2329 posts • joined Thursday 18th June 2009 09:56 GMT
Re: RE. Re. Indeed...
Oh bugger! On moving into my new flat, I didn't realise my smoke alarms were wired into the mains until after cooking bacon sandwiches for many. Removing the batteries failed to stop the infernal beeping. Aargh! I've not had a power cut yet, so now I've got the smoke alarm waking me up to look forward to on power restoration. Oh joy! It's already beeped once every 10 minutes for a day until I was able to source a 9v battery (even though it's got mains power). The 2 are linked as well, so even closing the kitchen door and removing batteries from the kitchen one doesn't save you from bacon smoke.
At least my microwave was bought without a clock. Also true for the dishwasher and washing machine. I've forgotten how I set the oven one up, but all the separate panel heaters in each room have their own clocks - and the timer on the one in my bedroom is actually different to all the others - to add to the fun.
Re: @Lee D
I'm currently staying at my Mum's house, looking after her doggies while she lives it up in the sunshine on holiday. Most unfair.
She has got the most user-unfriendly alarm clock that I've ever had the misfortune to try and use. The clock-radio has got 4 rows of 3 or 4 buttons, yet the same buttons that set the alarm time (eventually) are also used for the radio station pre-sets. And when you set an alarm, the light comes on at the front to tell you you've done it, and stays on for a perfectly brilliant 10 seconds, to fool you into thinking you've done it right. Then goes off. All it was doing was to tell you the time was set. Then you have to press and hold another of the radio pre-set buttons, while holding down the first one to get it to actually make a noise. And in turning on alarm one, it always turns off alarm 2, or vice-versa, unless you turn them both on within ten seconds of each other. It's one of the worst designed bits of electronics I've ever had the misfortune to use.
I've never seen a central heating system timer manage to survive a power cut either. And those buggers also have some of the worst UIs in Christendom.
One of these days, I'm going to equip myself with a baseball bat with a nail in the end (nice simple UI there) and fly around the various consumer electronics companies, and I'm going to run a compulsory re-education course for their designers, called UI design for dummies.
Re: What's the point of a microwave clock?
To quote from an old 'Cabin Pressure' episode I was just listening to, "In theory we have two altimeters in case one goes wrong. But as Chinese proverb say, man with one altimeter always know height. Man with two, is never sure..."
Re: Nork Porn
I believe cheap DVD players make their way across the border from China. Having something like an unauthorised satellite receiver is liable to get you dead - or shipped off with your family to the gulags - which amounts to pretty much the same thing. But a DVD player can be used to watch imported Chinese films. Which is probably acceptable. I doubt anyone cares about porn, unless they're already after you for something.
However there are also supposed to be news DVDs doing the rounds. It's obviously going to be a bit on the slow side, and I'd imagine more likely to be Chinese news than BBC (though who knows?). Which are very illegal, and again likely to get you shot or sent for re-education. I read a story a while back about the police turning off the power to areas, then searching house to house - and checking what DVDs had got stuck in peoples' players that they now couldn't remove. Don't know if that's true or not, and surely a bent bit of wire will get your DVD out if the power goes anyway.
As Don Jefe says though, some people will get access to porn whatever the circumstances.
North Korea do however have an enormous army (even if it is mostly crap) and an unfeasibly large number of artillery pieces and rockets aimed at Seoul. And may well be willing to kick off the big one if poked. Hence deterring North Korea from doing bad things is an interesting balancing act. Given that they may be bonkers enough to go off the deep end after minor provocation, even if that dooms their own regime.
South Korea don't fancy their capital getting flattened. Which North Korea can do better with conventional weapons than their rubbishy nukes anyway.
Whereas Assad is assumed to be rather more rational, and so a quick attack on his command and control stuff may persuade him that chemical weapons aren't worth the risk.
