* Posts by Paul Shirley

1932 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?

Paul Shirley
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dumbed down Clara

Looks like they're pandering to the Clara haters and giving her nothing to do or say. Death by neglect. Give the girl a decent exit and do it soon.

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Junk patent ditched in EAST TEXAS

Paul Shirley
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Re: how in the hell it took 9 years to grant.

That normally implies the patentee was playing the system, refiling with modified claims to extend the patents effective life or add claims, sometimes claims that would have prior art if not attached to an earlier claim date. The US patent system is almost designed for abuse by trolls. It sometimes looks like troops deliberately file defective claims knowing they can take their time fixing the mistake, without the patent life clock even starting.

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Mobile first? Microsoft decides to kneecap its Android users instead

Paul Shirley
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"with real push email (you need to pay for that with Gmail)"

?

It's doing a pretty good impression of push mail for my gmail accounts in Thunderbird (and of course Android) and I've not paid anyone. The office Exchange server is far less cooperative.

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Is Windows 10 slurping too much data? No, says Microsoft. Nuh-uh. Nope

Paul Shirley
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Re: Your data pays for your 'free' OS.

It's not free, you paid for the os it upgraded and you still had years of support prepaid on it.

After the win 10 upgrade borked network access to my htpc, my microphone and a whole pile of app problems because it didnt manage to migrate settings correctly, I'm severely annoyed with this fugly mess and ready to rollback. Except i don't have that option if i want to stay employed :( so I'll have to clock up more time defanging win10 on top of the hours wasted already.

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The pachyderm punch: El Reg takes just-over-a-ton Elephone P8000 to tusk

Paul Shirley
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Re: It’s easier to list what you do get rather than what’s missing.

"apps might assume they are given the access they ask for"

Yes, it's not hard to check for permissions before using them but no-one does it or bothers catching the exceptions. Or carry on working after. That's going to change with Android 6 many years from now.

The 'correct' solution is to feed lies back to the requesting app instead of denying permissions. Not aware of any manufacturers shipping that, so users have to root and install the fix themselves. Not ideal.

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Diskicide – the death of disk

Paul Shirley
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feeling old...

...because I remember using punch cards, paper tape, mag tape and toggle switches to key in the paper tape bootloader! Nothing as strange as the oscilloscope output and rotary phone dial for input on an ancient mainframe though ;)

Yes, completely OT :)

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VW: Just the tip of the pollution iceberg. Who's to blame? Hippies

Paul Shirley
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Slashdot now more credible than the Reg

Pretty sad isn't it, while Slashdot is reporting another flow battery breakthrough, Lewis is busy deflecting blame from crooks in a fossil fuel industry. The S/N for tech news seems higher on a troll infested semi-anarchy than a purported tech news site (being satirical never used to stop the reg doing the tech bit as well).

[BTW Still trying to find out if the description 'throbber' is a term of endearment in the navy...]

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So how do Google's super-smart security folk protect their data?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Hmmm

@Hans 1

You understate the problem. Your data is effectively only as secure as the physical security of the device holding it. For a phone, that's 0% secure. They're easy to lose, easy to steal and there's a non-zero chance of being snatched while powered up and logged in.

Store nothing on one you can't afford to lose.

...not that I'm claiming your PC is much more safe. I let mine have unimportant passwords only. I am beginning to hate 2 factor authentication though :(

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Google's new squeeze: Brotli compression open-sourced

Paul Shirley
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Re: Meh?

After running some tests it does look like they carefully cherry picked the publicised performance, what I saw was a nearly random pattern of relative compression compared to lzma and deflate. In one test deflate beat it by >10%!

The lzma comparison was more interesting, with the quality at usable settings it was comfortably faster with roughly the same compression ratio. That's pretty surprising given the use of huffman coding. Will definitely be trialling it some more, lzma just isn't fast enough for us (neither is lzham), this might just be.

A future version with arithmetic coding could be very interesting, once the current patent woes on ANS are dealt with.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Who could possibly have thought..

This is why many compressor comparisons include the size of the compressor (inc any static data) in the results and your compressor would instantly rank as the worst ever!

For Googles specific use on the net/web it's a no-brainer and particularly useful for small payloads.

