* Posts by pxd

52 posts • joined 10 Dec 2012


You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't


Re: Where do you put those hard drives?

"Last time I tried, I found that iTunes cannot use removable storage because it blows up if it's not there. It was also incredibly difficult to get it to use a NAS drive, and I don't remember if I ever got that working."

My experience suggests that your first statement is correct, but not your second: my installation of iTunes is currently very happy to work with data stored on my Synology NAS. pxd

Uber 'does not exist any more' says Turkish president


Yes, but

Having lived in London since 1979, I feel obliged to point out that the arrival of Uber certainly felt like a good thing here. Black cabs almost always knew their way around, and were generally clean and comfortable, but were terrifically expensive, tended to disappear on rainy days (licence numbers artificially limited to keep earnings up, plus The Knowledge was/is difficult to acquire), and all too often featured drivers with issues (racist commentary, or 'Nah - won't go South, mate'). Minicabs ranged from good (properly licenced and responsibly operated, but often geographically restricted) to dreadful (crap vehicles, very dodgy drivers, no insurance, no idea where they were going). Going out at night generaly started well (use a good local minicab service or plentiful public transport) and ended poorly (public transport finished for the night; waiting on the side of the road in the rain hoping for a black cab, or phoning one local minicab service after another, to find out how many hours it would be before a car would become available). The arrival of Google maps plus Uber (or the many other versions of each) now means that I can take my wife out for dinner without worrying about whether we'll get home before dawn, or whether we'll need expedition clothing as well as something a little more formal. I have yet to experience a poor ride or a surly or uncooperative driver; and the cost of the ride no longer rivals the cost of dinner.

I know there is a lot to dislike or even despise about Uber's management style and approach, but they have been successful for a number of good reasons. Please can we figure out how to imrove things without throwing the baby out with the bath water? I have my flak jacket on - let the shelling commence. pxd

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB


Radio Paradise - yes!

Thumbs up for the RP mention. pxd

BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave


Re: I've been there - stymied!

Now I cannot bring myself to upvote this excellent post, because who ever heard of Catch 23? pxd

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?


Mouth breathing muppets - I've been there

I did once ask a twat chatting loudly with his fellow MBMs at the back of a venue if he'd like me to ask the band (The Stranglers, ffs!) to play more quietly. I pointed out that the loud music was clearly causing him all sorts of inconvenience, as he had to shout to be heard over them. I think my eyes might have been glowing a bit red around the edges, because instead of giving me back a few choice expletives, he just shut up and edged away. Public service, indeed . . . pxd

Man who gave interviews about his crimes asks court to delete Google results



"although Court 13 at the Royal Courts of Justice was slightly above room temperature." With all due respect, I suggest that Court 13 was by definition at room temperature, it being a room . . . I'll get my coat. pxd

UK's Dyson to vacuum up 300 staffers for its electric car division


Re: Dyson ain't quite wot it used-er to be

(##) Spoiler; it wasn't supposed to mean anything. It was Cameron's woefully misjudged attempt to placate his own party's internal political dissent by throwing them a bone that was meant to go nowhere. *****Yep, the future of the UK was- and is- treated as a political football purely for the purposes of the Tory party.****

***** This ^^^ times 10^06. pxd

Life's a beach – then you're the comms nexus of the British Empire and Marconi-baiting hax0rs


Mandatory link

Mandatory link to Neal Stephenson's excellent 1996 Wired article expanding on several issues mentioned in this very fine El Reg article. Thanks to SA Mathieson and Neal Stephenson for opening my eyes to a whole new (old) world of telegraphy and undersea cables. https://www.wired.com/1996/12/ffglass/

From tomorrow, Google Chrome will block crud ads. Here's how it'll work


didn't know El Reg had ads, either

I use an ad blocker and have done for some time. I didn't even realise/remember that El Reg had advertising. I'd rather pay for a subscription to thi site, than have to put up with ads. Figure out how much revenue the ads bring you, divide by the number of current users, double the result, and tell me what you need from me, to survive without ads. I reckon I'll find the sum palatable. pxd

UK government bans all Russian anti-virus software from Secret-rated systems


read all about it - excellent book

Lots more detail of all this can be found in the recently re-released: Test Of Greatness: Britain’s Struggle for the Atom Bomb by Brian Cathcart (Kindle Edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Test-Greatness-Britains-Struggle-Atom-ebook/dp/B01B1RT15K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1512397941&sr=1-1&keywords=brian+cathcart). Well worthwhile, IMHO. pxd

Cops jam a warrant into Apple to make it cough up Texas mass killer's iPhone, iCloud files


Re: Clueless Doughnut Eaters

a_yank_lurker: Please stop using the word ‘feral’ instead of ‘federal.’ It isn’t funny any more, if indeed it ever was; and it isn’t relevant, correct, or illuminating. pxd

So, tell us again how tech giants are more important than US govt...


