* Posts by Andy Bright

748 posts • joined 19 Sep 2006


Xbox Live account takeovers put users at risk

Andy Bright
Black Helicopters

Isn't it pretty easy to find out who did it?

Not in the physical world maybe, but online? I don't know how Halo works, but most other online games have complete records of how and where a user came by a piece of gear. In the case of a unique item it should be a doddle to work out who the miscreant is, return the armour to it's rightful owner and ban the account of the person responsible for the hack.

It should also be rather easy to identify the mac address and ip of the xbox being used to access that account - and therefore ban it from joining any network that requires XBox account authentication.

Maybe I'm being dense, maybe there are easy ways of masking the ip and mac address on an XBox, but I doubt it.

Most likely the hacking skills of this spanner consist of being good at social engineering outsourced Microsoft employees - i.e. people that don't give a fuck. It's very unlikely he's capable of anything decent, like being able to hide his location. Also the way an XBox Live account accesses the internet makes it difficult for even a decent hacker to mask his location, so it ought to be a fairly easy to track down the ip and mac address of the offending unit.

DHS to fit airliners with laser beam defences

Andy Bright

Don't fly with large airlines

Anyone notice how it's always the larger airlines like United, BA or AA that get targeted by terrorists? Personally I don't remember a single attack against Jet Blue or Joe's "Honest We Do Maintenance, No Really" Airlines.

Perhaps that's the answer. Simply repaint all the planes with random logos and let them go a bit rusty and stuff. Ok we might risk the odd couple engines don't work exactly as intended (or fall off), but at least we know the jihadists prefer planes that have a chance of making their destinations over airlines that have done away with expenses like in-flight food, movies and charge an extra 3 quid for a seat on planes where all the doors stay closed and stuff.

Mozilla pulls offensive viral campaign

Andy Bright
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If you're going to come clean

Then do it properly. There's no point in saying it was an "accident" or was "never intended to be publicly viewed" when clearly both those comments are lies.

All that does is make you look even like an even bigger prick than you already did. See the funny thing is if you act like a bastard and pretend you don't care, then people are likely to call you a prick, but quickly forget about you. When you pretend to act like a bastard then get all touchy-feely afterwards, you're twice as hated and will always be remembered as being a lying, two-faced sniveling loser.

They should have simply said, "ok it was crap, and we pulled it because it wasn't funny". Don't apologise, don't pretend you didn't mean it and don't lie.

As for being in bad taste or whatever, who gives a fuck? Certainly not people living with cancer or heart disease. Most of these people are fed up of being treated with fake sympathy and condescending political correctness.

But generally, if you are going to be politically incorrect, just make damn sure its funny first. Otherwise you just look like pricks and no amount of "we didn't mean to" will get you out of it.

Toshiba remains upbeat about HD DVD

Andy Bright

Most areas PS3s sold out too

I have friends from the Bay area, Chicago and Norfolk, Virginia telling me they couldn't get hold of the 80G PS3 for any money, and were forced to go online to guarantee delivery within 2 weeks.

All of them are jealous because I bought mine well ahead of the Christmas shopping rush. Most figured stores like Best Buy and Walmart would re-stock for the January sales and are pissed off with being told "maybe we'll have more tomorrow".

Andy Bright

I have Blu-Ray

Via PS3 - but I think it's still far too early to declare one format a winner.

Swings and roundabouts. Potentially Blu-ray has a larger storage capacity, in practice current HD-DVD does - but neither comes close to large enough and both still highly compress data therefore losing potential quality.

Both formats are for yesterday's era of HDTV, neither has the storage capacity for 2160P, and the first 2160P TVs are old, old news.

So quite frankly if it's taken this long to catch up with technology nearly a decade old, how long before they produce something that can take advantage of the resolutions that will be on offer next year.

No I bought my PS3 because even if Blu-ray becomes obsolete, I'll still have a pretty decent games console. Just wish I could find more than 2 pretty decent games to go with it.

Xerox boss says credit crisis could crunch IT budgets

Andy Bright

Not for a few months yet..

After all the stock market hasn't even realised that banks are still giving mortgages to the homeless, and the general population actually thinks something has been done by lawmakers to fix the interest rate resets to 20%.

So no, the world won't end for a few months yet, not until everyone realises that talking about how bad this is all is doesn't actually fix anything. You actually have to do some stuff too.

Talking about funny interest rates - a friend of mine had a mortgage (which thankfully he's successfully refinanced) that said that even if he made all his payments for 30 years, because the interest rates were so high he would still owe over 30K after his last payment was made. Not only that, but if he couldn't pay that 30K within a relatively short space of time, he would lose his home to foreclosure.

I wonder how many other subprime timebombs like this one are out there.

