* Posts by Vincent Ballard

419 posts • joined 23 Aug 2008

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Pigeon fanciers in a flap over Brexit quarantine flock-up, seek exemption from EU laws

Vincent Ballard

Re: Brexit.

Their problem is precisely that they're not immigrants, at least from a legal perspective. They're very long-term tourists.

Vincent Ballard

Re: Seriously?

Third wave? We've had four already in Spain and we're starting on a fifth.

(NB various media and politicians miscount them but a five-year-old could identify the waves in the official statistics: https://cnecovid.isciii.es/covid19/#ccaa )

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Vincent Ballard

Things are never quite that simple

On the other hand, they need Parliament to pass a budget each year or they'll be disbanded.

Yahoo! Answers! will! be! wiped! from! the! internet! next! month!

Vincent Ballard
Happy

Re: Funny

When I moved to Spain, I considered getting a moped but I wasn't sure whether I'd need to do some equivalent of CBT. I searched the web for something like (in Spanish) "What do I need to ride a moped in Spain?", and the best answer by far was on Yahoo! Answers: "Your mother's blessing".

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Vincent Ballard

Re: Gatwick -> Edinburgh ?

I was once offered mileage for my shoes by an interviewer, having turned down a taxi home. (It was only about 10 minutes' walk and a nice day).

Vincent Ballard
Headmaster

Re: Not quite a straightforward bribe

When my Dad was a teacher in East Africa, one of his additional duties was to visit the bank in the nearby city and collect the wages for the entire school. He used to carry the money in his shoe, not to avoid bribes but to avoid pickpockets. All was well until the time he got on the bus back and discovered that he had no money in his pockets, so he had to pull off his shoe there and then.

Desperate Nominet chairman claims member vote to fire him would spark British government intervention

Vincent Ballard
FAIL

Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

Why would Scots care about a wall in Northumberland?

BOFH: 7 jars of Marmite, a laptop and a good time

Vincent Ballard
WTF?

Self-contradiction alert

An inhibition is precisely the thing which stops you from doing something you wouldn't do otherwise.

Whistleblowers: Inflexible prison software says inmates due for release should be kept locked up behind bars

Vincent Ballard

Re: Which came first?

I was once offered a half-time job producing a series of similar bespoke programs. I expressed my surprise, explained the principle of code/data separation, talked through the real requirements, and spent three months producing a single configurable program which put my client's previous vendors out of six months' billing per annum for (if they were half-way competent and had done essentially the same thing behind the client's back) about three days' work.

No egrets: Ardent twitchers fined for breaking lockdown after bloke spots northern mockingbird in his garden

Vincent Ballard

Re: Is the point of a personal interest that you persue[sic] it?

I think that the cynic is you is wrong. Twitchers may well tend to introversion, and may try to keep talking to a minimum to avoid scaring more paranoid birds, but we tend to cluster around the places with good lines of sight to the interesting ones, and most of us will try to explain where to look if someone can't spot it.

Vincent Ballard

Re: Puns

As the Americans say, tern about is no fowl.

Vincent Ballard
Coat

A quick snipe

No egrets? We quail before the stilted pun, although no doubt the bustard who came it with it was crowing about it. One swift question for the benefit of all the culture vultures larking about here: was the pun on "hobby" intended, or just a bonus?

EncroChat hack case: RAM, bam... what? Data in transit is data at rest, rules UK Court of Appeal

Vincent Ballard
Headmaster

Re: End to end encryption

I think that reasoning is a bit too glib. The guarantee given by end-to-end encryption is that the data which passes through routers and servers (so roughly layer 2 or 3 in the OSI model) is encrypted by keys which are not available to the people who run the routers and servers, but encryption itself belongs in a higher layer. However, that higher layer is arguably layer 6 rather than layer 7. Which layer should count as the cutoff between rest and transit?

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: I can never use data again

Homomorphic encryption lets you process data while keeping it encrypted. But that still leaves the issues of data input and (non-aggregated) output.

