* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

3730 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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: Nylon knickers: a whole new problem for "Britain's first supercomputer"

You bastard! I'd managed to forget those abominations! Now my twitch is back...

Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but... why were they allowed in the first place?

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Re: Stasi

I'm genuinely interested to know what a "rally track" is. Rallying takes place (usually)* on courses through forests** or [closed] public roads. Rallycross, on the other hand, is the bastard child of cheap TV coverage and people wanting burgers while they watch sport, so does take place on a fixed track. To be honest, I wouldn't want one near me, either.

* A "multi-use" rally takes place usually on a disused** airfield or other military ground, e.g. the Otterburn ranges

** E.g. Keilder or Dalby forests

Though sometimes still used by the military

Not content with distorting actual reality, Facebook now wants to build a digital layer for the world

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Re: Joe 90

I was thinking of "Kingsman", but only because I watched the second film in the franchise last night.

Singapore to pay its citizens to wear Apple Watches

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My experience of these voucher-reward schemes is that the participating outlets are usually tacky chains that I don't use, e.g. Subway, Café Nero, Nando's, or some tat-shops selling expensive soap and freshly-knitted aardvark cosies. I don't think I've ever actually gained from them.

Safety driver at the wheel of self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian is charged with negligent homicide

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Re: However

Some [h]umans cannot maintain a high level of concentration for long periods when not actually doing anything. FTFY.

I'm not always the best-regarded passenger amongst some people I know because I don't actually stop driving. If I'm in a car, I am alert. This is, of course, utterly useless when sharing driving duties on a long journey...

Brit MPs to Apple CEO: Please stop ignoring our questions about repairability and the environment

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Re: Ban the un- or barely repairable?

"Just because an amateur finds something difficult to do, it doesn't mean that a company with the correct tools and equipment finds it difficult to do."

But this is part of the problem with Apple - those "correct tools and equipment" are jealously guarded, as are the parts. I do a bit of volunteering with a small group that tries to repair old electronics, and modern top-flight phones and tablets are almost impossible because the equipment to de-glue and re-glue is very expensive and not easy to use (apparently, according to the more "senior" members if the group).

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Re: The easy solution

It would be good if SailfishOS could be ported to more devices.

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Re: The easy solution

Yes, but for £50 I can have a shop replace battery and USB port on at least two Android devices of the same age (or do it myself for much less). As I have said here before, I recently changed battery and screen on an iPhone 5 for a reasonable amount, but that was because of the absence of glue on that model. In an ideal world, Android would have the longevity of iOS and SailfishOS, and Apple would have the repairability of pre-glue devices - but phones would be more expensive as a result.

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Re: Easy way to get a response.

This isn’t about one company vs the other, its about doing what’s right for the planet FTFY. "The planet" doesn't care one way or the other. Seriously folks, drop the pseudo-religious rhetoric and focus on efficiency and fairness and you'll have a lot more people onside.

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst

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Re: No fair trial in the US

@Cynic: That's what I said - thank you for confirming it.

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Re: The judge

According to reports by e.g. Craig Murray from the courtroom, the judge in the case - Vanessa Baraitser - is entirely likely to do this. Regardless of what Assange has or has not done, the case-management does not paint the her in a good light.

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Re: No fair trial in the US

It's the same in the UK, but called a "perverse judgment" by the jury, so not loaded at all...

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Re: No fair trial in the US

In the USA, you have the benefit of "the fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine where evidence obtained unlawfully/illegally is not admissible. We in the UK don't have the same protection* - it doesn't matter how the evidence was obtained, the judge can allow it to be included. Thus, in the example given, in the USA the evidence could not be used**, but in the UK it could

* I'm using "UK" properly here, since the legal systems of England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all have the same rule.

** In general, subject to Appeal Court judges being "creative".

When classes are online, how do you get out of school? Florida teen cuffed, charged after crashing cyber-lessons

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Re: Anyone else think this is odd?

Numbers don't matter here. In most other countries there is one police force for all.* The UK have seemed to be following the US model for a while, though (Transport Police, Nuclear Police, etc).

* Sometimes two - State and City.