Wikia unsheathes antidote to 'unhealthy' Google

Andy Bright

Half right

It would be fine if user ratings only applied to your own searches. in other words you log into a Wiki or perhaps a Google user account, and your search ratings were saved for your own use.

Obviously there are some pretty huge flaws with this if Google or Wiki don't stand by pretty strict privacy standards.

The feasibility of creating such a system has already been proven, you can ask a few people in Chinese prisons all about Google and Yahoo's ability to store search results.

US regulator raises Dreamliner hacker risk fear

Andy Bright

Frequent crashes

Personally I won't be booking any flights on any airline using these planes until after the first service pack has been released.

AmigaOS 5 surfaces... sort of

Andy Bright

Dream on

Until it comes bundled with Deluxe Paint and you can get Imagine or Real 3D on a coverdisk, it ain't and never will be an Amiga.

So there. With knobs on.

Apple targeted in DRM monopoly suit (again)

Andy Bright
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I don't particularly Apple, I don't see why anyone thinks they act any better than Microsoft, IBM or any other corporate. In fact I would say the RIAA learned most of their customer relations strategy from Apple.

But this lawsuit is complete and utter bollox.

The crux of this seems to be that someone bought an iPod, and now can't play all the music she bought from Microsoft. Except thats not true, just as it isn't true iTunes music can't be played on any other mp3 player.

The problem with DRM is not that it stops you from playing music on rival products, it's that it limits the number of computers and the number of copies you can make of that music.

If the person that bought a computer-related product had taken the time to learn about how to use such things, and how to use the software that provides the media, she would know all this.

She would know that if she has copied that music too many times, she wouldn't have any licenses left to make the drm-free MP3 files she needs for her knew media player. She would also know who was to blame for putting that limitation in place.

If this lawsuit stood, then every Mac owner could demand that Apple pay for the required Windows license needed to run Microsoft software. And every Windows owner could sue Microsoft for not producing an OS that runs Apple products.

I've said it before, some people deserve the RIAA, and this is one of them.

How green is your business, exactly?

Andy Bright

Going Greenerer

I'm proud of the efficiency of all our coal furnaces - we keep them all sparkly clean by pushing all that CO2 into the sky where it doesn't matter.

UK charity backs tags for dementia sufferers

Andy Bright


Better yet why not hook up some kind of gps/remote control deal.

Simply locate your missing seniors online, then steer them home via an unobtrusive, brain-implanted remote control. Maybe include some sort of minor electric shock system if they take a wrong turn. Better yet, a system like this could be turned into a console game for the kids - so you can pass off the responsibility of getting them home, and not be distracted from important things like playing WoW.

Pantone cranks up the whalesong

Andy Bright


Haha, good one. I want to know what happened to the conservative pantonites of old, that gave my job producing leaflets, menus and other such world-shattering pieces of art 256 shades of black.

Actually the colour of the year for 2008 will be blood red. Revolution man, lets bring done the fascists and erm.. no, wait.. if we do that how will we sign on?

Tories offer NHS IT rescue plan after major patient data losses

Andy Bright

There's an easy answer to all this ID theft business..

Shouldn't costs a penny more than the hair-brained schemes they've already commissioned. Simply give everyone a new form of identification based on how attractive they are. This way ugly criminal types will no longer be able to steal the identities of the beautiful people with good credit, and it won't matter how many hospital records or child support CDs fall into the hands of ne'erdowells. That'll seem 'em.

Well it makes about as much sense as giving mortgages to the homeless (I'm looking at you America - thanks for killing all the banks) or biometric ID cards.

Crackerjack job btw. I wonder what happens to America when their stock markets finally figure out their banks haven't stopped doing that.. and where both our governments think they'll be getting the money to fund all these wonderful data-leaking projects when that happens.

Rendition lawsuit targets aerospace giant Boeing

Andy Bright

Can we posthumously convict this administration?

The only good thing that we can be sure of in 50 years time is that this current Administration will be dead.

Unfortunately this does mean when the truth of the lawbreaking is revealed there won't be anyone around to prosecute.

What continues to astonish me is that having so many checks and balances to prevent these sorts of abuses of power, no one is able to do a damn thing to stop it.

Everyone knows whats going on and everyone knows the excuses are bullshit. No one can be that chicken-shit of a few scruffy yobs with homemade bombs.

So what I want to know is can we posthumously convict a dead President for treason, torture and murder. He famously suggested he be judged by future generations for his actions, I'm just asking for this to be done properly as no one currently serving in Congress has the guts to do it now.

Media convergence think tank seeks its inner Womble

Andy Bright


Underground, overground, wombling free.. wombles of wimbledon common are we.. remember you're a womble, remember you're a womble.. ahem.

FBI preps $1bn biometric database

Andy Bright

I'm going to steal the Director's DNA

and drop it off at 1000 bank robberies..

