Feeds

* Posts by Steven Roper

1377 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Never mind laptop screens, I want a bloody desktop monitor capable of more than the bog-stock 1920 x 1080 they've been stuck at for the past decade. Even the 1920 x 1200 ones are getting hard to find and the few that still exist cost the bloody earth. Meanwhile phone and tablet screens are pointlessly increasing resolutions to levels where a scanning electron microscope is required to see a single pixel, while desktop monitors remain as nothing more than ordinary HD TV sets.

Where's my goddamn 4096 x 2560 desktop monitor!

16
0

Samsung WRISTPHONE – for those who wanna whisper to strap-ons

Steven Roper
Silver badge

...Aaaaand

waiting for Apple to start suing all these watchphone makers off the market because they patented the idea of a watchphone even though the idea has been around since Dick Tracy and they have yet to come out with one themselves. No doubt they'll claim they invented it first even though these devices have been available on drop-shipping sites and such for quite some time now.

Bring on the downvotes, fanbois.

12
2

NOT APPY: Black cab drivers enraged by Hailo as taxi tech wars rage on

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Pot/Kettle?

"I'm pretty sure calling all black cab drivers bigots is a fairly bigotted position to take."

As soon as I saw words like "racist", "sexist" and "biggot"(sic) being used seriously in that AC's rants my first thought was, "Oh, it's one of those..." and moved on to the next post.

There are many more interesting comments to read on El Reg without my wasting time poring over the inane dribblings of brainwashed hypocrites who probably majored only in gender studies and sociology, and whose politically-correct groupthink functions as a substitute for independent thought.

0
0

The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: I am so glad

I wish I was older, and I'm 47. Which means that 1) If I live as long as my grandparents did (all but one made it into their 90s) I have another 40ish years of life on this shithole planet to look forward to, and 2) What this world is going to be like in 20 years doesn't bear thinking about, let alone 40. I shudder to think of the soul-raping "innovations" people like O'Reilly and Smith in this article are going to foist on us in that time.

And even then I probably won't be allowed to die peacefully. Some horror like that depicted in this Youtube video will probably be in place by then and my life and my very memories will be hijacked to serve the greed or our corporate masters.

1
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

"What a miserable life our children are going to have."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why I've refused to have kids. I saw this sort of thing coming years ago, so it comes as no surprise. I've copped all sorts of flack throughout my life from family, friends and internet contacts alike for this decision, so when I see someone else say something like that I feel that it vindicates my choice.

The future is a horror. I'm just glad no progeny of mine will be slaves to it.

1
2

Disney plans standalone Star Wars movies to go with the main trilogy

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Perhaps...

...Or 30-second sound bites...

0
0

French teen fined for illegal drone flight

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: The Nancy Chamber of Commerce and Tourism should have paid his fine ...

Why would they do that? That way they incur the cost of his fine and have to pay him for the footage.

Instead, they can now confiscate his footage as the proceeds of criminal activity, therefore he forfeits all rights to it. The government gets to use his footage for nothing, they can even charge the Nancy Chamber of Commerce for the use of it and pocket the profits themselves, AND he has to pay them for the act of obtaining it.

That's how the world works these days. The benefits of copyright and ownership of things are only for our lords and masters, not for the likes of you and me.

3
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

What about a kite?

He could just as easily have attached his camera to a kite. and taken some photos, at least then he wouldn't have been fined. Unless flying kites is now illegal. Given the ongoing erosion of basic freedoms and simple pleasures that has characterised this century so far, it sadly wouldn't surprise me.

4
0

Toshiba pushes out 5TB spinner for cloudy types

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: never mind the enterprise

You won't be allowed to have them. You must store your data in "the cloud" like a good little consumer-robot, where it can be monitored and controlled for your own good, and where you can be constantly milked for money in order to keep access to it, and where your usage can be "monetized", and where it can be "revised" if it is copyrighted, too contentious or politically incorrect.

3-4 TB is the biggest you'll ever be allowed to have, and chances are those won't be available as consumer models for long. Already I've noticed that my local computer shop doesn't stock anything over 2 TB any more; if you want bigger you have to order it in - at a premium, of course. But all their new PC's now come with Windows 8 - and cloud storage by default.

