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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

TomTom brandishes new strap-on in Amsterdam: The wristnav

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Re: Combine the two?

My Dad cycled the Tour de France. In his gym... His exercise bike remembered his progress along the route, and gave him a cheery, you have now cycled 5% of the course. Which took several months. Obviously he wasn't doing 100km a day, like they do.

So you could set up treadmill satnav to do the London Marathon course, and it could tell you, you're now turning onto Westminster Bridge, now onto Embankment etc. Could even give you pretty pictures.

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Apple branded porno-peddling perverts by Chinese Pravda

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Re: Dear 'The Register'

Can't do that. HTC are now Facebook Bitches, due to their Facebook Home phone. And Bitch is Zuckerberg's word. So you'll have to come up with a different term for Google.

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Re: Pathetic

The Chinese aren't bailing us out! They're one of the major reasons for the current crisis.

By artificially holding the value of their currency down, when they're the 2nd largest economy and largest exporter in the world. This has caused massive global financial imbalance, and is one of the reasons for the huge bubble that got inflated over the last 10-15 years. This was partly done to keep them competitive against foreign competition, but also to hold real wages down for their own workers which both keeps them competitive and holds back the development of a middle class (who tend to be trouble makers and demand rights).

For an example of this in microcosm, see the effect of sharing a single currency with Germany on other members of the Euro. Exchange rate fluctuation puts a flex in the system that allows an economic system to move towards equilibrium.

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Antares aborted after launchpad mishap

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Re: I hate it when it falls out 12 minutes early....

Hmmm. How about:

Electric Connection in Premature Ejection from Giant Erection Causes Ejaculation of Dejection by PR from NASA's 2nd COTS Selection.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a subbie...

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Google erects tech specs tech specs, APIs hit the decks

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Re: I solemnly promise

Isn't the law in Japan that all phones have to make a loud 'shutter noise', to alert women of upskirt photos? I've no idea if they have a similar warning noise for video though.

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Re: Might be useful ...

Only if she can have a pair that overlay an image of Jason over you...

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Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?

Nuno,

That's not much good if you need prescription lenses in order to be able to see the HUD though.

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Re: I solemnly promise

Remember, all you need to do is say slowly, loudly and clearly, "Safe Search Off. Search horse-porn."

To steal a silly idea for a Microsoftie.

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Re: Starting to be excited about this ...

I'm certainly interested.

a "25-inch high" screen seen from eight feet away.

For me it would depend on the text size. I guess they're talking about a 30" widescreen telly equivalent. I couldn't read subtitles on that from 8 feet away. So I'd be OK for icons, arrows, status lights, or very large text that covers most of the screen. Otherwise I'd be stuffed.

But then, for context, I use 5x magnification to read normal 8-12pt type. So a relatively bad case.

You could make something up with a nicer camera, or at least one with a zoom lens, and a slightly bigger display that could be excellent for me. SatNav display where I can also magnify road signs and train departure boards. I can read these if I stand close enough, but in cities they tend to be placed 20ft up in the air, so the only way to get close enough would be to carry a ladder.

Still once the tech is mainstream, it then becomes much cheaper to make up modified versions. So I have hope for shiny things to come.

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Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

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Re: Oh dear...

Supposedly Socrates had a sudden interestingly philosophical thought in the middle of a battle, and stopped to think about it for the rest of the afternoon. Which, surprisingly, didn't get him killed. Can't remember where I saw that now, but I think it must have been Thucydides. If he had been killed, it might have saved me from having to read all that Plato at school.

Once Hannibal had got his elephants over the Alps, he said, "I love it when a plan comes together."

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Re: a thief?

Newton and Hooke. Now there were a pair of cheerful, co-operative chaps with cool tempers...

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Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

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Re: Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Now there's an interesting question. I think we have to say no. I think the current clusterfuck that is the Euro has to win this one hands down. It's the policy that has the greatest chance of destroying the EU, and the economies of every member.

But then we have to look at the horrible consequences for third world economies and agriculture of the Common Agriculture Policy. That one's a real doozy. We increase poverty within the EU, by redistributing cash from poor consumers (and rich ones too, to be fair), to relatively rich farmers. Of course there are also some really poor farmers who get help too, but sadly the policy gives most of its cash to the rich ones. To make this work we also slap import tariffs onto poor developing world farmers, so they can't export to us in an area they can compete in. All the while we also increase inefficiency in our own farming. And at one point we were even paying one lot of farmers to over-produce subsidised crops, then paying a bunch of bureaucrats to either store or destroy the surplus. Biofuels isn't working, but I think CAP beats it even in the area of agriculture.

