* Posts by Christopher P. Martin

363 posts • joined 28 Aug 2007


Pocket Wi-Fi hotspots paralyse Chinese metro lines

Christopher P. Martin


Absolute idiots. Even PMR446 kits are splattered with warnings not to use them for anything critical because it's an unregulated band. I would have thought that railway signalling came under the "mission critical" header. Somebody cutting corners needs to be seriously spanked for this.

Christopher P. Martin

I suspect...

...that shutting down the 3G network would mean that the WiFi hotspots attached to it would no longer have any data to transmit. Hence indirectly solving the 2.4GHz problem, whatever the 3G frequency.

Pirate Bay moves to the cloud to confound copyright cops

Christopher P. Martin

Re: irrelevant tech fixes

Oh come on. When has blocking the DNS ever worked? They can publish an IP address (or several), or many different domains pointing to it. While the US plays whackamole, people will club together to list the new domain names in a thousand different places. As it is, in the UK they blocked the main server, and all we have to do is type a different one. Usage from here dipped very briefly and is now back to normal. Blocking DNS will have close to no effect.

Anti-gay Uganda's premier backs pride march in protest hack

Christopher P. Martin

Re: List of thing to ban

a) Banning things seldom leads to a cessation, more likely a dangerous underground (see: drugs)

b) In the absence of a religious excuse, even atheists find ways to be bigoted (see: Richard Dawkins)

HSBC brands EVERY Apple iPhone 'an insecure PC'

Christopher P. Martin

Re: Time for tubby bye byes...

Go with the Co-op. I switched to them years ago from HSBC, and have been immensely impressed. Although, they do still bug me about that Rapport crap. I'm not installing a pointless, deeply-rooted resource hog with low-level access on my machines. Good basic AV + non-IE browser + big pile of common sense = safer banking. And if anyone mentions Linux I'll slap them.

Google ditches the bits in the bottom of the box

Christopher P. Martin

They still keeping Google+ then? Getting rid of iGoogle is probably another nudge in the direction of Google+. I guess that horse can still take a bit of whipping.

Doctors must be trained to avoid web blab blunders, says group

Christopher P. Martin

Do they really need to worry about Google+? Does anyone even read anything posted there?

Estonian labs chief says working for Microsoft hasn't changed Skype

Christopher P. Martin

Re: Why Bother With Both WLM And Skype ?

As long as they don't force me to sign in with a "Live ID" or whatever they call it now. I want to at least pretend it's not Microsoft. If it gets even 10% like the sneaky, hard-to-remove (to the layman), sinister-lurking-in-the-background-and-whispering-with-IE POS that Messenger is, it'll be gone from my machine.

Microsoft unveils paid SkyDrive options

Christopher P. Martin

As far as I know Dropbox has had this from the beginning... anything you put in the Public folder is linkable. Is the news just that it's been extended to the rest of the box? A minor tweak, I'd say.

Google G-drive app leak sparks 5GB file vault riddle

Christopher P. Martin

Re: This is news?

The problem I have with Microsoft's offering is that despite their larger space headline, you can't upload a file that's bigger than 100MB. Having just used Dropbox to easily share a (legitimately-owned, before you ask) 2GB zip file, skydrive is useless for me.

Chrome beats IE market share for one day

Christopher P. Martin

Re: Cream always rises

Sadly scum floats too. That's how we ended up with IE in the first place.

Dr Who scores new companion from Emmerdale

Christopher P. Martin

Re: Should have been Carey Mulligan

Amen to that one. They couldn't afford her now though.

iPlayer repeat fees threaten BBC earthquake

Christopher P. Martin

Re: What's the problem?

Personally I bat *both eyelids* and walk away without the DVD.

It's either one or the other. I pay the TV license and am allowed to watch iPlayer, or I don't and I'm not. At the moment I'm paying my TV license for no (legal) reason as I never watch live. I only pay it because I feel morally obliged. And if times get harder I may have to balance my moral obligation and stop paying.

