* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4840 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Windows 10 phones are not dead yet. Acer, Alcatel OneTouch just made some new ones

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Continuum

You're right, convergence may never happen. It requires cooperation from the manufacturers, or one big one to just make a seemlessly connecting bunch of stuff with well supported stable interfaces that they don't plan to change.

But it's all perfectly possible now. Any decent modern smartphone has enough power to store Gb of data, run an HD screen, and power reasonable looking games or office software. That's simply unarguable. And that tech is getting cheaper all the time.

It may be that the tech becomes so cheap that it's easier to just have a tablet in every room, and something with a bigger screen and keyboard so you can type properly.

But I doubt it. Because it's just as much effort to integrate all the software, so that you can get your stuff migrated on to all this stuff and set it up. Given most people are incapable of configuring their current devices properly. And the demands of software are still growing, plus this stuff takes building, and natural resources, and transport and sales costs. So there must be a minimum price somewhere, unless we get matter transformers. Or giant robot factories in the asteroid belt.

I already cast stuff from my phone/tablet to my telly. And to my speakers. I have separate PCs, but I don't game on them anymore, so my only requirements are for office, media and web browsing. All perfectly doable on phones and tablets . And a computer is still more expensive than a monitor. Although it could soon be that a £5 full PC on a chip is possible, so all screens are smart.

Losing your phone is admittedly a problem. Being portable it's at high risk of breakage and loss. But that's a piece of tech that's always going to need to be smart, as smartphones are just so useful. So it would probably still end up being cheaper to just have a spare, and whatever non-portable peripherals you feel you require. I suspect most people will be happy to do most of their personal computing on a tablet, whcih the phone could slot into, or could be smart. Then only work will require a keyboard and screen. And they'll either act as remote controls to things like media and games systems, or even be the system.

Specialist stuff will probably always be different, gamers will probably always want 10% more performance for double the price - but most people's computing needs are pretty modest.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: It's not the phones that are dead .....

Just to add, my Mum has an iPad, which she loves. But the charity she consults for just gave her an iPhone, and she hates it. Says her Windows Phone is better and easier to use, even though she should already know how to use an iPhone.

Actually that's why I went Win Phone. I had a work iPhone, and also love my iPad. But I found the iPhone to be a better mobile computer than it was a phone. So even though the company foot the bill, went for the £150 Lumia 750 - rathern than the £600 iPhone when the iPhone died. 2 of our eight 5s went wrong within a few months, and EE broke the law by saying we had to go to Apple to get them replaced (due to Apple rules) - both those replacements barely made a year after that, and 2 of the others went wrong pretty soon after. But we may have just got a dodgy batch, as my experience of iPads has been far better.

3
2
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: X86

There have been various mainstream x86 Android phones and tablets. I don't see why MS couldn't do it. But I get the impression that management hate Windows Phone, and despite all the money, effort and time spend on Win Pho, Win Mobile, Windows CE and the like - they only agree to spend the money once they're already way behind.

Which is a shame, because Windows Phone 8 is actually not a bad OS, and with a little more love could have been really great. I've not looked at 10 on phones, but Orlowski has been really quite rude about it, and having met him at a Register do, he was using Win Pho 8 as his everyday phone, so must like the OS.

It's a shame.

2
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Continuum

Continuum (and stuff like it) is surely the future of personal computing. You'll have one personal pooter, always in your pocket, presumably with data backed up to the cloud, and you'll just dock it or connect it to screens networks and input devices as you go about your day. Phones are now as powerful computers as normal laptops were 5-10 years ago, and people worked on them perfectly easily.

How long it takes for the technology to make this a seamless process is anyone's guess. With enough investment and industry cooperation, we ought to be able to do it this year. In reality I can't see it being more than 5-10 years away.

4
3
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: It's not the phones that are dead .....

djstardust,

I like it. I've just advised my Mum to get one, because it's cheap - much easier to use than Android at the £120 price point, and will get security updates and has the stuff she needs out of the box. Last time I used Android, I thougth the stock email, address book and particularly calendars were awful - yes I know you can replace them - but I can't be arsed.

On the other hand, I've advised another friend to go Android for her daughter, because she'll want the apps. And even now, the Windows Phone appstore is rubbish. There aren't even any decent torch apps, and nor have MS built one into the OS (which they bloody well should have by now).

I'll be sad if MS kill it off, as it's great for just a simple phone that does email and satnav well. And it's what I choose to use. The browser's improved, but I still tether my tablet for anything more than just quickly looking something up.

But if they want to sell devices at over £500 - they've either got to use that stonking camera technology that Nokia developed, or radically improve their Crapstore.

12
3

Did North Korea really just detonate a hydrogen bomb? Probably not

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Can't blame the Norks for trying to protect themselves

nilfs2,

Starvation and slavery is very present on "americanized" countries

I think you're going to have to clarify what you mean here. But anyway you're talking rubbish. Slavery is illegal in most of the world. I'd assume all "americanised" countries, whatever that means.

