* Posts by Richard North

48 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Sep 2008

When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

Richard North

Only half joking...

I got home and found my boss in bed with my wife.

"WTF is going on?" I yelled.

"Remember when you said you would do anything for that promotion?"

"Yes..?" I replied.

"Get undressed, when I have finished with her, you're next..."

Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Richard North

Re: 8080, bloody Hell!

I suspect that might date quite a few of us...

Whether that is a good thing or a bad one I shall leave to the reader.

Google makes Opera bloggers an offer they can't refuse: Use Chrome

Richard North

Re: Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?

I use Blogspot, and I also use the latest build of Opera.

Everything works perfectly, the recurrent warning is bullshit, pure and simple.

Remember back when "Broadband" ...

Richard North

Somewhere in my museum of horrors...

I have a 1200/75 modem that still works - it's about the same size as a modern netbook!

Interesting. I see plenty of "locals" asking for "power posting privs" in the cookie jar ...

Richard North

Re: break it?

If you want it properly tested in a hostile environment, just pop up in the Anonops IRC channel and challenge all comers.

They'll break it. :-)

Mornington Crescent

Richard North

But then...

But then I'll just go to Tower Hill

The Register Comments Guidelines

Richard North

Never underestimate the power of mockery... well-placed derision can change things for the better, anybody who's ever watched 'Mock The Week' knows this. :-)

Richard North


Have you ever faced a fast ball from a decent bowler from a ladies cricket team?

Met Office cuts off Linux users with new weather widgets

Richard North

See that window over there?

If you look out of the window, you can see the weather in real time...

Virgin Media takes itself in hand after punter-package tickle whoopsie

Richard North

Not only, but also...

They didn't just do this once, they did it twice!

We received the first email, then the retraction, then a second copy of the email, which was also followed by a retraction.

Dropping a bollock once is embarrassing, dropping the same one again having just apologised for it takes it to a whole new level...

Still, in the grand scale of things, I don't mind - I don't get comedy emails very often. :-)

Amazon's new Kindle Fire stripped naked

Richard North


Why do you need a reflow-station and a clean room?

All you need is a toaster-grill and the meat-thermometer... if you get any bridging a bit of ordinary solder-wick will fix it.

Don't people *ever* hack hardware the old-school way on the kitchen table any more?

Voyager 2 finally agrees to a long hard thrust

Richard North

Dim dots...

Looking around us, it might be safe to suggest on of those dots is getting dimmer by the minute...

Another reason to jail-break your iPhone 4: You can get Siri

Richard North

Missing the point?

Siri might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but you'll get more sense out of her than you will out of most middle managers... and she's *fun*

http://shitthatsirisays.tumblr.com/ (Occasionally NSFW)

World first: UK boffins print out working 3D aeroplane

Richard North
Thumb Up

Form following function

When form so perfectly follows function, beauty happens too.

This engineer can really appreciate what they've done.

It must be an exciting time to be a young engineer just starting along the road, when we're approaching that time when if it can be imagined, it can be made.

Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

Richard North

This place will be poorer without you...

Good luck in whatever you're doing next Sarah - I hope you enjoy it as much as we've enjoyed tormenting you. :-)

Jude - you've got an impossible act to follow so you might as well give up right now and just let us get on with it. >:-)

Powerline network radio interference debated in Commons

Richard North

Completely missing the main point of amateur radio...

Amateur radio isn't *just* about having a natter - although we do that too - if it was you'd have at least half a point.

It is, by definition, an experimental hobby - and fundamental to that experimentation is the ability to transmit and receive signal by radio, otherwise you're unable to do the very science you're licensed to do... which may involve propagation studies, may involve circuit design, aerial design, or involve developing new digital modes and the supporting software to get a signal through under extreme circumstances - as well as training and practice for disaster-preparedness.

The fact many of us are able to continue working indefinitely in the absence of mains power or indeed any other infrastructure makes us extremely useful in disaster situations - we do form part of the 'disaster plan' of most local authorities in the UK and beyond as we'll still be working when everything else has stopped.

