* Posts by Tim

119 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007

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MPs get £2k home cinema on taxpayers

Tim

Re: IT Security Consultant to MP

Exactly. Now I see what's allowed to be claimed for as expenses with 'public' money, I see no problem as a contractor in claiming for similar expenses with my own company's money, despite HMRC getting medieval on our asses for any such claims!

Double standards. Pah!

Right, I'm off to John Lewis to get me a £2k set up on the company :-)

Of course *I* have to specify it's for business use (erm... presentations of course!). MPs don't!!!

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You don't know disk about storage failures

Tim

Often thought...

... that a lot of claimed "disk failures" are frequently nothing of the sort.

However it's just easier to pull the disc and get it replaced if it's got corrupted.

Home users I bet tend to just blame the disc, and professional storage admins likely are under pressure to get the thing fixed quick. If it's a random corruption from a software glitch then likely they'll just assume it's fixed.

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DAB: A very British failure

Tim

OAP marketting

Problem from what I could see is most DAB radios on the market seemed to be aimed at OAPs with retro designs that clearly are supposed to replace that antique 60s radio pensioners have in their kitchens.

That has it seems been quite successful with many pensioners convinced they need to update to digital because they've been told they must, but the rest of the population is apathetic.

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Sony chews the Blu-ray fat with Microsoft

Tim
Stop

@Monkey

Prat. Wrong Tim mate.

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US cruiser nails crippled spy-sat on first shot

Tim
Joke

What they're really hiding...

Is that the satellite is owned by Major League Baseball who are spying on the public.

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Missing: 80GB PS3. Last seen: Sony's website

Tim

Forget high end, just give us low end Blu-Ray - without the games

Drop the gaming stuff, and cut the price massively and then you'd have a top notch Blu-Ray player (as the PS3 is supposed to be) for a bargain price.

Though shove in Profile 2.0 and DTS-HD MA bitstream whilst you're at it. Then it would also be complete.

That's all I'm interested in. Though *please* give us a proper Blu-Ray remote control in the box too rather than charging extra.

Is there much incentive now for a flood of new models though, considering the war is won for HD formats? No hurry I should think anyway.

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Sky Broadband puts the fault into default Wi-Fi security

Tim

Re: "Default" password...

Those who have a clue about computers may change the password but I'd guess a lot of people don't bother.

Certainly seems the case with BT and their Home Hubs (which are based on the MAC also? and default to the less secure WEP instead of WPA).

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Software glitch hits Heathrow T4 baggage system

Tim

@Chris

"It's one thing if BA were upfront about the restriction when booking the flight - another thing to find out when you have turned up with your cases, spent money on accomodation and reserved precious annual leave with work."

Absolutely, as I'm about to find out!

What I meant was (jokingly), turn up and BA could do the decent thing and just upgrade us :-)

Obviously isn't going to happen, despite all those empty seats now because no one's going to get on the plane without luggage for a long haul!

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Tim

Simple solution

Free upgrade to Club or First and then under their rules we can fly :-)

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HD DVD firesale begins on eBay

Tim

Defunct yes... but a bargain

Great upscaling player and access to 300+ HD movies for next to nothing. No brainer really. Then when you've watched them all, either use it as an upscaler or a door stop. Who cares :-).

Doesn't stop you getting into Blu-Ray too of course for all the new releases, though you won't be seeing them this cheap for a long time ;-)

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PS3 won't beat Wii until 2011, forecasts analyst

Tim

@Thomas

"if quality wasnt the issue, then why have people bought dvd titles they already have on tape?"

Space.

Though it's far more likely a case that "the majority" who bought DVDs, never bought many VHS and wouldn't have been replacing DVD. Most rented VHS. The sales market was huge with DVD though, mostly down to convenience and eventually down to price competing with the rental market.

Of course us movie geeks will have bought for quality also, but that wasn't the biggest driving force for moving from VHS to DVD. I have to admit a big reason for me buying DVDs was to clear out the shelves and make more space.

The move to HD is more tricky when most people have (or will have) TVs that are a little on the small size to really make it worth going HD at all.

Not that I'm knocking HD. I love it. But if we're talking Joe Public and their little 28" telly (if that) in the corner of the room, I can see how they might think "what's the point". I mean, with a 40" TV I find sometimes HD isn't as staggeringly day and night as I assumed it would be, especially compared to upscalers.

Mind you, JP just thinks he/she has HD because the telly says "HD Ready".

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Tim

Re: Here he goes again

@ *Anonymous Coward*

Nothing misguided about facing facts. I accept Blu-Ray has "won". I don't accept the fanboy fantasy that Blu-Ray will replace DVD shortly, and there's no evidence to suggest it. I also accept that HD DVD would never stand a chance of doing the same.

However, like most HD DVD owners, I'm in touch with reality (including accepting "losing").

