* Posts by Andrew Molyneux

15 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

How the FBI will lose its iPhone fight, thanks to 'West Coast Law'

Andrew Molyneux
FAIL

Whitfield and Diffie?

"And what of Whitfield and Diffie, who launched this ship 40 years ago?"

I think you mean Diffie and Hellman.

Sandisk breaks 128GB barrier with new $199 MICROSD card

Andrew Molyneux
Stop

Re: I'd love to get a couple.

Sadly, ReadyBoost can only use up to 32GB per device, so you're already maxed out. You'd be better off buying multiple 32GB devices, if you've got the ports for it.

Sinclair BASIC comes to Raspberry Pi

Andrew Molyneux

Re: no peeks or pokes?

RANDOMIZE USR wasn't actually a command. USR was a function (having the effect of executing some Z80 code at the address provided, returning the value in the BC register when the code returned). RANDOMIZE was a command that set the seed for Sinclair BASIC's pseudo-random number generator (the RND function). Because USR was a function, it couldn't be a statement on its own, so you had to do something with the result. I'm not sure who came up with the idea of using RANDOMIZE - one advantage was that it had no side-effects (unless you planned to use RND, of course). Your other option would be to assign it to a variable (LET a = USR x) but maybe RANDOMIZE was quicker to execute? Who knows. It became a convention, anyway, so a lot of people used it without having a clue what it meant.

12 of the best... mice

Andrew Molyneux
Happy

@Gene Cash

I'm using a Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse at the moment that has 3 buttons. The scroll wheel can be pressed in, acting as a 3rd button. I think most mice with scroll wheels do that, don't they?

If your objection is to the presence of the scroll wheel, I can't help you. I think that's standard equipment these days.

Apple iPhone to get OLED screen, claims mole

Andrew Molyneux
Thumb Down

The XEL-1 isn't that expensive...

I saw an XEL-1 in a Sony shop when I was on holiday in Florida last November, and it was priced at $2499 - less than half the price stated in the article. Still pretty bloody expensive for a TV the size of a digital photo frame though :-)

Chicago Bears fan hit for thirty grand for a bit of Slingbox

Andrew Molyneux

@AC "I think the question"

I think $220 is his average monthly bill, not the average he pays to watch a game. Makes more sense if you read it like that, doesn't it?

World's fastest production car to gain electric twin

Andrew Molyneux
Paris Hilton

10 minutes?

10 minutes is "the time it typically takes to fill up a tank of gas"? My car's 53-litre tank typically fills in around a minute at my local Tesco, so we're talking about either an extraordinarily large fuel tank, a very slow fuel pump, or possibly a combination of the two.

Incidentally, if this "Nanotechnology Rechargeable Lithium Battery pack" can power a 200bhp car for 150-200 miles on a 10-minute charge, I want one for my laptop. I'd probably never have to worry about charging it for the rest of its useful life :-)

Paris, because it might take 10 minutes to fill her tank.

Obama bloats Vista by 11MB

Andrew Molyneux
Gates Horns

In case anyone is interested, here are Vista's suggestions

Just tried this, and prior to installing the patch I get the following suggestions:

Friendster => Fraudster (no other options given)

Klum => Klux (first, plus loads of other options)

Nazr => Nazi (first, plus other options including "Nair")

Obama => Osama (first, plus one other option "Bema", whatever that means)

Racicot => Racist (first, plus other options)

I can see how Microsoft might view this as an important fix... people in the habit of blindly accepting the spell checker's first suggestion could get themselves in some trouble :-)

XM-I X-Mini capsule travel speakers

Andrew Molyneux
Thumb Up

@John

> I can understand needing the 3.5mm jack for playback with

> portable devices, but why can't they use the USB on its own

> when plugged into a computer?

Because that would make them more expensive. Getting power from USB is cheap and simple; I'm not an expert, but I'd expect piping digital audio over USB to require additional chippage including a DAC and some kind of firmware. You'd probably also need some way of delivering software to handle the computer's end of things (does anyone know if there is a generic USB digital audio specification, as there is for USB mass storage?)

