* Posts by Alien8n

1021 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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Stallman's final interview as FSF president: Last week we quizzed him over Microsoft visit. Now he quits top roles amid rape remarks outcry

Alien8n Silver badge

I'm out

I did have a long rambling post lined up yesterday but withdrew it as I couldn't see the point. After a night's reflection I've decided this will be my last post on here.

This is a tech news site, so you would assume that the readership would be reasonably intelligent and informed. Increasingly the comments are becoming more like I would expect from the likes of 4Chan. The vitriol showed towards other commentators on this site by an increasing number of the readers has helped me make up my mind that quite frankly humanity sucks. When the majority seem to be perfectly fine with justifying sexual assault (and of sexual assault of minors) and bemoan the rise of the likes of #metoo as political correctness then just maybe you should look in the mirror if you want to see where the problem actually lies. I'm out, El Reg is becoming an echo chamber for bigots and misogynists, you can have it.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: A product of his time

Where did I say people were being arrested for things that were legal 40 or 50 years ago? Glitter, Saville, Williams were guilty of having sex in some cases with children as young as 7. Gary Glitter managed to get himself kicked out of Vietnam for fucks sake. A country at the time not exactly renowned for it's hostility towards pedophiles. Williams used to go to Morocco for young boys, might have been legal over there then, but it certainly wasn't over here. So not sure why there's so many downvotes for pointing out that what most of these people are being done for was illegal back then as well as now. Unless there's a hell of a lot of people thinking that it's okay to molest children?

This is not the same as commenting on Stallman's situation, he actually has a point. He may actually believe that certain individuals could have been misled as towards the level of consent given, but in all honesty if you went to a island owned by someone and there were under 18 year olds there "willing" to have sex with you it should be ringing alarm bells. He shows incredible naivety. What's more amazing is that his previous comments didn't attract the same level of ire when he made them.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: A product of his time

The difference is that now instead of brushing it under the carpet the perpetrators are now rightfully being arrested and sent to jail for their crimes. Think Gary Glitter, Jimmy Saville etc. Kenneth Williams was well known for his proclivity towards young boys, something that the establishment were all to happy to brush under the carpet as it were. While it's true that these are different times and societal mores have changed, it was still illegal back then as well. The difference now is that you can't cover it up as much as you could back then.

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Accounts names

I find opening the door and asking "Oh hello, are you the sacrifice?" works quite well.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Amateur Banks

Pretty much says it all when they shaft not only their customers but also their employees.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Amateur Banks

NatWest are on my do not use list for 2 reasons.

1. When I got my first job they insisted that they would use all of my wages to pay off my student debt. Their exact comment was that they would allow me to have £50 a month to live on (which back then was about 10% of my pay). I told them where to go and opened a new account with the building society opposite them.

2. The next time I used them they sent me a letter telling me I was NEARLY overdrawn, charged me £10 for the letter taking me overdrawn and then charged me a bloody fortune in fees for being overdrawn.

I will NEVER use NatWest ever again.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: postcodes...

Postcodes are a nightmare. We have a new warehouse (well, 2 years old now) and we have to give any visitors the postcode of the building across the road because ours sends you to a random place about 10 miles away.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Scripted

The one I had was the electricity supply company when my dad died. For over a year I'd have to contact them every so many months to explain the reason he hadn't been in contact with them about his unpaid bill was because he was dead and they'd been instructed to cease billing him from the date he'd died on.

Justice served: There is no escape from the long server log of the law

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Re: Surely...

It's required to prove that the user was fully aware that what they was doing was against process. Trainers are told they must ensure that the entire process document is read and the user has to sign off the training to confirm they read it. Then when something goes wrong the company is at least covered. Not every machine can be made completely idiot proof, all you can do is make sure the process is as safe as can be. It's the same with manual handling. You can't prevent someone picking up a box the wrong way, but as long as you've shown them the correct way to do it and they've signed to say they've been shown it becomes their problem when they injure their back doing it wrong.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Surely...

Company I used to work for moved manufacturing to Mexico. Queried the £5000 per machine for the safety cut-offs and demanded the supplier remove them as they "weren't needed in Mexico". The supplier pointed out that that the cut-offs were the only thing standing between the operator and a 10,0000V shock. Company still refused to sign off till the supplier made it clear that without the cut-offs they wouldn't be selling them any equipment. Never underestimate the greed and lack of humanity where money is concerned.

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Re: Surely...

To be fair you had to press 2 buttons which then initiated the shut sequence on the front panel. Didn't stop one idiot managing to shove his arm in while the door was closing.

