* Posts by John Gamble

422 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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UK drivers left idling as Tesla rolls out Autopilot in US

John Gamble

What happens when the software meets a non-American road, ie one that's not straight, has roundabouts, features non-right-angle bends, and may involve pedestrians, hedges, ditches, or even farm animals?

Your belief that the whole of the U.S. (and presumably Canada as well) is exactly like Manhattan is ... perhaps not unexpected. Do you only get your information from cop shows?

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Let's check out Dell, doom and the competition

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: How can one article get so much wrong?!

Yes, and they're simply no different. The very first thing they do is lock themselves into a vendor eco-system. It's what they know. At the simplest level, how many do you think switch between Bing and Google for search?

Yes, how completely different from the days of the 1960's mantra "Nobody was ever fired for buying IBM".

Not to mention your absurd comparison of technological lockdown with ... Google search use? Can you come up with a measurable example that actually has something to do with development, please?

The fact of the matter is that every developer of every generation has found something to be fascinated by, and to use it exclusively until the fascination wears down. In my college days it was C, but I've seen the same level of monomania for the LAMP scripting languages, and the next generation of academic languages, and the javascript offshoots. Don't confuse fascination with mental blinders.

Plus, you actually used the phrase "kids these days." And the sad thing is that you're younger than me.

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Laser razor binned from Kickstarter resurfaces on Indiegogo

John Gamble

It wouldn't surprise me if Kickstarter had a similar option.

Be surprised then, Kickstarter does not have that option.

It's one of the reasons I don't support Indiegogo projects. Not because the projects are necessarily bad (I've been frustrated by two that were very good but went to Indiegogo), but because Indiegogo has an option that enables fraudsters.

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John Gamble

It looks like it was suspended before the deadline was reached (the last update talks about it being the second week update), so no money would have been collected.

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Slander-as-a-service: Peeple app wants people to rate and review you – whether you like it or not

John Gamble

Re: Wonder what will happen...

Given that this happening in the land of the lawyers free, ...

Erm... Corday and McCullough are in Calgary. Which is not in the U.S.

I grant you there will probably be something incorporated in Delaware, the anyone-can-be-a-corporation state.

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BBC joins war against Flash, launches beta HTML5 iPlayer

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Late to the party BBC !

If Chrome has everything that FF does, then you'd be right, but developers work on different items at different rates. I know that currently, for example, Chrome is missing some of Firefox's features when it comes to displaying SVG 2.

Obviously, a higher score is better, but it doesn't help me if the browser doesn't have an HTML 5 feature that I need.

Do we know how the scores compare when it comes to covering features that deliver BBC content?

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'Disruptive Innovation'? Take this theory and stuff it: MIT Profs

John Gamble

Re: They couldn't all just go out and start their own search engine.

At least one did (Dex), but you're talking multiple printers across (in this case) the U.S., whose specialty was printing, not web technology (and the collection of information was often handled by a different company).

You may as well ask why I didn't just decide to become a neurosurgeon -- it's not in any way part of my background, and I'd go bankrupt while learning how to handle those cutty things.

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VW’s case of NOxious emissions: a tale of SMOKE and MIRRORS?

John Gamble

Re: Teaching to the test

Yes, it was Cadillac that famously had the "emissions test" mode on when the hood (bonnet) was lifted.

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John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Alltogether Now

There's a third element; governments are in cahoots with these car makers. Clearly VW must have rubbed someone the wrong way in the USofA to have been picked as the first.

Y'know, it's not like this stuff is hard to look up.

“No one had done that before in the U.S.,” said Arvind Thiruvengadam, a professor at [West Virginia University]. “It sounded very interesting, to test light-duty diesel vehicles in real-world conditions. We looked around at each other said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

And the reason they were doing it at all was because the International Council on Clean Transportation wanted to show how much better diesels were doing in the U. S. and to get the European models up to that (now known to be false) standard.

The study also did not target Volkswagen specifically. It was something of a fluke, he said, that two out of three diesel vehicles bought for the testing were VWs.

It did not take long for suspicions to set in. The West Virginia researchers were well-versed in diesel performance on real roads, and had certain expectations for how the test cars should ebb and flow in their emissions. But the two Volkswagens behaved strangely.

