* Posts by DrXym

4369 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

NHS trust to digitise millions of patient records

DrXym Silver badge

Who said I feel confident?

"Still feel confident about the digitising of patient records?"

I just cited the sorts of things that should be mitigated against. Screwups happen but there are have to be procedures in place to a) minimize them, and b) if they do happen, to contain the damage and prevent it happening again.

In the case of your story, I suggest if all new hires had been required to undergo security / confidential information training that 99% of screwups would have been prevented before they had even happened. I mentioned HIPAA because I've worked in a claims processing place where these rules have a real impact on how data is handled.

DrXym Silver badge

Don't see a huge issue with this

So long as adequate security measures are in place to protect data, pre and post scanning then digitising the records is a win for patients and administrators. What shouldn't happen is they outsource all this work to some crowd in India and subsequently discover 10,000s of records in a skip. Or that some worker is permitted to download the entire hospital's records onto a PC and leave it on a train.

There need to be strict guidelines and strict sanctions concerning the access and use of this data. The US has an act called HIPAA which is explicitly meant to protect patient confidential information and it would be a good idea for the NHS to look at some of the ways confidentiality can be breached either through malice or ignorance and put procedures and safeguards in place to protect against them.

Fans goad Valve for Half-Life 3 gen

DrXym Silver badge

What a stupid petition

Valve are most likely working on HL3 so some petition is not going to alter their plans one jot. It'll come when it's ready. Maybe fans of the series should calm down and check out some other games in the meantime.

I liked HL2. It was a highly polished shooter with a somewhat interesting story, but I don't get where the adulation is coming from. I thought Portal / Portal 2 had a far better plot and script and was technically part of the same "universe" as HL.

Netgear ReadyNas Duo v2 network storage

DrXym Silver badge

I recommend Synology

I have a 211j with 2x2TB drives in RAID 1 mode and it's perfect for home use. The j stands for Junior but I can't say I've had any issue with its performance at all. Best thing about it is the software which covers the basics but also lets the box be used as a DLNA media server, mail server, web server, torrent downloader etc., all through a nice GWT based HTML user interface.

Woz praises Android, blasts iPhone limitations

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Navigation is great on android with one caveat

Google's navigation app is fantastic. It has far more detail than "thick" satnav apps and tends to give more useful and specific advice too, e.g. knowing which lane to be in, or what the street is called. I tried Copilot and frankly it was useless by comparison though it did work in offline mode.

Which is where Google's app falls down - you need to be online to use it. It would be great to be able to plan a route in advance and for the app to cache the route and major roads either side and be able to use it offline.

As an aside, I have a Nokia Lumia 800 and I was looking forward to using the Nokia Drive app which allows you to download maps to the phone. Great when you're in France or somewhere and don't want to be screwed on roaming data. But can use it in offline mode? Nope. The maps might be offline but you still need to go online to find destinations or work out routes to those destinations. This is the worst of both worlds IMO. What is the point of offline maps if you still have to go online to use them? Useless app.

So my advice is that if you have data then Google's app is superior. If you're offline or roaming then buy a satnav (app) and live with its limitations. And don't bother with Nokia Drive.

Gartner: Ultrabooks aren't tickling anyone's fancy

DrXym Silver badge

Not surprised

I'm not surprised if people show disinterest in them. They're very expensive devices and few people can justify the expense for something which is functionally no different from something costing 2/3 or 1/2 the price in a slightly thicker form factor.

Footie club sacks striker for homophobic tweet

DrXym Silver badge

So how does one padlock an arse?

Is there a special Kensington butt plug for that purpose?

US killer spy drone controls switch to Linux

DrXym Silver badge

The main threat

From the sounds of it the main threat is machines getting infected from people plugging in infected USB devices, or through the network. Linux is obviously going to be more secure in both regards. That isn't to say Linux is immune to attack, far from it, but attacks tend to require at least some level of human involvement & direction at the other end to succeed.

