* Posts by Gary Heard

75 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2007


John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine

Gary Heard


On March 31, the company said two new John Deere S770 & S760 flagship harvesters, along with Tempo sewers from Swedish agricultural machinery firm Väderstad, Perhaps a "Seed Sower" in the plural and past tense? The comment needs to be fushed down the pan into the sewers...

Obviously written by someone with no farming experience.. It can be called a "Planter" or more commonly a "Drill".

Loser Trump is no longer useful to Twitter, entire account deleted over fears he'll whip up more mayhem

Gary Heard

Re: An elephant in the room

Do you have a fence marking you property? A wall is just a rather more substantial fence.

I assume with your posturing that you don't have locks on your doors?

Or are you afraid of black helicopters?

KDE maintainers speak on why it is worth looking beyond GNOME

Gary Heard

Re: The "Problem" with Linux

OpenSuSe user here.

Been using it and KDE since v7 (KDE3) all the way to now (Currently 15.1), KDE is a shedload better than it used to be and I stuck with KDE3 for a long time when 4 came out.

The desktop is good, IMO (much) better than Gnome. I like it, stable as a rock and it looks great

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Gary Heard

Re: POTUS Supporters

North Korea (allegedly) did... To the first cases in the country... No sorry, it was the carriers that got shot.

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police

Gary Heard

Deep do-do

I'm not a junior and I'd be in deep do-do with the list presented there, as would my 13yo granddaughter who knows how to spin up a VM because I've shown her how to. At least I'm not in the West Midlands.

At the latest count there are 5 VirtualBox VM's on my home PC and 4 KVM VM's on my laptop

From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on

Gary Heard

Re: Great summary

Popularised it maybe, but "Bringing it to the World"??

Mary Shelley, H G Wells and Jules Verne claim prior art as well as many others

Gary Heard

EE 'Doc' Smith

I read the whole "Lensman" series when a youngster, they were so bad they were good. First series of books where I thought "If the baddies are so powerful why didn't they just steamroller the 'Goodies' at the beginning".

They were total rubbish, but didn't stop me enjoying them

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election

Gary Heard

On the button

@LoucreLout Your comment hits home, too many people are fixed in their voting, so sort of "idealistic stupor" that makes them think idiots (Left or Right) are suitable for office. Back in the 70's (shows my age I know) I helped Plaid Cymru reduce Labours majority in Merthyr Tydfil from 25,000+ to under 4,000.... Result, investment in Merthyr was announced by the (then Labour) government. Now? A donkey could be the Labour candidate and he's still win. People don't learn.

Tut – you wait a lifetime for an interstellar object then two come at once

Gary Heard

Looking for means it's NOT unexpected

Couple of things really, in the entire history of the human race, it's probably only in the last 15-20 years we've been able to look for and find these things. How many have zipped through unnoticed in the past 40 years let alone 4 million or 4 billion ( the time of the "Late Heavy Bombardment").?

The other thing is the Lucifer's Hammer (book) or Armageddon/Deep Impact (films) scenario, we are a very very small speck in the vastness of space, over geologic time something from outside the Solar System may hit us, but that scenario is very unlikely compared to something for the Oort Cloud or Kuiper belt falling in and 'nudging' the planet ( may wipe us out, but it was good while it lasted)

There and back again: NASA's mobile launcher returns to testing after ducking out for Dorian

Gary Heard

Re: Units?

You are a bit confused....

Ok to the 3 feet to a yard, then

22yards to a chain (also the length of a Cricket pitch as the Ashes series is on)

10 chains to a Furlong (220 yards)

8 Furlongs to a mile (1,760 yards)

Easy :-)

Cash carousel spun between Filetek and Autonomy, Lynch employee tells court

Gary Heard

Missing three zeros

So the carousel was for between 8 and 11 million dollars. I still have to see where HP think the BILLIONS in overvaluation were lost.

Everything I've heard so far makes me think that, although Autonomy were probably not a nice business to work for, they were able to CONVINCE HP that they were worth buying for the price HP paid.

