* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Visa and MasterCard warn of credit card data breach

Nick Kew Silver badge
Black Helicopters


If you have 'inside' information, what's the risk El Reg would disclose your identity to a potentially-hostile investigator? If it's sufficiently high value, that might be spooks armed with a Court Order.

I hope your information is sufficiently low-sensitivity you won't be the next Gary McKinnon!

UK government says no to turbo e-bike

Nick Kew Silver badge


Once upon a time, someone invented a hybrid machine: a bike with normal pedals, but also with a small engine to assist the rider. Since "Motor-assisted Pedal Cycle" was a bit of a mouthful, the name of the machines got abbreviated to "Mopeds". In time the pedals lost their purpose before disappearing altogether, and the moped became just a type of very small motorbike with a slightly odd set of rules.

Has the history of mopeds been so disastrous that we now have to use the law to prevent it repeating?

Symbian smacked by Windows Phone

Nick Kew Silver badge

Power Consumption

Serious question here.

If symbian is being orphaned, is there any smartphone OS around with comparable battery life to what I get on the E71? I'd dismiss iphone/android for a phone[1] on grounds of having to recharge every bloomin' day. No idea about windows.

[1] as opposed to pocket-puter.

Writers' alliance throws the book at Apple 'piracy'

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: in China

I don't know where AC is from, but maybe you should look to the mote in your own eye. The UK leads the world in blurred rules (that's why, among other things, the financial sector thrives so well in London and UK-protected offshore locations).

China is so maligned in our press that I checked with my publisher when I encountered a chinese edition of my own book. But of course it turned out to be completely legitimate, and appeared on a subsequent royalty statement.

Startup slices solar panels using ion gun

Nick Kew Silver badge


Surely the materials cost is very marginal, and 'cheaper to produce' depends more on a state-of-the-art efficient factory?

Are they suggesting that thinness/flexibility will bring solar panels to altogether new applications? If so, great, but if not they're in a marketplace already suffering overcapacity and fierce competition.

Crap PINs give wallet thieves 1-in-11 jackpot shot

Nick Kew Silver badge

Solved (Re: Simple solution...)

When I lived in Italy in the '90s I grew accustomed to their cards, with five-digit PINs.

Clearly the UK four digits is not a universal standard, nor the only option supported by current or old technology.

Europeans turn backs on Ultrabooks

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Amazon.

Martin, do you disagree with the comments on http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/kindle/ ?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Fix the power consumption / battery life!

So who's going to be first to market with a laptop (of any screen size) with an E-Ink screen, ARM processor, and enough battery life to take backpacking away from regular recharges?

Apache releases first upgrade to HTTP Server in six years

Nick Kew Silver badge

Not just maturity ...

The Apache web server is in the fortunate position of not having a marketing department breathing down its back for new Big Releases every six months. So no pressure to whack up the version numbers. As indeed is common amongst the best projects: the Linux kernel has been at 2.x even longer than apache, despite all the evolution in the hardware under it.

But this doesn't mean things stayed the same for six years. Apache's modular framework makes it straightforward to add new goodness outside the core, or in core with only a delta-version bump. The only absolute rule of delta releases is that we don't break API or ABI back-compatibility within a stable branch such as 2.4.x.

New sat data shows Himalayan glaciers hardly melting at all

Nick Kew Silver badge

I smell strawman

There are only three bodies of ice on Earth that contain enough water to have a material effect on sea levels. The East and West Antarctic, and Greenland. Everything else is trivial noise.

Move away from sea levels and consider other issues like water supplies to certain regions, and suddenly some lesser glaciers do matter. But that's a different issue altogether

Still, a bit of realism never stopped Denialists who can't (or won't) admit responsibility for anything that matters. And the argument isn't helped by talking of a complex *effect* of pollution as if it were a *cause* of other complex effects associated with pollution.

Muscle chip strength leaves ARM shouldering meaty profit

Nick Kew Silver badge

ARM is a much smaller company than the likes of Apple or Intel. If you want to compare to Intel then you consider ARM together with licensees who produce ARM-based chips which are Intel's direct competitors.

And today's results were already baked in to the share price. The really happy shareholders are those of us who bought at 2008/9 prices below a quid :-)

Nick Kew Silver badge

I care about windows on ARM

On a purely selfish note, I'm looking forward to being able to buy an ARM-powered laptop or desktop box as easily as an x86 one. If Windows gets the likes of Lenovo, Dell, and HP to produce them then it's done the world a favour.

As for software, developers are well accustomed to supporting multiple platforms and architectures. Mac apps didn't just disappear when they moved to x86.