Re: Russia Today and Sputnik propaganda outlets?

I ain't Spartacus, too. Idiots that try to portray the independently funded and operated BBC as no different from Fox News (operated to achieve maximum commercial profit) or RT (operated to further Putin's goals) are guilty of the worst sort of wilful obfuscation. pxd

Slashing regulations literally more important than saving American lives to Donald Trump


Ex post facto

I looked into this for some other reason, not long ago, and discovered that ex post facto law is considered a Very Bad Thing in the States (so only very occasionally allowed/tolerated), but this does not seem to be the case in the UK, where any number of recent major examples can be found in a fairly cursory internet search. I found that quite surprising, and pretty disappointing, too. pxd

Facebook, Amazon fund new trans-Pacific submarine cable


Re: Slack

Slack, as defined here: https://www.wired.com/1996/12/ffglass/ Brilliant article, highly recommended. pxd

F-35s grounded by spares shortage


Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

This x 10^6. Kit development times are getting longer, and (projected) war scenarios are getting shorter. pxd

Knock, knock? Oh, no one there? No problem, Amazon will let itself in via your IoT smart lock


Re: But if they steal anything are they not going to be on camera?

Why is the CrazyOldCatMan writing about dogs? New name required, perhaps? pxd

Google faces $10k-a-day fines if it defies court order to hand over folks' private overseas email


Re: Cost of doing business

@ Bob Dole - I downvoted you because I reckon 38 seconds after Google moved to their hypothetical island, they'd be taken over by whatever weapon-bearing group got there first. A series of counter takeovers would then ensue, yadda yadda. Google wouldn't survive long outside the US, I think. This dependency of Google and the other mega digital organisations on a fairly benign home environment is overlooked to a certain extent, but shouldn't be forgotten. pxd

Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech


Re: Reminds me of something else

You've heard the saying "It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." That was good advice - pity you didn't take it. pxd

Town wants Amazon's new HQ so much it plans to split off new town called 'Amazon'


Re: That would solve the tld problem (one prob with that)

I think you must have meant geographical? pxd

Microsoft reveals details of flagship London store within spitting distance from Apple's


Something to tell my grandchildren . . .

Oh, yes, kids - I was there the day the Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen sketch was mashed up with OS Wars! Those were the days , alright . . .

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled


Voland for PM

Not sure what you do in your current position, but should you ever care to run for public office, you have my vote. Thank you for the clearest, most well-reasoned statement, either for or against EU membership, that I have seen to date. pxd

Five-eyes nations want comms providers to bust crypto for them


Re: Germany

... as you write, requires a court order.

This, exactly. If there is not enough evidence to persuade a judge to issue a warrant, then there isn't enough evidence. pxd

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped


@ simpfeld

I think you may have missed my point: many original sources of music are capable of emitting energy at frequencies that are not well handled by digital equipment. Correctly engineered, maintained and operated, analog recording systems can capture those frequencies and pass them along. Of course I cannot hear them, but that is not the point. Digital equipment behaves very badly when fed with data outside the frequency spectrum it is designed to receive, and the bad behaviour is heard as poor sound quality. To avoid this issue, you have to filter the unwanted frequencies beforehand. Over steep filtering causes phase shifts in the remaining signal, while gentle filtering avoids the phase issues but either fails to remove the unwanted frequencies, or removes part of the desired input signal. I work with seismic data in the oil and gas industry, and this is a very common dilemma that seismic data processors face every day. Some good digital music equipment handles the issue well, but most cheap kit does not, and the result is pretty poor sound quality.

The analog systems I refered to above are never inexpensive, but a lot of great music has been recorded with this sort of kit: crossed-pair mikes running into high speed half-inch reel to reel tapes; and cut to high quality heavy vinyl disks, printed in limited numbers. Those disks, played with very sensitive moving coil cartridges, into amplifiers powerful enough to deal with the very low amplitude output from the MC cartridge, make very good sounds indeed.

