* Posts by Michael Strorm

915 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Feb 2008


Hershey phishes! Crooks snarf chocolate lovers' creds

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Why Americans (and Canadians, apparently) enjoy vomit-flavoured "chocolate"

I don't buy them personally, but apparently they're still "Wheatmeal Biscuits Covered in Milk Chocolate". Though I notice that the reviews state that they're now skimping on the chocolate- along with a general decrease in quality- and the packs have been shrinkflationed down in size.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Honestly, "it doesn't taste of vomit like their other stuff" sounds less like a compelling selling point(!) and more like expectations lowered so disastrously they're at the point of Stockholm syndrome.

Most likely the only reason that the "Extra Dark" doesn't taste of vomit is because it doesn't contain milk in the first place (which is the source of the problem after Hershey's have subjected it to their butyric-acid-producing "long life" process).

Why not just buy chocolate from people that make decent chocolate? I'm sure that it's out there if one is really that desperate!

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

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: NSFW...

> Stupid politicians believing it can magically solve problems when all it can do is magically create new ones.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The less that a politician actually understands information technology, the more likely they are to take for granted (or expect us to believe) that it's a pancea which can magically solve whatever problem they've been unable to deal with by other means.

Remember a few years back when the Tories were in a bind with the issue of the Northern Ireland border because they hadn't given a toss about- let alone planned for- the consequences of Brexit on NI before they rushed into it?

And remember when, flailing about for a solution, they proposed that a frictionless border could be magically implemented by purely technical means? The same proposal that the type of people who actually understood the type of technology which it would require were pointing out was pie-in-the-sky fantasist drivel which was essentially impossible with present-day technology and would take decades to develop?

Steve Jobs' $4.01 RadioShack check set to fetch small fortune at auction

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Wozniak designed the blue box with a TRS-80? Unlikely.

Ironic considering that little over a year later (i.e. mid-1977) Radio Shack became one of Apple's early rivals when the original TRS-80 Model I launched around the same time as the Apple II. Along with the Commodore Pet, all three were effectively the first mass-market, mainstream personal computers in the form we know them today. (*)

That date also makes clear why the auctioneers' claim that "Wozniak designed his blue box with the help of a TRS-80 Micro Computer System" must be wrong, since a bit of checking confirms that Wozniak's "blue box" long-predates the design of the Apple II *and* the TRS-80. (Something I also notice others have called out that claim on.)

Wozniak may well have used other Radio Shack products to help with the blue box, but certainly not the TRS-80.

(*) Emphasis on "mass market" and "mainstream". Personal computers did exist before this- in particular the HP 9800 was getting close, but still too expensive for the former. Whereas hobbyist designs like the Altair 8800 in particular were important in terms of the scene which led to the Apple II et al, but in itself a device which featured toggle switches and didn't even include a keyboard or video output as standard was never going to get "mainstream" acceptance or do anything other than scare off all but the most hardcore geeks.

HP printer software turns up uninvited on Windows systems

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> Why not have ALL versions on Windows install as an OS, pure and simple but maybe with a welcome screen that says something like " Welcome to Windows. We have some great FREE applications that were sure you'll LOVE. Just pop over to www.bloat.windows.com and take your pick of free apps and tantalising tasters"

Because MS doesn't care what *you* want, and doing things your way runs the risk that people might not take the "opportunity" to install One Drive- then pay MS for the extra storage- or get exposed to Candy Crush- and provide advertising eyeballs and microtransaction fees- in the first place.

Remember that this is the same MS that was aggressively upgrading Windows 7 and 8 users to Windows 10 against their explicitly-specified choice in the mid-2010s, and doing so using techniques that even bland, corporate IT publications were comparing to malware.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> "Would it be that hard for Microsoft to just provide an operating system without needless bloat?"

Of course it wouldn't, but that would be to misunderstand the situation.

MS isn't shoving endless unrequested bloat like Candy Crush onto your computer- or trying to railroad you into using One Drive, or whatever else- because they think it's in *your* interest, nor even do they care about what you want.

They're doing so because it benefits them and/or whoever paid them to put that crap there.

Unless you're a *very* large corporate customer, MS isn't much bothered about your individual needs.

If you're a low-end, low-profit consumer or small business customer, they don't give a toss and don't need to. As the cliché goes, you're not the customer, you're the product.

In other words, shut up and play Candy Crush because we'd quite like some of those microtransaction fees.

