* Posts by Christopher Reeve's Horse

321 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jan 2008


What are our top picks from the vast world of retro tech? Let's find out

Christopher Reeve's Horse

My company used to have it's entire QMS and document management system implemented via Notes. This was actually the least fun I've ever had using a computer in any context.

Excel recruitment time bomb makes top trainee doctors 'unappointable'

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: "The interview scores are stored in an Excel spreadsheet"

You're probably not going to like my own personal spreadsheet example then. It's currently using 3 Workbooks, >200 Worksheets, >700 Structured Tables, and >11.4M cells (counting only the cells that exist in structured tables, to keep it simple).

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Well, fortunately, the classic, old fashioned way of making digital art non-fungible still exists, and what's more it doesn't require a ridiculous amount of compute power and energy costs to process. Simply render the art as a single instance into meat-space. i.e. print it out.

Christopher Reeve's Horse


For crypto investors NFT's fulfilled a vital purpose - for a while at least. They provided the liquidity to the market that investors needed to sell their crypto currency assets. The whole thing is effectively a 'find an even bigger idiot' scam, and the people that are left holding this shit at the end have really lost out.

BT dips toe into liquid cooling in quest for a chill network

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Even better

Even better is to tie in to a localised heat demand. A combined datacentre / swimming pool would seem to be the ideal candidate?

John Deere signs right to repair agreement with US ag lobbyists

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Re: Who is the liar?

The key words are at the end of the Heads line - "they need". What Deere think that the customers need is entirely at the vagary of their whims.

Cisco’s Talos security bods predict new wave of Excel Hell

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Re: Workaround

Avoid flying altogether, and strip a massive risk of being in an aviation accident from your life. Cheaper too.

I mean yeah, but...

Yes, yes, I know there are many alternatives to a lot of MS products, but they ain't always possible, feasible, practical, etc.

In praise of MIDI, tech's hidden gift to humanity

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Nice to have.

And the absolute quality and timing of the ST's MIDI is still revered to this day. Take that, Amiga fanboys!*

*This whole ST/Amiga thing is so amusing, its still like a kind of cultural identity badge. Although, after all these years I'm even prepared to concede that the Amiga was probably the better machine, especially for games. However, I'll still maintain that the ST was significantly more likely to be used as a multi-purpose home computer for all kinds of fantastic hobbies, and as such it has much more in common with PC's nowadays. I'm not saying YOU (whoever you are) didn't use YOUR Amiga to do interesting things, but I think fewer Amiga owners generally did. The End.

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Yes, but the article doesn't mention MIDI 2? Although it's not a case of MIDI 1 being broken, more a backwards compatible set of improvements from what I understand.

Corporate execs: Get back, get back, to the office where you once belonged

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Re: "Hybrid"

I think the important part of 'Hybrid' (as I'm sure it means lots of different things to different businesses) is choice. I can now go into offices should I choose to, or when the need arises. I can choose to WFH, and without any obligatory justification. This is ideal really.

The Catch-22 is that one of the main benefits to being in the office it to meet and catch-up with people that you wouldn't ordinarily need to meet online - but for this to work other people need to be in the office too! This is why corporately organised social or training events that can draw people together are now crucial. With staff churn levels at an ever increasing rate, hopefully most sensible businesses will realise the carrot is better than the stick.

You can hook your MIDI keyboard up to a website with Firefox 108

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MIDI Web input

Does that mean we can now programme the web directly using C# ?

Apple preps for 'third-party iOS app stores' in Europe

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Absolutely this. I'm not arguing the app store is perfect, but the alternatives are far worse, generally.

OK, sure, there'll be IT bods and enthusiasts who may benefit from this, but for the general population, no thanks. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple conceded this in a particularly Applesque way, such as hobbling the permissions or system resources of anything not originating from the app store - perhaps even sandboxing them entirely.

