* Posts by Tom

45 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jan 2008

GPS, swipe cards to monitor Welsh school kids



How much was spent on translating the interface in to Welsh? Anglesey (I think we are only supposed to use the Welsh name, Ynys Mon, now) and Gwynedd will insist on it being in Welsh.

Pot Noodle boils up instant doner kebab


May god have mercy on us all

I used to have to drive past the Pot Noodle everyday, and the smell made my stomach turn!!! It used to stay with you all the way from Croespenmaen Industrial Estate all the way in to Crumlin. If I had the window open I swear I could taste it all th way to Pontypool.

Brits find accommodation a little uncomfortable


Just one point...

When I was at primary school in the mid 80's we were never picked up on incorrect spellings. We could write pages, and pages of text but would never have incorrect spellings pointed out to us to be corrected. Not quite sure what this was supposed achieve, but several local schools also did this.

My parents were both subjected to some weird phoetic spelling, with additional symbols, experiment when they were at school so their spelling is bad as well.

Also how much of this mis-spelling is just simple typos?

Virgin Media trials longer bandwidth throttling


Much different from other ISP?

The main difference I can see between this and what other ISPs do is that other ISPs will charge you extra for each Gb (Mb for mobile BB) that you go over your allowance if they don't apply throttling.

New-age cyber-attack inflicts major damage with modest means


The Internet Needs an Overhaul

The simple answer is that the whole Internet needs a overhaul. The protocols, and proberbly even the orginal ideas, were not for what the Internet has become. The may be fine for what the Internet should be, but not what it is.

Mines the one with the torn up RFC's in the pocket.

BBC pumps 60 quid a head into Gaelic


Even less popular than S4C

I never thought I would find something more pointless and less popular than S4C (Sianel Pedar Cymru). Even my Welsh speaking friends get fed up with S4C. Just because they can speak Welsh doesn't mean that they want to watch Pobol Y Cwm, Wedi 7 or Ffermio - which is blokes in sterotypical farmers clothes getting over excited about sheep.

Wrong kind of winter brings England to a halt


London != Everywhere

Apparently the country has come to a complete standstill because London has. A light dusting of snow gave my street a nice Christmasy feel. Snow was a bit heavier over the border in Carmarthenshire with a few schools shut - but that was mainly because the bus companies stopped the school buses and the schools that were shut sovered a large rural area. All people need is just a little common sense - but there in lies the problem.

Retired army generals: Spend Trident money on the army



... Prime Minister.

I am sure this was the story line on an episode of Yes Prime Minister, where Hacker tried to re-introduce National Service. He was planning to scrap Trident and use the money for the larger armed forces that would be a result of National Service.

Public support for ID cards dips to 55 per cent


I would like to meet one of these 55%...

...so I can beat them with the clue stick.

DVLA under scrutiny over penalty notice dating game

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DVLA, what a bunch of retards.

I taxed my car online - on the evening of the day the reminder arrived, which was 14 days before the tax ran out. The tax disc arrived the day after the old one ran out, meaning my car was parked on the road with an out of date disc.

A few days after I got the tax disc I got a penalty notice. Dispite having the confirmation page printed, the confirmation email and the disc its self nobody at the DVLA believed me at first. After several phone calls it was sorted out and I did not have to pay the penalty.

Their reason for the initial delay - apparently it was my fault for leaving it too late to send the paperwork back to them and I should have allowed for postage delays when mail has to travel long distance. When I explained I had renewed the tax disc online and that even if I had of posted it distance would not be an issuse as I can see the DVLA building, in Morriston, from my house (I would have to lean out of the bathroom window but I could if I wanted to). Some muttering about, "Well it takes time for mail to get across Swansea as well you know" and that was that.

Still sending naked email? Get your protection here


@Tommy Pock

Beth sy problem gyda e-bostio yn Gymraeg?

Dw i'n mynd o pwb nawr am un cwrw, ond pump.

Half of Brits abuse apostrophe's


The English Language is constantly changing

The language is evolving, it is not the same language it was 100 years ago, and certainly not the same language it was 400 years ago. Why can some people not accept this?

Just as the words ‘Thou’ and ‘Thee’ have dropped out of use, why should the apostrophe not drop out of use, or at least have the rules of its use simplified?

