back to article You want me to do WHAT in that prepaid envelope?

The authorities have asked me to send them my poop in the post. Not all of it, mind. That would be ridiculous. Why shouldn't the powers that be commandeer a code brown from one of its citizens? They're most welcome; it was only going to waste. And it isn't a joke letter: the requisition order arrived on official paper. Smooth …

  1. Colonel Mad

    Club 50+

    Welcome & enjoy.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Club 50+

      Indeed, and it’s only every two years. My second one disappeared in the post. Imagine that. Now instead of a small sample you just have to dip the test strip. A big improvement.

      I’ll be up for it later this year. Just getting used to being 55 and 56 looms up at me. At least I shall be employed, as what is the question. If the HR bods get their act together finally I should be a science tech at a local secondary (well across Dundee) thought that MIGHT get interrupted in May.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Club 50+

        I am in a position to confirm that the last NHS kit I received was definitely easier to use than the little spoon the German doctors prescribed last month - a tiny little thing that seemed more suited to free icecream samples.

        Which makes one wonder either about German doctors, or about me - I'm not sure which is more worrying.

        1. Beeblebrox
          Coffee/keyboard

          Who gives a shit?

          "little spoon the German doctors prescribed last month"

          Sounds a bit like the kit they sent me here in Oz. I couldn't face using the one I got shortly after turning 50; next time I did bother, it ended up being too messy for my liking.

        2. Citizen99

          Re: Club 50+

          On the continong, many pans obligingly provide a 'holding' deposit shelf where you may self-assess your output before pulling the handle.

          1. Colonel Mad

            Re: Club 50+

            You will often find then in Doctors Surgeries here as well.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Club 50+

        "My second one disappeared in the post."

        Post Office announces that "lost" envelope found down the back of a sorting machine is finally delivered after 73 year delay. Share price rises as costs on air fresheners at sorting depot slashed.

    2. John Arthur

      Re: Club 50+

      Here in Darkest Wales we have had these for years. They stop sending them when you get to 74, as I have. I suppose that means I am now disposable?

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Club 50+

        I think in Cymru it's actually Club 60+, and then every three years. The latest one was much simpler than the first!

        And being a bit serious, please, please, please use the test kit if you get sent one. Several friends have been hit with bowel cancer, and it's really not nice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Club 50+

          60 rather than 50, and 3 years rather than 2, proving how much better the NHS is under Welsh Labour.

          1. Colonel Mad

            Re: Club 50+

            It's a mere cost cutting measure.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Club 50+

          ^ What they said. Please use the test. My Dad had bowel cancer, thankfully came though it and got the all clear.

        3. DavyPaul

          Re: Club 50+

          i just turned 60 and received the poop-lit 2 weeks later.

          I didn't know it was 'a thing'!

          good to know - prevention is better than cure.

      2. Shooter

        Re: Club 50+

        >> I am now disposable?

        Depends. Are you in Texas? The Lt. Governor would like a word with you.

        https://www.vice.com/en/article/akw87e/texas-lt-governor-thinks-old-people-are-happy-to-sacrifice-themselves-to-coronavirus-to-save-the-economy

      3. Citizen99

        Re: Club 50+

        'Over the bridge' in Bristol I think it ended at 75, anyway I've had none since about then.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Club 50+

      Well they haven't reached Yorkshire yet - at least this bit. Despite a close relative dying of colon cancer and mentioning this to GPs, I've never been screened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Club 50+

        Not reached Northamptonshire either!

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Club 50+

          Isn't Dabbsy in France? Medicine there tends to be a bit more anal - sore throat Monsieur, have a suppository.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Club 50+

            Wow, that's a hell of a long way to push a suppository. Brings tears to the eyes just thinking about it.

            1. MrReynolds2U Bronze badge
              Pint

              Re: Club 50+

              just perfect.. have a pint :D

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Club 50+

              Well, the Dabbs can always go to La Fistiniere if he has problems with the device insertion...

          2. bpfh
            Headmaster

            Re: Club 50+

            I can thankfully confirm after living here for almost 30 years, that the only suppositories I have seen were infant paracetamol, and reserved for a specific use case. Other than that, the rumours about the french love of "suppos" is more of a joke than reality!!

