* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3689 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sounds a lot like those...there is an outside chance you could use a self checkout

I think one of the early problems was the supermarkets' databases (rather than the machines). Having worked for a large retailer I know that the buying teams didn't enter all the information from the suppliers into the product database. They only put in the stuff we used at the time.

So when EU regulations on packaging disposal and recycling came in, we had no data - and I rather suspect just made the figures up. Then paid a company to 'off-set' our recycling target.

In the same way, I'd imagine their databases were inaccurate on product weight. Which is why you heard so many bellowed "unexpected item in bagging area". They probably had the net weight, rather than the weight including packaging. Or just mistypes / missing data. I'm pretty sure I remember one particular product I buy regularly, that never worked. So it's a better explanation than different machines, on different days not liking it.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Once again...

That's OK. We'll rename it to noughts and kisses.

[sadly we don't appear to have a vomit icon]

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Happy

Re: sigh

So the conclusion is that if you frustrate people, they become unfriendly

Well it's as good an explanation of the player-culture in EVE Online as I can think of...

Anyone want to invest in my Bitcoin ISK banking system?

Actually I suppose it's not. Because one of the nicest things about EVE was cooperating with a group to overcome the difficulties of the game. The universe can be a cruel place.

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Apple to protect your gently roasting rear with 'iTanning' system

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I predict that this sensor will be very useful, and will tell us exactly when the iWatch is due to be released. When it stops receiving all UV data, because hell has frozen over, then-and-only-then will Apple sell a watch.

I suspect they'll be selling a 32K, curved, OLEP, 3d, 100" diamond-encrusted telly first...

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Reg slips claws across Nokia's sexy sixties handsets, fondles flagship too

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Re: A question

t just worked so I didn't investigate whether it back ground installed Zune.

Nelbert Noggins,

Nah. I think MS Killed Zune with Win Pho 8. It may even have been as early as 7.5. The Zune player and Sync software looked like something that had been coded in Flash by a monkey with a really bad hangover, and a hatred of users.

They junked it, and just pinged files across with USB - as they should have done originally.

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Re: A question

Andrew,

Thanks. I guess I'll have to wander into a shop and have a play with one soon. I don't give my poor iPod long to live. And you don't get much onto an 8GB iPhone.

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A question

Andrew O,

Have Microsoft sorted out the music player yet? I seem to remember you mentioned it in your brief reveiw of the new update to Win Phone - but didn't say much. It was pretty crap in Win Pho 7.5 - and you had to use Zune for PC sync (the software that makes iTunes look like a work of genius).

My iPod w hard disk is dying. After a good innings. And I'm looking at replacement. The idea of a cheap phone (non-work one), that can take an SD card is pretty tempting.

I don't think there's any music players of the same capacity that are cheaper. The phone can then do my 30GB of music and many podcasts. Assuming it doesn't have fits at the number of files on the card every time it reads it.

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I had a Nokia 710 (Win Pho 7.5) before the work iPhone. Brilliant phone for the £130. Actually better at handling different emails and contacts for personal and work - and easier to use as a phone. Big buttons and big writing hooray! The MS Marketplace was truly rubbish. I'm told it's better now, but not sure how much.

I was talking to my brother about this last night, and we agreed that both of us do all our mobile computing stuff on an iPad - and barely use any apps at all on the iPhone. Except he's a heavy Googlemaps user, and so will be heading for Android next. Has Nokia improved the public transport stuff on HERE maps? When I tried it 2 years ago, it didn't even have full information on London, let alone anything for my large town in the South East. My brother swears by Google Maps for all his mapping and public transport needs - although he does live in London.

I'm tempted to go back to Win Phone, and may get an Android tablet next (I want a stylus). He won't be parted from his iPad, but thinks the iPhone is a waste of money compared with a Nexus one. In my opinion Apple, and to a lesser extent Google, have somewhat lost sight of the core business of a phone, i.e. making calls and the addressbook. With calendar and email a close second, browser and satnav third and everything else afterwards. But then I work on the phone all the time, I know lots of others don't.

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Not your father's spam: Trojan slingers attach badness to attachment WITHIN attachment

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Re: Don't expect software to save you

I regularly get zipped files emailed to me. It's common in the construction industry, where tender documents can get pretty huge.

Although I've noticed lots of links to Dropbox going round in the last 6 monnths, so maybe the zips aren't getting through corporate mail scanners anymore.

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Wookiee! CHEWIE'S BACK in Star Wars Ep VII – blab Hollywood 'sources'

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Coat

Re: Is the film going to be sponsored by Samsung?