Supersonic stealth jumpjet rolls off production line

Andy Bright

@ Anonymous Coward - re Eurofighter Cannon

I know the Eurofighter has a cannon - it's just the RAF ordered theirs without one to save money. And then said something stupid about never needing one in modern combat.

The process went like this.

Our glorious ex-Prime Minister promised the RAF they would get new planes. He then promised the Navy they would get new aircraft carriers, made a big speech about how we would once again have a great Navy and then someone pointed out the budget didn't quite stretch that far.

Worse, aircraft carriers aren't much use without planes to fly off and onto them. Sure we could use harriers, but why then bother with the big aircraft carriers?

So cuts had to be found and a series of stupid decisions were made in order to save face.

First you have to remember that the Eurofighter was going to receive upgrades to it's spec over a timeline, and that the final spec (a la F-22) wouldn't be met until the very latest Eurofighters rolled off the production line.

Unfortunately the RAF got theirs first. And while we were allocated a portion of later orders, we had this sticky issue with the aircraft carriers and the F-35s, the planes we decided to buy to save face. And actually the F-35 wasn't too bad an idea either, if we had the money.

So where do we get the money? Well we could increase the defense budget, except we can't because we've promised it all away on other things - like fancy new passports and ID cards and some really, really big databases.

Here's an idea - why not sell some planes to the Saudis. Well great, except the Saudis won't buy Tornados any more because they've had a go in F-15s and F-16s, so they know they're rubbish. What they would be interested in though, is the very latest version of the Eurofighter, the ones better than our own.

Well that was nearly enough money, but we need a bit extra. Enter cannon-less Eurofighters, and a line of bullshit about not needing cannons in modern warfare.

So yes, Eurofighters do have cannons, but they can be removed to save money and that's what the RAF has done.

Andy Bright

Final Version

The final version of the Typhoon was supposed to be quite good, not sure they've reached it yet tho, can't remember from all the conflicting time lines and order schedules and quotas and selling all of ours to the Saudis.

The problem was, being British, we don't like to make things easy for ourselves. Feels too much like cheating. The Eurofighter was going to incorporate the same technology as the F-22, had similar maneuverability, similar payloads, all kinds of stuff. Perhaps the F-22 was a better design, who knows? We'll never find out, or at least the RAF won't.

You see we like our armed forces to posses a touch of death-wish. Look at the Tornado. The idea was simple. Fire all it's missiles via-point-and-click, and then die in a fiery death when they all miss and the other side gets all uptight about being shot at. Just for good measure we'll include the maneuverability of your average Space Shuttle, and fly low enough for them to shoot us down by chucking rocks at us.

Enter the Eurofighter. Undoes all the death-wish stuff by having dogfighting maneuverability, lots of missiles, stealth and all manner of fancy addons that until now were only found in an F-22 prototype. No! No! No!. Can't have any of that, we'll get ours nice and early, well before anyone gets a chance to implement such rubbish, and as a punishment for trying to survive we'll take away your cannon too.

Apparently running out of missiles is not a scenario acceptable to RAF doctrine, so it won't be planned for. And just in case anyone decides they can survive after shooting all their missiles, we'll sell all our new Eurofighters to the Saudis and put you back in Tornados.

And people wonder why the Navy decided against trying to land a Typhoon onto an aircraft carrier. Is it too late to order some F-22s?

Open Office standards row heats up

Andy Bright
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Their evil plot has been revealed, or has it? Yes it may appear that Microsoft is embarking on a single-minded campaign to bring down the world's systems with bloatware and security unconscious software, but the truth is rather more boring.

If your monopoly controls the standards too, then everyone must conform with you.

So in a nutshell they won't have to change their lazy, bloatware, insecure ways and actually start producing something we in the industry refer to as "maintainable".

Microsoft have been creating their own "standards" for decades, and actually it's a tad puzzling they haven't tried to force them on everyone else sooner.

Shit they couldn't even do ASCII right - who else remembers programs that converted Microsoft "ascii" into proper ascii?

Confusion marks StarOffice anniversary

Andy Bright
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Fax Machine

Yes, quite useful if you don't have a printer capable of handling that automatically for you. And oddly enough even a PC can handle taking a fax and continuing to do other things at the same time - like playing WoW for instance.

I'll admit it is surprising to see a couple pages spit out of the printer in the middle of a raid, but mostly it doesn't affect me that much.

It also gives me a work angle.

"What were you doing all day?"

"Handling all our faxes and delivering them to their recipients.. eventually."

Which is true. Every time we take a five minute break I will distribute the paper that pops out of my printer, sometimes even to the right people.

Concerned comrades floor China's anti-graft website

Andy Bright

Everyone fill out a form

I feel this is an excellent opportunity for everyone in the western hemisphere to report their own politicians for corruption. I know I will be as soon as the website returns, and maybe my boss too.

