* Posts by Neil Barnes

3735 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Cheddar why?

The words you are looking for may be 'extruded cheese product'.

(As a born'n'bred Yorkshireman, it shames me slightly to admit that my preferred English cheeses are Lancashire, white Stilton, and Wensleydale, probably in that order.)

BBC voice assistant promises to summon streams even if you're just a little bit Brahms and Liszt

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Not 100% convinced

If the need for another, indeed any, live mic as a way to control a computer. I look forward to the day when someone asking 'what's the weather, computer?' will be told 'open the bloody curtains and look outside, you moron!'.

I have colleagues, and they seem on the whole sane and balanced people, who swear by these things - to the extent of having multiple instances in the same room 'for stereo' - so there must be something in it... but I fear I am not the target audience.

You're 3 billion years too late to see Mars' impressive ring system. The next one will be along in 40 million years or so

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Wagner? Didn't he write the immortal lyrics: 'Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it?

75 million smartphone sales up in smoke in Q1: Let's drill down into which brands took the most pain

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

It's hard to see how a phone differentiates itself

They're pretty much like fridges or washing machines these days: no significant difference between them, and advertisers orgasming over fractions of a millimetre or pointless pixel counts, and all working like mad as to who can have the most irrelevant but expensive adverts...

the one with the 'pointlessly overpowered for its basic function' phone in the pocket, thanks --->

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: this is only half the trip

From up, the only direction available is 'down'.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Kudos to the guys

Nice to hear that final 'docking is complete'.

It seems, though, that NASA is a little overwhelmed: spotthestation.nasa.gov has been mostly out to lunch for the last six hours or so... which is a shame, as I'd like to give a little wave when it flies over next time!

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Poor fella.

One's sympathy is all that it should be.

Unmanned drones to slash NHS delivery times to one-fifth of road 'n' rail transport

Neil Barnes Silver badge

I'm curious to know what it has by way of sensing other aircraft

The CAA are pretty keen at the moment to have everything carry Electronic Conspicuity transcievers, but there's an awful lot of GA stuff out there that doesn't (including, I guess, pretty much every drone).

Still, one can hope that the GA pilots read the NOTAMs.

Microsoft brings WinUI to desktop apps: It's a landmark for Windows development, but it has taken far too long

Neil Barnes Silver badge

And here was me thinking

that there might be a time when every application on a W10 desktop would have the same look and feel, the same set of windows decorations, the same UI elements. And it might even look good.

Er, sorry, was in a parallel universe for a moment there. Blame the painkillers.

Runaway Latvian drone found meditating in tree after shutting down nation's skies

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Black Helicopters

It's spring, right?

Obviously nesting season.

Well, that's something boffins haven't seen before: A strange alien streaks around Jupiter

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

It's probably full of Moties

Once the astronomers discover it was *moved* to the Trojans, they'll lose all interest...

Vodafone woes far from over for Xiaomi Mi 9 owners amid complaints of leaky batteries and voicemails in Romanian

Neil Barnes Silver badge

At what point

Do phone service providers realise that people probably neither need nor want 'brand differentiation'; and may indeed ask themselves why, for example, a given network inhibits functionality that other networks might allow?

NASA renames dark-energy telescope after its first Chief of Astronomy and Mother of Hubble: Nancy Grace Roman

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Pint

Re: "The Coronagraphic Instrument is an exoplanet hunter"

Surely this is a coronagraphic? --->

Azure-hosted AI for finding code defects emitted – but does it work?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

"47,000 developers generate nearly 30 thousand bugs a month,"

Each, or in total?

Insider threat? Pffft. Hackers on the outside are the ones mostly making off with your private biz data, says Verizon

Neil Barnes Silver badge

86 per cent of the breaches were financially motivated

What on earth were the remaining motivations? Are there really so many people poking around these things just for the hell of it?

Xiaomi Mi 9 owners furious after dodgy Vodafone software patch bricked their mobes

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Possibly. The missus bought a note 8 a couple of weeks ago which was immediately updated to MIUI 11, don't seem to have any issues beyond the usual keruffle of changing phones.