You will comply. You won't be given the choice.

3
1

Autodesk CEO: '3D printing has been way overhyped'

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@Eddy Ito Re: As if...

Thanks for that Eddy, your explanation does clear it up for me. In fact, it almost seems obvious in hindsight when you think about it: "As if I could care less! (Yeah, right!)" When considered from the sarcastic context with the "As if" prepended to it, it suddenly makes sense.

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Could care less / couldn't care less

I can comprehend the logic behind most American spellings and many of their idioms, but I must say this one has me stumped.

Saying "I could care less about X" seems to completely contradict the intent of the statement. The intent is to say "I don't care about X / the amount of interest I have in X is zero." So saying you could care less implies that you actually do care to at least some extent, because there is a lesser amount of interest you could have in the topic.

Saying "I couldn't care less about X" is the logical form. It states that there is no lesser amount of interest in X you could exhibit, therefore your interest in it is zero. It doesn't contradict the intent of the statement.

Any of our American friends care to enlighten me on what the thinking is with this one?

12
0

ET hunter: We will find SPACE ALIENS in 20 years

Steven Roper
Silver badge

I've heard that before...

Funny, I seem to remember people saying this sort of thing 20 years ago.

Extraterrestrial life - almost certainly, sooner or later, although to pin it down within 20 years is a bit of a stretch. We'll be doing well to have retrieved samples from Mars in that time frame, let alone explored Europa or Titan or Enceladus or any of the other moons that also might harbour life.

Extraterrestrial intelligence - now that's a big ask. Especially if we expect that intelligence to be broadcasting radio waves. When you consider that only once in 4 billion years has Earth itself produced life capable of this, said life has only been able to broadcast radio for the past 100 years at most, and with the way technology is going, we'll have no need for powerful broadcast radio within the next 100 years. Low-powered wifi links acting as relays seems to be the way we are going in this area, and if this becomes the norm the radio shouts from Earth will soon drop to a whisper - one that is unlikely to be detectable from light-years away even with the most sensitive equipment. So the window of time in which such technology may be in widespread use is likely to be vanishingly small.

Furthermore, the environmental conditions required to produce intelligence are incredibly specific. Anyone who has seen or read Jared Diamond's excellent documentary series Guns, Germs and Steel will realise how specific the combination of geography, climate, ecology, and sociology have to be in order for advanced civilisation and technology to emerge. When you consider the specificity of those conditions, and the resulting tiny time window in the vast sweep of this planet's history, it is easy to see that while life in the universe is probably commonplace, intelligence almost certainly is not.

Even though there are potentially dozens of billions of life-bearing planets in our galaxy alone, which does improve the odds for there being intelligent civilisations at some stage of evolution, the chances are that such civilisations are spread so far apart that by the time the signals from one reach the antennae of another, the sender will have long since ceased to exist, or will have changed beyond anything the receiver might recognise as intelligence.

That's not to say we should stop searching, by any means. But we do need to face the realities of such a search, and citing time frames of 20 years, every 20 years or so, isn't being realistic about it.

11
0

JJ Abrams and Star Wars: I've got a bad feeling about this

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Alien Resurrection. 3 was not too bad

"...generation of british character actors prior to all those currently appearing in GOT"

You do know that the guy who played Dr. Clemens in Alien 3 (Charles Dance) is now better known as Tywin Lannister, right?

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: If not JJ Abrams, then who else?

Could be worse. They could have given it to Uwe Boll.

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Overly Harsh

"I think you meant Alien Resurrection. 3 was not too bad"

Agreed, 101%. Alien 3 is actually my favourite in the trilogy (the alleged Resurrection doesn't exist in my world, much like the mythical Highlander 2 that didn't get made either.) I liked it because it raised the stakes, and therefore the suspense, to even higher levels than Aliens, by eschewing the hardware and making the protagonists even more expendable than Marines.

In Aliens, Ripley had access to a military arsenal - machine guns, grenade launchers, flame throwers, sharp sticks... the outcome was a foregone conclusion. But in Alien 3, it was down to just the sharp sticks. My favourite line in the entire trilogy is in 3 - Ripley's immortal and beautifully sarcastic, "What about torches? Do we have the capacity to make fire? Most humans have enjoyed that privilege since the Stone Age!" describes the desperate situation perfectly. And don't forget the Big Whammy at the end - that Ripley sacrifices her life to wipe out the last surviving specimen of the Xenomorph brings the story, Wagner-like, full circle.