US tech support outfit seeks pocket sniffer

Andy Bright

No worries

I know some people in China that can help with that, and will only charge you 3 legitimate credit card numbers for doing so.

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11

Andy Bright

United Soviet States of America

I think that sums up the fake terrorist excuses. Apparently the US Government harbours a deep-seated envy of the old Soviet Union. No I'm not sticking the blame on one party or another, one administration or another - however it does seem the current crew in the Whitehouse are trying the hardest to emulate the Soviet Block.

Imprisoning reporters who won't reveal sources, restricting travel, indefinite imprisonment without trial, convictions based on hearsay and torture, wiretapping at will, even going as far as to take away your right to know why you've been indefinitely imprisoned are all good, old-fashioned totalitarian ideas.

Transporting innocent citizens of their own, as well as from neighbouring countries, to Iran so they can be tortured is something more akin to the Nazis than Soviets, however the destruction of information that should be available to the public is very much in the vein of your better communist dictators.

You have to wonder whether Chairman Bush and his lackeys on both sides of Congress really understand the sacrifices of previous World Wars, and why previous generations would rather die than give up their rights and freedoms.

Peter Jackson to lord over 'Rings' prequels

Andy Bright
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Not sure The Hobbit counts as an epic

Certainly The LOTR could be considered a purple drop, but The Hobbit is surely a blue? Then again it's probably better than most stuff that drops in Kara so perhaps it is an epic after all.

US fails to reverse online gambling ban

Andy Bright

Err you what?

They haven't abided by international law, but instead offered to deliver any Christmas cards we happen to send to relatives in the US? What happens when they feel they've compensated the EU gambling industry sufficiently? Should we expect to have our Christmas cards returned?

I'm thinking there might be one or two corporates doing business across the Atlantic that won't be too thrilled to hear the reliability of things like, say, postal services have now been tied to whether a future Congress still feels they owe us something for not allowing gambling on the internet.

Maybe in 3 years we'll get strange phone calls telling us that we need to fork over a 50p surcharge to have our mail delivered. How will they know your phone number? Don't worry, the banks gave them everything they had on you last year.

Credit crunch cranks up pain for SMBs

Andy Bright
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I have to ask..

Does this so-called credit crunch mean we'll finally stop getting millions of credit card offers, mortgage offers and just about every other type of credit offer in the post?

Because if there is such a thing as a credit crunch, someone apparently forgot to tell the people that dish out credit.

Activision and Vivendi Games merge into Activision Blizzard

Andy Bright

World of Guitar Hero?

Raid Kara for you epic self-tuning Gibson?

Pedophile gets 110 years in MySpace extortion scheme

Andy Bright
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Actually not quite..

The worst abusers are those who're given the children removed from homes, often on the back of hearsay evidence. Let me put it this way, a single parent trying to bring up 3 kids is forced to work nights to make rent or mortgage payments, buy food, pay the bills.

Probably qualifies for daycare assistance of some kind, but was denied by some moralistic arsehole who doesn't believe in sex outside of marriage (yes - seen it happen) or can't find a daycare that will accept government assistance (because local governments are notoriously slow in paying their bills).

So being forced to leave her kids at home or in the car by themselves gets reported and end up losing them. The kids then end up with abusive foster parents (happens a lot) and that is the worst you can do to a child.

You've ripped them away from their family, and into the home of an abuser that in their eyes has all the authority to do as they please. Obviously they've done something bad in order to be taken and the abusers are punishing them - or at least that's what they end up being conditioned to believe.

Seen it, been disgusted by it and there's absolutely nothing that gets done about it. There's no accountability and the kids end up getting shunted around from family to family. Forget an education, forget a stable upbringing, if child protection officers actually understood that taking a child from a family ought to be the action of last resort perhaps it wouldn't be so bad.

They ignore laws about giving the children choices (like living with friends or relatives), and not a single person receives even a reprimand for failing to check up on foster parents or those that adopt.

Oh I'm sure the job is as nasty as it gets, and I'm sure there are not a few that do give a shit. Unfortunately they don't seem to have a clue how to do their jobs.

Video games blamed for England Euro flop

Andy Bright

Yep total bollox

As a bunch of people have said, it's all down to the players themselves, their over-inflated egos and their pay checks. If you continually tell someone with the brain of your average koppite he's "world class", eventually he'll start to believe it.

Ashley Cole is a classic example of everything that's wrong with these guys. Apparently he left Arsenal because he was upset the fans didn't give him standing ovations at the end of every game, but would rather do so for their genuine world class players like Henry. That tells me everything I need to know about this generation of idiots. If you don't feed their egos every week they don't see why they should remain loyal to their own club, let alone a national team.

