* Posts by Cheshire Cat

154 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007


Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!

Cheshire Cat

Re: "The power lead approached the PC..."

Both 110V and 230V sockets in the same room? That would be Taiwan, where the higher-voltage socket is intended for your Aircon unit. The aircon one can be distinguished by being both higher up, and all on its own, and usually having an earth.

Malaysian Police crush crypto-mining kit to punish electricity thieves

Cheshire Cat

Nice publicity stunt but...

... its a waste of valuable hardware that could easily have been resold and reused. Instead we end up with a load of unrecoverable e-waste.

Record-breaking Kuwaiti heatwave triggers inadvisable TikTok expletive outburst

Cheshire Cat

Meanwhile in the UK

Good thing they haven't made complaining about the weather illegal in the UK. There would be nobody left outside the jails to lock the doors.

Tiananmen Square Tank Man vanishes from Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, other search engines – even in America

Cheshire Cat

If it WAS intentional, then China really does not understand the Streisand Effect... and maybe Microsoft DOES understand it.

Surprise: Automated driving biz finds automated driving safer than letting you get behind the wheel

Cheshire Cat

Re: But... but... we are driving because we like it, right?

"I remember a short story by Larry Niven where someone was sentenced to be dismantled for the organ banks for manually driving their car."

The Jigsaw Man?

The torture garden of Microsoft Exchange: Grant us the serenity to accept what they cannot EOL

Cheshire Cat

And how about the way Microsoft IMAP support is broken

I spent a happy few days proving that Microsoft Exchange is truly broken when it comes to IMAP support.

It seems that, if a message contains a meeting request, then downloading via IMAP will silently modify the message to strip the meeting request and replace it with a link to the OWA meeting instead! After all, can't have those pesky 3rd-party mail-and-calendaring tools working now can we?

In addition, if they find a MIME-wrapped message then they can automatically re-wrap it in lovely tnef format for you, coincidentally breaking your mail client.

Both of these behaviours can be disabled; but only per mailbox, not as a default, and only via some tortuous (undocumented) powershell.

During this process, I phoned up the MS Support people (stupid move, I know, but we pay for them and I have to show I tried). The minion I spoke with insisted Microsoft Exchange did not do this, even when I presented him with the powershell code to fix it, and the steps to duplicate it.

Exchange 365 is an absolute nightmare to administer when you've come from something as simple as Dovecot under Unix.

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously

Cheshire Cat

Foot pedal

In those days, the usual recipient of these machines was the secretary. If you've ever seen the old dictaphone machines, they had a foot control (to stop/start the tape playback as the secretary types in the boss' correspondence) which looked very much like a computer mouse. It's not surprising that some people thought that the mouse was supposed to be foot-controlled.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

Cheshire Cat

Re: And so on. and so on.

Because English is not one language, it is at least 3 (anglo-saxon, french, norse, germanic, greek, latin, and anything else it can steal)

English is three languages in a trenchcoat, that follows other languages home, knocks them down in a dark alley and then goes through their pockets for loose grammar

(quote courtesy of Reddit)

No amount of Glasgow handshaking will revive this borked kiosk

Cheshire Cat
Thumb Up

The picture on the lockscreen is of Cathedral Cove in New Zealand, which was also used in the Prince Caspian 'Narnia' film. Though the shape is rather similar to the silhouette of Gru's head

Yes, Microsoft Access was a recalcitrant beast, but the first step is to turn the computer on

Cheshire Cat

Re: Yep

Curious about this, back in the 90s I actually bought an old 2ndhand fruit machine. It was mechanical, but had a digital controller.

After examining the innards and finding the controls, trawling for documentation and so on, I found a number of things -

* How to set the percentage return, that the machine would cheat in order to attain

* The big cheat switch that would NEVER allow you to win if the money inside the box was running low

* How it always skimmed off money into a lower cashbox to ensure that it would never, never pay our more than about 80% of takings

It showed that it is absolutely impossible to lose money with these -- if you own the machine. Otherwise, you're a sucker waiting to be fleeced.

The fun bit was setting the return to 80% (the highest it would go) and then playing to *lose* (holding the wrong reels, gambling a win until it failed, etc). After a while, the machine would get desperate that the return rate was too *low* and would eventually start giving a chain of natural jackpots.

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty

Cheshire Cat

Place I used to work for used to provide IT support for Imperial Tobacco. In those days, office staff were not only allowed to smoke in the office, but were encouraged to do so by the supply of free cigs.

Taking the top off a PC to identify the cause of failure was disgusting - thick dust over all components. Nobody seemed to make the connection between the condition of their PC and the likely condition of their lungs, though.