1
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Guys, this isn't difficult.

That's what I call "art from the heart, as opposed to art for the mart." To me, there is art, and there is advertising. And in my book, the two are mutually exclusive. Yes, I know there are some very creative and brilliantly made adverts out there, but they are not art, because the motive is money, not passion. And there are some really crappy artworks out there, but they are still art, because they are made with passion.

For this reason, I can more admire and enjoy a 4-year-old's crayon stick figure with scrawled grass and wonky flowers, than the most slickly-produced CGI enhanced soft-drink advert. Because the 4-year-old is simply trying to tell a story. The advert is trying to bypass my conscious decision-making mechanisms to make me buy something.

And you're right about Star Wars too. With the original trilogy, Lucas was young and idealistic, and he had a story to tell. With the prequels, he'd been corrupted by the tremendous wealth that success had brought him, and he forgot his roots. And it shows - in some indefinable, ineffable way. All the elements of the original series are there, but because in the prequels the motive was money those elements failed. Comic relief in the original series was provided by R2D2 and C3PO, and we loved them for it. But with Jar Jar Binks it just fell flat; it was too contrived. Nobody saw in the speeder-bike chase in Return of the Jedi, an advert for a video game or the speeder bike toy. But the pod race in Phantom Menace simply screamed "Buy the Playstation Game!" And Luke's "Big NOOOOOO" in Empire Strikes Back sent chills down our spines as we realised he'd rather die than face the fact that Darth Vader was his father. But Anakin's "Big NOOOOOO" became the butt of a slew of internet jokes and memes.

Passion cannot be faked. Like love, it cannot be bought, not for all the money in the world. It has to come from the heart, and it has to be genuine. Not even the artificial, plastic, lollipop, pseudo-happiness espoused by Disney can pull it off. Anyone with a smidgin of humanity in their breast will know it when they see it, and they'll love the artwork for it.

34
4

Hackers lay claim to exploit that defeats iPhone anti-theft tools

Steven Roper
Silver badge

It would appear

that the best defence against phone thieves is to implement an actual, real self-destruct. You know, the kind made of C4 with ball-bearings and bits of broken glass and shit embedded in it.

1
1

Microsoft walks into a bar. China screams: 'Eww is that Windows 8? GET OUT OF HERE'

Steven Roper
Silver badge

I wonder

how much of this animosity is about Windows 8 itself and how much is due to its:

1) de-emphasis on local storage and emphasis on cloud storage, with its ongoing security risks and payments to retain your data.

2) requiring or at least constant nagging to log in to a Live account allowing MS to track your usage of the machine.

3) moving to a "rental" software business model with constant payments and forced updates.

It's not the interface so much as the invasiveness and control of the machine that is the issue for me and most other people I've discussed this with. China aren't stupid. They know what companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple are trying to do, and I suspect they don't like it, any more than I do.

If I pay for a computer, it is mine. End of discussion.

27
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

@ tombo Re: breaking news!

"Virtually every article is written by a fanboi or hater of each OS or technology."

So you are here reading El Reg and commenting on their articles because...?

23
1

Telstra asks users to be its next backhaul network

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Let me see if I have this right

Telstra want me to pay $210 (or bind myself into a contract, which is probably more in total) for the privilege of allowing passing strangers to use my internet connection, at my cost, in order to save themselves millions of dollars in backhaul costs? Do I have that down correctly? A multibillion dollar corporation wants me to charitably pay and provide a service, for them to save costs, with no benefit to myself?

The sheer face of that simply stuns me. I'd say "fuck off you greedy bastards", but that's too tame. What I'd really like to say would probably exceed even El Reg's generous standards.

7
0

Jupiter's Great Red Spot becoming mere pimple

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: ALL THESE WORLDS

Why wasn't this the first post? Come on commentards, you're slacking off here!

2
0

Brits to vote: Which pressing scientific challenge should get £10m thrown at it?