The funny thing is I don't even understand why they bothered to sack Steven McClaren. What's the point? You're telling me that someone like Wenger, Mourinho or Benitez would get any more out of this bunch of over-hyped, spoiled idiots. Shit most of them can't even kick a ball with both feet, string a single pass together or even hit the target with their "good" foot - and yet we still keep thinking they're world class and deserve to win a major international competition.

No England haven't always been shite. They had a couple of decent teams - Bobby Robson and Terry Venebles had teams that lost semi's on penalties to a German side that walked over the opposition in the final.

I'll agree tho, that these teams have been very much the exception. I just wanted to point out we did have a couple of decent ones.

NZ bans Brit immigrant's overweight missus

Andy Bright

I just feel sorry for the missus

Like a few of the other posters, I just feel sorry for the wife.. who is apparently so fat he's only considering returning to Britain if she can't lose the weight.

As for "should fat people pay for two tickets" bullshit, that's the decision of the airlines, not the whiny fuck sitting next to them. Shit, just about every other seat on the plane costs a different price depending when you bought it, where it's located, how many seats are allocated to "really cheap website prices", so the idea that fat bastards should have to pay double or you should have to pay half isn't something you should have a say in.

How about everyone is charged the full blown price for airline tickets like business commuters are?

And besides, with the service you get on your average flight and shit they deliver as nearly, but not quite, something entirely unlike food, the poor bastards will only be taking up one seat by the time they reach their destination.

Canadian Taser death caught on camera

Andy Bright

@the same usual arseholes

1. The guy couldn't speak English

So what? If I go to France or Spain and I can't speak the language, I don't have the right to act like a cunt because of it.

2. He had a history of mental illness

Then his family are as much idiots as you appear to be. Five fucking minutes is all it takes. You say to the checkin person..

"My son is mentally ill and requires an escort to the departure lounge. Once there, because he doesn't speak the local language, please stay with him until I arrive."

Their answer will generally be

"Does he require a wheelchair? No? Ok I'll set that up for you."

Every fucking time, every airline that has customer service will do this. Families that let mentally ill members travel to foreign countries with no language skills and don't take adequate care to prevent them from getting lost or into trouble get absolutely no fucking sympathy from me. The rest of the world is not responsible for you and your children, that's your fucking job so do it.

3. He'd never been to that airport before

I'm sure there's a point here but you seem to have failed to make it. If I get lost and I can't speak the local language, act like that, and refuse to calm down - I expect to be arrested. And if I continue to act up when they try to arrest me..

4. He'd been stuck in the sealed area of the arrivals lounge with no food, water or (important this, mate, re: 2 above) without access to his medication - for nearly ten hours (that's ten - 10 - hours, not minutes)

And his family, that is to say, the people that have the responsibility to make sure things like this don't happen did what to make sure something like this didn't happen? Oh right, I forgot, personal and family responsibility no longer exist these days, everyone else is to blame for everything that goes wrong.

5. At no time did any of the airport staff, security, or RCMP attempt to communicate with him in his own language - nor did they even try to ascertain what language he was speaking.

No. 1 - again. I'm fed up with usually my own countrymen insisting that everyone speak "their" language. He had a case of mental history you said, so I can't fault him for traveling without even attempting to learn local languages. But doesn't excuse the people that let him TRAVEL TO A FUCKING FOREIGN COUNTRY, WITH NO FUCKING LANGUAGE SKILLS BY HIMSELF.

6. He was waiting for his mother, who lives in Canadia; she'd told him to wait by the carousels. He didn't know how to find them.

And your point is what? That he can act that way because he's lost. Oh right, you expect the police to telepathically understand he was ill and not just acting like a cunt. Obviously it's all their fault then, because they're supposed to know everything.

7. After several hours of waiting, his mother asked the airport staff to put a call out for her son over the tannoy, because she was worried since he still hadn't (apparently) turned up. They refused.

I can only just be bothered to answer this completely irrelevant point. If you allow your mentally ill son to travel to foreign airports, without being able to speak the local language, an airport, no less, that he had never been to before - and you're not intelligent enough to ask him to be escorted off the plane by the flight crew then..

Bottom line. If I said he deserved death then I could understand your crybaby bullshit. But I didn't, I just said it was difficult to sympathise with someone that acted that way.

If this was a case of deliberately torturing someone with a taser, chasing someone down the street waving a gun, or any of the other things that are clearly the fault of the police I'd be siding with the victim. But I refuse to just side against the police for any reason whatsoever. There was no reason for them to know he was unable to speak their language, was mentally ill and was without medication for 10 hours.

People like you, that look for any little fucking reason to attack people, whether it's me, the police or whoever make me puke.

Andy Bright

Trajic maybe, but ..

I'm not sure I have much sympathy. Didn't look like one of those "let's fuck with this guy, break out the taser" wrong doings.

