* Posts by Dave K

723 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008

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University ordered to stop running women-only job ads

Dave K Silver badge

I agree with this. Speaking to my wife (who is a university senior lecturer herself), she is proud that she has her current job purely on merit, not just "because she's female". If companies want to improve their gender balance - and they should, the solution is to provide more opportunities for women so that you have more women able to take up these roles and to compete. Simply excluding men from the application process is not the solution.

In my own role, I've hired a number of people over the years. Given that this is for IT technician stuff, applicants are often quite heavily male dominated, however I've hired a number of women over the past few years. Thing is, they were all hired because they were the best candidates at the time. That means they can hold their own in the role and do just as good a job as everyone else in my team, that means that the team works well together and the female engineers aren't seen to be there just as a box-ticking exercise.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Actual sound quality

To be fair, most modern music is flat lines in an audio editor *before* it reaches the radio station. The stations applying further processing and compression to an already heavily compressed audio source just means the result sounds even more crap.

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

Dave K Silver badge

Re: LTSC?

My work laptop is still on 1709, although the company is preparing to upgrade to 1909 in the next month or so. To be honest, I don't mind. There are pretty much zero benefits I can think of to my daily work from a newer build, and instead the risk of my system borking during the upgrade and hence preventing me from getting anything done is of bigger concern to me.

Dave K Silver badge

LTSC?

It would be interesting to know if that 5% of people on 1809 includes LTSC builds or not. It is of course the latest release for LTSC at the moment and is the reason why a couple of my VMs will report this version.

Microsoft takes tweaking tongs to Windows 10's Start Menu once again

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Edgy

I often browse with quite a lot of tabs open. Including them within Alt-Tab just adds extra incentive not to use Edge.

As it is, I've seen screenshots of the new start menu, it really is just a case of applying a little bit of lipstick to a pig. It still looks crap and in need of a complete overhaul. Or ideally, just revert it back to something more like the start menu from Windows 7.

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

Dave K Silver badge

Re: It worked once, ship it!

You can also add built-in redundancy to that as well. If the Max had been fitted with three AOA sensors and a computer that could "vote out" a faulty sensor, it's highly likely that the crashes wouldn't have happened. Instead, MCAS got data from a single sensor, and the cockpit alarm to warn of an AOA disagree with the second sensor ended up being an "optional extra".

Dave K Silver badge

Re: One question

If that were the case, why did the FAA resist grounding the plane after the second fatal crash? It was only after it had been grounded by almost every country in the world that the FAA finally grounded it in America too.

What you say is what is supposed to happen. The problem is that in the case of the 737 Max, it didn't happen. That is the problem.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Brexit sat-nav eh?

No, yours is the jacket devoid of any jokes or common sense. In fact, white is quite an appropriate colour come to think of it...

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Dave K Silver badge

There is no price...

The thing is, this is for a new model of phone. Hence there is no existing price for the phone with the accessories, so Apple can strip the accessories and we cannot tell if they've adjusted the price or not.

In all honesty, the move does make sense actually and some other phone companies should do the same. I've got dozens of USB chargers and several pairs of headphones kicking around as they often outlive their original device. Hence if a new phone came without these, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. Similar to when I was office based, we had boxes full of spare chargers and headphones...

It's now safe to turn off your computer shop: Microsoft to shutter its bricks-and-mortar retail locations worldwide

Dave K Silver badge

Re: "Surface RT attempted to compete with iPads and was a dismal failure."

True, I don't think Apple's approach is that great either. Microsoft tried to turn a Windows computer into a walled-garden and incompatible tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is trying to turn walled-garden tablets into proper computers. I don't think either approach is particularly wise, although Apple do have a better track record with succeeding with wacky ideas I guess...

Dave K Silver badge

Track record

MS doesn't seem to have a good track record when it comes to copying and competing with the hipsters.

Silverlight never displaced Flash, now is practically dead.

Zune never fared well against iPods and died as a result.

Windows Phone never made much of a dent against iOS and is now dead.

Edge barely made any impact against Chrome and is now just a Chrome-alike clone in many respects.

Surface RT attempted to compete with iPads and was a dismal failure.

And now Microsoft Stores are dead having never had anything like the impact of Apple stores.

