* Posts by Steven Pemberton

40 posts • joined 11 Oct 2007

Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Steven Pemberton

Don't forget the pricing

When Win8 came out I watched prices of machines going up; luckily I bought my new machine before that. I'm sure the manufacturers thought "New OS + Ultrabook = we can charge Apple prices!" not realising that a lot of people don't buy Apple for exactly the inflated price reason. I'm waiting for the PC industry to come to their senses before buying again. Recently I built my own computer instead, and was shocked, shocked I say, at what a good machine I could create for so little money...

Merde! Dummkopf! Google Translate used as spam cloak

Steven Pemberton

Other uses of Google Translate

By the way, you can also use Google Translate to get round ISP blocks. In the Netherlands, some ISPs have been required to block The Pirate Bay; however, if you go to it via Google translate there's no block.

Reg man goes time travelling at iconic observatory

Steven Pemberton


"it will be generating a bracing 960,000,000GB of data a day"

So that'll be 960 petabytes a day then, or did you think we wouldn't know anything above giga?

PC market to spend ANOTHER year soaked in blood, warns IDC

Steven Pemberton

Did anyone notice prices going up?

When Win8 came out I watched prices of machines going up; luckily I bought my new machine before that. I'm sure the manufacturers thought "New OS + Ultrabook = we can charge Apple prices!" not realising that a lot of people don't buy Apple for exactly the inflated price reason. I'm waiting for the PC industry to come to their senses before buying again. Last week I built my own computer instead, and was shocked, shocked I say, at what a good machine I could create for so little money...

Sony turned off by CEA's 'Ultra HD' TV label

Steven Pemberton
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I agree with megapixel

Then it is consistent with how digital cameras are sold

Ten backpacks for tech-heads

Steven Pemberton


and no other.

UK snoop system had 1,000 COCKUPS - including 2 duff cuffs

Steven Pemberton

This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt.

It's not my fault that Buttle's heart condition didn't appear on Tuttle's file!

Ten... Sata 3 SSDs

Steven Pemberton

Reaching parity with HDs

"There may never be parity between SSDs and the good old mechanical disk drive but the solid state option is steadily heading in the right direction regarding cost and capacity."

Sure they'll reach parity. SSDs follow Moore's Law, HDs don't.

Lesser-spotted Raspberry Pi FINALLY dished up

Steven Pemberton

Game changer

This is one of the most cynical articles I've read on El Reg, and that's saying something...

Anyway, Alexander Graham Bell is reported to have believed that the invention of the telephone would help the deaf in some way or another, and I think people are making the same thought mistake here. I don't think the Pi will turn out to be of particular use for education, but for loads of other things we haven't even considered yet. The key thing about the Pi is that it is an order of magnitude cheaper than other commercial computers. Like the PDP 10 was in its day, or the personal computer. When the price drops by an order of magnitude, people start using computers in completely different ways. Handled right, we will be able to look back at the Pi as the first generation of the £10 computer, that changed the way we thought about and used computers.

Ukraine file-sharing site disappears

Steven Pemberton

6000 TB = 1 PB

Can I just point out that since you are writing for professional computer wonks, that it's quite all right to say 6 petabytes rather than 6000 terabytes. We will know what you mean. (And if we don't, we know where to look it up.)

Sick of Ubuntu's bad breath? Suck on a Linux Mint instead

Steven Pemberton

Don't like Unity? Install Gnome!

I don't understand the fuss about Unity. If you don't like it, go to the Software Centre, type "Gnome" and install it. Done. Then at the log-in screen you can choose which you want to use. You don't need to install another distribution just to change the interface!

As it happens I prefer Unity, but there you go.

Ubuntu hoists skirt, flashes 'concept' gadget at CES

Steven Pemberton

I like Unity, but it's easy to replace

I don't understand the fuss. I run several versions of Ubuntu on different machines, as well as Fedora, but having given it a chance, I now prefer Unity over Gnome. But I also don't understand all the hissy fits from people who don't like it. You just install Gnome from the software centre, and you're back to how it used to be. No need to go looking for other distributions. Choice, it's what free software is about.

Opera spruces up email client in 11.60 browser cut

Steven Pemberton


They've removed the indicator of whether a mail comes from someone on your contacts list or not. This was the thing I most liked with Opera mail! I could scan through the hundreds of emails I get per day, and in one go see the important ones (from people I regularly correspond with). Ugh ugh ugh.

Ubuntu savaged by rivals infected with fondleslab fever

Steven Pemberton

What a lot of fuss about so little

If you don't like Unity, install Gnome from the Software Centre, and then select Gnome (classic) when you log in. All fixed.

Vodafone turns its back on '360

Steven Pemberton

A waste

To create 360 they bought up zyb.com, which was a good service, which I happily used. And then they wrecked it, above all by not supporting calendars. Basically they were clueless.

C and Unix pioneer Dennis Ritchie reported dead

Steven Pemberton

"Unix paved the way for many, many operating systems, including Linux."

