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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Boffins build headless robo-kitties

I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: Obstacles

My friend's neighbours' owner cat doesn't feel that it's being fed sufficiently. So it wanders round to his for dinner. But this isn't acceptable, as it beats his cat up - and nicks it's food of course.

It's a warm Summer's evening, but the windows and doors are all closed, to avoid incoming feline menace. Except one of those tiny little transom windows you get at the top of double glazing. And that was only open a bit.

I heard the bang as the cat missed the first time, so saw it do this. It leapt from the ground, from a standing start to a height of just shy of 2m. Quite high ceilings in this house, so I'd guess the window was my head height, 6'. It had one front paw outstretched, and ran this up under the open pane of the window, and hooked it over the bottom of the window frame. Then dragged itself up by one paw, using its nose to lever the window open and sort of pour itself through the gap and onto the windowsill inside. A very impressive feat of acrobatics.

It then wandered off nonchalantly to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat.

Devil icon, because we're talking about cats here.

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New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

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Re: The numbers are wrong

The given weight included lift car and a whole bunch of people.

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Julian Assange: Google's just an arm of US government

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Re: No, but seriously ...

Anonymous,

The reason he's in so much trouble is that we really don't have "freedom of speech"

Nope. The reason he's in so much trouble, is that he's accused of rape. He fled the police interview, opposed being returned to a jurisdiction he was seeking citizenship of at 4 court cases, lost all of them, and then buggered off to the Ecuadorian embassy in a further effort to evade justice. That's why he's in trouble.

To be fair to him, it may be that he's genuinely paranoid that the US are out to get him, and so his reason for avoiding Sweden may be genuine paranoia/mental illness/belief. Only he and his accusers know what actually happened. But I'm more inclined to suspect he's avoiding justice because he's been a naughty boy. Given that he has better legal protection after being extradited to Sweden than before, and he thought it was a safe enough country to become a citizen of only a few years back.

As for having him trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy. Nope again. He's got himself trapped in there. He can leave at any time. He can head back to Sweden and face the music, or he can stay in that embassy until the Ecuadorian government get sick of him and boot him out. That was his choice. Being in Sweden was his choice. Coming here after fleeing Sweden was his choice.

It may be there's a shadowy conspiracy to get him. That was the risk he took when he started playing at that level of international politics. However I've yet to see any real evidence of that. And if some of the stuff that Bradley Manning has said is true, then Assange may have broken the law in getting that information. You can claim to be a journalist if you receive info. If you ask for specific stuff, and help with the hacking to get it, then you're getting much closer to espionage. If there's any truth to that, and if they haven't totally buggered the case by the criminal way they've treated Manning, then maybe the US can make that stick. Though most countries would probably refuse extradition.

I would like to know why we're still trying (10 years on) to deport the European head al Al Queda yet our beloved British government has Assange trapped inside an Embassy and threatens to deport him the second he steps over the threshold.

So you've just disproved your own argument. If we don't have freedom of speech or democracy, how come these situations? Assange, Abu Qatada, Abu Hamza have all pissed off the UK government in various ways. And yet all of them got their days in court and in the case of 2 of them, our government keeps losing. We are obliged to protect their human rights by our laws, the government isn't being allowed to break those laws, and laws passed by parliament have been struck down or modified by the courts if they deemed them not to be compatible with human rights. That's the courts functioning as a check on the power of the executive.

Assange will be deported. But was given bail by the courts, even though he was an obvious flight-risk. As he'd already buggered off from Sweden. His freedom of speech is not being curtailed. He's getting to say what he wants. So would you like to re-state your problem?

What's even worse, we're trying to push that fake onto other countries starting civils wars and international conflict as a part of the process. Indeed wars in what were stable countries, albeit countries with a different 'management structure'. Whether the previous structures were inferior to our "democracy" is certainly debatable

I suggest you need some further study. Reality studies perhaps...

I like your phrase "different Management Structure". Would that refer to Saddam or Gadaffi? Or Assad. All have managed to kill quite a lot of their own people. 2 of those regimes have used poison gas on their own citizens. None of them were stable governments when we intervened. Afghanistan certainly wasn't, there'd been a civil war going on for arguably over 20 years. Or you could count it from after the Soviets pulled out. The Taleban mostly won, looked like they'd stabilised things for a year, then turned out to be so awful that they were losing large chunks of the country again, even before 2001.

