* Posts by EL Vark

64 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Nov 2007


Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source

EL Vark

Re: Keep it going

Absolutely. Adopted Eudora the second graphical browsing became extant (oh, Pine, how we miss thee), switched to Seamonkey suite for those fifteen seconds, and finally TBird (though it's all the gee-whiz-mail, now, so everything is Ferrets, Ferrets, Ferrets, alas). Do I actually miss those uue's? Wellsir... not so much as I do the squeal of the modem. It smelled like... history.

US voting server in election security probe is mysteriously wiped

EL Vark

"So far the Feds have refused to say whether they still have that copy."

"So, there is a copy available."

So, maybe there is, and maybe there ain't. True, state agencies are bullish on document retetention, as well as coy to flirtatious with possible information. How these things result in a fractious partisan jab is perhaps more telling of oneself than those one seeks to disfavour. Still, Jayzus.

EL Vark

Jayzus, Padre. Jayzus.

Microsoft: Get in, IT nerds, you're now using Insider builds and twice-annual Windows rollouts

EL Vark
IT Angle

Acme of Perfection

Wellsir, I'm just a lowly private user not attached to any Enterprise conflagration (I think I'm using that right... yes, definitely "conflagration"), but it's mighty satisfying to know that Redmond have my back in addition to my balls. And my money.

Right this minute the Update system is hung trying to download a "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703", which is #terriblysad as I'm running version 1607. Perhaps it's a "feature" that will remove winver so that I'll no longer be able to easily determine my version number.

Pirates hack was a hoax, says Disney boss

EL Vark

Whoopsie Daisy

And three cheers to the lads at TorrentFreak for doing the leg, ground, and gruntwork to expose this turd and the turd(s) behind it. Iger, man, wotta piece of work this guy is.

Douglas Coupland: The average IQ is now 103 and the present is melting into the future

EL Vark

...and then some

Having observed his "career" since GenX, for which he still owes both Brian Fawcett and Quentin Fiore (et al), oh, every dime he's ever made since his first royalty cheque, I've lived in a constant state of incredulity when it comes to El Coupland. Saw him "speak" once at the behest of my then girlfriend. 94-ish, touring for his follow-up, I believe. The charsima of A. Tree and the insight of a piece of laminated plastic.

BOFH: Elf of Safety? Orc of Admin. Pleased to meet you

EL Vark
Big Brother

So, not just me

Wow, geez! The Boss (and The Director) both being in on the game is something I was certain hadn't previously arisen, and given the overwhelming response appears that the senility hasn't quite hit me full on, yet. I'd ask how much rope they're willing to lend but the answer is self-evident: exactly as much as is needed to hang himself, no matter how provocative the pictures our BOFH has secreted in the vault. Anyway, that's what PFY's are for, when falls need be taken.

Rogue One: This is the Star Wars back story you've been looking for

EL Vark

Re: Robes?

'kay, time to take you kids to school. The first time I came across the trouble with capes was Captain America #180 by Steve Englehart & Sal Buscema (both more associated with the Avengers, and Sal's big brother, John, designed the Vision). It was a post-Watergate world and Our Steve was deeply disillusioned, so gave up the red, white & blue underwear, and his shield, and struck out as... Nomad! On his very first mission, while chasing the baddies (Serpent Society types, if I recall correctly, it was 42 years ago), Steve stepped on his flowing cape with his heel and went arse over teakettle; tearing the offending affectation from his shoulders as the baddies escaped, having learned a valuable lesson. What works for Mighty Thor only works because he IS Mighty Thor (or she, lately). Moore & Gibbons may or may not have been aware of that one, but Byrd & co. should almost certainly have been. So, yeah, swipey-swipey. "Doth mother know you're wearing her drapes?"

