* Posts by Esme

1043 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007


New mystery AWS product 'Infinidash' goes viral — despite being entirely fictional


I've 30 years experience with Windows 9, does that count?

Researchers find evidence that stress does turn your hair grey, and it can be reversed – you just need a holiday


They've only just discovered this? Really?!

I first started getting some grey in my hair in my thirties, due to huge and prolonged stress. The grey would start at the base of affected hairs, but if ihad a happier few months, the same hairs reverted to the usual brown. The difference was perfectly visible to the unaided eye. I'm in my sixties now, and overall there's a lot more grey in my hair generally, but it is still markedly affected by whether I am under great stress or not. And anecdotally, I've known others experience similar. I find it hard to credit that this hasnt been known to science for a great many years. The only interesting part t me is that they can detect variatios in colour due to less extreme stress of lack thereof.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock follows delay to GP data grab with campaign called 'Data saves lives'


Re: how do you stop it being used?

Uh, this old person found that you can opt-out online, no need for printing anything out. And my GP confirmed that I'm opted out.

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)


Re: "And preferably allow a choice of window managers..."

Good heavens, if any Linux distro tries to force a desktop environment on me, they'll have to pry Xfce from my cold, dead hands. But then - I'm far close to being just a User than you lo, these dayst! :-}


Re: What is an OS for?

Good heavens, I've been a very happy Linux user for many years, and even I'll downvote that one! 8-}

Mensa data spillage was due to 'unauthorised internal download'


My two penn'orth

There's snobbery and ignorance both pro and anti most things, including intelligence, IQ tests and MENSA., in my experience.

IQ tests - so far as I can see they are a bit like tests for benchmarking CPU performance - if well-designed they can be indicative of ones processing power. But just as a CPU might be put to work looking for ways to defeat viruses or alternatively, allowing one to play Bubble Bobble to kill some time, so people use their wetware CPUs for a wide range of things, some mundane, some seriously useful. But just as with hardware CPUs, wetware CPUs quite often don't get much choice about what tasks they are set to tackle. But we don't critciise hardware CPUs for the uses to which they are put

Also, whilst there is a known slight improvement on test scores over time if one takes a number of IQ tests, last I knew, it's a law of diminishing returns, and after about the third one, you're unlikely to see much change in score. So it is NOT the case that anyone can get a high score if they keep on taking IQ tests.

There can be many reasons for taking IQ tests and many reasons for joining MENSA. In my case, I was in the care of a later-found-to-be-rogue psychiatrist, who bristled at my innocent misuse of a single term to describe my symptoms ("manic-depressive", in case you're wondering. Turns out I'm not, but it seemed closest fit to me out of my vocabulary at the time). This, apparently was a challenge to his self-importance and he went into a tirade about the framed document on the wall showing he'd taken a relevant degree course, and I, a mere lowly-educated oik, dared self-diagnose? From then on, he deliberately messed me about including outright lying about whether I;d kept appointments or not. But I shan't bore you all with the rest of THAT tale.

The point is, it led me to read up on psychology, and in the process come across a decent IQ test; whose results astounded me. I hadn't merely gone over MENSA' entry level, I was, apparently, nearly off the scale. Stunned, I took the MENSA test and duly passed, and was given the highest score the MENSA test is good for - essentially, if you get that score, it means "we're not sure what your IQ is, as it's higher than our tests can reliably measure".

This gave me confidence to try to tackle the situation I was in with the psychiatrist, and hopefuly get transfered (didnt succeed, sadly).. I also decided to join MENSA as it occurred to me that my intelligence might be connected with my poor social skills.. Perhaps joining MENSA might hep me.

Shortly after joining I had a startling experience. A very smartly dressed older chap started talking to me (a impoverished and somewhat scruffy Goth) and was very proud of the fact that his IQ was 2 or 3 points above the minimum required for entry into MENSA. Seemed an odd thing to be proud of - I'm not proud of my eye colour or anything else I was born with, but (shrug) if it makes him happy, and all that. He ten asked me my IQ and was thunderstruck when I told him. This brought home to me that people of high IQ are still, well, just people with all the frailties everyone else has. I knew that my high IQ hadn't done me any favours, so I was a bit puzzled by his attitude.

Over time I discovered that some members of MENSA have all sorts of odd beliefs and passions, including conspiracy theories and von-Danikenesque nonsense.

It wasnt doing anything noticeably beneficial for my social life, and the SIGs weren't full of the high-level stuff I'd expected they'd contain., most of it being at about the same level as one might expect from a magazine aimed at the general public on the topic of your choice. So I left, after a few years.

Now yes, I;d come across a few who were downright peculiar in MENSA, but there were also a lot of perfectly "normal" and pleasant people in it too. They're far from all being socially inept weirdos with too high an opinion of themselves,. I've no idea what benefit such ones feel they get from membership though. But the main benefit I got was that for the first time I gained confidence in my cognitive abilities rather than thinking I was stupid because I didnt see things the same as many around me.

