* Posts by Arthur the cat

1353 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009


Barmy ban on businesses, Brits based in Blighty bearing or buying .eu domains is back: Cut-off date is Jan 1, 2021

Arthur the cat Silver badge

El reg is becoming a member of the ipv6 club.

Which really has nothing to do with web redirection. You can have AAAA records on a .co.uk just as easily as on a .com.

The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Cheddar why?

I came down to London early 80s … almost very single one was a variety of Cheddar.

This may well be because of the Milk Marketing Board, which was the big cheese(*) in charge of dairy products until the 90s. Monopolistic quangos are not known for useful innovation. For useless innovation however, see Lymeswold.

(*) Sorry.

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

Arthur the cat Silver badge

The universe is weird, we want a refund

Sorry, your two year extended warranty ran out a while back.

Publishers sue to shut down books-for-all Internet Archive for 'willful digital piracy on an industrial scale'

Arthur the cat Silver badge

So because something is too expensive for you, you have no compunction in stealing it.

How the hell do you interpret

Because I value my privacy and the permanence of my collection, I had to pay 9x more to read the work.

as stealing?

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Under version 6 Unix the mv command could produce "values of β will give rise to dom!" as a diagnostic.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Well that's because the factory is in Worcester itself, not out in the Shire.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

Arthur the cat Silver badge

katrinab is correct, it's about ease of reading. Manual typesetting is long gone except for hobbyists.

From Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographical Style:

If the type is well set and printed, lines of 85 or 90 characters will pose no problem in discontinuous texts, such as bibliographies, or, with generous leading, in footnotes. But even with generous leading, a line that averages more than 75 or 80 characters is likely to be too long for continuous reading.

One can argue that vertical spacing in code makes it more like a bibliography than running text, but even then the line width should be restricted otherwise, as katrinab says, it's difficult finding the next line. Unless your text background has alternating green and white lines like old school line printer paper.

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Load?

Connect it to a wind turbine to make an enormous desk fan.

Hasn't someone actually suggested this as a way to deploy wind turbines on floating rafts in the North Sea? Or have I been eating to much cheese before bedtime?

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Algol W?

Agreed. Algol-W was a language in its own right. Wikipedia says

ALGOL W is a programming language. It is based on a proposal for ALGOL X by Niklaus Wirth and Tony Hoare as a successor to ALGOL 60

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: I Remember...

a couple of oddities (such as the character map not having A follow 9)

If you mean immediately following, 'A' doesn't follow '9' in any character set I've ever worked with. Quite possibly what you're misremembering is that A-Z (and a-z) were not 26 contiguous characters in the IBM EBCDIC character set.

Gone in 9 seconds: Virgin Orbit's maiden rocket flight went perfectly until it didn't

Arthur the cat Silver badge

"everything went to plan, up until it didn't"

It's surprising how often that phrase or variants on a theme are applicable. "The operation went to plan until the patient died." "My attempt to give up drinking went to plan until I had a beer."

5G mast set aflame in leafy Liverpool district, half an hour's walk from Penny Lane

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Digital literacy

If you haven't grown up with the internet, it's often difficult to distinguish fact from fiction online

The Internet (i.e. networking using TCP/IP) came into existence in 1982. I was in my late 20s then, so didn't grow up with the internet(*). Nevertheless, I'm a cynical bastard and was even in my early teens.

(*) I had however been internetworking for 2-3 years at that point. Balham, gateway to the south. :-)

UK's Ministry of Defence: We'll harvest and anonymise private COVID-19 apps' tracing data by handing it to 'behavioural science' arm

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: "Ministry of Defence is sanitising it all first."

You're misunderstanding the use of the verb. That's "sanitising" as in "we sanitised the enemy position with a Predator(*) drone strike".

(*) Or whatever name they've given it to make it sound nicer. Something like Purring Pussycat drone.

Rust marks five years since its 1.0 release: The long and winding road actually works

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Meh

Lisp which is loved by ivory tower academics who dont have to write bet-the-company solutions that others will need to maintain in the future.

Right, so you think Walmart is run by ivory tower academics? And the Mail Online(*)?

(*) Ack, spit!

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Meh

For more fun and confusion: i["A string"]

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Meh

And long term C programmers got into the habit of writing things like

if (0 == x)

when comparing with a constant so that mistyping a single '=' would be a syntax error, even before compilers started flagging possible errors.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Meh

C has had a boolean type for over twenty years.