When you have Execs that don't even read the (limited) due diligence, serves them right.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Gary Heard

Re: Dick

Most difficult surname I came across? A friend of mine was called Nigel Randy, one wonders what the derivation of the surname was

Microsoft: 2TB or not 2... OK, OK! 2TB. OneDrive dragged kicking and screaming into selling more storage

Gary Heard

Re: "Google will take £7.99 a month off you for 2TB of space"

I've had one of the Dropbox accounts {(I know, I know....) that just doubled to 2 TB} for a few years and let everyone in the house use the account, that's 6 devices, and even now only have just over 200GB,

How does anyone store that amount? as for getting it all back......

Using Oracle WebLogic? Put down your coffee, drop out of Discord, grab this patch right now: Vuln under attack

Gary Heard

From the company that brought you "Unbeakable" Linux

The title says it all

Ofcom asks networks, ISPs: Hey, wouldn't it be nice if you let customers know the best deal once their contract's up?

Gary Heard

How about a certain Satellite TV company, with whom I managed to reduce my bill by £29 per month by upgrading to their latest "platform". Only happened because I spoke with someone in their call centre (who was really helpful), the website "offer" would have had me paying more!!

You like HTTPS. We like HTTPS. Except when a quirk of TLS can smash someone's web privacy

Gary Heard

Would never get near a mainstream broadcaster nowadays.

NTNON was excellent, one of the best satire programs ever and what a line up

Tax the tech giants and ISPs until the bits squeak – Corbyn

Gary Heard

Re: tax dodgers

minus the cost of the extra paperwork.

Which for small companies can be quite large

Gary Heard

Re: tax dodgers

VAT is a tax on consumption, not on Profits. You, me, we all pay the VAT that the government decrees,

I have a small business, I pay corporation tax as I have no chance to put my profits in a holding company in the Cayman islands (or any other Tax Haven)

Super-mugs: Hackers claim to have snatched 20k customer records from Brit biz Superdrug

Gary Heard


I assume the number that they have found has come from the access logs from the Webserver. If someone's 'normal' IP address has a geolocation of the UK and they suddenly log in from Russia, Ukraine or somewhere unusual, they could at least pick them up that way

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

Gary Heard

Re: Consumer or business, no difference in our village

I now have a FTTC connection so no longer suffer this, however...

Back when I was running an ADSL broadband connection to the local exchange, I used to VPN into work, but if anyone called me (only incoming calls) then the vpn would drop and the system would take a few minutes to recover. As I lost any unsaved work, I became paranoid about saving and very angry as I knew my home setup was OK.

After much to-ing and fro-ing and a couple of emails to the boss of Openreach, an engineer visited, fixed a noisy connection and went to check the exchange. Came back and told me there was a known fault with the DSLAM, they all did it in small exchanges and they were all installed about the same time.

After another set of emails to ISP, Openreach and MP, the offending DSLAM was replaced. My ISP was amazed that the change happened so quickly -- and I was told that Openreach would ignore any future emails -- didn't care, I achieved what I needed to do.

Final note after all that Openreach tried to charge my ISP for the engineers time, they were told in no uncertain terms that payment would not be forthcoming

You always wanted to be an astronaut, right? Careful: Space is getting more and more deadly

Gary Heard


Very sloppy in fact.

Solar Radiation comes from the sun (hence Solar), while the comment "The amount of solar radiation has increased from previous solar cycles, according to new measurements made by a team of researchers." would make you think that it's the sun, the next comment "now face higher doses of radiation from the onslaught of highly energetic particles in cosmic rays "

Cosmic rays come from deep space and the increase in the number getting to us is due to the sun's cycle slowing (energetically speaking) sunspot cycle. This produces a less powerful solar wind, which, when stronger, helps prevent cosmic rays getting to far into the Sol system, currently it's weak and therefore more cosmic rays can get through to the inner solar system.