In short, it's not the IQ tests that are at fault, for the most part - it's peoples interpretation about what the results mean that causes problems.(shrugs) YMMV

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again


Re: Thermostats

Well said. I suffered in places where temperatures were well over 20C and some staff were still complaining of it being cold, but also refusing to wear a cardigan. . So the temperatures got pushed up and up by a couldn't-care-less management who simply replied to those f us who were fainting from the heat - in midwinter! - that the law of the tie only insisted that workers not be too cold.

So productivity nosedived amongst trained staff who couldn't cope with being expected to work in temperatures approaching 30C in the middle of winter, all because some selfish buggers couldnt be bothered to wear a cardigan over their short-sleeved thin blouses or shirts. The management response, despite it having been pointed out that overheating people can be life-threatening? Wait for people to quit, then replace them with new, and thus, untrained, staff, some of whom also sweltered in the heat and left quickly.

How the management responsible for the iidiotic situation didn't get fired as productivity continued to plummet I have no idea, especially as this was local government, and several small suppliers went bust as a resultbecause their bills to the Council were in a steadily mounting backlog that delayed payments for months.

Not to mention the adverse effects on health suffered by quite a few staff form being forced to work in overheated arid air all year round. Grrr!

Perseverance Mars rover sets off on its first mission, to boldly drill and return samples as no rover has drilled before


Incorrect terminology!

Sorry to be Mrs Pedantic here, but in the paragraph

"The six-wheeled nuclear-powered vehicle has been shuffling about the Jezero crater testing its instruments since it landed in February. Perseverance tested its hardware and shepherded the world’s first interplanetary helicopter, Ingenuity, sending it zipping through the Martian atmosphere."

Shouldn't that have been, according to the El Reg Soviet's standards for prose and vocabulary "six-wheeled, laser-armed nuclear trundlebot", and I can't think of how to phrase it, but I'm sure there should be a reference to Black Helicopters somewhere when taking about Ingenuity, surely?

Mine's the one with the bottle of red and green stripey tablets in the right-hand pocket..

Linus Torvalds tells kernel list poster to 'SHUT THE HELL UP' for saying COVID-19 vaccines create 'new humanoid race'


Re: What gets me

Ach, just because someone is rational and intellgient in some parctiular field of knowledge doesn't prevent them from being irrational in others.

Two cases I've encountered personally were an extremely able mathematician who somehow gave credence to some nonsensical von-Daniken-eqque drivel; how her logic didnt spot the crap for what it was/is is beyond me. Another was a prgrammer I knew that didnt believe the Apollo landings had actually taken place. His main counter argument was "if we can't do that now, how could they have done it back then?". Which f course completely ignores the how and why it was ventured in the first place.

I ctually had to point out to him that radio triangulation is a thing, and that if the Soviets hadnt seen signals going all the way to the Moon, and then come all the way back, they would have been shouting about it very loudly at the time. And that a laser reflector was left by the astronauts which has long bee used to check the precise distance to the Moon. he still wast convinced. Good programer, but not so good at applying logc outside of that narrow field.


'A massive middle finger': Open-source audio fans up in arms after Audacity opts to add telemetry capture


How did any decent software ever get created without telemetry? </sarcasm>

Oh, FFS! Sigh. Telemetry data might be NICE to have for software developers, but it sure as heck is not essential, else there'd never have been any good software developed pre-internet.

As a less-than-averagely-knowledgeable-on-IT-stuff El Reg denizen, if a new version of Audacity suddenly came up with a dialogue saying something like "We'd like to collect some telemetry to help us spot bugs; would you like to install the telemetry add-on?" I might have been OK with it,depending on the mood it caught me in. But to me, opt-in checkboxes imply that the telemetry software is there anyway, just not switched on - or that's what is claimed, anyway. And I don't want telemetry thank you very much. I am willing to send an email or enter a form o a website if I come across a bug, but that's fully under my control as to whether I do so or not.

MY computer, MY decision over what goes on in it, and who it talks to! Insofar as my limited ability to understand and do something about these issues goes, anyway. And frankly, the stuff that I don't understand/can't do anything about should be illegal, worldwide.

Does the company I buy bread from need to know every time I consume a slice of their bread and in what manner I consume it, i order to make a decent loaf of bread? No! Does Linus need to know what I'm doing with Linux in order to improve Linux? No! So I don't see why Audaciity should need something that an entire bloody operating system which is FAR more complex doesn't need, in order to improve. Yes, I know I'm technically naieve compared to a lot of folk here, but Ialso know that I have friends who are even less technically ept think much the same way. Grrrr..

Set lawn = "my computer"

Set getoffof = "stay out of"

Print "Oy! ";getoffof; lawn; " world!"

(with apologies if my hazy memory of PC1211 BASIC is inaccurate. I've slept a few times since then)

Sigh. Aaaaand.. deep breath, thoughts of flutterbys and bunnies in sun-soaked meadows lest I blow a gasket. Gotta be careful of the old blood pressure these days...

Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'


Re: Brit MPs ?

