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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Google tells Microsoft to yank its new WinPhone YouTube app

I ain't Spartacus
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The ads in YouTube are massively intrusive. You click on a video, and you don't get the content you wanted, but an incredibly loud ad. Some don't let you skip for 20 seconds, on a 30 second clip! That would be like an hour long TV show lasting only 30 minutes and half an hour of adverts!

Plus they also sometimes have pop-up ads inside the videos that you have to close to get out of the way of the screen. Mostly I've seen those on videos that also had intro ads.

I've no problem with a bit of advertising, but I'm getting to hate YouTube now. I don't mind if they show stuff around the edges (which they do) and I've no objection to a short ad embedded in the video, but it's got well past taking the piss proportions now.

Of course some of this may be the content providers and not Google. But then seeing as YouTube was built on Google profiting from other people's copyrighted stuff without paying for it, you can't totally blame them either. 'Tis a bit of a mess really. And has a pretty shitty UI as well.

...And breathe... Don't know what launched me into that rant... Oh well, I feel better now.

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Re: I appear to have stepped into a parallel universe

Thank you. I just made the same point in a reply to someone above. But took far too many paragraphs to do it less well.

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Re: Not so nice when the shoe's on the other foot is it Microsoft?

The answer as to who to root for is, the customers. MS have been particularly evil in the past, but they've been slapped down a few times, and had to learn a few humbling lessons from the market. I'd argue they're no longer evil, they've improved in quite a lot of ways and they're just like any other corporation. Which doesn't mean nice, but profits in themselves aren't evil.

I worry that Google could turn evil, and they've got an awful lot of people's personal data with which to do it. But now, equally, I think they're just another big corp out to make a buck. Of course they did publicly say 'do no evil' so they can't complain if they're held to high standards.

However it's ironic to see Google making these points. Funny how they're so concerned about other people's revenue now. As opposed to when they're using their search monopoly to cross-subsidise free products into other areas, or turning off Exchange Active Sync and CalDav in Gmail to inconvenience non-Android users. Or scanning author's books without permission, or maybe most relevantly taking advertising revenue from news websites by pushing people through Google news so breaking the media companies revenue - even though they pay the money to provide the content. Which is also similar to YouTube., where Google get the cash, and other people do the work.

Again nothing particularly evil or unique here, it's just weird to see the occasionally rabid defence that Google gets from techies on these forums. The downvotes you get for even mild criticism of Google, Android, or worse, being nice about Windows Phone... Come on guys, they're just another company! They do some wonderful stuff, they do some pretty shitty stuff, and everywhere in between.

***Obviously for the purposes of this comment 'evil' is a nice piece of shorthand. In reality neither MS or Google have done anything evil. You need to consider them against Hitler, Stalin, or even the more tin-pot end of the Dictator scale like the Kim family in Korea or the Assads in Syria. In that perspective they're all just cuddly fluffy bunnykins really...

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Dark blue side of the Force used to quell Star Wars nerd clash

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Re: Norwich eh?

NFN - Normal for Norfolk...

Where's the tractor icon when you need it?

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Live Blog: Google I/O keynote

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What I found interesting was the jump by 250% in a year of revenue per user in Google Play. Of course that was from a low base, but could be very significant for app developers. Unless all that cash is going to Google for music/books, rather than on apps.

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Android device? Ooohhhh, you mean a Samsung phone

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Re: Fragmentation?

Remember Samsung don't completely own the market. They just hoover up all the profits. It's safe to assume that the users of all the non-Samsung handsets still buy apps, and I think Samsung have less than half of Android sales. Although you could save testing time buy just concentrating on them, and still hit a large chunk of the market. I guess that depends on how much profit you make from each installed app.

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Re: Nokia

It would be interesting to see what all the Elop-haters think of this story. Had Nokia gone Android, then they might be in the same boat as all the other manufacturers of 'Droids who don't live in Korea. A sad boat with no profits - and therefore no champagne, cocaine and hookers. Boo hoo...

Of course, I'm sure they'd just say that Nokia would be able to do better. And ignore the fact that no-one else seems to be managing it. After all, HTC seem to have some very nice phones, some look nicer to me than the Samsungs, but it doesn't seem to be doing them any good.

