* Posts by SlabMan

217 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Doctors' appointment system goes tits up

SlabMan

Wonder if my GP uses EMIS

He's rarely available anyway - he's too busy moonlighting as consultant gynaecologist, golfer, and circumcisionist (available for weddings, parties, etc). Slots for appointments are only opened a couple of days in advance and then you play telephone lottery with the reception dragons to get a booking. If you succeed in this quest, you next have to arrange time off work to attend the appointment, which will be an hour late. Then he fobs you off with 5 boxes of whatever free samples the drug rep dropped off that week, so you end up singing soprano and growing breasts. Meanwhile, the ingrowing toenail is not getting any better.

It's easier to get an appointment with the queen to pick up an MBE, and at least Liz pretends to be interested in you (well, she'd probably notice if your hand came off when she shook it. I doubt my GP would).

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Apple patent pic revives touchscreen Mac buzz

SlabMan

So that's a no to both questions then

The full patent is pretty interesting and consists, as you might imagine, of a lot more than the one schematic posted here. Of course the drawings in the patent are just examples. The patent itself goes into more detail of how production devices would give lower power usage, more accurate touch sensing and so on. Realising those production devices would require all new ASICs that aren't currently off the shelf - that's sort of the point really! Interestingly, the patent is not just limited to video displays. It also mentions that it's 'generally applicable to displays having other operating modes, such as scan mode, audio mode, text mode, etc.'

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SlabMan

Just curious

Is that reading based on...

a) having actually read the patent (all 42 pages)?

b) knowing something about building touch screens?

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SlabMan

Typical Apple

All they do is take standard PC components, wrap them in a shiny case, and make a package that could be bought much more cheaply from Dell, to sell to fanbois blinded by the reality distortion field of marketing promising a computer that can be used by the kind of idiots who believe it's easy to use, when in fact it isn't, because you end up with a closed system that can't be tweaked in any way, as it is remote-controlled personally by Steve Jobs himself in his Cupertino lair. Some will be fooled by this latest round of marketing fluff disguised as 42 pages of complex schematics and math but those of us who can see beyond the hype know that it's just another rip-off from Xerox. When will the deluded fruit-fanciers recant their delusions and realise that right-thinking computer users must use no other than the same PC that I endorse personally. You're all wrong and I'm right!

Why does nobody listen to me? I'm lonely down in the basement, and I'd like a friend…

I hate the world.

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20% of TVs to ship in 2015 will be 3D, says analyst

SlabMan

I'll stick with my 2D TV

OK, it disappears completely when you look at it side on, and the cat was sliced in two when it tried to sleep on it, but at least it takes up no space whatsoever.

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Man enraged by sagging pants pops cap in teen's ass

SlabMan

Weed's mine, not the speed

The enterprising chap is probably leveraging ample spare butt capacity to operate a courier service. Federal Asscrack? DHoLe? United Passholes? So long as he doesn't branch out into pizza delivery...

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Apple's iPad is the hotcake of the 21st century

SlabMan

Hotcake?

Fruitcake, surely?

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Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer

SlabMan

It should definitely be done

Maybe with Lottery money - do you feel lucky, Steampunk?

It makes me wonder, though. Imagine a parallel historical track where Babbage had built it, and electronic computers hadn't happened. How would the concept have developed, and what would a 21st century analytical engine look like?

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Gov Applications Store prototype due next year

SlabMan

Dying to see...

...just what all these sharable applications are, that are applicable across government. Email, file-store, and, erm....

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Panasonic preps camera-branded blower

SlabMan

Shortly to be followed...

...by a reassuringly expensive Leica branded phone

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Next fashions budget 10in Android tablet

SlabMan

Next

So, it will be slightly overpriced, very cheaply made, shiny in the shop but disappointing when you get it home, and will fall apart after a week. You'll be fobbed off when you try and get a refund, and you'll renew your vow to never, ever again shop at Next. Until next time.