@AC: You and your ilk are the reason that over here Americans had the reputation of not understanding British humour. Given your unnecessarily adversarial attitude to what was clearly a joke: you are Tucker Carlson, and I claim my £5! TLDR: you're clearly not used to adult conversation, so be quiet, child, until you are old enough to understand these things.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout


Re: French Roundabouts are useless

pffft. I used to ride across it on my pushbike - absolute doddle! My uncle, on the other hand,would go miles out of his way to avoid the Magic Roundabout, when he came to visit us. It's really only like a a bunch of T-junctions all linked together.

Sure, your app is crap, but Windows won't tell. Promise


Re: Bright ideas

Downvoted due to "crisis-mongers" and the assumption that all of us lefty-greenies know nada about the environment, or technology or , generally any of the science involved i any relevant subject., AND your assumptions about politics ( "controlled by autocratic elites" - seems to be pretty much what most if not all countries have now, anyway. Just a case of how in yer face the buggers are about it, no?)

There's quite definitely a bunch of crises looming imminently, mainly human-caused, and yes, there are folks of all persuasions promoting some head-scratchingly daft "solutions" that will make one or more aspects of our collective situation worse. But not EVERYONE is like that.

As for capitalism, hmm, remind me, which economic system was it that considered wasteful consumerism a good thing, creating gazillions of tons of polluting landfill etc? Yes, yes, I know abut the irrefutable data about rising standards of living decrease birthrates and slow our worryingly increasig population. Thing is though, is the assumption that capitalism is the ONLY way to improve standards of living correct?

Capitalism actively promotes waste, greed and other negative behaviours, and evry now and then some bastards overstep the mark and brng down companies and banking systems which suddenly plunges hundreds of millions, if not billions into financial hardship. Companies will always try to reduce headcount and keep salaries low, whilst landlords will try to keep rents high. Thats' just how capitalism works, no?

Our current economic system is simply the latest in a chain of attempts to come up with systems to make exchange of goods easier, and there's no reason at all that it couldn't be supplanted by something better. Indeed, Past attempts to cure the ills of capitalism haven't exactly been a resounding success, but that's no reason to stop trying, and indeed, there are academics trying to work on exactly that problem.

I've no idea what a better system would be like (hey, I'm a science geek, not an economist!), but that doesnt mean I cant identify the faults capitalism has (too much concentration of wealth, encouragement of wasteful, exploitative and selfish behaviour) , or some of the specs I'd like to see included in a better system ( a much less highly skewed distribution of wealth, lack of encouragement of anti-social behaviour (I suspect making anti-social behaviour economically damaging to the anti-social types isnt likely to be achievable, but we could at least not encourage the buggers) for two.

Franlky, if capitalism is the answer, then it was a rather poorly defined problem n the first place -but that's said with the benefit of hnsight. I very much doubt those ancient Greeks with their iron oboloi could have forseen how commerce would have developed over the centuries and millenia, but gve e do have hindsight, and can see how we've gotten to our current situatiion, let's make use of that knowledge to improve things , rather than trying to sustain unchanged the very system that caused so many of the looming crises, eh? Perhasit just needs one genus tweak to make it a lot better; perhaps it needs wholsale relacement; I have no idea. But leaving it as it is obviously is not a sensible option, given the wealth of data we have on it.

(Apologies for my typos, but I'm not well and this keyboard is on its last legs - bit like me :-} )

UK.gov wants mobile makers to declare death dates for their new devices from launch


This is probably naieve, but..

I'd prefer to be able to buy a phone as just hardware onto which I could install whatever phone software I wish/can afford. My preference would be a form of Linux designed for phones, but that's just me. I'd love to be able to have a phone that did just the following: text, email, voice, ad if it has a camera built in, take pics too. I dont want answerphone, or the internet , ta very. And I want a proper physical button keyboard.

OK, so that's just me, but others could choose just the services they want too, and many/most would no doubt want the full-fat internetty stuff too - great, they can just install the stuff they want, If hardware makers were just hardware makers, then folk could choose to go with the latest and greatest, or the most reliable/logest lasting as they see fit. And if the phone OS's were created by companes that were not the same as the companies that provide the hardware then again, users could have choice.

Before anyone makes the point about installing an OS not being most peoples cup of tea, if there was a a lockable slot such that a storage device could be easily inserted and removed from which the device would boot, then OS makers could simply sell their wares on suitable storage devices, so it'd be a case of choose which hardware you like, choose the OS, insert the later into the former, charge up and you;re good to go.

As for security in that scenario, perhaps I'm missing something (probably - you lot know far more than I do about relevant matters!) but in the scenario I posit, the phone becomes much the same as the desktop PC aside from being rather more portable, and security issues should be much the same, for much the same reasons. Except I'd get to have a phone that ISNT full of junk I have no interest in, and others would be able to customise the sftware n their phones to please their needs/wants too.

But then I'm thinking of mobile phones as useful devices that a user chooses to buy and use as they wish, rather than a deliberately disposable method of parting consumers from their money for the benefit of company directors and shareholders somewhere. Silly me...

Neural networks give astronomers huge boost in identifying galaxies: 27 million done, 600 million to come


Well, yes, that's exactly what they're doing!

@Nick Ryan

Methinks you may have misunderstood the situation (my apologies if this is not the case)...

