* Posts by Michael Strorm

416 posts • joined 11 Feb 2008

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10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

Michael Strorm

Bebooh To Be Ah

@Teiwaz; "I wasn't even aware Bebo was still going?"

Years ago- it must have been before the 2013 bankruptcy- someone I worked with used Bebo and even *then* I was like "are people still using that?!"

But the original Bebo has been dead and gone for several years now. After the company went bankrupt it was sold back to the original founders (#) who shut down the original site and relaunched the company as a designer of social apps that doesn't even call itself a social network any more (##).

Regardless, it's obviously irrelevant nowadays. Involving them in this would be like parliament in 1991 demanding the remnants of Kajagoogoo answer questions about those newfangled illegal acid house raves.

(#) $1m, compared to the $850m (of which $595m was theirs) they apparently sold it for in the first place.

(##) Wikipedia states that "Bebo [..] now describes itself as "a company that dreams up ideas for fun social apps;" Grant Denholm, the man behind the Bebo relaunch, has confirmed that the site will not be returning as a social network but as a company that makes social apps."

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What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console

Michael Strorm

Re: This is a trivial design...

@martinusher; It wasn't *even* going to be an FPGA-based recreation anyway! (#) All that was ever intended was an emulator running on some arbitrary device- i.e. a long-solved problem. See here and here.

But- as you correctly note- this is all irrelevant as the problems are blatantly the result of managerial, legal and interpersonal issues within the company, not technical.

(#) If that's what you're after, the far more interesting-looking Spectrum Next- from a totally unrelated team/company- aims to do just that.

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Nvidia quickly kills its AMD-screwing GeForce 'partner program' amid monopoly probe threat

Michael Strorm

I fought the law and the lawyers won....

I fought the law and the lawyers won.

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France building encrypted messaging app for politicians

Michael Strorm

@Mycho; "Meat Loaf approves of their efforts".

"Liberté, égalité, fraternité".... two out of three ain't bad?

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2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

Michael Strorm

Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

@jim parker; You haven't seen 2001 if you haven't seen it in the original Klingon.

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2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

Michael Strorm

Re: Forbidden Planet

"Are you being ironic, given what happened to Jupiter and Europa in 2010 or did you not read 2010 ?"

Yeah, but that's 2010- which was written around fifteen years later- and for various reasons it's open to question how legitimately one can back-read continuity and explanations between that and the film of 2001.

tl;dr - (i) 2010 was written years later, (ii) Kubrick wasn't involved in 2010 at all, (iii) both book and movie of 2010 reflected Clarke's more "literal" vision seen in the original novel which perhaps was never the intended spirit or interpretation of the film ending and (iv) the discrepancies between versions and sequels mean we can't assume one applies to the other.

The novel of 2010 was written by Arthur C. Clarke alone and follows the far more literal style of his original novel of 2001. *That* was written alongside the original film- rather than being a direct novelisation of it- and- along with the different "approach" and feel- varies somewhat in its depiction of specific events (e.g. the action takes place around Saturn, whose rings were deemed too difficult to acccurately depict for the film).

While it's often implied that the novel "explains" the post-Stargate ending of the film of 2001, the differences in what comes before means it can't be taken for granted that this is the case, or even what was intended. Given the aforementioned differences in approach, it's quite possible that- unlike the novel- the ending of the film was always *meant* to be open to interpretation and viewed as such, and that trying to shoehorn it into the excellent-but-different literal viewpoint of the novel both does it a disservice and misses the point.

Back to 2010... the original novel- which came out a couple of years before the 1984 film- follows very much the approach of Clarke's 2001 novel. (I first read them one after the other- before I'd seen either film- and enjoyed both very much- 2010 was a great sequel).