Yes, but it's merely yet another unsigned int storage type(*) and the expressions in if() or while() can be any scalar type, whereas languages with genuine booleans treat them as a type in their own right, separate from integers, floats and pointers.

I guess you're one of those hippies who can't accept that the world didn't buy into the LSD soaked world of Lisp and its obsession with parentheses.

(fun arg1 arg2) has no more parentheses than fun(arg1, arg2), and there are Lisp variants that use Algol function calling syntax or that drop the parentheses when unncessary. Lisp is most appreciated by computer scientists who know that semantics are what counts and that syntax is for fashion victims.

(*) C11 standard

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: .. never used .. ?

I still have both the yellow 1971 first edition and green 1974 second edition of the users guide, plus a library manual circa 1974/5, both much used(*). They're surprisingly small compared to modern language manuals.

I also (mostly) remember an evening's drinking with Ian Currie at a conference.

(*) To seriously get into greybeard one-upmanship, I also have a draft copy of the blue Smalltalk 80 book printed by Adele Goldberg on a Parc laser printer.

Mad dash for webcams with surge in videoconferencing has turned out rather nicely for Logitech

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Logitech C270

During normal times, it's sold for as little as £12 on Amazon UK

Currently showing(*) at £99.99 on Amazon UK. Economics 101 in action. Fortunately I bought a cheap 4:3 ratio web cam as a toy back in 2012. It's had more use in the last few weeks than it had in the years before.

(*) For me, YMMV.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Remembering history

Uncle Fester's droppings.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Good taste?

Fuck that, we wanna know what he was almost called!

For some reason I have a mental image of Jeff Bezos in a loose roll neck shirt.

I wish I didn't.

Non-human Microsoft Office users get their own special licences

Arthur the cat Silver badge


Nope, still don't want Office. Not without a scratching post.

Quick Q: Er, why is the Moon emitting carbon? And does this mean it wasn't formed from Theia hitting Earth?

Arthur the cat Silver badge

It was the Apollo astronauts

Each mission had a barbecue to celebrate the landing and they tipped out the remaining charcoal when they'd done.

[Icon is the nearest possible to a barbie.]

So you've set up MFA and solved the Elvish riddle, but some still think passwords alone are secure enough

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Secure enough for what?

Security is always a trade-off between the value of what you're trying to protect (and the threats against it) and the cost of protection (in terms of user time, added complexity etc.)

As Bruce Schneier has been telling the world for years. If the threat is your little sister a reasonable password will do, if it's the NSA/GCHQ just send them your documents to save everybody's time. In between it's horses for courses.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: And that means Apple is now 44.

"An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition"

No it isn't.

Baby Diesel? Little d'Artagnan? There is another child of Musk in the world

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: X Æ A-12

That's the official name - not sure how to pronounce it though.


UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: And what about the people ...

"I think it’s safe to say most of the working population have a smartphone "

Not sure why you would think that (no supporting evidence provided)- you could of course be right.... by accident.

A quick trip to Wikipedia suggests the UK has the highest smart phone penetration in the world - 82% in 2018.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: And what about the people ...

I find that the older folks have generally embraced smartphones and they are quite popular in the over 70s

If they have a full set of marbles. I've got a couple of elderly family members with Alzheimer's, there's no way they could use a smartphone, even though one of them can use a old Nokia "feature phone". They don't even remember that they shouldn't go out. It's making life (even more of a) hell for their carers.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Hanlon's razor

Or, in the case of the British Government (and governments the world over): never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by arrogance and paternalism.

Whereas I'd agree about the British Government (having worked for the Civil Service at one point, and having friends who still do, including the Cabinet Office), to apply that to all governments is to fall into the Wykehamist Fallacy.

OK, so you've air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit...

Arthur the cat Silver badge

spaf was right

The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts.

Said in 1989.

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Income

A lot of people have done very well telling their followers that the sky beard wants them to have a better private jet

An appeal to naked greed works well (on some people), but I'm not so sure what the appeal is of claiming the 5-foot something Queen is actually a 7 foot lizard.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Income

Woo! I'm illustrious!

Microsoft! Please, put down the rebrandogun. No one else needs to get hurt... But it's too late for Visual Studio Online

Arthur the cat Silver badge

One problem with the lockdown

is that I've missed my latest eye test, and thus misread the subhead as "Visual Studio Codpieces".

Icon because I really need new glasses.

ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: as for ICANN - just get rid of ...

However the ITU is in need of some reforms.