God forbid we have the sort of disaster here they had recently in Japan, or Haiti... but if that happens, us 'beardies' will be helping keep you alive when nobody else outside the military can communicate further than they can shout.

Virgin Media to issue firmware update after Superhub slows to crawl

Richard North

Not in all of the Bristol area it doesn't...

I'm only on the 10 meg service anyway - but in BS31-land it's absolutely rock solid with the full advertised speed even at peak times.

My neighbours struggle to get 0.5 meg through the completely knackered BT copper we have locally regardless of which provider tries - VM has an effective monopoly around here until BT do something about their worn-out infrastructure.

The SMS of DEATH - Can it crash your phone?

Richard North

Android text appears to be broken anyway...

I happened to read this thread in Google code this morning, about a long-standing issue with sms going to the wrong recipient if anything interrupts you while you're composing it...


I wonder how many divorces/sackings/decapitations that's caused?

Vulture falls asleep in front of Christmas TV

Richard North

I hope everybody enjoyed the Fourth Test...

Seeing the Aussie fans leaving the ground in droves worked wonders for my Christmas hangover.

Happy New Year everybody! :-)

English Defence League membership list stolen

Richard North

Veiled threat?

So, Mr Astroturfer, what you're saying is that if nobody opposes you nobody needs be hurt?

Thought so.

BOFH: Who's been naughty and who's been nice?

Richard North

Bggr the beancounters...

There's nowt like a bit of larceny to bring a little festive cheer!

The murder is merely a nice little bonus.

Merry Christmas Y'all - don't do anything I wouldn't do. >;-)

Opera 11 goes beta with extensions, stacked tabs

Richard North


I'd love to know where you were going to break the current version Tim, because it's been absolutely rock-solid for me... even when venturing into 'bandit country'.

I'm looking forward to playing with the new version though - anything that keeps the footprint down is good. :-)

Virgin demands ISPs end broadband speed 'con'

Richard North

VM Customer support

Our household has never needed to deal with the helpdesk out in the back of beyond, because we use their support forums to flag up any issues - or even simply ask questions. They're well-monitored and there's usually a response within minutes - we've never had a situation with either TV or broadband we couldn't resolve that way, and only once have we had any substantial downtime... that was the year before last when the cable box for the TV died on Christmas Eve (oh how we laughed...).

http://community.virginmedia.com will take you where you need to go.

Not a Virgin Media shill - just a very satisfied customer. :-)

BOFH: Key performance undertakers

Richard North


I love the smell of burning flesh in the morning...

UK e-Borders scheme thrown into confusion by EU rules

Richard North

@ Captain Mainwaring

"I wonder if he has a job waiting for him there, should he fail at the next general election?"

You're as cynical as me.

And, sadly, we're probably both right to be cynical - he'll have made sure he's got a cushy job lined up somewhere unaccountable and lucrative at our expense, just like Teflon Tony...

Fat Reg slims down for spanking new mobile phone version

Richard North
Thumb Up

Another vote for mobile comments

As the 'free wisdom' offered in comments often contains as much insight as the original article, they're an integral part of the 'El Reg' experience, and as such really need to be supported in the 'slim' version.

It doesn't need to be anything sophisticated, just a simple https form to add a comment, and the comments themselves linked from the bottom of the article as in the 'full-fat' version... they need no additional formatting whatever.

I really welcome the idea of the low bandwidth version - not all of us are physically able to use the latest and greatest (?) touchscreen marvels when we're out and about, so it's an important step forwards in accessibility terms too.

Yahoo! nukes GeoCities

Richard North

@ Ed Blackshaw

View the html source for a few 'in' jokes too... it's so bad it's brilliant. :-)

Mozilla plans to tie Firefox 3.7 pigtails in pretty Ribbon

Richard North

Call me "Luddite..."

But whoever invented that bloody ribbon should be hung by it.

It's the main reason people I know prefer older versions of Office - it looks shagnasty, and it's just plain horrible to use.

If there was a 'throwing up' tag I'd use that, but there isn't so I'll have to settle for 'fail'.

Talking DAB and the future of radio

Richard North

I'd be able to tell you better if I could hear it...

