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* Posts by Steven Roper

1389 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for BUSES

Steven Roper
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Big Brother

Re: One problem hopefully solved

As Mr. Orwell so rightly pointed out in 1984:

"...and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was all part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week."

Of course, the real reason the power was cut off was precisely to reduce the quality of life; part of the underlying principle that power is asserted by making people suffer.

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Higgs hunt halts as CERN prepares LHC upgrades

Steven Roper
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Joke

No.

This is gaffer tape, the magical fix-everything solution you're talking about here. Gaffer tape does not just "fall off."

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Register reader Ray revs radio-controlled Raspberry Pi race rover

Steven Roper
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Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

White-line following cars? How very 70s! ;)

I remember seeing a circuit for a white-line following model car in an ETI magazine back in 1979 or thereabouts. Only that one didn't use complex computer chips or software; as I recall, it simply consisted of two side-by-side phototransistors either side of a light bulb, feeding into an op-amp-based voltage comparator, which in turn fed current to the steering servo, according to which one of the phototransistors was receiving more light from drifting over the white line than the other. No CPUs or software involved, just a basic electronic feedback loop consisting of a handful of resistors, capacitors, transistors and a cheap op-amp IC (an LM 3900 IIRC.)

These days the solution wold consist of a billion-transistor CPU, a gig of RAM, a CCD camera and ten thousand lines of optical-recognition code to achieve the same result!

(Reg, we seriously need a "Get off o' my lawn" icon for us old farts that remember this shit...)

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Intel's new TV box to point creepy spy camera at YOUR FACE

Steven Roper
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Stop

The problem with that philosophy is

that if enough sheep do buy it that it becomes a market standard, every other company jumps on the bandwagon, and then we have no choice left.

Consider for example what has happened with IT: Apple enjoyed such massive success with the iPad and iPhone, and their attendant walled-garden and restrictive ownership conditions, that every other company is now emulating it - even Microsoft has now jumped on the walled-garden bandwagon with Windows 8, and for those of us who want to remain free of this paradigm, our options are fast running out.

Likewise with Facebook and Twitter; I'm seeing an awful lot of companies wanting to see your social networking profiles as a condition of application for employment. If you don't have one, your employment options are becoming increasingly limited.

Please note this is not to have a dig at Apple or Windows 8 or Facebook per se, but merely to illustrate the principle of how a restrictive, controlling paradigm can become the norm if enough people buy into it.

In the end, when someone says "If you don't like it, don't buy it", what happens when it gets to the stage where you need some version of it to function in modern society? These days, you can't get by in any first-world country without the Internet or a mobile phone; you may hate them, but you can't just "not buy one", because you'll find yourself unable to access essential services without it. Your only other option in such a situation is to go and join an Amish community.

This is why we complain about these sorts of trends - because we know from painful experience that if it remains unopposed, eventually we'll be forced into adopting it by the sheer momentum of mass-market takeup.

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Steven Roper
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Big Brother

Re: Tape

If you close the shutter, or otherwise cover the camera, the service will still work as normal, but your name and address will be quietly added to a watchlist of people who have something to hide and therefore something to fear.

Then, the next time you go through an airport or a passing cop looks up your numberplate, you'll find yourself being "randomly selected" for some reason...

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Canada cans net surveillance law

Steven Roper
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Re: Bill C-30 is dead! Long live Bill C-55.

Exactly. If they can't get it in through the front door they'll sneak it in piecemeal through the windows.

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Opera joins Google/Apple in-crowd with shift to WebKit and Chromium

Steven Roper
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Stop

the "open source is automatically better" argument.

And your argument as to why open source isn't better is...?

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Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

Steven Roper
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Re: Styx and Lethe?

Well, I was actually thinking of LV-426 when I said Acheron, but your point is also taken!

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Steven Roper
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Styx and Lethe?

Well, if Hadean rivers are permitted, one of the moons at least has got be called Acheron!

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Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Steven Roper
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Re: now I'm really worried

Like you, I'm also a desktop power user; as a programmer, graphic designer and 3D modeller it's not unusual for me to have Cinema4D, Photoshop, DAZ Studio, Notepad++ and a browser all open on my 4 monitors all at the same time. With the Windows 8 regression to the "one fullscreeen app at a time" interfaces replacing the windowed interface, it looks like I'd lose that capability. And as you can imagine, I also have terabytes of images, 3D models and source files on my hard drives.

