* Posts by Darren Forster

50 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach

Darren Forster

I'm afraid selling a password manager doesn't exactly work... possibly one of the best password managers out there is already free of charge, and with an update in Google Chrome it even allows you to create a random password that it stores.

The password manager is called Google Passwords. If you've got a google account and you've ever told Google to remember a password in Chrome and have Chrome Sync set up just head on over to passwords.google.com - login to your google account and hey presto! there are all the passwords you ever told google to remember for you.

In reality there is no point in selling password managers because there are that many free ones out there, unless you make your password manager do something extremely flashy then your running against something that is already there.

Also the better solution to this to save your account from being hacked is to also use 2FA - you can download an app called Authy which will allow you to create 2FA codes easily on your phone, or if you search U2F or Yubi key on Amazon you can pick up a cheap U2F key which adds hardware security to your accounts (a U2F key is a small USB dongle that plugs into the computer when you want to login, after entering your password you then press a button on the dongle and it authenticates your login. The dongle produces a unique code and so to login it ensures you have the device (of course if someone steals the device then they could login but they'd have to also figure out your username and password as well and which accounts the U2F key are for, and hope they can login before you change the U2F key - there are also backup single use codes just in case you lose the device.)

Connected car data handover headache: There's no quick fix... and it's NOT just Land Rovers

Darren Forster

You do know that if you have the reg plate of your previous vehicle, you can go on to the Gov website, type the reg plate in and it will tell you all about it's MOT history and also sometimes googling the reg plate you can find out extra information about the location of the car. A while ago I actually found my first car (which was a lease car) on eBay in Manchester using just the reg plate. It was actually a very good Nissan Note and when I saw it for sale I was debating whether or not to buy it back but it had already been sold, instead we got another Nissan Note.

Darren Forster

Of course this issue with being able to open the car, start the car and track the car is an issue, however there is another issue that I discovered that affects quite a few cars, and not just high end cars. During a recent trip to Europe my car broke down and I was lent a Skoda Rapid by the breakdown company to complete my journey. It was a very nice vehicle, it had built in sat nav and bluetooth for my phone and it even was able to use my phone to check for delays on the journey (although I have to admit the sat navs description of minor traffic jams on the German Autobahn might need a bit of work as a warning of "Life threatening condition ahead" is a little more unnerving than just telling me there is about 15 miles of queuing traffic or "Security threat ahead" is also a little bit more unnerving when it's just someone having had their car pulled by the police - maybe Skoda might want to work on their translations, especially as when I was back in the UK Oxford is apparently called Arks Ford according to Skoda!).

Anyway I've diverted away from the real problem I found - the big problem I found was when I connected my phone to the bluetooth in the vehicle. The minute I connected my phone it started importing the entire contact list from my phone into the car stereo. Not only that it also seemed to import things like call history, and text messages - and even when the phone wasn't connected to the car if I went into the phone section of the stereo I could see all the contacts there. As it was a rental car this wasn't exactly what I wanted because of course when the car goes back and on to someone else all my private data would go with the vehicle! Before returning the car I went into the menu system on the car audio system and told it to do a factory reset, this removed all previous data and unhooked my phone (it also unhooked another phone which was already listed - clearly the previous hirer hadn't done a factory reset and neither had Europcar when they re-hired the car out). So before you return a hire car if you've had your phone connected to it, make sure you do a factory reset on the stereo, and don't rely on the hire company to do so.

EE unveils shoebox-sized router to boost Brit bumpkin broadband

Darren Forster

I wonder if O2 will also offer a similar service. As I'm on GiffGaff and my phone can get far faster internet than my landline broadband. If only the usage rates were similar for tethering I'd tell PlusNet where to shove their poor quality line.

Although I have to admit it's pretty poor that EE is owned by BT and they are charging people £100 and getting them to sign a contract for a problem that they've created. Seeing as BT can't be bothered putting in fibre properly into some areas they should be providing the boxes free as it's their fault.

Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

Darren Forster

Re: Uptake

The cabinet we're on is apparently fibre enabled but BT keep telling us we're too far from the cabinet - 3 miles away - I have to wonder though surely if 60mbps fibre was pushed down the line it wouldn't go lower then 3-4mbps after going 3 miles would it? Although I do know someone down the road in another village who was offered fibre - he went from 3mbps down to 1mbps. I checked all his connections and even tested the speed with nothing more than a tablet plugged in and still 1mbps - I was like that's not fibre!

Darren Forster

Still on 3-4mbps here

We're connected to a fibre enabled cabinet but have been repeatedly told by BT we can't have it 'cos 3 miles is too far away. At the moment stuck on 3-4 mbps - my 4G phone on GiffGaff actually gets faster internet, if only there was a phone provider offering unlimited tethered data I'd tell BT where to stick their land-line. Don't know though why BT don't replace all copper cabling with super fast data only fibre, and then move all voice services onto VOIP, or even move all voice services onto VOIP make copper cabling data only, and use the entire audio bandwidth rather than using an ADSL filter to restrict it to high frequency only, we have a VOIP phone and never use the main phone line for anything but data.

Darren Forster

Re: Maybe

Yeah I think its a bit fake percentages, apparently our cabinet is fibre enabled but because we're over 3miles from the cabinet we can't get it. Instead we're stuck on 3-4mbps which is useless when you buy a PS4 Pro and Sony expect people to be able to stream everything, not to mention developers who can't be bothered finishing a game before release and then offering a 20Gb update once you've got it home.

Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Darren Forster

Re: Go Samsung!

Most manufacturers actually don't make their TV's anyway, a lot of them are made by Vestel, there is possibly only a few companies that do still make their own TV's as far as I'm aware and those are Sony, Panasonic (high-end models - lower models are made by Vestel), LG and Samsung.