            1. cookieMonster
              Thumb Up

              Re: Club 50+

              Yep. Been here 15+ yrs.

              Got them for the kids when they were less than 3, otherwise it’s a joke.

              As for the general health care system, it’s A1.

              1. Rich 11 Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Club 50+

                As for the general health care system, it’s A1.

                Shouldn't that be N1 in France?

            2. saxicola

              Re: Club 50+

              A friend of mine only found out he had early stage prostate cancer because of a routine test, as he lives mostly in France, rather than the UK. It's a routine test there. Back here I have to ask, repeatedly for a reluctantly given PSA test. All clear, but my father died of it and I don't want to.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Club 50+

                "Back here I have to ask, repeatedly for a reluctantly given PSA test."

                The standard PSA test is apparently unreliable as an indicator. - giving both false positive or negative results. Research is under way to find a more reliable test that could be rolled out for general screening.

          3. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Club 50+

        "Well they haven't reached Yorkshire yet - at least this bit."

        They reached my bit some years ago.

    4. John 110
      Flame

      Re: Club 50+

      "...In Japan, they would at least have hired an illustrator to decorate the leaflet with cute little cartoon mascots cheerfully shitting..."

      When I was gainfully employed, I shared an office with the person who sent out the screening kits (space is at a premium in NHS Labs, and the Lab IT office had a spare desk...). She spent the first half of the week taking out the cute japanese instructions and replacing them with ones deemed to be more professional looking.

      <icon: don't light warning...>

    5. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Club 50+

      Here across the pond, your GP has to prescribe it.

      Hopefully the UK test is more reliable than the standard US test, Cologuard, which returns what I consider far too many false positives, leading to unnecessary colonoscopies (and also far too many false negatives).

      P.S. Cologuard does take a page from the Japanese and their ads feature an animated talking box.

  2. Steve K Silver badge

    USB Keypad

    But modern, grumpy me just whines that it doesn't have a numeric keypad

    Grump-ye-not, Dabbsy, from their Kickstarter it looks like their $150k stretch goal is indeed a USB keypad (doesn't say it it's E-Ink or not, but why do it if it isn't?). It must be on their radar at least.

    Bung them another $45k and voila!

    There was another attempt at this few years back (Optimus Maximus, using mini OLEDs on each key?), but the approach of using a single display (rather than one for each key) is probably a lot simpler to make.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: USB Keypad

      This raises the question of why you would want a numeric keypad with configurable captions. As far as I know the numbers are the same on most keyboard layouts, even those that use non-Latin characters.

      I suppose you could switch to telephone layout when using the computer to dial phone numbers. Bring back the OPD!

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: USB Keypad

        Could get a USB e-ink keypad on its own for program-specific keys if you don't want to pay for a full keyboard version?

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: USB Keypad

      How can you have decent tactile switches with a single panel display?

      Why does a keyboard need USB-C?

      It seems like a nice idea badly done.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: USB Keypad

        I can't answer the first question, but a keyboard should do USB-C now because we're being dragged into the era where laptops are dropping USB-A ports whether we want them to or not. At some point, we're going to live in a world where all the cables end with USB-C and look the same while being different and not always working. When our stuff breaks and we have to buy new stuff, it may be one where that's the only available option.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: USB Keypad

      "Grump-ye-not, Dabbsy, from their Kickstarter it looks like their $150k stretch goal is indeed a USB keypad (doesn't say it it's E-Ink or not, but why do it if it isn't?). It must be on their radar at least."

      It should be easy to program a key as "Num Lock" and create a number pad that appears and disappears as needed like using an extra shift key.

  3. Detective Emil
    Coffee/keyboard

    Compared to a colonoscopy …

    … I can say from personal experience of both procedures that mailing off a self-collected stool sample is greatly to be preferred.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

      While a colonoscopy is a pain in the arse (I've just had my second one) it is pure relief getting a negative cancer result.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

      a self-collected stool sample is greatly to be preferred

      And the current French test kits are much easier to use then the older ones, which required surgical dissection of the sample material with an implement resembling plastic airline cutlery, prior to spreading it onto the sample card like marmite. Apparently the sample return rates have gone up considerably.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

      Yeah. Don't like the procedure, but I've already mailed my poop twice.