No way am I trusting all that work - my life's work - to the cloud, or to a SaaS setup, to start with. But that's where the modern mentality seems to be going: no more once-off payments for your software, and no more bought-and-paid for storage either. In the future, everything is to be stored in the cloud, under the control of others, where you will be forced to pay and pay and pay or lose everything. Your computer is to be remotely controlled and subject to the whims of whichever company runs the OS for it - MS, Google, Apple, whoever. The only software you will be allowed to install is what 's permitted in their walled gardens. It's all abut taking control of your computer, your work, and ultimately your life.

Then there's my music and movie collection, which I've painstakingly built over the years. All this is now to be set up in the cloud and streamed to your system on demand - a set up which makes it really easy to rewrite history, restrict access by country, profile your entertainment tastes, delete an old favourite forever, and enables a pay-per-view/pay-per-listen model, in which nothing is ever really under your own control anymore.

So the way I look at it is this: I've become an upgrade refusenik from here on out. My heels are dug in, and the line has been drawn - THIS far, NO further. The version of Cinema4D I have (R12) is easily capable of photorealistic renders, it can do cloth simulation, hair, grass, trees, character modelling, the works - and it can render a scene so realistically it's indistinguishable from a photograph. The version of Photoshop I have also has more features than I'll ever need. The software I have now is more than capable of anything I'll want to be able to do in future. Consider - if my raytracing software can render to photorealism, why will I ever need anything more? In the past, it always fell short of photorealism, which was the Holy Grail of 3D modelling, but now that's been achieved. And with it's multicore support, this software is now set up handle however many cores I can throw at it in future: 4, 8, 32, whatever becomes available.

Likewise, processor speeds, memory capacities, hard drive sizes, and monitor resolutions have all plateaued. I've been running 3.2 GHz cores for 8 years now, although in that time I've gone from single-core to dual-core to 4-core machines. Drive sizes have stalled in the low TB range for about the same time, and monitors have been running at 1920 x 1200 / 1080 for the same time as well. So it looks to me like the technology has finally matured and stabilised, and improvements are now incremental rather than revolutionary.

Windows 7 x64, which I now have, can handle more than enough hard drive space, processor cores, and RAM to satisfy my requirements for years to come. I can upgrade my hardware, and continue running the same software because the software is now geared to handle the upgrades, and it does all I want.

So I can see myself still using this same software in 10, 20, even 30 years' time. Because I've reached my ideal goals. Because the technology curve has flattened out. Because I WILL NOT hand over control of my life's work to power-crazed corporations hell-bent on raping my wallet with rentism and taking control of every aspect of my data and computing devices.

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Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast

Steven Roper
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The thing I find most fascinating about evolution

is this: I look at my Dad and see a man similar to myself. Then there's his father - my grandfather, who was a sergeant-major and tank commander in North Africa in WWII. Then his father, who was a coal miner who lived in Wales.

And so on, and so on, following father to father, back through the centuries. Ask yourself this: Who was your direct line ancestor at the time of Shakespeare? Or the time of William the Conqueror? Charlemagne? Julius Caesar? Hammurabi? During the times of each of these historical figures, there existed a man who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me. Who was he? What was he like? What did he do with his life? These are questions we've all asked at some point in our lives.

Now keep going back - into the time of the Cro-Magnons, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus. 3 million years ago, there existed a hominid ape who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me.

Finally, as we go back through the millions of years, this patrilineal trail leads to completely non-human creatures - cynodonts like the "ratlike" creature described in the article, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and finally stromatolites and pond slime. Somewhere in Earth's distant past, billions of years ago in the warm salty waters of the Proterozoic, there existed a stromatolite who had an offspring who had an offspring which eventually led directly to me.

I'd love to travel back in time and meet one of these creatures and say to it, "Hi great-something-granddad, how's the nesting these days?" The idea that the vast majority of my lineage, from the first organisms on Earth, is non-human, is something I find absolutely fascinating.

