* Posts by M Gale

3552 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

Microsoft takes fight to Google over cloud apps defections

M Gale

30-ish KB of C++, maybe 1500 lines including liberal amounts of comments.

Eclipse and GCC on a cheapy AMD-powered gaming rig. Startup time, 17 seconds. Compile time, 4 seconds.

VS2010 on one of the beasts at the university computing labs. Startup time, maybe two or three minutes on a good day. Call it 15 minutes if you're silly enough to try using it via the terminal server. Compile time? Call that another minute or two.

I shudder to think how much time it would take to compile a few *million* lines of code in Visual Studio. Would it be done before the platform you're compiling for is obsolete?

NFC in a SIM: They might just have done it

M Gale

Oh lovely.

Hard to get into a SIM, yes. But what about getting it OUT of the SIM? At least if it's in the phone then a little creative tinkering with some wire cutters or slicing tracks with a razor blade will do the job.

Google serves up Ice Cream Sandwich code

M Gale

Ish. Sort of.

If you want to participate in the Android ecosystem - which is very much Google's baby - then you have to toe the line and follow the device compliance specifications. And, yes, pay Google for that. The reason for the compatibility testing, asides getting Google a little extra pocket change to swill around, is so that the Marketplace app knows what apps your device can support. It also helps somewhat with this fragmentation thing that everyone keeps talking about but I've seen precious little of amongst officially supported devices. I'm not sure how well, therefore, throwing the Marketplace open to every two-bit manufacturer and their dog like that would work. Would it have to run a benchmark on your machine when you download it? What happens if a background process slurps up resources, making the Market app think your 1.4ghz Cortex A-something has all the poke of an 800mhz ARM11? Not to mention some of the funkier hardware configs that could play havoc with apps that use the NDK

Most importantly, would it be usable by the mythical Joe Sixpack without having to learn about "megawhatsits" and "gigathingies", "ARM whatevers" and "Snapdragons" (aren't they a type of flowering plant, do they bite and can they breathe fire, etc, etc)? It'd certainly be amusing to get the "full Android experience" on a homebrew Beagleboard with an old laptop screen duct-taped on and a 12v sealed lead acid battery/housebrick in a caddy round back, but perhaps wishful thinking given the target market of.. well.. everyone including people who aren't geeks.

However if you're a company that wants to roll your own, build your own ecosystem and get a shiny product to market in a reasonable timeframe, Android is a rather good base upon which to build. Just ask Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

M Gale

Google. Apple. M$ [sic]

You're right, they are all the same in some ways. I've often maintained to the Google haters that Apple and Microsoft both want to profile the shit out of you but Google are the ones who get the bad press about it. Not that I want to give Google a free ride on that issue either.

However, at least an enterprising company can take the Android source and run with it. At least you're not forced into paying a Google tax on every single copy of the OS that you have or try to deploy. Try that with Windows or iOS and you'll be sued into the Stone Age faster than you can say "Intellectual Property" (or, perhaps, "Vendor Lock-In"). In that, at least, Google have something of an ethical differentiator that raises them way above the competition. They don't care if you copy their code because more people using Android means more people on the web means more people using Google. A simple equation that's quite beneficial to them and isn't bad for the rest of us either.

Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it

M Gale

Can they not?????

No, they cannot. Or at least, with GPS turned off, the tablet thinks I'm somewhere.. err.. in the street. Maybe. Or in the fields nearby. Or by the local Tesco. Perhaps. When that huge blue circle calms down a bit and finds a fix a little more accurate than "err, somewhere between Liverpool and Manchester".

In cities and other hugely built-up and wirelessly connected areas it's a little more accurate. It actually pinpointed me as being in the correct university building down to about 10m, though the fact there's a honking great phone mast outside and the entire campus is saturated in 2.4 and 5ghz access points probably helped. Anywhere else, wifi and cell-tower-only location is about as accurate as trying to hit the bullseye using a dart made out of jelly, sellotaped to an RPG, from half a mile away.