      Saves a ton of time at the doctor's office as well.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

        Somehow I’ve never managed to make the wipe. Makes me feel a bit yeuch.

        Had colon poking though. That was pretty nasty but, literally, may have saved my arse.

        Beer because it’s Friday.———->

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

      I got a colonoscopy as 55th birthday present from the NHS ... I assume with COVID they've put that program on hold and are doing the poo sample check that I was told I'll get as a 60th birthday present forward instead.

      Alternatively it may be that the colonoscopy program has turned out not to make any (qwaly valued) effect ... I seem to recall the hope was only to reduce colon cancer deaths from 3 per 1000 to 2 per 1000 (ie. from very small risk to a slightly lower very small risk).

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

        I got a colonoscopy as 55th birthday present from the NHS

        I was looking forward to mine (as best as you can look forward to these things, for peace of mind) since I was expecting that the huge central hospital or one of the several supporting clinics nearby in town would be the location of the auspicious event. For reasons best known only to the NHS, I was told to attend the hospital in the county's main city instead. Given the instructions regarding timing this left me with the choice of, post laxative, running the risk of accidentally shitting myself on the 50-minute bus journey or of accidentally shitting myself on one of the two 20-minute walks to or from train stations. I asked for an appointment closer to home, which they were able to set for eight months later, but which of course has now been cancelled. I'd be only too happy to provide a sample instead.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Compared to a colonoscopy …

      But a possible positive from the one is likely to lead to the other.

  4. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    Ergomeeses

    I quite fancy one of these, being less of a leftie or rightie but more of a switch. Not sure about the delicacy needed for Darktable or GIMP work though.

    1. herman Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Ergomeeses

      "I quite fancy one of these, " - That looks a bit too much like a penguin dildo to me...

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Ergomeeses

        That looks a bit too much like a penguin dildo to me...

        You learn something every day - now I know penguins use dildos.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Ergomeeses

        Move over Rabbit, Penguin will take over

  5. Huw D

    Trying to shit directly into an envelope is harder than you might think. Trust me on this.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Is that what the CIO means when they ask us to "push the envelope"?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        I almost downvoted that, but it was too groanworthy, so have an upvote instead.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I found licking the flap to close it after that the really challenging part, but that may just be me.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: I found licking the flap to close it after that the really challenging part

          I don't think I can read any more of this topic.

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Huw D> Trying to shit directly into an envelope is harder than you might think.

      Attempting it for the shits 'n' jiggles ?

      1. Huw D

        LOL. Actually in a way, yes. 1986. University. Trying to prank someone.

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    The UK test

    I got a letter from the NHS explaining the procedure and asking if I was interested in having a test. I replied in the affirmative, and got the 'kit' through the post a few weeks later. My problem was that for something designed to acquire a small sample of, well, 'shit', it was remarkably difficult to get anything to actually stick to it. The small blue plastic 'paddle' (is that the right term?) was right slippery. Still I did eventually get something to stick. And got the all-clear-for-now, result later.

    Incidentally, all of the packaging and leaflets were properly recyclable, so good for the NHS.

    BTW, Mr Dabbs, Sir. Your talents may be required. The UK is looking for someone to head up the UK's Ministry of Justice IT, you could be a shoe-in with your abilities:

    https://www.theregister.com/2021/02/19/moj_advertises_director_tech_job/

    And you'd get all your 'please shit in this envelope' letters in English too. ;o)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The UK test

      If you had the colonoscopy call-up then they posted you an enema kit you had to apply to yourself before going to the probe centre

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: The UK test

        Wise advice from all those who have experience of these tests.

        It's not Picolax is it....? If so, the story below shows that you should RTFM!!

        https://singletrackworld.com/2009/02/the-picolax-thread-returns/

        1. John 110

          Re: The UK test

          Picolax...