We have a model of the universe, called the Standard Model. We have observed a couple of things in reality that don't fit that model. In order to talk about them, they have been given names that seem reasonably appropriate given the observable effects they cause viz "dark energy" (accelerating expansion of the universe) and "dark matter" (galaxies spin rates being anomalous if all the matter we can see is all the matter there is). It's possible that these things may actually be very different to the kinds of things that they at first glance appear to be behaving like.

Having spotted these anomalies, further research has been done and continues to be done to try to ascertain what is causing these effects. Given that those effects do not exist in the Standard Model as it currently exists, then obviously a revised Standard Model will be required once we find out what the heck is causing these two effects. That's just how science works. What you've suggested is exactly what's happening; nothing controversial or unpopular at all, and no bludgeoning involved. It is expected that the Standard Model will have to be overhauled and replaced with a better version, because clearly something is amiss with the current version, despite its successes.

If there's a better way to tackle problems, a gazillion scientists would love to hear about it!

I am an amateur astrophysicist, not a professional one, though I know people who are. I can say with certainty that there are a LOT of hypotheses as to what's causing the anomalous effects observed, and they can't all be right! Time will tell which one is right or whether something entirely new is necessary to explain 'em. That's what's so exciting about science!

Wormhole encrypted file transfer app reboots Firefox Send after Mozilla fled


When did that happen?

"The web is safe, accessible, easy to use...."

Safe? Not sure I'd agree with that. As for accessible and easy to use, it CAN be, but media twonks all too often seem intent on making it slow and inaccessible by creating "multimedia experiences" with obscure interfaces (though I'll gratn you, I have encountered a few sites that have managed to include stunning moving graphical elements in an easy to use site that doesn't take all day to load, but in my experience, they still seem to be in a small minority).

Anyway, I like the idea, I wish tem luck, and hope they can get it to work well, but colour me sceptical for now...

NASA sets the date for first helicopter flight on another planet – and the craft will carry a piece of history


Re: first flight ?

Yup. There's a LOT of quibbling to be had regarding the early days of aviation history, but there was definitely a powered heavier-than air craft before the Wrights efforts - but it was NOT capable of, or intended to, carry a human, and there were quite a few who achieved gliding manned flight before the Wrights did (notably Lilienthal) , indeed the Wrights were inspired by what they'd heard of others achievements, and built upon them with their own experimentation. People had been looking into gliding flight for a century or so beforehand.

The Wrights achievement was a great step forward, and deserves its place in history. I just wish that some of the other aviation pioneers were better known, though!

IBM's CEO and outgoing exec chairman take home $38m in total for 2020 despite revenue shrinking by billions


I bet I could do a betterjob of being a crap CEO than that!

I reckon I could ruin IBM utterly within 12 months. What would I get paid for that, then? £50 million? Two hundred mill? Gissajob, I can do that! 8-}

ICYMI: A mom is accused of harassing daughter's cheerleader rivals with humiliating deepfake vids


Utterly disgusting

I hope the woman gets serious jail time for that. She clearly didn't consider how she'd feel if her daughter were targeted like that, or what it is like to be the target of such abuse. It's bad enough having male ne'erdowells do this sort of thing (Guys - I know it's only a small percentage of males that are that sick; I'm not having a go at all of you!) without having other women get in on the act as well! I hope her child is OK, as clearly the mother isn't a good parent.

Huge if true: If you show people articles saying that Firefox is faster than Chrome, they'll believe it


A pox on all their houses!

I was an early adapter of Firefox, as when I tried it, it really was much faster than whatever I'd been using before. Nice interface too. But over the years, it has seemed to get more and more bloated, the settings more and more obscure, and it has definitely become (so my system monitor tells me) a memory hog. Why do I still use it? Because I refuse to use Chrome, and dont understand half as much about the ins and outs of browsers and how they work as most of the rest of the illustrious commentardery here.

I know I tried Palemoon at some ponit in the past, but evidently didnt find it an improvement over FF at the time. Might try it again. Recently, I tried the Gnome web browser(called Web, apparently), after getting frustrated with the buffering when using Firefox to watch a SpaceX launch. Not only did the stream run much better than under Firefox, it'd handle higher resolution usably too (although hires doesnt matter as much to me. I'm good with 480p for most things, and 360p for some. 720p and up is luxury, IMO :-}). I sure to heck I dont end up having to resort to Lynx or the like again (I've nothing aganst Lynx, mind, but it is a bit too barebones for my liking!).

Anyway, if FF tries to convince me that FF is faster than some other browser, I'll laugh, sneeringly in their face. It's only a mix of inertia and lack of anything obviously better that is keeping me using FF. Sad, 'cause I used to love it, now I merely (and barely) tolerate it. :-(

What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon


Re: Adolf

Eh? Stukas? How so? Stukas had Jumo (made by Junkers) or Daimer-Benz engines. Are you thinking of the Bf109 which was made by the aviation arm of the merged BFW/BMW? I'll be shuffling back to my pedant's corner now, shall I? :-)

Bezos denied: New Glenn launch pushed into 2022 after Space Force says no


If I had Bezos' money

I'd shrug at the failure to get that contract, and start talking (if I hadn't already) to companies like Bigelow, with a view to creating the first rotating space habitat so that the effects of very low simulated gravity. Currently, we have lots of data on the effects of 1G on living organisms, and some data on 0G, but none for any values between 0 and 1. Questions like "how much gravity is sufficient for human heath?" need to be answered, and the only way to do so is to create something in orbit that is habitable, that spins.