To put it mildly. In fact most operating systems are just versions of Unix, or thinly disguised versions. Linux, Android, OSX. And most embedded systems, at least in my house, routers, NASes, and so on, run versions of Unix.

Lenovo chief says netbook's day is done

Steven Pemberton

And only yesterday Acer said exactly the opposite

Acer slashes tablet forecast, banks on notebooks


(Hey! Where's the badgers icon gone???)

W3C tackles HTML5 confusion with, um, more confusion

Steven Pemberton

Don't confuse the W3C with the person who designed the logo

The article seems to confuse two very different things: the organisation that commissioned the logo, and the guy working for the company that designed it. Just because a graphic designer says the logo represents CSS as well, doesn't mean that W3C agree with him or asked him to say it.

Standard smartphone charger to dominate in two years

Steven Pemberton
Thumb Up

Thanks EU!

I just want to thank the EU for enforcing this. They get so much flak from a lot of people, that it's good to recognise them for their valuable things (while I'm here, I'd also like to thank them for the 750ml wine bottles, in the days that the wine industry was steadily reducing the amount per bottle, to 690ml and less).

Apple signals disk free notebooks way to go

Steven Pemberton


> It will be really interesting to see how much the Windows machine

> manufacturers charge if they

> follow suit and produce models with flash instead of hard drives.

Two years ago I bought a Toshiba laptop with 2×128G SSDs, weighs 800g, lovely machine, I dual-boot Ubuntu off it. Cost me €1 per gram, ex., so it's interesting to see how much Apple are charging now they are following suit.

Google Percolator – global search jolt sans MapReduce comedown

Steven Pemberton

Eh? Where's the rub?

So after listing several positive aspects of Percolator, it says:

"The rub is that Caffeine uses roughly twice the resources to keep up with the same crawl rate."

So what's the rub here? It sounds like yet another advantage. Am I missing something?

Operators' EU roaming challenge sent home

Steven Pemberton


I recently got a message from T-Mobile telling me that they had slashed rates on roaming,

And indeed, the per minute rate is halved. But now they charge per minute rather than per second, and add a per-call fee. So what used to cost at minimum 23 cents, now costs 104 cents. The break even point is at 3 minutes 30 seconds. I checked my most recent calls from abroad, and almost all calls are under 1 minute.

2009's Top E-book Readers

Steven Pemberton

Why no HTML?

What I don't understand is why if the readers support ePub format (which is just a packaged version of HTML) they don't also support HTML. It would be so easy, and so useful...

Acer Aspire 1810TZ

Steven Pemberton



Michael Dell: Netbooks go sour after 36 hours

Steven Pemberton

He should do his homework

For twenty years there was exactly one laptop in our house - mine. But after netbooks were introduced there were suddenly 5; everyone had one except for the 6 year old, and I can only put off his complaining by telling him that he can't have one until he can read. No one has complained after 36 hours that they are unusable. Nor after 3600 hours. They are all happy, because they know what they bought.

Joost gives up the ghoost

Steven Pemberton
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I miss it

I enjoyed the original Joost, and miss it, even though I didn't watch it often. I loved the Aardman cartoon channel (and so did my kids), but a lot of the other content was stupid stuff meant I suppose to appeal to geeks, like the Swimsuit channel or whatever.

I never had any trouble with the streaming (though latency was sometimes long), and the underlying idea was brilliant: distribute the bandwidth needs of broadcasting over the whole network, so that broadcasters only needed a thin pipe to get the stuff out (like Bittorrent). But that plan depended on getting critical mass, which they never got, alas.

Maybe they shouldn't have started off with a closed system, and just let anyone broadcast.

The HTML that says no - Joi Ito's pitch for a theft-free web

Steven Pemberton

Some points of information

Everyone "puts a postit note" on their copyrighted works. The Register too. It is called the copyright notice, and if it's not there, then if someone copies it, you can't complain. All this use of RDFa does it makes the copyright machine readable too. Nothing wrong with that, right?

RDFa is just microformats generalised. It allows you to add machine readable information about the content. It's early days yet, but if a page for a conference for instance were marked up with RDFa, the browser would know it was an event, and could offer to add it to your calendar, show you it on a map, look for hotels, or flights. You can only do this if the information on the page is machine readable.

There really is an official W3C version of HTML with RDFa: it's called XHTML+RDFa. It's section 8 of http://www.w3.org/TR/rdfa-syntax/

There is already some adoption of RDFa apart from CC. For instance, it will be in the next version of Drupal (http://groups.drupal.org/node/16597), and check out the London Gazette (http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/) whose articles are chocka with RDFa.

Acer's 10in Aspire One spied on web

Steven Pemberton

Re: Why are they all the same?

I thought that Microsoft had imposed limits on the machines it is allowed to offer XP on, so that it doesn't eat into Vista sales. As I remember there was a limit of 1G RAM, 160G disk (originally 80G), and some restrictions on the screen.