BOFH: The Hypochondriac Boss and the non-random sample

EL Vark

Lessons Never Learned

Microsoft used to ship their DOS and Windows floppies with the write protection tab set to Allow disk writing. So, if you didn't notice and flip the tab, and needed to reinstall one or the other or both (which wasn't uncommon, and wasn't much of an issue so long as you had a nice stack of back-ups), and your system was infected - often the reason for the reinstall - you'd infect your manufacturer floppies. I'm sure MS wasn't alone, but I do recall that my games and other software came with the tabs set to Block writing (lest they be accidentally over-written, if nothing else).

Which should be a lesson for USB sticks, today, the ones intended for read-only, though they don't all have a write-protect tab to lock.

Fancy Bears' who-takes-what in sports hack list ‘manipulated’ before leak

EL Vark

Sure, insofar as any digital information is subject to falsification. Only a series of forensic audits can determine the truth, presuming that the affected governments can gain access to all relevant information, which is not at all assured. Also, while governments might appear to be highly motivated to recover diverted taxation, that motivation can be tempered by the individuals and businesses involved (on both sides in the case of the former), as any potential threat to political fundraising trumps both need (tax dollars to spend on schools, bridges, and bombs) and ethics. Bottom line: "That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more: it is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

Stripped of its galaxy, this black hole is wandering naked in the cosmos

EL Vark

Re: Indeed

Or Gah-Lak-Tus, in which case it will be (poorly) written out of existence soon enough, so no worries.

What's Chinese and crashing in flames? No, not its economy – its crocked space station

EL Vark

Re: Obvious question.

Fair enough idea but the two basic problems are that it's not so much a "Station" anymore as an out of control spinning bus, and the Chinese have no current "Shuttle" program to try to catch the bus. As someone else sort of implied, they could play Space Invaders with it, but that wouldn't do the rest of the orbital things that aren't currently junk from becoming such (and you do NOT want any more debris up there, the cloud is thick enough as it is, thanks very much). So, no.

EL Vark

Trial and Error

As much as I'd like to blame the Chinese space boffins, they're still relatively new to all of this, so the occasional whoopsie is to be expected; were it an American or Russian mission, there'd be a lot more deserved finger pointing. With luck, any large, heavy chunks will go splash rather than vaporize someone's national monument or a charming wee school filled with winsome kiddies. I'm slightly more concerned that their deputy director, Wu Ping (née Crane), transliterates as potentially hilarious, as space comedy rarely ends well (notwithstanding GoTG or Dark Star). I'd be yet more concerned were she related to violinist Yee Ping (née Yizards!), which would just up the ante. Yes, I'm blind drunk at the moment.

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

EL Vark

really? no one?


What's holding up Canada's internet?

EL Vark

The complaint you might have is what you pay for that service. Go on, tell them. I pay around fifty bucks/month for a fraction of the service you're getting, which is the going rate. There are slightly cheaper packages but the downhill curve in performance and permitted monthly data is incredibly steep. While Canada's telecom barons are reliable, so is their bleeding edge ability to gouge, which is not surprising given the string pulling in Ottawa.

Censorship FTW! China bans Paris Hilton, minor Kardashians et al

EL Vark

One Ticket Please... Maybe

You never expect to hear yourself saying, "man, I think I'll move to China", then something like this comes along. Sure, you have to cope with oppression, suppression, corruption, and censorship, but at least you know what you're getting going in. And I wouldn't have to continue to smile wanly at our own fiction that is "representative democracy". A nod's as good as a wink to any pigopolist.

Pornography, violence and JG Ballard: High Rise, the 1970s' internet

EL Vark

Re: Truly?

It's certainly true that the cottagers and farmers who had party lines were nowhere close to a pay-phone, but Phonebooths were ubiquitous in towns and cities, and nearly every store and restauraunt had a pay-phone. Telephony was fully established throughout North America by at least the 50's, and certainly by the 60's, where my earliest memories lie, everyone I knew (family, friends, and acquaintances) from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, had a phone and most had a private line. The explanation of the Post Office monopoly and the slow roll-out of modern switching systems explains everything, including one more reason so many ex-pats fled to the colonies. In our case, much of our technological infrastructure was "keeping up with the Joneses", which is to say our loud, clever neighbours down south, though a great deal of that infrastructure was home grown (Northern Telecom was a giant until it collapsed from it's own mismanagement and malfeasance). Perhaps if Britain were compelled to "keep up" in a way similar to Canada, it might have had a few more ameneties a bit sooner. Or not. We're basically still trying to figure out Television.

