* Posts by R Callan

170 posts • joined 28 Feb 2008


Toyota Prius fourth-generation e-car

R Callan
Big Brother

@James Cook

I also remember Jezza showing that a BMW M5 is more economical than a Prius. Drive the Prius hard (ie slowly) and the Beemer did about (thinks hard) 3 mpg more.

Pluto still a planet, says Ronald McDonald

R Callan
Paris Hilton

How could Pluto be overhead

When he's the god of the underworld?

Is Illinois part of the lunatic bible belt? Should they really be advocating non-christian myths?

Paris because he knew what happened when you got on the wrong side of the gods.

North Wales Police says the law is what they say it is

R Callan

To paraphrase

P.C. Humpty-Dumpty

The law is whatever I say it is!

Microsoft's Windows 7 price gamble - and why it's flawed

R Callan

Windows 7 flaw

Perhaps Microsoft is seeing the writing on the wall. This past week I have handed out more copies of Linux (Mepis 8) than ever before. More and more people are willing to at least look at Linux, a major change. Most of these people are those who have relatively recently purchased a new computer which invariably came with vista pre-installed. There is also a simmering discontent with the additional costs to getting a really usable system, including word processing and spreadsheet programmes. There is additionally discontent with the need for anti-virus and anti-malware programmes with windows with the overheads that they require.

As an aside, the computer I use at work has recently black screened with the message that "Windows Genuine Advantage" has detected that it has an unregistered copy of XP. As this is a small company and they buy their computers with the OS already installed, are Microsoft accusing the supplier of copyright infringement? If that is so then IBM, the producer of the computer might be interested. (The computer in question is a genuine IBM pre Lenovo which gives an indication of its age). They do not seem to like being accused of copyright infringement ala SCO.

NHS Direct gets to be number one, one, one

R Callan

@The Bug

The choice of emergency number had to do with the design of the old rotary telephones. U.K. 'phones were numbered from 9 to 0 going clockwise. EnZed 'phones were numbered 1 to 0 going clockwise. The U.K. "9" is (was) in the same position as the EnZed "1" i.e. it gave the longest time to return to rest when dialed. (Across the ditch the Strines placed "0" in the same position, that is why they use "000" as their emergency #). To have the same potential problems in EnZed as the Poms we would have to use "000" as a non-emergency emergency number.

p.s. what sort of penguins do you have down the road, little blues or yellow eyed?

Penguin because they live in the boxes in front of me :-)

Microsoft's R&D chief: the people problem with innovation

R Callan

The Microsoft innovation problem

As many people have claimed all over the web, Microsoft have never produced any significant innovation. Their "innovations" seem to come down to:

A: Buy a company/product that is innovative.

B: Re-implement some-one else's innovation.

These abilities can be put down to a company that has too much influence and cash (arguably from predatory monopolist behaviour.) Perhaps that is their "Innovation".

US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

R Callan

911 is

an abuse of the emergency number. I know of at least three other emergency numbers in the world, but due to the 'merkin propaganda machine to my knowledge 2 of them have had to install a divergence for 911 to the correct number! If I was to call 000, 111, 999 or any other in the states would it be diverted, or would that be an abuse of the emergency call system?

The oldest system is (according to Wikipedia) 999. 911 is obviously an unauthourised derivative under copyright and should be banned, or at least have to pay punitive damages of $150,00 per call.

MPs vote to keep addresses private (theirs, not yours)

R Callan

So Her Majesty

being the head of the government, will have her address withheld? Downing St. houses will be rented to the prols. so that MPs can live in secrecy? Didn't think so.

Dick the butcher (credit to the bard) had the right idea "first we will hang all the lawyers". MPs make the laws so they must be lawyers.

Portuguese open sourcers decry MS-only gov eProcurement

R Callan
Gates Horns

AC 12:42

Any change in technology brings MASSIVE (your word) costs, but it has been done innumerable times throughout history. Would the internal combustion engine have displaced the horse if people were as short sighted as you? Think about the costs of retraining all those grooms, saddlers, farriers etc. When CadCam came in? Draughtsmen had to be retrained in the use of computers and the software and discard their pencils. When the automatic lathe replaced manual lathes. The turners had to be retrained, they did not automagically have the ability to use the new technology.