As I said though, even if the thing does know that a router is in your house, what privacy issue is there? It's not like you can't randomise the MAC address by nagivating to 192.168.x.1 and logging in to change it periodically, if you're concerned. Or maybe just not broadcasting to everyone in range that you have a router. As someone mentioned above, this is a little like keying up your CB and shouting "My Network Name Is FooNet" into channel 19 over and over. If it's government intrusion you're worried about, you'd best cut the cable leading into your house right now because I can guarantee that the various investigative services have far better ways of finding out what porn you're into. Usually by sticking a tap on the ISP end.

Maybe I should change my tablet's portable AP SSID to "AbusingThirtyTwoCharactersLimits"?

M Gale

32 byte limit.

A little silly to ask people to waste six characters out of a rather limited space.

Still, it's a bit silly to think you have any expectation that your router name will remain private if you're broadcasting it to all and sundry. It's not like they can pinpoint it to your exact house either, and so what if they can? Is the fact that there is a router called "linksys" at your house, like the other thousand or so in your local area, really an impingement on your privacy?

Google flings Bing into search engine bin

M Gale

And comes before a Bung...


M Gale

So what you're saying...

...is that despite being the default search engine for the default web browser on the default operating system of near enough every personal computer sold in the world, Microsoft still can't get people Binging.

My faith in humanity, whilst not restored, is experiencing a modest rise.

BSA name-and-shame tactic may have backfired

M Gale

The problem...

..is that while BSA won't try to extort you, Microsoft may well have a go. Until someone definitively wins a court case over alleged patent infringements in Linux and stomps that nasty little company into the dirt, they will continue to try it on.

Pass the wine, dear. Yes, that papier-mache thing

M Gale

I have to wonder...

...what's the carbon footprint of these things compared with, say, something from Tetrapak?

New claim: iPhone 5 was a goer until Jobs bottled it

M Gale

How small are your pockets?

I can fit a 7" Galaxy Tab into a coat pocket. I'm sure a 5" tabphone would fit in something less sizeable, and the more normal-size fondle-toys definitely so.

M Gale

See this is what I don't get about "another factor to do GUIs for". Granted while there may be some difference between a phone-size screen and a tablet or laptop-size screen - mostly in terms of how big the buttons need to be to be touchable, aren't you already making your apps at least reasonably resolution-independent so they'll work on any screen size? Isn't it all "a slate with one gigantic touchable surface", regardless of the actual size?

Despite some reports to the contrary, I find very few apps in the Android Market that won't scale from 320x240 up to 1024x600. Those that don't are mostly pants anyway.

Chicken fillets: The affordable alternative to Bulgarian Airbags

M Gale

Try turning ABP off.

Those awful iframes and popup DIVs on this very site are exactly why I installed that lovely little Firefox plugin. Adverts don't bother me, but flying, animated, expando-shit does.

Valve admits forum hack exposed gamers' privates

M Gale

You're not the only one.

It's not that early games didn't have copy-protection. They just didn't demand you create an account and have your game maintain a connection to some authentication server in order for you to play.

I've avoided games that insist on some kind of online activation for a while now, and this is one reason why. All I want to do is stuff the disk in and play the game, and in these days of multi-terabyte hard disk drives, inserting the disk should be optional. Egosoft for example ensure genuine customers get support and updates by having you put your game key into a user profile on their web forums. That and the Steam nonsense is all optional though. Insert disk, install game, put the disk somewhere safe and don't bother touching it again, then play as much as you like.

Or then there's Gratuitious Space Battles, or obligatory mention of gog.com - there's still some choice out there for people who want to have fun without a side helping of malware and hacking risk.

I know the text says "Windows User", but it's the only one that looks like a grumpy old bloke.

iOS upgrade swells iPhone battery-suckage grief

M Gale

It affected everyone who had the iPhone 4 and tried to use it as a phone. Maybe only a small number bothered to complain about it, but I'd reckon nearly everyone with an iPhone 4 has had to deal with "Network Error [dismiss/cancel]" every single time their fingers or palm wander over that special black band.

