* Posts by David

7 posts • joined 18 Sep 2007

Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?

David

The glasses should match the bottles

I agree with Steve Hosgood: 50 cl and 33 cl sound about right to me - and they're both not coincidentally the same size as beer bottles. Both half a pint (284 ml) or 250 ml are just too small to bother with for everyday drinking (yes, even for most girls I know), although I can see the use for 'taster' measures. As for the extra 68 ml (mouthful) in a pint? Well, that's the warm beer at the bottom of the glass that I'd rather not have to be paying for anyway!

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Merchants and punters cry foul over Verified by Visa

David
Flame

I will NEVER sign up to Verified by Visa

I'm really pleased to see The Register highlighting the strong public feeling against the scam that is Verified by Visa.

I will NEVER sign up to Verified by Visa: the liability shift that blames the cardholder for everything, the dodgy typo-scammer domain name (and the even dodgier domain registration: just what is going on there with the ever-changing whois records, can we trust such a company with our data?), the shonky phishing-like implementation, no way!

Just as I'd started to have trust in internet shopping, I've since made far fewer internet purchases since some misguided retailers started foisting VbV onto us. Result: it's the realworld high street shops that are getting my money, and the internet retailers are losing out on my potential purchases instead.

If we need increased card security, there must be far more sensible ways of doing it. Many banks now issue card-reader devices which can be used to authorise internet banking transactions: combined with BACS "Faster Payments" wouldn't this be a good way to make internet payments more securely - and it'd really give the finger to Visa and MasterCard for introducing such an idiotic scam in the first place!

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David

3DSecure signup: per-card or per-account?

I understand that where your card issuer forces you to sign-up to 3DSecure (rather than you being dumb enough to opt-in voluntarily), you are allowed to make 3 online transactions before you are absolutely forced to sign-up and cannot then make any more online transactions.

Does anybody know if the 3 transaction "grace period" applies to a specific-numbered card (which we all know has a finite validity period) or to your account overall (indefinite validity)? If the former, it strikes me that when I reach transaction number 3, I could simply report my card "lost" and ask for a new one, with a new card number, thus resetting the clock. Since I'd be doing this precisely in order to maintain my own security, I'd like to see the card issuers attempt to argue against new cards being issued for that particular reason!

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DAB: A very British failure

David
Unhappy

It was the radio manufacturers who let us down: too little, too late

Here's a heads-up to all audio system manufacturers:

I've been wanting to spend ${moderate_amount_of_money} (£200 - £300) on a new hi-fi (or at least med-fi) system for at least *the past two years*, but have I been able to? No! Nothing out there meets my requirements. Come on, make an effort!

At some point during the past few years, the middle seems to have completely fallen out of the audio system market. Sure, we can get high-end separates from the likes of Richer Sounds, but walk into any high street electrical retailer (or even a marginal specialist like John Lewis which pretends to have a bit of class) and for the most part all that is available is appalling low-end junk. Several years ago we had many reasonable or good quality brands to choose from, including the likes of Aiwa, JVC, Pioneer, Sharp, Technics, Yamaha, etc. Now it seems to be low-end Sony or low/mid-end Panasonic or an infinite variety of Goodmans conglomerate clones or no-name junk, and that's all there is to choose from. (I should point out one good-value budget exception to the above, the well-reviewed Goodmans Micro 1104, a cracking wee system for what it is, but very sadly, no (essential) wake-up alarm.)

Here are my audio system requirements, surely at least one manufacturer can rise to the challenge:

* Micro or mini format audio system

* DAB/FM tuner with *at least* 40 presets on each waveband

(for a few pennies more, why not just throw in MW and LW as well?)

* Standard DAB/FM aerial connectors to allow connections to a proper aerial (no crappy proprietary connectors or hard-wired useless "pieces of string" - I don't have the best reception where I live.)

* At least 20 W/channel output (RMS)

* Wake-up alarm function (no alarm, NO DEAL!) and sleep timer

* Full remote control for all functions

* 3 or 5 CD multiplayer (no multiplayer, NO DEAL!)

* At least 2 AUX inputs (you never know what will come along next, DAB+ even?)

* (Ideally) auto-reverse *full-logic* cassette deck

(I suppose I could live without the cassette deck, but if it's going to be included, at least make it a decent one.)