He didn't deserve to die of course, but then if you fuck about like that in an airport in England (or the US I should imagine) tasers be dammed - you'll go down in a hail of bullets. Canadians appear to be a lot more forgiving, and for that matter, a lot more sensible when it comes to airport security.

Nope, looked like they tried to do the right thing, mistook his thrashing about for resistance (you try dealing with agitated, crazy people in a calm collected way) and unfortunately the taser was the end of him.

"Hit him again" didn't sound like "hit him again, this is fun", more like "for fuck sake hit him again, I can't keep him still to put the cuffs on".

Before someone says anything about medical conditions and pace makers, well if you have those then you probably ought not to act like a wanker in an airport.

Brown announces new counter-terror plans

Andy Bright
Black Helicopters

Wouldn't it be easier..

.. just to give everyone their own "sharks with frikkin' laser beams"?

Yahoo! Settles! With! Jailed! Chinese! Journos!

Andy Bright

The! Exclaimation! Marks! Must! Stay!

Like most people I've vented enough about Yahoo and Google's policy of shopping their customers to the police, just because they want to benefit from the Chinese market. Anyone with a conscience would have accidentally deleted the data from their servers, said "fuck you arseholes" and left.

awww poor little CEOs needed an extra $million in their wallets did they? Anyone that says they're helping to soften these regimes by being there needs to be smacked. Stories like this are proof the exact opposite is true.

nb. The '!' are an absolutely vital tool, helping the hard of seeing-headlines recognise reports about wankers. Taking them away would be discrimination - or something.

HP whips out d*** in a box

Andy Bright

In the future? $10,000?

I realise we're talking a gulf in quality here, as well as in some cases, hugely disproportionate ease of use - but people with $3000 worth of Amiga gear were producing 3D rendered movies and TV in the early 90s (Wallace and Grommit comes to mind, as well as Babylon 5).

The reason Wallace and Grommit comes to mind more significantly, is because this not only used Lightwave for 3D imaging, but also a PAR card for capturing the frames of the clay models. It was probably closer to the quality of the material produced by Pixar today, however it took a lot more work, was painstakingly complicated and took a hell of a lot more time to produce.

Babylon 5 is a much lesser example, and demonstrates the gulf in difference of quality between 'puters back then and your average Jesus Comp setup at Pixar or Industrial Light and Magic.

Also around that time Lightwave 3D was used on multi-processor board NT boxes, the cost being somewhat closer to your $10,000. These were used in a number of movies and TV shows.

Lightwave was probably the most incredible piece of software ever to be dropped in a box as a freebee. Sure 3D Studio is more sophisticated, always was, but until about 3 or 4 years ago didn't actually do real ray tracing.

But the senior citizens of computing amongst you will remember the Video Toaster, and that Lightwave 3D came free with an admittedly $2000 card of tricks. The Video Toaster allowed video effects to be used on live TV, one of many pieces of video production hardware that graced the Amiga in it's heyday.

So while we enjoyed Imagine, Real 3D and other low-cost alternatives, everyone that was into animation (and didn't own a PC or Mac) lusted after Lightwave 3D, usually because of all the scifi tv shows it was used on in some capacity (Star Trek TNG and X-Files amongst others).

nb Maya was always the dogs bollox, but hardly anyone with a casual interest in 3D could hope to use it back then.

iPhone 'killers' stand up and be counted

Andy Bright

iPhone Killers

I believe that while the iPhone is a very nice piece of hardware, it's a bit behind in terms of network tech for the European market.

People in the US often forget that other countries have things like telephones, toilets and clean water. But most of all they mostly haven't caught on that their cellphone tech is years behind the rest of the world.

As long as they're happy with their stuff that's fine, but Europeans expect certain minimums with any phone and the iPhone fails on one or two the more important connectivity and network features.

Actually most of these "killers" aren't any better, smart phones and regular mobiles are far more likely to put the iPhone into an early grave.

The one thing that may save it, however, is the brand. iPods are relatively basic devices, but do what they do incredibly well. There are many equally impressive media players on the market, but they'll never gain the acceptance of the iPod - and that mostly falls down to branding.

So if iPod owners are looking for a cellphone that combines their favourite media player with making phone calls, then Apple will be fine.

I just don't expect the kind of success they're getting in the US tho, because they can't connect to some of the better networks .. yet.

Living brain in powerful robot body tech goes live

Andy Bright

I only know one thing..

I may not be a hero cop, but I'm coming back as a robot - where do we sign up?

Surge in encrypted torrents blindsides record biz

Andy Bright
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re: Simple counterpoint

"We should also have access to all communication from the artist, management, record label etc just in case they want to stitch the public up with predatory pricing, restrictive practises etc."

