* Posts by Rich 11

4569 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

If we plug this in without telling anyone, nobody will know we caused the outage

Rich 11

Re: Let's Check the Server Room Access Log

I don't think that I was particularly conscientious about filling them out.

Too stoned to remember...

BOFH: In the event of a conference, the ninja clause always applies

Rich 11

Hard-learned advice

If there's not hot, meat-based food at the event, we won't be going

I got stuck working on a European Social Fund project back in the late 90s, where the working practice was considerably more hippy-dippy than anything I'd previously experienced. The initial icebreaker/team-building event that I was obliged to attend for a full day did not suit my utterly introverted self; the only friend I made was when I got chatting with one of the admin assistants over the buffet lunch table. Neither of us could identify as much as 10% of the oddly-shaped processed vegetarian products on offer so we legged it for the chippie.

Trident missile test a damp squib after rocket goes 'plop,' fails to ignite

Rich 11

Re: Trust me bro

The real question is which major government failure is The Sun distracting us from with this missile-goes-plop story?

Rich 11

Re: Grant Shapps was on board..

Look, say what you want about Grant Shapps, but he's adamant that it wasn't his fault that the missile didn't work. It was Corinne Stockheath's fault, or possibly that of Sebastian Fox.

Someone had to say it: Scientists propose AI apocalypse kill switches

Rich 11

I was going to go with C4 and trained rats.

Rich 11

Re: Just don't

It's OK, don't worry. It's been known to happen, though not as often as a blue moon. Stick around for a further dozen years and you'll probably see him make sense a couple more times.

Windows 3.11 trundles on as job site pleads for 'driver updates' on German trains

Rich 11

Re: Improvement?

application support -- it is safe to assume the authors of any application running here are not easily reached.

Fortunately several far-sighted people wrote shareware Ouija board simulators for Win3.

UK public sector could save £20B by swerving mega-projects and more, claims chief auditor

Rich 11

Re: Erm

An interesting contribution, and no doubt frustrating in trying to deal with all that convoluted paperwork, but your experience does not address my clear qualifier of 'explicit intent'. I think you are very well aware that there are people who are tax cheats and that there are people who are victims of bureaucracy and a particular government's preference for going after the small and simple cases rather than the large and complex cases.

Rich 11

Re: Erm

Your pig ignorance is showing.

An ISA isn't tax avoidance: it's one of the special rules that successive governments have implemented and continued to support in order to encourage personal long-term saving. If its avowed intent were to be subverted by some unscrupulous entity in order to avoid paying employer contributions on national insurance or to manipulate income tax boundaries, that would be tax avoidance.

Fucking grow up! Tax dodgers are not heroes. They are selfish shitstains thieving from the rest of us who want essential services like roads and environmental protection and government and emergency services to be functional as a reasonable shared outlay. If you want to declare yourself as not part of a reasonable society, as a grifter and a cheat, please stand up and do so. I know of a sewage tank I'd like to drop you into.

Rich 11

Re: A plan to

I remember similar events. But neither your subjective recall nor mine necessarily fully and accurately describes the situation. The reason why I said that money ended up being wasted on consultants was because that was the conclusion of multiple Select Committees over three decades. If you remain convinced that your memory trumps their published analyses, feel free to climb the Elizabeth Tower and balance on one leg on top of the spire whilst crowing your irrefutable convictions to the Great British Public. Or you could just stop and think about what you said and why you felt the need to say it.

Rich 11

Re: Erm

Tax avoidance is acting legally. Its following the law and being a good person.

Tax avoidance is the act of structuring your affairs in such a way, however convoluted, that tax liability is minimised. It stays within the letter of the law by not doing anything explicitly illegal, but it can and frequently does involve exploiting rules designed for one circumstance being made to apply in an artificially created situation that would not normally be part of standard business practice. Given that the explicit intent is to avoid paying tax, the person doing so is definitionally not being a good person.

Rich 11

Re: A plan to

But where are these people? Certainly not in ministerial office and probably fairly fe[w] in ministerial offices. Long term dependence on outsourcing is liable to end up in a lack of the knowledge to manage the outsourcing effectively.

This was the warning given in the early 90s when the government decided that slimming down the Civil Service was the path to victory and that it would be far more cost effective to just buy in the services of consultants on a per project basis. The loss of the specialist expertise of those made redundant was duly proclaimed a triumph of cutting out waste, and the fact that Permanent Secretaries would no longer have in-house experts they knew and trusted to advise on defining a project's scope and with the ability to hold private partners to account was glossed over in favour of chucking huge sums of money at consultants who eventually came to tell the government what the industry that had captured them wanted the government to hear.