LG is an interesting one though as LG stands for Lucky Goldstar (even though quite often they use Life's Good). My dad was a TV engineer in the 80's and he was forever repairing Goldstar TV's as they were quite well known as being very poor quality. I think LG has upped it's game a bit and is certainly a lot better than some of the Vestel junk out there, but it's certainly nowhere near as good as some of the high-end non-Vestel Panasonic TV's. (Panasonic is very good as they're original name was Matsushita and as well as the Panasonic name they also owned Technics and National)

Darren Forster

Just glad I bought a Panasonic last time rather than a Samsung - I nearly went for Samsung but Panasonic was the only one I could find that did both 4K and 3D in one TV (and let me tell you 3D on a 4K TV set looks amazing!!!).

Although I am a bit concerned in our rental caravan as that is a Samsung. Hope that one is still working as it's going to be an inconvenience if we rent it out and it doesn't work for the people in the caravan, although the one in the caravan is just a cheap non-smart TV Samsung so it should be alright hopefully.

Adobe emits emergency patch for Flash hole malware is exploiting right this minute

Darren Forster

Isn't it time we put Flash out of it's misery...

Flash is yesterdays technology, there is much better technology out there now - Bootstrap and HTML5 are the future. Flash doesn't make mobile friendly sites (unless you hide all the flash content from mobile devices - but what's the point in doing that?? You might as well just show the content that works on mobiles on the main site too and have done with Flash).

I've not used Flash in many years, even before HTML5 I found much better ways to design things than Flash that were compatible with mobiles and other devices. Adobe please just do the decent thing and instead of keep holding the thing together with sticky tape and patches (this thing's looking more, and more like a Blue Peter project everyday) - just put it out of it's misery and finish it off and get working on something decent like a good CMS or something.

Paper driving licence death day: DVLA website is still TITSUP

Darren Forster

Another mess up with the DVLA paperless scheme....

Ok so here is another mess up with the DVLA's planned paperless scheme. It's an absolute joke all these paperless decisions.

I hope the DVLA know of the various problems they are causing, this isn't the first time they have messed up like this, when the tax disc was abolished the site was down for a few days so people couldn't buy their road tax, and now this.

Also I hope the DVLA also realise how easy it is for someone to evade paying road tax now with no tax disc, and it also means the person can easily speed, and steal from petrol stations because the removal of the road tax disc also means the removal of any visible proof to check that the car has the right registration plate on it, other than checking the VIN number.

With no road tax disc there is nothing to stop a family with two identical cars (same make, model, engine, year and colour) from taxing one, taking the log book down for that one and having a new set of plates made up for it and putting it on the other vehicle. When it goes past any ANPR camera the camera would show that the vehicle is taxed, insured, MOT'd, etc, any speeding points would be given to the other vehicle, petrol theft would also be given to the other vehicle, and without stopping the car and checking the VIN the police would have absolutely no proof that the car they see is a different car to the other one.

The other thing is there is also nothing to stop someone walking down a street and finding an identical car to theirs that is taxed and insured and going online and getting a fake set of plates made, many places online that make vehicle plates do not ask to see any log book or anything, and again they could then use that vehicle in any way such as speeding, stealing petrol, etc and the police would need to check the VIN of the vehicle to actually find out if it was driving with fake plates, otherwise the owner of the other vehicle would get all the charges.

However with the old tax disc there was at least some proof that the vehicle had been taxed and the police could check that the tax disc reg plate matches the reg plate on the front of the vehicle, ok I suppose there was ways to fraud that too, but it was a lot more harder.

Human DNA 'will be found on moon' – Brian Cox

Darren Forster

Probably DNA up there already...

Sorry to disappoint Brian Cox on this amazing achievement but surely someone with his immense knowledge should have worked out by now that there probably is already DNA somewhere on the moon already.

There is also most probably human DNA also on mars, and somewhere out in very deep space, and also at this present time riding the back of a comet.

Any time we've sent stuff up into space people have touched the items we've sent into space and infected the item with their own DNA at some point, even the hubble space telescope that has gone into deep space possibly has human DNA attached to it, and recently the probe that landed on the comet would have human DNA on it.

Unless all these devices were wiped absolutely spotlessly clean of all human DNA before being sent up (which is highly unlikely), then there will already be human DNA up there somewhere.

Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins

Darren Forster

Re: Great word/Intel history play

Yeah I thought so too - you don't normally hear about that now except occasional jokes about how many intel technicians does it take to change a light bulb.... funny one was when I asked one of my friends that joke he didn't get it at all - he just said well it only takes one person to change a light bulb - unfortunately like me he has Asperger's, but he does the literal interpretations thing way further than what I take it - I guess I must have learned over time how to take non-literal jokes!

Btw also maybe they should have just used a Motorola 68060 instead - the 050 was scrapped by Motorola 'cos they too found the FPU bug, but scrapped it before it got to market - plus the Motorola 680x0 series was far superior to the Intel's 'cos it could do hardware multitasking unlike the Intel's which rely on software multitasking (which is why the mouse sometimes freezes on PC's but you never see the mouse freeze on an Amiga!)


Darren Forster

Symbian killed Nokia not Apple!

It was Symbian that killed off Nokia not Apple.

Nokia made major errors by keep holding onto a phone operating system from the 1990's and not knowing when it's time was up.

Many other manufacturers like Sony, LG, HTC, etc, had already ditched their Symbian based phones in favour of Android.

The annoying thing was that I remember when the N95 first came out and I was interested in it but the main let down was that it wasn't an Android and had no access to Android apps. At that point I was torn between two directions - should I go for Nokia 'cos the phone looks pretty amazing, or should I go for an Android phone or a Windows phone that have a lot more apps on them.... I went for a HTC HD2 (Windows 6.5 phone). After that I bought a HTC Sensation (Android) - and again was really disappointed that there still was no Android based Nokia - as much as I thought the HD7 would be the ideal next phone after the HD2 the main thing that put me off that one was the fact it had WP7 which had really bad reviews.

