* Posts by Karl H

214 posts • joined 23 Oct 2007


IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

Karl H

Surely something better than a Dacia Sandero ...

I have no clue if either of these are possible for £10K, but maybe :

(1) charter a helicopter or light aircraft (along with pilot)

(2) hire a Bugatti Veyron

Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Karl H

"real money"

this could descend into a meta-physical, economic debate as to whether any money is truly real.

I guess "commodity" money had a "real" representation when the gold standard existed.

Lots of (name your fiat currency here) "money" just exists as some number in a database on some computer somewhere, and that's not even thinking about bitcoin.

(the short version) Seems to me "money" is a virtual numbers game that the ruling elite continually tweak to their advantage ( no surprise there ). The ruling elite don't like bitcoin because they don't control it .

Raspberry Pi gives us all new 'Pi Zero W' for its fifth birthday

Karl H

Re: Android Things?

"If my (albeit limited) exposure to the IoT is anything to go by, at this point it will toast the cat, fill the cat's bowl with boiling tea, order you a gross of Teas-made from Amazon for drone delivery and ask you to ensure the Amazon Landing Pad is in place."


upvote from me :)

I am a bit of an IoT *fan-boy*, but even I can't see why I'd ever need an IoT toaster (how does the bread get in it ? ) or IoT kettle (how is it going to be filled up ?)

IoT-ed cat bowl filler maybe useful.

With some sort of house robot, putting the bread in the toaster, filling the kettle , actually pouring the hot water in a cup to make some tea, what is the point of IoTing kettles and toasters ?

I only need to IoT for things I want to monitor, automate or control remotely, and tea and toast don't figure anywhere as useful things do any of those to.

IoTing a fridge freezer, apart from temperature monitoring, also seems extremely pointless. I can recall "blue sky" thinkers saying an IoT fridge automatically ordering food. A stupid idea. Although what I could possibly do if say my fridge in the UK says "I'm too hot" whilst I'm sunbathing in Spain could also make this a bit pointless too. I guess I could say "yeah join the club ..."

Karl H

Re: Pi Zero was fictional....

yes, 1 pi zero ( or now the W variant) per order . Which is a bit painful with shipping at £2.50 from the suppliers who still only sometimes have them.

Hopefully the pi-zero-w's higher price will encourage the foundation to make more of them.

Karl H

my thoughts exactly.

I guess the Raspberry Pi Foundation worked out that they under priced the original pi zero, therefore it wasn't worth making that many of them.

So I am too hoping that with the pi-zero-w at about £10 it will be worth the foundations while to actually make enough of them.

Ordering 1 pi zero at a time and having to pay £2.50 shipping on a £4 item always seemed crazy to me, and then I'd need to add a USB wifi dongle . So the total cost is still in the region of £10 pi-zero-w. (possibly more).

The pi-zero-w will make IoT projects possible to secure more easily than say with the (admittedly very cheap) ESP8266 . Yes pi-zero-w's are a bit bigger than ESP8266 ESP-12 modules, but they can run a decent linux distro, proper encryption on web services, things that are painful and not as good on ESP8266s.

Maybe I'm not a very good C++ programmer (I wished I was) I find programming ESP8266s in the Arduino IDE very painful to say perl or python. So now a pi-zero doesn't need a wifi-dongle I can see them used where an ESP8266 might have been used.

I guess for me I'd like to see a pi-zero-w without any video. All I need for IoT project is a serial terminal, network adapter, and lots of GPIOs. The freed up silicon space for the graphics could be used for more memory or a bit more processing power.

Amazon's AWS S3 cloud storage evaporates: Top websites, Docker stung

Karl H

Definition of "The Cloud" ?

So I guess "The Cloud" now potentially means "you're system has gone up in smoke, and has been vapourised"

I guess The Cloud could be heaven for computers when they go and die.

"ah my machine is in the cloud ..."

As a society, I am now thinking Star Trek's Next Generation "Binards" were actually a prophetic warning to us all, and that was about 30 years ago.

( sorry for the obvious icon choice ;) )

Cattle that fail, not pets that purr – the future of servers

Karl H

The warm and fuzzy cloud ...