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Microsoft surrenders Live Spaces future to WordPress

SlabMan

Case study

I'd love to seem some stats on the relative amounts of infrastructure pre- and post- move

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Windows Phone 7 up for grabs from 'excited' 3

SlabMan

Jargon fail

Sorry, 3 blogger Sylvia Chind, but you don't get 'excited', 'massively excited' or 'really excited' about MS products. The official wording is 'super excited', as any perusal of Microsoft communiqués will reveal.

You must be thinking of some other company's trademarked brand of synthetic euphoria.

Note – if launching a British product, it's appropriate to say that you are 'pleased, quite pleased, or you may even ramp it up to 'rather pleased'.

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Bill would let feds block pirate websites worldwide

SlabMan

Hosts file

That is all

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Crash grounds RAF Eurofighters - for Battle of Britain Day!

SlabMan

Tory defence policy

Outsourcing. You pay the enemy to bomb themselves. Much cheaper

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SlabMan

Seriously

The Russians have the best ejector seats. We could make SU-30s under license. All you need is a ball-pein hammer and a pop-rivet gun.

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Google tuts at gov caginess with Transparency Report

SlabMan

Hypocrites

Dear Google -

take your US-centric idea of what constitutes free-expression, marinade in a spoonful of 'do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do', top with a generous helping of free-market capitalism, drizzle with privacy leakage, half-bake it, and then - SHOVE IT IN YOUR FLIPPING CAKEHOLE!

Yours faithfully - The Rest of the World

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Steve Jobs chops student hack down to size

SlabMan

Maybe...

Maybe he's not a Chelsea supporter

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Jailbreaker alert: Apple TV runs iOS

SlabMan

AirPlay

If you have an iOS device, it will wirelessly send any H264 video to the Apple TV. There doesn't need to be a load of intelligence or different apps in the aTV as they're all in the handheld device. The aTV still needs to run apps like iPlayer though, as it would be silly to run this on the handheld and then resend the stream to the TV. I would expect iPlayer for the Apple TV in the next software update

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Trident delay by the Coalition: Cunning plan, or bad idea?

SlabMan

I think you'll find that the Russians actually said:

We have lots of tanks, you don't, so do what we tell you.

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SlabMan

21st century deterrent

We urgently need to deploy an up-to-date 21st century nuclear deterrent along the lines of that used by the Swedes, Swiss, Germans, Japanese, Dutch, Poles, Brazilians, etc.

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Project Canvas becomes YouView

SlabMan

On the other hand

A UK consortium attempts to set a standard which could result in some business and revenue opportunities in the UK (eg an ARM reference design for the hardware). This could be a good thing

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Public sector earning more than private, but less than last month

SlabMan

Step by step

Step 1: stir up anti-public sector feelings

Step 2: slash public sector

Step 3: token tax cuts for the voters

Step 4: privatise public services

Step 5: well-paid non-exec sinecure

Result: profit!

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SlabMan

Seriously?

You're quoting the Taxpayers' Alliance as a source of objective data?

LOL, as they say.

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Osborne plucks strange fruit from the loon tree

SlabMan

In another cost saving inititative ...

... the Government said they would end expensive consultation exercises asking the public for cost-saving ideas, as it had become apparent that all of the feasible proposals had in fact been submitted by civil servants. A further measure of cost-saving has been effected by banning Ministers from having bright ideas that must be rushed into production despite it being obvious that they would fail a 5-minute sanity check. As an added validity test, any Minister mandating an IT initiative costing more than £5 will be thrown from the Houses of Parliament terrace into the Thames. If the Minister sinks, the initiative will be allowed to proceed.

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Mac Office 2011 allows only 'light edits' in Windows Web apps

SlabMan

Too, too funny

Get your laughs in here - http://www.itwriting.com/blog/2552-office-web-apps-better-then-open-office-for-docx-on-linux.html

I've generally found that Office 2008 does a better job of reading in files of various vintages than the PC versions of whatever year.

I'm looking for a converter that reads in Powerpoint files of any stripe and outputs a PDF of a P45. Let's face it - it all went downhill after Word 5.1 and acetates.

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SlabMan

Re: Re: Cut down?

No it doesn't. The article makes no mention of 'Windows Web apps'. It says, 'Importantly, the software giant will also debut Web apps for Mac users that should be compatible with both Office 2010 on Windows and Office for Mac 2011.'