Coincidentally (or not?) Virgin just flagged that they're sending her a new sim for 'compatibility' reasons (though I've received nothing) - I suspect that may be something to do with the merging with whoever it is that Virgin are merging with.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: In all honesty

I can agree wholeheartedly with what DoubleLayer said, but go further: unless I explicitly decide to open an account with an online provider (e.g. Amazon, for the sake or argument) then any relationship with me ends when the purchase is delivered: all data save perhaps a legal minimum recording the purchase for guarantee purposes should be deleted. The example might be a bricks and mortar store where I walk out having handed over cash and with the goods and a receipt in my hand. No further contact.

If I do choose to have an account, then the provider may record that which I purchased, and other of its products that I may have viewed but not purchased. It should not use that information for advertising beyond on-page in-site suggestions, and most definitely sell it to other sellers.

In either case, where I came from and what I looked at there is none of their bloody business.

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: One person's entertainment ...

Get some clown shoes. Long enough to kick while maintaining social distancing, *and* providing much-needed entertainment for the masses!

More automation to suddenly look like a jolly good idea as businesses struggle through coronavirus crisis, say analysts

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Terminator

investments in chatbots... or catering to certain customer segments

I'm trying hard to think of a case where a chatbot actually helps a customer.

1) er...

That's it.

Breaking virus lockdown rules, suing officials, threatening staff, raging on Twitter. Just Elon Musk things

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Einstein vs Newton? Where the hell did that come from?

Neal Stephenson's System of the World trilogy has Newton as one of the main characters, and presents him in a less than flattering light. Mind you, few of the characters in that tale are ones to whom you might choose to look after your kitten when you went on holiday...

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Boffin

Einstein vs Newton? Where the hell did that come from?

Perhaps he was recalling that Newton invented the cat-flap?

Keeps me in a job, I suppose...

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

Yabbut, we can let the Moties look after it. They have no qualms about a causing a civilisation to fail while doing it.. oh, wait...

Singapore releases the robot hounds to enforce social distancing in parks

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Local wildlife

anti mole station strategy

Seems a complicated way just to stop moles commuting.

We dunno what's more wild: This vid of Japan's probe bouncing off an asteroid to collect a sample – or that the rock was sun-burnt

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

All that effort the asteroid took

to get into a stable orbit... and those fleshy meatsacks from the third world out have gone and given it a nudge!

'A' is for ad money oddly gone missing: Probe finds middlemen siphon off half of online advertising spend

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Well this is a step forward

Both halves?

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

Hey! Psst! Wanna buy a password?

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Holmes

I suggest that the main reason for so much password reuse

Is the huge number of online sites that insist on a password login when it is really inappropriate - for example: you want to pay a pencil? Certainly sir, you just need to log in first.

I've lost count of the times I've had to not log in to make purchases in the real world...

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: The higher the frequency, the greater the energy

High-band 5G uses frequencies of 25 - 39 GHz, near the bottom of the millimeter wave band. That is clearly in the same range as your microwave oven.

Someone needs to point out: microwave ovens work at 2.45GHz.

Latvian drone wrests control from human overlords and shuts down entire nation's skies

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Black Helicopters

You would think...

that knowing where the bloody thing is is a fundamental requirement of this sort of device...

India makes contact-tracing app compulsory in viral hot zones despite most local phones not being smart

Neil Barnes Silver badge

who will be compelled to download the app

Or lose the phone.

Xiaomi what you're working with: Chinese mobe-flinger proffers two Redmi Note phablets for UK market

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Stop

This is more than a little disturbing...

I've been a Xiaomi user for some time - though something of a luddite as I use it as little more than a phone; I never browse from it and have only a couple of apps that I use. However, that amount of tracking is something worthy of more investigation... the Forbes piece suggested that it was just the use of the browser - is that the case?

Sometimes one can go a little too far in search of isolation

Neil Barnes Silver badge

For what it's worth

On my last company laptop, a thrip climbed in between the layers of the screen somehow.

And died.

It spent the next couple of years pretending to be an apostrophe...

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Neil Barnes Silver badge

And yet...

I just had to replace the toner cartridge for my ancient Brother monochrome laser printer. Cost me all of a tenner... remind me again why I'd want an inkjet?

Aussie immunology legend consults Twitter for his local off-licence opening hours

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Pint

Thing is, it wasn't even a question.