I think you've just won the Understatement of the Year award.

Watch now the three UFO videos uncovered by Blink-182 star – and today officially released by the Pentagon

Arthur the cat Silver badge

was Roland Reagan the President before or after Ronald?

They were both president of the US from 1981 to 1989. In different time streams, of course.

From attacked engineers to a crypto-loving preacher with a questionable CV: Yep, it's still very much 5G silly season

Arthur the cat Silver badge

The Zimbabwean notes have turned out to be quite a good investment for some people.

Keen to go _ExtInt? LLVM Clang compiler adds support for custom width integers

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Anyone else remember PL/I?

Declaring variables with specific widths like BINARY(17) or DECIMAL(7). Or more likely the abbreviated forms BIN(17) and DEC(7). PL/I also had the wonderful "feature" that the checkout compiler handled a subtly different language from the one the optimising compiler supported so code deemed valid by checkout would fail to compile under optimise (or vice versa).

Geoboffins reckon extreme rainfall might help some volcanoes pop off

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: "We are only just beginning to understand these interactions"

And going back to the subject of volcanoes, how about Pompeii?

While fossicking around Pompeii a few years ago I kept on remembering that Pompeii was relatively small compared to modern day Naples (pop ~1 million and ISTR that about 3 million live in the area that would have to be evacuated if Vesuvius decided to get tetchy). Yes, they have motor vehicles these days, but the roads aren't going to cope if everybody has to GTFO in a hurry.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Obligatory XKCD…

And I thought they were trying to outdo the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

"We 'ad to live in't active volcano …"

Work from home surge may work in Wi-Fi 6's favour, reckons analyst house

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Wired every time

Fortunately I had the house CAT 6 wired when I had major building work done about a decade back. Combined with a 72/20 Mb/s FTTC link from Zen we've been able to run two simultaneous video conference sessions with no problems (at our end). It's been noticeable that friends and colleagues with crap WiFi have real problems even at reduced video resolution.

Fright at the museum: Bored curators play spooky Top Trumps on Twitter over who has the creepiest object

Arthur the cat Silver badge

The Wellcome Galleries at the Science Museum

have some fairly gruesome exhibits. The 18th C devices for dealing with bladder stones definitely cause involuntary leg crossing.

ICE cold: Microsoft's GitHub wrings hands over US prez's Trump immigration ban plan

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Invisible enemy LOL

And where has the invisible hand been roaming since it gave the world economy a prostate check back in 2007/8?

Baby, I swear it's déjà vu: TalkTalk customers unable to opt out of ISP's ad-jacking DNS – just like six years ago

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Not unusual

Hmm, I need an ISP, I know, why not these guys, they've won worst UK ISP of the year loads of times!

More a case of "I need an ISP, I know SFA about it, look, these are cheap" I suspect.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Switch provider, and refuse payment

My mum's bank stopped payments to talk talk after she passed away; repeated calls to customer 'service' did nothing to stop the tide of threatening letters.

You quite possibly have a chance of getting them charged with harassment under those circumstances. See the Citizens Advice page here and remember you're not even a debtor.

A few years back friend of mine was being hassled by carrion eating debt collectors over a debt that was more than 6 years old and no longer enforceable. One snottagram to them threatening to take the matter to the police made them vanish.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Switch provider, and refuse payment

If company is ISO9001 certified

FFS we're talking about Talk Talk. They're not even ISO 3103 certified.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Orbital pizza

It's a device for requesting pizza delivered straight from orbit.

You forgot to mention it's cooked by the re-entry heat.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: A real pizza

By definition it's "Chicago sausage", which sounds infinitely less appetizing.

Since there's far less poured concrete infrastructure work these days, they've got to get rid of the bodies somehow.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Savagery?

You aren't supposed to use the wet mozzarella on pizza, it should be the grated dryer stuff.

According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana:

The buffalo mozzarella (chopped in slices) or the fior di latte (chopped into strips) have to be spread uniformly on the pizza.

The grated cheese (if used) has to be spread on the pizza with a circular and uniform movement of the hand.

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

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: I need a pile of these

I'll be straight onto the conspiracy theory/anti-vaxxer sites selling these for a fortune. It's a ready-made target market of gullible people, after all.

In my more misanthropic moments(*) I've considered selling kits to suppress 99% of electromagnetic radiation from computer monitors. I reckon paying £100 for a black bin liner and some double sided tape would be good value for the priceless education.

(*) People who know me go "more misanthropic???"



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