Experienced Copilot help is hard to find, warns Microsoft MVP

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Schoolboys in Disgrace

> Wait for two or three years after release for the crash test dummies to iron out the kinks the hard way

Interestingly, The Kinks split in 1996, around three years after the Crash Test Dummies' big hit, "Mmm mmm mmm mmm".

Is this purely a bizarre coincidence or are you covertly suggesting that, for some strange reason, the Dummies saw the final years of The Kinks as a threat to their own future chart success and (mafia-style) "ironed out" The Kinks by engineering a final falling out between the Davies brothers?


(Or, indeed, "mmm").

> iron out the kinks the hard way

Also, while we're doing odd coincidences, The Kinks had a song called "The Hard Way". (*)

(*) Probably NSFW, assuming you're unfortunate enough to work at the sort of place that'd find an album cover with a silly Beano-style cartoon of a schoolboy with a bare backside (and a silhouette of a teacher with a cane- presumably the one just used to whack him- in the background) objectionable.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

MS's modus operandi

Alongside the equally annoying counterpart, rebranding the same thing with a new name a dozen times over.

Or both, for maximum confusion.

Will anybody save Linux on Itanium? Absolutely not

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> That was the theory. In practice [it wasn't]

To quote Donald Knuth, "The Itanium approach...was supposed to be so terrific—until it turned out that the wished-for compilers were basically impossible to write."

Anyway, some good info on the failure of Itanium in this previous Register discussion, in the replies to this post by myself, this Stack Overflow question and here and here.

Tesla Cybertruck no-resale clause vanishes faster than a Model S in Ludicrous Mode

Michael Strorm Silver badge

"Go anti-woke, go broke", then?

Musk's broadband satellite kingdom Starlink now cash flow positive – or so he claims

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Cash flow positive

I'd assume that Musk can spew out whatever self-aggrandizing shite he likes if the company he's boasting about is- and will remain- privately owned.

But if, as claimed, he's planning on taking it public in the near future, wouldn't such statements have legally-binding consequences in that context, even if the IPO hadn't been formally announced at the time they were made?

Wouldn't- at best- he be forced to formally rebut or clarify such claims if they were untrue? (*)

Not, of course, that Musk doesn't already have form in shooting his mouth off in a manner that *did* have legally-binding consequences, but with most people they'd have learned not to do that a second time. Then again, this *is* the wannabe-edgy, perma-adolescent manchild Elon Musk we're discussing here.

(*) Disclaimer; I'm not remotely an expert in this sort of thing, else I'd be giving the answer rather than asking the question.

Theora video codec to be coded out from Chrome and Firefox

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: How about Theorium

You mean like in all those holodeck stories in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

(No Moriarty icon available)

Windows CE reaches end of life, if not end of sales

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Still more of MS's blatantly unhelpful mix-and-match branding

Windows CE is yet another example that combines two of the most characteristic (and irritating) aspects of MS marketing over the past three decades. Either they confusingly rebrand the same product or service under several different names:

> One of the many rebrands of [Windows CE], as it became Pocket PC 2002 [and although] still based on Windows CE, Microsoft was very keen to make it clear that Pocket PC isn't WinCE … although the same OS was underneath. [..] The final major release of a Windows CE-based OS was Windows Phone 7 in 2010

Or- equally confusingly- they'll reuse the same or very similar names for two or more completely different products:

> Windows Phone 8 was a whole new OS, based on the NT kernel of Windows 8 [..] misplaced branding exercise of calling two unrelated OSes "Windows Phone,"

And then there was MS's PlaysForSure certification for music from the MSN store that, er, didn't play for sure- or at all- on the Zune music player, even though both formats were "Certified for Windows Vista".

MS's worthlessly-confused branding in a nutshell.

King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Age verification can kick UK netizens off all the regulated mainstream porn sites.

> We'll have to watch that edgy American stuff where they beat up homeless men instead, because presumably that's still okay.

I'd expect that to remain legal, since I can easily imagine it being the sort of thing that the benefits/underclass-demonising Tories in the Home Office and beyond would get themselves off to.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this


Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: What would actually happen

> Nice to know that violence is suggested as a way of subverting PRIVATE PRIVACY!!!! Well done!!!

Cut the hyperbolic, manufactured outrage.

