* Posts by M Gale

3552 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

3D films fall flat

M Gale

That must be a bloody big pocket.

And talk about headache-inducing.

Neat effect though, until you figure out it's just a TV with the image upside down/mirrored and a giant parabolic mirror. Not so much 3D as floating 2D.

This post had a point, but then I lost it.

TalkTalk turns StalkStalk to build malware blocker

M Gale

if (ip_is_from_stalkstalk($ip)){





Cutbacks strip speed cameras from Blighty's roads

M Gale

The problem here.

School starts at 9am.

A lot of jobs start at 9am.

Not a lot of bosses are sympathetic towards someone who is consistently 15-30 minutes late.

German webcam hack perv suspect cuffed

M Gale

Re: Unix?

Linux, compatible with every class-compliant webcam, which is almost every webcam made in the last few years. No driver needed. Insert webcam. Open app. Use webcam.

If you're going to quip, at least be right.

M Gale

Re: Re: Project your kids

One downvote, no upvotes. What is it, did I not put the joke icon in to make it ruinously clear? Does someone really take offense to the idea of flinging 10 year olds at the castle walls?

Or did I not say "oh by the way I use Ubuntu I think it's teh best thing evar" loudly enough?

Christ.. (Aww shit, now some fundamentalist is going to downvote me)

Beer it is, then.

M Gale

Re: Project your kids

Umbongo now comes with a free trebuchet design in every copy? Or is that something you need to compile yourself?

Council urges army drinkers to break the law

M Gale

Re: Law Backwards

You mean like a national registry of identities? A national identity register perhaps?

Yeah, that didn't work out too well for the last government. Issues of trust and function-creep, and all. Plus the expense, plus forcing people onto it.

Personally if someone asks me for ID, I show them the bare skin atop my scalp and declare that as my proof of age. You can use whatever bit of plastic will be accepted.

Pirate Bay owners fined by Dutch court

M Gale

$250,000 + 2 years per infringement * how many torrents on the 'bay?

So how did the unauthorised sharing of files come to attract a bigger punishment than murder?

Oh well. Google filetype:torrent, here we come.

Microsoft Xbox 360 250GB

M Gale

USB Thumb Drive?

Last time I tried saving a game onto a USB flash device, the 360 wouldn't even spot it. Fine if you have a .wmv on the drive that you want to play, less fine if you want to spend half the price on a shitload more storage than the official game save cartridges.

I'm writing negative comments because this (and the PS3 Slim) remind me so much of the Sega Megadrive 2 - a device that was smaller, slimmer, cost a whole lot less to manufacture but was otherwise no different (if anything, less capable thanks to the removal of the headphone socket) to the original Megadrive. To many people at the time it was a true indication that Sega had jumped the shark. It was rightly derided. And yet Sony and Microsoft can do the same thing and get nothing but praise? Methinks not.

For Americans, s/Megadrive/Genesis/;

M Gale

Oh joy.

New HDD form factor, so you get to buy a whole new one. Need to buy data transfer cable, because of the different form factor. Probably need the new Xbox to be able to buy a camera that sits under the telly and lets you wave your hands about while pretending to fight someone.

And Microsoft weren't making enough money already? Oh well. I'll stick with my DS, ta thanks. At least I don't have to buy a DSi XL Super Mega Edition or whatever it is this week, and the old shit still works with it if I do.

Also, Sony and Microsoft both: installing gigabytes of shit onto an overpriced hard disk drive, for a GAMES CONSOLE? You're doing it wrong. Insert disk. Play. It's a toy, so stop pretending it isn't.

Or are you saying I can install the game and then not need the disk? No? Oh.

'Eternal' sun-plane still aloft after 7 days, aiming for 14

M Gale


Google thinks it means either "divert", "any purpose for", "misuse", or "purpose for which", all of which I'm sure are hilariously wrong.

Uhm, pick one at random?

Apple antenna guru 'warned Steve Jobs' over Judas Phone

M Gale

App idea

The server provides a web interface that shows a list of high scores. The client monitors for sudden signal degradation and counts this as one point. The high score list can be sorted by user, phone/device model, OS revision.. oh, all sorts of interesting variables.