The film 2010 is based on the aforementioned Clarke sequel novel, and Kubrick was not involved at all. (#). That's why it's so different in feel and approach to Kubrick's original, and why I don't consider it the latter's direct spiritual successor. Yes, they've included elements from Kubrick's 2001- and even Clarke's 2010 novel altered the continuity to fit the original film rather than the original novel better- but the film is still essentially "Hollywood's movie version of Clarke's sequel to *his* original novel" and reflects the approach and style of the latter. (##)

There's also the question of whether one can apply the events of 2010 to 2001, since the latter were Clarke's alone and he possibly- indeed quite probably- hadn't thought them up when writing the original story.

(#) Indeed, when he saw it, he apparently complained that they'd "explained everything". Which might back up my view on trying to shoehorn the novel's "explanation" onto the ending of the original film.

(##) The film even "recaps" the line "My god, it's full of stars" from just before Bowman enters the Stargate in 2001. Except that was *never* in the original film- only Clarke's novel.

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Amazon warns you have 30 days before Music Storage files bloodbath

Michael Strorm

Re: Eh

@AC; "When I buy CDs from Amazon they also supply an MP3 rip [..] Not that I ever use them."

Same here. I was informed- without asking- that I had those, even for CDs I'd bought some years prior. (#) Never used them either; anything I wanted ripped, I'd already done so.

(#) It's also notable that some of the CDs they did this for had been bought- and given away- as presents for other people, so I'd have thought I wouldn't have the "right" to the rip anyway?!

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Huawei joins Android elite with pricey, nocturnal 40MP flagship

Michael Strorm

Re: Dear Hawei,

It's quite probable that this *is* part of a strategy to move the brand upmarket. Even if it doesn't itself sell in silly quantities, it might have a "halo" effect on their other, lower-end models and in turn let them get away with charging more for them.

Unfortunately, that bloody notch- which was stupid on the iPhone X in the first place- just makes it look like a wannabe.

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Exploit kit development has gone to sh$t... ever since Adobe Flash was kicked to the curb

Michael Strorm

"I think flash is great. It's easy to block, unlike multimedia in html5. [..] Flash has been 'click to run' for a long time now for me anyway"

Same here. Flash might have been used for some of the most obnoxious content, but that also made it easy to block that same obnoxious content by making it all click-to-play.

Not so simple since everyone started moving to HTML5.

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Michael Strorm

Won't be needing the carriage clock, then...

Perhaps that's what they meant anyway.

"Special police squads - Blade Runner Units - had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing replicant^w^w remaining Flash installations.

This was not called execution. It was called retirement."

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What a mesh: BT Whole Home Wi-Fi users moan over update

Michael Strorm

Well...

...that's another fine mesh they've got their customers into!

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UK watchdog finally gets search warrant for Cambridge Analytica's totally not empty offices

Michael Strorm

Re: Given the time it's take to get the warrant...

@DJV; "a pile of well used paper shredders"

I would *not* rely on a paper shredder alone- not even a cross-cut one- to protect me in a case as serious as this.

I'm pretty certain there must be software out there able to take arbitrary amounts of scanned pieces, figure out which bits are most likely to join together- using multiple heuristics- then reassemble most of the "destroyed" documents.

If you can scatter them far and wide enough before anyone is likely to get their hands on them, this might not be workable, but you have to get away with *that* as well.

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Recording Industry Ass. says vinyl and CD sales beat digital downloads

Michael Strorm

Re: MY CDs !!!!

"They are MIIIIINE !!!"

Am I the only person who read this in the voice of the False Rod Hull?

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Michael Strorm

Re: Availability

@AC; "I wish there was a simple system for paying the artists directly. Mind you, most of the ones I like are dead."

Has anyone developed a protocol for transferring money to the dead via a ouija board? In fact, I'm sure that could be generalised to a data layer that existing protocols could run over (though they'd probably be restricted by that lower layer in terms of speed, which might be a problem).

Might even be able to transfer bitcoin over it.

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We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

Michael Strorm

Re: "It will do 4K video"

@ThomH; My apologies, I just looked up and nicked the specs from Wikipedia...! I know the broad principles of how the VCS works, but not all the fine details.