What's that coming over the hill? Is it native Office? Microsoft's flagship arrives on Apple Silicon, but you'll have to wait for Teams

Cheshire Cat

I wonder when it will land for Linux?

I suspect there might be a looooong wait before MS Office 365 works useably on Linux.

Rocky Linux is go: CentOS founder's new project aims to be 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Cheshire Cat

IBM won't like that

Rocky Linux? Taking potential RHEL cash-cows err, I mean, customers? Have to stop that!

IBM lawyers incoming in 3.. 2.. 1...

Tie them up in court over technicaltiies until they run out of money, that's the IBM way.

CentOS project changes focus, no more rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux – you'll have to flow with the Stream

Cheshire Cat

Re: A Very Unhappy RHEL customer

Maybe can keep a running replica of the Centos streams repo, and snapshot it every time RHEL goes up a point release? Then run your centos update form the snapshot repo, and you effectively get the RHEL point.

Will kill things like EPEL though, and there will be dependency chaos.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral

Cheshire Cat

Re: No recursion in Fortran

At my first intern job, around 1990, I had to use fortran for the first time. Having nothing better to do, I decided to port a boulderdash-clone game from C into it. The lack of recursion was a big problem, since the whole system depended on it, but I worked around it by having a separate function that managed its own stack, and called a function which returned a list of new items to put onto the stack. It did change the order in which things were resolved though, which in the end broke some of the puzzles in the game screens.

Linux Foundation, IBM, Cisco and others back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’ to change nasty tech terms

Cheshire Cat

Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

> While we're about it; do we have to do something about "Abort" too?

I had to deal with that sort of misapplied nonsense 20y ago, someone thought the message "process aborted" was insensitive as they apparently couldn't tell the difference between a computer systems process and a foetus. "process terminated" was also out. I can't remember what they finally settled on, but it was something like "process did not run at users request" or similar.

Missing Alan Turing memorabilia to be returned to Blighty from the US, 36 years after it went walkabout

Cheshire Cat

Re: There's a link right there

Maybe the plaque should say "These items were stolen back in '84 by persons unknown. They then spent the next 35 years with this woman who was so obsessed with Turing she changed her name to his. But we cant prove who stole them. Bit of a coincidence though dont you think?"

Something to look forward to: Being told your child or parent was radicalized by an AI bot into believing a bonkers antisemitic conspiracy theory

Cheshire Cat

Re: Wibble

Yes! Feed it the entire bibliography of Terry Pratchett and see if it can make some new Discworld books!

Though, I suspect even Hex would not have the necessary creative genius.

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Cheshire Cat

Cloud replication is NOT a backup

So users should be made to write "Cloud replication is not a backup" 100 times before you are allowed to use it.

It's not a backup unless you have at least 2 copies, and they are offline. And, ideally, tested.

Just having a synch tool from your device-of-choice to The Cloud (tm) is not a backup, as any phule kno. It's handy for remote access, and sometimes for 'whoops' moments, but its NOT a BACKUP.

For comparison, my photos are kept on the local disk, in one cloud sync (with delete disabled), 2 offline monthly USB disk backups, and a set of annual printed albums (for the annual favourites). And I'm far from being a professional photographer. I am constantly amazed by people (both home users and businesses) who put critical data that they would be heartbroken to lose in a single vulnerable place with no backups... my Work data are backed up in even more revisions and replicas.

If the Solar System's 'Planet Nine' is actually a small black hole, here's how we could detect it... wait, what?

Cheshire Cat

Re: Great just what I need in 2020

I may have failed O level biology, but I'm pretty sure that getting pregnant requires some sort of contact

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland

Cheshire Cat

Mr Nosebonk looks like your UK prime minister I think...

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

Cheshire Cat

Re: But if you're used to it...

This makes a lot of sense. I have to credit MS with an unusually successful idea.

Microsoft attempts to up its Teams game with new features while locked-down folk flock to rival Zoom... warts and all

Cheshire Cat

Re: NHS.net

"Yeah, we don't let any old Tom Dick and Harry create their own teams either - because if it's open slather, you get a whole bunch of crappy little teams people use for 2 days, then abandon. Then we need to spend significant time/expense tracking the owners down and ask them if they still want their crappy data."

Yes, THIS. Teams is designed to allow every Tom, Dick and Harriet to create a new group and the potential chaos for the admins is a nightmare. Not to mention that since you cannot add people to a team using a group, you end up with dozens of things to update when on/offboarding employees.

Cheshire Cat

But I still prefer Zoom...

While I wouldn't use zoom for anything highly confidential at government level, I think it's fine for other things, provided you configure it correctly (waiting room, password, etc). I am using it for our Scout group meetings with much success.