Voice assistants failed because they serve their makers more than they help users

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Lights, FireTV and heating

I think the most use our ever got was my children asking it to make animal noises. This then descended into the inevitable burps and farts, which even the kids got bored of this eventually.

Fundamentally I think they fail because there's no reasoning with them. There's no prior knowledge in the conversation of anything you've previously asked. It makes the same mistakes over and over again, and every instruction is a new separate command.

One thing I think they're undervalued as is as a basic radio - at least once you've found a station you want there's no more needing to arguing with it.

A brand new Linux DRM display driver – for a 1992 computer

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Re: Good.

I got my ST out of the attic a couple of years ago, and after sourcing a nice new RGB Din plug to SCART cable it booted straight to TOS, first time used in over 25 years! Unfortunately, the floppy drive had failed, but finding a replacement wasn't too hard.

It was very nostalgic and everything, but also a fairly bleak reminder of how far we've come. Back in 1991 I was amazed at the loading speed of floppy disks, but then my previous computer was an Oric Atmos with a cassette tape interface.

Anyone else remember The Carebears demo discs?

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About time

Could 2023 finally be the year of the GEM / TOS desktop?!

Elon Musk to abused Twitter users: Your tormentors are coming back

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Re: And to think that 30 years ago...

One of the things about these forums I find is when I'm just about to make a profound, well formed and intelligent contribution [obviously], is that someone else has already said it! This is where the voting buttons are really useful.

Twitter set for more layoffs as Musk mulls next move

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Even if the vote was fully legitimate, there's still the very strong likelihood that 50% is not an adequate enough result to justify the action. Yes, there was a small majority in favour, but surely the barrier should be higher, especially considering the quite appallingly obvious pretensions.

It reminds me of another, similar, close to 50/50 vote that had disastrous consequences and left strongly divided opinions in the UK's recent history.

OpenPrinting keeps old printers working – even on Windows

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Never have any problems printing ever again!

You want one simple platform agnostic ubiquitous transferrable solution that works for practically every version of every OS that has ever existed?

Simply screenshot with a polaroid camera!

Meta accused of breaking the law by secretly tracking iPhone users

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: "We have carefully designed our in-app browser"

And they're not the only ones with this shady type of behaviour. Every link I open from Gmail in iOS opens a prompt to select a browser: Google, Chrome or Safari. I don't have Google or Chrome installed, Safari is the only browser in use, and furthermore, the option to 'ask every time' is set to off but gets ignored.

That's not quite as bad as directly opening an IAB, however every attachment from within Gmail opens firstly in a Google equivalent software (in app), completely ignoring system app defaults.

That's not to say they're doing the same injection/data skimming activities, but why would they need this functionality otherwise?

Excel's comedy of errors needs a new script, not new scripting

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Excel is like any other tool

It's a very useful hammer! Perhaps it's a matter of the user needing to be worthy of holding it!

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Make Spreadsheets Better?

Exactly this. Then also factor in continuous development requirements! The cost / complexity step of moving from a Subject Matter Expert managing their own Excel data model to a corporate IT controlled tactical application that the SME can still operate and improve is HUGE.

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Oo! Oo! I have one!

Again, the answer here is using structure tables and formulae. This way, the sort and filter controls will always apply to your entire databody range (table). Use 'Format as table' from the Home ribbon, and then reference the table name and columns/rows in your formulae directly using the table1[column1] type format. This table method even keeps column formulae consistent in most usage cases.

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: first step

This is where adhering to using the structured tables features in Excel can eliminate most of these kind of errors. If someone isn't using structured references in their excel formulae then they really should learn to.

Automating Excel tasks to come to Windows and Mac

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Re: People will die

Why indeed.. It's usually because the people tasked with whatever job they're trying to accomplish don't have the training, tools, time, support, resources or funding to create a database management system, they typically have other technical skills and responsibilities.

Additionally, a database represents a certain level of crystallisation of processes which may not yet have settled down yet in an excel model.