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Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice

Paul Shirley
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Re: magic crap

You've assumed a few things: that those middle age people were human, that the Doctor didn't know it was a trap, that what you saw was what was really there, that there was evidence left or anyone left to influence after that scene.

It's a clever ploy, guaranteed to get watchers debating furiously till next Sat, when we'll find out how much the Doctor and the story teller lied this time.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: To the point

What cliffhanger? He can't kill Davros unless they really intend to reboot the entire Who universe back to Hartnells stories. Rather obvious he's going to exterminate the handmines, then we'll be treated to 30min of idle chit-chat before Missy rescues us from boredom.

That's the perpetual problem with Who cliffhangers, the resolution is normally limp.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: er, the opening bit

The Sonic may be replaceable but it's being misused (again) to solve every problem. Time to dump it, again. Only problem is this geriatric Doctor needs gadgets to paper over the lack of action :(

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Arctic summer ice cover is 31st HIGHEST EVER RECORDED

Paul Shirley
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Re: Lewis doesn't reject all comments critical of his stance

Have to cover the paucity of the claims with some vigorously encouraged SHOUTING.

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The ONE WEIRD TRICK which could END OBESITY

Paul Shirley
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Re: Personal anti-favourite-

It's well accepted that drinking 2 halves takes less time than 1 pint. I suspect the same applies to food ;)

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Burn ALL the COAL, OIL – NO danger of SEA LEVEL rise this century from Antarctic ice melt

Paul Shirley
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Re: HOW does that translate into the article?

Lewis is simply relying on the observation that "believers" on both sides won't bother reading the sources. It's almost pointless arguing with believers because their belief is religious (as i believe Lewis managed to point out a few weeks back, overlooking what it said about his own faction!).

Religious belief is the promise to believe despite any evidence or lack of it. Scientific belief is the promise to follow where the evidence leads. One requires ignoring inconvenient data, the other requires questioning what you believe faced with contradictory evidence. I'm going to put my faith in the scientific version, it corrects mistakes a few millennia quicker

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Microsoft throws crypto foes an untouchable elliptic curveball

Paul Shirley
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Re: Positive

Not sure carefully checking helps any longer since they stated they'll stop giving detailed explanations of updates. You'll actually need to search non Microsoft sites to find out which updates are Trojan horses from now on and i won't be trusting a Microsoft owned search engine for that.

One bunch a week or so ago gave no useful info on the Microsoft kb pages, took 30min identifying the rotten ones :(

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Vanished global warming may not return – UK Met Office

Paul Shirley
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Re: Spin your first sentence, as usual

@Big John: Somehow I get the impression you're wilfully forgetting that's exactly what the denial camp claimed.

And no, you can't hide behind 'climate is variable' because that's the whole point of extracting long term trends in the data. Also why it took so many years to even notice something was amiss with the results and why in context it looks like a damn rapid change. The unfortunate reality that annual variation far exceeds the cumulative trend is very convenient for some but doesn't change the results, it just makes them easier to ignore.

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Paul Shirley
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@ h4rm0ny

"get labelled as "deniers" by AGW-proponents"

No h4rm0ny, the problem is the undecided get appropriated by the denialist minority as supporting their beliefs. The undecided are rapidly becoming a minority themselves and it's getting harder for true denialists to manufacture any pretence of wide support.

They face the other problem of even undecided voters realising some of the mitigation efforts are worth doing even without global warming. Leaves actual denialists in an increasingly tricky spot deciding exactly what to oppose.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Spin your first sentence, as usual

The only thing 'widely admitted' was that one set of measurements seemed to show a stall but the consensus was that no one knew if it was real or an error, with most expecting an error (apart from Lewis's friends who already 'knew' the answer before the anomaly was even seen). We're now pretty certain it really is just a measurement error.

More entertainingly, given all those years with a huge propaganda gift like that, no one managed to come up with any believable theory to explain why the climate would suddenly stop changing or explain away the previous century of results. Come on guys, it doesn't get much easier if you're right.

At the time that was announced I wondered why Lewis wasn't frothing denial all over the Reg, seems he was just waiting till enough people forgot the story.

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Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Colin Baker, by a mile.

Capaldi: grumpy old arsehole in a zimmer frame.