And then finally Nokia got the message that Symbian was a dead OS and they're phones were just as dead for trying to run it!! (which took them nearly 10 years after every other manufacturer had realised this!!!), and of course what do you think they'd do then - make a phone maybe running an OS that was really popular and that there was loads of apps for and loads of different phones in the shops all compatible with it or pick another OS that most phone manufacturers were shying away from because it had changed so much that a lot of people no longer wanted it, and it was severely limited with apps, it was so bad it was considered flogging a dead horse - yep you've guessed Nokia went for the dead horse!!! why???? A new N-series phone based on Android would have flown off the shelves - and can you imagine the potential a Nokia Android N-Gage hand-held console/tablet combo could have had - but instead they chose Windows Phone 7.

If it had all been down to Apple then all the other phone manufacturers would have been in the same boat, and Android would be dead and buried too, but they're not so you can't just blame Apple.

A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs

Darren Forster

My dad found out recently that even some TV's and DVD recorders need to be bought at the same time.

He recently bought a brand new Panasonic TV, and his old TV the remote would also control the Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder, but for some strange reason Panasonic have re-designed their remotes on new TV's and the new TV will not control the old Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder. It's got the controls there on the remote, but they don't do anything.

My dad who is an ex-TV engineer was really surprised at this 'cos Panasonic is one of the better makes and they have been using the same infra-red codes for many years, so why suddenly change it now???

Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Darren Forster

Re: What are they thinking?

People will not be confused by the numbers jump, years ago Motorola jumped from the 68040 CPU to 68060 CPU's 'cos the 050 CPU was found to have the same floating point bug in it as the Intel Pentiums - but instead of releasing it they just skipped a version. Microsoft have done the same thing here - Windows 8 was a disaster, 9 had planned to be more Windows 8 and more of the things that people hated about 8, and so 10 is admitting they made an error and are starting to listen to people.

I have Windows 8 on my computer and if it hadn't been for Start8 it would have been a disaster for me, totally unworkable on my two big screens, but after adding Start8 it's not too bad. I also have a number of customers who were really confused with Windows 8 when they first got it they kept calling me up, and once I put on Start8 for them the confusion subsided.

Darren Forster

Do you reckon those scammed with W8 will get a free upgrade to fix the problems?

Windows 10 looks nice, but will those of us that were scammed by Microsoft into buying Windows 8 might be offered either a free or cheaper upgrade option.

That multiple desktops idea looks great too although why do I seem to recall that same feature being used in Puppy many years go.

The number skip from 8 to 10 has been done many times before in computing - Motorola went from the 68040 CPU's to the 68060's when they found the same floating point fault in the 68050's that Intel had in their pentiums (only difference was Intel tried to cover it up, where as Motorola fixed it).

A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Darren Forster

Of course the BBC would be better off...

Of course the BBC would be better off on a subscription basis.

It doesn't take all this debating to figure that one out. Sky are rolling in it and what the BBC offer is very cheap in comparison with Sky.

On Sky TV you pay a subscription fee which is at least double the amount of the BBC, and not only that Sky are being paid by you for their channels, and also they get money from the adverts, and if that's not enough they then ask some companies to "SPONSOR" their shows - so if most of their shows are "sponsored" by companies what does our subscription fee pay for - even the premium channels like the Movies tend to be sponsored - usually by "Panasonic".

I know what your thinking £40 a month for all those TV shows isn't that much considering how much it costs Sky to secure those TV shows and that is possibly why they need advertising, but that is £40 per person that's subscribing, now as of 30th June 2013 Sky had 10,459,000 subscribers - 4,893,000 are paying the HD premium. Sky packages start at £21.50 (source: http://corporate.sky.com/media/key_facts_and_figures).

So let's figure this out then - to make it simple we'll base it on the fact that all HD subscribers are on the basic package (£21.50+£10 HD) and the rest are all on the basic package then Sky must be being paid £203,719.12 for every 30 minutes of TV just from subscribers (and that's only based on everyone subscribing to the lowest option), and that's before taking into account money from sponsorship or advertising.

Now in the whole UK there is 26,414,000 households (Source: ONS.gov.uk). I couldn't find out the exact number of TV licences because the FOI section of TV licencing doesn't seem to be loading for some reason (possibly more my end than their end). So if we assume every single household in the UK has a TV and a licence (I know they don't but let's just assume that it's easier) and they're all paying the £145.50 per year for a TV licence, then that means the BBC is only getting £238,295.94 for every 30 minutes of TV, and they don't get any money from sponsors or advertisements, and they're serving over 60% more customers than Sky (and they don't show as many repeats as Sky either!)

So in total it would be far better for the BBC to go subscription based and be allowed to show adverts and sponsors.

Microsoft loses grip on Christmas shoppers... despite XBox boost

Darren Forster

Re: It's mainly a matter of time.......

You seen Chrome Books then - it's Android for a Netbook!

Darren Forster

Windows RT tablet - give me Android any day!!!

I'm an IT technician and was called to sort someones tablet out a few weeks ago.

It was one of those Windows 8 RT things. I thought can't be that hard to help her, all she wanted was to remove some of the icons from the start menu.

So I started dragging the icons expecting to see some kind of dustbin or something I could put them in to get rid of them....

Ok where's the dustbin....

Looked on the net - the solution is to right click on the icon and click remove from start menu (having used Windows 8 on my home PC I already knew this - but there is one problem - there is no right mouse button on a tablet!).

So I started hunting around the tablet trying to find some kind of extra button other than the "Windows Start Menu" button that might work as a right click....

Some other website said swipe downwards on the icon to bring up the right click menu.... tried that and all that happened was the icon whizzed off somewhere else on the start menu.

