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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Bolivian president's jet grounded so officials can look for Snowden

I ain't Spartacus
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GCHQ didn't plant that bug in the Ecuadorian embassy

It was Julian Assange. How else do you think he got their consul's password so he could knock up a travel document for Snowden without the government's permission?

Well OK, he'd probably just hack the computers for that. So maybe it is our bug. Or an imaginary one. This story really could run-and-run. The great thing about spying, once it gets onto the news agenda, is that no-one believes denials, which are rarely issued anyway, and so you can pretty much say anything. Happy days for journalists with column inches to fill, at least.

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Re: This has now officially..

Where are my trousers? The ambassador's coming to tea in a minute, and I can't find them anywhere. Oh no, that's him at the door now! I'll hide in this cupboard while he's here.

G'Day ambassador mate! I've got the consul's trousers here, I was just borrowing them for a nice young sheila I got back there on the sofa. D'you know where he is?

in walks a loveable policeman

Oi! You're not allowed in here. Diplomatic immunity!

'Ello ello ello sir, you're right. I'd better hide in the bathroom, before the ambassador spots me, and I cause a diplomatic incident.

[probably best I don't give up my day job]

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El Reg encounters mObi: R2-D2 for retailers

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Re: Pretty shit really

Partially using being the operative phrase here.

The current stock control tools require the staff to put the stock on the system correctly, then update the system when it's taken from stock room to shelves. In my experience at a medium sized retail chain, this rarely happened in some stores. Admittedly the supermarkets pay better, and use more permanent staff than we did, but it only takes a few staff not doing it right to turn your stock control system into a frustrating excursion into randomness.

I suspect that given the quality of the fleshies they hire, and their perceptions of their own store managers, that robot overlords will appear quite attractive to various retail head offices. I await the laser-armed android store managers with interest. They'll probably have better personalities than most of the human ones anyway...

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Re: a victim is a victim.

Can you imagine the kids chasing the robot through the shelves? Will it lead them into a back room and gun them down? We can only hope.

Given that this is a stock control robot, I should imagine it will only use that mode when the shop is low on meat pies.

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Devil

Why the fiddly, and processor intensive, ball and gyros to stay upright? Surely the wheel is now perfected technology - and out of patent... Otherwise they should have used a pogo-stick, or an air-cushion and had it hover properly...

I suppose it's too much to ask for that they use SpaceX's latest technology, the Grasshopper rocket. It would be fun to have a mini rocket bouncing round your supermarket, and it could get to those empty shelves super-quick. But people always laugh at me when I suggest indoor rocketry as the solution to any problem. I can't imagine why...

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Eww! What have you done to the layout?

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Re: While we're grumbling

Neil,

That's there already. If you're in the my posts page you've got the forum title to get direct to it, with all your posts in it listed below.

Above each of your posts is a date/time thingy saying posted at blah blah blah, which is a click-able link directly to your post.

Also, any post which is a reply to another, will have that swirly arrow thingy to the left of it. If you click on that arrrow (on any post) it will take you to the post it is in reply to.

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Unhappy

User Interface

I like lines around things. It makes it obvious what's a button or a single element, and what isn't. So for example, my imagination still paints the line you've taken away around the upvote/downvote buttons. I go to click on them, and the mouse pointer doesn't change to a button-pressing-pointy-finger, because I'm actually hovering over the number, which is now no longer part of the button. Fair enough, other than making it a smaller target it's no problem. But I just don't understand why? The old buttons were perfectly fine.

You've also taken away your red branding, and everything's going grey. Well your choice obviously. I don't personally go for it, but it's no skin off my rosy nose - and makes the forum no better or worse.

Putting the icons away on the right is just silly though. They should be the first thing you see. It's already difficult enough getting the hard-of-thinking to realise you're making a joke sometimes. But how come I have to press a button to get the icons when I'm posting?