EL Vark


"...you were lucky then to have a colour TV, never mind a phone in your house."

I'll cop to the TV, my nana didn't get a colour set until the early 80's, finally replacing the 19" B&W behemoth that she and grandad bought in the late 60's, but did so many Brits honestly not have a telephone? Not even a party line? Even ultra-rural Ontario cottages had those. Exactly how stone-age was mid-70's Britain? I have visions of Clive Sinclair huddled in the coal shed soldering together valves by gaslight using an actual soldering iron.

For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

EL Vark

Heckuva Deal

Exactly what you want when the Leprechauns rise up. It's only a matter of time.

Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

EL Vark

Re: A Woot for OSR2?

Absolutely valid points, but it's a bit of a quibble as 2.0 was 95 that worked and 98 that would be, 2.5 was just moreso. Dunno which had the greater distribution but I believe it was 2.0, and 2.5 was supplanted by 98 in short order, wasn't it? Memory fades, and I think there might be kids on my lawn. Hey! Youse kids!

EL Vark

A Woot for OSR2?

Win95 (Chicago) was the Next Big Thing post 3.11 and, as noted above, all Windows ran on top of DOS until XP; apart from a revised interface, it had some native 32bit capability. It wasn't until it's OEM update, OSR2 (Detroit), that it became a legitimate contender, with additions such as support for USB. Win98 was essentially the release version of OSR2 with more bug fixes, better network and 32bit support, and further GUI polish, but not a critical upgrade, relatively. OSR2 didn't have the pedigree and/or staying power of WFW, NT, or 2000, but to me represents the real bridge between 3.11 and XP (SP2).

NOxious VW emissions scandal: Car maker warned of cheatware YEARS AGO – reports

EL Vark

Re: Magical Thinking

I don't usually reply to trolls but since there's some sort of strange dog-pile happening in both directions vis-a-vis thumbs and their relative direction, a reply seems necessary.

I offered an unsupported news report, not a fact, and presented it as such. You offered a "fact" with no attempt to support it, in order to belittle my unverified report. Your second statement is just... fine, let's run with it (ad absurdum, for emphasis): a single child killed from accident, neglect, or abuse is terribly sad; a million dying from starvation isn't "horrifying" because big numbers signify nothing.

The more curious issue lies in the implication that both emissions and attempts to limit them are irrelevant other than to add cost. The inference being that there never was a problem, anywhere. I can readily call to mind several cities whose inhabitants would be wont to disagree.

EL Vark

Magical Thinking

One unverified report I heard was that the actual emissions were forty times of those rated (spec), which is horrifying no matter how one parses it. Hopefully we'll get some hard, verifiable data on the subject sooner rather than later. Listening to a CBC lunch hour phone-in, the other day, it was amusing to hear the high number of current VW owners (of the offending vehicles) who... don't so much not care as aren't concerned in a broad sense and won't let the issue affect their future purchase of a new VW, despite having been so blatantly deceived.

The irony is that this is all next to irrelevant in North America, where "clean diesel" is a Snark hardly more tangible than "clean coal". I gather that there is such a thing in the EU, but over here it's really just the same stinky crap but with one or two fewer rendered puppies and kittens. I'm not criticising diesel as a thing, and appreciate it's present necessity, just the idea that it's been transformed into something "green" over here. Don't believe the hype.

Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?

EL Vark

Matt Effing Smith

As has been strongly addressed, the best actor is only as good as the lines they're handed. Prior to Smith's smirking boyishness, for which Moffat has a lot to answer, I'd single out Colin Baker who just sort of bugged me but, again, he had to work with what he was given. I liked McCoy despite the scripts and was as fond of Davison as was possible after Tom Baker had established himself as the de facto Doctor. Pertwee was my first by a smidgen past Troughton, but most of what I loved about his tenure was spelled "Katy Manning". Ohh, Katy...