However the bit at the end of the article may be the most interesting. Maybe it's just down to marketing spend. Well Nokia would struggle with that, without the huge Microsoft marketing kick-backs they've been getting.

I also wonder how much is down to the channel? One of the criticisms of Elop that I've read is that he's been bad at getting Nokia into prominent places in the phone shops, and also at getting the staff to push Nokia's shinies. Now maybe that's just the staff being nice to their customers and pushing them away from Windows Phone. Or maybe it's unfair criticism, I don't know the industry well enough. But I've read a few other things about store staff pushing customers to Samsung away from HTC as well. So I wonder if part of it is that Samsung are paying the highest commission? Or just their regional sales bods are motivating/communicating with the store staff better? I had a brief bit of contact with this in my last job, working for a UK retailer. The incentives on just the Pay-as-you-Go phones we sold were horrifically complicated. We also made a small loss on most handsets until we got our rebates a few months later. With the actual mobile phone stores, I think there are programs to reward the sales guys directly - but even if not, management will push the one that makes most for them.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield's Space Oddity ends in Kazakhstan

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Re: Why...

Gene Cash,

Thanks for correcting me on the rockets.

Like you, I'd pretty much ride any spacecraft if it got me up there, however risky. If it meant avoiding the million dollar price ticket then I'd go on something experimental - so long as it was at least plausibly non-suicidal.

I'm hoping current rises in life-expectancy continue, so that I can eventually get an affordable ticket to space, before I die. Even if I have to blow my entire pension on doing it. In which case I'd probably be grateful for a failure on re-entry, as an alternative to living on cat food for the rest of my life...

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Re: Why...

I don't believe they use rockets. I think it's just parachutes and probably extra bouncy seats. The Soviets went for return to land because they didn't have the fleet in the 50s to be able to keep several handy in different places. They also had no aircraft carriers.

I can't remember which of the early Cosmonauts died because of a parachute failure. Apparently he spent his last few minutes coming down making very rude comments about the engineers over the radio. Before hitting the ground at 100mph-odd. I also seem to remember they had one land on the side of a steep hill, and go for a big roll - which can't have been nice. And didn't they also have one land massively off course, which took several days to find?

SpaceX are apparently planning to land their Dragons on rockets though. I presume they'll have parachutes to slow the descent, but they want to come in on land so they can re-use the capsules, which is too expensive after you've dunked them in salt water. Plus they may not have free access to the US fleet. When they man rate it they're going to have re-ignitable rockets, which will act as an emergency escape system in caste the Falcon rocket goes kaboom at launch, and also be landing rockets. And I presume also for the de-orbit burn. I imagine that's going to take a lot of testing to convince the NASA safety people to man-rate it. But good luck to them if they can make it work.

I think I'll use the appropriate icon here...

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Apparently he updated his twitter status to 'in a field somewhere in Kazakhstan'. Which tickled me when I heard it on the radio this morning. He has a nice turn of phrase. And again, congrats for raising the profile of space when things weren't going wrong. Normally that's the main time the ISS gets media attention.

I'd like to dispute one thing though. In your article you say 'touched down'. I've seen some videos of Soyuz landings that make that look like a bit of a polite euphemism for ouch, bang, ouch. Still, any landing you walk away from I suppose...

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New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for

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Re: Different strokes

I've got a luxurious iPhone 5, made out of premium materials such as aluminium and glass, and I spit on you peasants with your plastic phones!

Unfortunately due to the violent action of doing this, the stupid slippery piece of crap just slid out of my hand and smashed into a million pieces on the concrete floor. Although I suppose it's an improvement on the iPhones 4 and 4S with the even sillier glass back. Because putting a pointlessly easily fragile surface material where it's not needed to look good is apparently genius design...

As it happens, the problem is easily solved by putting a rubber bumper on it, or using a case. But I'm not a fan of the iPhone designs since the 3S, which was a much more 'hand friendly' shape.

I think my favourite was the HTC Desire (and other models for a while after) with the all metal construction for toughness, but that rubberised stuff on the back where your hand goes to make it non-slippy and also warmer when you're holding it in winter. I also agree with you on the SD card - although companies could get round that by giving you extra storage. 16GB as the only option is ridiculous.