Samsung Remote

DrXym Silver badge

TVs need to be bluetooth enabled

Think of the possibilities if TVs and other devices were bluetooth enabled.

Your phone could pair with the TV (and sat box etc), asking each paired device for a list of its functions, its layout and become a perfectly functional remote. You wouldn't need a Samsung app, or some crappy IR dongle / remote for a smart phone. One app could multiple devices through a standards based mechanism.

More advanced behaviour could also be envisaged, e.g. your TV tells your phone what channel it's on, what's playing, the EPG data for the show, allows you to set reminders, allows you to listen to audio through headphones and so on without disrupting what you're seeing on screen.

It beggars belief there is no industry push for this sort of stuff. Even devices such as the PS3, where one would assume a firmware update could enable this kind of thing doesn't do it. The bluetooth remote for the PS3 demonstrates is so damned useful so I don't get it. Maybe it's cost, but then again if a device packs in wifi then chances are the chip also does bluetooth too, and increasingly mid / high range TVs and other kit are packing in wifi.

RIM demos PlayBook OS2

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My guess

RIM discovered that their email stack / app was 15 years of accumulated spaghetti touched by hundreds of developers and porting it to their tablet was virtually impossible in the timeframe. So they concocted a story that the tablet had to bridged to a phone through an ugly kludge "for security" and were amazed that nobody else shared their view. Problem is of course is now they're very late to the party and I expect enterprises are wondering why they need blackberry at all. After all, it's not like the iOS or Android powered devices are *that* enterprise hostile and Windows Phone / 8 is another option. RIM really is starting to look redundant.

Suicidal Foxconn workers talked down from factory roof

DrXym Silver badge

Hmm

I reckon the chances of a mass suicide actually happening stood around 0%. It's just a stunt for the workers to seek publicity & expose Foxconn to embarrassment for their grievances and apparently its worked.

Intel caught faking CES ultrabook gaming demo

DrXym Silver badge

My netbook can (just about)

My netbook is about 18 months old and can just about play a 720p video though it occasionally stutters or drops frames. A larger and more recent laptop (costing £399) has no trouble at all playing them even 1080p and can even make a pretty decent job of playing Portal 2 at medium settings.

I would sure as hell hope an ultrabook costing 2x again should be able to play games and videos with very few problems. Maybe it wouldn't play games on ultra settings, but it should be able to do them on medium at least.

Nokia sheds light on latest Lumia

DrXym Silver badge

@Adam13

I see the Windows Phone has a defence force of at least 1.

a) Nokia Drive does not background download so the premium app in the flagship phone is broken right?

b) Not all apps implement a settings in the app at all and splitting them out from the app they refer to is just confusing.

c) I realise Wifi and Bluetooth are trademarks and it instantly introduces an inconsistency in the menu. And putting stuff in lower case just looks silly.

d) The app store is a ghost town. Apps like Netflix and Skype (also trademarked) that one would expect to see (the former since Netflix just launched in the UK) simply aren't there. Others like YouTube player are just dumb HTML wrappers.

e) I've rarely have to restart my Android phone and battery life is par for the course for smart phones. It's true some people use task managers but so what? The Lumia certainly doesn't win any awards in the power consumption department either, so far requiring charging every day and is pretty slow charging too.

Sorry but while the experience is superficially pretty it simply doesn't compare to either iPhone or Android.

DrXym Silver badge

@Jim

I think you're referring to background agents and there are severe limitations on the number you may install, the frequency they are called and the amount of time they can run for.

I assume the BBC app is using a periodic agent since resource intensive agents don't even run unless the phone is plugged in. A periodic agent is restricted to running once every 30 mins for a maximum of 25 seconds. So if it can't download everything and update its database in that time it doesn't work at all.

It's better than nothing I suppose and gives some semblance of multitasking but it is not multitasking. It discounts the ability to download arbitrary amounts of data, or to update data more frequently. e.g. I might quite like to be able to update my tweets every 5 mins but I can't on Windows Phone 7.

