* Posts by James Wilson

81 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Apr 2007


Rear-end crashes prompt probe into Amazon's Zoox self-driving cars

James Wilson

Re: Easily solved

I'll have you know I'm a motorcyclist and I'm not "about 50". I'm late 40s, dammit.

Baidu's PR head has a PR problem after workaholic social media posts

James Wilson

Wouldn't that be 439?

Support contract required techie to lounge around in a $5,000/night hotel room

James Wilson

I only got Reading to Cardiff. I had to get the travel people to update the internal system from 'never allow first class' to 'only allow first class if it's cheaper than a standard ticket'. Ah, the joys of rail ticket pricing in the UK.

Sadly I was never able to convince them to allow me to book first class when it was 50p more than standard even if I paid the extra myself. Fair enough I suppose, there would be an admin cost to all that, but annoying.

San Francisco's light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

James Wilson

Re: "best in the US"

<Yorkshire accent>

You had it lucky! When I were a lad...

</Yorkshire accent>

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

James Wilson

Re: Modifications

Ah, the CPC 464. I have fond memories of that. Probably more playing "Harrier Attack" than of writing some incredibly elementary BASIC to make a little character man run across the screen.

I have less fond memories of waiting 17 minutes for a game to load from tape, from (very hazy) memory it was called "Sultan's Maze", only for it to be, well, crap.

James Wilson

Re: Don't people test edge cases any more?

Ouch. It used to be two, but I guess that's shrinkflation for you.

Techie climbed a mountain only be told not to touch the kit on top

James Wilson

Re: Nice day for a trip to Scotland

Bracknell? Really?

WTF? Potty-mouthed intern's obscene error message mostly amused manager

James Wilson

Re: Dictionaries

I suggest to my former boss, for whom English was her second language (or third, or forth), when she wanted to say she would examine something methodically, she should really use 'analyse' rather than 'analise'.

You have to love English. Nothing like a bit of consistency, eh?

BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI

James Wilson

Re: Its a cunning wheeze

Oh, a missing word in the spelling pedant post, that's just beautiful!

Amazon Prime too easy to join, too hard to quit, says FTC lawsuit

James Wilson

Re: It is not just Amazon

I recently got fed up with that, where I signed up to a 18-month deal for £38/month and then 7 months in they raised it to £44 "because inflation". Initially I did the usual, phoned up and they offered me £36 so I signed up, but then I got pi**ed off so cancelled it and went with Toob. A few days after we'd had Toob installed VM texted me to offer a new deal of £14/month! Though I could have cancelled the new service (within 14 days of signing up) Toob hadn't done anything wrong and VM had wound me up royally so even though it would have saved me money I told them to stick it.

Seriously, boss? You want that stupid password? OK, you get that stupid password

James Wilson

Re: Simples..

I hope his name wasn't Esra

Uptime guarantees don't apply when you turn a machine off, then on again, to 'fix' it

James Wilson

Re: A strange feature of fault-tolerant systems...

Thanks Keith. The invoice for the replacement keyboard is in the post.

Four top euro carriers will use phone numbers to target ads and annoy Google & Facebook

James Wilson

Re: Those whowant targetted marketing

Yep, that's one area they really do need to improve. At that point I am not at all interested in seeing any drill ads and they should move on to ones for first aid products, plasterers and decorators.

James Wilson

Re: Those whowant targetted marketing

OK, I'll put my hand up. Say I'm interested in getting a new drill. I do a few searches while I'm researching, the advertisers pick up on this and I then see ads for drills (or bits, or eye protectors, or whatever). It might bring something to my attention I haven't seen and I like. I'd rather that than random ads, say for incontinence pads[1].They're only ads, it's not as if I'm forced to buy anything.

p.s. I'm none of young, female, or employed in the coloured crayons department.

[1] For now at least. Maybe in the future.

