* Posts by Ross 12

49 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

Is this a wind-up? Planet Computers boss calls time on ZX Spectrum reboot firm

Ross 12

Re: £751

I guess it's just a way of defining 'more than £750'

Microsoft hopes it has a sequel better than Godfather Part II: SQL Server 2019 previewed

Ross 12

Re: sqlite is the most popular database

It's definitely available everywhere, but it's not a server, and therefore has completely different usage cases. You wouldn't use it to power a busy multi-user system, just as you wouldn't stuff a copy of Oracle into a set-top box to store some user settings.

UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

Ross 12


When you delete a file on a computer, it generally asks 'are you sure?', so that you can have a think about what you're doing and confirm whether you really want to proceed or not.

Same for when you purchase something.

Same goes for pretty much any decision where there is a lot at stake or may have bad consequences.

But for some reason, brexiters deem it inappropriate to exercise this same level of caution when doing something monumental like leaving the EU. Even though 'leaving the EU' still hasn't been defined. We still don't know what exactly that will entail. Or what the consequences will be. Or what we should do to prepare.

What we *do* know is that all the promises were either lies or fantasy.

We also know that the various Leave campaigns not only broke the law, but were backed by Russian money and deliberately used data harvested from social media to target the victims with emotionally manipulative ads and fake activity.

We also know that nobody in any of the Leave campaigns had any actual plan or idea of what would be involved.

We also know that businesses are already suffering from supply, labour and financial problems just in the negotiation period. Nobody knows how bad it'll get when March comes around and we actually leave. Because still nobody knows what Brexit will be.

We also know that workers and visitors from the EU are avoiding coming here because of uncertainty and because they now see us as a backwards, racist and hostile nation.

The list goes on. and on. and on.

But sure, we definitely shouldn't have an 'are you sure you want to proceed?' second vote. Because 'the will of the people' only mattered that one specific time. Right?

Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)

Ross 12

Re: Good news for the owner of www.com!

'paypal.www.com' would just show as 'www.com' - I very much doubt they're just doing a string replace for 'www'.

HTC U12 Life: Notchless, reasonably priced and proper buttons? Oh joy

Ross 12

"My experience of the same chip in last year's BlackBerry was that it was fine to start off with but slowed down under strain"

Is it really the processor that's the problem here? Everyone always seems to ignore the quality of the internal storage, which seems more likely to be an issue when it comes to degrading performance over the life of the device

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball

Ross 12

Crowdfunded projects are risky definition, because you're financially backing something, not merely purchasing an item.

But I don't think that's necessarily something to be scared of - just be cautious. And with that in mind, whenever you see a crowdfunded project by a **company**, run away, because it means they're not risking their own money.

Just compare this sorry Vega+ tale to the ZX Spectrum Next. Yes, it's running late, but the first stage of developer boards went out. There's been regular monthly updates from the team which actually detail and show photos of the production process and how it's going. And the team is made up of passionate people who actually care about what they're doing, and are doing it not-for-profit. There's no shareholders and directors siphoning off money and bickering with each other. And the community of backers are actively involved - helping out with documentation, OS and firmware, writing emulators and games for it..

Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25

Ross 12

Re: 25 years and the clustering is still not as good as VMS...

Also NTFS does have 'streams', so you'd just do 'file.txt:1'

or perhaps move the current version to file.txt:previous before saving file.txt

It was a badly supported feature though and as far as I know, barely ever used

Ross 12

When I built my first PC in 97, NT4 workstation went straight on it. This was because I was an A-level student and MS were doing an offer where you got Win95/NT4wks for ~ £35 I think it was. The dumb thing though was that the Windows 95 license was upgrade only, and my machine had no OS to upgrade, so I went for NT4 instead and it was pretty damned good. Although I did have to throw ram upgrades at it pretty sharpish.

HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

Ross 12

Oh HTC, you always manage to thwart your brilliance with something stupid :(

What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console

Ross 12

Re: This is a trivial design...

This is being done in a completely unrelated project - The ZX Spectrum Next https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835143999/zx-spectrum-next which, despite some delays with the case, has already sent out the completed bare boards batch, and the team, which *isn't* a company with shareholders and directors bleeding it dry, is pretty good at engaging with the backers and keeping everyone informed of what's going on. Was also the last device designed by the late Rick Dickonson.

Spring is all about new beginnings, but it could already be lights out for Windows' Fluent Design

Ross 12

Poor old Microsoft

They spent all those years ruthlessly dominating the corporate desktop, but all along, they desperately wanted to be one of the cool kids.