It also rules out the possibility of Nokia Drive for example downloading a 100Mb map in the background. Maybe there is a discrete download service where an arbitrary url can be downloaded (like the BITS service in Win32) but it certainly isn't using it as far as I can tell.

DrXym Silver badge

Lumia impressions

Got my Lumia 800 a few days ago (thanks Nokia!). In general the hardware is pretty decent with an amazing screen, and a solid industrial design. Major quibble is the charge port is under a hatch which strikes me as completely pointless given the device has to be charged every day.

OS wise, Windows Phone 7.x has a very impressive and sleek UI but it's not hard to see the cracks after using it a bit. For some reason Microsoft has chosen to make all menus lower case which really looks stupid given that they're not even consistent in doing it, e.g. WiFi is capitalized and surrounded by other menus which are not. Apps and settings are also scattered around the UI so you actually have to leave an app in order to change the settings for the app which is plain dumb (Apple does this too). My biggest annoyance is if an app wants to download something (e.g. a 100MB map in Nokia Drive app) then you must endure the download because if you flip away the download is suspended. Its the most frustrating and silly flaw borne from a fundamentally broken single tasking interface.

The market place is also afflicted by a dearth of decent apps, many of which cost more money than their Android / Apple equivalents. On the positive side, games are handled in a far more integrated way than Apple or Android with XBox Live being put to good use and offering trials for lots of games. I was surprised not to see Skype in the market place store.

So in summary hardware good, software so-so. I can see users who are intimidated by Android might feel more comfortable with this OS, but really it doesn't offer any compelling features of its own. Given the price of the device I would not recommend this phone to someone who has a choice to get something running another OS.

One thing it has piqued in me is a desire to get my existing Android code to run on it. Best as I can think I'll have to compile as much of the Java code with GWT and house the lot inside an HTML view or phonegap wrapper. Should be interesting to see what happens.

OLPC shows off XO 3 tablet running Android or Linux

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@Drew V

The point is OLPC wouldn't get the Google apps at all. No GMail. They'd have the bog standard POP3 Mail app but not GMail, nor any of the other apps which do the datamining.

I doubt they will make much effort to customize the default build but it is easy enough to cut out apps which are surplus to user requirements, maybe write their own IME devices. There are enough alternatives to Marketplace to show it is not hard to write *something*. Even a basic web site with some .apk links would do the job but a thin app could be written that invokes the PackageInstaller activity for the same effect.

I have no idea how OLPC might port their UI to Android - Sugar is such a godawful mess that it would almost require a full rewrite. Maybe they haven't thought about it too deeply themselves.

DrXym Silver badge

@Captain Underpants

The datamining comes from using the value added apps which are not part of the Android open source code - Marketplace, GMail, Google+, Maps etc. i.e. you get driving directions from their maps app and they learn a little more about you and your location with which to sell advertising. There might be a limited number of data mining opportunities in the vanilla Android build (e.g. the default browser homepage) but there really isn't much else to speak of as far as I'm aware.

OLPC would probably take the default android source and build and modify that to their requirements. Google likely wouldn't earn much if anything from the effort beyond delivering ads to web pages which students happened to be browsing.

DrXym Silver badge

Google does not get 100% of the data

Google only gets the data if you bother to use Google services from your Android build. e.g. if the browser's home page is set to google.com. Or if you install their apps which implies certification.

Lots of devices running Android have been configured to not use Google services. e.g. older Archos devices have their own app store and homepage. Some devices even use Android builds that talk with rival services (e.g. Baidu or Amazon).

I assume any OLPC build would not be using Google's services given the purpose of the project and the sorts of locations / environments they would end up being used from.

DrXym Silver badge

Why does Google get anything?

You don't have to pay Google a cent to use Android on a device. It might be different if OLPC were to certify the device, licence Marketplace and the Google Apps but I somehow that is a relevant concern for a device for kids.

