* Posts by Neil 32

48 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Sep 2009

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely

Neil 32

Not tech but, possibly better!

I once managed to get locked in my local students' union building when I was acting as the treasurer for my local beer festival!

I was hidden away in an office doing the end of day cashing up ready to put money in the safe. Came out to find a deserted building. The SU had cheaped out and got rid of all the staff we'd worked with for years and the new people didn't know to check if I'd finished - they should have known as they were the ones who would let me access the safe!

And no, I didn't drink the profits. Phoned university security who got the SU manager to come let me secure cash in the safe and then let me out; so fire exit wasn't an option, plus most were alarmed if I recall.

Behold the Bloo Screen of Death: Bathroom borkage stops spray play

Neil 32

No surprise...

But Japan! Sega developed a thing called the Toylet.

The Grauniad and other more tech-savvy outlets also have done articles on them. I remember reading about them before I went over there in 2012, but never saw any. Just search for "sega toylet" in your favourite seach engine!

Beer, because!

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Neil 32

I'm very much on your side here. Of course, it has to be proper butter. None of this lo-fat spread stuff!

And the pronunciation has to be with a short 'o' otherwise it's no longer the fastest cake in the world (in the same vein... What's the fastest drink in the world? Milk, because it's pasteurised before you can see it!) Coat, the one with crumbs in the pockets.

TLS termination, Teams toys – and holy 5G, Batman, Microsoft buys UK network software biz Metaswitch

Neil 32

You missed out that Teams is also now showing 9 video feeds in meetings; at least on some tenancies/devices - my work laptop connected to a 23" ext. monitor started showing 9 yesterday, but my personal laptop (12" screen I think) using a charity's tenancy was still showing just 4 last night (although it may not have had chance to update).

Where's the best place to add Mentos to Diet Coke for the most foam? How big are the individual bubbles? Has science gone too far?

Neil 32

Re: Been wondering...

Do a search for the MythBusters episode that covered the Diet Coke/Mentos phenomenon. They did tests on the various ingredients and comparisons of different carbonated drinks.

Neil 32

Re: efficient insertion of Mentos is key

They tried the diet coke/Mentos/rocket idea on MythBusters a few years ago. I seem to recall there really wasn't enough thrust to make it work; plus lots of design difficulties in getting something that would work

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

Neil 32

Re: What? They've been lying to us?

Afraid so. Abraham Lincoln was the first person to post about this on his MySpace page!

What a load of bollards! Object of bloke's street furniture romp run over

Neil 32

It's at times like this I miss the PlayMobil recreations!

A pint (which I shall raise in a local resurrected pub later), in memory of Lester

Controversies aren't Boeing away for aircraft maker amid claims of faulty oxygen systems and wobbling wings

Neil 32

I was thinking that this morning when I read the BBC story. And isn't the release mechanism basically a bit of string - there was an (in)famous case of some expired (but still full) cylinders being transported in the cargo hold of a plane where the strings were just taped in such a way that they could activate... And did with sadly deadly consequences.

I'm assuming in this case it's whatever the bit of string is meant to pull on is failing (or the string coming loose, perhaps)?

Time to check in again on the Atari retro console… dear God, it’s actually got worse

Neil 32

*watches on with a tear in his eye, feeling your pain, as he strokes his imaginary Vega+*

Beer, because we all deserve one!

'Cockwomble' is off the menu: Uncle Bulgaria issues edict against using name in vain

Neil 32

I now feel a need to bring up The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican who have a track in their repertoire which is a direct parody of The Wombles hit, nicely reworked to include the insult (although in it they decide to remark that Katie Hopkins is something a hole [sic] lot worse!)

I'll leave you to find it yourself with your favourite search engine!

Oracle AI's Eurovision horror show: How bad can it be? Yep. Badder

Neil 32

That is disturbing on so many levels (including the obligatory observation on how it's better than any of our entries since 1997), but those key changes!

Talk about a ticket to ride... London rail passengers hear pr0n grunts over PA system

Neil 32

A pint for whoever found that image contributor!

BOFH: It's not just an awesome app, it'll look great on my Insta. . a. a. AAAARRRRRGGH

Neil 32


The Boss is getting wise. I foresee an untimely demise and recruitment of a new boss in a not too distant episode!