          I read that thread before I had mine and I thank the author from the heart of my bottom...

    2. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: The UK test

      I have done this twice here in Ontario, Canada. The 'paddle' was a wooden stir stick. And they required 3 samples from different days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The UK test

        That's how it was here (NE Scotland) until a few years ago - back to the childhood game of poo sticks! Now the single sample in a plastic collector - reminds me I must be due a retest soon.

        The latest game me and the missus have been playing weekly is snot sticks (aka covid tests for the ONS). Hope I don't get the two games confused in the next round!

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: The UK test

      "Incidentally, all of the packaging and leaflets were properly recyclable, so good for the NHS."

      I suspect they're classified as medical waste, so unlikely to be recycled even if it were possible in theory.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: The UK test

        Not the case. The external packaging, the leaflet with the instructions, and the plastic tray holding the equipment were all uncontaminated and recyclable.

    4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: The UK test

      you could be a shoe-in

      Is this correct? I keep seeing it, but I thought it was "shoo-in".

      I've always assumed that the metaphor arose in something like horseracing, the idea being that there is so little competition that you just have to shoo the winner over the line.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The UK test

        You are correct, the actual phrase should be "shoo-in"

        https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/31/shoe-in/

        I am guilty of a 'common error in English usage', and I humbly beg your pardon.

        (Still reckon Mr Dabbs should apply for the MoJ IT supremo job, though.)

    5. Caver_Dave Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: The UK test

      You know the saying "Like shit off a shiny shovel"

  7. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Gimp

    Anyone else?

    Any other fans of Preaching to the Perverted here? (Link should be SFW, unless they are really strict.)

    Eugenie: "Shall I mail him a shit sandwich mistress?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone else?

      Remember watching that when it came out as a few friends were extras in the club scenes. I distinctly remember the guy who played Trigger in Only Fools And Horses being in it - in particular a scene involving a horse tail butt plug...

  8. RosslynDad
    Holmes

    So, I'm a pedantic git

    OK, I'll bite. Surely you meant your "sixth decade" ? And after spending several minutes picking the appropriate icon for this essential post I noticed the tooltip on the Sherlock Holmes one and decison made. I remember geting my first poo-in-the-bag invite: it arrived exactly on my birthday - unlike the "humorous" cards from my relatives. And now back to reading about Perseverance - seriously good software!

  9. herman Silver badge

    Carpe diem?

    I think you made a typo - should be 'crappe diem' maybe.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: Carpe diem?

      Remitte merdam!

  10. mhoulden
    Holmes

    It's a good idea to make sure you don't have any other envelopes around when you're parcelling it up. Don't want to mix it up with Christmas cards or something similar.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      I dont know, I can think of a few people I wouldnt mind using the old "Oh, I'm sorry i must have got the names on the envelopes mixed up, that was my sample for my Colon Cancer test." excuse...

  11. Dr Fidget

    It's important, really importan

    In 2015 my results came back requesting another sample - end result, positive. Then a colonoscopy showing up a tumour.

    At this point I had NO SYMPTOMS whatsoever.

    I ended up with a stay in hospital, a loss of 50cm of lower bowel, an incision running from sternum to groin held together with 36 stables and an ileostomy bag for 6 months while the gut healed.

    Not a lot of fun but if it hadn't been for this test I'd be DEAD now!

    1. FloridaBee

      Re: It's important, really

      I cannot second that with enough vigor. I lost my brother to colon cancer last year after a 4 year battle. He was only 50 when diagnosed and even after surgery it had spread to his liver. His early diagnosis finally sent me to the doctor (I'm 4 years old) for my first and the findings from that resulted in need for surgery. I was blessed with having caught it much earlier and have had no spread. Now I go every single year to make sure I don't recur. Folks, please--no matter how unpleasant the test (and I've never had a bad experience) you **DO NOT** want to put yourself or your loved ones through what happens if you avoid it.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: It's important, really

        Particularly so if you have enjoyed alcoholic beverages a lot. One of my former work colleagues died a couple of years ago after being diagnosed with 'non-treatable bowel cancer'. Several of my friends who 'liked a drink' have died before being able to enjoy their pension funds.

