* Posts by Anthony Cartmell

34 publicly visible posts • joined 14 May 2009

Even 'Your computer has a virus' cold-call gits are migrating off XP

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Missed Out

I kept one of these scammers chatting for 45 minutes, while doing some tedious work at the same time. It went really well, I was feigning some computer knowledge and some skepticism but allowed him to win me over. Then I lost it when eventually he told me my IP address on record was and when I burst into laughter he hung up. He knew he was scamming.

Another one I let them take me as far as downloading some remote access software, I then just typed the wrong numbers into it so they could never connect. Took three attempts before they gave up, wasting their time nicely.

IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Who's stolen our flag?

"Great Britain" means "the larger Britain", "Lesser Britain" being roughly the same place as Normandy these days. Nothing to do with greatness, sadly.

UK Post Office admits false accusations after computer system cockup

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Keeping the beaurocracy alive... @Me

VED is "Car tax" not "Road tax" - see http://ipayroadtax.com/ for the gory details.

UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Corporate Capitalism == Capitalism

Yes, but how do you find out who removed the EXIF data?

"I got it from Google image search, your honour"

Anthony Cartmell
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Steganography is no use

Inserting copyright information into an image so that it's hidden from other people is no use: I just copy your image, fail to read the hidden copyright info, and proceed to make use of it as I want - it's an "orphan" image as far as I can tell.

Adding copyright info to images in easily-discovered format is easy, and is done as a matter of routine by professional photographers. The problem is that it's trivially easy to remove this information, and to pretend it was never there. Once you've done that, the new Act means you can use the image however you like, as you are now unable to discover who owned the copyright of the original. Or, even better, get the image off a third party website that grabs images, strips the copyright, and re-publishes them.

Drunk driving: No more dangerous than talking on handsfree mobe

Anthony Cartmell
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Re: Ackcherly...

Can't vote this one up enough. I am convinced that when I'm talking on the phone I somehow "move" to somewhere else other than where I actually am. Whether I'm mentally imagining myself next to the person on the other end, or whether I'm just trying to block out the local environment to concentrate on the speaker, I don't know. It may be the lack of facial clues means I have to concentrate more on the sound of the voice, to detect the other person's emotions.

Also completely agree with the "faster than a horse can run" thing. Humans have evolved both physically and mentally to cope with things that happen in nature: collisions up to around 20mph, objects approaching at up to the same sort of speed, and so on. We have not yet evolved to cope with things that "attack" at higher speeds, nor with situations that change very quickly from safe to life-threatening. Our reaction times are around 150 to 300 milliseconds, even when we're waiting to react to something. Reaction times to unexpected occurrences (like a motorway pileup in front) are much longer.

US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

Anthony Cartmell

Re: road tax for bikes

"cyclists should be required to pass a driving test before being allowed on the road" - even if they're children?

Now, if motorists were required to pass a driving test more than once when they were a teenager, that might change things. A re-test every five years would enable everyone to learn the current standards required (I have never taken a driving theory test, for example) and would also help to discourage bad habits from creeping in (like forgetting to indicate, going faster than the maximum speed, passing cyclists too close, etc.).

Anthony Cartmell

Re: UK: Cyclists already pay for the upkeep of roads, as do pedestrians

No, easier to keep VED version 1.0. A cyclists, as a very-low-emission vehicle, would pay zero.

The cost of providing VED tax disks to all cyclists could require VED on the motorists who pay more than zero to be doubled...

Any storm in a port

Anthony Cartmell

Is it me?

The other annoying aspect of USB is that the connection never seems very reliable or solid even once you've got it plugged in right. The plug is far too wobbly in the socket for my liking.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Anthony Cartmell

I find the Note to be an ideal size for a smart phone. The extra length means the microphone is nearer my mouth while the speaker is by my ear. In fact it needs to be a little longer to match a standard old-fashioned telephone handset. Also the screen is a joy to use, making remote administration of servers nearly as easy as on a laptop. Given that all this fits easily into any pocket that my hand can fit in, it's a very useful and powerful device.

Want to avoid another cookie law mess? Talk to EU bods next time

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Reason at last

Pretty much ALL UK websites have failed to implement the requirements of this UK law.