It's bloody obvious that neither OP nor the cartoon they linked to are "[suggesting violence] as a way of subverting PRIVATE PRIVACY!!!!", and are mocking the blinkered failure of those who don't understand how something is likely to play out in the real world.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

Not that I'm a fan of the monarchy, to put it bluntly. But I'm pretty sure that Prince Charles'... sorry, The King's "signing off" of this was the usual formality, and he wouldn't have had much involvement or choice in the matter unless he wanted to go beyond his supposed role as a figurehead and interfere in the democractic process. Something which would, in turn, have almost certainly resulted in a constitutional crisis.

Michael Strorm Silver badge


OP's comment- as I read it- was a joke implying that the government themselves were a bunch of criminals who didn't want the competition.

My comment wasn't a direct reply to theirs- it was a separate criticism of the same original phrase they'd drawn attention to. In this case, that the usual cliché about "sending a clear message to criminals", is- as always- tough-on-crime grandstanding whose "message" was only ever aimed at the electorate, not the criminals they wanted to pretend they were being tough on.

Agree or not, I'm pretty sure that's a somewhat different point and not just what "he said, you dummy".

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Usual political meaning of "sending a message"

It doesn't "send a message" to criminals. It sends a message to the people they want to vote for them and con into supporting this law on the basis they're supposedly doing something about it.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Poor, deprived Americans

The Americans deserve our sympathy- after all, they only have the one math.

Apple Private Wi-Fi hasn't worked for the past three years

Michael Strorm Silver badge

This doesn't excuse Apple's incompetence, but...

...if they themselves didn't know about it, is there any evidence that anyone else did and had already been exploiting this hole?

I can imagine this might be the case if the entity in question was a state-level actor, but if it were the usual surveillance capitalism parasites tracking consumers in a shopping centre, I'd have thought it'd have become publicly-known already.

(Then again, I wouldn't discount the possibility of it being both, i.e. the former exploiting the convenient tracking possibilities of the latter and legally gagging them to keep their mouths shut).

Apple jacks prices to juice profits because $19.3B a quarter isn't enough

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> The M1 and M2 chips [..] are second to none

Was going to say something similar. I'm absolutely not an Apple fan, but it's risible to describe them as "years behind" technolgically given the performance of the M1 and M2.

Intel stock stumbles on report Nvidia is building an Arm CPU for PC market

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Response

> can also function as a heater and a coaster

Let me guess, it's going to be an "HD Remaster" of the Pentium 4 for everyone getting nostalgic for dated things from the early 2000s?

I can't wait!

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: What's with

I'm aware that microcode itself goes back many decades, long predating the Pentium Pro/II or even the 68000.

And- as the footnote acknowledged- the point wasn't really whether the core was actually RISC or not, it was that it definitely *wasn't* native x86.

The point I was making- in the context of what I was replying to- is that almost every bog-standard, vanilla "x86" PC has already been effectively converting the full x86 instruction set into a completely different one, on-the-fly, day-in, day-out, under our noses for over two decades now, albeit in a completely user-transparent manner.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: What's with

Let's remember that for over a quarter of a century- since the Pentium Pro and Pentium II came out- all Intel "x86" CPUs (*) have themselves consisted essentially of an on-the-fly translation layer wrapped around a non-x86, RISC-like (**) core architecture, with x86 instructions being converted to RISC microcode.

(*) I'll assume something similar applies to AMD.

(**) Some have disputed the characterisation of the core design is RISC, but regardless, the relevant part is that it *isn't* natively x86. (And anyway, since that's an internal implementation detail, they could have changed completely it one or several times since then, so long as the chip maintains x86 compatibility).

Bad Vibrations: Music publishers sue Anthropic AI for using copyrighted lyrics

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> even if forced to pay [the $75 million] in full Anthropic could probably afford it - the company was valued at around $5 billion

Yes, but that'd just be the fine for the original copyright violations, not a license for them to continue doing so. That would no doubt lead to them being sued again- and again, and again- and likely having to pay greater and more punitive damages.

However much they have in the bank, it's not going to last long in the face of that (though, of course, investors wouldn't tolerate it going that far in the first place).

And if that $5 billion valuation had been based on the assumption that they'd get away with their current business model and practices, then it raises the question of how much the company is worth if they can't.

US prosecutors slam Autonomy tycoon's attempt to get charges tossed

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Oh, you got there before me. Was going to say...

"US prosecutors slam Autonomy tycoon's attempt to get charges tossed"?

"Well, they would, wouldn't they?"

So this one time, at Bandcamp, half the staff were laid off

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> The Songtradr management are living on Lying Bastards Island


Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Backup now ...

> I always download every purchase in FLAC [..] but I know many that leave it all in the cloud as it's more accessible to them.

