* Posts by Fremma

33 posts • joined 27 Jun 2009

Facebook finally rolls out Timeline feature... but only in NZ


Not bad but not worth the hype

My Timeline has arrived and, well, its not bad but I'm struggling to see the point of it. Perhaps it will grow on me over time.

Comparing my timeline to those of my friends, one thing is obvious: it works better with lots of photos. It turns out I've only ever loaded one photo (other than my profile pic) onto Facebook and so now that is the centrepiece of my life, apparently. I don't think this will inspire me to upload several gigabytes of pictures but I might be tempted to find one or two selected ones just so no-one thinks I am actually a ginger cat (whatever was I thinking?).

Next iPhone to sport thinner, lighter casing, says paper


Sue em, Samsung

A thin phone, now where have I seen that before? Oh, yes, the Samsung Galaxy S2. Get your lawsuit in quickly, Samsung, because you know that if you don't, Apple will sue you.

UK gov chews over Amazon Book Depository engulfment


Not in NZ's best interest

As Ian Farrell points out above, this is bad news for New Zealand and probably a lot of other countries. Our major high street book chain has just been bought out of bankruptcy caused, they say*, by competition from Amazon and TBD. Books are hideously expensive over here and, although the media seem only to have heard of Amazon, most of us use TBD due to the free shipping and wide stock range. We've never had it so good.

Of course, I doubt whether this will be of any concern to OFT.

*Most people outside Whitcoulls PR department say something similar but with different pronunciation e.g. "poor management".

Fun and games in NZ politics

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Er, no joke. That is exactly where Cameron's online persona comes from.

Everest climber finds 3G signal, sends Tweet


How did he get an SGS2?

The SGS2 was launched last week - in the UK, South Korea and perhaps a few other less important countries and Mr Cool manages to buy one, spend the requisite two and a half days drooling over it and then cart it over to Nepal and nip up Mt Everest in his spare time?

I am so jealous.

Footy coming to mobiles next year


Over here, please

So if the AFL are pocketing $1.25 billion for the Australian rights, would they mind flicking some coverage across the ditch to NZ for, say, peanuts? Our miserable one live game per week on pay-TV that we've enjoyed for the last few years has been cut back by a whole game per week this season. But we do get to watch it delayed at 1am on Tuesdays.

Apple Square sallies forth from stores



It doesn't have rounded corners, then?

Apple stuns Wall Street with 95% earnings surge


Respect, Steve, respect

Normally I lean towards the "anti-Apple" side of debates here at El Reg and elsewhere but, today, I'll break with tradition and congratulate Steve on a Jobs well done. This is indeed a stunning result and all without troubling me for a penny.

Steve, if you happen to walk into my local tonight - perhaps you could buy me a drink?

Bank scorched by stupid Facebook policy


Familial restrictions

It has always amused me how every UK company I have ever worked for has presented me with a "Company Policy" which sets out what I and my wife can't do in our spare time and, particularly, who she can't work for. I always smile, sign the paper and forget to mention it to her.

In the ideal world I'd be boasting here about how I had never had that experience with an Antipodean company but, sadly, CBA have just spoiled my argument.

Google aims Nexus S smartphone at US, UK


Meh 2.

And what has improved from the Galaxy S? All the specs look identical except for Android 2.3 and I'm fairly sure* that the Galaxy S will get that too.

* Meaning "that's what the bloke in the shop who sold me my Galaxy S told me just before he took my money".

Apple coughs to time zone problems

Jobs Halo


Just adjust your clock to Cupertino time. No big deal.

Christian group declares jct 9 on M25 cursed


With apologies to Adrian Plass . . .

"Gerald Coates" is simply an anagram of "God's Ale Crate".

Oz school in homosexual kookaburra rumpus


Only two meanings?

From where I sit - not 2000km from the events in question - the word "gay" in the school yard means neither "fun" or "homosexual"; it means "useless" (or some close variation thereof).

This has lead to all sorts of amusement as we watch the homosexual lobby valiantly trying to reclaim the word for themselves - and school kids falling over laughing every time they try.

MS to Kinect up UK in November



10 November? That is good news - it almost guarantees that we will see it in NZ by this time next year, or less than 12 months after that.

Swedes decline to FCKU2MF


NZ Personalised Plates

As a number of comments have already suggested, NZ has an active personalised plate market - at personalisedplates.co.nz you'll be suprised to hear - and unlike the Canadian three page list above, the only requirements are a maximum of six characters and / or numbers and "not likely to offend" which, as evidenced from BUGGER, is rather liberally interpreted.

Pacific islands growing not shrinking, says old study


Oh sweet potatoes

> "Thor Heyerdahl's idea that the Pacific islands were populated from South America has been pretty thoroughly discredited"

> Has it? I thought the linguistic and cultural evidence was pretty damn good. Do you have a link for it?

The cultural evidence seems to be that the staple diet in the Islands (other than fish, obviously) is the sweet potato which undoubtably originated in South America. The linguistic evidence is the fact that in Polynesia it is called "kumara" and in Peru it is known as "kumar". Everything else points to South East Asia. This highlights two great Polynesian strengths:

1/ They were wonderful seafarers, able to navigate across the Pacific to the West coast of South America and, more importantly, back (with kumara)

2/ They had enough sense to never return to Peru.

