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* Posts by Thomas Gray

70 posts • joined 3 Jun 2010

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How practical is an electric car in London?

Thomas Gray

Re: On Street Parking

"spell the end of the ICE". Err, right. Not everyone lives in cities, you know. And some people even live near to power stations, which is simply where your pollution (in fact, a great deal more - given the inherently wasteful nature of electric generation and motive power) gets pushed.

I've an idea: re-build Battersea Power Station for the exclusive use of electric vehicles. Then London would see EXACTLY the consequences of all this "free, clean" electricity.

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It's Google's NO-WHEEL car. OMG... there aren't any BRAKES

Thomas Gray

Who is liable

in the event of a crash?

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Welcome to Heathrow Terminal, er, Samsung Galaxy S5

Thomas Gray

More tiring?

I'd have thought "more tiresome" would be a better phrase.

And what happens when the Galaxy S6 comes out?

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Users folder vanished after OS X 10.9.3 update? Here's a fix

Thomas Gray

Re: Looks like it was a cock up

Yes, I was just coming to post the same.

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Thomas Gray

Dual track is nothing new

One of the Monty Python albums (I think it was Another...) did the same thing - two completely different Side Ones. For some reason I didn't catch the "other" groove until the third time of playing - imagine my surprise!

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Shut up, Siri, I'm watching telly! iOS 7.1 code reveals new role for Apple's PA

Thomas Gray

Re: iWatch?

"Why would you want to shout at your watch?"

Because apparently people can't interact with a screen smaller than an A5 sheet of paper....

More seriously, the screen of any iTimeKeeper would be very small, and supporting the touch interface with voice commands could be very useful. It might even remove the need for a touchscreen at all, making the iTK more robust and cheaper.

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Thomas Gray

iWatch?

Seems more likely than the Apple TV.

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Thomas Gray

Oooh Matron

I could go for a Carry On... inspired MMORPG. Perhaps it could also crowdsource a solution to the problems of the NHS, thus delivering a double whammy?

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X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

Thomas Gray

93 million miles

is roughly 149 million km. Not 1.49 billion.

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Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Thomas Gray

Now that no-one is using Symbian...

Couldn't it be ported back to a Series 5mx-alike? Surely Motorola (the current owner of the erstwhile PDA maker) would accept a few shekels to licence the the hinge design from the 5 - after all, again they aren't using it.

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Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Thomas Gray

Re: What are we waiting for?

@AbelSoul

Yamaha 01x? That's what I have :)

If you are interested, there is an active Facebook (I know, I know) group supporting the 01x and associated hardware, and we are currently talking to a developer about the possibility of getting an updated mLAN driver written for OSX and Windows.

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Thomas Gray

What are we waiting for?

Sadly, some of us are running legacy hardware that has been abandoned by the manufacturer, and the device drivers are not compatible with the later versions of OSX. I personally don't let that machine touch the internet now.

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Big Beardie's watching: Gaze into the screen... it shall gaze also into you

Thomas Gray

Size nine chukka boots?

But will it offer you a jar of Anacondas?

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10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Thomas Gray
Trollface

Does this mean

That my GPS signal will have to be broadcast to different satellites, for them to bounce to each other? Will I have to replace my squariel with a round dish then?

//I_Get_All_My_Tech_info_from_Stephen_Fry

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Apple's Hacker Princess dumps fruity firm for Elon Musk's Tesla

Thomas Gray
IT Angle

Interesting, but

I can't imagine why the fact that she was once a man has any bearing on either the appointment or her work, past or present. That snippet, far from having no IT angle, doesn't even have a human interest angle.

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Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Thomas Gray

Whether S. Fry is a technical genus or not...

... he is _presenting_ himself as one in the Torygraph article, and because he is associated with a programme that contains facts, non-technical readers will assume that he is correct. To my mind, the article here is justified because (a) Fry has got simple facts wrong, and he really should (and the Telegraph also should) do some basic checking before he publishes anything that claims to be remotely factual, and (b) Fry uses the word "cracked" to describe a man whom he has probably never met, clearly knows nothing concrete about, and who is dead and therefore cannot defend himself. Fry's use of the word "cracked" is itself a mystery, since there is nothing in the context of the article to explain what he even means by the word (although I concede that some sloppy editing by the 'graph may be to blame for that).