Can you do the same with a digital system? Of course, but are we really expected to believe that bcause of some mysterious property instrinsic to the digital world, proper engineering is no longer the difference between digital systems or recordings that sound like crap, and digital systems that sound great? I don't think so, and that proper engineering typically isn't cheap. pxd


Good link - but . . .

Thank you for the link. I followed it and discovered a number of things I didn't know before, including a few statements that tend to slightly contradict the point you made, and flatly contradict the general anti-vinyl statements made by some other posters in this discussion. For example: "Commonly there is audio content up to 23-24 kHz on many vinyl records. Many instruments have overtones up to 100 kHz. See article: http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~boyk/spectra/spectra.htm"

Handling the high frequencies generated by many instruments will cause a lot of problems for digital kit. Choices appear to be to savagely filter out the unwanted high frequency content (which has lots of bad effects on the phase of the remaining signal) or fail to remove the unwanted high frequency content (ditto). If you remember that music starts as an analog process (violin. guitar, drum, human voice) and ends as an analog process (manipulation of tiny bones in human ears), it may not be so surprising that dumping a lot of digital signal processing in the middle is actually a lot easier to get wrong than to get right.

I remain a committed vinyl fan, although I spend much more of my time listening to digitally stored data than to LPs. It's the convenience . . . pxd

Apple fanbois are officially sheeple. Yes, you heard. Deal with it


Re: M-W: grammar not a strength, then . . .

Better - only one item to juggle using a non-iPhone with an oversized battery fitted; and I bet it didn't cost $99, either. I quite accept the fact that I am one of the sheeple, but that is my choice and I can afford it, so who cares? Your point about (I assume) maps, though: if you can use a map and compass to navigate securely in wind and rain and (particularly) dark and/or fog, and be supremely confident about where you are at all times, you're a much better orienteer-person than me. You'll still be juggling three things at minimum, though - just one for me. I spent a large chunk of my youth as a scout, learning how to do it the other way, and I don't miss it at all. I'm sure there's a proto-European looking down at us, feeling smug about his/her ability to find their way out of Africa without maps or compasses, too. pxd


Re: M-W: grammar not a strength, then . . .

Sure - but more bits and pieces in your pocket. pxd


M-W: grammar not a strength, then . . .

"Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone – an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for." How about: "Apple's introduced a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone – an ungainly lumpy case for which the sheeple will happily shell out $99." FTFY.

By the way, I actually own one of these cases - very useful if you plan a long walk somewhere, using your phone plus a digital OS map, plus GPS. With the case fitted, I reckon two full days of walking between charges is possible - not bad, given continuous GPS use; and it fits in your pocket. Baaa! pxd

Waiter? There's a mouse in my motherboard and this server is greasy!


Top Username!

Have a thumbs up for your user name - very appropriate for this thread. pxd

'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules


Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

"And the origin of the gerrymandering was the racial quota demands . . ."

No supporting references? I call bullshit. Racist revisionist bullshit, to be more precise. pxd

Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...


Why not fuck off in advance, then?

. . . instead of wasting your time reading the first half of the article, and everyone else's time reading your pointless post? pxd

Cold callers illegally sold Aussie farmers 1,700 years worth of printer ink


Sharp by name . . .

I'll get my coat!

Judge allows plan for Intel to reanimate McAfee. The brand, we mean


Re: Earth Boys Are Easy

Never mind the width, feel the quality . . . pxd

Britain collects new naval tanker a mere 18 months late


Re: Fiber optic?

A quick google suggests that you have fallen for another internet myth:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Donald_Cook (in the History section). I know it is Wikipedia, but I don't have time to track down anything more credible just at the moment.