There is a similar issue in Welsh where in some, mainly-English speaking, places the rules for initial consonant mutation are not being followed. Phrases such as ‘yn Cymru’ (in Wales) should be ‘yng Nghumru’.

Virgin cuts broadband to a fiver


The whole broadband industry needs a overhaul

Both the wired and wireless broadband industry are in a mess. A large part of that mess is the telecoms infrastructure. I live in the middle of Swansea (OK it might not be sprawling urban metropolis but by the same token not a rural village on top of a mountain) and ADSL in my street is terrible. Not only are the speeds bad there is almost continual dropped connections. The street is cabled for Virgin so most people, like me, have moved to Virgin.

This is where the other problem with the industry comes - the mis-selling of broadband packages. I do get almost 2Meg out of my 2Meg VM BB so I can't really moan about that, but on my 'up to 8Meg' ADSL line I was lucky to get 1Meg, and if I did it wouldn't stay up for very long. If SWALEC said we provide up to 230V, but you were only getting 50V because of the infrastructure would people accept it in the same way they do with their BB.

Similarly with capping. Unlimited should mean just that. I have no problems with caps, but if a service is capped then say it is - not unlimited subject to FUP, and say it in big letters - not in some 4pt text in the corner, of the back page, on the separate document, after the passage in Swahili. Again what would happen if SWALEC said well you can have 240V untill you have used so many kWh then we will put your supply down to 50V?

* SWALEC - South Wales Electricity.

Google Maps gets gov M-way congestion overlay

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@Gareth Jones

I didn't say "It's no use to me, therefore it's no use at all." Using your example - if I knew there was traffic on one of those routes before I started by journey then I could take the alternative, but if I got on the M1 and then heard about the congestion I wouldn't know how to avoid it.

As I said things like this are useful for out of the ordinary congestion.

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Most traffic reports are pointless anyway.

I know where the traffic is, it is in the same place every day - on the main roads in, out and across the city. Every morning, however, the local radio station reals off a long list of traffic congestion which is the same everyday - Fabian Way, Fordd Cwm Tawe, Carmarthen Road, Junction 41 for Briton Ferry, etc, etc.

If you know the area then you will already know that there will be traffic in those places. If you don't know the area then you proberbly aren't going to know how to divert around the traffic anyway.

The only expection is when there is something out of the ordinary to report like an accident, and people who know the area can at least take in the account extra travelling time, or plan to do a different way.

Microsoft sued in China for black screen of death


WGA, what a PITA!

Installed 200 identical PC in a school, imaged all of the machines with Ghost. WGA flagged up 3 of them as 'illegal copies'. Couldn't realy be bothered to resolve it, so just reimaged them and they worked fine.

BBC clarifies location of England


American geographical knowledge, and the lack thereof

A few years ago I was working with somebody from the US of A, and spent ages trying to explain how England was playing Wales in the 6 Nations. He just couls not seem to get it in to his head that Swansea is in Wales, not in England. Luckily has were watching rugby, and not football, there was no trouble with him cheering England.

Of course the England/Wales things is nothing complared getting him to understand the rules of rugby.

Dw i'n byw yng Nghymru!

Revo Pico RadioStation DAB+ radio


DAB isn't all that it is cracked up to be

DAB is all fine and well, if and when it works, and even then it is far from perfect. In the middle of Swansea it works fairly well, but go a mile or two west (not even as far as Llanelli), and you can't get anything, although apparently it does work in parts of Llanelli.

The local radio stations only broadcast live sports commentry on MW which my DAB radio doesn't pick up - so if I want to listen to the commentry from the Osprey's game then it is back out with my £5 Tesco value FM/AM radio. Apart from Virgin/Absolute I don't know of any MW/LW stations that are available on DAB.

El Reg salutes ultimate shed anthem


Can't be as annoying as the Trade Centre Wales adverts

I think you will be hard pushed to find anything that is more mind-numbingly irritating than the Trade Centre Wales adverts. Each one ends with the tag line, "Tell 'em Trevor sent you!" in a really thick Welsh accent.


Research firm emails 20,000 addresses in the clear


Re: ... Don't permit use of BCC

"Are there some email agents around which actually don't permit use of BCC?"