Eventually after about 30 minutes of playing with the thing (and by this time if it was mine it would have been through the window by now - it's like a very expensive version of one of those metal puzzles everyone gets you at Christmas to see how long it takes you to figure out), I found out how to get the right menu up... well nearly..

I watched Youtube videos on how to do it and all they were doing was swiping downwards and no matter how I tried it, it just moved the icons everywhere, and then at one point I got the swipe down just right. I was like yay!!! I've got it....

So I deleted that icon for her, and proceeded to the next - oh wait I haven't got it... another 30 minutes later (really losing my patience with it now) and many more swipes I finally figure it out. You have to swipe down slightly to the right of the icon at a precise point between that icon and the next icon to bring up the right menu options (easy enough once you know exactly where to swipe - why not just make the interface like a twister board and get people to press the twister pads in a certain order for it to do something - surely even that would be easier!)

After that I'd got the hang of it and the lady said to me I'm glad I've got you here because I'd never have figured it out.... isn't Microsoft supposed to make things easy for the general public to use - if it even takes a technician an hour to figure it out what chance has the general public got? Did they even test this on real people before selling it. I know some will say it was probably somewhere in the manual, but you want a device that's easy and simple to use when you pick it up, not something that you've got to read a 1,000 page manual to get an idea of how everything works, I haven't even read the manual to my car and that's more complex than this, but most of it's switches are self explanatory (except the one for dimming the dashboard - that did take me a while to figure out 'cos it's symbol is the same as cruise control on my previous car!)

Aussie bloke hacks way to top of music charts with MIDI-based tunes

Darren Forster

Re: Makes you think....

The KLF got fed up of the recording industry for this rigging years ago, which is why they ended up quitting the music industry in 1992 and vowing never to return under the name of The KLF (they kept that deal for about 5 years - when in 1997 they came back as 2K or the artists forever known as the Justified Ancient of Mu Mu, and did a one off gig, and song called K The Millennium - taking the mick out of the Millennium Dome and offering to build a pyramid with one brick for every person alive in 2000 at Loch Ness whilst 'king the Millennium)

Now of course Bill Drummond has fully realised that all recorded music is rubbish, he has destroyed his entire CD collection and only makes music as part of his "The 17" art work project where groups of 17 people turn up to make a noise

STROKE this mouse to make apps POP, says Microsoft

Darren Forster

Is that Microsofts fix for an appalling OS?

Surely that can't be Microsoft's fix for such an appalling OS. Oh people want the start menu back, and the desktop - I know let's make a mouse with the start key on it, that'll fix it, and flog it to any fool who's bought Windows 8.

Since installing Windows 8 on my desktop I've found myself using Linux on my laptop more and more, and I certainly wont be replacing my Microsoft trackball with one of these mice anytime soon. The trackball is just way too good and Microsoft now unfortunately don't do trackballs, that is a device back from when Microsoft used to care about human computer interaction, now they've just gone screw HCI we'll do it our way 'cos we're big enough to do it and there ain't nothing anyone can do about it. But if MS think that they're headed for a major downfall.

'Leccy-starved Reg hack: 'How I survive on 1.5kW'

Darren Forster

We have less than that when working at events in the summer...

I get through quite a lot of the summer using less electric than that as I work for an events firm, and just plugging anything other than a light bulb in is likely to blow the fuse as there are normally about 10-15 caravans all running off one box with splitters.

Wouldn't installing some kind of extra generator be allowed, like maybe a temporary diesel generator, or even solar panels in the garden or on the roof - if it's in Spain it's not like they don't have enough sun.

Hyperspeed travel looks wrong: Leicester students

Darren Forster
Thumb Down

Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

I can't believe a bunch of clever scientists wasted their time figuring this one out.

Star Wars is science FICTION, not fact, meaning that some stuff that happens in the show isn't true, and can't possibly happen.

Next they'll be coming out with a story that the Death Star couldn't possibly be made...

A lot of Sci-fi is utter rubbish according to what we know currently (of course without anyway of testing these theories at present (and highly unlikely in the future) we have no way of checking who got it right).

There have been other things in sci-fi films that aren't true and that most probably couldn't happen - a time travelling delorean (knowing how bad those things were built the car would be obliterated if it tried to go as fast is it did in the movie to jump through time), mass effect relays that can take us to the collectors, an extra train platform that can only be accessed by witches and wizards running head on into a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10, the heart of gold - a ship that can make the impossible happen, or that there is a disc shaped planet riding on the back of a giant tortoise, etc.

All this is just science fiction and isn't meant to be taken as true, if science fiction was meant to be true then it would be very boring. It's just down to imagination and where it takes you and not meant to be taken literally and investigated by science.

Giant super-laser passes 500 TRILLION watts

Darren Forster

So what does American spelling of LASER stand for then

if LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation I'm just wondering what does the American spelling stand for as they tend to spell it Lazer rather than LASER, or is it just to fit in with American language as opposed to British (like agonize, apologize, authorize, baptize, centralize, characterize, civilize, colonize, computerize, criticize, crystalize, dramatize, organize, etc).

BT fibre rollout reaches Scotland, Wales

Darren Forster

Newport - Isle of White - LOL!!!!

Just noticed on the press release BT have spelt Isle of Wight wrong - shows how incompetent this firm really is, either that or someone is too trigger happy with spell checker!!


Darren Forster
Thumb Down

Still no Ludlow.... what do we not count here?

Really annoyed that Ludlow is still not considered important enough by BT to be considered for an upgrade.

Ludlow is a real joke when it comes to broadband, it's famous for it's food fair and medieval fayre and home of Boyce from Only Fools and Horses, and yet we're still on only 2mbps ADSL, not even upgraded to ADSL2 yet.

Got a good mind to ditch PlusNet as my provider and switch to TalkTalk instead, because PlusNet are owned by BT and if BT/Plus Net want to treat their customers like this well they don't deserve any.