Oh, and I forgot the Common Fisheries Policy. Which even when it sees the need to reduce catastrophic over-fishing, to save the fish stocks that are being systematically destroyed, does it in such a way that it still kills massive numbers of fish that decimate the stocks, but now throws them back, so we can't even eat them as we destroy them. That's probably slightly madder than biofuels too.

The Financial Transactions Tax might come in there too. Although it's hard to know unless they actually do it. But the Commission's own figures say that the 11 countries who try it are expecting to raise a total of €38 billion in tax per year. But it's expected to cost 0.1 - 0.2% GDP growth per year, which will work out to several hundred billion Euro per year. Also, while the money you raise is an annual amount. If you lose a percentage of GDP growth every year, you get compound effects, so each year you get smaller growth from a total smaller than it would otherwise have been. Also they may destroy the market in their own government debt, in the middle of a crisis in confidence in Eurozone government debt. Oh and it may also break the Repo market, i.e. interbank lending, during a crisis in confidence in Eurozone banks. So it's possible it could bring down the Euro, even if they do enough to otherwise save it.

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Re: Chatham House independent?

That story about Chatham House is pretty thin. They've got a pretty decent reputation, and I don't think that does anything to particularly undermine it. And once you chuck in the lazy generalisation of 'have been criticised for links to the energy industry', something your link doesn't actually back up in any meaningful way, I begin to suspect you're playing the man and not the ball.

Biofuel might be a brilliant idea. Certainly using waste products makes sense. But once you're using food crops, which consume massive amounts of energy to farm and even more to convert, then you're on to a losing game. Particularly given the knock-on effect this has on the world food market. Andrew Orlowski isn't knocking this because he's some evil agent acting for the evil fuel evil evil evil evil evil industry lobby evil conglomerates evil evil evil. Well he might be (who knows?), but in this case he's knocking it because it's a shit idea.

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Re: Just wondering.

Anyone can set up their own thinktank. So yes, it's a self-bestowed title. However there are definitely 'elite' ones that people actually listen to. You can get adopted by a political party, or a particular politician. New Labour had it's favourites, for example.

Or you can just be consistently interesting for years, like Chatham House, and build up a decent international reputation.

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Samsung vs Apple: which smartphone do Reg readers prefer?

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Wrong when it comes to Nokia (WP8) too. Cloud backup restores text messages, settings & apps. Photos are generally auto uploaded but I don't think it pulls them automatically.

GBL Initialiser,

That's good. I was specific when I said WP7, which didn't do any kind of proper back-up. So it's nice to see they put it in the new version.

Not that I care about texts particularly, but my sister-in-law had about 100 un-backed-up MMS messages with pictures of their kids. A decent OS ought to have a way of backing those up. Android 2.2 didn't. And even most of the apps which claimed you could save them didn't work.

I'm interested to see comments that modern versions of Android now do proper backup. I'm certain that there was nothing available in Android 2.2/2.3, which is what I put in my post and got all the downvotes for. There have always been individual ways of doing stuff, synch the photos with Picassa, use GMail etc. But I'm positive there was no way to do it before. Unless it was in stock Android, but removed by HTC Sense.

Anyway Apple got this one right from the start. Even if they did force you to use iTunes until iOS 5, when you could back-up to iCloud. And I don't think Android or Microsoft did - though I'm glad to be told they've now corrected themselves. I don't know about Blackberry, it's the one OS I've not used.

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Re: i should know better by now

Danny 5,

I seem to recall there being various bugs/driver errors with the original 920 on launch. So it's possible that some of it is true. Certainly they had battery life and some sort of call receiving bugs. All fixed after a couple of weeks.

They had similar problems with the Lumia 800 in 2011 too. Personally, I suspect Nokia were in a serious rush to get to market, and cut a few corners on QC.

That post still sounded like BS though.

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Re: Android, but not sure which

My brother had an iPod Touch. So he'd got a WiFi scanner which he was allowed to keep - so he may even still have it. But by the time I got the iPad 1, Apple had killed them off. I think it was in the update to iOS 3, they were all taken out of the store, for 'using an undocumented API'.

Basically, Apple didn't think it would be a useful app. So didn't bother making the functionality available. Or it might be that their WiFi drivers were so flaky at the time, that they were having to update them frequently. Hence they didn't want the hassle of supporting apps wanting more than just an internet connection.

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I've got the iPhone 5 from work. It's perfectly fine. It does some things better than other phones, some worse.