Severe bug in Libgcrypt – used by GPG and others – is a whole heap of trouble, prompts patch scramble

Vincent Ballard
WTF?

Would you ban the use of pure nitroglycerine in mining just because dynamite does the job effectively and is far safer? Hell, yes! Sometimes appropriate use of tools means recognising that the old tool is so dangerous that the only sensible thing to do is to use newer, safer tools.

You advocate manually extending the struct and adding manual checks every time it's used, but you haven't made an argument for why that's better than switching to a language which does that for you automatically, eliminating the entire class of errors.

We regret to inform you the professor teaching your online course is already dead

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: And get a better education...

There are a couple of things which make it more complicated than that.

First rate university courses consist of more than lectures: there's also interaction with lecturers or teaching assistants.

And lecture courses don't stand alone: they're integrated into a dependency system which allows the lecturer to make valid assumptions about what the students ought to already know. So a given lecture course at one university might spend the last third or half building towards some important result which will be a prerequisite for an advanced course the next year, but at another university which doesn't offer the same advanced course the corresponding intermediate course might be structured very differently.

There is value in heterogeneity and in allowing students to choose a course which suits their interests and capacities.

Fedora's Chromium maintainer suggests switching to Firefox as Google yanks features in favour of Chrome

Vincent Ballard

It seems that Google is going to revoke the API keys, which would mean that the traffic would start to be blocked server-side.

You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify

Vincent Ballard
Alert

Re: Respect the experience

One of the physics teachers in my secondary school had a demo where he shocked a volunteer using a capacitor charged from a battery. I naïvely volunteered and gave a tremendous shriek; he confessed to me a few years later that he checked afterwards and discovered that he'd miscalculated the capacitance and given me a bigger shock than intended. He followed up with the first XV rugby player who had volunteered in an earlier class and discovered that, although he was too tough to show pain, he had a numb arm for a few hours. So I can well believe that someone with a dodgy heart could be killed by the surprise.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

Vincent Ballard
Coat

I remember back in about 2000, the first time I tried to top up my pay-as-you-go phone. I duly purchased a 10 quid top-up card from the supermarket, scratched off the opaque coating over the secret code, and tried to follow the instructions. But the instructions wanted me to enter the secret code followed by the hash key, and I couldn't find the output of a one-time function applied to the secret code anywhere on the card... It took a call to the operator's support line and much mutual confusion to figure that one out.

Vincent Ballard
Alert

Re: Doubtless with the assistance of a baseball bat peppered with rusty nails.

The previous king of Spain killed his elder brother in a similar accident. Or "accident" for those who disbelieve the official story.

Inflated figures and customers who were never there. Just another data migration then

Vincent Ballard
Black Helicopters

Re: I bet inflated numbers happen everywhere

No-one has been punished for the failure to reach the self-imposed targets for daily CoVID-19 tests because if Johnson fires Hancock now then he'll have to find a different scapegoat when things don't improve.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

Vincent Ballard
Thumb Up

Re: Wheeled office chairs

And the Battenburgs became Mountbattens.

Samsung shaves 0.1μm off pixels to make new ISOCELL sensor lineup 15% slimmer

Vincent Ballard

Re: Pixel binning

Or you could just combine it in hardware by having larger pixels for a cheaper, better sensor. It's like the megahertz race in personal computers when anything off the shelf had a CPU which supported a really high clock speed and so little RAM that it spent all of its time swapping.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: 11Oct16

The whole "ambi" is the part which means "both", so surely it's just guous?

I won't be ignored: Google to banish caller roulette with Verified Calls

Vincent Ballard
Go

Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

Maybe your hospital withholds its number. The hospital which phoned me a few weeks ago to give me an appointment didn't, which was why I picked up.

Vincent Ballard
WTF?

Re: The only winner is Google

Does that help? The company calling you won't know what kind of phone you have, so it won't affect their decision to notify Google.