Well the Phantom Morass was all about a tax dispute. So this latest one can be about a patent lawsuit. And go on-and-on-and-on-and-on...

Darth Jobs: Release your artistic side! For art leads to minimalism - and minimalism leads to the fruity side of the force!

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Devil

Is that Meerkat named after El Reg's Google-baiting, scourge-of-Metro journalist who likes Windows Phone?

Thinking about it, no-one's ever seen them both at the same time. Enquiring minds would like to know...

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Happy

I think you'll find that the familiar face in question is Alexandr Orlov. Yes, this episode is going to be subtitled 'Meerkats in Spaaaaaace!'. Will have great success with meerkat toys! Simples!

Is making memory of Jar Jar much more popular.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

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Re: Ideal for people on their own

That's OK though. Many people won't notice. A friend of mine has invested a decent amount of cash ina nice sound system. I guess the biggest goodness comes from some nice speakers. But he goes to some effort to buy media that has surround sound. However, due to the shape of his room, the focus of the sound is on the middle seat of the sofa, and he always sits in one armchair by the telly.

Even though he's fully awre where the sweet spot is, that still doesn't override sitting in the most comfy chair. And he's one of the few people I know who will sit down and just listen to some music, while not doing anythine else at the same time.

I really think that many of these technology companies massively overestimate most consumers' level of giving-a-damn about the shiny features. Even the ones who actually understand the technical aspects will sacrifice perfection for more comfort, convenience or lower price.

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WTF?

Michael Zoeller, Samsung’s European sales and marketing topper, made it clear that his brand was on a mission to change the shape of television. Having made design as important to buyers as image quality, he was confident that the time was right to make 4K UHD synonymous with curves. “There’s a lot of research out there that says the human eye is naturally drawn to strong curves,” he argued. “Our curved TVs aren’t just beautiful, they’re works of art!”

Excuse me? What did you say? I can't hear you over the sound of whalesong!

By the way old chap, you're wrong. People buy the flat panels for the nice picture - and possibly to go on the wall. The design really doesn't come into it. It's the price. I'll admit for 2 screens at the same price, people might pick on the thinner one, or one with the smallest bezel. And go for that above picture quality too!

But that should actually scare you, Dear Marketroid. Because if people are picking tellies on prettiness of surrounding plastic bits, rather than quality of screen, then you are absolutely fucked if you're hoping they're all going to rush to upgrade to 4k.

I've seen people quite happily watch in some horrible combination of settings where the TV is displaying some weird zoomed out semi-widescreen with bars on top, bottom and sides - while the original widescreen broadcast has first been compressed into 4:3 by the Sky box. So the picture covers only half the screen - and is hideously distorted via converstion through 3 different ratios. They hadn't even noticed until I pointed it out. Personally, I found it was un-watchable. Apparently I was wrong...

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Happy

Surely the answer is a doughnut-shaped screen, completely encircling your head - plus a swivel chair. 360° viewing nirvana.

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Nominet bins Optical Express' appeal against 'It ruined my life' website

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Re: remaining calm

trouble was that required having a hypodermic needle shoved through the pupil of the bad eye.

[wince, squirm, wince]

Nasty. I didn't get as far as you. Only a suspected detached retina, so only got as far as the eyeball pressure test. Where you have to sit, with you head in a metal cradle, while a manically laughing doctor pushes a metal probe into your eyeball to test the pressure. You can see it coming all the way, and you have to remain still, and not flinch.

I may be mis-remembering the bit with the manic laughter...

Back in the 70s I had soft lenses. The hard ones were less nice back then. Imagine blinking and feeling the hard edges digging into your eyes. Hence soft. Which used a cleaner with mercury in. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out it's quite painful when you've not used enough rinse solution to get the toxic cleaning agents off the lenses - and are putting mercury directly into your eyes. I can't wear lenses any more - not that I have any inclination to try...

However I was talking to my Aunt the other day. Who's just had cataract surgery. And she's had a lens replacement, so apparently will no longer need the glasses she did before the cataract. I seem to remember it's an artificial lens, rather than an organ donation. I think the donor card only mentions cornea transplant?

I wonder what the relative risks of the two treatments are? Will lens replacement beat lasering eventually?

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Re: Trying to change the business...

I would imagine (speculate) that as part of getting an out of court settlement for whatever happened, she had to sign a non-disclosure clause. So no telling others how much pay-out to expect and no bad-mouthing the company from now on.

However, as they trade under 2 names, if they didn't happen to put both trading names on the legal agreement, then oops-a-daisy...

It seems to me they don't have to sneakily try and close the site down, if they don't like it. We have some of the toughest libel laws around. All they need do is to release the attack-lawyers.