Whatever you might say about the reasons for, or the effects of, intervention in various countries, you certainly can't say that Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan had good systems in place. Or were stable. Iraq was only pretending to be stable after the fighting stopped in 91, because the UN put in a no-fly zone to stop the massacre of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs. Without that it would have been an ongoing civil war. Well the Marsh Arabs would probably all be dead, but the Kurds had better terrain, organisation and weapons.

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Ecuador: All right, Julian, you CAN stay on our sofa - it's your human right

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Re: What happens

For all International law can be an ass, I'm fairly sure this one will be covered off around safe protection for embassy staff and access by fire, rescue and safety officers to controlled areas. It would be kind of an obvious vector of attack otherwise.

Assange's position isn't covered by international law. The Vienna conventions, under which embassies operate, don't recognise the right of refuge/sanctuary/asylum in embassies. As I understand it, this is standard convention in South America, and some other parts of the world, but not everywhere, and so not covered by the international agreements that everyone signs up to.

Embassies have certain legal privileges and immunities, but they're also only supposed to use them for diplomatic purposes, which protecting Assange isn't. So there's an argument to say that Ecuador are in breach of the conventions, but there are no sanctions built in. However for us to storm the embassy would also be a breach of them. Stand off. There's a big fat grey area here, where diplomacy is supposed to work.

We apparently have a clause in our legal implementation of diplomatic rules that in extraordinary circumstances we can declare an embassy temporarily no longer one so the police can march in. This was after the Libyans allowed a bloke to shoot a police woman from theirs, and got the murderer out under immunity. Normally this needs the permission of the ambassador or government in question, such as when we stormed the Iranian embassy (with permission).

To use it for Assange would be obvious over-kill - and make us look really bad. So that the only realistic sanction we have would be to kick their embassy out of the country (virtually breaking off diplomatic relations), then wander in, and pick Assange up. Which would be more diplomatically damaging than simply doing nothing. But not break any conventions. Well, I say that, but even then the embassy is still their property, so technically we'd probably still be on dodgy ground going in. Though not in cutting off power, water and sewage services.

Final point. The embassy is UK territory. It's not Ecuador, it's under our law. It's just we have a law implementing international agreements on diplomacy that makes things complicated.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

And in a few years when the tables have turned everyone who had a hand in keeping him in "prison"

That's Julian Assange himself. His current incarceration is purely voluntary.

shall themselves be in prison for ten times as long

That'd be a bugger for poor Julian. So he'd get 10 years in a small flat in Knightsbridge sleeping on a sofa to pay for the year he's already put himself through...

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When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

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Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

GotThumbs,

It's consumer advice. OK he puts it in a light, overly-cynical conversational style. But as a reader you're supposed to be bright enough to know that money isn't everything.

The question is, how do you get your fair share of the cash available. In most cases, if you don't ask, you won't get. Even if you do ask, you'll have to persuade the company it's worth their while to pay you.

Smaller companies are better here. You're usually not working for a faceless manager who's part of a faceless bureaucracy - but someone with power and incentive to treat you well. The downside is that they probably get to keep all, or a portion of, any extra profit the company makes, so every extra penny they pay you literally comes out of their own pocket. But there's a good chance theyWith larger companies your manager may want to pay you more, but not be able to - or may be able to but not want to. If you've got one that is paying you more, and training you, then you don't need to be reading these articles...

So I think Dominic Connor is providing a valuable service here. In an ideal world, everyone would be adult and sensible, and act in their long-term best interests, while also being moral, and treating people fairly. This isn't an ideal world.