The "Cloud", that fluffy diagram that's been used in internet-explanation-diagrams (and sales pitches) for as long as I can remember the internet as a "thing". Ahhh makes me feel all warm and fuzzy ...

The thing is machines in the "Cloud" are just someone else's servers where you have less control. Maybe some of the conveniences suit some people, but it comes at a loss of total control and a set of backup and security implications where you are trusting someone else a lot more. Now in some cases the "cloud" company could be better than in house IT on security/backup and in others not so. Personally, and maybe I'm a bit of a control freak, I don't trust really important stuff to be stored in the "cloud".

There are things that I can never see being allowed in the cloud, PCI credit card stuff for starters, there must be a lot more examples.

Crack in black: Matte iPhones losing paint at alarming rate, gripe fans

Karl H

I'm not a major fan of Apple stuff (more Android/Linux for me) , but ...

I can't see how you can say "Sir Jony's shoddy craftmanship" .

He design's the stuff, I'm sure they'll be some chemical-paint-engineer who decides what paint is used.

SQL Server on Linux? HELL YES! Linux on Windows 10? Meh

Karl H

if you want to run an open source OS ...

Why are you going to want to run an expensive proprietary DB like MS SQL ?

Postgres or maybe MySQL are much more likely candidates.

and if I understand it correctly MS SQL on Linux is a bit lobotomised as compared to running it on Windows.

I'm hypothesising that Microsoft possibly think its a "gateway drug" to getting devs to use Windows.

Alternatively it could be a "gateway drug" for devs going from Windows to Linux.

Personally I'll stick to Linux / Postgres combo ...

Double-DIMMed XPoint wastes sockets

Karl H

I'd like to see a slice of memory ...

RAM-ed in a UK socket.

but that would be just plain silly :)

IoT worm can hack Philips Hue lightbulbs, spread across cities

Karl H

Re: ANY i.o.t

I don't think every I.o.T device is fundamentally flawed.

A lot of their current implementations are flawed from a security point of view.

I can see a point of internet enabled monitoring and control of several things in my house.

Lighting, heating and security all seem pretty useful to me.

The Philips implementation of shoving the IoT electronics in the lamp seems pretty silly and expensive to me. Also I wouldn't use Zigbee. But putting the IoT electronics in the ceiling rose, if properly done, seems like a good idea to me.

An internet enabled fridge or freezer that tells me its getting too hot is useful if it stops me throwing lots of food away. Although I have never saw the point ( or how it is sensibly achievable ) of a fridge that would automatically order food and drink so it can be restocked. I ( well my wife ;) ) want to be in charge of food purchases, not some flippin' fridge.

A cooker, clothes-iron or other fire risk item that could tell me remotely its still switched on could be useful. I don't know how many times I've wondered if something has been left switched on when I have left my house. Maybe I'm a bit OCD, and should get help ;) I guess I could just check manually ...

I really don't see the great advantage of the NEST single thermostat controlling an entire house's heating, But individually controlled rooms with different temperatures set looks useful to me. Especially if some rooms can be left at a low just above freezing temperature because the normal occupants of the room aren't in the house. The Honeywell EVO home looks useful, but way too expensive.

IoT toasters, kettles well they really are pointless.

Of course all these things need to be done securely, especially if home security systems are included.

Currently way too many IoT things seem to be insecure.

Along with the cost, this is what stops me from currently bothering ...

What will happen when I'm too old to push? (buttons, that is)

Karl H

"Old people in general don’t like gadgets, you see. That’s because they’re old."

True to a certain extent.

The old codgers ( assuming Alzheimers hasn't set in yet ) can remember a whole catalogue of ways of how things we're done before the new gadget came out or ways it could be done without a gadget at all.

I find old codgers ( of which I will be one sometime pretty soon ) will usually appreciate a new gadget that is truly revolutionary ( think mobile phone, internet and further back TVs, cars, jet planes etc ) .

What they don't appreciate is just tossing around and making things more complicated than they need to be, which is what happens on a lot of the latest "new tech" that is quite often not even "evolutionary" let alone "revolutionary".