Right, I'm back. Does anyone, anyone at all, really count McGann as a/the Doctor? How does a single, tepid, Hollywood "movie" provide him any standing despite the shoehorned script continuity? If McGann counts, so does Cushing, and without question far moreso. Since I like Eccleston, Tennant, and Capaldi in general, I'll give each of them a "meh" and a pass, no matter how poor the plots. Smith, though, got me to stop watching until he was replaced.

Canadians taking to spying on their spies

EL Vark

Just a little housekeeping for our friends who don't enjoy the privilege of residing in our perpetually naval-gazing (er, "inward looking") and frequently schizoid land of three down football :)

The 1993 Federal Election that destroyed (literally destroyed) the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was in many ways a reaction to the Brian Mulroney years, but Mulroney had quit in favour of Kim Campbell's premiership; the first, only, blink and you'd miss her female Prime Minister of Canada. The PC's were reduced from a majority 154 seats (at dissolution) to 2. Two. Jean Charest and Elsie Wayne remained as the sole standard bearers. Charest later ran and won as the Liberal Premier of Quebec; federal/provincial party swapping is one of those weird traditions we have.

The NDP is definitely "Left Wing" by American standards, but has been firmly entrenched as a centre-left party for decades, it's strident socialist policies having long since been hived off in favour of electability. Several provinces have elected majority NDP governments over the years, Alberta is merely the most recent and surprising. The federal branch are the current Official Opposition. No established party, federally or provincially, is "Right Wing" in the sense that one might mean in, say, Alabama. This isn't to say that they wouldn't be if they thought they could get away with it, but to our collective credit, our "far right" as it exists is still about three steps left of the American Democratic party.

EL Vark

The BC pipeline issue isn't just about volume and safety (re: derailments). The intended pipelines are designed to carry Alberta heavy crude (Tar Sands product) to ports where the product will be shipped via tanker to Asia in general, and China in particular, with the usual "jobs and money for all" spiel. The election and current global economics have quieted the issue but it's still on the table.

As it happens, the Reform Bill was introduced by my local MP, Michael Chong. A bright and apparently decent guy, he's nonetheless a loyalist (despite quitting cabinet on a point of principle) and sang the praises of his own utterly gutted, and therefore utterly useless bill when it was passed. Were this not a True Tory Blue riding, he would probably be elected on merit under any other flag; as it is, he can only remain so long as he's part of the CPC machine.

This relates to your quasi-revolutionary position. No. While the Net is retentive unto itself, poll after poll have indicated that the social media generation do not vote in significant numbers. If whatever disconnect exists can be overcome, then perhaps your revolution might bear fruit, though this is contingent upon a ruling party's willingness to adopt new methods of representation and legislation. Alas, there is no evidence that a sitting government would cast away it's own power and influence in the name of actual Democracy. In our "First past the post" system, if every riding has, say, five candidates, a single party could win every seat with only 21% of the popular vote; it's this that needs to first be addressed but Every alternative so far brought to the electorate (not that there have been many) has been so hopelessly and deliberately convoluted and just plain strange that they were soundly rejected in favour of the status quo.

The Centre-Left NDP (formerly a populist agriculture and labour oriented body - though not nearly so bent as the UK's "Labour Party") have risen in popularity nationally and, yes, the Alberta victory (which was far more than a PC/Wildrose split, the NDP captured ~41% of the popular vote) has contributed to that. The bulk of their support remains in Quebec, however, which tends to skew national polling, and the people of Quebec aren't so much pro-Orange as really, really Anti-Harper, even to the detriment of the recently resurrected Bloc Quebecois.

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

EL Vark

Thank You

There are times, too many times, I fear, when I'm prepared to write off El Reg as yet another quasi-reactionary e-rag; from the apparently endless attacks on climate science (far from merely pointing out flaws and malfeasance) to the too frequent virtually Objectivist articles on economics. Were it not for Simon Travaglia, I might have jumped ship some time back. Then you stiffen both knees and upper lip and run a masterpiece by Duncan Campbell. Well done.

Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

EL Vark

Somebody call Quatermass!

Or, wait, that never ends well for anyone, does it? I say nuke it. It's the only way to be sure.

Why does Uber keep its drivers' pay so low? Ex-CFO: 'Cos we can'

EL Vark

Ah, yes. "Capitalism"

Uber was and is an interesting and clever idea, with a long list of "buts". It's defenders, who tend to be of the loud, demonstrative, sign-carrying cohort (laudable in the face of injustice, laughable in the face of lining the pockets of the already wealthy), have been on display in my backyard, recently (Toronto), where the new-ish mayor has declared that Uber should have a place within the transportation system. The fuss concerns the fight with Big Taxi. Toronto has a byzantine licencing system for taxis, where one essentially has to be born into the business to have the licence handed down, or independently wealthy to buy into the program, which is hardly a thing with which we associate hacks. It's much easier to sign up with Uber, who then offer greater convenience and affordability for passengers.

The subject that Uber glosses over, even with present and pending litigation, is that of liability (as well as the whole, "Uber the company are making out like robber barons at the expense of their drivers, but we won't mention that part"). If there's an accident or incident involving a taxi, as a driver, a passenger, or anything else, you're basically covered within the limits of the justice and insurance systems. With Uber, the rules are nebulous at best, despite their arguments to the contrary. One could well say that it isn't worth the risk, perhaps especially for drivers.

If the liability questions can be resolved and some element of fair play brought to the table with the heavily taxed (in terms of fees and insurance) taxi system, great. Otherwise, it's a risky business. Plus, you know, billionaires laughing at you is irritating.

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

EL Vark

Be Watchful

Whether you watch or not. Successive federal governments in Canada have decimated the once proud CBC. There have been a host of "reasons", but political ideology has been the greatest factor. Regional radio operations were the first to fall, then local TV affiliates with the effect of no local/regional news and programming, only the feeds from the nearest large urban centre, the number of which have been shrinking (not the centres, the extant broadcast hubs), and most recently what was once our FM band, which had been rebranded as "CBC 2", and is now an internet/sat channel. Once the brush had been cleared, the axes began to swing and heads rolled in the heart of the MotherCorp with no end, or answers in sight. Just the inevitable, soul crushing wait for further cuts (found in nearly every budget). We're not very far away, not far at all, from having no genuine national news service, having to rely solely on For Profit sources (news that reports to shareholders, that is, as opposed to the public), about which there have been some recent ridiculously juicy scandals that include on-air corruption (Global) and top-down interference (CTV). Soon, no one will be left to watch the watchers.

How Groucho Marx lost his voice and found his funny bone

EL Vark

Re: I have to say

Agreed, "The Big Store", while perhaps a cut above some of the other lesser titles, doesn't merit inclusion with the greats. Though I did sort of like "A Night in Casablanca"; wasn't that the one with "Do you have milk fed chickens? Well, squeeze one and bring me a glass." Perhaps not, memory fades. As does taste. I've known more than one person, including a young woman whom I used to date, who refused to watch Los. Bros. Marx because they were in B&W. Groucho would've taken that idiocy and run, I tells ya.

Videogame publishers to fans: Oi, stop resurrecting our dead titles online

EL Vark

Re: very fair and balanced

Glad I wasn't alone in feeling a squeeze to the nads when I ran into those "quotation marks". This is the sort of thing that encourages derisive name-calling (Fiveash, you TW@T!). See?

BOFH: Stop your tiers – when it comes to storage, less is more

EL Vark

Re: ANY Trackball/"advanced" mousing device

Yeah, hey, whoa, geez, Simon!

My FX is fifteen years young and since I found the wee hidden screw under the sticker I can get it apart to give it a proper flushing every now and then. If I'd used a mouse all this time (and the decade prior, the FX replaced my Trackman Portable) there'd be a hook where my hand should be.

