* Posts by Franco

924 posts • joined 11 Apr 2008


The Eigiau Dam Disaster: Deluges and deceit at the dawn of hydroelectric power

Franco Silver badge

I never knew until recently just how many hydroelectric schemes in the UK were originally for aluminium production.

I'm planning to do the West Highland Way this year and there's a very similar setup near Kinlochleven, the owners were in a bit of trouble lately over broken promises to the local community. It's the last remaining smelter in the UK apparently https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57176329

Whatever you've been doing during lockdown, you better stop it right now

Franco Silver badge

Stinky microwave breakfast. I've mentioned before on these pages going to a customers site where one of the DBAs used to eat microwaved hot bananas for breakfast, which is a truly ungodly smell (I'll mark up my own score on 3wise for that one)

Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

Franco Silver badge

Huh, didn't know Fastly used 123-reg for their DNS.....

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

Franco Silver badge

I moved house a while back (don't try this during lockdown, it's not fun) and as a result ended up having to buy some new pieces of furniture, which included a new TV unit as in my flat it was in a corner and it's now against a wall. The new unit came with an LED light package which clips on to the glass shelves at either end so you can make them look like one big light bar. So now even my TV unit has a remote! And not only that, the remote for my YouView box turns it on and changes the lighting sequence on it, often at the expense of changing the channel like it was supposed to.

Remember those wacky cyberpunk costumes in Hackers? They're on display in London this week

Franco Silver badge

Re: Capsizing oil tankers via software

Yep, between IPv6 and its idea that everything in the world should have a routable addresss and the proliferation of internet access satellites being launched it won't be long before admins start to think it's a good idea to be able to remote connect to everything out of laziness. it'll start off as VPNs that shouldn't be accessible outside the company network, until someone opens a firewall for something and forgets to close it again....

Franco Silver badge

Re: Soundtrack

Not seen it for a good while myself but I don't really remember any sort of command line hackery, I do recall such ridiculous things as a kaleidoscope type effect as the hackers "travelled" down the cables to their target and fancy custome splash screens on the hackers laptops as they booted up which were far beyond the capabilities of the consumer hardware of the time.

Firefox to adopt Chrome's new approach to extensions – sans the part that threatens ad blockers

Franco Silver badge

Re: Forking Firefox ?

If we do go down the Fireforks route then essentially Google wins.

At the moment, despite their reliance on Google cash (which comes for making Google the default search engine in Firefox), Firefox is pretty much the only independent browser. The other options are from major companies (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari) or use the Chromium engine and so are very similar to both Chrome and Edge. The next options are probably Opera and Brave, both also Chromium based. Firefox, for all its flaws, is a trusted name and a genuine alternative to the others, which would be lost with a fork.

Whoop! Robot/human high-fives all round! Oh, my fingers have disintegrated

Franco Silver badge

I see this on Youtube as well. For the most part I subscribe to bands on there, but the one anomaly is Binging with Babish because making food inspired by films and TV appeals to my nerdy side, so of course Youtube recommends me nothing but food channels, or switches to nothing but DIY channels because I watched a video to fix something that I never need to know how to do again.

As another vendor promises 3 years of Android updates, we ask: How long should mobile devices receive support?

Franco Silver badge

Re: 5.

Agreed. Microsoft (rightly) get plenty of abuse for various things but even their OS's that no one uses (like Vista and Windows 8) got the statutory 5 years full support and 5 years extended support, and I don't know how long Apple provide support for but I'm pretty sure it's longer than the 2+1 support on the AndroidOne program.

Google really need to be leading the field here, given their tendency to bug hunt in other people's software and then publicly disclose the bug if it isn't patched quickly enough for their Google's liking.

Gone in 60 electrons: Digital art swaggers down the cul-de-sac of obsolescence

Franco Silver badge

Re: Synchronicity

Screwfix, Wilko and Argos all sell them so not obscure shops.

Franco Silver badge


I was at my Mum's house last weeked setting up a TV for her in a bedroom that doesn't have an aerial point, and needed an extra cable to run the standalone aerial from the window ledge to the back of the TV. Upon rummaging in the cupboard of junk (and not finding a cable, had to go out and buy one) I DID find my old VHS boxset of the Star Wars Special Edition Trilogy along with a VHS player that mercifully still works and my own TV has a SCART port to plug it in to. The remote doesn't work (batteries had been left in it and had destroyed much of the PCB) but I did still get to watch them on Star Wars day this week.

