* Posts by SysKoll

45 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jan 2008

The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft


DavCrav, in Excel's case, that saying should be slightly amented: "When all you have is a hammer, you should rethink your career choice as a glazier."

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


Re: Borkzilla?


Also fits in with Pokemon memes: Ransomware vs. Clooless!

Clooless: BorkZilla, I choose you!

Announcer: Ransomware uses Buggalore! It's very effective.

BorkZilla fainted! Ransomware wins!

The Iceman cometh, his smartwatch told the cops: Hitman jailed after gizmo links him to Brit gangland slayings


Re: "Massey died in a fusillade of bullets"

"Fusillade" is a synonym for gunfight. It is already not very appropriate here because there was no fight. It was an execution.

On top of that,we are asked to contemplate a "fusillade of bullets". Killers rarely go out of their way to make their guns shoot something else than bullet. Using a paintball rifle as a murder weapon is quite unpractical.

El Reg used to be tightly edited and proof-read. What's going on?

Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks


Re: Lancasters

Damn right. An old chap from Le Havre once told me that the city consistently voted for a Communist mayor until the 90s. The Communist incumbents always invited the crowds to remeber the treatment the city got at the hand of the "Anglo-American capitalists" that non-Communist candidates supposedly supported.

The civilian bombing campaigns on German-occupied countries were a textbook example of how not to win hearts and minds. Not to mention they increased enrollment in the volunteer ranks of the Wehrmacht.

Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?


Re: "written at the height of the Cold War by a veteran with a fascism fetish."

I am not surprised about the "too left wing" part. Heinlein's very first book was "For us, the living", a hymn to a glorious collectivist future mixed with that free love, "share your girlfriend" doctrine that Huxley was warning us against in his dystopia "Brave new world".

Heinlein remained pro-Marxist until he made a trip to Russia and came back livid, profoundly disturbed by what he saw.


Re: "written at the height of the Cold War by a veteran with a fascism fetish."

No kidding. "a fetish for fascism"? Seriously? Lucy Orr, you are embarrassingly ignorant. Read an author before blurting such asinine comments, please.

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word


Emacs vs VI!

You know it's a religious war when you have a tee-shirt mocking both EMACS and VI! https://www.zazzle.com/vi_versus_emacs_t_shirt-235580440891567435.

Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer



Complimented, Complemented is: "A dictionary is a good complement for an editor's bookshelf."

In America, tech support conmen get a mild slap. In Blighty, scammers get the book thrown at them


Re: Too mild in both cases

Darn right. The Ohio scammer got a slap on the wrist, and the UK scammer got a sternly wagged finger in his face. Oh the horror.

I fail to see what allows Mr. Thomson to be so smug about the way the UK courts dealt with that scam. It is actually even less of a deterrent than what the moronic FTC milquetoasts did.

Teen charged with 'cyberstalking' in bomb hoax case


> I just can't get my head around why an Israeli with dual nationality

> would attack Jewish centres in the US from Israel.

For the same reason Israeli kids used to buy leather jackets stamped with "Nazi". I don't know if that interesting fashion statement is still trendy, but the fact remains that some teenagers like to be asses.

We're 90 per cent sure the FCC's robocall kill plan won't have the slightest impact


Too late for the FCC fix already

I am getting quite a few robocalls every day. I saw a drop in calls from non-assigned numbers (which have a fake number that is not possible under the North American Numbering Plan), but then started getting calls from people within the same local area. Their number had the same area code, same central office code, only the last 4 digits differed from my own number. These people were asking why I called them. Uh oh.

Sure enough, I soon got another "local" call which turned out to be a robocall.

So scammers are already adapting and now randomize the CCID with a number very close to the victim's.

The only possible angle of attack is to locate and block the originating VOIP trunks.

Tip for darknet drug lords: Don't wear latex gloves to the post office


Re: so a minor nitpick

Fine. The drug might not be totally responsible for these deaths. But can we at least agree that the author's keyboard is responsible for sloppy turns of phrase?

Mr. Chirgwin, you need to have a word with that lazy Logitech 105-key.

And now, if you don't mind, I am off to explain to my doctor that the free snacks in my office are responsible for my potbelly.

