* Posts by Alien8n

351 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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German army fights underground Nazi war machine hidden in Kiel pensioner's cellar

Alien8n
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Re: Indeed

"I've seen the odd Spitfire or Hurricane in private gardens/grounds too.

Seems the fickle finger of fate foretells that the losers armour has not to be seen?"

We have one flying around our village most weekends. Guy that owns it is the same guy who flew the spitfire in most of the 80's/90's war movies (most famously the scene from Empire of the Sun). He bought an industrial park near where I live because it still had the aircraft hangers from the 2nd world war.

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Reddit meltdown: Top chat boards hidden as rebellion breaks out

Alien8n
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Re: Here we go again

"It must be the 90s again - Compuserve is back!"

Reddit's terms and conditions include the soul of your first born child?

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

Alien8n
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Re: Scottish solution

Germany did invent one, but it wasn't very popular...

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Alien8n
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Federal systems

One of the big issues is federal systems don't work except as part of a single country. The EU is the worst case scenario, a federal system with disparate ideologies at local level. It works well in the US (to an extent) as each state is part of the bigger US ideology. It doesn't work in the EU as each country has it's own goals and ideologies and doesn't see itself as part of a bigger "nation". Even the UK's federal system (yes, it is a federal system now) doesn't work, with Scotland and Wales constantly begging for more money from England. For a federal system to succeed it has to be accepted that the money put in by the richer parts (in the EU's case, the richer nations) will by and large be given to the poorer parts. Unfortunately local ideologies are increasingly showing that the EU as a federal system is broken. When Westminster is complaining about how much money should go to Scotland how on earth can anyone expect them to accept that British taxes should be going to Greece and/or Eastern European countries?

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Alien8n
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Joke

Re: Technically

Would that be the Greek entry?

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BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

Alien8n
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QS 9000

I used to work for an electronics company that had QS 9000 certification (for use in cars) and one of the rules was once you started testing something you had to keep testing it, there was nothing about stopping testing. Which was really stupid when you realise one of the things being tested was the ambient temperature in a tin roofed shed used for storing plastic moulding compound. Yes the compound needed to be kept within a certain temperature range, no there was no chance in hell of ever maintaining that temperature range during summer with the tin roof in direct sunlight.

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Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence

Alien8n
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WASP?

White Anglo Saxon Pterodactyls?

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Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

Alien8n
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Renault

My Renault Laguna has a dodgy fob, to lock the car you have to lean in the back seat, hit the central locking switch in the centre console and then exit via the back door. Unlocking is via the passenger door using the emergency key, leaning in and hitting unlock on the central locking switch (the key only unlocks the passenger door, not the other doors). However it does come with an excellent anti-theft device. A Renault badge...

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BOFH: Getting to the brown, nutty heart of the water cooler matter

Alien8n
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Caddyshack

Ah, the immortal fake turd...

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Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

Alien8n
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Pint

Plan 9 from Outer Space

The original yardstick was actually so bad it became a cult classic and is actually watchable because it's so bad. You could not feed me enough beer in the world to persuade me to watch Battlefield Earth however. Have more beers*, you clearly didn't drink enough if you can still remember watching these films...

* There are beer movies (Transformers, Iron Sky etc) and then there are full alcohol poisoning movies...

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Apple taxpayers swarm to stone-age iPhone 6+ purely for the bigness

Alien8n
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Re: You ignored the best-in-class camera

Having a great camera does not make it a great phone however. I'm reminded of the SE Satio. Probably one of the best cameras ever put into a phone (at the time), however the phone itself was an unusable pile of junk.

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Alien8n
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Re: Well my Phone's a Nexus 5 and my Tablet's an iPad Air 2

My tablet choice was entirely based on what streaming capabilities were available at the time. Lovefilm only streamed to the iPad when I bought it so that's what I bought. I wasn't going to buy a generic tablet that couldn't use the one app that I actually wanted. It's a great little gadget to take on holidays, load it up with a couple of films and away you go.

