* Posts by Adam Trickett

139 posts • joined 3 Feb 2008


Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Adam Trickett

Cats and rocker switches

I've known cats stand on power strips with rocker switches, turning thing off at awkward times. A kitten I knew liked the noise Win 95 used to make when you press the keyboard a random (jungle theme I think) - it would sit by the keyboard and pounce on it, Windows emitted a growl, and the kitten jumped back until it plucked up enough courage to try again...

I know rodents do chew cables, I've found them dead having gnawed on mains cable, but never seem them go for computer cables...!

Did nobody tell them about the lockdown? Logitech releases new 'luggable' mechanical keyboard for LAN parties

Adam Trickett

Re: No numpad

I thought the same too until I realised that the numeric pad was almost never used in the work I do. Yes it is highly useful when entering a lot of numbers, but I write code for a living and that's mostly in letters, so I've now decided to get a TKL (actually a 17 key fewer keyboard) - but not a blinged up one like this.

Secondly the numeric pad means that my trackball is further away to the right that it needs to be. I don't use the the trackball when writing but when I do need to use it it's further away that it should be.

Finally I clutter up my desk so a smaller footprint is useful on space, as I've never enough space...!

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer

Adam Trickett

Re: Great

Even when they don't screw up, the train their customers to do unsafe things and then say it's the users fault when they get scammed...!

Makes you wonder if it's cheaper to blame the customer than actually do things properly...?

HMS Queen Liz will arrive in Portsmouth soon, says MoD

Adam Trickett

Re: I've been thinking about cheap ways to kill carriers.

While it is true that the British carriers were more resistant to kamikaze attacks than American carriers of the same period, they were also a lot heavier and had fewer aeroplanes per tonne so couldn't put up as large aerial combat force.

Post war analysis did report that they ships were badly damaged by the attacks, so were prematurely scrapped. But in the heat of action the fact they could soldier on was very valuable, even if they were actually a rite-off in the medium term.

As you say everyone learnt the hard way and post war designs did benefit from wartime experience.

Mulesoft set to be first tech IPO of 2017? We'd forgotten they existed...

Adam Trickett

I've used it, it's okay

I've used it at work, it's okay but didn't solve any problems we had.

I can see the usefulness of it, but like all new tools it's over hyped and that does spoil it to some extent.

Good luck in cashing out for them... No ill feelings in their direction.

The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Adam Trickett

Even Americans can get deported

I use to live in southern California nearly 20 years ago. Just north of San Diego there was a border check point on the interstate. A local from the near by military base went to visit his family in San Diego in uniform but was deported to Mexico while travelling back north back to his base because he didn't have his "passport" on him, he looked Mexican and had a Latino name. On being deported to a foreign country he then had to ring his commanding officer in the US to come and rescue him. It was all over the local news and it did annoy a lot of people, even then, but it's only got worse...

I'm white, have a very English accent and I mostly had no problems then or since, except one time having the third degree from some jumped up no body in Texas. I said I'd never been treated so badly before and made some off-hand comment about a police state and the official backed down and apologised like there was no tomorrow. Ironically we were in a 10-tonne lorry and could have had a hundred Mexicans in the back - but it was cold, late, I didn't really want to open the back up and he was rude. If he had been polite I would have got out of the cab and showed him - we had nothing to hide, but he was so rude and officious I took offence....

Fatal flaw found in PricewaterhouseCoopers SAP security software

Adam Trickett

Because it's just software, and within SAP there is BUGGER all to stop a program from doing stuff once it's running. If you are properly configured some system calls (functions and classes) will check authorisation objects, but if your ABAP is running then your already on the inside and all bets are off. It should have been audited, but that is easier said than done and you can bet most companies don't have the will or resources to do it.

Basically SAP assume that the writer of ABAP knows what they are doing, if the code is shite on the security front (which is usually is) then the result is shite on the security front. Having seen what SAP and most third party vendor write I'm not surprised. It is possible to write good ABAP for SAP systems and have a program with decent security and the right functions, but it's a rare thing to see... To be honest most code I've seen is dire on more than just security: crap usability, crap performance, eats memory like it's going out of fashion and impossible to debug or extend fix. Most companies don't see the code that's on their SAP boxes and most never audit a thing.

Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

Adam Trickett

We'll see.....

I think May's plan is to let BoJo and his useless cronies discover that just about everything they promised isn't possible or viable, and eventually the clock will run down and there will be a general election.

The referendum is only advisory to start with and it was a stupid question, no one know what leaving actually means, and by the time there is a new government it may be someone else's problem...

The only fly in the ointment is that Labour is in such chaos that May may be the next PM after the general election, so what she does then is anyone's guess...

As to immigration that's insoluble, industry wants people and industry controls the two big parties. People don't want immigrants (for all sorts of reasons) but people don't really control the government. so the parties will say X to get elected but always do Y.

The bottom line is that the referendum was a stupid idea in the first place, the question was stupid, and the arrogant t*ats in the Tory/Labour Remain teams gave the victory to the lying scum in the Leave campaign... Now we are left with a mess and no sensible way out without either utter ruin or s*it on our face.

I don't like May, but I do wish her well in sorting the mess out, because my livelihood along with a lot of others depends on the outcome.

£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

Adam Trickett

Gaz and Leccy...?

Apparently it will help get "Gaz and Leccy" under control, and give us accurate bills. Given that my bill is already accurate and I don't have cartoon characters causing mayhem at home what value is there in this process for me?

I suppose what they really mean is that they can charge you more at busy times of day and less when no one wants gas or electricity - allowing them to better manage load - but that's not how it's being sold to consumers...

Death of 747 now 'reasonably possible' says Boeing

Adam Trickett

Past their best

Flown 747 many times trans Atlantic, never liked them, and always found them cramped, noisy and uncomfortable.

I much prefer newer designs and Airbus in particular.

I don't doubt that when they were new they were revolutionary, but that's before I was born, and that's a long time ago now... I can't disagree that they are iconic, famous and very numerous, but it's probably best to retire them for something better.

Debian farewells Pentium

Adam Trickett

Re: Perhaps opportune

While the Pentium 4 isn't being "farefelled", I know what you mean about older chips that are hot and thirsty.

I've got a AMD dual core X64 based server that I'll probably replace with a modern dual core Pentium, I'll get half the heat, save half on electricity and it should also be faster too...

Robber loses heist case after 'evil twin' defence, gets 60 years

Adam Trickett

Not technically identical...

Even identical twins don't have identical DNA. During development there is a lot of random rearrangement that takes place to generate the genetic diversity required for the immune system, so even individuals that start out with identical DNA are born with different DNA.

However for all practical purposes this isn't something that could be used in a legal case as it's a very specialised difference.

Wait, an actual QR code use case? TGI Friday's builds techno-restaurant

Adam Trickett

Re: Never mind fast food

Wasn't quite sure what the point of a QR code was on a electronic bill. I've not had a hard copy utility bill for several years so I was most surprised when something designed to interface between physical and electronic appeared on my electronic bill.

It's a good job our 19th century politicians are catching up with the 20th century... One day they may even understand the Internet...

Tesla's top secret gigafactories: Lithium to power world's vehicles? Let's do the sums

Adam Trickett


There is no shortage of a whole range of elements, however lots of them are not economic at the moment to extract and process at the concentration that they currently exist at.

Unless you find an ultra cheap and reliable method of extracting something it will be cheaper to either extract it from something more concentrated or use an alternative.

Saying there is no shortage of lithium is like saying there is no shortage of oil, gas, gold or uranium. No one cares about the total reserves all that matters is the economically extractable reserves...

Chihuahua TERROR: Packs of TINY hounds menace Arizona

Adam Trickett

Land Piranha

Allegedly the temple dogs were crossed with small European breeds that were popular with sailors of the time (small is useful on a ship). After the temples were broken up large packs of the pre-chihuahua dogs then roamed the country side hunting and living feral "as wolves" - though on a smaller scale. It's from these frisky chaps the modern breed is a alleged to have been developed...

I once mentioned this story to a friend in the US, who coined the phrase "Land Piranha" in a cheesy Mexican accent...

More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Adam Trickett

Is anyone but Steve surprised?