How many websites are there for organisations and individuals based in the UK that use cookies?

ICO cannot discover the complete list of UK websites that use cookies. It would need to find the intersection of two extremely large sets: websites that use cookies, UK-based website owners.

It is plainly impossible for ICO to police this law without relying almost entirely on the general public sending in complaints of sites they think don't comply. I'd possibly expect more complaints from the general public about these annoying new popups that have appeared on popular sites...

Euro NCAP to mandate auto-braking in new-car test

Anthony Cartmell

Safety enhancements are used as performance enhancements

Oh dear. This "safety" enhancement will very rapidly be turned into a performance enhancement. Drivers will learn to drive with reduced margins of error and thus much less safety. If you know that the car will brake automatically, at the very last minute, then you can save effort and potentially shave a few milliseconds off your journey by letting the car do the braking.

Our roads don't need safer cars, they need cars that are less dangerous for everyone and everything not in a car. That means cars that have MUCH less kinetic energy when moving, wherever they might come into contact with car-less human beings.

Leap second bug cripples Linux servers at airlines, Reddit, LinkedIn

Anthony Cartmell

Re: Not just java...

Apache Solr on one of my servers appears to have been affected by this, resulting in two threads running for a long period with 50% CPU each. Kernel

Nagios monitoring shows the problem started an hour or so after midnight on 30 June.

Doing the above magic incantation at the command line appears to have fixed the problem :)

'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Anthony Cartmell

Re: CA added that RBS's technical issues were "highly unique to their environment".

Not so: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/unique

Successful remnant of Motorola acquires successful remains of Psion

Anthony Cartmell

Sad day. I'll be getting a cheque for £264 for my shares that I paid £1,500 for many years ago. If only I'd sold them six months later for the £15,000 they became worth at the top of the dot-com boom!

The best bits of the Psions were (a) The built-in apps, which were simple to use but with enough functionality to cover everything and (b) the keyboard/folding hardware. The worst bit was the screen, very hard to read in some lighting conditions.

If someone brought out a Psion 5mx format machine with the same keyboard but with a modern high-resolution easy-to-read screen, running the same old Psion apps, I'd snap one up! In the meantime my Galaxy Note comes pretty close.

Wraps come off UK super-snooper draft plans

Anthony Cartmell

Re: What is an ISP?

Last time I managed to get anything like an answer from the government, my micro-company, which handles email for a few dozen individuals and businesses, would not be classed as an ISP.

I don't know what proportion of internet email goes via small businesses like mine, versus the large ISPs.

Another pointless, unenforceable attempt to control the internet (along with that wonderful cookie law that most sites are ignoring, and the sites who've done something are just annoying their visitors!). Logic is proven, again, to be the polar opposite of politics.

You can break EU cookie rules ... if your site breaks without cookies

Anthony Cartmell


Can someone explain the quote "just because you consent to a website remembering your details once it does not mean that in the future you may not wish to visit that site again anonymously."?

Too many "not"s in there for me :(

Unravelling the double-negatives, I think I get:

"just because you consent to a website remembering your details once it does not mean that in the future you may wish to visit that site again and be remembered." - which is patently nonsense!

UK websites: No one bothers with cookie law, why should we?

Anthony Cartmell

This is starting to annoy ordinary people already

My dad has cottoned on pretty quickly that (a) there's a new law in place, something to do with "cookies" and (b) that this is resulting in lots of annoying new pop-ups and unintelligible questions to answer when visiting websites.

In his case it was the new BT cookie pop-up: he had no idea which one of the three options he should choose, and so he called me for advice. Personally I'm just ignoring all cookie pop-ups, as I can't be bothered to research the implications of the cookies used by each website that pops up the notification. And the dodgy sites aren't exactly going to tell me to block their dodgy cookies, are they?

World+Dog to demand ever larger tablet-phones

Anthony Cartmell
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Re: these things need a proper new name

I reckon the Samsung Galaxy Note is the first modern phone that feels like a decent replacement for the Psion Series 5mx. It's big enough to use for web browsing, remote server management, and looking at photos, but fits in the pocket better than the Psion did.

