* Posts by Alfie

148 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Mar 2008


Buckminsterfullerene sounds like the next UK Prime Minister but trust us, it's in fact the largest molecule yet found in interstellar space


C30 C60 C90 Go!

Surely its only a matter of time until they discover the C90 molecule or even a C120, but presumably the C120s have a short lifespan and tendency to snap?

Let's make laptops from radium. How's that for planned obsolescence?


Re: Well, they DO make degradable carrier bags

And dont use them to keep seed packets dry in your greenhouse either. A few months in the sun and they turn to dust. Guess how I know. :-)


Re: Automobiles

Four weeks? I wish!

My wife's car was a special order (for the non-black interior) and it took nearly six months. Lucky we weren't in a hurry for it.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes


Re: Troos?

Perhaps Mr Dabbs needs a dictionary? http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/trews

Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID


Re: Silly first name.

Yep, its a daft name. With numerous valid spellings. At one point I worked in an office with three others - all different spellings.

It is made worse by having a second name that starts with r, so it all runs into one word in speech. God knows what my father had been drinking when he went to register my name. Back in the good old days before the internet I used to get all sorts of spellings in the post after phone calls.

Hence the reason I stuck with the first decent nickname I ever got called at school, even if I am named after a dog, I bet even Starbucks can spell it!

UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo


RE: magic money tree

M’kay. So either the magic money tree really does exist

Shhh! You know you arent allowed to mention it by its real name.

You are only ever allowed to refer to it as Quantative Easing.

Royal Bank of Scotland decision to axe 160+ branches linked to botched IT gig – Unite


Re: Yet again...

After Santander walked away the Clydesdale & Yorkshire had a look, I believe it didnt take long before they quickly dropped any interest as well.

North will remain North for now, say geo-magnetic boffins


Now they've gone and done it!

The fact that the magnetoboffins have come out and said that it definitely wont be happening any time soon has surely increased the odds of it happening?

That's how these forecasting things work isnt it?

Jocks in shock as Irn-Bru set to slash sugar and girder content


Publicity stunt

There are already 'diet' versions so why would they create another one? Push the price up to cover the sugar tax, and folks will pay the premium for the good stuff. Of course AG Barr's might make a mistake in the sugar tax premium and 'accidentally' make even more profit out of it.

But dont listen to me, I'm a bad scotsman, I've avoided processed sugar for a few years now and can probably count on one hand the number of times I've had a can of the Bru since then. Your taste buds reset after a while and I find them all pretty disgusting now, and the aspartame and other carcenogenic compound versions even worse. If you want to put yourself off ever drinking Coke/Mountain Dew/Irn Bru ever again, I can recommend watching That Sugar Film.

I've also avoided a Pizza Crunch, and never seen a deep fried Mars bar, as I dont go into chip shops in the tourist hotspots.

Soz, guys. No 'alien megastructure' around Tabby's Star, only cosmic dustbunnies



Are we sure its just dust and not the remains of a supercomputer surrounding the planet of Krikket?

Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network


First desk troll job

We had 10Base2 cabling between 2 hubs and our router which went down all the time, fortunately we had a fibre link between the main office and the lab next door which never failed, and then AppleTalk RJ11 connections to the office Macs. That network on its own kept me busy for hours on end. I took to carrying a spare 50ohm terminator in my pocket at all times. Then there were the fixed IP addresses and DNS tables to manage. God it was shit!

Life is... pushing all the right buttons on the wrong remote control



My blu-ray player has a shitty remote that has 2 buttons labelled as Home, which one might think would take you to the home menu of the DVD/BD that you are playing, you know for when you want to skip back or forward to another section of the movie, but no they both take you to the root menu of the device and give you the option of launching some ancient web apps that probably dont work anymore and probably includes one for MySpace.

In contrast the Fire Stick remote works via radio so you dont have to point it at the stick (just as well as its hanging out the back of the TV) and doesn't have rubbery buttons and even the text input is fairly responsive and usable. The only downside is that nearly every time I select something to watch it manages to knock out my soundbar which I then have to switch back on using its shitty rubber button remote that doesn't work half the time probably due to the fact that it runs off a single button battery. It also does it when you pause a show as well. It wouldn't be so bad if it was *every* time that it switched off the sound, its just *most* of the time.

I also have an LG G4 that should work as an IR remote, but I cant get it to work with any of my devices for some reason.


HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa


Re: Two tone shell

I also has a couple of Sonys (in fact one was SonyEricsson, so a while ago) in the past that had dedicated camera squeeze haptic feedback areas that were really useful.