Of course if theallegations happen to be true and they don't have a leg to stand on...

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Nothing's as SCARY as an overly aggressive SOFTWARE PIMP

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Re: Boring Read

Mr Dabbs,

I have to agree about Win95 - and don't understand the people who say how yummy it was. Distance in time dulling the pain? I had Win 3.1, which was quick on crap hardware, solid and almost never fell over, or did weird stuff to you.

By comparison Win 95 was like dancing on eggshells. It was good. Could be great, when it worked. But you always felt you were seconds from disaster. Lock-ups, crashes and doom. Plus you had to re-install it every so often, if you wanted to clean up the mess. It was Win95 that taught me to hit save, before I dared hit print.

My hatred for it may also have something to do with the time I came into work one Monday morning in about 99. IT had done an upgrade on all the PCs in the US mult-national I worked for. My trusty NT4 PC was still there, but when I booted it up I discovered that they'd 'upgraded' us all to Win 95! This made me sad.

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Deep desert XP-ocalypse averted as Reg man returns

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Happy

Re: Out of curiosity

It's to stop budgie-smugglers...

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'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

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Re: Political Posturing

At least me and thousands of others will be alive in a Russian prison than dead in a defacto civil war, or stripped and tortured for shits and giggles by rednecks in uniforms.

Educate yourself about the Russian invasion of Chechenya before you make comments like this.

Russia virtually levelled Grozny, the capital city, in taking it / re-taking it. And Russian troops were consistently making money on the side by kinapping locals, and ransoming them back. Plus widespread rape to add to the fun.

Plus there was going to be a civil war in Iraq anyway, as soon as Sadam died or got toppled internally. A minority had been repressing a majority (plus several other minorities) for years - and this never lasts forever. As for Afghanistan, there was a civil war going on before the US invasion. One of the reasons the Taleban were briefly popular, is that it looked like they were less corrupt than anywone else, and they might actually win. Neither turned out to be true, which is why they were already in trouble before the US decided to help the Northern Alliance - and then put in troops in order to try and build a workable-ish stable-ish, democratic-ish government.

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Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine

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Re: Try seeing it from the Kremlin's point of view

Mike Smith,

As stated above, your arguments eem to be straying into the field of Russia can do what the hell it likes because it's a major power.

And the answer to that is, up to a point. We should certainly take account of Russia's legitimate national interests. However they don't get a free pass to do whatever the hell they like.

I'm no fan of international law. Because it's semi-fictional, has little democratic legitimacy, and doesn't have particularly effective mechanisms to make it work. However, it's what we've got. And it's a good basis for international behaviour.

Iraq gets to be legal, because Iraq was in breach of the ceasefire terms from when they were thrown out of Kuwait in 91. As well as many subsequent ones. Also they made it impossible for the weapons inspectors to find the weapons that it turns out weren't there - or verify whatever actually happened to them. That resolution only got through with weasel words - from memory it specified serious consequences rather than grave consequences (which is the normal legal term adopted by the UNSC for resolutions it backs up with military force). However it was clear what the US and UK meant by that resolution, so if France and Russia had really objected, they should have vetoed, not just watered down that word. So there was a perfectly arguable legal case, without a court to argue it in, Saddam was given nearly a year to negotiate - and the consequences of not doing so were made totally plain. Whatever you may think of the invasion it is totally different to what happened in Crimea, where Russia didn't attempt to negotiate, had no even vague legal justification, and not even a reasonable cause to resort to military force.

Even if I accepted that Russia has a legal right to use military force to retain the Sevastopol base (which it didn't), there had been no threat to it. Even when Russia cut off Ukraine's gas supplies in Winter, no threat was made to that base. U:kraine did threaten not to renew the lease in future, and that was one of the bits of leverage that got a new deal agreed.

Also, Putin has spent years lecturing everyone about non-interference in soveriegn states. That was their argument to continue to allow the Serbs to massacre the population of Kosovo, and to allow the Syrian government to continue the slaughter.

Had there been serious attacks on the Russian speaking population of Crimea, they would have had a legitimate reason to intervene. Even though it would be illegal without UN backing. As we did in Kosovo. Although I doubt there would have been a Security Council veto under those circumstances.

Basically it would cost Russia a load to build a new naval base. And that would be just their tough shit. If they're unable to negotiate to keep it.

One of the other massive problems this has created is that Russia specifically violated a treaty to respect the terriorial integrity of Ukraine. This is hugely important. As how do we negotiate with Russia now? There are plenty of other places that they might choose to invade, using the excuse of a Russian population left over from Soviet days. Including Eastern Ukraine (where they are currently massing forces). Do we allow this? We certainly can't trust them to keep their word. After all Putin said they weren't planning to invade the day before he did it.

