day, saying that Twitter's under-writers need to be careful on pricing, in order to not price it too high, and leave nothing for the market.

i.e. his advice to them was not to maximise the profit for their paying client (Twitter), but to sell the shares for less than the market was willing to pay, so the early 'investors' can sell at a nice profit. Which is lovely for the market of course, but not so much for Twitter.

By those lights, the early Facebook hoping-for-the-greater-fool buyers got screwed, and Facebook's owners got all the money that it was possible for them to get - which is a successful IPO in my book. Obviously not so good for the traders.

Obviously both valuations are totally bonkers though. Facebook might be worth a good deal, given all the captive eyeballs it's got, and the fact it makes decent profits. But over $100bn seems mad. Twitter doesn't even have profits yet, or the same kind of customer lock-in - so I don't see how it's worth all that moolah.

I'm so glad I stopped paying into a pension, and put my hopes of a non-catfood-eating-retirement elsewhere. At least it's not my money being wasted. I'm sure I can manage to bollocks-up my own investment without help from the professionals...

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Cops: Bloke makes bet with wife. Wife loses - so hubby TASERS her

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Re: If

But a taser isn't a 357 Magnum. Aren't they classed as non-lethal weapons? I know there's some debate on the safety of the things, but they must be regarded as pretty safe, because there used to be a rule in the British police that you couldn't be issued with one, until you'd been stunned with it. It was part of the training. Don't know if that's still the case. But the lawyers in workplace health and safety would definitely have something to say if they tried that rule on the firearms officers...

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Horrific FLESH-EATING PLATYPUS once terrorised Australia

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Happy

Re: Someone get SciFi Channel on the phone!

And now, on SyFy it's time for 'The Platypocalypse'! Starring some alleged actors, wearing inadequate amounts of clothing...

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Google Helpout live vids: Helping you help us help ourselves, says web giant

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Happy

I wonder if it would be possible to make a service less useful than Yahoo Answers?

Oh well, even if Google's offering is rubbish, if it knocks Yahoo's lack of Answers down the page a bit, it can't be all bad.

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How the W3C met its Waterloo at the Do Not Track vote showdown

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Re: 105

CaptainHook,

Agreed. Facebook and Google in particular are waaaaaaay across the creepy line, as far as I'm concerned. But that's still a minority view. Most people are more interested in getting on with their lives, and don't wish to 'waste their time' by getting involved in politics or 'weird obsessions about privacy'. Right until their love for goat-porn is exposed to their families due to tracking/advertising.

Plus society and politics are usually pretty slow at catching up with technological change. The internet is still in it's Wild West phase, and I'm sure there's a few more years of that to go.

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Re: Is there actually any evidence...

Neil Barnes,

I can answer your question. Users want advertising. They've shown this by mostly refusing to pay for websites, when there was a free alternative with adverts.

Like any opinion poll question, you have to be careful how you ask it. I'm sure that if you asked people "do you like advertising" you'd mostly get a resounding raspberry. But, if you asked the same people 'would you prefer The Daily Mail online to be free (supported by ads), or would you rather pay for it' - you'd get a different answer.

Admittedly many might say 'yuck, I'd like the Mail to go out of business'... But the point stands. People put up with ads to get the stuff they want for free. It's a perfectly reasonable transaction.

The problem is that people in general aren't particularly bothered by what's going on (don't really think about it), until someone points it out in a way that they notice. Then they'll be annoyed. So the industry will walk a creepy fine line between what it thinks it can get away with, and what it would like to try. There will be scandals and campaigns. But I suspect that most people are happy to be advertised at, and even happy to be tracked (at least a bit), in exchange for free stuff that they value. How much of it they'll put up with, is still anybody's guess.

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Re: A quick question

Tools > Options > Privacy tab > tracking is the first bit of the page, just click in the box you want.

Admittedly it's buried away and this is an interesting argument. MS turned it on by default, and took a whole load of crap for doing so. Presumably on the grounds that no-one is going to choose to turn tracking on. And default opt in is always the most convenient option for advertisers / Ryanair trying to sell you insurance / junk mailers / Google giving you their toolbar / Adobe giving you McAfee...

So Mozilla have it turned off. Chrome has it hidden behind an advanced settings hyperlink in the settings page, also off by default.

Of course the problem with all the browser makers turning it on by default is that the advertisers can then say that this wasn't a user choice, so we'll ignore it. So there's no easy answer.

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Maybe the ad-block writers could have a 'block some' option where adverts that behave don't get blocked. It could train the others to start behaving if others are getting their ads served up.