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: A warning, not an incentive

"And especially careful about handing over any intellectual property to the body running the competition."

Intellectual property issues are the reason I refuse to donate to medical-research "charities." It seems wrong to me, that a treatment researched with money people have donated out of altruism, should be restricted by patents held by some greed-driven pharmaceutical corporation and thus be unavailable to the poor.

This is why my stock response to medical (e.g. cancer, dementia etc) research collectors and callers is this: "Sure. I'll give you a thousand dollars right now, if your organisation can give me a legally binding written guarantee that any cure or treatment resulting from your research will be released openly and never be encumbered by patents or intellectual-property claims by any pharmaceutical entity." So far, I haven't had to make good on that deal even once.

2
0

Cisco reboots PC with $1500 'Scandafornian' Android fondleslab

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Touch screens and mouse control are different interfaces that allow different tasks to be performed, and both have validity. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the intended use-case scenario.

I don't get this "touch is new and mouse is old so touch must replace mouse everywhere" mentality. There's a reason we use handlebars on motorcycles and steering wheels in cars, and not the other way around.

For example, I do a lot of 3D modelling and graphic work as a hobby (and sometimes for work) A couple of years ago I got a Samsung Slate with Windows 7 and installed Blender (3D modelling software) on it. Since the Slate treats touch as a mouse event it was possible to use it thus, but trying to build 3D models in Blender using touch is an exercise in rage and frustration that would drive even Ghandi batshit crazy. Likewise trying to use Gimp or Photoshop with a touch interface. It's like trying to drive a car with a joystick. Forget. It.

Then there's typing up documentation and code for work. You need a keyboard. Not a picture of a keyboard on a screen. You need buttons that move, that are far enough part that my fat fingers don't end up tapping out shit like "SWKECT namw, addtess, phone FROM users WJERE joindate > 20130701".

Mouse gives you precision that touch simply cannot match. Of course you can use a touch pen (the Slate even came with one), but while drawing in Photoshop is nice with a pen, 3D modelling is a different story. Some things just need to be done with a mouse and keyboard.

5
0

Giant pop can FOUND ON MOON

Steven Roper
Silver badge

They might want to rethink this effort

As many large companies have found out, even unsubstantiated rumours about them advertising on the moon, or even from low-orbit platforms, invariably results in such a barrage of rage and hate and threats of mass boycotts that corporations like Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut and McDonalds have had to fork out millions in damage control debunking the rumours. Every time some advertising twonk get the idea of defacing the moon, the reaction is always the same: any company that defaces celestial bodies will never get our business.

Of course, advertising droids are born with short-circuited cerebral regions that render them completely delusional and cause them to think that people actually crave advertising and want more of it, but even they must realise that such an activity would destroy their clients' businesses when they get hit with the fury such proposals inevitably generate.

When I watched Hancock (a movie about an inept superhero) I found the ending amusing for this reason: Hancock had managed to cover the face of the moon with the heart logo of the charity he'd been supporting. It made me laugh because the real-world reaction to something like that would have utterly destroyed said charity and the cause it was supporting by association!

So no company with any experience of this would want to be associated with defacing the moon. Even though Pocari Sweat is only sending up a sealed canister that won't be visible, a quick Google of this subject and a read of the comments on any news article about it will reveal that this is very likely to do them more harm than good. It will be interesting to see if they actually go ahead with the launch next year after seeing the deluge of hate mail they'll get for this. The only thing in their favour is that they aren't a multinational, and so can't be boycotted by an angry world (and whether the Japanese boycott them for it remains to be seen), but should they ever wish to become one, they may well find their progress stymied by a worldwide reputation as "the company that dumped its litter on the Moon!"

3
0

Chap rebuilds BBC Micro in JavaScript

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: At last

"The Micro was slightly before my time, and I never saw one in Australia anyway"

They were here for a while. We had BBC Micros at my high school in Adelaide in 1983/84, although I don't know how much longer they were there after that since I finished school in '84. Those were the days - IT security meant nothing more than there was a lock on the classroom door, and the old *PASSLOOK was the epitome of hacking. Oh the fun we had breaking into the girls' accounts and leaving little love letters and promises to alter their Computer Studies grades up if they'd just accompany us to the school disco!