Meanwhile however my "obsolete" player is happy playing plenty of HD movies in perfect quality for a fraction of the price of the current Blu-Ray option, and has access to 300+ others that keep me going for years until Blu-Ray is finally finalised and priced right with proper standalone players. I may even buy Blu. Still I'm not as daft as to assume it will replace DVD.

What do the trends show? Blu-Ray and HD DVD *combined* have about 2% of the movie media market (DVD having 98%) and prediction of maybe 3% in a year. It would take at least 30 million PS3s sold in the UK alone in the next few years to even approach the point where it could take over DVD. Nothing, absolutely nothing, shows any trend towards this.

As I say, face facts. £20 Blu-Ray players in ASDA and everyone owning DVD in 5 or 10 years is just not a reality. DVD only achieved what it did because it was just night and day between DVD and VHS, and more importantly a disc is just so more convenient than a bulky tape. That isn't the case with HD formats (Blu or HD DVD).

Going to 20 years, I'd say without the runaway success in the short term, almost certainly there will be another option by then. Scoff at downloads, but consider just how much has happened to the Internet in the space of 10 years. We were using 56k modems 10 years ago! Not that future HD movie watching may come via the Internet or in the form of traditional downloads anyway.

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Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: It'll happen quicker & That Long?????

"The PS3 will get there sooner. Friends with Wiis are getting bored with them already and want to get a PS3. Even my Dad wants to get a PS3 to watch Blu-ray"

I know no one who's expressed any desire to get a PS3. Only those I know with one are hard core male 12 to 20-something gamers. Almost everyone else (friends, both male and female, their parents and their granny) has a Wii and finds it fun.

"IF Blu-ray win, expect to see sales of PS3 to soar"

Not a chance. It's way too expensive.

This whole fantasy of Blu-Ray becoming such a runaway success makes two assumptions...

1. That Joe Public sees Blu-Ray as such a clear advantage over DVD, as DVD was over VHS. Plain and simple fact is Joe Public does not see this. DVD vs VHS was simple. Shiny disc... or tape. Quality was always secondary, and with HD quality really requires a 40" or higher size telly. Average TV size in the UK is more likely around 21" (tucked away in the corner).

2. That Joe Public will be able to buy a player for £20 in ASDA. This is never going to happen with the PS3, and fact is there is no viable alternative or any sign of cheap Chinese players on the horizon, or even 10 years down the line (especially when there is low demand). In fact, the PS2 is still outselling the PS3 and it's still around £100 !!

Really Blu-Ray missed a trick by not convincing Nintendo to bundle a player with the Wii. The market for the Wii *is* Joe Public, unlike the PS3. That's why the Wii sells bucket loads. It's why Blu-Ray will never be much more than a geek niche market product.

And one more thing. By 2011 there will be new consoles out. PS3 will be old technology by then, and Nintendo will have something better (or at least more fun).

Paris? Even Paris probably has a Wii.

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Official: Toshiba discontinues HD DVD

Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: Alli want...

"...is the original Star Wars films on BR. Then I really would make a mess of my underpants"

To risk another flame war... the "original" Star Wars films will of course never be on BR ;-)

Lucas will eventually get round to do the next version of them though, but they'll be different again... with even more added CGI value!

Though interesting to note that Lucas originally was reluctant to release on DVD at all because he was waiting for an HD format.

Also of desire of course is LOTR. Problem is, will I have to buy new collectors boxed sets again! :-D

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Wal-Mart blogger claims retailer will ditch HD DVD

Tim
Flame

Price reductions... with Sony?

"Not sure of the short-term pricing plans, but history tells us that as more people move to a new technology prices typically go down."

Is this really true of Sony?

Well I suppose it is in so much as they go down a little, but they still remain far higher with the Sony brand.

There seems to be a perception that with "one format" and it being Blu-Ray that we'll get budget players in ASDA and £5 a pop for a disc. Fat chance with Sony at the helm.

However, it is inevitable with the steam roller power of Sony and the fanboys that HD DVD will be no more, but really how successful will Blu-Ray be? £300 for a player and (once the BOGOF deals dry up with no competition) £20 per disc, and what perceivable benefit to Joe Public who thinks DVD is the bees knees anyway, especially at £5 a movie and £20 for a player?

So we'll have Blu-Ray and everyone cheers. Great. Sony have achieved their plan of wrecking the party and the consumer ultimately loses. It's short sighted. Oh well. Enjoy.

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Mole claims Toshiba to terminate HD DVD

Tim

@Monkey, @Paul

@Monkey

"When did anyone say "BR will replace DVD"?"

First comment. Read it again.

@Paul - Why does it bother you if I point out some realities? No need for the abusive language. So I backed "the wrong format". Does that matter to me? Not really. I have movies to watch and my player isn't about to explode. If you don't like what I write, then tough. "Deal with it" ;-)

What gets me though is why Blu fans get so upset about any comments from the people they have "defeated". Why not welcome them over to your format of choice? Currently everything I read from the fanboys being abusive to HD DVD owners, does not encourage me to back the format. Is it something about the average age (or mental age) of a PS3 owner perhaps? ;-)

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Tim

Replacing DVD

Dream on.