These are hardly onerous requirements, yet no manufacturer seems able to meet them. With Panasonic you can have the CD multiplayer - but no DAB, with Sony you can have the multiplayer and DAB (and rootkit CDs) - but no proper aerial connector, <sigh>.

To return to the topic, I think DAB is great. Yes, it's an outdated audio codec, and not exactly audiophile radio, but the choice of radio stations is fantastic. For radio, we can accept a *slight* loss in sound quality as a trade for choice - and it's still better than MW or my poor FM reception. Those who live in Planet London probably tend to forget that most of the rest of us only have the basic BBC stations and perhaps one or two commercial stations to choose from on FM or AM. With DAB, I can listen to Radio 5 Live (Up All Night - DAB's "killer app" for me), the World Service (great for a different perspective), and a wide choice of many other stations, from Chill to TheJazz (will be sorely missed!) and Galaxy and Kiss.

I only bought a stand-alone DAB radio a few months ago (as a short-term fix while waiting for a decent audio system to appear), and even then, only because prices had at last started to become reasonable (£30). I'm sure the likes of Pure have made good money flogging mono-speakered radios for £100, but, get real: £100 for a radio?! The wider market won't support it. And the last time that stereo speakers were deemed a luxury extra must have been in around 1950! Sadly, although still hulking beasts, at least Pure's radios had a reasonably elegant design, but the rest of the DAB radio industry seems to have taken hideous and enormous 1950s design as some kind of standard cue, with the result that almost all DAB radios are huge fugly things, and it looks like I'm far from being the only Register reader who wouldn't touch those models with a bargepole. Black, sleek and compact, those are the inalienable audio design rules.

So, the future? Now that DAB has shown that there is popular demand for broad channel choice - but only once the hardware price becomes affordable - let's quickly move on to DAB+ (just as we left VHS behind for DVD), and let's hope that the hi-fi manufacturers remember the "hi-fi" part and bring back the middle of the audio system market and stop merely churning out infinite clone crap for the sub-£100 market.

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Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows

David
Coat

Re: Iconography

Yes, the new comment icons are great, but am I the only one to think that the "I'll get my coat" icon looks worryingly more like "Pickpockets operate in this cloakroom"? I'm sure his left hand is definitely rustling around for a wallet, rather than innocently picking up his 'own' jacket..

And surely we need "Happy Tux" and "Harpooned Tux" icons, too, to match their rivals. And daemons, gnus, mozillas, dogcows, rainbow-tickmarks, ...

IGMC.

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Japanese to patent transparent frog

David

Re: Bucket of sunshine

OK, I'll confess that I laughed (partly in shock, I suppose), but that really is a "joke" in extremely poor taste indeed, trivialising two very horrific events. Yes, war is hell in every way, but particularly so in those cases. I don't imagine there'll be many citizens of Hiroshima or Nagasaki laughing along with you..

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Orange speaks out with new voice

David

Awful chavvy illiteracy does not convey the impression of a professional service

"If y' callin' abou' a mobile query, press wuh'-h'n"

"y'"???? What kind of illiterate verbless chavspeak is that?

I could barely parse what she was saying, the first time I heard it, and surely that *must* be the most important aspect of any automated voice system? She also speaks somewhat *too fast* to be easily comprehensible. An automated system usually only gets one chance to make a good impression, so speaking slowly and clearly is key.

And the way she mispronounces "one" just put me right on edge..

<nails/blackboard>

It's particularly crucial to pronounce the numbers clearly since these are how we have to respond to the system.

I am sure (I've never been there) that there are many very nice people in Thames-estuary-land, and that there are many very intelligent people in Thames-estuary-land, but I'm also sure it's not an accent that tends to rank highly in the "accents we like to hear when we call automated systems" lists..

Like it or not, certain accents, and perhaps more so, the well-spoken-ness, regardless of accent, tend to convey a more professional approach than others. And being greeted by an automated system only marginally less grating than EastEnders really does not give the impression of a professional and competent organisation..

I dread to think what you'd hear if you have 33 minutes remaining..

"Y' got feh'ty-fh'ree minutes uv talk time remainin'."?? :-P

(At present this is actually spliced unnaturally with a different voice speaking the numbers, weird!)

The previous Orange voice, while perhaps edging on being just the tiniest smidge too "snooty" for my liking, was at least clear and professional-sounding.

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