People *are* aware that they can have have both local and cloud-based copies anyway... right?

(Unless Bandcamp explicitly and intentionally stops you from being able to do that?)

For the amount of data required by even uncompressed audio files, storage is dirt-cheap nowadays- you can buy an external 4 TB HDD for under £100, which is a huge amount of audio. And there's no way you're going to get that much cloud storage for free, or even that cheap.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Never forget, when you work for the compnay being bought...

It was going to be "you fucking weasel", but I decided to strike the profanity and- if anything- it ended up coming across even harsher.

Your response gave you the air of an apologist for- or one of- the type of management that not only exploit this tendency towards unpaid goodwill, but use it as an excuse to put down and morally blackmail those employees who "merely" do the job they're paid for... all the time knowing that any such loyalty would count for nothing in the other direction.

If you weren't in that group, I apologise- and in hindsight the "weasel" comment's inclusion was distractingly hyperbolic regardless. But let's not forget you yourself were quick to judge Elsergiovolador as being to blame for the world's ills, when the problem lay with employers that made this a perfectly reasonable- and sensible- response in the first place.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> All that corpo speak about passion for the music and serving artists is bollocks

*Any* corporate-speak that uses the word "passion" is bollocks. It's the obnoxious epitome of insincerely-sincere PR language and it's become an utter cliché in the past decade or two.

*Every* f****** company out there these days tells us that they're "passionate" about what they do in their twee little blurbs, like we give a toss or believe any of it.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Never forget, when you work for the compnay being bought...

> You advice to strive to nothing higher than mediocrity explains a lot about many problems the world faces today.

No, people doing their best and getting ungratefully screwed over because some exec wants the short-term profit to justify their fat bonus explains that bit.

> Some people do quite like knowing they’re doing a good job even if they have no recognition from the company.

Yes, such people do exist, and that's to be respected up to a point.

On the other hand, *your* sanctimonious attempt to co-opt and exploit that as an excuse to justify expecting *everyone* to work over-and-above for the type of bosses who'd have no qualms about screwing them over in a heartbeat shows exactly which side you're on, you odious weasel.

> Keeping management unhappy seems like a very poor long term career strategy, too.

Ah, this is the "working harder for such types might save your job" line, when it won't.

But they'll have managed to exploit you for some unrewarded extra effort before you're let go regardless, so that's okay.

The only lesson here is- if possible- to avoid working for the type of company and bosses who will only ever exploit any concept of employee loyalty for their own interests, and only ever in one direction. And that if you do, you owe those people nothing and should look after your own interests.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Scene originally about getting laid and getting off, now about getting laid off

> In other words, staff were told to reapply for their jobs and half of them didn't make it in the Hunger Games-like contest.

"What? You don't think I know how to get myself laid off? Hell, that's what half of the Bandcamp takeover was. Employment ed. So, are we gonna get screwed soon?"

Also, nice one in wiping off the slickly-distracting PR gloss smoothing out the reality of what was actually happening and calling it out for what it was, and fuck those weasels.

iPhone 15 Pro Max users report seeing ghostly OLED apparitions

Michael Strorm Silver badge


"if you've dropped the requisite funds on a new iPhone 15 Pro Max and found something ghostly hanging around on the screen, we'd suggest contacting the company and asking about a replacement think you'd better call... GHOSTBUSTERS!"

How 'AI watermarking' system pushed by Microsoft and Adobe will and won't work

Michael Strorm Silver badge

No need to feel bad about that, I'm sure they'll give you the ad for hemorrhoid cream instead!

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Go along with this or someone else will steal credit for your work?

> you upload your image files' metadata to Adobe's cloud; if one of your files is later shared by someone without its identifying metadata, whatever they are using to distribute the snap could run the image by Adobe's cloud and recover the metadata if there is a visual match

So, unless you're willing and happy to go along with doing things Adobe's way and on their terms, someone else can be "first" to upload *your* image to Adobe's servers, claiming credit for themselves (*), so that you can then be accused of plagiarising your own photo by some automated corporate system that Facebook et al are using?


(*) Don't worry, it's not like a big player in the market would allow this sort of thing to happen as long as there's money in it for them, right?

Michael Strorm Silver badge

"Pascal Monett is the author of this photo, as verified by Adobe ProfitProtect with support from our featured sponsors"

(Meanwhile, the auto-play video superimposed on the top right of your image starts extolling the virtues of Clorets mints for fresh breath when you're on your next date).