Finally, small white writing on grey background? Really? Bold white on black yes please, but not thin white on grey. Please give us visual contrast. It makes stuff easier to find. Sod the designers, sod pretty, go for obvious. This site is aimed at techies who generally prefer function over form. But if you want design, you can't sacrifice function for form, it's either both, or if you must lose one, lose form.

Finally to play my trump card. The disabled card for me please. I'm visually impaired. I like big, bold and contrasty. It costs me less concentration and mental effort to sort it out. That's true for average sighted people too, so no bad thing. My reading glasses use 5x magnification, and so have to be focused in on a couple of words at a time. So I get positional cues from peripheral vision. To a lesser extent that's true of everyone, who use centre vision for detail.

For example, If you're going to use a line to separate posts, don't use the thinnest grudging line the designers can get away with, because they're all sulking as users complained when they took the old one away in the last re-design. Put the old thick one back. It makes the page look no uglier. But it does make it clearer. And clarity is a good thing. You seem to be moving your forums gradually to just a bunch of information floating in white space. Devoid of any structure holding it together. I don't understand why. That structure should guide the eye to where it's supposed to be. In summary, lines are good (as that nice Columbian man told me last night).

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Boffins build telescopic contact lenses to battle blindness

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Re: I'll get you Gadget.

Well if you're going to do that, surely it would be easier to do 'Go Go Gadget Arms'?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Holy s**t

A mate of mine was over one weekend. We had several drinks. Then several more. Such that I had to pour him into a taxi, and help him through the front door. He couldn't stand up without support, and yet, with me holding him up was able to take out his contact lenses perfectly (without poking his own eyes out) and go through all the rigmarole of washing/rinsing. It was most impressive, given that if I'd let go of his shoulders he'd have gone over backwards...

Actually there's another problem. In order to be able to put contact lenses in, you need to be able to see well enough to get them into the right place, and you need to be able to see well enough to grab them and take them out again - although at least in the second case you're wearing your corrective contacts lenses at the time.

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Bugger!

Good work chaps.

But I use 5x magnification, and I've got mercury poisoning from the NHS' last experiment on me with contact lenses. So it looks like I'll have to wait for something else.

Apparently, in the 70s, it was considered sensible to use mercury as an element of contact lens cleaning solution. Admittedly with a rinse to get most of it off afterwards. I'm not quite sure what part of bio-accumulative toxin they hadn't understood, but I'm not sure I can ever wear lenses again. Applying mercury directly into your eyes hurts by the way. I don't recommend it...

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What happened to Eadon??

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Happy

TeeCee,

We are being Mr Helpful today. While you're acting as librarian for these people, can you make me a coffee, organise all my CDs into alphabetical order and find all my posts with the word banana in them...

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Black Helicopters

Re: What happened to Eadon??

He went spam-tastically bonkers on one of Trevor Pott's Microsoft articles. I think every other post was calling him a shill, or a FAIL. So he was taken out and shot, then air-brushed from history. Don't ask what happened, or 2 sinister men in leather jackets and dark glasses will start hanging round outside your door. I'm told Siberia is very cold, this time of year...

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Ecuador: Snowden is Russia's problem

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Re: Equador, the pillar of freedom

They're spies. They spy. The clue is in the name. You would have an argument if all he'd revealed had been PRISM and spying on US citizens. That's clearly a scandal that needs attention. However he's also revealed stuff about spying on foreigners. Well that's what the NSA is for!

Of course if they really are supposed to be helping to spot extremists like the guys in Boston, then they are supposed to be spying on Americans as well. But I'm pretty sure they're not, and that job is down to the FBI.

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Re: Equador, the pillar of freedom

I'm not sure if you're really missing my point, or deliberately trying to deflect it - the issue of legality is purely an excuse - and a petty one too. I'm absolutely convinced, had the bloke been a Russian, and holed up in some EU airport, or US airport, having just run from his Moscow masters, there'd be absolutely no problem with granting him asylum in a matter of hours in any of those "democracies", or "true democracies".

Anonymouse,

Britain has given several Russian citizens political asylum. It's a government that persecutes legitimate and peaceful opposition leaders and journalists. We would struggle to extradite anyone to Russia, even if we wanted to, because they also don't have a free-and-fair judiciary. 98% of people charged with a crime in Russia are convicted. Apparently you have to bribe the police before you're brought back to the police station. Once the process of filling in the charge sheet is begun, you're almost certain to be found guilty.

Thus paperwork is a problem. If we had a Russian citizen here we wanted to send back, the rule of law probably wouldn't allow it. You'd have to resort to illegal actions, such as rendition. And look how much trouble that caused.

So I'm neither missing, nor deliberately deflecting your point. Our governments should be, and mostly are, governed by the rule of law. If they give shelter to someone, and they have an extradition treaty with the US, they would have to justify that action in court. Now they could probably get out of it, by citing political factors and therefore block extradition. But that depends on their own political set-up.

However, they probably don't want to deliberately abuse their own legal due-process. But they probably do want to get cheap publicity. And as much as they don't like being spied on, they also know their own governments legitimately employ spies, and probably don't want to encourage a world where all spies can blab, then run somewhere safe and protected.

Also, it's not totally clear to me that Snowden does deserve sympathy and protection. Well he does deserve sympathy, because he's in a godawful mess, and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for him. But he's got a perfectly valid reason to claim whistle-blower status if the NSA really were running a big program to spy on US citizens. But revealing the NSA spying on foreign diplomats, which is their fucking job - is pretty close to treason. If he didn't approve of spying, why did he get a job working for the world's largest signals intelligence gathering organisation (even if by proxy)?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Equador, the pillar of freedom

Tom Welsh,

First define democracy?

The US founding fathers were referring back to Athens. The Athenians had drastically changed own their democracy after the disaster that was the Sicilian expedition, loss of the war with Sparta etc.

Actually, before defining democracy, define demos. If you were Athenian that was male citizens only, no immigrants, no women and no slaves. You can rule a medium sized city with reference to an assembly of all your voters, bit harder to do it with a country. Speed of communications is a problem for a start, which is why Americans still don't get to elect their presidents directly.

However, I think it's pretty obvious what I meant by genuine democracies. And you were being deliberately obtuse. And yes, I am making a value judgement about the validity of different systems, just because I can. Russia does not have a free media, free electoral commission or a free judiciary. Therefore it doesn't have free-and-fair elections, therefore it's not a democracy. However Putin is probably the leader most Russians want, even after the last election (which was more imperfect than usual). So I wouldn't call Russia a dictatorship - just not a genuine democracy. Maybe an oligarchy? It's a word they use themselves...

While imperfect, the US, UK, Germany, France etc. do have free-and-fair elections. Therefore they're genuine democracies.

However, as you correctly point out, none of them have an assembly of all free adult male citizens meeting in the town square to decide on policy.

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Re: Equador, the pillar of freedom

No-one can do anything about the US spying on them. Because they're busy spying on the US right back. Plus there's no point trying to stop spying, it's like trying to stop gravity.

Governments spy. They always have, and probably always will. There'll be a short period of public embarrassment, then everyone will go back to business-as-usual.

As for paperwork being a hassle, it really is. One of the things about being a proper democracy is the rule of law. That means the courts can overrule the government. So you can get lumbered with people like Abu Qatada, because the courts won't let you kick his sorry arse out the door due to his human rights.

So if you take in someone like Snowden, the courts might rule that he isn't a genuine asylum claimant and make you send him back home. Which could be embarrassing if you've just been using him to polish up your credentials with his hero-worshippers online.

Look at Assange. Ecuador took him in for some cheap PR. In the hopes that the UK would do a deal. But the UK can't do a deal, as our courts have ruled he's got to go to Sweden. Remember our government doesn't get to directly tell the police what to do. Of course, hints could be dropped, and he could be easily sneaked out of the country if the Met were willing to cooperate. But it would be a career-ending screw-up if (when) it leaked out, and possibly a criminal conspiracy. Even if they wanted to, it would be too much hassle and risk to ignore the law.

