* Posts by Cthonus

115 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2008


Royal Bank of Scotland culls 1 in 4 branches, blames the interwebz


enter title here

Not bothered for myself but left cold wondering what my 80+ mother is supposed to do.

Partially sighted, partially deaf. Can't use phone or internet banking (no computer and gets confused enough with the telly controls). Can't walk far - the next major town is 9 miles away on a regular bus route but she's a mile away from that bus stop.

Guess the only winners are the last bank in town?

Power meltdown 'fries' SourceForge, knocks site's servers titsup


Pedant's corner

I think you'll find that's dotslash not /.


Mozilla 404s '404 Not Found' pages: Firefox fills in blanks with archive.org copies


Real world issues

You know there are valid reasons pages get junked from websites.

Given the number of photographs I've had copyright abused over the years I wouldn't be happy if some of the dead links ressurected images I've had ISP remove from the archives.

What about articles that went to be considered libellous and were taken down? Given how lazy people are there must still be hundereds of broken links/bookmarks cached and never updated, even on legitimate sites...

Taking an artsy selfie in Stockholm? You might need to pay royalities


Re: no

"but non-commercial filming is a free-for-all, more or less. Or is every one of the selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower on Facebook a copyright infringement?"

Wikipedia doesn't use 'non-commerical' copyright though - all (or most) images there are "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike". They won't accept 'not for commerical use' restrictions on their images as they sometimes do charge for their content (ie DVDs etc).

So by extention any company could use images from their site for commerical purposes as long as they give attribution - Virgin Mobile Australia used Flickr CC images on bus adverts a few years ago - which is why so far I've resisted requests to use my photos in articles.

PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law


Re: "male perverts"

"I know I will be buried under a pile of downvotes for speaking my mind. I would prefer to get upvotes, but not at the cost of abandoning my principles and basic powers of reasoning"

There's an old Jewish proverb: "If ten men tell you you're sick, lie down."

Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?


Re: reverse the polarity of the neutron flow

In the old days the scripts took the place of the special effects. These days it almosts seems like the special effects are included to take your mind off just how flimsy some of the plots actually are.

It's a shame Moffat et al seem enamoured more of making it into a spectacle than a serious series. Plot howlers are ignored; continuity is just a knowing wink to the original series to make the die-hard fan squee for a few seconds.

I remember Ray Cusick's response to the rebooted Daleks asking why this advanced race, time-travel capable and almost impossible to destroy, should still be using bolts and rivets on their casing.

(Yeah, ok - don't remind me of Troughton's Cybermen having lace-up boots...)


Misisng options

By the way - no one's mentioned the Valeyard.

As a bona fide reincarnation of the Doc surely he should be included in the poll too?


Roger Delgado was a fantastic villain - charming, erudite and thoroughly untrustworthy.

The latest reincarnations have been less menancing and more 'care-in-the-communty' psychotic. I like to think some people are just very very bad without having to give them a mental illness to justify their lack of compassion. Delgado glowered. Simm girned.


Re: Having met two of them...

Interesting poll if you take into consideration the mellowing of Colin Baker's Doctor in the Big Finish audio plays. I agree that his television performance bordered on the horrendous but he's a decent enough actor not to blame the performer but the direction and the scripts.

He's very good in the BF stories if anyone cares to listen.

Perhaps the AIpocalypse isn't imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is


According to Google Translate my partner and I have just enjoyed a cruise down "Shemale River" in Borneo. Sungai Wariu in the original Malay.

More than 13,000 emails swiped in Edinburgh council cyber assault


Re: Useless bunch of cretins.

To coin a phrase, "nice little retort, spoiled only by the fact I never said the website was either designed or run by EC themselves."

They do however have a duty of care in ensuring any such services are robust enough, and if they were the incumbents during its commission to ensure the correct questions were asked regarding security.

My point was around general incompetence. You only need to look at the recent Statutory Repairs scandal in the city to know that either someone was deliberately adopting the ostrich position, or the right questions were failing to be asked time and again.

- now THAT is closer to my idea of a rant ;)


Useless bunch of cretins.

They refused to empty our bin two months ago as it contained glass which "should have been placed in the blue bin provided."

I pointed out they hadn't provided any of us in the area with blue bins so they promised to send some out within ten days.

Failed to do so, and also failed to reply to any of our follow up messages.

So - back on topic - not surprised that their data security is on a par with the rest of the council services.

FBI fingering Norks for Sony hack: The TRUTH – by the NSA's spyboss


#FoxNewsFacts ?

Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water


Re: Missy

Yeah. I prefer my Master to be as suave and sophisticated as Roger Delgado's. Proper devils like Fu Manchu never needed to girn to camera to look menacing, or ham it up like the infamous Zaroff or Soldeed death scenes...

I always though John Sim played the character as if he was brain damaged rather than truely, awesomely bad-ass.



Given the number of calls I get per week I'd volunteer my services as an enforcer for free at weekends.

I wouldn't even claim expenses for the baseball bat, or the portable electrodes.

Virgin Media DOUBLE-PUNCHED by BSkyB AND BT over ad fibs


Ham-fisted bun vendors

"shouldn't hoodwink customers into thinking that elements of its bundled packages were being offered for free or at a discounted rate"

But that's exactly how they deal with *not* giving you a refund when the service dies - "Oh, we offer that for FREE"...

Read The Gods of War for every tired cliche you never wanted to see in a sci fi book


Stealth Books - "Our target audience is at least as clever as we are." (http://stealthbooks.wordpress.com/)

Nuf sed.

Sony DENIES PlayStation Network WOBBLES despite gamer GRIPES


Yep down here too

Rest of t'internet is fine but PSN continually reports Maintenance error.

Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more


Re: We pay Hachette for their good judgement

"full of Oxbridge luvvies, ghostwritten sleb biogs, and middlebrow nonentities specialising in novels about wine, shoes, husbands, and bitchy middle class nastiness."

Whereas the burgeoning ebook market is full of metrosexual novelettes on werewolves, vampires, pixies, same-sex historical romances and pulp scifi*. Take a look at Amazon's Kindle range.

In the old days you had to impress a commissioning editor. Now you just grease the big A-cloud's wheels. If you want to go back to having a better range of printed books then you'd need to reintroduce the NBA - publisher's cannot support the same breadth of publications when people like supermarkets et al can undercut the usual cash-cow best sellers.

(* not denigrating the quality of the writing, just the genres)

June Whitfield and EE to old folk: Would you like a nice cup of tea and some internet, dear?


Re: The company has partnered with an organisation which knows what it is doing.

Funny,. That actually happened to me a couple of years ago. Every week I'd get an Age UK letter addresses to some senior citizen.

I kept emailling them to update their mailing list correctly and after a few months of this (where they constantly insisted my address HAD been suppressed) I got this bizzare apology letter, with the envelope addressed to me, but the letter headed "Dear Mrs". I couldn't quite understand what it was trying to say as the sentence structure was very odd.

So I finally scanned the letter and emailed it back to them pointing out if the old dear who'd written it was the same person in charge of the mailing department then perhaps their carer could step in for a few minutes and finally get my address off their bleedin' lists.

It worked.

PS Before anyone says I'm being unfair to pensioners I'd like to point out I'm equally as unfair to every other group out there. :)


Bought the T shirt...

Spent last weekend with aged parents and new mobile.

Me: Are you sure you know how to use that?

Mum: Of course we do. We've had two before.

Dad: Where does the battery go?

Mum: And how do we answer calls?

Me: You said you'd had two earlier phones.

Mum: We couldn't get those to work.

[next day my own phone rings]

Mum: What are you doing answering?

Me: You phoned me!

Mum: Don't be stupid. We're dialling our own number to test. Why would we call you?

Me: You did call me!

Dad: How come you can answer our number?

Me: AARGH!!!

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife


It's amateur hour at VM again.

Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage


Does your horse require water?*

"Virgin Media's status pages claim everything is fine"

The last time I looked at their status page it said for my area (Central Scotland!) people were reporting problems logging on to London Underground wifi. Ya don't say?

*Cowboys, the lot of them.

How to strip pesky copyright watermarks from photos ... says a FACEBOOK photo bod


Re: Wait a minute

I'm assuming Version 1.0 is some kind of common troll.

I rather think the photographer who's livelihood depends on selling his images is less of a DRMtard than you think. Or clearly, don't think. Or perhaps you feel he ought to make up for lost revenue by flogging torrented BluRays and CDs from the back of his van?

Virgin Media so, so sorry for turning spam fire-hose on its punters


Re: Muppets

They only became giants by standing on the shoulders of others.. Usually without asking.


Re: Exam

Personally I think the Reply-to-All button ought to be connected to the mains and the current regulated by the number of individuals on the list. Small shock for a small list. A Darwin Award for the greater faux pas.

PUNISHMENT gluttons: The Dr Who monsters that come back for more


Re: The Master

Hmm. Roger Delgado exuded all the menace and charm of an East End gang lord.

John Simm (who in other roles has been fantastic) played the character as if he was in a Carry On Up The Loony Bin movie.. Sometimes less is more.