In my case, I once got promoted to do my ex-boss's job. He left because they failed to give him the training they'd promised him, and it was clear that his career wouldn't move on any further, and in fact would go backwards as it was a limited and niche area. But actually they didn't promote me, they just handed me his workload. Then we had a long drawn out process where the carrot of promotion was held in front of me, but always just out of reach. So I was getting paid my old salary for my ex-boss's job. With the promise of getting it eventually. This wasn't them being totally evil, it was politics at the management level. On the other hand, I was being ripped off. And not getting the nearly 50% pay rise they owed me - and that it would cost them to get anyone else competent to to it. As happens, no deviousness was required. My boss understood my situation (and I think even genuinely sympathised). It wasn't personal. And actually the extra responsibility improved my chances on the job market. So I openly job hunted, and that encouraged them to employ me. Everyone was polite, mature and reasonable, management settled their bun-fight and it all ended happily. My obvious threat to leave gave my boss the power to get me hired, because my knowledge of a niche area was currently unique within the company. If my manager had been a bastard it would have turned out differently. He'd have recognised he needed me, and won his political battle. If he'd been an idiot, he might have got rid of me, as I'd "insulted" him by looking elsewhere, and cost the company money. His inability to get his wants past other management cost me real money (4 months of the higher wage I should have had - i.e. a bloody good holiday or a cheap-ish car), so it's worth considering how good your boss is at office politics, as well as how nice they are.

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Boffins find evidence Atlantic Ocean has started closing

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Re: I Blame the EU

I find it hard to do that, since I discovered that all phone roaming charges are to be dropped in July 2014 in the EU.

Yet further proof that the EU is to blame! Nigel Farage is right! Just as the EU announce they're stopping roaming charges, tectonic plates start roaming round the globe like there's no tomorrow. Coincidence? Pah! EU Conspiracy more like! And the same week as a Bildeberg Group meeting as well!

The lizard-people are coming! The lizard-people are coming!

Where's the tin-foil hat icon?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Excellent News

This is wonderful news on two counts. Firstly, even if it is the EU's fault, if the Atlantic is about to close up, then we'll be able to leave the EU soon enough, and be conveniently placed to join NAFTA.

Secondly if the Gorringe subduction zone becomes as famous as the San Andreas fault, then poets and songwriters will now have something to rhyme with Orange.

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SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

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Devil

Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

Funnily enough, I thought SCO was long dead anyway

Oh but it is. However, this needn't be a major impediment. I predicted this event 3 years ago. They said I was mad, they said I was wrong, they laughed at me! But who's laughing now? Mwahahahahahahahaha! I was right all along!

IT LIVES! The Master Lives!!!!

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Reg hack prepares to live off wondergloop Soylent

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Pint

Re: Actually, I have now thought of a proper forum post

All very well until the belly-button port gets infected. Icky. Although still less annoying than nasal-gastric tubes (backpacks and litmus paper at the ready).

Much better to have it teleported directly into the stomach. I'm currently working on a device to do this, as architects keep forgetting to make space in their building plans for the water services plant - and the only solution that ever seems acceptable is teleportation. Hmmmm, perhaps I ought to launch my own kickstarter program...

Beer for the inspiration that I expect it to provide me for the rest of the evening.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: keen.

It’s not that people don’t know what things are healthy and unhealthy. They don’t have the means.

It's exactly the opposite. Poor people do have the means to eat healthily, they either choose not to, or more likely, don't know how to cook.

£15 - £20 a week ought to be able to feed you quite nicely. Particularly if you've got time to shop around for bargains and make stuff. You won't be eating meat every meal of course, but you should be able to get a balanced diet and have some nice stuff too. That wouldn't get you far in ready meals, or turkey twizzlers - but real food goes a long way. Most of my evening meals come in well under £2 a portion. And if time's tight, it takes the same 20 minutes to make a casserole for 6, as it does to make it for 1, and then you've got 5 frozen ready-meals that are quite healthy.

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MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

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Slight EU problem

Because of the Single Market, things get awfully complicated here. The problem here might be that Google could say OK then, if our sales are from Ireland and there's no UK tax, we just sack all our UK advertising sales staff and carry on as before. I'm no tax lawyer, but as I understand it that would be correct. Although it might be worth losing those few jobs for the nice fines and past tax bill we could charge them. Except to the poor sods doing them.

International tax law is bad enough already, and gets even more complex when you add the EU/Single Market rules on top. We could help a lot by making our tax system simpler. To some extent though we're always going to be working on the 'honours system' with these large multi-nationals. I'm not sure there's going to be much of a way round that, unless all the big economies get together and bring in an international tax system. Which seems pretty unlikely.

You can threaten to tie up 20 head office staff with a tax audit, then go to court over transfer pricing issues and force big legal costs on them. But when you're talking about hundreds of millions in tax, it's still worth all the hassle that puts you through to avoid it.

