* Posts by John 48

39 posts • joined 30 Jun 2009

Mad Raspberry Pi boffins ripped out its BRAINS and SHRANK them for your pleasure

John 48

Re: An old dog

> True, on the other hand neither does it need Ethernet nor an OS (nor a touchscreen for that matter).

Does the phrase "the internet of things" ring any bells?

Mundane household appliances with ethernet / wifi and TCP/IP stacks etc are gaining in popularity, so this is quite an elegant solution for DIY embedded applications which nicely circumvents the slightly clunky nature of using a full fat PI for these jobs.

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Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

John 48

Re: Mod it.

Yup, stick on a HD loader and a 2.5" external drive and you have a decent enough media player as well as iPlayer, DVD player etc plus near instant access to all your games with no disc swapping.

Sure for the hardcore first person shooter player, its not going to cut the mustard, but keep in mind that they are in the (vocal) minority. It created a whole new concept in family gaming, and appealed to a much wider audience that any previous games system. The control system was revolutionary enough that MS and Sony had to find a way to include similar functionality. To describe it as a fail is nonsensical on pretty much any level.

However I agree with the argument that it was a unique product at an appropriate time, and following it with a warmed over "more of the same" was not going to maintain that sales momentum.

What should Ninty have done? IMHO, created a new next gen console to match the current competing lineup in hardware terms. Slap in backwards compatibility to let you bring your old games and controllers with you, and you might convert some of the keener family gamers as well as enabling the hard core gamers with a platform capable of running current HD titles.

Also maintain the Wii as a parallel line to cater for the new market that it created. refresh it with fully featured media playing capabilities and an HD output built in wired and wireless networking, DLNA streaming etc. Above all, allow the price to fall to the casual purchase level. It then becomes the goto box for a media player to upgrade all those second TVs etc,

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

John 48

Re: To not be self-defeating

So by one of us simply pointing out how to change your computer or router to use OpenDNS or Google's DNS servers here in a comment, the comments section of theregister, or possibly the whole site must by extension also be banned?

Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

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Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

John 48

Re: Hmmm

Yup, so much simpler for the youngsters to go for one of the nice branded duty free packs available from every street corner, via a black market created by the perfect and unintended co-operation of existing smokers and HM Gov!

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

John 48

Re: Comment from the Cockwomble in question

Computer science taught properly is far from "non academic". Its a rigorous and broad syllabus (not to be confused with computer studies, or ICT).

Its also worth highlighting that maths and physics, while very worthwhile subjects in their own right, are not in any way prerequisites for computer science. Yes there are some specialised areas of software development that require strong mathematical skills,. however most don't.

Successful software development can draw on many skills and aptitudes - many creative as well as hard science based. A maths degree is not going to make you a wizard at good user interface design.

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Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED

John 48

Re: Perspective please

You are right, it would be so much simpler to chop the finger off with stout wire cutters when you are pinching the phone, and take that as well...

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Two more counties to get gov-funded bumpkin broadband from... guess?

John 48
Facepalm

Re: Re-nationalise BT...

Yes, cos it used to work so well when it was state owned before...

Instead of roll out of 24Mb/sec services we would be campaigning for V90 support.

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Beam me up? Not in the life of this universe

John 48

Not only compression

but they seem to be ignoring coding gains in the transmission stage. They assume a symbol rate near the Nyquist limit, but then ignore the fact that multiple data bits can be encoded per symbol yielding data bit rates far higher than the actual baud rate. Even using today's 256QAM (as used in HD digital terrestrial broadcast), you would gain you another couple of orders of magnitude throughput.

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Move over, Freeview, just like you promised: You're hogging the 4G bed

John 48

This could usher in a whole new world of hurt

Some of those folks who went through the hassle of upgrading their aerial so as to get reliable DTV operation (especially in the switchover period), may suddenly find they need to do it yet again!

Lots of people swapped from grouped aerials (i.e. ones designed to work effectively only on a subset of the allocated TV broadcast frequencies), to "wideband" ones that attempt to cover the full range of frequencies (470 - 862 MHz). Needless to say the "jack of all trades" wideband aerial is a bit of an engineering compromise, and they don't perform as well as the narrower band grouped aerials. This is most noticeable at the bottom end of the TV spectrum (i.e. group A channels). Hence people in marginal reception areas attempting to re-tune to a lower frequency set of multiplexes, could find themselves back to the days of unreliable reception.