I live near the top of a hill, just outside Bristol, so I'm hardly out in the middle of nowhere, and DAB reception is all but absent.

I bought a DAB portable - a decent brand - about 3 years ago, and was most disappointed to discover I'd got a choice of two stations that 'almost' worked, neither of which were BBC stations.

Nothing has changed in those three years - outdoors I can still get one station (the other one went bust) but indoors I can't detect a signal at all.

It's not the radio at fault, because another borrowed set had identical issues.

Where there should be a radio, what I've actually got is a £50 paperweight.

Gee, thanks...

World's nastiest trojan fools AV software

Richard North

Office under wine

Office up to and including 2003 I've run without problems under wine - the one thing that still defies me is Publisher, which is a pita because certain people insist on sending me stuff in .pub format, damn their eyes.

Ofcom website takes second day off

Richard North

@AC 14:30

That's what they're paid to do - defend the little guys from the naughty big ones - but they've proved themselves to be completely ineffective in that role time and again, they're just a revenue-raising department of the Exchequer in all but name.

The website doesn't make enough profit to be worth hosting properly, so it seems.

I hope they don't take up too much space, because they're a waste of it.

Ofcom fails to sweep away power-line networking

Richard North

Why interference matters so much to radio amateurs...

The reason interference is such a thorny issue is that many amateurs are still continuing the original purpose of amateur radio, self-education, and contributing some high-quality scientific research in the process.

Some of us regularly work with such small signals that even NASA would struggle to make any sense out of them - or even realise they were there in some cases - right on the very cutting edge of communications development, and background noise becomes a serious issue.

That's one reason the military haven't complained, they're usually working with signals sufficiently strong to be robust because they need to get the message through 'first time, every time' under battlefield conditions.

Sometimes it's rather like trying to hear if your watch is still ticking in the middle of a disco...

73 M0GDU

How to hack a Sony Reader

Richard North
Thumb Up

@ Bernie 2

This book-buff loves his 505 - it's one of the best investments I ever made, however my wife liked it so much we had to buy one for her too a couple of weeks later...

It's not a replacement for 'paper' books, obviously it lacks their 'feel', but it's a damn sight more portable than several dozen of them would be when I'm travelling, and much more legible than many in poor conditions too, so it saves me from suffering book-withdrawal symptoms.

The PDF rendering some complain about is a non-issue in practice, I simply render 'oversize' books to plain text before putting them in the reader in the first place... the battery-life is a lot better that way too.

Cameron condemns Tweeters as tw*ts

Richard North

Cameron does have a point though...

Unlike most of the 'twaterati'

Street View snooptrike stalks Siena

Richard North

Street Photography

Of course, if you or I took such a comprehensive set of photographs in the UK, we'd soon end up with a couple of braindead Rozzers getting on our tits about 'taking pictures that might be useful to terrorists'... because of course terrorists don't have access to Google Streetview etc...

The 'fail' tag is for our Police State, not for Google.

Amazon Kindle doomed to repeat Big Brother moment

Richard North

@ Anonymous from Mars

I'm afraid I'm going to piss in your chips because you've clearly not stopped and thought about this - it's very dangerous to your livelyhood and you don't see it.

This is the sort of thing that could easily trigger a huge public backlash, quite possibly a significant boycott of a publisher - maybe 'your' publisher.

If that happens, your income will plummet - although your 'rights' have been protected, your interests haven't.

If your publisher has you tied to an exclusive contract - as most do - then you don't have the option of jumping ship to another one as you've already sold your ass to this one and they'll make sure you never write for anybody else until they're sure your rights are worthless.

'Rights' are all very well, but you can't eat them, or live in them.

I hope you own a tent.

Man+dog plunged into 'faecal lagoon'

Richard North


@AC, you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you can contrive to get such a wonderful word minuted, it must surely be worth at least 'TWENTY' extra points?

And if the secretary gets the spelling right without looking it up or asking, a bonus ten for them too. :-)

Church of England schism fear over mobile phone masts

Richard North

Out of sight, out of mind - but it's selective...