It's a case of trying to apply the correct solutions, to difficult problems, in varying cases. So we didn't launch an attack on the Soviet Union, even though they were committing massive human rights abuses, because World War III didn't seem terribly appealing. Hence the Cold War, which was deemed to be the safest policy, stop Soviet military expansion and wait to see what happens.
Unfortunately we also did nothing about Rwanda. And it took quite a long time to decide to bother to do anything about the break up of Yugoslavia. I'm not sure what force, and what casualty levels would have been required to deal with Rwanda, but in the case of Yugoslavia it was simply a case of relatively low casualty air-strikes and a large follow-on commitment of peace-keeping troops. So there was no good excuse for failing to save tens of thousands of lives by going in years earlier.
in the case of Syria we seem to have made similar mistakes. Although I'm not sure the solution would have been so simple. Threatening to arm the rebels and targetted air-strikes to force Assad to negotiate might have worked in the early days, but there was no appetite to put peace-keeping troops on the ground, the rebels weren't organised like the Bosnians (who were able to form a working state), plus there were Al Qaeda leftovers in Syria that the government had allowed in to destabilise Iraq after the invasion (which Assad may feel was a mistake at this point), and Hizbollah right next door to cause more trouble. So with Russia taking the UN out of the picture I'd say there was little plausible solution available to the Syria crisis for the West - but a bit of applied military force might be quite persuasive to the regime to lock up the chemical weapons again.
If the government collapses someone's going to have to go in and seize/destroy those - which won't be fun.
Broken Flash advert?
You seem to have a malfunctioning Flash banner advert on the site. It's for O2 and Nokia and it's either crashing my version of Firefox (23.0.1 on 32 bit Vista) or turning it into tortoise mode. Site works as normal any time I don't have that ad at the top of the page - so I'm pretty sure it's that.
They truly are. I've read how gardening is dangerous in the Daily Mail.
People are always getting decked. Farmers make a fortune out of rape, not to mention all the bedding, forking and ho's.
Re: It's too young to drive itself
OK, so it'll be wearing a cardigan and smoking a pipe then...
Why can't it be called Playmonautium - in honour of our drowned hero.
Re: No "Reply" button - this looks like a bug
Hmmm. I noticed the upvote issue this morning, but didn't do anything about it, as I didn't see it in any other article. It seems to have gone from the Fukushima one now as well. So I guess techies make problem go bye-bye.
Re: "They always have a back-up"
There was a train taken out in the Boxing Day tsunami. In Sri Lanka I think.
A quick search and very lazy link to Wikiwoowah later shows I was probably right. Wiki has a death toll of 1,700.
Re: No "Reply" button - this looks like a bug
I can see reply buttons. On both my office PC (Vista and Firefox) and my iPad. However when I upvoted a comment, instead of the little link under their post on the upvote page taking me back to the forum, it was a link back to the article. Don't know if that's unrelated, irrelevant, or some other sign of a problem/bug with how that article got posted.
Re: I can hardly wait...
Place your bets on the next IT news stories, say in a year or two. Is it:
A. In a philanthropic move to rival Google, The Register has launched it's first broadband service.
B. In a developtment that has shocked privacy activists The Register has been accused of passing all its users' emails to GCHQ and the NSA. An El Reg spokesdroid whined that 'it was the victim of secret court orders forcing it to do so'.
Or take an outside bet on:
C. Princess Diana working as Elvis Impersonator in nightclub on moon!
I would certainly be willing to help in this community effort. If there's a ton of Glenmorangie in the way, blocking righteous radio signals, then it must be dealt with at once! As an Englishman with perfect broadband, I see it as my civic duty to give something back for those less fortunate than myself*. Therefore I am willing to drink as much of the offending liquid as is necessary to enable radio signals to pass freely, as nature intended.
*I leave it as an exercise for you, dear reader, to decide which is a worse disadvantage. Having no broadband, or being Scottish...
Congratulations are in order to our heroic correspondent for his efforts in spreading the light of civilisation - or at least cat videos. I guess, particularly after that last comment, I'd best get my coat.