We're treaty-bound to defend the Baltic states. We let them and Poland into NATO. We either need to dissolve NATO and admit we don't care, or signal to the Russian government that we're serious. Otherwise we could end up getting ourselves into a really stupid war. If NATO doesn't want to do the job, then I'd imagine that there's going to be an awful lot of nuclear scientists getting very busy in places like Ukraine and Poland.

I'm not a Putin apologist. Or a supporter of armed aggression. I'm just an ordinary bod who's prepared to make the effort to see both sides of the argument

There are no both sides of this argument. Russia's invasion and annexation of a neighbouring country is entirely illegitimate. Both legally and morally. It was pure, naked armed aggression. As the strategy worked, they've continued it, by mobilising troops on Ukraine's Eastern borders and threatening another invasion to peel off more of the Russian speaking bits. Where Russians are in a minority. This is proper 1930s style nationalist miltary aggression. Fortunately without the bits about master races and genocide. The question we need to known is what does Putin's regime want. And will the appetite grow with the eating? Do they have some limited objectives, which can be reasonably accommodated, or quietly ignored where realpolitik suggests it's better to give in? Or has getting away with the invasions of Georgia and Chechenya persuaded them that they can recreate some sort of Russian empire, like the good old days of the Soviet Union. Or do they really believe in all that crap about things being better in the good old Soviet days - and want to re-create it?

I remember reading a piece by Robert Service about 3-4 years ago. Where he compared 1930s Germany and Russia now. There's this feeling of the ex-KGB types running the place that they didn't lose the Cold War. That nasty Gorbachev betrayed them. He went all soft, and collapsed the USSR - even though they were superior to their Western counterparts. In Germany it was the stab in the back. The army didn't lose in France, so Versailles was somehow 'not fair'. Even though it was less harsh than what Germany imposed on France in 1870 - and what they were planning to impose on France in 1914. Instead there was this myth amongst the German nationalists that the socialists and jews on the home front lost the war for them.

I dimissed it at the time, as an old Cold Warrior who couldn't forget the past. And Putin as too rational to buy into all that rubbish, and the dangerous consequences it could lead to. Now I'm not so sure, and I'm a lot more worried. And Putin seems a lot less rational, predicable and measured in his actions than he did 5 years ago.

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Re: Try seeing it from the Kremlin's point of view

Sevastopol is Russia's outlet to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It's a strategically important asset

Which Ukraine had not threatened. Also Russia has a Black Sea coast on the Caucasus side. I guess they probably wouldn't want it in Sochi, but I'm sure there's a bay on that coast somewhere that would do if needs must. Russia has plenty of other leverage with Ukraine to keep this base, and had it on at least ten years of lease agreed recently.

Ethnic Russians are the majority population in Crimea.

Indeed. Although in all previous votes (and recent opinion polls), they'd decided to throw their lot in with Ukraine. How did that suddenly turn into a 97% referendum vote the other way? Anything to do wtih the less than week-long election campaign, intimidation of opposition, troops and 'militia' on the streets and transparent ballot boxes I wonder?

In fact it's rather reminiscent of the vote to hold the referendum in the Crimean parliament, where at least some opposition MPs were thrown out and the place was surrounded by armed troops and/or 'militia'.

The internationally-recognised Ukrainian government, corrupt or not, has been ousted in an armed uprising.

Bollocks! The elected President ran away and went into hiding - after ordering troops to shoot at protesters. And got impreached by Parliament. Including by members of his own party - who hold a majority. That Parliament then replaced him and his government.

Whether that's all constitutional is not something I'm qualified to comment on. But that's as much of a legal process as you're likely to get, in a country in as messed-up as Ukraine. It's not ideal, and it leads to the idea that you can start storming government offices if you don't like the results of an election you lost. But Putin's on pretty dodgy ground himself if he wants to start talking about democratic legitimacy. He certainly used to have it, and I'm sure he'd have won the last election anyway, without the fraud that his supporters used to make sure.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of democratic legitimacy, um what about the current government in Crimea? In what way is surrounding the regional parliament with armed troops, installing a new government that don't have a majority, and imposing a referendum without a 'NO' option, with zero time to campaign, legitimate?

Furthermore, the West's in no position to bleat about flouting international law after what happened to Iraq.