My aged 60GB IBM Deathstar is still in working order, too. True, it now lives in a closet and may never again see the light of day, but was absolutely reliable until more storage was required. If you simply must whine about the IBM/Hitachi tech, you'll want to mention the noise. You'd think the PSU fan(s) would be the loudest thing in the box, but only if you've never owned a Deathstar. Squee! Clunk-Clunk-Clunk! Squee! Ah, good times.

Are there sounds on Mars? NASA launches audio athenaeum

EL Vark


What an arse crap piece of so and so the Soundcloud website be. It's one of those "keep loading new data as you scroll down unto infinity" pages with no discernible menu structure or index. Sad that NASA has hooked up with such a deranged monkey-poor design for such a valuable library.

I'll lean back and listen to a loop of Titan's hiss from my copy of the Huygens probe transmission which came directly from the agency years back instead of stumbling blindly around some half-baked third-party site in the hope of finding something worthwhile. You Soundclod (sic) twats should all be ashamed of yourselves.

El Reg's contraptions confessional no.2: Tablet PC, CRT screen and more

EL Vark


It might not be the oldest living thing in the game, but my one and only daily use machine has been in service since Y2K. Granted, the only actual original bits apart from the case are the motherboard, CPU, and for some reason the sound card (Asus P3V4X, P3-533B, and SB PCI-128, respectively), though I got the Sammy SyncMaster 750s just a year later and it's still jest foin. The original Quantum 15GB drive died three days or so after the warranty and was replaced c.2002 with an IBM 60GB IDE(still works okay and it was always noisy) but was swapped out for a fatter, faster WD a few years back. The ATI 8500 AGP card bought as an upgrade a year after the system was built crapped out last year, so I'm now seeing through the original Voodoo 3-3000, which is mighty sharp. PSU's come and go, of course, and memory and Ethernet cards get bumped up every so often, and a USB 2.0 add-on was necessary, but I have zero complaints. Can't play any games released since, oh, 2003 or so, but haven't really seen any that grab me, so who cares, it does literally everything else I want it to do.

Sooner or later the whole thing will dissolve into a puddle and I'll be forced to join the 21st and a bit century (and beyond!), but I'm not looking forward to having to rely on a tablet or similar. But, hey, I spent a lot of time researching components and paid a pretty penny for this thing, so I'll be damned if I'm going to "upgrade" every few years just for the sake of it.

Winamp is still a thing? NOPE: It'll be silenced forever in December

EL Vark


Thanks for the tip, I just grabbed both the full and lite versions of the last version. I've been using Winamp since it's inception and continue to use the Lite version today, with the "Expensive HiFi" (Sony-like) skin which I haven't changed for years and years. It does literally everything I could possibly want from an mp3 player and does it very well. The equalizer is particularly good and the sound through my 12 year-old Altec 3-way system with it's thundiferous sub-woofer remains wholly adequate (sub-true Hi Fidelity but still miles better than any portable device with their pipsqueak headphones). Newer and bigger and brighter isn't always better. Rest ye well, faithful llama.

Sci-fi and horror scribe Richard Matheson: He is Legend

EL Vark

A Deep Well

It's rather a shame that, given his prodigious body of work, the only thing that's going to be mentioned beyond a nod and a wink is I Am Legend.

Ah, I remember the summer of 1990, Vancouver, on a mission to locate a copy of said novella (it is on the short side). Not in print at the time, no copies to be found among the plethora of used and antiquarian dealers in the GVRD, but... the library system had a single, somewhat dog-eared, hard bound first edition on regular loan and (and!) it was located at the closest branch to my house (Fraser Street). Of course it was "in". I borrowed it, read it, enjoyed it, appreciated the differences with the Price film and the Hollywood "adaptation" that was Omega Man, and returned it. Three years later I went back to re-read it but it had disappeared. Swiped. Of course. These days I suppose they're abundant, but the thrill is gone.