Take the PS3 for example. 1million players sold in the UK in it's first year. There are some 30million or more DVD players in the UK.

PS3's sale rate will have been largest in the first year and then decline. It has a very long way to go to even achieve 30million, and that makes a massive assumption that Joe Public (not just 12 to 20-something males) will even buy one!

Only chance of replacing DVD is to get £20 players in ASDA, and even then there has to be a good reason for Joe Public to bother replacing DVD. HD is not a good enough reason when the vast majority of the UK public has a small CRT tucked away in the corner of the room (remember, what's on sale in Currys is not a reflection of what the majority of people own).

Re:Upscaling's pointless.

Proper upscaling is a lot more than just scaling up on your laptop. If you've seen true upscaling you would even be hard to tell the difference between it and HD except with a 40" or bigger TV. Trust me. Try it before you knock it.

Re: The article

Almost certainly this is Blu-FUD, but we'll see. Only thing I can see Tosh doing is perhaps starting to make dual-format players, but as people are still buying HD DVD players from them and gaining access to 300+ HD movies at bargain prices, many of which still remain exclusive to HD DVD, and with far more interest in HD DVD from China, then they'd be foolish to stop now.

This is just more Blu-FUD from the fanboys who want HD DVD to die (and it's their campaign rather than any "choice" that has won it).

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Price, not format war fears, holds back Blu-ray, says survey

Tim

@Richard Spooner, @Highlander

"I'm also guessing due to the continual PS3 bashing that more was paid for the HD-DVD player too than a PS3!"

Nope. Far cheaper than the PS3. Not bothered at all about the money as I haven't lost anything. I can still play 300+ movies in HD, and I've got a fantastic upscaling DVD player.

As I've said though, the PS3 is too expensive and not "there" yet for me for Blu-Ray. So I just live without the wealth of dumb comedies and the likes of the Pirates series from Sony ;)

Meanwhile I'm still buying discs so I can watch 'HD' movies, whilst I wait for Blu to fall in line to provide the rest of the catalogue at the right price and with the right features.

@Highlander

Read my points again. They are perfectly valid reasons for not going Blu yet (and note I don't rule it out entirely at all!). You may not feel the same, but they are my reasons and many can agree with them even if you don't.

However...

"Yet again you're proving yourself to be a complete moron."

And with that comment everything else you say is null and void.

Do you expect me to treat Blu-Ray seriously if this is what their fans come out with? !

And people tell me to grow up? !! Come on. I just voice some concerns, and they I get insults and abuse!

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Tim

Re: @Tim the village idiot.

Mark. You assume I haven't seen or played a PS3. Besides I know what games interest me. They aren't on the PS3. I already have a PS2 anyway and don't really want a PS3 for gaming. Not because of any anti-Sony agenda (hell I actually own or have owned a lot of Sony kit!), but because I'm not a serious hard core gamer (in fact I got bored with the PS2 games).

I admit I'm a part time gamer who likes simple fun games. That is the very reason why the Wii is so massively successful. It is also a reason why the PS3 alone cannot drive Blu-Ray to mass market.

Maybe something else will, but it's not there yet. Again, read my points as to why I *personally* (whether you like it or not) will not currently buy Blu.

As for the subject. Again, Blu fans demonstrate their superior intelligence and attitude by throwing insults at anyone who doesn't agree with them! lol.

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Tim

What I'm waiting for...

(If I can't have everything on HD DVD that is)

1. Profile 1.1 & 2.0 *fully* supported (not just tolerating the discs).

2. All discs re-issued with profile 1.1 & 2.0 features and future discs using them.

3. Standalone player with full support for all profiles, all HD audio formats, and region free (PS3 is none of these).

4. *Much* lower price (ideally lower than £150). Yes - I do not want a games machine thank you very much. I have a Wii anyway and it's far more fun.

5. Lower disc prices with guarantees that if/when HD DVD dies the Blu-Ray prices stay low (can Sony's licence costs really allow this?).

As far as I can tell, it's going to be a long wait.

Meanwhile HD DVD will do me fine, even if it's going down the pan. 300+ films to choose from and many with features Blu-Ray fans still miss out on, and still all those Paramount/Universal titles that aren't going to turn up on Blu-Ray any time this year even if they do switch.

Simple fact is, Blu-Ray is still not mature and still not the right price. Not to mention the huge complication introduced with region coding if you want the best version of a movie.

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Sony sells 1m PS3s in UK

Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: hmmmm

"yes, the wii is good for women, children and the old"

And that is exactly what is so good about the Wii and why it sells vast amounts.

All other consoles appeal to a small teen to 20-something male market.

There's room for them all though. Serious gaming and fun gaming.