Learn the art of malicious compliance: doing exactly what you were asked, even when it's wrong

James Wilson

Re: Coffee... and Tea

When I was a good little boy I made my parents a coffee. My understanding was that they heated up milk and then added instant coffee so I put the milk in the (electric) kettle and, well, it wasn't as helpful as I'd intended.

UK's Online Safety Bill drops rules forcing social media to remove 'legal but harmful' content

James Wilson

Re: An exercise in pointlessness

Careful, feelings may run high, this is a highly emu-tive subject.

And yes, that's a standard el-Reg-sarcastic-pedant way of pointing out it's Chris *Rea*.

Boss broke servers with a careless bit of keyboarding, leaving techies to sort it out late on a Sunday

James Wilson

Re: Bosses shouldn't touch stuff...

I can stand up then! Though I should probably sit down after the time I entered (as root - yes, I know, I'm not so thick now):

rm -rf /somedirectory/ *

Note the space between the last slash and the star. Oops.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess

James Wilson

Re: Manual is optional,

Which category does the cattle-prod come under?

Rookie programmer's code goes up in flames ... kind of

James Wilson

I'd have accepted the blame for that one

Would be worth it to have the reputation as someone who could burn down a store with a code update.

Fixing an upside-down USB plug: A case of supporting the insupportable

James Wilson

Re: One word.

In school I had a friend who really should have become a QA tester, he could unfailingly find the unique combination to trigger the obscure bug in my code[1]. One time I thought I had him beaten, my program steadfastly refused to crash. Until he asked "what's that" and pointed at the screen, a centimetre-long spark went between it and his finger and the machine died.

[1] Or maybe, just maybe, I wasn't as good as I thought and my schoolboy code was littered with bugs and he just happened to find some of them. Nah, that can't be right, Shirley?

Braking news: Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down

James Wilson

Re: feels valid to me

When a car is moving at a reasonable speed then it generates an area of low pressure behind it, particularly if the car has quite a large rear. That sucks up dirty water off of the ground, some of which will then end up on the back of the car.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Now 100,000kg smaller

James Wilson

Re: hype

Um, so you think if it's recycled then humanity will use the resulting plastic, however if it's incinerated then we will go without rather than using virgin plastic instead? I'm afraid I don't share your optimism.

Also the people doing this care enough about it to have put together a company and created the technology, while we sit at our keyboards and comment on El Reg articles. I suspect they've put a bit of thought in to the sea-life bit as well.

Microsoft veteran on how he forged a badge to sneak into a Ballmer presentation

James Wilson

Re: frequent password change

I particularly enjoy the "That password does not meet the required length and/or complexity requirements" message I often get. Particularly when I discover that the "complexity" it's moaning about is that I tried to re-use one of my last 20 passwords.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

James Wilson

Re: Ah DEC

There's a number? I usually need support if I have to go to Basingstoke too.

Are we springing into a Y2K-class nightmare?

James Wilson

Re: if programmed correctly, mean that a straightforward update will do the trick

I'm a lazy programmer! That means I don't want to go back and sort out messes caught by short cuts in the first implementation so stuff like this is never hard-coded.

Though I'm happy to admit to being lazy (it is one of the three virtues after all) I do my best not to be shoddy and, well, you'd have to ask my peers about competency.

Bouncing cheques or a bouncy landing? All in a day's work for the expert pilot

James Wilson

Re: In the pilot's defense...

It's not just the extra power. I passed my test and went from a Suzuki GS125 to a Honda CBR600F. Got to the first corner and, oh, totally different feel and experience. Still, somehow I got round it, then learned to ride a big bike properly and had lots of fun on that CBR (until some complete b*stard nicked it).

I was totally behind when they put in the progressive access / direct access licence distinctions, hopefully saved a few people doing the same as me and coming off a lot worse!

Do you know what TikTok is? Then you might make a good magistrate, says Ministry of Justice

James Wilson

Re: I read the FAQ...