*goes to set up his slave trader company*

I've had it with these mother-fscking slaps on this mother-fscking plane: Flight fight sparks legal brouhaha over mid-air co-ords

Neil 32

Re: Airline seats should be fixed-back

More and more airlines are going down the route of fixed-back seats; especially the short haul budget carriers.

Just imaging if Ryanair had ever managed to implement their strap-you-to-a-dangling-board-so-you're-basically-standing-the-entire-flight idea!

Motion detectors: say hello, wave goodbye and… flushhhhhh

Neil 32

The worst autoflushers are the ones where the sensor is positioned pointing at your back. Any movement to reach for paper, or even just the shifting to allow access to wipe seems to trigger them! I'm particularly thinking of the ones that were installed at Schiphol around 2009 (I think they've since removed them). Quite a powerful flush so plenty of splashback, but also so wasteful!

So about that Atari reboot console... you might want to sit down. It's going to be late, OK?

Neil 32

Still going better...

Than the Vega+ :-/

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

Neil 32

This *really* wouldn't end well

And not just because of the post number!

Q: If every person on Earth aimed a laser pointer at the Moon at the same time, would it change color?

A: https://what-if.xkcd.com/13/

Stairway to edam: Swiss bloke blasts roquefort his cheese, thinks Led Zep might make it tastier

Neil 32

Why has no-one yet quoted the classic

Sweet dreams are made of cheese

Who am I to dis a brie

I cheddar the world

And the feta cheese

Everybody's looking for Stilton

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

Neil 32

Well that's Fetlang screwed then!


Vodafone emits new wearable ... kid-trackers

Neil 32
Big Brother

Life imitating art?

Why do I instantly find my mind turning to the South Park movie and the v-chip Cartman got fitted with!

Boeing embraces Embraer to take off in regional jet market

Neil 32

Re: Size matters

The Embraer 135 and 145 are a 1+2 seating config (35 and 45 pax standard capacity) with no overhead bins on the port side. No sure what the 195 is.

The CRJ 200, 700 and 900 are a 2+2 seating config

The ER4 is a lovely fun little aircraft. It can sneak onto the runway half way down at LHR (at speed) and be in the air in 20 seconds. The engines may look tiny but they give you one heck of the kick in the back when the throttles are opened! Never mind the speed limits below 10,000ft - their solution is to get to 10,000ft as quickly as possible so the limit never hits.

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Neil 32

Re: Hats in the gaps?

I am 99% certain that G-BOAC at Manchester has some sort of brochure stuck between the Flight Engineer's station and the bulkhead. I'll see if I can dig out the photos from home.

Neil 32

Better On A Camel

Such a shame she is no longer flying and that most of us have never had the chance to fly on her.

I visited G-BOAC at the Runway Visitor Park next to Manchester Airport and did the extended "technical tour". They are a little more accommodating at Manchester in that they will let you sit on the seats (although they do ask you don't recline or lower the tray tables - spare parts are somewhat hard to get hold of these days!) and they also let you onto the flight deck and even sit in the pilot's seat.

ZX Spectrum reboot firm's shareholders demand current directors go

Neil 32

And yet this morning there has been a campaign update to say first shipments will happen between May 8th and 12th. Of course, given the track record on dates, this still has a fair old amount of sodium chloride being held over it, but the optimist in me is trying to be positive.

But strange how bad news against the company seems to trigger (so far worthless) promises of progress.

UK 'wife'-carrying champion named

Neil 32

£150 for a barrel of ale. Your writer not a CAMRA member then?

A barrel is a 36 gallon (288 pint) container. More likely this is a firkin - 9 gallons (72 pints). But then £150 for that? That's a rip-off! I've dealt with many breweries and not many firkins are into the 3-figures yet (although we are sadly getting a lot closer!) Of course, it could be a barrel in which case that is excellent value!

Cinema voucher-pusher tells customers: Cancel your credit cards, we've been 'attacked'

Neil 32

Interesting... We have one of these corporate perks schemes but through LifeWorks. They also like to fling cinema vouchers (why are cheap cinema tickets such a popular "perk" for these flingers!?) so just did a quick web search to see if there is a link. Seems that sodexo is a customer of LifeWorks, so is there some sort of circular benefit going on here where sodexo provide the cinema perks bit to LifeWorks and they provide other perks to sodexo? If so, are LifeWorks customers who have used the cinema perks at risk? How deep does this run? :-/ (Thankfully, I can't remember the last time I went to the cinema, so shouldn't be affected if it does extend to LifeWorks!)