Maybe the writers will work out how to script around a near pensioner actor, last season felt so slow and static. Clara is the only thing holding it together right now, much like the semi clad eye-candy did in the Davison and Baker days. Which is very sad :(

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Sylvester McCoy

The Big Finish audio stories confirmed that given a good script McCoy was a great doctor, much darker than the new series has managed. It surprised me after the shite tv episodes but yes, we can and do know.

Colin baker has to be the worst, bitterness just isn't interesting and that was about all he brought to the part. Eccleston and Davison are close behind.

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Intel's 6th gen processors rock – but won't revive PC markets

Paul Shirley
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Re: Too many processors will confuse the market

Intel have that solved, 3/4 of then will be so expensive the average punter simply won't consider them!

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WinPhone community descends into CANNIBALISM and WOE

Paul Shirley
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Oh, I'm sure there are some fans who genuinely believe it.

It's completely possible for better tech to fail by being prohibitively costly or have low availability - but neither apply here. This time there just aren't enough people that think it's an 'astonishingly good' anything to succeed. Shouting a lot from positions of supposed influence (like say, news site editors) is no substitute for willing customers.

I'm not sure Andrew is ready yet to accept Microsofts Win8/10/WP strategy has nothing to do with what we need, it's a cynical strategy to impose what's good for Microsoft and only Microsoft. They couldn't push a phonified OS on desktop users so now they'll try it the other way. Eventually they'll either die or do the right thing and use the right OS on each class of device instead of the jack-of-all-trades cockup we're seeing now.

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Don't want to upgrade to Windows 10? You'll download it WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT

Paul Shirley
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Re: Something Missing

@Skydweller is not just bandwidth, the fuckwits dump it on the system drive. So my nightly backup just grew by 3Gb per machine. My sys drive is deliberately small and 3Gb represents a substantial proportion of its free space, all versions of windows behave badly when free space shrinks too far.

In one case it tried downloading the update with less than 3Gb free, would have crashed windows if i hadn't caught it (then removed another few gb of shit update hadn't bothered cleaning up, 3gb is below what i normally try to keep free).

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Something Missing

@AC yes, it's the full 3Gb and I've had to remove it on both Win8 machines here. Several times on one of them :(

Even more annoying i had to do it after already downloading the ISO for each pc, Microsoft are being a bunch of c###s about this and need smacking hard.

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Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Paul Shirley
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Re: "Why can't we have a phone that has all these decent specs"

...perhaps because those 'decent specs' require a bigger battery and battery size is constrained by screen size? There's a reason all the 'S' versions of flagships have lower specs, not just a smaller screen. How much battery time do you want to sacrifice and/or how much fatter do you want the case for a thicker battery (in a world that overwhelmingly wants thin phones).

Or maybe you don't need a flagship and the problem is imaginary.

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Europe yawns at EU robo-commish Ansip's digital plans

Paul Shirley
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Re: Meaningless.....

Here in England I simply wouldn't believe a number that high, seems pretty encouraging even for the continent with lower language barriers. But that interpretation doesn't fit the tale Andrew wants to spin.

The reality is my wanting to watch Irish sport in England isn't helping Hollywood sell anything, it's helping keeping my local Irish bar funded though - they've jumped the hurdles to get it so I don't have to bother fighting geolocking.

The US has already flooded the whole of the EU with their 'product', they stand to be hurt just as much (or little) an locals.

Would be nice if the EU sorted out the inequalities that allow differential pricing to succeed *before* full scale harmonisation but that's never likely to happen so market forces will have to do the job.

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US trade watchdog deep-sixes patent infringement claim against Microsoft

Paul Shirley
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Re: ITC seems to not care about discrimination

Those arguments are from Microsoft's suit against Interdigital, not the ITC.

If the decision is poorly worded that weakens it as a defence in ongoing or future lawsuits. Normally the courts would be inclined to rubberstamp an ITC decision. Microsoft's problems aren't necessarily over yet, this was the fast track process, now Interdigital will probably carry on in the courts.

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Google watchers react furiously to ad flinger’s competition case defence

Paul Shirley
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Re: Everything or nothing

I think they've committed suicide. The most likely outcome now, presaged by the creation of Alphabet, is Google splitting search from the problem services completely destroying leverage for Fairsearch & co.