Improvements always have a cost, and getting free of the shackles of any particular monopolist will have a significant cost. But, if secret "standards" and closed applications are replaced with open ones it is a one time cost. Any well written application will be easily transferred from one platform to another. Many (most?) FLOSS applications run equally well on Linux, various Unixs, Mac and Windows. Equally there are many closed source applications that do the same and I would hope that any supplier of software worth their salt could port their software to any platform.

Hack-off contestant dubs Apple Safari 'easy pickins'

R Callan


is a major browser? I thought it was still in beta. The major variants of IE would be 6 and 7 with possibly a few 5s left in the world.

Of course the current variants of IE have about as many holes as a gill net.

A query, if Safari is based on the Konqueror rendering engine, how come Konqueror does not seem to have all of these discovered weaknesses?

Arms biz glovepuppets Parliamentary kit probe

R Callan

Most of this comes back to the polititians

Once upon a time the UK had any number of producers of military hardware. In the name of "rationalisation", the government of the day insisted that mass amalgamations took place. The end result was of course that there was no competition. You ended up with one supplier of everything. As this single supplier has an absolute monopoly they can do and say whatever they like.

Add into this governments who did everything in their power to emasculate British industry and you end up with not having the ability to manufacture the simplest items, like say refrigerators. Then it can be seen that the present situation was planned.

I got my coat ages ago (thanks mum and dad)

Harry Potter hangs up wand in 2011

R Callan

A major summer blockbuster?

Since when has July been summer all over the world. To many people it is the middle of winter.

Perhaps a wider view of the world is in order.

Canadian prof: Green IT is a waste of time

R Callan

Green is a catchcry

that is being overused. Recently here in NZ a well known computer maker has been advertising their airy-fairy laptop as being "The Greener Computer". Why? Because it has a glass and aluminium (mispronounced) case, and it does not contain heavy metals such as mercury. All well and good on the surface because everyone here knows that aluminium is produced with hydro-electricity. Except, which is not commonly known, the production of each mole of Al produces 1.5 moles of CO2 (2.4 tons of CO2/ton of Al). The production also produces quite a lot of fluorides and fluorine which end up in the air, the reason for those very tall stacks. Trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead and mercury are also an unwanted byproduct. Trace amounts does not sound too bad until the sheer quantity of production is considered, and then it becomes a large absolute amount.

Aluminium, although recycleable which the adverts emphasise, is not infinitely so. Up to 15% of the input to a recycling plant is lost as aluminium oxide dross.

Glass is not so bad as it is recyclable almost infinitely and requires a lot less energy to make it formable. However, how is the glass removed from the Al case? I would suggest that no recycling plant would accept such a case as they only want aluminium or glass, making the whole thing non-recyclable.

It can thus be seen that the greenness can be disputed by a simple internet search, but this requires that people take claims with a grain of salt which rarely happens, because "green" is a catchcry that everyone must agree with or be considered anti-planet.

Sony shows off wacky fuel cell designs

R Callan

@Frank Bough

I would suggest that virtually all liquids, with the possible exception of triple glass distilled hydrated hydronium hydroxide, are rather ungood for one's health. Therefore as a safety precaution, do not drink any liquid full stop.

MS warns testers to activate Windows 7 beta

R Callan

Can I please

have a nagware screen for my windowing 8 (all right, 7.99 RC3) OS. An RC must be more valuable than a mere beta, even thought I did not get it from the original supplier, but some university server in the eastern western states

I feel sooooooo left out.

NASA CO2 scan satellite launch fails

R Callan

AC @ 16:29

Seeing as how it was a sleeve (valve) that failed it must have been a Bristol Taurus. Trying to explain why they used 1930's technology and underpowered at that is a question that should be answered. Everyone knows they should have used at least a Centaurus, or better still, an Olympus.