There isn't much super-fast broadband in the whole of Shropshire I think BT seem to see us as a black hole in the middle nowhere that doesn't matter.

Samsung plots 3G iPhone, iPad bans in the Netherlands

Darren Forster

I think you'll find that they didn't licence the 3G technology...

I think you'll find that 3G technology was probably licensed exactly the same way that Sun licenses Java, and numerous other technologies are licensed. In a manner that the technology is released, and normally the company will not implement a licensing structure, and not normally go after other companies who use their technology as long as they behave reasonably with it, but the company still maintains the rights to the item and can come down on companies like a ton of bricks if they do start taking the mick (as Apple is doing!). Sun did the same thing with Java and Microsoft, they released Java and didn't mind who used it or installed it on their systems with the exception of Microsoft, and then when Microsoft assumed it was ok for them to use the technology (without properly reading the terms and conditions) and incorporated into Windows, Sun came down on them like a ton of bricks letting them know that it was their technology and they didn't want Microsoft to include Java in Windows (instead customers have to download it as an add-on.)

Darren Forster
Thumb Up

I hope Samsung kicks Apple's backside...

Well it seems when you mess around with the big boys you get your fingers burnt, and hopefully it seems after Apple taking the mick and banning Samsung's devices just because they happened to look similar to an iPad they are about to get some recompense.

Apple are just like a little kid trying to stop companies making similar items, can you imagine where we'd be if car manufacturers tried this, you'd only have a Ford car because all others look and operate too much like the Model T.

I do notice though Apple for some strange reason don't seem to bothered about going after the companies making things like SciPhone's etc, and yet more about annoying the companies that partly supply them their technology, yeah I'm sure that makes good business sense.

Google dumps TV flop on UK

Darren Forster

Let's have decent broadband first...

Yet another piece of useless junk for us to add to our collection of things that all want to take over our broadband connection.

Has Google noticed that in the UK we don't have the same super quality broadband quality that is enjoyed by American's?

Already most places that BT calls "remote" (although I don't know how BT can believe the whole of Shropshire as "remote") are struggling with a 2mbps line, and it's a joke.

My internet connection here with Plus Net is so slow it couldn't even play a full song from Grooveshark this morning without breaking it up every 10 seconds, how's that going to cope if we add a Google TV set to the equation.

Maybe Google might do better if they set up their own cable firm in the UK and used it's money to supply super fast broadband to areas that need it, instead of investing in some crummy TV system that half of the UK can't use.

Cambridge gets a white (space) wash

Darren Forster

Also what about weather patterns...

I hold an amateur radio licence and am well aware of various implications these transmissions could cause, not just for local people but even for people on the other side of the globe.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth isn't too bad as the devices that use them barely pump out enough power or have a large enough antenna to make that kind of difference, and also use not very good frequencies, although radio is a very strange medium and even when you think everything is perfect something strange and unexpected can happen.

Radio can easily escape out of it's boundaries depending on atmospheric conditions such as weather and cause problems not just in and around the area the transmission is designed to be in, but also for many miles outside the area, and even on the other side of the world if it happens to bounce on the ionosphere.

Some examples of strange radio anomalies I've encountered which show the problem are -

When I lived in Preston I used to be able to receive Wire FM from Warrington, they're signal was so strong it used to wipe out Tower FM which was nearer to me in Bolton, and Wire FM was only supposed to have an area of Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn. My only thought on that one is that it could have been using one of the Tower FM repeaters to re-broadcast itself.

In Manchester Key 103 and Galaxy 102 (Capital 102) regularly interfere with each other, despite Key 103 being on 103Mhz and Galaxy being 1Mhz lower than Key 103, you actually can't listen to either one in Manchester as you get 5 seconds of one and then 5 seconds of another, and back to 5 seconds of one. This is caused due to the way the bandwidth of FM works, Key 103 probably have a bandwidth of over 500Khz and the same for Capital and so the two are crossing each others bandwidth and causing major interference.

In some parts of North Wales, especially Anglesey, but even on the coast near Rhyl and Towyn you can receive RTE 2FM crystal clear, and in some places on the A55 it even blocks out other local stations.

So you have to be very careful of all these problems radio can cause, even on frequencies where it sounds to your equipment that there is nothing, sometimes there can be something else there that you can't hear that someone else is trying to receive in a different location to you and you could block it out.

In addition to this you also have harmonics to think about, something that might be transmitting on the third harmonic of the frequency you are using could have it's communication interfered with, even though it sounds like the frequency you are using is empty, this includes some things like emergency services. Most people don't seem to realise that if you send something out on say for example 90Mhz you also create major interference on 270Mhz which even though you might think well that's not a problem that is outside my radio's scope as my radio only goes from 88Mhz to 108Mhz, that frequency may be being used by someone else (for example an emergency frequency) and they don't want your broadcast wandering all over it. This used to happen in Warrington a lot when a local bus company used to have their PMR for the buses on a harmonic of 97.4 so anyone listening to Rock FM used to regularly get interrupted by some bus driver reporting back to base, thankfully now they have a digital radio system so it's not as problematic, but to them they were just transmitting on what appeared to be an unused PMR frequency without realising the problems they were causing further on up the dial.

BT earmarks 66 more exchanges for fibre-to-the-cabinet upgrade

Darren Forster
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Still no Ludlow....

It's unbelievable I was on a ISLAND (Isle of Wight) at the weekend that had CABLE TV and BROADBAND, and full 3G phone coverage. I come back to Ludlow which is in the middle of the mainland (only about 20 miles from the major city of Birmingham) and STILL we have no fibre optic and no plans at present for fibre optic and barely even get 3G. WTF???? Villages on an island actually have better broadband and TV than we do on the mainland, BT really need to get their priorities sorted.