It's hardly surprising in the main.

I am surprised that tablet users aren't using touch more though. However if you've bought a Windows tablet then you are more likely to have a Windows "mindset" and legacy software, which isn't touch driven.

I don't really care, I don't use Windows at home and work have made it quite clear that the switch from XP to 7 was painful enough and we won't be upgrading to 8.

Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Adam Trickett

Have you got the right date?

I had the same date in a calendar file but the NCSA web site gives a different date for the 1.0 version of Mosaic for Windows. I'm not sure what the correct date of Mosaic's birth is or if it has a strict birth date given the different dates for each platform...




Handwriting beats PowerPoint's teaching power says MIT boffin

Adam Trickett

Powerpoint poisioning

In the dim and distance past I remember several styles of teaching:

1) Stand at the front and speak, no visual aids or hand outs - generally terrible as you can't write as fast as they can speak. Sometimes brilliant but that's rare.

2) Repeating what your slides/overheads said. Again you can't keep up and anyway there is evidence you don't remember well if you have the same visual and audio input.

3) Handouts with some detail on and you have to full out the blanks and scribble round. You then listen to what is said and annotate your hand outs - GOOD, always my favourite as you get the detail and human interaction without having to worry about keeping up.

4) Complete handouts - why bother with the lecturer?

5) Dictated notes, not much difference from 4 except you have to write them yourself.

Creating good presentations and lectures requires skill as it involves multiple skills but I'd say that PowerPoint is probably the least useful of skills in the mix. So the article probably has some truth to it.

Here's the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8

Adam Trickett

Classic Shell?

Some WIn8 users I know tried Classic Shell, it's free/open and made Win8 usable.

I don't run Windows myself so I'm not sure whet the differences between the two are.

Spanish boffins increase GPS accuracy by 90%

Adam Trickett

Re: GPS for Dummies

Perhaps it's for Stephen Fry...?

3 million Freesat receivers now out there, and boxes to get YouTube

Adam Trickett

Re: EPG, SchmeePG

The EPG on my Sony FreeView tuner and my father's Toshiba FreeView TV allows you to reorder and hide any channel you want. I wouldn't buy a TV or PVR that couldn't manage the same task. Without hiding and sorting it is as you suggest a nightmare.

Ofcom anoints broadcaster: Local TV is nearly here

Adam Trickett

A few hours a week perhaps?

I can see the value of a few hours a week of extra local news, and other local programming. I can't see it filling a whole channel though. The problem is that it is expensive and I can't see it being self funded from advertising alone - which means tax money needs to be supplied in.

I can't see why with all their channels of repeats the Beeb and ITV can't find a bit more space for extended local programming?

Panasonic: We'll save Earth by turning CO2 into booze

Adam Trickett

Would be useful

Jokes aside if you could take water, air (for CO2) and sunlight and make something useful (and burnable) at a higher efficiency than plants, and low enough capital cost then that is actually useful.

Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

Adam Trickett

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

When I saw my surgeon in front of his team he was rude and very unfriendly. I'd never describe him as caring or empathetic. When he popped by the following day after my operation on his own he seemed like a normal chap - seemed friendly enough. I wouldn't say that the medical profession I've encountered were any different from everyone else: some were warm friendly people, some were rude...

I've not read the study but without a control group I'm highly dubious of the report.

END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH: TalkTalk no longer worst ISP in UK

Adam Trickett

Nildram was good until they became TalkTalk

I use to be a happy Nildram customer. Each take over degraded the service and reduced the cost (marginally). Eventually TalkTalk took them over and the standard was the worst, billing was no good and I switched to The Phone Coop. It took over 6 months, a complaint to Ofcom and an email to the CEO to get rid of them.

I'm glad they are getting better, but considering how terrible they were it should be impossible for them to get any worse!

Raspberry Pi daddy: Stroke your hardware at night, land a job easy

Adam Trickett

Re: Agencies

A good agent or middle man (estate, job etc) is actually useful, however you are right in that 99% are useless and could be replaced by a small shell script.