BOFH: Aspie no questions

R Callan

Welcome back Simon

Did Friday's rain drive you off the beach? It bloody pissed down here and the humidity has now got excessive again. Have a couple of cold Waikatos on me (if you can track me down :-)).

Dell claims 'fraud' on Psion's netbook claim

R Callan
Gates Horns

Bye-bye MS windows.

If my memory is correct, MS had their application for the trademark "Windows" rejected 2 or 3 times because it was even then generic.

I can easily think of a number of other trademarks that are virtually generic, such as "Hoover" and "iPod". Will any trademark that becomes generic automagically become invalid?

College IT departments told to deploy anti-terror dragnet

R Callan

Is it possible

to report the extreme-left wing neo-stalinists, aka NewLabour, as well as the right-wing groups? The arrest of a few (like all) of these pollys would do wonders for the British peoples peace of mind. They seem to be the only terrorists that are effective.

Non-resident Briton

Minister trashes ex-spook chief's liberty warning

R Callan


"Tell me, is a custard pie considered a deadly weapon in the UK?"

I would imagine only if it is heavily almond flavoured.

Boffin: Earthlike worlds within 30 lightyears of here

R Callan

"earth-like" By Anonymous Coward

They also make some big assumptions about what life has to be like.

Agreed. I would suggest that there are more strictly anaerobic bacteria than there are strict aerobes. Most bacteria grow perfectly well under anaerobic conditions, even when they are classified as aerobes. (One of the distinguishing features of an aerobe is the presence of an enzyme called catalase, although aerobic streptococci do not possess this enzyme!). No-one could suggest that bacteria are rare, so how anyone could make these statements without having some small knowledge of their characteristics shows a lack of forethought.

Royal Navy to be first running-jump-jet force

R Callan


A minor nit or two, the Pegasus engine was designed and made by Bristol (the clue is in the name, from Greek mythology and not from an English river) and the afterburning Pegasus was intended for the supersonic P1154 aircraft.

Incidently, the Harrier has always had enough *power* to be supersonic in level flight, but not the aerodynamics. Sir Sydney wanted to put variable area intakes on the Harrier, but these were removed as a cost cutting device. So, the F-35B (except for the "stealth" technology) is just the reworking of a 40+ year old concept and as yet not even a proven reworking. (Plus they are ugly).

MoD orders £3m anti-friendly-fire 'Combat ID Server'

R Callan

How about

Reading some history books? The most important thing has always been "Identify your target"! This can be done by actually looking at close range, either from the air or from the ground. What exactly was the function of those forward artillery observers and cab-rank controllers?

There seems to be too much reliance on computers these days (remember when computers were called the dumbest of dumb clerks, they do exactly what they are told and nothing else). This leads to stupid and final results. Think Iranian Airbus, think A10 Warthogs at 10,000 ft instead of 50 ft and destroyed Challengers with dead UK soldiers.

Warfare is unfortunately not machine verses machine, but man verses man. Don't forget the man and let him make the reasoned decision.

Experian sends 'cheap' Lord a-leaping

R Callan


All of the Peers mentioned are Labour life peers. Perhaps life peers should not be permitted in the House of Lords at all. These four seem to this outsider to be corrupt whereas hereditary peers do not seem to feature in these scandals.

Perhaps the British people should be demanding the return of the "House of Lords".

Microsoft to act on IE8 'show stoppers'

R Callan

Oh dear

It won't install, let alone run. Can any-one tell me where I can get the source so I can compile my own or a .deb?

Why doe's MS only supply app's for their own OS?


I'm not going to try in wine (does that stand for WINdows Exposure? It does seem to allow MS malware a foothold in some cases).

Kiwi finds US military secrets on 'MP3 player'

R Callan
Black Helicopters

Just as well

Prohibited by federal law is meaningless down here. But then one of the alphabet agencies might decide to take action and TVNZ will short of a number of personnel and Whangarei will be short one resident.

I wonder if our Labour government made an extradition treaty like the U.K. did, it must be serious hacking and terrorism to buy such information in a second hand shop.

Robot 'Spider-man' casts net to nab burglars

R Callan
Dead Vulture

Can't see the video?