Anyone got a Mac to play with?

M Gale


"Instead he thinks it is because of his son, who has the habit of turning the console off by just unplugging it from the wall. That is it! One fail, and not from the Yellow Light of Death."

If pulling the plug will break the toy, then that toy also has a critical design flaw.

Our Vulture 1 aircraft begins to take shape

M Gale

Sky lanterns/Fire balloons

The ones you buy in shops and market stalls are about a quid each, and are made out of oodles of lovely lightweight (and fire-resistant) tissue paper. Could be possibly worth buying a few just for the creative re-uses of the main construction material.

Council wins motorbike charges case

M Gale

"Arrogant, Violent, Speeding, Weaving, Law-breaking, Polluting, Arseholes!"

And for another bit of anecdotal evidence, none of the bikers I know are anywhere near as bad as you've just painted them. That includes the HA riders and the occasional geriatric with the "Grot Bike Winner" award on the mantelpiece.

Okay, so maybe the HA guys can get a little loud, but no worse than the Bastard after a good Friday night.

Speed limiters on a bike. Sure. Fit them to cars too while you're at it. Especially the bastards who like to scream past the motorised or non-motorised two-wheelers and who gives a flying fuck if it causes an accident?

Ever been on a bicycle and caught in the slipstream from a boy racer who thinks he's God's Gift to Silverstone?

Mozilla stokes Firefox 4 with first beta build

M Gale

re: re: Menu bar

"As usual, Opera does things properly, everyone then catches up a couple of years later."

Using up almost every ounce of my 1GB RAM plus swap partition to display a single tab? Yeah, I suppose you're right. That and Turbo has never worked.

The movable tabs and mobile-view are a nice idea, but please, why do people evangelise so much about a browser that's more bloated than most?

Fanbois love sex toys: Official

M Gale

Linux users

..have "man mount". Even the ones that don't are far too busy with real fscking to bother with toys.

Written on my Umbongo Laptop. Badgers because.. well.. if you need that explaining then you're beyond my help, sonny.

Microsoft's Flash challenger Silverlight hits Symbian

M Gale

Moonlight is not Silverlight

Moonlight is not Silverlight

Moonlight is not Silverlight

Moonlight is not Silverlight

There. Got it through your head yet? I'm sorry, but there's no way in hell that Moonlight will do anything other than trail behind Silverlight as far as compatiblity goes. You think Microsoft want anybody to think that Linux or any other plarform is "as good as" Windows? No. And you can bet that they'll pull any and all support if the open-source alternative becomes anything like competition to their own proprietary version.

Once again: Moonlight is not Silverlight.

Revealed: Government blows thousands on iPhone apps

M Gale

Changing sparkplugs on an MG F

Open the bonnet... no engine.

Open the boot.. no engine.

So how do you change the sparkplugs? Well that's easy. You drive it onto a ramp and jack the thing up until you can stand underneath. Then you change the sparkplugs.

M Gale

Apple hardware? Cheap?

"- the iPhone will fall in price, like all tech does. Eventually, when they're dirt cheap, won't it be wise for the general public to have access to apps. Apps aren't free to develop!"

I'm sure you can buy PowerPC Macs from ebay these days. Problem is, they are next to useless and still come with an Apple price tag, compared with a PC from the same era.

The iToys will be exactly the same. You may be able to get a first-gen iToy for reasonably cheap.. when the 10th gen iToys are out and none of the apps will work on the old stuff. Apple is the Bang and Olufsen of computing, and you shall expect to have a similarly fat wallet to afford one.

IBM sends sodden supercomputer to Zurich uni

M Gale

Three GTX280s and a quad core Intel 9770 Extreme

...makes enough heat to warm a room up quite satisfactorily (or less than satisfactorily, in Summer). It also generates enough heat to make the glycol evaporate and, thanks to a flaw in the design of the £1000 cooling system, blow a leak all over the place.

That friend of mine now has a single graphics card that's almost as powerful as the previous three. Hopefully next time he'll just get a refrigerated box for less.

Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS

M Gale


Very useful site, for anyone who fancies trying to spot the ISS. Depending on how close it gets, it's bright enough to see on an evening pass so try checking for "all passes" as well as "visible passes". The website seems to automatically mark any passes made before absolute darkness as not visible.

Also a pair of 20x50 binoculars seems enough to make the station go from "very bright moving dot" to "very wobbly elongated dot". At some point I'll get the chance to spot it with some proper optics in a region that doesn't have an orange sky at night.

Brace yourself for 4TB drives next year

M Gale

You forgot to add...

"Not that big of a problem".

M Gale

Dropping hard drives.

Aren't the platters made of glass? Not the most shock-friendly material in the world. Okay, tapes are magnetically sensitive and slower than pigshit rolling uphill in Winter, but at least they can be shielded.

What's next? Caddies with a foot of shock absorber at all sides?

Nipper's naked arse provokes Street View outrage

M Gale

Modern times

I still remember reading through an old set of kids books from the VERY early 20th or late 19th century. "World of the Children", they were called. Showed you precise instructions on how to make black powder, amongst other innocent childhood pursuits. All told in a narrative style focussing around a family with a very cool set of parents who would do things like putting a car into a skid to explain how skids work, amongst other such fun.

Oh, and it had butt-naked pictures of children in it, passing off the differences in biology as something that "God did". And showing the excellent results you can get from a pinhole camera that had been enhanced with a few cheap lenses in a stack.

Different times, eh?

German arrested for Adolf Hitler ringtone

M Gale

Hitler was a great man.

Seriously. Look up the definition of "great". It doesn't necessarily mean "good".

The guy was rather a fool for doing what he did. But after how many decades, isn't keeping a law like that around somewhat foolish too? Just treat the neo-nazis like we do in Blighty: Give them the occasional TV spot so they can spout rubbish and get laughed at, meanwhile giggling like crazy at the general election where they might manage to pick up a few hundred votes from the retard demographic.

Secret docs reveal Dell knew PCs were faulty

M Gale

Hang on, what?

"Complaints from the University of Texas were fended off by Dell staff blaming the university for overloading the machines with difficult maths problems."

A computer that falls over when you throw math at it?

And I thought Jobs' excuses for the latest iToy were poor.

Linux game-time refined with latest Wine

M Gale

You teach Linux? Really?

Then I guess you know already that it doesn't matter what desktop environment the user chooses. Applications written for Gnome tend to work in KDE as well, and vice versa. Any halfway-competent distribution just grabs whatever dependencies it needs.

Even with that kitchen-sink approach, you're still probably going to end up with less than half of the bloat of your average Windows 7 install, so why not just install all the common window manager libraries and let the users and developers both have whatever they enjoy using the most?

As for which apps will work on what distro, well I can only speak for the occasional commercial game that is released "for Linux". I can assure you that Epic and Id's products have worked on every distribution I've tried them on. That said, I haven't tried installing Doom 3 on a Belkin router yet. Your mileage may vary.

IM server, what? I think if you're wanting to run an IM server, you're already getting way into techie territory and beyond what 99.9% of users will want to do. If it takes a little minor fiddling with a config file, so what? And would you not have the bewildering array of IM protocols under any operating system?

Standardising on one interface means you will piss off everyone who doesn't like that interface. Good luck getting a successful distribution going that supports Gnome but not KDE, or KDE but not Gnome. And getting every distribution to use the same kernel version? Did you not read that allegorical tale of the cathedral and the bazaar? Yeah, good luck.

So far, so yawn. You've come up with the same tired old arguments that were incorrect five years ago and even more incorrect now. Linux's biggest problem as a domestic OS is simply that old catch 22. No market = no developers = no market. Everything else is sorted, drivers included. Even that old wifi chestnut is fading fast, and any problems there are probably as much to do with the same catch 22 as anything else.

So yes. Written on my Ubuntu laptop. It's quite nice actually. And not shit-brown either. I know how to change background colours.