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Michael Strorm

Re: "It will do 4K video"

@ CrazyOldCatMan; That 128 bytes was for the main RAM as far as I'm aware.

As I noted in the comment above yours, the VCS doesn't even have bitmapped screen memory as such.

AFAICT, all it has are registers for (one-dimensional) playfield and sprite patterns (along with horizontal position and colour data) that need to be manually updated for successive scan lines if you want anything other than vertical stripes.

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Michael Strorm

Re: "It will do 4K video"

That'd be four times more video memory than the VCS.... no, it wouldn't. Actually, the VCS didn't even have anywhere near even *1KB* of video memory. (It only had 128 bytes of RAM for regular use!)

As far as I'm aware, it had enough to store *one* scanline's worth of screen memory. That's it.

No, really. There wasn't a "bitmapped" display as such- you had (from Wikipedia) "two bitmapped sprites, two 1-pixel "missile" sprites, a 1-pixel "ball," and a 40-pixel "playfield" [background graphic]" that you could set the patterns and position for.

To the best of my knowledge, you could set that and leave it to repeat over multiple scan lines, but unless you wanted a screenful of nothing but vertical patterned stripes (i.e. the same arrangement on every line)- which of course you bloody did!- you had to update these registers on the fly- at the appropriate time for successive scan lines- to give the illusion of a bitmapped display.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Michael Strorm

Re: Support from Maplin ?

@Alain; As Alien8n already noted, that *was* the OP's point... but you also seem to have missed the point of the story itself. The closing-down prices really aren't "low" at all (#); still more expensive than many online outlets and thus hardly "low enough to make the risk worthwhile"!!

(#) "Take the Western Digital 8TB My Cloud Home for example: it is being flogged by Maplin at £278.20 compared to £309 before the closing down sale began, but it is also available brand new from eBay for £254.99."

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10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Michael Strorm

RUN HE IS BEHIND YOU

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OK, who is shooting at Apple staff buses in California? Knock it off

Michael Strorm

Re: Use the Trump solution

@Tom 7; "A pellet gun can easily kill someone"

Two-year-old boy killed after being shot in head with air gun.

(This is with something that was- presumably- legal in Scotland as well; I've no idea how our laws compare with the US on air/pellet guns, but I'd be gobsmacked if they were weaker).

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TVEyes blindsided: Fox News defeats search engine in copyright spat

Michael Strorm

Re: Ten minutes??

"I remember back in my youth that commercials were ONE minute long, and we could take breaks from TV watching to use the facilities. Now we have five second intros to YouTube videos that are all pretty short."

You're probably right that modern attention spans have shrunk horribly. However, I don't think that's the issue here.

It's more likely that they've found a five second non-skippable (but barely worth skipping anyway) advert that shows the product is more likely to be effective than a one-minute advert that's going to get skipped five seconds into the setup. (Or if the latter was non-skippable, is likely to be killed via the impatient user reloading it, or simply ignoring it in another tab until it's over).

Also, you seem to forget that- even in the TV days- ad breaks were never designed for your convenience, to "take breaks from TV watching to use the facilities"... even if many people *did* use them for that purpose!

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RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

Michael Strorm

@Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese; "I only tend to use their bricks & mortar stores fairly infrequently [..] I don't necessarily make much use of them but I feel better for knowing that they're there."

Unfortunately, that's the problem. "Feeling better knowing that they're there" doesn't pay the bills any more than cliched nostalgic recollections of pick-n'-mix did when Woolies closed down (from people who hadn't been there in years), or endless reposts of Paul Simon lyrics when they stopped making Kodachrome (mostly from people I bet hadn't bought a roll in a decade).

Not that I'm defending Maplin; they *were* overpriced for components and too full of mediocre consumer tat the last time I was there (about five years ago- you see my point!) And it could be argued that the economics that forced them down that mass-market path were their own fault for choosing to open too many expensive-to-run "big box" stores in the first place. (Might be wrong, but this smacks of the kind of thing private equity owners would force them to do).