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Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

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Re: To the author

Whatever the case may be, I can't see Google transforming Android into the kind of sick experience you get on Windows Phone today.

No I'm not an Android fan, I'm not even a Microsoft hater. but having played with both Android and Windows phone I'd rather have the "mess" than all the restrictiveness.

Aren't those 2 comments a bit mutually exclusive? It's certainly sounding a bit fanboyish.

Not that either OS is perfect. It's horses for course. Sure Windows is locked down. As is iOS. And if you want something that Apple/MS don't approve of then tough luck. Not sure I'd call that sick though. Just you pays your money and you takes your choice. Android is much more free, and therefore can be a bit of a mess. If you know what you're doing, then that's no problem.

I wouldn't recommend Android to my Mum, if she ever wanted a smartphone. But anyone with a small amount of confidence in computers will be perfectly fine. Then it's just a matter of which you prefer.

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Re: Android capturing the spoils?

But Google aren't in it for the money. At least not directly. They're capturing the data, which is what they wanted. Although as you say, other than Samsung no-one else seems to be doing too well with Android.

I find Google's data gathering rather worrying. But you have to be impressed with the long-term planning that they've put in place. Even assuming only some of their moves were thought out long in advance. The sheer power of the massive network of mobile data recorders that they now control (or customers' Android handsets as everyone else calls them) is astonishing.

They won't need to go WiFi sniffing again, because they've got a network of phones with WiFi and GPS chips that upload all that data to their servers. The same thing helps them with mapping, traffic data for sat-nav, plus usage/location/search data that could give them a hugely valuable mobile marketing resource.

It better be worth it, because it hasn't come cheap. When you think they've bought patents as well as Motorola (possibly to get more), plus Android itself and spend a fortune on R&D and marketing. And yet they don't make a huge amount selling their add-ons to the OEMs, and I don't think they make a huge amount through the Play store either (at least so far).

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Re: Torn between them all

I went Windows Phone for a while. Because the Lumia 710 was cheap. The upside was the big text, big buttons and lack of options. I decided that the tablet was for apps, the phone was for sat-nav and communication. My previous 'Droid was much better customised, and had more apps, but harder to use as a phone.

Now I've got a work iPhone, and I miss the flexibility of my old Android and the ease-of-use-but-inflexibility of my Win Phone. I think there must be something wrong with me...

In all seriousness they've all got strengths and weaknesses. I played with the new Berry and that looked OK too. But in my opinion Android needs the most tinkering to make it work well. For which trouble you get a UI more customised to what you like. My conclusion was that I don't want to tinker with my phone, I want it to mostly right out of the box.

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Re: I don't care it's a mess

I don't think anyone would dispute that Android is brilliant for techies. The sheer level of customisation available is amazing. Especially if you're willing to go all the way and root the device. That's obviously an important market, because people who aren't techies will often ask mates who are what to get.

That's why I've had several non-techy people tell me that Windows 8 is crap and as bad as Vista. Not because they know anything about it, or have ever used it, but because MS pissed off the geeks by not letting them turn Metro off. Ooops! PR screw-up ahoy!

When I had an Android 2.3 handset there were quite a lot of major deficiencies with it. The stock text messaging, email, and address book clients were a bit pants. And being an HTC there were also (confusingly for some) a second set of all of these from Sense, filling up the limited app space in storage - and I didn't like them much better. For me it was no problem, and I got better ones, and was very pleased with how I eventually got the thing set up. The flexibility was lovely, and I even had a WiFi scanner so I could do surveys and set up wireless networks for friends. Totally pointless on a phone of course, but also incredibly useful. But the non-techies struggle with that level of complexity.

My sister-in-law had the same phone. She had only one app, which was the crappy Android Facebook one. Now she's got an iPhone and loads of apps. Partly because she finds it easier to use, and partly because my brother has one and can help. Whereas he couldn't do much with her 'Droid either.

For someone like her I''d say Windows Phone is better at the cheap end of the market, and iPhone at the top end. Not because they're better, but I think they're both easier to use. The penalty being much less flexibility. But all she wants is email, texts calls, camera and Facebook. For anyone like that all the 4 major phone OSes can handle it easily, and it's just down to ease of use / least confusion.