Article by Bill Vlasic and Aaron M. Kessler, NYT, Sept 21, 2015

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Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: SOLO needs a bug tracker

I don't know if it completely meets your needs, but there is a "Gitenberg" project, for tracking e-books with git.

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Let's NUKE MARS to make it more like home says Elon Musk

John Gamble

Re: Spider Plants!

Heh. On a different planet entirely, a character in Henry Kuttner's Fury recommended crabgrass as an antagonist to Venus's predatory vegetation.

This was probably funnier when it was written, when suburban sprawl was in full force.

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FCC: No, Dish, you're not a 'small business' so forget the $3bn price cut

John Gamble

Re: Fine mayhaps?

I think AT&T merging with Dish would be a bit too much for regulators, given that AT&T is acquiring DirectTV...

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Germany says no steamy ebooks until die Kinder have gone to bed

John Gamble

Re: Hypothetical

Hmm, an admittedly quick search only found me the Multilingual Books site that's specifically set up for German-reading readers.

They do in turn have the list of books and magazines on Project Gutenberg in German.

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

John Gamble

"I am currently trying to destroy them with anti-culture by playing only early-1970s Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield on them. I like to think Dr Dre would be appalled.]"

So, are Tangerine Dream playing in the left ear while Mike Oldfield plays in the right, or vice versa?

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So just WHO ARE the 15 per cent of Americans still not online?

John Gamble

Re: Let them be

"If they don't see any value in it, then why push them?"

Except, of course, that's not what the article said. The aim is to help those who want to be on line.

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Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

John Gamble

Re: Precedent exists

"You seem to be assuming I have the same background as yourself and should know why the US is different to the UK."

Erm, I did link to the Wikipedia article on fire hydrants, so... maybe not.

Furthermore, I question whether there are no laws about parking. It does appear to be an issue:

Obstructing a fire hydrant is an offence and can carry a fine if convicted. Please remember to park considerately and away from any adjacent hydrants.

I don't know what the consequences of inconsiderate parking may be, but at the very least you might get a scratch in London.

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John Gamble

Re: Precedent exists

"...but does it really take so much effort to attach the hose and go around the car?"

It wouldn't have taken much research to answer your own question. Yes.

This isn't a garden hose, its a very heavy hose with bulky (and heavy in their own right) metal attachments at each end, which is about to be straightened out (and made heavier) by the pressure of hundreds of gallons of water.

Plus, its a fire. Every second counts. The straight line is faster than threading a hose around a blockage.

Beyond that, this is something that every child in a country with fire hydrants has known since they were five years old. At this point, if you're stupid enough to block a fire hydrant, at the very least you deserve the ticket -- car damage is just a bonus.

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John Gamble

Re: Precedent exists

And "Quick Change" ... are you saying this only happens in movies?

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'It's better to burn out, than to fade away on worst audio in history'

John Gamble

Re: Torvalds & Gmail

Number one in particular seems to hit newcomers particularly hard, especially if they've only had experience with webforums. It frequently takes them time to figure out how to handle the bursts of messages (seriously people, threading is your friend), and the notion that their e-mail is automatically public after sending is something that takes a while to settle in.

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Don't touch this! Seven types of open source to dance away from

John Gamble

Re: "Potemkin villages"

"... but on a business model of destroying POSIX..."

Is that a Red Hat solo act though? (I genuinely don't know, which is why I'm asking. I had the impression that this was a Linux trait in general.)

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

John Gamble

Re: Try Libraries

I do use libraries. And I own a Kobo. Why do you think these are mutually exclusive?

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

John Gamble

Re: OK - Here's the deal.

Like most standards, some areas will have them overthrown later than others, and yeah, I'm betting popular magazines will be among the last of them.

But your post got me to thinking, and I took a tape measure to my Kobo. The screen is basically A6 (with some padding at the bottom for the screen controls, so the physical ratio is more like 1.6 instead of root 2). I wonder if there's some PDF-aware accommodation going on there -- I've seen magazine ads for it.

(But seriously, A4? I could handle an A5 tablet -- that makes sense to me -- but I can't imagine dealing with the size and the weight and A4 would bring.)

By the way, well done on the "6 fonts under" line.

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John Gamble
Boffin

Re: OK - Here's the deal.