Even if the first spinning space station (Maybe a couple of Bigelow habs with a docking port in the middle?) was only able to simulate 0.01G, it'd be highly useful, as we could find out how that affects plant growth, and does it make any measurable difference to the problems that 0G causes humans? Over time, as larger and larger space stations become practical to bud, the effects of higher and higher simulated fractional gravity could be investigated. A great many researchers would be VERY interested in doing that sort of research,

I'd also speak to the British Interplanetary Society about their Scorpion ship design. First company to build something like that could well make a fortune in hauling infrastructure (whether to and from the Moon or asteroids) and on contracts for crewed deep-space exploration missions. I'd happily sink some personal money into all the above if I had Bezos' money. Call me financially naieve if you will (it'd be true!) but I don't understand why failure to get that contract would delay a first launch of New Glenn at all. Surely is first test launch would be good advertising , if successful, and would get people starting to think about what they could do with the capability of putting that much mass nto spce?

That sad - I loathe Bezos for the way Amazon workers are treated. On the one hand , yaay, ore big reusable spaceships! On the other Boo, that ones from Bezos! Gripping hand -we need better launch capability with all possible speed, to ensure we don't take another fifty years just to get humans beyond Luna.

Valheim: How the heck has more 'indie shovelware with PS2 graphics' sold 4 million copies in a matter of weeks?


Re: Dont knock

Given the limitations of my PC kit, KSP on a good day will only run at about half real-time speed. And I use quarter-res graphics. So my expeirence of the game doesnt include ultra-realistic graphics. And it doesn't matter one bit, because even so, the game is incredibly fun to play and I remain stunned by how darned good the graphics are even so, shadows from multiple light sources etc. The graphics are more than adequate for the purposes of the game, and "improving" them wouldn't add to my enjoyment of the game - indeed if they made the game unplayably slow on my PC, "better" graphics would be a decided negative. Another important point in KSP's favour is its modability and the ease of adding or removing mods.

Would I like to be able to run all the KSP mods that improve the graphics, add clouds to Kerbin and dust-storms to Duna? Hell, yes! But they aren't necessary to my enjoyment of the game. A few days ago, I EVA'd from a prototype interplanetary ship in low-Kerbin orbit, which had a fancy docking system I'd designed that could retract the docking arms to haul ship's boats that had just docked in snug to the ship. Except that when tested , they had proven abject failures. Which didnt bother me, as I get a lot of fun from working out why thigs I think should work don't in practice, then trying to create a better vesrion until I either find how to make it work properly, or conclude that it's just not doable.

So there I was, KAS screwdriver in hand, detaching the fancy-schmancy docking equipment sometimes in sunlight, sometimes with only helmet lights for illumination. I marvelled as the shadows of the detached bits now drifting away fell across the ship, changing shape as the debris spun slowly; at the quality of the graphics even when up close and personal to the components of the ship; and at the beautiful blue-green world below. Then I got back to work, and installed some plain old (but utterly reliable) Clampotron docking ports to replace the failed docking system, and returned from EVA with a huge grin on my face, and the feeling of a job well done!

The day when Esme Kerman will set foot on Duna for the first time is drawing ever closer!

Smartphones are becoming like white goods, says analyst, with users only upgrading when their handsets break



I expect a decades use out of my computers -and that's what "mobile phones" are - pocket computers, Except they're poorly designed for use as computers and crap as phones. IMO. YMMV.

Trump silenced online: Facebook, Twitter etc balk at insurrection, shut the door after horse bolts and nearly burns down the stable


Re: Hmmm

Oh, rubbish! Facebook, Twitter, et al are not the authorities. They are private companies who offer a service with terms and conditions. They are perfectly entitled to enforce those terms and conditions if they see fit. And Trump is still free to spout his criminal lies wherever he can, to anyone who will listen, on any platform that wilshes to let him.

As I've just woken up, maybe I'm a bit behind on the news, but I haven't yet heard of the US gvernment attempting to remove Trumps freedom of speech, so where's the problem?

United States Congress stormed by violent followers of defeated president, Biden win confirmation halted


I'm surprised

that anyone has downvoted any of the above comments. Trump was clearly trying to ignore due process of law, and overrule the results of an election. Trumpists tried in court 60 times, and had no case worthy of merit, even according to Republican judges picked by Trump himself! They presented no evidence to back their allegations. If later they CAN provide evidence of wrongdoing during the election, then I very much hope that they do present it properly in a court of law, so that the courts can decide whether the result in question needs to be overturned. But violent protest, and storming the Capitol because they dont like the result of the election? That regards anyone that doesnt do or say exactly what he wants them to do or say? That's insurrection, anti-democratic, and frankly disgusting.

As for a president blatantly trying to rig a Senate election he didn't like? Republicans threw out Nixon for less. What a shame that Trumpists dont have the moral fibre of the Republicans of all those years ago.