Moving where things are on a computer interface is quite often a pointless exercise. Its a bit like supermarkets just moving where they stock a certain item ( yes there are "marketting reasons" behind this" ). This buggers about with people's mental maps of the world, and just makes things harder than is really necessary.

Old codgers for all their curmudgeonliness are often more able to see when something new is just a pointless exercise, just designed to extract money from fools who have to be "hip".

So Alastair "Not being arsed" about pointless new tech should be taken as a sign of wisdom, just worry when you "can't be arsed" by revolutionary new tech.

For me the only revolutionary new tech I'm currently getting excited is medical advancements that might allow me to spend my kids inherittance by living an extra 20 years in good health. I'm also looking forward to self driving cars, so when the DVLA want to take my licence off me circa 2040 I'll still be able to get around without using buses or over priced taxis.

BT will HATE us for this one weird 5G trick

Karl H

Re: Frequently Confused

although to be fair higher frequencies don't propagate as well, so will need more base stations.

900MHz 2G GSM is still useful in relatively unpopulated areas where its hard to justify the extra base stations that run at higher frequences.

Karl H

I agree, traffic separation is the answer

What I can never work out in a crowded places like London is why do Taxi's get preferential treatment over private cars ? They're taking up the same amount of carriageway for transporting a similar amount of people.

Yes someone is going to say about private cars needing parking space, but the key point still stands taxis take up approximately the same amount of carriage space per passenger when driving along as private cars.

If I was Mayor of London, Transport Minister etc ( never going to happen ) I wouldn't allow taxis in bus lanes. Only buses, motorcyclists and cyclist should be allowed to use bus lanes , and the cyclists should really have their own lane.

Now I'm waiting for all the "hate" comments from Taxi drivers.....

Karl H

soon they'll have IoT hammers.

I can't think of a good reason to have an IoT hammer, but someone, somewhere will make a 4G enable IoT hammer.

Finally, that tech fad's over: Smartwatch sales tank more than 50%

Karl H

Re: Batteries . yeah and small screens etc..

Its not just naff battery life, bar a few niche things like a fitness tracker, I can't see how a smart watch improves on either a watch or a smart phone.

I can remember being a school kid and salivating over a Casio calculator watch in the early 80s. Looked cool, however trying to use tiny buttons soon became tiresome.

The main issue with trying to get a watch to do too much hasn't changed since then. The watch form factor is just too small to do anything much other than well be a watch. I guess a wrist smart phone might do it, but who wants a 5 inch smart phone strapped to their wrist ? Although I'd see a bigger market in smartphone wrist straps than smart watches.

I need a watch to well tell the time, with a battery that will last for at least 1 year, more likely 5 years ( if its digital ) . A smart phone I need to be big enough to see without a microscope, with a battery that will last a day between charges.

Dynamic IP addresses are your personal property, CJEU rules

Karl H

Re: Not unusual

re Fake DoBs. I get "happy birthdays" from contacts on facebook on the wrong date.

I am starting to embrace this, after all Queenie can manage to have 2 birthdays.

I've taken it a step further, facebook , skype, linkedin birthdays. If I can sign up for another 360 odd sites I can have a birthday every day.

Just think about all that cake ! awesome .....

( but I'll never have anyone troop their colour for me . oh hum )

Karl H

so in the UK in 2019 ..

Theresa's enforcers will be able to ignore this , because the CJEU will not have any jurisdiction over the UK ?

Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards

Karl H

ASCII Drawings ?

(spike milligan delivery , as per the Life of Brian )

ASCII drawings ? you lucky lucky lucky b*****d ;)

Karl H

Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

I'd say there are percentage wise today probably a similar amount of youths ( anyone under 30 odd for me ) who have a good idea of what is happening in a computer as there were when I was a youth in the 80s. It seems to take a certain mindset to be interested in technical details , and that percentage hasn't changed in a long time.

Most people are consumers of ANYTHING technical. I don't know many car owners who can do basic maintenance, let alone more major repairs.

As for being naive, 30 odd years ago I was a lot more naive than I am now . Getting older has some advantages, although I wished I could still run for a bus and not get puffed out....