I might resort to sending smoke signals in Ludlow, might get there quicker and save me a fortune on a sub-standard hit and miss broadband service from Plus Net.

Five amazing computers for under £100

Darren Forster

What about proper computers?

This list seems a little bit badly titled - "five computers for under a ton"

Half of these devices aren't even proper computers - iPhone, Palm, these aren't "computers" these are handheld pda's/phones, might as well throw games consoles in there whilst your at it with this list.

Where are the proper 8-bit computers like the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, C64, MSX some of these have really good use even today, like playing Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy in it's original form. The MSX had probably the best basic program language ever, I learned to program computers on this, it had such basic power, but was really easy to use.

Also what about things like the Atari ST, are they not available for under £100? Great for creating music on and about £75 on eBay. Also many Amiga 500's lying around on eBay for about £40 - one guy is even selling 5 for £15 - bargain for a proper classic computer.

Darren Forster
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D-Link very surprised...

I' m very surprised about your comments that D-Link provide frequent updates. I used to own D-Link Vonage router, the only thing that was good about it was that it worked as a vonage box and wireless router all in one. Had it for three years waiting for D-Link to provide an update to it's firmware to stop the frequent crashing, resetting, forgetting all settings when power is switched off (including most importantly wi-fi security settings). Kept asking D-Link and Vonage if they were ever going to provide a firmware update to fix the problems, Vonage said it was D-Link's responsibility D-Link were never forthcoming with the update. Also looking on the net for reviews of that router it seems I wasn't the only one that was stuck with this useless bugged device that D-Link wouldn't do anything about. Since then got myself a new Linksys router and added a seperate Vonage box instead, and certainly wouldn't touch anything made by D-Link ever again.

UK is fifth free-est nation on the internet

Darren Forster

Was very surprised at this list...

When I read this and notice Estonia was at the top, and Sweden was no-where in this list this really did surprise me, until I went to view the whole website to find out where Sweden came, considering how it has dealt in the past with sites like The Pirate Bay, compared to how us and the USA have dealt with similar sites.

I then found a big flaw in this list - Sweden, along with all of the other Nordic countries, and half of the European countries were not included in this list.

What is the point in this list, unless all the countries of the world are included you can't say Britain is fifth, it's like saying Pepsi is the number one coke, and excluding Coca-Cola from the list, absolutely useless statistic.

US woman sues again over XP 'downgrade', seeks class action

Darren Forster

Buy one with Linux on then...

You can buy a laptop without Windows on, such as one with Linux on, as Linux is a free operating system the company selling the laptop can only charge the cost to install it on the laptop (and/or the costs for the CD's), not for the actual OS (otherwise they're breaking the GPL and selling something which is not rightly theirs to sell).

Then buy a Windows XP licence, that way you don't need to purchase Vista/7 with a laptop.

Apple bars radiation nanny from App Store

Darren Forster

Quite agree with the headaches.

I quite agree that some radio transmissions can give quite severe headaches.

I used to do Amateur Radio and remember one night I was talking for a few hours to a friend on my hand-held radio. During this time I had it plugged into a 12v PSU to save the battery from going flat.

Afterwards the radio was really hot due to the amount of transmitting it had been doing, and I had a really bad headache. The headache was in the area where the radio's antenna had been closest to my head. Since then I've never used my amateur radio gear in such a way.

This could be totally different though to mobile phones as the frequency I used then in amateur radio was 1.44-1.45Mhz (2m), where as mobile phones use Ghz so either might not induce headaches but do more serious damage, or might do no damage whatsoever.

Apple seeks antenna engineers after 'Death Grip' debacle

Darren Forster

Maybe Apple needs some radio hams on their team.

Maybe Apple need to hire some amateur radio enthusiasts to do a better job on their next phone.

Seems a bit silly to have the antenna or ground plane in a place where you can touch it as this would lengthen or shorten the antenna and plane depending on the way the electric flows through your body, and also how electrically charged you are at the time with static electric.

Jobsian drones shackle gamer with 'lifetime' iPad ban

Darren Forster
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Apple over-controlling their property again

Apple constantly try and control their stuff. Hopefully this lifetime ban is enough to put everyone off wanting an iPad (although I know it wont be).

I have never owned an iPhone/iPad/iPod and wouldn't want to. I can't see what the point is in them.

There are plenty of other Third party products already available that are better than Apple's stuff, it's just Apple monopolises certain things that run on it (like the music format).

And what a lot of people don't seem to notice is most of what Apple do is a copy off other companies failed products, and just by sticking the Apple logo on it and making it work with iTunes they can sell it.

E.g. The iPhone - years ago I had the Motorola A1000, I could do nearly all the same stuff on the A1000 that the iPhone could do (apart from the accelerometer and use iTunes) and this came out 5 years before the iPhone.

The iPod - there was Mp3 players years before iPods, the only difference was you could put iTunes onto the iPod which you couldn't put on Mp3 players.

Of course this restriction soon changed once Amazon started offering their songs on Mp3, funny enough a few weeks later Apple copied Amazon and started offering iTunes on MP3 (wasn't that convenient?).

At one point I used to like the Apple Mac's as they were good machines, but now Apple is going more and more like Microsoft and Sony every day. Not caring about their customers, just concentrating on gaining control on everything and bullying people into submission.

Adobe heats up iPad Flash bash

Darren Forster

Typical Apple dictatorship...

Typical Apple dictatorship trying to prevent end users doing what they want to do with the device that THEY have bought from Apple.

It's their device they should be allowed to install what they want on it not have some dictatorship company acting like they still own the device when it's been sold.

So the web on iPad is without Flash, that has certainly put me off ever wanting to buy one then.

Have Apple ever taken a look at the internet if you turn Flash off? The majority of sites are just big blank blocks, mainly because web developers don't see any point in incorporating a non-flash version of their site.

