* Posts by jpennycook

30 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

How Sinclair's QL computer outshined Apple's Macintosh against all odds


Re: outSHONE

"gifted" always seems to be to celebrate the giver rather than the gift or the receiver.


RE: Amstrad was sold to Sky

AMSTrad were nearly sold to PSION, until someone thought they were over-valued


“We are not buying Amstrad as perceived by its brand and name. Amstrad is in ashes. We are buying the phoenix in those ashes.”


Re: Overheating

or replaced the underspec-ed voltage regulator!

For a moment there, Lotus Notes appeared to do everything a company needed


Bacon butties

The catering for customer briefings in Staines was so much better than the competition - the bacon butties were especially good. I've still got my t-shirt for the R5 launch tour. R5 was a breath of fresh air and had a usable mail UI.

Our AI habit is making us less environmentally friendly, Google admits



Surely this is why we don't have a fully anarchist free market, and instead have Government regulations/standards/laws to prevent people and companies destroying the planet in search of money. Or it would be nice if that was true.

Windows 12: Savior of PC makers, or just an apology for Windows 11?


Will Windows 12 have a sensible UI?

I have Windows 11 on a laptop I use less than my PC and haven't got used to the UI after over a year - the Start Menu, Task Bar, and System Tray are all awful. One day, I'll give in and download things to make Windows 11 look more like Windows 10.

Boffins devise 'universal backdoor' for image models to cause AI hallucinations


so it's a basilisk

David Langford wrote a story about using basilisks to hack human brains, so it's inevitable they get used with AI.



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


Re: Hope springs eternal

Hopefully someone will need my Lotus Domino and Notes skills before I completely forget them. R5 was almost usable by end users.

Mastodon makes a major move amid Musk's multiple messes


Fediverse is more than Mastodon

There are services other than Mastodon in the Fediverse - including video sharing, image sharing, and even one that's like Goodreads for book tracking and reviews.

What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?


A better suggestion - use the location reported by the phone

When you call the emergency number, your phone transmits your location at the same time, and it's free, and the mobile network provides a location too (presumably based on cell tower triangulation)


> AML stands for Advanced Mobile Location. In the event of an emergency call, an AML-enabled smartphone (all Android and iOS devices worldwide) automatically sends accurate location information of the caller to the emergency services. This information is derived from the location data of the phone (GNSS, Wifi).

> AML is not an app; it does not require any action from the caller. AML is simply a protocol to transport the data (using SMS and/or HTTPS) from the smartphone to the emergency call centre. AML is – of course – free of charge. Emergency services are then able to receive this information in all the countries that have deployed AML.


> Handset locations obtained through the AML functionality are be compared to the location provided by mobile networks (using cell coverage information), using an algorithm that analyses factors such as time of positioning and the separation of the two locations.

> Once the mobile handset knows its location it is sent to BT using a simple, already available, Short Message Service (SMS) based protocol (which gives 160 characters of data).

If you don't know where you are and your phone isn't able to use GPS to locate you, W3W is going to be just as bad as AML.

SUSE to flip back into private ownership after just two-and-a-bit years


Re: "merging it with an unlisted Luxembourg entity"

Microsoft were already involved back in 2010/2011 - they formed a consortium called CPTN to acquire Novell's (who owned SUSE at the time) patents.

> As of December 2010, CPTN's members are believed to be Microsoft, Apple Inc., Oracle and EMC Corporation.


ISP's ads 'misleadingly implied' existence of 6G, says watchdog



From the Manchester Evening News article, writing about a Council motion:-

'It said: “When a group of residents recently met Chris Green MP about the problems, he claimed to have no knowledge of the company until they pointed out to him that he had recently received a political donation of £5,000 from IX Wireless.

'“He has failed to answer any questions as to what his relationship is with the company or why he received and accepted the donation. It is noted that similar donations have been made to a number of other Conservative MPs in the North West of England.”'

Those poles do look ugly - I wonder why they can't at least disguise them as trees.

Microsoft's Activision fight with FTC turned up a Blizzard of docs: Here's your summary


Re: "Windows Phone -- stole the idea from Apple and Google."

When Microsoft were first making operating systems for phones, Apple wasn't in the market, and I'm not sure that Android had caught on. I think there was a court case against Microsoft that they had allegedly blocked the ability for EPOC and Symbian-based devices from syncing with Windows PCs which should give you an idea of who Microsoft were competing with.