I don't know of any mail clients which don't permit the use of BCC - but I know that Outlook 2007 hides the BCC field by default.

Why didn't this company use a proper mailing list solution like Mailman. Easier to manage and stops this sort of problem.

Daily Mail loses employee info


Daily Mail

I am sure it was reported in the Daily Mail that, "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a illegal immigrant, hoodie, who was involved in the Diana killing!"

DVLA, Tiscali, Barclays rake in phoneline cash



I know a few years ago my girlfriend had to have several conversations with the DVLA because they kept getting her address wrong. She found if you phoned the Welsh speaking number you would get through straight away. Not speaking Welsh myself, and being fed up being passed around when complaining about a mistake on my license I tried my luck, phoned the Welsh line, made out I made a mistake and carried on in English.

ID fraudsters soak the rich


Information getting passed around

I started getting junk mail sent to my girlfriends parents house a little while ago. The only thing that ever connected me with their address was that I was a named driver on her mothers car insurance when we borrowed her car to go on holiday about 8 months before I started getting the mail. After chasing this up, the insurance company deny all knowledge of sharing the information.

Google Translate speaks in (more) tongues


Ond, beth am Gymraeg?

Translating to Welsh would be clever - although I could see some difficulties with the mutations.

Dog is 'Ci' in Welsh, but depending on whose dog it is, 'his', 'hers', and 'my' changes the word changes to 'gi', 'chi' and 'nghi' respectivley. House would change from 'Tŷ' to 'Dŷ', 'Thŷ' and 'Nhŷ'.

Also Wales is Cymru in Welsh, 'I live in Wales' is 'Dw i'n byw yng Nghymru' but 'I come from Wales' is 'Dw i'n dod o Gymru'.

There are other rules about mutations:

After ei when it means "her"

After a ("and")

After â ("with")

Masculine nouns after the number three (tri)

After the number six (chwech, written before the noun as chwe)

This makes it difficult to look up words in a Welsh dictonary because you may try to look up the word Dŷ but you won't find it under 'D' but under 'T' because it is mutated from the word Tŷ.

A similar thing happens in placenames. 'Swansea' is 'Abertawe' in Welsh, which means 'mouth of the Tawe (the river which runs through Swansea)'. A town just up the road is 'Pontardawe' which means 'bridge over the Tawe' but the 'T' of Tawe has mutated in to a 'D'

BOFH: PFY's mum pays a visit


My Mum's better than your Mum...

My Mum was pure evil personified, she had to be to succeed in her profession, or perhaps vocation, as a school dinner lady. Hell hath no fury like a dinner lady scorned.

London teen orders 'cab, innit'


@where's that to?

As a Bristol ex-pat I wanted to use that heading!

I all fairness I think her paying for the taxi is the safest bet. If she can't cope with using the telephone then I fail to see how she will get on in Bristol with our unique dialect - and the fact that many people in Bristol still call the airport Lulsgate, which is the name of the village where the airport is located.

RM ties up IT school deal with Newham council



I used to work for the IT department for a South Wales Council, attached to the Education Department to support IT in the schools. RM were one of the biggest nightmares we had and we worked hard to get rid of them from as many schools as we could. Their IT equipment was poor quality and over priced. In one school almost all of the PC's in the IT suite had motherboard failures. Several RM Classboards had controller cards fail and RM were unable to supply replacements (and if they could they would have cost a fortune), also the Classboard were no match to the better and cheaper SMART Boards. Customer support was on the whole bad - including constant arguing with them about schools that had Ysgol in the name (Ysgol is Welsh for school). The secondary schools had lots of problems. During one upgarde the RM technician guy copied the date from the older server to the new server, but what he actually copied was shortcuts - but before checking he had formatted the old server. Each user has 10's of Group Policies applied to it - instead of setting most of the settings in one policy you would have one setting in one policy, then another setting in another policy all applied on top of each other. Because of the local policies on the server is difficult to get anything to work with it. They charge a fortune for 'extra services' like email, and make it difficult for schools to provide their own mail services - mainly because of the local polices on the RM CC server, which is just Server 2003. You are not allowed to change many of the local / group policies because that will invailadte the warrenty. All of this iis nothing compared to their business practise of getting schools to continually extend their 'lease' with RM. It also makes it difficult to move away from RM. We moved three secondary schools from RM networks to LEA managed ones. It all cases the schools saved money, had a better system - that could be managed as we wanted, not as RM wanted.

