* Posts by Kevin Johnston

1514 publicly visible posts • joined 6 May 2007

BOFH: Groundbreaking discovery or patently obvious trolling?

Kevin Johnston

Phased data?

I recall that in one of the Heinlein books they discussed a trinary computer which used phased data so presumably an optical computer. Would make doing division with Roman Numerals look like childsplay in comparison.

Bright spark techie knew the drill and used it to install a power line, but couldn't outsmart an odd electrician

Kevin Johnston

Re: Other folks' DIY

We moved into a house with wobbly floorboards but before I could do anything we had to move back out for a couple of weeks for a complete rewire after the fusebox blew out. Turns out that the previous 'electrician' had run the mains cables through notches in the joists but to ensure they lay flat used bent over nails to hold them down and one of the wobbly floorboards was where the nail sat proud in a notch that was too shallow. The foot traffic over that area cause the wiring to break down and short out. When this was all replaced (and circuit breaker fitted instead of fuse wires) they showed me the stretch of damaged cable. About a foot just had beads of copper instead of wires...we were very very lucky

King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause

Kevin Johnston

Re: Poor, deprived Americans

One math to rule them all?

I blame my daughter who is watching LotR at the moment in the next room

Making the problem go away is not the same thing as fixing it

Kevin Johnston

Re: So, shoot the messenger is still well and alive

Had a similar issue with a Ford Fusion where the light came on and after carefully getting it to a mechanic it turned out to be the super-secret Ad-Blue tank behind the read bumper had reached the low limit (was then another £200 for Ford to top it up and clear the flag since only they have the required tools) - shysters

California's Governor Newsom signs laws on right to repair and data deletion

Kevin Johnston

Re: Window dressing

I understand your thinking but it cannot be that open-ended. While I agree that you should be able to take a mobile phone with a broken screen to any repair shop (or buy the parts online and have a go yourself) there would need to be restrictions for some categories of items because of their purpose. You may well be capable of safely changing the brakes on your car but can you safely replace the magnetron in a radiotherapy system? Would you expect the receptionist at a school to be able to replace the fuser in the photocopier etc etc

Small steps are the right approach here to ensure the correct battles are fought to pry manufacturer's fingers from 'our' stuff

Microsoft takes another run at closing Exchange brute-force security hole

Kevin Johnston

Re: Hope springs eternal

I always considered it a shame that people were happy to write really complex applications for their business needs but would use the sample user mail template 'out of the box' and then whinge it was too clumsy/ugly.....Well write your own then, it is actually very very simple

Go ahead, let the unknowable security risks of Windows Copilot onto your PC fleet

Kevin Johnston

Re: Cortana

"My attempts to kill AI.exe managed to nerf Office so badly it couldn't update or repair itself."

You say that as though it is a bad thing

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

Kevin Johnston

Re: In Other News ...

Already predicted by Harry Harrison in 'I Always Do What Teddy Says'

Kevin Johnston

Re: In Other News ...

Sarai, is that you?

Police ignored the laws of datacenter climate control

Kevin Johnston

Long time back now but we moved into an old house which still had flash-cap wiring. For those that have never heard of it a carpenter/joiner(chippie) would run 1"x2" timbers with two channels cut into the length. Sparky would then come along and lay in two bare wires and the chippie would come back put a thin cap over it to protect the residents.

Apparently that was determined to not be a safe method to deploy mains round a house

EFF urges Chrome users to get out of the Privacy Sandbox

Kevin Johnston

Re: Is there a local database involved ?

Are you thinking little Billy 'Drop Tables' Smith?

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

Kevin Johnston

Re: if you tolerate this then your chilled air will be next.

So that classic where the FPU was 'removed' from the main CPU (the Intel 486SX) and could be bought as an extra chip which was essentially the same CPU with the FPU enabled and had an extra pin to take control when FPU work was required.

Awesome marketing that

37 Signals says cloud repatriation plan has already saved it $1 million

Kevin Johnston

Re: Is it comparable?