Maybe instead of coming late to the game and trying to copy and compete against an established rival product, MS should focus more on trying to come up with genuinely new innovations instead (stop sniggering back there!)

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Dave K Silver badge

I love hearing excuses for broken kit. I had a lecturer when I worked at a university some time back who brought in a PC from home (university machine, used for "home working"). The front of the case had a big dent, the plastic lip above the drive-bays was broken and it looked as if someone had hit the top of the case repeatedly with a hammer (numerous deep, circular dents).

Without flinching, the lecturer explained that he was having his carpet replaced, the carpet guys had picked up the PC, only for the top lip to break, so the PC fell and landed upside-down in their toolbox. Then when he was driving in that morning with the PC in the car, some idiot had pulled out in-front of him, so he'd slammed on the brakes and the PC had shot forwards in the boot and this explained the huge dent in the front.

It took all my self restraint to keep a straight face...

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Alternatives are good.

Our dog learnt a vital lesson as a young puppy that electrical cables are not to be touched. It was during the night and my wife and I were suddenly woken up by a sudden thump and a howl of terror from our puppy. Seemed she found the cable for my wife's hair dryer hanging down (plug was obviously switched off) and decided to tug on the cable with her teeth - only to suddenly be hit by the hair dryer as it fell off the chest of drawers.

Worked a treat as it happens as she has given mains leads a wide berth ever since!

Windows fails to reach the Finnish line as Helsinki signage pleads for help

Dave K Silver badge

Disruptive service

I always find it amusing how these dialogs talk about how "Windows is a service" as if that is a positive thing - at the same time telling you that this means some annoying disruption. All these dialogs do is confirm that "Windows as a service" means additional disruption, rather than anything positive.

Of course, quite why the hell they're running the normal, full-fat Windows 10 is a mystery. If they *have* to run Windows 10 (and I highly doubt this), at least bung the LTSC version on there...

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Dave K Silver badge

Virtualising a fax server

Nearly 10 years ago, I moved to a new company. We were busy tidying up all the IT infrastructure (way too many clunky and old physical servers doing menial tasks). I was given the task of virtualising the fax server. It wasn't used much any more for obvious reasons, but was still required occasionally.

All seemed straightforward until I realised that HyperV doesn't support (or at least didn't then) the connecting of physical serial ports on the host to a guest VM. I ended up cobbling together a solution using a couple of freebie tools (com0com and hub2com) to create a virtual com port on the guest which tunnelled the serial data to a specific port on the network. The same tool running on the host intercepted that network port and routed the data back to the physical serial port on the machine (where the fax modem was connected).

And it worked as well! I was always quite proud of that little workaround.

ServiceNow slammed for 'tone deaf' letter telling customers contracts can't be tweaked as COVID-19 batters businesses

Dave K Silver badge

Re: We use Service Now where I work...

If you think it boils down to "hindsight", you're as blind as Boris. The data was there, he chose to ignore it.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Ah IT 'managers'

Oh absolutely, the guy in the story isn't a good manager. He's a crap manager, has rightly lost the respect and support of his team and deserves his comeuppance.

Good managers listen to their team, understand where their team's expertise lies and trusts the people in their team to know what they are doing in situations such as this.

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Ah IT 'managers'

Not all managers fall into those groups you know. Some (such as myself) spent many years doing IT technician work, moved up to team-leader level before progressing into a more managerial role. Thing is, a good manager in that position will realise and recognise where their knowledge may have become a little outdated and will trust the experience of those technicians that work for them.

I still know my way pretty well around Windows 10, Office, networking and all that, but for up-to-date foibles of certain business apps and the rest of it, I'm happy to defer to the experience of my team. The problem arises when a manager *thinks* he knows everything and doesn't trust his own team.

Windows 10 once more in print condition: Microsoft applies out-of-band fix to Patch Tuesday cock-up

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Why do people put with this nonsense?

I agree with most, but not the "Satya in the right direction" comment. IMO one of the high-points of Windows was probably 7. It was far from perfect and had its issues, but it did have a clean and relatively consistent user interface, you could drop it down to the "classic" UI if you didn't like Aero, it incorporated a lot of security improvements that XP was sadly lacking and was generally pretty stable.

Since then, Windows has gone backwards IMO and nothing will convince me that the poorly-tested, data-slurping, hopelessly-inconsistent, constantly "upgrading" and bug-ridden Windows 10 is moving in the right direction at all.