Instead of recommending getting Adobe Flash how about "Disable NoScript for reghardware.co.uk?

Works wonders.

Obama's rainbow stealth aircraft uncloaks over Virginia

R Callan

US stealth

As the rear aircraft is obviously a Hawk and the unstealthing one looks very similar, perhaps the stealth technology is British. Hawks are too small to have miracle stealthy gear added as an afterthought.

Germany pushes IWF-style child abuse blocklist

R Callan

Time to ban Wikipaedia again

It's full of paedophilia. King John married Isabella of Angoulême when she was 13! His daughter Joan married Llewelyn Fawr when she was 14 or 15.

We cannot have such depravity being distributed even if it is historically correct.

'Miracle' plane crash was no miracle

R Callan

@Neil Alexander

I think that putting a mesh over the intakes would act to macerate the birds in the same way as the turbine blades do now. Its that semi-liquid material that causes the engine to flame out, and tends to clog up the interior of the engine.

Additionally, I remember reading once that when Mk V Spitfires were having problems with FW 190's one of the "solutions" was to remove the stone guards from the air intakes. This gave a 10% increase in the power output of the Merlins. Could you imagine if aircraft engines suddenly became 10% less powerful. Most aircraft would lose their airworthiness certificates, and become 10% less economical anyway.

OT why does FF say Merlins is incorrectly spelled. Merlins are small falcons.

NASA announces 'name the inflatable Moon tent' compo result

R Callan

AC referencing me

Anyone in charge of anything in the navy is the captain of it. Thus:

Captain of the ship

Captain of the turret

Captain of the gun

Captain of the galley

Captain of the heads

The actual rank of any of these would range from Captain down to lowliest of ordinary seaman, depending upon the importance or size of the item.

The highest rank in charge of a vessel was always (it may have changed) Captain. The largest and most important vessels (battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers) was Captain. Officers of flag rank, Commodore and up, even when stationed on a ship, always had to defer to the captain regarding the running of the ship.

As an aside, might I refer you to the book "Parkinson's Law" for some interesting items about the Royal Navy.

R Callan

Well if (pedantic rant)

NASA cannot even get get Cook's rank correct then I would not trust them to get a moon tent right.

"Resolution" was captained by Commander James Cook. (Even getting to the rank of Commander was a great feat for a farm labourers son in the late 1700').

Regarding the tent, why don't they inflate it with the odd foot or two of expanded polystyrene. Just blow the tent up with a few cans of gap-filler. A reasonable thermal insulator and it surely has at least some self sealing properties to minimise being punctured by micrometeorites. As this also has a lot of hydrogen in it, it may also help protect against some charged particle radiation.

ICO clamps down on pseudonymous information requests

R Callan

obvious psudonyms 2

and I'm certain most people have known a John Smith or Robert Brown

Researcher warns of data-snooping bug in Apple's Safari

R Callan


**Nobody appears to have heard of asking the USER like "preferred day to annoy the crap out of you with updates"**

Umm they have. Try AptGet. It informs me when updates are available by changing a number from zero to a number saying how many updates are available. This does not annoy the crap out of me. It is then my choice as to when I download the updates, if at all.

I've also never had to restart my computer after updating, although some updates to running processes do ask for them to be restarted.

What, AptGet not available for Windows/Mac? Try a user friendly operating system, like, err, Linux.

How you pay for tomorrow's scares, today

R Callan
Thumb Down

@Muscleguy Fail!

How can water falling on the land surface affect tectonic plates when the epicentre of earthquakes is 5-200Km deep? Water will probably never penetrate to this depth to lubricate the interface and even if it does it will take many years or even millennia to do so. This means that the water is already there and not a result of "global warming".

The additional mass of water can only be a tiny fraction of the mass of the material overlying the plate boundary, so it would not be a measurable increase in mass overall. Water has a lower density than rock, so it may even reduce the loading :-)

Anyone that finds a correlation between recent rainfall and earthquakes are deceiving themselves. The last major earthquake I was hit by (6.3 Richter, 10Km deep, 10 Km distant horizontally) was in early autumn following an exceptionally dry winter and summer. My personal anecdotal evidence contradicts your statements. The earthquake was due because the stresses between the plates had grown so much that the friction at the boundary could not overcome the stress at the boundary. It was actually overdue by about 50 years according to the geologists.