TCL's latest e-ink tech looks good on paper, but Chinese giant will have to back up extraordinary claims

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Re: Wake Me When It's Rugged

I'd probably still be using my JetBook from 10+ years ago if it hadn't been in my hand when I fell down stairs. I'd certainly have my replacement Kobo if my daughter hadn't jumped on it using the bed as a trampoline.* (Note: as I've said before, I very rarely buy new electronics, so both were second-hand). My experience is that, within the usual use-range, they are very durable, subject to using a case.**

*Admittedly, I do like the back-light on my replacement (second-hand) Glo, which I would not have but for the need to replace the Kobo.

** I do keep thinking about making one out of aluminium plate given the way I have killed the previous ones!

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

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Re: Put Jeff on the warehouse floor for a week

That would be interesting, but it isn't enough. Part of the utter soul-destroying aspect of this type of job is knowing that it goes on, and on, and on. It can be very difficult to escape, even when you know it is bad for you. Also, not having a voice destroys humanity, and it seems that voices are deliberately silenced in these (and many other) workplaces. Bezos has never, and will never, experience this.

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Re: All this bullying and harassment seems inefficient

It seems to me that the managers are on some sort of performance-related pay. That's usually the reason for this sort of bullshit happening.

UK govt: It's time to get staff back into the office! Capita: Hey everyone... about that...

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Re: Isnt that good?

@juice: re: Public transport and secondary industries - no one gave any thought to this when the exodus was towards cities from outlying areas. Towns and villages have died because of the economic pull of big cities, especially those in the South East of England. Whole swathes of the country have become dormitories in which it is unusual to know one's neighbours. London in particular has benefitted hugely from the city-centric economic model, and the rentiers in particular have made hay from it. It can be very persuasively argued that Mr Johnson wants people to get back into their offices because he is under pressure from all those companies that got planning permission for new tower blocks as he was leaving his stint as Mayor of London.

Amazon spies on staff, fires them by text for not hitting secretive targets, workers 'feel forced to work through pain, injuries' – report

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You are not wrong about work - do the best job you can whilst on the clock. There is a difference between supervision and spying, though. The reports here are definitely the wrong side of that line. Also, not having clearly defined targets is a recipe for too much stress. Tell people what they are meant to achieve and let them decide whether to exceed it. Also, in a job like those described here, when the shift ends, your time is your own - if the employer requires that security checks are done, they do it on their time, not the employees'. Build it into the time allotted to the shift.

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That's a bit hyperbolic. There are plenty of unionised jobs that are shift-based so there is no need to bring in the restricted opening hours argument. It is often used as an argument against unionisation. The higher costs are an unavoidable function of decent working conditions, though, but it is time we paid more for the good of baseline workers without whom nothing happens.

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Re: The saddest thing IMO

@TheMeercat: "You remove all those controls from a warehouse and they will go broke pretty soon - things will start disappearing, people will stop working. It is an issue with any very large place using low qualified staff."

I'm not saying you are wrong, but do you have hard evidence of that? It is something that is often said, but not backed up. Is there a difference between companies that trust their staff to be reasonable (the "grazing rights" mentioned above) and those that treat staff as potential thieves from beginning to end?

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

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Re: Wee radge bastard

Proper phenolic disinfectant as used to be standard in hospitals. Nothing got me going as much as my then wife-to-be (a nurse) coming home smelling of the stuff!

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Re: Local 'languages'

Interesting. I live in NE Fife and find the people who were born around here to be very easy to get on with. I think there is some prejudice against Fifers from the old industrial area in the south-east (mainly mining), but that is the case wherever miners lived and worked (I'm from South Yorkshire, and I've experienced far too much of it).

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Re: Wee radge bastard

Caol Ila is one of my favourite malts, but then I think phenolic disinfectant has a wonderful smell so I may not be entirely reliable in this matter.

The truth is, honest people need willpower to cheat, while cheaters need it to be honest

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Re: If it were possible to trust certain politicians even less...

Look on the positive side - now we have a test to find these liars and make sure they never get anywhere near positions of power. I don't know what we do with them, though - maybe - - - - > *

* From orbit, of course.

Supreme Court rules against Huawei in long-rolling Unwired Planet patent sueball: Take the licence terms we set or else

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@Henry Wertz 1: I agree. This is a very strange definition of "non-discriminatory". The commenter below gives some very tortured examples of charities etc that simply don't work - Samsung and Huawei are both commercial entities making the same type of device for profit. They are directly comparable, and so to treat one differently from the other is, by definition, discriminatory. The question is, is it unfairly discriminatory, and I would say that by other definitions used in law, it certainly is.