Have a look at the Oulu neutron detector here http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/ , it's a proxy for the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere. It shows that there is always and increase in Cosmic rays as a Solar Cycle ends and the next one starts, it's just that this cycle was weak to start with so we've had a consistently higher amount of cosmic rays during the last cycle

Boeing ships its 10,000th 737

Gary Heard

Re: Trigger's Broom

I had a conversation with a pilot a few years ago and he made exactly that point, even some of the dials in the cabin were left in place even though they were redundant as it avoided a "Type" change. If a Type change was required full FAA testing needed, a "Note to file" on the other hand, a few tests, otherwise, easy peasy. By changing them incrementally, the dials can be removed and you end up with "Glass" cockpits, which would have been impossible when the 737 launched

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

Gary Heard

Flying experience

The Grob? Your readers experience was in the Chipmunk, doing aerobatics near the Severn Bridge having flown out of Filton, back in the late 60's and early 70's.

As for Gliding, the Kirby T31 was what I went solo on -- flew like a brick outhouse (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slingsby_Tandem_Tutor).

But I was also lucky enough to get so much height off a winch launch in a T21 Seburgh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slingsby_T.21) the pilot did a loop and a Chandelle (stick Back hard and as she starts to stall push the stick hard left and forward with plenty of left rudder -- glider ends up with wings vertical and then you use the stick and rudder to level out as you dive -- basically drop sideways on with the ailerons and rudder turning you to a recoverable position a you gain speed) in a Glider with no canopy That was FUN.

With Flight Sim, back in the day... I flew Munich to Milan in the sailplane in real time 6.25 hours I was sat there.....

You Wreck Me, Spotify: Tom Petty, Neil Young publisher launches $1.6bn copyright sueball

Gary Heard


As stated above, it's messier that a pig in sh1t. My wife composes and we've found out the hard way that getting something published makes the publisher rich, not the composer

Mechanical Royalties

Royalties paid to songwriters and artists when music is sold (think CD or vinyl) but also when music is streamed (streaming mechanicals) “on-demand” (like Spotify). Songwriting mechanical royalties are set by government through what’s called a compulsory license, which right now is set to about 9 cents of every dollar earned via sale.

Current copyright regulation wasn’t created at a time when services like Spotify or Beats existed, (which are kind of a hybrid of ‘performance’ and a ‘sale’) so they pay both performance royalties and mechanical royalties to songwriters and artists.

Spotify pays about 10% of its revenue to songwriters (split between mechanical and performance royalties) and about 60% to the artists. Services like Spotify don’t have to negotiate with songwriters, because the government sets the rates – through the consent decree for PROs and a compulsory license for mechanical licenses.

Mechanical royalties for songwriting are usually paid by labels or artists to a third party, (traditionally for the major publisher it’s been HFA (the Harry Fox Agency), who pay the publishers.

(Source: American Songwriter)

UK spy court ruled immune from judicial review – for now

Gary Heard

Privacy International's QC, Dinah Rose, said the section must be read in restricted terms – parliament could not have intended it to be read as excluding all resource to judicial review, she said.

Repeat after me (100 times)

Recourse not resource

Fresh bit o' Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say...

Gary Heard

Ahh, the days of CDE (Common Desktop Environment) where the screen was a uniform grey and you had to figure out how to get anything to run.

The change from KDE3 to KDE4 was a real mess, but that's years ago and KDE has been good for donkeys ages, I have both KDE and Gnome on my machine, almost always use KDE, sometimes look at Gnome to see what's new, but prefer KDE.

Someone earlier mentioned Konqueror, it's a brilliant program does browsing, File Management, allows multiple split screen operation, superb program.

Gary Heard

Re: nice to see...

That said, outside of my Pis (and I have several dozen between home and work) I tend to use OpenSuse. A decent 32-bit OS might make me revive my EeePC, which was latterly running 32 bit Mint, but was retired from frontline use about a year ago.