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Full metal jacket: Nokia launches new Lumia 925

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Re: round objects

You didn't like it. Fair enough. Others might. I don't think there's anything much wrong with the OS, it just makes different design choices to Android. It's horses for courses. A lack of ecosystem is no problem to people who don't want apps.

I have to say though that I find it hard to justify the top-end Lumia's because of that. If you're shelling out £500 anyway, get an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy 4. With decent app stores. I upgraded from my Lumia 710 a few months ago, and the MS Marketplace was still pretty crap then. But the cheap handsets are nice, as long as you don't want to do anything that WP can't.

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Re: 16GB?

It's got a sealed battery, so I suspect no SD card. It was the Lumia 820 that had the SD slot wasn't it? Seems pretty stupid in my opinion.

At least when Apple make this decision it's so they can make you pay £200 to upgrade from 16GB to 64GB for yummy profits. I suppose deliberate evil is better than incompetent crapness...

Most other manufacturers don't seem to want to give you more than 32GB. My music collection is 20GB, plus I like to listen to podcasts on the way to work. Storage is cheap, I'd love to stop carrying a separate mp3 player, but so far I've not found a phone that does it, at sensible cost.

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Sun lets loose with THREE record eruptions in 24 hours

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Re: Fluids

And from his previous body too. A re-incarnated Buddhist survivalist tin-foil hat wearer. There's a turn-up for the books...

Don't forget to burn those hair and nail clippings. The Gub'mint is going through your bins looking for them every day. They disguise it by calling it re-cycling you know. Remember you heard it here first.

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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

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I know someone with severe arthritis and macular degeneration. So I want to sort her out with a large print eReader that doesn't weigh anything. This seems perfect. Big screen is important, because if you're viewing text at 20pt type, then a 5" screen means you're only getting a couple of words per page (which is just silly). So hooray for this, if true.

Sadly it'll also have to do Adobe Digital Editions for library books. What a pile of shite!

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Ground control to major strum: ISS's Hadfield sings Space Oddity

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I think this guy has done more to get the ISS into the mainstream media than anyone in ages. Certainly the UK media. And not for stuff going wrong either. He's just been getting nice photographs and slightly dodgy songs out there, and sneaking the old science in with it.

When do they build the next module of the ISS. The recording studio? I'd love to see a string quartet playing in micro-g, and it would be interesting to see what playing the drums was like. I think the UK should build it, then send Madness up there. Nutty-boy dancing in Sppppaaaaaaccccceeeeeee...

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El Reg drills into Office 365: What's under the hood?

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

The world of Enterprise IT needs a little more than "Yep it can be done!"

Are you sure? I thought that was the pitch that won Crapita and EDS all their government contracts...

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Re: MS Office 365 Security / Legal / FAIL

Sod the enterprise. Enterprise sized customers have the resources to do all this internally. Office and Google's cloudy offering are just a choice as to who you pay to keep the mice inside the servers fed.

Obviously if there are problems with IP or data protection, then you'll be more likely to stay in-house. And with large numbers of users the costs are probably so close that it makes little difference. The extra costs of making changes to, and the lack of flexibility of, out-sourcing probably make things pretty even.

Where it matters is small business. I do most of the IT for a company of under 10 people. I also do the accounts, some of the engineering design and a bit of the sales. We have 3 people working from home, and 3 road-warriors. Out-sourcing is the way for us. The first cost of getting a server would be somewhere to put it, we rent cheap offices because we barely need them. The next cost would be learning to make it work. I can do all our desktop maintenance, but no way in hell am I setting up servers (I don't have the time or the training), and double-no-way-in-hell are our users moving to Linux. They can barely use Windows...

We use a cloudy accounts package, and pay a local IT vendor to run an Exchange server for us with our CRM on it too. Exchange is so complex that they don't know all the options on it, because they're generalists. What we lose in expertise, we gain in cost and the fact that we can talk to them and change things any time.

A few thousand in software licensing costs is bugger-all in the great scheme of things. The costs come in managing the server. Locating, powering, maintaining and backing-up the server and paying the person who knows how to keep the mice happy.