"People didn't switch to cloud to save money"

In many/most large enterprises the finance decisions are much more subtle than that as which bucket it comes from often rates higher than how big the bill is and moving to cloud simplifies the accounting since it is now just a rental charge rather than capital equipment with support costs and depreciation etc.

The people that actually declare that the company will move to cloud have a limited understanding of the technical side but have listened to the salesmen/accountants and have been assured that it will have no effect on the end-user but will look much nicer on the balance sheet (we have global distributed resources; great uptime blah blah blah). What nobody will mention is the change in stress points since now it is not the ability of the datacentre team to keep all the servers going but all the disparate companies between you and your data who can roll out changes without warning that cause your link to go dark. If it is your datacentre/staff you can send the boys round 'pour encourage les autres' but when it could be any one of six companies who already have your money and consider you a class B customer you may not even be able to get a recorded message when you call them.

Lesson 1: Keep your mind on the ... why aren't the servers making any noise?

Kevin Johnston

Been there done that

Fortunately it was only me that suffered...

Was doing unit test work on a small weather radar display system and had just checked the HT side of the display was running correctly as 15kV. Got the urge for a coffee so made everything safe and wandered off to get one and once back I picked up where I had left off in the test script. Sadly as we all know following a script does not require thinking to be engaged and I was wondering what that tingling was when I realised I was leaning on the HT lead. I know there was hardly any current but even so I was very very lucky

Soon the most popular 'real' desktop will be the Linux desktop

Kevin Johnston

Re: functionality

I recall in the past before the Lotus products died a death there were repeated updates from MS which were specifically designed to break any compatibility. Sadly that mindset has never gone away

Orkney islands look to drones to streamline mail deliveries

Kevin Johnston

Re: Floating drone

Or a Death Blossom

MIT boffins build battery alternative out of cement, carbon black, water

Kevin Johnston

Makes you an offer you can't refuse?

Bizarre backup taught techie to dumb things down for the boss

Kevin Johnston

Oh dear

I just wish I could say that I have never heard of that before, but...

It seems the more self-important a person is the more bizarre their thought processes become and I have had to re-educate a number of apparently intelligent people that Trash is a baaaad place to keep 'things I need to work on'. The best way to fix this is to enable a process to flush the Trash every night until they get the hint

Clingy Virgin Media won't let us leave, customers complain

Kevin Johnston

Simple approach

Make a reasonable number of attempts to cancel and record any calls. Send an email to the appropriate departments and if no response in two weeks just cancel the direct debit. It is amazing how fast they get in touch if they cannot get into your bank account at which point you bring up all the attempts you have made to follow their processes and please supply the MAC/PAC to move to a different provider

and no, you will not re-enable the DD

Let's have a chat about Java licensing, says unsolicited Oracle email

Kevin Johnston

CMOT Oracle

If there was only one flavour of Java available and it was a critical system with no other way to code then I could see this approach having some merit. In reality this is the Twitter approach to building your business

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

Kevin Johnston

magic keyboards

I spent some time working in Switzerland which has four official languages and about 427 different keyboard layouts which meant chaos when trying to work over a remote connection as it was impossible the work out what effect a keypress on your local keyboard would have.

What I never understood though was the way some keys had 4 or 5 different accented characters associate but when I was typing in German "IT ALWAYS KNEW WHICH ONE I WANTED"

Freaked me out every time

Bad times are just starting for India's IT outsourcers, says JP Morgan

Kevin Johnston

Re: "After 34 years with the firm"

I have always wondered at what point 'x years with the company' actually becomes a liability? I know that all roles will be different but most management positions need an awareness that 'we have always done it that way' is not the same as 'optimal approach' and that is something which needs refreshing by finding out how other people approach challenges and processes.

Germans beat Tesla to autonomous L3 driving in the Golden State

Kevin Johnston

Referring to a Mercedez Benz as a 'Benz' must cause all manner of confusion when someone drives by in a Daimler-Benz. From memory the only country which does not call them a 'Merc' is the USofA so under the 'World Series doctrine' that must mean all the other countries are wrong.

