* Posts by Blitheringeejit

451 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Now 100,000kg smaller


Re: collective stupidity

>>The difference is that we've spent quite a bit of time now dumping things that don't break down naturally into material that's recycled by the living environment.

The other difference is the sheer number of people who are now dumping things, compared to even 50 years ago. Stopping humans from making so many more humans has to be a part of the solution.

DARPA says US hypersonic missile is ready for real world



They've tested two completely different designs for one flight each, and consider that this comprises a battle-ready system...?

I'm no military expert, but this sounds just a trifle optimistic to me.

<icon because, obvs...>

The right to repairable broadband befits a supposedly critical utility


Re: Human factor

> we may need liberalization in the repair market.

Backed up by beefy statutory measures in the *repairability* market - an area where raw capitalism and especially the tech giants have failed us miserably. If you can't unscrew the case and replace the battery, you shouldn't be allowed to sell it - even if that does mean that the user pays an extra buck for it at the outset.

Microsoft proposes type syntax for JavaScript


Is this the same Javascript...

...in which functions are increasingly defined as constants? I wouldn't trust it to strongly type a note to the milkman.

// Milkman reference indicates coat being the one with "grumpy old fart" embroidered across the back...

UK Home Office dangles £20m for national gun licence database system



Correction - according to the notice, the deadline was 11:59 today, not 23:59 - so thanks to El Reg I've missed my gravy train!

Also - the contact email shown (and mailto-linked) on the notice is NASCommercail@homeoffice.gov.uk - which I can't help thinking is mis-spelled (unless Commercail is a new gummint jargon item) so probably doesn't work. I wonder how many emails they received...

Website fined by German court for leaking visitor's IP address via Google Fonts


Re: So if

You can find out exactly whose router/wifi someone is using with only the IP address and a date and time to start with...

FTFY - though we should also consider VPNs, which are now being marketed to the paranoid masses...

UK regulator 'broke international law', says Facebook


"Then the *founder* should be kicked around until they finally disappear."


Microsoft Teams unable to send and receive calls for some after update


Re: Teams has lept 2 organisations I work with afloat through Covid

I'm guessing that if you're happy with Teams, you haven't tried any alternatives.


Re: "Something went wrong"

>> "not even a simple error code is displayed"

As opposed to Windows Update errors, which display an error code about which no further information can be found - so useful.

If you're not going to bother publishing a list of what your error codes mean, you might as well just say "Something went wrong". Or perhaps more accurately "Sorry, but Microsoft's piece of crappy software for which you so happily pay through the schnozzle every month has fallen over again.".

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge


Re: Titanic II - Now with masts

>>having this monstrosity go down would give the envious part in me some satisfaction

No satisfaction in blaming the inanimate object for the sins of its creator/financier. I would much prefer a Robert Maxwell scenario...

GCHQ was rebuked for ignoring spy law safeguards as pandemic hit Britain


Re: Foreign Secretary unaware

Either way, there's unlikely to be a problem with any amount of draconian law-ignoring under the current foreign secretary...

James Webb Telescope launch delayed again, this time by weather


Re: Please, please, please

Amen to that. But have they got a spare one in case of an accident?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends



Not my recollection at all.

What I remember of the Brexit campaign, especially on the BBC, was the continuous presence of Nigel Bloody Farage on every televised discussion and debate. I think at the time that the Brexit Party had one MP, but they had a voice on every panel - largely because they were officially the only pro-Brexit party, and the BBC decided that giving them an equal platform in comparison with all the Remain campaigners put together constituted "balance". So all we had by way of contribution from the Leave campaign was Farage's ignorant racist stupidity - at least until Boris saw his chance and formed his Tory breakaway group, bringing his own ignorant racist stupidity into the equation.

As some have commented above, it's difficult to achieve balance when you feel you have to give airtime to the nutjobs. If only there had been some contribution from intelligent Leavers, some informed analysis of the economic and logistical consequences of leaving, we might have ended up in a much more functional relationship with the EU than the one we now have - whichever way the vote went. As it was, the nutjobs ran the Leave show - so we left expecting to have our trading cake and eat it (which the EU were never going to let us do), and having signed up to agreements that Boris had no intention of keeping. So Northern Ireland will burn without a tear being shed in Westminster, Scotland will leave the union, we will have fuel and food shortages, and no-one will ask any awkward questions about the extra £350M a week which was promised to the NHS - because we have taken back control. Go us.