I was recently working on one company's website and was told to not bother putting the non-flash images in, and after developing a problem with Flash on my laptop and having to disable it I quickly found out that this wasn't the only company that doesn't bother to make websites accessible to those without Flash player.

I really frown on companies who don't bother with supporting users with older machines that either can't run Flash, or not thinking about people with disabilities who use screen readers that can't cope with Flash, but I think Apple are being really silly locking out Flash from the iPad.

I seem to remember the PSP when it first came out with a lack of Flash and it wasn't long before Flash was put on the PSP as the web browser on the PSP was useless without Flash, same thing could happen with the iPad if Apple aren't careful.

McKinnon: The longest ever game of pass the parcel

Darren Forster
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More protection for Iraqi than UK citizen.

Just saw a really bad news story this morning that puts all this Gary McKinnon thing into full perspective.

A judge has ruled that a Schizophrenic should not be deported to Iraq after murdering two NHS hospital workers after saying he got a calling from Allah, because it would break his human rights and he might not get the proper treatment.

YET we seem determined to deport somebody who has not killed anyone, just hacking into a system that had major security holes in it, who is at risk of killing himself if he is deported. And he didn't even commit the crime in the US so he should be tried in the UK anyway where he committed the crime.

The US seem to think they can constantly dictate their rules to the entire world, you only need to look at some of the "dumb" legal letters that companies in the US used to send to The Pirate Bay in Sweden to see how stupidly the Americans think they can enforce their law worldwide.

Why the protection of human rights laws for the Iraqi and not for the British person. If the British government do decide to deport Gary McKinnon then they are being racist towards the British people, yet we are expected to put up with them being racist because apparently racism only counts if it's against the ethnic minority. Sorry but to treat someone totally different regardless of whether or not they are the ethnic minority is still racism.

The only thing is he might actually be better in America than the UK as their support for people with Aspergers is far better than the NHS's. I have Aspergers and ADHD and the support I receive from the NHS is appalling. Throughout School, College and University they missed Aspergers and just put it down to ADHD and "oh he'll grow out of it", something that the NHS regularly falsely claimed about ADHD (without bothering to look at all other countries stating that Adult ADHD does exist, and now they're trying to cover up all the mess ups they made).

It finally took a Scout leader to notice my Autistic tendencies, and even after that I got sent all over the country trying to get a diagnosis (eventually ending up with Prof. Digby Tantum in Sheffield for AS, and The Priory re-assessing my ADHD - just in time for me turning 25 which is the age when most support for special needs ends in this country, quite convenient timing wasn't it?).

After the assessment I was told they'd supply cognitive behaviour therapy to help my ADHD/Aspergers. The best CBT they offered was to go and join a support centre for various mentally ill people so you can get involved with loads of activities (with ADHD I don't need any more activities). At present I am being supported by WAspS which was a group set up originally by parents with AS due to the lack of support from the NHS for Aspergers.

Lawyers pursue banned Xbox Live gamers

Darren Forster
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You messed with your console and were warned - it's tough!

To all the people who modified their console, whether or not you modified it to play illegal games or backups it's tough. You read and agreed to the terms and conditions of the X-Box console. If you keep your original discs safe they should easily outlast the playability of the game anyway so you should have no need to back them up. As for the ones who have been using illegal discs in your console, you put your hand inside the cookie jar and got caught. It was so obvious that at some point Microsoft, and no doubt many other games consoles will put a stop to illegal gaming through online lock down, it is the best and most easiest way to stop piracy. Even if someone comes out with a fix for it Microsoft will just introduce a new patch to stop you going onto XBox Live again. Do the decent thing, stop breaking the law and only buy legitimate games for your console and give the developers their money.

Consumer Panel recommends try before buy mobiles

Darren Forster
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Three ripped me off in August by selling me a contract that doesn't exist.

I bought a PAYG sim card in August from Carphone Warehouse on the 3 Stretch plan. I was really annoyed with 3 as I got told that this plan no longer exists and Carphone Warehouse shouldn't be selling it. After I kept telling them that it is illegal to sell something as advertised and then to totally change the package all I kept getting back was that they couldn't do anything and I'd need to return it to CPW for a refund. As I was too busy at the time, I was helping on a scout camp and used the only time I had to go and get the sim card I didn't have time to return to CPW to get a refund.

I was really annoyed with 3 over this as I'd been a contract customer with them since the service started, I only bought the PAYG sim card because I'd run out of minutes on my phone and it worked out cheaper to buy a Stretch sim as advertised instead of keep using my phone, instead it cost me more because the new PAYG contract didn't have the option to stretch.

I was very disappointed with 3 for just keep coming up with the same old bull that they hadn't false advertised, despite the sim card had come in a box that was all printed advertising the stretch tariff. If they had discontinued the stretch tariff in June as they claimed, firstly why did they not de-activate all the sim cards that were in these boxes to stop anyone from being mis-sold them? and also why did it take them until August, after my complaint to them to update their website to tell people the stretch tariff is no longer available.

The only thing they told me they would do is change their website, and recall all those sim cards from CPW to ensure no-one else gets mislead, no sorry, or free credit. Three just don't give a damn about their customers, very bad company, stay away from them. Also it gets even worse when you try and cancel one of their contracts, every 5 minutes you get a pestering sales call from someone in India offering you the same contract your on for the same price if you stay with them for another month, and sometimes they don't even bother to disconnect the phone when you cancel your contract.

O2 could impose out-of-contract iPhone lock-in

Darren Forster
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Doesn't really matter

Doesn't really matter, if they do offer to unlock the handset or not. If they don't unlock the handset, I'm quite sure there will be plenty of people in markets and computer fairs offering to unlock them anyway, the only people that would lose out if they do ban people from taking their iPhones is O2 as they'd lose out to market traders.

Google cloud told to encrypt itself

Darren Forster

Never send sensitive information through e-mail anyway!

