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* Posts by Kieran

28 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Kieran

As you quoted the son of an audio engineer as an authority in the article, I'll wade in. My father was also one in what's alluded to here as a golden age of audio fidelity - analogue audio in the 70s recording the likes of Thin Lizzy. He's still doing it professionally 40 years on. His hearing's gone downhill (just hit 60) but he's still got a better ear for a good mix than any of the youngsters coming into the business so he's not short of work.

These days he works in TV, but as a kid I used to help out recording everything from studio bands to the classical concerts he'd record in churches in his spare time. His guidance was that engineering and production is a job - and the focus isn't on audiophiles, it's on making sure what you're putting out is going to match what your audience is going to be listening on. Hence the old studio test of going outside and playing the mix on your car stereo at full blast. If it still sounds good, you've got it right.

So any audiophile argument about pop music is basically doomed to failure. You're trying to hear it as the artist intended... but the artist (and the engineers) put a ton of work in to make sure you could enjoy it the way you heard it. Calm down, and just enjoy the music.

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GitHub.io killed the distro star: Why are people so bored with the top Linux makers?

Kieran

Re: Does a lack of search=lack of interest?

Actually that one apparently doesn't have enough search volume to be displayed. This one does though. Close enough?

http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%22what+is+linux%22

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Newsnight goes sour on Tech City miracle

Kieran

Overall good stuff; but one quibble:

"Burbidge counted almost anything as East London or Tech City's own. She cited a high-tech manufacturing company "in Somerset" that made drones."

Andrew had moved onto a general point about the government fetishising startups versus genuinely high-tech investment, and she brought up that example as a counterpoint. The conversation had become quite wide-ranging at that point. So using that as some kind of 'evidence' in the article seems like a pretty low blow and frankly a little bit beneath what I'd expect from Orlowski.

I only bitch because I care.

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JavaScript is everywhere. So are we all OK with that?

Kieran

Re: Coudn't agree more

Hahaha. You're going to pay to access these sites right? You know, actual hard currency that the developers who would then have to actually spend time writing and maintaining these summaries of every individual JS file they're using (and presumably working around you deciding you like X but not Y) to accommodate your particular 1 in 10,000 visitors preference can use for things like food and housing?

There's a browser sandbox for a reason. If there's a security hole that lets a site do something horrendous - then that's an issue for the browser and thanks to automatic updates it's one that's finally addressed pretty much universally these days without you having to care.

I love the admission that you can't be bothered using Noscript - but you'd stop and read the summaries of every individual JS file before reading a blog post?! Sites that require Javascript to work properly require Javascript to work. Other websites are available. ;)

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The REAL winner of Microsoft's Nokia buy: GOOGLE

Kieran

Just for reference El Reg. I'm a die-hard believer in not blocking ads. I genuinely think journalism is worth paying for and since I'm not actually handing over fivers, disabling the ads is just stealing.

However. The O2 ad you've been running on this story actually maxed the CPU on my laptop to the point where I couldn't actually scroll the page to read the article. Just actually couldn't read it. I had to go and chase down a flash blocker to stop it because I'm that f**ked off I needed to vent. You're killing yourselves here. In the name of the wee man - vet your ads to make sure they haven't been written by halfwits.

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Apple users: Only Apple can track us! Not Google

Kieran
FAIL

Re: er ... why not sue Safari ?

They circumvented it by writing code that went out of its way to fake what looked like a legitimate response to user action (posting data to a third party domain). They explicitly did this to get around the fact that Safari (unlike any other browser including Chrome and Firefox) defaults to reject third-party cookies.

Similar to the long-running furore over :visited links it's really not just as simple as 'just stop it'. If you stop this kind of thing (by doing deep analysis on exactly what every script is doing for example), you break thousands of websites who are doing this kind of thing perfectly legitimately to do things users actually WANT. At that point everyone says "this browser's rubbish" and simply switches to another less privacy-conscious one.

Google circumvented this deliberately, and justified it internally by saying that if a user hadn't consciously opted out (it was the default) then how were they to know if it was actually the users' preference or not... until they got caught of course, when they promptly admitted it and stopped. For the latest round of this particular argument, look at the response to IE10 defaulting to Do Not Track.

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European Commission: Cloud will save us from economic doom

Kieran
Facepalm

Re: Regulations always make business less, in numerous ways; no exceptions!

Indeed. And it would be great if:

a) There were NO regulations whatsoever on thing like privacy, data protection, data security. Because we all know businesses would TOTALLY prioritise them anyway out of the kindness of the Financial Director's heart.

b) There wasn't a centralised European directive, so instead anyone working across Europe had to know and comply with 25 different sets of legislation drafted by slightly different career bureaucrats.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet review

Kieran
WTF?

Re: Split screen...what next...

Here here. I can't wait until they've got the technology perfected, and then generously and selflessly hand it over to all of their competitors to profit from their hard work; no doubt refusing to accept even thanks in return. Truly, they are heroes to us all.

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Apple accuses Samsung of abusing its 3G power

Kieran
Facepalm

Re: Funny

"Funny how Nokia were able to happily make a million phones a day and not have a the slightest problem with Samsung's "power over the entire phone market" while Apple fined it impossible."