What is daft though is Sony using the PS3 to push Blu-Ray. If they'd got Nintendo to shove in a Blu-Ray drive, Blu-Ray would have killed HD DVD dead instantly and taken a heafty 10% or more share of the DVD market. Instead it's held back HD by years and only achieved a 1 to 2% market share from DVD.

Alternatively, Sony could have dropped Blu-Ray and cut the cost of the PS3 massively, encouraging a lot more serious gaming.

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Tim
Stop

Sounds good but...

Isn't the PS2 actually outselling the PS3 currently? !!!

At least the PS2 has games worth playing and UK buyers can actually play them unlike on the PS3.

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Major Linux security glitch lets hackers in at Claranet

Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: Bah

Whilst true that the Linux community will typically get the patch out quicker (hacked together by some spotty teenager and tested by users), whilst MS will develop and thoroughly test the patch behind closed doors, the fact is that the closed source vulnerabilities in Windows are almost always ones that are announced by themselves or security firms but where the hackers do not have access to the source to work it out themselves.

i.e. With Windows, by the time the hackers really have developed a hack, MS has long since rolled out the *fully tested* patch.

Now don't get me wrong. I love Linux too. However, the whole "it's secure because it's Linux" is both a myth and a dangerous assumption.

The fact is there are far more security patches rolled out on Linux than Windows. They're occurring all the time, but few people make a song and dance about it unless you get a headline incident like this.

That both Linux and Windows get patched pretty quick is a positive thing anyway, and reality probably is that so long as people update they are mostly safe from these vulnerabilities.

The real issue with Linux is with poor administration and the assumption that updates are not required. Sadly a lot of neglect occurs with web servers, and especially in applications that aren't part of the normal distribution and therefore update process.

I mean, what do I see in my web server logs these days? Not IIS hack attempts like I used to see 10 years ago, but almost all the attempts are aimed at known flaws in PHP applications. Not in PHP or Linux, but in the applications.

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Blighty might have astronauts in future, says UK gov

Tim
Paris Hilton

We could stick a Britain on the moon...

... for the money wasted on the ID database/card and the other billions wasted on government projects and screw ups.

But the reality is the only ways for a Brit to get into space is to...

1) Be a millionaire and pay Mr. Branson for a ticket

2) Be a millionaire and pay the Russians for a ride

3) Have American ancestry, know the right people, and become an American citizen, and ideally have 20/20 vision, perfect physical fitness and be a member of the US military.

Everyone else, forget it. Best hope is to star gaze with the rest and even then have to beg, steal and borrow to get funding or use of other country's facilities.

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Star Trek XI release knocked back to 2009

Tim
Thumb Down

At least we don't have to be subjected to this for another year

You thought Nemesis was bad. Just wait for this one!

Have they learned their lesson from "Enterprise" (i.e. if you want to make a prequel, do it right and make it look like it fits in with the original series)? ... No.

Nails and coffins a plenty.

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Government wants every English child on 'secure' database

Tim
Black Helicopters

Yet another back door attempt at the ID database

Learning Database today and sneakily gets turned into the central ID database tomorrow with other information linked in. How long before the US demands access to it and starts to vet entry on the basis of how many exams you passed?

Moral objections aside though, once again with these things my main problem with it is...

1) Why? Don't give me crap about it making life easier for employers. That's not why governments do things like this. Just seems like a job creation scheme and back door for the ID database.

2) Waste of tax payers money. We all know how gov IT projects overspend and screw up.

3) No trust at all in security. Disparate, decentralised databases may be more of a pain for people looking up information, but it's also a reason why they are more secure.

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Microsoft ready to play with PlayReady

Tim

DRM

DRM is not so bad, so long as it's not restrictive. If I can play my music anywhere, any time and on any device, without having to pay for it many times over, and at a minimum of CD quality, then that's fine. Anything else makes it evil spawn of the devil.

Oh, and no rootkits (looking at you Sony!).

So does PlayReady also include movies? I wonder how Microsoft feel about Blu-Ray "winning" at present, considering Sony's additional DRM features (namely the ability to disable Mandatory Managed Copy) basically knacker the concept of PlayReady and similar MS concepts. It's no wonder MS back HD DVD ;)

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Netflix falls in behind Blu-ray

Tim
Thumb Down

Re: WMV urgh (and other things)

You realise VC-1 is a mandatory part of Blu-Ray and that's based on WMV? ;)

Anyway, as for the technical points.

Capacity - none issue.

a. HD DVD has 51gb now. Doesn't need it anyway...

b. Blu-Ray 50Gb releases appears as 2x30gb on HD DVD.

c. Blu-Ray wastes a third of disc space on uncompress PCM tracks when it could use Dolby TrueHD (also lossless) or DTS-HD MA (again lossless).

d. Same releases on Blu-Ray and HD DVD are identical encodes, although HD DVD also manages to squeeze on interactive features.

Bitrate - none issue

Encodes on both are the same and the extra bitrate Blu-Ray affords is not required.