Iraq was legal. Arguably so admittedly, but there is a legitimate legal argument to say that it was legal, and there's no court qualified to decide yay or nay in the final instance. Plus the UN did approve the occupation. There was also no annexation, and troops were withdrawn after a government was set up. Notice any difference of the Russian invasion of Crimea? There is not even an arguable case for Russia's annexation to be called legal. Of course there's also no court that can decide, only a political body (the UN Security Council), because international Law is basically semi-fictional. There are sort of some agreed norms, under most circumsntances though - and Russia just broke all of them. So yes, we have a right to lecture.

Kosovo was definitely illegal though. Which is another reason International Law is crap. The legal thing to do, in the face of Russia vetoing any intervention, was to let Serbia massacre a few more tens of thousands of people. Note though, that again no-one annexed Kosovo.

They should have realised Sevastopol's importance to Russia, known that Putin wouldn't let it go, and remembered what happened to Georgia.

Aha. So now the faux moral arguments and the everyone-esle-is-as-bad-too whattaboutery go by the wayside. And we admit the truth. Russia is a serial violator of international law and a threat to world peace. Now we're getting somewhere. Well they're a threat to world peace via their nukes, they don't have the conventional military capability for that, but are definitely capable of invading their neighbours. What with destroying Chechenya and massacreing thousands (look into what happened there before you comment on the casualties in Iraq by the way). But with Chechenya, Crimea and Georgia in the recent past and large ethnic Russian populations scattered about the place - Putin has plenty of excuses for further invasions. And a track record of already doing it.

So rather than the childish crap about how we need to look to the beam in our own eye before addressing the mote in Putin's we need to look at the reality facing us. Also ignoring all the crap about how the nasty mainstream media are being horrible about him. Because I've seen pretty balanced coverage in the Torygraph, Guardian and Beeb - including opinions that Vlad was right. So that's just a straw man, so far as I can tell. The question is can we work out Putin's motivation - and is he acting rationally? If not, we need to worry.

Merkel (up to now Germany has been pretty close to Russia diplomatically) said, after speaking to Putin on the phone last week, that he was "divorced from reality". Has power gone to his head? Has absolute power corrupted him absolutely? I don't think he's 'The New Hitler' [tm] - but I do find it disturbing how many people seem to be leaping to his defence - when his actions in Crimea are indefensible.

Note that at no time did Putin attempt to negotiate. He simply sent in the troops. That's a very bad sign indeed. And in my opinion makes the whole thing worse. No one denies that Russia has legitimate concerns and interests in Crimea. I'm certain this could have been settled by negotiation, even to the extent of Crimea rejoining Russia legally (though that would have been much harder).

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Crashed NORKS drones discovered by South Korea

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Devil

Re: Navigation Error

Perhaps the playmonaut simply heard Norks, and missed the rest of the sentence. Selective hearing and all that...

These kind of mistakes so often happen.

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Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

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Narrow faces means they haven't eaten enough cake, that's all.

Which is a massive sign of lack of intelligence.

Therefore we have a paradox here. No sane and intelligent person would deny themselves cake. Therefore the study must be wrong. And needs to re-test with more people.

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Assange not running in new Australian election

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Re: Prohibiting eligible people running for election -- a banana republic tactic

He's not been convicted of anything overseas, as far as I'm aware. He's got a hacking conviction in Australia, from many years ago. But he's not been to court in the UK for skipping his bail, even though he's obviously guilty, as I seem to remember his guarantors have already lost their money.

Does that count as a crime, or is it contempt of court? Because contempt is a weird system - at least when administered by the court in question. Criminal contempt is another matter, brought as a normal case but by the Attorney General. As for Sweden, he's not even been charged yet, and can't be until they can arrest him.

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Devil

I think you meant:

..After all, he's been on their sofa so long, he's now almost a cushion...

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Re: Prohibiting eligible people running for election -- a banana republic tactic

Presumably he's not on the electoral roll? Hence he can't stand. Which is his fault, not theirs. After all, he was allowed to stand last time. For all the good it did him. Or would have done any voters foolish enough to elect him, given that he's not able to take his seat, due to the minor matter of hiding inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in order to avoid questioning in Sweden for alleged rape.

So I vote no to the banana repulic thing, and yes to the it's more likely he screwed up his paperwork thing. If you can't fill out a couple of forms correctly, and in a timely manner, you're probably not fit for office. Reminds me of a party who said they accidentally filled their voting preference forms out incorrectly, potentially passing their second preferences to the wrong parties... Now who could that be?

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Happy

Re: Seems to me that Assange has been running for quite awhile now.

He's not so much running, as sitting on his arse on someone else's sofa.

Perhaps his plan is to eat so many microwaved readymeals and tasty snacks, that he can't fit through the embasy door anymore, and is therefore permanently safe from extradition.

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Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

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Happy

Re: I want...