It lacked a question mark... and yet it was answered!

Truly we live in an age of wonder.

Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

Neil Barnes Silver badge
FAIL

Y'know, if the UK ever implements 'none of the above' voting

There are going to be an awful lot of disappointed electoral hopefuls...

US threatens to turf out four Chinese telcos amid concerns over national security... and COVID-19, doctors, schools, jobs, communists, etc

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Headmaster

We contacted each company

Thank you.

Thank you so much for using English in that phrase and not the appallingly cutesy 'we reached out to...' abomination.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

It would be handy if Word would allow you to set the number of spaces of the full stop - but then enforce it automatically. I can see their logic in asking 'is this a mistake' but once you've told it, it can silent correct either way.

Of course, this is the old tabs vs spaces argument for millennials :)

---> obvs...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Install LyX

And watch the rude comment every time you attempt this double-space horror.

Airbus and Rolls-Royce hit eject on hybrid-electric airliner testbed after E-Fan X project fails to get off the ground

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Electric planes?

I suspect, from talking to a few commercial pilot friends, that you'd get a significant fuel saving simply by putting electric motors in the wheels; it seems that a significant portion of the fuel load is burned simply getting from the terminal to the end of the runway. Jet engines aren't terribly efficient at low speeds, it seems.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Stop

Re: It didn't affect us

In a similar vein; living as a child in a Victorian vicarage halfway down a fairly steep hill, I woke one morning to a loud bang. Finding the bed still level I apparently went back to sleep. Meanwhile, the grown-ups were investigating the 30-ton artic that had jack-knifed on the hill and planted its cab into next door's kitchen.

I recall a lot of acro jacks holding the wall up when they took the lorry out...

Why should the UK pensions watchdog be able to spy on your internet activities? Same reason as the Environment Agency and many more

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: In other news

Germany

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: In other news

And in other news: all new facemasks require visible barcodes. What do you have to hide, citizen?

Meh, enough of this creeping idiocy... as soon as the lockdown's lifted, I'm emigrating.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Light-powered nanocardboard robots dancing in the Martian sky searching for alien life

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Boffin

How to make it go where you want?

Just have lots and lots and lots of them, and let them go where they will.

Paging Von Neuman! Von Neuman to the white courtesy phone please!

Google shifting workloads to run when the sun will shine and the wind will blow

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Big Brother

Now if only there were a tool

to do something similar, and simply not process unnecessary code at all - say, googleanalytics...

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Nothing new...

Thanks; I was looking for that, but for some reason my default DDG view didn't show anything other than the search bar (which is, to be fair, rather nice.) However, I chanced to go to the homepage and there it was.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: I'll have to give it a go on Android.

I'd be keen to learn how to set a country of origin for DDG - I've been looking for some time without success, though I felt it ought to be doable.

Attention, lockdown DIY fans: UK hardware flinger Robert Dyas had credit card data and more skimmed from website

Neil Barnes Silver badge

'Skimmer' and 'CCV' = a website vuln, not backend?

I'm just seeking education here. The difference would be whether over the counter sales / card payments are affected.

Google pre-pandemic: User-Agent strings are so 1990s. Time for a total makeover. Google mid-pandemic: Ah, we'll reschedule to 2021

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Thought experiment

Which is not to say that it should be done. The problem is with web sources that use other than html+css and don't provide a fallback if the other is not available at the receiving end, not with the browser.

Page provider's argument: I can do all these exciting things if I know more about your browser.

My argument: you don't need to know also the colour of my socks. Code to the minimum required *by the customer, not your marketing department* and add bells and whistles optionally.

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Joke

It would be so much simpler

if there happened to be a variant of the virus which included some of those handy-dandy luminescent firefly or jellyfish genes. Then we'd just have to wait until nightfall and see who glowed in the dark...

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Wow

With the exception of nuclear fission/fusion, all power generation is powered by the sun. It's just a matter of when the sun's energy went in; might be yesterday or it might be real time, or it might be a few million years ago.

Of which - has anyone done the sums yet to see how much wind and solar generators affect the climate/weather? They're both trapping thermal energy and outputing it as thermal energy somewhere else... but I don't know how many gigawatts you have to pull from the environment before it's noticeable.

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