Personally I don't think it's right that you don't need a license to watch iPlayer. But I'm buggered if I'm going to pay a potentially unlimited amount- easily reaching more than £12 per WEEK instead of £12 per month- just to watch the same content, slightly time-shifted. If it becomes my only option then I'll just start downloading it all illegally. I don't in any way suggest that'd be the "right" thing to do, but I'd be doing it anyway.

Report: UK falls behind as smart meters rolled out across Europe

Christopher P. Martin

Stage 1: Collect underpants.

Stage 2:

Stage 3: "smart metering will help to slash unnecessary energy use"

How can family sysadmins make a safe internet playground for kids?

Christopher P. Martin

Tomato on a WRT54GL is good for faffing with firewall/DNS etc. Much less bloated than DD-WRT and immensely stable (I've never manually rebooted it in 3 years, only goes down if the power goes down):


Also runs on many other routers (list here:



Only one D-link listed there though.

Google attacks Twitter's search bias claim

Christopher P. Martin
So... do people actually post anything on Google+?

Phone maker punts AA-powered blower

Christopher P. Martin

Zombies can use GPS now?

Chrome beta promises super-fast URL loads

Christopher P. Martin


...this was my first thought. Well, not that specifically, but there must be plenty of chances for autocomplete to get it spectacularly wrong and cause you to unwittingly download something NSFW, if not downright illegal. This I do not want.

Christopher P. Martin

That's why, I have a Nokia 1112. No camera, black and white, makes calls. I also have an Android tablet. To me they fulfil separate functions, and are therefore separate.

Facebook VERY SLOWLY rolls out Timeline

Christopher P. Martin

I kill all that Guardian/Independent articles sh!t so I don't get any of it in future. Have to admit it's an effort keeping on top of blocking all the crap though.

Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

Christopher P. Martin

Originally misread this as:

"South Korea – one of the most WEIRD countries in the world". Thought that would've been a bit offensive.

Creepy photo-tagging tech slotted into Google+

Christopher P. Martin

That's right...

...it's not crammed full of anyone. I've got quite big circles on there and it's still a ghost town. Haven't had a single notification in months. I wanted it to work, I really did. But critical mass is required, and it ain't got it.

Oh, and the suggesting of your family members- that's THEIR fault. At some point they will have allowed FB access to their email address book and it will have noted that you were in it. Anyway, Google is at least as creepy as Facebook- I'm sure they know far more about you than you'd like, judging by your apparent level of paranoia. Don't get complacent with Google if you're scared of FB. Oh, and get an ad blocker if you don't want ads.

Christopher P. Martin


...is that thing still around?

2011's Best... DSLRs

Christopher P. Martin

Worth mentioning...

...that the D5100 has an identical sensor to the D7000, and despite the slightly lower megapixelage compared to the Canon, it has a measurably better image quality. It's excellent at high ISO in either camera. The D5100 is a great camera- the excess of "fluff" features such as scene modes make it look like more of a toy than it is. What you get is most of a D7000 in a more compact and cheaper body. It's a great choice for a serious amateur.

I agree with previous postings though- the D7000 is much better compared with the 7D in an article like this, otherwise it's not really fair. As for the comments on video- if you want a video camera, why are you buying an SLR?

Navy pays 2x purchase price to keep warship docked for 5 years

Christopher P. Martin

"£8m in today's money"

Hmm... you forget that the price of labour has not increased in line with general inflation. To build that ship now from scratch- even assuming you could find the necessary skilled trades- would cost vastly more than £8m because people expect to be paid at least an order of magnitude more in real terms than they did then.

I suspect their "aircraft carrier" estimate is therefore not as wild as you might imagine, although my guess would be somewhere between the two figures.

YaCy takes on Google with open source search engine

Christopher P. Martin

Others have tried to take on Google...

...others have faceplanted. Remember Cuil? No, that's right, you don't. I wish it well, but I won't hold my breath.

