Archive for the 'IT' Category

10
Aug
07

The Future is a scary place…we’re told

Apparently that’s the overwhelming conclusion of the House of Lords report on the Internet, which they likened to the ‘Wild West’. Putting aside the argument that the notional concept of the Wild West is pure fiction anyway, from the portions that have been reported this document seems to have discovered that the Internet isn’t immune from exactly the same sorts of threats that people encounter every day in ‘reality’. Gosh that’s a revelation! How long exactly did it take them to work that one out?
What worries me the most though isn’t the banal rehash of what’s been true for at least five years, but the assertion that ISPs should somehow be made responsible for what others do with their service. People have been scamming people with letters and phone calls for years, since these mechanisms became widespread in fact. But I’ve never seen the government turn around to Royal Mail or BT and ask them to stump up when some old lady buys shares in a company that doesn’t exist, or hands over her details to a criminal!
This isn’t a new idea though is it, as the whole YouTube and Torrent rows demonstrate. You can’t hold Google responsible for stuff found by their indexing or put by others on YouTube. In the same way that Ford aren’t responsible for letting people drive their cars while drunk. It isn’t Ford’s responsibility to sit outside the pub and stop you driving, and it isn’t the ISPs responsibility to work out which packets of data that are travelling on their network might ultimately upset someone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see ISPs being more pro-active on killing virus packages and mail zombie data in transit, because I think that’s entirely practical, and it’s something they could actually do. But making them liable is frankly the stupidest thing I’ve heard recently.  As many of them resell services from other providers, like BT, they could share responsibility around, eventually bringing a huge class action against the relatives of Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray and Edison  for their contribution to the creation of this highly dangerous facility.
Clearly based on this thinking Elton John is ready for a peerage, which I respectfully suggest is given to him just minutes before the unelected second house is disbanded and replaced by an elected one with people who have more of a grip on modern technology. But then the other elected house doesn’t seem to have any of those, so maybe that’s asking too much.

07
Aug
07

XP SATA install without floppy

I know this has been possible for a while, but I’d always worked around it, either by finding a floppy drive or installing to an ATA drive and then cloning it to the SATA when happy with the installation.
But today I decided to grasp the thorn and do it the slick way with a tool called nLite. It worked a dream! I’m so impressed with my own ability to follow simple instructions, I might well turn this into a Micro Mart feature, or alternatively put it here.
The bottom line is that you don’t need a floppy to install XP on SATA! Is this the bitter end for the floppy?

26
Jul
07

A printed Blog…surely not!

For those that would like more information about how ‘Unleashed’ came about, I’ve talked briefly about creating this blog on pages 58 and 59 of this weeks Micro Mart magazine (issue 963), available at most good newsagents in the UK.
Welcome to anyone who’s come along here after reading it! You’ll find the blog a bit different from what I normally write in Micro Mart, but all in my typically reserved style. Enjoy!

25
Jul
07

Thunderflies are go!

ThripI’ve just had a bizarre conversation with long time friend of mine Gary Allen about Thunderflies (also referred to as Thrips from the order Thysanoptera), and the trouble they can cause. It’s annoying enough to have them craw on your skin in the summer, but Gary’s having issues with them go into the space between the matrix and the backlight on his TFT. At first he assumed that the two dead pixels that moved where the result of PSS, or Post Stella Shock. But it turns out that this tiny little beetles just love to scurry around inside thin-film-transistor displays!
The trouble is getting them out, before they die and become a permanent visual fixture. His idea, for which I take no responsibility was to train Ninja Thunderflies to go in and kick out the blighters. My idea, which isn’t much better, was to use a powerful microscope to paint lipstick on a Thunderfly and use them as a romantic lure, in the manner of those Bugs Bunny cartoon’s where he does the same.
As neither of these plans seems like a sure-fire way to extradite the little blighter’s, we’re open to ideas about how to solve this problem. So tell us if you have any ideas.
This link shows it’s just not us with this issue.