More likely the device will have a fixed set of apps with no ability to modify the list, or if there is a "store" it will be a custom job that points to a teacher / administrator controlled set of apps that students may install on their machines.

DrXym Silver badge

Said it last time, I'll say it this time

OLPC really should be selling consumer versions of this tablet. I assume it would run Android reasonably well and its ruggedised form factor and cheap price would be attractive too. They'd have to charge more for a consumer version of course and tweak the specs / appearance a bit to keep the educational / consumer versions distinct (i.e. to stop people stealing educational models to sell on EBay). But I bet they could sell a lot of devices if they priced them for $200.

Sales would help them increase volumes and profits would subsidize the educational version so everyone would win.

What they should not do is launch some lame Buy Two Get One scheme like they did with the XO-1. OLPC pioneered the netbook form factor and watched impotently from the sidelines as others such as ASUS, Acer, HP et al profited from consumer demand for those devices.

Sony goes inorganic for 'eye popping' OLED TV rival

DrXym Silver badge

The difference

OLED is still notoriously expensive. I think OLED is definitely the future but I don't see it being affordable any time soon. It reminds me of the early days of plasma where some sets cost £10,000. Prices will drop eventually but in the meantime it shouldn't mean LCD tech should sit around twiddling its thumbs.

If Sony can stick a light behind every subelement of an LCD its going to yield incredibly vivid pictures with infinite contrast ratios. It should look fantastic and I expect it's cheaper to adapt existing LCD production lines to support the tech than build out new OLED ones.

So both techs have a place I think and will continue to do so until OLED gets cheaper.

Huawei uncloaks sleek, slim, sexy smartphones

DrXym Silver badge

Well quite

Google activates 700,000 Android devices every day. They're not all the same model of device but that's kind of the beside the point.

Archos G9 101 8GB Android tablet

DrXym Silver badge

At least Archos is back in the fold once more. There was a while where they rolled their own Android 2.x derivative and their own marketplace app (AppsLib) and people had to screw around manually getting the Google apps on the device. At least by tracking the mainline Android you get a well thought out, tested user interface on your OS, lots of apps and hopefully that allows Archos to concentrate on the stuff they know best.

DrXym Silver badge

Depends what their dongle is

I doubt Archos developed their 3G dongle from scratch so there is a sporting chance it's just a ZTE or Huwaei device underneath. Which might mean that the tablet will work with other dongles in the same family of chipsets. It might even be that Archos kept their options open and provide drivers for several modem chipsets so they can change as they see fit.

Maybe they don't do any of this but it should be easy enough for someone to grab a USB extension cable and plug in some random 3G modems and see what if anything actually happens.

DrXym Silver badge

What use is that?

"I'd rather have a 2nd hand iPad 1st gen."

Except no iPad will play virtually any video format thrown at it. They may deign to play video formats in the exact container and codec profile that Apple approves but that's it. You don't even get VLC these days for the rest.

"The 3G option is quite clever but would have been better if they left a gap big enough to fit most of the USB dongles rather than making you pay extra. If you have to pay extra you may as well get it built in to your iPad / other tablet."

3G dongles appear in lots of shapes and (usually bulbous) sizes. I assume you could just insert a USB extension cable to accommodate some random 3G key. The tablet recognizing it is another matter. Because Android runs over a Linux kernel, means there is a sporting chance that a driver could be compiled to support popular 3G models but it would be a QA nightmare for Archos to test them, and why bother when they sell their own key for considerably less than most tablets demand for 3G enabled models.

Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

DrXym Silver badge

I don't find it bad

I'm using Firefox right now on a netbook thanks to being away from home and the performance is good. I used to use Opera with turbo mode on to squeeze as much bandwidth out of my 3G allowance but Opera really is a slug on this same setup. GMail and other complex sites are intolerably sluggish with Opera suggesting layout inefficiencies.