More worrying for them is my most recent experience of their shopping service. I actually tried Googles travel insurance comparison partly because this whole shitstorm had kicked off again. It was a revelation, an absolutely minimal search, 100% relevant results, enough detail to narrow the choice upfront... and most astonishing, the prices quoted there matched the ones on each sellers site I tried! Easily deserving of a high rank in organic search in the 'level playing field' Fairsearch claim to want.

Comparison sites are so universally bad even Google can put together something better. The complaining competition should be very frightened and they'll go to their bankruptcy without ever considering building a better product. Still, it will be a "fair" bankruptcy for most of them ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Foundem launched early enough to get decent press coverage (which no launch today would), then failed to turned that into any happy, repeat customers. Today they're riding Microsofts coattails and again getting press coverage, coverage that will stop most even considering them.

The last thing Foundem needs is more exposure, the more the public hear their name, the worse things get. Yet they still cling to the belief that buying rank in search results (this time by paying for lawyers) will magically change their fortunes.

Wonder if they've ever considered just running a better business?

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D-Wave: 'Whether or not it's quantum, it's faster'

Paul Shirley
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Re: D-Wave processors are like GPUs

We largely abandoned analogue computers because of noise problems, which limits accuracy AND slows them down as a side effect, plus we've thrown more research at miniaturising digital components which increases speed.

The quantum effects in annealing make it converge faster than a classical annealer. It's possible D-Wave made the reasonable assumption that miniaturising their device would increase speed, supercooling would improve noise and quantum annealing would be massively faster on top, making for a very fast device. What probably happened is, it's inherently a slow analogue computer, miniaturising made noise much worse, quantum effects are either being drowned in that noise OR prevented by it and the actual speedup is much lower than predicted. Result: an accelerated slow device that's just about able to compete with much cheaper digital devices.

Their best hope is that it's not yet doing anything quantum accelerated. Looks very like a dead end, hobbled by noise. Noise tolerance is why digital can be pushed so hard and why quantum computing is so hard to implement.

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Paul Shirley
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preparing to admit it's classical?

Reads like they've realised they have a device that performs classical annealing faster than a digital computer simulates it. Which has some interest but is hardly surprising.

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Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Paul Shirley
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Which means an essential part of any legislation may be compelling them to allow better monitoring, though not something we necessarily want to happen given the risks more surveillance brings.

Ultimately though 'today's tools cant do the job' means nothing more than it says, 'today's tools'. Arguably a signal of abuse must be detectable, otherwise no one is actually being abused. Once detected the tool of legal compulsion can be employed to dig out the truth. If the carriers are smart they'll not risk that anal probing level of investigation.

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Paul Shirley
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It's not about removing traffic management though, it's about preventing abuse of traffic management. What we're lacking is any credible definition of what abuse we're trying to stop, the cluelessness of the non technical on how abuse could be detected is pretty unimportant right now - but the idea that deliberate manipulation can't be detected in a torrent of randomness is astonishing and a lot of scientists have clearly wasted their lives doing exactly that in many fields of research.

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua 4G: The Android smartie that can take its drink

Paul Shirley
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Re: No OTG?

Could be a deliberate differentiator, in the past Sony have shipped OTG capable chips with a connection omitted to disable it.

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Windows 10 market share growth slows to just ten per cent

Paul Shirley
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Re: Sadly

You've made the mistake of assuming bull refers to the truth of the tales, not the nature of the truth.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: An how much ...

If Linux installers were pushed out to most of the planets PCs as fake 'important updates' that might be a fair comparison.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: not cause for celebration

GWX looks like it uses the old trick of running multiple tasks to reinitialize each other if you try killing it. Particularly nasty is adding a scheduler task even adminn users cannot edit. However I had no problem killing it by just uninstalling the 'important upgrade' that spreads the infection and marking it hidden. Now I just have the chore of carefully checking every new update in case the bastards give it a new name :(

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Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

Paul Shirley
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Re: Spite

Really? Did the start of a long recession just before the smoking ban started have nothing to do with falling pub attendance, except for discount outlets like Wetherspoons. You also have to pretend JDW didn't start making *more* money months before the official ban when they banned smoking early, my favourite sight of the time was a builder being physically thrown out of a pub by his workmates as he tried lighting up at the bar.