Personally I don't think there's an overall best OS/phone combination any more. It's horses for burgers courses now. Depending on what you want the thing for, and what price you want to pay.

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Re: Android, but not sure which

WiFi Analyzer is the thing I miss most from losing my work Droid. Friend asks you to fix/install their WiFi? Dead easy. Wander round the house for a few minutes, you know what channel to go on, what reception they can get in which rooms, and so where to place the router. Lovely. Apple banned them for not using official APIs. Sadly when I had WinPho there was nothing like it in the app store. Not sure if that was a no-no from MS, or just nobody bothering to write one though...

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Nick Ryan,

I think that's a pretty fair summary. The sheer ability to customise Android makes it absolutely brilliant. The downside being, it can be a bit rubbish in places - forcing you to customise it. The lack of ability to customise iOS can get frustrating. Just the simple thing of allowing you to have the the program icons you use most physically bigger makes a massive difference, on a device you're often stabbing at as you walk. Windows is somewhere in between. I seem to recall you can do quite a lot with the new Berries as well. Just that makes iOS look out-of-date. It is simple for Apple to fix though. Personally, I find a screen full of icons harder to use than a boring looking menu. Other's opinions may differ on that though.

All OSes seem to be improving though. So competition's keeping he buggers on their toes. It would be a shame if BB and WinPho disappeared. I don't like the idea of the market left just to Apple and Google.

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Re: i should know better by now

I've turned to the Dark Side since filling in this survey. I got frustrated with the work Android (HTC Wildfire) so much that I bought my own Nokia Lumia 710 18 months ago. For the £120 I paid for it, it was brilliant. For the £350 they wanted on launch, it was mediocre. Since saying I liked my Nokia I've now got an iPhone 5 from work, with EE's 4G.

As a phone, the Windows one was best. Big, clear buttons, better contact management, better call quality, better signal indoors. The only other thing Nokia/MS won on was SatNav.

I'd like to have a good play with a more modern Android, rather than just in a shop. There's a lot to like in all 3 of these OSes. I quite liked my play with the new Blackberry too.

Like you, I'm a bit surprised Windows Phone hasn't done a bit better. MS's lack of decent marketing 2 years ago probably didn't help. Plus I've read a few suggestions that Nokia hadn't managed to get onside with the networks/retail. Don't know if that's due to Elop's mistakes, Nokia sales losing their touch, distrust of MS, or just the perception that Nokia were a busted flush. The lack of apps don't help though. As of February, I had a good root around in there, and it was still pretty rubbish. Bad enough that a small investment from MS of just a few millions would have still made a significant difference.

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Re: @Tom

Nope. Android lives in the cloud, and has done since well before Apple joined the party. Swap phones, give it your Google account details, and everything is restored.

Geoff Campbell,

Are you sure? Do your texts and pictures migrate back to the phone. Does it restore and re-install all the apps, their settings and info? Does it also restore saved music and accounts for non-Google stuff (like Exchange / Dropbox)?

I know that you just bung your Google account back in, and addresses, calendars and emails you synch with Google go back on. But it didn't do that back in the days of Android 2.3, and that was years after Apple were selling phones.

Apple may have been later to the cloud party than Google. But they've had full synch of everything to your PC since they started with iPhones.

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Re: Support

I don't have an apple, and the nearest apple store is 60 miles away, but I use Windows Mobile based phones, HTC / Nokia etc. I have a business contract and when the phones started playing up TMobile replaced them the next day (usually battery related)

Had I lived within commuting distance of a TMobile store I too could have had a same day straight swap. So in some ways the apple store is not offering anything extraordinary.

Tezfair,

There is a big difference here though. The service might be the same, although probably only through the carriers. If you'd bought direct from Nokia, or SIM-free, you'd probably have to send the thing off, and I've heard similar bad reports of Samsung and HTC. Who knows what Google do with Nexus devices now? But when they sold the first one, they didn't even bother having a returns/repairs department - and I think they ended up farming it out to HTC with the G1.

But I've now owned 3 of the OSes. When I broke my Nokia Lumia (WinPho7) I pretty much had to set the new phone up from scratch. Even though the old one was backed up on the PC, this mostly seemed to just be media. I also seem to remember I had to manually back up photos, and there was no method to back up texts (though I didn't bother looking for an app to do so).

When swapped my sister-in-law's Android (HTC Wildfire), to replace her broken one, it took 2 hours to replicate the data. Admittedly that was Android 2.2 - although the phone was only 1 year old at the time - so I don't know if the latest 'Droids are better. But at the time you had to manually find the old apps (I think the Play store has a tab for this now), it took ten minutes to find an app to copy the texts, but half an hour to find one that would back up the picture messages (most didn't work), plus piccies and music and the settings manually.

