* Posts by Simon Harris

2727 posts • joined 1 Mar 2007

Microsoft pulls Windows 10/11 installation websites in Russia

Simon Harris

Speed restrictions

In light of the restrictions introduced on selling anything approaching a fast CPU to Russia, maybe Microsoft could replace the download screen with a postal address Russians can write to to obtain a stack of Windows 3.1 installation floppies.

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem

Simon Harris

Chinese Room

These chatbots seem to mirror John Searle’s Chinese Room argument. Something that can use an algorithm to produce a Turing Test convincing reply but has no internal concept of what it actually means.

Simon Harris

Re: The whole article

F7 - that’ll be either Save and Exit or Indent depending on which version of WordPerfect you’re using.

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims

Simon Harris

Re: Yes, this is Apple

Apple seems to even make itself incompatible with itself!

I have an Apple TV subscription (courtesy of a free gift from my credit card company), an old Apple TV box and a couple of other devices with the Apple TV app. For no apparent reason this week the Apple TV box was the only thing that refused to connect to the Apple TV streaming service even though it could connect to everything else. Weird.

Simon Harris

Re: Confused

I’m going for a 20mA loop.

True, it takes a week to charge, but at least I can plug a Teletype in.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

Simon Harris

Re: it was a button with 'I' and 'O' on it

Or a digital electronics designer as so many devices have an enable signal that is active low.

Perseverance on the rocks: Pebbles clog up the rover's Martian sample collection

Simon Harris

I’d send another robot to pick it up, turn it over and give it a good shake.

The inevitability of the Windows 11 UI: New Notepad enters the beta channel

Simon Harris


Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times

Simon Harris

Re: Pedantic - slightly inaccurate

In 1975/76 Wireless World produced a set of articles to build your own Teletext decoder, reproduced here:


All digital logic without a microprocessor in sight, and you can see from first principles how to decode the signal.

A moment of tension as the James Webb Space Telescope stretches sunshield on way to L2 destination

Simon Harris

Back in the days before schematic capture and PCB CAD software was affordable, I used to lay out PCBs by hand on 0.2” graph paper - we used to make the originals of the photo-masks 2x size.

Drawn in with 2 colours of felt tip and then, for each side, drafting film taped over the graph paper and the tracks and pads put on with Alfac rub-down transfers.

Simon Harris

Once upon a time I had some paper drawings of knee replacement components I needed to turn into 3D models.

Dimensions were in mm, but every one included very odd fractions of a mm. Very odd that is until I converted them to imperial and they all turned out to be nice round multiples of thousands of an inch.

It's 2021 and someone's written a new Windows 3.x mouse driver. Why now?

Simon Harris


Gosh - I haven’t used that since the 80s.

Then I switched to TASM and finally the GNU assembler to add low level stuff into my GCC code.

I haven’t actually written any new Intel assembly code in almost 20 years though.

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?

Simon Harris

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

In the old days there were a variety of round pin plugs and sockets of various physical sizes, so you couldn’t plug the wrong class of appliance into the wrong circuit, with 2A, 5A, 15A and 30A being standard. Lights would be most likely on 2A and 5A.

UK theatre lighting still uses the 15A socket as standard.

Simon Harris

Re: wiring oddities

‘Vibrating CRT’...

When I was a medical electronics student the image on the CRT used to get twisted out of shape. I was going to send it back as defective until I discovered the hospital’s MRI scanner was directly above my lab, two floors away.

Lab coat —->

Simon Harris

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

I remember back in the 70s my grandma still had extension cables with a lighting bayonet connector at one end and a round pin mains socket at the other.

Considering she was still using round pin plugs and sockets then, I was surprised to see that BS1363 goes all the way back to 1947.

Years of development, millions of lines of code, and Android can't even run a toilet

Simon Harris

O/S rebooting...

I’d give it 10 minutes if I were you.

Simon Harris

Not flushed with success

I hope its inability to flush its buffers won’t lead to any overrun errors.

Arms not long enough to reach the plug socket? Room-wide wireless charging is on the way

Simon Harris

Re: Ham radio operators hate this

Don’t forget microwave ovens


Wonder how many ‘space anomalies’ charging rooms will create.

Simon Harris

I believe a plug-socket is what you plug a plug-top into!

The first time I heard a mains plug referred to as a plug-top it took me ages to realise they meant the whole plug, and not just the cover you screw onto the top once you’ve wired it.

Simon Harris

Re: Inverse Square law anyone?

I’d explain how that only applies to point sources, but nemecystt already has, so scroll back up (or down depending on how you’ve sorted the posts) for an explanation.

Simon Harris

Are those the ATMs that you check are safe to use with a PAT test?

Simon Harris

Re: Dictionary

And are rawl plugs plugs or sockets?

True, you push them into a hole in the wall, but then you put a screw down the hole in the centre.

Spring tears down math geek t-shirt listing because it dared to mention the trademarked word 'zeta'

Simon Harris

That’s going to upset a few fans...

They won’t be getting their t-shirts expressing their undying appreciation of Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

Simon Harris


I remember the days using that from Windows 3.1 through ‘98 and XP, and then it not working on Windows 7.

I suppose I could have upgraded to a Windows 7 friendly version, but learned to use GIMP instead.

Woman sues McDonald's for $14 after cheeseburger ad did exactly what it's designed to

Simon Harris

For those who believe in such things...

As I understand it, the period of Lent is supposed to represent the 40 days when Jesus is said to have gone into the desert to fast and resist temptation.

