* Posts by Chris Evans

552 posts • joined 27 Jun 2008

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In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done

Chris Evans

Re: Joysticks

£375 in 1984 was more than pricey for a joystick I doubt there are many joysticks available now at that price. Bitsticks do very occasionally turn up on ebay and sell for nearly what they cost new!

Chris Evans

<£4 on ebay

A number of sellers have them on ebay for under £4 including delivery. I've just ordered one!

BT's Plusnet shows Google how it's done as email woes enter their third day

Chris Evans

We have our own domain but route emails through our ISP (Plusnet) our domain hoster only offers limited email receiving and like most people we wouldn't want to be doing our own email hosting.

What would you suggest?

Chris Evans

How do you communicate?

How do you communicate with your customers and suppliers then?

Please don't suggest web forms or webchat. I'm sure webchat is the work of the devil.

Waterfox: A Firefox fork that could teach Mozilla a lesson

Chris Evans

"Some of these ex-Mozilla products are doing relatively well. Rust is doing great. Waterfox is thriving. Thunderbird enjoys regular releases and remains a best-of-breed tool. But another has more users than all of them put together."

What is the 'another' they are referring to in the last sentence? I can't make sense of it!

Opt-out is the right approach for sharing your medical records with researchers

Chris Evans

Very sensible approach to my mind.

I have no problem with:

"The NHS cannot analyse all information on its own, so we safely and securely share some with researchers, analysts and organisations who are experts in making sense of complex information. We only share what’s needed for each piece of research, and wherever possible, information is removed so that you cannot be identified." From: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/about-the-nhs/sharing-your-health-records/

Why? Well:

I'm nearly finished treatment for Prostate Cancer (They say the treatment should 'cure' me). I had a friend (half my age) who died of cancer last week leaving a wife and two young children.

If my medical history could help others I'd be more than glad. They do need make sure the safeguards are strong and there will probably be breaches, but to help my fellow citizens it seems a no brainer to me.

What if Chrome broke features of the web and Google forgot to tell anyone? Oh wait, that's exactly what happened

Chris Evans

Re: Page loading speeds

I hate to think what the size of the https://one.network/ home page is!

I can't I'm surprised they used to be called: roadworks.org/ which was exactly what it said on the tin.

Do they now teach that the KISS principle is bad or something?

Chris Evans

Firefox are almost as arrogant

Several months ago they decided (with no reasoning given) to double space menu's, tab list, etc. resulting in only about half the number of pages being visible when you have more than about 20 tabs in a list:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1346810

Apparently this is being reverted later this month.

I found it a real pain and suspect some disabled users will have found it extremely awkward. I'm not sure if it didn't break disability access legislation!

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

Chris Evans

Royal Scot

I must admit they are not top flight but I miss Royal Scot. They don't normally sell them any more but occasionally McVities included them in their Christmas box of mixed biscuits. They have a distinctive salty taste. For a moment google seemed to tell me I could buy a packet for £1.20 https://shepherdminiatures.com/product/royal-scot-biscuits/ only to find it's a 20mm long miniature for a dolls house:-(

Chris Evans

Re: Madeleine?

Even if it was a biscuit it's very much an also ran.

Electron-to-joule conversion formulae? Cute. Welcome to the school of hard knocks

Chris Evans

Re: Passing the buck?

Why the thumbs down?

Please explain your logic.

"Col" immediately deduced the effect the door closing vibration had had, which implies a known problem.

Chris Evans

Passing the buck?

"The client had failed to mention the fire door upgrades during the initial fault finding, meaning that the time spent dealing with the problem was therefore chargeable." If I was the client I'd dispute the invoice, as the equipment should have been more robust. The cause wasn't obvious to the university grad as well as the customer. Maybe spit the bill 50:50?

So I’ve scripted a life-saving routine. Pah. What really matters is the icon I give it

Chris Evans

Photo of a wall re delivery to the wrong address

Twice now we've sent parcels that tracking showed had been delivered but the recipient said it wasn't to them. We were sent a snapshot of a map showing with a pin symbol (the van?) outside the flats and a photo showing a wall and a bit of floor which could be anyone's hallway. Why they didn't include the flat number in the photo is beyond me. Fortunately on both occasions the parcel did end up at with the customer, but with no help from the courier company who, when I asked them to send the driver to the address they actually delivered it to, said we can't do that. By the time they were delivered one of the buyers had left us very negative feedback, fortunately they did agree to remove the feedback. After 40 years of using couriers I have a few tales to tell, none of them good.