O2 3G stops giving punters' mobile numbers to websites

Nick Kew Silver badge

Controlled trial

I have two devices connected through O2. One is my regular 'phone, and its number is public, easy to find, and known by many. The other is my pocket-puter, whose number I make no attempt to remember, and never give to anyone, but which gets used for almost all my web access on the move (with the exception of railtrack, whose website works much better on the smaller phone).

Observation: the phone whose number is public gets all the spam.

Inference: spammers aren't abusing the information formerly sent to them by O2. I expect they hadn't discovered it.

Nokia exec praises Brazilian...

Nick Kew Silver badge


A reminder of what Nokia once was!

(and even that what remains of Nokia's good side still produces some good stuff)!

Orange Tahiti 7in Android tablet

Nick Kew Silver badge


The £149 3G+keyboard Kindle is surely the ideal gadget in this size. If only it were an open platform for the apps!

Gartner: Ultrabooks aren't tickling anyone's fancy

Nick Kew Silver badge


Ultrabook's an Intel spec, innit? I want an ARM in my next laptop-alias!

Acorn King Moir: BBC Micros, Ataris and 'BS' marketing

Nick Kew Silver badge


Wasn't Computer Concepts responsible for Impression? The program that led the mind to boggle about why anyone should consider "word processor" and DTP as separate programs, and to realise how bloated and unfriendly Framemaker was?

Jonathan Ive is knighted in New Year Honours list

Nick Kew Silver badge

British Empire?

So there we have it. Our powers-that-be have a cunning plan to get rich again: declare Apple to be of the British Empire!

'Why the hell are we paying elite crypto crackers £25k?'

Nick Kew Silver badge

£25k is bloomin' good pay ...

... for an 11-year-old, which is probably round about peak age for codebreaking.

Isn't it also the going rate for an elite techie in UK PLC? After all, if you're still doing that kind of work past about your mid 20s, you're obviously some kind of freakish loser who can't hack it in a Real Job[tm] with powerpoint and a suit.

It's 20 years since my last job in UK industry. Fortunately in a global marketplace I'm not limited to it.

Patent tax break takes effect in April 2013

Nick Kew Silver badge


Someone has seen how the 'merkins use patents and thinks we can catch up:

1. Award patents willy-nilly to any US company who fills in a form (e.g. NTP).

2. Make it cripplingly hard, expensive and slow to challenge a patent. Especially for a non-US company (e.g. RIM).

3. Enforce patents worldwide through the WTO.

4. Enforce patents in the US with draconian sanctions up to and including a total ban on doing business in the US.

We're a smaller country, coming from way behind in the dodgy-patent stakes, and with an economy that $bigco could afford to be locked out of while a patent was challenged, if the worst came to the worst. What could possibly go wrong with US-style economic imperialism?

Apache: Old, out of touch, but worth it...

Nick Kew Silver badge
Black Helicopters


There's nothing wrong with git, except perhaps the blurring of lines (and thus confusion) between git itself and github! It's only a tool.

But certain git advocates are a whole nother story! The vanguard of a Holy War[tm]!

Facebook disses Effin Irishwoman

Nick Kew Silver badge

We need to know ...

In the interests of research, tell us how folks from Penistone or Pratt's Bottom, or a range of villages on the river Piddle, fare!

Fuel taxes don't hurt the world's poor - they don't have cars

Nick Kew Silver badge
IT Angle

Why not talk about what you know?

Speaking from the wilds of west Devon, I cross a stretch of Dartmoor just to get to the local supermarket. Cars are a major blight here too.

Nick Kew Silver badge
IT Angle

Classic propagandist fallacy

Yours is the classic antisocialiast[*] argument.

1. What hurts the relatively poor (among others) is living in a society that expects you to have a car and marginalises/socially excludes you if you don't. Fix that and we're all better off. The best thing for poorer folks in rich countries is to align their interests with richer folks, which happens in spades if the latter move away from car-dependence.

2. Yes, some things would cost more (but set against that the tens of billions per year the freight transport folks tell us is lost to congestion). But I'd rather pay more tax on destructive activity instead of having to pay quite so much of my hard-earned for the privilege of working.

[*] If socialism is things done to improve the lot of the poor, then what should we call things done for the rich but in the name of the poor? I say antisocialism.

Chancellor to raid pensions, Whitehall to revamp UK broadband

Nick Kew Silver badge

Unintended Consequences

Credit Easing ... a slush fund for small biz finance. You can be sure that jobs administering it will become a corruption-magnet, just like anything involving allocation of taxpayer funds.

But more than that, it poisons the pool for investors. Who is going to invest good money in small biz (other than ones own) when that investment is in direct competition with the bottomless taxpayer purse?

Credit Easing will hurt small-biz finance by driving real investment elsewhere.