It makes me wonder: At what point did my ancestors "become" human - human enough for, say, a modern woman, to mate with them and conceive a child? Obviously this wouldn't be possible with an australopithecine man-ape, most likely not even with H. erectus or habilis, so at what point would it become possible?

It leads to an interesting paradox; evolution occurs so slowly that, if you can mate with the offspring, you can mate with the parent - yet at some time in the past, there existed an ancestor with whom mating would no longer produce offspring. Where does this "break" occur?

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Eric Schmidt to unload 42% of his Google stake

Steven Roper
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Pint

Re: Dead I suppose

Not just dead, mate. At 10k pints per day we're talking mummified and perfectly preserved here.

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Space station 'naut supplies Reg with overhead snap of Vulture Central

Steven Roper
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Re: Galactic Imposter

Ha, you reminded of when I was a kid back in the 70s and 80s. I used to imagine that my city (Adelaide) was a galaxy and that my parents' car (or my pushbike) was a spaceship, with the streetlights representing stars and the nearby houses being the planets that orbited them. The car was of course capable of Warp 9, while my poor little pushbike was only good for Warp 3 or thereabouts. Sometimes we'd go up to Mt Lofty, where you used to have an awesome view of the whole city (they close the lookout at night these days, sadly), and it certainly looked like a galaxy then to my young eyes!

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Steven Roper
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Trollface

Re: Which camera? Lens?

He probably snapped it with his mobile phone.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Nickelback?

Considering the man's rather appalling taste in music as evidenced by his playlist, you should be thankful there's no Justin Bieber or Britney Spears in there.

Regarding the first album recorded in space, that honour was historically supposed to go to Jean-Michel Jarre, with his album "Rendezvous", of which the final part (the saxophone solo) was intended to be played by astronaut Ron McNair while in orbit aboard the space shuttle back in 1986. Except that the space shuttle in question was the Challenger...

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British games company says it owns the idea of space marines

Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Where do I donate

to Hogarth's legal fund? I have 100 bucks that wants to help her sue the shit-stained arses off these greedy fucking bastards.

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Stricken 2e2 threatens data centres: Your money or your lights

Steven Roper
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I love it!

Every time something like this happens, as with the Megaupload fiasco last year, it demonstrates in huge 500 point Arial Black exactly why relying on The Cloud is a really, really bad idea. And the sooner everyone realises this and decides to keep their own files on their own servers the better it will be for the whole industry and the public as well.

This business of giving control of my data to others has irked me from day one, and anything that hammers this fact home to businesses and consumers everywhere is always welcome in my book. One day, people will get the message: you give control of your data to other companies only at your extreme peril.

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Wind now cheaper than coal in Oz: Bloomberg

Steven Roper
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WTF?

ELEGANT looking wind farm?!?

Huge, noisy, towering, monstrous eyesores, stretching to the horizon, that blight the landscape for miles around, is your idea of elegant? Mate, I want some of whatever you're smoking! Anything that makes those vile things look good has got to be some awesome weed...

I'd prefer solar farms myself. Round here (Adelaide guy BTW, so right next door to you in terms of Reg demographics ;) ) the sun shines a lot more than the wind blows, plus a solar farm doesn't tower into the sky, visible from miles away, the way a wind farm does. And a solar farm doesn't need to be shut down if the sun shines too brightly either. Nor would it take up as much space to produce the same amount of power, and consider that wind power is basically converted solar energy in the first place.

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NASA deep space probe sends back video of 'Comet of the Century'

Steven Roper
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Facepalm

Jesus!

That's gotta be your most contrived shoehorning of a Windows 8 diss into a article that has nothing to do with it yet!

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Pinging in the rain: Boffins track wet spots using phone masts

Steven Roper
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Stop

Except that

not all of us read every article on the Beeb, so the Reg's rebroadcasting of it here means that I for one would never have known about this had they not done so.

Just because a news site doesn't print a story within 5 minutes of it breaking doesn't mean the story is no longer relevant.

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Amazon patents digital resale market

Steven Roper
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Ok, goodbye.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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Kids as young as FIVE need lessons in online safety - NSPCC

Steven Roper
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Childcatcher

Ok, so which civil liberty are we about to lose now?

Every time I see the media and children's organisations starting up about the need to protect children, my automatic assumption is that the freedom-destruction wheel is about to click over another ratchet.