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?

Franco Silver badge

Re: You have not responded for two minutes...

A few years ago I claimed for my missold PPI. I got sent a 40 page form to fill out in the mail, then got a letter dated a week after the form had been sent telling me my case had been closed for lack of response, despite the forms actually arriving only 2 days before the closure letter.

Went straight to the ombudsman after that and got £50 extra on top of my refund for their nonsense, the bank also got a considerable dressing down for deliberate attempts to put off legitimate claimants.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Sounds like my HR department

Do you work for the Post Office? That sounds very like Horizon (I can say that seeing as they and the Post Office got a very public smack on the bottom this morning)

Franco Silver badge

Never seen the Reg's 404 page, but check the link below for what is (IMO) the best 404 I've ever seen, from the offical website of The Sisters of Mercy.

Moving on to error messages, it's actually a slight step up to see "An error has occurred" as opposed to "an unexpected error has occurred", the implication being with the latter that the software was so shit it was expecting to fail at any second and so needed to have both expected and unexpected errors.


Huawei wins big intellectual property case in Europe – against fashion house Chanel

Franco Silver badge

Hmmmm. Both of those logos look like excessively curved bananas, which is a fruit, so Apple will probably be suing them both before long, on the grounds that Chanel selling stuff at a huge markup because of their brand is their exclusive territory.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site

Franco Silver badge

Been dealing with this myself lately. My contract ended in January and wasn't extended, I was working on a desktop refresh program that had be ended due to the lockdown. Between lockdown and now the IR35 change there are slim pickings out there for true contractors (idiots who refer to contractors as tax dodgers, please take this as a pre-emptive FUCK OFF) and whilst I am seeing a few short term gigs for getting PCs built and on desks I am far too qualified for these roles as I'm usually the one creating the image that goes on them, not deploying them and so recruiters tend to ignore or politely decline my applications.

Dell to spin out remaining VMware stake, cements Friends With Benefits status for at least five years

Franco Silver badge

Would hope there are some changes because everyone I know says VMware support has got worse and worse throughout the Dell years.

Nominet chooses civil war over compromise by rejecting ex-BBC Trust chairman

Franco Silver badge

Better switch to something else for a while and get ready for the Autonomy trial verdict.

Entirely as expected though, unless a way is found to force the board out completely they'll keep doing stuff like this

How to ensure your tech predictions catch on in a flash? Do the mash

Franco Silver badge

Re: Live Action Gerry Anderson

Depended on hair colour where I was. Kids with glasses and pale blonde hair were the milky bar kid. Just as kids with big foreheads (like me) were Tefal.

Franco Silver badge

Growing up in the 80s Terrahawks was my introduction to Gerry Anderson, so HUDSON the talking car was an alternative to KITT except all Hudson could do that I can recall was talk and change his colour to match Kate Kestral's hair. Best part of the show was Windsor Davies's dialled up to 11 voice acting as Sgt Major Zero though.

Not usually a fan of mashups, but I always quite liked Kings of Leon vs Girls Aloud for some reason.


Nominet ignores advice, rejects serious change despite losing CEO, chair, half its board in membership vote

Franco Silver badge

Anyone who didn't see this coming? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Not that being booted out for incompetence has ever really hindered the career of people with enough connections on the old boy network, but given Nominet's intransigence on the EGM procedures and votes it was always likely they were going to do whatever they wanted until they are forced out.

Browser tracking protections won't stop tracking, warns DuckDuckGo

Franco Silver badge

Re: <sigh>

And if only developers followed them....

(Not blaming the devs specifically, I know they do what they're told to by management before I get chased out of here with torches and pitchforks)

Franco Silver badge

Yeah, it's definitely rights issues with the BBC as a lot of the video clips (iPlayer content plus sports highlights) are restricted to the UK. It is annoying when it happens though.

On the flipside of that there are still US based websites completely unavailable in Europe because they refuse to comply with GDPR.