That would be why the rules on SEPs state that they must be 'Non Discriminatory'. Each licensee can still do separate deals, but they're supposed to give everyone a fair shake - regardless of how successful they are, how much of a competitor they are, or indeed how pally-pally you are with them.

The accusation is that they're using their patents either to shake Apple down, or to hurt their ability to compete. Problem is they signed away their right to do that with these patents when they were granted SEP status.

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Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

Kieran
FAIL

GOOD for someone else's environment perhaps.

Deforestation is the key. It's been made by a few people here, but only a minority.

From reading between the smugness in the article: the original paper appears to be saying we 'might' be okay as long as we don't chop down any trees. However we ARE chopping down trees. Thousands of the bastards. Forest fires are natural events (normally) and in areas where they're prone to happen, the trees have indeed generally become resistant and grow back fairly quickly. Deforestation for development/agriculture/burning out the local rebels is a very different matter. Those CAN'T grow back because people are dumping asphalt, farms and airports over the top of them.

So the basic argument that "everything's okay" is only valid if you believe we live in a totally different world than the one we actually do. If you do, then carry on. Just accept you're delusional.

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Apple's iPad not so shiny once you get it home

Kieran
Stop

posers with too much money ...and by your own argument "users who can't (won't) cope with proper computers."

"Here's a PC. It will do amazing things for you. But whoa! Wait. First you need to learn all about AV, Malware, Drivers, MDI vs Multiple Windows, Preferences v Options v Settings, storage options , compression, formats, codecs, file systems, protocols Zzzzzz"

Step back a moment, and just think about how much crap you know about computers. Then about how much time it took you to acquire that knowledge. Then about all the other things you (and I) could have been doing in that time if we hadn't had to.

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Google 'clamps down' on world of Android partners

Kieran
FAIL

So hang on, Open Source is all bollocks?

Linus personally approves every release of Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu et al?

Wow. You've opened my eyes.

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Firefox joins Microsoft in uncool kids class

Kieran
FAIL

Apple's poor showing

Gotta love an article about the rise of Webkit that manages to rubbish Apple. Aye, I'm sure they're kicking themselves for betting the farm on the right horse.

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Home Office passport fraud sweep flops

Kieran

Waste of time

I went through one of these a couple of years ago. The letter explains that they will ask you questions base on your application, as well as the contents of "public and private databases."

As a result, I was intrigued to see what I'd be asked. I expected questions on fairly basic stuff - any criminal convictions, school/university attended, driving license status, employment history - that kind of thing. Not saying it's a good thing that that's all on file somewhere, but it sounded like what they'd be getting at.

Instead, they asked virtually nothing that hadn't been on the application, or at the very least couldn't have been gleaned by a quick rummage through a dustbin. The point appears to be that the interview is to prove that you're the same person who made the application. If you made it with stolen or fraudulent data - then that's fine.

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Sky snaps up Virgin TV channels

Kieran

Ah, competition

Good thing the private sector provides such wonderful alternatives to paying the license fee.

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Apple cancels Christmas... if you want a 27 inch iMac

Kieran

Weird issue

Whatever these issues are, it's certainly not endemic to the hardware design. We ordered seven for the office and have had them for two months now. Not a single problem with any of 'em.

Presumably just one of the suppliers falling down on QA. That or our dumb luck.

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UK gets final warning over Phorm trials

Kieran
FAIL

@ Soruk

"The EU shouldn't fine the government, since that means the taxpayer has to foot the bill. Instead the ministers responsible for this should be forced to take responsibility for their own actions and pay the fines themselves."

..and presumably the taxpayers - who voted the ministers in, or stayed at home/spoiled their ballots allowing other to vote them in - don't bear any responsibility?

Democracy Fail

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Microsoft's web Office: No love for Chrome, Opera

Kieran

@ Rasczak

This is a suite of web applications designed to integrate with desktop software. You can't gracefully degrade this kind of stuff - you just end up with something that doesn't work.

Unless of course Excel implemented with a million input fields and a submit button sounds appealing?

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Microsoft gets SaaSy with SP2 for Apple-friendly Office

Kieran
Coat

@breakfast

It's the only choice.

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iPhone finally gets Skype

Kieran

Incremental Billing

"surely an appropriate use of the recently announced incremental-billing platform available through iTunes."

Er, that'd be the incremental billing platform that's part of iPhone 3.0 - which isn't available until 'this summer'.

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Metallica's Lars Ulrich illegally downloads own album

Kieran
Stop

Er, hang on a minute...

"So, Metallica’s drummer’s views about peer-to-peer downloading have clearly mellowed in recent years."

From the statements in this article that's a ridiculous conclusion. The implication in his statements is that this was the first time he'd ever downloaded anything from a file-sharing site (given his apparent surprise at the ease), and he did so in order to see whether or not his work was really being so easily pirated.

The subsequent leap that this in any way represents a mellowing of his views, let alone 'clearly', is nothing more than conjecture. For all anyone knows this has simply hardened those views, unless the author is holding back some other piece of the puzzle.