Ten top stories from New Who


Re: Daleks and stairs

Quite right. The stairs issue was cleared well before this reboot.

And as for "the show’s design team got the look right" I'm with Ray Cusick - WTF are there bolts and rivets showing? This is supposed to be a high-tech mechanised society capable of building almost anything. It's not supposed to be a steam punk revival.

I have to say I'm not taken with the new cybermen either - they're just chunky lumps of metal. All the older versions had something interesting about them whether it was the semi-humanoid faces of the Tenth Planet, or the later chest-units. Okay maybe the lace-up boots weren't the best design feature but a spray-painted wetsuit better suggests futuristic metallurgy than something that looks like it fell out of a Victorian foundry.

Hacker cracks Vodafone Germany, steals data of 2 million customers


Re: "Hardly possible"?

"In a statement (in Deutsch) expressing regret over the incident and promising to inform customer[s], Vodafone.de said that police have identified a[n] unnamed suspect and carried out a search."

It's not that much better in English...

'Kim Jong-un executes nork-baring ex and pals for love polygon skin flick'


Re: Propaganda

"Ah yes, the nukes. Strapped onto missiles that can barely reach Japan."

I really don't see that "they can't hit us back" is a good enough justification for taking arms against NK.

Do you really not care if they turn those weapons on countries they can hit in mindless retaliation?

Google cursed its own phones with wacked Wi-Fi, say Nexus users


Gallery crash

I've had the gallery crash on me repeatedly with only two jpegs in the directory, one of normal resolution and the other a small thumbnail.

Deleting the thumbnail stopped the crash so I'm wondering if it's the scaling routine that's the issue.

'Hacked' estate agency Foxtons breaks glass, pulls password reset cord


"The recent spate of high-profile data breaches, such as this alleged attack on Foxtons, are evidence that organisations are either not taking cyber security seriously or are bewildered by the problem"

Anycompany: "How much will this extra security cost?"

IT Dept: "£xxxx"

Anycompany: "And if the worst happens what can we be sued for?"

Lawyer: "Only £xxx"

Anycompany: "Right. Operation 'Heads in the Sand postion'. All for? All against?"

Microsoft to fund Blake's 7 return as Xbox Live exclusive

Thumb Down

"this handsome ex-soldier sits up, and looks at a photo of his wife Rachel. Beautiful. Deceased.”

Another tired old cliche. Why does he have to be handsome and why does she need to be beautiful?

Has no one quite realised why most American SF shows just fade away after a season or two? All lip gloss and no substance. Perfect teeth isn't a substitute for a decent plot and good actors.

Remember "Murder One" with the mesmerising Daniel Benzali? Not pin up material, so after the success of S1 they replaced him with a "more" camera-friendly version. Show cancelled...

American remake of Red Dwarf: remember what they did to the character of Lister? Show cancelled...

Who will Dr Who chew in 50th TV do before Matt Smith bids adieu?


Much as I religiously sit down every Saturday to watch it I do find myself enjoying the old Pertwee/TBaker ones much more than the current reboot.

Maybe it's part nostalgia but in the absence of budget for special effects plot and characterisation played a big part in each episode. Now I feel the "plot" mainly involves the current incumbent girning to camera whilst flapping his magic wand in all directions at once. Characterisation should not be replaced by caricature.

Gatis scripts aside, Moffat's seem to be all spectical and little substance. Good for the occasional extravaganza but it's like overdosing on chocolate meringue. One bite and it substantively collapses.

On the plus side, the eye-candy has certainly improved :)

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters


We have a PM who refuses to follow what the majority of the public want and implement the Leveson report as it sets a bad precident over "Press Freedom".

Now he feels he can impose a web filter on everyone (opt out be damned: if it's filtering content not specifically designated as illegal it's censorship by the back door) wanting to access the internet at home whilst still condoning the right of newspapers and other sundry rags to sexualise children and stuff photos of semi-naked women between the newssheets where any kid can see.

I know it will never work: the attempts to block PirateBay just illustrates how the web routes around such blockages, but knowing it'll never work doesn't lessen the anger I feel.

Fix the economy. Fix the gutter press. Fix our army's kit shortages. Fix youth unemployment. Fix your own lobbyists.

Don't just pander to the Daily Mail readership as if it makes up the entire electorate.

Porn does not equate with Abuse/Rape any more than Muslim equates with Terrorism (though his beloved Daily Mail may argue the latter).