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Re: Equador, the pillar of freedom

You don't understand. No-one wants him because it's too much hassle. He's trouble, and you never know what he'll do. And whatever it is, it'll generate automatic publicity. Plus there's all those forms to fill out. Paperwork's a bitch you know...

In the case of the genuine democracies it's even worse. I'm not sure he's got a valid case for asylum. He broke US laws and they're seeking to arrest and try him. That's not political persecution, that's legal due process. So the German government could stick two fingers up to the US, and then have a legal minefield to walk though, then find they have to extradite him anyway, on instruction from their own courts. Or maybe not, as it could be regarded as a political crime, and therefore exempt from extradition treaties.

Remember, internet wish-fulfilment is not the same as actual, real life.

As for Russia, they can do what they want, as their courts will do what they're told. But it's one thing to make mischief and get free publicity, while embarrassing an adversary. It's another to actually do something, and create a diplomatic incident. Putin wants trade with the US, and diplomatic deals with them too. There's no point gratuitously pissing them off, unless there's something in it for him. As an ex-KGB officer, he's unlikely to be shocked at the idea of spying...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I doubt it's anything to do with US aid. They've given asylum to Assange already. And look how that's turned out...

They've got an untidy bloke blocking up their sofa, and he's just persuaded one of their consuls to do something stupid, and possibly embarrassing, while the ambassador was away. Diplomats are supposed to be publicity-shy unless directly instructed otherwise.

Anyway, the rules of asylum are that you're supposed to claim it in the first country you come to, when you get there. Or you can claim it in an embassy beforehand and then go off there. But I'm not sure that second one is of much practical use, because if you're fleeing from the country you're in - what's to stop them intercepting you on your way to the border, between embassy and target country? As usual with international law, it tends towards the impractical, and appears to be written to assume that all countries are good and honest global citizens. Given what a cynical bunch diplomats, lawyers and politicians are I've never quite understood how that happens...

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Facebook's Winklevoss Bros file to launch Bitcoin Trust for investors

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Genuinely not that up on 'bitcoins', can someone tell me why?

Because.

I can think of no other reason. Standard warning: Bitcoins can go down as well as up, down, flying around, looping the loop and defying the ground...

There is built-in deflation in the Bitcoin system. So in theory they will always go up in value. However, in theory they can't work as a currency because there's deflation built into the system. So my bet is still on them failing. Hence I don't own any. Others disagree and tell me that "I don't get it" and that no other currencies are any more reliable. Britain has had a national debt since the 1800s and not defaulted on it yet. Bitcoin has a 5 year history of volatility, cock-ups and scams...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

murph,

I guess you won't be interested in my scheme then.

I've got £100 in my wallet at the moment. I'm selling shares in a company that will hold that £100, secure and protected in perpetuity. How much you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked me that. A very reasonable £10 a share. I plan to sell 100 shares at first, and maybe more in future. Then you won't need to worry about holding cash yourself, you can securely trade in my rock-solid securities.

I believe my business reputation as a rowing (in both senses), suing, jumper-wearing, publicity-whoring numpty ought to do wonders for the reputation of my company...

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3-2-1... BOOM: Russian rocket launches, explodes into TOXIC FIREBALL

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Re: Insurance...

There's probably no point in insurance on Glonass. There's so many satellites that some are bound to go wrong or go bang. So it's cheaper to just save the insurance premiums towards when something like this happens.

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Snowden speaks from Moscow: 'Obama lies'

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Re: Wow, nobody talks about the elephant in the room?

Martin Huizing,

Everyone spies on everyone. That's what spies and diplomats do.

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Re: Trades

I guess one 'good' thing about the Cold War, was that there was always a spy handy to trade for anyone you wanted to get back from Russia.

Sadly there doesn't seem to be anyone we can trade for Andrey Lugovoy. Although I guess they wouldn't have swapped him anyway.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Rock and a hard place

tempemeaty,

I think you've been reading too much spy fiction. Plus, what "President's lies"? He's not been made stateless, he's a US citizen, but has had his right to travel taken away. He can go home to the US any time he likes. Or he can find somewhere else that wants to take him.