Geo-boffins say 'quake lifted bits of New Zealand by 8 metres, moved at 3km/second


Re: At least most of the country moved away from Australia

"forgive us a story comprised of"

COMPOSED OF, please. Comprise is a synonym of include. A story could not be "included of", now, could it?

The Kiwis suffered enough from this earthquake. Don't compound their torment with shaky grammar.

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think


Histoires de cul

Mr. Dabbs,

In old French, "cul" started life as "bottom" or "back". Hence the term "reculer, meaning to go backwards or to back off.

You might be amused by the word "cul-de-lampe", which designates ornaments more or less shaped like inverted triangles. This was apparently the standard shape for the bottom of an oil lamp.

And of course, when drinking expensive liquor among French friends, do not go "cul sec", dry bottom (of the glass), which means chugging down the whole tumbler at once, as it is a sign of poor manners.

To go back to "arse",yes, that's the most common use of the term today, which is why it's now considered an impolite word.

Back in the days, a Communist could be unflatteringly called "un cul rouge" (a red arse). But a coal miner would proudly refer to himself as "un cul noir" (a black arse), a term that would probably send you down for racism these days.

The wait is over: MoD releases latest issue of Ship Paint Monthly


Re: Am I missing something?

Completely agree. Do you have any idea of how opaque and boring El Reg articles are for the average non-computer geek type?

The old Athenian had a law prohibiting anyone from making fun of another man's job. We need to dust it off.

Tech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware


I got my virus scammer into a furious antisemitic raving...

I got a "Windows virus" call and told the guy to drop the act. He instantly started yelling at me in his heavily accented but grammatically correct English. He told me in no uncertain terms that he enjoyed scamming us idiotic Westerners and that all Americans were pawns of the Jews and this job was revenge for his country.


I merely pointed out that I, dumb Westerner, was the one with a decent life while he, the righteous, was a parasite in a boiler room. He screamed incoherently and disconnected.

That was fun!

Fear not, humanity – Saint Elon has finished part two of his world-saving 'master plan'


Re: In this case though, I don't think it's really the cost that's the big deal

Say you have 2 square meters of solar cells on the roof. They will generate about 300 W on a very sunny day. For 8 hours, that's 2.4 kWh. Suppose this goes straight to the battery with an 80 % efficiency, and you get 1.9 kWh

A Tesla Model S P100D pack holds 100 kWh. So you recharged your battery by 1.9 %. Whoohoo. Hope you didn't count on this to go back home.

Really, not worth the trouble nor the cost.

Zero. Zilch. Nada. That's how much Netflix uses its own data centres now


Our own company moved its storage from AWS to our own data center. The Amazon bill was enough to pay for several storage server racks and their admins every month. We still save money even after factoring in the hardware, manpower, datacenter utilization, and bandwidth.

FTC fells four tech-support operations in scammer crackdown


Baiting them

Last time I got such a call, I baited the "Microsoft tech support" until he dropped all pretenses.He then started an angry rant about how all Americans were stupid sheep led by the Jews. Truly a fine specimen of mankind. I just hope they operate out of Pakistan and not Pennsylvania.

Philip Glass tells all and Lovelace and Babbage get the comic novel treatment


I found Padua's Lovelace and Babbage comic quite enjoyable

I I found Sydney Padua's Lovelace and Babbage comic quite enjoyable. I believe the problem is the reviewer expected an accurate, historical fiction, where this is a joyous romp through the tropes of the Victorian age, with a bit of historical references and a lot of tongue-in-cheek.

Padua underlines a few entertaining elements of her historical figures, such as Lovelace's maths keeping poetry at bay, or Babbage's Aspergerian intolerance for street musician and his perpetually scatterbrained work. This can be better appreciated by people who actually know and love this tragic couple and their time. Otherwise, some jokes could be missed.

If you are a history buff, if you ever read a biography of either Babbage or Lovelace, you should read Padua's book. You'll get a great kick out of it.

I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?


Why go back to Nixon?


Did you already forget the famous "if you like your plan, you can keep it" uttered about 30 times by Obama, right as he was working to dismantle existing health insurance plans? I think a robot would have remembered...

Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'


No pointy clicky is GOOD

Among Windows developers, there is a tendency to providea GUI, and only a GUI, for some or all of the operation and configuration steps of their expensive Entreprisey application.

This means that some critical configuration or runtime elements will be impossible to script and audit.

