* Posts by M Gale

3552 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

Google threatens Chrome address bar with death

M Gale


Why can't they copy the Android browser? It does more or less the same thing but you can get to the hidden address bar by scrolling up a bit.

Government defends need for census

M Gale

You do know...

...that LM and Fujitsu/Seimens were involved in 2001 as well? They provided the system and equipment, respectively. The system was one that the government basically bought from LM after it proved successful in the US.

M Gale

Harmless? Surely you jest?

"Census data is harmless and ultimately is good for the country. Millions of our ancestors were happy to participate and that has also helped us to keep an accurate picture of our country's past."

Well, when it was originally brought in by a conquering monarch who wanted a head count so he knew how much tax to extract, I imagine people didn't have much of a choice.

Now it's evolved far past a head count and into creepy territory, and people still don't have much of a choice.

So while you're right that millions were probably happy to comply, how many weren't and aren't? And how many would just do what the government wants them to do regardless of how silly? See this is the thing about statistical analysis - it helps to know all the variables!

M Gale


My old advanced statistics tutor would probably love this article. The entire year we were with him was spent learning examples of the sort of maths involved that make 100% sample sizes completely unnecessary. And yes, this included the National Census, an institution that he had no trouble tearing into and making various references to throughout the year.

There's plenty of voluntary sampling methods that will provide you with oodles of market research data (sorry, 'information about the populace') without forcing everyone to provide an ever more detailed analysis of their personal life to the government every 10 years, under penalty of fines and imprisonment. At least, it'll be to the 95th or 99th percentile certain, which is probably just as accurate as the census after you filter out the comedians and refuseniks playing silly buggers with the forms.

Grief and disbelief greet Elop's Nokia revolution

M Gale

Oooh crikey.

You really should be Anne Robinson's stand-in for when she has to take a day off.

"You are the weakest link.. and a complete fucking muppet. Goodbye."

M Gale

Implications for Linux?

Microsoft try and sue people over the "intellectual property" contained in Qt, the FSF sue the shit out of them for daring to try that with GPL (well, LGPL) software, Microsoft back down and paint the whole exercise as a public gesture of friendship towards the open source community, meanwhile everyone else can smell the crock of shit a mile off and moves to GTK?

M Gale

So how do you differentiate...

...amongst the various and sundry WinMo7 devices that Microsoft no doubt would like to see?

What happens if WinMo7 becomes as ubiquitous as its big brother on the desktop? Up the creek without a paddle, much?

Stupid, stupid. You might consider Google to be some kind of Borg for Mobile, but bloody MICROSOFT? The irony, it hurts!

At least you can take Android and run with it in your own direction, minus the Marketplace. Enjoy trying to do that with WinMo. Mind you, Elop is an ex Microsofty. That could explain why Nokia has just taken this cretinous decision.

Patent attack launched on Google's open video codec

M Gale
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Oh what a surprise.

Patent troll in patent trolling SHOCKER. Looks like they really have spat their dummy out this time.

Wonder how much influence Jobs and Ballmer have had in this decision? I'd bet a pristine condition toffee wrapper that it's greater than zero.

Software patents, method patents, come in now. Your time is well and truly up.

Locking antlers with a network Nazi

M Gale

Nothing quite so interesting.

That said, I do the occasional cash-in-hand thing for people. In this particular case, a web-site thing for a particular person. Problem is when, after spending hours making, testing and re-testing a order section that allows someone to mouse-drag their desired size of material and charges them X amount per 6 square inch block depending on how many total blocks there are.. it spends two days online and the guy says "can you just do this LITTLE thing?"

Oh yeah. A little thing that requires changing the entire pricing logic structure so there are now 66 individual prices (instead of the logic saying 'X number of blocks which is Y price per block which is Z total price'), effectively 66 individual little PayPal "add to cart" buttons in a grid that have to be priced manually. Then he changes his mind again and wants to remove that bit entirely, and just offer 12 different sizes. This after I've gotten most of the way through implementing the changes.

Oh and then he wants to change it so the sizes are measured in centimetres. After specifying inches from the start, so the entire goddamned pricing structure needs to be changed. Again.