Oddly enough, I suspect naval architects, particularly those involved with Aegis-equipped vessels (radar output = 6MW), are quite aware of the potential for electromagnetic interference, and will have factored that in to the vessel design. I doubt very much whether a single jet zooming around in the close vicinity would cause such a vessel any real issues; I wouldn't be at all surprised if the vessel could cause the aircraft real trouble, at close range. pxd

Samsung fans flames of burning Galaxy Note 7 mystery


Re: Exploding, still

Still trying to figure out if I can reverse my accidental down vote; in the meanwhile, sorry about that. pxd

Wi-Fi for audiophiles: Alliance preps TimeSync certification program


Thank you for your snark-less reply

A lot of commentards above have been pleased to go to town on the weirder element of the audio community, which is understandable, if a bit predictable. I feel obliged to point out that if one cares to look beyond the snakeoil salesmen, there is an element of the audio community that do understand engineering and electronics quite well enough to understand why they can regularly pick one piece of equipment out as the better (= closer to sound of same music played live) of two, in double blind experiments. Your example of Beats headphones is an easily grasped example: they just don't sound as good as other, less expensive, less 'hyped' headphones. The hoohaw about cables is another example - if cable runs are long enough, or the quality of the connectors is bad enough, even a digital signal can be degraded. I am old enough to remember a lot of spurious claims that were made around the introduction of CDs: anyone remember the bit about how users could drill holes in the CD without effect, as the error correction circuitry would patch everything up? All this utterly overlooks the point that music recording and playback involves a significant amount of analog-digital or digital-analog conversion, all of which has to be done properly in both domains, or the quality of the sound is affected. More to the point, all of the hardware involved actually has to work at an analog level as well; down below the software, a bunch of transistors and capacitors and other stuff actually channels electrons around in a physical medium - at the bottom, it isn't ones and zeros at all. So I don't believe in hyper-expensive cables, or CD pens, or crystal this and that - but I do think that there's a lot more to sound quality than some of the folks commenting above seem prepared to admit. Now see icon - I have adopted the crash position. pxd

BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix


Re: End of the TV Licence

theModge: as an American that has now lived in the UK for +30 years, I have to object to your description of the BBC as corrupt. On the contrary, I suggest that the BBC is by a considerable margin the news distribution organ the most free of commercial or political bias and/or influence in the world. If you have significant experience of a challenger for that title, I'd like to hear more about it. Certainly (almost) no media output in the US is remotely free of bias, or free of the commercial influence of the advertisers that fund it. (The only possible exception is NPR (www.npr.org).) I deeply admire the BBC technique for remaining unbiased (make sure to irritate the left and the right in equal measure), and I cannot see any way other than the licence fund to eliminate the commercial influence that dominates other media outlets. pxd

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Seamen spread over California


Beat me to it - Daniel Suarez

Just what I was thinking as I read this. Also Michael Crichton, but PREY was about nano-scale kit, and Daniel Suarez writes about things like those in the video. I really hope we are not headed in that direction. pxd

How-to terror manuals still being sold by Apple, Amazon, Waterstones


Knock, Knock - it's the Grammar Police!

I think you'll find that WH Smith operate stationery stores - which do tend to be stationary (unless WHS have branches in NZ, in which case . . .). I'll get my coat. pxd

Passengers ride free on SF Muni subway after ransomware infects network, demands $73k


Re: A distinction without a difference

I think we should distinguish between the punishment of being forced to perpetually ride the London Underground, which has, by and large, not been too painful of late (sorry Piccadilly Line passengers today), and the truly medieval Spanish Inquisition-esque torture that is the lot of the poor Southern Rail user. So far, the SF mob strike me as deserving the former; I would reserve the latter for those holding hospitals to ransom. pxd

Appointments on hold as (computer) virus wreaks havoc with NHS trust systems


Re: A clinician's guide to digital X-ray systems

I feel obliged to warn you about introducing facts into what looks like becoming a useful little flame war. Don't let this happen again. That is all. pxd (now have an upvote)

First World Problems: John Lewis clients forced to re-register after website 'upgrade'


doesn't affect all JL finance sites, apparently

Just had a short chat with a very nice man (of course) on the JL website - apparently I won't have to re-register to access my JL auto insurance account. On the other hand, I couldn't actually log in, either, but for the moment I am prepared to put that down to over-stressed servers; like another commenter above, I have my credentials written down and kept in a safe place, so I am pretty sure the site is just a bit confused when it says it doesn't recognise me. We'll see . . . pxd

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this


Re: It is just a car.