Surely therefore McDonald’s is actually providing a service, enhancing the experience by providing a temptation that the lady failed to resist, and she should be paying them for the service rather than suing them.

The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software goes offline for good

Simon Harris

Back before CD ROMs were a thing, in the late 1980s I remember writing off to ads in the back of PCW with a cheque to cover media and postage for 5 1/4” floppy disks of shareware.

The first disks I had contained EGA graphics demos and various character sets - some bit-mapped of dubious quality and the Hershey vector character set.

Halt don't catch fire: Amazon recalls hundreds of thousands of Ring doorbells over exploding battery fears

Simon Harris

My Ring account emails me when the battery is low.

Perhaps it could email the fire station when the battery catches fire... or automatically call 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3.

Simon Harris

Custom ring tone.

Sometimes Ring release seasonal custom ring tones.

Nee Naw Nee Naw Nee Naw...

“Cool! Is that a custom ring tone?”

“No, it’s a fire engine - the doorbell’s caught fire”

IKEA Croydon (FYI: that's a place in outer London, not a type of DIY cabinet) likes things in pairs, from chimneys to bork

Simon Harris

Re: Installer bork

To be fair, I’ve found IKEA to be pretty good at putting all the bits in the pack. Never had to ask for a spare part.

Simon Harris

Predates Windows 95

I can’t claim anything quite that old, but I have bookcases from that shop that predate Windows 98.

After 23 years they still work and have only needed one re-install after a house renovation.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'

Simon Harris

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

although there is in ‘registration plate’

Simon Harris

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

Are Braille bumper stickers available?

“If you can feel this, you’re driving too close”

'Work is an activity not a place' got tired on LinkedIn about three months ago, but Citrix just based its new logo on the idea

Simon Harris

A dot over the X?

That sounds a bit derivative.

Tesco self-service separates innocent Reg reader from beer after collapsing into heap of Windows dialog boxes

Simon Harris

Re: Self service check outs

And why did the one in Sainsbury’s insist on me waiting for a grown-up to appear and give me the once-over when I was buying zero-alcohol beer* ?

* not for me, I really was ‘buying for a friend’.

I AM ERROR: Tired of chewing up your RAM? Razer tells gamers where to stick its special gum for the RGB crowd

Simon Harris

When I saw gum and RAM in the headline...

I thought it was going to be about Sinclair RAM Packs.

ZX Spectrum reboot promising – steady now – 28MHz of sizzling Speccy speed now boasts improved Wi-Fi

Simon Harris

An exercise in ‘what if?’

I think the beauty of things like this and some of the high performance 6502 upgrades I’ve seen in an Acorn Facebook group is that they answer the ‘what if?’ question.

Back in the early 80s when consumer home computers were maxing out at a 4MHz Z80 or a 2MHz 6502, RAM was 32-48K and you had a floppy drive if you were a rich kid, I would think everybody at some point asked ‘what if my computer could run 10x faster, had loads of RAM, had instant program loading?’

With a Z80 core in a gate array running at 28MHz or higher, or a 14MHz WDC 65C02, and memory that costs pennies per MB, to my mind being able to build physical hardware gives a more tangible answer to ‘what if?’ than a virtual machine in an emulator.

Nothing against software emulators - they’re fun too, but I grew up in a time when a soldering iron was an acceptable PC accessory.

Simon Harris

Re: i've chipped in

"If an FPGA is defined as emulation, then the original spectrum was one too as it had a ULA at its heart (and the +2, +3 various different gate arrays). The only difference is the modern chips are programmable."

It seems to be much in the spirit that the Western Design Center can either sell you a physical 65C02 CPU in a 40-pin dip or other package style, or a Verilog model of the 65C02 core that you can incorporate into your own design. While the FPGA version is not physically the original chip, it's still running equivalent logic directly.

Simon Harris

Re: These retro computers are fun - and that's the point

“The C64 and the Next”

I read that as “The C64 and the NeXT”

If you could flash the FPGA to emulate a NeXT, I’d be impressed - I might even put a primitive web server on it!

Apple's at it again: Things go pear-shaped for meal planner app after iGiant opposes logo

Simon Harris

Recipe sharing

Does the app let you share recipes over a Pear-to-Pear network?

Mine’s the greengrocer’s white coat —->

Simon Harris

Re: Apple at odds with reality

But PreAcorn doesn't have the same puntastic appeal as PrePear.

El Reg - shouldn't you be suing them for muscling in on your pun racket?

Simon Harris

Re: Assholes...

UK readers who are old enough may remember Boots the Chemist once had a kitchenware department branded Cookshop. I think they disappeared sometime in the 90s, but obviously a time-travelling trademark infringing play on Apple Store.

Simon Harris

I stopped reading at 'I'm using a dildo'

Simon Harris

Re: Apple at odds with reality

'right angled leaf'

Apple's case should therefore be thrown out immediately as their leaf is at an angle of 45 degrees to the fruit's axis.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

Simon Harris

Re: Puntastic

Excellent battery of puns in this news coulomb.

Apple: Don't close MacBooks with a webcam cover on, you might damage the display

Simon Harris

Vinyl overlays.

I've seen various people selling vinyl overlays for MacBook keyboards and touchpads - some just to make it look pretty, some with the keyboard commands for things like Photoshop.

That's got to bugger up the 0.1mm tolerance!

Simon Harris

Re: 0.1mm

"Bet your Land Rover Defender doesn't break if someone puts 0.2mm of plastic over a random point on the dash."

Maybe if that random point on the dash happens to be over the oil indicator light :)


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