I'll note that I overheard the staff there speaking to someone else, and they did come across as genuinely enthusiastic, knowledgable and helpful, so I certainly wouldn't blame them personally.

Ultimately, it might be argued that a Maplin concentrating on components and parts is unsustainable in the eBay age (even if they *had* chosen to retain the focus on smaller and cheaper shops and even with the "Maker" revival in recent years).

No-one owes it to them to keep them in business, but on the flip side if we buy everything on eBay except an urgently-needed capacitor every couple of years, that's not sustainable- we can't have our cake and eat it.

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Microsoft reveals 'limitations of apps and experiences on Arm' – then deletes from view

Michael Strorm

@Terry 6; "But for most uses all people need is a reassurance that you will be back."

Is that you, Arnie?

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If you don't like what IBM is pitching, blame Watson: It's generating sales 'solutions' now

Michael Strorm

Re: Sales Pitch

Does this "sales pitch" incarnation of "Watson" even have much to do with the original anyway?

My understanding- from what I've heard elsewhere- is that IBM are simply rebranding any technology they have that can be passed off as "vaguely-AI-ish" as "Watson", effectively riding on the coattails of the publicity associated with the original system.

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Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Michael Strorm

Re: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

That happened on my portable Kisho deck even if you were recording via leads rather than the built-in microphone.

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Michael Strorm

Re: Vinyl to Digital

I'd assume that one way to differentiate pops and clicks from legitimate content would be to find two different vinyl sources.

You'd then have a piece of software that matched up the corresponding waveforms recorded from each source. This should be doable almost automatically, though it might have to ask you to make decisions or confirm its assumptions occasionally.

The software then determines whether a noise appears in one or both sources- since it's very unlikely that major pops or clicks would appear in *exactly* the same point in both cases- and uses the "clean" one as the basis of a repair (even if that's not necessarily the "master" copy you want to use as the basis for your remaster).

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Michael Strorm

Re: I've got a box with ...

There's a fairly good chance you have the only copies in existence of some of that stuff! No idea if the BBC are still set up to deal with it, but they did something about it a few years back. (More).

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Michael Strorm

Re: C30 C60 C90 Go!

@ Pedigree-Pete; Funny you should say that.

Bow Wow Wow *was* essentially the original "Adam and the Ants" line-up with a different singer.

Apparently the band had sought out Malcolm McLaren for advice/management... only, his advice turned out to be to get the rest of them to abandon Adam, leave the band and form a new group called "Bow Wow Wow", who then acquired a 13-year-old(!) singer. (#)

(Only a cynic would suggest that this was because Adam might have been quite a strong-willed person with his own ideas that might derail McLaren's attempts to control and mould the band according to his own vision.)

Meanwhile, Adam was forced to put together a new "And The Ants" and console himself with numerous top 10 singles and albums and much greater chart success than "Bow Wow Wow".

(#) I don't know how old she was when that video was recorded, but that was apparently one of their early tracks, which would explain why she looks so bloody young.

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A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Michael Strorm

I'm not worried about you keeping all the money for yourself.

I'm worried about you running off with my share of the cheese.

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You publish 20,000 clean patches, but one goes wrong and you're a PC-crippler forever

Michael Strorm

@404; "notepad.exe [is and always has been bug-free]"

Apparently not.

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Good lord, Kodak's stock is up 120 per cent. How? New film? Oh. It launched a crypto-coin

Michael Strorm

Re: Zombie brand

@Ledswinger; Kodak announced a year ago that they were "looking at what it would take to bring that back" while they also noted that "Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market".

Regardless, I can say with 99% certainty that Kodachrome will not be back in anything but name. Compared to almost all other slide films (which are E6 compatible), the development was completely nonstandard, complicated (numerous steps and temperature sensitive), used toxic chemicals and was unsuited for home processing.

The only people who *did* process it were Kodak and a handful of other companies, and the number of labs were reduced to *one* by the time it was discontinued!