Completely agree - my wife has a 2007 MINI Cooper bought recently and very second hand. I am allowed to drive it if I'm good, and it always impresses me with the mix of agility and comfort BMW brought to the design. More importantly, it is as happy on the M1 as it is in central London. I put in a fair few miles in a friend's original Mini back in the 1980s - it was lots of fun zipping around crowded London streets in the original, but you'd never catch me trying to go up a motorway in the rain and dark in one. For my money, the initial versions of the BMW reboot are exactly the success claimed in the article. The later fattened up ones, and most of the odd variants, are pants. pxd

SHA3-256 is quantum-proof, should last billions of years


Re: We passed the infinite monkey stage a long while ago

Have an up-vote for your disclaimer; all too often true, so infrequently acknowledged. For the record, I suspect I know considerably less than you! pxd

Microsoft deletes Windows 10 nagware from Windows 7 and 8


Re: Win 8 rant

Having failed years ago to install Linux on an old laptop - never could find a driver to enable the external CD drive, or figure out how to mount the bloody device in the first place - I recently followed a suggestion in another comment here on El Reg, and installed Mint 18 Sarah plus MATE on an old WINXP desktop I was about to recycle. It was ludicrously easy; within an hour or so, I had a fully functional desktop running considerably faster than it did with XP, all drivers present and correct, fully updated; and I was off to look at the vast number of open software packages available for use. Mystic Megabyte's statement about Updates is spot on - updating the Mint PC was trivially easy, and fully explained; at the same time I was trying to take a former WIN8 PC back to WIN7, and spent hours and hours over a 2 week period, trying to crack the WIN Update issues described in other posts on this thread. After reading about a million posts from others with the same problem, I found that I could sneak up on the problem by only selecting 10 or fewer updates per session, but I tried all the other tips mentioned here and elsewhere, before finally succeeding. Now my only problem is deciding what to do with the no-longer-obsolete desktop. pxd


Re: Does it also remove the shedload of windows 10 pre-install files?

It's about time I mentioned the excellent job GWX Control Panel has done and continues to do for me on my 3 WIN7 PCs, after I installed it following a recommendation elsewhere on El Reg. (Like several earlier commenters, I don't think we've seen the last of this issue from MS.) I thoroughly endorse the suggestion made by Roland6. pxd

US military readies drone submarine hunter


Re: WTF, ok i may be a little late to the party but !!! (alert - missed point here)

IANAS (I am not a sailor) but I suspect the real savings in running costs would come from the ability to build the drones without all the support systems required to keep the relatively poorly-paid officers and ratings warm, fed and protected - the savings in volume and weight would be significant. Less kit on board = less weight to propel = less fuel required = lovely virtuous circle leading to lower running costs. Plus the salary savings on shore - driving and fighting the drone would require fewer men/women than driving/fighting a full sized vessel. Plus the ability to make the little whatsits go really really fast, compared to other vessels, for the same fuel expenditure. Those bursts of speed would see off the Somalian pirates referred to in other posts, and would probably even give some ability to avoid airborne threats.

Isn't this is the same sort of argument used to argue for unmanned space exploration? pxd

The battle of Cupertino: Jailbreakers do it for freedom, not cash


Re: Jailbreak - not just for the young

Both good suggestions, DryBones - but I have neither of those items; just a trio of desktop PCs, several Internet radios, a Roku or two, and the handful of iDevices. I did think seriously about buying an Android phone just to host a sniffer app, but at the time, I didn't see the right device for sale without a connected phone service to pay for. My house has walls thick enough to cause all sorts of Wi-Fi dead spots, so the ability to walk around watching the signal come and go was one driver for me. Another was the signals I could see coming in from neighbours on all four sides, causing me to consider my channel assignments carefully. Finally, I added a couple of range extenders, and really wanted to see what they were actually doing - the little blue lights on the front of the extenders were pretty. but not terribly informative. pxd

Thumb Up

Jailbreak - not just for the young

I have a number of iDevices. Most are kept in the Apple Walled Garden, but I had to jailbreak one device just to run a Wi-Fi sniffer, which Apple, in their infinite wisdom, have decided We Shall Not Have. (How we are meant to deal with increasingly crowded and complex wireless networks with the limited tools available to ordinary users, I cannot imagine.) I am not particularly "tech savvy," as Mondo put it - not in El Reg terms; equally, though, I am not young. Thanks to Pangu and TAIG, jailbreaking is not rocket science - you just have to pick your moment and follow instructions. Upgrade one step too far, and it's back to waiting for the next exploit from the really clever boys and girls. pxd


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