Should Computer Misuse Act offences committed in UK be prosecuted in UK?

Karl H

Re: Sometimes I think the public are just pawns in a global chess game played by psychopaths.

Is being "psychopathic" a "good" management trait ? (apparently)

Karl H

Re: Seems simple to me

I get your point, however its highly unlikely anyone from the UK would be extradited to North Korea. If anyone hacked NK's server's they'd probably be a hero in the West. Whereas getting extradited to the US is well on the cards.

Every time I read articles like this I just start humming The The's song Heatland "This is the 51st State of the US of A"

So, Gov.UK infosec in 2015. 'Chaotic'. Cost £300m. NINE THOUSAND data breaches...

Karl H

Re: Is it me?

Not sure the "and IT" is needed, seems like Governments ( to be fair, the world over) primary skill is "To cock up and waste lots of money"

The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

Karl H

Re: Even in 2016

The issues I have on the pavements up in the City of London aren't cyclists or mobility scooters.

My issues are :

1) Families walking 5 abreast at about 0.000005 MPH

2) Drunken crowds of stationary nicotine addicts entirely blocking the pavement outside pubs, forcing me into the road.

3) Businesses that are allowed to put sandwich boards blocking significant sections of the pavement

So a few drones to sort these issues out would be a vote winner with me ;)

Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick... Hang on. They're back

Karl H

building metaphor.

The best analogy I saw on how software development should be done was in "Code Complete" .

It used a building metaphor. Design, test and build.

If skyscrapers were built using methods the way software is quite often developed there'd be a whole lot more stories of collapsing buildings in the news than we currently see.

Karl H

Re: RE: Rocket science

yeah making things go "bang" is usually not that difficult.

controlled power safely delivered in useful ways is much more challenging.

see the history of nuclear power , rockets, various forms of transport and their power units.

Ford announces plans for mass production of self-driving cars by 2021

Karl H
Thumb Up

transport in my dotage

being an old fart who passed their driving test in the mid 80s I am really looking forward to self driving cars.

This side of not having a job like Jezza Clarkson and his mates have still got mucking around on a test track, driving to me is just a chore.

Plus with self driving cars a lack of automotive mobility in dotage is not something I'll have to worry about. (I'll probably have other mobility problems, primarily caused by sitting down in front of a computer too much in my middle age )

The standard of driving I saw on a recent tour of England just leads me to believe self driving cars can only be a good thing. Admittedly most other drivers were pretty good, but there is always a small minority of idiots who really should just volunteer themselves to be crash test dummies at Thatcham.

Its now looking like well get self driving cars before self driving trains. Which is just plain unbelievable, considering how much easier it is to make self driving trains.

Microsoft has made SQL Server for Linux. Repeat, Microsoft has made SQL Server 2016 for Linux

Karl H

Re: I can't wait to try it out

did you get IE4 working then ? I'm impressed ;)

Karl H

Re: hang on

maybe we need to start burning a bit more fossil fuel to stop hell freezing over.

Karl H

Re: Re:With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine

the velocity would have to be accurately calculated so they are just nicely crispy, and not burnt to a frazzle.

Now maybe someone should get NASA on to that since they haven't got much else to launch into space currently

Karl H

Re: Imagine my joy

"Cortana" is that a bit like my first car, a rusty Dagenham Dustbin ?

Does cortana go in directions you don't want to go ( like straight on and not around the corner due to crap suspension ) like my rusty old Cortina did ?

Karl H

Re: Imagine my joy. me too.

I was almost wetting myself , maybe like yourself.

I mean I can now ditch Postgres and/or MySQL ( okay oracle have probably sodded that up now ) and start paying some money to the Bill Gates retirement fund. I guess the poor so and so probably needs a few bob to buy another private island with airfield, private jets and a nice big harbour for a fleet of yachts.

I like to do my bit for charity, so buying SQL Server on Linux could be my bit for His Holiness William of Gates.

I don't think anyone would want his holiness to have an austere retirement.

So come on ditch postgres and start buying SQL Server on Linux !