Windows 8 and the ‘Dad test’ stunts

Adam Trickett


"The truth is that users generally aren’t sat down in front a new installation of a new operating that someone has set up for them and just told to get on with it – that almost never happens in either a domestic or a business context."

Utter bollocks, people are dumped in front of a computer with no training or if training is given it's often worse than no training.

I make no comment about Windows 8, I've not seen or used it, but the idea that people are actually trained is madness.

Ten phones for seniors

Adam Trickett
Thumb Up

Why just for the "old"?

I work at a computer all day and at home I have yet more computers. The only time I don't have at least one internet connected computer is when I'm out and then I don't want to be connected.

If I were to pick a mobile phone I'd want a simple one with good battery life, some of these seem perfectly useful for being a mobile phone. As it happens work provides me with a mobile phone so I don't actually own my. However if I did, I don't want or need a fancy iDroid thing with a few nano seconds of battery life....

I'm not old, or at least I don't think so...

Party like it's 1999: CDE Unix desktop REBORN

Adam Trickett

There was even a Windows 3.1 port of bits

HP ported bits of their Visual User Environment to Windows 3.1 and I use to love that, it was so much better than the Microsoft Program Manager. I think the Windows port was sold on to Starfish software but it died a death after Windows 95 came out.

While it's good that it's now open, it's rather to late to make much of a difference. But you never know perhaps some of it's bit's may resurface somewhere...

Devolo dLAN 500Mb/s powerline network adaptor review

Adam Trickett

Watch out for cheap LED lights

I've used their 200AV units for years. Mostly work great but lots of electrical noise isn't good for them obviously. Cheap CFL, dirty fridge compressors and surge suppressors make their life harder no doubt, but they are still usable.

I found that when I installed LED GU10 spot lights in the kitchen that killed the signal totally. I had to put the "strongest" ferrite round the cable in the light mount I could fit and even then it still hammers the performance.

I'd like to know how much power they use in use and when idle? and how good they are at dealing with line noise.

War On Standby: Do the figures actually stack up?

Adam Trickett

Waste is waste

Waste is waste and there is no point in paying for expensive electricity to heat your house when gas is a lot cheaper. However that being said I completely agree, we should target the big things first before we worry about the little things.

The whole standby vendetta is based on a few old inefficient appliances that used almost as much on standby as they did under full load. Regrettably a few tree-huggers have latched on to this and pushed it into the media and discredited the whole debate on efficiency.

Sharp to show OLED 'retina' display for laptops

Adam Trickett

Want 300DPI

I'm sure there was study done by IBM years ago that showed that most people need a resolution of about 300dpi to be able to comfortably read text for an extended period. Most printers, even silly cheap ones do more than that, yet screens have been stuck in the miserable 96dpi for ever.

While there will be some changes required - I, for one welcome our high resolution overlords.

Adobe backs down, patches critical Photoshop CS5 hole

Adam Trickett

They did shoot themselves in the foot

If you have released a new version of a program, and security flaw is detected in older versions it's a judgement call as to how far back you go to fix it. I think everyone agrees that something that is only two years old and 1.5 versions older than the current version and is still widely available in the market should be patched. It was very foolish of them not to fix it, it made them looks cheap and made Microsoft look very good on Slashdot.

They could have saved the pain and patched the older version and perhaps not going any further back would have been okay. Playing fast an loose with security flaws in an expensive piece of software is not he kind of publicity Adobe needs...

Microsoft unveils Windows 8 'release preview' for June

Adam Trickett

We're still on XP

Like many large companies were still mostly XP based. The Windows 7 migration is in full swing at the moment and I expect my desktop PC at work to be migrated to Windows 7 before the launch of Windows 8, but only just. Unless Windows 8 is a massive improvement on 7 I can't see it gaining much traction in corporates for a year or so. Most mid-sized to large companies have become so so slow to refresh because it's so damn expensive and complicated to do.

Most Linux users complain that Debian has a slow release cycle but by corporate standards it's actually quick. I can see Microsoft having a difficult time pushing this into companies at tough times, especially as many will have only just migrated onto Windows 7.

If I were a Microsoft exec I'd be worried about Apple though, their iPads and iPhones are pushing out everything else amounts the managers. For years getting anything other than standard Windows at work was nigh on impossible, now the CIO talks about bring your own device to work (which he means iPad).