Linux/Unix guys tend to think of GUI as a cutesy thingy you slap onto an application when Marketing gets too whiny. This is the right attitude for all business-critical applications, especially server-side. GUI are for desktop applications. On a server, I want scripts, config files, logs and audit trails.

France to draft blacklist banning alleged piracy websites – what could POSSIBLY go wrong?


I don't get the joke

I speak French and I don't get the joke. "Le bord mince de la cale de fromage, mes amis!" The thin edge of the cheese wedge?

Flurry of solar flare-ups sets off cosmic plasma explosion


Awww, the Wegistew is baby talking to us

"CMEs are usually caused by large flares and can release up to a hundred billion kilos of super-heated electrons, protons and heavy nuclei at speeds of up to two million miles per hour."

In non-babytalk units: up to a hundred million tonnes ... up to 900 km/s.

The author needs to make up his mind: either admit we readers are adults and understand moderately scientific articles, or stop trying to report astronomy news to the mass of drooling morons he decided we are.

Rise of the Machines: How computers took over the stock market


Re: Radical solutions needed

Ooooh, look, a problem. I know! I hjave a universal solution (roll drums): a *new tax* ! That's right, ladies and germs, the tax, this good ole' cure-all, worshipped by English departments and arts majors everywhere, can cure your ills faster than you can spell n-i-n-c-o-m-p-o-o-p.

Taxes aren't a solution, they're a way to compound a problem.

New evidence: Comets seeded life on Earth


Appendix not useless

Just for the record: the appendix function has been found. Its use is to harbor intestinal flora and to reseed the colon with beneficial bacteria after a diarrhoea. As such, it's either a nice piece of evolutionary work, or another proof of intelligent design, depending upon your axioms.

Given the prevalence of diarrhoea-giving diseases, the appendix probably improves mankind's survival rate. From which you can deduct that death from the aftermath of a cholera-type disease was historically a bigger risk than appendicitis.

'Build us a Death Star, President Obama' demand thousands


Re: It's a joke

im Hill writes:

Jim Hill wrote:

> So, the Nobel prize committee for economics are fools, then.


Just because the Nobel committee picks some random leftist writer with delusions of grandeur doesn't make that writer a genius. Just like giving Obama the Nobel for peace didn't make him stop wars (or start them in the case of Lybia).

You look like you need a religion with saints, icons and an infallible pope or two, yet you don't sound like Catholic material. May I interest you in scientology?

Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

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Re: Converting to old fashioned units

You mean 1 kWh.

Which brings a good point. SI units also come with standard abbreviations. 1000 is k, not K (which is Kelvin temperature). Similarly, h is hecto (100) while H is henry (an impedance unit). And so one. Please, no mix up.

LOHAN finally checks into REHAB


Re: Lessons from history

This is not the only units trouble in the article. The pump is calibrated in millibars (mbar) and the article refers TWICE to Mbar (megabars = 1 million bar). A megabar is either the pressure at the center of Jupiter or the purported attribute of a porn star, but it's certainly not a miilibar.

Grab your L-plates, flying cars of sci-fi dreams have landed


Re: Coming shortly...

That's "Pitot tube". And yes, the final t is mute.

And the oshifer one is pretty good. :-)

Renault Fluence ZE


Leccy will go up along with fossil fuels

The flaw in the reasoning is that fossil fuels are used to produce most electricity in the UK and the US. The French produce about 75-80% of their juice with nuclear power, so their leccy prices aren't necessarily coupled with the price of oil, but Brits and Yankees aren't so lucky.

So the cost of recharge *will* go up is gas prices increase.

Custard pie activist slams IPCC 'grey literature' habit

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Nice article

I find disturbing similarities between IPCC and Family Radio, the religious organization that "predicted" the end of the world for May 21. At least, in FR's case, the end-of-world antics are only originating from the founder, and many staff members pretend that they don't hear him. The IPCC, on another hand, revels in catastrophism.

Israelis' invulnerable, 60-tonne robot bulldozer force to double


Bad reference on Killdozer

'Killdozer' (an excellent SFstory by T. Sturgeon, BTW) was featuring a D7, not a D9. The D7 fell under control of a malevolent entity which quickly turned all the crunchy humans around it into muddy dog breakfasts.