Hand me the black cap, will you, I'll be needing that

Nothing's working, and I've checked everything, so it must be YOUR fault

James Wilson

Re: Printer Cartridge

My father asked for help as the stupid new cartridge he'd put in his printer wouldn't come out at all. I eventually managed to extract the black cartridge from the colour slot. In his defence the cartridges on that printer are the same size, though slightly more damning is that he had needed to force it past the plastic part that is there to stop you putting one in the wrong slot.

Shocking: UK electricity tariffs are among world's most expensive

James Wilson
Thumb Up

Re: Blame the renewables

Yep. That's the point. The move to renewables isn't because because they're cheaper, it's because if we continue to burn dead dinosaurs at the rate we are then we'll make (even more of) a mess of the planet.

A lightbulb moment comes too late to save a mainframe engineer's blushes

James Wilson

Re: I had a somewhat similar problem

I had that. Rode back from deity-knows-where in small bursts (of incredibly boring but very fuel-efficient riding) between stopping to open the fuel cap and allow some air in. I can't remember if the bike had some safety feature where I couldn't get the key out of the cap without it being closed or I was just too young and dumb to think of riding along with it open.

Remember SoftRAM 95? Compression app claimed to double memory in Windows but actually did nothing at all

James Wilson

4MB of RAM

Ah, I remember when Dell accidentally put 4MB of RAM in to the new 486 my mum bought, even though she'd decided that was too expensive and gone for 1MB. Man, that thing FLEW!

F*ck, I'm old.

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer

James Wilson

Re: "recent accident"

My favourite is "f***ing hell, that was quick, they haven't even cut me out yet"

Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'

James Wilson

But conversely you can say no-one should be stopped from visiting a pub/restaurant/etc because they would have a significantly heightened risk due to not knowing if the other people there are vaccinated.

James Wilson

Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

Yes, the vaccination should be (and is) voluntary, people can chose not to have one. However that doesn't mean the right to chose not to have one comes without any implications at all. While it shouldn't be effectively obligatory (e.g. you can't go in a supermarket without a vaccination or an exemption) it should be reasonable for e.g. mass events to insist on one.

James Wilson

Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

I know at least 2 such idiots and they're not social outcasts. Though one works in sales which is pretty close. On reflection that's a good group to target as they'll meet a lot more people than us nerdy IT loners, and their grasp of science ... well let's be kind and say it is variable.

James Wilson

Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

No, they don't prove you are safe, but they do show you're much safer than you otherwise would be. Seatbelts don't save 100% of lives yet we (in the UK at least, YMMV) do say they're obligatory. I wonder if when that was introduced there were arguments about people wearing seatbelts believing they are safe and likely to drive with less caution?

Why yes, I'll take that commendation for fixing the thing I broke

James Wilson

Re: Wisdom = learning from others' mistakes


Microsoft settles £200,000+ claims against tech support scammers who ran global ripoff from cottage in Surrey

James Wilson

Re: This Morning

Mine are mostly either from Amazon or an ISP these days. I always press 1. I think the best I've managed is about 25 minutes before they realised I'm not actually following their instructions and installing a remote desktop program. Some take it gracefully, others get a bit sweary.

VS Code acknowledges its elders: Makefile projects get an official extension – and VIM mode is on the backlog

James Wilson

Ctrl-d. I have the 'Duplicate selection or line' extension installed.

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? How about a week of retro gaming BBC Microlympics?

James Wilson

I've only just seen this so missed midnight on the 15th, does anyone know if I can still get the link for Chuckie Egg?

Adidas now stands for All Day I'm Disconnecting All Servers as owners of 'smart' Libra scales furious over bricked kit

James Wilson

Re: A genuine question

Edit your online shopping list? "Alexa, take pies and cake off the Tesco order."

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

James Wilson

Re: I called the cops

Only if you're getting it from Priti Patel

To test its security mid-pandemic, GitLab tried phishing its own work-from-home staff. 1 in 5 fell for it

James Wilson

Re: I have been caught out....

