1038 posts • joined 24 Sep 2007
A man let down by others
I bought a couple of Baygen radios to give to people who needed them. It was a double benefit because Baygen had a policy of giving one radio away in Africa for each radio bought in the UK. Trevor wasn't just an inventor, he was a true philanthropist. I don't think he ever expected to get rich off the sales of the radios but I think he was (rightly) upset about the way his idea was both pillaged and diminished by companies looking to make a big profit.
His genuine innovation was the control circuitry that governed the clockwork generator meaning that the spring unwound at a rate determined by how loud the radio was. The rest was good design. The Baygen radios were a pleasure to listen to with a decent sized loudspeaker. They were capable of decent sound levels and could be used to entertain a family or a number of people in a public space in a village.
There's another side to a successful product and that is selling the product on its features and benefits. The Baygen was well designed, reliable and was a good product even without the clockwork generator (it was possible to run the radio from an external PSU). It should have succeeded as a product in its own right, at which point the patent issues become irrelevant and the design is protected by copyright. I think something else went seriously wrong at Baygen but have no idea what it was. I do remember getting quite frustrated with the sales droids at Baygen who didn't seem to want to sell the radios in the UK, and who were oblivious to the point that this was raising revenue.
No scary implications
None at all, no possible military use for a detector that can see around corners and determine the velocity of an object hiding around the corner.
 People are objects.
Re: Or it could
"let's create some nearly impossible to perfect technology to allow us to go around curves 10 mph faster..."
Sounds good to me. Although 10mph isn't very ambitious.
Re: I had a ZX80
"I bought an ICL OPD when I was in college (spectrum with knobs on)."
Errm the OPD was a Sinclair QL with a built-in telephone handset. The similar device that was a Spectrum with knobs on was the Amstrad emailer.
Re: Gateway Drug
"I had a metal bracket on to "secure" my ram pack "
I had a ribbon cable with a socket at one end and an edge connector at the other. that meant that I could use the RAM pack and any wobbling of the ZX-81 didn't cause any problems. The sockets and edge connectors were available at Maplin.
Where are we now?
For the price that a ZX-81 cost at launch, I bought a "mini PC" last week. Today £99.95 gets you a N3450 1.1GHz quad core processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB SSD and 4K graphics. Adjusted for inflation the ZX-81 would cost £482.03 today.
Writing a lunar landing game in Z80 Assembler then lovingly hand-coding it in hex. I worked hard to give it real-moon physics and "realistic" thrusters that displayed flashing '<' or '>' and '=" alternately to give the effect of 'flame' the sky was peppered with '.' and '*' and some of them twinkled in a completely non realistic manner.
I loved it, friends hated it, but then having declared their hate would spend hours trying to land it before the "realistic" and almost inevitable crash happened.
Re: BBC from the days of Yes Minister and Spitting Image - yes
"The BBC from the 80s was a place where the Today programme set the political agenda for the day, where Panorama did political investigation"
The Today programme has set the political agenda for most of my life, however Panorama has not featured particularly hard-hitting investigations. The Granada TV series "World in Action" was the one that had the most impact and saw the production team taking the big risks. Panorama was (is) always a little too safe and keen to doff the cap to the BBC's political overlords.
It's a reasonable bet that any story that someone thinks was broken by Panorama was actually featured in "World in Action" or Private Eye.
A new contender...
"But they would be androids, so it wouldn't be slavery?"
This implies a new contender for "The worst job in History" and I think it's a winner. The person who has the job of hosing out the innards of sex robots. I also think it's likely to be one of the last jobs to be automated.
"Details like... you can't drag-drop nicely, manage files, save a JPEG... god."
Details that don't exist you mean?
I can manage files just fine on an iPad/iPhone using FileExplorer. It's easy to keep them appropriately filed and tidy on my NAS, DropBox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive, WebDAV, Box, etc.
As to JPEG, I can export as JPEG, PNG or whatever the heck I like, depending on the App.
Here, for example, is the list of import/export formats supported by ArtStudio.
Import: Images - PNG, JPEG, PSD, HEIC, TIFF, Brushes - ABR, TPL, Color swatches - ASE, ACO, Patterns - PAT, Gradients - GRD, Fonts - TTF, OTF
Export: Images - PNG, JPEG, PSD, TIFF
Knocking Apple/iOS is fine by me, but try to do it from a basis of knowledge rather than ignorance.
Re: blast away
"I disagree, I think he's got the comparison right. Comparing the iPad PRO to the MacBook PRO."