Oh, and The Last Man on Earth (Price) is in the Public Domain. So you can legally acquire it via those means usually reserved for the acquisition of that which is illegally obtained, if you take my meaning. Also, the Internet Archive have a not so good print for download.

Who should play the next Doctor? Nominations needed!

EL Vark

Detective Sergeant Doctor

Hey, Laurence Fox, why not? I'd pay real money to watch a chain smoking Time Lord. Plus, obviously, Billie can give him the inside perspective, like where to hide in the TARDIS when he needs to nip out for a fag.

Mars orbiter finds remains of pioneering Soviet Mars 3 probe

EL Vark

Re: The first photo from Mars

Yes, I can see them... Jumping! Leaping! It were 'orrible!

Any storm in a port

EL Vark

It took a while, too long, really, before I got the knack of blindly feeling up the ol' stick with my index finger to find the LED, or in some cases the retractable bits where the LED hides, which is always, for me, the "DOWN" or "AWAY" position. Having perfected this system, I now have a slightly better than 60% rate of getting it right the first time. The real swearing begins when spacetime conspires against one, engorging the male connector or puckering up the female by a micron or two. This is always 50/50 and results in exactly the correct amount of muttered expletives.

Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet creator Gerry Anderson dies at 83

EL Vark


Launch Interceptors and forever praise his name. RIP, Gerry.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft turns 15 while spying on Saturn

EL Vark

Re: Nostradamus said!

I was thinking more along the lines of mankind's first contact with the giant Saturnian gas-whales will be to poison them with radioactive goo. Hey, it's what we do!

Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

EL Vark

Made for Suffering

Sounds like this "Biodiodversity and Climate Reseach Centre and Goethe-University" place would tend toward self-defeatist at best, yeah? I mean, granted, it's no "International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Syliva Plath College", but still...

Alien city lights could be detected across interstellar space

EL Vark

Local Matters

I'm looking forward to the pants-crapping number of false positives from the initial Kuiper Belt tests. "Incandescent Aliens at our Back Door!" exclaims Enquirer!

Astronomy crowd spots PLANET KILLER!

EL Vark


Yet another Kracht-pot. When you spread rumours, you make an SSA out of you and me...

BOFH: Axe handles - occasionally quite slippery

EL Vark

Upping the ante

I suppose it's only a matter of time before "bring your lad to work day" arrives, but no one can determine to whom the winsome, young David belongs...

Reg hack cast adrift as Illuminati Online goes off-line

EL Vark

Good Times

This reminds me in a left-handed way of my first (commercial) email account. A local London, Ontario BBS called "The Usual Suspects" offered full-range internet service (ah, Lynx, you little twinkie) and had as their domain "suspects.com". So for a couple of years I was "vark@suspects.com", which was as lovely a way of identifying myself as I could hope. Soon they merged and expanded then sold out and Suspects was cast adrift (to this day, apparently), but the memories linger. As do those early dial-up sessions trying to get PPP to function before there was anything to see, really. It also makes me wonder who wound up with my original "Gary7@hotmail.com" account after I bailed on them, the day after MS took over. Someone should be paying me the royalties that I owe Paramount...

White House warns El Reg over kitten-killing content

EL Vark

To paraphrase a Pepperpot

Oh, intercourse the kittens!

Boffins devise way to hide secret data on hard drives

EL Vark

Remember to turn off "Housekeeping", etc.

Defrag was the first problem that crossed my thoroughly inexpert mind, and here it is:

7. Limitations

This section discusses the limitations of the proposed covert channel based evasion approach.

2. Defragmentation or deletion of a cover file from the filesystem will result in loss of the hidden data.

BOFH: This buck's for you

EL Vark

Sum of all fears

The last bit recalls my grade ten math teacher who, apart from being an excellent math teacher, also taught excellent math above and beyond the curriculum. One of his little nuggets of wisdom concerned car insurance and liability. The thrust of his argument was, to avoid future premium hassles in the event that you deliver a crippling injury while driving, be certain to back over the victim a few times to make sure they're dead.

Come to think of it, most of Simon's columns remind me of that story...