0
0

You, YES YOU, could be Australia's very own Edward Snowden

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Australia doesn't need a Snowden.....

Not to mention their analysts', programmers' and app designers' sterling track record when it comes to Ausgov and IT security...

0
0

FSF slams Mozilla for 'shocking' Firefox DRM ankle-grab

Steven Roper
Silver badge

I can see where the FSF is coming from

but at the same time, they need to consider what Mozilla themselves have said about marginalisation. It's all very well to carry the banner against DRM, but what use is doing so if it means that Firefox's market share shrinks to negligibility as a result? Especially with Google pushing Chrome in everyone's faces without let or surcease. We don't want "I used to use Firefox, but I couldn't watch YouTube on it so I had to switch to Chrome" to be Mozilla's epitaph.

Mozilla are going about resolving a difficult situation as best they can. They do want to fight DRM, but they also have to stay relevant in order to carry on the fight. By simply creating a framework for embedding DRM modules they aren't compromising the browser or even forcing anyone to use DRM. As I've posted elsewhere, I certainly won't be installing any DRM, and if that means there's sites that show me nothing but blank boxes with click-to-dowload-DRM buttons as a result then so be it. At least Mozilla are giving us that option.

51
3

Curiosity GOUGES AND SCORCHES Mars with drill and laser

Steven Roper
Silver badge

It's lookin' good. It's goin' good. We're gettin' great pictures here at NASA Control, Pasadena.

Weeeeeeoooooo, weeeeeoooooo, weeeeeeeoooooo...

3
0

Philips lobs patent sueball at Nintendo in US: Seeks to BAN Wii U

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: They don't want a settlement in cash

"Philips are doing pretty well but aren't really a brand you think of."

That wasn't always the case. Back in the 60s and 70s, and to some extent the early 80s, they were very well known not only for light bulbs, but their TV sets, radios, tape decks and record players. I still remember the TV ads from that era for Philips' home electronics (along with companies like Rank Arena, AWA, Thorn, National and Sharp.)

They just sort of faded away during the 80s, as if they got left behind by the computer revolution. I was surprised at the time to see that Philips never really pushed a home computer of their own amongst the Commodores, Sinclairs, Acorns and Apples of the day, since they struck me as just the kind of company that would cater to that market.

These days they seem to be mainly a component supplier; you can still encounter their brand in electronics hobby shops on items like transistors and ICs.

2
0

Interstellar FIGHT CLUB: Watch neutron star TEAR Goliath a new hole

Steven Roper
Silver badge

But...

They have to make fancy youtube movies to keep the public interested so they convince politicians to keep funnelling money into the research that will eventually make your star drive possible.

No pretty pictures = no public interest; no public interest = no money; no money = no research; no research = no star drive. Capiche?

1
0

NASA agonizes over plan for Mars rock sample return mission

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Why does this need two Rovers?

I'd say the reasoning behind this methodology goes something like this:

The first stage, sending out a sample-collecting rover, is a bog-standard Mars mission, something we have experience with now and can carry out with a high degree of confidence. This rover, like Curiosity, would have analytical instruments on board so scientists could examine the samples in situ, so any "inert chunks of sandstone" can be tossed back and anything that looks like it might harbour signs of life or otherwise be of interest added to the cache for return.

But this process might take years before turning up something worth sending back, something that the instruments on board can't resolve - whatever that might be. If we sent an ascent stage with that first rover, that ascent module is going to be sitting on the Martian surface under durance of a hostile environment possibly for years. That's a lot of time for things to go wrong - dust clogging up engines, for example, or getting buried in a sandstorm, or blown over. Also, it's plenty of time for the volatile fuel the ascent stage needs for liftoff to leak and evaporate into the thin Martian atmosphere while it's sitting there.

Doing it this way also allows us to keep an open-ended schedule on the collecting mission. If the rover finds nothing of interest for 5 years, it's not a problem - we just keep looking until we find something worth sending back or the rover fails, whichever comes first. If it turns out to be the latter case, it's still not a wasted mission, because we were still able to do some good science with the rover while it was there.