        While I may have the occasional contretemps with other commentards here on el Reg, it would be a lesser world without you (well, without some of you, the ones who downvote my posts without explaining why are very naughty boys/girls, and not the messiah at all).

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's important, really

        "I cannot second that with enough vigor."

        Seconded. We lost my wife's brother last summer and, things being what they are, there was no way we could go over to NI for the funeral.

        I'd ignored a couple but after a bit of a scare in the autumn got a check which fortunately was -ve. Won't ignore the next.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: It's important, really importan

      an incision running from sternum to groin held together with 36 stables

      They're definitely not horsing around there.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: It's important, really importan

        Stop it, you’ll stirrup trouble

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's important, really importan

      "[...] an incision running from sternum to groin held together with 36 stables [...]"

      A young friend has Cystic Fibrosis. One of its negative effects is on the digestive system. He had to have an operation to remove part of his intestines that had started to become knotted.

      It was keyhole surgery and he was disappointed at the tiny scars afterwards. Then as he was packing to leave hospital he collapsed with internal bleeding - blood pressure went through the floor. No keyhole this time - the emergency team just slit him open down the centre line.

      Afterwards he showed off the wound held together with large staples. After he had them removed it took a little while to realise they had missed one.

      Apparently he now looks like Adam - as his navel has been effectively erased.

  12. adam 40 Silver badge

    This is illegal

    Sending faeces in the Royal Mail is specifically banned.

    However, if it's Hermes - take some senokot and fill 'er up!

    1. Outski Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re: This is illegal

      Clinical and medical waste is banned, but "biological substances (diagnostic specimens including urine, blood, faeces and animal remains" are permitted within the UK. Mustn't exceed a total volume/mass of 50ml/50g per parcel, and packaging must comply with Packagging Instruction 650.

      (Mine's the one with Royal Mail leaflet RMDG19 in the pocket, what I happened to pick up yesterday)

      https://www.royalmail.com/sites/default/files/royal-mail-prohibited-and-restricted-items-nov-23-2018---23410530_updated%20April%2019.pdf

    2. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: This is illegal

      !A friend of mine had Hermes!

      !Don't you mean Herpes?!

      !No they're a carrier!

      (A 1982 joke, which can finally be recycled today - woohoo!)

  13. Dr_N Silver badge

    French Tests

    They love doing medical tests in France. Every village seems to have a laboratory where you can drop in to drop off your pee/poop. Or have them pull some blood for the battery of tests your GP prescribes for every visit. Analysis results within 24 hours mostly.

    And an ultrasound instead of the Doc's fingers. Very civilised.

    Mr Dabbs>Japan, they would at least have hired an illustrator to decorate the leaflet with cute little cartoon mascots

    You mean Unchi-kun? Did you really think a poop mascot did not already exist in Japan?!?

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: French Tests

      In Japan the smart toilet does all those tests for every movement.

  14. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Alert

    Don't post it around the French holidays!

    I was advised to make sure to post it between the main holiday periods, as the test (ahem)material is only "good" for a few days after "production" so any delays (postal or personnel) are to be avoided. I think mine came with a little plastic spork to send it back on (I haven't been brave enough to attempt it yet!).

  15. FloridaBee
    Pint

    What was old is new again...

    The Ergo M575 is actually a repack--Logitech put out something very similar back in the late '90s and I loved it, used one for years. I have to admit that my current 5 button mouse is actually a lower end gamer unit, but I use it because it's large enough to git into my hand with no "clutching" needed. I discovered smaller mice were actually making my hand cramp up over time.

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Mice/trackballs...meh

    Having started to get nasty Carpel tunnel some years back, I switched to trying to use a trackball. Nah. Just ended up with a sprained thumb.

    For quite a while now I've been using various incarnations of the Anker/Perixx vertical mouse. Basically a different shape so the hand is vertical, and larger than a standard mouse, but otherwise you still move it around. Very comfortable. No carpal probs at all now. They're about £15 from You-kno-who, and tend to conk out after 2-3 years, but well worth trying.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me, or does the Mad Catz logo look like someone's just racked out four lines of coke? At least it would explain what they're designers were on when they came up with those ergonomic disasters.