A non-technical user couldn't have done that Android switch, and that was on 2 identical handsets with the same version of the software.

I've upgraded several iPhones, and this even works when updating the model. You simply plug in the new one to iTunes (that abomination unto the Gods of software), tell it to restore from the old one, and it's done - you just leave the 'pooter to send the data across. You then need to put in a couple of passwords, and it's done. And Apple bother to back up your texts, which all the others seem to abandon.

In comparison, WinPho and Android are shockingly bad.

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Oracle slaps critical patch on insecure Java

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Re: Stop the FUD

Well Adobe do try and punt some sort of McAfee thingamijig, but only when you go to their website for Flash. Then again, the last 2 times I've used the Flash auto-updater, it's not actually downloaded the patch, but taken me to their website to download it - and then I've had to untick the bloody McAfee box. Still Flash has improved a lot, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much... Otherwise your point stands.

Certainly Oracle need to sort out Java patching. Whenever I come to look at a friend's PC (if I've not already uninstalled Java for them), there's always that orange square in the system tray with a pending Java update in it. Don't know whether that's because they never update it, or just it's always being bloody patched.

El Reg must have a macro now for headlines and half the story of Oracle issues millions of Java updates, desktop Java really sucks for security etc.

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AMAZEBALLS: Buy a doomed Apple TV, get a replacement free

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Re: normal apple

Nah. It's just dull now.

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Smart metering will disrupt weather forecasts, warns Met Office

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Re: traffic shaping for leccy companies?

Ledswinger,

That's the whole point of smart meters. There are lots of demands that are instant, but there are plenty of other predictable loads that aren't time critical. If I put my dishwasher on last thing as I go to bed, there's no problem with it running at midnight, 5am or any time in between. All you need to know is how long the process will run for, and how many of them are going round the country. At which point the smart meter idea comes in. Theoretically National Grid could run a central system to calculate all this, and load the evening's demand nice and easily.

In my opinion, there are too many things to go wrong. It it's not easy, customers won't use it. If it gets it wrong, they won't either. I think there'll be too many variables, and it would need some pretty good load-balancing central servers. What happens if they keep falling over? People will stop using it if they keep waking up to dirty breakfast bowls and un-run washing/drying. Or something goes wrong and everything runs at once, won't turn off, and takes down the grid?

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Re: traffic shaping for leccy companies?

I do water demand calculations for work, and I suspect it's a similar problem to leccy demand. As an example, maybe 70-80% of people get up and go to bed at roughly similar times. The average domestic user gets through 150 litres of water a day. My rule of thumb is that they'll use 50% of that in the space of about half an hour in the morning. That's showering, using the loo, having a cuppa, breakfast, cleaning teeth, maybe running the washing machine or dishwasher on the way out to work. That has massive implications for infrastructure, because you have to be able to cope with half your day's demand in a period of 1-2 hours in the morning, just in case everyone in a block of flats happens to have 9-5 jobs. This means that the kit you need to provide water is about 4 times the physical size and cost as if everyone used their water roughly equally over a 24 hour period.

If everyone started running their washing machines and dishwashers at night, that would mean turning them on at bedtime. Which is around 11pm. So you'd have a massive power spike then, and still little use for your base load at 4am. So the idea of smart meters would be that you'd all put your machines on 'ready to go', but the meter would actually cue them up in staggered groups. Thus you'd not need to cope with the power spike at beddie-byes.

With water, you can stick a load in a tank, so even though the plant in a building has to be over-sized to cope with demand spikes, the water mains don't - although sewers do. For leccy it's the other way round. The mains have to cope with large daily demand fluctuations, and there are few ways to store power at that scale. As far as I know, the only way we currently have is those hydro storage sites. Although gas turbines are very responsive.

There are lots of problems with smart metering/control. The tech already exists to do it easily, but it's not been integrated. Who trusts their leccy providers? If you were doing it for hot water, you'd need the gas and leccy people to co-ordinate. Smart meter and white goods manufacturers would need to agree on standards. Users would have to change their behaviour. Also many UK houses/flats are quite small, and washing machines are noisy. It might annoy people if they started going into spin cycles at 4am. It's a long old list.

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Re: traffic shaping for leccy companies?