In fact, since pockets are usually designed to take an adult hand, a PDA that's hand-sized is probably the ideal size :)

Microsoft claims Google bypassed its browser privacy too

Anthony Cartmell

P3P could never work

P3P assumes that every website in the world will be 100% honest about how it uses cookies and tracking, and will also be 100% accurate in describing this using P3P codes. How is that going to work?

But the biggest WTF is to assume that a P3P policy that's invalid means that the website doesn't do any tracking: a massive hole for those websites that aren't 100% honest about tracking.

Are Google and Facebook maliciously sending invalid P3P codes, so their systems work in IE like other browsers, or are they merely working around a broken concept?

Digital player maker 'incited consumers to break the law', says ASA

Anthony Cartmell
Jobs Halo


Hands up everyone with an MP3 player who *hasn't* imported music from their CD collection onto it?

DfT 'unwittingly' bigged-up speed camera benefits

Anthony Cartmell

Road death rates are acceptable.

UK society currently thinks that killing about 9 people, and seriously injuring nearly a thousand, every day on our roads is acceptable. Compared to deaths from obesity and other illnesses, that rate is very low, but it's still quite a lot compared to other modes of transport such as planes and trains. If the HSE and safety legislation applied to roads in the same way as it does to railways, air travel, and workplaces, there wouldn't be many roads left open, and our jails would be full of drivers who've killed. We love driving our cars (those that have them) too much for that to happen, sadly.

Surely ALL motor vehicle crashes that cause death or serious injury have "too fast for conditions" as the cause, otherwise the driver could have stopped or slowed in time? The problem is, of course, deciding what "too fast" is, and a perfectly clear straight road would seem to be an ideal place to go fast, until something completely unexpected gets in the way...

Anthony Cartmell

Missing the point about speed and crashes

Those that want to do away with speed cameras, and who think drivers should all be allowed to drive as fast as they think is safe for the conditions, should ask themselves why we bother with speed limits at all. Would they, if in government, remove all the speed limits that annoy them?

Almost by definition, crashes (or "accidents") happen when you least expect them. Otherwise we'd all be able to avoid crashing because we'd always see the hazard well in advance. It's not the capabilities of the driver that matter (of course most drivers are good, if asked, its the other people who drive badly), it's the unseen dangers and the unexpected actions of other people/animals/nature/mechanisms that cause the daily deaths and injuries on our roads.

Speed limits and cameras are needed most often where there is danger (i.e. people have been killed) but the road appears completely safe: which is why they often appear on straight roads, and not on twisty ones. They also often appear on residential roads where the locals have explicitly campaigned to have them.

See also: Risk Compensation.

Compare: Deaths on the UK's roads vs. deaths to UK soldiers abroad, and the difference in reporting these deaths in the national media.

Drupal looks beyond open source zealots

Anthony Cartmell
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Template file naming convention

You can do this, there's a template file naming convention. Not that well advertised, I grant you, but the theme developer module can tell you what template file names and theme function names are candidates for any item on any page.

Opera stomps on 'extremely severe' security holes

Anthony Cartmell
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Timezone/DST problems in 10.5x fixed for me

Opera fixed the doubly-applied DST timezone problem in mail some time ago. 10.52 release candidate 5 and later should work: the fix was mentioned in a snapshot changelog, but not in the main changelog. See:


Speed cameras slide out of LibCon budget

Anthony Cartmell

Driving test fail?

If you can't drive to a standard that would allow you to pass the driving test, as a novice driver, should you still be allowed to keep your driving licence?

I'd vote to remove all speeding fines, and double the "that would have failed the driving test" points on the licences of those who speed. Then speedophiles wouldn't be able to moan about revenue generation of speeding fines.

Speed limits are there to reduce death and injury caused by road crashes (still nine people per day being needlessly killed on UK roads). Remember that crashes almost always happen when you least expect them!

Darling confirms telephone line tax

Anthony Cartmell

Vehicle Excise Duty!

Road tax doesn't exist. VED is a tax on a luxury, and goes into general taxation just like tax on alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Only the owner of a vehicle pays VED, not each driver, and it's not based on how much you drive.