Yes there is a conflict between the two idea of fast/new and slow/old here and I know Microsoft wants to catch the fast/new wave but I can't see this helping.

Climate-change scepticism must be 'treated', says enviro-sociologist

Adam Trickett

She has a point

Ignoring global warming it's self, what she is say is:

1) There is something bad that is going to happen but it hasn't happened yet (e.g. death from lung cancer)

2) You will have to change your behaviour now and you will not like it (e.g. giving up smoking)

3) There are powerful vested interests who don't want you to change and are putting our messages that tell you that you do not want to change (e.g. tobacco companies)

4) It is easier to hear and believe the story that say you don't have to change than it is to believe the story that you do have to change.

Ignoring the rights and wrongs of the argument, it's much easier to convince people they don't need to change their behaviour because nothing bad will happen than it is to convince people that they need to change their behaviour because something bad will happen.

So if you do think something bad will happen you have to work much harder than the camp that thinks nothing bad will happen. If you want to change people's behaviour on mass you have to work at a different level than just rational arguments because it's not going to work.

Chrome patches up after double dose of CanSecWest pwnage

Adam Trickett

All software has bugs!

All software has bugs!

No matter what you have you need to patch and regularly and even then you may still be vulnerable, so be careful out there.

Good that Google have patched already.

The true, tragic cost of British wind power

Adam Trickett

Low CO2 electricity isn't cheap

We need to remember that anything other than burning coal is going to be expensive. All the alternatives have problems, hidden agendas and crap.

The cheapest thing to do is waste less, insulate more and use more efficient kit etc. Even so we will end up with an expensive mix of solutions and none of them will be a magic silver bullet.

How we keep cars moving and aeroplanes up in the air is another problem altogether, as so far we haven't found a viable alternative to burning petroleum derivatives. But peak oil is another story altogether...

Intel bags $120m patent hoard from RealNetworks

Adam Trickett

Does they come with nagware?

I use to use RealPlayer until the nagging got too much.

I didn't know that they still existed?

The Commodore 64 is 30

Adam Trickett

Fond memories

I got my C64 about a year after my friends got their computers. At my school a few rich kids had Beebs and no significant software, most people had Speccies and a few of us had C64s. On balance we may not have had the number of friends to exchange ideas with, but we had the better mix of games and features.

Later on I got a third part disk drive, and used GEOS on my C64. I even used GeoWrite in preference for Word for Windows when I wrote my final year report as an undergraduate.

My C64 still works perfectly and lives in the loft. I just need to make up the right cable to use it on my TV, it' uses s-video which gives good picture quality but it uses an unusual large DIN sockets...

Intel gets Atoms out ahead of CES

Adam Trickett

They don't know what they want...

Intel don't know what they want to do. They can see ARM systems nipping at them in the ultra-portable space and soon the server space and they don't know how to respond. Intel have been so tied to MS that when ARM/Linux systems started to appear they couldn't respond, now that MS have committed to ARM Intel are in a real panic.

What is the difference between an ultra-portable laptop and a netbook? a lot of money, both are small laptops but one is expensive the other is cheap. Why buy the expensive one when the cheap one will do? Intel didn't like the netbook segment it was robbing them of margin.

The problem is that the iPad is popular and with all the ARM pads on the market they aren't even running Intel CPUs so Intel like that even less. Intel need the netbook to fight the iPad and clones while they also need the higher margin ultra-portables to do well.

Intel wants to go back to a market of Intel servers, Intel desktops, Intel laptops and eventually Intel pads/netbooks. The problem is that at the moment it's not cheap AMDs that Intel are worrying about, it's really-cheap and really cool and really light on power ARMs that Intel are worrying about. If ARM get a good chipset out that is powerful and cheap enough to run a portable device for most of a day in one go then who isn't going to want it. Once ARM are there, it's the thin end of the wedge..

Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Adam Trickett

Seen an ad but not a phone

In Boringstoke there were huge banners in "Festival Place" with Nokia Lumina on them. If it wasn't for the names Nokia and Microsoft on the advert I wouldn't have known it was for a phone - it just looked like a large poster with coloured blocks on them with logos in the middle of the blocks.