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Desperate Venezuelans wiped clean of bog roll

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Re: Alternative theory

My comment about baby formula in Hong Kong was an answer to the point that people may have been selling their toilet paper into Brasil, in order to profit from government subsidised paper. Although I'm not sure if that's true. I was under the impression that there's no subsidy, but a price control. So the government aren't actually paying out to make it cheaper, they're controlling prices to gain popularity. If you do this to the extent that price falls below cost of production, then the obvious will happen. No more production. Although that will take time.

A business should continue to produce goods and sell below cost of production, so long as they've already got the machinery in place and they're still making enough money to pay ongoing costs like labour, transport and power. i.e. if you can cover all marginal costs and at least some of your fixed costs, and there's no alternative (i.e. producing something profitable on the same machines), you may as well do so. In hopes that the business can keep running, and things improve in future. Obviously though, you won't invest any more.

My point I guess, though I didn't make it, is that people are the problem. If people have an incentive to do something, even something harmful, some of them will probably do it. That is the problem with both socialism and capitalism. In the case of capitalism, greedy bastards will do stupid things to make cash, that harm other people. And that's why you need a government, with a big stick, to regulate them - and try to keep things fair.

However the socialists can't get too smug here either. Because the problem with socialism is that if people don't get incentives then they also don't do good stuff. Or at least not everyone. So some people might work for the greater good, but a lot of people also want a nice telly or car or house. And if that's not on offer, they may not want to work more than what puts food on the table. And if society is giving to each according to his needs, from each according to his means, then there'll turn out to be a lot more people with needs than those with means, unless the ones with means are also getting something out of it. Freeloading is then a logical choice.

In China, neither is working. You're almost getting unfettered capitalism. Certainly in the case of the baby formula. There may be food standards regulations, but they're not enforced. And there's no incentive for the party to enforce them, because they have special party suppliers, that bring in foreign food. So they're all right Jack. And fuck everyone else. Sections of the Chinese economy are a total free-for-all, with all the downsides of unregulated capitalism. But other sectors are almost totally state run and/or state owned. Such as the banking sector, which is even worse than ours was in 2007 at the height of the madness. They've got the corrupt links between local government and local banks to make the problems with the Spanish Cajas look like a picnic. Although $3 trillion of foreign reserves solves many problems.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Alternative theory

The meer existence of baby milk is proof that capitalism is all about conning people into buying stuff they don't need.

The Indomitable Gall,

Really? Are you seriously saying that no-one wants that stuff, and only because 'evil capitalists' produce it are people suckered into buying it? Because that's a pretty silly argument, if so.

Breast milk may be best, but I'm not sure how long that's been known, as in demonstrated by multiple studies. But even if everyone who could breastfeed did so, there would still be a place for formula milk. Unless you want to go for the evolutionary argument, that the genes of mothers who aren't (for various reasons) able to successfully breastfeed shouldn't be passed on - and that a few dead babies is a reasonable price to pay for this. And I really doubt that's what you meant.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Alternative theory

Evil Auditor,

I agree. I was going to say use the cash saved on subsidies to raise benefits for those on them, and lower taxes for those not on them - then let them choose what to spend their cash on. But got side-tracked onto forms and fire lighters...

Economies are just too complicated for governments to plan. They don't even have enough information or knowledge to get interest rates right, because the data takes 3 to 6 months to collect and the effects of changes can take 2-3 years to finish percolating through the system. So even if economists had a perfect understanding of cause and effect in economics (and they don't...), it would still be impossible to manage an economy perfectly. How people can expect a government to be able to balance demand for bread, toilet rolls, healthcare and all the myriad other things is beyond me.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Alternative theory

Who says it's a few - and not everyone who lives on the border? Like you can't buy baby milk in Hong Kong. Because any Chinese person who goes there, runs to the supermarket and hoovers it all up. Either for profit, or for themselves and friends. Because no-one trusts the locally available stuff after all the recent food scandals.