'It has been reported that the US VP put pressure on countries' is not evidence of Obama lying. Or in fact evidence of anything. It's just rumour. Even if true, saying please extradite to us our criminal is not diplomatic wheeler-dealering.

Whatever is, or isn't, true in the Snowden case, he's not important enough to change Middle East policy for. Neither the US or Russians are even remotely likely to think so. Even if he was, the story has already been leaked, so there's nothing left to bargain for.

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Brit fantasy artist sues James Cameron over Avatar world

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Happy

Re: I met James Cameron in a London hotel bar once.

frank ly,

Does that mean it's you I should punch, and demand that 5 hours of my life back?

Well it seemed like 5 hours anyway...

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A question of forum etiquette

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Happy

Tee hee. Perhaps I'll install Windows 8 on my PC on Sunday in his honour...

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Devil

Well it could be even worse in future. Now that the El Reg Commentard Soviet have taken Eadon out and shot him. You might be accused of actually being Eadon.

LINKOFHYRULE COMMENT FAIL!

...Ooops...

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Re: @Corinne

There seems to be a tendency in recent years for people to use words they know are considered abusive without knowing the actual meaning of the word

Corinne,

My Mum had picked up twat as a nice safe, inoffensive insult. The worst swear word she'll allow herself is oh bugger. When we were kids it was "oh bugs", in the hope we wouldn't notice... She's in her mid 70s so swearing isn't something she does much, and it mostly makes her uncomfortable.

It was extremely funny when she found out what twat actually meant. I've never heard her use it since. Perhaps I ought to persuade her that calling people tea-baggers is a nice harmless insult...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: A question of forum etiquette

dogged,

It's one of the few swearwords that still retains some of its power to shock. You still don't hear it very often. And most people would put it top of the naughty hit parade.

I guess in 10-15 years time it'll be as commonplace as fuck has become. I can't think of anything else left to use, and as many of these swearwords are quite old that could mean nothing new comes along to replace it. Rather like antibiotics slowly become less useful as immunity builds up - soon there will be no effective swears left...

Well apart from Belgium...

I don't know why Eadon gets to you so much though. Which he obviously does from the levels of exasperation in some of your responses. He's not offensive to other users, apart from sometimes calling them shills. And even then, he usually does that in general terms. A pointed passive-aggressive, "there's a lot of Microsoft Shills about" in reply to one of my nice posts about Win Mob is the worst I can think of off-hand. He's also not got the full set of troll-skills. He'll bomb a thread with anti-MS posts, but only reply to the posts that go up while he's still looking at it. He doesn't tend to endlessly come back and obsessively reply to all the people having a go at him.

Plus I get uncomfortable at some of the personal abuse he cops. Mostly people make funny digs (and if you're trolling you have to take that), but sometimes people stray over into being personal and nasty. And I've never seen him respond to that by returning the abuse. So he deserves brownie points for that.

So I don't think it's fair for you to call him a cunt. If your post got modded, then it deserved it. When I was a forum mod I'd have handed out a day's forum ban for it as well. But that was a far more strictly modded community that here. On the Irish forum I was even supposed to stop them saying feck. Separating an Irishman from his right to say that is fecking impossible.

So don't be a stupid Ghent. Lighten up. As jake would say, have a home brew. Although all the home brew I've tasted was vile, so maybe have something brewed by professionals instead.

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iOS7 headshaking interface revealed

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Re: Grab the pitchforks! Ignite the torches!

From the description here it sounds like a case of Apple hearing about the Samsung "eye-tracking control" and launching into a rapid "quick, lets do the same so that we invented it" mode

No it doesn't. From the article it sounds like Apple are playing around with beta software for people with disabilities to access their products. Which, as shouldn't need to be explained to you, is a good thing.

When Apple are rubbish, or laughable, or just plain evil - please feel free to point and laugh at them with the rest of us. When they do something good, it would be nice to praise them for it. It's not an effort that Google had bothered to make with Android for the first few years. I've not looked at their accessibility options in the last year or so, so they may have improved.