Franco Silver badge

I don't trust it, I'm a Firefox user, but we're almost regressing to the days of little icons saying designed for Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Chrome has such a large market share that the internet is often designed around it, so when Firefox doesn't work as expected I use Edge rather than Chrome seeing as it's Chromium based.

Franco Silver badge

I've always had a strong dislike of Chrome given Google's tactics of mass drive by downloads to get it on to so many machines. Plus MS's bundled browsers have sucked donkey balls (New version of Edge is at least usable but far from "good")

However having recently been working on a desktop refresh project where Chrome is the preferred browser, I've had to use it a bit recently for testing GPOs are applying correctly, and it really is not (IMO) a good browser. Slow, clunky, and is determined to ID my country (incorrectly) by geolocation meaning I constantly have to override settings. (This is definitely the browser, because the same sites on the same PC in other browsers work fine)

Deloitte settled HPE's Autonomy lawsuit for $45m back in 2016 and agreed to cooperate with US DoJ

Franco Silver badge

Re: Not quite...

Thanks for the clarification, that just makes things worse for HP though. We got a second auditor in, but ignored them, but everything is Autonomy's fault because the first auditor says so. Oh, and we didn't pay them to say that, honest.

Franco Silver badge

I interpreted it as we massively overpaid for something that our CFO told us not to buy at all, the auditors that we hired did a bad job and didn't find evidence of bad practices but have admitted they did a bad job so please don't hold the fact that we never bothered to read their report anyway against us.

It's very clear from the evidence that it was going to take a lot more red flags than were found to stop Apotheker and the board from completing the purchase. Around the same time HP also massively overpaid for ArcSight and 3PAR, and also bought Palm with less than successful results.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords

Franco Silver badge

Re: Protect?

Or taking pictures of your own daughter eating ice cream (this happened TEN years ago under anti-terrorism laws)


The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage

Franco Silver badge


Seems relevant to whether or not he prefers coffee or tea.

Franco Silver badge


"Don't the British prefer tea?"

Not this Brit. I agree with James Bond, it's mud.

Everything you need to know about the HPE v Mike Lynch High Court case

Franco Silver badge

Re: Why so pro-Autonomy?

No, that's why you have the neutral third party (at least, the 3rd party is supposed to be neutral but that's another story). I can't speak for other countries but in Scotland it is a legal requirement to have a surveyor-prepared home report on every property sold. If I am buying a house with a mortgage then the mortgage provider sees the report too. If I am buying the house outright then it is all on me if I ignore what is in the report.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Why so pro-Autonomy?

Two seperate issues.

1. If Autonomy WERE cooking the books (which has not been established) then yes, they should be punished for that

2. I have no sympathy for a company that wants to buy another one, pays to have the due diligence done, ignores both the concerns of their own CFO and any concerns that were in the due diligence (which they admitted to not having thourghly read) and then cries foul.

If I bought a house that a surveyor said was falling down, but I ignored the report and the advice, that's on me, not on the people selling it.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Not the end

"What still has me baffled is that while in the in US you can more or less file a lawsuit for just about anything you consider to be a legitimate grievance and actually be accepted in court, no class action has been taken by HPE shareholder's against the company and/or all those involved."

They did, it was settled out of court (in the HP days, before the split)



Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles

Franco Silver badge

Re: Hyphen

The grammar pedants would tell you that would be e'mail

Franco Silver badge


So long as this doesn't mean he's next on Oprah.

With Nominet’s board-culling vote just days away, we speak to one man who will publicly support the management

Franco Silver badge

Re: "there should be a dialogue – not a double-barreled shotgun"

Exactly, it's only come to this because Nominet have refused to engage in any way until their hand has been forced.

'No' does not mean 'yes'... unless you are a scriptwriter for software user interfaces

Franco Silver badge


If Edmund is the yardstick then the correct tiers are Prince, Lord, Mr/Esquire and Captain.

Franco Silver badge

"but absolutely fuckity-wank-all about the app."

Right up there with websites and their "Contact Us" pages. Which contain links to social media pages staffed by work experience kids if they are ever looked at at all.