M Gale

Heh, X3

Oh don't get me wrong. I still have X2 from back in the days when you didn't need to install malware to use it. Even have the official no-DRM patch to completely remove the CD check. I've got M2s coming out of my earholes at the moment with a set of save files that have been built up over the last year or so. Currently saving up for a second carrier + fighter fleet. When I finally hit Omicron Lyrae for the final quest mission, those Kha'ak are going to shit bricks. I think a little grind is okay if you can pause the game and come back later when you can be bothered. Or just hide about 300km above the ecliptic with time compression on full while you get a cup of tea and your trade empire does its thing.

However, I won't buy PC games these days, mostly because of the DRM and the price (and, err, the need for Windows). And if you didn't read my original post, I specifically mentioned the upgrade treadmill. I'm not willing to pay £300 for a graphics card and if I was, I'd expect it to last (a lot) longer than 12 months before upping the detail on a game anything past "low" makes things play like a flickbook.

See I play computer games to have fun, not as a career. If I'm lucky, I may end up with a career making them though. Plus £100 not spent on Windows 7 Crippled Edition is £100 spent on something more worthwhile. Like, oh I don't know, maybe this lovely little airframe/EDF/ESC combo:


No DRM, and you get change left over for beer!

M Gale


"OpenOffice covers this ground quite nicely and will even apparently be getting the Microsoft-style "Ribbon" interface in an upcoming update."

Oh god please no.

At least give me an option to turn it off and have a usable UI please, OO.o team.

"Meh. Emulate the entire machine."

Congratulations. Now you've paid the Microsoft tax to run Windows at half the speed.

"I got fed up upgrading my graphics card and CPU all the time and just shelled out for a PS3 and Wii, which is probably cheaper in the long run than a decent CPU+GPU package."

Someone with sense! And they got downvoted for it. What a surprise.

I used to give a crap about PC games. However, they started becoming as expensive as console games. Plus the endless upgrade treadmill. Plus the endlessly increasingly intrusive and offensive DRM shite.. if I want a locked down toy I'll buy a locked down toy, thank you very fucking much. Take Steam, EA Downloader, Ubisoft shit, and shove it up your arse sideways. My DS works just fine!

As for EvE and WoW, well I like games that don't require I make them a career choice to get anywhere. Grind is not my middle name.

Power line tech could crash aircraft and shut down the Archers

M Gale

Hang on...

"PLN equipment, unlike Wi-Fi, doesn't restrict itself to a single frequency but splatters its message across the whole wavelength. This gives great capacity at the cost of widespread interference."

I'm pretty sure that one part of of the "N" standard for wifi was to make it spread-spectrum? That is, rather than choosing a particular frequency, it splatters itself all over the band? So that, you know, noise on one frequency (like a leaky microwave oven) doesn't ruin the performance of your network while you watch a cat hitting a keyboard?

I'm sure the various beardy and non-beardy HAMs here will tell me why I'm wrong.

Google can kill or install apps on citizen Androids

M Gale

Hang on, what?

By your argument, whenever I connect my laptop to the Internet, Virgin reserve the right to install spyware on my machine. As do any intermediate networks my packets may happen to travel through. Oh, and if I connect to a free wifi point somewhere, the owners of that AP reserve the right to run SSLstrip and snaffle my usernames and passwords.

I really don't give a damn who's network MY device is connected to. It's my device. Period.

And how are you supposed to use a phone, without connecting to a network? Isn't that the point of a phone?

Ahwell. Increasingly glad I never bothered with the whole smartphone craze. I may end up developing for them at some stage, but I'll be damned if I ever use one as more than a test platform. Google, you'd better change this, quick. Openness and "freedom" is the only differentiator between you and Apple at the moment. Secret remote installation of software is the sort of thing I'd expect a virus to get up to. Really, what the hell were the people who thought this up smoking?

Nokia demos finger flicking exercise for iPhone 4 users

M Gale

Most phones will lose SOME signal...

After all they use near-microwave frequencies, and microwaves are rather infamously fickle when it comes to travelling through anything that contains water (like, oh, humans).