I've used OpenSuse for years, in fact from when it was just SuSE Linux, I think the first version I installed was 6.2. Always liked it, have tried Slackware, Red Hat/Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint and several others, now it's easy to try something new, just stick it in a VM, back in the day I had an old PC I'd try a new distro on. Always gone back to Suse (OpenSuse as is now), easy to install easy to change and YaST is a brilliant "Control Panel" that works with or without the GUI

Curiosity rover gives Mars the middle finger, prepares to get drilling

Gary Heard


Talk about "Impossible Engineering". Lovely comment lglethal, really put it in context. As for the scientists and engineers who figured out they could do this without the stabilising mechanism, Beers are due.

Microsoft to spooks: WannaCrypt was inevitable, quit hoarding

Gary Heard

How many times have I heard a "Windowsphile" say that? It would have a greater attack vector, that I would agree with, BUT (notice it's a BIG but) the basic design differences would require MUCH more work from miscreants.

The problem with Windows are multifaceted,

1) Closed Code

2) Reused code from years gone by

3) An architecture that never had any form of Security consideration when it was conceived

as this states for XP (for win 7 and above just prepend Windows Vista/7/8/10 64 bit extensions are.....)

Windows XP 32 bit extensions are a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/corporatejokes/microsoftjokes.html

Gary Heard

Re: El Reg Comments on Hacks

Sorry, that's a "FLUX Capacitor", if you are using a Flux Compensator you'll never be able to complain

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

Gary Heard

Re: This is only one example of BI's benefits

"We need everyone's contribution. I'm not in favour of workfare, there should be an entirely free choice of occupation - but for the sake of everyone's self-esteem, a general perception of fairness and helping to cover all those things that commerce and the state can't, people should work."

Sorry if this sounds sarcastic, it's not meant to be. But we cannot all be Reality TV Stars (which seems to be the "Hope" of a considerable number of people now.

"BI has a big problem of perception to overcome, in that it requires a large amount of money to be shovelled through taxation and back out to the citizenry; a lot of thought needs to be given to this. Rationally, it cannot be “too expensive” as it is a redistribution scheme, where gains and losses across the population balance out."

But what it hands out is always less than it takes in, and, from that, who do you want to decide how you spend the money you earn? Politicians? Very Brave of you to believe they have your welfare at heart and that the power of being in "control" isn't their drive

Finally, I always wonder at "The Law of unintended consequences" merging with "The devil makes work for idle hands"

Surprise, surprise. BT the only Universal Service Obligation provider in town

Gary Heard

\surely the USO would be on Openreach as the infrastructure provider? BT as a company made sure that they got "Superfast" into areas just as competition was starting, thus killing it. A relative put a lot of work and a considerable amount of money in getting costings to set up an ISP not too far from Cambridge where -- at the time -- there was no (known) plan to upgrade the exchange. Within a month of BT being asked about the use of ducts and poles in the area, there was an announcement that the exchange would be upgraded within 18 months, after that the bank wouldn't loan to the business, whereas previously they were keen as they saw the possibility of a profit and a growing business.

BT? Too keen to watch their bottom line and crush small business

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Gary Heard

Photos never give the scale justice!

I was lucky enough to go to Electric Mountain in a work related capacity. I still have a hand drawn diagram of the way it works and a (very) professional document detailing what the generators are capable of. The turbine hall sports 2 X 200T overhead cranes that have to be used in tandem to remove a turbine (weighing 350T).

It is also one of the grids "Black Start" power stations, used to restore the grid if there is a regional or national blackout. The generation of the AC phase (50Hz) is very precise as other stations coming on need to be "pulled" into phase by the reference station.

Fantastic bit of kit and amazing engineering

Steve Jobs, MS Office, Israel, and a basic feature Microsoft took 13 years to install

Gary Heard

Re: Cost and what they can screw out of you

This was 20+ years ago, "Wild West" time and guess who the cowboys were....???

BBC News website takes New Year's Eve break

Gary Heard


It's very erratic, working, gone, working again, gone again.

I think DDOS is the most likely cause, and if I was looking to bring the "Mighty" BBC down, I'd try it in the Christmas holidays. Some sysadmins on duty, but the majority I imagine will be off preparing for the change of the year.