Re: Poor Julian
Obviously there are bigger problems if a democratic decision is come to, and then gets ignored. And that suggests something more underhanded than normal, 'honest', politics.
But I'm not sure I can agree with you on the idea that all decisions should be come to at open meetings. If you had infinite time for the meetings to happen, if everyone was equally intelligent and well informed, if everyone was of roughly equal ability as speakers, and if the options are reasonably limited - only then will you get reasonable democratic results that way. However you're more likely to end up with either paralysis, or rule by the most persuasive speakers. See Athenian democracy for an example.
There needs to be a reasonable balance between transparency and effectiveness. Someone's got to sit down and do the research and policy leg-work. Also if you've got a party of a few hundred people, with a few hundred different opinions you're never going to get anywhere. Which is why all parties become coalitions of groups.
Matthews complains of disinterest by Assange: "National Council meetings have been held at least weekly for several months. Until last Friday, Julian had attended precisely one meeting."
Surely this is a bit unfair. If Julian Assange has made the effort to attend even one of the meetings in Australia in the last few months - then he's clearly made serious, even herculean, efforts to attend. It must have taken him a while to dig the required tunnel...
I wonder how he dealt with it being all hot at the centre of the earth, or if he used the tunnel they must have built for the remake of 'Total Recall'?
Seriously, it seems a bit odd to complain about building power groups within parties. Surely phoning activists up to try and persuade them to vote with you at meetings is standard practise, rather than a subversion of internal democracy? So long as you have debate and votes at meetings, and then carry out the agreed policy. Unless you're not really taking your party all that seriously, and are just having fun playing at grown-up politics.
Re: green hypocrites
That's OK. They can have their cake and eat it. Nice green power in Germany, even if it doesn't work. Then get Poland to build lots of coal fired stations, and buy the leccy off them, when the wind don't blow. And have nuclear leccy from France as well. While still being 'greener-than-thou'. Perfect!
This explains everything!
The prof is obviously an evil Pom saboteur sent to Australia by SIS - it's good to see our intelligence services can still do good work. It explains the recent poor performance of most Australian sports teams. Their bad showing at the Olympics was obviously due to trying out these new electrolyte drinks, there's the rugby of course, and we now know why the Aussies can't bat - it's because they're not sure which of the 2 balls they can see to try and hit. Hooray for Science!
To quote W G Grace, "Australia rhymes with failure!"*
* Well OK, only on those Channel 4 adverts. However, he does say in his manual on batting, that one should always take one's pipe out of one's mouth before going in to bat. Excellent advice, I'm sure we can all agree.
Re: Poisoning the well
That could be a new Olympic endurance test. How many hours of badgers can you take, before the madness kicks in...
There's millions of badgers, all under one roof,
It's called Badger Land, Badger Land, Badger Land!
Obviously the winner would get a black and white stripey medal. I'm going to use the Penguin icon, due to El Reg's lack of foresight in providing a badger one. Goodness knows how they could have made such a basic error.
Re: Obama still not strong-arming, then, I see
I find it pleasingly ironic that his name is Miranda, given this is a story about police arrest powers and due process.
I'm never quite sure about terrorism powers being quoted like this though. As lots of crappy laws got passed because of anti-terrorism, but didn't always state that they could only be used in terrorism cases.
Hence the local councils using the RIPA powers to spy on people who weren't putting their recycling out, even though those powers were supposedly brought in to fight the terrorist menace. Now admittedly recycling plastics rather than burying them probably does have more of an effect on everyday life than Al Qaeda can manage, but even so a few successful terrorist attacks on planes can soon get the death toll into the thousands - so it probably counts as a touch more serious...
Re: No need for a third runway at Heathrow
Easy: swim the Channel
That's all very well for you, but I'm not sure your laptop and phone will be too happy. It's likely to find life considerably more comfortable in the clutches of the boys in blue, than in those of the deep blue...
one bar owner said no we can't offer it because we are too near to the Empire State Building.