Sun MySQLers barred from Oz

R Callan


Can anyone name an Oz produced RDBMS?

I'm sure there are many locally produced database applications that can be written to any DB manager, but no DB managers as such.

Perhaps the Oz gov. had better ban all non-Oz producers of software from the country, including the software but that may be banned under the US/Oz free trade treaty which in many ways made Oz an associate part of the US without the benefits of full membership.

Has any Ozzie seen my coat? I'm certain I left one behind last time I was there.

Ballmer reacquaints Microsoft with its PC past

R Callan

Hang on

Is Balmer admitting that MS is a minor player in operating systems. 1 billion DOS/Windows systems sold, 4 billion mobile, predominantly Symbian, OS's sold and disregarding PC's sold with Symbian as their OS.

Looks like MS is in a downward spiral that even their CEO can see.

Ballmer talks 'post-PC' Microsoft with Windows 7 beta

R Callan

"best version of Windows ever."

Has there ever been a release of windows that was not the:



Most secure

Most reliable

version of Windows ever?

Send old Shuttles to Mars, says Scotty ashes prang man

R Callan

@Paul Donnelly

Clever B52s in your neck of the woods.

My references for the B52H give a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes (airframe, fuel and munitions) which is somewhat short of your 240 tons of munitions. I doubt that any later versions would have a maximum take-off weight of 240 tons (another 10% approx.).

Norway's national broadcaster breaks Beatles download deadlock

R Callan


Wood (This Bird Has Flown).

Microsoft and Apple: 25 years of couples therapy

R Callan

What's a PC?

How come MSOS running computers are always called PCs?

Back in the dark and distant past when I first used an IBM PC (8088 processor, 640k memory, 2x 360k 5.25" floppies, Hercules graphics card) it come with PCDOS, not MSDOS. To those of short memory PCDOS was the IBM version of MSDOS that had been modified to actually work.

Not even IBM tried to trademark PC, as all it stood for was Personal Computer. There were at the time dozens of personal computers on the market, IBM was really quite late to the game.

Are Apple computers any less PCs? They are currently closer to the "PC" than ever before as they now use x86 processors instead of the Moss Technology, Motorola or IBM processors previously used.

Are my computers not PCs because they run flavours of Linux? Only the older one (K6-2 500) has ever ran an MSOS ("Win"98) and it was so unstable it drove me round the bend. Since Mandrake 10 was installed it has never frozen or crashed! The 64x2 machine came with Mepis preinstalled at my request from the (white-box) maker. That saved me over 15% of the overall price over an XP or Vista installation, just on the operating system alone and ignoring the cost of applications!


Even the validity of "Windows" as a trademark is dubious. The application was rejected a number (2 or 3) of times before being accepted, on the grounds that windows was a generic term in common use in computing. I wonder what changed the minds of the USPTO? What a pity Lindows was too small a company to pursue their legal case to the bitter end. Windowing systems and the windows they produce were not uncommon before MS ever saw the light, making the expression generic. Are my Linux machines not windowing machines and thus non-MS Windows?

UK sportscar makers announce electric models

R Callan


Where I sit at the moment there are 3 power plants within 5 miles.

1 thermal, 1 geothermal and 1 hydro.

The thermal runs on waste from timber processing, wood grown in plantations with a relatively short turn over time so it is renewable "bio-fuel".

Total fossil fuel CO2 emissions (um suck teeth, carry 1, times 3) round about, erm, zero.

These cars would be very useful to reduce imports of fossil fuels and to replace the rapidly decreasing local production of same.

Photography: Yes, you have rights

R Callan

The more things change......

"Rights are invariably abridged, as despotism increases".