The Supreme Court seems to have dropped the ball on this one, and made itself look infected by the "Huawei baaaaaaad" meme.

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Re: 2 things

To go to the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court, you *must* appoint barristers or solicitor-advocates. There is no appearance in person allowed.

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

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Re: Inappropriate garb

@Outski: work is not a fashion parade. The only thing that is a fashion parade is a fashion parade.

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

Let me guess - an AC Delco dizzy cap? My experience across several cars was that, whilst a lot of Delco stuff was better than Lucas, they couldn't make a dizzy cap that would last between services. Bosch were even better, but tended to be significantly more expensive than my meagre budget could stand.

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Re: The elevator did it

I still quite miss the "doooooo-diddle-dup-diddle-dup-diddle-dup" coming through a speaker just before my mobile rings. Back in the late 90s, when I got my first mobile (I resisted them for quite a long time), I could make my elder relatives wonder if their phones were broken by answering before the ring-tone sounded at their end!

Pass that Brit guy with the right-hand drive: UK looking into legalising automated lane-keeping systems by 2021

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Re: some stupid and selfish drivers

@ICL1900-G3 - have you ever considered how many lives would be lost if we *didn't* have car ownership? It would be significantly higher.

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Re: Just what they want.

A very good book on the importance of driving has recently been published: "Why we Drive" by Matthew Crawford - https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/matthew-b-crawford/why-we-drive/

It is well worth a read because of the view it has of driving as one of the last activities that requires physical and mental skill to perform, with significant rewards and risks (which are important to actually live.

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

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Re: eCall only activates when there's been an accident

Why in the name of Zog does a car monitor *when doors are opened*??? Seriously, give me just one good reason, because I cannot think of one.

My plan to get an old Range Rover and a Ford Cortina or similar on the next round of replacements just took on more urgency.

Former HP CEO and Republican Meg Whitman – who split HP with mixed success – says Donald Trump can't run a business

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Re: @Dr. Syntax China

I ran out of time to edit my post. I wanted to add that, if I had to choose between Trump and whoever his running-mate and Biden and his "new family member", I'd be voting for Trump. There is something deeply unpleasant about the Democrats' offering that inspires less trust than even Trump, which is an awful thing to say given that another term of of Trumpian excess and bloviation will take more than a century to wash away. If the Democrats *really* couldn't find anyone better to stand, then they are on their way out, politically.

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Re: @Dr. Syntax China

"... most like me are going to vote for who is going to do the better job and protect my wallet and future."

Whereas people with scruples would vote for who is going to do the better job of protecting the wallets and futures of everyone, especially the poor. The trouble is, there isn't anyone like that either in the USA or here in the UK.

'Get out of my office, you're being a pest!' Yes, son. Toymaker releases work-from-home-themed play sets

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Re: For a home office, set boundaries.

True, but you probably started that early on so it was normal for your family (as it us for ours) . Many people had to make that part of the new routine, though, so the whole family was learning how to manage expectations without any time for preparation.

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Re: Is this gonna be forever?

No, not forever. Just until the next thinkquanaut has the great, completely revolutionary idea to have people "... working, like, in the same place!!111".

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All!!?? That would be a very long and winding road (trip) even without the free samples :-)

Good news: NASA boffins spot closest near-Earth asteroid ever. Bad news: We never saw it coming. Good news: It's also really small

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Re: Extra-terrestials...

With 2020 being the year that just keeps on giving, nothing bad would surprise me. Good news, on the other hand, would probably make me swoon :-)

ANPR maker Neology sues Newcastle City Council after failing to win 'air quality' snoopcam project bid

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Re: WTF?

Whilst not having any inside information, it sounds like there was a section in the procurement process that asked for specific details of the system being touted to be presented in a particular way, and Neology wrote "See attached document" instead. Said document is the 68-page one mentioned in the article, which led to the entire application being binned. One thing I have learned is that, absent a specific statement that additional material can be used, you stick to the form. It is a pain in the arse transcribing e.g. an entire CV into a badly coded web form, but if that's the rule, you comply if you want to be considered.

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

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Somewhat more esoteric, and much more expensive, was a chap I know who rallied a Lancia Stratos quite a long time after it's heyday. It was a wonderful thing to see (and hear), but he failed to finish events due to mechanical failure more often than he got to the final time control. The failure was almost always the gearbox, and happened on right-hand bends (I think - it's been a while!) Eventually, the owner and his service chief went to Italy to track down a long-retired drive-train engineer from the Stratos factory team. The conversation went something like, "What gear are you in when it happens?"