No country is perfect. But the North Korean regime is as close to George Orwell's 1984 as we're likely to see. Any attempt to try to create some moral equivalence between the US and North Korean governments means you are an ignorant fool, or an apologist for one of the worst regimes in human history.

and most of the bad things said on media about Norks is propaganda and/or uninformed lies

Are you denying my points above about the North Korean gulag system? This is visible from space - and I've also seen books by people who escaped from it, and heard interviews with others who had family members sent there. The North Korean aggressive invasion of the South is also a matter of record, as is the kidnapping of Japanese civilians off beaches up until the 1980s. It was a UN report to confirm the torpedoing of that South Korean warship in international waters. And I've not seen anyone question the regular North Korean artillery attacks on the South. Or special forces raids. The murder of political opponents gets announced on state news. There aren't many South Koreans desperate to escape into North Korea, but many Northerners desperate to get out. Hence the minefields and guards.

Capitalism as it is on the world right now is not better than communism or totalitarianism

Again, total bollocks! Remember West Germany didn't have to build a wall round their bit of Berlin to stop their population from running away, it was the Communist system that everyone was desperate to escape from. As with North Korea.

Western democracies don't have famines. North Korea does. There are plenty of UN reports about that, as UN staff were finally allowed in - from memory about 5 years, and a million dead, after it started. You can read the UN reports about malnourished children, and studies on how the North Korean adult popluation are now so much shorter on average, because the people in the South get enough food, and the people in the North don't.

The nuclear tests, and threats to nuke the US, Japan and South Korea were from North Korean state radio.

Admittedly, you do get the weird stories about feeding his uncle to wild dogs, or having him killed with anti-aircraft guns. I seem to remember those were sourced from the Chinese media, by our media, and were too juicy not to report. But were officially thought not to be true - if anyone had bothered to ask the US State Department or South Korean government.

In summary, no country is perfect. But some are better than others. Britain and the US have their faults, make mistakes but also commit their own blood and treasure to sometimes do good. And sometimes fuck up of course. There was no advantage to us in stopping the slaughter in Kosovo, or Bosnia or Sierre Leone. But we did it anyway.

Iran may be a religious dictatorship - but it's also got a weird sort of democracy bolted on, there's a reason it's called the Islamic Republic. Although they've slaughtered their fair share of opponents too. China is a one party state, but does take some account of the population's wishes - unless they're Uighur or Tibetan. And the Party may be stealing loads of the cash, but are also to a great extent working to improve the country as a whole. The party even renew their leadership every ten years so as not to become a dictatorship. Russia is now virtually a dictatorship, but a populist one that again has limits. ISIS (if you can call them a state) are run by a genocidal bunch of total lunatics.

I would be careful bandying words like evil around, but I'd feel safe using it for regimes like ISIS and North Korea. They have no redeeming features. They don't give a fuck about their own populations. And seem to do everything possible to make their lives as miserable as possible. I suppose at least North Korea haven't indulged in genocide, though probably have managed to starve to death 1-2 million of their own population in the last 30 years - and rejected help in favour of not admitting the problem, or building nuclear weapons. Some of the starvation is the result of dictatorship and forced collectivised agriculture - but they also seem to deliberately underfeed the prisonser in their gulags, so they can slowly work them to death. As Hitler and Stalin both did.

8
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Of course there is the possibility...

Isn't this the choice we've struggled with, and so often failed, in Cold War and Middle East policy? Sure that dictatorship is horrible (Saudi, Egypt wherever) - but they're relatively stable, so at least we don't have much of a foreign policy headache. Followed by Oooh! This Arab Spring is exciting. Then almost immediately, Oh God, this Arab Spring is scary! Perhaps an Egyptian military dictatorship isn't so bad after all.

Look at Iraq, Libya and Syria for 3 diffferent places where we've intervened a lot, a little and not much. And how they've all turned out quite badly. At least if you do nothing, fewer people will blame you when it all turns to shit.

And as the old Yes Prime Minister joke went, "the Foreign Office's job is to tell you all the reasons why you shouldn't do anything. Then when it's clear that something ought to be done, that there's nothing you can do. Then to say that there might be something that we could do, but it'll be terribly complicated - and will need lots of time to study. Then hopefully whatever bad thing will have already happened, so they can then tell you that there probably was something that we could have done, but it's too late now.

That show really was a documentary not a comedy... And I bet the Chinese diplomats are just as cautious as our Foreign Office ones.

12
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: the other questions to be asked:

I don't believe any aid has been offered to the North since the first nuclear test - and although there have been talks on-and-off, they've never really got anywhere. They aren't even offering talks after each provocation now, as they're worried that doing that is just an incentive to cause more trouble to get attention. So the talks are on offer, and each time something like this happens, they talk about increasing the sanctions. Effectively that's down to the Republic of Korea, China and Russia. As they have the borders, so if they allow trade - or in China's case give subsidised fuel to keep the regime going - there's not a lot the US can do.