Couriers don't seem to realise that whilst their legal customer is the sender the real customer is normally the recipient.

Problems will happen, it is how courier companies deal with them that shows how good they are.

Catch of the day... for Google, anyway: Transatlantic Cornwall cable hauled ashore

Chris Evans

Re: cable effort

My last house was built in the 1950's and had a conduit from the loft to the lounge right next to the TV. It was for a radio ariel in the loft. The diameter was just too small for two standard sized satellite cables so I found some slightly smaller diameter cables and F type connectors. I pulled the two satellite cables, a CAT 5 and a telephone lead down all in one go. My son was feeding it in in the loft and I pulled at the bottom. Very effective until the house was knocked down three years ago.

In my current house the satellite cables are fed into the loft and then along with network cables they go down through the airing cupboard which abuts a wall above the integral garage, so cables go into the garage and then back into the lounge. As we did a lot of work before moving in (new ceilings, floor boards up for pipe work etc) I was able to run network cables to every room. I've not yet had time to run the power and network cables to the brick sheds.

G7 countries outgun UK in worldwide broadband speed test

Chris Evans

South Korea, Singapore & full list

I'm surprised South Korea or Singapore aren't mentioned they normally do well on speed!

The full list is here: https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/speed/worldwide-speed-league/

South Korea is 35th!

& Singapore 11th

Australia gave police power to compel sysadmins into assisting account takeovers – so they plan to use it

Chris Evans

Annoyed by unexplaimed Acronyms?

Is it just me that gets annoyed by unexplained Acronyms?

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). The full text does appear towards the end of the arcticle but not with the acronym.

I'd only expect a small proportion of readers to know the above meaning and others may be confused knowing of: CSAM, Customer Support and Maintenance (electronic commerce)!

Big Blue's quantum rainmaker jumps to room-temp diamond quantum accelerator company

Chris Evans

What no mention of AI?

Maybe they thought the BS detector would overload!

Spraying a boot error up the bathroom wall

Chris Evans

Translated

For non french speakers like me, google translate says:

"NE PAS JETER DE PAPIERS DANS L'URINOIR"

=

"DO NOT THROW PAPER IN THE URINAL"

Spring tears down math geek t-shirt listing because it dared to mention the trademarked word 'zeta'

Chris Evans

Same sort of problem here.

We sell into the retro market and have software in stock that we bought in the 1990's which we listed on ebay a year or so ago. The publisher went bust a few years ago. A new software company has now set up (Nothing to do with the old company, no transfer of assets or IP) they registered their name as a Trademark earlier this year. They then complained to ebay who deleted the listing for the "New but old stock" titles. ebay have no procedure for appeals for take down notices saying I have to get the new company to confirm I'm not breaching their Trademark. The new company doesn't seem to understand that registering a trademark doesn't stop the marketing & selling of goods that already exist with the 'mark' applied to them.

Bumble fumble: Dude divines definitive location of dating app users despite disguised distances

Chris Evans

never do it from.....

"never do it from any place you frequent (home, work favourite coffee shop or pub, etc.)?"

Sounds like never use a dating app then!

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

Chris Evans

amphilaterals ?

Did you mean ambilaterals

Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball

Chris Evans

Red Mouse mats!

I presume you are thinking of the red laser. Well I've got a box full of red mouse mats and they seem to work fine with the half a dozen or so optical mice my wife tried. She was searching for one that gave her the right feel in her hand.

Before I agree to let your app track me everywhere, I want something 'special' in return (winks)…

Chris Evans

Re: Even tyre pressure sites are at it.

Are you sure its not: on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.'

Q: Post-lockdown, where would I like to go? A: As far away from my own head as possible

Chris Evans

Mad!

Reminds that my late Mum used to say "The whole world seems mad apart from thee and me and I'm not too sure about thee" Which I've just found is a paraphrase of Robert Owen "All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer."

Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

Chris Evans

Car makers are almost as bad.

The rubber radio volume knob on my 2017 Ford Focus has started breaking down. Officially it is available as a spare but only with the facia for £152!