DRM - identical?

Yes and no.

Both have the same DRM, but Blu-Ray adds extra options to allow studios to turn off things like Mandatory Managed Copy. This destroys any hope of using Windows Media Centre or other third party Media Centre systems, or even Linux, to network your home media with HD movies.

"It is about the amount of media sold. Not players, not technical superiority, but disks. There could be one million cheap shit HD-DVD players in the world and 10 £1000 BR players, but if those 10 BR owners buy 1 million disks a month and the million HD-DVD owners only 100,000 disks, BR wins."

In that case, Blu-Ray should actually lose, because statistics are showing that PS3 owners are individually buying far less Blu-Ray discs than HD DVD owners.

The situation is in fact entirely the opposite to your example. There are millions of PS3 players to the hundreds of thousands of HD DVD players, but the latter sells more discs per player. Just that there are so many PS3s players it's skewed the figures 60/40 in favour of Blu-Ray, hence the baseless claims by Sony that "the consumer has chosen!"

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Tim
Paris Hilton

to be followed by...

Blu-Ray which will be dead a year later, as the world realises no one really cares about HD media.

Time to mention again that far more money has been paid out by Sony/BDA to buy out studios than has actually been made in profit on titles sold. Sustainable business model? (especially with still the PS3 the only viable player).

@Anonymous Coward, RE: Dancing...

Said it before, and say it again. Please tell us why Blu-Ray is superior? Go on. Seriously, they're bang on equal technically (even capacity now).

Or do you mean the region coding, extra layers of DRM, lack of interactivity until eventually profile 1.1* comes about, lack of Internet play until eventually profile 2.0 comes about? Does that lot make it superior? ;-)

* and yes I know the firmware has been rolled out to the PS3, but what about discs? What about standalones?

Seriously though, even with all this in place, Blu-Ray is still worse off as a more expensive product to manufacture and market. Superior? Lol!

Oh, and here's something else. That PS3 consumes so much power it likely will cost you twice the price of the console over a few years. Some standalones consume just one tenth what the PS3 does!

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Calls to ban hoodie-busting sonic weapon

Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: Re:The sad fact is...

"Just about fire engines......Instead of cameras and "deterrent devices" being added, why don't they just squirt the disruptive little shits with their high-powered hose? It'd knock em off their feet and leave them soaking wet and freezing cold."

Sadly that would also be in breach of their human rights.

As for the sonic stuff, if it means I can go to the shop without being shouted at, hassled, having to dodge drunken fights, and asked to buy them beer'n'fags, then stuff their rights I say.

If the cotton wool society would get off their backsides and actually discipline the little scrotes then there wouldn't be any need for this anyway.

As for the "innocent", well they don't hang around outside shops. They go inside, or walk by. Simple. If it puts people off going in, well it's no worse than the effect teens have, and at least a sonic device isn't going to mug you at the cashpoint.

Paris? It would be interesting to see just what affect it has on her!

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Germans to blast fish into space

Tim
Coat

Oh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fish

That went wherever I did go.

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RIAA chief calls for copyright filters on PCs

Tim
Flame

Recording Industry Ass of America

Firstly anything that RIAA does that affects anyone outside America diserves prosecution anyway.

Secondly, I don't pirate, I buy legit physical CDs and make perfect rips to store on my server and use on MP3 players. End result is much superior quality to the pathetic downloads on offer anyway and less hassle than carrying piles of CDs around.

If their "filters" in any way prevent me from doing that I will get medieval on their asses. I'm not a music thief, and if they infect my PC, they get sued.

Have they not learnt from Sony's rootkit mistake? !

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Equifax asks customer to email debit card photocopies

Tim

Re: I can top all these.....

In regards to PIN reminders, I can't be certain but I suspect one of my cards was hit due to this. This was around the time when chip&pin cards were being issued and Tesco I believe sent out the card and PIN at the same time like most card issuers.

Both would have been sent separately, but because they are sent at the same time, they arrive in the same post! Easy pickings.

And of course around that time the local postie had his bag nicked (unattended). I never got a new card or PIN from Tesco, though can't be certain they did issue them, but sure enough soon after I got hit with fraudulent Amazon transactions. I should add that I'd never used the Tesco card as I only got it for a 0% balance transfer.

As for Equifax. I signed up to their service a few years back, and I think it was them who only required me to supply details of the last two addresses I lived at! That was it.

However, to be fair, most companies can request your credit file anyway to check up on you.

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Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Tim
Boffin

Metres!

The tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it.

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Operators race to pre-empt Euro data roaming cap

Tim
Flame

forget roaming charges, investigate home data rates

What I'd like to see investigated is the home data rates operators charge.

How on earth can they justify the £2 or £3 per Mb rates just for UK? !! (looking at you Orange!).

Daily caps are okay apart from the likes of Orange ignore your request to be put on such a rate and worse by default they sting you for £3 per Mb or more if you don't set a rate.