I'd potentially use Chrome instead of Firefox though I haven't had cause to switch away.

DrXym Silver badge

And they keep coming

"that were designed specifically for IE6."

And people don't learn and are doing the same for IE7. I was involved with a project just recently for an insurance claims processing system. The chosen browser - IE7. I tried to point out that GWT (the chosen development platform) output code for other browsers, and wouldn't it be a good idea to ensure that the CSS for the app worked with other browsers at least as a contigency? Nope. The app was being deployed to IE7 and that was that.

The insane part is there were no benefits to doing this at all. Even in a controlled deployment it's not hard to install another browser as part of the deployment, e.g. a version of Firefox. And chances are by doing so the performance would have been better too so everyone would have won.

I expect someone will eventually command that the app should now work with IE8 or Firefox and wonder why it takes 6-12 months of additional work and expense to make it happen. That's corporations for you.

HTC Sensation XL

DrXym Silver badge

I don't like Sense either

I have an HTC desire and there is a lot of crapware on there. My own opinion is that if I absolutely wanted Facebook or some crappy Twitter client then I could install it from the market. The phone should restrain itself to the basic apps and no further. Or at least refrain from baking crapware into the firmware so it wastes storage and cannot be removed. Even Sense should be optional, as in if I don't use it then don't waste space holding it.

The sense UI in general is okay but I cannot stand the phone app. It's far too easy to dial numbers by accident, or hang up by accident. Simple example - I hit hangup, slide the phone back in my shirt pocket and discover I've gone and rung someone by accident because the app reverts to show a list of recent numbers which it calls with one tap. Or I'm fiddling with the phone and mid-tap the incoming call screen replaces what I was on and my tap ends up hanging up on the call. It's very annoying.

That Brit-built £22 computer: Yours for just £1,900 or more

DrXym Silver badge

@James Hughes 1

"As to amazing, if its so 'unamazing', why hasn't there been one before?"

There are lots of devices packing a Sigma, Broadcom or similar SOC. They just happen to be packaged and sold as media players or some other kind of set top box but fundamentally they're much of a muchness - some SoC, some memory, a USB port, an ethernet port and HDMI out. Many of them run Linux too, usually with a slim user land to host some bespoke app. I've developed such an app myself.

Strip out the middlemen fees, margins, redundant licences (e.g. Dolby) and the other stuff in the box and they could be sold for around the same price as the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi should still be happy about meeting this price but it really isn't the most notable thing about it. What is more special is its caught the imagination of developers and geeks, will probably come with APIs to tap the hardware assisted h264, and is likely to attract a large enthusiast base. That is what is more important about it than its price.

DrXym Silver badge

@Vic

"The unit *already* supports Debian, Fedora and ArchLinux. Ubuntu was originally planned, but seems to have been dropped for the time-being."

Read what I said - "What people should NOT expect is to use a generic Linux dist on it for day to day use."

I'm fully aware it can run Linux but the pertinent point is day to day use. Performance is going to suck if you try and use it as a desktop. It will be hamstrung by the CPU (700Mhz), low memory (128/256Mb) and the flash or USB IO. It'll stink as a day to day device. The device's true strength will lie in running an embedded version Linux (e.g. Busybox, Uclibc) or a severely pared down dist with a few bespoke apps on top such as MythTV or XBMC

DrXym Silver badge

Looking forward to it

Truth be told there really is nothing amazing about a £25 computer. It's using the same parts that you could find in any generic media player - a SoC with some hardware support for h264 and HDMI, and the accompanying flash and other bits. You can even buy media players for south of $100 and of course you get a PSU, remote, stb form factor.

Where I think Raspberry Pi may differ is its likely to gather a large enthusiast base which means we're likely to see all kinds of cool things come out of it. The obvious is aformentioned media player but I suspect there will be plenty more and all well supported. What people should NOT expect is to use a generic Linux dist on it for day to day use. These sorts of SoCs are best suited to embedded applications and generally suck as general purpose CPUs. I'll still be plonking money down when they go on sale though.