If the rover has been able to collect some ambiguous samples that merit closer study, sending the ascent stage then means that the ascent vehicle is nice and fresh on arrival, and can make use of updated technology developed since the first rover launch. Which means much better odds for a successful lift-off and retrieval, than with a vehicle using older technology that has been sitting out collecting Martian dust and evaporating its hydrazine for X years.

The reason for a second pickup rover then becomes obvious: the ascent vehicle might have to land kilometres away from the collection rover. Perhaps the rover is in a crater or amongst large rocks which make a clean landing difficult or impossible. Or the rover has dumped a sample cache or three somewhere along its route in order to save power by not having to lug around a bloody great box of rocks on its back.

So having a second vehicle trundle out to the collection rover, or to wherever it's dropped its sample caches, makes sense in that regard. It also allows the second rover to be optimised as a taxi rather than a mobile laboratory. Current "laboratory" rovers have a top speed measured in centimetres per minute, to reduce the risk of tipping over or becoming trapped, and to ensure they don't miss anything of interest. A "taxi" rover could have its path pre-mapped by the first rover to avoid any obstacles and allow the taxi rover to run at a higher speed. This would allow it to perform its specific function much more effectively, since its only task is to pick up a box of rocks and return to the ascent stage.

So on consideration, while this mission might seem unnecessarily complex at first glance, it shows that the engineers and scientists involved have considered these issues and come up with quite an elegant solution.

7
0

Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@Keith Re: While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

I don't have a problem with paying for someone's hard work.

I have a problem with being spied on and charged every time I want to watch or listen to it. I have a problem with said someone effectively being able to reach into my machine and prevent me from viewing content I've paid for at their whim. I have a problem with said someone locking down my computers so I can't view said content in bed, or in the car.

The way an honest free market works is, I give you money, you give me a copy of what you've made. I agree not to sell or provide other people with copies as that is your right since you made it. But I'm not paying you to treat me like a criminal. I'm not paying you to take control of my computer or other items of my property. I'm not paying you to impose unjust and unreasonable restrictions on how I can use the copy I paid you for.

I will not be allowing DRM on my systems, end of. If that means I don't get to view your content, fine, you've just lost yet another customer. No skin off my nose. I've lived 47 years quite comfortably without whatever you're offering, and I'm sure I'll live for many more without it.

40
2

Qld government in social media policy linkrot FAIL

Steven Roper
Silver badge

And this is the same government

that wants unrestricted access to my mobile phone's camera, microphone and data, even though they say they'll never actually use it.

No fucking way is any software written by these incompetent government twonks getting anywhere near any computerised device under my control.

3
0

Space Station in CRISIS: Furious Russia threatens to BAN US from ISS

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: "the irreplaceable orbital station"

Of course that would be after said Chinese have conquered America up to the city limits of Washington DC and then inexplicably surrendered.

10
1

550 reasons to buy this book for your beloved: COCKROACHES of Oz

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Fat Freddie's cat

Yes, but remember there's always plenty more where they came from.

1
0

Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@Irongut Re: @Anonymous Coward

I would say the ratio of upvotes to downvotes on Trevor's posts reveal perfectly the extent to which his customers are pissed off.

2
2

IETF plans to NSA-proof all future internet protocols

Steven Roper
Silver badge

They'll never beat the spooks

for the same reason they'll never beat the crackers: "What man can make, man can break."

3
3

Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Hard to cope with?

I actually upvoted Don Jefe's post because that's got to be the best example of Poe's Law I have yet witnessed. Read his hysterical rant again if you downvoted it; his claims of the extent of the danger posed by a four foot sea-level rise are so outrageous he has to be pulling your leg. Where the Poe's Law comes in is that yes, there are actually people in this world who really believe this sort of thing; but I sincerely doubt any of them would have the cerebral capacity to read El Reg.

6
3

We're from the SAME DUST CLOUD, BRO: Boffins find Sun's long-lost sibling

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Interesting

Or you could install Celestia and actually fly right up to it. Although there's not a whole lot to look at...

0
0

GM reveals how much you'll pay to turn your car into a rolling 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot

Steven Roper
Silver badge

I'd love to see them try this in Australia

where a sizeable percentage of holiday drives consist of two days crossing vast stretches of bumfuck nowhere that would do justice to Arrakis, in which mobile phone coverage, let alone 3G or 4G, exists to about the same degree as Star Trek transporter coverage.