Google to be bookseller by summer


@ Rob Farnell

"From a purely academic perspective, E-Books will never fully kick off until citation can become consistent i.e. referring to the correct page of a published edition of a book. Nonetheless, this is a good step forward."

From a purely non-academic perspective, E-Pub format e-books will never fully kick off until they drop the stupid insistence to number the pages as if it was a paper book (so you get three page 21s followed by a page 21-22). The ability to change font size is one of the best things about e-readers; page numbers should adjust accordingly. Nonetheless, and here I agree with you entirely, Rob, this is a good step forward.

Revealed: the unstoppable rise of the LCD TV


Even CRT sales will be higher?

There is obviously a market for CRT TVs that I'm not familiar with - it must be years since I last saw one on sale.

Is this a geographical thing? Do TPLACs still buy them by the container load? Or is there some sort of niche group or industry that consider that they better meet a specific need in the same way that some of my more dangerously obsessive friends still insist on listening to vinyl?

Do ERP projects ever end?

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Consultant quality

"2) SAP consultant quality is *highly* variable."

Sadly, this is true. In my experience, consultants multiply like rabbits in the fat years only for the more dodgy ones to be weeded out every time there is a recession. Which suggests that the average quality today is probably higher than it was a couple of years ago and will probably go higher still for the next year or so before it starts to drop again.

Oh, and they are definitely business projects not IT projects. Ignore that fact at your peril.


(who has survived three recessions he can remember in his 14 years as an SAP consultant and therefore by this logic is probably one of the better ones:-))

Game developer's lost electric buggy FOUND ON MOON


How much?

So how much did he pay for the buggy at auction? Was it a case of he happened to be passing Southeby's at the time and paid out a couple of quid for a lark or did he bankroll an entire ex-Soviet state for the next decade?

Aussie net censorship turning Chinese


@ Help Aussies

No, say it isn't so. As a Kiwi, I could just about live with the Great Aussie Firewall as apparently only some (most?) of our ISPs were to be inadvertently exposed to it and I'd yet to venture too far down the paths that would bring me into sight of the said wall. But, mate, you interfere with my Betfair account at your own peril - and do not even think of slowing down my connection to their servers.

Actually, if true, I suspect there are more than a few Aussies who would have the same realisation - Betfair as an standard-bearer for freedom and liberty? I never would have believed it.

By the way, Betfair is licenced by the Tasmanian state government. So, is it just going to be blocked for the big island?

Talend takes swipe at data-integration duo

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It works for me

Mike, for some of us, struggling with matching, cleansing and migrating data between a number of incompatible legacy systems, Talend have long been a godsend with their Open Studio product saving a lot of time and hair loss.

A true open source MDM product has been long overdue (no doubt kindly posters will jump in to remind me of some I've forgotten or never heard of) and I've been looking forward to this since they announced it last year. I downloaded it last night; a review will have to wait for me to find time to play with it.

Google grabs Indian cricket coverage

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A Right Balance

I used to hate having to pay a "non-US" tax for everything on the internet but this has balanced it all out. Pay extra for everything else, get cricket streaming for free. Seems fair to me.

Mystery co. sues Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle...


Term of patent?

A quick search of Wikipedia (as I can't be bothered doing any real research) tells me that for patents granted in the US prior to June 8, 1995 the term of the patent is 17 years from date of issue or 20 years from date of filing, whichever is the longest.

Looks like they got in just in time.

Apple tablet will 'redefine print,' says rumor mill



I love my Sony PRS-505 with its e-ink screen. But, unlike Paul E and Martin Nicholls, I don't kid myself that it is the way of the future. For the mass market who can't see the point of a dedicated e-reader and demand multi-function devices, LCD screens will beat e-ink now and in the forseeable future. I also don't buy the "eye strain" argument (at least for most people; I accept it is a real problem for some) as most people (the "mass market" again) cope with LCD screens eight hours plus a day at work.

E-Ink Readers are great for reading novels (particularly in bed). I do a lot of that and I hope Sony and their ilk continue to develop and release devices that focus on that one task. I hope they also produce the sort of LCD multi-function tablet that this article focuses on - I'll probably be in the queue for one of those as well. But, for me, I see them as two complementary rather than competitive technologies.

iRex waggles ebook at US



Cheer up, Steven, the e-book reader of your dreams is closer than you think. My Sony PRS-505 already meets your requirements 4 and 5 and is almost there with 3 (160dpi IIRC). Number 2 was the major reason that I delayed buying one but it turned out that, although the page turn is not in the 1/10th second range, the device still turns the page faster than my eyes can travel from the bottom of the screen back up to the top and MUCH faster than I can turn the page on a paper book.

Number 6 is a worry - it seems so obvious and yet publishers / retailers / whoever just can't seem to resist charging more than they should. Hopefully competition will take care of the problem in time; in the meanwhile I've increased the range of my reading matter to encompase cheap / free books that I would not have previously considered reading - with mixed results, it must be said.