Grr. Grr, and an argh to go with it. If I was being paid consultant wages I wouldn't be complaining so much...

Albuquerque shopper samples free man oysters

M Gale

You sure this is real?

Only I've seen a number of "semen in the mayo" stories that turn out to be urban myths.

Still, eww.

RIM PlayBook fondleslab to 'run Google Android apps'

M Gale


This looks to be "compatible with Android" in the same way that WINE is "compatible with Windows". In other words, only barely and with some fiddling.

Still, at least it will be fully compatible with Blackberry stuff. Won't it?


Angry Birds ruffles feathers for Valentine's Day

M Gale

Plays well, as usual...

...but I'll be buggered if I'm signing up to Facebonk just for three levels.

Also had a scary moment yesterday when I found a vanilla Angry Birds update that needed all kinds of extra permissions including SMS/MMS access. Apparently it was only temporary though as an updated update goes back to just wanting Internet access. I'm told it was something to do with the superbowl. Whatever it was, I'm just glad I don't have to write another fun game off because it turns out to be some kind of spyware or other malware in disguise.

Smartphones 'out sell' PCs for first time

M Gale

Didn't think toyphones and computers were in competition with each other!

See title. It's not like I'm going to be lugging a desktop or even moderately capable laptop onto the bus with me. Netbook battery life isn't up to much either. At the same time, I don't expect this little droidslab to be up to a 10,000 word essay, or playing Crysis like a real computer.

Plus, with the iToys, you can almost guarantee that every owner has a computer already to tether the stupid bloody thing to that godawful iTunes monstrosity. Apples (lol) and oranges, perhaps?

Google does fractals in HTML5

M Gale

Works, slowly.

Fun proof of concept. I'm wondering if they'll add a rubber-band zoom, it might make the zooming process a bit more usable on slow-arse devices like this toy Googleslab.

Murdoch, The Daily, and life without the web

M Gale


I'll give you a clue: I pay sixteen quid a week on a ticket that'll get me on an Arriva bus anywhere in the North West of England and North Wales. Okay, so the Metro might not reach the darkest corners of god-knows-where (or you're not enough of a early bird in the morning), but I'd hardly call my current location a sprawling metropolis. You wouldn't have this many farms and old miners' houses, and BT could probably deliver broadband worthy of the name, and this tablet wouldn't have such a bother picking a signal of any kind up.

As opposed to my location earlier when I posted that.

M Gale

Oh noes.

One crappy news company has given up on advertising revenue and gone behind a pay-wall, most likely still stuffed to the gills with adverts.

Not that I'll ever know. Pay? For a news rag with an ever-tenuous grasp on "the truth"? Has nobody ever heard of The Metro?

Or even, perhaps, The Register. Both better than anything News Corp has ever come up with, and both at zero cost to the readership.

Yes, I'm probably some awful freetard contributing to the downfall of "news" organisations across the globe. I consider this to be a good thing. By the way, I'm currently in Liverpool, and you should try getting hold of a copy of the Sun around here. Wonder why that is, Murdoch?

"The Truth", indeed.

Reg readers offered discount tickets to internet future

M Gale

.blog, .sex, .foo, .bar...

Meanwhile the rest of the world completely ignores all of this and carries on using .com. Or, in some cases, .co(m).(insert country code).

Canada? The computer vendor says no

M Gale

Happy Commtiva N700 owner

No it doesn't have huge battery life (though enough to last a day of my usage patterns, possibly only 3-4 hours of Angry Birds). Also doesn't have the fastest processor and OH GOD PLEASE LET ME TURN SWYPE AND THAT AWFUL LEFT-HAND QUICKBAR OFF, however it's responsive enough, capacitive, and 800x480 is quite enough for this seven inch screen thankyouverymuch. Stupidly high res = more gpu needed = more power = less battery life + more expensive.

This thing's 300 quid. Compared to the Tab and Pad, it's a bargain with wifi, 3G, tethering and portable AP functionality. Don't think it'll manage 720p video but ffs, you're not going to notice on a screen this size. Just downsample to 480p and enjoy your extra storage space.