Wales relaunches bilingual online traffic info service

Christopher P. Martin

According to this paper:


the answer is a clear 'no'. Although looking at the last figure, the proportion of people speaking Welsh at all has risen slightly in the 10 years from 1991 to 2001 to a little above 20% from a low of about 19%. This is probably due to the compulsory teaching of Welsh in schools, now enforced up until age 16. In 1901 the proportion was 50%.

Christopher P. Martin

I'd be interested to see...

...how many hits the Welsh version gets. And how that breaks down into cost per user.

Microsoft tempts Kinect developers with bacon

Christopher P. Martin

Spray cheese?

(<-see icon)

Best Buy to shutter all UK megastores

Christopher P. Martin


And I just yesterday bought a new DSLR from one. All of you complaining about price- it was by far the cheapest option compared to any legit online source I could find (and I don't include grey imports in my definition of "legit" due to warranty issues). Awesome shop, very helpful staff. Thought it was too good to be true. Just hope I don't have any early warranty issues or it's probably a trip to Japan for my nice shiny toy after they close.

Vegas man begs web for $1m to fix gigantic scrotum

Christopher P. Martin

And yet...

...so many Americans think a national health service is a bad thing. If he was a UK citizen, he'd most likely already have been treated and would be on the road to recovery by now. It's obscene that he has to even think about the cost. Oh that's right, I forgot- in American English "socialism" is a synonym for Communism isn't it?

Brits forced to join waiting list for iPhone 4S

Christopher P. Martin


Is it really beyond them to get their supply chain right? After all, it's not like this is the first time it's happened. Anybody would think they were doing it on purpose...

'Mental act' computerisations no longer automatically unpatentable

Christopher P. Martin

Oh dear.

Software patents = bad. This is not a good move, whatever the jargon surrounding it.

Nissan Micra DIG-S

Christopher P. Martin

Got a diesel Honda Civic...

...never had a fault in its life. I refer you to this document:


which neatly shows Renault's position in the reliability stakes.

Christopher P. Martin

Yeah. One of life's little rules: never buy a French car.

Hackers break SSL encryption used by millions of sites

Christopher P. Martin

Maybe that's the problem- it's too obscure for the masses, yet slightly too complicated/quirky for the average technical user to make it work how they like it. I am a technical user, yet didn't manage to work out how to do the "white box until you click play" thing- and I was trying. Yes, it can be done, but if it takes longer than my attention span to figure out how because it's different from what I'm used to, then that's quite a big negative for me, and evidently many others. I know that probably sounds idiotic, but it's unfortunately how people work.

It seems only power users willing to explore it in depth can get it working the way they want it (you admit yourself to being a network manager), and that is a very small market segment. Thus I think it falls between two stools. The people who get to know it properly seem to love it and tend to evangelise about it, but most people can't be bothered to put the time in when they're basically happy with Chrome/Firefox/god help us IE.

On the plus side, I quite like Opera Mobile on my tablet. But that's a different thing altogether really.

Christopher P. Martin

What is it about Opera?

People seem so evangelical about it! I tried it- for quite a long time- and, well, I just didn't like it. You don't seem to get fundamentalist Chrome/Firefox/IE people, so why Opera? I just don't get it.

Kingston Wi-Drive wireless flash storage

Christopher P. Martin

All of which...

...helpfully demonstrates my point for me. Your first citation has the direct quote: "...no direct correlation is being made between electronic interference from personal electronic devices and plane malfunctions". I strongly agree with "some experts" referred to in this one who say that "these anecdotes are not enough to draw conclusions".

Your second citation doesn't refer to personal electronic devices, but the installation of access point gear in planes which only vaguely correlated with some problems during "ground testing 'at elevated power levels'".

Your third citation, another direct quote: "despite all of the studies that have been done, there is really no hard scientific evidence that cell phones, or other devices, actually interfere with the navigation and communication equipment on aircraft" and it goes on to say that all the evidence is anecdotal.