A letter in today's Guardian describes the BBC as "supine", and I think that's a fairer description than "biased" - though they are more supine towards the Tories than towards Labour, because the Tories have the power (and in some cases the inclination) to completely break the BBC's funding model, and effectively sell it off to the highest Murdoch.

I really don't think that the BBC in general propounds Tory or Labour views - but they do try really hard to avoid upsetting Tory politicians, and they sin by omission in doing so. And that's a poor show for those of us who remember the glory days of Newsnight and Paxman - I sometimes hear the words "Did you threaten to undermine him?" in my sleep...

UK VoIP telco receives 'colossal ransom demand', reveals REvil cybercrooks suspected of 'organised' DDoS attacks on UK VoIP companies


Calling OfCom and Openreach...

Please can you change your mind about switching off my POTS line in 2025?

Survey of astronomers and geophysicists shines a light on 'bleak' systemic bullying


Qual, not quant

It may be a bit heretical to say this here, but I don't agree that peoples' feelings are not a basis for any kind of policy or decision. We make decisions based on other peoples' feelings all the time.

While the article is about quantitative reporting of the percentage of people who feel bullied or harassed, the feeling of being bullied or harassed is a qualitative thing. If only 1% of the sample had experienced the feeling of being bullied or harassed, that remains a serious issue for that 1%, even if quant analysis says that it's only 1% therefore it's not a problem. And for anyone who is tempted to write off qualitative analysis as just bad science - imagine how much more wonderful work just one Alan Turing could have done if he hadn't been bullied and harassed into his grave.

What we are dealing with here is people's feelings, and until someone invents SI units for harassment, bullying and discrimination, we need to deal with this on a qualitative level - which means having strong policies in place, but also acknowledging and addressing peoples' individual fears and experiences.

If someone perceives my interaction with them as harassment, the fact that I'm not (in my own judgement) harassing them lets me off the hook for feeling bad about it. But it doesn't mean that their feelings are silly, or that there's no reason for me to change my behaviour - if I can make a tiny effort to understand what lies behind their feeling, and change the dynamic (for example by crossing the street to avoid walking behind a lone woman), then I'm cool with doing that. Importantly, changing my behaviour is not an admission of being a perp, or acknowledging that someone who doesn't know me is correct to consider me a potential perp - it's just being considerate.

Of course this isn't a cure-all - some people are genuinely paranoid (ie they have an illness), and even when folks have good reasons for feeling the way they do, the dynamics can be very complicated - as in the argument about womens' space which has been taking place between younger trans woman and older feminists.

But we all get plenty of opportunities to act locally and quietly to allay peoples' everyday fears, and to support people who are on the receiving end of bad shit, or who are scared. The world will be a better place if we take those opportunities when they come along, without getting all ariated about who is right and who is wrong.


Re: I am so out of touch

Things have moved on, and more letters have been coined. Q-Queer is increasingly used for anyone who defines their sexuality as "other than vanilla" - so might include eg polyamorists, kinky folks, and pansexuals (who have a thing for kitchenware).

I think.

Best bet if you want to avoid offending anyone is to stop worrying about labels, and just be very nice and respectful to everyone you encounter. It's rare that this is not reciprocated - though you might want to avoid leaving pansexuals alone in your kitchen.

And even if the pun wasn't intended, it was appreciated.

tsoHost pleads for 'patience and understanding' as sites borked, support sinkholed


Re: Oh I'm pretty sure what's happening...

Ahhh - 5Quid host. The first decent hosting company you find after years of frog-kissing (still looking at you 123!) is a bit like your first proper girl/boy/nonbinary-friend. Whatever happened to those guys? I hope they are enjoying a well-earned retirement after selling up, even though I cursed them for doing so at the time.

But I'll throw in an upvote for Stablepoint, they've been pretty good so far.

<icon is Old Git, definitely NOT Windows User> -------------------------------------------^

Google to bake COVID-19 vaccine passport support into Android with Passes API update


Think of the not-children-for-a-long-time!

My dad is 93, doesn't have a smartphone, and couldn't possibly get his head around learning to use one (we've tried). How is he supposed to prove his vaccination status? He has a card - does this plan make the card invalid?