Why do you think one of the things that every review site on the web is saying is that the 4S has had its antenna fixed (and that there may be Samsung patents involved, cue drama and lawsuits)?

HTC prepares quad-core smartphone for 2012

M Gale

Probably a combination of...

...trying to get you to want it, and the competition to crap themselves. I'll also guess they're targetting more the businesses who'll be buying and selling the phones rather than end users.

M Gale

One core handling the music playing, while the other is dealing with whatever the web browser is trying to throw at it, another dealing with any background tabs that might have some kind of html5 goodness requiring some kind of constant attention, and underneath all that another core getting loaded up with OS services and stray browser processes and making sure there's no ugly UI stuttering or lag when someone interrupts all that lot by daring to interrupt you with a phone call...

Yes I can see a use for four cores, or maybe even more, if their idle current consumption is low enough. That's not including whatever 3D gubbins is bolted onto the latest generation of Internet terminal/portable games machine/media device that people call a "phone" these days.

M Gale

1.5ghz x86 != 1.5ghz ARM11 != 1.5ghz ARM Cortex A-something

See title. The ARM will likely be less powerful than an equivalent-clocked x86 CPU, however it will most likely have a higher MIPS-per-watt rating, hence ARM's use in low-power hardware like phones and portable games consoles. Intel have tried to get into the MIPS-per-watt competition with the Atom chips, but it's still something of a one-horse race.

Zuckerberg: 'Make partnerships, not war'

M Gale

doing one thing really well

For anybody who had read Google's "about us" corporate fluff, that is indeed a sly dig.

Shame it's from someone whose baby makes the Googleplex look positively saintly in comparison.

Colossal dead black neo-sphere approaching Earth

M Gale

Oh I don't know

Grey looked like quite the witty thing, when it wasn't inflicting ironic torture on genocidal dictators.

If you haven't killed a million people or so, I don't think you'd have much to worry about. It's just a big floating hyperintelligent London Dungeon. Madame Tussauds might even do an exhibit swap!

Boffins spy on iPhone screens from 200ft away

M Gale

Phone passwords....

...tend to appear in plaintext, one character at a time.







It's stupid, probably has its legacy in traditional "dumb" phones with their iffy t9 text entry mechanisms, and is a feature that needs to be able to be disabled on any smartphone or tablet. It's a little annoying having to hunch over the screen on the bus like someone trying to roll a sneaky joint without anybody seeing it.

Drug cops log Nigerian star's 24 bowel movements

M Gale

A hand in that.

...what, literally?

Brit boffins print blinking booze bottle labels

M Gale

yo dawg i herd you like computers and beer. . .

Complete this sentence appropriately.

Demand for Ruby, Hadoop and HTML5 rockets, C devs still best paid

M Gale

Ruby, or Rails?

Only I know plenty about the former, but the latter still has me scratching my noggin and wondering what the hell. Sure it's Ruby, but that's like saying that Android uses Java. Android uses Java... in a sort of weird framework that requires as much effort to learn as learning a new language anyway. I'd LIKE to learn the whole Rails MVC thing, sure, but LAMP is just so much damned easier to get something useful up and running with.

Maybe I'm just odd.

Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

M Gale

As someone who has helped with more than one Adwords campaign...

...please put the + back.

Now tell me I'm "not a customer".

(or +not +a +customer, if you like)

M Gale

With the chief difference...

...if you don't like Google, you can try someone else. Erm, without having to ditch every other website on the Net.

Try that with Windows and a software collection of any reasonable size. Good luck, let me know if you get CoD Black Ops working in Linux.

'Mental act' computerisations no longer automatically unpatentable

M Gale

Like the US and Japan?

Of all the countries in the world, that judge has picked the two that are most insanely in favour of patenting maths.

Anyone in favour of software patents who mentions those two countries as justification should be summarily dismissed as cretinous. Seriously, does Birss follow ANYTHING in the tech sector? Or is there a conflict of interest going on here?