Love Minecraft: Java? You'll have to learn to love your Microsoft account as well – it will be required next year


If I have to give it up

Then that's sad, but I will NOT create an MS account for something I didn't buy from MS. I really like Minecraft, and have been quite impressed that MS appeared to have done a good job with the updates (I'm generally a tad negative about MS) but there's nothing MS can do to induce me to get an MS account. If that means never playing Minecraft again, so be it.

Unsecured Azure blob exposed 500,000+ highly confidential docs from UK firm's CRM customers


No, no I do not!

"Customers trust the companies they deal with to take their security seriously. " - heavens, no! I've had too much evidence for too many years that most companies either don't give a damn abut customer data security, or if they do, are evidently clueless about , or, in one case where I worked for them, had at least one director (wiho had legal training, I might add) who did their damndest to try to circumventt the requirements of the Data Protection Ac, and was only stopped by junior staff refusing to break the law.

Brit accused of spying on 772 people via webcam CCTV software tells court he'd end his life if extradited to US


Zero sympathy

If the accused is guilty, I have zero sympathy for them, irrespective of the sentence or their reactions to the possibility of it. Saying "sorry" doesn't make it all right, and shouldn't IMO have any effect on the severity of the sentencing. The victims lives have been negatively affected forever. And, if guilty, the accused has committed an offence in the UK, that of non-consensual voyeurism. That the victims were abroad has no bearing on the matter, so far as I am aware. I've no idea regarding the correct jurisdiction to try him issue. However, one of the things that has long annoyed me about UK law is that crimes against the person seem to attract lesser sentences than financial crimes, which I find an ethically loathsome state of affairs.

UK state of the Internet report: Virgin Media 'fast', BT's PlusNet last


Re: How "fair" is this to ISPs?

I've been with Plusnet since before they were bought by BT and called Plusnet. I've stuck with them for so long because i've always found their service to be good, and their customer service superb on the rare occasions I've ever needed to contact it.

I had occasion to speak to their customer support recently to check whether an email I'd been sent, apparently from them, was genuine or not (it wasnt) and during the course of the call was told that their customer base tends to be older than average. Whether age may shape expectations of performance, I have no idea, but my main source of entertainment is YouTube, and about the only time I notice any issues is when watching live streams of SpaceX launches, when about half the time I'll see some degree of buffering. (Shrugs) YMMV. I'm entirely happy with Plusnet.

To stop web giants abusing privacy, they must be prevented from respawning. Ever


Nah, the real problem is an economic system that rewards sociopathic behaviour and thereby puts those who are not sociopathic at a disadvantage. Tinkering with the current system to ameliorate its ills would be a good thing in the short term, but long term, its the system that encourages the bad behaviour in the first place that needs changing.

Yorkshire authority seeks £3m 'modern, cloud-based, future-proof ERP solution' in as few products as possible



"a modern, cloud-based future-proof ERP solution".

So control over data security and access isn't important then? Sigh..

Elecrow CrowPi2: Neat way to get your boffins-to-be hooked on Linux from an early age and tinkering in no time


Re: "The kiddiwonks won't even know they're learning"

Excellent! But regarding Brussels sprouts, it's been shown that only 40% of the population can detect one particular chemical in those things that, if you can taste it, makes them truly disgusting in smell and taste. If you can't detect that chemical, lucky - you - but you will be fine with sprouts. I happen to be in the 40% that find them apallingly foul, unfortunately. But if I had children (sadly, I do not) I'd certainly let them make their own choices regarding foods (even the evil sprouts! 8-} )

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member


Re: You don't have to be old to hate HTML emails

I am not a coder, although I dabbled back when home computers were a new thing. I have never used HTML email - because when it first became a thing, it was rapidly found to be a security issue, and I haven't heard anything to contradict that since.

Businesses do not have a good track record of being rational where IT is concerned; cheap (or alternatively - "It's expensive so it must be good." Yeah, pull the other one, wanna buy a bridge?) shiny and "well everybody else is using it so it must be OK" tend to carry too much weight with businesses, as against security, (business) sustainability, failover options and avoiding vendor-lock-in.

I'd be interested to know what more modern forms of communication wannabe developers would like to use in order to get involved with the Linux kernel. Then we could sensibly compare and assess the pros and cons of those methods as against plain text email.

Personally, I don't use any of the more recently developed methods of communication, as email along with IRC and forums serves my particular needs just fine. So I'm not aware of the various boons that more modern methods of communication may have. Perhaps some of the young coders out there are not aware of the capabilities that older and well-tested methods have, and simply need educating in them? Hang on - aren't we talking folk with the kind of skillset that can handle Linux kernel development, for heaven's sake?!

No. No, I am not going to assume that young coders of that kind of skill level are unaware of the capabilities of text email, but if they feel that change is needed to replace or add to a communication system that is robust and gets the job done, then some explanation of what precisely they'd like to bring to the party would be a good starting point for a conversation about it. Which the article author seems to have missed. What's in the article appears to say simply "young coders don't like text email because it's soo ooold and they're not used to it" If exactly that really is the case, then I don't want them working on the core of my preferred OS, thank you very much.