I don't think they'll want to turn your machines off to save a bit of demand. Although it would be a useful emergency measure to be able to power down less important devices. I think the idea would be that you set your machine up to wash, and then the smart meter will activate it when there's the juice ready. If everyone in the country did this, then most washing machines and dishwashers could be run at night, or in the late afternoon / early evening when demand is lower.

If electric cars ever take off, they'd probably be on a cheaper night time tariff, as that's when base load generation is higher than use. But if you had millions of them, they'd all get switched on when everyone goes to bed, around 11pm say. Which would suddenly be a massive spike in demand if 5 million cars go on charge! But if the quick-charge infrastructure was in place, and they only needed a couple of hours, you could have them switched on in groups, at 2 hour intervals.

You could then have less fluctuations in demand, meaning fewer power stations would be required. That's also the perfect load for nuclear - which are currently only good for base load. And also means having to have fewer gas stations on spinning reserve, which raises costs and maintenance, while lowering efficiency.

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Ten Windows tablets

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I hope Win 8 does well, just because of the 2 things I sometimes want in a tablet. Keyboard docks and stylus input. Don't always need them, but sometimes they're brilliant. Even better that keyboards come with more battery in them.

Sadly Samsung seem to be charging a very large premium for their Galaxy Note tablets, over the normal ones. So the S Pen hasn't gone mainstream in Android, and no-one else seems to be doing stylusesusesuses (styli).

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Microsoft brings back Windows watch after Apple seeks 'flexible' bod

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Re: Image

After 35 years of watch-wearing, I'm not sure I can break the habit. Last time the battery ran out, I discovered that every time I talked about time, or when something would happen, I'd glance at the empty place on my wrist where my watch wasn't. It's ingrained habit now. I was abroad once, and my watch broke, so I had to do without one for 2 weeks. Even after all that time, I still couldn't break the habit. I suspect I glance at it a lot, without conscious thought, and that gives me a quite accurate, subconscious time-sense. At least I kept finding myself looking at a bare spot on my wrist, having not consciously decided to.

I've read that da yoof don't wear them now. So maybe the wrist watch will go the way of the pocket watch? It certainly will if everyone goes for Google Glass, or some equivalent. Although, even then, the watch has a jewellery element. Once you've 'invested' £3,000 in a Rolex, you might insist on still wearing it anyway.

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Re: meh....

how did people ever manage in the 80s with Walkmans hanging off their belts? good grief!!! :)

What about the ones with boom-boxes perched on their shoulders? Heavy, noisy, one hand permanently occupied and the 'lovely' stereo sound all going into only one ear. And you had to skip tracks by fast forwarding. Although at least you could put them down when you started break dancing...

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Re: meh....

Why would you want a watch and a phone? My phone's in my pocket. The time is conveniently displayed on my wrist watch, which I can see even when both hands are busy. If I'm washing-up, I can check the time, without getting wet hands on my phone. Also when I used to swim every morning, it was good to be able to tell the time while in the water, and not only did I not have a waterproof phone, I was a bit lacking in the pockets department as well...

I do agree with your second point. I don't see the future being a proliferation of different personal computers in different formats. The way I suspect things will go, is that you'll have the one personal computer (which will probably be a smartphone), and then various peripheral bits of kit that connect to it. I doubt the old Pocket PC could cope with running a phone, the logical thing to do with a watch now, is to use it as a secondary display for the phone in your pocket. Very useful when having your hands full, or if you want sat-nav when you're walking, or just to control your music with phone in pocket.

That's surely the logical model for techy-glasses as well. One data package, all the controls can be on the phone, with a reasonable sized screen. A tablet might just be a screen and a Bluetooth/WiFi connection to the phone too. Most people could almost get away with dumping their current PC, and having a docking station run off their phone. Modern phones are already powerful enough, and most people's home computing needs are pretty light. That's the way I see things going in 10 years.

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British designer builds $15m iPhone for Hong Kong mogul

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Re: And the ring tone is...

You know the Queen has an iPod. Even though she's in her 80s. It's called the Band of the Coldstream Guards...

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Re: And the ring tone is...

No, that's ridiculous, it wouldn't work. You have the orchestra follow you round, in a chauffeur driven gold Rolls Royce. When the phone rings, they jump out, pick up their instruments and play. A flunky then presents you with the phone, on a cushion on a tray perhaps, and you answer it.

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Re: Just sayin'

In which case, no-one is envious. This phone is hideous. I doubt anyone desires it. It's also ludicrous, given that someone with that much cash will probably be updating his phone in a few months' time.