However, putting the bare metal of the antenna outside the phone is pretty much guaranteed to futz with the signal severely when anything conductive (like, oh, humans) touches it.

Worst part is, if you try and fix this by putting some kind of sticky plastic or lacquer over the bare metal, what's the reckoning you get rid of the conductance problem and start introducing a capacitance problem? Iphones leaking signal all over the spectrum? Whups!

Mine's the one with an old FM radio in the pocket, that strangely enough gets a better signal when you touch the antenna.

WTF is... Project Canvas?

M Gale


What's the betting this will be released, then accompanied by a lobbying effort by the Beeb to require a TV license for all Internet connections?

This does look like a nifty little project. I just don't trust the Beeb not to try anything to retain its "unique" traditional money source.

Council of Europe condemns teen-bothering Mosquito

M Gale

The only people who won't hear these things..

..are idiot teens (and adults who used to be idiot teens) who blow their ears out with the iSomething turned up to full volume all day every day. I'm another one who can hear those Mosquito devices quite well enough, thanks a bundle, and I'm in my 30s. It sounds like a really loud CRT on the blink.

Now, playing Mozart at a more respectable volume? I could see that working. Who the hell would want to sit and get rat-arsed on cheap cider next to that poncey old fashioned shite eh?

M Gale

I used to do that...

..cheap banger of a motorbike, on old slagheaps.

Well the slagheaps are a rubbish tip now, and the local Plod will chase you on quads and crush the bike. Can't do that any more.

Used to take the old air rifle out as well, and terrorise the local can/bottle population. Try that these days and I'll be down for 28 days without charge.

Hang out in the middle of a park/field with music going and a bunch of mates? Sorry, no can do any more. You'll get your boom box confiscated under some illegal-rave law.

It's now pretty much impossible to do anything your average 16-18 year old would find "fun" that doesn't cost a boatload of money or isn't highly illegal and actively enforced against. Not trying to say that there aren't, and haven't always been, some nasty bastards out there. However, for hell's sake, give teens something to do (or at least let them make up their own fun) and they might not hang around outside shops getting rat-arsed for want of something better (and by better I don't mean 'more productive') to do.

M Gale

Climb up, snip wires. Drill hole, insert water. Whatever.

Not that I'm actually suggesting you do such a thing, oh no.

However I'm wondering how long it would take before the shopkeeper notices anything different.

Ex-MySQL chief puts open source in its place

M Gale

Re: Cloudy Computing

The idea of Eucalyptus is that you can run your own personal "cloud" (which seems to be as nebulous a term as its sky-borne namesake). As for uses.. well I imagine if you've got a business with a lot of workstations in it, maybe there's some sense in ploughing a fair amount of money into a HAL-strength server while the workstations are cheapy not-so-dumb terminals? Of course, your mileage may vary.

'It's as though I've got Jonathan Ive's personal tool in my...'

M Gale

Article co-written by Ms Bee?

Also, playmobil version please.

Microsoft hit with Salesforce patent 'violation' counter punch

M Gale

I hate software patents.

And method patents, come to think of it.

However where Microsoft are concerned, what goes around comes around.

Diary of a somebody - life in iPhone 4 land

M Gale

Warehouse space?

There may be many reasons why Apple is short on stock. Deliberate or accidental, it's difficult to say for certain without being Steve Jobs. However, as far as "but these things require warehouse space to store"...

...Do you know how many iToys you could fit on one single pallet?

Now multiply that by the 24-26 or so pallets you could fit on the back of a single 40-foot trailer, or one not-too-large warehouse shelf.

And stop being silly. Warehouse space is not the issue, whatever the issue is.

(and there's me thinking that lugging heavy shit around, getting hit by fork lifts, dodging low-flying pallets and getting covered in dust from 10pm-7am was something that would leave me with no useful knowledge)

Mozilla: We're not 'on board' with Google's plugin spice

M Gale

I may be wrong here...

...but aren't "sandboxed" and "native code" two mutually exclusive things?

Google seeks interwebs speed boost with TCP tweak

M Gale

Browsers slower than native code? Whodathunkit?