Now here we are.

While we fire the boss, can you lock him out of the network?

Rich 11

Re: Likewise ...

"Humanity will not be free until the last king is throttled with the entrails of the last priest."

(I always forget who said it, but I heartily support it.)

Top LLMs struggle to make accurate legal arguments

Rich 11

Re: > Top large language models struggle to make accurate ...

Pope Francis declines to attend wiccan nude mud-wrestling festival at solstice

Can I have his ticket if he's not going to use it?

Brain boffins think they've found the data format we use to store images as memories

Rich 11

Re: Humanity

Then perhaps you should present it rather than just leave your comment hanging. Are you going to do so?

Rich 11

Re: Humanity

You have evidence to the contrary?

Here's who thinks AI chatbots will eventually be smart enough to be your coworker

Rich 11

Not holding my breath

... in the short term, one to three years from now, autonomous workplace assistants (AWAs) will be able automate away easy tasks that take no longer than a few minutes for a human to perform.

I'm pretty sure I was first promised this 30 years ago.

Amazon already has a colossal ads business and will extend it to Prime Video in January

Rich 11

My dad was a projectionist in the base theatre when he did his national service in the RAF. They used to put a coin in the film reels so that when they heard it fall to the floor they knew they had two minutes to check the second projector was ready to go. When you've already watched Quo Vadis five times that week and know the script by heart*, you can't guarantee not dozing off and letting the reel run out.

*His party trick, even twenty years later.

UK officials caught napping ahead of 2G and 3G doomsday

Rich 11

Re: Going to be awkward

I've given you my exact personal experience, from every Wednesday morning during school term, in Boston's Strait Bargate when I was 11 and 12 years old. Traffic usually ran slowly but smoothly enough through the centre of town, if unpleasantly, four days of the week, but on market days it was a nightmare. Once enough of John Adams Way had been built I could cycle along the stretches they weren't still working on (vehicles were excluded by the concrete blocks placed at each junction), but before that the construction traffic made the side roads as risky as the town centre.

Rich 11

Re: Going to be awkward

Ah, 1978. The year from which you could cycle to school on market day and no longer fear being crushed to death by agricultural lorries or choking on their fumes in a medieval bottleneck. It's 'elf and safety gorn maad, I tell you!

Artificial intelligence is a liability

Rich 11

Re: Watson

Best fasten your seatbelts folks

If the car's AI allows it. "I'm sorry, Dave, but I'm far too safe a driver for you to need that."

'Wobbly spacetime' is latest stab at unifying physics

Rich 11

A college professor's salary at the time was about $4000 on average, but since Kistiakowsky had been at Harvard he'd likely have earned more there. He also headed the Explosives Research Lab before joining the Manhattan Project, so the government was probably paying him more than Harvard. A monthly pay of about $500-$600 seems likely.

Rich 11

Re: Oppenheim proposes to overcome the barrier with the idea of "wobbly spacetime"

Turritopsis dorhnii flavour. And it's not to be trifled with, because it always wins in the end.

Rich 11

Re: I Like This Idea

That's already explained by quantum fluctuations. Gravity doesn't really come into it at that early point. If Oppenheim's hypothesis turns out to be true (well, a better theory than nothing until something else pops up, as is the way of things) it might offer a more exact description but not a new explanation.

UK immigration rules hit science just as it rejoins €100B Horizon program

Rich 11

Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

Now that's some proper gaslighting. Markets were "twatted" by BoE slow reaction to FED raising interest rates. This happened in many countries. However, in the UK this was twisted as a Truss's fault, a convenient scape goat and great opportunity to install man of the rich and incompetent at that - Sunak.

Congratulations. You've combined gaslighting with conspiracist thinking while complaining about gaslighting. Very original.

I'd ask you why Kwarteng and Truss tried to bypass the OBR, why civil servants raising the alarm were briefed against and then fired, why Cabinet ministers announced that 'global factors' were the true cause of the crisis, why the BoE had to issue MPs with charts showing why that was untrue, why the Governor of the BoE had to go and explain it all very slowly to senior ministers until they finally grasped the problem, why Truss decided to sack Kwarteng, and why she then installed a chancellor who undid everything she'd previously desired and supported, but I've heard enough fairy stories for one day.

Rich 11

Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

Blair and Brown did have a boom, from 2002 to 2006, but they spent a good chunk of it on the insanity of the Iraq War and didn't have enough left to throw at the 2007/08 crisis (arguably there wouldn't have been enough anyway to sort out the long under-regulated and over-exposed international banks and their CDO gambling addiction). Cameron and Osbourne were urged to borrow to invest by all the main economic institutes but they chose austerity instead, which was a purely ideological response in pursuit of shrinking the state that had no guarantee of fixing the problem; we're still paying for the consequences of that, both in lost services and money still having to be spent on debt servicing rather than on much-needed investment to maintain the services we do have.