For a while, they owed the home computing market too, simply because mum and dad knew Windows at work, so knew how to use a PC running Windows at home too. That, and Microsoft made sure they had no other choice.

But they missed the attack from the other end. PCs are old-fashioned and corporate. iOS and Android are the consumer OSs, and the devices they run far exceed the laptops and desktops. For many people, smartpones and tables *are* their primary computer devices and their internet terminals.

A whole new wave of apps have come along for which Windows doesn't really matter any more. Technologies such as Electron and Node mean developers can write cross platform apps without ever having to go near a Windows machine *and* provide a consistent app UI across every platform.

That's not to say that Windows is dead. But Microsoft need to know their place. Windows is still king of the corporate desktop/laptop. And that's where it's strengths are. It still runs ancient obscure bits of corporate code, and still has all the enterprise lockdown and management features.

Microsoft need to recognise and accept that Windows isn't for the cool kids and consumer devices. It's for the office. And that's not a bad thing - they just need to embrace it. Microsoft need to accept that they belong with IBM and Oracle - not with Apple and Google.

The only thing Windows is *necessary* for outside of the workplace, is PC gaming. And because Windows is such a massive overhead, if they're not careful, they might lose this market too in the long run. A 'Windows Gaming Edition' would be brilliant here - reduce it down to the bare OS and whatever's needed to support gaming, slap on the Xbox UI and leave it at that.

Then take the corporate Windows back to more sensible and 'boring' UI, like refreshed Win2k based style - because in the office, people don't want the UI to completely change every time there's a new release.

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

Ross 12

Re: Dates

YYYY Month DD at least has some logic to it, as each part is of decreasing significance.

I can only assume that MM/DD comes from accounting and paper file storage

Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

Ross 12

What if it's clever enough to use the Pi's GPU for calculation goodness?

Forgetful ZX Spectrum reboot firm loses control of its web domains

Ross 12


You are correct, the ZX Spectrum Next has *nothing* to do with this sorry Vega+ lot, thankfully

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Ross 12

The ultimate example

The Windows start menu.

You log in, Start button appears, you click on it, it chugs, you click on the thing you want, then either some more items load and something else takes the place of the entry you clicked on, OR it finishes chugging and the whole of Windows Explorer refreshes and the Start menu closes and you've no idea if you just launched anything or not, so you have to wait and see if something appears. Then, when you think it's all settled, you try again to launch your app, start using it, and then another instance appears.

Is it the beginning of the end for Visual Basic? Microsoft to focus on 'core scenarios'

Ross 12

Re: Using it here

C# is closer to Java than C. If you already do VB.Net then it probably won't be as big a leap as you think. I don't know if it's still the case, but MS's .NET documentation used to have examples in both VB.Net and C# - comparing the two would be a good way of getting an initial feel for C#.

Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

Ross 12

Stop trying to be cool

MS need to realise they're not a cool brand and never will be. Aside from PC gaming, Windows is mostly for corporate machines. The should stop trying to be cool and just accept that their platform is the boring corporate workhorse for office desktops and workstations.

If they really want to continue this UI 'innovation' adventure then they really ought to completely separate the UI so that business users can keep the functional classic UI (Win2k or 7 perhaps?) style but still have shiny new features. And the poor old home/casual users can have whatever the latest UI innovation is.

Since Windows 8 they've been alienating both.

Microsoft ❤️ Linux? Microsoft ❤️ running its Windows' SQL Server software on Linux

Ross 12

Re: Target audience?

Think small-time PHBs who don't trust anything open source because they don't understand it. They like free stuff but also like the warm fluffy safe feeling of using products from big commercial vendors.

VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Ross 12

Re: If the government had better tests...

Ahh, the tell-tale illiteracy of a Brexiteer

Ultra-rare WWII Lorenz cipher machine goes on display at Bletchley Park

Ross 12

Re: I wonder how Silicon Roundabout would have gone about cracking Lorenz ?

That only applies to publicly visible government IT projects. Somehow, when it comes to seemingly impossible shit like spying on all electronic communications of the entire population for example, they can apparently make it happen quite successfully.

Behold, Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – and a firm screw-you to Oracle

Ross 12

Re: Yes and No


HTC teases yet another make-or-break comeback flagship

Ross 12

HTC are good at the software side, but they've always been a bit shit at the hardware.

My smartphone life started with the HTC Hero, then the Sensation, then the One (M7). But after sticking with the One for so long, I needed to upgrade, and there just wasn't anything that felt worth upgrading to. So I eventually abandoned ship and got a Nexus 6P. And I love it!