We could have ended this decades ago, with mass civilian and military casualties. That is not the altervative to a nuclear explosion though, as North Korea may not have the capacity for thermo-nuclear devices yet (or ever) - and even if/when it does, may choose never to use them. The casualties from an invasion are certain to be huge - and that's without whatever reaction that might have caused during the Cold War - or starting a new Cold War with China.

And by the way, it was bugger-all money in the grand scheme of things paid "to appease a tyrant". A large chunk of it was on food-aid anyway, which saved several million lives, and was therefore a worthwhile thing to do. Plus it is worth trying to negotiate, the Cold War mostly ended by negotiation for example - after many years of fruitless, or sometimes useful, talks - which was far better than any alternative.

5
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Can't blame the Norks for trying to protect themselves

wofetone,

Indeed I have heard of Guantanamo. Where a few hundred people captured on the battlefield in a war in Afghanistan that the US did not start were kept. People that it has proved virtually impossible to repatriate because they weren't fighting for a state, so they weren't technically POWs - and most of their own countries refused to take them back, on the grounds that many of them were violent nutcases. A not ideal situation, appallingly badly handled.

North Korea keeps many hundreds of thousands of it's people in gulags. So multiple percent of it's poplulation live and die in slave labour camps. Whole families can be sent for life imprisonment there, without trial, defence, evidence or due process. The "crimes" can be things such as trying to escape to China, watching DVDs, saying the President is an evil wanker, etc. Children born to people inside those prison camps are also politically contaminated. So they also get life imprisonment - for the crime of being born.

I also pointed out that dliberately causing a famine that kills 5% of your population is also not what one would call good governance. Not to mention the secret police, torture, random killings of political opponents, lack of freedom, all-pervasive propoganda, constant horrendously intrusive surveillance, fear, despair, grinding miserable poverty etc.

There is no equivalence between the regime in North Korea and the US government. If you attempt to create one you are at best an ignorant fool.

As I said, this is one of the worst regimes in history. That's not hyperbole. It's equivalent to what Stalin's Russia was like in the worst days of the 1930s purges. Or the worst days of the Cultural Revolution in China.

10
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Of course there is the possibility...

I really don't understand why the Chinese continue to put up with him. He must be a bigger danger to them than anyone else.

The Chinese don't want 20 million starving North Koreans wandering across a very long and hard to police border, and buggering up their economy. Of course there's a thriving industry in China in exploiting those who manage to escape, as cheap labour, sex workers or even brides (given what the one-child policy has done to the male/female ratio). So they probably don't try too hard to stop them coming across the border - and the threat of having your entire family sent to Labour Camps for the rest of their lives is enough to deter most from trying to escape.

But I guess the Chinese prefer the relative stability - rather than the uncertainty of having a border with a united Korea. But in comparison to North Korea, East Germany was a positive paradise on earth - so I'm not sure the South are up to re-unification anyway. The levels of poverty, suffering, terror and brainwashing are an order of magnitude worse.

4
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Shelf-life

I don't know at what purity you need your uranium/plutonium to make the nuke go bang. I can't remember if the Norks are only using centrifuges, or if they've been manufactuing Plutonium as well - I think they may have gone for both at once, as the Iranians did. But presumably you can over-purify, so that the warhead has a longer shelf-life.

I wonder if you can you get them on special offer just as they're coming up to their best before date?

I recall that tritium is a problem, with a much shorter half-life. Though that's not as hard to make I think, so it's just a maintenance job. And they've got plenty of labour.

1
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Can't blame the Norks for trying to protect themselves

let them be the hermit country.

It's very nice of you to not to mind about the torture, slave labour camps, repression collective punishment and general hell on earth that is North Korea. They waited until about a million people had already died in the 1990s famine, before they bothered to ask for food aid. They did decide to think about trying not to have future famines, by giving up on the disaster that forced collectivisation of agriculture always brings - but I seem to remember that the new fat leader reversed those reforms - as he's gone for even more repression than before.

Anyway, they didn't need nukes to protect themselves. The frozen conflict in Korea has gone on for years, and the US has entirely failed to try to nuke them. Nor have the South or US tried to invade - and the US only keep about one division there - so it's not like they've got the force on hand to launch an invasion. The South do, but their policy for years was avoiding confrontation - even over the nuclear testing (when the US wanted tougher sanctions). And it was only missile tests, artillery attacks and the sinking of an ROK navy ship that persuaded them away from their Sunshine Policy.