DocuSign forged – crooks crack email system and send nasties


Re: world+dog

Yeah, no warning and 2 emails weirdly from Josh $randon_surname

Strangely enough I didn't feel the need to click on the links, but looked fairly authentic and you can imagine some numpty falling for it.

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?


Progress bar lies

I have a vague recollection of doing an application install on a Mac (probably OS 7.5) where the progress bar got up to 100 percent and then kept going towards the edge of the dialog box. I am going to say it was a Microsoft install just out of habit, but I have no proof that it was the guilty party.

I hate progress bars, but I hate web page text bouncing around like its on a space hopper even more.

You're taking the p... Linux encryption app Cryptkeeper has universal password: 'p'


Failed Emoji

Surely they meant the password to be



I'll get my coat...

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think


Re: Flexcit?

Unless you consider Theresa May as the "C"

Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017


With Terry writing the words and Paul Kaye playing him it should provide plenty of laughs. I would still rather have him back and writing. I guess I should go back to the beginning and read them all again...

All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker


Re: The last "ship" to bear the name HMS Tamar

I'd like to see how far up the river Spey the HMS Spey could get as well!

LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?


Re: LG

I've had my LG G4 for six months now and its had 2 system updates since I bought it. Better than the Sony I had before this phone.

Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues


Assumed it was me

Yeah network was up and router lights all flashing as per normal this morning, but couldn't get any data over breakfast. Assumed it was just my shitty EO line which drops out just when you dont want it to every week or two. I switched my phone wifi off and was surprised to discover 4G connectivity from my kitchen on O2. Needless to say data and streaming were much better than the broadband, but that is OpenReach's fault, not PlusNet.

I dont use Twatter (i'm on it, but dont use it), so wasn't aware there was a problem until El Reg mentioned it.

Sneaky brown dwarf gives us a bright flash and astroboffins are confused


RE: Disaster Area

Maybe if we drop a small spacecraft into the brown dwarf we can bump start the star?

Edit: We could fill the spacecraft with WD-40?

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.


I just dont get it...

I had stopped wearing a watch for a few years as I used my phone to tell me the time. From what I can tell a smartwatch is just going to relay info that is on my smartphone, and it doesnt take that much effort to pull that out of my pocket. Sure you can add some biometric data to the mix, but giving me a bunch of numbers on how far I've walked/run/cycled today isnt going to make me fitter/thinner. Doing more walking/running/cycling and eating less should do the trick and I dont need a watch to tell me that. Although I can see a niche market for actual athletes, not MAMILs.

Just a couple of months ago I went retro and bought a Vostok mechanical divers watch, it tells me the time (fairly accurately) and it doesnt need wound up or a new battery that cost more than the watch (G-Shock I'm talking about you!) to keep working. In fact it was probably cheaper than a replacement G-Shock battery.

Dont get me wrong, I love tech and have more than my fair share, but the wrist doesnt seem an obvious place to put it if you want a decent user experience, or it ends up so big that you cant wear clothes over it.

Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*


Re: 10Mbps?

Yeah, so living less than 10 miles from the centre of Glasgow leaves me the option of paying £60 per month and over £300 installation/hardware costs for decent satellite coms? Thanks very much Ofcom/Openreach/Wastemonster! Nice loophole!*

*Although I'm betting money on that commitment to not apply to Scotland anyway as its devolved, so even more slacking off by OpenReach and Digital Scotland on delivering decent broadband to the masses!

Super cool: Arctic data centres aren't just for Facebook


Re: So, would ie make sense

Northern Scandinavia has permafrost, Skye has permacloud.*

The only problem with locating on Skye being Openreach.

* except for this past week, obviously!

Nippy, palaver and cockwomble: Greatest words in English?


RE: Autumnal

I also like the word autumnal, but have taken to using the word autumny instead, mostly to wind up my english teaching better half. Inspired by Baldrick's interpretation of irony; "Like goldy and silvery, only made of iron."

Actually the whole Blackadder the Third episode Ink and Incapability is a joy.

A thousand mile Atom merci mission: Driving from Monaco to London in an open-topped motor


Re: The bloody flies (and other airborne thingies)

Joe Lucas == Prince of Darkness

Apple to replace DODGY hard drives that go BELLY UP in 27-inch iMac


Not for the first time...

Reminds me of when we saw a lot of HD failures in the old Apple SE/30 from Sony 40MB drives (but they werent new at the time). Apparently the bearings dried out and slowed the disk down so that it couldnt read the MBR. Replaced tens of them in our little Mac support company at the time. If you turned the SE/30 upside down, it put the pressure on the other bearing and you could get it to boot, and copy the data off to an external SCSI before replacing the disk.

Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2


I couldnt find one with a full HD screen and only 1.3kg cheaper than the Tosh though.



Just got one of these a week ago, spent a couple of evenings playing with it, then an evening creating a recovery usb stick, then another evening following the instructions on setting up Crouton and installing the Ubuntu XFCE desktop image. It neednt take that long to do, I was just messing while doing other stuff with my free time.

Now I have a jumped up tablet with a keyboard in ChromeOS and can quickly flip into Linux when I need something specific, like a printer or Firefox or VLC or other non-webby tasks. The combination of full depth SD slot and two USB slots means that I can copy and mangle photos and videos from camera cards to a low profile USB that lives in there permanently.

I would prefer it if the lovely Full HD screen were matte like my old Samsung NC10, and I would prefer to wipe it completely and get a proper internal build of Mint Cinnamon on there, but it is a pretty decent compromise at the price. I still have a full desktop system for anything needing more horsepower, but my old Nook HD+ tablet and my NC10 running Mint XFCE have both been put out to pasture.

SCREW YOU, BRITS: We're going through with UK independence ANYWAY – Scotland


Darien Schmarien

"It would have been the Darien Scheme all over again."

Except instead of it being a Westminster/banking cabal that foreclosed on the Darien scheme it would have been OPEC forcing the oil price down temporarily to harm Russia's economy or US fracking profitability depending on who you listen to.

The effect on Scotland just happens to be an unintended consequence of their cunning plan in this case.


Amazon DROPS next day delivery amid Cyber Monday MADNESS


Have I been asleep for a long time, or is it still four weeks until Christmas?

In which case the rush delivery of this Thursday doesnt mean that anyone will be dissapointed by the late delivery of presents.

Or has El Reg been taken over by the Express?

Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids


Sony M2

Point of note on the M2 is that the software update to KitKat 4.4.2 has already been rolled out, at least on O2 in the UK. Downside is that Sony has no (current) plans to take it to Lollipop despite it being a 2014 model.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg


RE: Geography

I worry about your grasp of geography, because last time I checked Stornoway is on the island of Lewis, not NW England. That is where the king of black pudding is made! :-)



Re: Not just Oz.. happening in the UK aswell

If you use a hoover it is still in the house, a spider catcher does the trick though, I had to remove one of a similar size from our bath this week. Never seen one that big outside of Londonshire!

I should have dropped it further from the house than just out the window, it will probably come back in again if it doesnt get any warmer...

Roll up for El Reg's 3G/4G MONOPOLY DATA PUB CRAWL


RE: Clockwork Orange

Now that sounds like a plan!

Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one FUGLY space rock


Reg link?

Am I the only one that thinks pic 1 looks like a vultures head on its side?

Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty

Thumb Up

Re: So basiclly, Sassenachs

You need to include the white (or mealie) pudding as well as the black, and you need to have beef link, pork sausage and square sausage which I think is made from pink things, some of them claim to be steak slice, but unless its actually veal I'm not convinced.

Also there should be some left over mashed potato which is then put in the bacon and sausage fat and fried until crispy on the outside.

And it must be washed down with builders tea. I think there must be something to do with the tannins that absorbs all the fat and cleans out your mouth.

That, my friends is a proper breakfast. Sadly it takes quite a while to prepare, so not one to knock up before running out the door for work, best left for the weekends.

Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK


Polski Fiat

If you are worried about the build quality buy one of the Mk2 Pandas, all the MK2s were made in Poland. They made a diesel Cross too, but dont think they sold many in the UK so can be hard to track one down. My current car is one (non 4x4) and its now the car I've owned the longest of the eight cars I've had. All it gets is oil and filters and an MOT every year. However to make up for the boring reliability, I now spend most of my time on a Moto Guzzi ;-)

BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS


Bane of my life

I swear western civilisation would crumble to dust if anything ever happened to all the Excel spreadsheets that appear to run most businesses...

Who needs a ride-on mower when a ROBOT will cut your grass



Surely it's just cheaper to get a man in to cut the grass for you? They tend to spot obstructions on your lawn and work around them or even move them (obviously they wouldnt try to move a pond or a tree). Plus you still get to spend your free time sitting on a deck chair drinking ale with a knotted hanky on your head, so your manliness isnt called into question!

Beer, obviously ->

Code Spaces goes titsup FOREVER after attacker NUKES its Amazon-hosted data


RE: background checks

Certainly you'd struggle to find work if you declared your conviction to an employer. If you didn't, and they failed to do appropriate background checks (smaller companies often fall down here), then you're fine.