Vincent Ballard

Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

I can't think of many, but there was an incident a few years ago where I had a couple of calls from a 20-or-so digit number which was obviously some spammy call centre; a few months later I discovered that it was in fact a court trying to notify me of something important. And hospital waiting lists are another one: you can go months between being put on the list and getting the phone call to tell you your number's come up, and I don't want to take every potentially spam call in that interval.

I note that Spain is one of the countries where they're launching, and I think that's partly due to cultural differences. In Spain no-one leaves a message. The culture here is that if someone phones you and you don't answer, the ball is now in your court and you should phone back to find out what it was about.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: If you want irony ...

When politics and language get mixed up, things can get very interesting.

Many people know that in the north-east of Spain there's a region, Catalonia, with a substantial* independence movement and its own language, Catalan. Fewer people know that Catalan actually has three main dialect groups: east Catalan (spoken in Barcelona, and hence the "prestige" dialect), Balearic (spoken in the islands of the same name), and west Catalan, spoken in a large area of rural Catalonia and most of the southerly neighbour of Catalonia, the Valencian Community.

Now, as far as Valencian politicians are concerned, Valencian is a separate language to Catalan. As far as Valencian linguists are concerned, Valencian is another name for Catalan. When the Valencian government established its own Academy, the academicians wrote a dictionary which defined Valencian as Catalan and were nearly sacked for it.

To throw an additional spanner in the works, Valencian academics (in general, not just linguists) were used to taking their lead from the older Barcelona-based Academy. Valencian as taught in schools and, especially, universities is much closer to what you'd hear on the streets in Barcelona (more influenced by French) than in Valencia (more influenced by Spanish). So there is also a non-party-political pressure group which tries to get official Valencian to reflect street Valencian rather than the east Catalan dialect: i.e. to promote the real situation that Valencian is an identifiable dialect of Catalan.

* As of the past 10 or so years.

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Local 'languages'

There are always corner cases. By that standard, en-GB and en-US would be different languages, but the mutual intelligibility is so high that I don't think anyone seriously disputes that they're dialects of the same language, however many counterfactual jokes we may make.

So... just 'Good' then? KFC pulls Finger Lickin' slogan while pandemic rumbles on

Vincent Ballard
IT Angle

Cinema tie-in

My strongest association with KFC is the time I saw Chicken Run at the cinema and the back of the ticket had a voucher for money off the Colonel's menu. It seemed somewhat inappropriate.

A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos

Vincent Ballard
Alert

Re: They're navigating like an Egypcian

You missed an opportunity there to hop out, run across the bridge, and jump back in.

Snortical warfare: Wild boar launches amphibious assault against German beachgoers

Vincent Ballard

I thought they were hunted? I'm sure I've read of at least two outbreaks of listeriosis in Spain in the last year caused by people not getting a vet to do a blood test on a wild boar before they ate it.

Self-driving car supremo Anthony Levandowski sentenced to 18 months in the clink for stealing trade secrets from Google's Waymo

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: “Why I went to federal prison,”

That's not actually the correct order. Besides that, by the time of the American Revolution the sentence as practised was not the same as the sentence as dictated. An Irish cousin of mine was sentenced to the full works for high treason three decades later, but the actual execution was carried out as hanging followed by beheading.

All in all it's just another bork on the wall: For pity's sake, begs signage, climb onto the pub's roof and boot me up

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: StreetView image

It's the verb "to die", but close enough.

.NET Core: Still a Microsoft platform thing despite more than five years open source

Vincent Ballard

Re: Always seemed an uphill task

I just didn't see people on non-MS platforms enthusiastically adopting it.
Not the target audience. The target audience is .Net backend developers who want to pay less for their servers by using Linux hosts rather than Windows ones. It's at the expense of Windows, but not of Azure, which is the real money-maker nowadays.

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Always seemed an uphill task

P/invoke is supported in .Net Core. It's kind-of missing the point to use it, because you wave goodbye to portability, but it is an option.

Digicert will shovel some 50,000 EV HTTPS certificates into the furnace this Saturday after audit bungle

Vincent Ballard

I wouldn't be 100% sure that they're not running a fullscreen browser in kiosk mode.

