* Posts by Antony Shepherd

96 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Feb 2008


London's famous BT Tower will become a hotel after £275M sale

Antony Shepherd

revolting restaurant more like

So long as they don't get Butlins in again to run the restaurant like they did originally.

Moving to Windows 11 is so easy! You just need to buy a PC that supports it!

Antony Shepherd

I was writing a paper, on the PC

Ermagawd! I watched that ad and I was irresistibly reminded of this classic AMV reversioning.


RIP John Walker, software and hardware hacker extraordinaire

Antony Shepherd

Re: Kids (and Marketers) These Days Eliminating Vowels to be "Cool"

That reminds me of those old adverts you used to see saying something like "if u cn rd ths u cn bcm a scrty & gt a gd jb"

AI models just love escalating conflict to all-out nuclear war

Antony Shepherd


Elon Musk's brain-computer interface outfit Neuralink tests its tech on a human

Antony Shepherd

I reckon an awful lot of the idiots who thought vaccines would let Bill Gates put his 5G chips in their (tiny) brains will be queuing round the block to get the MuskChip.

Top Linux distros drop fresh beats

Antony Shepherd

What fresh hell is this?

After having my Ubuntu installation demand I signed up to Ubuntu Pro just to complete the update I was doing, and making me jump through bloody hoops in order to do that I'm rather less keen on that than I used to be, so I'm looking at other distros right now. Was thinking of going to Mint which I last tried in late 2022, but wanted to check out other things first.

Some of the comments here have been quite informative in terms of what not to try!

UK Civil Aviation Authority ponders vertiports for flying taxis

Antony Shepherd

Flying cars???

Flying cars are the least of two words - drives better than a Cessna, flies better than a Buick, as they said.

Surprised nobody's thought of bringing back Fairey Rotodynes from Battersea Heliport!

How Sinclair's QL computer outshined Apple's Macintosh against all odds

Antony Shepherd

Re: making an unbeatably cheap business computer

British Science Fiction Fandom also pretty much ran on Amstrad PCWs. I know people who still rave about them!

The 'nothing-happened' Y2K bug – how the IT industry worked overtime to save world's computers

Antony Shepherd

Re: Fudge time!

Twitched at the mention of Clipper, as one of my first jobs at that company was to replace some crappy Clipper code used for data entry (type in 15 numbers. Make a typo, do the lot again) with something more user friendly.

We did have one piece of code I wrote in about 1994 which I discovered to my horror was still being used by our data department twenty years later. And I'd lost the source code.

Antony Shepherd

Fudge time!

At the company I used to work for I fixed a couple of Y2K Bugs in the software I was responsible for, and our other developers did likewise.

The way we did it was an epic fudge and we just hoped by the time the shit hit the fan none of us would be working there.

Which was lucky, as the company went into liquidation before the fudge went wrong.

It's ba-ack... UK watchdog publishes age verification proposals

Antony Shepherd

Re: How is the "facial estimation" AI trained, I wonder?

Maybe there'll be a market for cheap "Jacob Rees-Mogg" masks to evade the facial estimation AI?

YouTuber who crashed plane for sponsorship dollars earns 6 months behind bars

Antony Shepherd

What a waste

What a waste of a lovely vintage aeroplane.

That idiot shouldn't be allowed to fly so much as a model aeroplane.

US Air Force wants to see some atomic motors for future spacecraft

Antony Shepherd


"That's not my department" says Werner von Braun.

Infosys co-founder calls for youth to work 70-hour weeks

Antony Shepherd

Let’s just hope Rishi Sunak doesn’t take up this idea from his father-in-law, right?

Though I can easily imagine him giving a patronising speech from his podium about it.

Word turns 40: From 'new kid on the block' to 'I can't believe it's not bloatware'

Antony Shepherd

I had Write on the Atari ST too. It was as you say unusably terrible. It's not like I'm a particularly fast typist but it could NOT keep up with my typing.