But anyway, that's why capitalism works. Don't have the government telling people what price things should be and what to buy, they'll invariable screw it up. Don't subsidise stuff. Give people the money to buy it, then they can make their own decisions on what they want. If something's in short supply, then more will magically appear, because the price will go up. At least if the economy works well. If stuff isn't turning up, it's probably because you've regulated your businesses so much, that they can't change production without filling in forms, in triplicate, then burying them in soft peat for 3 months, and re-cycling them as fire lighters.

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I ain't Spartacus
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It doesn't need a secret agent to discredit socialism. It does it perfectly well, all by itself...

It's also sad looking at Argentina. They started to recover really well from their debt-crisis a decade ago. And then the politicians buggered it all up. Not that it would have been easy anyway. They set the price of beef below that of production. Because it's apparently immoral to export food when poor people are struggling to eat beef at home. Well that's all fine and dandy, but how are poor people going to afford food, if all the jobs dry up, because the exporters have been put out of business? I think the soya export trade is still going well, but I read that they've now introduced the same idea to the grain farmers, so that export industry will be going the same way.

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Scientists investigate 'dark lightning' threat to aircraft passengers

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Re: One wonders

I believe red wine is a good mitigation strategy for radiation exposure. Or so I shall be telling the stewardess next time I'm at 30,000 feet.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Gamma radiation didn't hurt Bruce Banner. In fact it helped him...

I'm green with envy...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

PassiveSmoking,

If you really want a cool cape, just go out and buy yourself one. I can't help with the shooting gamma rays from your hands, but LED torches are cheap. Will they do?

Don't forget to put your underpants on after your trousers...

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#Facebook: Now all your hashtags ARE BELONG TO US, Twitter

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Pint

Spot the difference

Instagram users view he world through urine filled goggles - pub-goers view the opposite sex through beer goggles - does this mean the 2 cancel out?

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Nokia, Microsoft put on brave face as Lumia 925s parachute into Blighty

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Vimes,

Surely a carrier exclusive on one colour is harmless enough? I don't think that many people really care if they get the black or white one. But I guess it makes some numpty at the network feel 'important' and that they've 'driven a hard bargained' with Nokia.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Paris Hilton

Re: please no...

I used to think the way you do. But then I was persuaded that I was wrong by a piece written in crayonThe Guardian by Jordan...

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Whoever recently showed us the secret documents: Do get in touch

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Devil

I'm sorry, it was me.

But details of the Christmas party have been changed, the nice lady has since laid down her pole and retired, the goat is receiving treatment and the contamination in the Marmite factory has been dealt with. I have been contacted by the lawyers and informed that should I pass on any further photographs then my life won't be worth living - so you'll have to resort to Playmobil for the rest...

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KEEP CALM and Carry On: PRISM itself is not a big deal

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Happy

Re: nexsphil Bullshit Damage Limitation

Matt,

I've got no problems at all with reality. Although my tinfoil underpants do chafe somewhat...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Huge Failure

Sporkinum,

Interesting. I hadn't realised that. I guess that's why he got a sub, and not an aircraft carrier, like all the other presidents.

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FAIL

Huge Failure

What idiot at the Pentagon named that submarine? You're picking the name for a sub to tap into undersea cables. It's going to be named for an ex-President. How could it not be called the Richard M Nixon?

Boooooo!

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Techies finger Bradley Manning for US secret files database breach

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Re: Assange

3M in feb was it? fuck me, that would have been better spent catching more dangerous criminals.

Danny 14,

That's what we have police for. You'd hope that all suspects and criminals would cooperate, and help us save cash, but sadly not.... You can't just let people off because they're making things a bit awkward for the plod.

Also, he is accused of a violent crime. i.e. Rape. OK it's not as serious as some other rapes (although I seem to recall Ken Clarke got into trouble for saying that). He's not accused of using violence, but he is accused of using physical force. The police prioritise what crimes to spend resources on, and rape ought to be near the top of the list.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Interesting Article

The linked Independent article is interesting, if accurate. With leaks from both sides.

When the situation first blew up, and Ecuador gave him asylum, I remember reading Charles Crawford's blog. He's an ex ambassador who's gone into mediation and consultancy since leaving the FCO. An interesting chap, even if he does seem to have invented the word 'blogoir' (half memoir half blog) for which I'm sure he'll burn in hell... Anyway he said that Ecuador were deliberately limiting their own room for manoeuvre. As a diplomatic tactic you turn the rhetoric up to 11, and make your position much harder to back down from, in the hope that the other side will still want to settle, so will have to give you extra concessions.