Isn't it obvious? King Kong comes from a remote tropical island. He's going to want to call home, now he's in a new place - so he's going to need free WiFi to access Skype. After all, he's unlikely to have had a chance to get a US SIM, what with all the hassle the army are giving him.
So you'd be a fool to be the closest free WiFi hotspot and attract all that chaos and destruction.
Re: a joke?
Still hate link-shorteners though... And too paranoid to click on them.
Nevada doesn't cut it. You need to insist on the race being held on Titan.
That should get the costs up a bit, to a level that should satisfy even the most spendthrift billionaire...
Re: Reasons for reporting abuse
Only a couple of posts reported a day. That's impressively high quality moderation! Given how few dodgy posts I've spotted, I think I've only ever reported about 5, I'm very impressed.
I know you let a lot go that some other sites wouldn't (and long may that continue), but even so there's always a good number of problem posters who need dealing with. So I guess your pre-moderation for trouble makers is very effective.
And/or you have the most amazingly lovely commentards in the whole of internet-land...
Re: Specs make the iPad Mini look REALLY crap.
Perhaps iPad users run things other than benchmarking software and as a result are blisfully unaware that their device is "slow".
I don't believe anyone has accused the iPad, mini or otherwise, of being slow. They're not. Well my iPad 1 never recovered from the update to iOS 5, which slowed it to a crawl sometimes...
Anyway, the problem with the iPad Mini is that it's got a pretty low resolution screen by modern standards. Lower res than the much smaller iPhone. And it's very expensive in comparison to Android tablets at nearly half the price, which have better screens (the most important bit of any tablet).
Personally I'm starting to think disloyal thoughts. I'm not planning to upgrade my iPad 3 this year, maybe I'll get tempted next. But I'm rather tempted by a Samsung Galaxy Note of some description. Sadly they seem to be marketing them as premium - and matching iPad prices. But I think the pen is mightier than the (bluetooth) keyboard. I find handwriting recognition is so much nicer than an onscreen keyboad.
Re: You just don't get...
Now you've gone and done it! You've woken up the Hobnob Taleban! The most vicious combatants in the biscuit world...
I'm not sure I even dare to say that I find Hobnobs to be mediocre. If I had to dunk in tea, it would be a ginger or chocolate coated digestive, but I tend to find the biccie spoils the tea.
My actual favourite biscuit is the Jaffa cake - and that's not even a biscuit. So what do I know?
Re: Everything should be as accessible as possible.
Should Ballet dancers wear lead weights, ear plugs and distorting dark glasses?
Yes! It would make them far more accessible. At the moment, they keep out-running me...
20 other kids following you around the playground every day begging for a mere minute of donkey kong action!
You can get put in prison for that you know!
Re: Mine aren't getting phones yet
Or being shown the stout metal 'money-box' for your savings, on the wall in the cupboard under the stairs with the slowly rotating numbers on the front...
Re: You obviously don't
If you want one, I'm sure you can get one on eBa
Re: High-profile women gets protection from police
Afraid you're dead wrong there. Both legally and morally.
I admit that I think people should keep a sense of proportion, as its mostly obvious that these threats aren't serious. However, I also accept that not everyone is as relaxed about what life throws at them as me. And no one should have to put up with death threats. If you make 'em, you've only got yourself to blame, should you end up in prison.
Re: Simple. If it can connect to the net, it is subject to the law.
There are plenty of devices out there that can do the job of text to speech from ebooks, as you say. And do it better. So why saddle the ereader manufacturers with having to do this? If it really did cost an extra $20 per device, that's hundreds of millions wasted on shoehorning extra tech in to a device that's still not going to be very suitable. Unless you want to argue they should be forced to add keyboards or Braille input as well...
Accessibility needs to be a trade-off. A compromise has to be made somewhere between the extra costs of accessibility on society, the rights of people to equal treatment and people's desire to keep some of their own money for themselves and not get taxed to buggery. Most changes impose costs.