But then, perhaps that's the point. Like having a Barbie pink Ferrari. The message that sends is, this may be vulgar and horrid, but I've got so much money I can buy one of the most desirable cars in the world, and not care if I ruin it. Also, I've got so much money, that I don't care about wasting a bit of it, for a laugh. Hence that lovely picture of Sergey Brin in the pink Tesla Batmobile thing: Nice colour old chap.

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Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

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Re: Meh

I have simple solutions for all these problems. Can I have my Nobel Prize and seats on the IPCC now please?

Firstly we have CO2. Cutting emissions is too hard. However, if we carbonate all the tap water in the country, then we can use up lots of excess CO2 there. And who wouldn't want to bath or shower in fizzy water?

Next, methane. We all know that cows are the problem here. It's vegetarians that do the most farting. So all we have to do, is get cows to eat more steak. Hey Presto! Problem solved.

Now we've got sea level changes. Simple Archimedes will sort us out here. The problem is caused by whales. There's too many of them, and they're bloody enormous. Drop an enormous thing in water, water-level rises. So in reverse, if we eat more whales, the sea level will drop. Eureka! The Japanese are trying to save the world here, and we're stopping them. This also applies to sharks. And anyone swimming in the sea as well...

Right, that's that done. Now I'm off to solve cosmology. That should take some of the afternoon. Do you want me to do religion tomorrow, or should I go for why cats always fall butter side down?

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Apple alert as half China's fanbois consider switch to Galaxy S4

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Re: Luxury?

The fact* the S4 will blow both the HTC One and iPhone away in sales proves one thing - quantity has it's own quality.

*My emphasis.

The fact eh? No fanboism here then... A few weeks after launch, it's now a fact that the Galaxy IV is going to beat the world's top-selling smartphone. You have decided, and the market will follow!

I don't say it isn't possible, or even likely. Samsung joined the mobile market late, and hit number one in ten years. The SIII outsold the iPhone for one quarter, if I remember right. Although that was the quarter before a new iPhone was released. Let's see what the market does.

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Bitcoins: A GIANT BUBBLE? Maybe, but currency could still be worthwhile

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Re: Worthwhile for Whom?

Charles 9,

At some point, someone is going to want to convert Bitcoins to someone's currency, in order to spend them. That is the point at which the tax man cometh.

Just like the way the US hit online gambling. If you can stop the banks and credit card companies from dealing with the exchanges, it becomes hard for Bitcoin to operate. Or they could co-opt the exchanges (or create regulated ones) and do the taxing there.

The problem for Bitcoin to go underground is that it's supposed to be an internet currency. So you need access to the normal financial network in order to shift cash in and out. Even if you could live in Bitcoinland, getting paid in BTC, and buying your food, clothes and house in it - the companies selling to you would need to pay their suppliers in real currency. It's a chicken and egg situation, governments can regulate it into a tiny niche, up until Bitcoin is much, much bigger.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

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Ouch! I imagine you weren't doing 90 at the time, or you probably wouldn't be posting on here. Unlike the poor sods I saw in Dubai. Not a very forgiving piece of road design.

Thinking back, it's a very cramped motorway - given how much space is available in Dubai. Short slip-roads and not very much gap until you run out of junction markings, and run into concrete.

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When I was there, nearly ten years ago, it also had some excellent concrete end-pieces to ram into at full speed, with minimum crash barriers. There were at least some slip roads where the concrete barrier at the side of the road meets the ones either side of the slip road in a nice pointy concrete triangle. Sometimes people hit these at lots-of-mph. I saw the nasty results of this a couple of times.

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Wales slams Amazon over lack of Kindle support

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Happy

Re: Did anyone else

I was expecting to hear the national anthem of whales. What rhymes with plankton again?

You don't need to rhyme with plankton, when you've got kirll:

It's brill

To eat your fill

Of lovely krill

Or, I suppose, on a Whales in Wales theme, you could have:

Krill of Heaven, Krill of Heaven,

Feed me 'til I want no more - want no more,

Feed me 'til I want no more.

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Blake's Seven Returns

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Re: Blake's Seven Returns

Fogcat,

Hmmmm. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be you know. I got some DVDs of this from the library a few years ago. I had very fond memories of watching it, way back when. Those memories did not prepare me for just how awful the reality was. The sets and special effects were horrible, as you'd expect on BBC Sci-Fi budgets of the time. But the scripts of the two I watched weren't that great either. He said at the risk of downvotes... Oddly, my memory of watching it all a few years back, is as vague as my memories of the first time round. Blanked from my mind perhaps?