See that's the problem. A computer game is whizzy and fast, and more than likely running native code. It's probably been made in C, C++ or some other compiled language that's designed around being speedyquick, with maybe some custom high-level script welded into the game engine itself.

In comparison, a browser is somewhere above Visual BASIC in terms of layers of abstraction. It's effectively a virtual machine that runs (x)HTML and Javascript in a nice sandbox where it (theoretically, I know) can't break anything else. Not so good for speed, but certainly better than the computer game approach for downloading random code from untrusted sites that may or may not be trying to use your computer as a drone.

Frankly, I'm surprised browsers run as quickly as they do, given the amount of crap that goes into your average rendering engine these days (a gajillion different lexers/parsers for different markup languages, exceptions for common badly-coded pages that don't follow the standards, exceptions for pages coded for badly-programmed browsers by Microsoft..).

Oh, the obligatory XKCD link: http://xkcd.com/676/

Telespial Systems Trackstick Mini GPS

M Gale

Too late to evaluate its use for PARIS?

See title.

The Reg guide to Linux, part 1: Picking a distro

M Gale

Re: Alternatively (take 2)

For both AndrueC, and whoever left a downvote without explaining why:

Many of my "support calls" (being the local person "who knows computers" has advantages and disadvantages) usually revolve around the Windows partition being so totally buggered it requires a reinstall. There's a fair few times when a run-through with various malware scanners and a general de-cluttering helps, but when the something has decided to b0rk and take out C:\WINDOWS with it, there's not much that can be done.

And these people want me to "just install a new Windows". And yes, by that they mean they want me to download an unauthorised copy from somewhere and install it. Sorry, but no. Either you look after the disks you got with the machine, back up whatever crappy "recovery partition" came with it, or be prepared to spend Microsoft prices.

It's funny, the amount of people who decide to find someone else who is willing to grab some virusbomb from the pirate bay for them after I've given the verdict of "it's goosed, you need a Windows disk". Personally I couldn't give a stuff, but it can be mildly amusing to get another call a couple of months later when their newly "fixed" computer is running slow because it's acting as a clandestine bestiality pr0n server.

So yes. Just install Windows. Just don't expect anybody to pay for it unless they are made of money. And no, Windows does not come with every driver under the sun... nowhere near, in fact. Wherever all that bloat comes from, it's certainly not hardware support.

The one or two people brave enough to take the "try Ubuntu. It's free, legal, it'll let you do youtube/music/facebook/word processing/instant messaging, and you can always buy and put Windows on later if you want games" option have generally not been disappointed, funnily enough. Plus they get rubbery windows, which is always a plus.

ISS 'naut snaps Aurora Australis

M Gale

Rocket science.

It really is that hard, but the results kick arse.

Apple accused of hushing up security update

M Gale

Re: Whu?

"..this sounds like sound and furry.."

Like a 2 Gryphon rant?

For those who don't know: You don't want to know.

Badgers, because they're furry too.

Google risks OEM wrath for unified Android UI plan

M Gale

Acorn solved this..

..quite a few years ago when they hacked together the BBC Microcomputer with its 8 different graphic/text modes. The screen was addressed as 1280 points wide by 1024 points high, regardless of the resolution of the screen.

As I understand it, browsers have been able to have em-spaces as a size measurement for years, too.

Clever, yes. However it's not Apple being clever.

M Gale

"However, Apple levels of UI performance are almost impossible..."

Ye gods, was that statement typed out without so much as a snigger? If not, I'd suggest the author get hold of an iphone instead of just watching the adverts. Then get an Android phone for comparing.

I'll leave this post with another statement that should indicate the "Apple levels of UI performance":

Steps removed. Sequence shortened.

M Gale

Re: I'm loving this

Google: "We're making a standard UI that's so frigging excellent nobody would want anything else."

Apple: "We're banning your app because we want to. Oh, and it competes with something we're making. Don't you DARE think of offering customisable desktop icons. Only we can do that.. 5 years down the line.. and you have to buy a new iToy to get it..."

Yeah, I can see the similarity already.

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