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Alien8n
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As an end user I like consistency. Having used both Android and iOS I prefer iOS simply because of it's consistency. With Android I would expect to be able to pick up any phone and know how it works. However my experience is that every update and every OEM has a different UI making a new phone a learning curve each time. This is something mirrored in their respective desktop OSes. OSX has remained relatively consistent over time. Even Windows has been fairly consistent (if you forget about Windows 8). Linux however is the buffet lunch of OSes, with a multitude of flavours. And even after you've chosen your main course it then asks you how you want it presenting with the various incarnations of Gnome and KDE.

Now for a desktop OS I don't mind that choice, I'm geeky enough that I'll dig around inside the UI to find out how it all works. But for a phone? I want stability, knowing that when I pickup an upgrade in 2 years time I'll know exactly where everything is.

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Apple Watch fanbois suffer PAINFUL RASH after sweaty wristjob action

Alien8n
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Re: In fact, warning does make sense

"Be suspicious, however, of anyone who claims to be allergic to "all nuts". Because most of the things they'll say they are allergic too aren't actually the same thing at all and it's incredibly unlikely that they are allergic to ALL "nuts"."

This is true, ask anyone what the most common "nut allergy" in the UK is and most will state peanuts. However from memory the most common allergy in the UK is actually to hazel nuts. The other half however seems perfectly fine with pretty much any nuts apart from almonds.

And god help you if your other half is allergic to brazil nuts and you fancy a bit of nookie after polishing off the chocolate coated brazils you got for Xmas.

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Strange alien-like life zones found beneath Antarctic glacier

Alien8n
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Re: Masters of existence

I do believe that Lemmy and Keith have discovered the chemical makeup of the fabled fountain of youth by accident. Unfortunately there's no way to tell which exact combination of illegal narcotics and Jack Daniels is the correct one to duplicate their efforts and as many celebrity deaths will attest random experimentation to unlock the secret formula is ill advised.

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DRM is NOT THE LAW, I AM THE LAW, says JUDGE DREDD

Alien8n
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First copy...

I remember the first copy I ever read, had a Dan Dare storyline in it from the mid 70's. Not sure why it was in the house. After that the first series I remember reading (and then continuing through to the 90's) started with Block Mania. Since then I collected a few older issues (such as the first Nemesis the Warlock issue) and continued through to the death of Johnny Alpha. Gave up after that (with the occasional issue now and then) as I found the current format to be nowhere near as good as the old format. Might just be me but it doesn't seem to be as good value anymore, each issue now seems thin in comparison to the older issues (never mind the cost of them now) and the story lines don't seem to be as good, with the exception of Dredd and the infrequent classic characters returning.

Did enjoy Nikolai Dante though, so there are some good new characters. I'll probably just pick up the graphic novels when they come out now.

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Alien8n
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Re: The really sad thing?

Same here. I lost a load from the 70's and 80's when I moved south. My 90's collection I had to sell due for financial reasons a few years ago. Got a good price though, think I got about £80 a box for them (at least 2 boxes worth)

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LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

Alien8n
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Re: Technology for technology's sake

"I learned a lot from the alt.binaries.pictures newsgroups, including the fact that some of them should definitely not be viewed while eating."

Hamsters and duct tape springs to mind...

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RELICS of the Earth's long lost TWIN planet FOUND ON MOON

Alien8n
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Alien

Re: Front row seat

How many Michael Bay's in a George Lucas? (That's no moon!)

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Don't be stiffed by spies, stand up to Uncle Sam with your proud d**k pics – says Snowden

Alien8n
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Coat

NYPD

Amazed no one else has spotted the obvious joke about the NYPD being upset about Snowden's huge erection.

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Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Alien8n
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Had that round here, VM van came round the next day looking for the source of the outage. As I'd walked home from the pub the night before I was able to point him to the the green box about a mile down the road that had all the switches pulled out of it by drunken idiots the previous night. Everything was back up and running as normal about half an hour later.