Not just small companies! I used to work for a financial services company (it was a subsidiary of a major UK bank) that had a new hire that was given to me to bring up to speed on the tech that we were using on his first morning. He was marched off the premises by security about two hours later only because someone in the office recognised him. He had done time (not for a tech-based misdemeanor) and then changed his name by deed poll and it wasnt picked up in the background checks. Presumably he forgot to mention his name change or time in chokey in the application. They might have increased their security checks now...

Podule-lodged Brit nears two weeks atop ocean peak Rockall


Re: Rockall

Specifically in reference to the act of parliament claiming it from Wikipedia

The Island of Rockall Act 1972 (c. 2) is a British Act of Parliament formally incorporating the island Rockall into the United Kingdom to protect it from Irish and Icelandic claims. The Act as originally passed declared that the Island of Rockall was now part of the Scottish county of Inverness-shire (it is now in the Western Isles).

It is a lot closer to St. Kilda than Co. Donegal anyway, so it's ours.

Shame he wont still be there on 18th Sept. It would be fun to get a polling station on it.

Klingon and Maori roar into 'mutt's nuts' dictionary


Doric (Scots)

I guess the literal translation is dugs baws, but for a literal meaning you'd be better with affa fiiine. The length of the vowel in fine is dependant on the greatness you are trying to convey. Minimum of one second to get to mutts nuts level. Although it doesnt quite translate directly as I think Doric lends itself better to complaining rather than approving of something or someone.

Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet


Re: Shame

That's all well and good, but where do you stand on the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for the under-5s and the abolition of slavery?

Brawling neighbours challenge 'quiet' cul-de-sac myth

IT Angle


Mine isnt. As there is no through traffic the kids in our street actually play in it. There are three basketball hoops (you think they would share one or maybe even two) and the kids make for excellent target practice and unplanned ABS testing for everyone that speeds into the cul de sac at high speed safe in the knowledge that there is no other traffic.

Is there a correlation between cul de sacs and cat ownership? There are ten cats in our cul de sac of twelve houses (and a stray old tomcat that wanders the neighbourhood), and yes the only way to stop them crapping on your patch is to have some of your own.

And dont even get me started on parking at the weekend!

Oh yeah, and the council dont grit the road in the winter, which hasnt been a problem this year, but no one in our street owns a BMW or Merc anymore.

El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!


Re: Connect me!

Even better, the strip and twist without even sellotape for insulation.

+1 for a pair of red and black RCA plugs as well, although I always liked the BNC with bayonet, always felt properly secured, until the 50Hz terminators failed and the whole backbone went down...

... tell that to kids these days, and they dont believe you!

DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life


Re: Another NC10

Thanks for that link. I had looked at the SANE list and my scanner isn't supported, but is supported in VueScan, so I'll give it a shot.


Another NC10

The XP install on my NC10 got slower and slower over the years, so I ended up dual booting it with Mint Linux XFCE. Much faster boot and login times. Made a door stop useable again. I then tried using the Cinnamon version, and although it still runs faster than XP it isnt as fast as XFCE and I'm not sure that the eye candy is worth it. There is also the problem of one of the setting screens (cant remember which) not liking the 1024 x 600 desktop in Cinnamon, but I dont remember XFCE having any problem. Like others have said everything worked out of the box.

P.S. It is still dual-booting to XP to access an old scanner that isnt supported in Linux or later Windows OSs. It isnt even supported by WinXP 64-bit that is on my Opteron desktop. The desktop will probably go to Mint Cinnamon in the near future (before April) when I might even get around to replacing the scanner with something a bit more 21st century. I dont use the desktop enough anymore to justify replacing it with something new.

WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?


Camera/phone: either or, but not both

I gave up with the cameraphone nonsense a couple of weeks ago despite having a nice Sony Ericsson with an 8MP camera and a physical shutter button. It's just too damn slow, and I dont want a wide angle shot every time. I bought an end of line Canon Ixus from Argos for £65 which has a good zoom, lots of MP, a proper flash, Canon's excellent imaging firmware and a screen the size of a small smartphone. Press the power button and I can take a shot in a second or so, which is way faster than the phone, because of course it doesnt switch to the camera if I press the shutter button; oh no I have to go and select the camera app unlike my old Samsung feature phone which sadly had a crap image sensor. It is only about the size of a couple of small touchscreen phones stuck together and about the same weight too, so it fits in a trouser pocket as well. Which is more than can be said of my old Canon S3is, fabulous though it is (it has a viewfinder) and the photos it produces, it is a big lump to carry around all the time.