SSD and HDD capacity goes on embiggening

Steven Pemberton

Observed doubling time is much less

Even the guess of a doubling per 2 years doesn't match reality. I've been watching the developments vaguely since 2005, and seriously in the last 18 months. A 1G USB stick cost me eur80 in 2005, and I can now buy 32G for eur60, and 64G for eur90. So at constant price, there has been a doubling in size roughly every 6 months.

I read an article in the 80's that predicted parity for HDs and SSDs in 2015, and it looks like they got it just about right (they didn't express it that way, but that is how you would interpret it now).

Graph of recent USB stick prices here (search for "USB"):


Samsung boffins demo transparent OLED screen

Steven Pemberton

You already covered the folding screen in November


SDXC memory card spec launched for 2TB capacity

Steven Pemberton

2TB of memory should be enough for anybody (ha ha)

Frankly, I can't help thinking that they'll kick themselves very soon for restricting it to only 2TB. Current consumer hard disks max out at 2TB, but that's only 6 iterations (doublings) away from the current max of 32GB for SDHC. 2TB sounds a lot now, but it won't soon. The first generation of SD cards (introduced in 2000) maxed out at 1GB. They tweaked that later to 4GB, and then had to define SDHC to get up to 32G, and now SDXC to get to 2TB. Three redefinitions in less than a decade doesn't sound very visionary to me.

Ubuntu Eee undergoes cheesy Easy Peasy rebrand

Steven Pemberton
Thumb Down

Hardy Pardy more like

So I went along to their website wearing a newby user's hat to see how easy peasy it would be for the the average netbook user to install this stuff.

The home page has a link to download, but no instructions on installing. You get an ISO file, that most people won't know what to do with.

The home page also has a link to documentation, which *also* has no instructions on installing.

So it's just another Linux distro for those in the know. How do they expect Linux to catch on if they don't make it easy for newcomers?

What if computers went back to the '70s too?

Steven Pemberton

A 70's mainframe was MUCH less powerful than an iphone!

"They bought the biggest iron they could afford, and installed giant mainframes (with roughly the power of a modern iPhone) in big, cyber-scifi offices."

Much less power than an iphone! Anything that can do video is way more powerful than a 70's mainframe. A Vax could just manage audio, but not video.

I don't have figures for an iphone, but a Nokia 9300 is worth 17 Crays.

Asus Eee PC S101 luxury netbook

Steven Pemberton

0.3 M pixel cam?

The only thing I don't understand about the specs of this machine, being the top of the line machine it is, is why they went for the miserable 0.3 M pixel cam instead of the 1.3 M pixels appearing in the other upper eees.

Western Digital sees future written on disks, not clouds

Steven Pemberton

Whistling in the graveyard

This is all classic disruptive technology stuff. Read "The Innovator's Dilemma", and then try and tell me that WD, or any other hard disk manufacturer, has got a future.

If you compare the cost per bit over time of disks and solid state, you'll see that solid state is dropping much faster. Solid state has got its niche now, and will eat HD's lunch before long: it will be faster, consume less power, be more robust, smaller, *and* cheaper. Why would you want to buy a HD?

Reding would OK charges to receive mobile calls

Steven Pemberton

Europe has been doing good

Good grief! What is everyone getting worked up about? Reding didn't say anyone *should* charge for incoming calls, just that she wouldn't stop anyone who did. Whether a telco does do it is up to them, not to her.

Europe has been doing good stuff stopping the telcos from fleecing us when roaming in Europe (pity it doesn't have the power to stop them when roaming in other countries), so cut her some slack!

Pentagon rattles sabre at Google's Street View

Steven Pemberton

How Google got these snaps to begin with

The story as I heard it (on the radio) was that the Google van driver asked the guy on the gate if he could come in, and he was allowed to...

Steven Pemberton
Black Helicopters

Not the first time

Spot the military base in this map of central Amsterdam:


iPhone may sidestep rubbish caller ID suit

Steven Pemberton

Leading 0's

The easiest way to understand the leading zero rule in European telephone numbers is to think of it as a filestore. At the top level you have directories for the countries: 44 for the UK, 31 for the Netherlands etc, and within those directories the local codes: 20 for London in the UK, 20 for Amsterdam in the Netherlands etc.

Your phone is located in your local area. So dialling a leading 0 means "cd .."

So 020-123456 means ../20/12456, and 0031-20-123456 means ../../31/20/123456

And this explains why you leave out the 0 when dialling an international number; if you dialled 0031-020-123456 it would mean ../../31/../20/123456.

This even works at my place of employment, where to dial an outside line you dial an initial 0.

So clearly, when we get interplanetary direct dialling, the interplanetary code will be 000 + planet code + country code + area code + local number. I suggest 00030 for earth, and 00031 for the moon.

Preterite peter-out: How the end beginned

Steven Pemberton

How many verbs??

"the current lingo boasts just 98 [irregular verbs] - a paltry three per cent of all verbs."

So English only has 3267 verbs? Surely some mistake.

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