I'm not expressing any opinion here regarding Metallica, Lars Ulrich, or the legality of the process. But if you're going to infer things then print the quotes that led you to that inference - otherwise you're just making stuff up.

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UK minister looks for delete key on user generated content

Kieran
Stop

Pointless Euro-bashing

Andy Burnham is an idiot and the meat of this article is sound. But there seems to be an increasingly right-wing Daily Mail-esque smell coming from more and more Register articles these days. One that's made worrying when you consider that:

a) they are generally dressed up as 'setting the facts straight' unbiased pieces supposedly from a more scientific/technical viewpoint.

And b) That with point A being such a useful, informative and interesting service all by itself - there is really no need to inject cynical, sensationalist vitriol into such pieces.

The link to the Swedish bloggers story is a prime example. In the article above it's cited as an 'abortive attempt [by] the European Parliament to clamp down on blogs' - and indeed is supposedly 'just one example of this trend'. Very sinister indeed. Since no other such examples are offered, this one clearly demonstrates the point fully, right? Er, no.

The whole point of the article linked is that as per standard Euromyth template, the row centered around one Eurocrat who'd come up with a wheeze and got a committee to have a look at it. Said wheeze probably involved a couple of big lunches, and may have been a waste of taxpayers money - but it was always a stupid, ill-conceived and completely unworkable idea without any substantial support - and inevitably ended up discarded. The article actually makes a point of how crazily paranoid, self-serving and sensationalist it was to start extrapolating that this was part of some kind of 'trend'. Yet a couple of months on... that's exactly what we see in another Reg article.

WTF?

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Noel Edmonds defies BBC's jackbooted enforcers

Kieran
Thumb Down

WTF?

But wait? This makes no sense. A man who appears to have become the face of Murdoch's Sky is attacking the BBC?

Oh wait, no that makes perfect sense. It was probably in his contract when he signed up with a company who's Chief Exec stood up a couple of years ago and made a speech to the industry insisting that the role of the Beeb should be to take risks on new programming with public money - then hand anything successful straight to the commercial sector so that they could cream the profits.

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Ballmer upset by Apple cart

Kieran

@Doug Glass

"I wonder how the M$ war machine feels about that one-time gift of money to Apple to keep them alive? My memory is not to clear but I seem to remember $5M maybe fifteen years ago or something like that."

It was $150m in 1997. The stock at that time was at about 19. A quick look today says it's now at 162. So Microsoft's 'gift' to Apple has netted them over a billion so far without lifting a finger. Now also bear in mind that the number one software package for the Mac is MS Office, the iPhone just got Exchange support (also due in the OS next year)... and you'll realise that yeah, MS must be kicking themselves. All the way to the bank.

You can't beat the Borg. Even when you think it's losing, it's still winning.

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DAB: A very British failure

Kieran
Flame

Blame the audience

The fault lies squarely with the hopeless quality of the commercial broadcasters' output.

If you want listeners - give them compelling content to listen to. All these stations to choose from and the only things people are saying they'll miss are a couple of programmed music stations?

This is all digital broadcasters have managed to come up with? It's pathetic.

"Huh? We invested nothing in original programming, made no effort to produce compelling radio, and instead just trotted out cheap programming largely cobbles together to fit either a stupidly narrow 'niche demographic' (which we now claim is unsustainable because it's a niche), or to shoehorn a pre-existing brand onto the air and hope that the country is full of the kind of person who thinks "Hey, this magazine's alright - wish it had an identical radio station"...

"... And it didn't work? We don't understand. The audience must be stupid. Why won't they just buy/listen to whatever crap we throw out there?!"

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Apple to charge $20 for iPod Touch update

Kieran
Coat

@Greg Ayres

Good for you Greg. You've saved your £600 or so. I assume that you don't have a mobile phone with a contract then, or that you get yours free. In which case - you truly are a smart consumer.

Of course if on the other hand like most of us you're also forking out an additional £30-£60 a month for a mobile contract in order to make telephone calls to people: then one could argue that you're talking out of your arse when claiming such a massive saving over those dumb (yet generally inexplicably happy) iPhone owners. But I'm sure that's not the case, otherwise you wouldn't be making such a stupid comparison. Right?

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Motorola: Apple will not open the iPhone

Kieran

Napster

I fully agree. After years of windows-based developers treating the Mac with contempt and refusing to port their apps - Apple should certainly bend over backwards and shoot wildly at their own feet to help these people make a buck.

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Hello, Apple PR. Dr. Freud will see you now

Kieran

Zealots and Comments

Entertaining as ever Ashlee. I'd sympathise with you for the utter failure of commenters to comprehend an article that manages, with some elegance, to: point out Apple's PR failings; defend El Reg's editorial independence (and refusal to play suck up, especially if there's a chance for a cheap shot); and explain your fairly muted coverage of WWDC (compared to both other outlets, and Reg coverage of other Vendor events). All whilst covering your back against wingnut zealot attacks with plenty of self-deprecation.

But sadly, there's no accounting for the general stupidity of people.

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