Excellent point ^_^

Andy Bright

I've stopped buying music

But I don't steal it either. I won't start buying music again until I've got guarantees on quality and freedom of use. If I buy a CD I expect to be able to rip it's contents and play it on an mp3 device with no loss in quality and without the need for any sort of software, and without the worry that rootkits will be installed on my PC.

If I buy from download services I expect to be able to use that music on any device without the need for validation, license keys or whatever other method the music industry deliberately designed to force people to have to re-purchase the same content every few years.

So tough - the music industry can wither and die for all I care. I'm fed up of being called a thief and threatened with prison every time I buy any sort of music or video content, so until the threats, drm and spyware goes away they won't be getting a fucking penny from me.

Same goes for movies. Fuck 'em all, they've been given a free ride to rip people off for too long. HD movie formats deserve to fail, and hopefully will take some of the worst offenders down with them.

Haven't bought a DVD, Blu Ray disk, video game, CD or any sort of download for 4 months, and I don't see anything worthy of changing that decision. The content is mostly shite anyway, I can't be the only one that's noticed how poor these things have become.

As for games, there are only 4. Sure each corporate produces their own 'skin' to give the illusion of difference, but if you've bought 4 games in the last 4 years, you have them all.

Ukrainian eBay scam turns Down Syndrome man into cash machine

Andy Bright

Stop Using eBay

I'm sorry for the people that lost money, and I'm not suggesting they are fools or anything useless like that. But surely having seen these scams increase exponentially over the last few years it is time to say bye to eBay and other online auction sites.

Obviously there is a problem with trust now. It's great The Register is publicising these scams, and the more media outlets that do so the better.

However eBay will have no incentive to change their policy on assistance if people keep using it. I know I won't. I haven't been scammed, but the warnings are there for everyone to see. Accounts are obviously too insecure, there's no legitimate policy to refund victims and zero accountability from eBay.

Paypal is not exactly a failsafe method of payment either, because often you are not covered if you use any form of payment other than direct transfer from your bank to your Paypal account. If you use a secondary source of funding, such as a credit card, Paypal will warn you that you're not covered by their refund guarantee.

So the answer is to stop using online auction sites until their owners offer real solutions to fraud - such as full refunds regardless of the method of payment.

I really feel sorry for the people that lost thousands, after all they did everything they were told to do.

eBay make huge profits from these auctions, legitimate or otherwise. They obviously don't take security seriously though, because if what I'm reading is right, too many accounts are being hijacked for this to be a simple case of "some nitwit used an easy-to-crack password". My guess (and it is just a guess) is servers were hacked, and account details were stolen then sold online.

Russians to get broadband by spy plane

Andy Bright

Isn't this similar to the crazy DARPA thing?

You know, their plan to turn F-22s into flying wifi hotspots? Seems to me the US and Russians need to get together so their respective armies' WoW sessions remain trouble free. Now which side wants to play horde?

Mac OS X firewall blocks Skype and online gamers

Andy Bright
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The problem with Vista and WoW (or indeed addon installers like wowace) is that it requires write permissions to the World of Warcraft directory whenever the launchers wants to install a patch. The common experience is to see the patch downloaded then fail to install, and wow prematurely ends.

As for wowace and similar software they just fail every time they try to install an addon.

So you have several choices for wow itself, run in admin mode to install a patch or set the permissions on your wow directory so your regular account can write to it. Running wowace in admin mode doesn't work - the download/install functions are separate tasks and therefore lose the admin priveleges - so you're limited to choice no. 2 (or logging in as administrator just to install addons).

I don't feel either represents too great a risk, however wow is one of the most attacked games in terms of account theft. This is usually done by cracking php guild websites and taking their user's passwords, unfortunately too many people use the same password or simple variations for everything. However if you fail to use the Blizzard launcher (which detects the most commonly used malware and key loggers), if you're running in admin mode you are opening yourself up a tad. Not too much, but just a bit.

The reality is the worst I can see happening is you lose your program directory and need to reinstall the game. It's a pain because you'd have to download large numbers of patches, but nothing more problematic than a new user installing WoW for the first time.

As for other online games, I don't know, I don't play them - but it's good to hear they don't cause these sorts of problems. :)

Andy Bright

Yes online gamers use macs

I know several people that do, and have even replaced Ventrilo codecs to accomodate them.

As for Leopard blocking WoW, not sure that's a big deal, several firewalls do that on my Windows box, and it's a fairly quick fix to sort it out. I would think the same is true of Skype.

No one seems to have a problem with Vent, which is by far the best online communications package I know of, the quality is superb, so I don't see why this should be more than a minor "look it up on their respective websites for info" sort of thing.

As for Vista, there are several easy solutions to making it trouble free for online gaming - none are particularly desirable, but they are simple. You can make folders writable under your regular login account, or you can run these games in admin mode when they need to install patches. I don't see that this makes you any less secure than say WinXP - but Linux and Mac users are probably cringing.