PORNAGEDDON: Sexy bloggrs stung by Tumblr smut smackdown


When I joined Deviant Art it was what it said on the tin :)

BBC-featured call centre slapped with hefty fine for unwanted calls


My most recent run in with cold callers:

Me: "Of course I can talk. Just give me a moment for Sgt Macdonald to come back with the charge sheets and I'll happily talk to you about contravensions of the Telecoms Acts whilst he traces this call."


Penguin pays $75m to settle ebook price-fixing case


Re: Who gets the cash?!

As an ex-bookseller I have soft spot for the Penguin brand and as much as I dislike being ripped off buying ebooks I'd dislike it even more if such well-known publishers went under.

They may have a retail turnover of £440m (2012 figures) but at least for last year the Grauniad was reporting their operating profit as just £22m.

I really can't blame any of the remaining UK publishers for jumping on any chance to increase their profitibility given their steady decline since the abolition of the Net Book Agreement. Better value for the consumer? Possibly. More choice for the consumer? Certainly not.

I'm not sure I'd want to be in a world where the only reading material was either self-published ebooks or mass market tra... novels like Dan Brown's latest. Sure, they have their niche in the marketplace but give me a Penguin Classic any day.

Yes - please have a level playing field when it comes to [e]book buying, but also, please don't take the golden feathers off the golden goose. Money like that just goes straight into whichever Treasury has jurisdiction and does nothing to help either the reader or the publisher.

BT Tower is just a relic? Wrong: It relays 18,000hrs of telly daily

Thumb Up

Sod the Shard, I'd happily pay £24.95 for a proper tour around a real iconic building.

Google 'will be pulled back in front of MPs' on its UK tax affairs


"they're doing no more negotiate subject to approval of the board in Ireland," he said ungrammatically, whilst balancing a copy of Fowler's Modern English Usage on his nose and whistling "My Way" backwards.

I salute Lady THATCHER - Shoreditch's SILICON GODMOTHER

Black Helicopters

Ayn Rand!

Philosophy aside, her writing style is stilted and turgid.

Writing style aside, the only time I've seen her philosophy put to good effect was in Bioshock.

Scottish SF master Iain M Banks reveals he has less than a year to live


Not only is he an accomplished writer but - speaking as an ex-bookseller - he also has that rare ability to woo a crowd. Too many modern authors are talented on the page but lack the charisma to carry off a reading with aplomb. Mr Banks was always a joy to listen to.

Long may he be read.

NASA probes spots temporary third Van Allen radiation belt


Typo time again

" Surface of Marts"

Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer


squaring the (vicious) circle

Virgin & Amazon [et al] couldn't compete with the online retailers.

Play.com etc had the Channel Islands VAT loophole closed on it so it couldn't discount by 17.5%.

So we're left with the only "highstreet" presence being a supermarket bulk discounting the latest stock and with little or no back catalogue.

And Amazon/Google, doing their utmost within the legal framework to avoid UK taxes.


Shiny new UK.gov stats website a 'disaster' - MPs


Re: A success by any other name

I'd go as far as to suggest it's been cribbed from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20701514

The BBC only give the url as a link under the heading "the website".

Easy for a harried journo to miss on the way to a deadline.

'Spend police USB stick data loss mega-fine on IT lessons for cops'



Given the media coverage of data loss (from NHS to Schools to Local Govt) over the last few years you'd have to be pretty dense for that not to have filtered through now.

These things happen, not down to lack of training (though it's easy to blame that) but because after hours of lecturing on best practises tired and busy people take the easy way out.

(I need to take this data home but if i speak to IT I'll just get bogged down in paperwork and questions)

Experience? Working with a small finance company - where everyone was lectured regularly on the importance of FSA and Data Protection regs. Didn't stop people on Friday evening from dumping stuff onto their laptops before heading out the door.

The GPL self-destruct mechanism that is killing Linux


Parsing error

"Linux itself hasn't split is the forceful, charismatic leadership of Linus Torvalds"

Surely the bigger the headline the more easy it is to spot a cut-n-paste howler?

Medical scan record that the NHS says will cost £2k to retrieve: Detail


Um. There's no mention of the trust asking around to see if any other establisments still have this equipment. Surely that would be the most sensible option - or are our hospitals now little island kingdoms with communications?

Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'


That just encourages me to go in and ask for a skinny ristretto*.

*yes I know that's an oxy, moron.

Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Paris Hilton

Toothless watchdogs

Is there any point to the ASA? Time and again VM (and world+dog) run ads that are found to be misleading to what result? They're told not to run the same advert again. So they run a new misleading one in its place.

If you genuinely wanted to discourage the practise you'd bite them until it hurt.

Paris 'cos she knows when to use teeth and when not to.