They wouldn't have discontinued it if that burden was worth it, and now that final lab is long shut down- along with the machines required- it will be much harder to get it going again. It will not happen, regardless of how much noise a few enthusiasts make.

I could see them trying to launch a "reformulated" version "Kodachrome" which will be a standard E6 process film (like Ektachrome) in all but name, possibly attempting to mimic the original. But that would be Kodachrome in name only to most people.

Even though I wasn't aware they'd mentioned Ektachrome at the time, I could quite believe it was plausible they'd bring it back, and indeed, they do appear to be doing so later this year.

Kodachrome, though? Nope.

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Michael Strorm

Re: Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

Replying to myself, but I couldn't let this go. Bizarrely the website for that product (the "E-Film EFS-1" from "Silicon Film") still seems to be online despite apparently not having been updated since late 2000...??!!!

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Michael Strorm

Re: JeffyCoin™ Industries is pleased to announce...

Is the rumour that you've added "G" through "M" to the range of "hexadecimal" digits in order to feather your own nest increase the number of exciting opportunities for JeffyCoin™ miners true?

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Michael Strorm

Re: Kodak could make a shed full of money by....

This isn't a new idea. Some company tried making a similar adaptor in the early digital era- i.e. approaching 20 years ago- and it got a lot of attention at the time. (Bear in mind that DSLRs were rare and very expensive back then, so the idea of being able to use your existing SLR probably had a lot of appeal).

(I think this is the one I remember. (Scroll down to section headed "Silicon Film")).

One of the problems- IIRC- is that the cartridge *wasn't* usable in all cameras as I'd initially assumed- and you also seem to think possible. Different versions had to be made for each supported model, and the list was restricted.

In hindsight, I assume this is because 35mm has no fixed film path once it comes off the spool; we can't assume the exposed area will be in a certain position relative to the cartridge, nor the wind-on mechanism. (Ironically, this would- I assume- make it easier to produce an "Instamatic"/126 or "Pocket"/110 format compatible digital cartridge, since in those models the cartridge- not camera- dictates positioning).

There were various other issues, but the upshot is that the problems delayed it until it was effectively obsolete.

Other people have tried since, but there have been no major successes, so I doubt it's as easy as you think. It's unlikely that Kodak are better-placed to design one than any other random company these days anyway. Chances are they'd just partner up with (or license the name out to) someone else who'd solved the problem and wanted to exploit the recognition of the "Kodak" brand in exchange for a cut of the profits.

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Michael Strorm

Re: What's the point?

The point is that- through their own short-sighted mismanagement- Kodak left it too late to move their film-based company into the digital age (when they could have been leaders- or at least contenders- if they'd played their cards right) and are now has-beens reduced to exploiting their own name recognition on "me too" bandwagon-jumping nonsense like this.

Oh... you meant what's in it for *you*? Not much, I'd guess, but please think of poor Kodak.

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Michael Strorm

Re: Zombie brand

@Dave Bell; If everyone who referenced that bloody song back when they discontinued Kodachrome had actually bought a roll in the previous year or two, I've no doubt they'd still be making it!

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Michael Strorm

Re: Zombie brand

"Yet Another Anonymous Coward" and "LDS" cover this fine. Yes, today's Eastman Kodak is still legally the same company as the one which went bankrupt in 2012 (#), since the bankruptcy proceedings didn't result in it being liquidated. On the other hand, they did- as mentioned- have to sell off their still film division and some patents as part of the process, and IIRC they'd already been selling off stuff before bankruptcy.

And as Brian Miller noted, they'd sold off everything that wasn't film for short-termist reasons (quite a while ago if I remember correctly- it's been argued that Kodak's sell-off-related decline started in the early 90s *before* digital exacerbated the problem). And they didn't move away from their once-lucrative film business until it was too late.

You don't see Fujifilm having to waste time with publicity stunt nonsense like this because they were better managed, moved on successfully, and don't have to pander to name recognition nostalgia to get a licensing fee from someone's random moneymaking scheme.