Next time you go to the loo, bring your locked laptop with you


Just proves the point...

... that physical security is still the most import layer of any security policy.

Sun will swallow Earth: Official


7.7 billion years...

...is fine, provided that is acurate - other wise the mice will be furious.

HMRC blows £1.4m on two-word slogan


Cardiff has done this as well

It seems that Cardiff has spent £45K on some crappy logo, which is some circles with Cardiff and Caerdydd written on it.


Theres tidy -isn't it!

BOFH: The Silence of the Servers


Funny and true

Used to work for the council. One of their community centres had their own network, which they "set-up" themselves but had to be supported centrally. Their servers were plugged in the a 4-bar extention lead. Unfortunatly they also had a 2.5kW electric fire plugged in to it as well. Appart from the massive currect draw of the fire (I=P/V I=2500/230 I=10.9A) about every tenth time the thermostat turned the fire on the server would restart. It was averagign about 10 reboots a day.

We suggested moving the fire, but they didn't. In the end we failed the extention lead during a PAT test and replaced it with an approved 3 socket one!

Lenovo ThinkPad T61


@who wants a widescreen...

Quite a lot of people do. T

hose that don't tend to go for the ultra portable laptops. Personally I am not that bothered by the widescreen format. I tend to be doing php coding, or browsing, on may laptop so the WS is fairly useful there. What I can't understand is the 17" laptops - the only way that makes sense is if they are bought has a desktop replacement. Vista isn't too slow if you turn off all of the Aero stuff and put it back to the Win 2K look.

Firefox 3 beta is live


As long as it doesn't become IE

I have been using FF since it was Phoenix (on Solaris when I was at Uni) and I also used Mozilla as well. I liked it because it wasn't IE.

FF is in a great danger of taking on all things that is wrong with IE and if it does it will be it's own downfall.

Cops hunt charred power cable thief


Pipes as well

I remember years ago that the tennents of one of the houses near me took all of the lead pipe out of their house and sold it, then they claimed they had been robbed. The council put in a new kitchen, bathroom and at the same time central heating! Sometimes stuipedity does pay!

GCap reaches for DAB off switch


Not surprised

GCap radio stations are crap, but they seem to get everywhere, and play the same three or four songs over and over again.

The local radio stations claim to be local, but apart from the breakfast and evening shows, everything seems to be syndicated. Used to live in Bristol and work in South Wales and GWR Bristol and Red Dragon, both GCap stations, would often have the same set of songs on even if there were different presenters. Once they even had the same questions for a completion on the breakfast show and because you can pick up GWR Bristol in parts of SE Wales people were complaining that you could hear the answer first on GWR Bristol.

On top of Red Dragon you now have XFM South Wales which isn’t much better. Not so much a problem of playing X-factor losers and crap boy bands, but it is the same songs over and over again – with a large amount of advertising.

Arrow Rock is a much better DAB station than Planet Rock ever was. I know it is broadcast across South Wales and around Bristol, not sure where else it is broadcast.

Unfortunately I have near zero digital radio reception in my house - the only station I can get with my DAB radio is Virgin.

All of that said, anything has to be better than Valleys Radio!

Hamster-in-rain emergency prompts 999 call


It will be Welsh only soon!

In light of the recent developments where a small minority are pushing to make the Welsh language compulsory in all walk of life - I am guessing that it won't be long before the Police will only respond if you tell them in Welsh. In much the same way the Ceredigion County Council were giving priority to Welsh speakers in planning applications, the Police will give priority to those who call 999 in Welsh. Unfortunatly, apart from the Welsh Mafis (Taffia) in the Senydd and Assembly, very few people in South Wales are fluent in Welsh. This means that all 999 calls will be answered by the one bloke in Tonypandy who can speak Welsh. All those that don't speak Welsh will be left to sort out the emergency on their own.

Prynhown da, Heddlu De Cymru, beth ydy dy argyfwng?