It's frankly idiotic to suggest that Brown from 2008 (or Blair from 2006) didn't save up because they thought the next government would be a Conservative one. Not only were there no opportunities to save after 2007 but they didn't think the Tories would win. The 2010 election did not result in a clear victory and led to a coalition government, remember.

Rich 11

My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

The traditional explanation of the cause of much inflation is 'too much money chasing too few goods'. Not that both elements have to be in place for every contributor to inflation, but it's one driver. The housing market is an example where there's a vicious feedback loop caused by the ongoing lack of affordable housing, pushing up house prices (from 1992 until very recently, anyway) along with the cost of renting because houses are a necessity: people need to have somewhere to live, however much it costs them (this is an example of internal policy failure). These last two years we've had fuel prices being forced up by a reduction in supply, again because people need fuel for heat and power, however much it costs them (an example of external circumstance, which is usually only avoidable -- if at all -- by having a good foreign policy). This leaves people with less money so they either go on strike if there are no better paying jobs within their reach or they cut back on other purchases. Either way, producers cut back on production, which depresses the economy.

The traditional way of getting out of a slump is investment, the Keynesian idea of governments saving during the boom so that they can spend during the inevitable bust, but Cameron showed us in 2010 just how anathema that idea is to modern Conservatism and we're still paying for that mistake (although since the end of the post-war consensus in 1979, Tory governments have mostly financed investment and tax cuts by selling the family silver, but there's not much of that left now -- remember the dismal attempt a decade ago to sell our woodlands?). Some businesses would undoubtedly like to borrow money so they can invest their way out of inefficient production, but the cost of money is high because inflation is high because Liz Truss and Kwasi Karteng twatted the markets like a pair of total twats and the Bank of England had to step in to protect sterling (without which action trade and government borrowing would have become more expensive, even on top of the Brexit footbullet).

Giving people more money to spend would help the economy pick up again, but giving too much at once would swamp the producers with a demand they'd take time to ramp up to meet, which would push up inflation (if only in the short term, but with inevitable knock-on effects). For example, if you gave every household £500 and half the country decided to spend it on replacing whichever white goods in their kitchen are closest to falling apart, the white goods manufacturers (and importers) wouldn't be able to cope. It could take them six months to meet demand, and they would put their prices up to pay for overtime, the additional energy, raw materials, transport capacity, etc, required until everything -- in both supply and demand -- stabilised. And if you give the wrong people money, like by proposing an inheritance tax cut, they are more likely to spend it in a different country or just squirrel it away offshore.

The trick you want to see happen is the 'but stuff costs less' bit, which usually happens as a result of an increase in productivity. The UK has been particularly bad at improving productivity for the last 20 years, mostly due to a short-termist attitude amongst government (obsessed with headlines) and across much of business (obsessed with share prices). Businesses haven't been investing in people to anything like the degree that they should: supporting local education (secondary and tertiary), proper apprenticeships and worthwhile re-training, decent wages and pension schemes (instead of relying on tax credits and City fucking con artists to make up the shortfall), good career progression and flexible working to match a changing world, etc. All of which they could put just as much time and effort into lobbying government to support or provide a level playing field as they have in looking to cut regulations in pursuit of another penny on the dividends. When companies treat people like shit, people aren't motivated to work hard, and will also do things the government doesn't like, such as jacking in work by the million when in sight of retirement and living off savings and/or a partner's income until they can draw their pension.,

Sorry, I may have got off topic a bit there. I've probably also got a few bits wrong or missed something important out but, in my defence, my Economics O-Level was quite a long time ago...

Tech renders iconic rockers Kiss genuinely immortal

Rich 11
Go

Which acts would you actually pay to see in digital form?

Ed Sheeran, but only as long as I knew that his physical form would be destoyed by the digitising process. I'd pay a back row, limited vision seat price for that, though I'd never actually pick up the ticket and attend the faux-gig.

Share your 2024 tech forecasts (wrong answers only) to win a terrible sweater

Rich 11
Devil

Re: The Register ....

And, as the mystic chanting ends and the space-time fissure dissolves, Lester.

NASA's Psyche spacecraft beams back a 'Hello' from 10 million miles away

Rich 11

Unlike Psyche, you'll have to demolish all the buildings in your way.

Tool bag lost in space now tracked by garbage watchers

Rich 11

Re: Spanners

You can also almost entirely dismantle a Honda motorbike with a patch of black ice. But that's not so much fun.