Of the people at work with smart phones they are mostly Android and the rich people have Apples. I don't know anyone with a Windows phone of any kind or a Blackberry (except the ones given by corporate).

I've only ever seen one Windows phone which was given to Uni students to develop on (they hate it) and compared with the near identical Android HTC I can say that the new Windows phone platform was terrible. It is possible that the Nokia is better but I've never seen one to comment - there aren't any in the four mobile phone shops I walk past every day.

Apache confirms new OpenOffice build by 2012

Adam Trickett

Heroic Failure?

I think it's good that Oracle have not been allowed to murder OpenOffice, however the end of the Sun period and the time it was will Oracle have done it an awful lot of damage.

One the one hand it's good to have two separate teams working to help diversity and allow ideas to be tested but on the other it also divides limited resources which could be a waste. Only time will tell if it is worth the effort...

I don't think OO.o is dead yet but it's probably mortally wounded and I think LO has won this round if not the bout.

While it would be a climb down, it is probably best that Apache/IBM/Oracle give the trademarks to LO and be done with it, even though IBM want a "proprietary friendly" licence that LO does not provide and OO.o does.

Is Bill Gates mulling a return to Microsoft throne?

Adam Trickett

Could be good news for MS or not

I can't stand BillG but it is clear that softly spoken Balmer hasn't been good for the share price and the company though still pretty much a monopoly seems to lurch from one disaster to another one. Could be time for a glorious return...!

SAP fluffs up cloud biz with $3.4bn buy

Adam Trickett


Salary Acceleration Program - for the people qualified to deliver it...

I believe it officially stands for nothing these days, though it did many years ago... When it did stand for something it was in German and use to mean "Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung" - in English that's Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing.

Lovefilm dumps Flash, BLINDS Linux fans with Silverlight

Adam Trickett

Isn't Silverlight dead?

Haven't MS given up on Silverlight for HTML5?

Lots of stink in the Twitterverse about this... Can't be good news for LoveFilm.

The BBC Micro turns 30

Adam Trickett

The Beeb was just for rich kids

Please stop this absurd idea that the BBC "B" mattered.

There was the Spectrum and there was the Commodore-64, the Beeb along with the Tandy, Oric etc was just a peripheral machine, if it hadn't been for the BBC supporting it or some schools buying them no one would even remember them.

Nobody denies that the BBC "B" had some good things in it, like proper BASIC and a wide range of quality accessories and was a good bit of kit, but it was absurdly expensive and even many schools didn't buy them (mine didn't).

San Diego woman strips to bikini to look for her chihuahua

Adam Trickett
IT Angle

Perhaps the dog ran away from it's mad owner?

Much as I hate chihuahuas (my parents had one), perhaps the puppy just wanted to be free and ran away? Plus any owner who uses a psychic must be mad and you're probably better off somewhere else....

When geeks turn Green: Performance tune your energy bills

Adam Trickett

Thermal Imaging

I borrowed my local borough's thermal imaging camera and surveyed a house a night for a fortnight in my village.

The people who volunteered for the survey were a self-selecting group so they had done a lot of things already - however in most houses I found something that could be improved - there were leaky doors, windows and loft hatches everywhere.

It was really good fun and I got to meet lots of non-geeky people.

Most people can save some money, some people can save shed loads...

Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft strike ad pact

Adam Trickett

Three faliures is must be stronger as one..

Three failing companies can clearly do better together than on their own....

History is full of the losers coming together and winning... NOT!!!!!!!!!

Bill Gates strangled Microsoft's 'tablet for creatives'

Adam Trickett

Monopolies don't innovate

If you are sitting on a monopoly you don't do anything innovative or disruptive, or your whole empire comes crashing in on you, as your new innovation has just levelled the playing field.

You slowly add features as required to fend off competition and protector your monopoly. It's not in Microsoft's interest to promote any kind of computing device that isn't basically a fat client PC running Windows and fat windows binaries connected to a Windows server. All this web stuff and mobile device stuff isn't very good for them...



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