* Posts by Allan George Dyer

2277 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

We spent billions building atom smashers – and now boffins think nature's doing the same thing for free?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Coat

Re: The universe is weird, we want a refund

Fig. 3.1 is entertaining, but Fig. 3.2 tells you how to do it!

It's all fun and games until Godzilla arrives.

Beardy Branson’s 747-assisted sat-launcher can’t get it up

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Just relax...

Nervousness and excitement can often cause performance issues for V the inexperienced.

Go on, hit Reply All. We dare you. We double dare you. Because Office 365 will defeat your server-slamming ways

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Coat

Re: User education

And people wonder why techies ask them, "Have you tried turning it off, throwing it down a coal mine, jumping in after it, asking a friend to fill the coal mine with concrete, and turning it back on again?"

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: User education

I find the conversation often goes:

"What does the message say?"

"Something about an error"

"Can you read it exactly?"

"No, I deleted it because it wasn't useful"

Which does, fortunately, avoid the ad infinitum, but can get me told off for shouting at users.

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Manufacturer???

I noticed that too....

I can't help thinking, if someone shouted, "there's a bomb, take cover" while I was waiting for a bus, I would probably run AWAY from the risk of being shredded by broken glass, not hunker down inside.

I hope they add prominent "bomb shelter" signs.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

@big_D "I always joked it would be replaced by the FFT, I'll leave you to work that out!"

Slow, but intensely pleasurable?

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: A long time ago

@Jason Bloomberg - "held in place by a reformed coat hanger"

Is that a coat hanger with a criminal record for hold-ups?

Did you help it to go straight?

Resistance is futile: Some Cisco security appliances are ticking time bombs of fail thanks to faulty resistors

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Pint

Re: Have a euphemism on us.

I'm getting "Beware of non-deterministic endpoint behaviour" signs printed to put above the urinals.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Windows

Dump this modern rubbish...

Documents were so much more artistic when there was no punctuation or vowels, and the margins had paintings of knights jousting snails.

CFAA latest: Supremes to tackle old chestnut of what 'authorized use' of a computer really means in America

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

GDPR?

There's a failure to protect the personal data of the car owner, so the EU should fine the USA for 4% of its global turnover.

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Coat

I normally keep Bluetooth off, to preserve battery life.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Singapore

@devTrail - "Singapore is a tropical country", "the paper says that the virus in hot and dry conditions is less virulent"

Tropical usually means 'hot and humid', and Singapore is a very good example of that.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Windows

Re: Proper lash up

Comments are there to confuse and misdirect the unwary.

It's called job security.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: TSA Security Theatre

It could be very effective for the TSA:

1. TSA agents use device to scan passengers

2. Arrest people who laugh at the TSA agents.

Result: the USA has been protected from a dangerous outbreak of intelligence.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: Mindset

@Telwaz - "they dug up Cromwell in order to execute him for treason"

Admit it, you copied that phrase from the dictionary definition of "futile exercise".

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Mindset

I think you've missed the point of "Hello World".

If there's any point in drawing and quartering after shooting, your firing squad needs urgent training.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Boffin

Re: I'm far from an expert, but I declare this unsolvable

@Pascal Monett - "I declare this unsolvable"

I came to the comments looking for a detailed post from someone with the same problem who:

a) successfully investigated it

b) lists the code for the fix

c) still has the fix running

It's what usually happens around here...

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Coat

Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

Is that a red or grey adult kangaroo, and male or female... they are sexually dimorphic.

icon - I'm leaving before anyone mentions swallows.

Do you want to be an astronaut when you grow up? Yeah, you and 12,000 others: NASA flooded with folks hoping to visit Moon, Mars

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Merit?

@Dom 3 - "Saying that the next crew to go to the Moon *will* include a woman is prejudice."

I did say that it was a consequence of the discriminatory selection procedure for the Apollo program. If the Artemis program gets as far as putting anyone on the moon, then the probability of one of those being a woman, assuming perfectly non-discriminatory selection, would rapidly approach 1. When 5 people had landed, if none of them were a woman, then most scientists would reject the null hypothesis, "there is no discrimination against women in the selection" at the 95% confidence limit. Most non-scientists would say there's discrimination if the first 2 were men. The selection will be influenced by the political need to "redress the balance" of past discrimination.

"At that level there is still competence vs. incompetence." Well, I'm sure everyone has the occasional bad day. Maybe the training program doesn't accurately reveal the "true merit" of the candidates, but that doesn't change the fact that the decision was made based on the best available measure of the merit of the candidates.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Merit?

Anyone who completes the training program will be there on merit. What sort of requirement were you imagining that would disqualify half the citizens of America? The Artemis program will, surely, send more than two people in total to the Moon, so, as a consequence of the discriminatory selection procedure for the Apollo program, a woman candidate will become the first woman on the moon.

Unless, of course, China or India get there faster.

Vietnam bans posting fake news online

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Gimp

Can we have a list of "depraved cultural products"?

Asking for a friend...