So what's it to be this time? Is there a particular porn site that's been getting up some do-gooder's nose that needs to be added to the IWF blocklist? Or perhaps the police need a new invasive power that the public would oppose so some "think of the children" juice needs to be whipped up?

It is a sad indictment of modern society that such a noble goal as ensuring the safety of children has been so often abused and hijacked by powermongers with an agenda, that it has become a stereotype of assuming that more of our freedoms are to be taken away, rather than believing that someone somewhere is actually concerned about the well-being of kids with no other agenda behind the curtain.

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Crooks, think your Trojan looks legit? This one has a DIGITAL CERTIFICATE

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

Re: Duh.

And that's "offenses". With an "s".

Stop. Take a look at your browser address bar, the bit near the top where you can see the address "http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/02/05/digitally_signed_banking_trojan/".

See that ".co.uk" bit? That means that the site you are reading is based in the United Kingdom, an independent sovereign nation that (arse-reaming extradition treaties notwithstanding) exists outside of the United States of America, and whose citizens speak a language known as English, which is different to American.

In the United Kingdom, and in every other country that speaks English, the word "offence" and its variants are spelt with a "c", not an "s".

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First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

Re: Grocer's

That was my thought on reading the headline as well, but it's not necessarily a misplaced apostrophe if we read the line as:

"A scientist's snap is the first video inside a thinking fish's brain"

In which case it becomes an apostrophe of possession (the scientist's snap, where "snap" is a noun, not a verb) and would pass. I realise this interpretation is a bit of a stretch, but an astute journalist could use it as a valid defence!

Or they could just fix it. El Reg?

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Hacker faces 105 years inside after FBI 'sexploitation' arrest

Steven Roper
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Re: @Steven Roper

Vladimir: Fine, no problem. As long as we can also eradicate the double standard that the majority of women will end a relationship if a man demands a genetic test of a baby to prove his paternity.

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Steven Roper
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"folks ought to receive equal treatment and opportunity-is that really such a scary idea?"

I'm right with you on that - depending on what you mean by "equal". Absolutely I hold that one's gender should in no way limit the choices available in any field - be it career, travel, hobby, anything at all. Believe me, I've encountered racial and sexual discrimination myself, so I know how infuriating it is. And I believe that everyone deserves a fair go, first and foremost.

The problem I've encountered is that some people, mainly feminists, and especially male feminists, often seem to have a weird, Orwellian definition of the word equal - in that all people are equal, but some people are more equal than others. In most dictionaries equal has the definition "having the same value; the same as." But let me cite an example of the kind of Orwellian thinking I'm talking about here: a so-called "equal opportunity" pamphlet given out to all students at the local TAFE (tertiary college). The first sentence in this pamphlet is "Equal opportunity does not mean everyone is treated the same."

Now to paraphrase the great Douglas Adams, this is obviously some strange usage of the word equal that I was not previously aware of. It does mean "the same as" in every dictionary I've ever read. But not to these people. What "equal" means to these people is something along the lines of "You are not allowed to stereotype people along the lines of gender or culture, but all white males are privileged, rich and powerful, and so don't deserve equal treatment like females, non-whites, and so on."

If anyone cannot see the absolute hypocrisy inherent in that statement they have a serious problem. I, for no other reason than being white and male, have been refused entry to educational courses, passed over for jobs and promotions, and denied my right of equal opportunity many times - simply because my skin is a particular light colour and I was born with a penis. This, by people who claim that stereotyping others on gender and skin colour is a bad thing. Obviously it's not such a bad thing if you happen to be white and male.

This is why I don't like "feminism". I do like "egalitarianism" - the belief that everyone should have the same rights, not just that women should have equal rights in the Orwellian sense. The clue is in the name: feminism. It's about rights for women, not rights for everybody. And this is as bad a thing as masculism - rights for men only, which in my view is just as ridiculous. Do you see?

So no, it's not a scary idea at all. What's scary is that an awful lot of people seem to be buying into the idea that it's OK to vilify, ostracise and discriminate against men in the name of so-called "equality", while sanctimoniously (and hypocritically) beating their breasts about stereotypes. And what's scariest of all is that people are trying to justify this stance under the banner of fairness and equal treatment for all.

And it's not.