Reliance on any kind of smartphone or technology device for essential public functions and services, not to mention statutory obligations, is just plain discrimination - cost-cutting is not a good enough excuse. It's humiliating enough for him that I already have to do his driving licence renewal, and a lot of his banking.

Stob treks back across the decades to review the greatest TV sci-fi in the light of recent experience



>> The ships in orbit always look like they are going around a planet that is only about 10 times bigger than they are.

The spaceship is small, and the planet is far away. Small, and far away ... ah forget it!

Roger Waters tells Facebook CEO to Zuck off after 'huge' song rights request


Re: Pedant alert.

I think "The Band" beat you to that one.

Utopia? Echoes of Delphi and Dreamweaver in new visual editor for React


I had managed...

...to not think about Frontpage <shudder> for well over a decade. Now thanks to this article I am back in therapy.

Now that half of Nominet's board has been ejected, what happens next? Let us walk you through the possibilities


Re: Minutes

I think they are unpublished for a reason, and we're only going to get a look at them after a night of the long knives (which for those under 60 does NOT mean using actual knives, please don't call in the armed response boys ...


... oh shit, too late, there goes another front door...).


Gi's a job!

I can do databases and DNS, please can I have a £1.7M salary?


Re: And further down the line - #DissolveTheUnion

.ingerrrlaaand anyone?

In the meantime, this for the Nominet members -------------------->

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?


Re: So why isn't IT kit like Jet Engines ........

Perhaps if they put as much R&D into optimising the materials for their computer construction as they do for their engine components, they might get a comparable MTBF.

But they may find a few problems trying to run current OSs on 30-year-old hardware, even if said hardware is in full working order. WIndows10 on an 8086 with 640K RAM and EGA graphics anyone?

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>>but that will likely come with the ball-ache of reinstalling the OS and copying all the files over.

Clonezilla is your friend! (With USB SATA interface if you're in laptop land.)

Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin


Re: Call Waiting...

Yesyesyes - and they should also be sanctioned for claiming that "we are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls", when what they really mean is "We have a completely inadequate number of staff to deal with the volume of calls we receive all the time". The fines for such bullshit being be a significant proportion of global turnover of *their parent company* - so Plusnet's fine would be calculated on BT's turnover, and [every British hosting company you've ever heard of]'s fine on GoDaddys.

Trump administration says Russia behind SolarWinds hack. Trump himself begs to differ


Re: HOWTO: hack their voting machines

If that's the sum total of the "evidence" coming out of your "debugger", then perhaps you might consider that a significant number of democrats just might have thought something like this:

"Hmm, I usually can't be bothered to get off my fat ass to vote, because it usually doesn't make much difference whether the White House is red or blue. But last time I didn't bother voting, Trump got in, and that was a bit of a game-changer - and not in a good way. So today I'll just mosey on down to the polling station, because I don't fancy four more years of my great nation's leadership being an international laughing stock. Let's make America not embarrassing again."

UK government puts £750m on the table as it looks to deal directly with cloud providers


Any chance...

...that some of that moolah might go into hiring a bunch of knowledgeable cloud-techies to work for the public sector directly, so they can understand the requirements and ensure best value? Rather than hiring in expensive consultancies to tell the public sector what it needs?

Thought not.

Former Microsoft tester sent down for 9 years after $10m gift card fraud


Transactions, possibly...

...because there are far fewer BTC transactions than fiat currency ones. But I would be willing to bet that the *value* of fraud in fiat currencies vastly exceeds that in BTC...

Angry 123-Reg customers in the UK wake up to another day where hosted mail doesn't get through to users on Microsoft email accounts

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>> if you keep up with the settings and don't spam, you don't get blacklisted.

But the point that's being made here (not for the first time) is that keeping up with MS's ever-changing settings and rules about the acceptability of email is in itself a full-time job. And when smaller hosting companies are effectively forced to pay someone to do that job, it's fair for them to ask who put MS in charge of what constitutes acceptable email. Don't we have things called RFCs, which define how this internet thingy is supposed to work?

And if you think it only takes 24-48 hours to get Microsoft to take your IPs off the naughty step, you should look through the Reg archives for similar tales of woe. It can be weeks.

(You might also want to note that GMail don't apparently feel the need to do any of this crap, but they run a perfectly decent email service without it. And also that I'm not defending 123-Reg in any way at all - they pissed me off mightily with their crappy customer service in about 2004 and I haven't been back since.)


Yeah, right on, because...