Apologies after teacher's 'Linux holding back kids' claim

Jobs Horns

Toe the party line, you maggot!

It gets better. The unnamed teacher then called Ken, the blog's author, complaining that she had been "thrown to the wolves" (and genuinely upset). This, in spite of her name not being released.

Yes, that teacher's behavior was unflatterinly discussed in many online forums, but it's not like her name and address were on the web page. She was and remains an anonymous figure of ignorance.

We should thank Karen for being such a wonderful stereotype. She's a product of a bureaucracy without any clue about software, yet she displays unbelievable condescension and spouts threats about a matter of which she doesn't know anything. "I don't know what you're proposing, but I think you should be jailed for disrupting the establishment. Toe the party line, you maggot!"

And that, fellows, is the "progressive" system that's supposed to teach our kid how to think.

Let's hope that at least, she learned something about Linux -- that is, apart from "don't ever piss off a bunch of nutso geeks with too much free time on their hands".

BNP leaked list claims first victims


A victory for the Thought Police

So some members of the BNP are going to lose their job because of their opinion, and everybody finds this normal. Hmmm. Who's next? Communist? Free-Masons? Scientologists?

It is ironic, though, that people claiming to act out of virtuous anti-facism are giving a punishment of Berufsverbot -- the prohibition of engaging in certain professions that Nazi Germany used to inflict on Jews.

Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?

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Love your articles

Once again, a thoughful article that a high level strategy magazine would be proud of. The El Reg team is decidedly a remarkable bunch. Thank you.

Autopilot blamed for Qantas plunge


Learn the right jargon when you write a story, darn you!

It's not PAN PAN -- It's Panne Panne. You sound like these hollywood actors that mispronounce mayday (The ay should be flat, not a diphtongue)

The reason is that all these words come from the early French aviation! While the Wright brothers were busy sueing wannabe aircraft manufacturers in the early 1900, effectively paralyzing the nascent US aircraft industry, the French were putting early crates in the air.

The pre-WWII international aeronautical institutions were therefore very influenced by the Gallic terminology craftyness. And what emergency messages did they standardize on? Well, they chose "M'aider" (Help me, imperative form), and "Panne Panne Panne" (Breakdown, repeating three times). To avoid hearing mispronounced abominations, they gave Yanks a cheat sheet with the phonetic spelling of these terms. Little did they know that the French empire -- and its language -- would soon be a distant memory.

So please do not write the grotesque "pan pan", which sounds like a disturbing mating call for frying implements. Write "Panne panne", which is the manly, blood-chilling distress call that echoed through early wireless transmissions, back when Aeropostale was crossing oceans with engines that had an MTBF measured in single-digit hours.

Reg server and chip hack molested by Gray Lady


You'll be back, I tell you.

Oh, so you're leaving, eh? Think you can get rid of us, eh? Well, think again! At the rate the NYT is going down, you'll be back begging for the old El Reg job in a few years!

Gray Lady my *ss. Gray brontosaurus is more like it.

The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving

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Beware of hellhole makers

Some people here seem nostalgic of the insane FDR policies. In essence, FDR tightened credit at a time where a liquidity crisis struck the country. That liquidity crisis, by the way, was generated by the policy of the Federal Reserve, who blindly supported a "Real Bill" ideological control of credit. See numerous books on the subject.

Mr Worstall has written his article as a cynical piece taking potshots at blumbering fools pontificating about a subject they ignore. Unfortunately, he is right.

The sad truth is that very few people on Earth, if any, undestand the complexity of the economy. To try to understand its intricacy, you have to understand the motivation of human action, a rather hard undertaking.

Once you understance that, you will realize that you're up against things you cannot reliably influence, let alone control, and you'll leave them alone. But if you are a foolish tinkerer like the New Economics Foundation, your hubris and arrogance will lead you to impose a dictatorship and create yet another centralized economy hellhole.

That's the point of the article. And Mr Worstall is right. Case in point: A lot of recent immigrants from Poland would be delighted to tell you more about the delights of such hellholes, since they grew up in one. They'll also be happy to beat you into a pulp if you insist on creating one in the place where they are trying to rebuild a life.

Microprocessors are the new cigarettes


Finance inmates running the asylum

I fail to see what qualifies the banking business to give lessons to successful industries.

