* Posts by V

20 posts • joined 10 Jul 2008

Scaled Composites refutes WhiteKnightTwo rudder rumours

Dead Vulture

Deny or refute - which?

The content of the story suggest that they didn't refute it, they denied it. Was the word "rebut" what you were looking for in your headline (which currently has "refute")?

Surely as a journalist tasked in part with distinguishing in print between claims made by a company and verified irrefutable fact in the face of which no contrary opinion is rationally possible, you should mark the distinction.

There are lots of word that mean "deny" - but only one that carries the semantic weight borne by "refute" - and it is worth preserving.

Softbank gives Japan free iPhones


no emoji

As far as I can remember, the iPhone still can't do cross carrier emoji - only within carrier. (It may have got this in the last update - but it certainly didn't have at launch.)

This is a very big deal. You and I may not think it is important, but to the Japanese it is. That is the feedback I get from my Japanese friends and colleagues when I show them my iPhone.

It does not have what is considered here-abouts to be basic functionality.

Why look for complex explanations for failure when there is a simple one?

Is the internet going down down under?


VPNs to overseas servers

Of course anyone moderately technical with naughty surfing habits will simply buy a VPN link into an ISP abroad, and go onto the net from that. (... as all the expats do to get the BBC iPlayer and so on...)

So it is pretty pointless....

Apple MacBook Pro 15in



This review manages completely to avoid all reference to the hideous glossy screens of the new MacBook Pros - matte screens are no longer an option - which rules them out for a fairly large minority of long time Mac users.

Strange that a dedicated Mac site like Macintouch should take a rather more acerbic view of the new glossy screens (albeit in the context of the new Macbook) than the Reg's slightly breathless - nay - almost gushing - take on the MacBook Pro.

Primary I/O is keyboard/screen. The keyboard is - an acquired taste - and the screen exhausting to look at for extended periods if you are working at it, rather than watching DVDs.

NZ chaps' sperm not quite up to scratch


population implications

So - fewer lambs then in New Zealand....

Did the width move for you, darling?


some little things....

Any chance of the "share this page" link not appearing a few seconds after the rest of the page has displayed? The movement takes one's attention away from the article, which is annoying. Like a flashing graphic on every page...

Also the masthead text is - well - fuzzy... Is the vulture moulting over it? It is also squashed.

Lightening the grey sidebars is a big improvement.

If the second google ad block (not sure what other people are served - I am in Japan and see google) was in a different colour to the first, you might get more clicks on it.

Text size is still an issue, but that is fixable with a local stylesheet. (Though given the effort you are making to get people to view more article pages, reducing the text size on those pages was a curious decision.)

OMFG, what have you done?


DIY Story font size increase for safari

If you want to make the font size and line spacing larger in stories (only) it is easy to create a stylesheet for it. Not ideal - but the difference in usability is amazing.

Here is what you do for Mac Safari (other browsers have similar functionality...)

Make a textfile called, e.g. "regfix.css"


#body p {font: normal 16px/24px arial;}

in it, and save. (normal font, 16px with 24px spacing, arial. Change it to whatever you like. The Reg currently uses a div with id "body" for the body of stories...)

In Safari: Preferences > Advanced > Stylesheet.

Tell it where your CSS file is. Then close the browser and reopen it - and navigate back to a story. All being well - legible stories!


after 24 hours

After 24 hours of looking at the new site, my main concern is the readability of articles. The dodgy masthead (it is fuzzy and cramped - you could happily let it breathe more - look what the BBC get away with....) I can live with. The fixed width is survivable - l understand why you did it, and I do it myself, and although I still hate it, it doesn't stop me coming back to the site.

BUT - the readability of the bally articles is no-where near what it was with the old site. That is a serious problem and one I really think you should consider fixing. Some sites (arstech as I recollect) have a font size toggle. It is stored to a cookie. It need not apply to the front page or the various sections (where it would screw up your formatting probably and generally be a pain in the arse) but if it were available for article elements of article pages it would make a VERY big difference.

Are your page views per reader up? If so - great - vindication - but for this reader page views are definitely down as it is just too hard to READ the bally thing. Yes, I can increase font size in my browser - but if I have to do that for your site, and no other site on the net, then your end is broke, not mine.

PS - the paler grey on the sidebars is an improvement.


Masthead / Footer / Uneasy balance

The implementation of the new header/footer (the slightly 3d bright red behind the Register logo) is a little weak. It's not the idea - that is fine, but it has been done in a way that looks a little "unpolished" and also slightly cramped. The large panels of grey on either side are perhaps a little too dark - it looks like you have looked at the BBC front page, seen how well it works, then tried to implement something "similar but different..." (Nothing wrong with that - as long as the "differences" add to the site. They don't.)

I don't like the black vertical line between the white of the page and the dark grey side panels. It makes the page look rather "flat". Also the dark grey within light grey of the "Don't miss" section at the bottom of each page is a bit fussy - particularly with white backgrounded puff-images.