I can picture it now: Leave the house in Adelaide at 5 AM, kids promptly go back to sleep, wake up in Port Pirie for breakfast at 8, kids quietly watch TV in the back seat until you hit Port Augusta around 9:30, and after that it's out into Mad-Max-land for the rest of the trip.

Cue cries of "DAAAAAD! My tablet's not working any mooooore! My cartoon keeps dropping out!" "No, and it isn't going to work now until we get to Perth/Alice/Darwin/wherever tomorrow night"*

"Awwwwww!... Are we there yet?....are we there yet?...are we there yet?..."

Or you could just fly.

*or in the case of Adelaide - Perth, the night after that.

0
0

Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@John Sanders Re: Which is why…

Which is why I will never EVER connect a washing machine/fridge/microwave/over to a network.

I'm with you on that one. Even Orwell never imagined the subtlety and depth of surveillance that computers and the internet make possible. He never imagined face-recognition and voice-recognition software, for starters, or that tiny cameras could be hidden in every household device (although he did imagine microphones hidden in trees in the countryside!)

While you're keeping your devices' cables disconnected, ensure they can't connect to any wifi either. My own wifi is not only secured with WPA2 and a passkey whose length would do justice to Hamlet's soliloquy, I also have MAC filtering turned on so a device has to be authorised at the router as well as given the passkey.

The other danger is to ensure any other wifi connections detectable from your house are also secured - if a neighbour has an unsecured wifi, offer to secure it for them (I did this with the guy upstairs at no charge; after explaining to him that anyone could connect to his router and steal his internet connection, he was quite happy for me to set up WPA2 for him.) This will ensure that your devices don't go phoning home on someone else's wifi.

Finally, the remaining problem is things like citywide public wifi, or the free wifi offered by places like Starbucks, McDonald's et. al. if there's one near you. This problem is only going to get worse in future. Here in Adelaide, Internode already offers free wifi accessible throughout the CBD, and it won't be long before it pervades the suburbs too. Given that these damned devices tend to automatically leap onto the first available unsecured wifi they can find, this is becoming a very real danger. Once that shit reaches my area, I'm going to be seriously looking at Faraday-shielding my apartment.

1
1

Why two-player games > online gaming: See your pal's shock as you bag a last-second victory

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Must be the hippy in me...

Yes, teaching one's siblings' kids the finer points of gutter elocution is one of the small pleasures that make life worth living. My nieces and nephew (my sister's kids) all received their first tuition in pottymouth prosody at the hands of me and my brother at an early age, much to my sister's lasting annoyance.

But back on topic: Bubble Bobble (the Amiga version) has a lot of history with me and my friends as well.

But our best memories are of Gloom (the Amiga's answer to Wolfenstein) which introduced a new and evil pleasure: the map editor. I designed a particularly fiendish map which was laid out as follows: There was a central "safe room" with six switches and a door that could be opened only from the inside. Surrounding this was a large central "atrium" with a stack of powerups and weapon upgrades. Around the outside of this atrium were six doors, which opened into side chambers, each packed with a massive horde of monsters. Each door was linked to a corresponding switch in the safe room. The spawn points were located in a separate closed off room with two teleport triggers. I had a tiny one-shot teleport trigger in front of my spawn point, and a larger repeating teleport in front of my friend's. Hitting my teleport would zap me into the safe room, in which I could trip the switches at leisure and watch out the windows in perfect safety as my friend had to rush around gathering powerups and fighting off packs of monsters. I'd time the release of the switches so he'd have scant seconds to get the next powerup before having to deal with the next monster rush.

It didn't take him long to figure out that by jumping forward left at the instant of spawning, he could snatch my teleport from under my nose if I was a fraction tardy about moving myself. The first time he did this, his revenge was to open every switch in the safe room at once, burying me under a unstoppable avalanche of monsters that tore me to shreds in seconds. My cries of "You fucking bastard, I never did that to you!" were drowned out by his howls of maniacal laughter.

The rest of my map designs were... rather fairer.