I'd type a line then wait for it to catch up with me to see if I'd made any mistakes. Aargh!

It is 20 years since the last commercial flight of Concorde

Antony Shepherd

Leave it as a museum piece.

at the very least it could have flown at air shows like Spitfires, etc

Even if both Airbus and Rolls Royce both offered their support, the cost of getting one back into an airworthy condition would have been ridiculously high, and even if it was successfully restored and granted a certificate of airworthiness, nobody would be particularly impressed by seeing one wallow around in slow flight trim.

But that would never happen, there's an immense difference in complexity between Concorde and any WWII warplane and it would be a massive liability.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

Antony Shepherd

Well that’s a new one!

Makes a change from “The Devil made me do it!” I guess.

Gives the authorities and media a new scapegoat after various genres of music, dungeons and dragons, comics and video games, right?

Scientists spot startlingly close black holes in Hyades star cluster

Antony Shepherd

Black holes in the Hyades eh? The scolloped tatters of the King in Yellow must hide Yhtill forever.

Cool, more promises of a Universal Translator from Big Tech. This time, Meta – again

Antony Shepherd

Though the Babel Fish did cause more and bloodier wars than anything else in history, so there's that to consider.

Concorde? Pffft. NASA wants a Mach 4 passenger jet

Antony Shepherd

Re: Heat

The SR-71 had expansion gaps so large to allow for metal expansion that sitting on the runway it would be constantly leaking fuel until it got up to speed.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

Antony Shepherd

No Internet Please, We're British!

The Tories have been banging on about ending secure encryption for decades and now and again someone took them aside and told them what that would mean, - no safe online banking, no safe online shopping, etc - and it got shelved. But the current bunch are incompetent evil and completely bonkers enough to actually do it.

Cue tech companies blocking the UK and fleeing the country.

Oh, great. Yet another tech billionaire thinks he can get microblogging right

Antony Shepherd

Re: What's in a name?

The bandaged traffic warden with a gun and the woman who pisses herself are going to be the two most popular avatars among UK users of a certain age.

Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins

Antony Shepherd


"Boffin" always strikes me as one of those very old-fashioned terms, and brings up mental images of Michael Redgrave bouncing balls off the birdbath with some bungee, or a character from a Heath Robinson cartoon with big tufts of hair either side of a bald dome, wearing several pairs of glasses at once, shirt collar sticking out at unkempt angles and shirt buttons in danger of bursting off as they create a strange device using lots of knotted pieces of string.

It comes across as old-fashioned, very silly and a bit derogatory. Not really a word that belongs in today's lexicon.

British Prime Minister Sunak’s plans for UK NFT on ice

Antony Shepherd

Augh, I can see that now.

"Keep Calm and Carry On" becomes an NFT! As do Spitfires and Routemasters.

The idea would be a disgrace to the Royal Mint, sounding more like something from one of those dubious sounding Channel Islands "Mint" companies shilling insanely tacky-looking coronation coins on some Freeview channels.

Capital crunch: Virgin Orbit confirms all ops on pause until Tuesday

Antony Shepherd

Johnson Booster is damp squib.

I guess Grant Shapps is busy photoshopping himself out of the same photo he previous had Johnson photoshopped out of. So much for 'Galactic Britain'!

Workers don't want these humanoid robots telling them to be happy

Antony Shepherd

Your plastic pal who's fun to be with...

When will people realise that Douglas Adams' "Sirius Cybernetics Corporation" were not a model to aspire to?

Next they'll be programming these things to sing the 'Share and Enjoy' song.

Yes, Samsung 'fakes' its smartphone Moon photos – who cares?

Antony Shepherd

Where do we go from here?

There's always the idea that this kind of image replacement tech could be used for other purposes. Say you go on holiday and the background of one of your holiday snaps includes a famous landmark building. A dialog pops up saying that if you don't pay the fee to use the image of that building, the camera will remove it from the image. That's going to happen. Take a selfie with your favourite celeb, pay t the fee to capture their image, or you're on your own in the shot. Government don't want you to capture evidence of wrongdoing? Well you're not going to be able to photograph that with your phone.