If Fairphone can support a 5-year-old handset, the other vendors could too. Right?

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Consumers aren’t being served by Android

Exactly, phones have increasingly plateaued, and if anything new phones have less features than those they're replacing.

My current Android phone is touching 5 years old (LG G4). It has an SD card slot, headphone jack, and removable battery. If I buy a new phone now, I'll almost certainly lose one or more of those features. The removable battery in particular has been key to the longevity of the phone as it meant I could easily swap the original, fading battery for a new one.

Other than that, the camera is surprisingly good for a phone of its age, performance is brisk and I'm struggling to see any features of a new phone that stand out. The only issue with the phone? Lack of updates. I get around this by not using it for Internet banking and being careful with the websites and apps I use on it.

Overload: A one-way ticket to a madman's situation

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Brings back memories

I also came from a family with a 386 DX33 with 4MB RAM (later upgraded to 8MB), although we only had a 512k graphics card. I did remember my dad shelling out a small fortune for a 440MB hard drive to go in the thing alongside the 85MB original - it was huge for the time when all software came on floppy disks!

From the article, there is actually one small inaccuracy (if I put my pedant hat on). Intel's desktop 386s topped out at 33MHz, only AMD made a 40MHz 386 CPU...

Wailing Wednesday follows Patch Tuesday as versions of Windows 10 stop playing nicely with plugged-in printers

Dave K Silver badge

Re: HP laptop keyboard borked

My approach with updates is always to wait a couple of weeks after the update is released before installing it. I figure that I'm far more likely to be negatively affected by a bug in the update than by an unpatched exploit during those two weeks. Usually after a couple of weeks, any major issues have been reported and I can then decide if they're an issue for me.

Of course for Windows 10, it involves either 3rd party tools, or manipulating the Windows Update service to gain this level of control (my main PC is still on Windows 7, so less of an issue). Still, it's a sad state of affairs when I consider that damage to the functionality of my PC is far more likely to come from Microsoft than 3rd party malware...

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Good riddance

I got my first job that way as well, although thankfully they couldn't be arsed going through all the interviews again and simply offered me the job as I was apparently their "second best" candidate. Thought they were just being kind when they told me that originally, until they phoned me two weeks later to offer me the job.

Dave K Silver badge

A bit, but it is still a fair amount. My first proper job was in 2004 at a local council, and the Windows 2000 PCs there had between 128MB and 512MB of RAM. To be fair, Win 2k ran like crap with 128MB and I remember upgrading many a system to 256MB after receiving another support ticket of "PC running very slowly".

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Memories

I remember the wonderous fun of upgrading to a single speed CD drive (one with the big ejecting caddy you put the CD into) and a sound card. Luxury at the time!

Dave K Silver badge

You win, it was a 32K BBC Micro when I was little, although we had a floppy disk drive, so I could feel smug when seeing how long it took my friend's Spectrum to load things from cassette!

Dave K Silver badge

A Windows 95 PC with 2GB of RAM? Sorry, that's incorrect.

When Windows 95 came along, a decent PC would have in the region of 16MB to 32MB of RAM, and it wasn't uncommon to find lower-end systems sporting 8MB. In fact if I recall, Win95 had problems booting if you had more than 480MB of RAM in your system.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Forcing us to the Cloud 'Solution' and Subscription Hell?

Yep! I have an old NAS I liberated from the bin at work which I use for backup purposes. Maximum drive size it takes is only 1.5TB (four slots) and write speed is pretty crap due to the age of the thing (roughly 10MB/s maximum - despite having a 1Gb Ethernet connection). Thing is, that's still nearly 10 times my broadband upload speed (roughly 1MB/s), so although syncing 100GB to it takes a few hours, it would take *days* if I were to try and sync an amount like that online.

Dave K Silver badge

I do. 1TB SSD as the system drive, two 6TB rust spinners for data storage.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Dave K Silver badge

Re: 128MB USB? Did they stole them from a time capsule or what?

Have you not seen the price that rare antiques can fetch these days?

Twitter ticks off Trump with new 'Get the facts' alert on pair of fact-challenged tweets

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Ooh, fun!

You mean #barnardcastle

The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

Dave K Silver badge

Re: The interface formerly known as....