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Bill Gates offers big bucks for better condoms

John 48
WTF?

Re: Re:30% chance of pregnancy after 50 'perfect uses'

I seem to recall reading that the effectiveness stats were actually based on couples using them correctly for a year rather than the failure rate per shag. So a 2% failure rate would suggest 2 unwanted pregnancies in a year of correct usage by 100 couples. Still not perfect but far better odds.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

John 48
Pirate

Re: Germs and Toast

You need to be quicker than that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYXdsOEWBj0

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Microsoft Office 2013 vs. Office 365: Is either right for you?

John 48
Alert

Office 2010 H&S Allows installation on 3 PCs

That does rather change the economics for home users...

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Behold ATLAS, the fastest computer of 50 years ago

John 48

Re: Compute time was billed at around £750-800 per hour

Compute time != computer time. ATLAS was a multi tasking system, so in modern parlance the CPU time spent solving your pet problem (i.e. the "compute" time) would not be the same as the amount of elapsed time the computer spent running your program. Or in other words, even if it took an hour to run a program to completion, it may have only actually applied 5 minutes of actual compute time to it during that period.

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New nuclear fuel source would power human race until 5000AD

John 48
Happy

Re: we know that nuclear power is safe

"However Chernobyl and Fukushima have left large areas of land uninhabitable for the next 1000 years or so", you realise that the powers that be in Japan are waiting for the radiation to fall to a "safe" level before the land can be reoccupied? The irony being that the vast majority of the so called exclusion area is already significantly less radioactive than the normal background level of radiation in Cornwall!

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Microsoft set to 'do a Nexus' with its Surface tablet

John 48

Re: On the other hand

Interesting how the price of generic x86 hardware + fancy case + latest OSX is significantly less than the cost of the same when bought as a pre-assembled computer from Apple... There is a massive profit being made somewhere!

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Brit judge orders Facebook to rip masks from anonymous cowards

John 48
Unhappy

re: All she had to do was block the accounts offending her.

When someone sets up a fake account in your name, and then sets about spamming all sorts of people with malign messages purporting to be from you, how do you block that?

Its a form of proxy attack, where they defame your reputation by their behaviour, and then you cop all the negative feedback that their actions create. Rather similar to when someone used your email address as a "from" contact on their spam campaign.

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Ten... Qwerty mobiles

John 48

Re: Xperia Mini Pro

The key to battery life on the Xperia Mini Pro seems to be to add the android switch widgets that let you control things like GPS / Wifi / Bluetooth etc, and use them to turn off things you don't need at the time. GPS especially is a power hog. With all bells and whistles running, then you will need to charge it once a day certainly. However kept in standby, with wifi, mobile data, GPS off etc, and it will run for 5 days between charges with just a few calls and texts to deal with.

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Ten... eight-bit classic games

John 48
Thumb Up

Re: Other classics...

There is a flash port of The Way of the Exploding fist... runs in your browser...

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Sitting down all day is killing you

John 48
FAIL

Is there any chance we could have some stats reporting that actually means something?

I do get fed up with all these reports that say "doing x means y is 40% more likely to happen", but then give you no clue whatsoever as the likelihood of y happening if you don't do x!

How do I know if I should be worried about a 40% increased risk in something without, knowing what the baseline risk was in the first place?

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Dr Who scores new companion from Emmerdale

John 48
Flame

Re: After Russell T Davies finished writing/directing .. it went down-hill

RTD wrote nicely paced episodes, and was quite good with building tension and climax etc. The main problem was he was hopeless at science fiction, drifting more into fantasy fiction much of the time.

Just compare some of the plot lines like in the early Tennent episode an alien race enslaved half a populous by "blood group control", to one of the better Moffat episodes like The Empty Child or Blink...

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Commodore outs Linux-running Amiga Mini desktop

John 48
Happy

The VIC slim on the other hand

...is quite a nice take on the "all in the keyboard" theme. Infinitely better than the "all in the monitor" designs that seem to be common elsewhere.

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Hackers may be able to 'outwit' online banking security devices

John 48
Happy

Barclays *is* two factor...

The Barclays implementation requires something that you know: i.e. your PIN and your personal customer number (not the same as your account number), plus something that you have - i.e. your debit card.

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The Commodore 64 is 30

John 48

Better graphics, is a bit questionable. The TED chip gave you more colours, but the things you lost (hardware sprites, and the audio prowess of the SID chip) meant that animation and sound was never close to what the C64/128 could achieve, and that killed it for games players. The bundled apps of the plus/4 were at best "token" and not of any real value other than as a marketing hook.