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Steven Roper
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Stop

Franklin, before you start parroting feminist rhetoric, please take a look at my recent Reg post here (it's about 2/3 of the way down the page, under the title "Different Standards") where I discuss the origins and reasons behind the "slut/stud" paradigm in detail. If this is a double standard, then so is the double standard in which men expected to pay for and raise other men's kids as their own because the mothers have lied about paternity, since a mother knows her baby is hers, but a father has no way of being sure. That's why this paradigm exists in every culture on the planet.

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Oh, those crazy Frenchies: Facebook faces family photo tax in France

Steven Roper
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FAIL

Re: Steve Dopier What is fair?

I'd respond to your post, Matt, if I believed you capable of understanding the response. But the last time somebody mangled my surname in a pathetic insult like that was when I was 12. Fucking grow up.

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Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Re: What is fair?

What is fair is that these fat bastards pay the same amount of fucking tax that you or I do. If corporations are going to have the rights of human beings, they can damn well accept the responsibilities that go with them.

Living in Australia, I pay 16 - 20% of my salary in income tax, without even considering the 11% GST I pay on everything I buy. The article states that the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple make around 2.5 to 3 billion euro a year and pay an average tax of only 4 million euro. That's 0.13 to 0.16 percent tax.

I earn just enough to live on, and I'm paying a fifth of my salary in tax. These fat "greedy capitalists" you refer to make more than they know what to do with, and they're paying LESS THAN A FUCKING HUNDREDTH of that.

If that sounds fair to you, I can only say that would make you someone I'd never want to meet.

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Victims of 'revenge pr0n' sue GoDaddy, smut site

Steven Roper
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Different standards

"Women are (hypocritically) held to different standards than men by society; a man who screws everything that moves is a bad-ass player but the women he beds are sluts and idiots."

There's actually a sociological and biological reason for that difference in perception, or double standard if you prefer. Consider the function of reproduction from a purely genetic and biological standpoint: A woman knows that her baby is her offspring, because she carried it for nine months and gave birth to it. A man, on the other hand, has no way of knowing that any given baby is his or not (or didn't until the advent of genetic testing) other than the woman's word for it. From a genetic viewpoint, the woman is guaranteed that the resources she expends on her offspring benefits her genetic material - the perpetuation of which is the sole purpose of reproduction.

The man, however, is at risk of expending energy and resources raising another man's child, and so his own genetic material is not perpetuated. This makes the non-paternal child a genetic "parasite" to the man, in the same sense that a cuckoo is a parasitic bird that tricks other birds into hatching its eggs and raising its chick. It is precisely this behaviour of the cuckoo that gives us the term "cuckold" - not merely a man whose wife sleeps around on him, but one who is raising another man's child, like the bird raises the cuckoo. He is thus denied his own reproductive right - the right to perpetuate his own genetic material, a right granted to women as an inherent fact of biology.

Therefore, the "slut/stud" paradigm was established as a sociological defence to help ensure that men are not wasting their energy and resources raising another man's child. Of course, in these days of genetic tests, such a paradigm is indeed outdated, and should be discarded. However, there is one small problem: If, as part of the new paradigm eliminating ostracism of women for promiscuity, men are not accorded the same advantage of being entitled to a genetic test to verify their baby's paternity, then the paradigm becomes a double standard against men; Since the man is expected to take the woman's word that his baby is his with no recourse to testing. By implementing that, you essentially destroy a vital defence mechanism ensuring that men have equal reproductive rights with women.

So, in brief, if women want to be free of the paradigm of ostracism for promiscuity, they have to be prepared to freely allow their male partners to genetically confirm their child's paternity at birth, without resistance or complaint. That keeps things fair and equal. Yet most women I know would dump their partners in a second if they demanded a paternity test of their babies. That's fine - but those women then have no right to complain if other men and women call them sluts for sleeping around.

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Google: Gov demands for YOUR web data up 70% in just 3 years

Steven Roper
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Re: Google...

Google searches don't have to be illegal to be of interest to goverments, or as evidence in a court case. For example, consider how a woman might be prosecuting her ex-husband for stalking her. If the ex-husband looked for her on Facebook or Googled her name on a frequent basis the woman's lawyers could use that to bolster her case. Likewise, a person accused of piracy might be shown to have Googled "[latest movie/song title] torrent" - which is not an illegal search in and of itself, but it wouldn't exactly help their defence in court. And if you think nobody ever searches for torrents on Google, you're missing quite a lot.