The other objection to Linux would be Outlook. Personally I dislike it, and have since I first had to use it in the 90s. Although I've never had to use Lotus... But we've got at least 2 users who'd cry if we took it away from them. What's the Linux state of affairs on an alternatives to Exchange/Outlook nowadays? There doesn't seem to be much in the Windows world to do calendaring/contacts/email unless it's online only. What do Linux peeps have on their desktops?

If Lync (or whatever) can do all the fancy integrated internal communications stuff for us, that's currently out of easy reach to a small company, then that's just gravy.

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Boffins plan to drop €250,000 TEST-TUBE BURGER on London

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Re: What about fat?

That's easy. Liposuction on the overweight customer, in the queue.

Lose weight 'while you wait'!

Thus we solve the cruelty to animals question simultaneously with the poor diet one. Sensible solutions for a happy Britain!

It's a shame El Reg don't have a Mr Greedy icon. So I'll go with Mr Happy instead. When I was a kid, my favourite was Mr Tickle, because his arms were so long he could reach the biscuit tin in the kitchen, without getting out of bed. Ahem! It's funny that now I'm an adult, my biccie tin still lives in the kitchen, rather than on the bedside table. Although I do have a teasmade, so I don't have to get up in the morning to get my first cuppa. If there was a 'baconsandwichmade' I'd probably stay in bed for the next 5 years, until my inevitable death from overeating.

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Mmmm Panda...

I read about a dig in Siberia that found a massively well preserved mammoth, in the permafrost. The story goes that the crew couldn't help themselves, and had mammoth steaks and vodka for dinner. I really hope it isn't true, but with enough vodka you can probably eat anything...

Anyway, I thought the market had come up with a better solution. Why spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a beef alternative, when you can just eat horse?

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Setanta, ESPN couldn't make UK footie TV work. How will BT Sport?

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Re: Competition...

It wasn't Ofcom. It was a challenge in the European Court of Justice. Can't remember who brought it now. To comply the Premier League were forced to split the rights into 'equal' packages, and no broadcaster was allowed to own all of them.

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I heard an interview with BT's head of telly on Radio 4's excellent Media Show last year. They'd just won the rights, and yet were totally unwilling to say what they'd charge, who they'd let see it or even give a general idea of what their strategy was. It was almost as if they'd just bunged out a bid, stumped up loads of cash, and were hoping for the best.

This mini-TV rights package is such a booby-prize, created entirely by the ECJ being ridiculous. All it's done is wasted a bunch of cash from various failed TV ventures - and forced consumers into paying £10-£15 a month extra to get exactly what they were getting on Sky a few years ago. I guess BT can do something with it, as I believe Sky have to let them show Sky's sports channels on BT Vision. But then I assume that works both ways and BT will have to make it available on Sky's platform too.

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Re: Well

In the UK at least, the sport on Sky was never the cheap bit. The Sport was the lure, and the fact you weren't allowed to buy that package until you'd shelled out for films as well was the extra gravy.

Whatever you might say about Murdoch, he was certainly willing to spend big, think long-term and take big risks, in order to build Sky and make it profitable.

As well as cross-subsidising from other bits of the empire to kill off rivals (BSB), and huge cross-advertising from his newspapers...

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Identity cards: How Labour lost power in a case of mistaken ID

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Re: Could someone please explain me this British anti-ID obsession?

I think the short answer is grumpiness, general distrust of government, cost, the fact that it's not a pressing need. Other European countries having ID cards is not necessarily a selling point either. In general we tend to concentrate on being different to the rest of the EU...

To address one point, as the UK aren't members of the Schengen agreement, our ID cards would not be acceptable for travel around Europe. In practise they probably would be. Also, as I recall the rules from when I lived in Belgium, you could cross the borders with a Belgian ID card, but with the foreigner ID cards issued to non-citizens you still technically required your passport. Also in Belgium they have something called administrative arrest. This gives the police up to 48 hours to detain you, while they prove who you are - if you don't produce an ID card or passport on request. I remember the Belgian police once used this to lock up most of a train of football fans, who'd left their passports in their hotel safes on the way to an international match. Kept them just long enough to miss the match, then sent them back to their hotels.