I see the point, but this doesn't excuse the flatness. Back in the 90s, IRIX (SGIs version of Unix) used vector graphics for all the icons, you could scale them to be as large or as small as you wanted without any impact on quality, yet everything still had a pleasant (for the time) 3D look to it. You can make nice looking vector graphics that scale properly on larger/smaller screens - if you can be bothered with the effort. Problem is that MS have gone for the blandest, most minimal design possible and it looks dreary as a result.

Dave K Silver badge

Re: "an ill-advised redesign"

I'm so thankful that the people behind WinAeroTweaker also created a bundle of all the Windows 7 games that will install correctly on Windows 10. Hence no crappy Store versions, you get the cleaner and far more pretty Win7/Aero versions of Solitaire, as well as Minesweeper, Mahjongg etc.

Project Reunion: Microsoft's attempt to tear down all those barriers it's built for Windows developers over the years

Dave K Silver badge

Could not agree more.

Although W10 has numerous issues such as the updates, telemetry etc, the primary reason I don't like it is because the UI is a complete and utter mess.

There's a complete lack of consistency due to "modern" bits and "classic" bits all mis-mashed together, plus the modern bits look flat, bland and utterly lifeless. With Windows 7, the interface looked pretty polished and it looked as if designers actually cared how it looked and how functional it was. You don't get that feeling with Windows 10, there's no "wow" factor at all, it just looks shit to be completely frank.

Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two

Dave K Silver badge

Agreed, I quite liked that one. I'm also fond of Microsoft (not responding) due to how many times bloody Outlook does that with me.

Latest Microsoft 365 'wave of innovation' really just involves adding or renaming a bunch of update channels

Dave K Silver badge

Re: All I want to know is ...

I also hate how every UI update seems to introduce more and more white space everywhere. Alongside my main work laptop, I have an older customer laptop which only has a crappy 1366x768 display. Originally it was manageable, but lately Outlook is almost unusable on it due to the ever increasing bumpf and spacing all over the place. And the thing is, it isn't as if there's a single bit of useful additional functionality I've noticed, it's just a constant stream of pointless dicking about with the user interface, with each update steadily making things worse.

The end really is nigh – for 32-bit Windows 10 on new PCs

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Amazed it took them this long

Not saying there isn't still a market for 32bit Windows, this is about MS discontinuing the OEM "pre-installed" Win10 32bit images. Retail/volume license versions still continue, so no issues with using Win10 32bit on an older machine, VM etc.

Dave K Silver badge

Amazed it took them this long

I'm honestly surprised it took them this long. Pretty much the only people using 32bit Windows these days are either existing people with older PCs, or some machines in certain circumstances that run applications/hardware that doesn't support 64bit Windows (possibly an ancient 16bit app). These are unlikely in home use and mainly just in some certain business situations, plus for these the 32bit media is still available for companies to install.

Either way, no reason at all for PC makers to pre-install 32bit Windows 10 with their kit in this day and age.

Driveway karaoke singer who wanted to lift lockdown spirits cops council noise complaint

Dave K Silver badge

It's about choice

People doing daft things, streaming them online for people to choose to watch - this is fine. The problem here is that by blaring away for 3 hours in front of your house, you're *forcing* everyone nearby to have to listen. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the guy that some people might not want to listen to karaoke - especially not for 3 hours.

I appreciate he meant well, but he should find another outlet for this, rather than forcing his idea of entertainment down the ears of all his neighbours.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Dave K Silver badge

Thunderstorm

Because they used to create software for microcomputers (hence Microsoft), but have gone all cloud lately. And when you move everything and more into the clouds, you'll eventually end up with a thunderstorm.

Plus using Microsoft products often gives you that dark grumbly feeling when they keep changing/renaming everything every 5 seconds.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Dave K Silver badge

Actually, you'd be surprised. The O2 was a bit of an oddity, but it did have a unique "universal memory" architecture for the time. The graphics weren't the most powerful, but it could do pretty cool things by using videos in system RAM as textures in a model by simply passing the pointer (as the memory was shared between graphics and system).

Unfortunately it was mis-sold by some SGI sales reps as a replacement for the older and far more graphically beefy Indigo2, this did hurt SGI's reputation a bit when some customers found the graphics performance of their new systems to be poorer than their old ones.