Intel: future iPhone to be Atom powered

Andrew Molyneux

Emulator? I don't think so

I had understood that the "emulator" that comes with the iPhone SDK isn't an emulator at all, really - it runs x86 code, not ARM code. To run under the "emulator", code has to be compiled to target the x86 architecture. Can anybody correct me on that? I've always thought this was a questionable idea; you're debugging your code on a completely different architecture to that on which it will eventually be running.

I don't know whether there exists a suitable ARM emulator for x86 that would provide acceptable performance on a future Atom-based iPhone, but it seems to me that making that work would pose some challenges. The most feasible option seems to me to be some kind of translator that would convert ARM to x86 binaries as a one-off operation at install time, for example.

Make vendors liable for exploits

Andrew Molyneux
Stop

@A J Stiles

I'm generally in favour of open source myself, and I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but some of what you've said seems unsupportable to me.

"Open Source authors, therefore, absolutely will *not* be held liable for anything that happens as a consequence of people running code they have written"

This would very much depend on how the law ends up being written. Open source authors certainly *should* not be held liable, for the reasons you cite, but that ain't necessarily what will happen.

"Authors of freeware -- software which is distrubuted gratis but as binary executables only -- would, however, be in exactly the position that you describe. And shed them no tears; if they are giving away binary executables gratis, they would have nothing to lose by giving away the Source Code as well."

Well, that depends. For example, what if the code was written based on information received under NDA, or includes 3rd-party source code the author is not free to redistribute?

"I would stand to gain precisely nothing by concealing it anyway; because what any program is supposed to do is evident, and somebody else could always write their own program to do the same thing"

What the program is supposed to do might be evident, but HOW it does it often isn't. Even if you have both the "what" and the "how", it still takes time to design and construct the software. By concealing their source code, proprietary software companies gain quite a lot; their competitors (open source or otherwise) will need to invest considerable time and human resources to catch up. You're not seriously asserting that this isn't the case, are you?

Woolworths stores to stop selling HD DVD

Andrew Molyneux

@b166er

The Xbox 360 has an old-school DVD drive; the HD-DVD drive is available as an £115 optional extra. Bearing in mind you can pick up a standalone HD-DVD player for not much more than that, I imagine the Xbox 360 has had almost no effect on the popularity of HD-DVD as a format.

Apple unveils larger nanos

Andrew Molyneux

@Mark Aggleton

The rip-off isn't as severe as you seem to think, bearing in mind the fact that US prices are quoted excluding sales tax (as sales tax varies between states, counties and sometimes even adjacent towns) whereas UK prices are always quoted with 17.5% VAT applied.

So if you're comparing like with like (i.e. before-tax prices) it looks more like this:

8GB - US $299, UK $344

16GB - US $399, UK $465

So Apple has only hiked the price a maximum of 17% - you can blame HMRC for the rest of the difference. In fact, HMRC may be responsible for some of that 17% as well; I'm not sure how the import duty/tax landscape varies between the UK and the US.

Sky recruiting to fill Sky+ customisation gap

Andrew Molyneux

Sky Anytime

Sky Anytime isn't only available on PCs - a watered-down "pick of the week's TV" version has recently become available on Sky HD boxen.

It's a bit annoying, actually - the HD box has a 300GB disk but you're only allowed to use 160GB for your own stuff. The other 140GB is reserved for Sky Anytime, which would be OK if Sky Anytime included anything I wanted to watch. Doctor Who should be included in the "pick of the week's TV", surely :-)

Bah.

Businessman takes NatWest for £35k

Andrew Molyneux

To Ian Strickley

Re your comment: "It's idiots like this that will soon cause normal people who don't abuse over-draft limits etc. etc. to have to pay for the priviledge of having a bank account."

I've never incurred any bank charges for unauthorised overdrafts etc., but I have to disagree with your point (and your spelling of "privilege").

It seems likely to me that the biggest victims of excessive bank charges are likely to be people on low incomes who are already struggling to make ends meet. It's difficult to "balance your finances correctly" when your income only just barely pays your regular bills. What happens if you need to pay for something unexpected?

Call me a bleeding-heart left-wing nutcase, but I'd be perfectly happy to pay, say, £5 a month for my current account if that's the price we need to pay in order for banks to stop abusing the poor.

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