Dagenham council: Only language our tenants understand is SMS

DrXym Silver badge

About 5 years too late

Even chavs have smart phones these days. Why not put mobile friendly website up that lets them check this stuff and put a prominent message on the call centre system to tell them to go use it.

Raving Iranian TV accuses Ofcom of Sky ban

DrXym Silver badge

Serves them right

Reading through the Ofcom report, Press TV did an "interview" with some poor bugger from an Iranian jail who was compelled to give scripted answers to scripted questions. And the Press TV went on to use this interview without mentioning the rather pertinent fact he was under extreme duress.

I'm glad to see Ofcom slap them down. Alternate viewpoints doesn't mean broadcast standards are optional. Fox got whacked for it a few years back to. I'm glad to see Press TV get whacked now.

Hasbro sues Asus over Transformer Prime moniker

DrXym Silver badge

Correction

I think everyone realises ASUS probably lifted the idea from the series but proving it, or demonstrating any harm or confusion is caused by it is quite another matter.

ASUS already had a Transformer tablet for the last year. I can see ASUS arguing fairly succinctly that Transformer is a generic word in this case describing a function of the tablet to transform into a netbook, and that Prime is indicative of the fact that the model is the range tablet in the Transformer range.

Ofcom maps out what 'psychics' are allowed to do on TV

DrXym Silver badge

Casinos

Well if there were genuine psychics then their personal forte could be astral projection, talking to dead people, picking up empathic "vibrations", telekinesis and so on. That's why Randi goes out of his way to allow the "psychic" to tailor the test in an agreed fashion to suit their claims. As long as the test was fair, precluded cheating by either side, or winning by chance and was self evident.

So if I claimed to be able to astral project the mutually agreed test might be to read 5 out of 6 numbers sitting under cups on a table in the middle of the room.

So yeah maybe there is a psychic who can see the future (though one wonders how you can see the future without altering it) in which case maybe they are cleaning up in Vegas and various lotteries. More likely is they don't exist at all.

DrXym Silver badge

Ay that would do it

"Psychics" concoct one pathetic excuse after another why they can't spare a morning taking a cool million dollars from Randi. The common one is to pretend the money doesn't exist despite JREF declaring it on their tax returns. If that fails they'll concoct reasons the test cannot possibly work in conditions that prevent cheating or mere chance.

You'd think any genuine psychic would be around like a shot to pick up a cheque. I know I would. After all a million dollars would just be the beginning. Any winner would make tens, hundreds millions more hawking books, TV shows, lectures, readings on the basis of winning.

Yet mysteriously they all make their excuses. One can only surmise that genuine psychics are shy timid creatures who do not seek the fame and limelight which implies any of the numerous "psychics" who does seek the limelight is a complete fraud.

DrXym Silver badge

Ban the lot of them

I cannot think of any legitimate reason to permit "psychics" to have their own shows or spots on other shows except for the purposes of exposing them for the charlatans they are.

O2 denies Nokia WinPho handset cull

DrXym Silver badge

By coincidence

I was looking for the Lumia 800 on the O2 site yesterday because Nokia are finally sending out handsets to developers. Which is nice. I wonder if they're selling or not.

A simple HTML tag will crash 64-bit Windows 7

DrXym Silver badge

Who says it's the OS?

Could be a duff graphics driver told by an app to allocate some ridiculous sized surface, as a consequence of which it crashes and BSODs the OS. Something somewhere should be catching the error though.

DrXym Silver badge

Pining Mac users?

Personally I think Safari for a Windows is a piece of crap not least because it inflicts a pale imitation of the OS X look & feel onto Windows. But I suppose some people might use it, for example Mac users who are running it from work or whatever.

Still, it sounds like an edge case. I assume that if it's something to do with the height of an IFRAME that safari is blindly trusting the content to be sane and then doing something stupid such as allocating memory which exhausts all physical memory, consumes all system resources or something similar.