I've always loved the SenseUI, and some of the HTC apps are great. I do miss some of it - particularly the contact merging and social media integration. But I can't see them ever tempting me back unless they really pull something out of the bag.

HTC are such a frustrating company, as, in *some* ways, they *are* 'quietly brilliant'. But in others, they're bloody useless. Their flagship phones never stay flagship for long at all, and until the One series, they'd be dropped, forgotten and left without updates well before a contract cycle was up.

With hardware specs, there's always an critically underpowered bit, such as the GPU or memory or storage, so that it undermines everything else.

They also have a habit of flooding the market with mid and low range models with way too many revisions that barely differ from each other, yet you get the feeling that they actually put a lot of development into them, and miss the mark every time. Whereas, at their peak, Apple made it look easy and got great results, HTC make it look like really hard work and get results that weren't worth the effort.

They remind me of the second incarnation of Atari. I had an ST(e) back in the day, and I loved it, but despite some clever bits, it was flawed and just not as good as the Amiga. Then came the Mega ST, the Falcon, the Lynx, the Jaguar... all had the potential to be brilliant, but all ruined by flaws and weird business decisions.

Brit uni rattles tin for ultra-low latency audio board

Ross 12

Musically, it does nothing, as it is. Instead, it's a pretty powerful tool that you can use to make something musical, like a custom affects processor, or a synth that takes some kind of unusual analogue input (I dunno, temperate sensor or a pressure pad for example).

You could think of it as a kind of Raspberry Pi geared for audio.

Struggling to understand Docker? Let's start with a Minecraft demo

Ross 12

Re: I like this game...

Politicians and bureaucrats have Tropico

Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview

Ross 12

The Start menu was one of the key UI components that really helped Windows 95 take off. It's hard to imagine Windows ever being so dominant on the desktop without it. And now they've absolutely pissed it all away.

It's one thing to ditch it and try something new in 8, that was bad enough. But to bring it back but completely fuck it up so that it fails to perform its main function - to provide access to all available apps, is just insane.

Yahoo! parties! like! it's! 1999! with! retro! billboard! revival!

Ross 12

How does Yahoo! even still exist? Who is using them for, well, anything?

North America down to its last ~130,000 IPv4 addresses

Ross 12

I can't help but wonder if one of the big reasons people have been avoiding adopting IPv6 is because it's such a big jump from IPv4 and 'looks scary'. IPv6 addresses for example look alien to people who are familiar with (but don't really *understand*) IPv4 addresses (think PHBs). Perhaps if there'd been an IPv4-XTRA as a stepping stone with addresses like FFF.FFF.FFF.FFF it would have been less of a culture shock and easier to swallow.

Maybe that would never have been workable, and maybe looking too different isn't really a factor at all.

Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

Ross 12

Re: Sounds like a Mental Health Institution

There's a fantastic book called Breaking Windows http://www.breakingwindows.net/ which details Microsoft's internal culture in the first browser wars period 97-2000. And it's fascinating that even now (ish) protecting Windows at all costs is still destroying Microsoft's potential.

Philips pushes out SDK for multicolour Zigbee LED lights

Ross 12

Or a cheaper Raspberry Pi + LedBorg alternative

http://www.utonium.com/2012/12/raspberry-pi-ledborg-vala-network.html </plug class="shameless">

Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Ross 12


it's free, it works, and even has some nice plugins to make it even more programmer-friendly.

GNOME project picks JavaScript as sole app dev language

Ross 12

what the hell?

Mandating one language is stupid. But even if you go down that route, why the hell not choose something like Vala https://live.gnome.org/Vala/Documentation - a language that compiles to C, has modern C# syntax and is actually built around GObject and the GNOME libraries?

I've been using GNOME since 1.0 but I just don't understand what they're playing at any more.

Micro-computer bakers open Raspberry Pi shop

Ross 12

Re: Pah!

Also available through the store are issues of The Mag Pi magazine, which does indeed have code listings and tutorials, just like the 80s computer mags

Femto fail: Vodafone's Sure Signal gets a bit shaky again

Ross 12
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I'm having to 'reboot' mine roughly once a day at the moment. It's better than no signal at all, but as soon as my contract's up, I'm ebaying the damned thing and switching to Orange, as they're the only network with a reliable signal in my new house. I also resent having to pay for a service that partly uses my own broadband connection.