I'll barely even dignify the fourth "citation" with a debunking. It's actually from August 1994, if you look here: http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Issue/straitstimes19940807.aspx and it is pure hearsay and anecdote fuelled by paranoia.

In my eyes, there is as much basis for not using wifi on planes as there is for these poor people thinking their collection of (possibly psychosomatic, or possibly physical and unrelated) symptoms are caused by radio waves: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14887428

This leaves you with the argument: "well, it might cause a problem, and I'm not willing to take that chance". If that were a valid argument in its own right, none of us would be using wifi or mobile phones at all "just in case" they cause cancer (which, incidentally, also has no evidence whatsoever to support it). The evidence for electronic devices interfering with planes is so slim it's practically non-existent.

Christopher P. Martin

Would these be the same 'documented examples'...

...that are actually just the crew guessing that's what might have caused a malfunction? Actually I can answer that one- yes, because there are zero confirmed cases of interference. And the in-plane wifi may be certified, but it's still people's own phones that connect to them. There's nothing magic about the on plane wifi that makes peoples phones somehow safer.

Christopher P. Martin


"being wireless, there’s no way you can use it on a plane"

Other than... just turning it on and using it like you would anywhere else. They aren't going to know, and it really isn't going to cause the plane to fall out of the sky.

Google brings out new programming language

Christopher P. Martin


...most certainly is not dead. I work at a major engineering consultancy company with a multi-million pound turnover. A large fraction of that is from licensing and maintenance of our flagship software package, the vast majority of which is coded in a Smalltalk VM, with some of the heavy number crunching done in fortran. We have a dev team of about a dozen working on it full time, including some working on Smalltalk web apps. I have to say having worked in a lot of environments, Smalltalk really rocks.

WikiLeaks releases full searchable US secret cable files

Christopher P. Martin
Thumb Down

PGP broken?

That one must have passed me by. As far as I know, PGP just uses widely known algorithms (IDEA/DES/AES/Blowfish etc.) that are currently not known to have been "broken". Any chance you could point me to a citation for that...?

People don't want tablets, they want iPads

Christopher P. Martin

Well, it's good news if you ask me.

Having just bought a bottom-of-the range Archos 101 tablet for a mere £150 (just dropped from £200 at Carphone Whorehouse), I'm happy as a badger in a pile of worms. It's not fancy, and the viewing angles are a bit tight, but it's great for 90% of what tablets three times the price actually get used for.

A-level results accidentally put on interwebs a week early

Christopher P. Martin

Firefox 7?

What? They've only just released 6!

Fake collar bomb victim back in lock down

Christopher P. Martin

Well the problem with that argument is...

...that if an intruder is expecting an armed resident prepared to use lethal force, then they'll almost certainly be armed and prepared to use lethal force themselves.

While it's true that guns don't kill people (people do), when there are a lot of guns around a lot of people tend to get killed. Admittedly this is but one factor of many in a complex system. However, it probably contributes to the US having a homicide rate nearly four times that of Australia and the UK.

Hackers breach chocolate recipe on Hershey website

Christopher P. Martin

I always thought...

...that their secret ingredient was baby sick. That's what they taste like to me.

Acoustic trauma: How wind farms make you sick

Christopher P. Martin

So why was my post randomly deleted after having already been approved?

Last time I checked it had 8 upvotes (and only 1 downvote). And I know I didn't imagine that because it's still in the Google cache. I can cope with outright rejection, but when a post has been accepted, and generally approved by upvotes, I'd be grateful if a reason were given for spontaneous deletion. I also notice a disappearance of the comment from someone I forget the handle of who said "is this the same Carl Phillips that was fired from the university of Alberta...?". Is this because of potential libel, or did it just make Carl unhappy? I can't work out which bit of the house rules I broke.

This post has been deleted by a moderator

It's official: IE users are dumb as a bag of hammers

Christopher P. Martin

I was clever enough...

...to stop the whole Mensa IQ-test process when they asked me for money.

Christopher P. Martin

I tried it...

...and I didn't like it. Each to their own.


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