How about, Titanium Cranium Brainium Retainium Man?

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Bitcoin bloodbath as China shutters all trading sites

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Re: As Terry Pratchett said

Aldous,

Is the price pogoing though? Or just dropping? If you look at charts of Bitcoin history, you see the price burbling along at not very much for a very long time. Then suddenly in December last year, it zooms up to over $1,000. Since then it's gradually declined. There was a quick drop in January to $500, which I think was when China tightened up on it last time, then a bounce, and then it's slowly dropped back down to $500 again.

Of course it could be that Bitcoin's just taken off, and this is natural fluctuation in price after a major change. Or it could be that something set this bubble off in December, and the price is slowly going to decline back to the $100-200 range - as before.

Myself, I'm for the bubble theory. The only major changes I'm aware of in the last few months are that ransomware that was encrypting people's hard drives and taking payment in BTC and the collapse of MtGox. Although there may have been a few people launching funds to invest in Bitcoins, like the Winklevoss twins, but I thought most of those announcements were earlier.

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Microsoft frisks yet another Android gear maker for patent dosh

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Re: Accomplishments?

Ah SCO. When they make the film, it'll be called 'The McBride of Dracula'.

Oops! I said it again. It rises... It rises! The horror! The horror!

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

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Re: Horses for courses

I don't think most people can tell the difference. It's like VHS to DVD to blu-ray. Everyone could tell how much better DVD was than video, because of the blurriness and the wonky audio. A lot fewer can spot if blu-ray beats DVD, and even fewer care.

The same being true of tape to CD to whatever. We've actually accepted a drop in quality since CD, despite the industry's attempts to go for DVD audio and SACD. mp3 is still better than tape - and that's good enough for most.

I remember the first time I heard mp3. A friend of mine who had a decent-ish sound system, had got 100s of tracks on one CD from somewhere. They were really horrible, must have been a terrible bit rate to get so many on. It put me off looking at digital music for years. And yet he didn't even notice how crap it sounded. The fact that people are happy to use the bundled headphones with mp3 players shows this too.

People's knowledge, talents and interest are just different. I've mixed live music. So I always spot those little mistakes, eg. when people fade up the mic too slow on live telly or radio. Or when the system is ringing and about to feed back (which it always seems to be whenever I hear X Factor). Most people don't notice, because they haven't trained themselves to. Why would they?

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Re: Is it a joke??

A £500 system of half decent stereo gear would urinate all over the overpriced Sonos rubbish.

Depends on your criteria.

On sound quality, I don't doubt it. My brother has sunk a quite silly amount of cash into Sonos' pockets. Although they sound good enough at parties. Especially with his crap taste in music... I've not had a chance to compare them to anything better. But I'm pretty sure that he'd struggle to tell the difference even in a blind audio test. Some people neither notice, nor care about this stuff, past a certain point.

On wiring the Sonos wins hands down. It's one box wired to the telly. Then the option of using some other speakers in the set-up if you want. Obviously they need power, but you don't have to run wires round the room to satellite speakers. And you can easily move stuff, when you move the furniture.

On flexibility Sonos wins hands down and massively. In fact it's a slaughter. If, like my brother, you've gone the Sonos route, then you can have a big family party. The kids have got something horrible playing on the speakers that he's moved out into the garden. Maybe the cricket's on telly, just using the soundbar. But brother is cooking something, so has slaved the speaker in the kitchen to the soundbar, so he can hear what's going on, and come in to see any wickets. Then there's another in the dining room - for whoever's sitting in there stuffing their faces. All can be playing the same, or different, things - and change at the flick of a switch on a laptop, a tablet, or anyone's phone who's downloaded the app.

Or they can all be taken into the sitting room, and set up for surround sound on the telly. Or any other combination.

Simplicity: Once you've set up your Sonos, you don't need to muck around with another remote. It takes its sound off the telly. And stays set up how you did it, until you change something with phone, tablet, PC. Or you turn on device, and fling sound at chosen speaker.

Me, I'd have something cheaper, with better audio quality for a reasonable price. When I've got the time, I'll do some research into this as I've no idea what to get. But then I don't have a garden, house or kids, or frequently have 20 people round at once. There's only one sitting/dining room in my flat, so unless I exile guests to the bedrooms, we're all stuck with the same music. But for ease of use I find the Sonos stuff quite impressive. Even my brother can work it. I'll take a bit more complication for lower price and nicer sound quality.

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NASA: Vote now to put FLASHY LIGHTS on future spacesuits

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Re: Any votes for Cylon style sweeping red leds?