Personally, I'd suggest that it would be better for everyone concerned to just tax all ereader sales at $20 and use that cash to buy every blind person in the US a more suitable device. Which I don't think would be a particularly good idea either. But probably better than forcing accessibility on an unsuitable device. An iPod touch or iPhone would be far better. I don't know the state of Android accessibility, but I do know that Apple have made some reasonable efforts, and are working on improvements.
Re: The problem is much more pernicious...
We should remember that 200 dpi is typically used as a normal resolution for everyday office document scanning and smaller fonts are very common in the "small print" parts of normal business documents ...
Damn! So are you telling me that I need to check that clause in the small print with my home insurance provider? I knew that it was too good to be true when I read, "in the event of a fire, you will be temporarily re-housed, and we will also provide hot and cold running call girls, plus unlimited pizza and beer."
Re: Not new
I've seen genuine, nasty, stalking as a follow-on to online abuse. But that was a forum for ex-pats, and anyone who's worked abroad knows that ex-pats can form small, incestuous groups that make gangs of teenage girls look stable, balanced and mature.
On Twitter it's a different kettle of fish. But then celebs do get stalked and attacked every so often by nutcases. So you can understand them getting a bit twitchy.
Re: High-profile women gets protection from police
There's a significant difference between saying "you're fat, ugly and horrible" and "I know where you live, I'm coming to rape you." One is rude, and the internet is full of it. One is unacceptable, and if you get nicked by the plod for it, then tough shit. Similarly with, "I've planted a bomb outside your house to go off a 10:35".
Not that they're necessarily credible threats of course. But while I would probably ignore them, I don't think people should have to put up with that sort of thing, and it's been illegal for centuries to threaten people. So you can't claim to be surprised, or that because you were online you thought it didn't count.
Oddly the last time someone threatened me, it was a bunch of nuisance phone calls at about 1am. And the threat was that "your ears are coming off." "I'm going to come and get you, your ears are coming off." I made the assumption that someone might have been drinking... But then I'm a 6' tall bloke who's often asked if he plays rugby, with the muscles (and the belly sadly) to match.
Ah well, you see the internet is news. Many journalists and editors really do seem to want to be cool. And down wiv da kidz. And da kidz iz doing da internetz all da time (sorry, I'll stop that now). Plus it's mysterious and scary. To many ordinary users it's all done by witchcraft - and it's a jungle out there! To journos the internet is slowly putting many of them out of business, while also giving them news-gathering opportunities that they couldn't have dreamed of twenty years ago.
So teenage girl gets bullied is an old, old boring story. Teenage girl gets bullied online! Exciting! Teenage girl gets bullied online on foreign-owned website: Ban this sick filth now! They're probably swan-eating asylum-seeking foreigners too! And you know you can't trust the water, and the waiters don't speak English...
And of course the Twitter threats story is obviously news, as it's happening to actual journalists. That's real people that we know that is. So it must be news.
I saw a headline on the Torygraph of some commentator suggesting that Twitter is one of the few places where rich lefties meet the great unwashed, and it's a bit of a culture shock for the poor dears. Which is probably a bit harsh, but with a grain of truth.
Not to minimise the importance of the death of the poor kid. I was looking up some medical information the other day, and got curious and went on to the forum of a group for my visual impairment. Had a nose round, as you do, and they had a forum for teenagers. It reminded me just how bloody awful being a teenager can be - especially if you've got a disability that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don't know why they just don't paint target on your school uniform really... Would save time all round. Although I'd already 'dealt with' the issue of bullying by the time I was at secondary school - and anyway boys tend to be much less cruel than girls. A punch in the face beats getting sent to Coventry for a month any day.
Thinking about it, I used to live in Coventry - so that sentence is true in both senses...
Re: This is a KNOWN FEATURE... READ THE MANUAL...