ICO drops BT, ACS Law probe

M Gale

News Editing 101

This lesson brought to you by The Moderatrix, Snarky Humour, and the number 3.

US lawmakers eye internet 'kill switch'

M Gale

Oh screw that.

Like I mentioned in today's Metro Letters page, the important lesson to learn from Egypt is to resist any attempts to implement this sort of national firewall.

If US.gov are so scared of people hacking the Pentagon, they should take a fire-axe to the lines going into the Pentagon, not the whole bloody country.

Android bites big chunk out of Apple iPad market share

M Gale

Er, no.

See this isn't like the desktop, where outside a few select niches you're taking a great risk in spending money to develop for anything that isn't Windows. You should check the Android Marketplace out some time. Plenty of developers and plenty of download counts for the popular apps.

Anyway, "best value" is highly debatable. I'm sure that as long as the screen is capacitive, the chips are at least half decent and the price is less than half a wifi+3g iPad, plenty of people are going to look at a market of 100,000 or so apps and climbing and think that's a pretty sweet deal. Like it or not the droid is here to stay and it's not just biting a chunk out of Apple's market share, but the cheaper devices out there are serving a long tail that Apple aren't interested in: People not willing to pay iPad prices for a pretty toy computer/terminal.

Now wouldn't you, as a developer, want a slice of that growing userbase's app expenditure?

Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!

M Gale


There's a difference between usable and pretty. Apple are very good at pretty, and at the prices they charge I'd bloody well expect the software to run like greased lightning. I would really not praise the iToy experience for its usability over any half-competent mobile OS though.

Seriously, iTunes?

M Gale

I know there's this pedantry over what an OS is...

...but to me, the filesystem drivers are as much a part of the OS as the kernel. I mean, you can try and use a computer without any storage on it if you like. You just won't get very far.

Anyway, I'll bet a used chewing gum that Microsoft wouldn't have sued if it'd have been any other OS. How many camera manufacturers have been sued by Microsoft so far? What about portable music players? Digital dictaphones? Anything with an SD card in it? They all use FAT as well, despite how hideous it is.

M Gale


Err, it uses Linux. "Proper" Linux at that, not Android.

Microsoft threw a sue-ball at them already over that. They settled out of court, and now Microsoft use that amongst other examples of settling rather than fighting to try to persuade other people that their use of the toy unix kernel demands that they pay protection money. It's funny, the only solid example I can see of code that violates any license is Microsoft trying to rip the GPL off with its Hyper V software, being forced to GPL it as a result, and painting it as a public relations exercise!

Me, as you've probably guessed by now, well I'd rather see Microsoft's attempts to Borg the mobile market explode messily for them. Unfortunately for Microsoft, I'm not the only one.

M Gale

"They are gonna clone iTunes."

Oh god I hope not. That pustulent, bloat-infected sore on the arse of software in general is the biggest advertisement not to buy an iToy that Apple could have ever made.

Plug USB lead in. Mount SD card. Drag and drop your "music" folder over. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD WORK, APPLE.

Boffins squeeze a mesh onto Android handsets

M Gale

There are no matches in the Android Market for the search: Serval.

Boo, not even a beta?

Ahwell, I await this development with interest.

BlackBerry beats iPhone to top UK smartphone

M Gale

BB vs iToy

RIM's main market has always been enterprise. That's why they don't do "as much" as your typical iSomething or Droidslab: The typical BB owner is more interested in spreadsheets, CRM integration, email and remote-wipe than flinging birds at pigs or making fart noises.

That said, I have to say the old Blackberry does seem rather popular on the morning bus journeys. Somewhat moreso than the iSomethings, even. Not sure about the Android-on-the-bus figures, as you can't really tell without having a good close-up gander at it or happening upon a familiar-looking home screen. I think most people would take offense at you peering over their shoulder while they tippety-tap their latest inanities into Twitter. I do get a fair few heads turning when they see this Froyo-flavoured seven inch thing being fondled in my lap though. And several questions along the lines of "is that an iPad?"