Perhaps I just picked a bad episode to catch up with, but I've had some pretty bad experiences of looking at old TV I enjoyed at the time. One thing that's still absolutely brilliant is The Sweeney. I think it started to tail-off a bit by the end of series 3 (or maybe 4) - but it's still got great fast paced action, good dialogue, it doesn't suffer from being glacially slow, which seems to be a problem with lots of stuff from that time. I'm not talking NYPD Blue style jump-cuts, just that you'd get long scenes that barely moved the plot on, in lots of shows back then. Porridge is still brilliant, and another DVD set I got.

Oh well. It's a great opportunity for a good remake. Special effects are much cheaper now, and after the success of Battlestar Galactica, I can't see them having any problems persuading the money-men that dark story lines and characters can work. There were even stories that Fox were going to cancel Firefly after only 13 episodes, for the same reason. But that's still going from strength to strength in series 5 - and no-one would ever make such a stupid decision. Oh, hang on...

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'Sorry, I don't get the drama around having an always-on console'

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Re: TalkTalk

Melzeebub92,

But TalkTalk have improved their service! This was the first year in ages that they didn't come bottom of Ofcom's customer satisfaction survey.

They came 2nd bottom...

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Re: I hope he will get another job soon

Jayne! The man they called Jayne!

He robbed from the rich, and he gave to the poor.

Stood up to the man, and he gave him what-for.

Our love for him now, ain't hard to explain...

Oh sorry, he was the hero of Canton, ignore me.

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'North Korea Has Launched a Missile' tweet sent by mistake

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Re: Well that couldn't have gone wrong anyway...

Oh do grow up.

Firstly, those military exercises happen every year. They won't be done on the border (because that would be silly), North Korea are notified in advance, it's only done with some forces, and they are necessary in order to maintain trained troops. Which are required due to the difficult next door neighbours.

They do ratchet up the tension of course. But possibly not enough to start threatening to nuke everyone.

Also, the administration doesn't want a limited nuclear war. You can take it as read that they really, really, really don't. Any other opinion is sheer foolishness. It would be bad for the economy, bad for the electoral prospects (although Obama is in his final term - but other Democrats want jobs) and horrifically bad diplomatically. Oh, and they don't have any tactical stuff easily available in theatre. Due to agreements with the Russians, I think they took all the tactical nukes off the Navy, and both Japan and South Korea don't allow them to be deployed there. So probably the only immediate nuclear response option would be an ICBM. They have around 10 warheads each. And launching them towards both Russia and China might cause a certain amount of consternation.

As for Maggie T being a footnote in history, it's possible. But in 1983 Labour were led by Michael Foot, riven by internal divisions, their vote would have been split by the SDP-Liberal Alliance and the economy had been picking up for a while. Remember that Gerald Kaufman described Labour's 83 manifesto as "the longest suicide note in history". Winning a war obviously helped, but wars aren't always good for governments. Just ask Lyndon Johnson for example.

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Mushroom

Interestingly there's been a nice, calming, leak in the ole US of A. Turns out the DIA reported to Congress that they were moderately confident that the DPRK had a miniaturised A-bomb that they could stick on a missile. But that it might not be very reliable. Which is an excellent thing, as the missiles ain't that reliable either.

Course, I'm sure that'll get the conspiracy nuts going.

However, we ought to have some insight into the Nork Nuke program. They were co-operating with the AQ Khan network in the last 20 years - Pakistani nuclear know-how in exchange for missile technology, plus they may well have been doing similar with Iran recently (as they've also been cooperating on the missiles). So that ought to give various ways for information to leak out. Also, Pakistan may not have allowed AQ Khan to be prosecuted, but I presume they've had a few nice chats with him over a cup of tea. And haven't some of the Iranian nuclear scientists been kidnapped? I seem to remember reading that, which could be another route for getting info on both programs.

Well either that, or the DIA report was sent to Congress by accident, and in fact was only the draft of a future report, and someone hit enter by mistake.

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Bitcoin gets a $100 haircut on rollercoaster trading run

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Re: Where's the value?

I understand how a countries armies can at the last resort, force the taxpayer and future generations of taxpayers to exchange their labour resources to back\cover the debt of a currency. However nuking them would be a bit counter productive.

moonface,

That's because living in your Faraway Tree, you're not as far-sighted as the modern politician. I think you'll find that once you've nuked the electorate, they won't be able to hide in the dark, not paying their taxes.

Plus they'll work much harder, due to their new get up and glow...

Perhaps I'd best get my coat.

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Re: Unsurprise!

Mark .,

Bitcoins have no inherent value. Nothing whatsoever. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Deal with it.