Myspace mutates Windows 8 with new look

Ross 12

The 'sign in with Facebook' and 'sign in with Twitter' buttons on the login page really speak volumes.

Also, a lot of bands and artists are on Soundcloud these days, which is more purpose built. For fan stuff and music discovery there are sites like spotify and last.fm.

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Bauernfrühstück v bacon sarnie

Ross 12

what the hell?

That bacon is criminally underdone!

Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Ross 12
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cluttering lines

The problem I have with this, as I do with the google web apps, is that by flattening all the background colours to the same shade of white, everything has to be separated with straight lines. And all those lines and boxes actually make it look *more* cluttered despite the apparent clean-ness. It's much harder to instantly visually separate the areas of the window with that they've done. All it'd take is some different background colours for the UI areas to the document area and they could lose some of the separating lines and boxes and actually make it look cleaner and easier to comprehend.

Basic instinct: how we used to code

Ross 12


Like many people, I started programming on speccy in basic, but around 1989 I upgraded to an Atari STe and got a copy of the excellent HiSoft BASIC.

Unlike the old 8-bit BASICs, it did away with line numbers, allowing use of line lables if needed, but also had proper support for functions and subroutines, and felt pretty modern. Plus it compiled into rather nice small binaries I seem to remember.

Iomega TV with Boxee

Ross 12

firmware update

I have a boxee box which I got for chrimbo - looks exactly the same as your screenshots except for the iomega logo. I found that doing a firmware update (somewhere in the settings menu) gave me BBC iplayer amongst other things.

Rather hoping the next version will be even less US-centric.

HTC to release first Ice Cream Sandwich updates 'early 2012'

Ross 12

I'll believe it when I see it

I remember going through this with my old HTC Hero. 1.6 was going to be 'real soon now'.. then 2.0 came and went.. 2.1 came along.. and finally there was an update from the ageing 1.5

Beeb to fund ad-mungous Local TV for local people

Ross 12

Oh dear

This will make youtube look like high-production-value quality programming. Just wait for TV versions of those cringe-worthy local radio ads

Dam Busters dog dubbed 'Digger'

Ross 12

sod human rights

Interesting that curator of the RAF museum thinks that they should not only 'sod political correctness' (yeah, arguable) but also 'sod human rights'. Hmm. Bit of a dinosaur perhaps?

It *is* a shame the name needs to be changed, but I think that as a society we're just not grown-up enough to deal with it and for it to be taken entirely in the historical context, and thus be a total non-issue. Instead, as soon as the remake was announced, the first question everyone asked was about the dog's name. Plus, given that America, which is probably going to be the biggest audience for the film, has such a bad and recent history with *that* word, I'd say it's the... least-bad option.

Firefox 4 squeezes onto phones

Ross 12

Built-in and Opera

No-one ever seems to mention Dolphin, which has been around for ages, so is pretty mature and stable, performs well and has lots of available addons. Much nicer than Opera IMHO.

Gov axes £35bn Severn Barrage tide-energy scheme

Ross 12


how? is it made of solid gold encrusted with diamonds?

No cassette required: ZX Spectrum games on the iPhone

Ross 12

Marvin on Android

For anyone outside of Steve's Walled Garden, there's a great speccy emulator called Marvin.

Apple is suing HTC

Ross 12

Oh fuck off, Jobs

Just because you now have some credible competition

iPhone upgrades - a one-way control-freak street

Ross 12

shock horror

I can't believe that people are surprised by this.

The iphone is a tightly controlled closed platform - did anyone expect otherwise from Apple? The iphone is designed as a consumer product, not a gadget for geeks. As such, you have to put up with their dictatorial rules.

If you want a gadget you can muck around with, look for something based on an open(ish) platform, i.e. android.

Beer because it's Friday and I need one

US magazine to display Harry Potter-style moving images

Ross 12
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You could just... read the online version? that has no doubt got embedded videos and more adverts than you could shake a stick at

Dell's first phone spied on web

Ross 12
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who'd have a dell phone?

Not that I care much about 'cool' brands, but Dell is so uncool it hurts. I've always thought of them as the sort of supplier that middle-aged technophobe managers would go for, as they seem 'safe'. Like the tech equivalent of Rover or something. Carrying a Dell phone around would be like saying 'yes I have a smartphone but I only use it for taking calls'

PayPal UK titsup

Ross 12


Re titsup, I remember the good old days of the first .com bubble, when 90% of stories on the reg were 'suchandsuch.com goes titsup'. Those were the days!

*beer because it's the perfect weather for one

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