UK.gov braces for Anonymous hacklash

M Gale


..but you'd have to be some kind of stupid to go only two doors down with a netbook. Quick bus or train trip to the next city might be more like it.

But then I suppose this is /b/tards we're on about. Yeah, maybe you're right.

M Gale

And if you use toy unix...

It's relatively trivial to write a bash script to randomize your MAC address on boot (or any other time you run it). Methinks, as technically dumb as the govt can be, they have something a little more solid than a MAC or IP address. Say, ISP logs?

Why aren't more of these script kiddies using a netbook and someone else's wifi?

Court orders seizure of PS3 hacker's computers

M Gale

"I prefer our 46" TV to the 17" monitor."

You do know that most TVs these days have DVI/VGA/HDMI ports in them? You know, so you can hook up a real computer?

Also a controller might be good for some games, but for a first person shooter all other interaction methods fail beside the awesomeness of ye olde keyboard+mouse combo. At least until we have some kind of funky augmented reality stuff going on like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyCyzB0CedM

And Steam/EA Downloader/whatever Ubisoft's utter horse-wank is, can suck my balls. That is all.

M Gale

Will this end up like the blu-ray key?

You know, the one that's been replicated on a millions .sigs across the Internet?

Good luck, Sony.

Forget Flash – content is king

M Gale

Commtiva N700

Froyo, multitouch, seven inch screen, marketplace app. What it doesn't have is a >800Mhz CPU, so no Flash for me. Not that it matters since there's plenty of free and cheap games on the market.

Anyway, I think you fail at the point of the article. Gimmickry is all well and good but this is the web, not some walled-off orchard. If your gimmickry gets in the way of the purpose of your site then you fail at usability and usefulness.

M Gale


Gimmickry on a web site is all well and good, but if it gets in the way of using the site it might as well not be there.

For all the negative things you can say about Google's Eye-o-Sauron tech, their front page continues to serve as an example of how to do search. Nice big text box and a go button.

Sony preps PlayStation gaming for Android

M Gale

Figured it'd be something like this.

And we could end up with a PS Marketplace on any droidphone that's been through a Sony approval process to ensure the presence of certain features (like a control pad/keyboard, minimum CPU/GPU/RAM...). Just a thought.

Italy sues Microsoft for box-bundling bungling

M Gale

Ooh lovely.

Now maybe a govt or ten can go after them for threatening shops with hefty fines for not charging the customer for a new Windows installation if the motherboard needs replacing.

Asus NX90Jq 18.4in Core i7 laptop

M Gale

Decent laptop speakers.

I have a battered old HP Pavilion zv5000 that I'm typing on here. It's about six years old, has an AMD64 single-core processor (not even the Turion laptop variant), a whopping 1GB RAM and a 50GB HDD. It also has a big 1280x800 widescreen display and...

Harmon/Kardon speakers. Yep. JBL in a laptop. Plenty loud and plenty nice sounding too, and no need to spend £2,500. Not sure of the exact RMS wattage, but it's more than enough to be loud in a living room and kicks the arse of every laptop-sized computing device I've ever used, in the sound department. It may be an old dog as far as number crunching goes, but it'll pump out the tunes better than an iThingy ever could.

Would look quite sweet too, if it wasn't for the duct tape holding the lid on.

HBase: Shops swap MySQL for open source Google mimic

M Gale

This is why I liked the BBC Micro.

Loaded data from the cassette in discrete blocks. If you fucked up one block, just rewind the tape and replay it. No need to start the whole *&$^ing 15-minute loading sequence all over again.

Aye, thems were the days. Young 'uns these days, don't know they've been born!


M Gale


Why when I were a lad, we had to crawl around the whole bloody computer all day, yanking dud valves out. And when we got home, to our matchbox-size house with eighteen kids in it, our father would belt us black and blue, telling us we were lucky to be working with them newfangled valve things instead of relay switches.


Apple's Jobs stand-in touts iPad's enterprise reach

M Gale

7" works.