Whatever our ambassador said to their government, the mistake was probably in giving them the written note (called speaking notes according to Crawford), which they then got to wave about, and say how we'd wronged them, and threatened them. Perfect excuse to get all shrill and give asylum. Now it appears they want to deal, or the FCO are maybe trying to make it look like that... But there's not much deal the UK government can offer. The Foreign Office can't tell the courts or police what to do, and can't give legal guarantees of future behaviour of the courts. So all they can do is make some nice statements about how lovely Ecuador are. Which I'm sure they'll do gladly.

I guess for the FCO it's easy. Sure the police have to spend all this cash, but it doesn't come out of their budget, and catching criminals is what the police are paid for. So long as the Home Secretary isn't giving them permanent earache, it's no skin off their rosy noses. As for Ecuador, they've got a big Aussie taking up their sofa, in quite a small embassy. And perhaps they've finally got it through their thick skulls that the UK can't back down, as the courts in this country are pretty non-politicised.

Sanctuary in embassies is apparently standard practise in South America, but not accepted as normal in Europe. But Ecuador's government played this up for domestic consumption, and now have to try to avoid losing face, if they let him out. Because their embassy is so small, they can't just ignore the problem, otherwise they could probably just forget about it. I wonder if they're trying to link it to the Falklands issue? If they could get a concession (or pretence of one) on that, then they could say it was a deal, kick Julian out the door, and weren't they clever for helping outfox those evil imperialist British pig-dogs and help brother South Americans...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Military Intelligence

Erm, exactly what relevance does this have?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Always Great

What's the Spanish Inquisition got to do with anything? I didn't expect that to come up in this conversation...

Assange came to my country, and pissed about for months (partly at my expense) in a pointless court battle, when the law was very clear that he had no choice but to go back to Sweden and face the police. I happen to disagree with that law - I don't think the European Arrest Warrant is a good idea. But it's a perfectly reasonable bit of legislation. As happens our judges decided to be extra good, and pointed out that even under the old extradition system (which I do approve of), he'd still have been sent back to Sweden. He then decided that even after 4 appeals, he was too special to go back and face the rape allegations. So as well as wasting even more of my tax money, he decided to show his gratitude to his 'friends' that bailed him out, by pissing their money up the wall too. And buggered off the Ecuadorian embassy. Well I have no sympathy for him now!

He can sod off back to Sweden, another country he decided he has no gratitude for. It was apparently a safe haven, and worthy of having him as a citizen. Until he got a bit too frisky with the locals, or so the allegations go. Whether they're true, I've no idea, but he's gone to pretty great lengths to avoid facing those allegations, which makes me suspect his motives aren't pure.

Given he published the names of local villagers in Afghanistan who'd given information to NATO troops, without apparently caring whether they got murdered for their pains, I find myself even less likely to give a damn about what happens to him. Some of that information was along the lines of "the landmines round our village are here, please can you clear them" - but according to St Julian they should have no rights. Obviously that same doesn't apply to him... I do believe he should have rights. We've given them to him. He's abused them. If he helped Manning hack into US files, then he's committed a crime and I've no sympathy in the unlikely even the US government catch up with him and try him. If all he did was publish the stuff, then I believe the US have little to nothing on him.

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Cold, dead hands of Steve Jobs slip from iPhones: The Cult of Ive is upon us

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Re: Does it do widgets?

I'm not sure I really miss widgets on my phone, since I moved from Android to Windows Phone and finally to iOS. I had the best widgets, then mediocre ones, and now just badges. What I really liked about setting up my Android home screen was the ability to have different sized icons. So the most important icons can really be made to stand out, by having them double or even 4 times bigger. That way, I can select them quickly, even when I'm only half looking. Widgets were just a nice-to-have feature. Obviously others may disagree - and that's why it's good we have several competing OSes.

Just allowing this would do wonders for that nasty confusing grid of icons which is iOS. Would improve having to wade through 6 screens of 20 similar icons each, to find the one you want.

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FAIL

Re: Put an iPhone beside a...

