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Philip Kendall
23 January 2010 @ 11:46 am
It's now looking very much like the scam that is/was ADE651 is going to come to an end pretty quickly, which is unquestionably a good thing (and due credit to Private Eye for having been after this one for a while now). What's surprising me the most isn't that somebody attempted to make a quick buck out of the security situation in Iraq, it's that the Iraqi government has spent £80 million on these things, which are so obviously bogus to anyone with even the most basic understanding of science ("powered solely by the user's static electricity", "detect explosives, banknotes and ivory 1km underground" (paraphrased slightly), "works on nuclear quadrupole resonance or nuclear magnetic resonance", "the theory behind dowsing and the theory behind how we actually detect explosives is very similar"; I could go on). Who authorised the purchase of these things, and why are they not criminally negligent? Am I being too cynical if I expect that there will have been a significant "donation" from ATSC (the manufacturer of the ADE651) to someone in the Iraqi government?
Philip Kendall
21 January 2010 @ 11:04 am
Donating in aid of Haiti just because you're going to get free stuff is the wrong reason for donating. But... if you were going to donate something anyway, and you're an RPG fan, you could do lots worse than DriveThruRPG's offer.

About the only thing to note is that DriveThruRPG are requesting you don't actually download everything now as otherwise their servers fall over. Also note there's no time limit on the downloads.
Philip Kendall
25 November 2009 @ 02:17 pm
One thing which is obvious to anyone that works in the tech industry (and probably most people that don't as well) is that it's not well populated with women. However, anyone taking a casual look at the team photo (three-quarters of the way down the page) for Assassin's Creed II will notice the large proportion of women there. On the other hand, anyone taking a closer look will note that the entirety of the crowd beyond about 4 rows back is exclusively male...
Philip Kendall
17 November 2009 @ 02:27 pm
Despite its appearance, this post isn't really about American football.

On Sunday night, the Indianapolis Colts played the New England Patriots in the NFL. It was a close game, and the result was apparently significantly influenced by one decision from Bill Belichick, the Patriots head coach. Towards the end of the game, he had one of two choices: a low risk tactic or a high risk one (I suspect people either know what those choices were or don't care, so I won't go into them here). One thing the statistical community built up around American football have been saying for the past few years now is that teams are too risk averse: ie they would do better if they used higher risk tactics more than they currently do.

What happened in this case was that Belichick went for the high risk tactic, and it failed: the Colts went on to win the game. This decision has been pretty much universally panned by the media, despite the fact that the stats community are saying the decision didn't actually make that much difference. Of course, the media (and fan) reaction goes a long way to explaining why NFL coaches are more risk-averse than they "should" be, but I still find in surprising that there's such hostility to a decision which by the best objective measures we have wasn't obviously wrong, especially after Moneyball. But that may be because I'm a stathead.
Philip Kendall
17 November 2009 @ 11:14 am
My work is disposing of:
  • 2 Sun Ultra 5s
  • 3 Sun Netra T1s
  • 1 Sun Netra X1
The Ultra 5s and the T1s are believed to work last time we turned them on (3 years ago), but the X1 didn't. Collect from Toft during office hours.

Philip Kendall
23 October 2009 @ 01:31 pm
If you haven't heard that that Nick Griffin was on Question Time last night, you're either living under a rock or aren't in the UK (if so, Google will give you some sort of clue what happened). What happened was pretty predictable: it turned into a "bash Nick Griffin" session. This isn't a bad thing in any way, and as is fairly normal for him, Mr Griffin was largely ineffective in dealing with it, and apparently surprised by it. I don't know if this is because he's actually so stupid as to not expect it, or if he's just trying to get as much publicity out of this as he can. To me, it just makes him look like a whinger, but I'm not his target audience.

Thus a question... it was fairly safe for the mainstream parties to appear with Mr Griffin as he almost certainly wasn't going to put on a decent show. Would they have done something different if Mr Griffin were actually a top class debater?
Philip Kendall
11 October 2009 @ 03:35 pm
  • Karen went on a hen weekend at the start of May.
  • Karen and I went to the Algarve at the end of May.
Philip Kendall
04 October 2009 @ 03:16 pm
 Karen and I went to Munich in January.
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Philip Kendall
29 September 2009 @ 08:16 am
A quick update on the JSSpeccyZX Gamer front:
  • Mr Boesch has "decided" to remove ZX Gamer from the App Store "to avoid more malicious incriminations and senseless discussions", saying "Apple itself has nothing to do with this decision". While that may be strictly true, it's a case of jumping before it was pushed, as there was already a complaint from me working its way through Apple and I know at least one of the copyright holders of the games Mr Boesch was including in the package had contacted him as well. He's still trying to deny it's a rip-off though.
  • Mr Boesch is preparing to release "version 1.2" of his app, which he has claimed is "completely rewritten". Needless to say, I'll be keeping more than a close eye on this when/if it does appear.
  • Matt Westcott has updated JSSpeccy to give it a nice iPhone/iPod Touch interface and speed boost. No-one sane is going to claim it's really any good, but it's a) better than ZX Gamer, b) legal and c) free.
  • I'm still working on asserting my GPL rights with regards to ZX Gamer. Not too hopeful of anything happening, but you never know.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed