* Posts by Alistair Dabbs

1307 publicly visible posts • joined 19 May 2009


At last: The BBC Micro you always wanted, in Mastodon form

Alistair Dabbs

Was nostalgia better in the old days?


Brave cuts ties with Bing to offer its own image and video search results

Alistair Dabbs

B word

"There's a word for describing going it alone against huge rivals, starts with a B..."

Buggering off?

Amazon Ring, Alexa accused of every nightmare IoT security fail you can imagine

Alistair Dabbs

"sloppily designed internet-of-things"

Anyone else spot the deliberate tautology?

Phones' facial recog tech 'fooled' by low-res 2D photo

Alistair Dabbs


My old Huawei handsets did this: just hold a printed photo in front of them and face-recognition would let anyone in. It was an after-dinner party trick, with the added James Bond-like thrills of knowing that each time you did it, your photo would be sent to the Chair of the Chinese Communist Party.

Gone in 120 seconds: Tesla Model 3 child's play for hackers

Alistair Dabbs

Elon's response

What was Elon's response? Call Synacktiv a bunch of pedos?

No more rockstars, say Billy Idol, Joan Jett in Workday Super Bowl ad

Alistair Dabbs

Rupert Goodwins and the Ziff-Davis connection

Perhaps not rock but one of Rupert's colleagues of the 1990s, PC Direct magazine's reviews editor Adrian Sutton, went on to write the original stage score for 'Warhorse' and 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' - a couple of crowd-pleasers that some readers might have heard of.

Iran crew stole Charlie Hebdo database, says Microsoft

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Where was the DB stolen from?

The online shop for CH's subscriptions was run by a third party. It was this third party that got hacked, not CH's servers or its social media or its modest website.

Still, it's quite exciting to know that I am now on Iranian nutters' hitlists. It certainly explains why I receive 10 unsolicited phone calls a day from people with Arabic accents trying to sell me shit.

Musky scent? Billionaire launches fragrance: Burnt Hair

Alistair Dabbs

Why no Michael Jackson joke?

Still too soon?

Amazon has repackaged surveillance capitalism as reality TV

Alistair Dabbs

IoT privacy

It certainly makes you want to double-check the data-sharing T&Cs on your Smart Toilet.

We were promised integrated packages. Instead we got disintegrated apps

Alistair Dabbs

Re: You are doing it wrong.

This does sound a bit like that magic wand, you know.

Our software is perfect. If something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Karens

The Evernote forums are full of hissy-fitters like this. Rather than ask for help, they type furious posts about how terrible Evernote has become and that they are leaving for Notepad or some other shite.

I try to respond with "Thanks for letting us know" every time but I can't catch them all.

Burger King just sent spam receipts to customers

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Romaine calm

Until then, they're in a bit of a pickle.

Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Alistair Dabbs

Re: As an application developer ...

This ^^^

I've experienced this as an app developer. People are so inundated with shitty little marketing messages and ads masquerading as notification prompts, not least when they land on mobile web pages, that users are accustomed to dimissing them without reading them. So when you send out a notification that actually means something, it gets lost among the slurry spray of all the rest.

Alistair Dabbs

"his "neighborhood" is in America"

We use north American house style at The Register. Donc mon quartier serait "my neighborhood" tout de même.

Alistair Dabbs

In France, the government changes the speed limits regularly on a whim. Obviously it is not practical or affordable to change all the road signs every time the speed limit is changed. So they change some of them and leave the rest where they are and you just have to know what the legal speed limit currently is - by catching it on the news, for example.

Not so long ago, the national road speed limit was lowered to 80km/h, so whenever you see a signpost marked 90 you are supposed to drive at 80. Just recently, the government relaxed the restriction, allowing a number of regional governments to allow the speed limit to return to 90km/h.

Some did, some didn't.