I would wager that the large majority of these searches are more to do with divorce, domestic proceedings, and copyright infringement type cases, than "spooks" from three-letter agencies snooping on John Citizen. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the actual reasons cited for the retrieval orders, rather than just raw numbers of subpoenas and warrants.

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Brit mastermind of Anonymous PayPal attack gets 18 months' porridge

Steven Roper
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Flame

He probably said that

because he liekly owns shares in more than a few of them.

Judges and magistrates should not be allowed to own any shares in any company whatsoever, because the obvious conflict of interest becomes very evident when they come out with comments like that. They get paid enough that they don't need to own shares to make themselves even richer.

In fact, the principle of the judiciary not being allowed to own shares shouldn't merely be law; it should be a mainstay of jurisprudence on par with innocence unless proven guilt and freedom of speech.

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Intel to leave desktop motherboard market

Steven Roper
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Stop

One small point...

Amiga didn't fail because it "couldn't see the changes coming or couldn't adapt fast enough." The Amiga was cutting-edge technology even after Commodore went bust in 1994. AmigaOS went through several iterations, and several companies continued producing accelerator boards and and hardware for it, well into the late 90s. Amiga adapted and led the changes, it didn't just follow them.

The Amiga died because: 1) mismanagement at Commodore US caused the American branch of the company to fold, depriving the platform of vital advertising and marketing; and 2) more importantly because Gateway bought it and deliberately buried it, hoping to capture the Amiga market and hook them into their line of Windows PCs instead. In a fantastic case of computing karma giving a greedy company what they richly deserved, however, the Amiga fanbase were rabid Wintel/PC haters at the time, and took so long to make the switch that Gateway's purchase of Commodore's assets bankrupted the bastards before they could realise any profit from it.

So while the Amiga's corpse does "litter the landscape" of computing history, it's not for the reason you posit.

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Pope: Catholics, go forth and multiply... your Twitter followers

Steven Roper
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Re: 140? I can reply to the Pope in eight characters

Of course, whether the 'three letters more' are O, F and F, or Y, O and U is left up to the individual offering this enlightened and erudite response... both work equally well! ;)

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'End of passwords' predictions are premature - Cambridge boffin

Steven Roper
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@Graham Marsden

"Nor can they manage to have an upvote system that doesn't waste a lot of people's time..." etc.

I like the way the voting system works on the Reg actually. As I've posted on this issue before, there is method to their madness. The fact that voting (and downvoting!) takes time and effort adds value to the vote. If it worked like a Facebook Like button, with instant response, that means that the votes become completely cheap and meaningless, because it takes no time or effort to give them.

But if someone is prepared to take the 15-30 seconds required to upvote a post, that means they really like it or agree strongly enough to spend that time on it. Likewise, I know that when I cop a downvote, I must have pissed that person off enough for them to spend the time downvoting me for it. Which to my way of thinking makes the voting more gratifying and meaningful than if it were an instant-response AJAX-style voting system.

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Polish knights slay Virut, the brazen virus army that has its own EULA

Steven Roper
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Devil

Re: It's own EULA?

That's what got me wondering as well!

I mean, these people are thieves, scammers, and parasitic scum of the lowest order, who don't give a flying fuck about anyone or anything other than their own gain - otherwise they wouldn't be doing what they do. Yet the purveyors of the software these "people" - and I use the term very loosely - use for their activities, expect them to honour an EULA, when they already fork two fingers up at every law on the books? What the hell are they smoking?

I swear, some of these people must be seriously delusional about who they are and what they do. I can't think of any other explanation for it. It reminds me of Sanford "Spamford" Wallace, who actually believed he was doing people a favour by smothering their inboxes with spam, and couldn't understand why people hated him. I can't even begin to fathom what must be going on in the heads of such people.

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Game over for Atari? One life left as biz files for bankruptcy protection

Steven Roper
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Re: End of an era (Amiga vs AtariST)

I remember back in the day, I was one of the Amiga lads who hated the Atari ST with a passion, for one reason - game porting.