So, yeah, Kodak's still legally the same company, but ultimately, if they're reduced to little more than a nostalgia-exploiting, brand-whoring shadow of their former self it makes little difference anyway.

(#) Unlike- as noted- Polaroid, where the assets (including name and IP) were sold to form what was legally a new company.

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Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet

Michael Strorm

Re: Where are the lifetime guarantees?

"A friend of mine (in Ca) got a full refund on a 2 year old system. His sister (a somewhat mean lawyer - she scare me and I am married to her) got onto to their case."

That's good as far as it goes (#), but what would have happened if your brother-in-law hadn't been lucky enough to have a friendly lawyer to sic on Google/Nest?

(#) A full refund for a two-year-old system is great if you're a "boys toys" type that would have been replacing it with new shite sooner rather than later anyway. It's still a hassle if you bought it as a means to an end, and have to buy, set up and learn to use a new system to replace one that was otherwise (physically) fine and should have run for years anyway.

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Michael Strorm

Re: Where are the lifetime guarantees?

The joke is that Revolv *did* apparently come with a "lifetime subscription"! This obviously didn't count for much when Nest/Google took them over.

Though, apparently Google claimed that they "may offer compensation on a case-by-case basis" [my emphasis]. Which was nice of them, wasn't it?

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Michael Strorm

"IoT what a load of hype around bollocks."

...and as a wise man once said, "never mind the bollocks".

"WTF with monthly charges."

For their benefit, not yours. The vast majority of "features" "requiring" such monthly charges are just contrived rationalisations of their desire to get a nice stream of revenue from you in exchange for being tied to a service that costs them thruppence ha'penny a year per person to run.

I hate the use of the word "plan" in this context, the marketing weasels' jumped up attempt to normalise the concept of a "subscription", i.e. giving them money on a recurring basis for old rope.

I've trained my dog to attack sales types whenever they utter the word "plan". (Yes, stolen from Paul Calf, sue me...)

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Michael Strorm

You say you want a Revolv-ution? Well, you know... Nest are gonna shaft you bad!

Is this the same Nest that- under Google's present ownership- bought out its rival Revolv, then announced little over 18 months later that it would be effectively bricking the devices (by killing off the server they relied on) with just a month's notice, despite them having been sold with a "Lifetime Subscription"? (#)

I do believe that it is!

Yeah, you know that's the sort of company you can trust when you're spending hundreds- if not thousands- of pounds fitting out your home with infrastructure it's going to be relying on.

(#) At the risk of stating the ******* obvious, another example of the dangers of relying on IoT shite tied to a specific company's servers.

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When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

Michael Strorm

Chuck Berry occurred to me too, but I suspect that the OP was thinking more along the lines of Terry Thomas or- specifically- Leslie Phillips (whose catchphrase *was* "Ding dong!").

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Mozilla's creepy Mr Robot stunt in Firefox flops in touching tribute to TV show's 2nd season

Michael Strorm

Re: Extended Support Release track

@jake; "ESR here, too."

That's great Eric, but why are you calling yourself "Jake"?

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro: The unfashionable estate car wants to go to town

Michael Strorm

"While flagships got thinner, more beautiful and glassy-eyed each year, the Mate didn't care – it just wanted to haul around the more practical stuff for you. [..] The regular Mate 10 hews to the station wagon formula, but its swankier sibling the Mate 10 Pro seems to have acquired Note envy."

Does it strike anyone as else ironic that they're using the "Pro" designation on the poser-oriented version rather than the substance-over-style, workhorse original an actual professional would be better off with?

(And yes, I know the term is frequently misused as marketing fluff, but this case highlights the absurdity of it).

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Twitter's blue tick rule changes may lower the sueball barrier

Michael Strorm

Re: That stock photo

Doesn't this photo also break the rule that every one of El Reg's Shutterstock photographs have to contain at least one person wearing spectable frames that obviously contain no glass?

