* Posts by Blitheringeejit

436 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008


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.


@Saruman the White

If you want to be loved by the good guys, maybe you should consider a change of handle..? I'd downvote your every post just for what you did to Fangorn Forest.

In Rust We Trust: Stob gets behind the latest language craze


Re: Do...While

Of course you can read El Reg on work time - it's called Continuous Professional Development.

If tsoHost is lecturing us on sleep hygiene, Brit outfit really does have hosting back to front


Too often for too long...

There have been blacklisting problems with TSO ever since I was sold to them a few years ago - but the last six months, things have become chronic with Microsoft. If you keep an eye on TSO's Status page (https://help.tsohost.com/status) you see a pretty continuous stream of blacklist incidents, which seem to be triggered by their mail servers failing to implement the security requirements which Microsoft set as the minimum for outlook.com and Hotmail to accept incoming connections. I have no idea whether there's any actual spamming going on, but I don't think the blacklisting results from customer complaints to MS - I think it's to do with sender policy and security implementation at the server level.

I'm not sure of the technical specifics, but I know that my own TSO server was blacklisted for over a week before it was even listed as such on their status page, and it took another week for TSO to get it delisted. So that was a fortnight during which some of my customers couldn't send messages to some of their customers - and that was by no means the first time, with incidents like this dating back to July.

So I've decided to move on, and am currently biting the extremely sour bullet of moving everything to another provider. It's a de-crufting opportunity, and I should probably do it more often - but as a purveyor of budget hosting services to SMEs, it's a bunch of unpaid work I could really do without.

Bon sang! French hospital contracts 6,000 PC-locking ransomware infection


Re: La Guillotine

It's a fair point that health data is a lucrative target - but surely that would be for theft, not ransomware. IIRC when the UK NHS was hit by ransomware a couple of years ago, the post-mortem concluded that it wasn't a targeted attack - just a scattergun malware mailshot which happened to land in a staff member's mailbox and was activated.

Unless someone who's better informed knows different..?

We don't usually sugar-coat the news but... Alien sugars found in Earth-bound meteorites


Re: Alien Sugars?

Yes he was - which explains why when a meteorite full of Alien Sugars hits the earth, we'll all get "fired"...


Can't you hear me knocking? But I installed a smart knocker

Black Helicopters

Re: Then there's compatability..

But your heating is ultimately controlled by the BorG - don't you read the conspiracy theorists? Do abbreviations mean nothing to you? They can take over your entire domestic temperature agenda any time they want to! How can you sleep at night?


Re: Automatic cat flaps are all the rubbish...

Clearly you are not familiar with cats. The giant dump smack in the centre of your kitchen is your own cat's comment on the effrontery which the human servants have shown by facilitating the ingress of the huge tabby from down the street. Said huge tabby does not crap in his auxiliary snacking spot.

20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey


Re: Dangers of moving from outside to inside IR35

I work a lot in the SME sector, where the problem is slightly different. Good IT people, especially sysadmins and managers, are expensive, and if you want them on the payroll you will need to be finding north of 45-50K. But that level of salary will often put them above senior managers or even directors in a typical SME, which gives them an implicit seniority, because seniority is reflected in salary. It's simply not appropriate for a company to pay someone a board-level salary for doing a mid-level-management job.

And there's a parallel problem in the public sector, eg in schools, where the network admins can't be even paid as much as the teachers. So you get some competent IT folks working for comparatively poor wages because they have a social conscience - and you also get some school networks run by muppets who know less about IT than your average year-10 student.

Thanks, Brexit. Tesla boss Elon Musk reveals Berlin as location for Euro Gigafactory

Paris Hilton


Yes, we don't want those forriners coming over here and manufacturing their gigas on our already-overcrowded island. We had enough trouble when we ourselves used to have a big manufacturing base for megas.

TalkTalk keeps results under wraps citing 'advanced negotiations' over FibreNation biz

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Great news!

So that's another 3 million people that I won't be able to help out using Teamviewer.

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then


Re: Scripted

A rather different experience - when me and my dad went to the bank when sorting out the affairs of my recently-deceased brother, who had a business account with the bank, with my dad as co-director and signatory. The aim of the exercise was to make me, as a newly-appointed director, a signatory on the account, for the purpose of winding the company up.

We had made an appointment, and were ushered in to see a customer service person - a middle-aged bloke, who quite properly asked to see the proof of identity which my dad had brought with him. One of these documents was a recent, current-account bank statement. On seeing this (the amount on deposit was substantial), the bloke immediately weighed in with a sales pitch telling my dad that he if he switched his current account to that bank, he would earn significant interest. This to an octogenarian a few days after he had buried his son.

My dad, as his generation tend to be, was perfectly polite in rebuffing the sales pitch - but I could have punched the guy's lights out (and I'm a pacifist hippy).

Banks, eh? Can't live with 'em, can't openly suggest firebombing them on internet forums without risking arrest...


Handcranked HTML and JPEG japes. What could possibly go wrong?


Re: Hand cranked code?

"Lovingly hand-crafted, elegant and cruft-free code"


TSO Host no closer to solving customers' email issues as Brit firm pops up on more blacklists


Me too...

5quid were indeed lovely to deal with, unlike any other hosting company I've used before or since.

TSO were actually OK with me at the beginning, when they were still run by the original founders - the migration from 5quid was traumatic, but it was possible to get decent, intelligent tech support when problems cropped up. Though I agree that their billing was a shambles for years after the takeover - they once shut down my VPS for non-payment even though they had taken a direct debit subscription.

But then they were bought by Host Europe, and everything started to go wrong - especially farming out the support to eastern Europe - the quality and availability of support has gradually declined ever since. And the subsequent buyout of Host Europe by GoDaddy can only make things worse in the long run - eventually all your TSO are belong the GoBorg.

If the 5quid guys are listening, there's definitely a big hole in the market for UK-based, friendly and intelligent hosting services like what you used to run. I'm sure you had good reasons for selling up, but your departure was a sad day for a lot of folks, and we'd love to see you back.

'Cockwomble' is off the menu: Uncle Bulgaria issues edict against using name in vain


Re: CockWomblers Unite

For any anoraks interested - she said it about Jeffrey Archer. Which is the best proof I know that there is no god, as she was taken from us far too early, while he continues to rake in the moolah with his crappy books, unfazed by his two-year sojourn at Her Maj's pleasure.

Though to be fair - said sojourn was a source of great pleasure for a great many people, in addition to Her Maj. Just a shame it wasn't a life term - though we can be grateful that our television screens have been largely Archer-free since his release.


Re: CockWomblers Unite

Thou shalt not quote the saintly and much-missed Linda Smith without attribution!



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