Don't envy those working or those on call, I would imagine they are up to their necks in the mire.

Steely wonder? It's blind to 4G and needs armour: Samsung Galaxy S6

Gary Heard

Fingerprint detector

Strange that you say it can only register one finger. My Note4 can recognise 3, it's set up and works that way, My Wife, my Granddaughter and I all use the fingerprint recognition.

Surprised they would have gone backwards

Tell us, do you enjoy the thought of BT-EE's sweaty fourplay?

Gary Heard

Re: platitudes

+1 for that.

Openreach is a cash cow, the costs of renting their ducts and space in exchanges is much higher than it would be if Openreach did not have to pay its way (and more ) as part of BT

Interestingly BT are trying to put in fibre in my locality, it's (surpise surprise) behind schedule. Why? Many of the ducts carrying the current cable have collapsed (due to lack of investment). others are up to 10 meters away from where the BT maps show them to be

'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

Gary Heard

Re: Demon

I remeber Demon in the old days swinging from great service to crap to good again as the servers and lines were improved. Was still with them until Thus just destroyed them.

Since then have both my phone and BB with ICUK, they aren't perfect, but they helped me resolve a problem in the BT (Tier 1) exhange that ended with the DSLAM being changed to something modern and, I think, speeded the change from 20 to 21CN. Just waiting for my "Superfast BB" now, programmed for March -- we shall see

Mobe not-spots 'landmark deal'? We ain't thick, Javid

Gary Heard

A possible alternative to Roaming

As El Reg is so opposed to Network roaming (and I still do not buy the reasons they put forward) how about something slightly different?

Let's assume you are a country dweller like myself. My phone is on all the time, the networks can see what the capability of the mast I'm connecting to is. If I pay for a 3G plan, but the network is incapable of providing it, the network should rebate some of the (Network not Phone) charges associated with the account, that would mean that there is at least some incentive to upgrade services in rural areas

If you have a Suresignal or a Boostbox (Voda or O2 other suppliers exist) then you have a pseudo 3G connection using a picocell and your own broadband, but at least you have a signal, so, in places where there is minimum 2Mb broadband, the networks should be persuaded (forced) to give out the picocells free of charge, they should also allow the registration of any (same Network) mobile the contract owner wants ( usually fiends or family who pay their own way) irrespective of whether they are PAYG or Contract

YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

Gary Heard

Re: Gateway drug

Pulling together a couple of other memes on this thread.

I switched to Suse at Suse 7.0, had a few problems getting it going but been with it since. Just gone to Opensuse 13.2 and it's very, very good. There are a few things I have to run in Windows, as a result I've just virtualised my Windows using Virtualbox (pre Oracle) and still use it tothis day, but quite a bit less than I used to.

The good things? It's pretty if you want it to be, but you still have the power to control every part of the system at the command line if you want to.

The bad things, Sound -- PulseAudio is only just getting there, but at least it works out of the box now.

Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks

Gary Heard

Re: Would UMA help

As a "bumpkin" that owns a smartphone (actually 2 on different networks) I think UMA is a wonderful idea, however, we end up back at the problem where a Mobile "Not Spot" is also a broadband "Not Spot".

Someone's suggestion of making the "national" MNO's actually be national is a good idea

How do my smartphones work? by sucking 25% of my broadband capacity -- Voda Suresignal and O2 Boostbox, but at least I can make a call.

Apparently next year BT will finally let me get a BB connection in excess of 20Mb

Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER

Gary Heard

Re: Seems pointless.

Need some new glasses......

OpenSUSE 13.1: Oh look, a Linux with YOU in mind (and 64-bit ARMs)

Gary Heard


Is a good tool, but to bet the best out of it you need t add the extpack (otherwise only USB1.1 will work) and Box once installed you need to add the Virtual Tools on the distro, should have all resolution screens then.

But I use windows in OpenSuse, not OpenSuse in Windows.