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Alien8n
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Re: Failure

It could be worse, the entire card processing network for UK's banks is routed through a single exchange in Paddington. As we found out a few years ago when the whole system went down due to a fire in the Paddington exchange caused by the flooding of the exchange.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Alien8n
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Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

Not sure why someone would down vote simply pointing out that there are circumstances that require a heavy foot when pulling out onto a road with a blind corner. Certainly hitting the brakes could be fatal not only for the driver pulling out but also for the pillock coming round the corner *after* you've pulled out of the junction. Or are you supposed to be psychic and sense the vehicle coming around the blind corner and thence waiting until after they've passed? As I said, to be fair it's pretty much the only time it's necessary, but it does happen.

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Alien8n
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Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

You might be surprised just how often hitting the accelerator to get out of a situation happens. To be fair it all depends on the road, but it's not billions to one. I had a commute many years ago that pretty much guaranteed once a week having to slam my foot on the accelerator seconds after pulling out of a junction due to the pillock coming round a blind corner too fast. First time was quite scary given said pillock was in an 18 wheeler and I'd been driving less than a month at the time.

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Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Alien8n
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Re: "Indispensable"...?

You can get sapient pear wood wallets? Does it come with little legs to follow you around when you leave it in the taxi?

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Alien8n
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It was through afp that I got to know him personally, he was always willing to chat with his fans. I have a signed photo of him from the convention in '96 holding the Podling (aged 3 months) which he duly signed "I don't sign small children". This was an in joke as the saying went that he'd sign "anything except a blank cheque, but even that was arguable" and behind me was another fellow afper with a pen for him to sign my daughter with. My only regret in life is turning down the offer to go for a curry with him when I had the chance.

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Boffins find Earth's earliest Homo in Ethiopian hilltop

Alien8n
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Have an up vote for that :)

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Alien8n
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Joke

Homo Erectus

So we've found another link from early humanity to Homo Erectus. When do we find fossils of Homo Limpus?

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Alien8n
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Re: "the dinosaur was holding a placard with “Ban the Bomb” written on it"

A most excellent book and actually gives an alternative scientific view of how the Discworld works. Shame he never revisited the Strata universe. Or maybe he has, with each Discworld book...

I've often wondered how much Douglas Adams influenced that book, very Magrathean in many respects.

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Alien8n
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Re: The case

@dropbear it really depends on 2 things, volume and complexity. I'm not sure how many they were expecting to sell but they don't seem to be at the volume to justify that kind of expenditure. I could be wrong though as a lot does depend not only on the cost of the moulding but also the plastic being used. For the electronic components we used to encase it was a one shot deal. If there was any error in the process the whole lot was straight in the bin. But as said, we were doing over 20,000 a day and each "shot" was 60 devices, dropping 60 devices in the bin because the compound had messed up wasn't a big deal. For this case though my guess would be they'd use a basic plastic, if it messes up you just recycle it and reload (a lot of plastics for moulding are that simple, just stick it in a shredder and pop it back in the press). The finish on the final product can also be chosen to lower the costs, make it a matt finish and you can use cheaper materials for the mould.

Then there's the whole point of a kickstarter. In effect it's still a prototype, but what you're actually investing in is the research into DFM (Design For Manufacture). This is the research into the processes and materials for rapidly ramping up production. Sure you may only be making a few 100 or 1000 but the kickstarter enables you to develop the process for making 10s or even 100s of 1000s. The question for this product though is would they ever have had enough demand to warrent doing this level of work at this stage, or should they have gone generic this time and funded another kickstarter for the mark II version for researching the DFM? I'll freely admit I have no idea, but it's entirely possible they close to the point where DFM research would be required. Heck someone makes the generic cases, it shouldn't be too hard to find someone to make the new cases.

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Alien8n
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Alien

Re: The case

A standard case design would make more sense for a limited run, not sure how many they were expecting to sell but the costs of machinery and moulding plates certainly aren't cheap. When I did engineering the plates alone for the circuit encasement were chrome plated and came in at the thousands of pounds. Fine when you're making 20,000 a day off each set of plates, not so good if you require 10 or 20 a day. Then there's the expertise required to maintain the equipment, setups etc. It's not a simple plug and play, each design needs calibrating to the correct temperature and pressure for injection. Research into different moulding compounds was a painful slow process, where even the outside temperature and humidity (for some insane reason they stored the moulding compound in an outside shed) affected how the compound flowed.