Not really. A maxed out 10.5in iPad Pro with keyboard and pencil is going to cost you the same as the cheapest MacBook. That's the comparison point.
Oddly this thoroughly sensible security policy also removes 99.999% of all ads from all sites. This is the evidence that the vast majority of ads are not "well behaved".
No matter how desperately someone wants to sell me things, it is not a reasonable expectation that my computer should be used to execute their software without my permission.
Re: Political bullshit
"R is the number of the rounds w-bit round keys S[0, ... , 2r + 3]"
r is still undefined
Re: Political bullshit
r is undefined
loop does not execute
Re: "unnamed algorithm"
"I was going to go with "Rudd's Crud""
Comprehensive Restriction of Upload and Download by DAESH
"They used to burn books.
IRTA "They used to bum books."
Snipping Tool etc
Given that the use most users seem to make of Getty images is for comment on social media, I suspect that a screen capture tool of choice will be used to do the job since most people want 320x240 image not a high resolution image and they don't want to pay £100 to say "LOL Kittens".
If Getty are so precious about a sale that they would never have made, then they need to pull all their images from search results.
Effective Ad campaigns
I'm wondering if the main problem from the advertiser's point of view is that social media does something that "traditional" advertising can't do which is to provide immediate feedback - people tell you to your face that your product sucks - and metrics that directly relate to how good or bad your advertising is - people tell you to your face that your advertising sucks.
Broadcast media don't give that relationship between what you say and do and what "the people" think about it. We've all been shouting abuse at the TV Screen or turning the pages of the paper and sighing or looking at the poster and tutting but none of the media morons received that information. All they could do was run "focus groups" assembled from people who want to be in a focus group or make indirect measurements of the effect of adverts that fail to account for other factors.
Now they get a direct link and their carefully built legends about what they do and how useful it is and it shows them what they don't want to know.
For a moment there...
I had the hope that Unilever were referring to not wanting to be associated with a social media platform that promotes misogyny, racism, right wing extremism and jihadist murder. But no, it seems that their complaint is that people on social media are too savvy to believe marketing bullshit uncritically or that when a bullshit advert appears people call out its bullshit and that stops other consumers from being suckered. Boo Hoo.
The glitter has fallen off
Capita's business model of rolling faeces in glitter is coming unstuck as the faecal matter dries out and the glitter falls off. It has taken a long time. The comments on the recent register article about Capita's failure to deliver the Recruiting Partnership Project showed that there's a high level of awareness among contractors about how bad things were with Capita, but government has chosen to ignore all of the warning signs. Weirdly contracts have been awarded to Capita even though previous experience has shown that they have no experience in that area of work (as with the Recruiting Partnership Project) and no real hope of success.
It takes spectacular talent to be in the position that Capita is (was?) and not be coining money hand over fist. They are in the privileged position of being a monopoly supplier to government. Their income is guaranteed and gold plated. They are helped along by a "sympathetic" approach from government ministers who, if one is charitable, one must assume have an eye on becoming a Capita shareholder/director just as soon as they can wriggle free from government.
As an IT contractor I've seen the Capita coalface where they move in and tell the existing contractors to either take a massive, and I mean massive, pay cut, get opted in to IR35 and be handed a complete crock or leave. I looked at the offer and left. I later found out that although payments to contractors had halved the charge to government had increased. Money for nothing.
When one has a client that will collude in increasing profitability how can one lose?
"Who goes next though is anyones guess."
Serco has to be very high on the list.
The entire rant sounds like my average experience with QNAP. Although Simon missed the rant about the one "PowerUser" who for some reason is valued by the manufacturer as a useful contributor, but whose "advice" consists only of telling people that they are "newbies" who don't deserve to own such a magnificent product as the Bambleweeney SubMeson 142 and who therefore are beneath his contempt and if only the ignorant user would realise it, the reset switch is on the base of the unit under a sticker that is marked "DO NOT REMOVE, WARRANTY VOID IF REMOVED" and can only be operated using a security pentalobe Torx driver. If the user dares to point out that they aren't asking for help with the reset switch but rather understanding how to create a storage volume, a subject that is both fundamental to operation and not covered in the user manual, the PowerUser will rant that they are clearly a congenital idiot, the product of fifty generations of inbreeding and they should run and sit in a pig sty for the next six weeks until the desire to pester PowerUsers with stupid questions has gone away.
Yes, "Schumaku" I'm looking at you.