  18. eionmac

    standard practice in UK for over 70s.

    standard practice in UK for over 70s for all of them to submit samples during a survey to find incidence of a couple of diseases that back then then placed an 'undue load' on NHS

  19. CuChulainn

    Logitech Ergo

    If anyone reads past the tsunami of scat puns and other fetish-based comments, the Logitech Ergo - the one I have is the MX Ergo - is absolutely the best mutant mouse you can get!

    I've been using trackballs of the Logitech variety since the 90s and - when combined with a gel-filled wrist support pad - carpal issues are a thing of the past. For me, anyway,

    The wrist pad was a later addition as a result of a hard and painful callous on my wrist where it rested on the desk.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy with a mouse..

    Trackballs and I don't get along as I draw quite a lot and I find that harder with a trackball. Each to their own, I guess. I have used the Logitech MX Anywhere for years (now in its' 3rd iteration) as I have a few glass tables, and somehow the darkfield tech seems to work on that, and it's small enough for travel.

    As for poo per post, I got that surprise mail a while back when in Belgium as I am indeed also of that age. All free, and the result is sent to you by letter, and electronically to your GP.

    1. brotherelf

      Re: Happy with a mouse..

      Yeah, fine motor axis parallel is a bit difficult, and I curse people who stack their menus three levels deep.

      The original (W95? 98?) drivers for my Trackball Optical had a setting that let you set the y axis at a not-90° angle to the x axis to help with that. (Say what you will, the old MS peripherals are pretty sturdy. I think my TO is old enough to vote now and still runs like a champ, as long as your fingers provide a bit of grime to keep it running smoothly.)

    2. ButlerInstitute

      Re: Happy with a mouse..

      I'm surprised even a mouse works for you for drawing.

      I'd always use tablet and pen for that. I discovered those years ago when I worked at Quantel, and found that a mouse is rubbish for the kind of absolute positioning we needed, and tablet (aka bitpad) was great, just like drawing on paper etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Happy with a mouse..

        Depends on your type of drawing - for me it's mostly layouts so you have lines and objects that snap to a grid (no, not the mongrel that Microsoft made of Visio, I use its grown up cousin on MacOS, Omnigraffle).

        If I want to draw freestyle I would agree, for that I have Affinity Designer on my iPad, with a pen.

  21. Rol Silver badge

    Oh Dabbsy, you're my muse.

    With nothing but boredom in my weekend's diary, your column instantly inspired me.

    I'm going to get as many people in this miserable isle to defecate into a prepaid envelope addressed to Mr B Johnson, Downing Street.

    Under the guise that they are responding to a genuine healthcare letter.

    What a lark!

    1. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: Oh Dabbsy, you're my muse.

      Be responsible - remind them to change their DNA immediately after posting, in case the sample becomes compromised.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poost!

    Send a message

  23. Blackjack Silver badge

    tablets with styluses actually dell quite well to people who draws digital art.

  24. Red Ted Silver badge
    Go

    Barbarella

    And there I was hoping for a clip of that film I only watch for the details of the plot!

  25. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I can't understand how people use those pyramid mouse things instead of a proper hand-shaped mouse, designed over decades of engineering to fit within a human hand. Whenever I have to manipulate somebody's computer controlled by one of those things I'm left with pains shooting up all the diodes in my lower arm.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Terminator

      And since WHEN do human have diodes in their arms???

  26. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Angel

    Trackballs the size of grapefruit, keyboards that broke in two,

    The first time i got to experience (briefly) working with a trackball, it was indeed about grapefruit-sized. It was part of one of the control desks for the gas distribution network here in the Netherlands. This was the era of Ball Mice Without Any Concern For Ergonomics; some were even utterly anti-ergonomic like a square block of plastic with only microscopically bevelled edges and creaky switches that you'd need a hydraulic press on to activate them. So anything else would already be tremendously better, and this trackball was glorious. Good thing it was let into the desk or I'd have tried to take it. Soon after, Logitech started offering the TrackMan Marble FX, not as big as a grapefruit, more like a billiard ball, and so I got one. And after finding it near-perfect, another one as spare.