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Michael Strorm

@DontFeedTheTrolls; "The blue tick was always about establishing the authenticity of the speaker, not a validation of what they say."

Indeed, this *was* the case.

Emphasis on "was"... because as soon as they started withdrawing it from people they disapproved of, it ceased to be a neutral identifier and effectively became an implicit endorsement. This was the whole *point* of the article!

As for the megaphone, I'm not sure that it's analogous enough in a general- let alone legal- sense to bear any comparison with Twitter's situation.

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

Michael Strorm

Re: Irrelevant Pedantry time!

Oh yeah, I heard that the original C64 floppy drives sucked.

The difference was more pronounced on the Atari 8-bits because, while the floppy drives were reasonably fast, the cassettes were atrociously slow. The bitrate was 600 baud, but- unlike with other 8-bit computers- there were no turbo loaders (#) to improve the situation. Fifteen minutes for a 48K game was not unusual, and I had some that were closer to 20. (##)

I think the problem was partly- although it was state of the art at the time of its launch and able to compete technically with the three-years-younger C64 on most counts- that when the 400 and 800 came out at the end of the 1970s, they only came with 8K as standard (the 400 was originally only going to be 4K), so loading time wouldn't have been such an issue.

By the time the 64K 800XL came out in 1983, its home market (the US) would have been moving rapidly towards disks, so the tape loading speed probably wasn't seen as an issue.

Anyway, I'd heard bad things about tape-to-disk transfer utilities, but when I finally got one I wished I'd bought it years before. I hated tape loading, and still can't get nostalgic about it even with six-inch thick rose-tinted glasses.

(#) I remember reading somewhere that this was for technical reasons (I don't know which) and that without hardware modifications, the most that could be achieved was a frankly underwhelming 900 baud. The fact I never knowingly came across even this modest-but-worthwhile improvement (in the absence of anything better) on any games suggests that even this was pushing it.

(##) FWIW, the multiload "Ace of Aces" took approaching half an hour to get started on tape and was completely unusable; it was obviously a game originally designed purely with the disk-centric US market in mind.

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Michael Strorm

Re: First Quantum Link... then Usenet... now...

@dajames; "The only per-hour costs were [..the..] local-rate number. [..] Compuserve itself charged £6-7 a month".

Yes, but *when* was that? I'm going to assume it was circa the late 90s or later. As I noted in another comment, Compuserve's prices fell massively around that time.

By that point they'd already have been past their peak as people moved en masse to regular Internet access. As far as I'm aware, in their 80s and early 90s heyday, they were considerably more expensive.

Apparently Compuserve launched in the UK in the late 1980s, and I'd be interested to find out how much they cost back then.

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Michael Strorm

Re: First Quantum Link... then Usenet... now...

"And honestly, even twenty years back $10 per month was hardly unaffordable."

Yeah, but twenty years ago was 1997 after they'd started getting competition from the Internet and presumably after they'd reduced their rates. I was thinking more of the 80s and early 90s.

According to Wikipedia, Compuserve was $5 an *hour* until 1996 and something like $10 an hour earlier on, getting up to $30 an hour in some cases (at early 1980s prices!!!). It's hard to tell from the article exactly how much it cost at any time and how much of it was (e.g.) call charge overheads, but that does seem to back up my memory of reading how much it cost in the 80s and thinking "yeah, that's *horribly* expensive".

"For some of us, it was either that or international modem calls"

That still doesn't change the fact it would be only bloody expensive instead of eyewateringly expensive and misses out the most obvious third option- not being online at all because even at its cheapest it would have been bloody expensive.

I'd have *loved* a modem and being able to dial up BBSs and the like in the late 80s, but even if I'd had enough for the modem, I wouldn't have been able to afford the subscriptions or phone bills as a kid. Even circa 1993-94 when I first got on the Internet at university and was looking at trying to get access at home, there was no local number dial-up access available and it was still pretty expensive- enough that I just stuck to using the computer labs.

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