Tacitus, attributed to Tiberius

Annals book III chapter 69

Tesla takes Top Gear test to task

R Callan


Jezza had a Lightning, but the local council complained and he had to get rid of it. Admittedly he never used it, but it did look spectacular in his front yard, as long as you disregard the ruts that the tyres made in the lawn.

I wonder if his Lightning was "leccy", it was made by English Electric :-)

Quasar scrutineers use entire galaxy as telescope lens

R Callan

Alternative explanation of "red shift"

First we have to accept some assumptions:

The velocity of light is constant.

Short wavelength light has more energy than long wavelength light.

I posit that light is affected by gravity (hence the bending of light around a massive object) and also by friction (forcing its way through dark matter and even not dark matter). The only way that this could show is if the light loses energy, but as the velocity is constant then the energy change would show as a red shift. Note that this would be a function of distance only, not of the velocity of the originating source.

Could this shown experimentally, the essence of good science? Possibly, in the case of friction. Create a long, straight, level pressure vessel. At one end place a laser and at the other a very accurate spectrophotometer. Evacuate the vessel, fire the laser and measure the wavelength of the light. Next fill the vessel with a mixture of hydrogen and helium, which I understand to be the main gases present in the universe. (There is a weakness here as the interstellar hydrogen is nascent hydrogen, not molecular hydrogen as we have on Earth.) Fire the laser again at increasing pressures to mimic greater and greater interstellar distances, and measure the wavelength of the incident light at each firing. If (big if) the wavelength lengthens (red shifts/loses energy) it would indicate that velocity of the originating source is not the only possible explanation of red shifting. Instead we would have a repeatable experimental indication that distance and not velocity is the/a cause of red shifting. The Doppler shift theory has, to my knowledge, never been experimentally verified, merely accepted as being the "thing".


I (not an astronomer) have never been happy with the "Big Bang" theory. It goes against the concepts of eternal and infinite. What was there before the big bang? What is there beyond the limits of the big bang? If the universe was relatively compacted at the time of the big bang was it small enough to create the mother of all black holes enclosing the entire universe, and as such are we still inside it?

Aussie protests over Great Firewall

R Callan
Thumb Down


Neither Oz nor NZ are really the Antipodes, greater or lesser. The Antipodes are a group of small islands to the SSE of NZ.

Next, a question or two. As much internet traffic from here in NZ has to travel through Oz servers, will this "Great firewall of Oz" affect NZ traffic speeds and content? If so, does this represent a "Restraint of trade"?

Perhaps these Oz pollies don't realise that they cannot act in isolation in an integrated world.

McKinnon faithful to stage further US embassy demo

R Callan
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@Chris the uninformed

Hacking is NOT an offence, of any description. If that was so then Linus and Richard would be in gaol for "hacking military computers". I've heard that Gnu/Linux is quite popular on US military computers. What you are talking about is "cracking", and only a crackhead or reporter would make this elementary error.

MPs lost for Word over creaking Microsoft packages

R Callan

To RE: everyone posting about open standards

The MSOffice 2007 file format is NOT ISO/IEC 29500! It may have started out that way but at the BRM there were more than 1000 changes made. (I will ignore the furore that the passing of this "standard" created).

MS themselves are going to fully support ODF (ISO/IEC 25600) before supporting their own "standard". There is currently no timeline published by MS as to when, if ever, they will support ISO/IEC 29500.

Open source fanciers finger Beeb's Win 7 'sales presentation'

R Callan

Independent Pretenderle

Since when has Rob Enderle been independent? Any-one remembering his coverage of the early part of the SCO fiasco knows that he is a "gun for hire", who will say whatever his paymasters require of him. Even the website of his "consulting" company, The Enderle Group" makes this quite clear.

This is just another example of "Microsoft is marvelous" by a organisation (the Beeb) that should be totally neutral, but that seems to be the way of the world unfortunately.

Windows XP bests OS X in RIA test on Intel

R Callan

New install of XP or old install?

Did they test the responses say a year after the system has been in use? I would hazard a guess that a new install of XP with no additional overheads (antivirus, spyware) would be much faster than an old install with the necessary extras running. We've all seen how all MS OS's need to be reinstalled regularly to maintain any performance.


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