Coding with dad on the Dragon 32

Karl H

I lost my Dragon 32 in a house move

Articles like this bring a tear to my eye, my missing first love. I guess its in a garbage tip now.

Although I survived learning BASIC, and have now progressed onto much better languages like Perl and Python, I guess BASIC did teach me assigning things to variables and the if then else construct, even if it did have GOTO and line numbers.

Back then to get the machines to do anything quickly you really had to write machine code. I haven't really done anything in machine code since the early to mid 80s, but it does install an appreciation of what is really happening deep down in a machine, which people who only learned higher level languages quite often seem to lack.

Ahh happy days , and I hope my Dragon 32 is resting in peace somewhere, probably a bit like Toy Story when the toys end up in the dump. Sorry my Dragon 32 !

Building a fanless PC is now realistic. But it still ain't cheap

Karl H

Re: How about

and the really noisy computer in another room, using ooodles of power could be put somewhere that needs heating.

Hey why not go the whole hog, a power hungry super 'puter in every room, warming an entire building up. Computer fan heaters everywhere !

For anyone not likely the sound of Concorde taking off, well some foam ear plugs along with ear defenders could help.

I guess take this too far, and a 3 phase supply from the local "leccy" company ( do we say "board" these days ? ) would probably be required.

I guess the only downside that is that the summer anyone doing this would need a fair amount of air conditioning, or maybe they could turn the computer-fan-heaters off.

But just think about the MIPS !

Microsoft makes Raspberry Pi its preferred IoT dev board

Karl H

Re: Self-foot-shooting again, Microsoft?

To 'So what would putting "Windows" on these devices give me?' take your pick :

1) a headache

2) fan mail from Bill Gates

3) a horrible command line interface with screwed up use of slashes

4) less power than running some flavour of linux

5) closed source tools

6) praying to the deities in Redmond to fix bugs

I could go on ;)

I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Karl H

Linux is the saviour.

I find that since I stopped using windows, ooooh about 7 years ago, and dedicated my computing life to just using Linux, the slow attrition of my Windows skills has resulted in me not being that useful to the Windows brigade.

"Ohhh , you're not running XP ?" I say. "Windows 8 is way too new and fangled for me" I continue. Before I say "Do you want to borrow an Ubuntu 14.04 disk ?" by which time , with all of the intervening conversation they've got the idea I really don't want to work on Windows, and they should try someone who does.

This strategy works for me very well.

When I meet someone who knows about Linux, they usually know more than me, so I'm the one learning :-D

Freeview's rumoured '£100m YouView killer' is real – and it's yet another digital TV thing

Karl H

Re: The Magic Roundabout

A 3d scene rendered on a 2 dimensional screen has lots of distortions in it. Not that 3d TV could ever really correct them , it was ( and still is ) a "plasticky" kind of distorted 3d. Not until we get the long awaited and very difficult implement holographic TV will it ever really improve.

Just saying , and all that .

Euro judges: Copyright has NOT changed, you WON'T get sued for browsing the web

Karl H

There are worse individuals

Tony Blair for instance.

and I'm for leaving the EU gravy train too, but that is besides the point.

Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Karl H

What do I do with my old 78s ?

as in "HiFi shop" by the Not the Nine O'Clock News team


BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Karl H

Ofcom , 118 , 192 ... I can handle all that crap. Just ban NON geographic numbers. PLEASE.

I've got most of the numbers I want in my smart phone's memory, and look up others up via the smart phone web browser. If I can't look it up on my smart phone well I don't have a signal, so I can't call anyway.

What really bugs me are all the Non geographic numbers that AREN'T INCLUDED in my inclusive minutes.

Even my Doctors and children's school has non-geographic numbers, fortunately I've got the geographic numbers for them, not that they willingly publish them.

There seems to me very few services that can justify non-geograhic phone numbers, other than they want to rip me off for as much as they can, which I guess is a captilist article of faith. I just wished OFCOM would BAN the majority of non-geographic numbers now.