So nope, North Korea doesn't need nukes. And without them would have better relations, and would be given subsidised (and some free) food, medicine and fuel as a reward for not having the nuke program (as they were getting in the 90s), even though that'll probably prolong the life of what is one of the worst regimes in history. It was deemed better than them getting nukes. Plus they have an estimated 20,000 pieces of artillery and rocket launchers aimed at Seoul (20-odd miles from the border), so don't need nukes to destroy the ROK's capital city.

7
1
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Flame

Re: Too small?

I did a Hiroshima sized jobbie once. Boy those chillies were hot...

5
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Little Difference

North Korea have been digging tunnels deep into rock since the 1950s. I heard someone on the radio suggesting that the most worrying thing was the idea that the top bods in the regime think that they (personally obviously - sod the rest of the population) might therefore be able to comfortably survive nuclear retaliation.

I'm not sure I buy that idea, as surely spending the rest of your life hiding in a tunnel, however luxurious, is nowhere near as fun as being the boss of a whole Stalinist theme park. Where you can oppress your population, have the finest goodies that money can buy, meet Dennis Rodman, march your huge army around, and generally play God. I guess we so far out on the edge of sanity, that it's very hard to work out what the hell the regime wants out of anything. Makes them very hard to predict.

9
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: H-Bombs, its the fission not fusion

...causes ablative pressure on a uranium jacket...

As it's finally getting colder now, I went to M&S and asked for a uranium jacket.

I've no idea why that police helicopter has started following me around...

6
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: unbombified?

Also you can tell a real earthquake from a nuclear fake-quake. Real ones are deeper, and last longer. And you'd need to release the right radioactive goodies for the atmospheric detectors to pick up. Easier to fake small bangs with lots and lots of TNT - or a fuel-air explosive, I'd have thought.

Or could you get a million people in a big cave to all jump up and down at once? If North Korea wins the synchronised trampolining at the next Olympics, you'll know I was right...

6
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

The reports I've read suggest that the Norks are only able to make enough material for 2-5 nukes a year. So they've tested at least a year's supply. How long do they last before you have to reprocess the uranium due to too much decay? What's the shelf-life of a nuke?

Anyway they've not got many, so may not wish to sell them. Plus there's a good chance selling one would be traceable. The retaliation after that might be quite serious. The regime might struggle to survive without imports of fuel from China - that would almost certainly tip China over the edge into becoming an enemy. I doubt the regime can survive that.

Also they're under very serious sanctions now, so ships can't just leave North Korea - which means the nuke would almost certainly have to be smuggled via China. Which might also upset them somewhat. It's possible though, they may be mad enough to sell or use them.

But selling the technology is nothing new. I don't remember the exact details of who helped who now, but look up the AQ Khan nuclear network. My recollection is that China helped Pakistan's nuclear program, as a counter-balance to India getting them in the 70s. Pakistan was a bit light on missile technology though, so they were helping various people in exchange for missile technology. I think that was principally Iran and North Korea, but possibly also Libya (not that their nuke program seems to have been all that serious). I don't remember if it was Pakistan or Israel that was cooperating with the South African nuke program.

Iraq had a mix of Russian, Chinese and self-modified Scuds. I don't think they were using the North Korean tech. Again I think Iran and the Norks were cooperating there, so Iran would not have been best pleased if North Korea were helping their main enemy as well.

I don't remember reading anything about Syria's program, so don't know who they were talking to. The AQ Khan network was broken up over ten years ago, and the Syrian project was more recent. I wonder if they were using Saddam's old scientists - his nuke program doesn't seem to have got all that far, and Israel bombed the French reactor in the 80s - but they must have still had the info. Or they could have been talking to North Korea.

Tis all very convoluted.

7
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: plutonium little boy?

All the other tests were underground, and I read a news report in November / December that they were carrying out digging works at or near one of the previous test sites. So I don't quite know why most of the stories I've seen in the papers said that this test was a surprise. And this is likely to have been underground too.

Admittedly China say they weren't told in advance. But then if you remember in December Kim withdrew his girlband from Beijing, because they were only getting a Politburo member in the audience, rather than Xi Xinping himself. And I read speculation then that this was because the Chinese might not want to be seen to endorse an upcoming test.

The neptunium thing was interesting. I didn't realise it was useable in weapons. But according to that authoritive source of knowledge Wiki (as I quickly Googled it on reading the article) - the US released info that it could be used for nukes in the 90s. The same article said that no-one has been known to try, as it's harder to isolate enough of the stuff than uranium/plutonium.

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

I seem to recall the British Green Parrot (great name by the way chaps) was selectable yield. From single figure kilotons up to maybe hundreds. So could be used either as a tactical or small strategic nuke.

4
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Of course there is the possibility...

Even the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs yielded double this device leaving open the possibility that they actually just got 6000 tonnes of TNT together.

I remember that theory being put around for their first test, which was even smaller than the last three 5-10 kt ones. But I read about the last one that the detectors placed around North Korea detected the expected nuclear material in the atmosphere.

