* Posts by J.G.Harston

2293 posts • joined 4 Mar 2009

Amazon Lex can now speak British English... or simply 'English' if you're British

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

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Re: Changes

Never trust any storage system small enough to swallow.

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Re: Changes

Putting it in an orderly line?

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Re: The need for speed

Very polite of the tapes to queue up.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'

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Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

All highway signs use the "Transport" font, designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert. Motorway signage uses the "Motorway" font, also designed by Kinneir and Calvert. The main difference is that Motorway is taller to be more legible at speed and at the size Motoway signs have to be.

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

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Robert Watson-Watt

Perfect name for a boffin.

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

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Oh, that takes me back. After a routine check we discovered our network ground was floating at something like 120v, with the signal swinging between 115v and 125v. "Luckily", the server and client machines' power ground was also floating at 120v. Really luckily nobody was in the habit of sticking a wet finger into a network socket with their other hand clamping a radiator pipe.

Paragon 'optimistic' that its NTFS driver will be accepted into the Linux Kernel

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Re: Whatever for?

My thoughts exactly. Why is a filing system in the kernel and not in the, errm... filing system layer or whatever?

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

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Re: "It's not yours"

Why would a putative father being taking a pregnancy test?

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more

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While it's nice to finally actually get Terminal actually working, it's galloping towards Bloat Mode.

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

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Re: The elevator did it

There's a reason for the phrase "explosion in a custard factory".

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN

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Or explained correct functioning to a recalcitrant bit of kit with the aid of a hammer?

Oh yes, just a couple of weeks ago.

Why oh Why oh Why oh Why does every generation have to be retaught that the absolute immediate first priority of any user interactive system is to immediately AT ONCE respond AT ONCE to indicate that the user has done something. Think about what to do later, give feedback RIGHT NOW THIS INSTANCE. Why oh Why oh Why does this even have to be taught in the first place, how do these people have such little sense of the universe around them that they haven't learned this lesson within the first few milliseconds of programming their first code?

With normal mechanical user interfaces you get feedback from the mechanics of the mechanism, you feel the button move, you hear the button hitting the end of the travel mechanism. The lightswitch goes 'click'. The car door goes 'clunk'. With touch screens there is no mechanical feedback which means the software must give feedback.

But all too many systems only give feedback when they get around it. But no feedback is an explicit signal to the user that the user hasn't pressed the button correctly, it is an explicit instruction to the user to try again.

You reach for the light switch, you don't feel it move, you try again. You push the door latch on the washing machine, you don't hear it click into place, you push it again.

You press a button on your tablet. The tablet doesn't respond. You press it again. It doesn't respond. Clearly, you aren't pressing the button correctly. You try to carefully aim your non-transparent finger that is larger than the target, there is still no response. You press harder. Still no response. Press again even harder. And harder. And harder, until your finger pops through the display. You then administer percussive punishment across the steering wheel of your car.

UK national debt hits 1.46 Apples – and weighs as much as 2 billion adult badgers

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Shhhh!!! That's a dangerous thought. The universe might hear you and (aurgh!)

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I read that as: Tim Cook's toupee....

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

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Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

I remember when the default save directory for MSWord was <installpath>\Word.

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Who the hell keeps their photos in their cameras? Once you've taken them, you archive them offline for future use. That's like "keeping" your photos on 35mm film and never processing it, then complaining when you can't get the pictures off it.

Dido 'Queen of Carnage' Harding to lead UK's Institute for Health Protection because Test and Trace went so well

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How on earth would you sell off the NHS?

Tory: Roll up, roll up, buy this nice juicy health service!

Yank: How much money does it make?

Tory: Make? It *COSTS* 250 billion a year.

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Why do we need a replacement for Public Health England anyway, everything it does is the NHS's remit.

Sun welcomes vampire dating website company: Arrgh! No! It burns! It buuurrrrnsss!

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Those weren't vampires, they were Goths.

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Re: Inappropriate garb? Me? Probably daily ...

On one job we were instructed to wear the company sweatshirt at all times. I pointed out that they'd only supplied us with one each, and that we'd be spending most of our time crawling under desks, so we'd be stinking to high heaven by Tuesday morning.

Our line manager told us to ignore the boss and come in whatever was suitable for the job.

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic

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I got that in a Polo entering a petrol station. The entrance road when down a steep dip, to traffic lights, then up a hill. Because the light was on red, I stopped, and heard the engine die. I then couldn't get up the 100m hill into the petrol station. A couple of other drivers got out and helped me push it to the pumps.

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Re: Magic?

I was trying to recover data from somebody's stalled external hard drive, one of those things the size of a shoe box. After failing to get it working I asked: If you're prepared to treat it as a lost cause, there's one more thing I can try. "Go ahead". I lifted the whole thing 12 inches off the desk and dropped it. It started up, and we very quickly got close to 98% of the data off it.