So now if you drive around France, the national road speed limit is either 80 or 90km/h depending upon which département you are in at the time. You may see a sign marked 80 but the limit is 90, and vice versa. Just possibly, if you're a really lucky, the speed limit marked on the road will actually be the real speed limit.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Intellectual property

>> can i claim money for every storage medium sold as well as it might be used to store a copy of my software?

You could do unless...

1. You were employed when you wrote the code, in which case your employer owns the copyright.

2.You invoiced under a 'work for hire' arrangement, accepting a fixed fee that precludes any royalties.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Tune in, turn on, then say goodbye

I'm not sure you can say this without freaking out the moderators.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: You know you're old when...

Who wouldn't want to be awoken by a goblin teasmaid?

My smartphone has wiped my microSD card again: Is it a conspiracy?

Alistair Dabbs

Re: The Crash?

My fault: I made an old-fashioned joke about accents but forgot to warn the sub-editor. I'd written "The Crash" and "The Porice", and had Kim Jon-Un saying "Huh, more eighties clap". I find accents funny.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: When In France ...

I refuse to stream music. It's worse than priacy: it steals money from artists and give it to some nobhead in charge of a company that has a bank of servers.

Being declared dead is automated, so why is resurrection such a nightmare?

Alistair Dabbs

Ah no, hang on, I get what the question is now. Can you be declared dead and then go on to commit a crime with impunity?

I wonder if Paul McCartney did anything naughty after Abbey Road came out? "It wasn't me, luv, I was barefoot in Heaven at the time."

The Queen has been erroneously declared dead so often, she could have offed hundreds by now.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Musical choice?

By all accounts, a fine estate agent: https://hotblackdesiato.co.uk/

Alistair Dabbs

They did it with Martin Boorman, I think.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

Alistair Dabbs

Re: We're not all British

Sir Percy Blakeney, like Bertie Wooster, is a literary fictional character. I understand how Americans wouldn't have heard of the "Jeeves and Wooster" books but I thought the Scarlet Pimpernel was generally well-known. Theakston's Old Pec is dark beer that tastes as if someone put half a kilo of sugar in it.

A kilo is a unit of measurement.

Alistair Dabbs

>> bookings of meeting rooms has been a problem ever since there were meetings rooms to book

I was contracting at a national newspaper once when we turned up to our booked meeting room to find that someone else had double-booked it. Instead of provoking an argument, the office manager simply upgraded us to the 6th floor corporate meeting room used by the chief executives.

We spent the meeting lounging around on the sofas, feet up on the vast mahogany desk, helping ourselves to the soft drinks fridge and fiddling with a remote control that magically 'frosted' and 'unfrosted' the glass walls.

Talk about being upgraded to First Class...

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Genius

>> Worst Neighbor

Reg house style is now North American.

First steps into the world of thought leadership: What could go wrong?

Alistair Dabbs

How could you forget about Max Headroom? Why he is not doing TED talks and gaining billions of views remains a mystery.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: magnificent

Thanks. I am saving them up for tonight: I will be watching Montpellier (hopefully) beat Castres to win the Top 14 Rugby and be crowned champion de France. To this end, my town Hall is putting up a big screen by the river and offering a free apératif to get us started.

Leave that sentient AI alone a mo and fix those racist chatbots first

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Shotgun...

>> deer slugs

These do terrible things to your cabbages.

No more fossil fuel or nukes? In the future we will generate power with magic dust

Alistair Dabbs

Re: "some of the daylight that the sun carelessly drops in our direction and is just going to waste"

>> The 'daylight' would otherwise fall on the surfaces that the PV panels cover up, warming them, and even causing plants to grow.

If the solar panels on my roof prevent plants from growing on it, all the better.

The next time your program is 'not responding,' (do not) try these steps

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Cynical

>> moderator closing the question as fixed.

I had a similar experience recently on a user forum. I insisted the moderator unmark her own response as "Correct Answer" as it was neither correct nor answered my question. To her credit, she did so.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: $55 a month

Well spotted. Now guess which app launches directly into Not Responding mode every time.

Spam is back with a vengeance. Luckily we can't read any of it

Alistair Dabbs

Re: "Pole Emploi"

By phone. Always a prerecorded message.

Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

I'm intrigued. Is that an actual quote or a bunch of paragraphs produced by a word randomizer?

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Coffee is good for health!

That was fun, thanks.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: We need this

In the early days, autocorrect would routinely replace 'Alistair' with 'Alligator'. This was annoying when it happened but amusing when I failed to notice.

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Effect as a verb

"So what you’re telling us is that you were unable to effect a permanent change."

--> "So what you’re telling us is that you were unable to change it.".

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Effect as a verb

Ears, ears. (Prince Charles accent)

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Oh. My. God.

Then you will want to watch this.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Effect as a verb

As I think I mentioned in my column. But only a posho or someone showing off on LinkedIn would use "effect" as a verb these days, and there is no real-world use for it in a UI Just imagine a word processor with a Search/Replace dialog that instead of having a REPLACE button had one that read EFFECT THE REPLACEMENT. Like I said, Lord effing Grantham.

Switch off the mic if it makes you feel better – it'll make no difference

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Barbecue with stereo iSummers

The best cover version of that Twisted Sister song - arguably even better than the original - was this one by Spongebob Squarepants.

Alistair Dabbs

If your MacBook is jumbling the locations of your open windows between attached displays when awaking from sleep, there is something wrong with the displays or there is a corrupted file in macOS. My M1 MacBook doesn't give me this problem, nor did my previous Intel one, so I doubt it's intrinsic to macOS or Apple hardware.

Meetings in the metaverse: Are your Mikes on?

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Come Into My Dull Meeting Metaverse

In my original draft of this week's column, I had all the Mikes stopping what they were doing, turning to face me and saying "Mr Andersonnnnnnnn" but I decided I couldn't be arsed to come up with a funny reposte and, besides, I'd already made that metaverse-Matrix connection last week.

Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Max Headroom

There were US versions of the TV movie pilot and series, but the original Max Headroom film was a Channel 4 production in the UK. The head of C4 at the time, who gave it the green light despite the story being nuts, is now head of OFCOM.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Pitchforks

Modern mobs reduce their carbon footprint by braying during the hours of daylight.

When the expert speaker at an NFT tech panel goes rogue

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Opinion

I'd just like to add my congratulation to our sub-editor for the expression "horse-puckey". I had never heard or read this expression before. Is it similar to "monkey tennis"?

(In my original copy, I wrote "bollocks", which is no longer acceptable.)

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Available online?

I recorded the audio but for some inexplicable reason 57 minutes of the hour-long event was recorded as complete silence on my phone. Good job I was taking notes. Anyway, it was all in French.

Fish mentality: If The Rock told you to eat flies, would you buy my NFT?

Alistair Dabbs

I attended an NFT panel discussion at the Angoulême Festival at which a multimedia artist explained that the value in the NFTs she sold lay in their exclusivity. So if I sold a decade of SFTW as an NFT, I'd have to delete every single trace of the originals from the internet.

In fact, I think this may end up the theme of next week's column, as the panel discussion turned out quite odd. One of the speakers, an academic who'd been invited to talk about the benefits of blockchain, ended up berating the others over the utter uselessness and environmental vandalism of craptos and NFTs.

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Happy Anniversary!

At least Mélenchon became a millionnaire. All the right-wing candidates were born as such.

The month I worked for DEADHEAD: Yes, that was their job title

Alistair Dabbs

Re: junk-food punnet of chips and gravy with cheese

I've yet to try Poutine, and admittedly only first heard of it last year. The joke, in case anyone didn't get it, is that Putin is spelt (as well as pronounced) 'Poutine' in French.

Poutine House claims to serve a vegetarian option but I don't trust them. We were once served a 'vegetarian paella' which turned out to be regular paella but the server picking out the prawns and chicken from our plates.