India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

Neil 32

Pun alert!

Breathes new life into the old joke about how Eskimos build their houses!

*grabs his coat - the one with the tube of UHU in it*

Another day, another self-flying car pipe dream surfaces

Neil 32

Magical screen

That grows 7" between sub-head and article body!

Sick burn, yo: Google's latest Pixel 2 XL suffers old-skool screen singe

Neil 32

Makes me wonder about the quality of LG displays. I have the Urbane watch (don't laugh - as long as you don't expect it to do everything it's not a bad bit of kit) which is 2 years old and shows quite a bit of screen burn when looking at screens of mostly 1 colour. It's also the first device I think I've ever had that's suffered from dead pixels; and there are quite a few rather than just 1 or 2.

Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain

Neil 32

Re: A few suggestions from me

Sadly the Sellafield Visitor Centre is no more :( I got to go once, but we didn't really get enough time to look around properly.

Samsung stalls Bixby launch because it am English not so good

Neil 32

Only monkey puzzle trees though

Good start to a soggy northern English day! Was that a story translated to Korean then back into English?

Serious point though - why do companies that make Android phones insist on duplicating all the Google stuff with their own bloatware? How much cheaper would phones be if we didn't have to fund all that R&D into apps that never get used and just end up taking up space and resources? (I know - they wouldn't be any cheaper, but I can dream!)

NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

Neil 32

I still prefer the pool table idea from Red Dwarf! Fridges may contain beer and bacon!

50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

Neil 32

I don't know what you mean!

*whistles innocently while polishing fingerprints from the "Edit" button*

Neil 32

Para 3... "deposit checks"

What's a check!? Damned Yank-isms!

DIY self-driving cars are closer than they appear (and we're not talking about in the mirror)

Neil 32

"He expects the technology will first show up in the form of self-driving trucks on highways."

Yet another thing that The Simpsons predicted first!?

PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Neil 32

Error in report

Errr... Paragraph 3; "major cities such as Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield gave Leave a clear victory" is wrong. Newcastle was a "barely remain" result (unless El Reg now thinks Newcastle-under-Lyme is bigger than Newcastle-upon-Tyne!) See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/eu_referendum/results/local/n

Chilling evidence emerges of Kilocat weapon

Neil 32

Have a beer...

You deserve it for that!

Girlfriend 'tried to MURDER ME with her AMPLE BREASTS'

Neil 32

Re: Perhaps it was lost in translation

ITYM Playmobil

And the link has photo!

Sugar content now to be measured in Cadbury Creme Eggs

Neil 32

Re: I've had my fair share

ITYM "egg-sagerate"

Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes first commercial flight

Neil 32

Britain gives you Wings

(Well, it gives them to Airbus)

Nine year-old blamed for US school system hack

Neil 32

He's not a hacker...

He's a very naughty boy!

Shuttleworth goes Maverick with Ubuntu's 'Perfect 10'

Neil 32

Is anyone else thinking...


Can anyone explain the chunnel fiasco?

Neil 32

No protest

I'm nothing to do with Eurostar or any of the connected companies.

Merely I am someone who has had an interest in railways from a young age. I also get annoyed with the culture of blame.

Sh*t happens. Life goes on. Demanding the cheif exec stand down is just way OTT. He didn't design the trains, and deliberately make sure they'd fail after 15 (or however many) years like this. Do you think he personally told everyone not to tell the passengers what was going on?

This was, by the looks of it, a very unfortunate set of circumstances that were never thought of. What the CE now has to do is to be seen to be working with the right people to establish what went wrong, where there is room for improvement, and get things back on track (pun intended!)

As has been pointed out elsewhere, I'd like to see you do better... All to easy to sit behind your computer and criticise.

*wonders if our ranting reporter was a passenger on one of those trains and wanted somewhere to let off some steam* (OK, enough with the train puns!)

Neil 32

Couple of answers

Most trains I've ever been on have some emergency lighting, but it will be battery operated. Depending on what's tripped with the water ingestion, that may have caused the emergency lighting to fail, or the report may have been chinese whispered and really it was a case of the lighting failed after the batteries discharged. Anyone know how long the battery is meant to last for? (Of course, the same thing would affect the aircon as well.)