It worked OK for Knight Rider. His car didn't try to take over the world and enslave all humans. Or at least I don't remember that particular episode...

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

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Re: And...

How many parsecs is that ?

I'd say you've got your units confused there. Parsecs is dependent on soil quality, weather, the skill of the allotment holder, etc.

Oh sorry, you didn't mean parsnips per second...

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They want me to install CCTV to see what YOU did in the TOILET

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Re: Better use for CCTV at work

Don't bother with a camera. That's too much effort, leads to confrontation, and is unsatisfying. Negative re-inforcement is a far better motivator.

The answer (as so often) is explosives. You need a switch that works on weight. If the coffee pot is put back empty, then kaboom! Word will soon get around...

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Vote now for the top reader Limerick limerick

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Well if you can have any limerick, I have to use my favourite, which I heard from Peter Jones:

There was a young man from Torbay,

Who sailed off to China one day.

He was lashed to the tiller,

By a sex-crazed gorilla.

And the far East's a very long way...

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When forced to sign-in for his bail,

In Limerick nick's poxy gaol,

The penless parolee

Lost all self-control, he

Tried to 'punch-in' instead. Gardai Fail!

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Keep your quinoa, hipsters: Boffins back healthy slabs of choc

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Re: What chocolate?

Yup, one of my co-workers bought some chocolate with him when he flew over from Belgium.

He couldn't understand the crazed herd charge toward it, so we enlightened him with a bite from a Hershey's "chocolate" bar. He spit it out.

Yup. Know that one. I used to live in Belgium. And I became increasingly aware on my visits to good old Blighty that the sequence of events would go like this:

1. Me walks into room with friends / family / colleagues

2. Expectant hordes would say, "Got any chocolate?"

3. Then, and only then, would they bother to say hello to me.

I didn't attempt a corellation between the warmth of the greeting I'd (eventually) receive and whether I'd bought choccies or not, as this would probably have been too depressing...

And this is the UK, where decent choccy is easily available. And the Cadbury's stuff is at least not as horrible as Hersheys. I can only imagine the reaction in the US. Although, saying that, you'll only prize my Cadbury's Wispa bars from my cold, dead hands...

But there's no accounting for taste. On one visit to Blighty I found myself buying Curly Wurlys. For months I'd been overwhelmed with a desire for them, presumably becasue they weren't available. Homesickness can do strange things to you, given that I lived within 200 yards of a branch of Neuhaus (yum), with a less amazing shop even closer. I bought a pack of 4, and ate them all the afternoon after I'd got home from the airport. I don't think I've had one since.

Tried some 100% cocoa stuff recently. And I wasn't massively impressed. It was interesting, and a strange texture (as there was no fat/oil to make it pliable), but no sweetness whatsoever. And seemed to suck all the moisture out of your mouth as well.

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GIANT FLESH-EATING DEVIL CHICKENS roamed North Dakota

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Re: El Pollo Diablo* ?

It's a good job these giant chickens occured in places where the potato also grew. I know there was some nice giant vegetation back then, I really hope someone finds a fossilized giant 'tater.

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Re: the inoffensive, tiny chickens of today

Chickens will go as bonkers as any shark to the smell of blood and the taste of raw meat.

Why, oh why, oh why haven't the James Bond producers used this/

"Number 2, you have failed me for the last time!" [presses switch on desk, trapdoor opens]

What would Bond's line be, as he pushes a henchmen into the chicken pen, during his escape from the evil lair I wonder?

"Clucking hell!"

"What a fowl trick?"

"They were looking a bit peckish"

I'd better stop now, before I go pun-crazy.

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BOFH: On the PFY's Scottish estate, no one can hear you scream...

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Re: This would be funny except ...

But, but, but! You've got to have the green stuff in the plans!

Otherwise the architects all sulk, the poor dears. Then they get smears on their weird designer glasses, and get tear stains on their pristine hi-vis jackets.

Of course when the engineers get involved in the spec later, the green stuff might actually be made to work. With a following wind and a bit of hope. But that's OK, as then the beancounters come along, they'll take it all off the spec anyway. But none of us begrudge the effort, because a happy architect is worth all the wasted time and effort. Oh yes.

[But like the Murphy's, I'm not bitter.]

Hmmm, quicklime and a shovel you say? Forest up in Scotland? Hmmm. interesting. Checks diary... tappity... tappity... change meeting location... now onto the next... New meeting request accepted. Excellent! Books hotel in Scotland... do we need meeting facilities? Oh no, I don't think we'll use those... I plan by the green agenda. All meetings to be outdoors, to inspire us with nature... tappity... tappity... quicklime.co.uk? It's just possible you could save my life...