Which just leaves number 1 and, try as I might, I can't honestly write anything optimistic about the chance of that happening any time soon.

Sony takes on the Kindle

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@Charlie Clark

"I don't think 3G is a must have argument, yet but I do like the idea of automatically charging up my favourite plublications such as The Economist or The Register so that I can read it when I have some "inbetween" time."

This can be done* on a Sony PRS-505 for any site with an RSS feed via that wonderful bit of free software, Calibre. Both EL Reg and The Economist are among the 100 odd publications where someone with a bit of time and skill has submitted a well formatted script to Calibre for us all to use. I get both along with my local newspaper (which I had to script myself) and a couple of other magazines.

*It isn't quite automatic. I get up in the morning, turn on the PC, hit the "Download" button on Calibre, make a cup of tea while it takes 2 - 3 minutes downloading and formatting, hit the "Sync" button, drink tea while it takes 30 seconds to send to the Reader, read on bus. Easy.

Sony embraces ePub for eBooks


Protect your work - sell it

"Electronic book piracy is already rampant, with all but the most successful authors unable to afford the constant monitoring that's needed to protect their work"

Probably the most successful author of the last decade or so would be J K Rowling. Probably the most pirated author today is J K Rowling - with or without whatever constant monitoring she may do. The reason is that none of her books are officially available for sale in any e format; despite this many eReaders are stuffed full of her novels without her benefiting financially at all.

And yet she need only contemplate the example of J R R Tolkien - who until recently vied with her for the title of "most pirated" for exactly the same reason. When Tolkien's estate finally released official versions in electronic form earlier this year they raced up the eCharts as the "pirates" fell over themselves to legitimise their collections.

Let me correct your sentence: "Electronic book piracy is already rampant, with all the most Luddite authors* unwilling to sell the official electronic versions needed to protect their work".

*Actually I am probably being unfair to authors here. I suspect it is the publishers who are Luddite not the authors although in J K Rowling's case strong rumours have been circulating that it is her own personal decision.

Twitter is mainly pointless babble and other rubbish



Mine was a ham and egg toasted.

Apple says jailbroken iPhones endanger cell towers


Not only . . . but also

Has anyone else noticed how bad the weather has been since people started jailbreaking iPhones?

Barnes & Noble chases Amazon with ebook second coming


@AC 1450 - Sherlock Holmes

"don't Sherlock Holmes novels fall under public domain books?... I mean they were written a long time ago (don't know when, but they should be old)."

An interesting case. Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930 so in countries with a "life + 50" copyright rule (such as the country I live in) his novels are indeed public domain. The same also applies in "life + 70" countries, including most of Europe, I think?

However, there is one notable exception. In the US, thanks to the Sonny Bono Public Domain Confiscation Act - or whatever it was called - the cutoff is somewhere in the early 1920s (1923, from memory). And there is no prospect of any titles falling into the public domain there anytime soon.

So, AC, if you live in a life + 50 or life + 70 country, feel free to head off to www.mobileread.com (or lots of other sites) for a perfectly legal, well formatted, Public Domain e-book of all the Sherlock Holmes books - both novels and short stories.


Amazon sued for cracks in Kindle

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He dropped it!

The Seattle Times includes a photo that is presumably the Kindle in question and - guess what - not only is the case cracked but the screen has the all too familiar look of an e-Ink screen that has been dropped on a hard surface from the height of an eight-year old (I speak from experience).

The damage would seem to be far more likely caused by rough handling rather than faulty cover, especially as it isn't a fault that is being reported by other Kindle users at places like Mobileread.


Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

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Creating books from Project Gutenberg

" I can borrow a public domain book from any library and scan it, or I could download the text from Project Gutenberg. I reformat it as a PDF, mark it with a copyright date, register it as a new book with an ISBN, then submit it to Amazon.com for sale. I may not even need to print and bind any books, I can offer it through Amazon's Booksurge print-on-demand service, or as an ebook on Kindle. Once the book is listed for sale, I can submit it to Google Books for inclusion in its index. I could easily publish thousands of books; most would never sell, but with zero up-front cost, any sale is pure profit."

OK, this is something I have actually done several times - taken a text from Project Gutenberg or archive.org and formatted it to read on my Sony Reader (I have never shared or tried to sell any of them). I can categorically assure the author of this article that this was not a zero up-front cost exercise, it takes roughly the same amount of time to format into an aesthetically pleasing readable form as it does to actually read the book - about two to four hours.

I don't even attempt to correct most OCR spelling mistakes (Gutenberg and archive never check) unless they are glaringly obvious and I'm working on that bit of text anyway. The spelling mistakes are annoying but I can re-interpret as I read. To correct them and prepare it for sale would be a much bigger job than what I do and I don't begrudge any publisher the few dollars they may charge to do the job properly.

Oh, and just in case anybody is thinking of doing this - please, please, don't format it as PDF as the author of this article suggests. PDF just doesn't reflow onto ereader devices very well. Create an ePub - that will cover most requirements - but it will only take a few minutes longer to create an LRF for the Sony, a MOBI for the Kindle and a LIT for everyone else. And, if you must, you can then create a PDF. End Rant.

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