Even funnier, when you give your iPhone to someone who's blind to try out, and stick the screen-reader on he hits a letter and it says "capital T". That's not because shift has been pressed and that's what he's going to get but because it's reading the button he hit on the screen, and the keyboard only shows caps. Now that's crap.

Although I believe the RNIB still recommend the iPhone, and I don't think any of the others can muster anything close to the aids that the iPhone has built in.

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Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

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Happy

Re: Nobody got fired for buying IBM

If everyone sticks to running IBM software on IBM mainframes...

Then we'll all have to wear nuclear-powered, super-reinforced, anti-gravity trousers - in order to be able to carry them around...

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Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

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Re: Mavericks!?!

I was thinking Top Gun, so they could soon be giving us Goose and Ice-man...

And for reminding me of that film I think my next tablet should be an Android, as punishment for them.

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The toy of tech: The Mattel Aquarius 30 years on

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Is there a macro?

At El Reg towers, where you write these articles about the good old 80s micros, do you have a bunch of macros set up, such as:

"The product launch was announced in 1982, but none were actually shipped until 1983"

"Due to production difficulties, initial orders were not filled for several months"

"Several expansion modules were promised, but never delivered as the project was cancelled due to cost-overruns"

Actually, thinking about it, are you just publishing the same article every month, but changing the names and product pictures, and seeing how long it takes us all to notice?

Ah, happy memories... Keep up the good work.

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Chinese 'nauts prep for next coupling in Heaven, clear way for new station

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Flame

Look at da pwetty lights

That's a pretty rippled rocket exhaust they've got there. I don't recall seeing one like that before.

Hooray for space ships, as always.

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Author Iain (M) Banks falls to cancer at 59

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I enjoyed them all though. I plan to read the non-M books at some point.

David Hicks,

If you like music, read Espedair Street. It's clear that Banks did - and his sick sense of humour is on display as always. The Crow Road and Whit are good, and mostly nice. I enjoyed Complicity, which wasn't. And the Business is fun, although I'm not sure it's one of his best. The rest are a mixed bag, and there's quite a few, like The Bridge and Walking on Glass that could just as easily have had an M in his name.

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h3,

Start at the very beginning (the very best place to start), with Consider Phlebas. If you like that, you'll like the Culture. Although you don't need to have read any of them first before picking any other one up, there are possibly some assumptions in there that you could miss. If you like the Culture, you'll like Excession, and The Player of Games has a nice straightforward plot. Sometimes he plays silly buggers, but not in all books. Once you've liked one, it gives you the desire to plod through the slow/harder/odd bits of any others.

Use of Weapons and Against a Dark Background are fun. But he does like his black humour. And watch out for those lazy guns.

Personally I thought his books were quite uneven. He was trying lots of different things, and I thought there were quite a few weak books, where things just didn't come off. I thought that happened a lot more with his literary fiction than the sci-fi. I've had a lot of fun reading his stuff over the years. There's always the sense of humour and it's often fun to try and puzzle the book out, to try and work out what he's playing at before you get to the end. And he plays fair, and usually gives you clues.

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Re: A great loss to Sci Fi..

If you haven't already read the Wasp Factory. You wont regret it.

Well I'm not sure about that... It's one of my least favourite of his books.

Espedair Street is my favourite I think - I highly recommend it, especially if you're into music. It's certainly lots of fun, and one of his 'nice' books - as he said he described it to his wife. The Wasp Factory obviously being one of the 'nasty' ones - along with Complicity, which I liked. My second favourite of his normal fiction would be The Crow Road. Then, maybe, Whit. So I guess I was more of a fan of the 'nice' ones.

I think my favourite of the Sci-Fi would be Excession. Although if you're not a fan of the ludicrous ship names, there's more in that than any other. In my opinion it was his sense of humour that made his books, and the ludicrous ship names made me smile.

It's a shame, I'll miss his work. I think I'll dig out one of his books and a bottle of whisky tonight, in his honour. He also wrote a nice book on whisky, called Raw Spirit.

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Headbangers have a gas, gas, gas in mosh pits

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Devil

I thought that was the long, heavy, glutinous thing that happened in the toilet the next morning, after a heavy night on the stuff...

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Re: predictable result of NSF funding cuts?

And would you want your demo an/or riot to be managed by the police using the traditional teargas/ watercannon/ kettling/ batoncharges, or something a little less brutal?