Unless of course they're also releasing trace elements of that at the same time.

But this does seem too small for fusion.

Also I don't know why all the speculation that not only have they made the leap to fusion (as they claim) - but also managed to miniaturise at the same time.

Although I suppose it's possible that this was actually a test of a mini A bomb, and they're lying about the H bomb bit.

Still they haven't yet managed a successful large missile test launch have they? So they'd still have to put the things on aircraft or ships. Or a suicide sumbarine. Surface in New York harbour and kaboom.

Have they managed to sell enough fake Viagra to afford to pay SpaceX, now the price has come down? Perhaps try to buy a cheap launch on a re-used Falcon first stage through a false company?

I'd say the bigger risk is Elon Musk. He's got his rocket that can now land vertically. He's got the new space capsule coming in by 2017-18. He's got electric car capability - so should be able to master the monorail with ease. I bet he can get from a standing start to an H bomb, before the Norks can go from A bomb to miniaturised A Bomb. The moment he buys a private island or dormand volcano is the time to take him out - just to be sure...

20
3

The new Huawei is the world's fastest phone

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Faster phone?

It injects a dose of speed into your ear, as you talk, while sending a signal to the other person's phone with your weight and the dose it's given, so that their phone can dose them up to a roughly similar level.

They're working on a helium supply for the next model, so that your faster speech also achieves the correct level of squeakiness...

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: smaller phones?

Ah, the childish joy of ending a call with the satisfying snap of closing the phone was great when I had my trusty old Motorola Razr. Much nicer than just pushing a button. It's a real shame.

I still think my ideal form factor would be something like the old Razr with a 4G radio and WiFi sharing, so I could read the odd email on a slightly improved screen - but could resort to a small tethered tablet for any actual smart stuff.

Or I'd be happy with sensibly priced 2 SIM deals, where I can have data only for my tablet, and a bit of both on the phone. But I think my wishlist is too unusual to be catered for.

Even on a 4.8" phone, the Lumia 735 I use, I find browsing the web not very pleasant. I only do it when there's no alternative. I'd much rather tether my iPad. My brother's got the big iPhone 6, and I admit that the web's a much more pleasant experience on that - or a Galaxy / Galaxy Note - but they are a bit too big to hold comfortably on long phonecalls. And speaking to people is what I have the phone for. Apps are mostly what the tablet is for.

3
3

HPE's London boozer dubbed the 'Hewlett You Inn?'

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Plus, when you get new glasses in a few years time, the drink will no longer work with them, and no update will be forthcoming. Forcing you to "upgrade" to a new kind of drink...

My glass only holds a pint. Where am I supposed to put this 2 GB driver?

5
0

SpaceX makes rocket science look easy: Falcon 9 passes tests

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

I'm not using a second hand rocket unless it wore a condom the first time...

4
0

One's Aspire One. Is it done?

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: "Is OpenBSD 8 year-old friendly?"

jake,

The 8 year old in question is amazingly quick at getting an iPad to do what he wants it to. However he also has the amazing ability (and has since well before he was able to read) to click on the right things to get him to where he wanted to be, even if that was clicking on the "ignore this dire warning of consequences" button, or the "I agree to give all my personal data to Apple/Facebook/ISIS/Donald Trump to do with as they desire" one.

Mostly he's done that on an iPad with little in the way of consequences. He's starting to do it on his Mum's laptop - and that's going to need clean-up again, and my suggestion is to give him a user account with no permissions (it's not his).

On his own machine, he should have more control, so he suffers the inconvenience of having to clean up his own mistakes. With some help of course. But I'm not his Dad, and I'm not going to be in daily supervision, so there'll have to be some compromise with practicality. And it should be less fragile than Windows, especially if he hasn't got root. So long as I can give him enough permissions that he doesn't feel like it's not his machine.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

jake,

I haven't been on USENET since I was using UNIX back in the 90s. Perhaps the nostalgia will jog the memory.

Playing around with Linux has been a possible project for me for a while now, and I may just do that so I can equip the family kids with the odd Raspberry Pi and see if any of them are interested. However I'm more focused for now in finding a distro to get this little laptop going so it can be used. I've got other things on the go to keep me occupied. Educating myself into being a 'nix guru is a long-term project - getting this netbook into a useable state should ideally be something I can do over a weekend.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

jake,

Cheers. There's some minimal distros based on Slackware that I came across, designed for netbooks and other old slow kit. But I'm going to need to pick something with decent numbers of active online posters, so I can hunt down answers. Given my meagre UNIX skills are now rusty/redundent/forgotten/useless.

I got the impression that the Acer Aspire One was one of the more popular netbooks, and still has some techy love online. And that seems to be the case, as I've found that some distros specifically have support information for running on them. And that's looking like the most likely thing to sway my choice, given I may need all the help I can lay my hands on.