Teams cannot do the tiled multi-person view of up to 25 users like Zoom can; the teams client for Linux and phones is cut-down and a resource hog; and Teams doesnt support anonymous attendees. Zoom is just much, much easier to get someone into a meeting if they're not already part of your company. Also, administration of Teams is a nightmare - tracking down uploaded files, new groups proliferating uncontrolled, and inability to use existing groups to define membership.

Maker of Linux patch batch grsecurity can't duck $260,000 legal bills, says Cali appeals court in anti-SLAPP case

Cheshire Cat

Whether or not the OSS contract is illegal probably depends on the wording. Saying "we won't do business with you in the future if you do X" is very different from "Accepting the contract means you promise to never do X"

Perens clearly thinks they said the latter. However the judgement is solely on the belief that he has every right to state his opinion, and OSS were trying to shut him up. Too often it seems that US companies use legal threats to prevent people discussing or stating opinions.

Windows 7 back in black as holdouts report wallpaper-stripping shenanigans

Cheshire Cat

Actually, funeral strippers are a Taiwanese custom, not (mainland) China. They also have funeral processions containing flatbed trucks with pole-dancers on them, and "Professional Mourners" who can spend hours "crying" into a PA system about how sad they are that Uncle Wu has kicked the bucket, so that you don't have to.

When I was in Taiwan, one of the neighbours had one of these funerals. In the afternoon, there were puppet shows for the kids. After 9pm, the kids were sent home and the strippers came on. I wanted to go and experience the authentic local customs but the wife wouldn't let me ;)

Pair charged with murder, manslaughter after IBM Aspera boffin killed in New Year's Eve laptop theft struggle

Cheshire Cat

Re: Not worth dying for

"There's a deeper question here about why after so many arrests these alleged perps were still at large and unreformed."

The US penal system is not designed to reform, it is a business intended to make money. When they come out, they are even less able to get employment, and have larger debts, so go straight back to crime - and become more raw material for the prison business.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

Cheshire Cat

Re: AKA Libertarians

I think the important distinction is between being "qualified" (which many places do require for professions such as hairdressers, chefs, and so on) and being "licensed" (which in most places is reserved for professions such as doctors, teachers, drivers, etc)

Requiring licensing for such a broad title as "engineer" is likely a holdover from some overzealous lawmaker in the US back when an "engineer" worked with heavy machinery and steam.

When the satellite network has literally gone glacial, it's vital you snow your enemy

Cheshire Cat

Lightning on phone lines

Back when I was about 20, has a lightning strike on the local phone lines. The local BBS had 4 modems explode, and a huge blue spark leapt out of my USR 14k4 modem ... which then continued to work fine. The PC was undamaged too.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline

Cheshire Cat

Re: Obligatory XKCD

> Ah - that was my first motorbike. Yamaha XJ600N in black.

You too? Was a great bike, I even brought it out to New Zealand with me when I emigrated 17 years back. Loved riding that bike and was planning to tour the South Island on it some time with SWMBO.

Then 8 years ago, an unlicensed driver decided to drive over the top of it while I was riding it...

Wife won't let me ride a bike any more.

Tesco parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images

Cheshire Cat

Re: Shuttered?

"click to embiggen" is a Simpsons reference.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Cheshire Cat
Thumb Up

Being outside the US I needed to look up what the word means out there.

If they can fix that abysmal UI then they can call it Susan for all I care.

Psst. Hey. Hey you. We have to whisper this in case the cool kidz hear, but... it's OK to pull your data back from the cloud

Cheshire Cat

Mission-critical should not be in the cloud...

Just last week, a whole town in New Zealand was cut off form the Internet due to a contractor with a JCB accidentally cutting the one fibre out of the place.

Business owners were on TV complaining that they couldn't get access to their bookings data or accounts (which were in the cloud), couldn't accept EFTPOS and couldn't run their businesses without their clouded functionality. Schools couldn't run without Google Docs, GMail and website.

I was yelling at the TV like a grumpy old man (so SWMBO tells me) about the idiocy of (a) making your business unable to operate without the Internet link, and (b) having no plan for disaster recovery. I mean, if you have to keep your calendar online, then at least have a printout of the day's bookings!

I would like to think that the people affected would now reconsider their dependence on the Internet, but I bet they won't.

Cheshire Cat

Re: Yes, by all means

I just had to say "fungible" again. It's an awesome word.

Fungible. Fungible. Fuuuungible.

OK, carry on...

Xbox daddy bakes bread with 4,000-year-old Egyptian yeast

Cheshire Cat

Its all in the temperature

Well, when you being the water up to 100 degrees in America, it's barely warm enough to make a decent cup of tea. UK kettles bring up to a proper 100 degrees.

Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics

Cheshire Cat
Black Helicopters

I wear a hoodie

Well -- I work in infosec, AND I regularly wear a hoodie (since I obtained a nice one from Kiwicon last year). So I guess I'm the only REAL hacker around here, then?

Bet you all wish you had th3s3 l33t t0gs like wot I has.

How an ace-hole AI bot built by Facebook, CMU boffins whipped a table of human poker pros

Cheshire Cat
Big Brother

Re: Of course online poker is ruined

What makes you think that the online poke companies aren't already doing this *themselves*?

The best and worst of GitHub: Repos wiped without notice, quickly restored – but why?

Cheshire Cat

AI should never be able to *permanently* delete accounts. However, when you number your accounts in the hundreds of thousands or millions, you have to have some automatic disabling. Then the rare false positive can be manually corrected.

Of course, if you have a lot of false positives, you have a different issue and should tune your algorithm better before you give it teeth

Legal bombs fall on TurboTax maker Intuit for 'hiding' free service from search engines

Cheshire Cat

They aren't *always* lying

"We stand behind our actions as being [...] consistent with our values"

Yes, this looks 100% true. Underhand tricks, misleading customers and outright lies seem to certainly be consistent with their values.

So how'd this go again... A sea goddess told you in a dream to run for president of Taiwan? OK, Mr Foxconn boss

Cheshire Cat

Meanwhile,back in Taiwan

According to the (Taiwanese) wife, the joke currently going around in Taiwan is this:

After he announced that his candidacy was on the orders of Matzu, all the different Matzus from the many temples around the country got together and had a meeting.

"OK, who was it that gave him this stupid idea?" they all asked.

"Not me!" "Not me!" they all responded loudly together, pounding the table angrily...

And this is what caused the recent earthquake in Taiwan.

Prince Harry takes a stand against poverty, injustice, inequality? Er, no, Fortnite

Cheshire Cat


Show me someone older than 30 who hasn't done some questionable things in their youth that they would rather not have done. Harry's list of faux pas seems tame compared to some less public people I know.

The only difference is that Harry is young enough that these things were more easily recorded and spread to the Internet; and royal enough that tabloids and gossip mags are interested in doing so.

He's entitle to his opinion, and we're entitled to listen or ignore as we choose. Personally, I'd say that anything fun can get addictive if you've not much self-control, and I wouldn't let my kids play it without the teamspeak disabled, or at least restricted to known friends only.

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

Cheshire Cat

Another little-known fact

- In the North of England, Water Otters are colloquially referred to as 'kettles'

$24m in fun bux stolen from crypto-mogul. Now he fires off huge fraud charge. Like, RICO, say?

Cheshire Cat

AT&T security fail

I have some sympathy with him suing AT&T - their incompetence in not properly verifying his identity before making such a big change as porting his number is pretty clear.

Though, I wouldn't ever advise securing $million assets with nothing but an SMS for 2FA.

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

Cheshire Cat

We are legion! Fear us

Wizarding World of Harry Potter awaits Microsoft Office exam winners

Cheshire Cat

Re: Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

Well, if people want to watch/read it, then why not...

I think Ms Rowling (officially the richest woman in the UK?) actually gives much of her excess money away to worthy charities. Certainly a greater fraction than the majority of people in the 1% do, so good luck to her.

Dying! Yahoo! loses! fight! to! lock! dead! man's! dead! account!

Cheshire Cat

Re: No need to rule on terms of service

They've probably already lost the email, and atr trying to get out of admitting it...

US government sued by 11 pissed-off travellers over computer searches

Cheshire Cat

Happened to me as well

A few years ago, I was travelling to the US. The security goons demanded I start up my laptop, log in -- and then they took it away for 20 min without a word. I assume they were cloning the hard drive. Then they brought it back without a word, and sent me on to the frisking and shoe-xraying. Not a word of explanation, not a word of thanks.

Were I bringing in anything dodgy, I'd have encrypted it and hidden it on a website somewhere for late download; so the whole things was intrusive and pointless.

Of course, I am an Evil Foreigner (albeit white and non-beardy) so presumably I'm fair game.

Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Cheshire Cat

Looks like Europe only

I have a Samsung out here in NZ,and it is (fortunately) not affected.

Telegram chat app founder claims Feds offered backdoor bribe

Cheshire Cat

Re: Secure Chats

> The gazebo prances fluffy in the moonlight.

I attack the gazebo with my +1 sword!

... how many xp do I get?

When can real-world laws invade augmented reality fantasies? A trial in Milwaukee will decide

Cheshire Cat

Wont somebody think of the flowers?

So - this county wants to ban AR games, because someone irresponsible might walk on their flower beds while playing them.

However I bet they don't want to ban sales of assault rifles because someone might use them to commit murder.



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