NASA 'quiet' supersonic jet is nearly ready for flight


Concorde, so loud

When I lived under the Concorde flight path (Slough, Brentford) I found that there was no volume setting on the TV that could compete. It was always fun in pub beer gardens if your friends weren't expecting it.

Capita faces first legal Letter of Claim over mega breach


"Barings Law told us it had launched a marketing campaign on social media"

I haven't seen them promoting it on Mastodon. I wonder what their campaign looks like...

Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess


Re: Really?

How can a country be "neoliberal" AND "neomarxist" at the same time? One is concerned with having the workers in charge of the means of production, and the other is about free market capitalism (see also Thatcherism)! I'd say Dyson is probably a neoliberal.

Millions of mobile phones come pre-infected with malware, say researchers

Black Helicopters

Re: Non-Google Android

I haven't used either, but https://lineage.microg.org/ and https://e.foundation/ claim to deliver de-Googled phones

Potatoes in space: Boffins cook up cosmic concrete for off-world habitats


Re: wacky edgy 80s comedy

Surely it was "zany", and all in the best possible taste

Brit newspaper giant fills space with AI-assisted articles


Re: Spelling Mistakes

OpenStreetMap.org refers to these (non-existent roads or deliberate spelling errors) as Copyright Easter Eggs: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Copyright_Easter_Eggs

For ages, Bing had a town near me named "Empshott", presumably a deliberate misspelling of Kempshott which isn't a town and wasn't quite where they said it was.

Rebel without a clause: ISP promises broadband with no contract


press release?

This article read like a local newspaper article - i.e. like a press release!

I can't do that, Dave: AI drowns top sci-fi mag with story submissions


Re: "There isn't (AFAIK) really an equivalent to ClarkesWorld in the UK"

Interzone hasn't gone yet - it now has another owner/publisher/editor. I'm not sure if my lifetime subscription got transferred to the new owners (hmm, https://news.ansible.uk/a427.html says they emailed subscribers last month - I didn't get an email). I got bored of Interzone years ago, hopefully the new owners will make it interesting again.

Not satisfied with Virgin Media and O2 merger, Liberty Global takes 5% Vodafone stake


Maybe the ex-C&W people in what was NTL just want to buy the bit of C&W that Vodafone own. Certainly if Vodafone have fibre in the ground near Virgin Media's cabinets or O2's base stations, Liberty Global might think it can save money by owning a national fibre provider.

Google now won't black-hole all AI-made pages as spam


AI and newspapers

I wouldn't be surprised if many stories on local newspaper websites were AI-generated (or maybe lightly edited after AI), given that so many seem to be duplicating press releases, Trip Advisor reviews, or copying from council meeting minutes. No doubt this will be the case in future.

When will the UK take another giant leap into space?


Re: What is the benefit?

Operating satellite ground stations isn't trivial

Beware the big bang in the network room


This reminds me of the time when I was working late when my colleagues and boss had gone to the pub. I was just about to leave to join them, and when I walked past the server room I could hear lots of UPSs complaining. I went in the server room, traced the cables back and found far too many devices were powered from a single 13A mains plug, which had partially melted. After reorganising the mains cables so they used more than one socket, I was then very late for the pub, and no-one seemed bothered that there could have been a fire or something. If I didn't have such sensitive hearing and wasn't so dedicated, I could have had more beer (and probably had to perform the BCDR process the next day).

Virgin Media fined £50,000 after spamming 451,000 who didn't want marketing emails


I opted out of marketing communications from Virgin Media several years ago. They would only call my mobile when I was at work. They were so desperate to market to me that multiple call centre agents on bad quality lines that I couldn't understand would call simultaneously. They would also ask me to verify my password, despite me not being able to verify who they were. I wouldn't mind receiving marketing material by post, but they don't offer any granularity. These days I just ring them up whenever they want to put the price up and see what deals are available.

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times


Page the Oracle

I remember when ITV had Oracle, and Channel 4 had two different Teletext operators (4-Tel and Oracle I think).


Channel 4 had 4-Tel I think.

I still talk about "paging the Oracle"

Google Maps can now tell cyclists how HIGH they will get


Re: UK-only alternative

open.mapquest.co.uk also takes elevation into account for cycling routes.

Google's vanity OS is Microsoft's dream


We had instant-on in the past

"Today's netBooks really don't have instant-on yet, nor an optimal UI - and in a pell-mell competitive market where margins are squeezed, they're getting bigger, heavier and more expensive."

The Psion NetBook(R) had instant-on, and a choice of three operating systems (so lots of UIs)...