The Atari ST could display a maximum of 4 bitplanes / 16 colours, while the Amiga could do 5 bitplanes / 32 colours or 6 bitplanes / 64/4096 colours within certain limits, if you used Half-brite or HAM mode (this was before the A1200/4000 with the 8-bitplane AGA chipset.) Both machines used the Motorola 68000 CPU, so code written on one machine could be easily ported to the other - as long as it didn't reference the Amiga's custom hardware.

Now I grant that Half-brite/HAM modes were not practical for most gaming purposes due to the quirkiness of those modes and the limitations of the CPU and graphics hardware - but the Amiga did have the custom chipset, notably Paula and Agnus, the famed Amiga "blitter" and "copper", which allowed smooth scrolling and a lot more moving objects and colours. The Atari did not, and relied solely on the poor old 68000 for its graphics grunt.

Cue games developers coding games for the lowest common denominator - the Atari ST - and then porting them to the Amiga unaltered. So the games were seriously limited to what the ST could handle - 16 colours only, awful jittery scrolling, crappy music and sound (the ST relied on MIDI rather than a good onboard sound chip), and no blitter or copper to speed things up or exploit the Amiga's capabilities.

Most arcade conversions suffered from this, so great arcade games like Space Harrier and Outrun that could have really shone on the Amiga were dragged down to the level of the Atari - which made the Amiga look much less than it was. So many games that could have been awesome simply sucked, and the term "Atari ST port" became a derogatory byword for a game not worth the bother of pirating it, let alone buying it.

The magazines of the day generally concurred on this issue, and I recall some scathing reviews from Amiga Format and Australian Commodore and Amiga Review! This was of course in the days when magazines actually delivered honest reviews, not bought-and-paid-for puff pieces published under threat of advertisement withdrawal like so many of today's mags.

I remember fondly some games that were coded specifically to take advantage of the Amiga's hardware - notably Sword of Sodan, The Settlers and Superfrog - and I played all those games to death during their heyday. The Settlers I particularly remember because the Amiga version simply blew away the PC version in graphics, sound and speed, and so I (erroneously as it turned out) came to believe that the good old Miggy was finally coming into its own, and represented the future of computing.

How wrong I was...

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Student claims code flaw spotting got him expelled from college

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Facepalm

@asdf

Oh please, not the old racism card again...

So the lad has a Middle-Eastern sounding name. That's completely irrelevant to his behaviour, good, bad or indifferent. I personally think he did the right thing by testing to make sure the hole was fixed, and ruining his entire career is indeed excessive punishment in my view.

But his race, creed, culture, religion, ancestry, sexuality, birthplace, you name it, has nothing to do with it, and this kind of over-the-top PC thinking that overuses accusations of racism, every goddamned time someone of non-European descent commits any kind of indiscretion and is punished for it, is doing more to undermine real fairness and tolerance than all the racist bigotry on every Stormfront-esque sinkhole on the Internet combined. It cheapens the concept until the cry of "racist" simply becomes meaningless noise.

So please, spare us the PC bellyaching and look at the issues from a race-neutral perspective: A student attempted, rightly or wrongly, to hack into his college computer system and was expelled for it - rightly or wrongly. No race or religion involved.

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ACCC spikes gadget price-fix

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Mushroom

Yes, it's different

when the shoe's on the other foot isn't it?

These same retailers and related businesses are all very happy to outsource all our bloody jobs to cheap overseas labour, but they scream stinking blue murder when consumers outsource their purchasing to cheap overseas retailers!

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, you fucking hypocrites.

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TSA to pull backscatter perv scanners from US airports

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Place your bets...

I'll see your bet, and raise you one "When something does 'coincidentally happen' to a plane, and someone posts evidence it was a psyop job to sway public opinion to want these things back with a vengeance - they'll be dismissed as a crazy tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nut."

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McDonalds burger app gives it to you straight from the horse's mouth

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Coat

@ Sir Wiggum

"You know you shouldn't, and that no good can come of it, but it feels right for a short while :)"

You reminded me of an old joke I remember from my high school days:

Q: Why is jerking off like going to McDonalds?

A: Because it's always the same and afterwards you always say you'll never do it again.

Ok, ok, I'm going...