In case they didn't notice, they almost destroyed themselves by handling subprime mortgage packages like valuable securities, and now they are crying that the taxpayers -- us -- should bail them out. I don't see these execs refunding the record-breaking bonuses they got during the real estate bubble, though.

And now, these fools want to tell the semiconductor industry how it should run its business. The financial sector's credibility is at its lowest, and this guy comes out of the blue to tell the SC people they don't know what they're doing. Moreover, he simply recommends to slash R&D in an industry where most profits are generated by products less than 3 years old.


Why isn't the Reg flaming down this moron? Why do they retranscribe his drivel as if it was worth reading? C'mon guys, you know better.

SF's green mayor dreams of electric car heaven


It's just PR.

Look, guys, it's just PR. It's BS meant to impress the gullible greens and the media.

California has successfully fought any effort to build more power generation capacity. Billions were wasted in dubious feel-good efforts to develop "renewable energy", at a horrific cost per watt. This might be a good way to subsidize some companies but it did little to add more capacity to the grid.

And now SF wants to add a massive number of power-draining rechargeable cars? Exactly how, pray tell, does Gavin hope to find this power?

Take a piss-poor electric car with a 50-HP electric engine and a one-hour autonomy. That's 50*736/1000 = 36 kWh of power storage requirements. With very optimistic losses, call it 40 kWh.

Now let's see. I want to rechage this car in 5 hours at night. That's 40/5 = 8 kW of load on the grid, neglecting all losses. Put 100,000 of these suckers in the streets, and hello, you need an extra 800 megawatts of power every night. That's 4 gas generators or half a small nuclear power plant, which isn't going to fly since there are already rolling black-outs in some parts of California.

I'll believe in this electric car plan the day SF announces it's building power plants. Otherwise it's just PR.

US dairyman inaugurates bovine biogas plant


Please express manure weight in BS per press release

Ye flippin' gods. Where to start?

"Power 1200 houses a day". So that's 8400 houses per week, great. If this thing runs for a year, it will power 400,000 homes -- a large city.

Oh, you mean that it supplies power for 1200 houses? So what's this "a day" thing? Mixing up watts and watt.hours again, are we?

And a pox on your house for expressing a size in football fields.

Lester, you should really filter that kind of PR drivel and turn it into English (or even American, if you must) before it hits The Reg's site.

Microsoft! bids! $44.6bn! for! Yahoo!


The deal will go through. And thus...

From Ballmer's office, in a few months:

"So the deal is done, these EU regulators finally agreed on a price?"

"Yes Mr. Ballmer. The videotape from that Las Vegas hotel room helped."

"Bwahaha... Yahoo is ours! And after we take over the advertizing income, we move all their ugly BDS machines to our nice, shiny Windows Server..."

"That's BSD. Yes, Mr. Ballmer."

"And then we start changing all them Yahoo, Flickr and whatnot sites to work only with IE."

"Sure, Mr. Ballmer."

"Oh, and that ZImbra thing. We kill it of course. We want everyone to use our shiny Exchange."

"The whole ZImbra development team already quit, Mr. Ballmer."

"Excellent! I won't have to deal with that bunch of hippies. No more Zimbra. Send our sales rep to moon the current Zimbra customers. Have them tell these traitors they are going to bleed."

"Err... Actually, Mr. Ballmer, all the Zimbra developers were hired by other companies that took over the development of the..."

"What?!! But... It's our intellectual property! Ours! OURS! We bought it! Sue them. Sue all the developers!"

"Well, see, the code is open-source. The license says it's legal for the developers to..."

"Aaaaugh... Developers! Developers! Developers!"

(Sound of chair crashing)

Microsoft takes a shine to Logitech?


"That brand is our last hope" - "No. There is another."

If the rumor is true, MS will probably kill the Squeezebox that Logitech acquired from Slim Devices. They'll probably replace it with some monstrosity that rapes your dog and explodes if you attempt to use it to play an AAC file or use a Linux server.

Fortunately, there is a replacement in the same market. Roku Labs has a gadget called the Soundbridge M1001 that looks very similar to the Squeezebox. (Disclaimer: I own neither devices, I am just investigating before I buy one).

So were the Redmond Beast to devour Logitech, the coolest gadget of this brand would at least be replaceable.

Now if someone could make keyboards half as good as my model M, I'd happily stockpile them.