Acer Iconia A100 7in Android tablet

M Gale

Linux tablet

You'd probably be better trying for Always Innovating's Touchbook. Though, that's more of a developer's toy than a consumer model. Tweak to your heart's content, but just don't expect it to be fully functional out of the box. It's been around longer than the iPad has too, amusingly enough.


They also seem to have a channel on Freenode. Or did last time I looked.

M Gale

Galaxy Tab, grainy screen?

Uhm, it's 1024x600. And probably has a damned sight better viewing angle than this thing.

Not disagreeing with the rest of the review, but as an owner of the original 7" 3G Tab, I have to say "bollocks" to criticisms of the screen quality. 2.3 seems to have made it run a lot more smoothly, too.

FCC's net-neut rules now official

M Gale

Slight correction.

Lawful is whatever hasn't been deemed to be illegal. Or to put it in geek terms, "ALLOW ALL EXCEPT", as opposed to "DENY ALL EXCEPT".

Xbox Live patrols hit by ugly SWAT attacks

M Gale


You should try it some time. Scary site, that is. A few dollars and you can get just about anybody's address. That and Google gives the guy's full address if you poke it with the right search string and are quick enough before it disappears from the cache.

Finding people is not too hard these days, unless they take extreme precautions to hide.

M Gale

Not often I suggest throwing the book at someone.

If these guys are caught though, that should be the least that happens to them. This goes way beyond a prank. This goes way beyond making someone's server fall over. It only takes one of the SWAT guys to make a mistake, and you've got someone killed for the heinous crime of banning your bloody Xbox Live account. Well boo hoo. Seriously, just fuck off. Go cry and wank in the corner until you can figure out why you got banned in the first place. If you can't figure that out, and if you think calling armed police to someone's house is valid retaliation for anything, then I sincerely hope you are caught, sectioned and spend the rest of your days getting your head shrunk by day while sleeping in a padded cell by night for even thinking that getting someone's guts blown out is funny.

Thus ends the diatribe.

Rogue toilet takes out Norfolk server

M Gale

Server Splattered by Stuck Sewer?

I recall with.. well I wouldn't say fondness... the cesspit that the Grandmother used to have before she got a digester - basically a miniature sewage plant - fitted. Every three months or so, the "poo lorry" would come down, pop the lid, stick a big pipe down there and slurp everything up. The eyewatering stench was close to indescribable. The entire 7 acres would become close to uninhabitable, with everyone retreating inside the cottage with all doors and windows shut. Of course, me being at a young age, I would try and get as close as I could to the action before the invisible wall of nostril-hair-curling stink became too much to bear.

And someone might have to go down and fix this pump? Poor, poor souls. I don't envy them one bit.

MS denies secure boot will exclude Linux

M Gale

If the worst happens...

"...sorry, I can't recover the files on your hosed installation. You have a Microsoft BIOS that won't let me run this Backtrack disk. If you had (insert brand of not-shit PC here), I could have helped."

Or words to that effect. Perhaps UEFI will allow you to add your own keys and self sign, but if not, then there are many ways of showing why this is a bad thing to technically illiterate users. Especially after their installation gets hosed and they can't find the Windows disk.

OnLive pushes game stream service to UK punters

M Gale

I could see this being awesome for the sort of MMO things where you're paying a fee to play them anyway.

Anything else? Not so much. I have quite a few titles here that are older than three years. The RTS/FPS remake of Battlezone and its sequel? Operation Flashpoint GOTY edition (no, not the recent one)? Unreal? Unreal Tournament? The 2004 variant? Mechwarrior 2, 3 OR 4 and the numerous "Mercenaries" spinoffs? Hell, I still drag Master of Orion 2 out via the wonders of DosBox on occasion. Now that's a game that should feature in one of El Reg's gaming classics articles. In OnLive's world, I might well be unable to play any of these titles because they are too old. Even Doom 3 is possibly getting a little long in the tooth, and that thing was as notorious as Crysis on release!