Nvidia boss tells Israeli staff Mellanox founder's daughter was killed in festival massacre

Michael Strorm Silver badge

You come across like a supercilious adolescent trying to rationalise and reframe your lack of empathy from a personal failing into being a sign of how smugly rational and detached you are by wrapping it up in mock-intellectual, pseudo-philosphical shite like this.

You're fooling no-one but yourself with your tedious, pretentious drivel.

AI safety guardrails easily thwarted, security study finds

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: " AI safety guardrails easily thwarted"

> Until the machine actually understands what it's spewing forth and exercises moral responsibility for it, there's no solution to toxic output.

The original term "guardrails" is also ironically appropriate here; guard rails are generally meant to stop someone *accidentally* going where they're not meant to be. Anyone who wants to intentionally do so will likely be able to climb over them without too much work.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: " Queen of England "

You tell me, I already made that point here.

But whether or not that position is incorrect, your mistake lies in assuming that the only people who would care enough to argue it are [pro-independence] "Scottish nationalists" or the more general assumption that those in favour of the union don't care about a Scottish identity distinct from British or English.

To be honest, the majority of the pro-independence camp is in favour of abolishing the monarchy and likely gives less of a toss about the details of how it's set up anyway.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: " Queen of England "

> Is there a point to your irrelevant rambling?

Yep. It's that your lazy assumption that only "Scottish nationalists" would argue that point shows that you don't really understand Scotland or its attitudes towards the union.

Not that I think that would concern you, I just wanted to point out that you're talking shite.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: " Queen of England "

> I suppose she was still the queen of England, just adding a bunch of other stuff, so much stuff that the England bit got incorporated into a larger unit to make the full title a bit more manageable


Following the union of the crowns in 1603, the monarch of Scotland and England *had* been formally separate positions held by the same person.

But the Kingdom of England ceased to exist after the Act of Union in 1707 (ditto the Kingdom of Scotland)- hence the "United Kingdom"- and so did the position/title of Queen of England.

Just like the Kingdom of Wessex had previously become a part of the Kingdom of England, but no-one tries to argue (mistakenly) that the previous monarch was still Queen of Wessex.

Yes, England is still a part of the UK, but "Queen of England" today has no more formal legitimacy or weight than (using the same logic) "Queen of Greater Manchester", "Queen of Slough" or "Queen of Your Auntie's Back Garden".

> Still, I think she was considered the queen of Australia during her life, so even though that's not in the title, it's still a role she held.

Unlike the "Queen of England", the monarch- and monarchies- of Australia and Canada are considered distinct positions and entities, so those *do* exist.

Chinese citizens feel their government is doing such a fine job with surveillance

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: There are a lot of cameras in the West too

That's okay, AI will most likely allow them to automate that sort of thing very efficiently and cost-effectively.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Complaint


SBF on trial: The Python code that allegedly let Alameda hedge fund spend people's FTX deposits

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Oh python...

> But even using the C-version would still have been a better idea than what python did.

The C syntax ("? :") is- IMHO- perfectly fine and legible *if* you use it responsibly. For anything more than a simple case, I'll add parentheses for legibility or split it across three lines in a standard manner so it's clear which is which- condition, true behaviour and false result.

Not familiar with Python, but that syntax with words instead of symbols (even though it's otherwise the same?) smacks of BASIC-style clunkiness and is less legible.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: Sure, take $10B from customer accounts without their knowledge or consent

To rehash the punchline to a similar joke I made a while back...

"Sam Bankman-Fried2."

...or another that popped into my head a day or two ago while listening to this on my way to work...

"Bankman Bankman-Fried Fried"

Unity CEO 'retires' in the wake of fee fiasco

Michael Strorm Silver badge

> Immediately start remembering the Spitting Image skit on all of bad holiday songs.

That is ( as far as I'm aware) where The Chicken Song- and the line quoted from it- came from in the first place! It was released as a single, got to number 1, and I knew all the words as a kid. :-)

Ironically, the song it most obviously parodied was... Agadoo.

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Everyone* wins!

*Except the losers.

Every loser wins... once the dream begins.

New information physics theory is evidence 'we're living in a simulation,' says author

Michael Strorm Silver badge

You're clever, young man, very clever, but...

It's simulations all the way down

Michael Strorm Silver badge

Re: RE: what are we a simulation of?

> [A child] created a universe in a snow globe

As opposed to just a hospital in a 1980s drama series?