I've tried to pull it off unsuccessfully but before I use mechanical assistance to get off (which will mangle it to an unsightly mess) I emailed Ford to ask if it is pull off [1] they just referred me back to a dealer, who've said they don't know. Knobs that look like they fit are only £4 on ebay (No 'Vol' text on it but I could live without it)

Yes there is volume up/down paddles on the steering wheel but I know my wife will have the heebie jeebies as a passenger or occasional driver as she won't be using the paddles.

[1] Google/youtube searches are flooded with irrelevant answers. I've lost my google mojo.

Beige pencil stockists on high alert as 'Colouring Book of Retro Computers' hits the crowdfunding circuit

Chris Evans

Pah! 24pins!

Us mere mortals only had 9 pin printers. I wrote and sold a ROM (MultiFontNLQ) for the BBC that intercepted the printer output and converted it to two passes of graphics on a 9pin dot matrix printer to give Near Letter Quality print out.

SK Hynix hits 3-year revenue high as extreme ultraviolet production kicks off in earnest

Chris Evans

1anm?

"but the 1anm node is still being treated as a test-bed" Is '1anm' a propitiatory name for the process? Google finds no answers for me!

Ransomware-hit law firm gets court order asking crooks not to publish the data they stole

Chris Evans

Not even lawyers have found a way to bill themselves with any financial benefit.

Ofcom 5G auction ends with UK carriers spending £23m for choice spectrum positionings

Chris Evans

A typo! 2000 not 2020 Re: Remember the 3G spectrum auction of 2020?

https://esrc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/design-of-mobile-license-auction-raised-22-5-billion/

Article date: May 2000

.... raised £22.5 billion for the government from an auction of radio bandwidths for 3G mobile phone licenses.

£22.5 billion in 2000 = £39.40 billion in 2021!

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

Chris Evans

In an ideal world...

In an ideal world people won't use the term pejoratively, but in my world that ship has sailed:-(

'Screen access technology has existed for decades': Visually impaired man sues Dell over 'inaccessible' website

Chris Evans

Text as a graphic.

I regularly used to receive special offers from various IT companies and the offers were sent only as an image with little if any info in the alt text. I pointed out the problem to a number of the companies but they ignored me or 'passed it on' but nothing ever changed.

Ingram Micro was one of them, I opted out of marketing emails so don't know if they ever fixed the problem.

While Reg readers know the difference between a true hacker and cyber-crook, for everyone else, hacking means illegal activity

Chris Evans

Badly worded motion

I'd expect almost all ElReg readers to agree with "Hacking is not a crime, and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative." The real question has the shipped sailed or it is recoverable? IAIN THOMSON seem to be more resigned to the situation than arguing against the motion .

UK government may force online retailers to pick up e-waste from consumers

Chris Evans

Practical? Better for the environment?

I'm not sure they really have thought this through, especially for the smaller online seller. Who would be responsible for supplying the return packaging (Environmental impact of sourcing and supplying that) and what is the environmental impact of getting it transported?

At work we repair various old retro computers, customers often ask us to arrange collection which can be time consuming especially when the courier doesn't turn up when they should and can be awkward for the customer. They will have a lot less motivation to stay in to have it collected just for recycling.

My local council now offers a good service: "We now collect unwanted and broken small electrical items. Put your small electrical items in a standard sized carrier bag, tie up and place next to your rubbish on your normal waste collection day.

Local recycling is much better environmentally

Of course the best recycling is reuse, so if it is still useable sell it, give it away (charity, freecycle...)

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

Chris Evans

It would be a great precedent if they succeed

I really hope they succeed, not only because it is appropriate for Nominet but it should also make a few other organisations realise they must act better.

Nominations?

Forgot Valentine's Day? Never mind, today marks 75 years of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer

Chris Evans

Humans?

The original meaning of the word computer was: A person performing mathematical calculations...the first known written reference dates from 1613), meant "one who computes"

Missing GOV.UK web link potentially cost taxpayers £50m as civil servants are forced to shuffle paper forms

Chris Evans

"This assumes every single paper form could've been done digitally."

This assumes every single paper form could've AND WOULD'VE been done digitally.

No one will ever know how many would have been done. I'd be surprised if it wasn't most. So yes a significant waste.