As a radio amateur, I have a decent-sized transmitting aerial in my garden.

Although I've done my best to minimise the visual impact, local folk know it's there as there's only a 4-foot fence between it and a public park with the footpath right alongside my garden.

People often ask what the aerial is and what I use it for, and I've never once had a negative response to my explanation.

People aren't afraid of radio waves, even at power levels 'considerably' in excess of those radiated by cellphone masts... there's something about the fact it's a phone mast that makes the difference - some of the very same people fascinated by my radio gear were up in arms about a cellphone mast planned nearby a while ago, so much so it was resited.

Couldn't be anything to do with the media's need to create a good scare to sell papers, could it?

Perish the thought...

Catholic social club ousts coven of witches

Richard North

@ frank ly

That's a pretty good attempt. :-)

*Hands frank ly a couple of beautifully polished silver points*

Any more attempts?

How about you, Ms Moderatrix? I'm sure you can find a creative use for a penguin?

Richard North

@ Andy G

Sing along as loud as you like... a verse each and all join in the chorus. :-)


(Bonus points available for the first to post a verse dedicated to The Penguin without our dearly beloved Moderatrix getting in a tizzy... )

Richard North

@ Cameron Colley (and one or two others)

You don't need to agree with somebody else's belief to accept 'that way may be right 'for them'... if you started down the road of agreeing with everything you'd probably end up with an homogenous mess of nothing in particular - but that doesn't mean you can't tolerate difference enough that you can co-operate with people. Ever heard of inter-faith work?

In the case of paganism that tolerance of difference is probably just as well, as there are wider chasms in thought between different groupings of pagans than between the various 'desert religions' who all too frequently go to war over their seemingly irreconcilable differences - most of us would rather talk it out over a shared loaf and mead, life's too short to waste in squabbles so we usually agree to differ if we must. 'Bitchcraft' does go on, but thankfully it's rare.

Langalf - you're not going to hear the 'burning times' myth from me... you won't find many pagans that believe it these days, history is a bit better understood now than it once was - modern druidry in particular is taking such scholarship seriously and it's been long overdue.

Neither will you see any catholic-bashing... most of the catholics I know I have quite a lot in common with once you get away from the 'big guy in the sky' bits - they've got their myths, we've got our own, and there's quite a lot of overlap.

I suppose the fundamental difference between us is that 'most' pagans don't claim our myths are anything more than that... they're just stories used as a way to pass down ideas... as such, most paganism isn't really a 'faith' at all, more of an 'unfaith' - and churches/mosques/synagogues in general seem to our attitude of 'everything is open to question' rather challenging as it's a totally alien concept.

Richard North
Paris Hilton

@ Cameron Colley

"they obviously aren't sure about their own, or they believe in both faiths in which case they're hypocrites."

There's no hypocracy involved in believing there's more than one way to recognise divinity, and that no one path is 'the one true way'...

I'm not connected with that coven - or indeed any other - but I'd suggest one reason for the use of a church hall is that in many places there's not much alternative... not every town has a suitable-sized hall for group rituals, that also has sufficient parking, accomodation nearby for people coming from a distance etc, other than the church hall.

Of course, the 'tabloid' image of paganism , as illustrated by whichever numbskull above was talking about 'Wickerman' doesn't help when you're trying to find a venue either...

As for discrimination against pagans in the UK, it's easy to sidestep the law because at the moment there's no officially-accepted definition of 'pagan' that any reasonable percentage of pagans can sign up to - 'pagan' is an umbrella-term that covers a huge variety of belief and practice... you've got more hope of herding cats than pigeon-holing pagans, it's in their nature to be in a constant state of flux because the pagan life-journey is all about 'the quest to learn' rather than claiming to 'already know everything' the way most faiths do.

Blessed Be, Richard

(Paris, because she'd look good skyclad. ;-) )

Mozilla invites all comers on post-tab future

Richard North
Paris Hilton

Clean interface

I'll confess I've become a bit of an Opera fanboi over the years - and one way I've found to maximise the screen real-estate is to merge the main bar and address bar, and rather than having a seperate search field, search from within the address-bar.