The fact that Fry has previously shown himself to be ignorant on technical matters does not help. As an aside, when he was "explaining" GPS on QI, he was clearly off-script - he spent the entire time during that speech looking at the panellists, rather than consulting his cards or reading the Autocue. It's interesting to watch the programme and spot the difference between the scripted and the unscripted stuff.

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Hate data fees but love your HD slab? Here's a better way to pay for bytes

Thomas Gray

It can be done

I'm on Orange in Switzerland, and they have a tie-in with the streaming TV service Zattoo. I can watch wherever I am, and the data for the TV does not come out of the amount I have paid for - it is, to all intents and purposes, entirely free.

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Wacky racers – The Reg's guide to 2013's Solar Challengers

Thomas Gray

Re: Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

You are correct Sir. I had originally thought that Snidely was the alter-ego of the Hooded Claw (in fact that was Sylvester Sneekly, her lawyer). In my defence, I don't recall ever having seen Dudley Do-Right. Either way, Snidely Whiplash had NOTHING to do with cartoon racing, let alone Wacky Races.

Dang, if only there was some way I could fact check these things from my computer before posting.....

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Thomas Gray

Snidely Whiplash? Shurely Shome Mishtake

I imagine you are thinking of Dick Dastardly - Snidely Whiplash was Penelope Pitstop's nemesis in her spin-off cartoon, hell-bent on killing her for the inheritance. Although Penelope was in Wacky Racers, the antagonist there was the aforementioned Dastardly, hell-bent on cheating his way to victory.

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Thomas Gray

Re: Poor menu arrangement

And "Format" next to "Eject" for USB devices....

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Google chap reverse engineers Sinclair Scientific Calculator

Thomas Gray

Re: The perfect calculator!

"Here, have my slide rule"

Which, in effect, the calculator was. 3dp accuracy, RPN, everything in exponent form. About as accurate (probably as fast) as a 24" slide rule, but a little more pocketable.

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Thomas Gray

C5 motor

Wasn't from a washing machine, but from a torpedo motor manufacturer http://www.sinclairc5.com/facts/motor.htm

Just because the thing was assembled by Hoover, didn't mean they used the same components.

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WIN a RockBLOCK Iridium satellite comms module

Thomas Gray

CAT

Cut Aeroplane Tether

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Acorn’s would-be ZX Spectrum killer, the Electron, is 30

Thomas Gray

Re: Florists M2105's...

I was just coming to post that the machine found a niche market as the ordering system for InterFlora. I remember going into a florist in Lincolnshire in the mid '90s and being surprised to see one in the back room, still functioning.

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Google kicks off Android 4.3 updates for Nexus devices

Thomas Gray

Re: AVRCP 1.3

Score one for Apple then, because iOS 6 reportedly supports AVCRP 1.4

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4483

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Tickle my balls, stroke my button and blow the fluff from my crack

Thomas Gray

Trackpads and tablets

I've used a fair few mouses (or meece, take your pick) over the years, and have decided that the best setup for me is an Apple Magic Trackpad, and a large Wacom tablet. The only thing that comes close, ergonomically, is a trackball. There's something much more intuitive about moving your hand over a surface, with or without a pen in it.

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Apple 'iWatch' trademark filing hints Cook's make-or-break moment looms

Thomas Gray

Re: iWatch

That was my thought. IF Apple are planning a smart TV, I doubt they would call it an "iTV", partly because they already have a product called "Apple TV", partly because at least two broadcasters (UK and somewhere in East Europe) are called ITV.

IF they are planning a wrist-mounted iOS device, my guess is that it would be called iTime

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Live or let dial - phones ain’t what they used to be

Thomas Gray

How many of them have even used a modern pay phone?

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Thomas Gray

Re: worth 1.7p?

Only in 1971. Nowadays 4d is worth 20p (at least according to the Daily Fail's inflation calculator)

On a broader note, I wish the BBC et al would stop doing the conversions from old LSD values to "New Pence" as if it was a direct numerical conversion. A shilling in the '60s bought you a damn sight more than 5p does now. Oddly enough, when it comes to pounds sterling they always make an inflation-adjusted conversion, but not with coinage.

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Privacy expert dismisses PRISM-busting typeface as 'art project'

Thomas Gray
Coat

"...suffer from bird shit–related problems."

Most communication on the Internet is shit anyway.