That's surely one possibility. Say some of Firefox, Opera, MS and Apple got together and have a set of obnoxious advert tools. Then if enough users click on the 'kill this crappy ad' button, it gets blocked on all their browsers. Even FF with its 20% market share could have a big impact on its own. MS might get into trouble with regulators if they go it alone. It could even be a popular feature that pull users away from Chrome, and forces Google to join in.

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Re: 105

Of course it does. Follow the money. A substantial amount of the internet is paid for by advertising. Including most of the shiny stuff Google do. Therefore the advertisers are going to demand a seat at the table. Therefore a compromise will have to be reached that doesn't piss off one side so much that they throw the whole deal up in the air, and piss all over everyone else's chips.

Given that only a limited subset of internet users seem to care about privacy, and not many more seem interested in bothering to learn the issues, there's a lot that the advertisers can get away with.

To quote Eric Schmidt, "There is what I call the creepy line. The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."

Which is a pretty good summary of the situation. Don't wake the twin sleeping giants of government or public. They're happy when they're asleep, they don't really want to have to care about this sort of thing. Therefore they get very grumpy if you wake them up, and force them to take notice by taking the piss too much. And then they may over-react and bugger-up your whole business by mistake.

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The browser makers also have a lot of power here. At the moment, the anti-tracking / anti-advertising tools are a bit of a blunt instrument. I don't want to ad-block The Register, because I want to read your stuff, so I want you to get paid. But equally, I can't be bothered to turn on an ad-blocker, and then manually configure it to see ads from the sites I want to get paid. I've therefore decided it's only fair to accept advertising - rather than be lazy and block it all.

The same with tracking and cookies. It's a lot of effort, what with having to clear the Flash cache, the browser cache, and presumably when IPv6 comes in, regularly change the MAC address of your pooter that it's reporting

The browser makers could simplify a lot of this. They could play around with what info they give out in headers, what links they automatically follow, what images they download, how they respond to javascript tracking and how they accept cookies. And give the user back a lot of control for all the sneaky stuff that's going on. Although I guess Chrome has no incentive to do that, and Firefox do get a lot of their cash from Google - so will have to be cautious about pissing them off.

One thing that would be nice (and very easy) is a way to right click on an obnoxious advert and kill it. Like the O2 ones that the Register was running a while back, and said they couldn't cancel because they had a contract - and O2 took an absolute age to fix. Adobe don't want to give you tools to turn that shit off, because they're crap, but Firefox could easily do it. Either a one-off thing, or just a one-click way to kill the Flash Plug-in, if Adobe won't play ball in some way.

There's likely going to have to be a deal at some point. There's a whole bunch of people holding the nuclear option on each other, so if they don't deal, someone's going to press it. Governments may choose to get involved, which will almost certainly fail - but could do so by buggering up the market totally. Browser makers could nuke the advertising market instantly - if they were really pissed off. Facebook, Google and social networks have loads of info gathered through log-ins, so might feel that going on an anti-advertising-tracking campaign could suit them - as they get their creepy info a different way. Or the consumers could go rogue and start boycotting the creepiest stuff (in reality whichever high-profile target missteps and gets noticed), and force change.

It's all fun and games, until someone loses an eye...

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Big Beardie's watching: Alan Sugar robots spy on Tesco petrol queue

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Happy

Re: scanners

In which case, expect to see adverts for death-star thermal exhaust port covers and 'get well soon son' cards. Possibly also moisturising cream ads, both him and the emperor could really have done with some of that...

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Re: Balaclava anyone?

Sad replying to myself I know, but the idea popped into my head because of yesterday's article, and I can't help it:

What adverts do zombies watch?

Braaaaaaaain's Faggots.

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Re: Balaclava anyone?

No, not army style face paint. Actor style... Just make yourself up to look 40 years older, or optionally like a zombie, and enjoy all those creepy adverts for sweets and funeral plans.

What adverts do zombies watch?

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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

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Re: Talking about Rugby can cause embarrassment as well...

Then again, we all know that you get up to some pretty odd things in the scrum...

Anyway they have a position in American Football called "tight end", so they're in no position to comment.

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Re: This is disturbing

Tips for confusing visiting Americans:

1. As well as not worrying when told there's faggots for tea, due to it not meaning what might you think, do not be alarmed if an English person offers you spotted dick afterwards...

2. Elgin Marbles is a fun game for all the family to play. There's a permanent game run at the British Museum every day.

3. David Cameron had a fag at Eton. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

On second thoughts...

4. We're very glad that you noticed our confusion over Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game' - and changed the name of the Aliens to the "Formics". Shall we say there would be a good deal of sniggering at the back in cinemas had you kept the original the "Buggers".

5. London Underground encourages its passengers to strike up lively conversations, in order to while away the monotony. In fact, it is considered rude to not make eye contact, or discuss such pleasantries as the weather, on a crowded tube train.

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