Boffin shortage will blight Blighty's prosperity


It is happening at lower levels as well

I used to work in the IT department for a 'Valleys' council in South Wales. The education department produced a report saying that almost 85% of school leavers where taking non-technical subjects, a fair proportion of those were hair and beauty courses. The conclusion was that, as there was only a finite number of hair dressers needed, it was adding to the areas already high unemployment.

Spain bows before la blogosfera


Beth sy Blogosphere yn Gymraeg

I just wonder what Blogosphere is in Welsh.

I am sure Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Langauage Board) have dispatched their Grand Cheif Lexiographer to this task.

Germany flicks off-switch on DAB

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Digital - my arse

I have a digital radio, but the only station I can receive digitally is Virgin, and that doesn't always work. I mainly use it as a normaly FM radio. And it isn't digital radio I have a problem with, the digital TV signal isn't brilliant. I have to frequently retune the digital box and I can't get the full range of channels. Often I can't get channel 4 through digital, which is the only way I can watch it because I live in Wales and get S4C instead, and there is only so much Pobol y Cwm I can stand.

Polish IT worker calculates exact speed of snail mail


Faster than internal mail

I sent a form through internal mail - because I wasn't allowed to walk down two flights of stairs to hand it in personally. It took 4 weeks to travel a distance of around 100M.

Starbucks mocha clocked at 628 calories


Starbucks coffee costs more than petrol...

...even when petrol is £1.509 a litre (Tesco's in Swansea this morning) it is still cheaper than the brown over priced sludge servered by Starbucks/Costa etc.

In the words of Blackadder, "I'll have a cup of warm water with brown grit in it, unless you have started serving coffee!"

Becta exec admits mistakes on education IT


IT in Education is a joke...

... and not a funny one at that and BECTA are the biggest joke of all. I would have said the RM were, but we all know that there is nothing remotly funny about what RM do to schools. Luckily, being in Wales, I have managed to avoid much of BECTA's effuent output.

I used to work as IT support for an local council and was attached to the Education department. Most of the IT teachers in the secondary schools had no formal IT qualifications, or (more importantly) experience. I was working in one secondary school and they were talking about networking. I was actually there working on the planning the new netowrk for the school - servers, clients, comms, wi-fi, etc and even offered to do some work with the GCSE class who were covering that topic, and offer which was declined. The crap the 'teacher' was coming out was terriable. They had blantently never worked in the real IT world as they had no idea of the what they were talking about. The topics they were covering didn't seem to have any real relivence to real-world IT. Why are pupils being taught in great depth about token-ring networks and nothing about wi-fi networks? The teacher was reading from a generic powerpoint slide which she had not created here self. In another lesson the same teacher used the terms authentication and authorisation interchangably and tried to explain public key encryption in such a way that I couldn't understand what she was saying.

Also the pupils in the primary schools are well ahead of the teachers in the secondary schools. A lot of the primary school teachers seem more knowledgable, and more importanly - willing to learn, than their secondary counterparts.

Do we need computer competence tests?


@Computer test or common sense test (or both)

I have always had a good idea for a common sense test...

You take somebody in to a canteen and get them to choose a hot meal of their choice. The person serving them puts the plate on to their tray and says, "Be careful, the plate is hot." If the first they do is touch the plate then they fail. Simple!

It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook


Can't use my mouse and USB stick at the same time.

Although it has wireless networking I would still have prefered to have an ethernet port built in - even if it envolved some sort of dongle arangement. Also another USB port would have been good. I know it is aimed at people who want ultra portability - but still alot of people want to use a mouse with their laptop. Perhaps the new trackpad might get over this, but I doubt it. Unplugging my mouse to plug in a USB stick would just get annoying.

At the end of the day people will buy this for a varity of reasons, but very few of the reasons will be that they need a computer that small and more to do with the styling and 'must have latest gizmo'.

E-government is working for DVLA



@Ian - The DSA are responsible for driving tests, not the DVLA.

@Anonymous Coward - Re Swansea jokes. Yes Minister (and Yes Prime Minister) had frequent references to the DVLC in Swansea.

I can see the DVLA building from my house, well if I lean out of the window a bit I can - but it took them 4 weeks to change the address on my driving licence, and will proberbly take another 4 weeks when I send it back because they have the address wrong.