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Sensible idea

I'd like to add my vote to the proposal to send Trump to Alan Shepard's course. However, I do recommend that he should not wear the spacesuit, it'd be far too restrictive for a good swing.

Lost in translation and adrift in cloud storage

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Apparently, "beheerder" means "administrator".

@jonathan keith - 'I was reading it as "beeherder"'

Maybe not so different, they're both difficult jobs, and you're going to get stung!

UK Information Commissioner OKs use of phone data to track coronavirus spread

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Not sure how it can be anonymised

@AC - "They published a handy chart for those who can't be bothered to read:"

Thanks for the chart... but do the rules make sense?

So, the first assumption appears to be that a person only remains infectious for 7 days after they show symptoms... is that true?

Even if that is true, a person can go out again 14 days after the first person in their household shows symptoms. Using the example of Household 2, person D might isolate from the rest of the household, but then contact and become infected from person C on day 19, after they are allowed out. They might not show symptoms for another 13 days, spreading the infection further.

Am I missing something, or is this based on, "well, that's only going to happen in a small percentage of households" wishful thinking?

Hong Kong coronavirus quarantine evaders collared by cops with the help of smartphone-tracking tech

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Not so smart tech

The HK Government has now admitted that the wristband and app does not work as advertised. “If the person only left their place without their phone, there is no signal from the band [triggered],” Lam (Gov. CIO) said. The only point in using the wristband, Lam added, was that a separate smartphone app, which has location-sharing functions, would randomly request scanning of a QR code from the band.

I guess they haven't considered the possibilities of copying the QR code?

After 20-year battle, Channel island Sark finally earns the right to exist on the internet with its own top-level domain

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

@jason_derp - "Ugh! I really hate being reminded"

I'm sorry I triggered that, I tend to agree with your sentiment, my post was just trying to explain the situation, not cause mental trauma.

Comparing Canada and the UK, the UK's suffered under foreign monarchs for a thousand years or more, but we do get tourist dollars... or would, if the borders weren't closed. When we do travel, there's always a suspicion we should be apologising for invasions our ancestors never got to vote about.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

@AC - "but if you need to have everything approved by somebody else, you are not autonomous"

They are just as autonomous as Canada, Australia and UK, and also happen to share the same Head of State.

BT's Wi-Fi Disc ads banned because there's no evidence the things work

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Windows

Re: "Only we guarantee Wi-Fi in every room"

You're not that old, I started with a 2400 modem.

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Coat

Re: Theranos?

No, I'm sure he fought The Avengers...

Google reveals the wheels almost literally fell off one of its cloudy server racks

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: A couple of degrees...

@corstore - "Damage? Broke the cast alloy hinges holding the back doors in place."

But what about replacing the concrete slab?

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds: They're good – though for close to £300, they really should be

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Waxy build-up

I used 0.5% H2O2, a few drops for 5 minutes twice a day gently breaks up the wax with a tickling fizz.

Broken lab equipment led boffins to solve a 58-year-old physics problem by mistake

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: I just loved "the nuclear charge is slightly potato-shaped"

Or knobbly! Possibly humourously so, for those with a certain sense of humour.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: What logic is this?

@Bruce Ordway - "I wonder how easy it would be to hack in this case?"

Don't forget the motivation... if hacking DARTS could help someone avoid a 20 year jail sentence, then they might be willing to invest a sizeable lump of ill-gotten gains in the best hackers available.

All part of the context.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Windows

Re: What logic is this?

@Waseem Alkurdi - "users could magically retrain themselves when it comes to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/$ANTISOCIAL_APP/$PHONE_OS"

No, new users train themselves. Retraining never happens, when the technology changes the old users are sent to the retirement home, muttering about this new-fangled stuff they can't understand. Just look at the demographics of Facebook users.

There's gold in your biz's processes and mining them is the future, says bloke behind topic's first practical guide

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: "[using] analytics and AI on application log data"

@elDog - I'm impressed someone was using VBA a hundred years ago... I know spreadsheets predate electronic computing, but event-driven programming?

And yes, I was. I even used this icon ->

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: "[using] analytics and AI on application log data"

Pascal Monett - "no log to analyze on what people are doing in their Excel spreadsheets"

Ask the users to log how they use their Excel spreadsheets... in an Excel spreadsheet.

Simple.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Boffin

Re: 42??

Did you start doing that when you were 203?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: May the towel be with you!

@AdamT - I lost mine...

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Timing is off..

@bombastic bob - "It was TRULY SUPERIOR to EVERYTHING at that time, except maybe for OS/2, which Microsoft ALSO wrote."

It's worth adding that the key difference that made OS/2 superior was the pre-emptive multi-tasking. Win 3.1 had "co-operative multitasking", meaning the OS would pass control to each task in turn, if it ever got control back from the badly-behaved ones. On Win 3.1, you didn't want to do anything during a big download, just scrolling too fast in your wordprocessor document might cause too much delay and a timeout in the download protocol.

To complete the history lesson (not for you, bob, for the PFYs), after MS and IBM argued, they continued development independently, MS renaming their version to NT. The Win 3.1 line continued through 95, 98 and ended at Win ME, so Windows 10 is a direct descendant of OS/2.