Although my first choice will be something a bit more limited, with a child-friendly 'task based' UI, which still needs the ability to get to a proper desktop. But searching so far hasn't turned up anything likely looking.

If this does go well, I'll be looking at Raspberry Pi for his next birthday.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Thanks. I'm not sure we're ready for the command line yet. Although he does have a rather cavalier attitude to downloading stuff off the internet. The downside of learning in the iPad walled garden is that it's an awful lot easier to screw up a PC - but he's just used to being able to safely download any freebie from the App Store.

He's not allowed an email account yet, but I imagine he'll probably want webmail - rather than client based. In general though I can't see the command line being all that attractive - so far he's more interested in what computers can do, rather than how they do it.

A decent browser is the most important thing, and he's going to want Flash (spit!) in order to play online games and watch iPlayer and the like. Youtube to watch Minecraft stuff most of all. Note to self: sort out Minecraft. He also likes to type lists and stories and the like.

I don't want the thing totally locked down, as he is showing an interest in IT, and so he should be able to learn by tinkering. It would help if his parents were IT literate, but they're not that great, so by going Linux I'm ensuring that all problems get referred to me. I guess setting myself up as root, and giving him more limited permissions is the way to go for starters. Is it possible to allow a normal user to download stuff from the repository?

Then pass him full control if he doesn't break anything. He's already a danger to the health of his Mum's laptop.

I can see this becoming a real time-sink, and forcing me to start learning about Linux, in order to stay a few steps ahead of him. I suppose if stuff doesn't come back, the internet and man pages will sort me out. Although I must annoy jake by saying I never liked vi...

1
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Is OpenBSD 8 year-old friendly? I confess I've never seen it running. I'm looking for something approaching the simplified task-based UI of the original Linpus, or if not then something Windows like.

I've not done much research yet, but was wondering if the old OLPC OS was still going, or if there's something similar cooked up for the Raspberry Pi?

A quick bit of looking has brought up many distros I've never heard of, no surprise, and a few I was expecting. So Mint and Puppy look promising.

I think I'll avoid Ubuntu/Unity, as I'm going for minimal footprint. But maybe Lubuntu or Xubuntu are worth a look?

Have seen nice comments about Crunchbang, but only vaguely heard of it.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Thanks for the reply. My nephew decided he wants a new OS, and handed me the Acer to do over Christmas. So I've now got round to having a look.

I'll check out the hard drive, I've no idea of the tech specs, and didn't realise there were different models.

0
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Linux

One's Aspire One. Is it done?

My nephew has found my Mum's old Acer Aspire One. Which is barely used, as was the fate of many a netbook.

A quick bit of searching found that the OS hasn't been updated since 2009, the last viable Firefox it will run is 7, and Youtube block versions that old.

I haven't yet come across a forum for users of these things, though I suspect that more searching might do so. As I know they had lots of techy love, and techies like to keep old stuff going. I met an old friend last month, who is still using (with many eBay trips for spare parts) my old Sony Ericsson P800 (great phone), which I gave to him in about 2004/5. It was a very nice nostalgic feeling to play with the old thing.

Anyway, any quick thoughts on the best Linux to chuck on this to give it a new lease of life would be much appreciated. The nephew is 8. So if there's a version that replaces Linpus and gives a more limited UI that's easy to use - I'm very tempted.

Otherwise thoughts on whether to go Mint, some flavour of Ubuntu or whatever would be useful.

I last used UNIX in 1994, but I'm sure I can catch up.

Thankyou for your attention, please now return to your Friday afternoon beers.

0
0

Brit cuffed for Kyrgyz 'horse penis' sausage quip

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Coat

Re: Oh FFS.

I've heard that British sausages are mostly made of lips and arseholes.

Personally I think it's just bollocks...

[I'll get my coat. In my defence, this is the family Christmas joke.]

Apparently in Scotland, the sausages can actually be square. I don't know why they don't call them squausages...

9
0

Bah humbug. It's Andrew's Phones of the Year

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Flagships are sinking

I can't bring myself to fork out £300 now. And I'm not even paying. I could have an iPhone, but resent the cost, even though the company picks it up. Actually I don't like them either. I love my iPad, but as a phone iOS doesn't quite cut it for me. I don't like the email client, or the address book, or the failure to properly separate my work and personal mail/contacts.

I admit to lusting after the Galaxy Note. But £150 gets a good Motorola or my current Windows Lumia 735. Although from Andrew's rude comments, I'm suspecting Win 10 may kill my liking for the platform, and drive me to Android (which I find a bit fiddly).

As I've been saying for a few years though, it's impossible to justify flagship phones costing more than the best tablets. Often by hundreds of pounds from the same manufacturers! Only the weird model of mobile purchasing encourages this madness, and it can't last.

1
0

You’re clever? But are you clever enough to give a Reg lecture?

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Not a question of clever...