    I now have six; three in use (although one is at work and 'in use' is a bit of a stretch), three spares. That should do.

    And keyboards that break in two: some do with only little encouragement, and they deserve it fully. Usually they end as many more parts; the key matrix foil can make nice lampshades.

  27. ICam

    Meccano mouse traps

    Not only unergonomic, but also ineffective. For whatever reason, as a child, I built one in the early '80s using my dad's classic Mecanno. The only thing it caught was rust.

  28. E 2

    They just want a little Dabb of shit.

  29. Danny Boyd Bronze badge

    Me too ...

    ... got a request for faeces sample with a sampling kit and the brochure. Deciding to be a good citizen, gathered the sample. Then read the brochure and discovered I gathered the sample all wrong. Said "Oh, well..." and threw everything (incorrectly gathered sample, rest of the kit, and the brochure) in the trash. Now I'll tell this story to my grandchildren: "This is how your grandpa couldn't get his shit together..."

    P.S. Mr. Dabbs, I want to thank you for all your rants I enjoy!

  30. James Anderson

    Most downvotes ever

    I got the most downvotes ever when I posted a tongue in check comment on a leak of medical data.

    The point being that anyone over 60 shared their medical history with anyone who would listen including random strangers on the bus.

    Just to prove this thread consists entirely of people over 50 sharing their medical histories.

    (No personal experience in the Colon department, but we could start a new thread on Prostate tests)

    1. Citizen99

      Re: Most downvotes ever

      The rectal prostate biopsy gets part of the way there in the same direction.

      And after the rubber-glove probe from an unexperienced GP I couldn't sit down for nearly a week.

  31. very angry man

    mad catz

    I've got a madcatz mouse, not the most expensive one, mad not crazy. A "4+" it's great!

    tho for nearly a grand $AUD the top of range ultra light ( doesn't even have a battery in it , requires a special mouse pad to power it, ) was tempting .

    it's really comfy and not distracting at all once i got the lights under control.

    Expensive doesn't mean good, but good is ALWAYS expensive,

    and i'm old, the misses is gone so now so I CAN have nice things , Fu*k the grand kids they can buy their own!!!

  32. Richard Cranium

    I read the story without looking at the author's name but was soon able to guess (didn't AD write for some of the early computer mags - remember those printed paper things we used to rely on before the internet).

    Anyway as an oldster I can confirm the the process has improved, the earlier little wooden strips to place samples under little cardboard windows on 3 consecutive days (like a kind of reverse advent calendar - each day fill a window with shit, close it and post it to someone), were a real pain in the ... (how appropriate) calling for a major clean up of one's person and of the "bathroom environment".

    I advise against sending shit through the post in any other circumstance, it can cause offence.

    The NHS has a series of gifts in store for you as you age, the pleasant one comes next when the pharmacist told me to put my money away, I'd become so old I didn't need to pay for prescriptions. And then (men only) there's the Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening.

    Any bloke over 45 should be thinking about asking the GP for an occasional Digital rectal examination if there are any of the early signs of prostate problems. Some GPs aren't very keen as the "digital" bit is not in the high-tech sense you might first consider, this being an IT forum (it involves a rubber glove) but my view is that they get paid a lot more than me and I used to metaphorically "shovel shit" in an IT sense (for HSBC) so make them earn it.

    On to the other topic of the article: ergonomic everything. Over 20 years ago my wife bought a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. After a few months the letters were wearing off the keys so she complained. The complaint was not acknowledged in any way except one, a carton of about 10 more keyboards arrived unannounced. They weren't UK standard but a version with some accented letters, still QUERTY and quite useable, just minor quirks like the @ sign not in the usual place. As a "proper" typist she considered the keyboard more comfortable but as a two finger typist I found it less so. They kept us, friends and family, in keyboards for many years.

  33. Toni the terrible
    Unhappy

    Misaddressed

    So, this explains why I keep receiving poo in envelopes?

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