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Don't stare: SHRUNKEN Mercury lost 7km, but only 'cos it's COOLING

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Re: Extending the methodology

It also leads to some interesting speculations on the original size of the average male scrotum.

Oh dear. I really shouldn't have typed that, but I just couldn't stop myself. Is that a space-hopper in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me...

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Samsung puts ultrasonic echolocation cover on a smartphone for the blind

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On the other hand, many others could. And for them, a bigger screen is likely to be better than a smaller one - also for obvious reasons.

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Re: I don't think those who can't see will mind that its not for big screens...

Very few blind people can't see at all. Total blindness is incredibly rare.

Admittedly there are also a lot of people with so little functional vision, that a touch screen would be of no practical use. But there are many conditions where a white cane or guide dog would be appropriate, but where people could still use large prompts on a screen. Or even read some text (if large enough).

Plus there are also plenty of totally blind people who use touch screen phones. Everything is hard when you're blind, so they just get used to dealing with it. I think the high cost and relatively low speed of development of the specialist kit, tempts them to use the mainstream stuff. So the RNIB recomment (or used to) the iPhone, and people get used to being very disclipline as to moving their fingers to select icons (which they've placed so know the layout of) - and using the audio feedback.

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Commentards Ball

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Re: Commentards Ball

I notice that certain staff members sneaked off early, in order to avoid their share of the drinking. Shame!

Or are the El Reg overlords a bit more evil than that, and it was their share of the tab they were avoiding...

However the noble editor (Dear Leader Kim Jong Page) took one for the team, and was still there propping up the bar, whisky in hand, when I had to run for the train.

Perhaps these modern hacks, just can't... hack it? I did ask whether journalism was still the drink-sodden profession of olden days. Most agreed that things had eased-off in recent years, but Lewis said that he'd come to journalism from the navy, so the drinking seemed positively light to him.

It was a fun evening, and I was grateful for the invite. I'm not sure if the Register got any business value out of it. All they've done is expose their poor put-upon staff to even more of the dregs of humanity than they usually meet at media events and trade shows.

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MtGox remedy worse than the disease says Kaspersky researcher

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Re: Le résumé de la situation

Here is the critical fault with fractional-reserve banking that rarely gets discussed. When someone deposits a good it is not because he does not want to use it. Nor does that good represent some idle resource until it is asked for. People who support fractional-reserve banking of both the centralized and “free” varieties are both of the opinion that deposits are idle cash and no one is harmed when a bank puts them to good use.....

Destroy all Monsters,

This is nothing to do with fractional reserve banking. Mt Gox wasn't a bank. It was an exchange or a broker. It wasn't licenced as a bank, nor was it regulated as such. Although it wasn't regulated as a broker either. It also didn't operate as a bank. It only had a fraction of the Bitcoins that it claimed to hold on behalf of its customers either through monumental stupidity and incompetence, or internal fraud. Or possibly both. Losing some of the money was probably inevitable in any complex company, but not noticing and continuing to lose all their assets was incompetence at best.

The reason that banks are allowed to get away with only holding a fraction of their depositors money in cash, is that they pay interest. Current accounts in the UK don't, but then they don't charge fees either (which is quite unusual). But people have savings, as well as current accounts. Banks need to expect people to spend the cash in their current accounts, over the month, but they wouldn't expect their savers to do so. And in fact generally pay higher rates of interest, if you promise to lock your money in a savings product for longer. Also banks lend cash (hopefully) they don't lose it. That loan is an asset. So although they've lent out the cash you deposited with them, they still have something to show for it (unlike Bitcoin). Often a mortgage, backed by a house, or a business loan with collaterol. Also they hold cash reserves, to meet withdrawal requests, and they have capital reserves (their shareholders' money), to cover losses and protect their depositors. Not that it's perfect. But totally different to Bitcoin. And anyone who lends a bank cash at interest is specifically asking the bank to invest it in something. Or thinks the banks are charities, that just pay interest out of niceness...

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'Hacked docs' prove MtGox has 1 MILLION Bitcoins, claim blog-snatchers

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Re: "Satoshi Nakamoto" = "Free Lunch"?

You can't make an omelette without breaking... metaphors.

Or something.

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Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

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Re: Will attendees be identified..

I'm Eadon!

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Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad

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Re: Well done

Denigor,

If you wish not to have your family see your private stuff after you're dead, then don't make them executors of your will. Pick a friend instead.

There's going to be private stuff when you die. It won't be embarrassing though, as you're dead, so won't notice. But that's why you pick an executor you trust. They then get to decide what to do with stuff, not random companies who just happen to be holding onto it at the time you happened to die.

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