This system has all the disadvantages of Steam and then some for "normal" games, which is a damned shame because with a few MMO clients available it could work rather spectacularly well. OnLive, are you listening? Go chat with Blizzard and CCP. That'll be a start.

Spanish boffins unwrap anti-magnetic cloak

M Gale

Magnetically shielded speakers

Maybe they could try ripping a few duff CRT monitors and tellies apart?

And do I really need to use the joke icon?

Microsoft: Mango arrives in two weeks

M Gale

Malware vendors?

Typo or sarcasm?

Boffins step closer to steam-powered Babbage computer

M Gale

So if you create this in AutoCAD, Inventor or similar...

...and then run it in a simulation...

...does that mean that your CAD program is a hypervisor?

EU recording copyright extension 'will cost €1bn'

M Gale

There is a profound difference...

...between copyright and "intellectual property".

I'd not have a problem if copyright was just there to stop Dodgy Bob from selling your movie on a market stall for a fiver and not giving you your cut. You know, making sure the creator of a work gets some compensation for his or her efforts. However, "intellectual property" has gone way, way beyond that. A 70 year extension? How is that not cultural theft? Between this and the ever-increasing encroachment of a completely fouled-up patent system, it's a wonder anything gets produced, invented or otherwise composed at all without everybody getting sued!

Oh hang on, wait a minute...

M Gale

Well, I knew THIS wasn't going to be an Orlowski article.

AMD spills secret to World Record clock speed

M Gale

Silly, but not fake.

If you get spattered with liquid nitrogen or helium, the end result will generally be that it quickly turns into a gas before it can get a good thermal contact with your skin. Now, if you were to plunge your hand into a dewar of the stuff, that wouldn't be a good idea. Small splashes though, are likely not dangerous.

Apple pulls smartphone slavery app

M Gale

It seems it is.

At 63p. I'd buy it if Google's retarded payment scheme allowed Maestro users to buy stuff. Ho hum, suppose it's time to go get one of those prepaid Mastercards or something, if they'll even work.

Just search for Phone Story. It's a little way down, listed in the "Arcade and Action" category.

M Gale

They should stick to their guns

Make a version that "depicts the violence and abuse of children involved in the electronic manufacturing supply chain in a non-crude and non-objectionable way" - by completely and utterly taking the piss even more. Specifically out of Apple.

If the fruit company spits its dummy out and throws a tantrum over it, then market the game to the Droids, make a touch-friendly adwords-supported Flash version for the web, and label it as "THE GAME THAT APPLE TRIED TO BAN." Or "TOO FUNNY FOR YOUR IPHONE", or similar. Pepper the game and any adverts with sarcastic remarks about how you used to be able to get it in the App Store. Apple's tantrum could have given this game some much needed publicity. After all, how many people had heard of it before this article?

Maybe their next game could be called "Phone Developer Story"?

Google brings out new programming language

M Gale

So.. confusion perhaps?

Well, between this Google Dart and that Google Dart, at least.


End of UK local dialling in sight as numbers run out

M Gale


Forgot about the zeros and ones.

Still, an extra 200,000 doesn't seem like a massive amount. It seems more like delaying the inevitable, whereas adding an extra digit or an extra area (or STD, or whatever you want to call it) code is going to mean no more new livery required for a much longer period, no?

M Gale


How could you possibly confuse a land line with a mobile number? Even if the mobile phone itself is in the same room as the landline with the same number. That's like saying that the phone system could confuse a number from Kendal, Cumbria with the same number from Fobbing, Essex.

In any case, if numbers are becoming scarce, surely the answer is either to add an extra digit to the local number or split the place into two area codes? I'm no phone engineer, but asking someone to dial 01... to call their next door neighbour seems a little retarded. Especially when mobiles are all 07 anyway.

Is using your own kit at work a good thing?

M Gale

Objective C?

That's like the owner of a Tamiya telling the owner of a Kyosho to get "a real car".

Oh god, that was a car analogy, wasn't it?

Christ appears in phone advert, secular authorities act

M Gale

Seems legit.

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