Microsoft battles through two 365 outages in one day

Kevin Johnston

Ah but with two outages in a day MS will say the count should only go down by one although I prefer the comment from a previous story saying that the O indicates this is an Octal number so they still have at least a month or so of outages before they drop past the offered uptime

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

Kevin Johnston

Important rule

If you have such a Box/Room, always go in looking for something else or you will never find the bit you really want. Hands up all those who dive into such storage and immediately find the bit they were looking for a couple of days ago and just couldn't see

BOFH: Get me a new data file or your manager finds out exactly what you think of him

Kevin Johnston

Re: Oh the pain!

You forgot the 'Help' option which links to the FAQ page containing half a dozen simple questions where they have already got an answer. Those answers will include the 'This is solved in the next release, please contact your Sales representative to ensure you are signed up to our automated update program'.

BT is ditching workers faster than your internet connection with 55,000 for chop by 2030

Kevin Johnston

Re: Did I get this right?

I thin BT read that as Fibre To The Pavement

Kevin Johnston

Re: This is the tulip bubble all over again, isn't it?

Is that 'cold fusion on Mars using a smartphone'?

Microsoft will upgrade Windows 10 21H2 users whether they like it or not

Kevin Johnston

Re: marketing lies

Most of the games I was keeping hold of my Win10 Gaming system for now play very politely through Steam on my Linux system although I confess I have a Win10 VM for a couple of apps which are too much effort to setup in WINE or similar.

This may not be The Year Of The Linux Desktop but if you are willing to stray from the WinOS herd you will be welcomed with a comforting look'n'feel

Kevin Johnston

Forced upgrade

"users can choose a time for the upgrade that is convenient to them"

So, 25 o'clock on the 12th of Never?

BOFH: Ah. Company-branded merch. So much better than a bonus

Kevin Johnston

Re: When do people understand that cash rules?

For those of us with limited access to quality chemicals you can substitute very carefully crushed match-heads after removing the wood. Or so I am told

Kevin Johnston

Re: Acronym-Ignorant

My biggest problem in learning German was that when we got to Imperative and Accusative all I could think of was Centurion Cleeves and 'people called Romanus they go the house'

Go ahead, forget that password. Use a passkey instead, says Google

Kevin Johnston

Re: Passkey != MFA

quote "Assuming that they can't just lift them off the phone itself"

Perfectly demonstrated by Mythbusters who lifted a fingerprint off a CD case to open a fingerprint coded lock with a bit of sticky-backed plastic and a 100% success

As commented above, fingerprints are one of the weakest form of biometrics which are most easily damaged and stolen.

CEO sorry after telling staff to 'leave pity city' over bonuses

Kevin Johnston

Re: Whos foot is that? BANG!! Ouch.. shit...

I'm sure I have put this up on a previous story but some time ago so it is fair to give it another outing.

A sail loft in Cowes on the Isle of Wight was struggling and the manager went round with the accountant and checked every aspect to see how they could save enough to last until the next batch of orders. Eventually the manager announced he was the only spare headcount and he was giving up his job but would be staying on part-time unpaid until things improved. A few months later orders came in and he could start taking a salary again.

Oddly enough the staff would have done anything he asked after that

Child-devouring pothole will never hurt a BMW driver again

Kevin Johnston

Re: They should have called...

He took his inspiration from the great Sir Rod Stewart - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-60722727

Kevin Johnston

There was a lovely clip of a stand-up comedian asking if any BMW drivers were in the audience.

When several people responded/cheered the obvious come-back line was......see, you CAN indicate

South Korea fines Google $32M for using market power to stymie rival app store

Kevin Johnston


Google are still refining their options to maximise their control at the minimum cost? Would be useful to have had the normal 'x minutes of profit' definition for the fine.