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Re: What's the state of Android Accessibility?

These feature sets have been already been implemented superbly by real companies who do innovate!

Obviously!,

Have Google? Which was my question.

I've been to industry exhibitions on this stuff (as research for starting a company selling it), and there are plenty of computers accessible to people with disabilities. But the only thing I've seen in phones are big buttons and very simple talking ones. No-one has done the kind of modifications to a smartphone that you can get on PCs - at least that I'm aware of. I wouldn't be surprised if this is no longer true, my knowledge is out of date. Android certainly has the potential, as it's so easy to customise. If I was going to sell an accessible smartphone, I'd sell a modified 'Droid of some sort.

However, despite your hatred of Apple, they've done something good here. They've not put in as much effort as I'd like them to, but they have put in a decent amount - and should be applauded for it.

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What's the state of Android Accessibility?

There were almost no accessibility options when I had one, back in the 2.2 days - what's it like now?

Apple have baked quite a few into iOS, and I believe were recommended by the RNIB. It all looked a bit unfinished to me last time I played with it, trying to see if a 10 year-old blind kid could manage it, only partially successfully. However I've heard that they're making more efforts and recently asked him to do some usability testing. With this news as well, at least Apple seem to be taking the issue at least semi-seriously.

It is hard though. I saw a sat-nav for blind people, and almost none of them could use it, as there were just too many menus required. In the end, the company went back to the drawing board and came up with something massively simpler. It tells you where you are, so you know when to get off public transport - but only has a few programmed places - which you have to program in when you're actually there. Some of this stuff requires a superb memory of how the system works, and what the menu items are, so only the more techie blind people can really get to grips with it.

Personally I expected Android to become the kit of choice. Even if Google didn't do it, by being totally customisable, one of the existing suppliers could produce various flavours of accessible launchers. Maybe that's already happened?

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Throwing arms let humans rise above poo-flinging apes to play CRICKET

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Trollface

So chimps can only hurl poo underarm? Might this explain the performance of our Australian friends in the cricket recently?

Possibly they are de-evolving due to all that sun, and easy money from mechanically digging stuff out of shallow holes in the ground and selling it to China. Perhaps all we need to win the Ashes is to have some distracting bananas on the field at all times...

To channel both the spirit of Eadon and W G Grace: Australia rhymes with FAILure!

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PRISM leaker strands hacks on booze-free flight

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Happy

Re: Unconfirmed claim that he's in iceland?

while he's chillaxing in the ecuadorian embassy with asange.

I very much doubt that. There's no room. This sofa ain't big enough for the both of us!

Anyway, I resent that remark of yours. I'm Spartacus!

I think...

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Galaxy S4 way faster than iPhone 5: Which?

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I am not Apple or Android fan but from having used them both iPhone beats any and Android device hands down. (Bring doen the down votes)

Serge 2,

Having played with, and read reviews of, the new Blackberry and owned a 'Droid, a Win Phone 7 and now on my first iPhone (a 5) - I can say they're all pretty much of a muchness now. They've all got their differences, strengths and weaknesses, but none of them now totally outshines the others.

Just in the last few months I've recommended a cheapie Windows Phone to a couple of people, a Samsung Galaxy Note to a mate who wants the stylus and big screen and an iPhone to someone else. It's horses-for-courses, and I'm not talking lasagne...

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Re: Shocker

Scott Earle,

I thought that as well, but didn't the Google Nexus 4 come out in October? Admittedly there were only 3 available to buy, and most people probably didn't get theirs until December/January...

But that's in the same time-frame as the iPhone 5, and about half the price. Although I believe only the direct from Google ones are quite so ridiculously cheap.

As happens, I don't really care. The Nokia Lumia 710 I used to own had a pretty crappy processor even by the standards of the cheap Androids at the time. But it was very fast, presumably due to having a less complicated UI, no multi-tasking - and perhaps more efficient code. It was also pretty nippy on the few apps I ran on it, and was the fastest thing to get a satnav lock that I've used.