The Right Way to get more money invested into productive business would be to encourage investors, using tools such as tax breaks. Gordon demonstrated the power of the tax break, when his removal of one in 1997 caused a massive wave of funds to be diverted from the productive economy into tax-privileged property speculation.

How Apple beat IBM in Steve Jobs' first retail war

Nick Kew Silver badge

merkin market!

If your store was shifting lots of apples, I expect your demographic was an affluent one. Those things were expensive!

That was around the time when the UK market was a veritable Tower of Babel, full of competing not-yet-PC-clone models. We remember just a few of them: IBM and Apple for obvious reasons, BBC micro 'cos it was in many ways so far ahead of its time, Atari the leading name in games, Commodore, Sinclair, ... But who remembers, say, the Dragon or the Lynx?

Terry Pratchett computer sniper-scope: Spec-ops mini version

Nick Kew Silver badge

Pre-dates Pratchett

No disrespect to one of the best authors of our time, but you should review earlier literature before crediting him. Google "infinite improbability drive" for an earlier though still modern example.

Mobile industry needs Windows, handset vendors warn

Nick Kew Silver badge

On the other hand

RIM has an established offering ... and a need to reinvent itself.

Shame so many other decent candidates have been run into the ground by Nokia and HP.

World heading for massive jobs slump

Nick Kew Silver badge

Move along. Nothing to see.

What's less than honest is that our chattering classes claim that, from where we are, it could be otherwise.

We've had a credit binge. Now we've overeaten of the Demand cake so much that it's gone. And without demand, what's the use of supply? Jobs are all about supply, which is in surplus.

Today's jobs were robbed. In the UK, from the time Gordon divorced Prudence in 2000 through to the bust. Elsewhere due to various causes including banking folly and economic imbalances.

Citrix snaps up App-DNA for app migration

Nick Kew Silver badge

Could almost be Silicon Valley!

This is a big win for AppDNA's Venture Capital backers. Yesterday's announcement was a straight win of over 20% on the two funds I hold that had invested in AppDNA's early-stage growth.

That sort of thing is supposed to happen in Silicon Valley. Not in new-biz-averse UK!

Attack on Apache server exposes firewalls, routers and more

Nick Kew Silver badge

Open Proxy

The scenario described may actually be a little far-fetched as a security hole. The configuration directives that open it are the kind of thing far more likely to be used in a 'loose' configuration - for example a mass virtual hosting situation - than in a high-security situation where wildcards would flag a warning.

The other version of the risk is that you inadvertently make the server capable of being used as an open proxy. Not a proxy that could be used by a regular browser, but rather a browser hacked to send HTTP requests crafted to include routing information to an arbitrary destination.

Best skiing in space is on Saturnian ice moon Enceladus

Nick Kew Silver badge


What's this assumption that the whole bloomin' celestial body has homogenous conditions?

Bit like observing the cradle of civilization, and concluding the Earth is a balmy planet with (compared to here) hot dry summer, shorter winter, etc ...

MySQL founder savages Oracle’s move to 'open core'

Nick Kew Silver badge


Hasn't he cried Wolf once or twice too often?

ISTR the dual track goes back even before the sale to Sun. Where was he back then?

Couple can sue service that monitored their net sex

Nick Kew Silver badge

US judge backs Wikileaks, Pirate Bay, et al!

"... prohibits the secret interception ..."

Um, if the owner has installed this anti-theft software, doesn't that mean the owner has consented to what it does?

If the thief is allowed to argue "noone told me, so it was secret", doesn't that open a Three Wise Monkeys defence not only to unlimited trading in stolen laptops, but also to all kinds of intellectual property, secret information, etc that might be on them as unencumbered?

All of which (almost) gives official backing to Wikileaks and other sites we thought were thorns in its side!

Nokia accidentally unveils OS it should have had in 2009

Nick Kew Silver badge

Meego killed the ecosystem too

I well remember the buzz around Maemo at FOSDEM in February 2010. The N900 was the forerunner of Great Things, although the hardware was a big disappointment after a year with the superb E71 in my pocket.

That was the developer community.

Nokia abandoned us a couple of months later when they orphaned maemo and switched to Meego. So now Android was left as the only show in town for those who value freedom but don't want to be orphaned in a cul-de-sac.

HP to 'spinoff PC biz'

Nick Kew Silver badge

MeToo convergence?

So a couple of years ago IBM uniquely offers enterprise customers a reasonably comprehensive service from hardware to software to services and consultancy. Then Oracle buys Sun, and there are two.

Now, two plus MeToo?

I guess with EDS on board they can take poll position in Hot Air.

Canonical ARMs Ubuntu for microserver wars

Nick Kew Silver badge


"I don't want to have to build Apache on an ARM, just *run* it on an ARM."