Probably the best solution, albeit the most time consuming, is to wipe any Vista computer and re-install XP. At least the antivirus and antispyware apps will work again - instead of needing permission to prevent malware from being installed.

Topless Liverpudlians confined to tropical fish stores

Andy Bright

I'm astonished..

.. that the old British law requiring every driver of a motor vehicle to have a man walking in front of said vehicle with a flag didn't make the list. Still on the books too I think, and seems to me to be quite a handy tool for dealing with sales reps on the M3.

Brown moots register for terrorists, DNA rights for MI5

Andy Bright
Black Helicopters

The first name on the new list should be..

Shahid Malik. Besides being an MP, his qualifications for inclusion include twice being stopped and questioned by the US Dept. of Homeland Security and a keen advocate of making biometric ID compulsory. If that isn't terrorism I don't know what is.

If he's good enough for their list, I feel he should get nothing less than top spot on ours.

Maybe they could send us a comma delimited text file of their list, that way we can be sure only a few 10s of thousands of completely innocent people will be registered as terrorists over here.

Names two and three would be the extremist 'Bottled Water' and terrifying 'Marmite Jar'.

Funny, but I wonder how we made it through both World Wars and the wonderful Cold War without needing terror watch lists, biometric ids and banning bottles of water from boarding airplanes. If a few hundred clowns posing as jihadists can scare governments on both sides of the Atlantic into giving up human rights in an effort to pacify terrorists, I'm continually amazed that actual World Wars didn't scare our leadership into similar decisions.

Better heads than mine will no doubt explain it all. After all, what's more important, giving into terror and getting rid of human rights, or growing a backbone and sticking with a few things that several million people died to protect? We should definitely go with the coward thing, makes perfect sense.. even if being frightened of marmite and water leaves me a touch puzzled.

Pentagon: Our new robot army will be controlled by malware

Andy Bright

I very much doubt this line of reasoning

Much more likely, imo, is that the wave of killer robots will simply be delivering personal messages to "you most honourable and trustable sir", reminding you of the recent troubles in Western Nigerobia. They will regale you in truly heart tugging fashion about how their lamented fathers/brothers/cousins have recently perished in the bloodshed, and they now need YOU assistants to help facilitate the liberty of 20 millions of pounds.

All you will need to do is give your banks accountable and maybe 1000 pounds in certifiable monies. In return the robots will return soon with 10% of the 20 millions of pounds for your very one.

Man wrongly detained for 50 days has ISP to thank

Andy Bright
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Before anyone attacks you

I applaud the irony of your post Mr Anonymous. Nice one, but you should have used the "joke alert" thing, too many stupid people are going to miss what you've done and start some retarded flame attack.

Privacy advos demand 'do not track list' for websites

Andy Bright

You get what you pay for

/rant mode on

The reasoning that you should have the right to use other people's websites for free and not be subject to their only means of income is alarming.

The only privacy issue on the internet is not which shopping site has placed a couple easy to remove cookies in your cache, but why we allow governments the right to vacuum our email, IM chat and other forms of personal communication.

The assumption that the "terrorists will get us" if they don't is basically an accusation that everyone is a terrorist. The reason we have procedures such as warrants for other forms of communication is that democratic governments are supposed to serve the people, not spy on them in a cowardly, paranoid manner.

No western country faces existential demise if a few terrorists kill some of us. However we seem to be under the impression that unless we allow them to take away our privacy and a few other fundamental human rights, that's exactly what will happen.

Sorry, but we've been through world wars and a decidedly unstable cold war - all of which had a very realistic potential of causing the existential demise of dozens of western democracies - but you didn't see the general population running around saying "please take away my rights or we'll all die". They had a few more important things to worry about than whether Hitler managed to get through customs using fake ID, or whether Fred from Slough was reading Karl Marx greatest hits in his local library.

So instead of fighting the good fight to stop a couple websites from making the odd buck at the expense of a few extra messages in your inbox, why not spend your energy on something that matters?

When communications finally make the jump from traditional telephone networks and postal services to the internet, we'll have given the government a free hand to monitor whatever and whomever they want. There is a very sinister element to that monitoring, and it has nothing to do with terrorism. It's time to take back that privacy and tell the next prospective government, if they want your vote they'll have to bin these cowardly laws.

It's about time some people grew some bloody backbones and were willing to face the minuscule risk of death by terrorist, in order to preserve rights that literally millions of decent people worldwide died to protect, on our behalf.

/rant mode off

Reg lexicographical Shock Army liberates mobe

Andy Bright

The jovial nature of these comments is appalling..

Allow me to be the first to complain that Lester spelt sumthing wrong and did his grammer wrongly to.


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