It is totally unacceptable to put onto page 107 of the manual, in normal mode our product doesn't actually work for its stated purpose.
If they put that on the front page of both the manual and the marketing materials in say 30 point type, then it would be acceptable. Otherwise not.
Actually even then it wouldn't be. What part of copy do these fuckwits not understand? If the damned thing doesn't work on one of its settings, then that setting shouldn't be available. Or should only be available to be set by the installation engineer or local IT department, after sufficient warnings to people who understand what they mean, and may have actually seen the manual.
One, it's called normal mode. I presume that's in the sense that many companies don't do a 'small' drink, you have regular, large, extra large.
Two, it's a bloody photocopier. And it should be damned well copying! The people who didn't read the manual here are Xerox. It's supposed to copy stuff, not randomly substitute other stuff. Failing to resolve an unclear area is perfectly acceptable, and that's down to the user to deal with.
You shouldn't have to read the manual to do something basic like make a copy of a document in normal mode. If you want to do double-sided, stapled, enlarge, multi-coloured and sorted documents, then a manual may be required.
Re: DUMP CAPTCHAS
At this point we'd have to rename it from CAPTCHA to KAFKA.
Working out a suitable backronym for this, I leave as an exercise for the reader...
Re: I use CAPTCHAS
Firstly I'd like to disagree with the sentiment involved in your post. So long as we don't greatly have to inconvenience society in order to be inclusive, we should do so. There's obviously a trade-off once things become more difficult and expensive - and that's where a process realistic of negotiation needs to take place - which is hopefully the role of politics.
There's no excuse, or reason, for marginalising large sectors of society. Particularly as computer aren't a hobby. They're a vital in many jobs, as well as being a medium of access to various services.
Secondly I'd like to point out your error of fact. Computers aren't fundamentally devices with visual-tactile interfaces. The ones you use might be, but many others aren't. For example look up the Braille-note, which is a 'laptop' with braille keyboard and output device. Which has a tactile interface, with optional spoken output.
Complete speech interfaces have been commonplace for years now, and are getting to be rather good. Plus you've got Microsoft's Kinect and equivalents - which can track gestures or eye movements.
Now I'm happy to admit that the internet has a lot of content that's visual, either video or pictures. But a great deal of it is also text, plus big chunks of audio - and various other formats. For example El Reg. There are pictures and video all over this site, but apart from an odd video podcast, none of it is vital to the articles, so someone could perfectly happily get 99% of the sense of this site by screen reader or braille display.
Now if we return to the topic of the article, we find that CAPTCHAs are extremely unpopular even for people without visual impairments. Thus a discussion of alternatives seems like a pretty reasonable idea, and while we're doing it, considering the convenience of as many users as possible makes sense.
I'm sorry, I can't come to work today, my current sheet has gone wavy.
My date of birth is 29th February. I always fancied being a leap-baby. Except for restaurants, where there's a chance of getting cheap dinner vouchers, in which case I pick one near to the real date.
Re: Best get off that high horse....
El Reg did report themselves to the ICO a while back, when they had a data breach. I wonder what happened? Perhaps the were sentenced to doing Community Service in the Playmobil space program...
Re: Can't tell if trolling or just stupid
If you see something in the news, and can't believe that it's genuine, or else humanity must have gone mad, you just need to believe harder. It is genuine. It's also possible that humanity has gone mad. Or always was...
I call this the Chris Morris effect. Every day I see more headlines that only Chris Morris could have written. As time goes on I have gradually realised that 'The Day Today', 'On the Hour' and 'Brass Eye' weren't satire, they were in fact media training material that got broadcast by mistake.
It's paedogeddon out there.
- World's OLDEST human DNA found in leg bone – but that's not the only boning going on...
- Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE
- Pics Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year
- Microsoft teams up with Feds, Europol in ZeroAccess botnet zombie hunt
- Storagebod Oh no, RBS has gone titsup again... but is it JUST BAD LUCK?