UK.gov lays out COVID-19 guidance as the tech supply chain considers its own

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: No thanks, I'll go live on my boat...

@IGotOut - Well, if we're checking facts, then you should know that bats were eaten... the bats weren't in an overcrowded market packed in amongst snakes and fish because they were looking for a good deal on a designer brand. But the cooking process probably prevented anyone being infected by the bat they were actually eating.

And before anyone starts blaming a country for unhygienic conditions in the food supply chain, take a look at chlorinated chicken. There is lots of room for improvement, everywhere.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: Government Guidance

@AC - "Oh dear how our memories are short.

I lived in China during the bird flu (1997) and SARS (2003) - the only infectious thing then was fear."

So was I (specifically, Hong Kong), and I remember the Y2K problem too (see icon). Did the disaster scenario fail to materialise because it was never a threat, or because lots of people were taking action (checking and updating computers/washing hands and wearing masks)?

We know that newly-emerging diseases can have high mortality rates; the black death killed maybe 25% of the population of Europe; the 1918 flu pandemic killed 20 - 50 million people, more than all the soldiers and civilians killed in World War I.

COVID-19 has already killed 3131 (up to 3rd March). This is more than 1997 bird flu (6 people in Hong Kong, and 1.3 million chickens killed and incinerated as a precaution); more than SARS 2003 (774 deaths worldwide).

It hasn't reached the level of H1N1 in 2009 (150,000–575,000 fatalities) yet, but those deaths were spread over almost 2 years. There is still a lot we don't understand about COVID-19. The mortality rate appears to be significantly higher than seasonal flu, but is that just because there are many undiagnosed infections? Cases are appearing where there is no traceable contact with known cases, some people have appeared to recover, have no detectable virus, but then fall ill again after release. Coronaviruses usually die out in warm conditions, so this might all disappear as summer approaches, but MERS is also a coronavirus, and MERS was able to spread in some rather warm places.

So, is it really that much of an imposition to follow good medical advice? Wash your hands frequently, and, as I'm in HK, I'll wear a mask when I'm out, not so much for my protection, but it's worth it if I'm a symptomless carrier and it prevents someone else being infected.

Good news, everyone: The US military says it will be ethically minded about how it develops AI

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Not reassured at all...

"ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences"

Note that "target not killed" would be an unintended consequence.

"the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior"

How long before the AI learns that is must deactivate the deactivation system to be sure of completing its mission? There was a documentary about this.

Windows 7: Still looking after business (except when it isn't)

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Your local garage's floor jack ...

@jake - "The mechanic is fully aware of the state of his jack, and sees no real need to have it inspected has warned the owner many times, but doesn't resign because of the current job market"

FTFY (other fictional works are available).

Worried about future planet-cleansing superbugs? But distrust AI? Guess you're not interested in these antibiotics

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Sorry Dave,

@Chris G - "Outside of the West it is common public opinion that the virus is part Trump's plan to destabilise China's economy."

Well, in this Eastern location, your post is the first I've heard of this idea. Perhaps it isn't so public or common?

London's Metropolitan Police flip the switch: Smile, fellow citizens... you're undergoing Live Facial Recognition

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Just the beginning

"Plus I'm entirely naked in my passport photograph. Which is something no border official has yet commented on."

Forget about border officials, it's a head-only shot. But didn't cause a commotion in the shopping centre when you exited the photo booth?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Facepalm

@Cynic_999 - "Lets' see how the police react when a wanted villain is spotted in a hundred different locations at the same time."

Uh... they make 100 arrests, and get successful convictions for "obstruction of a Police office in the course of his duty", or "wasting Police time", or "conspiracy to defraud", so their success statistics soar!

Hey, Brits. Your Google data is leaving the EU before you are: Hoard to be shipped from Ireland to US next month

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Joke

Re: What makes a user a Brit?

@Len - "They won't know the nationality of many of their users."

You underestimate them. They not only have copies of your passport, driving license and medical records, they have the sex-tape of your conception.

Google lives in an Orange submarine: Transatlantic cable will get by with a little help from some friends

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

That infographic...

I now have the strong impression that the cable is being built to link a Belgium town with a forest in Virginia, and the Atlantic is narrower and deeper than I thought, with three different types of water, separated by something other than density.

Time to call off Mobile World Congress yet? Nvidia, Amazon and Sony all sidestep trade show over coronavirus fears

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

What was the event name, again?

If only there was some sort of technological solution, which would allow the free flow of information from remote locations without also transferring biological entities...

'Windows Vista' spotted doing a whoopsie over EE's signage

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Yikes

@AC - "Why can't we all just agree to write dates with the most significant digits first and the least significant digits last."

We did agree, see ISO 8601 (obligatory XKCD).

On the other hand... yyyy-mm-dd is Chinese date format, so this is obviously definitive proof that Huawei is already hacking UK telecoms infrastructure from the future (and therefore definitely planted by the NSA).

[Edit] - You left off the century?! Barbarian! Heathen!! Heretic!!!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020