The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

Antony Shepherd

Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

Banning strong encryption is like raising the firewalls and saying "No Internet Please, We're British".

Tories have been going on about this since Cameron's government and I suspect people have had to take them aside and explain things slowly and clearly.

Ban strong encryption, put backdoors in it, and that's fucked online banking, online shopping, online privacy and anything that requires a secure login. Companies will just block the UK rather than make special exceptions for the benefit of this septic isle.

Wannabe space 'superpower' UK tosses £1.6M at eight research projects

Antony Shepherd

They put the Mekon in the House of Lords

They think they can be Dan Dare, on a Button Moon budget.

Clearly they never grew out of their old Eagle comics.

Global space superpower my arse.

Eager young tearaway almost ruined Christmas with printer paper

Antony Shepherd

Tearing off a strip...

Back in the day when I had a Centronics 737 printer, then a Star LC10, I always used to find it quite restful tearing the sprocket hole strips off the sides of the paper.

Don't miss the noise dot-matrix printers made, though.

Oh, 07734! Internet Archive debuts vintage calculator emulator

Antony Shepherd

What, no Casio VL-Tone?

With what else can you do your sums and then follow it up with a lively rendition of Trio's legendary hit Da Da Da?

Truck-size asteroid makes one of the tightest fly-bys of Earth ever recorded

Antony Shepherd

A flying winnebago?

Anyway, shame a bit did'nt split off and hit Chequers.

Global network outage hits Microsoft: Azure, Teams, Outlook all down

Antony Shepherd

*looks smugly at LibreOffice icon*

Well gosh, maybe having everything depend on *the cloud* ain't such a good idea?

It's been 230 years since British pirates robbed the US of the metric system

Antony Shepherd

Yep, It was the start of my second year at junior school (so 1968) that the classrooms were festooned in posters about metric units and we were issued new rulers and textbooks, to start learning metric there and then. (God, I'm old).

So anyone in the UK who doesn't understand metric is either a bit of a dunce, left school before then and learned nothing since, or is being deliberately ridiculous (*cough* Rees-Mogg *cough*).

It's a crying shame the UK didn't go 100% metric by the late 70s. We could have had ten years for people to get used to it, and to go replacing road signs and pub glasses etc, then phased out the last remnants of the ridiculously baroque imperial measure before the end of the 70s.

Let me X-plane: Boeing R&D unit sheds rudder, ailerons, flaps for DARPA project

Antony Shepherd


I was reminded of the Blackburn Buccaneer, which used boundary layer control to increase aerodynamic performance at low speeds by blowing air from the engine over leading and trailing edges of the wing to give more lift at low speeds such as takeoff and landing.

Time to study the classics: Vintage tech is the future of enterprise IT

Antony Shepherd

Re: "If it's old, it's obsolete; and if it's obsolete, it needs to die."

I've still got my copy of "Programming the 6502" by Rodnay Zaks. In the early eighties I'd pretty much read it cover to cover and memorised most of the opcodes.

NASA's Orion Moon capsule to splash down this Sunday

Antony Shepherd

Nostalgia for the oldies.

Yeah, that title does include me. As someone who watched every bit of Apollo footage from back in the day watching the three big red and white parachutes as the capsule slowly descended to splashdown was pretty much a nostalgia thing. Sure, it seems like a backward step from the Shuttle, but wings on a spacecraft are just wasted weight and this can go beyond lower Earth orbit.

That said, would we learn any more from sending people up in this than from sending a robot probe which doesn't need food, water, or air? Especially if the plan is (as it was back in the olden days) to continue to Mars where the time taken to get there would disadvantage fragile meatbags much more.

You get the internet you deserve

Antony Shepherd

Death to clickbait

If I ruled the internet I would make the business models of clickbaity adverting companies illegal.