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Blind activist Chen given spyware-laden iPad and iPhone

Thomas Gray

"pressure from China as it looks to finalise a lucrative Shanghai campus there."

As opposed to, say, a lucrative Shanghai campus in Bolsover.

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Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Thomas Gray

IE and licence fees?

I remember a few years back the story being that IE was a free product (back when Microsoft never gave anything away) in order to avoid paying anything to NCSA, since the licence fee was negotiated on a "percentage of profit" basis. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

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Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Thomas Gray

Bioethanol from crops?

I'm sure I read on The Register somewhere that the majority of European bioethanol fuel was made by fermenting crop waste (stalks of maize, for example) and off-cut wood, rather than from 'virgin' crops.

Must have been mistaken.

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LOHAN must suck juice while mounted on rigid rod - but HOW?

Thomas Gray

Use the rod and sliders?

Can you not split the titanium rod, and then use the two sliders as the electrical contacts?

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New Apple TV may hint at Apple-Samsung divorce

Thomas Gray

I had to check if the sky was falling

Apple actually responded to a question from El Reg? Shurely shome mishtake!

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Raspberry Pi-powered Tardis blasts off from 'Blighty's Baikonur'

Thomas Gray

You can type it as Tardis...

If you type LOHAN as Lohan, and REHAB as Rehab.

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Power to the people - if you can find a spare socket

Thomas Gray

Rond hole sockets?

Perhaps the result of sourcing furniture from continental Europe, where we have a much more sensible - and largely compatible - socketing system. The Earthing is country-specific, but the Live and Neutral sockets are the same size and distance apart everywhere (almost).

And when did you last see a portable device that needed an Earth? Or a fuse, for that matter. British plugs/sockets are vastly over.specified for modern use.

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iPad Mini: Why is Apple SO SCARED of the Kindle?

Thomas Gray

Yep, $70 too expensive. If it had been $249, it would have been an easy purchase, but it's too expensive for me.

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Thomas Gray

Maybe it's for people like me

I have a MacBook Air for "larger screen" things, and content creation. I have an iPhone for when I don't want to fire up the MBA, but the screen is a bit too small for reading books, watching videos. A 7" iPad would fit nicely in between the two.

Also interesting is that this presentation is being streamed live on Apple.com - a first?

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Apple MacBook Air 13in review

Thomas Gray

Missing the point slightly

I have had my 11" Air since December 2010, and find it to be a very capable machine. However, I don't expect it to be a desktop replacement (or even a full-featured laptop replacement). I bought it because I travel a great deal by train (1.5 hour commute each way daily, plus regular 12 hour jaunts between my places in Switzerland and France), and I needed something that I could sling into a bag, pull out and use with the minimum of delay, and on which I could comfortably research the Web, cut and paste into a word processor and presentation programme, and do some light trimming and colour balancing video and photographs. At the time I had just had an Acer Aspire One fail on me (largely due to the physical abuse it got during travel), and I had just bought an iMac, so I was interested in standardising.

My choices at the time were MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iPad (which was about the same money to get the same amount of storage, 64Gb). The Pro was too heavy and expensive, the iPad lacked a keyboard or any decent software (and needed a stand to watch movies), but the Air fitted the bill. Aluminium body for strength, decent keyboard for touch typing, clear screen, and decent wireless communications. I bought an Ethernet adapter, but I think I have used it three times. Sure, the SDD is limited in size, but this isn't a machine for long term storage. Yes, my iTunes library is too big, but the speakers on the Air aren't up to listening for very long. Yes, I can't fit many DVDs on it, but the screen is too small to watch anything comfortably anyway (as would a 13" screen be, if my experience of other laptops is anything to go by).

So, as a travelling companion to a bigger and better desk bound machine, it's actually very good: rugged, light and powerful enough - and mine is running a much less capable processor than the new ones. I'd still buy one now, even though tablets are much better than they were, because with a tablet you still need to get a good keyboard and a stand in order to work for more than a few minutes. I might be tempted by some of the Ultrabooks, but they aren't hugely cheaper (and with the exception of Sony and Lenovo, build quality is usually very poor), and I'm finding the Windows world too bloody frustrating over simple things like driver and codec compatibility. Say what you like about Apple (and there is much to criticise), their products either fail very quickly or run forever - and more often the latter.