Boffins invent LUMINOUS PIGS again, glow-in-dark bacon sarnies presumably imminent

Karl H

Re: "Taiwanese scientists were the first to make pigs glow."

re " Taiwanese scientists were the first to make pigs glow." I always thought it was those guys at chernobyl all the way back in 1986..."

I think British Scientists did it back in the 1950s at Windscale. Plus all the fish in the Irish Sea glowed due to them, and the ReadyBrek kids must have been from a Cumbrian School.

If you want an IT job you'll need more than a degree, say top techies

Karl H

three degrees

if you've got three degrees , will the HR department ask "when we will see them again ? "

Women crap at parking: Official

Karl H

Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"

re "when was the last time you saw a bloke putting lippy on whilst hurtling down a dual carrigeway for a mile and a half.."

in my driving career of 26 years, and about 250 -> 300 Thousand miles, I'm yet to see a bloke put on "lippy" whilst driving along. I have however seen a fair few :-

on their mobile phone

shaving with an electric razor

reading a map propped on the steering wheel

looking for something , guessing a cassette or cd etc, instead of looking at the road, and veering wildly.

playing with the CD/Radio/Cassette player and not looking at the road (almost the same as above)

I guess there must be a few cross-dressing men who like to put on their "lippy" too, and no doubt in the next 20 odd years I guess I'll see one.

Karl H

Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"

I have to concur with this report .

If you are near my wife when she's reversing , GET OUT OF THE WAY. She might hit you at the huge speed of about 3 MPH. The amount of bumpers she has re-arranged on our cars is numerous.

If you are near me when I'm going forward , GET OUT OF THE WAY, because I have way too much confidence in my ability, and I'm likely to hit you , at somewhat more than 3 MPH.

Karl H

Re: This proves

he's posting as AC because he forgot his name ;)

From the Dept of You are Old: 'Selfie' officially 'Word of the Year'

Karl H

selfies are frickin OLD.

my kids think "selfies" are NEW.

Oh no they're not.

I can remember an advert on TV featuring David Bailey taking a picture of himself, probably using an Olympus Trip 35mm camera way back in something like the early 1980s.

I thought this was cool as a teenager in the early 80s (coz I thought it was new back then ) and would regularly take my own picture with my Canon Sureshot.

I guess even I was wrong back then, about it being new, because I'm sure people must have taken self portraits before even I was born. Flash bang wallop what a picture ;)

Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Karl H

Re: DAB Bashing

When I've had DAB in a car its been great. I have no problem with in car DAB. After all there is a nice big 12V lead acid battery and loads of spare power from the alternator to power all those extra transistors, plus the ability to have an external aerial with a nice big ground-plane making reception of the signal easy.

Where I do have a problem with is on my portable radio inside my house. The aerial on my portable radio isn't as good as a car aerial, and the brick walls of the house get in the way of the signal. This is down to the propogation of 200 -> 300 MHz signals not being anywhere near as good in a house as a 100 MHz FM signal. Reception of DAB in my house is crap. I have to have the frickin' receiver near a window to stop it losing the signal. Then there is the issue of powering up all those extra frickin transistors. The AA batteries in my nice little cheap FM radio last for WEEKS. In a DAB radio I have to have it plugged into the mains because I can't afford its appetite for batteries.

APPLE is the new COCA-COLA: Bubble-beverage globocorp beaten by Foxconn rebrander

Karl H

coca cola and apple definitely changed my life

when I drank sugary Coke regularly I was a lot fatter, so much so I got diagnosed with fatty liver.

Quitting it helped reverse the damage.

Apple well they changed my life, my daughter has emptied my bank account getting me to get her shiny-shit made by them.

Apple music , now they were okay , I quite like listenning to the Beatles.

EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Karl H

I like standards.

I'm a fully paid up believer in common standards, and I wouldn't buy an iphone because of Apple's thought police completely controlling the device. I use a Samsung Galaxy 4 active, and much prefer it to my daughter's iphone 5.

I do have to admit that the lightning connector is actually better than micro USB, primarily due to not having to worry which way around you have to plug it in. So for Apple users, the EU will be doing a disservice, maybe until we can have a polarity free micro-usb , assuming Apple don't have the patent on that.



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