You know, stuff like:-

"What " + $YOUR_DEMOGRAPHIC + "living in " + $YOUR_TOWN +" need to know about " + $DEMOGRAPHIC_ISSUE +"."


"You won't believe what " + $ACTRESS_POPULAR_IN_1980S + "looks like now!"

and so on

Sites where on any specific page maybe 25% is content, and the rest is just ads.

Adblock is great, but when I recently installed a Pi-Hole that was even better, with on average a quarter of all DNS requests being blocked, not just ads but tracking.

(other DNS blocking proxies are probably available)

Post-Brexit 'science superpower' UK still hasn't appointed a science minister

Antony Shepherd

Re: Give them a chance

They'll appoint Jacob Rees-Mogg, who'll insist in the creation of a new Great British Network instead of the internet, using steam-powered semaphore telegraphs. The bandwidth will be shit, but the steampunk community will be thrilled!

Janet Jackson music video declared a cybersecurity exploit

Antony Shepherd

Re: Resonant Feedback

"try Toccata and Fugue in D minor played on a really big pipe organ"

And it'll make the neighbours think they have a vampire or mad scientist living next door!

Antony Shepherd

Re: Resonant Feedback

Mentioning bridges reminds me that on a recent trip into London I was amused to hear a small child who was not even a flirty thought between its parents when the Millennium Bridge was built exclaim "Mummy! Are we going on the wobbly bridge?"

Running DOS on 64-bit Windows and Linux: Just because you can

Antony Shepherd

Re: if you just want to run some DOS productivity app

I still reckon after the response to the ending of the TV series he's just decided people are going to whinge about the book's ending no matter what it is, so rather than have the drama he's just shelved it.

Logitech Pop: Stylish, portable, but far from the best typing experience

Antony Shepherd

Re: Number Pads

If you're doing something that involves a lot of entering numbers, then a number pad is an essential thing.

If you're not entering lots of numbers a lot of the time, then dispensing with the number pad saves a lot of space on your desk.

That said, while I don't enter a lot of numbers these days I still miss a number pad on my crappy wireless Mac keyboard. I also miss proper keyboards with proper keys - which this logitech ain't.

The problem with this particular keyboard seems to me that the keys aren't concave and there's no rake to the keyboard.

*sigh* - I still think the absolute pinnacle of keyboard design was the IBM Model M keyboard. I had one of those at work once and it was a pleasure to type on.

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code

Antony Shepherd

My sole experience of Occam was writing an program in it for an assignment at the University of Essex back in t'day. The whole concept of defining program structure by the number of spaces at the start of a line struck me as THE MOST obsessive nonsense ever.

This is probably why I've never got on with Python.

An open-source COBOL contender emerges

Antony Shepherd

Anything's better than IZAL!

Half of bosses out of touch with reality, study shows

Antony Shepherd

Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the loudest voices for return to office work are coming from Subway and Pret?

Also from the people who own lots of office space and are terrified their property portfolios will drop in value when businesses don't need large offices any more.

ASUS recalls motherboards that flame out thanks to backwards capacitors

Antony Shepherd

Re: But, but …

You only reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!

You've stolen the antiglare shield on that monitor you've fixed – they say the screen is completely unreadable now

Antony Shepherd

Re: Pretty routine back then...

Had a former colleague who's keyboard was full of snot, presumably their own.

I think we just threw it in the bin.

Think that spreadsheet in your company's accounts dept is old? 70 years ago, LEO ran the first business app

Antony Shepherd

Good to see someone else mentioning that book, it's a good read and I'd recommend it to anyone. There's a great bit about how at one time they bought a load of cheap American calculating machines, so they'd convert all their figures to decimal, run the figures through the calculating machines, and convert the results back to the original non-decimal units, and that was still quicker and more accurate than doing all the calculations by hand.

From there LEO was just the next step.

UK's ARIA innovation body 'hasn't even begun to happen' says former research lead

Antony Shepherd

Wasn't this one of Cummings' ideas? If so no wonder it's been left to rot.