If the article author (or their interviewee) meant to convey more, then they did a remarkably poor job of it, hence all the downvotes, I'd wager.

As for the revelation that folk within Microsoft have constantly been reinventing the wheel, rather than pooling knowledge and collectively working out how to make a better wheel; well yes, that's been pretty obvious for many years, and is why I switched to Linux many years ago. Linux has generally simply got better and better over the years. <sarcasm> How's it working out with Windows, eh? </sarcasm>

We give up, Progressive Web Apps can track you, says W3C: After 5 years, it decides privacy is too much bother


I wonder at what point I became a Luddite?

Can't think how I got along all these years without PWA's. Or mobile phone apps, come to think of it. Or anti-social media sites </sarcasm> Yeah, I know, just because I've never felt any inclination to use such doesn't mean that others don't find 'em useful, and good luck to them! But I feel sad that my one-time wonder at the fact that markup-languages made things like web pages possible has changed over the years to a combination of frustration and anger at the multiple invasive assaults on privacy that have resulted since. The future just isn't what it used to be! Sigh. OK, here's me shuffling back to my flat in the local home for mildly bewildered old biddies (Flat 1980, Vulture Eyrie Tower, Sodoff Street, Birminster, Barchestershire, UK)

AMD is now following More's Law: More chips, more money, more pressure on Intel, more competition in the x86 space


Re: Again seems history repeating itself

I've never had any problems whatsoever with AMD CPU's (which I've been using for a good many years)- everything runs just fine. Heck, the PC I'm using right now has an AMD CPU - no issues whatsoever. Methinks your past software woes were likely down to something else!

We've heard of littering but this is ridiculous: Asteroid dumps up to 50 quadrillion kg of space dirt on Earth, Moon


Re: How do you determine the age of an asteroid?

Weathering.. Sunlight, cosmic radiation etc all have effects on surface material that can be detected; underlying rock that hasn't been exposed at the surface won't have this. On larger more solid asteroids, crater counts may help, too, although on smaller ones that are little more than piles of small rocks flying in formation crater-counting isn't a useful option.

Nvidia watches Brit upstart Graphcore swing into rear-view mirror waving beastly second-gen AI chip hardware


Re: Crysis?

Crysis? Bah! Will it run Kerbal Space Program with unpty-zillion mods installed, including Kopernicus and multiple planet packs, in real time with all the graphcis settings at maximum? If so, please earmark one for me, I should be able to save up for it by sometime in the next millenium!

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram


Only 12? Using binary, I can count to 31 (base 10) on one hand and 1023 (base 10) on both of 'em!

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


The Beast Of Borkage

IT Phoning Home





MiscreantSoftware, MalignSoftware (etc etc)

PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure


Folding Vultures now ranked 985th

We're through the 1000th mark! Yaay!


Re: No love for Linux?

It's running fine on my main desktop OC (Linux Mint) and my teeny Lenovo mini-laptop/tablet running a forked version of Ubuntu (cant recall the distro name now, it wasnt one I'd heard of but was the only one that installed with the screen the correct way up rather than rotated 90 degrees). It's also doing SOMEthing (only just installed it and so not sure if it's actually working ok until it gets its first WU) on my backup desktop PC which is very venerable indeed.

Folding Vultures seem to be racing up the board - ranked 1,325 when I looked at the stats a little while ago. Well done all, keep it up!


Just joined the team!, and spreading the word to folks I know!

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: Excel hate?

In my last job, for a year or two (the memory is getting thankfully hazy) I suffered from Excel's inability to to read .csv files it had created itself, after a particular major update on a daily basis (No, don't ask me for the details, I cant recall why we were having to do this, other than it involved an extremely shonky method of transporting data between incompatible systems so that, ultimately, the beancounters got their daily fix of data and could bill people. I tried my damnedest to work out a better way, but by the time I was in this situation the lock-in to the current way of doing things was too great, and me too lowly to get anything done about it. Apparently my daily pain was cheaper than actually sorting out a sensible solution).

First time it happened, I thought oh, it corrupted on the save, no problem, we'll just save out the xls file again as a .csv, problem sorted. And that time it was. But the problem kept recurring, seemingly randomly. Thinking it might be that non-printing characters might be being shoved into the data by the program that originally created it, I manually created a simple spreadsheet, saved out as .csv, then loaded it back into Excel. It was corrupt. Repeated several time - sometimes it worked fine, sometimes it did not. Never got to the bottom of what the heck was going on, but I had a colleague check on their version of Excel and it behaved the same for them, so it wasnt a PEBCAK problem either.

Since then I have never trusted Excel, which is a shame as it was one of the few pieces of MS software I used to get on OK with. Thankfully, it's now been several years since I've had to deal with any MS products!

Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft speech-to-text AI systems can't understand black people as well as whites


<tongue in cheek> I bet those voice recognition systems are ageist, too, and only recognise the vernacular of a particular age range, too!. </tongue in cheek>

Definitely not a matter of race IMO, but of culture. There's a heck of a lot of English variants and dialects that I can't understand either, but that doesn't make me racist or not interested in accessibility and inclusivity. It just means my limited processing power isn't up to the job of understanding much more than the dataset it was trained on when I was a nipper.