"That will only ever work for Apple tax payers. People who buy premium Android phones are savvier than that."
Having checked prices online, although it's true that the Samsung phone is cheaper, the like for like (64GB storage) monthly rental on a two year contract is the same. The phone market is still mostly rental. I checked SIM only deals when I renewed my phone this year. Several years ago it was cheaper (just) to buy a phone and take a cheap SIM. This year it's cheaper to rent the phone.
The mass market is rental. Apple/Android works out about the same cost either way. Given that, it's just a case of go for whichever phone gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling.
BTW, I wouldn't have Samsung anything ever again even if they paid me to have it; not after the experience of their consumer electronics which have been the most unreliable tat I've ever owned. If I could afford to take the time off work I'd fly to Korea and stuff my useless TV and "Smart" media box up the fundament of their CEO. YMMV.
Oh come on! This is fake news folks!
"Lasse Trolle Borup"
And his friend Valter Unterbrücke, no doubt.
Re: Get your cars to Mars
"The Johnny Cabs were on Earth in 'Running Man'"
Re: Great Headline, Register
"Some of the movie has concepts that probably really hark from Childhood's End."
And even earlier short stories. Clarke returned to the idea that other intelligent life had an interest in Earth over and over again.
I'm currently working my way through The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke (GOLLANCZ S.F.) on Kindle and the theme is there in several of the stories. I've got as far as The Sentinel, and the stories are in chronological order so his fascination with the idea pre-dates The Sentinel.
Re: 2001 A Space Odyssey is one the pinnacles of Space Opera
"However about 1/2 of it is very boring for many people."
Many people or "mundanes" as they are better known. The one's whose imaginations don't stretch much further than those of the first scenes shown in 2001. Just keep banging the rocks together, guys.
Re: The Golden Age of flying is over
"Have you ever tried to get out of a seat to go to the loo or even just stretch your legs with some f**kwit in front (sitting at the emergency exit/bulkhead seat with legroom so large you can actually lie down on the floor before hitting the bulkhead)who reclined the seat even before level flight and is absolutely going to remain fully back the entire 11 hour flight."
Re: The Golden Age of flying is over
" I will recline my seat"
I will stop you. it's also surprising how often I drop my hot coffee at just the wrong moment.
Re: The Golden Age of flying is over
"Every flight I've had to take in the last 12 months I've had some small man recline the seat for the entire flight."
Easily solved. I've mastered the technique of putting my knees into the seat back and pushing it upright and refusing to let the idiot in front recline it. They get the message fairly quickly.
A bigger bang for your buck
Years ago when I worked on avionics we had a shiny new box delivered to the lab which needed to be tested before it was installed on an aircraft. It was bespoke and very expensive and so shiny that it attracted the attention of a project manager. He decided to start it up while we were at lunch and got busy sorting out power and data connections. We arrived back just as he switched on the power. There was a really loud bang and the room filled with magic smoke. The PM ran past us looking like the coyote trying to catch the road runner.
We were puzzled by the big bang, then someone checked the laboratory PSU. Voltage correctly set to 115V, but oh dear frequency set to 40Hz not 400Hz. Someone didn't understand the use of the decade switch. The manufacturer refused to replace it under warranty.
"son's car remote control unit ... He thought attaching the pp3 9v battery clip to the live and neutral of the Mains would substitute for a missing battery."
I take it that the Darwin award still applies if, instead of removing oneself from the gene pool, one removes one's progeny. Darwin-by-proxy?
Godfrey vs Demon Internet
No, I'm not interested in re-hashing the rights and wrongs of that case. I'm interested in what happened next. The case resulted in ISPs assuming that they had to police their users to the most draconian extent possible. The trolls had a field day, or rather a field couple of years, as the ISPs struggled to keep up and their "crack legal teams" advised them to silence any user that a troll had complained about.
Hence if a flat earth, Scientologist, troll chose to scream "libel" when someone pointed out that they were a troll / an idiot there was no consideration of fact; the user's account was suspended immediately.
That's where this proposal will take us again.
We've delivered on our commitment to reach 95 per cent of homes and businesses
Any how many of those 95% have actually decided to have it? ~20%, IIRC. What a useful way to spend taxpayers money.
The entire point of the exercise is to allow a politician or two to boast that they achieved something, not to actually do anything useful.
Re: Come the Revolution
"Well privatisation did kill off BTs fibre optic development."
Ah yes the good old days when BT was doing cutting edge research but still delivering antique Strowger exchanges and internet connections were limited to 300/1200 baud.