I suggest: stop being afraid of being accused of excessive "inspiration" by the BBC and do what works rather than trying to be visually different for the sake of it.

I can understand the reasons for the structural changes and for the new layout. But visually the site currently lacks "p-zaz" and polish. It looks slightly "unbalanced" and "uneasy". It currently looks like "just another website" and lacks the distinction of the previous version.

I think this can be fixed easily enough with minor tweaks of the template.



It looks "ok" on the iphone - but if you could specify a viewport width that excluded the thin grey stripes on either side, it would look better... I.e JUST the white, and possibly the 1 pixel width of vertical black.



This page: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/14/reg_redesign/

currently show 4 separate ad blocks from Google. (I am in Japan.) I can't remember the current adsense rules, but I THINK it used to be 3 blocks to a page (?)


share this article

The "share this article" link appears AFTER the rest of the page renders. This means the "post a comment" link is suddenly displaced to the right. If you put the "share this article link" to the right of the "post a comment link" or found a way to pin the "post a comment" link to its correct position before the javascript executes to render "share this article", it would look less fussy and one's eye would not be drawn to the unnecessary movement...

Is there any reason why the "share this article" LINK has to appear using javascript? If so, why not use jquery or something so that it can be placed there as soon as the DOM has settled down, rather than the whole page has loaded?

Also - I think you could cheerfully increase the line width. It looks like a "spacious layout" executed in a "cramped way".

Yes, there was a viable liquid bomb plot



"E.g." Mr Page....

But more seriously, I commend you on a very thoughtful and thought provoking article.

Cuil confesses 'serious file corruption'


still got inappropriate pics

I did a quick lookup on my name and it still has a naked man in bed with a naked woman next to a link to an (otherwise innocuous) post to a mailing list on Japanese keitai.

So their problems ain't fixed.

Microsoft to kill Windows with 'web-centric' Midori?



"Midori" means green in Japanese - but is also a common female name (my wife, for one...)

So what are they trying to tell us - that it will be released before it is ripe, like Vista, or is this a desperate attempt to buff their environmental credentials?

Ex-Googlers reinvent web search


@Matti Ressler

...actually your use of ajax does not seem terribly extensive at all, and it certainly isn't the kind of site I had in mind. (It is a nice site, just not of the type i was referring to...)

No one doubts that you can often, with a bit of thought, "do things in a way that is search engine friendly" - but if that is the only reason that you are doing it- rather than because the application itself demands it, then you are compromising your site simply to get around an inadequacy in a search engine...

Pragmatically, that may be worth doing, but it is still more or less a "nasty hack". (That said, being forced to think "do I really need to do this on an ajax call or by writing to the DOM directly" is a jolly good discipline - but sometimes the answer is "yes". )

The point I was making is that going to a "content" model, as Cuil seems to, is something of a step backwards, because it exacerbates the problem with indexing content applied after the page has loaded - which it seems to be unable to parse. For such sites, the "popularity" model actually works better as web-surfers can analyze the content better than Cuil is apparently able to.


Not much good for sites with content dragged in using js/ajax calls.

"Content based results" sounds fine in practice - but sometimes "most popular" really is what you want. This is particularly the case where the content is applied by javascript or an ajax call. Being able to handle THOSE kind of sites would be truly radical. (Overuse/misuse of ajax is to be avoided, but sometimes it's necessary...)

E.g. - arguably, searching on something like "diddlefinger" should bring up the google maps mashups by that name [disclaimer: it is mine] as one of the top links - not a range of sites that refer to it.

Inquirer celebrates spammer murder-suicide


Dog eats dog, dog hurt....

Nice to see a bit of spleen being vented, and in a worthy cause - The Inquirer should have a quiet moment of reflection on this. Bad taste is - well - generally to be commended, but common decency suggests this story should not have been handled in that way. Even in malice there should be style, and - just a little humanity.


1) Are they really "the competition"? Do you not elevate them somewhat?

2) The Reg is not immune to its own lapses of decency. This

(WARNING: link to unpleasant video with little news interest)


was sufficient to ensure I am more careful about clicking on Reg stories, and less careful regularly to click advertiser links, than I once was.

That said, I am glad Haines has taken issue with the Inquirer's story.

Japan to fund creation of 40W, 40in OLED TV



3 million quid? Peanuts. Barely enough to finance the drinks at the hanami parties I would have thought.

But I guess the importance of the money is that it sends a signal (and signals are terribly important here) that JGOV wants this to happen. And so it will.

Lab tech supplier redefines corporate song paradigm


Journo Trap

This is a "Journo Trap" pure and simple. (Like a tourist trap, but for desperate journos with nothing else to write about on a hot July day.)

It's well put together- very well put together, a very "knowing" pro job - and its aim is to get linked to as "faux-embarrasing".

Which Lester has...

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