"1. At least A4 screen - ideally A4 long by Septic paper wide. MUST be reflective ie liquid paper or equivalent)...."

And ... pow, you're already disqualified. The tablet department is over there [hand wave], good luck with the rest of the requirements.

The whole *point* of an e-reader is to replace books that you don't necessarily want in a physical format, and most books are much smaller than A4. Even the technical articles I read can be found in something other than A4 (a process I call "die PDF die"), and now that Kobo handles the EPUB3 format, the number of articles I read on it has increased, although not by a great rate (alas, PDF is not dying fast enough).

I find that my current Kobo is just a little on the large size -- my previous one could fit in most of my jacket pockets -- but I'm willing to concede that for the other advantages.

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Flushed with success: No bog standard Canadian goldfish these

John Gamble

Re: I thought they have Herons in Alberta

"It does a regular survey of all garden ponds and water features."

Probably because the installers put in too-shallow pools (this was a slow-news-day report some time ago here, the expert opinions were that the pool designers weren't doing their job correctly).

I would imagine Alberta's stormwater ponds are a bit deeper than that, making them safer for goldfish.

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FLICK my FLINT and SNIFF my TREE on the streets of Naples

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Pro tip

The guy you know was just repeating a humorous (but false) story. I'm sure it got a good laugh at the pub, but as snopes.com points out, it doesn't work.

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Google-owned smart-gumble-maker Nest snubs Google's smart-gumble OS Brillo

John Gamble
Headmaster

" ... it's US-speak for a central heating boiler ... "

Well, no, because in US-speak a boiler... boils. My building is heated by steam that is created in a boiler.

A furnace heats air directly.

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

John Gamble
Meh

Re: Great Idea!

"... they're still using EBCDIC.

Yup, and the front-end developers then limit the legal password characters to letters and numbers -- no symbols. I'm still boggled by the assumptions behind that limitation (the big one being the assumption that the password is stored unencrypted -- one hopes that's no longer true in the 21st century).

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KFC takes legal axe to eight-legged mutant chicken claims

John Gamble

SourceForge accused of shackling GIMP in kinky adware

John Gamble
Alert

Yup, That's The End

Sourceforge was a bright star when it began (using Subversion as its version control system, a vast improvement over the then commonly used CSV). But changing the site to make it harder to follow code changes (but making it easier to be spammed) is the final nail in the coffin for me.

My only concern is that the number of source code management web sites isn't very large -- now that Sourceforge is over for me, that leaves only Github and Mercurial. Is there anything else that even approaches either site's functionality?

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Will Hay: Britain's bumbling star of the screen and skies

John Gamble
Headmaster

"...successfully touring America, South Africa and Canada."

Nice article, but I believe your Canadian readers would like to have a word with you about geography.

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ALIEN HUNT: Water similar to life-bearing Earth lakes FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Life on Enceladus?

The catch is that Earth's life probably didn't start out as extremophiles, but began in a nice non-extreme zone, and later evolved to survive places of extreme conditions (just to be clear, you'll note that I wrote "probably" -- I know that our sample space is rather small at the moment).

I would love to see Enceladus prove me wrong, but...

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HORDES OF CLING-ONS menace UK.gov IT estate as special WinXP support ends

John Gamble

Re: I wonder how...

"Without being a fanboi I have to say those machines should be moved to linux."

Yeah, even as a FreeBSD guy I'd have to say, "move them to Mint and be done with it." If these machines are used mostly for word processing and spreadsheets, it should be a relatively painless transfer.

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NSA domestic dragnet NOT authorised by Patriot Act, rules US Appeals Court

John Gamble
Childcatcher

Re: Gotta hand it to them...(they take it anyway)

"I thought the McCarthy era was generally perceived as a dark mark on recent american history,"

In general, but there will always be denialists (sadly, Poul Anderson was one), and of course the current strategy is to pretend that no abuse of rights are taking place, so why are you complaining?

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Poseidon's Wake, Naked at the Albert Hall and Farewell Kabul

John Gamble
Childcatcher

Ouch!

"Naked at the Albert Hall probably concentrates on singers of her own ilk, i.e. those that can hold a note."

Hey, isn't this supposed to be a site that celebrates technology? Surely autotune has helped level the playing field between the talented and the untalented.