I use the menu bar as normal, the next row contains a stripped-down main-bar leaving loads of room for the address and zoom fields, then tabs below that.

If you do it that way, on a 19" old-style screen you lose barely an inch off the top, and it's easy to navigate 40 or more tabs because they've got automagic thumbnails when you hover them.

If you were doing something graphics-heavy you 'could' turn it all off bar the tabs and put the browsing controls in the right-click context menu instead - it's not difficult to make the interface exactly the way you like it.

Looks like what both Mozilla & MS need is to get the config-files sufficiently well organised that ordinary users aren't scared to fiddle - maybe all it needs is a 'mend me' button to give novice fiddlers the confidence to try... it's really not difficult for even 'non-geeks' to make the browser they really want, the trouble is, nobody but Opera seems willing to tell them that and show them how... MS don't seem to trust their users, and Mozilla still only works as and when it feels like it - maybe because it wasn't broken, then a thousand people fixed it until it was?

Paris - because even she could make her perfect browser with Opera.

PBX phone phreakers ring up huge bills in Oz

Richard North

@ Groundrush

If it helps, the arseholes are usually behind the door marked 'Manager'. ;-)

BOFH: Blackmail and fine wine

Richard North
Paris Hilton

Another one bits the dust...

How big is that tape-safe?

It must be getting a bit full of bodies by now, unless they've done a deal with the cook?

(Paris, because she's always willing to do a deal...)

Norwegians spill Opera 10 alpha

Richard North
Thumb Up

It just keeps getting better...

At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, I've been using Opera since about 3.5 or thereabouts, and it's been my default browser all the time - I've never needed to use a different browser unless a site has deliberately locked-out non-M$ browsers.

I was first attracted to it by the fact I can browse completely mouse-free if my arthritis is playing up, but stayed for the 'feel' - I can make it just the stripped down to basics way I like it.

IE8 is vastly improved over other M$ offerings, but it's still not a patch on Opera, and until the MS dev-team get as close to their user-base as the Opera devs do, it never will.

I think that's a large part of what makes Opera special - the devs are only a forum-post away rather than hiding in a bunker someplace, so they get to hear the bare-arsed truth direct from the people using their product rather than being insulated by many layers of management.

Wireless comms and the end of civilisation

Richard North

Radio Amateurs aren't 'just' about RAYNET

Even if RAYNET suffered the same attrition rate as the general population - not a safe assumption if other groups are as well-prepared as our local one - there are a lot of amateurs who aren't RAYNET members who have quite resilient installations and can operate off-grid for a considerable length of time.

Most of our rigs can operate from either mains or 12v supplies, so as long as it's possible to charge a car-battery 'somehow' then we will have communication worldwide available. There is no shortage of small wind-generators on boats and caravans that their dead owners would 'donate', in the event... they're perfectly suitable.

Best-placed would be the various contest groups who will have high-powered installations and their own portable generating capacity, as well as portable masts.

Some of our VHF and UHF repeaters are self-sustaining and off-grid - and they're designed to thrive on neglect - lack of maintainance for a couple of years won't matter one jot.

Even at 99% attrition, there are likely to be enough surviving amateurs nationally and worldwide to ensure 'strategic' communications are able to function at some level.

We know what to do and how to do it.


Sony PRS-505 Reader e-book

Richard North
Paris Hilton

Just what I'd been waiting for...

I read a lot of ebooks of an evening, with non-drm content from 'a number of sources', and as my Nokia 770 is great for it's intended purpose but far from ideal for ebooks my wife bought me the Sony reader for my birthday.

The controls are intuitive and fall easily to hand.

The lack of a backlight is a positive advantage as it improves long-term comfort no end - that, coupled with the non-shiny screen makes for a very comfortable reading experience for hours at a stretch.

The graphics are perfectly adequate, and PDF layouts including graphics degrade gracefully if they won't fit the width of the screen.

I'm very impressed - it's not often you come across a product that's so near to perfect for it's intended purpose.

Paris - because you can read her like a book.