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Fusion boffins crack shreddy eddy plasma puzzle

John 48

Hydrogen is a PITA to handle though

Much better to combine it with carbon sequestered from CO2 in the atmosphere and make synthetic diesel.

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Lemmings

John 48
Thumb Up

aha, the reason no one will play a two player game with me even to this day!

Yes many fond memories... level 28 of Mayhem still haunts me to this day. I took weeks of trying to complete that. One lemming to save, and about 9 minutes to do it in.

Two player lemmings is where I earned my reputation as an "utter utter bastard!", to the point that SWMBO (who was my beloved GF at the time of lemmings release) is highly wary of playing any two player (computer!) game with me these days. There they would all be, happily walking safely to the exit, green clad lemmings in one direction, blue the other. Could I resist the temptation to upset the happy balance? It seems not. Quick turn one around with a quick attempt to build by some obstacle, or area of confined headroom, and then "oops", there appears to be a blocker right in the middle of someone's carefully constructed bridge! Or, for devastating effect, (my speciality), dig the ground away from under the opposing exit and watch them frantically try to get a builder to repair the damage. Oh how easy it was to ruin it all with a basher when they finally managed.

I can still hear the exasperated screams of "oh, I am not playing with you any more!" ;-)))

Errata : SWMBO was just read this over my shoulder, and proclaimed "its not just me", "its the reason that nobody will play two player lemmings with you! In fact they are now wary of pretty much any multi-player game, right from Scrabble to Monopoly!"

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Intel mad for power, but stacked-up dies keep MELTING!

John 48
Alert

Who is Eric Moore when he is at home?

... or is this a new Moore's law we have not heard about?

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The IBM PC is 30

John 48

February 1984's IBM PC Portable and the August-announced PC AT

The PC-AT did not just have a faster 6MHz processor. It had a faster 6MHz 80286 in place of the 8088/6 of the earlier machines, and also a 16 bit wide version of the expansion bus (or ISA bus as we know it today). It also brought us what we would now recognise as the standard keyboard layout.

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LulzSec hacker Sabu: Murdoch emails 'sometime soon'

John 48
Flame

Even if it does throw question over the voracity of their email database...

It would be interesting to see if they (NI) can produce the actual backups of the email database to refute (or more likely confirm) the claimed content.

The thing about email is that at least one copy of every email sent or received probably also exists on someone else's computer over which you don't have any control.

So for an investigator with a copy of the hacked emails, it would not be too difficult to take a random sample, contact the other parties to said emails, and verify if they do indeed match. Once you have a good correlation it becomes a whole lot harder for NI to refute and claim they have been altered by the hackers.

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Mac trojan evades Apple's brand new security fix

John 48
Black Helicopters

Apple must be rubbing their hands with glee...

I am sure Apple must be viewing this as a glittering marketing opportunity. First you need a bogey man to get people scared and make the draconian medication seem more palatable ("war on terror"?). Then you "offer" to limit software installations to those sourced through the approved app store.

Shrinkwrap vendors will be encouraged of course to contribute their big high ticket apps to the store as well - to create a better "user experience" with streamlined purchase, install and updates just a click (and credit card number) away.

How long do they wait until this starts to become the *only* way to get software on the machine?

Even armed with the DVD bought from the retail dealer, you still need a permission token from the app store. Its just for your added protection you understand.

Then the software vendors find that every route to market needs participation from the app store. Oddly they have started to charge for this. Only an admin charge to "cover costs" though. Oh, and that charge applies to updates as well. Users this is in your "best interests" so its better you just accept it. After all you would not want to have to jailbreak you Mac now would you?

Software vendors, you obviously would not want to write anything that conflicts with Apple's world view now would you - just in case there is a vetting procedure for software to get permission to be sold to the Mac user base. Remember just because they paid for the thing, its not their computer. Oh, and we have "simplified" the app store for vendors now - there is no longer a charge for adding your product to the store. Instead we will simply charge small fee based on 30% of the sale price.

Any of this sound familiar?

In true Apple tradition, its ok to punish your loyal customers, but its better to get them to pay to be punished. They will like you more that way.