Found on Mars: Alien insects... or whatever the hell this smudge is supposed to be, anyway


Re: Intriguing

Somethiung pretty close has already evolved here on Earth , the bombardier beetle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_beetle. Granted the beetle uses the exhaust like a flamethrower as a defence mechanism rather than for propulsion, but I imagine that in markedly lower gravity it might be good to assist short hops.

A short note to say I'm off: Vulture taps claws on Reg keyboard for last time


Good luck!

So when's the expose coming about which villainous soul thought milk in the teapot was a good idea? Heresy! Hang 'em high! Nearly gave me a heart attack reading that!

All the best Kate - BOIJ's gain is very much our loss!

IBM, Microsoft and Linux Foundation link arms to fight patent trolls with 'multimillion' scheme


Re: Didn't Microsoft fund SCO in its Linux patent fight?

-and a great deal of detail at the late lamented Groklaw site: http://www.groklaw.net/

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election


Re: @steelpillow and ImAlrightJack

@Simon Hobson I disagree somewhat, but my take on things may be slightly different to most. I'm old enough to (just) remember travelling on a mainline steam train and a time when having a phone in your home instead of using a phonebox was a bit posh, and maybe every other family had a car, singular, and motorways? what motorways?!

With regard to trains - and bearing in mind that I cannot drive, so I use public transport (and for preference trains) a lot - it never made any sense to me as a user for the trains and associated infrastructure to be privatised due to the blame game whenever anything goes amiss.

Not only that but fatuous tannoy announcements as trains come into stations of the ilk "thank you for using (company name) for your journey" irritate - they;re just noise pollution, because if there's one thing train users do NOT have any realistic choice of it's which train company to use on the journey they want to make. I've also experienced the situation , where there were delays of even station tsaff not knowing what the hell was going on, because the company owning the station wasnt kept informed by the company running the delayed train. And privatisation doesn't solve all ills- one only has to look at the situation south and east of Reading to see that.

In general, I contend it's utter bloody madness to have a non-nationalised rail network - it would have been better, IMHO, to have worked on implementing better systems within the nationalised train setup than selling it off. If privatised companies are allowed to err then improve, why not nationalised ones? Seems like double standards to me.

With regard to phones, I utterly LOATHE the current setup not because it's privatised, but because of how shit it is in delivering the service I want compared to how the PO service used to be. (It's a phone. I want to be able to speak to people, that;s it. Oh, text? OK, that's neat and useful, I'll have that too, please. I am NOT interested in the internet on a phone, that is crazy talk! If you can get it on my pocket computer, I'm game to give it a go, though). Caveat - technology has changed dramatically since back then, so we're right on the verge of comparing apples with oranges, in that mobile phones didnt exist back then. If they had, would the PO have done any better than the current excrutiating mess? Hmm.. tricky. My guess is that the PO might well have experimented with the types of service phones might provide more slowly than private companies have, and that might not have been a bad thing.

I'm also aware that I have definitely hit the age of (genuine) old cantankerous biddyness (as against that which I have claimed in years gone by for comic effect)* and so at least some of the negativity I feel toward the current situation with regard to phones should be taken with a pinch of salt. But I really do hate the direction mobile phones have gone in, from highly useful simple devices with decent battery life to vastly overcomplicated pieces of kit that are shit as phones and shit as computers, that are actually controlled by phone companies who seem to think that throwing everything including the kitchen sink into the kit they rent to you is a good idea and doesnt impact usability one bit (and I'll only mention my loathing of touch screen keyboards this once, promise).

Oh - and my liking for the basics of life being nationalised has more to do with my desire for simplicity in the fundamentals of life, not my political leanings. If there's a problem with my electricity bill, I;d rather just contact the electricity Board (as was) than be shoved from meter company to transmission company to "power supply company" trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Privatising some things is actually LESS efficient for the customer - and causes more stress. I don;t give a monkeys if other stuff is privatised. Fine by me.

Anyway in summary - I think renationalising the railways actually would be a sensible thing to do. Renationalising the phone service though - I like the idea (I'm in favour of nationalised basic service like power water transport and comms generally), but honestly, I think the insanity with mobile phones has gone so far that that mess isnt ever likely to be sensibly fixed anytime soon, whether privatised or not. So why not let private companies take the blame for the mess they've created rather than renationalise it, with the inevitable huge problems involved in doing so, and then have lots of naysayers blaming the mess on it being nationalised rather than blaming the private companies that caused the mess of overpriced user-hostility that is the modern phone landscape?

Right, I've said me piece, settling down in my recliner with a throw over my lap nice cuppa and blissfully going back to my video games on my ethernet wired desktop PC. WiFi? Bah, humbug! :-}*

*You think I'm kidding? I'm not! (chuckle)**

** But I'm still capable of poking fun at my own expense!

Astroboffins baffled as Curiosity rover takes larger gasps of oxygen in Martian summers


I, for one..

..welcome our new microbial Martian Overlords!



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021