Personally I think more than 2 or 3 apps multi-tasking is overrated on a phone, but then I don't use many apps. I prefer a tablet for those. For those that disagree, there's the top-end Androids.

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New cheapo iPhone ain't gonna be that cheap, says non-Foxconn CEO

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Happy

Re: New name

Starburst.

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Withdrawn posts

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Re: Withdrawn posts are not available for public view.

Drew,

People use it instead of editing posts. I used to do it occasionally, before you so kindly gave me an edit button. It's then a bit annoying, as you scan down your recent posts looking for replies - as withdrawn ones get in the way. The easiest way to deal with it would be to compress them, and you have to press the expand comment button to see them. That is if you consider it worth bothering to do anything at all.

Assuming editing is the reason, then rolling out the edit button to more people would have a similar effect, for less work.

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Wake up, Uncle Fester! Huawei’s nattering about BUYING Nokia

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Re: Pity to see

I hope that's not giving you guys dangerous ideas.

If the next SPB turns out to involve nanotechnology, or be a miniaturised submarine with Raquel Welch and a bunch of El Reg hacks on board, then we know there's trouble in store.

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Thousands of fingered crims, informants spaffed in web security COCK-UP

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Trollface

Re: Change of name maybe?

Dubious coding practices and giving away scads of private data. Facepalm? I think not. They should rename it to Facebook.

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Name and shame them!

According to that quote, the site was penetration tested. Who by? Chimpanzees?

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Julian Assange: I'm quite happy to sleep on Ecuador's sofa FOREVER

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Re: He's Australian

Firstly, I wasn't being serious. I was having an unjustified dig at Australia / Australians. I'm hoping for an Ashes triumph to celebrate soon, with a side-order of gloating.

As for your 'points'. Norriega was a CIA asset. Not British. Much to their embarrassment he was supposed to be giving them intelligence on drug-running, and was in fact himself drug-running. I'm assuming he didn't get round to telling them that particular bit. I seem to recall they paid him serious money as well.

I don't believe he was ever acting in the best interests of the people of Panama. Not that the CIA were either.

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He's Australian

Can't we have a permanent BBQ with XXXX (cos they can't spell piss beer) on the pavement outside. Perhaps a few of his countrymen getting stuffed at cricket as well. Plus a nice sheep or two to steal. I'm sure all that lot would make him feel at home, and maybe tempt him out.

I guess we'd need to put up some floodlights to try and pretend that it's sunny though.

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Re: About sofas

Just consider it a particularly large, and untidy, pale cushion.

...With an Aussie accent...

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Re: His victims, on the other hand, deserve to see justice done

To be fair to Wikileaks they did publish the un-edited version of the 'collateral murder' video.

To be realistic about Wikileaks they also did their own credibility massive damage by releasing an edited version (which I suspect is the one most people saw) that gave a false picture of the event.

Funny how they then refused to edit out the names of the Afghan informers, because it was their job to just release stuff, but seemingly that didn't apply to playing silly-buggers with the evidence in a different case.

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Re: Bah

Katz,

We allow in refugees for asylum who we think have genuine requests to make for asylum. Assange doesn't.

Anyway, Assange didn't ask us for asylum. He asked our courts to not allow a perfectly legal warrant for his removal to Sweden. His grounds were basically that we shouldn't have passed that law - and that the evidence/accusations didn't meet the requirements for extradition (which is a different legal process entirely). After a case and 3 appeals, he lost. The legislation was ruled to be compliant with our other laws, and the evidence/accusations were also deemed to be acceptable for both the EAW, and the traditional extradition process. Even though the second bit was irrelevant, as that's not a requirement of the EAW system, which is supposed to act like an arrest warrant with extra protections, not like an extradition.