Microsoft contradicts this by saying simply that Mac users can use the same Office Web Apps as Windows users. As for files originating from Mac Office being less editable by Web Apps than those from Windows, not so: the formats are the same. The only caveat from Microsoft is that you may not have the same fonts installed on both platforms.

You also say in the article, 'And like its older brother, Office for Mac 2011 will allow apps to be stored in SkyDrive for the consumer market and via SharePoint for Microsoft's biz customers'. I think you meant to say documents.

To simplify, here's the situation. Office for Mac can fully edit files originating from Office for Windows, and vice versa. Office Web Apps are fully usable by anyone with a supported Windows or Mac web browser. The Web Apps offer the same reduced feature set to both Mac and Windows users (and probably Linux users if you spoof the user agent).

Windows

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SlabMan

Cut down?

The article implies that Mac users are getting a lite version of the web apps. Microsoft's own Office for Mac website disagrees: 'How might a Mac user work with the Office Web Apps? The short answer is “in basically the same way a Windows user would”.'

I think I'll take Microsoft's word(!) for it over the Reg's in this case, that they haven't written a second set of dumbed-down web apps for Mac users. That would be a bit silly.

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Clegg's taking away Your Freedom

SlabMan

I'm beginning to understand...

... why the machines locked all the dumb humans away in the Matrix. It's well known that you can power a small lightbulb from a potato. One sizable couch-potato ought therefore to be capable of powering a 1U server, most likely using harvested methane. Varying loads on the server could be catered for by adapting the subject's nasty nylon tracksuit trousers into a capacious methane reservoir. Do this on an industrial scale and it should be possible to build self-sustaining battery farms of commentards locked in an infinite loop mutual flame-baiting. The resulting tin-sheds can be hidden away on an industrial park, leaving us more enlightened folk free to wander in Teletubby-style pastoral bliss.

Elitist - moi?

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Google squirrels into human brains with Scribe experiment

SlabMan

Que?

As Groucho said when asked, 'do you like Kipling?' - 'I don't know. I've never kippled.'

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UK jobs growth grinds to a halt

SlabMan

Hurrah

Let's depress our way out of the recession. All out for growth, even if it's negative.

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Paul Allen's patent madness not worth single penny

SlabMan

A patent on pop-ups?

We better stop using them then.

What a dark day for web-poker-dating-agency-chat-line-viagra-herbal-steroid-work-from-home-opportunities.

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Apple TV: Third time unlucky, Mr Jobs

SlabMan

Completely agree

And add Project Canvas to that list.

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UK.gov fishes for ID ideas

SlabMan

Hold on a minute

Identity verification means that, when you first apply to use government services online, they need to find out if you are really who you say you are.

In the old days, they would have sent a form to the address you gave for you to sign and send back, all of which proves - not very much.

Now it's common to use knowledge-based authentication to ask some questions to which only you (and the credit-reference agency providing the service) know the answers (hmm... anyone spot a potential vulnerability there?).

So, though this might mean ID cards via the back door (ouch) or an ID database, it could also mean bog-standard, off-the-shelf KBA as used by financial-service providers et al.

The procurement procedure being followed is long established civil service practice so no brownie points to the new masters there.

Really, this whole announcement is a lot duller and more common-sensical than some of the commenters would like it to be, if only so they can fulminate against it. If it means goodbye to the ludicrously bad Government Gateway and means that government services can speed up and gain economies of scale for identity verification, bring it on.

Next - do away with the stupid DirectGov uber-brand.

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Samsung shows curvy computers

SlabMan

Amazing

Samsung's key innovation here is to ask 'does it blend' of a couple of generations MacBook, then decoct the resulting smoothie into a 1st generation iBook mould. Result - a HyundaiBook.

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Half of UK road users support usage-based road charging

SlabMan

Congestion charging

Road usage charging can, in theory, be smarter than fuel duty: charge trucks less to drive at night; charge cars more for making short rush hour journeys (eg school runs).

So, where road usage actually incurs costs on society, there is a way to levy payback. Imagine something like a taxi-meter on your dashboard displaying the current charging band.