Debian (and even more so, Canonical) are in the business of providing for users. So that'll be apt-get install apache

(having compiled apache - including lots of experimental stuff you won't find in apache tarballs, let alone debian/ubuntu packages - on ARM, I don't see the problem with the native platform).

But if you want to improve cross-compilation, I'm sure compiler folks out there would be receptive to patches.


Nick Kew Silver badge

Dinosaur industry: no change in four years ...

July 2007, El Reg wrote something about the jobs market, and London's Dilbertian bums-on-seats raised its ugly head.


On counterfeits, fakes and Apple stores

Nick Kew Silver badge


That's an overpriced soft drink, innit?

MPs round on plans to offshore gov IT work

Nick Kew Silver badge


Um ... many jobs gets offshored. That's how things are: get over it or bury your head in the sand.

But of all jobs to want to save, they pick the very epicentre[1] of Big Government IT Disasters! Ouch!

Don't know about the data protection issue. Is there any real reason to suppose data would be safer in the UK than in India?

[1] Joint epicentre, alongside Accenture.

Online map suppressing crime reporting, says survey

Nick Kew Silver badge

Hot spots

Those who rent don't have a problem with falling house prices. Does that mean reporting will correlate with areas full of rentals?

Or is that a welcome correction from a world where poorer folks would just shrug and assume nothing would be done about the yobs heaving bricks at them, and where others from Mrs Bucket to Mr Meldrew would be inclined to report skateboarding kiddies in the road outside to the police?

Nokia begins mass Symbian Anna update

Nick Kew Silver badge


My E71 too old? Heh.

Well, I guess that saves having to find out if there are any issues to worry about, like whether it hurts battery life, or whether it breaks maps (like the N900) by having it play sillybuggers and do things like rotate to its own agenda.

dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

Nick Kew Silver badge

Heed the warning signs

Last time I used DABS was around two and a half years ago. The order itself was fine, but ...

As always, I carefully selected all the "DON'T SPAM ME" options. So what happens? Yep, a regular stream of SPAM follows.

DABS instantly blacklisted. I've been a happy ebuyer user since then, but I do regret seeing the field narrowed. And I've missed out on that particular nightmare.

Moral: take heed of straws in the wind. When a retailer goes bad, don't shrug it off! Above all, never do business with a spammer: not even one who has been a good supplier in the past.

The real reason most source is closed? Open is hard

Nick Kew Silver badge
Thumb Up

Help is available!

If your project has sufficient merit to attract interest, help is available with the legal and community issues of open-sourcing it. See http://incubator.apache.org/

Nokia E6 smartphone

Nick Kew Silver badge


"I doubt if anyone felt an emotion resembling affection for their E71"

I love my E71! As a phone I'd choose it over any iphone or android model I've encountered. Comfortable in the pocket and in the hand (physically small), fantastic keyboard, and a decent battery life (like, my battery is well over two years old and I still get a week if I'm not using it too much for heavier tasks like GPS).

When it dies I want the replacement to be just as compact and comfortable, and to have as nice a keyboard! And preferably battery life, too!

Bloke pissing in reservoir prompts 8m gallon flush

Nick Kew Silver badge


Now we know how to bring devastation on the Great Satan. Liquid bombs.

Pee squad, get to work with those water supplies!

Oracle and Itanic: Tech's nastiest ever row?

Nick Kew Silver badge

The perils of closed source

A lesson for HP, and by extension for everyone. Don't bet the shop on something over which you have no control! If they'd stuck to open source for their core needs, they wouldn't be at risk of being held to ransom: at worst they'd need to go hiring!

I recollect hearing the same lesson upwards of a decade ago from an unusually tech-literate and forward-thinking GP in our NHS ...

HP dubs Oracle 'bitter antagonist' in Itanic spat

Nick Kew Silver badge

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"Maybe Hewlett-Packard should have bought the server and storage business from Sun Microsystems"

Am I the only one to think that for either IBM or HP to have acquired Sun's hardware would've raised a very real (and huge) red flag for the competition authorities? They took enough interest in the red herring of Oracle and MySQL!

'Leccy price hike: Greens to blame as well as energy biz

Nick Kew Silver badge
Thumb Down

Only for the seriously rich

"If you're pissed off at subsidising other people's installations, the obvious solution is to install one of your own.."

A solution available only to the rich. That is to say, you have to be a homeowner, and in control of your own roof (not in a flat, for example). Not even every house owner has a suitable roof.

I'm not so rich as to be able to install my own. Sure, I could afford the panels and installation without sweat, but not the site to install them on. So instead I've invested a five-figure total total in a couple of funds targeting ROCs and FITs. Only to see the government change the rules to exclude institutional investors - those of us not so rich as to own a home - from access to the best subsidies.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019