I still think it's a great distro ( and 12.3 was one I had problems with)

Gary Heard

I've used openSuse as my primary desktop (and laptop) since openSuse 11.0, had a couple of problems early on, but has been rock solid for years. I will admit to being slightly underwhelmed when I installed 13.1, looked exactly the same, then I noticed the increase in speed, quite a bit faster.

I have to use windows 7 for my work environment and running that in Virtualbox has been as easy as pie.

Great distribution, I'd recommend it to anyone, both for Desktop and Laptop

Comet ISON perhaps NOT GARBAGE after all - glows GREEN in latest snaps

Gary Heard

Or, considering it's going to be late November/ early December, it will be magnificent, but we Brits will have 14 days of complete cloud cover and miss it all

Ofcom, it's WAR! Mobe networks fire broadside over 2G spectrum pricing

Gary Heard

Re: lies, damned lies and then statistics (and then PR campaigns by telecom companies)

b) for the population it is better to have a service that works, even if it is slightly more expensive to make it more efficient (so that our telecoms companies aren't all providing 1g services, while hoarding spectrum, because there is no incentive to invest to do stuff with that spectrum)...

I'm one of the people who choose to live in the country, a 1G service would mean a usable mobile signal from any of the big carriers (O2, Voda or EE). Is there one? No there isn't, O2 Boostbox or Voda Suresignal systems work, but use your own Broadband (at 3Mbps) to connect. Compare this with Albania where I got a 3G signal when "Out in the sticks" on a day trip this year.

The Telcos are all laughing at us

Gary Heard

Re: For perspective

Sorry, over what timescale is this charge? Is it currently GBP 0.65 per day, per month, per year? An increase to GBP 3.01 per year would be negligible for the Telcos, but if that's a monthly fee that's a big jump

OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Gary Heard

Re: Why?

But if you are on an exchange "out in the sticks" no matter who your ISP is the actual people managing it is Openreach.

I had a problem with a VPN connection in that every time the phone rang the broadband ( and hence the VPN) dropped.My ISP (also my phone provider) sent a BT engineer round who tested the line and declared "no problem with the line",, but would recommend that the DSLAM in the exchange was changed.

VPN Still dropped

I forced my ISP to send round an Openreach Broadband engineer (and that was hard work as Openreach AUTOMATICALLY invoice the ISP for a BB engineer EVEN if they are in the wrong, so I had to agree that if no fault was found I'd pay for the visit.

I also sent a mail to the woman in charge of Openreach explaining that an engineer had said that he thought the DSLAM should be changed -- and received a reply telling me my ISP must own the problem, I further explained that IF the equipment in the exchange was changed neither I or my ISP would have any visibility of the change -- at which point she agreed to escalate it within Openreach in order to inform me.

To cut a long story short, after that escalation, an Openreach engineer came out on a Sunday and I overheard his conversation with the main BT Helpdesk. They told him there was a problem with the DSLAM -- that had ALWAYS existed--and the ONLY way to fix it was to replace it.

A couple of emails later, one to Openreach and one to my ISP and (magically, it was fixed the following Wednesday, new DSLAM so fixed for everyone who would want to use VPN on the exchange.

Fianl point is that Openreach STILL tried to invoice the ISP for the work they had done -- even though the equipment was faulty.

The ISP told them where to go.....

Boffins, Tunnel Tigers and Scotland's world-first power mountain

Gary Heard

Re: Ffestiniog and Dinorwig

I was lucky enough to go to Dinorwig for business reasons and had an individual tour of the plant by a very enthusiastic member of staff. I didn't even know what a "Black Start" power station was until that tour, the surge pond is the most impressive thing in my mind, when they shut the valves that allow water to flow to the turbines a back pressure flows up towards the top lake. But the top of the pipe that lets the water flow to the turbines is open, and water from the back pressure cascades up into the air before settling in the surge pond.

Awesome place

Linux 3.11 to be known as 'Linux for Workgroups'

Gary Heard


We had Trumpet installed at our workplace, the general feeling was that it was miles better than the MS offering.

The thought of downloading off a BBS, I'd say "Good Old Days", except they weren't, give me the web any day