On the roaming front though, caps on the extra charge are good, but the operators own daily caps are not applied when roaming, so when you pay a flat £1 per day or whatever in the UK, you could be back to paying archaic "per Mb" rates abroad.

And of course none of these caps apply out side the EU.

£8 per Mb for US data Orange say? No chance mate! Thankfully I have WiFi on the phone, and at least in the US I can find free or cheap hotspots in cafes, hotels and major cities, unlike most of the "fleece the customer" operator run hotspots in the UK.

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Egg scrambles to fix network outage

Tim
Paris Hilton

Down the pan

They've been going down the pan for a while now since the Pru got rid of them (obviously wasn't profitable to them either). Before throwing out the Egg they also got rid of the stock ISAs to Fidelity (still waiting to make a profit on them after nearly 10 years!).

They're still running the same antique online system they first put in place, complete with easy to keylog login page, whilst most others are moving to UberSecure systems (so secure it's almost impossible for valid users to log in!).

Still, I kept hold of the Egg shares when they reverted to Pru and the Pru shares are just about break even for me! I'm sure I'm better off that way though than if I'd been given Sh*tygroup shares or just taken the cash offer.

I've always avoided Citygroup as a credit card issuer due to bad reputation and their American attitude (screw the customer).

My advice is to move over to Nationwide. Last (or one of the last) of the mutuals. No shareholders and has the member's bests interests at heart. That's why they do things like no transaction fees on foreign transactions, and actually let me have house insurance at a reasonable cost rather than just flat reject me for being near a flood plain because the shareholders wouldn't accept risky customers.

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N-Gage makes it into software

Tim

Re: what's the point?

Kids pay millions on texting. That's the point. Another market to tap into and money to pay for it, even if it's pocket money (and trust me, kids get a lot these days!).

With capped rates these days, data could be down to £1 a day.

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Blu-ray winning in Europe

Tim
Thumb Down

Loaded stats

Great. As said, though more Blu-Ray discs are being sold just because there are more PS3s about than any other player, it's clear that PS3 owners are actually not that interested in Blu-Ray. They buy one disc (or a fraction of one going by the stats), and that's it.

Blu-Ray wins, and no one's interested.

Attach Rates would be a better figure to look at, but the heavily aggressive pro-Blu camp have better marketing, which is really what's "won" it.

Personally if I ever go for Blu, I'll be waiting for a "proper" player, not an overpriced under-featured console (especially in the UK). Something that *fully* supports profile 1.1/2.0, and has high-end AV components, ideally with internal decoding of all HD audio formats (PS3 doesn't do this), and *full* support for DTS-HD MA (PS3 doesn't do this) or *full* bitstreaming of HD audio formats (PS3 doesn't do this). AND I expect a remote control in the box! (PS3 doesn't include one!).

On top of that, I'll have to wait even longer for full profile 1.1/2.0 discs to be released. At present I'm buying the HD DVD equivalents because there's no way Warner and co will be re-releasing their Blu-Ray versions with 1.1/2.0 features any time soon and the HD DVD versions are superior.

As for HD DVD. Let's see what the sales data for the first quarter of this year brings. £100 for an HD DVD player with 7 free films after all must have generated some interest (and going by most AV / film forums, a *lot* of interest).

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16GB iPhone to launch today

Tim
Stop

Price

Of course it doesn't cost £329 as contract is mandatory so the overall cost is nearer £800.

For £329 I expect a top of the range SIM free phone for that with all the whistles and bells (and most can sport more features than the iPhone). Nice UI though, but is it worth an extra £400 for it?!!!

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EU to ban the patio heaters that ate the planet. Not.

Tim
IT Angle

Cars vs Patio Heaters

If Patio Heaters raised taxes in the same way as cars do, then there'd be no way they'd be proposing banning them.

As for the point or pointlessness of wasting heat like that, well what would it matter if say the heater was electric and fueled off renewable energy with no CO2 emissions involved? I mean it would be little different then to the heat given off by Volcanoes and we don't go around banning them despite all that wasted heat! (though they do pump out a fair amount of emissions).

Hmm, there's a thought. Geo-thermal patio heaters! :-)

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Apple on the lookout for one million unlocked iPhones

Tim
Thumb Down

Re: Prices

"I love the way everyone goes on about the iPhone being to expensive when they can get phones for FREE. No.. you can't, they don't give you "free" phones unless they are the really really basic ones, otherwise you pay for it, plain and simple.

[snip]

iPhone = £269 + £35x18 = £899

N95 = £89 + £35x18 + £8x18 = £863

so the iPhones a rip off because it costs £36 more than its nearest competitor??

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Hang on!... N95... SIM FREE = £360, NO CONTRACT. Just slap in a PAYG 3G SIM if you like. No monthly fee.

That's one hell of a lot cheaper than the iPhone at £899!!!!! (especially if you are the kind of person who will use it for VoIP, WiFi mostly).