When I was on a Eurostar back in February I'm 99.999% certain the stickers on the trains were illuminous. The problem, I suspect, is that over time the luminance fades - they need to keep seeing light to "recharge".

I'm pretty certain that brakes are dsigned to failsafe to an "on" position... Fairly basic thing one would hope!

Neil 32
Thumb Down


Sorry, I think that is a slightly simplistic and, possibly, unfair view of what happened...

First, how do we know that trains 2 and 3 (and 4 and 5, possibly) weren't already in the tunnel when the first one broke down? (Particularly given 9053 and 9055 left 30 mins apart, a journey through the tunnel takes approx 30 mins, I don't know the stopping patterns of the 2 trains, nor if either were late, held up on the route, etc so it is perfectly feasible for one to have entered just before the first one broke down.) The tunnel, as you state, could possibly take 10 times this number of trains, and until 1 breaks down, there is no reason to stop trains entering.

You complain the tunnel only had 2 rescue locos available, and sound surprised. The East Coast Main Line, I understand, is approx 500 miles in length from London to Edinburgh and has 4 rescue locos available. The tunnel is just 31 miles long, and has 2. There's only 2 tracks under the channel, so how does having more trains help? Maybe you could argue 4 is more suitable (2 working from each end of the tunnel, 1 per line). Also, the more rescue locos you have sat idle the more you pay on maintenance and the more stand-by drivers you have to pay; a cost which is passed onto the customer. There is a case here of having to balance risk with cost, and given how rarely more than 1 rescue train, let alone 2, has been needed I think the balance is about right.

"We know that there is a cab signalling system in the tunnel which is used to give information directly to train drivers on a display." Indeed... But if you read up on the system on your wonderful source, Wikipedia, I think you will find it only displays speed instructions. Sadly, the cab signalling system isn't a free-form text screen (can you imagine what the drivers and signallers may spend all day doing!) on which drivers can be informed of delays, etc. So your comment about "the communications route was there for the train staff to be kept informed about what was going" is not accurate in this form. I would hope that there is in-cab radio for this sort of thing, but if the electrics have been shorted out there is a chance this would not be working (I would hope there is a battery backup, but even that will have limited capacity and may be prone to the same shorting).

There is probably a good reason why doors must remain closed in the tunnel (or anywhere else for that matter). What happens when someone opens the door and gets off? They could get left if the train suddenly starts to move, fall off the walkway under the train, etc. This is a safety issue and I think to criticise it is just plain wrong.

On the matter of emergency food and drink... Well do you really expect them to have an extra supply of food and drink just in case something goes wrong? For a quarter-mile long Eurostar just think how much space this would take up. And what do you do with that food? Keep it there until it goes off, throw it away and replace it? Just think of the waste and the cost!

Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying the companies invovled are totally free of blame. Procedures do need to be reviewed in light of what went on. Communications in particular need to be looked at.

Why do we need a public inquiry? Things go wrong all the time. I would hope that the relevant safety boards do their investigations and that recommendations are made and implemented. But do we call for a public inquiry every time something like this goes wrong? There have been worse incidents than this where people have lost lives, yet the standard investigations are carried out, recommendations made and implemented and life goes on.

This is, sadly, not a perfect world. Things will always go wrong. All we can do is learn from our mistakes to try and make sure they don't go wrong again (at least not in the same way!)

Wallace and Gromit get the Google doodle treatment

Neil 32


Have I jumped back a month in time? :-/

And is it really 20 years? That would have made me... Still aged in single figures. I am worried now at how time has passed me by so quickly :(

Penguin; because they're evil!

Custard Creams can kill: Official

Neil 32

Pink wafer

We need to know...

The list includes plain "wafer", but the pink wafer is in a class of its own! Does anyone actually admit to liking these abominations of the biscuit world? You only have to see what they do to other biscuits - does any other biscuit have such a contamination ability; so surely it should be scored to warn us of the true danger they pose!

And interestingly, Wikipedia doesn't have a Pink wafer article, and my local google thinks I mean "pink water" instead of "pink wafer". The fact that these 2 esteemed institutions refuse to acknowledge the existance of the pink wafer speaks volumes!