I'm battling with Amazon at the moment, as a seller they every few years check your identity (I realise they do have to do it) but they are refusing to accept an HMRC document with my National Insurance number on it. Insisting it must be an HMRC National Insurance bill. This is after escalating it to the Seller Verification Team.

Tab minimalists look away: Vivaldi introduces two-level tab stacks

Chris Evans

Re: Some people

Pah! "100 tabs" a mere trifle. I've over 600 spread across 5 windows!

I'm struggling to find the time to reduce them. I sell into the hobbiest market so have been busier than ever this last year.

Explained: The thinking behind the 32GB Windows Format limit on FAT32

Chris Evans

More size equals more wasted time!

I'm not worried about wasting space but wasting time. When you've lots of spare capacity you don't archive off and delete things. The file server for my small business has >100,000 files on it and whilst I can find things quickly that fit into a well defined categories, locating some files can be rather time consuming.

Currys PC World website crumples into unscheduled maintenance as shoppers chase latest gaming machines

Chris Evans

Maintenance! Calling it maintenance makes them look inept.

Why do companies insist on saying their sites are down for maintenance, when clearly they've crashed!

'Emergency maintenance' would be better but why not call a spade a spade say 'Technical problems'

Customers prefer honesty.

Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40bn, promises to keep its licensing business alive

Chris Evans

Are you talking of ARM I'm unclear

I've not heard of ARM employees being upset about their workplace. Though AIUI they weren't overjoyed with Softbank buying them. Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick?

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

Chris Evans

Who in there right mind would...

Who in there right mind would mass edit a key database without making a backup. If it still has to accessible to be viewed lock it then copy it. Work on a third copy, test, swap back in. Doing it after hours would make it less disruptive.

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Chris Evans

The new guidelines are where?

The new guidelines only seem to be available to Nature subscribers

I found out of date info at:

http://www.hugo-international.org/HGM-News last news item 2018

https://www.genenames.org/about/guidelines/ seems to be the 2002 version

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_nomenclature

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HUGO_Gene_Nomenclature_Committee

Presumable there is also a list of those genes that have been renamed but I didn't find it.

To be useful they need to disseminate the info as widely as possible.

NASA trusted 'traditional' Boeing to program its Starliner without close supervision... It failed to dock due to bugs

Chris Evans

anomalies?

"...every early space company goes through these anomalies and you learn from it,"

The trouble is that in rocket science 'anomalies' often equals deaths!

From unmovable boot screens to dead certs, neither are what you want to see in a hospital

Chris Evans

Re: Signed Certificates are only as good as...

The problem is money! Someone has to pay for the servers etc. that confirms the certificate.

Companies offering perpetual services for a one off fee have a limited life expectancy.

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

Chris Evans

Blood boil!

If I was effected then "we apologise for any inconvenience " would make my blood boil.

PR 101 says it should be: ""we apologise for THE inconvenience" and given the severity of the problem they need to grovel much harder.

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

Chris Evans

Please show your workings.

Raspberry Pi goes 2GB for the price of 1GB in honour of mini-computer's eighth birthday

Chris Evans

Re: Ten dollars for a couple of gig of ram eh?

I remember when 32MB FPM SIMMS first came out, they were £995 inc VAT.

We didn't sell many!

Internet's safe-keepers forced to postpone crucial DNSSEC root key signing ceremony – no, not a hacker attack, but because they can't open a safe

Chris Evans

How long before things would stop working properly?

If this 'signing' has to be done regularly and it doesn't happen for what ever reason what happens?

What if both safes were inaccessible?

The 'override protections' seem to be ways to access the vaults.

I'm surprised there isn't at least a third safe!

With backups, father grandfather son is standard for normal data.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

Chris Evans

Circular Economy

The Circular Economy movement is all about building stuff that can be repaired

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Chris Evans

No one was born knowing...

How stupid the user was depends on how long ago this was. I remember someone who went on a 'computers for beginners' course at the local college a few years after mice became common.. They started off in a room with no computers and were told to go through to the next room, sit down at a computer and pick up the mouse and move it about and see what happened. So they did as told... yes they moved it about in mid air. She told me that she felt very stupid after being told she had to move it around on the desk. But my response was no, no one is born knowing that and the lecturer had assumed some knowledge.

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