Rich 11

Re: Why

they cannot just nip down to B&Q to get a replacement

Well, they can, but getting back up might be a bit of a palaver.

Suits ignored IT's warnings, so the tech team went for the neck

Rich 11

Re: Fun with tie-wearers

Alright then, Obadiah.

Back when I were a lad, long before electrickery was invented, I strung acorns together to make an abacus...

Rich 11

Re: Fun with tie-wearers

an OpenOffice.org (yes, it was that long ago .....) spreadsheet.

Only that long ago? I can remember SuperCalc!

Kids these days...

Rich 11

Re: Majorca

I wouldn't know. The only time I was there I drank nothing but beer. Oh, and some red wine chased with several shots of wodka at the winery that's up on a ridge somewhere near the centre of the island.

Pentagon seeks government gossips to dish dirt on UFOs

Rich 11
Thumb Down

Really? Then you have to wonder why the pilots of all those spy planes and stealth bombers didn't have the nous to stay well away from known passenger flight lanes, nor spot any straying commercial or private aircraft first and avoid them. Wouldn't that precise behaviour form a significant part of their mission profiles in a hot war?

BOFH: Adventures in overenthusiastic automation

Rich 11

Re: Lager Attrition - ouch!

The addition of a mesh network and SkyNet 0.9b to the robo-vac fleet will turn the tide of battle against the 18-wheelers.

BOFH: What a beautiful tinfoil hat, Boss!

Rich 11
Alien

Re: Blockers

Or rather ... [Opens correct dictionary at random] ... cybermats.

Rich 11

Re: Blockers

AKA WFH but uncontactable to allow for the necessary eight hours of absolute concentration.

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

Rich 11

Re: Typo/fact checking

I think it's related to the iodine-13.

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

Rich 11

Do we give a shit what the boss thought?

BOFH: WELCOME TO COLOSSAL SERVER ROOM ADVENTURE!!

Rich 11

Re: Mustn't make it that easy

The vending machine will also trade gold for abduction by the Leather Goddesses.

80% of execs regret calling employees back to the office

Rich 11

Re: Idiocracy

at military industrial-complex pricing.

And made in prisons by slave labour.

How to get a computer get stuck in a lift? Ask an 'illegal engineer'

Rich 11

Re: "he never saw the manager responsible [..] after the day of its fateful move"

Dan Quayle.

So that all turned out for the best.

Aspiration to deploy new UK nuclear reactor every year a 'wish', not a plan

Rich 11

Re: Hospital Strategy

Well, you can paint one nuclear power station per year.

Just don't paint them with cartoon character murals else they'll be seen as too welcoming.

Florida man accused of hoarding America's secrets faces fresh charges

Rich 11

Re: This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is the messiah for a whole bunch of idiots.

I'm the same age as Boris, and while I didn't go to the posh school he attended that still taught Classics, I did learn Latin at a grammar school that had reduced the traditional Classical education down to a first-year Classical Foundations followed by two, four or six optional years of Latin. It did provide a handy background and I still find that world fascinating.

But as with any skill or set of knowledge, unless you use it regularly you forget it. I can barely string a useful sentence together in French now, let alone Latin. I can remember enough words to get the gist of Roman monumental inscriptions (which is a subject in itself, really) or to throw about phrases that are used commonly or less so in English (like in the silly spoof above), and I can recall a few lines from Virgil and Ovid if I scrunch my face up and wish upon a star. When I hear Boris spout something scholarly, I always think of the trouble he goes to tousle his hair and crumple his tie before stepping out into the limelight: I bet he puts the same deliberation into reciting a few choice quotes in front of the mirror before he leaves the dressing room.

Rich 11

Re: This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is the messiah for a whole bunch of idiots.

"Pfwah. I say! Hmm. BoJo's none too happy, inter alia, with that Truss gel ahead of me in the speaking circuit stakes. Pfmf. Caeteris paribus, why do the pointy-headed chappies want her to speak first? We're both blond, sure, and both economically illiterate, but my experience as an inveterate liar must count for something, what, when we get up on our hind legs and tell the millionaires what they want to hear. Deeply sus, as the kids say. Someone's kids."

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

Rich 11

Re: warning

Do you realise that your assessment of the purported difficulties inherent in pyramid construction is unlikely to be persuasive when you can't even construct a proper sentence? You come across as a babbling loon.

Rich 11

Re: Nonsense

There's no guarantee that they're sane. Look at all the daft things we've done, especially when subject to some ideology or another.

Rich 11

Re: Don't tell me, show me.

VCR notation? Is that what the rest of us call the 24-hour clock?