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Record numbers of you are reading this headline right now

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Which begs the question

What is El Reg's readership as a percentage of that of the Daily Wail? If it's significant enough it might even restore some of my faith in humanity. Though that might be asking a bit much...

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Former CEO John Sculley: Apple must adapt or die

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@Dave 126

That is as it may be, but also remember that Apple wasn't a serious market contender at the time when it would have mattered, namely the late 90s/ early 00s, which is what allowed Microsoft to entrench Internet Explorer as they did. Apple at the time was a tiny percentage of the IT market, primarily geared to the graphic design industry but little else. It was Mozilla and Google's combined efforts, along with a lot of pressure from a lot of pissed-off web devs, which broke that monopoly, not Apple.

The fact remains that Apple has done far more harm than good in recent years. They've created and popularised the walled garden, which every other market player now wants to emulate; established the paradigm that a computer you buy isn't really yours; systematically eroded openness and customisability in computing architecture; unleashed a ridiculous and litigious firestorm that has stifled innovation the world over and benefited nobody but a bunch of greedy patent lawyers. All of which more than counters for any putative benefits their presence as a competitive entity might have created.

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11
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Devil

Re: This is the same guy

It's a pity he didn't. The whole tech world would have been a lot better off if he had.

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Bloke blasts Sprint for fingering his home as phone thieves' den

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Also, a Brit's idea of an American is to an actual American as...

If I have the choice of being attacked by an Australian Shepherd or Cujo, I'll take Cujo over the shepherd every time, thanks. Those little bastards are more vicious than pit bulls!

As to what that tells me about Americans, the less said the better...! ;)

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Latest Java patch is not enough, warns US gov: Axe plugins NOW

Steven Roper
Silver badge
WTF?

What I want to know is

Who at Oracle pissed in the US government's cornflakes? From the way the DHS has been carrying on about Java lately, you'd think they were the fourth arm of the Axis of Evil!

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Google denies smacking Botswanan ass

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Go

Re: What has the world come to ...

You should know that it's a simple preprogrammed stock response common to all businesses. The code, hardwired into every PR droid's brain, looks something like this:

public function invokeDamageControl($department_name, $customer_group_name)

{

if ($this->publicRelationsDisaster() == true)

{

echo ("Our ".$department_name." take the safety of ".$customer_group_name." very seriously.\r\n");

}

}

Along with similar functions for "We apologise for the inconvenience", "Remedial action has been taken to prevent a recurrence", and other standard PR bumf...

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Patent trolling surges, but righteous cavalry on the way

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Coat

Get your terminology right!

"If labeling them 'trolls' or calling them 'cancers' gets the job done," he said, "I'm all for it."

Patent trolls are scumbags, but they're still 'trolls'. It's the patent lawyers who are the 'cancers' of our society.

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1

NASA snaps pics of China's 'Airpocalypse' pollution disaster

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

@ AC 23:02

I see the accusation of "strawman" is starting to be overused in these forums. In your case, it is an erroneous accusation: invoking worst case scenario is NOT a strawman argument since that scenario can occur and should be addressed. A strawman is where you describe a specific case in which the argumentative condition is so ludicrous as to destroy the credibility of the argument, which relates back to reductio ad absurdum.

In this case, defining the worst case scenario as being downwind of a volcano or containing toxic emissions from a hot spring is a valid comparison, since both of these conditions do regularly occur on this planet and represent grave hazards to living organisms exposed to them. That's not the bottom line you want defined as the limits imposed on pollution.

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Time has already run out for smart watches

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Pint

@ Alan Brown

Here in Australia we don't have deer, at least not in the wild. What we have instead are kangaroos and wombats. Kangaroos are about the same mass as deer (at least the big grey plains ones are) but, unlike deer, they tend to stand upright, like people. Which means that when you hit them at speed, they are much more likely to bounce over the bonnet and smash through your windscreen than simply mangling your radiator and front end, with obviously deadly consequences.

And wombats are just evil. About the size of a stocky fox terrier, they look deceptively small and vulnerable, but they have the structural solidity of a large house brick. If you hit one, it will rip out your sump, gearbox, tailshaft and/or diff, and walk away without a scratch, leaving you with a written-off car and a very long walk home!

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