Just imagine the audience is naked. That gives you your pshychological edge, in order to dominate them. Of course, if your imagination is too good, you may require counselling afterwards...

1
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

I could give 90 minutes on the 1999 Water Regulations. I've already got the Powerpoint slides and everything. In fact, I've even got posters pre-done. You're entitled to CPD certificates too.

OK, so it's a bit dull. But you'll be grateful for it, next time you're up to your knees in zebra poo on a January site visit to London Zoo.

Or, I could probably do 5 hours on the various problems my Mum has had with technology - and how I've tried to solve them. My favourite being, "I had a box pop up on my screen 4 days ago saying that I might get a virus, so I just clicked on OK and carried on browsing the internet. Is that something to worry about?" Sorry Mum, could you try being a little more vague...

3
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Er, were is Worstall?

Let go sadly. Off to pastures new. You can find him on Forbes though. Was very sad, I missed his lecture in June. But had a wedding that day.

1
0

The Firewall Awakens: ICANN's exiting CEO takes internet governance to the dark side

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Q.

So the timing couldn't be better then! FIFA's President and his annointed successor just copped an 8 year ban today. Charges to follow shortly no doubt.

More than half the governing board are also under investigation or facing charges.

They need a new boss, PDQ. And just in the nick of time, Chehade is free in March. It's perfect!

0
0

Is is possible....

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

I would have thought that it's unlikely that you'd be massively downvoted and upvoted at the same time.

Try being rude about Google...

If you make fair points against MS, Apple etc, you tend not to get many downvotes from the faithful. Google tend to split opinion more. They've got some real fanboys, some died-in-the-wool haters (for various reasons) - and quite a lot of people are rather wary of them becasue of the huge power they have in internet-land.

I've also managed some +20 -10 vote type posts on Tim Worstall articles. I guess anything politics related can end up working that way.

Oh and Bitcoin. But there don't seem to be so many true believers left nowadays. So nowadays if I make a comment on the foolishness of a system with built-in deflation (or the similarities to the scams I saw when playing EVE Online...), there's only a couple of downvotes from the remaining faithful.

I've also noticed a new trend for downvoting bad puns. I love a dodgy pun or two, and enjoy it when you get a pun-off between a few commentards. But now instead of just ignoring the jokes they don't approve of, I've noticed a few +40 -5 ones. Everyone's a critic...

1
0

New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

There already is. Admittedly it's not the most user-friendly,and it's a shame that they took timestamps away.

At the top left of this post, replying to you, will be a little grey curly arrow. hover over that and a tooltip says "in reply to". Click on it, and it takes you to the actual post this is a reply to. Puts it at the very top of the page.

Not the most elegant solution. I'd like them to introduce proper threading, or find some way to improve the comment-usability-jungle. But there is something.

1
0

Grim-faced cosmonaut in ISS manual docking nail-biter

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: How Dare He!

That smile at the camera thing isn't new. A friend has a book about photography - and it talks about the etiquette and expectations of being photographed, and how that changes the results.

One of his examples is a picture of a woman standing on a beach, with a big smile on her face, but at her feet is the body of her husband who's just died of a heart attack. Someone took the picture, and she just automatically smiled for the camera. Presumably if she'd just bumped him off, she'd have done a better job of hiding her emotions...

Or there's the pictures of the troops returning from the evacuation at Dunkirk. Again lots of them smiling and waving to the camera. But the ones they weren't aware of show them looking like shit, as you'd be if you'd just lost a huge battle, retreated for a week and then been stuck on a beach under constant air attack for another one, only to then have to wade out to a small ship and get evacuated - all while still under constant aerial assault.

Also evidence from a lot of the troops was that they felt ashamed of themselves, and many expected to be booed on their return, not cheered. So they weren't really in a smiling mood.

Anyway, if you smile all the time, people will wonder what you're up to.

8
0

Man faces 37 years for sarcastic post insulting royal dog

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

I enjoy the idea that there's no english word for lingua franca, even though the global lingua franca is now english...

10
0

Help! What does 'personal conduct unrelated to operations or financials' mean?

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Devil

Re: Most likely

Look, when we said we were a family friendly company, we didn't mean that!

2
0

Windows XP spotted on Royal Navy's spanking new aircraft carrier

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Coat

I'd have expected Naval computers to run SeaP/M.

11
0

Old jet bits, Vader's motorbike gear, sonic oddness: Hats off to Star Wars' creative heroes

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Congratulations on mentioning the sound design.

I channel-hopped to a film the other day (ah yes, the 70s King Kong film), where the goodie walks across a big tree trunk that's been laid over a ravine. The sound effects of his footsteps were of a man in a very echoey room, walking across a polished floor. I presume they were on a budget and got rushed. I found it strangely jarring.