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Cameron cocks up UK's defences - and betrays Afghan troops

John 48

Tanks still have a place

If you read any of the crop of recent front line accounts from Iraq* and Afghanistan, it seem fairly clear that there is still a significant use for armoured brigades to support troops on the ground in counter insurgency roles. Columns of Warrior APCs supported by Challenger II main battle tanks often proved to be the only way of safely delivering vital resupply and troop relief in urban siege situations like that of Cimic house in Iraq.

* Read Dan Mills "Sniper One" for a breathtaking account of British forces in the thick of an all out conflict not seen since WWII

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Anti-piracy lawyers' email database leaked after hack

John 48
FAIL

How is it?

Everyone seems obsessed with whether this counts as a hack or just a more general brain fart on behalf of the web site admins, and yet they are not asking the more obvious question; i.e. WTF is any of this information doing on a public web server in the first place?

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Garage card scammer jailed

John 48

RE: Impossible

"Unless someone steals your finger", I suspect that for a good number of potential scammers this would make the whole exercise much simpler than using high tech hacked PIN terminals or beating a pin out of a victim!

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Balinese lad seduced by bovine temptress

John 48
Pint

Its an odd way

to steak one's reputation!

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Stick a fork in floppies - they're done

John 48
Badgers

What do you mean 1.44MB?

Amazed that no pedant (until now that is) has pointed out that there never was a 1.44MB floppy standard. There was a 1440K standard, but that works out at about 1.41MB!

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Car thieves making clean getaway with GPS jammers

John 48
Happy

Re: Err...Everyone is missing one MAJOR point

And what do you suppose is being reported over that VHF connection?

Things like the position of the vehicle obtained from the GPS unit perhaps....

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E-book readers attract unwanted VAT

John 48
Thumb Up

Another can of worms ripe for opening

Who else can see the wrinkle? Buy this nice shiny e-book - its VAT free!

(oh, and by the way, it comes on a reusable 32GB SD card or whatever other storage device would benefit from being punted VAT free).

I was about to say, cue future budget and watch Gordo back pedal with cries of "Oh you naughty people, I never intended you to take advantage of my legislation like that!", but with a bit of luck Gordo and mates will be history by then.

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Gov confirms plans for Sky box in charge of your house

John 48
WTF?

They have load management already!

Its seems rather odd that "load management" is a selling point of these devices. Reasonably sophisticated load shedding capabilities are already built into the distribution network.

At times when demand exceeds supply capability, parts of the 11kv network are equipped with smart transformers that can be remotely instructed to reduce the voltage of the network supplying an area in steps of 200V or so. This manifests as a small voltage drop on the low voltage part of the network feeding end users, and hence a corresponding reduction in load (most domestic load being resistive in nature, ohms law applies!). Unlike remotely switching things off, a slight overall voltage reduction generally goes unnoticed.

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Anti-filesharing laws revive crypto fears for spooks

John 48
Alert

Since we know that the encyption is rarely the weak part of the chain

A more general move to encrypted comms will prevent large scale eavesdropping. That seems like no bad thing. For all the bluster about it preventing the security services doing their jobs regarding the usual suspects, the result is, that it will make little difference.

After all, they can still get a court order and go and demand the intermediate host (facebook or whoever) hand over logs for a given user, or they can lean on the various other weak points in the system where the information is in plain text (bugging your PC if they need to). What they won't however be able to do is a general fishing expedition with bulk data mining to try and fit "crimes" to recognisable patterns of behaviour (bad for the 1% of cases where they have spotted a real crime, but good for the 99%+ false positives). They will need to focus their investigations on cases where there is a genuine interest / intelligence, or an established investigation. This is how things were before they got sold on the technocrats wet dream of being able to see everything, any-time, anywhere, without needing to put any effort into it.

As for the "If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide" brigade, lets put this one to bed once and for all. What you say is right, *if* you can fully accept the two fundamental principles that the logic is founded on:

1) That the people you are entrusting to look at your data can be relied upon 100% of the time to keep it secure and private, and;

2) that they will only every have benign intent (and that includes anyone or group that may be able to influence, infiltrate, or hack said organisation).

Hopefully our current government and civil service have ably demonstrated that 1 can't be relied upon (copy of a HMRC CD anyone?), and anyone who has ever heard of a minion being bribed / blackmailed / tricked into disclosing personal information should realise 2 is impossible to guarantee. (and that was before unsecured and unofficial wireless LANs were making a broad range of "secret" civil service IT systems visible to the man in the street (literally!))

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Bloke uses nail clippers to go roundhead

John 48
Go

You could charge money for a service like that

Say £50 a time - plus tips.

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