Yes, there will be a big brother element of being able to track cars. On the upside, they'll at least be able to take down all the cameras as they won't be needed anymore. And, no doubt, the police wil be able to detect any unlicensed vehicles.

Yes, drivers will squeal, but they've been mis-sold a dream of limitless freedom to motor. That' dream is literally running out of road.

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SlabMan

Well, you could do it that way...

Or you use scanners the road to read an 'electronic tax disc' transponder in every vehicle and relay the charging info back over a WiMax network. It doesn't have to much more complicated than a jumbo-sized Oyster card system. Yo could even tag up bicycles.

Alternatively, a Tory welfare-to-work scheme might send the unemployed out with clipboards and biros.

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Mail on Sunday inadvertently bolsters annual smutfest

SlabMan

Pre-event event

In the Member's Dining Room...

Fnar, fnar.

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Mozilla shrugs off 'forever free' H.264 codec license

SlabMan

Does Mobile Safari support any sort of video at all?

Yes - H264

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Apple files chip block stack patent

SlabMan

Here we go

Company submits patent covering specific innovations to an existing technology

Story over-simplifies patent application so that it appears to cover the existing technology

Readers react to the story, without having read the patent

Cue anecdotes about the technology having first been implemented in the head gasket mountings of the 1948 Austin Seven, and in the canibulating flanges of Gutenberg's original printing press

Cries of 'the patent system is broken'

Repeat as necessary.

- Having described the process, can I now patent it?

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H.264 answers Google's open codec with forever free license*

SlabMan

Dirty Harry moment

Every morning, Google wakes up and says, 'Well, do I feel evil today?'. Most days, the Magic 8 Ball replies in the negative. WebM stays free until Google's goodwill runs out. At which point, Google announce it's still free - so long as they can overlay their ads on your video. Or, you can pay for an ad-free licence.

What? You thought they were a charity?

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SlabMan

Apple, Microsoft, and H264

As has to be said every time H264 comes up for discussion, Apple and Microsoft between them hold a tiny minority of the H264 patents. Anyone who thinks they steer the policy on H264, or get special consideration from MPEG-LA, please present your evidence.

And note, I said evidence, not grainy Super-8 film of a grassy knoll.

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Japanese press step into execution chamber

SlabMan

Ultimate deterrent

Clearly the death penalty works. How else do you explain the complete absence of violent crime in the USA?

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iPod meltdown strands Tokyo commuters

SlabMan

OR

The shipper mistakenly sent out a few of the Mossad co-branded iPods

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Electric mass-driver catapults to beat Royal Navy cuts?

SlabMan

The defensive option?

"Downing Street to UK. Incoming nuclear strike detected. Commence evasive action."

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Prototype semi-hovership delivered to Commandos

SlabMan

Looking for the Lewis dig...

I thought this was alarmingly uncritical till Lewis slipped in the reference to 'landlocked'. Had me worrried for a minute

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Oracle sues Google over Java in Android

SlabMan

And having sued Google...

... next will come all the handset and tablet manufacturers ...

I still don't get it. Why do manufacturers sign up to Android? Not only are you relying on the good will of (non-evil) Google to keep supporting the platform, and not turning it into a mobile spam machine - now it turns out it's legally encumbered as well. And how do you differentiate your brand when it's all about who makes the best Android device?

HP made a smart move buying Palm. Let's hope they can execute.

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'PatentGate' allegations denied by Apple

SlabMan

U O Me

I have patented the process of trolling, based on inventing phony outrage points that suit your agenda, rather than the claims actually contained within the patent. James Butler and Anonymous Coward now owe me royalties.

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Google spins out happy-clappy autofill Chrome 6 beta

SlabMan

PDF reader?

Why add a PDF reader? I already have one, thanks. Quit the bloat already.

<pointless car analogy>If I install a new car radio, I don't expect it to include a cigarette lighter</pointless car analogy>

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Microsoft digs Macs in back-to-school ads

SlabMan

Plus point

For some people, a home computer that looks/works different to the one at work is a plus point. In much the same way as a couch looks/works different to a desk - we don't all want homes that are facsimiles of our offices

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