Keep reporting them. When enough people do then the InfoSec people can show the pointy-haireds and say "look, you're training your staff to get pwned, here are some examples of where that's cost companies millions". We haven't got the the point where all genuine company emails have the right domain etc. (it appears some people have worse turning circles than supertankers) but we do at least now have an intranet page listing the legit-but-dodgy-looking ones and nearly-all the genuine ones have a message in them about checking that page first. It ain't perfect but it's progress.

Caveat: I ain't an InfoSec expert, just a code monkey who likes pointing out where things are wrong.

Facebook sort-of blocks anti-quarantine events – how many folks are actually behind these 'massive' protests online?

James Wilson

Re: Big rant, lots of capital letters...

Well, possibly, but it depends on the numbers and the evidence. We're in to 10s of thousands already *with* the lockdowns in place, without then projections were 100s of thousands. If there's good evidence that continuing to lock down for at least several more weeks would cause millions, or even 100s of thousands, of deaths over the next few years then yes there are 2 legitimate arguments. If it's a number plucked out of thin air by people who are distressed (and yes, there are going to be a lot of people legitimately in severe distress right now), or the calculations aren't including the number that would be caused by the financial impact of letting the virus rip through the population (as that isn't going to be trivial either), then you can't say it's a lie that there is only one sensible course of action.

Yes, there are 2 arguments, but I'm going to need to hear some convincing backup before you can convince me that both are legitimate.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

James Wilson

Re: Proper lash up

Like the 'temporary' speed restriction over the weak bridge on the A335. The signs put up for it suggest the expectation is that it will be in place for a while. Been a few years already I think (I haven't counted).

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

James Wilson

Re: Hack is the right word

As with pretty much everything, there are two sides. Most police are doing their best to get people to follow the guidelines & laws (there's a mixture of both) in a friendly, non-confrontational way. A small proportion will of course continue being complete arses. In the same way most of the general public are good-naturedly being considerate and doing what they can, a small proportion will continue being too thick and/or selfish and do whatever they want.

In my not-so-humble opinion the drone video was a massive fuck-up, a great example of wasting time and shooting yourself in the foot. Having a form to alert about people not playing nicely (and, shock-horror, one that's nice and simple so can be filled in quickly and easily - <fe>I'm sure there would have been plaudits had it been a hideous UI disaster</fe>) sounds like it might well be useful. Sure, there will be some people submitting it 'cos they're self-righteous gits, but also some helpful data to guide the police to people flaunting the lockdown and making it go on longer for the rest of us.

So yeah, it is a rant unfairly lumping a large group of individuals in to one block so as to complain about them, but it is Bombastic Kieran so I'm afraid par for the course. Try not to let it dampen your day, go for your one bit of outdoor exercise for the day and enjoy the fact that most people are doing their best in difficult circumstances.

As Australia is gripped by bog roll shortage, tabloid says: Here, fill your dunny with us

James Wilson

Re: Wash your hands as if

Wash your hands as if you just finished chopping jalapenos and need to have a piss.

It happened to a friend. No, seriously, it was a friend, but the look on his face when he returned from the bathroom was enough to teach me that lesson for life.

Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules

James Wilson

Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

Yeah, I've tried inserting a micro male connector in the dark. The wife generally isn't impressed.

What's that? USB? Oooooh right, sorry, wrong topic, you can ignore me.

The time PC Tools spared an aerospace techie the blushes

James Wilson

Try 'rm -rf some_directory /*'

Note the space between some_directory and the slash. Run as root.

What a complete eejit. I now make sure that muppet has the least permissions possible, and I check all his stuff thoroughly.

Yes, I am said muppet.

Judge shoots down Trump admin's efforts to allow folks to post shoddy 3D printer gun blueprints online

James Wilson

Re: More guns = safer for everyone

"the number of folk killed by their own* gins is very high"

Distilling is a tricky art, but I didn't realise so many people were making literally lethal booze.

Sorry, I know it's just a typo and we all make them, this one was just particularly good :-).