Tip for any injection moulding companies out there: Always store compound in an internal, climate regulated store room with a 24 hour embargo on use for first use. It stops a lot of reject devices when the shift changes...

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$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

Alien8n
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Re: Gotta love Apple.

@Eddy While true that patent law was amended to require just the description of how the invention worked it was originally required to provide a working model. By the time of the invention of the telephone this had been changed. (Working models were required from 1790 to 1793).

The main problem with patents since they were first around is still one of money. Most people simply cannot afford to file a patent, so we're still down to the fact that Joe Public can have the best idea on the planet but will never see their idea make him rich unless he can find the money to patent it. And certainly in the early days there were plenty of clerks willing to not only "lose" patents for money but also to steal them wholesale on behalf of unscrupulous businesses.

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Alien8n
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Re: Gotta love Apple.

@TheMole This is exactly how patents were designed to work. If you don't have a working model or process, demonstrable and deliverable to the patent office you can't patent it. I'm not saying it's fair, only that it's how it's supposed to work. In the form of code it's deliverable, but the idea of "swiping to unlock a phone" should not be patentable. The code behind it should be, but not the idea. It's how many patents work in real life as well, you can have 2 items that look identical and work the same way, but built differently so 2 separate patents. Neither infringes the other's patent but to a layperson they may seem to do so as they appear to be the same.

To take your example again and with what I said previously Elisha Gray was unable to patent his telephone as an idea, he had to have a working model, a device that physically existed. As Alexander Graham Bell beat him to the patent office he lost out. That's the fact of innovation, if you have a great idea and can't build it, or persuade someone else to build it for you, someone else will beat you to it. Doesn't matter if you had your idea 20 years previously or 20 minutes previously, the one who gets their model into the patent office first wins.

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Alien8n
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Alien

Re: Gotta love Apple.

Unfortunately for Mr Fred Smith (or fortunately depending on how you view it) the way the patent system is *supposed* to work his patent would be invalid as he is unable to produce a working model. First to production should be the rule and the reason most patents are ruled invalid is due to prior art. Not always the case, famously Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, despite Elisha Gray actually inventing it first. Credit goes to AGB though as he was first to provide a working model to the patent office. The way the patent system has been broken is in enabling the patenting of "ideas" which are then worded in such a wooly way that they cover entire areas that were never intended in the first place.

So in the case of iTunes if the patent system was working properly it should rule in their favour for this simple fact that the holders of the patent cannot show a functional product created before iTunes and that there is also prior art to show that their patent is not a new and novel invention.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Alien8n
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Re: Copy/paste between OS's...

@Disko if by logging you mean timber, I know just the company. I used to support software for the timber industry, I think you'll find even that's an IT role now. Lumberjacks now carry barcode scanning PDAs which are then connected to the internet back at the main camp. This is to make sure your 100 feet of tree doesn't magically turn into 500 feet of logs...

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

Alien8n
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Alien

Re: renewables

Actually when you think about it until coal and oil were discovered all fuels were renewables (with a possible "exception" of peat depending on its definition of renewable). Even the first industrialised mills were built using either wind or water power.

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Alien8n
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Facepalm

Re: @Christoph

UKIP and "have a clue" do not go together in the same sentence.

Most of UKIPs members are baying idiots. Genuine quote from a prospective UKIP member standing for election this year:

"What happens when renewable energy runs out?"

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Alien8n
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Re: My IT classes...

Only hacking we did at school was cutting the slots out of one side of the floppy disks to make them double sided. Not one kid at our school ever paid for the double sided disks after it was discovered that all disks were actually double sided and all you were paying for was the number of holes in the plastic casing...