I can't believe Google is getting slated over this. Even if you send your data through gmail securely there is no guarantee that your details aren't going to be hacked into somewhere along the line.

You should never send any type of personal information through an e-mail system, especially not things like bank details.

I get so annoyed with MBNA who send me a letter through e-mail every so often saying "We have added your postcode to this e-mail so you know it's from us".

So how does the fact that MBNA know what my postcode is prove to me that the e-mail they've sent me is genuinely from them? Apart from the fact that anywhere along the lines, between MBNA's mail server and my mail server, anyone could have taken a look at that e-mail and seen my postcode, wrote it down and sent me an e-mail that looks like it's from MBNA, although I'm not really bothered if people find out my postcode, they could find it just as easily by looking in the phone book.

E-mail is not secure and should never be used to send anything sensitive. Certainly never bank details of any sort. If you really must send bank details through e-mail possibly the most safest way is to put them in to a file and compress the file with something like WinRAR adding a secure password to it (ideally at least 8 characters long with numbers, capital letters and some non-alphanumeric characters in it for good measure). Then call the person and tell them the password to open the file at their end, then you know that it is fully encrypted before being sent.

Exam board to hear appeal over format cockup

Darren Forster
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Maybe they should use OpenOffice next year...

Maybe next year instead of giving over thousands of pounds of school money to Microsoft for Office and have the work produced in the wrong format they should use OpenOffice and submit it all in PDF. At least in PDF there is no way any of the work could be intentionally altered.

It is laughable though that firstly Edexel aren't able to read the most common document format in the world, and even more funny is the fact that they are not allowed to contact the school in the case of such a major mess up. Surely if they were allowed to contact the school after realising the blunder this could have easily been rectified without all the red tape of going through the appeals process, all the students getting told they've failed, and then all having to have their work re-assessed, all of which is wasting time for these students. It's not too bad at the moment as they're probably not going off to college, but if this had happened in the summer exams some of these students might have missed out on college places due to Edexel's incompetence.

Grand Theft Auto IV PC debut gets SecuROM sideshow

Darren Forster
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Online authenitication...

Online authenticiation with this stupid Securom 7 is preventing people who don't have internet access from playing games.

My sister recently bought Spore and got it home. She was so annoyed when she installed it as she lives in a flat and doesn't want to pay an ISP £25 a month 'cos she'd rather go the library to use the internet than subscribe.

The only problem is you can't just take your PC down to the library and plug it in to their network just to activate Spore, so for her to play the game EA were trying to force her to sign a 12-month contract to a broadband service which she'd very rarely use, except to just activate one stupid game!

I told her to see if there was a way to activate offline (like Microsoft do with Vista and XP - and these are worth between £80-£200, unlike this stupid little game that's only worth £40). And the idiots at EA have made no way to allow you to activate the game offline.

So they have just alienated loads of people who do not have and do not want or can't afford the internet and ripped them off by £40. She did notice on the bottom of the Spore box in very small writing it does state "Internet connection required for activation". Well EA and Rockstar if you're going to do that with future games you might want to make that sign a little LARGER like maybe on the front of the box in big letters (like you get when you buy an expansion pack for something where it says on the top "Requires original game to run"), not hide it on the back of the box, in 5pt writing so no-one can see it.

She did end up activating the game by bringing the PC to my house, but what if she hadn't known somebody with an internet connection, or didn't have someone who would be willing for her to come down and lend it to activate the game (or even had the technologic knowledge to do this. She'd have wasted £40 on a game she couldn't play. Securirom should think more carefully about people who don't have the internet and allow them to phone a number up to activate it.

Beeb to cut the f**king swearing

Darren Forster

Sack Jonathan Ross

Firstly there will be a lot less swearing coming out Jonathan Ross's gob next year as he wont be working with the Beeb for the next 6 months. Although I think the BBC should stop messing around with the licence payers money and sack this loser (does anyone actually watch his show anyway?? Ant and Dec are far more popular any day than Ross, and the Auntie handed them over to ITV along with Paul O'Grady - all top quality comedians that ITV probably pay a lot less for than the BBC pay for Ross).

The BBC does have some really good and funny comedians out there such as Chris Moyles, but Jonathan Ross is just a waste of space and a waste of the TV licence payers money. I am really annoyed that I am being forced to subscribe to this losers pay packet just because I own a TV and live in the UK.

BBC Micro creators meet to TRACE machine's legacy

Darren Forster


Nice list of other computers that people had who couldn't afford the BBC B, I settled for one not on the list - the Japanese MSX, this was for those who couldn't even afford the C-64's/Spectrums, later on I went up to a C64 which electrocuted me with a dodgy plug, and then went over to the ZX Spectrum +2 and finally came back to Commodore with the Amiga (after seeing an ST emulator I'm really glad I evaded that one!). I also ended up with the BBC smaller brother - The Acorn Electron!

Artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince attacks internet

Darren Forster

Artist formerly known as...

What is the obsession with this old has-bean, he's finished, he had a few ok songs in the 80's mainly pulling on the 1999 worlds going to end scenario, but now he's so desperate for record sales that he has to give his music away for free in a newspaper (and a conservative one at that, hey! they are both the same the conservatives and prince - old and finished!)

The only one thing I can see is good is the fact he's attacking that scum sucking website eBay who are suppossed to protect people's rights yet don't do very good when it comes to slander in the feedback system. eBay seem to have their own rules - we stop you listing anything that might be copyright infringing even if you have a right to sell it 'cos it might be illegal, yet we're ok at people publishing slander in the feedback comments, even though it is blatantly false without a court order against the person who made the comments there is nothing you can do (and fat chance your going to do that - solicitors wont take you on for a libel case against someone on eBay!). I've got that fed up of using eBay now I've started using eBid, at least they don't charge for everything you do like eBay.

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