He is accused of rape by the way. He's accused of using his superior size and weight to force himself on an unwilling partner. Who was only willing if he put on a condom. I believe hat's the most serious of the allegations. If that's a false allegation, the only chance we'll find out if the legal process is completed. Assange had enough trust in the Swedish system that he applied for citizenship - so it's a bit late to claim their courts are rigged now.

But for somebody who wants information freely open in the public domain and let's face it, it wasn't 'dangerous' information

He published the names and addresses of people who'd given information to NATO troops about the Taleban. Do you not regard that as dangerous information? Because I fucking do! I believe he said something like it was their own fault if they got killed because of it.

He also published diplomatic information that didn't advance our knowledge of any alleged government wrongdoing, but possibly did make the process of international diplomacy harder. It's a matter of opinion as to whether this was a good or bad thing. Woodrow Wilson called at the Versailles conference for "Open agreements, openly arrived at." Every comment I've read on this from other diplomats and historians has called it hopelessly naive - and said that the whole point of diplomacy is to allow nations to talk with some secrecy in order to allow them to negotiate and change positions with some freedom. This may be an arguable case, but the peace process in Northern Ireland could not have proceeded without the secret talks begun in the 80s (under Thatcher), and the closest we ever got to peace between Israel and the Palestinians also relied on a long process of secret negotiations. The process that allowed a mostly peaceful handover of power to the ANC in South Africa was also secret diplomacy.

I suspect that although the diplomatic cable leaks have been interesting to read, and revealed a some (unsurprising) shenanigans, they've probably done slightly more harm than good.

However, even if you think that Wikileaks has only done good things, that still doesn't give Assange a free pass to break any laws he likes. If he's guilty of rape, he deserves to spend a nice long time in prison. If he's guilty of espionage, rather than just receiving stolen information, then he has to face the consequences of his actions.

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Re: This would be an Assange view of the law.....

If he'd gone to Sweden last year, this could all have been finished by now. I can't see them being likely to find him guilty anyway, given there were only 2 people in the room at the time. And he's not accused of violence, so there shouldn't be any injuries to look at. There's not likely to be much evidence.

But instead he's hung around here, stringing it out. A year ago the US didn't look to have an extradition case ready. Myself I doubt they'll be able to make one that's likely to be accepted by UK or Swedish courts. They've mistreated their potential witness, Bradley Manning, and that's not likely to go down well. But such case as they can put together is more likely to be ready, the longer this goes on.

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Re: The question is...

Embassies are under the laws of the country they're in. They're not sovereign territory, that's a common misconception. Although they are immune from lots of local laws/fines.

Anyway, it's so small, he doesn't have to come outside if there's a fire drill, just make his way to the nearest exit and shout, "I'm here".

I wonder if this is now going to be the least desired posting in the Ecuadorian diplomatic service. Like Ulan Bator is in the British... "If you don't get that report on my desk by lunchtime, then I'll send you to London to cook Assange's dinner!"

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AXE-WAVING BIKER GANG SMASHES into swanky Apple UK store

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I warn you, if you try to fondle your iPlod touch, you could get into serious trouble!

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Proof the pen is mightier?

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Re: Once again.....

I'm almost certain my next tablet will have a stylus. Possibly a keyboard cover type thing as well. But actually although I use my Logitech Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad reasonably often, it's having a stylus that I miss - at times when using a keyboard is still inconvenient. I'm sitting on the sofa, and want to knock out 2 paragraphs of text. The onscreen keyboard is frustrating, I don't want to get up, fetch the physical one, then have to go to a table to use it. Fumbling round trying to do cut+paste would also be a whole lot easier with pen in hand.

So if Apple won't give me one, I think I'm jumping ship. Sadly Samsung being the only real stylusey game in town, they're charging a nice fat premium for them. Hopefully some nice rivals will knock the profits down a bit. Also making them more common would get more apps working with them too.

At the price of this, I could almost get an HP Atom based full-fat Win 8 tablet. Although I haven't checked to see if that has a digitiser, or if only the expensive Win 8 tablets have those. Hopefully the increased tablet competition will have someone building what I want for cheaper than the £600 you need for the 64GB iPad.

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