UK IT contractors slipping back into old ways of working now IR35 tax reforms delayed

Dave K Silver badge

At my place, contractors are more expensive than employees and for the work we do, we have a mixture of about 60% employees to 40% contractors. Why do we have contractors if they cost us more? Flexibility. Workload and demand are constantly changing, and contractors are far easier to source and release than employees are.

Microsoft puts dual-screen devices and Windows 10X in the too-hard basket

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Dual Screen Woes

This! Although I love multiple screens, apps frequently open on the wrong screen, if I close an Excel sheet on screen number 3, a different spreadsheet steals focus on screen 2 (why?). Custom screen scaling also causes problems for multi-monitor setups (use a custom value and it must be applied to all screens). Hence, plenty MS could do first to improve regular W10 for this.

Saying that, improving W10 and fixing its various faults has never been a priority for MS anyway, so I'm not surprised here.

Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

Dave K Silver badge

It does for me, Teams has been pretty solid and reliable, whereas with SFB I've had customer calls I couldn't join due to "network issues", randomly being kicked out of calls, breaking/crackling audio, flaky screen sharing, and that's before we go into the awful "fisher-price" user interface. Teams on the other hand has been pretty solid for me so far!

Dave K Silver badge

WebEx is pretty crap, however after being forced to use Skype for Business for a couple of years on a customer site, WebEx actually didn't feel bad in comparison. Saying that, it isn't a patch on Teams (one of the very few Microsoft products that seems to work pretty well I've found).

Lars Ulrich makes veiled threats of another Metallica album during web chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Most bands are in it for the money

Yep! It's also why albums from a lot of the larger bands actually sound pretty crap from a quality perspective. There's no love or desire to create something that sounds good (so long as it sells well, that's all that matters). Both Metallica and the Chillis have been guilty of releasing some of the worst mastered albums I've ever listened to over the past 20 years or so.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

Dave K Silver badge

I have a Ducky Shine 2 mechanical keyboard with Cherry Brown switches. As I work from home, it is used both for personal use/gaming as well as for work during the day (connected into a KVM so I can switch it over to my laptop dock for work).

Personally I find it excellent for working on and I can type very quickly and accurately with it. The only issue at all is that you have to mute yourself if you're on a conference call and need to type anything otherwise there will be complaints from other people on the call about the loud clatter of keys.

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

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Give a child the information in the wrong order.

> And is there a way we can do something like that […]

And the answer, to anyone with even a quarter of a brain cell is "NO".

The problem here is that Trump has these thoughts and instead of discussing it privately with medical experts who would quickly point out why this is dangerous, pointless, completely doomed to failure and why it hasn't been mentioned before, he goes and rambles it out in a press conference - forcing numerous medical professionals and bleach manufacturers to have to fire out statements telling everyone not to ingest/inject toxic chemicals.

That's the problem with Trump. He opens his gob in front of the TV cameras without engaging his brain or discussing his thoughts first with those who know better. This is dangerous stuff and can risk lives. Well, the lives of stupid people who might actually be tempted to try something daft like this anyway.

There's nothing particularly wrong with having wacky ideas, but there is a lot wrong without fact-checking them before you shout your gob off on TV.

Vivaldi browser to perform a symphony of ad and tracker blocking with version 3.0

Dave K Silver badge

Re: If my trusty Pale Moon fails me...

Same here, Pale Moon for 95% of stuff, Vivaldi on the occasions where a site breaks in Pale Moon, or where it just runs like crap with a none-Chromium engine (ie, Google Maps). Also got an extension for Pale Moon that allows it to send a site direct to Vivaldi if required.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 line has had a good run with four years of security updates – but you'll want to trade yours in now

Dave K Silver badge

Re: "but you'll want to trade yours in now" is, in my mind, complete marketing bullshit

Doesn't bother me personally. But like you say, it depends what you do with it. Would I use it for online banking or for work? Definitely not. However idle web browsing via a 3rd party (and hence still updated) web browser, a bit of Facebook/WhatsApp, playing the odd game or MP3 when I'm travelling? Of course.

My current phone is an old LG G4. That's no longer supported either, yet I don't really care. I don't use it for anything particularly private or important. Should it become infected with malware (which is unlikely as I'm careful with what I use it for), I'd use that as the excuse to replace it.

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