Huge if true: If you show people articles saying that Firefox is faster than Chrome, they'll believe it

Franco Silver badge

Do they? That's an actual question rather than a rhetorical one, because I'll be very interested to see how Chrome's market share stands up now that Adobe Flash is dead and Chrome's primary source of drive-by downloads is gone. Java is also much less of a thing than it was too.

I know Android is by far the dominant mobile OS so the numbers will stay high there, and iOS is a closed shop, but curious to see how the numbers change on the desktop over time, especially now that Chromium Edge has replaced the legacy version on Windows 10.

Cortana smokes Invoke: Redmond's chatty assistant bails from the only smart speaker it called home

Franco Silver badge

Cortana was actually very good at being Shazam without all the spam, or was until Microsoft killed Groove Music and there was no money in IDing songs anymore.

Still yet to see the appeal of smart speakers though, I have an Echo Dot (it was a gift) and it's off most of the time. My new TV wanted to enable integration with Alexa during setup, I politely declined that option.

So it appears some of you really don't want us to use the word 'hacker' when we really mean 'criminal'

Franco Silver badge

Re: 'If 'lifehack' isn't pejorative, 'hack' shouldn't be either.

The only trouble with that is I think thoughts that could definitely be classed as pejorative about people who use phrases like lifehacks. Mind you I have similar thoughts about headlines that begin with "So" so the problem is likely me in this case.

The torture garden of Microsoft Exchange: Grant us the serenity to accept what they cannot EOL

Franco Silver badge

Re: Ah...Exchange Admin

"Well, in fairness to Microsoft it's a lot easier to muddle through when you have no idea what you are doing with the GUI than a CLI so I can understand the desire to move more towards a CLI"

There was a long standing rumour that the move to PowerShell/CLI from Exchange 2007 onwards was a deliberate choice because of how trivially easy it was for people who didn't know what they were doing to break Exchange 2003. 2003 had massive market share, even in small businesses because of how popular SBS 2003 was.

Doesn's excuse some of the awful design choices though. For example, seeing as someone earlier mentioned message tracking, who thought it was a good idea to display results as an image in the GUI? If you want to be able to search or sort results based on email address (which I usually do unless it's a quick confirmation of send or receipt for someone) then it's in to PowerShell.

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?

Franco Silver badge

I was working for an organisation that was rather old-fashioned and very much against remote working. We were prepping for a desktop refresh so I had SCCM brought up to date and had test deployments of lots of software, we ended up pushing the VPN Client and Teams to everyone who hadn't been refreshed yet.

Had lots of issues with the VPN, pretty much entirely because no design ever went in to it, it hadn't been planned for but was a feature of the newly installed firewall so got used as it was quicker than what I wanted to do which was deploy DirectAccess/Always-On VPN because some bright spark had deployed Windows Pro rather than Enterprise during the last desktop refresh.

The sooner AI stops trying to mimic human intelligence, the better – as there isn't any

Franco Silver badge

One of the weirdest thing about it is due to the limitations of computers at the time the New York skyline didn't include the Twin Tower

Franco Silver badge

I am reminded of the wonderful game Deus Ex.

The Illuminati created an AI called Daedalus to advise them, and eventually to analyse the data captured by the Echelon system and identify terrorist groups and threats to the Illuminati. Unfortunately, due to a "pattern matching" error, the Illuminati themselves were classified as a terrorist organisation as well.

HPE urges judge to pick through Deloitte-bashing report it claims demolishes Autonomy founder's defence

Franco Silver badge

Classic HP. Their new defence (months after the court case actually ended) is that the report provided by their auditors (that they admitted to having read at best cursorily) invalidates the defence of the person they provided the auditor to when they tried to buy his company.

Half a million stolen French medical records, drowned in feeble excuses

Franco Silver badge

8 glasses

I got this myself, I had a mild kidney infection a few years ago and was told to take the anti-biotics, drink less coffee and at least 8 glasses of water a day. It's like reading American recipes that have everything in cups, when did a glass became an SI unit of volume?

Nominet sets the date for extraordinary meeting where members could fire CEO

Franco Silver badge

Re: Commercial activity

I wouldn't worry about 123-reg's vote, they'll have fucked their own DNS so they can't get online to vote anyway.

Franco Silver badge


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.



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