Not that Star Wars exactly had much of a budget. But the sound was consistently excellent. And iconic. I also remember really enjoying the nice sounds, even more than the visuals, when playing Tie Fighter, and whichever the FPS game was in the late 90s.

In general the sets were also amazing. Particularly as it wasn't a big budget production. Although I'd quibble with the realism thing on one major point. Space is dangerous, and I presume they're using artificial gravity - but surely the designs should be a bit more fail-safe. So maybe smaller rooms. Although at least in the Star Wars universe they've managed to invent the humble seat belt, something that seems to have been lost in the intervening time between now and Starfleet getting going. Is it because they don't want the Klingons to call them sissies?

Also, why do people insist on designing their space stations with lethal multiple-storey drops scattered about all over the place. And very few guard rails. No high-vis marking on the edges of steps (or lethal 15 storey drops). I guess Vader got annoyed with all the Health & Safety types - I can't imagine anyone long survivng the utterance of, "Lord Vader, you have failed your compliance testing"...

12
0

Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Ah yes, I still do this with the Legionella regs.

Oh, you don't want to bother with a risk assessment? Sure, that's OK. You remember the Barrow-in-Furness case don't you? Oh yes, she was acquitted of manslaughter. After 4 years, a retrial, a couple of hundred grand of legal costs and a £70,000 fine.

People tend to go a bit silent on me after I say this. But it often has the desired effect.

In the Barrow-in-Furness clusterfuck the council replaced the engineer in charge of their pool with an architect. Who knew nothing about water quality. So she apparently sacked the legionella testing contractors, as she didn't know why they were spending this money. Controlling the water quality in swimming pools and cooling towers is a bugger of a job - whereas architects are best left to draw pretty pictures.

8
0

One-armed bandit steals four hours of engineer's busy day

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Epson

I filled my car up in Epson once. Never again! I had to sell my house to pay the bill.

10
0

Horrid checkbox download bundlers drop patch-frozen Chrome

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Microsoft Online Reputation Management are hard at work today....

CAPS LOCK,

I presume you're an unpaid reputation manager for Linux. The problem is that if you come across as a smug self-satisfied arse, that what you're achieving is to manage to reduce the reputation of Linux. Which would be a shame.

Linux is great. Windows is also great. Lots of people were very nice about Windows 7. 8, not so much, but I happen to think 10 is quite nice. For those who disagree, 7's still around.

This is a problem about scummy vendors installing more software than you asked for. Which would be equally possible with Linux. Obviously in a lot of cases this is user-error, in that they're installing stuff they shouldn't trust. But there's also Oracle and Adobe doing it, who should bloody well know better. And of course Google are the ones paying Adobe to do it, with Chrome and their crappy old toolbar.

2
0
I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Bah! Now with extra unrequested humbug.

I'd love to have seen the anti-virus vendors bin Chrome as malware. It installs itself on people's PCs when they didn't ask for it - therefore in my book it's malware.

I admit it would be childish, and who wants to get into a pissing contest with Google anyway.

I noticed a few years ago that loads of people who don't even know what a browser is ("I click on the blue E to get to Google...") had Chrome installed. And I noticed that it was getting dodgily downloaded all over the place, along with that bloody Google toolbar. But I've not seen it do that for a while, until I went to download Flash last week, and saw that it had replaced McAfee Security Scan as their ticked checkbox crapware of choice again.

13
1

Today's exoplanet weather: 1,000°C, glass rain, 8,700 km/h winds

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

This place is the anti-Skegness. Sure, there's a screaming gale off the sea and it's pissing it down. The difference is that the precipitation is warm - thus eliminating the risk of freezing to death. You'll need some pretty good sunblock but your deckchair will still blow over. I bet the nightlife is better than Skeggy too...

2
0

Your taxes at work: Three hours driving to turn on politician's PC

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Phone support...

Oh God. Don't mention the P word!

My Mum hands me her Macbook because the printer won't work. OK, what's your password? What password? The one for the laptop? What one for the laptop? Try guessing the three other passwords of hers I already know from fixing her email/phone/whatever - which she also always forgets the password to.

I once spent half an hour on the phone to various BT 1st line support staff who simply wouldn't deviate from their damned script - setting up a friend's Dad with a WiFi router, back before they came free with broadband. BT had managed to set up his account without an email, so I couldn't reset it - and he'd lost the paperwork - and their indian call centre staff either couldn't or wouldn't understand the problem, and kept trying to get me to reboot the PC with that horrible USB router. In the end I gave up and found some dodgy software online that unhashed the password in XP - I hope XP protected other passwords better...

Still I was given a couple of bottles of wine. Which was nice. Then I was rather embarrassed by a knock on the door a few days later, and I got a delivery of a 15 bottle case from the local wine merchant. It was quite nice stuff, so they probably spent as much (or more) on me as paying someone. And I was perfectly happy to do it for the original contracted price of a cuppa and bacon sarnie while I worked.

5
0

Forums