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Alien8n
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Facepalm

First update the syllabus

My daughter was doing IT at school until she dropped off the course to concentrate on her maths and English. She's perfectly computer literate and knows exactly how a PC works and even what's needed to build her own PC. Which is more than her teacher seems capable of doing as the coursework she was bringing home kept insisting that the CPU of the PC was the hard drive and the hard drive was where the RAM was.

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Alien8n
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Alien

Re: today we are going to learn about IT

1999/2000, Open University course at Bath University. I ended up teaching half the class web design as I had more experience than the lecturer who was teaching that module.

My page was a bit more advanced than "changing colours and typefaces" though :)

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Alien8n
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Alien

"Does this make them [...] unfit to govern"

Nope, the very fact that they want to govern in the first place makes them unfit to govern.

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Cannonbridge sells us a dummy – great premise, crap ending

Alien8n
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Re: Could always be worse

Soul Music was pretty much a setup for "there's a guy works down the chip shop, I swear he's elvish"

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Alien8n
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Re: Could always be worse

To get the most from Terry Pratchett you have to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of literature, pop culture and both current and historical events. Sometimes, like Soul Music, the entire book is a setup for the one liner at the end, in others, like Masquerade, it's a subtle parody of circumstance that takes a comedic actor to the stage of one of the biggest musicals ever produced. Always told with humour, almost always with a message. His is the Ronnie Barker of situational comedy opposed to Douglas Adams' Rick Mayall slapstick. Both immensely fun to read in their own ways.

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O2 notifies data cops 'for courtesy' ... AFTER El Reg intervenes in email phish dustup

Alien8n
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Judging from some of the companies I've worked for it certainly is not a requirement to maximise profits. I recall one firm where the company's mission seemed to be to maximise the company's losses. I recall a figure of 25 million per quarter. Not helped by the purchasing attitude of "we need a laser testing machine" "how much?" "£750,000" "buy 2".

All the time I was there both machines remained in storage and were never used.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Alien8n
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I've been hinting at this to my other half for a while, but she's adamant she doesn't want a tablet, she seems happy enough with a woefully underpowered years old laptop that she complains doesn't work fast enough. You try to help some people eh?

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Windows 10 heralds the MINECRAFT-isation of Microsoft

Alien8n
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons

I was actually thinking animated characters on the table, similar to the star wars holo chess game.

It also brings in the whole idea of having a visual display on each character for things like range for weapons, distance you can reach by walking or running etc.

A friend also had the idea of using dice that contain little accelerometers in them so it automatically tells the computer what you've rolled (no more "it fell on the floor, but it was a 20, honest!")

Actually thinking about it with multiple hololenses and night vision and infra vision programmed for each character you could seriously limit some people's views, and checks for secret doors for the rogues and elves become interesting as no one else would know if they've spotted something. They don't even have to have the same map displayed, so splitting parties up becomes really simple.

Think multiplayer Baldur's Gate in AR with real dice :)

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Alien8n
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Dungeons and Dragons

Can you imagine how good this would be for a DM if you could build dungeons on the fly with hololens and have the whole party looking at it projected onto the table? No more 1 p coins making up armies of goblins...

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Alien8n
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Alien

Re: What's the big deal?

They also have different fingerprints. If I recall correctly even if someone was to clone you their fingerprints would still be different.

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Alien8n
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Alien

It's a bought in feature, it's been around for a while for laptops. The problem for Motorola was that there is currently only one manufacturer of fingerprint sensors that will fit in a phone or tablet. Apple bought that supplier, and I don't see them selling the technology to their competitors.

In the UK there may have been a case for government intervention to block them buying the company, but in the US pretty much anything goes, especially it seems if it can stifle competition and innovation.

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Netadmin wanted for 'terrible, terrible, awful job nobody wants'

Alien8n
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Re: Microwave

Funny you should say that, tomorrow involves making swivel chairs and removing a door from an office because they can't open the door once the tables go into the new office. I managed to get away without actually having to move any of the tables or filing cabinets, but do appear to be expected to make archive boxes (probably as well under the dubious assumption that the paper being archived may have been near a printer at some point)

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