....Outlook.com / Hotmail and Gmail.com are never ever used to send spam.

Bottom line here is that M$ have a track-record of barring whole networks of smaller hosting companies from being able to send mail to M$-hosted addresses, because either...

...a server somewhere in the rival network sent a nasty message, and M$ quite rightly ban everything from that network to make sure that none of their customers receive anything nasty;

... or ...

...M$ are very happy to see smaller hosting providers crash and burn, because if they reject enough incoming mail from enough smaller providers, the customers of those providers will eventually switch to M$ hosting (or GMail) just so that they can send mail to everyone else who uses M$ hosting.

I think it's interesting that similar stories of barred networks / hosting companies have abounded for a couple of years (https://www.theregister.com/2019/08/22/ionos_outlookcom_email_issues/), but strangely, GMail has never been affected. I guess some rivals are just too big to f*** with - but the smaller ones are easy meat.

Meanwhile, my pidgeon loft is coming along nicely...

Rocket Lab deploys Photon, er, in-house built satellite on Flight 14


Sounds good in theory, but ...

...wouldn't it be vulnerable to alien-in-the-middle attacks?

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN


Re: mea culpa - always check compatibility

It's the stubborn refusal to be beaten, while engaging in an illogical degree of endeavour, which marks the human species out from its more sensible competitors. I have done this kind of thing more times than I can count, and although my life might have been largely wasted (ahem), I have learned a great deal along the way - some of which I can occasionally remember.

And more importantly, on good days I have experienced that sweet moment of triumph when something finally works against all expectation (and common sense) - a feeling which makes it worth getting up in the morning.

And which is all the sweeter for providing an excuse for liquid reward---------^

SpaceX pulls off an incredible catch, netting both halves of its Falcon fairing as they fell Earthwards after latest launch



...the slip fielder "standing with his legs apart waiting for a tickle".

TMS just hasn't been the same since Johnners and Blowers departed (or indeed John Arlott, a radio deity for folks of my vintage) - but it's still been lovely to have it back in the last couple of weeks, and Andy Zaltzman is good value. As comforting as the shipping forecast, or a lukewarm pint on the village green (though of course the village green is now a new-build housing development).

Goodness only knows what the leftpondians are making of this thread - or what it has to do with SpaceX...

When you see PWA, Microsoft and Google want you to think Programs With Attitude: Web app release tool tweaked



I've been playing too, and I'm not sure that you're right about the fees - no-one seems to be talking about removing the option to "add to home screen" in Chrome/Safari, which is the old way to install PWAs. As long as this mechanism remains, PWAs *can* remain free of embuggerance by the app stores.

AFAICS as long as this option remains the option to include PWAs in the stores just means wider visibility, coupled with access to the stores' payment gateways - as detailed in the article. I can see how this would be interesting for developers aiming at mass markets - while those of us developing PWAs which are not aimed at the mass market (mine are components in larger bespoke web services) can continue to make them available from our own websites for free.

But if the OS providers start to talk about removing the Add to Home Screen option, and allowing installation *only* via the stores, then you're right and all bets are off.

Better get Grandpa off Windows 7 because zero-day bug in Zoom allows remote code execution on vintage OS

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And the following week...

...the default browser gets set back to Edge by an automatic update.

One map to rule them all: UK's Ordnance Survey rolls out its Data Hub and the juicy API goodness that lies therein


Could this become the official UK postcode and address database?

Since the Royal Mail was privatised and became just another delivery company, I believe that no-one holds a definitive list of address and postcode data for the UK. Does this mean that the OS is now going to take on that role?

The use of lots of different ("competing"!) address databases causes confusion, and occupants of new-build properties are sometimes unable to receive goods by post, or even sign up for utility contracts, because their address doesn't yet exist on the database used by the supplier or carrier. It would be nice if some official gummint-backed organisation could take on the job of providing an official, definitive address database, with a public API or endpoint. The OS is well set up to do this, as (I believe) it maintains the most up-to-date records of what's actually happening on the ground.

When you bork... through a storm: Liverpool do all they can to take advantage of summer transfer, er, Windows


Am I alone in suspecting...

...that the Reg hacks hacked and borked this screen themselves, specifically so they could make all those "bork on" and "never bork alone" puns in the headline?

Pint -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------^

...because the comment(ard)s above have reminded me that it's been soooo long, and I miss you so much that even an icon on a screen can send my heart (liver?) a-flutter. Please come home soon.

Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing


This is just a Windows user distraction...

...from the main problem with Skype, which (on the basis of a wasted hour of my life yesterday) is that it doesn't work for calls between Windows and linux, Windows and Android, or Windows and my iPhone. Which makes it pretty useless as a communications device. Every call was ended with "xxx is not online", whichever direction the call was made from, even though in all cases the destination device most certainly was online and logged in - because I was holding the bloody thing in my other hand.

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


Re: Nice idea, but

Of course you have to pay more for a product with an ethical supply chain - especially a gadget which uses rare earth metals. I was happy to do that (and lucky enough to be able to afford it) when I bought my Fairphone2 a little over 3 years ago. And I have to say that the software update policy, and the reality of rollouts, is all that I could wish for.

But the problem is that compared to phones whose components are irrevocably welded together, the Fairphone's modular design causes connection problems between the different modules, resulting in unreliability. They've worked really hard to get this as good as it can be, but if (like me) you treat your phone quite roughly (keeping it caseless in your pocketses), reliability can be a real problem - I replaced three modules which failed in the first two years of use, and had to wedge the battery against the case using a bit of cardboard to stop it from disconnecting. It's great that modules are replaceable, and the replacements were cheap - but replacements take about 3 weeks to be delivered (to the UK at least), during which I had no Fairphone. I ended up keeping a spare phone, which made the whole thing rather pointless.

And when the Fairphone developed an intermittent fault with the screen becoming unresponsive, I replaced the screen module (a bit more expensive than the other modules) only to find that the problem persisted because it was a fault with the motherboard / system unit - which isn't available as a module and can't be replaced.

I really want the Fairphone project to work, but after this latest fault I've switched back to an unethical phone. If Fairphone ever produce a welded-together, non-modular phone whose components are ethically sourced and whose software is regularly updated for years, I would buy back in. But I fear that making the phone easy to repair inevitably makes it less reliable, at least in my experience.

You will find if you look at Fairphone's support forum that I'm not alone in this experience. But to be fair, my better half has had her Fairphone2 for nearly as long as I had mine, and it's behaved impeccably. That one lives in a case, in a handbag, and is probably treated much more gently than mine - even though it has way more hours of use on a typical day. Maybe mine was a Friday afternoon unit - or maybe I just treated it badly.


25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

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"quick hacks that evolved into bigger projects" - that's 20 years of my life right there!

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

Black Helicopters

Re: Any chance

Of course he has some kind of hold over Johnson - he knows where the Brexit campaign money came from, because he arranged the deal. It would be awfully embarrassing for everyone concerned if that came out.



Background listening

Any rightpondians who haven't been paying attention to this astounding piece of corporate fuckery can catch Radio 4's account, broadcast as a series of five 15-minute programmes throughout this week. It's not just a story of poor software design and inadequate testing, but also of senior post office managers telling barefaced lies to their sub-post-people and in court, and innocent people losing huge sums of money, and being fined and jailed, as a result.


Somewhere, way out there, two black holes, one large and one small, merged. And here on Earth, we detected the gravitational wave blast

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Re: 1.9bn to 2.9bn light years away from us

Mine too - but the video is stunningly beautiful!

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions


Re: This the register...

Your intellectual arrogance might carry a little more weight if you demonstrated an ability to use the apostrophe correctly. "Who's" above is linguistic knuckle-dragging.

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman


Re: What would Sheldon do?

>>*Is oddles an official measurement yet?

Yes - a hundred oddles make an oodle!

PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure


Re: No love for Linux?

>>The F@H Linux software is too old to run on modern Ubuntu and some other distros.

Not my experience - I have it running fine on latest Ubuntu, and a Mint 18.x machine, but when I tried on my old Ubuntu 14.04 box, the Control app wouldn't connect to the Client.

But I would like to know more about platform comparisons - eg is there any difference in performance or usefulness between running it on Windows and linux machines, and would I be better running multiple VMs or a single host on full whack - any knowledgeable folks out there?

Windows 7 back in black as holdouts report wallpaper-stripping shenanigans


Office 2016

When I install Office365 from MS's cloud, the Mail icon in the Control Panel reports as Outlook 2016. But I guess that's because the Control Panel isn't really supposed to be the Win10 Way. Shame, as it's the only place I can find most of the Win stuff I need to deal with.



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