Excel @ mentions approach general availability on the desktop

Christopher Reeve's Horse

I see the disdain for Excel here so often. So, I ask again, what are the alternatives? (Genuinely, I'd like to know)

There's a lot of IT experts commenting here, and I'm sure many of you could take a big Excel model and develop it into a proper structured database, with a nice shiny front-end and all the bells and whistles etc. But what then?

The point is that this is your jobs, and your skills. The typical Excel user is not usually an IT expert, but has other skills in other disciplines, and is merely using Excel as the easiest tool to get done what they need to do. It takes a big step in needs and complexity before any kind of budget is ever made for taking something out of Excel and moving it into 'IT world', where people with specialist IT skills take over development.

Unless I'm blatantly unaware of something obvious, there's simply nothing else that's anything like as ubiquitous available in this gap. Is there a database and frontend development software package that has a nice GUI, is accessible to non IT folk, and at the same time meets the approval of the IT specialists? Until there is, every business is going to have 1000's of mission critical excel workbooks kicking around.

PS. I know Power BI covers some of this, but it's really just a fancy dashboard, and doesn't overlap with most of what Excel can do with data.

Warning: Colleagues are unusually likely to 'break' their monitors soon

Christopher Reeve's Horse


So basically, continuing the trend of forcing more & more functionality and features into fewer and fewer devices, which superficially sounds good, but in reality just provides more routes to a quicker obsolescence.

Switch off the mic if it makes you feel better – it'll make no difference

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

If you can turn almost anything into a speaker, then I have bad news for you...

With the right electronics behind it, a speaker is already a microphone too! Just like any motor can become a generator, any speaker can become a microphone - albeit a poorly optimised one. With the sheer complexity of modern devices who really can tell what the hell is going on though?

Volvo car sales tumble amid ongoing chip shortages

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Re: a non chip filled would be bliss

Yes indeed, safety trumps everything else. I own a Volvo with adaptive cruise control / radar assisted braking, and I don't think I'd ever buy a new car again that didn't have similar features.

Oxidation-proof copper could replace gold, meaning cheaper chips, says prof

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Why is oxidization a problem?

Well perhaps in the future oxidation won't be such a problem - once we've destroyed the natural environment sufficiently for oxygen levels to plummet that is. Nature always finds a way.

Hear us out: Smartphone lidar can test blood, milk

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: About Time

That was 'liar', not 'lidar'...

Google expands Privacy Sandbox to Android

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Go on, say it...

Google's plan also puts disreputable ad tech firms on notice.

You mean Facebook don't you?

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: The main issue...

Totally true, but if Microsoft had more of a customer centric focus on good outcomes, they could perhaps have done more to help smooth things out. Or perhaps the device manufacturers didn't really want them to - who knows!?

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: At least Vista was not...

Not sure the coke analogy really works as part of that rant. A new fizzy drinks recipe is arbitrary, updates to a commercial OS are not. OS updates are - and always will be - necessary.

There's a brand loyalty with coke, and people want a familiar experience when they buy a familiar branded product. With an OS there's brand loyalty too, but part of the customer experience of using an OS is to want new features and functionality - it's just that getting the appropriate balance of familiar comfort and new stuff is difficult, and won't please everyone.

This will always be the way - If it wasn't I'd still be happy with using GEM on my Atari ST.

Christopher Reeve's Horse

The main issue...

...was that all of a sudden, lots of connected devices didn't have working device drivers anymore. Arguably this is the fault of the vendors of that equipment for not providing updates, but more could have been done. Lots of perfectly functional equipment was rendered useless all of a sudden. I'm looking at you, HP desktop laser printers!

Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee on privacy, data sharing, and the web's future

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Sounds good, but who's looking forwards to the onslaught of dumb-ass users struggling to manage complex permission models with access/denial conflicts?

Facebook may soon reveal new name – we're sure Reg readers will be more creative than Zuck's marketroids

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Better than Life

This whole Metaverse crap reminds me of Red Dwarf, although with tedious prediction I suspect it will be substantially Worse than Life.