The government put rules in place in the past to stop them from merging the various government databases into one big, all-knowing, super database. Although partly this was probably agreed to because it wasn't yet practical. The ID card database would have eroded those distinctions quite a lot, and I guess people are already worried enough about the government telling them what to do. We've had a few quite authoritarian governments recently, in the Thatcher (economically liberal but not socially) and Blair administrations.

However, I'm not sure how unpopular ID cards really are. Labour had become unpopular, and the policy was incredibly expensive. But for the first few years, the polls were in favour, and by large numbers as I recall. There's still quite a majority for being 'tough on crime', and it wouldn't surprise me if a majority were still in favour of capital punishment. The policy was going to cost at least £10 billion, and the government is still running £100 bn plus deficits. If money wasn't so tight, I wonder if Labour might have pushed it through. Say they'd started in 97, and been ready to go in around 2005 when they could still get over 40% in the polls.

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Re: I wonder how much of the opposition matches mine?

There was no requirement to carry ID cards at all times. I don't recall it ever being seriously suggested. It was just the Home Office's wet dream. Certainly Labour were clear that it wasn't a requirement.

Of course, once you have ID cards, it's a pretty short step to then making carrying them mandatory. So it's still a valid reason to object to them. Also I can imagine this being done more subtly by making face-to-face credit card transactions require ID (to prevent fraud and lower prices), and all interactions with government agencies and financial services. At which point not carrying one virtually becomes 'suspicious' anyway.

I think my main objection to ID Cards was cost. Civil Liberties second. Which pretty much mirrors my attitude to the whole New Labour government, come to think of it...

I wonder how long we'll hold out though? There may be no new multi-billion pound card scheme, but when government eventually manages to have a universal database of everything (maybe in about 300 years if Crapita are in charge), with so much services and data online there'll be a pretty effective national register anyway. It's then but a short step to having it on a card, or in the NFC chip on a smartphone or as a section of our 'comms & credit nano-tattoo', or whatever we end up using in the future.

Place your bets now! Which will come first? Flying car or UK ID Card?

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Builder-in-a-hole outrage sparks Special Projects Bureau safety probe

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I thought a flare gun was for dealing with hippies in purple loon pants...

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Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

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Re: Yay!

That nasty Mr Edison also electrocuted an elephant. He used this to 'demonstrate' just how dangerous that alternating current was, as advocated by Tesla. He even filmed it, which I hadn't realised: YouTube linky

I seem to recall he did the same trick with dogs at a few public displays as well.

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Israeli activists tell Hawking to yank his Intel chips over Palestine

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Megaphone

Re: Or perhaps, just maybe...

Ah, the mature cogitation of a highly trained mind.

Oh no, hang on, it's the other thing isn't it...

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Re: Politics and science

I must say I was in 2 minds about the Grand Prix in Bahrain going ahead. Surely a good opportunity to boycott. I'm still undecided about boycotts and sanctions in general.

However it was good that the Bahrain GP did go ahead, as both years it was a complete propaganda screw-up for the government and gave some excellent international publicity for the protesters.

I particularly don't like the boycotting of Israel, as the issue is so much more complicated. It's pretty universal agreed that Apartheid was wrong and had no justification. I'd say the Israeli / Palestinian issue is far more complicated. There's plenty of right (and plenty of wrong) on both sides of the argument. And boycotting Israel alone is pointless. There can be no peace unless both sides agree to it. So only pressuring one side of the conflict is guaranteed to fail.

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Re: @Matt Bryant "Israel... has the right to self-defence"

Tom Welsh,

There's a difference. Hitler said that Poland had attacked, I seem to recall it was an SS unit who popped across the border to attack back into Germany. However, that was an obvious lie. Also there's no debate that Stalin would have attacked Germany a few weeks after Barbarossa. He certainly wouldn't have. Although neither side trusted the non-aggression pact, with good reason. So he might have a few years down the line.

On the other hand Israel have been attacked by (and have attacked) Hezbollah and Hamas several times in recent years. Who ultimately started it being irrelevant. So Israel has perfectly legitimate reasons not to want even more missiles getting through Syria. Hezbollah only admitted last week that they'd got thousands of fighters supporting the Syrian government, and I'm sure they want to get paid.