The Road Fund Licence was abolished decades ago, and it only ever paid for national "trunk" roads anyway. Non-motorway roads are funded from general taxation at the local authority level: roughly a third from business rates, a third from central government, and a third from council tax payers. We all pay for public roads, even those who don't have driving licenses!

Whatever happened to the email app?

Anthony Cartmell
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Opera Mail is best

I find that Opera's "database with lots of views" method of storing email is perfect for my combination of masses of important mail and poor memory. I can find messages in many different ways with ease :) As well as the excellent pre-indexed search, I can view messages by author/recipient, email account, by attachment type, by labels, or by custom filters (including regexp functions). A single message can appear in any number of these different types of list simultaneously :)

I'm very surprised that no-one else has copied Opera in this idea, and that people still like to file messages into folders like they would with a paper letter - one folder per message (perhaps with manually-applied tags to help). This restricts you to two methods of finding it: remembering which folder, and search.

Verified by Visa bitchslapped by Cambridge researchers

Anthony Cartmell

No need to remember password.

You don't need to remember your VbV password, you can create a new one every time, so long as you can remember your date of birth, and have the card with you for the other details.

Trouser-bomb clown attacks - how much should we laugh?

Anthony Cartmell

WMD in pants

Perhaps that's why they didn't find Saddam's "Weapons of Mass Destruction"? - they were probably in his underpants!

Tories oppose charges and speed cameras

Anthony Cartmell

Double standards

@Grease Monkey: I like "IMBY" - you're quite right, people hate speeding cars unless they happen to be driving them. There's something very odd about a car, perhaps the power, that turns normally nice and sensible people into Clarksons (myself included).

@willowtoo: HGVs and PSVs have tachographs, that record the speeds that they're driven at. These heavy vehicles also have slower speed limits on roads than cars do, because they have greater kinetic energy at a given speed, and hence are much more damaging when they crash.

Speed cameras aren't a tax, as you don't have to pay any speeding fines if you don't break the law. If you must think of it as a tax, it's the only optional tax in existence!

Those that find it difficult to drive within the speed limit almost all the time, wouldn't pass the driving test if they had to take it again. If you can't satisfy the requirements of the driving test you shouldn't be allowed a licence to drive.

Lower speeds increase the time a driver has to react to unexpected situations, as well as reducing stopping distances, as well as reducing the impact energy if a collision can't be avoided.

Speed limits are used, even on apparently empty and safe roads, because the whole point of crashes is that they're the result of something completely unexpected happening!

Would those who want to remove speed cameras, also vote for all speed limits to be removed too? Or just make abiding by speed limits optional for self-appointed Good Drivers?

Custard Creams can kill: Official

Anthony Cartmell

What about risk compensation?

Now we know the most dangerous biscuits, I'd expect people to treat them with more care and respect. This will, of course, lead to fewer biscuit-related injuries for those biscuit types, and thus they will no longer be so dangerous.

I now fully expect to see Jaffa Cakes being eaten without any thought to safety, quickly leading to overloaded A&E departments in all hospitals, house price rises and further economic meltdown.

This sort of information should not be given to the public!!

[PS. no-one seems to have mentioned that Jaffa cakes are officially cakes, not biscuits. doh!]

So what we do when ID Cards 1.0 finally dies?

Anthony Cartmell

How does it get boot-strapped?

OK, so we invent a new identity thingy. But how do you prove who you are to get one? Presumably with a driving licence, passport, gas bill, or... ah... I think I can sense a recursion problem here...

Who am I, anyway?

Watchdog bans Natasha Richardson ski helmet ad

Anthony Cartmell

Helmets can be dangerous.

@The Fuzzy Wotnot "The number of times I see people cycling or blading without pads and helmets. Yes we look dicks, but I'd rather look like a living dick than a dead, trendy wanker!"

You might want to check up on the evidence before putting too much faith in your polystyrene hat:


Particularly the easy-to-read article by an expert who is paid to test the things, and knows exactly what protection they are able to provide:


You could also read the label inside your polystyrene hat, to see what the manufacturer says themselves...