"Hmmmmm, changing from third into second. Why? " (again, the specifics might be different).

"Ah, yes, that has always been the case with the Stratos. [Long discussion about why it happens, which I can't remember.]"

"Really? Why isn't it documented?"

"Because it kept people who bought them coming back for new gearboxes."

"OK, so what did your team do to cure it?"

"We told our drivers not to change from third to second in the middle of a right-hand bend..."

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Re: There is no problem

<Pedant Alert!!> Ammonium nitrate isn't a high explosive (fortunately). If it was, then the pressure wave would have been supersonic (a "shock wave" and many more people would have been killed.[1] </Pedant Alert!!>

[1] See e.g. https://www.wired.com/story/tragic-physics-deadly-explosion-beirut/

NASA to stop using names like 'Eskimo Nebula' and 're-examine' what it calls cosmic objects

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Re: Naming astronomical objects

@Eclectic Man: Let me reframe your question. If a number of people of the relevant groups were asked about the name of a galaxy, and they all said "It doesn't matter" or "I don't care", or "That's really nice!", do you think the do-gooders would think twice about this project? I don't.

UK.gov to propose new rules for online political campaigns after last election marred by an avalanche of fake news

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Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

@Binraider: "Impartiality is letting both sides speak and be challenged."

I think you mean "all sides", since there are rarely only two points of view. Rarely do the people with a centre view get a word in - it is always the furthest reaches of the extremes that get to shout their cases, because that makes for good TV. However, letting multiple points of view in raises the question of how far do you go? Does a supported of the "Electric Universe" need to included in anything about cosmology, for example? If not, why not - at a time of no-platforming for people with "unpopular" ideas such as people can't actually change sex, then this really needs to be debated.

On the other hand, finding a major news outlet that considers Scottish independence in an even-handed way is very difficult - I'd be happy to have just one programme that gives equal coverage to pro-independence as it does to the status quo.

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

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Re: Time to be pedantic

@RM Myers: "It would be nice if all studies could include a professional statistician, since many of the issues are not at all obvious to non statisticians."

Many studies would love to have a statitician on board, but there aren't enough statisticians to go around - there aren't even enough to go round for research ethics committees! My last REC was fortunate enough to have a really good statistician, and she (and, to a much lesser extent, I) used to get VERY frustrated with really fairly basic errors which meant that the project wasn't testing what it thought it was. All thus because no-one was adequately teaching stats to researchers, and there was no-one to run a project past.

You think the UK coronavirus outbreak was bad? Just wait till winter: Study shows test-and-trace system is failing

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Re: We are not discussing pneumonic plague, Ebola, or smallpox

No, my concern is with the deaths and disabilities that will result from the ruining of society. Like it or not, humans are social animals, and this atomisation of society will lead to as much (and likely more) heartache than letting the virus run free. This is *in addition* to the deaths from the virus - for me the calculus is very straight forward.

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Re: With schools set to reopen in four weeks, the UK is about to find out

@Danny 2: there is no evidence that children are a vector in transmission, and quite a lot that they aren't. Look at it this way - there was no spike in cases amongst children, teachers, or parents prior to schools closing, anywhere in the world.

Of course, all the children are now well behind with immunities to the usual illnesses, so they'll all be ill within six weeks, and schools will be closing "just in case"...

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Re: Any qualified statisticians on this thread?

Epidemiogists would rather over-estimate by a factor of 100 than under-estimate by a factor of 10 (or 5). There are some good reasons for this, but it should be taken into account when basing policy on their estimates.

Lizards for lunch? Crazy tech? Aliens?! Dana Dash: First Girl on the Moon is perfect for the little boffin-to-be in your life

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Re: An interesting review

I was thinking of that and "Welcome to Mars!" by James Blish.

Firefighters to UK Home Office: Yeah, maybe don't turn off emergency comms network before replacement is ready

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Re: Business cases?

@AC "If they dualled only on the basis of making it a toll-road to pay for the construction costs how much toll would you be willing to pay?"

Unless there was a free alternative running next to it (say, the existing A9), then £0.00 per mile. If the alternative route did exist, then maybe £0.10 per mile.


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