Re: "as everyone lives in flats."
"Italy is rolling out FTTH by 2020 in the plain from Turin to Venice where a large part of the population lives in small towns and detached houses."
I live part of the year in a National Park in Italy. We don't have fibre and probably won't get it ever. However unlike the UK I don't have much of a beef with that because we have a 4G data connection that is unlimited and runs at 76Mbps. Other European countries seem to have got their act together on the delivery of communications.
I live in a rural UK location. We had notification recently that we should rejoice because the "Rural Broadband Initiative" has just delivered (three years late) "superfast 24Mbps broadband" to our area. They seemed disappointed when I declined the offer, as did almost everyone in the area.
The reason is simple, the telephone exchange is in the centre of the village, most of the residents live within a very short distance of the exchange hence DSL is 22Mbps for most users. A 24Mbps connection is as much use as eyebrows on a fish. There's also the issue that the "Rural Broadband Initiative" seems to be a synonym for "Political Face-saving Exercise". The job was given to a company that installed a microwave link on a hill near the village then ran fibre alongside existing phone wires. The price for a connection is an install fee of several hundred and rental of £160 a month, it's capped. The DSL service has no connection fee, no limit and costs £14(ish) a month.
To make "superfast" broadband real it has to be superfast, it has to offer decent data capacity and it has to be priced at less than rip-off levels.
Re: The Center for Humane Technology
"Can't wait for deep-space travel..."
Why should our failure be exported to other planets?
Warm up the B Ark!
I'm not hooked
I can give up social media at any time. I'm not some weak-willed teenager with over-developed thumbs.
#ohmigod #whyme #deathofusenet
Re: IIRC Sinclair "pre sold" hardware then used the money to get the mfg running.
"However IIRC he had the prototype sorted before the ads started appearing."
That may have been true for some of his products but certainly wasn't so for all of them. I recall seeing the adverts in Wireless World for various Sinclair Radionics products. I paid for several of these only to have them either delivered a year late and bearing little resemblance to the advertised product or in a couple of cases never delivered. Getting a refund out of Sinclair was impossible and consumer trading laws were weaker then so he got away with it. His matchbox radio seemed to be a figment of his imagination for the first year of sales. When it was delivered it was not much like the advertised product.
Alan Sugar used much the same trading model and, I suspect, had a relationship with journalists that resulted in good reviews for products that weren't worth the purchase price. I have particularly bad memories of an Amstrad amplifier that got rave reviews in a HiFi magazine. They didn't mention that the switch on thump could blow the speaker cones across the room. I had to add my own 555 and relay circuit to switch the speaker outputs to a dump resistor during switch on wait until the amplifier settled down for a few seconds then switch in the speakers.
I suppose it's good thing we got some innovative tech in the 1970s/80s and bad thing it's not a sustainable way to run a business.
As it should be
A product with a Sinclair name attached to it being delayed for years because the company is up to some messy financial shenanigans? These guys really are dedicated to reproducing the full Sinclair experience aren't they?
Severity of crime
Judges seem to regard computer-related crime as something apart from other common crimes. In this case of using deception to access someone's computer in order to defraud them the crime appears, to me at least, to be most similar to "distraction burglary". Where the scammers fool someone into giving them access to their home by posing as police officers or utility workers. The sentencing guidelines for distraction burglary indicate that this should be a Category 1 or 2 offence with a sentence of 6 to 13 years depending on severity. I'd also argue that being in a company and having pre-planned the incident should add "gang membership" and "organised crime" elements to the sentencing decision.
This makes Vadgama's sentence look like a mild rebuke rather than appropriate to the type of crime and the distress caused.
"It was The Observatory at Goonhilly Downs in the guide book when I found it before you were born. "
No it wasn't. For two reasons, one is that it was built as "Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station" not an observatory. It's never been used as an observatory but may in future become an observatory if enough money can be raised for preservation/conversion. The other is that I'm older than the space race, let alone Goonhilly.
Thanks for making the international sign that shows your intellectual status.
"Next coolest: Goonhilly Downs. And not just because it has “Goon” in it."
No the next coolest has to be Chilbolton because it has "Chil" in its name.
BTW, it's just Goonhilly. Goonhilly Downs is the nearby SSSI. Also it's not a radio telescope.
Re: Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.
"Leaving aside my personal bias towards anything Amiga-related"
Errrm, AmigaDOS was based on TripOS not UNIX. I may have missed something but I'm not sure why UNIX would be Amiga-related.