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Words matter...

?! The M stands for masochism.

Things can't go on like this. You need to get fit for the sake of your health. I'm going to write you a prescription for... an e-bike

Vincent Ballard

Re: eBikes

I used an e-bike to get around Normandy (some nice flat parts, some long hills) for a week last summer. I was a bit nervous because I hadn't cycled for a year and still had back pain from being knocked off a non-electric bike by a drunk driver, but the electric support made it relatively painless and enabled me to get around very well despite being unfit.

If you want to get a usable bike for less than 100 quid, you could try police auctions in Cambridge...

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Mondrian

For everyone who's still wondering after reading your post, it's neoplasticism.

Someone must be bricking it: UK govt website for first-time home buyers snapped up for £40,000 after left to expire

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Cultural issue

If you're feeling traditionalist it would be a groat.

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Cultural issue

Now that sterling coins have been resized, maybe it's time to bring back the word "bit", so instead of "shilling" we could call it a "quinqupenny bit".

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Vincent Ballard
WTF?

Baffled

Can anyone figure out what's "ableist" about the phrase "baffling outliers"?

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: I understand the irritation...

I would argue that it's more pedantic to use "begging the question" to mean "demanding an answer to the question" than to use it as a bad translation of a dodgy translation of "ἐν ἀρχῃ αἰτεισθαι". And I certainly wouldn't consider "circular reasoning" a cumbersome phrase. (It may not cover exactly the meaning of Aristotle's term, and it certainly doesn't cover some early usages of the late Latin mangling, which have the sense more of taking as axioms statements which are not self-evident, but I think it does effectively cover most supposed pedantic usage of the past century).

Also, I'm not seeing much evidence that people are offended by renaming "master" branches. The contrary reactions seem to be predominantly frustration at a perceived change for change's sake, and people are presenting various cogent arguments as to why that's a bad thing.

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: Master copy

Curiously, the earliest citation OED has for 10c ("A plate, stencil, or negative used in any of various reprographic processes to produce copies of a document, etc.") is from 1930, raising the possibility that the term entered the printing industry from the music industry (10a: "An original disc or (formerly) a cylinder with grooves cut by a stylus during sound recording"; first citation 1904).

Is this an ASP.NET Core I see before me? Where to next for Microsoft's confusing web framework...

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: At its best, it is like magic

I've never used EF, but I did once take over maintenance for a mess of a project which used NHibernate in some parts and some third party code generation tool whose name I forget in others. And direct SqlCommand access to views which were 200 lines long and full of subqueries on the admin side. In some ways the third party tool was the best: sure, it was a pain in the arse to use, but it avoided the black box problem because when I really got fed up with some aspects of the code it was generating I could edit the templates. (Some kind of VBA, I think. I never found out exactly, but it's not the only time I've had to maintain code in a language I didn't know. Eventually I figured out how to make the tool use C#, and rewrote the templates from scratch).

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Vincent Ballard

Re: Donald Jenius Trump

If you look at statements made and actions taken or not taken around last year's impeachment proceedings, he believes that he's immune, and since he's the boss of the Justice Department it does too. He's also the boss of the FDA. Once he leaves office, on the other hand, who knows?

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

Vincent Ballard

Re: Tallest men in British TV

This past week it was throwing paper, refurbishing bathrooms, and making elephants dance. #HomeTasking

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: 'Pointless' is OK,...

Let's see.. Most Germans, people who attend churches where they sing traditional hymns, football fans, ...

Google Chrome to block file downloads – from .exe to .txt – over HTTP by default this year. And we're OK with this

Vincent Ballard
Coat

Re: So much for my home server

Two options: either give it a name (I suspect from the description of the scenario that editing a couple of hosts files would suffice), or create a certificate with an IP address for the Common Name (which is perfectly well supported). The latter option probably requires you to set up your own CA, which if you haven't done it before might take a couple of hours of reading. It's actually not that hard with OpenSSL, unless you want to follow best practices which require specialised hardware.

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