Whether Israel has a legitimate right to use pre-emptive strikes (and whether their intel is correct), well that's another matter entirely. But Israel has been pretty consistent in its policy of pre-emption, and that's mostly been successful for them in military terms. Diplomatically it's more complicated.

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Annular solar eclipse LIVE!

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Paris Hilton

Re: It's not Zulu time around there

There are very few nocturnal solar eclipses...

Rubbish! They happen all the time! Just last night I looked into the sky, and it was completely black. The sun had totally disappeared and the birds had gone silent...

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Thongs of praise: Slip on Japan's skimpy mobe knickers

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Where's the bra? I need one for my mobes.

Otherwise those phones are topless! And that's disgusting!

Not to mention that the phones are under 2 years old. I can see the headline in the Daily Mail now: El Reg in Paedo-Phone-Shocker!

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ZX Spectrum cassette player lost? There's an app for that

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Re: Just yesterday...

Sigh. Do you long for the days when we used to be nostalgic?

Yeah. Nostalgia nowadays is rubbish. It's not like the nostalgia we got in the good old days...

I just ran the app. I have no Speccy, never owned one. Vic 20 then Amstrad CPC464 for me - both belonging to my brothers. But it was nice to hear the old sounds again. Happy memories.

The last time a pooter I was operating made that noise was years ago, when my Dad's PC got a trojan dialler. I was rather surprised! Realised what was going on and pulled the modem cable out the back (it was still being used as a fax). I suppose this must have been about ten years ago, so people were still using dial-up.

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Stroke my sexy see-through backside, says Jobs from BEYOND THE GRAVE

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It's the wild colour scheme that freaks me out. Every time you try and operate these weird black controls that are labeled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up in black to let you know you’ve done it."

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AT&T drops Facebook phone to 99 cents

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Re: FFS

Sorry that handle is already taken,

Thank you. That's my pet peeve, and so I was about to grumpily post something similar. Try asking to buy the handset for $0.99 without a 2 year contract, and see how far you get. Then tell me how much the phone really costs.

I just had this discussion with someone last night. She wants a new phone, and she's on a SIM free tariff. But of course, Tesco are going to give her a free phone, out of the kindness of their hearts - as she's already got a contract, and hasn't ever had a handset.

After all, Tesco are known for their warmth and generosity.

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German govt DUMPS 170 NEW PCs riddled with Conficker

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Paris Hilton

Re: The Cornfucker Virus?

AHA! Now I've found you! You did my company's last server upgrade.

Have you got any more of those rubber anti-crashing bumpers? I've got a mate who needs some for his data centre, and at only £200 each, they're a bargain!

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San Francisco caves over mobile radiation warnings

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Re: Radiation sources

You do know that labels cause cancer.

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Seriously I've seen the warning on a power extension cord even...

Don't mock. These can be very dangerous if swallowed.

Especially if still plugged in...

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Re: $4 Seattle bags

In fairness, I don't like being in line behind the guy carrying the bag that his cats have been peeing in.

When I used to live in Belgium, you'd often see people wandering round the supermarkets carrying rats round in the supermarket's trolleys/baskets. Then you realised they weren't rats, but annoying little yappy dogs.

These places used to sell bread and veg, unwrapped, which you were supposed to pop straight into your basket. Yummy.

My cheese and dog hair sandwiches were to die for...

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Brit adventurer all set to assault ex-Reg haunt Rockall

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Hooray for science!

This reminds me of a documentary I watched on the Galapagos Islands. It was a similar shaped rock. Darwin didn't bother to visit because landing was so hard.

They held their boat to the bottom of the cliffs on engine power, while fixing some pitons into the rock, and got climbing. Looked like a rather tricky operation. Climbed the virtually sheer cliffs, to the flat top.

The first scientist up there sits down for a breather. There's quite a decent sized cut in his leg, and a bird lands on it, and starts drinking his blood. Does he shout, and shoe it away? No. Without making a noise, he points the camera at the thirsty finch, and films it. Nice discipline.

This is the first blood-drinking finch discovered, missed by Darwin because he obviously didn't like climbing. Perhaps his beard got caught in the ropes...