We'll never be able to pin down what, if any, damage the smoking ban did. It did break the decades long fight by pubs&bars to do avoid doing anything meaningful about the problem. Offered a deal - provide a moderate number of smoke free rooms spread across geographical areas - and there would be no need for a ban. They got nowhere near and it became very clear from trade publications the belief was the gov would back down. That's how we got today's ban.

Apart from losing pub gardens to smokers it's been good. Just wish I had less other ways to spend my disposable income, the real reason pubs struggle to get us into them.

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Apple: Samsung ripped off our phone patent! USPTO: What patent?

Paul Shirley
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Re: A blogger did this ?

The overall design is a brazen Samsung knockoff, hard to conclude otherwise. The question is if it's so brazen it's infringing. There are no separate features so distinctive they deserve protection on an iPhone, only the combination. Yet the case Apple brought focussed overly on detail, instead of how the list of details adds up to 'passing off'. And they convinced a judge&jury to go along with them.

You can protect a collection of unprotectable parts if as a collection it's distinctive. Apple tried to scare off all competition by focussing almost exclusively on detail, both in court and LOUDLY in PR. They can't complain if the case then falls apart as the individual claims fall.

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Botched Google Stagefright fix won't be resolved until September

Paul Shirley
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standard Google behaviour, only hearing the echoes

Google has a long and disgraceful history of simply ignoring contact from outsiders, it really shouldn't surprise anyone that even critical bug reports get little or no response. They seem to have passed Microsoft now in doing whatever they want without caring how or who it affects.

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So unfair! Teachers know what’s happening on students' fondleslabs

Paul Shirley
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Re: What's' this pointy stick for?

Spell correction and predictive text are responsible for most of the gibberish posts I make here, they're not always a good thing. I can't spell or get grammar right without help most of the time yet it frequently does more damage than good!

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Rupert Murdoch rips up his own fondleslab foundry

Paul Shirley
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Re: Trying hard, could do better

At least Ballmer&co are incompetent with just a small dose of evil. It's not a small dose with Murdoch.

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Apple and Google are KILLING KIDS with encryption, whine lawyers

Paul Shirley
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The US police have repeatedly demonstrated they have no problem with killing suspects with little or no reason... don't tempt them.

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Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

Paul Shirley
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Re: data treated as code

It's called the Harvard Architecture and it was designed to increase throughput to/from memory but does separate data from code. However we quite like to load programs into memory so they can be run, we like to JIT compile scripts and so on - so it could never offer any more security than write protecting pages in our Von Neumann machines.

The reason they died out is probably the slight problem of where you put the extra pins on a microprocessor to access 2 separate memory systems. Nowadays we could just multiplex them but it makes more sense to treat it just gobble the extra bandwidth directly.

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Windows 10 is FORCING ITSELF onto domain happy Windows 7 PCs

Paul Shirley
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Re: broken drivers

I'm looking forward to discovering if my hidden bad driver updates remain hidden after I finally allow Win10 to install (which sadly will be required for work sooner than I'm happy with). Let's just say I'm not optimistic.

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Paul Shirley
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also autoticking the upgrade button in Win Update

Caught the sneak bastards autoselecting 'upgrade to Win10' in the optional updates section of Win Update on both my PCs. Only takes one accident and your PC is infested prematurely. Hiding that update seems to have fixed the problem for now.

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Paul Shirley
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Re: why not save the £60 by going sim free?

...because for most people it will cost much more than £60 to actually use it for the contract duration.

Also why it's such a PIA working out whether a bargain really is a bargain for you. As a £5/year man I'll stick with last years remaindered flagships for the foreseeable future.

BTW O2's cunning stunt of splitting the bill into device+airtime payments so they could carry on hiking prices mid-contract has backfired, so many people worked out they can buy on contract then immediately pay off the device part and cancel the contract, their operators sometimes just ask up front if that's what you plan to do!

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Remember Impero, the school software biz that went ape over a vuln? Someone's got revenge

Paul Shirley
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Hacking is what you do with tools, not knowing how to use tools and most definitely not knowing how to use some obsolete tool someone else decides defines hacking.

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