25
Jul
07

Crazy Computers – updated

I’ve added some new machines and pictures to the Crazy Computers page. Enjoy!
UV Extra

19
Jul
07

Flash SDHC – mixed emotions

Flash…aha…

I’ve been working on an SD memory group test today. Mainly because Pipex haven’t fixed by Broadband and it’s been going up and down like a the water level in Yorkshire!
It’s turned out to be an interesting exercise, because man of the card makers chose to send the latest SDHC flavours. The first problem I had was that my existing flash card reader wouldn’t accept them, which was thankfully solved by Lexar, who sent me a reader. The second, and more annoying is the lack of planning in SD technology.
Most of the cards I have are 4GB, with a few 2GB and the odd 1GB thrown in. I’ll end up keeping some of these, maybe the half I bought. But how useful will they be to me? Not sure. I’ve discovered that my beloved Nikon D50 won’t read the SDHC ones! Come on Nikon, you must be able to fix this with a firmware patch! I’ve been told that they will read some cards if they’re formated to FAT16, as SDHC are formated in FAT32 as standard. That’s great advice, until you realised that the biggest partition you can have on FAT16 is 2GB, so that’s not a huge help, is it? Even more annoyingly both the D40, D40x and D80 all accept them, so can’t see a reason why the D50 shouldn’t be able to work with them.

17
Jul
07

ADSL vs Anger Management

I’ve had my broadband drop twice today, once when I was about to post! Until a week ago any dropout was unusual, and now I’m getting them at least once at day, 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time.
As I use the Internet to earn a living this is really beginning to bug me. Since I tested or replaced every piece of wire and hardware I use, I’m now convinced it’s either a piece of hardware or some work that’s going on at the exchange which is taking away my service.
Perhaps I shouldn’t of previously mentioned my concern about Pipex and Tiscali…it’s now coming back to haunt me. I don’t want to go cable, but I can’t go on with an occasional service!

14
Jul
07

PS3 smoke and mirrors

Early in the week I commented on the price cut in the USA, that took the people that made the decision by surprise.
But BetaNews has added extra spice to these events by revealing the cut may be temporary here.

Apparently it’s all a trick to get all the 60GB PS3’s out of the market, before leaving the 80GB model at the original cost. Sony isn’t winning this console battle, and the peel off of game developers is gathering pace. If they don’t take this situation seriously between them Nintendo and Microsoft will soon have an irreversible lead, if they haven’t already. The idea that Blu-ray will come along, Cavalry like, and save the PS3’s bacon seems fanciful at best.

The best bit for me of Betanews’ piece is where Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves argues, implausibly, that the current cost of the PS3 in Europe is worth it. Yes Dave, and by Christmas sales will have overtaken the WII!

13
Jul
07

Pipex is now Tiscali – what a scary thought?

UK ISP Pipex, my ISP and the one that cut me off recently, has been acquired by competitor Tiscali, which took control of it’s entire Broadband services.
According to the wire, they paid £210 million for a company that made £13.9m before tax on a turnover of £231.7 million last year.
Based on the horror stories given to me by a friend who signed up to Tiscali, I’ll soon be leaving this ISP, I assume. Or, using pigeons to update this page!

12
Jul
07

Sony PS3 PR stupidity

Sometime I despair of Sony.

January 2007 – In an interview with Game Informer magazine, when asked if price drops for the PS3 would be “as soon or as drastic as they were for the PlayStation 2,” Sony US boss Jack Tretton answered with a clear, “No.” He then said that it wouldn’t drop for two years.

July 7th 2007 – Talking to Bloomber, president Ryoji Chubachi scotched rumours by stating that Sony had “no immediate plans” to introduce a price cut for the PS3.

July 12th 2007 – Sony announces $100 price cuts for 60GB PS3.

How dumb do Sony think people are? So five days ago it wasn’t a plan, and now it is???

PS3

When Sony wake up and smell the coffee on this then maybe this product might move, but treating their customer base like they’ve got the memory of a Goldfish isn’t a step in the right direction.

10
Jul
07

Crazy Computers

I’ve put up some of the stranger computers I’ve made…just three to begin with…more to come later!

Stella Computer

You’ll find them at https://markpickavance.wordpress.com/crazy-computers/




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