And that's the real point. The iPhone costs as much in retail value as the retail (SIM free) price of any other phone BUT you are forced to take a contract on top. That's the real rip off.

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Windows 7 fake spotted on BitTorrent

Tim
Gates Halo

Desktop linux - still not there

Whilst I use Linux for many things and love it. On the desktop, even in the latest funky supposedly "idiot-proof" versions, it is still a million miles away from being actually useable for the mass public and so called "idiots".

See the problem is you still need a degree in Geekdom to configure the damn thing for your particular hardware, and even then support for many bits of kit is frankly "alpha" quality (WiFi and laptop support in particular).

I keep trying every now and again, running Linux on my laptop. It's just not there. Still. The basics work out of the box and looks nice, but half the hardware is just not supported and involves a lot of googling very technical geek forums for help. I got hacked off eventually with things like WiFi connections that take an hour to establish and then drop again, flakey touchpad and keyboard input, "updates" that corrupt USB drives, and went back to XP (which when kept pretty much to the basic install which supports everything out of the box, and avoiding the likes of system killers like Norton, then loading up loads of open source software like Firefox, Thunderbird and Open Office, works a charm).

Sure, when it comes to hardware and Linux you can just buy stuff you know is compatible. Indeed, that's called an Apple Mac ;-)... and of course you pay through the nose for the work that has been done to ensure it works with only that hardware. What people fail to realise with Microsoft is their software has the immense task of having to run with just about every bit of hardware that exists. Linux is always playing catch up and depending on 16 year old Russian geeks in their bedrooms, and Macs are more like games consoles with fixed hardware. All valid for their purposes, but there's a reason why MS has an OS on almost all desktops.

Then of course there is the development environment. No question there. MS all the way.

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Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

Tim

Re: PS3

PS3 is £300+

EP30 is just over £100 with 7 free films and access to over 300 more that are not going to spontaneously combust just because Blu-Ray "wins"

So if you want to watch some HD movies *now* on your new 1080p telly, it's a no brainer. More so as it's a fine DVD upscaler too.

Who even cares if it's redundant in a couple of years time. Use it as a door stop if you like, though it will still play those 300+ movies plus all your PAL DVDs upscalled. At around £100 it's not a wasted investment.

However I would strongly caution rushing out to buy Blu-Ray at present if you are planning on only backing one format, as frankly Blu-Ray *still* is not finished.

Wait until Blu-Ray is profile 2.0 and you can get standalone profile 2.0 players for £100 to £200 (and I mean *fully* profile 1.1 & 2.0 compliant, not just updated firmware that tolerates profile 1.1/2.0 discs but doesn't play the content).

PS3 is all nice and fine, but it's very expensive as an HD player, and doesn't even support all the HD audio formats properly. In the UK it's also a sub-standard games console with lack of PS2 compatibility. Besides, if you don't want a games console, it's too expensive!

I'm not saying HD DVD is the future, and sure Blu-Ray can go and "win", but HD DVD is *now*, and Blu-Ray is still not complete.

If you want HD now, my advice is to go with a deal like this and snap up all those titles with more complete content than their Blu-Ray equivalents, and/or just go get SkyHD.

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Spotted in the wild: Home router attack serves up counterfeit pages

Tim
Paris Hilton

RE: Why O Why O Why

I believe BT did something like use a random password and print it on the Home Hub box, but they've had to change it I think because it was flawed in some way. Can't remember the details. Might have been the WEP key though.

Of course using WEP is flawed anyway, but you know the reason why? Because WPA would cause too many costly support issues. That's probably the reason why most manufacturers just use the default passwords too. Simplifies support as they know most people don't change them.

As for UPnP, when it was announced, I knew it was asking for trouble. Again a nice idea in theory to make networking "easy" for idiots, and maybe it is, but it also invites hackers. Basically if you make it easy for anyone to use, it's insecure. Make it difficult, it's secure but also almost impossible for idiots to use. Maybe idiots should just be banned from the Internet!

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HD DVD player sales share slumps

Tim

£119.95 + 7 movies (Amazon)

Effectively a free player and access to over 300 top quality HD titles to keep you going whilst you wait for a decent priced Blu-Ray player that *fully* and *reliably* supports profiles 1.1 and 2.0, and is sub £200, and wait for the HD DVD titles to be re-authored to profile 1.1/2.0 spec on Blu-Ray (which is going to take a long time due to costs and difficulty with the Blu-Ray software development process).

So whilst HD DVD may be dead, at this price you really can't argue. It's a free player and just use it as a door stop if you really must when you've re-bought in 'Blu' (though it's not going to spontaneously combust the instant Warner stops making HD DVD).

As for the sales slump. First thing is it's US figures only. They're blind now to HD DVD. Second thing is observational sales of players this side of the pond doesn't seem to match the claims. PS3s collect dust, EP-30s at bargain prices are flying off the shelves. Just what is the reality behind the figures?