Sony PS Vita sales fall shy of 3DS launch volume

DrXym Silver badge

Nice looking device

You get a lot of bang per buck from a Vita - quad core, 2xcapacitive touch, OLED, GPS, twin sticks, 2x camera, microphone etc. and on the face of it for an attractive price too.

It's too bad that half the games require you buy a separate memory card which pushes the price up. I don't think people would object if the device used MicroSD cards, but it doesn't.

Her Majesty's £444m court IT system can't even add up fines

DrXym Silver badge

I'd love to know

Why all these government contracts end up costing so much, taking so long and falling short in terms of performance, even to the point of failing to do what they were designed for.

Clearly a lot of suppliers are taking the government for a ride. They're making wholly unreasonable promises for delivery (thanks to commission based salesmen), burning through the budget with a revolving door of (sub)contractors, overcharging for kit and delivering an inferior product. It's about time government started getting tougher. Hold projects to their delivery dates, put a cap on contract rates, impose fines for late delivery and withhold sufficient payment to act as incentive to deliver something which meets acceptance criteria. And blackball any contractor who attempts to take the country for a ride so they cannot repeat the same trick somewhere else.

E-book reader sales to boom as prices plunge

DrXym Silver badge

It's not the price of the device matters

But the price of the books. And the problem is the books cost WAY too much.

Feds cuff KISS rock star's DDoS suspect

DrXym Silver badge

What a dummy

Anyone participating in these sort of attacks is advertising their IP address to the target. If the target is doing any sort of logging then it is relatively simple to follow the address back to the attacker. They may as well chuck a brick through Gene Simmon's window with their name and address tied to it.

Prada and LG peg up third fashion phone

DrXym Silver badge

At least it's not as bad

As those denim phones a few years back which had a clothing tag sticking out of the side. I have to wonder who buys this tat though.

Apple TV tops connected set-top box chart

DrXym Silver badge

Not the point

"Very few people buy a ps3 just to be able to stream media from their pc or the internet to their telly. Whereas for AppleTV and Roku and the rest, that's their primary function."

Maybe they don't but that's what a lot of them get used for. And Xbox 360's too. Both make excellent streaming devices and both have their own video rental services plus 3rd party apps like Netflix players and so forth.

Windows Phones message hub hit by killer SMS

DrXym Silver badge

Go back 5 years

And people were doing similar stuff with phones which were contemporary with your phone, possibly even your phone itself. Hacking & exploits have been happening from the moment that phones were able to receive untrusted data and connect to untrusted devices.

DrXym Silver badge

Who says its executing it?

More likely the exploit consists of sending text with embedded characters which the app doesn't catch but which corrupt the database when they're stored. e.g. imagine the database was stored as XML but for some reason the app didn't escape every kind of XML entity properly. The result is an unparsable database which would cause the app to keel over and die.

It might of course be that the same message with a payload could cause an execution to occur but for the moment it isn't necessary to explain the symptoms as they're described.

Ebooks must stay fat with VAT, blame the EU, MPs told

DrXym Silver badge

Lobby for digital property

I'm not surprised they're slapping a VAT on ebooks because nobody is buying ebooks - they're buying software licences to read ebooks.

If people want to see ebooks stand a chance of being treated like regular books they should be lobbying the more technologically minded members of parliament to draw up a bill enshrining the concept of digital property into law and exempting digital books from VAT in the same way as physical books.

Then there is a clear incentive for booksellers and device manufacturers to sell digital property instead of licences because their prices will be cheaper than other sellers that stick with the licence model.

How digital property is implemented would be interesting and complex, but if bitcoin can manage ownership of virtual currency then I am certain that something is achievable with other forms of digital property.

Red Cross: 600m videogamers may be war criminals

DrXym Silver badge

So what games are these?

I'm not aware of any mainstream military shooter game that lets a player gun down civilians and get away with it.

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