Chiptune to brighten your afternoon: Winning 8-bit throwback music revealed

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Talking of classics...

The music for Spectrum version of Robocop will always be a nostalgic highlight. Transcends the game itself massively.


ICO survey on data flouters: 50% say they receive more unwanted calls than before pandemic

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Land line calls

Landline numbers have been made effectively obsolete and unwanted, I can't even remember the last time I used mine that wasn't picking up a call from a robo-dialler. In fact, it's no longer even plugged into the socket and I don't regret it.

Mobile calls are heading the same way due to the overwhelming surge of spam calls and messages. Caller ID can't be trusted anymore, so calls that aren't made through a proprietary messaging system (WhatsApp, Teams, Facetime etc) have a very low level of trust.

Smuggler caught with 256 Intel Core processors wrapped around him in cling film

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Must have taken ages

to clean all the thermal compound off him...

Hubble memory errors persist despite NASA booting long-idle backup payload computer

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the telescope has taken one PEEK too many?

Maybe it just needs a POKE?


Listen, son... Monster trucks just aren't cool anymore. Real winners drive Tesla Roadsters

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Happy Meal tat

I'd still much rather have paper based crap than plastic based crap, thank you very much

And actually, the kids have really enjoyed the recent 3D dinosaurs...

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Yeah but...

Surely someone is going to mention the cynical ploy that's behind this? To access the Windows Store you need to be logged in with a Microsoft Account. Providing updates to Paint aren't anyone's priority, it's just being used as a user behaviour steering device surely?

Machine learning devs, rejoice: You can now rent up to 16 Nvidia A100 GPUs on a single machine via Google

Christopher Reeve's Horse

So that's where all the GPUs are...

I'm surprised even Google has the financial resources to find GPUs these days!

It's wild the lengths Facebook engineers will go to find new ways to show you inane ads about tat: This time, AR...

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: More agency?

I came here to say pretty much exactly that. Basically any agency other than the individual's own free will. Do I want every waking moment of my life turned into a nightmarish version of a Facebook live feed, which is constantly trying to direct and influence every interaction, movement and thought I have? No, no I don't. Or for the Aussie translation; Facebook can Get F*****.

Customer comment and contributions no more as Microsoft pulls the plug on Office 365 UserVoice forum

Christopher Reeve's Horse

While the likes of Excel and Word continue to listen...

Thank god for that, or I literally wouldn't know how to fill my working day!

Google says once third-party cookies are toast, Chrome won't help ad networks track individuals around the web

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: You're alright, Jack?

Quite a lot of routers don't allow you to change the DNS address - all the Homehub devices provided by BT for example. Sure, there are workarounds such as setting up different DHCP servers, but it's less than ideal.

Either way, DNS content filtering is already on shaky ground with the advent of DoH, as the local client can specify whatever DNS it wants. At this point solving the filtering content becomes much more complicated than your average home user is going to be able to manage.

FortressIQ just comes out and says it: To really understand business processes, feed your staff's screen activity to an AI

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Or, you know...

Perhaps in a modern, ethically run business with an engaged workforce, they could just talk to employees about how they work, and what systemic issues they encounter in achieving their outputs and goals. Just a thought.

Microsoft's underwhelming, underpowered dual-screen Surface Duo phone arrives in the UK this month for £1,349

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Trusting M$?

There's approximately 37 Windows RT owners that would like a word with you...

The Fat iPhone, 11 years on: The iPad's over a decade old and we're still not sure what it's for

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: There's no mandatory App Store to act as a gatekeeper, so you can run whatever software you want

But yet it's Microsoft that are actually trying to pull that kind of bullshit with Windows 10S or whatever it is... TBH for some people a good bit of restriction is probably good idea. Oh, hi Mum!

Christopher Reeve's Horse

The other obvious usage cases

I can't believe no-one's mentioned that they double up as high quality wipe clean kitchen chopping boards...