Not that it matters. The BDA have vast amounts of money to throw into the pot to ensure they win no matter what. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they're actually buying up PS3 and Blu-Ray disc stocks just to force the matter even further. Though I do think it will take $1billion this time to buy out Universal & Paramount, compared to the $500m for Warner (note that the entire profits from HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc sales only amounts to $300m !!).

It's easy to win when you own major studios and just buy all the rest of the competition, use aggressive tactics to bombard the web, retailers and consumers with propaganda, and ultimately remove all consumer choice. If it were Microsoft they'd have anti-trust thrown at them. If they were just UK based they'd have monopolies and mergers after them.

Still, such is progress. Hijack the development of HD and set it back 10 years.

Again, not that it even matters who's won. The whole thing is a war after all of 1% of the retail movie market!

10 years from now, HD will be all downloads. Sounds unlikely, but look at the state of the net 10 years ago.

What matters in the here and now to Joe Public is digital SD TV and small flat screens that can be tucked in the corner. HD is meaningless to 99% of the population regardless of the 'HD Ready' sticker on their sets.

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The Dark Knight - 2008's biggest movie?

Tim
Thumb Down

@Steven

Batman Begins was a bore fest with half the film spent doing ninja training and the rest really had little substance. As for the comic origins, it depends which version you prefer anyway.

Personally I didn't think making Batman a kick-ass ninja and shooting it sepia provided any more "depth" to Wayne/Batman anyway. Burton/Keaton's Wayne felt more tortured and complex than in Begins. Whilst there is more background in Begins, it just doesn't come across well and ultimately Wayne is an uninteresting character. The Batman character is much the same, just with a lot more kick-ass ninja stuff going on.

Maybe a lot of it is down to actors though. As much as the script may be more "accurate" to the (later) comics, it doesn't make up for actors that just aren't believable in their roles. Keaton and Nicholson were, and came across as true superhero and villain. Just didn't feel that with Begins.

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Tim
Thumb Down

2008 films

Predictably are...

"Hollywood and the Quest for a Decent Plot"

"Hollywood and the Remake of a Remake"

"The Search For Half a Brain Cell in Hollywood Studio Execs"

"I know what you made last summer, so here's another dire remake/sequel"

"Thought we'd run out of ideas? Let's 'reboot' a classic series of films with younger actors, more CGI, worse plot, and then we can remake that next year"

Though the Potter films are always worth a viewing, though I can't help but feel this one will be the weakest as the entire book is Teen Angst stuff.

Dark Night is just poor Batman remake no 2 with nice CGI, and still no patch on Burton's flicks.

The Indy film has a bad start with a daft name (I assume from Lucas) in the style of "The Phantom Menace". Though Lucas doesn't appear to have been let near the script and Stevie-boy is doing the honours as usual so maybe it will have half a chance, but not a patch on Raiders.

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DVLA's 5m driver details giveaway

Tim

Re: WTF?

Isn't this data the kind of stuff you get if you do an HPI check before buying a vehicle? It's about that kind of cost for any member of public to get that data I think.

Problem is you need to know a car's history before buying it.

Who do you protect? The owner or the buyer?

(and no, I don't know the answer).

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Revealed: USB 3.0 jacks and sockets

Tim

Firewire & USB

Firewire - great for sustained data transfer for cameras and removable drives.

USB - great as a means of connecting a wide range of peripherals that don't require sustained data transfer.

All the moans about USB forget what a huge convenience USB is with external hubs when you have a huge amount of devices and limited ports on the computer. Imagine the pain involved daisy chaining firewire gadgets!

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Paramount poised to drop HD DVD

Tim

@The inferior format is winning 3

The extra space and/or bandwidth is never used. Almost all Blu-Ray and HD DVD releases have identical video encodings. In fact Blu-Ray generally wastes space on large PCM tracks that could be identical quality lossless TrueHD and take far less space (ah but then the PS3 doesn't bitstream TrueHD).

The only differences between the formats that count are...

1. HD DVD has no region coding, Blu-Ray does (and with Sony at the helm, they'll use their lawyers to kill anyone offering imports or cracks).

2. HD DVD is a complete spec, Blu-Ray still is not (and all but about one release is still profile 1.0, missing a lot of good features found on most HD DVD discs).

3. HD DVD is not propped up entirely by a games console that isn't fully featured, up to spec or even supports all the HD audio formats! (this is HD after all, you should get 'HD' in all aspects).

4. HD DVD is cheaper to produce, both in terms of discs and players, which is better for the studios, better for manufacturers, increases competition, and is better for the consumer.

5. HD DVD's interactive content is easier to develop than Blu-Ray's BD-J system. Again, better for everyone. Get releases quicker and cheaper for a start.

Everything you could want in an HD format is there in HD DVD *now*. With Blu-Ray you still have to wait for a complete spec system and players at the right price.

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