And before anyone accuses me of being a fanboi, let me recount a tale of two REAL Apple nuts. As I said, my Netbook had just suddenly died, and I was booked on the train to France for two days hence, planning to get some serious work done. So I nipped out during lunch to buy the Air, and on my return two of my colleagues (one male, one female) independently of each other actually made cooing noises as they stroked my new computer. Not something you'll find me doing.

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Swiss railways ticked off at iOS clock knock-off

Thomas Gray

Not on my iPhone

Weird. The Clock icon on my iPhone 4S with iOS6 doesn't look like that - neither does the one on the iPhone 5 pictures on the Apple website. They look like the one in iOS5.

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Techies cook up Minority Report-style video calling

Thomas Gray

This is actually pretty good

I can see this being very useful for conducting board-type meetings where one or two participants cannot be in the same room as the rest. As for the "it needs too many computers" comments, that could have been applied to most new processes at the outset. If it becomes a commercial reality, the processing power for each camera will be embedded in the unit, leaving just one needed to glue it all together.

If it stops the need to jet across the Atlantic for a board meeting, it is well worth doing IMO.

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For flock's sake: Scared sheep send SMSes to Swiss shepherds

Thomas Gray

Re: Being pedantic

Actually it's Kanton, not Canton, being German speaking. If you want to be über-pedantic :)

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Mr Sulu causes DDoS panic after posting link on Facebook

Thomas Gray
Coat

DD OS

AKA Windows Ramones....

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Educating Rory: Are BBC reporters unteachable?

Thomas Gray

I haven't heard any comment from any teachers

So I'll add one. When I taught (and examined) A-Level and GCSE ICT between 1998 and 2004, the focus was on "problem solving using fourth generation languages and commercially available software" - in other words, what most people would encounter. It wasn't about just using MS Office (since that was what we had), it was about customising it to do tasks more efficiently, hide the interface and make custom forms, manipulating data etc. The skills I was teaching were those of software engineering (Albeit in a rather cut down form): define a problem, analyse the data flow required, utilise available tools to solve the problems, test, debug, rinse and repeat. Agreed, we weren't using Java, or Pascal, or BASIC, or C++ - but we were scripting, and customising, and introducing children (most of whom at the time did not own a computer, and certainly did not have one with a built-in programming language) to the fundamentals of programming theory. However, those who DID want to follow the path of programming could, through the little-known Computer Science GCSE and A-Level, which is much closer to what I took as a Computer Studies O-Level back in '86, a time when we all we had was access to machines which more or less communicated solely through the BASIC interpreter. Maybe the 'Pi will recapture some of that, and create a new class of Python literate children. But even in the heyday of the BBC Micro, the Speccy and the C-64, the vast majority of children knew enough to turn it on, type "LOAD PACMAN.COM" (or "*chain elite.exe"), press play on the tape deck, and then play the game. Very few of my friends outside the Comp Studies O-Level class had the remotest interest in programming.

Now, I freely admit I'm a bit out of touch with the British education system (I left to teach in International schools in 2004), but I suspect that the people clamouring for "moar [sic] programming" actually don't know what is involved in an ICT exam, and what is available as an alternative.

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Windows 3.1 rebooted: Microsoft's DOS destroyer turns 20

Thomas Gray

How did it win? Simple economics

Although there were other OSes around (notable OS/2 - a "better DOS than DOS, a better Windows than Windows") which were arguably technically superior, Microsoft "won" by the simple expedient of licensing a copy of Windows 3.1 with every Intel processor sold (to "combat piracy" - sound familiar?). So manufacturers and home builders got a copy for "free", and to put anything else on the computer increased the cost further (there weren't many credible alternatives to the Intel 386 at the time). Only Escom Office dared to break the monopoly, putting OS/2 on its machines rather than Windows.

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Verizon unveils offspring surveillance service

Thomas Gray

Fantastic idea!

What better way to get a ready-made alibi.

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More evidence that neutrinos are NOT faster than light

Thomas Gray

Time travel?

Maybe I'm missing something, but even if the original results WERE true, how does that even imply time travel? The neutrinos still arrived after they left, they simply got there a little faster than photons would. Cause and effect have not been reversed in the time line.

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Ofcom's Local TV dream: No smut, an hour of news, endless ads

Thomas Gray

Why does London need one?

Surely the BBC already operates a local London service - it's called BBC1.....

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