Gold and silver have actual uses. Even if people stopped wearing jewellery (unlikely after a known 5,000 year history of its use) you can still use them for industrial processes and both have medical applications.

Fiat currencies are backed by countries. They have to use them, so they have no choice but to support them. No-one backs Bitcoins. It is as likely that everyone who uses them will have stopped by next year as not. The only fiat currency you might possibly say that of is the Euro.

People like me knock Bitcoins because I hate to see people lose their money through ignorance, or getting scammed.

The fact that you keep talking about the rise in value of bitcoins proves that even you don't see it as a currency really. You see it as an investment. And they're two different things. I'm negative about it, so if anyone sees a post like yours, there's a dose of reality next to it to warn them. Then it's up to them. I'm not jealous that you may, or may not have, made a profit. Apart from anything else, the faith in Bitcoins could evaporate tomorrow. Then yours would be worth nothing. You can only crystalise that gain if you sell, and as yesterday proved, there is no easy way to sell, as all the exchanges are either scams or flakey - and keep getting hacked DDoSed, or plain fall over.

Finally, in more proof that it's not a currency, all the Bitcoin boosters I've ever seen keep talking about its dollar value. Even though exchange rates of real currencies fluctuate, because they have a genuine internal market that's not as important a factor. Sure you can buy stuff with BTC, but in reality it's still an investment (and a horrible one), because most people don't see it in terms of the economy it supports, but how many dolalrs they can get for it.

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Re: Where's the value?

The currencies thrust onto people are no different - just check it out - we've been duped into thinking that they are backed by Gold. As I understand it only the Swiss Franc and now more recently the Renminbi are backed by Gold.

Solaris_fan,

You don't understand it then. No currencies are fully backed by gold. The Gold Standard was a horrible farce that failed miserably and led to the 1930s depression. The next attempt at it, with Bretton Woods didn't work properly either. The Euro is causing a depression, just like the Gold Standard, but without the shiny bars.

To many of the other posters, major international currencies aren't backed by commodities. But they are backed by the countries that use them. The reason the Euro is in serious trouble is that people are beginning to suspect that when the going gets tough, countries will leave. They are aiding this feeling, but always nearly doing enough to bail themselves out, but never quite doing the job properly, and always doing it too late. Eventually the brinkmanship will fail, and the Euro will most likely fall over.

If however you've only got the one currency, and you've got national assets (not least a population and modern economy), plus a government and a tradition of a rule of law, then your currency is backed by something. Sure our government could inflate the Pound to Zimbabwe like levels, but there's 63 million of us who are stuck with it, so they're unlikely to.

Also, history helps here. Britain has hundreds of years of not defaulting on its government debt and not destroying its own economy. Even when debt hit 200% of GDP a couple of times from fighting world wars. Britain invented national debt 250 years ago, and has always paid up. The US also have a long history of abiding by contract law, and not defaulting.

The Euro has a much shorter history. If today's news about the horrifically fucked up Cyprus bail-out causes it to leave then the Euro will be in a bad state as a fiat currency. Where no-one seriously believes the voters and governments will honour their commitments.

Bitcoin has even less backing. There is no government to stand behind it. Its short history is of hacking, scams, collapses in confidence, bizarre screw-ups where people have to roll back software updates or exchange trading to correct for errors, and randomness. Any faith in that system would be absurd. And there's no government or workforce to stand behind it.

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Remember Streetmap? It's suing Google in a UK court

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I prefer Streetmap's maps. Certainly in cities, where you get the A-Z format, rather than Google's rather sparse and in some ways less clear maps. In smaller towns, Google is better. So it's horses for courses.

However Streetmap's website doesn't appear to have changed in 10 years, and even then it looked like a 90s web design abomination. That certainly isn't Google's fault. The lack of extra data, other than what they get off the O/S, also isn't Google's fault. Google put businesses and streetview and information, and public transport in their maps. Streetview didn't.

Google may, or may not, discriminate with search. But they've invested serious money in their maps, and serious effort. There's an argument that one of the major reasons for doing Android was to improve maps and local info.

So as a regular Streetmap user, I'd say their lack of any significant innovation in the last 5 years means I have zero sympathy. Even though I still use their product.

Oh, I apologise. Just been to their website. They've now taken the hideous hospital green background off, and gone for black, with less gaps between the ads and borders of the map. It looks cleaner now, I can see no other changes to when I first started using it in 2003 (when I started this job). I still like their maps, but I've just realised only when I'm looking at addresses in London. Sorry guys, you got out-competed.

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