Nicely legible on this Commtiva N700 fondle-toy anyway, and virtual keyboard buttons that are big enough to tap or swipe (swype?) over. I wouldn't mind a bluetooth keyboard for typing anything longer than this though.

Camera, voicephone, wifi, 3g, gps, capacitive screen, froyo, and instant sharing with youtube/picasa/etc. Fun little twitterbox I suppose, and big/bright/responsive enough that a crm app for it should fit nicely on the screen. Handy as a portable wifi hotspot too, and you can connect a few computers through it easily enough. Supports remote wipe, and it has something no iToy has sported yet: A real live micro-SD socket. You get a 4GB card with it too, and all for £300 quid. Not too bad.

Android passes iPhone in mobile ad race

M Gale

Paid app = no ads

I'm pretty sure that's the case on any OS, including Android. At least, it seems to be a trend in the Market to offer a title as Foobar (free), and Foober (no ads). The only puzzle is why Rovio haven't yet. It'd probably improve performance on a lot of devices too, as whatever they're using for supplying ads seems to cause awful problems on the cheaper toyphones when trying to slide a banner in from the edge. Still, at least they only want "Internet Access", and not phone identity, location and a load of other permissions just to fling birds at pigs.

Written on my Commtiva N700, which is all a bit Dom Joly.

For sale: 50,000 compromised iTunes accounts

M Gale

Re: you don't have to use a credit card

They don't exactly make it obvious. You have to skip registration, buy something then register? Why not just put the "I don't want to give you or any Chinese hackers my bank details" option on the normal registration page? iTunes vouchers not making enough money?

Remember "It Just Works", Steve?

Ford unveils all-electric Focus for 2012

M Gale

This would be funny...

...if Linux wasn't probably already running in some chip in your car somewhere.

The SMS of DEATH - Can it crash your phone?

M Gale

This reminds me..

...of some of the crap that The Coca Cola Company's various bottlers have gotten up to. When the bottlers do something that could generate good press, head office goes all "LOOK WHAT WE DID THIS YEAR!"

When the bottlers hire thugs to shoot union reps, or a plant that requires huge amounts of water to operate opens up in an Indian drought zone and screws the local population over for irrigation and drinking water, it's "not our responsibility, we're a franchise, we only make the syrup."

Sorry guys, but it says "Coca Cola" in big letters on the bottle. You want to avoid responsibility? Try letting your bottlers call it "Super Columbian Cola Plus, now with extra protection money!" Have a little "uses genuine cola cola syrup" on one of the borders. But hey, you wouldn't do that, would you?

Ditto Apple.

M Gale


And yet, the response from many telcos or even phone manufacturers as to "when will I get updated firmware" is "when you buy a new phone."

Maybe when something happens that crashes the entire bloody network, they'll get a clue? That or a suitably large class action, but who's going to bother bringing one of them over a stuck phone? How many will even know what the problem is, instead saying "oh it's broken, time to buy a new one"?

Google sneak peeks Android for fondleslabs

M Gale

"whose primary purpose is to act as spyware to promote their advertising business. "

As opposed to a bad, clunky, highly-vertical toy OS that doesn't do anything new, that was deliberately crippled for YEARS, and whose primary purpose is to corral you into a walled garden and THEN profile the shit out of you for the benefit of advertisers? Or do you think your favourite fruit-based company isn't trying hard to out-Google the Google right now? Or that Microsoft won't collate and share your information with their "partners", which effectively means everyone else on the planet? Do you think Apple doesn't want to be the next MicroBorg?

Get a grip. Get a life. Take a sledgehammer to your Mac.

Runaway hydroponic fungus attacks real-world Starship Voyager

M Gale

Living one floor above a dope farm...

...and not knowing about it?

That guy either had a serious lack of nasal sensitivity, or the guys downstairs had some impossibly heavy-duty ventilation. That or they were growing shite.

Either that or the trekkie thought the smell was "the mould". Or perhaps he was getting sly shipments of Cardassian Swamp Plant from the guys downstairs as a "shut the hell up" agreement. Who knows?

Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

M Gale
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Better idea.

Rip the things out.

4chan hit by DDoS assault

M Gale

4chan DDoSed.


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