Cisco Moscow trashed offices as it quit Putin's putrid pariah state

Kevin Johnston

Sadly Russia has no monopoly with the 'Clown for a leader' concept

Microsoft promises it's made Teams less confusing and resource hungry

Kevin Johnston

Re: Basic UX problems

Upvoted for the 'opening in Excel' painpoint

Microsoft pushes out PowerShell scripts to fix BitLocker bypass

Kevin Johnston

Hmm..block the bypass...

So there is no danger that this fix will prevent everyone except MS from accessing the data....even blocking the person who 'rents' the PC?

Microsoft and GM deal means your next car might talk, lie, gaslight and manipulate you

Kevin Johnston

Re: After IoT, the AIoT

'some mysterious and trendy tech gets popular we have to have it rammed into every f**king device on the market'

What, you mean like Blue LEDs?

Kevin Johnston

I had a Ford Focus where the Check Engine light came on so I slowed carefully and stopped then switched off. I waited a few minutes then started the engine again and listened carefully but could hear no unusual noises. I drove gently to my pet mechanic who put it on the diagnostic reader and apparently it was saying to add some AdBlue or whatever it is that goes in the secret tank behind the rear bumper assembly (which requires special tools/fluids and then a re-connect to the diagnostic reader to clear the flag)

Great one there Ford

Kevin Johnston

It also raise the worry about the speedometer accuracy as while it may be able to record distance quite accurately that means nothing once paired with Microsoft Minutes.

Officer - "Do you know what speed I recorded you travelling at?"

Driver - "Well it depends, it may have been 60mph, or 2mph, or 397mph...the needle on the speedo has trouble keeping up with the variations and the digital display only shows 888"

Hyundai and Kia issue software upgrades to thwart killer TikTok car theft hack

Kevin Johnston

Re: Hack to death ratio

What do you mean they can't drive...they all got massive scores on GTA and Saints Row and they could own you on Minecraft

Should Google location data be a tool for cops?

Kevin Johnston

I appreciate that a geo-fence would go straight to names but surely the first step would have been all that wonderful CCTV footage that places (especially banks) have in play. Even the real-world TV shows demonstrate there is enough that law-enforcement can immediately access to allow them to do some basic tracking at which point you have a much smaller sub-set of suspects. Once you add in footage from private companies along the route that could be requested the only hard bit is fitting a name to a face and they all have that wonderful facial recognition software 'on test'

Scientists conclude cats only have three personalities after YouTube clip binge

Kevin Johnston

Re: Three states of catter

You missed the subset who can sense when a human dislikes/fears cats and so becomes the perfect seat/bed/scratching post

Smart ovens do really dumb stuff to check for Wi-Fi

Kevin Johnston

Re: Fitting WiFi to an oven

You forgot toothbrush.

OK most are actually Bluetooth [how very ironic] on the latest Braun iO series and while they say it has Bluetooth they seem to neglect to say why but their TriZone really does have Wifi to connect to the remote display to show how well you are cleaning your teeth!!!!

Kevin Johnston

Is it me? I just do not get why you would want to take a simple piece of kit and add a mass of complexity with who knows what vulnerabilities and which shortens the useful life of the kit all to add 'Using a mobile phone' to the features?

As the previous commenters have said, these things should last decades and I would struggle to find a single reason why being able to use a remote control is actually a good thing. OK, a remote for a TV is good but why allow the manufacturer to change the user experience after you have bought it or to track what you choose to watch.

Universities offered software to sniff out ChatGPT-written essays

Kevin Johnston

Suspicious mind or read too many wacky stories?

So here is a silly thought, what if the people creating the ChatGPT stuff and the people writing the TurnitIn detector stuff are the same people? They get paid to create the essay and paid to scan it and then they adjust the detection results to maximise their income. One year they lean towards a higher detection rate and the next year they offer an upgraded ChatGPT which squeaks more essays through. Then the next year the detector is upgraded which catches more ChatGPT essays...

They could probably run that for decades before anyone bothered to check

Like Uber, but for China: Beijing creates state-owned meta rideshare service

Kevin Johnston

Data Security

So with this being China is the problem that the 'other' systems have no security or that it blocks everyone from scraping the data?