No. I now expect the police to shout, "let's do the show right here! Sarge, give me a one, give me a two..."

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The Reg's best-looking reader reveals list of jobs for the beautiful

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Re: You don't know what it's like......

At a place that I used to work, there was a very attractive blond girl in accounts. They used to hot desk, so whenever a PC went wrong, they just moved her to that desk, and she called IT. Funny how it usually took 3 hours to get someone to fix a broken desktop. But she had someone climbing under her desk within 10 minutes, every time...

So, in a large company, every department needs at least one hottie.

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Re: WTF....?

Matt,

If you were a true hunter*, you wouldn't allow these petty difficulties to affect your mind.

*Good grief! How was someone who thinks they have a sense of humour allowed into HR?

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Re: Good looking on Radio

Surely that's what fake photos are for. It's Heat Milton Keynes, who's going to find out?

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Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate

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I'm sure you can get round this issue easily enough. Don't boot from a Linux image, but load onto the hard drive, then install from there. Or create a custom install image, and feed it drivers required for USB hubs or Bluetooth (although I don't know how easy that is). Or install over network.

Whether the correct drives for the hardware will all be available is another matter. Last time I tried playing with Ubuntu on an HP tablet I couldn't get the touch-screen or the hardware buttons to talk to it. Which was particularly annoying, as for some weird reason the sound defaulted to mute, and I couldn't get drivers to make the button go. Anyway I was just playing about, so didn't care.

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So, who ought to be the next Doctor Who? It's up to YOU...

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Engledict Humperbatch?

I had that, but the doctor gave me some pills...

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MYSTERY Nokia image-mangling mobe spotted in public

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Re: @I ain't Spartacus

Aoyagi Aichou,

Nokia's choice definitely does apply. Crap management leads to crap performance. I don't know if Elop has got his decision right, or whether they could have turned round Symbian, or Meego/Maemo, or would have been better with Android. What I do know is that Nokia's management culture had been in the shit for years, and that's the culture that selected Elop. And approved his decision to release the 'burning platforms' email, and to change strategy. It's no good them blaming him, they hired him, they approved his decision.

My personal suspicion is that he didn't come in as a poison pill from MS, but was brought in to do a deal with MS, because none of the competing factions inside Nokia could agree on an internal solution. Or believed that none was available - as they never seemed to be able to finish anything. But that's only guesswork on my part.

the overrated camera of 920 could take nice pictures, but what the software does to them should be punishable by cutting fingers off. And I seriously doubt Nokia can influence any of this as they seem to have become a pawn of Microsoft and its rat who became the leader investors are not exactly fond of. As for the custom GPU, that is no doubt result of Microsoft's partnership with some OEM.

That's all a bit silly really. The camera on the 920 seems to have got very nice reviews and the test shots I've seen have been pretty good. That's not over-rated. If there were software problems, they've apparently been dealt with. But whatever, that's not Microsoft's fault, it's Nokia's. Nokia produce the drivers for their hardware, so any problems are down to them.

Similarly with the GPU on the Pureview camera, that's nothing to do with Microsoft, and them having parter OEMs. Nokia bought in the camera, they'll select the internal GPU for the camera, and they'll write both the camera software, and the driver that links it up to the OS. With their Symbian version they can use the phone's GPU, and that's a downside of using Windows, because MS would have to re-write the OS to allow this. So they'll have to have an extra chip.

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Re: interesting

Squander Two,

Yes, I had one of those on my last WinPho handset. Which was very useful. But the one I really wanted was a brightness control. So you can crank brightness to the max when you're outside in the sun, and can't read the screen. So it can't be buried illegibly half a page down the settings menu. iOS doesn't allow this either, and the easy-access to the brightness control is only on the iPad, not the iPhone (where it's most needed).

It was also a shame that there were only these WiFi/Bluetooth/Aeroplane Mode apps, and nothing else. I'd have liked to have shortcuts to a few options as a possibility.

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Mutton to see here: Chinese dealer offers fondleslabs for sheep

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Coat

Why sheep?

Surely if you want to stress how inexpensive your wonderful shinies are, then the best way to show their value is in chickens (or other edible birds).

Then you can say they're going cheep.

...Sorry. That was baaaa-d.

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