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Re: Why is it always cold in the morning?

You had beer in the office, and were complaining????

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Re: Reminds me a bit of the "More magic" switch story

Yes, I couldn't understand why people tried to toggle a power switch as fast as unhumanly possible. The only possible motivation is to destroy the electronics. I'd give the brats a good cuff around the ear when I caught them doing it.

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Ah, the 32000. A processor so CISC that some instructions took so long to operate the dynamic RAM had died.

ZX Spectrum reboot promising – steady now – 28MHz of sizzling Speccy speed now boasts improved Wi-Fi

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Thumb Up

Re: You're welcome


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Re: Hardware

Ah ha! That's what I'm looking for. It could have been linked to direct from the article.

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Is there any actual information on the actual hardware? Such as the memory layout, how to access over the 64K limit, the screen layout and access, how to control the clock speed, additional ROMs, page 64K RAM for all-RAM code etc etc? All the links just take me to publicit videos of people playing with demo machines.

Softbank confirms talks to offload Arm as it posts rebound profit

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When has government ownership ever managed to do that? If you want to convert ARM into Sinclair Radionics, that's the way to go.

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

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Re: Not just genes

If you bloody enter the bloody phone numbers bloody correctly, then you'll have no problems.

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Re: Time to be pedantic

In today's world, "being able to use IT" is yesterday's "being able to drag a pencil across a piece of paper". Without it you are functionally illiterate.

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Re: I must be missing something...

I've notice my build sheets have telephone numbers entered with a leading 'o' instead of '0' to prevent it being numberified... which would be neccesary if the morons entered the telephone numbers correctly in the first place.

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Re: Happens in Google sheets as well.

00:00 is the start of the day, 24:00 is the end of the day.

We Kana believe it! Raspberry Pi Foundation launches Japanese keyboard

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Re: Why?

As for the keyboard itself - good god, it's HORRIBLE! I want - nay, *NEED* - a keyboard with proper keys, y'know, blocks about half an inch deep that actually move under yer actual fingers as you attempt to type. And all the same size, not function keys that are three times thinner than everything else "we're not really here, ignore us, ignore us!" I'll continue using my good old Dell 3200 skull-crushers.

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Re: Why?

I too downloaded those documents from usb.org when writing a USB keyboard driver, but I still needed to plug a physical Japanese keyboard in and read the actual physical codes being sent to actually get the driver actually working. A nice historical link, the Japanese keyboard layout is one of the few bitmap layouts, aka BBC layout. Such joy to press Shift-6 and get & just as god intended. :)

And Yen is commonly aliased to backslash, not to divide.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far

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Re: Memory protection


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Re: Colleges vs. Real world.

After several years coding, designing and building hardware, summer work designing and building computerised medical equipment, a summer teaching coding, I had to endure two years at university being taught how to type.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

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Re: Lost count

Pah! You're expecting the IT engin... tech... box deliverers to have actually been told how to use the damn things. Never happened in my experience.

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Back in another life when I was a local councillor I was clinging on by fingertips insisting *NO*, I *don't* want to have a tablet foisted on me. I didn't learn to touch-type when I was 8 years old to go back to finger painting, I'm a software developer, I'm not a b***y illiterate moron. Plus, I want to actually sit down at an actual desk and actually type at an actual keyboard to work, with space to spread documents around, not balance some crap on my knee in the supermarket because some idiot wants to contact me RIGHT NOW THIS INSTANT.

They managed to force me to have a Blackberry. That was useful for browsing the web while on the bus. I think it's at the bottom of the wardrobe, they never asked for it back when I left.

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Re: Elected Members

"The justification was based on a business case that council meetings would be paper free."




sorry, need to breath, everything's going dark.


Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

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Re: The complaint seems confused

If you want to be targetting your tampon adverts, you need to do it by sex, not by gender.

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Re: @gnasher729 - Define gender!

Sex is biology, gender is social interaction.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

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Re: We’ve had plenty of these Molly cover stories

A developer brought his toddler daughter in one day. "Ooooo, What does THIS button do?" Molly Covers invented next day, named after the toddler.

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

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Re: Amarillo.....

Hasn't Tony Christie admitted that he can't drive?

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old

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I was born in January 1969, so I have been around for nine months longer than the internet. ;)

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Re: And so it ever was.

Affected? Wot, put on a posh accent and use multipolysyllabric phoneme contructs?

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Wot's an absent time travel?

Japanese probe to land asteroid rock sample in Australia on December 6th

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Green meteor? Has anybody seen Ryan Reynolds recently?

The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end

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Re: 16bit

It's the old "your hardware is incompatible with our software" grammatical illiteracy embedded into code.

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This is the website that deals in financial stuff that refuses to allow you to enter such esoteric characters as £ % + - & * / .


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