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Review: BlackBerry Q10

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Re: "Excels as an integrated organiser"?

Sadly, Nokia haven't had much input into Windows Phone yet. As MS spent the update to WP8 on boring but worthy OS stuff. Maybe they'll get some stuff into the next update?

The People Hub is excellent, and combines messages and contacts well. Even adding in loads of social networking, if you like that sort of thing...

But it seems almost divorced from the calendar. And there's nothing to link location to both, so you can't do all the fancy location aware profiles stuff.

It's amazing how much of recent smartphone development has been to just chuck more features in. Yet very little effort has gone into integrating them all.

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Coke? Windows 8 is Microsoft's 'Vista moment'. Again

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Re: Now all we have to do...

[Battlestations! Brace for incoming downvotes, and don flameproof trousers...]

I quite like the ribbon.

When I was an Excel power user, ten years ago, it might have annoyed me. But now I only pootle around in Office using the basic stuff it's quite convenient. It's mostly no worse than knowing that you had to click on the insert menu to stick a graph in. I suppose it's easier for some people to search through a list than to look through a big pile of grouped icons, and it does take up screen space - but for the new user I strongly suspect it's easier, and for the general user it puts the stuff they use most in easy reach.

Again though what MS should have done was put a nice easy switch in. Then new users would get the more friendly ribbon, and power uses and people who hate change would get what they'd always had. It would have cost them very little to do. Just like having an optional Start menu in Win 8.

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Re: One key difference between 8 and Vista

It is a big difference though.

There's nothing wrong with Win 8 that couldn't be fixed by bunging on a start menu. Well I guess there's also the confusion between Metro and non-Metro programs like IE, and where your emails open up. But it's basically all down to changing a few Register settings and bunging a start menu on. i.e. not being arses and giving your customers the choice they want.

I'd also suspect that had they had the thing set up exactly as now, but with a simple switch so techies could put it into Windows 7 mode/Classic mode and hide Metro, then it would have been very successful. It would have got good reviews, and not pissed off all the techies. But still, most users would have been perfectly happy to just use it how it came, and so MS would still have been able to follow their dream of getting the Metro UI familiar with loads of people. If Sinofsky wasn't wiling to play ball, then they should have realised the mess when they shuffled him out the door, and done something. It's not as if they didn't have 9 months of beta test data to tell them the geeks hated it. And that feeling has percolated to some normal users, who tell me that Win 8 is rubbish.

Vista was different. It wasn't all Microsoft's fault. Sure it was bloated and it took a service pack to fix some slowness. They never fixed the bulk file copying bug. Try to copy a few hundred small files, and it will take hours, do them in chunks of 20, and it'll be over in minutes.

But there were also problems with OEMs dumping shit hardware - partly MS fault for allowing Vista Capable stickers I suppose (like HD Ready in TV land). Also a lot of the problems were down to lazy manufacturers not producing drivers. I got a Vista PC nine months after it came out. With a Soundblaster card. They'd still not written their Vista driver, it came out a month later. So that's 10 months from launch, add in the 6 month beta and the 6 months between the beta program ending and MS actually launching. And as a partner, they'd have had early Alpha access too. So they'd taken over 2 years. I know MS changed the driver model, but it's not like they didn't warn people. And put loads more of them into the OS as well.

Vista was a cock-up, but MS copped a lot of unfair flack for other people being crap, and had the excuse that they were trying to be as compatible as possible and re-write everything. Windows 8 is a bullet in the foot. Entirely self-inflicted. Even after they saw the problem they've still taken over a year to admit they fucked up. Which is truly rubbish. And that's even after dumping the exec responsible into the corporate piranha tank. Ooops!

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First, the bad news: EA bags Star Wars games rights

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Just when I'd decided my gaming days were over, and my old PC needs drastic re-building to be able to play anything modern. Then would be the time that another TIE Fighter game would turn up, and I'd be forced to spend good money on an upgrade / new PC, to play it.

I wasted many, many hours of my life on that game. And a few more on X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter later on.

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VTOL hybrid flying car promises the skies

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Also, isn't that 'for a given value of safe'...

Plus the minor issue with melting the decks of their aircraft carriers. Although an electric motor should sort that out easily enough.

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