(Applause for a sentence that did make me laugh out loud.)

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eBay year-long patch stall a little XSSive, researcher says

John Gamble

Uh-huh. A self-published Amazon book being flogged by a pseudonymous commenter with no other comments to its name? Yeah, that's not suspicious.

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You can now play thousands of classic DOS games on Twitter. Goodbye, productivity

John Gamble

How About a Nice Game of ...

And there it is... Sargon Chess. This isn't going to just kill my productivity, it's going to kill any semblance of real life I had left.

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Sick of tech bro Silicon Valley? Oakland is building a better tech world – say Oaklanders

John Gamble

Re: Sexism

"... throwing out sexist terms of abuse like "bro"."

Except they didn't. So... a) you didn't read the article, and b) you've just revealed something about your own paranoid self.

(Your issue, amongst your other issues, is with the headline writer. And given previous El Reg headlines, it's odd that this is the one that sets you off.)

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Comcast flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable

John Gamble

It does say something that Comcast actually improved to its currently terrible level of service only because it started to engage its customers via the "Comcast must die" site. Yes, Comcast customer support had to bypass its own bureaucracy via a hate-Comcast site.

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Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

John Gamble

Re: This is UNIX, I know this.

"Actually, it's a 10 year old blonde girl on an island (in the spirit of the criteria / criterion comments)"

No no, in the spirit of the "Morgan Frogman and Tim Cruise" comment, it's "Blond. Jane Blond."

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Halifax's '24/7' online banking service is down YET AGAIN

John Gamble

No, that can't be it -- PDP/11s were reliable.

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Apple takes ACID-compliant NoSQL upstart FoundationDB

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: FOSS that you can rely on

"If you applied Game Theory and looked at the economy behind FOSS, you'll find that in certain micro examples, it works, yet at the macro example it doesn't."

That requires a bit more in the way of citations for me to accept any part of the premise, let alone the conclusion.

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Becoming Steve Jobs biography: ‘Much of it was chutzpah and self delusion’

John Gamble

Re: Flawed - like all of us

"You seem to be confusing genius with philanthropist. I pretty sure Einstein didn't do much to eradicate disease either"

You seem to be confusing capitalism with genius. Einstein didn't have Jobs's or Gates's cash, which is what the original post was about, not their intelligence.

Jobs's anti-philanthropic measures are just another part of his personality that one has to take into account, just as Gates's work will ultimately contribute to how we assess his life.

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LOHAN chap compiles 'tenner a week' cookbook

John Gamble

Can you post here when you do? That will make it the second book I've bought from Lulu then. Thanks.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

John Gamble

I've had the honor of briefly meeting Pratchett a couple of times. He was, as you'd expect, very friendly and quite witty. I hope his USENET postings are preserved.

Unsurprisingly, he got better as he got more political (public figures make better targets than fantasy tropes), and I've loaned out Small Gods, The Truth, Going Postal and others often, and they've been greatly appreciated.

I'm going to miss him.

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VMware sued, accused of ripping off Linux kernel source code

John Gamble

Re: Case..

So enlighten us. What is the problem here?

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You're outta here! Baseball star strikes out sleazy trolls who targeted teen daughter

John Gamble

Re: get yer pitchforks

" Why they think it's OK to harass people online just because they are female?"

I don't think anyone thinks this. But your post was a marvel of obfuscation -- my first impression was that you were claiming a double standard for women, and frankly even on re-reading it still looks that way.

I didn't down-vote you. But at the very least you need to be clearer when you post.

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US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed

John Gamble
Boffin

And Now I've Learned Something New

Specifically, the two-line element set (Wikipedia page that also references this NASA page).

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El Reg regains atomic keyring capability

John Gamble
Go

Re: Mine work too

"...and why can't I have a large green one…?"

Because the Guardians of the Universe forbid it.

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Hollywood vs hackers: Vulture cracks Tinseltown keyboard cornballs

John Gamble

"By the way, on a related note...

http://moviecode.tumblr.com/"

That was an enjoyable read, thanks. Interesting that "Person of Interest" uses real exploitation code in its screen shots.

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Spotty Ceres baffles boffins with bright patches

John Gamble

Re: Perhaps we have it wrong....

Yes, this.

I now feel a need to re-read my Hal Clement books.

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