0
0

Nintendo says sorry, but there will be NO gay marriage in Tomodachi Life ... EVER

Steven Roper
Silver badge

That depends on what the "liberal : conservative" ratio is. LGBT couples and their supporters may well boycott Nintendo for "intolerance", but by the same token conservatives may well end up supporting it for promoting "traditional family values." If a load of conservative families buy the game for their kids on those grounds, that could pretty much undermine the liberal boycott.

It would be interesting to set up a marketing experiment along these lines: Set up two shelf companies that have no immediately apparent connection to each other, and have each release a variant version of the same game. One that conforms to liberal values, and one that conforms to conservative values, and see which one sells more copies and which generates the bigger shitstorm.

I'd put money on this being the outcome: the conservative version would attract the loudest howls of indignation from the mass media, calls for boycotts and demands for censorship from the liberals, even though the liberal version would actually sell marginally more copies.

5
0

SMASH AND GRAB iThieves run car through front of Berkeley's Apple Store

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Alert

Hasn't El Reg heard of ramraiding before?

Here in sunny Australia, ne'er-do-wells got the idea of crashing cars through shop windows and emptying their contents back in the 90s. The attack was so effective, and thus became so commonplace, that the term "ramraiding" was coined to describe it - and it's the reason why so many outdoor strip-shops here have installed concrete ramraid bollards out the front to prevent the practice.

Looks like the craze has finally caught on over there. For once we Australians aren't the ones 20 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to achieving something. Although I do appreciate the irony of that something being a criminal activity, given our benighted nation's history...

11
0

Japanese cops arrest man with five 3D printed guns at home

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Error:

Why would it need a radio transmitter specially linked to police when it could just notify them over your internet connection or WiFi?

Although I could see some cracking potential in digging out and exploiting the exact URL/IP address/email address it would use to contact the police...

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Error:

"The object you are attempting to print looks like a firing pin. Printing such items is prohibited under the Restriction of Printed Firearms Act. In accordance with this Act, law enforcement in your area have been notified of this attempt. Please remain at your current location and wait for police to arrive."

1
0

Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Another reason for stalling traffic flow

you guys may not have considered is government fuel excise revenue.

Some years ago, a friend of mine worked out how much petrol he used sitting at stop-lights on an average working day, totted up how much that cost, factored in the percentage of fuel excise and multiplied that by the number of cars on the road in our city (Adelaide, Australia - about 1.2 million people.)

It turned out that at the (then) price of around $1.00 per litre of which around 60c is government taxes and excises, using about 3-5 litres per week idling at lights, by 400,000 cars, comes out to $0.60 * (3 to 5) * 400,000 = between $720 K to $1.2 million per week or between $37.44 million and $62.4 million per year in revenue just from traffic stopped at lights. And that's just from a small, relatively trafficable city like Adelaide, back when petrol was only $1 per litre (it's now around $1.80.) I'll leave it to the El Reg readership to imagine what those figures would be like for a major city the size of London...

That kind of money is definitely enough to capture the attention of government beancounters. Which no doubt means that said beancounters have some say in how the stop-lights are sequenced in order to maximise revenue from petrol wastage.

0
0

Actual spin doctors eye up ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris b: Young, hot ... and really FAST

Steven Roper
Silver badge

If it's that big, and spinning that fast, can I safely assume that aliens get flicked off if they go near the equator?

Obligatory xkcd: http://what-if.xkcd.com/92/

0
0

US officials vote to allow Bitcoin for political donations

Steven Roper
Silver badge

it should be a publicly available rate of Bitcoins traded for dollars on a high-volume public Bitcoin exchange that is open to transactions within the United States

Translation: "We want lobbyists to be able to donate anonymously to political parties to hide their involvement, but we want to be able to spy on everyone else and strip that anonymity away for the general public at the same time."

So more of the usual "one law for us, another for everyone else" then. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.

8
0

China 'in discussions' about high-speed rail lines to London, Germany – and the US

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Awesome idea if they can pull it off, but building something on that scale would have to be a multi-country effort. And aside from the engineering difficulties of tunnelling under the Bering Strait, of as much gravity perhaps are the risks of running a high-speed railway through all those countries whose names end in "-stan" - known to harbour elements with a penchant for targeting transport infrastructure to demonstrate their beliefs regarding holy retribution...

10
0