Mostly injuries were along the lines of "oops, glove has ridden up slightly exposing skin while cleaning. I still have a small scar from that one (cleaning chrome plates heated to 200C)

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Re: Surely...

When you're working with equipment that can potentially rip someone's arm off it's always better to be process heavy. Doesn't stop the completely idiotic who think they know better, but at least if it's documented you can point to the process and show why they're doing it wrong.

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Re: ... very few people would notice...

The chart data was well known to be completely made up years before then as well. I recall there were a handful of stores in London that a record label could go into and buy several copies in, resulting in the record hitting the charts. We're not even talking many records in the grand scheme of things, the system was setup in such a way that all they needed to do was send a few hundred singles to one store, send someone down to pick them up again and make a purchase for them and they got included in the sales figures. It would not surprise me if they never got taken out of the box and simply got shoved straight back into the warehouse to be shipped back a few days later.

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Re: Surely...

Having written process documentation I quickly learned that however intelligent you believe the people using the equipment are, always assume that the document will be read by a complete and utter imbecile. Even for something as simple as weighing a box of electronic components.

Partly this was down to the long hours they had to work, but also in part because every so often the company would hire someone who could best be described as making Homer Simpson seem like a well qualified Nuclear Physicist.

Alien8n Silver badge

In my experience anyone who actually believes themselves to be perfect is either a liar or deluded, or both. No one can foresee every single possible outcome. There is always an element of the unknown. What sets the idiots apart from the true IT professionals is knowing that at some point you have to make that call, and be prepared to get your hands dirty fixing it. Sometimes that means fixing the shit left by "perfect" people.

Au my bog: Bloke, 66, on bail after 'solid-gold' crapper called 'America' stolen from stately home

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: I don't think the police are trying very hard.....

Not solid gold, or at least not solid pure gold. It was reportedly 18 ct gold

Cloud, internet biz will take a Yellowhammer to the head in 'worst case' no-deal Brexit

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: just a scenario

More than happy to admit when I get something wrong. Doesn't change the original post as the USA were party to the talks and the agreement would not have been signed without their help. As I've also stated elsewhere, the GFA is important, even more so now in a potential No Deal scenario. It lays down specific legal requirements for both sides, agreed by all parties involved. Ironically the one thing that would keep the GFA alive in spirit is a united Ireland, something that the DUP would never allow. Northern Ireland is certainly more peaceful now than it was while I was growing up, but it's not the idyllic backwater the tourist industry would have you believe. There's a feeling that elements from both sides of the sectarian divide would like a return to the Troubles, that they have unfinished business.

Also my post may have given a misleading impression that the US Government was funding the IRA. This is incorrect. The US funding of the IRA was through a complicated series of charity donations. Quite famously at the time a charity linked to McDonald's in the USA was falsely traced to IRA funding. The reality though was that US citizens were funding the IRA through a "charity" called NORAID. This was through both direct donations and from donations from other legitimate charities. This funding continued even after the GFA was signed, and only stopped after 9/11, when the immediate consequences of terrorism was felt by the source of most of the donators to NORAID, New Yorkers.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: just a scenario

When did the USA become part of the Brexit negotiations with the EU?

You seem to be of the mistaken belief that the Good Friday Agreement was only signed by Ireland and the UK, it's actually an International Treaty, one that was also signed by the USA. Their bit says they promise to stop funding the IRA. That's the reason the Democrats turned round and said they'd veto any trade agreement between the UK and the USA in the event of the GFA being breached. I don't know about you but it's bad enough with Al Quaeda bombing the UK, I certainly don't want the far more effect IRA bombing the UK again. I had enough near misses back in the 80s and 90s.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: "So, let me recap"

Price isn't determined by how much supply we have from UK refineries, it's determined by wholesale prices on the global market. The biggest decider in price is firstly how much Saudi Arabia releases onto the market, followed by the GBP/USD exchange rate. You can stockpile it all you want at the UK refinery, but it won't make any difference to the forecourt price (except perhaps to offset any increase in oil price in the short term.

But it's okay, I'm sure we'll find someone to sell it to, I hear there's a market for oil in Syria.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: What's in a name?

@CrazyOldCatMAn the one that gets me is that it would be undemocratic to hold another Referendum. In that case I argue it would be undemocratic to hold an election, the Prime Minister should be voted for once and the next election held after they die. I mean, if we hold elections every 5 years in case the public changes their minds... (or in the case of the current lot every 2 years) At this rate we'll have had 2 elections since the Referendum, which Leavers would surely agree is undemocratic.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: What's in a name?

Leaves plan was:

"You get a Deal, and you get a Deal, and you get a Deal. Everyone gets a Deal." It's just that no one actually said what the Deal would be until after the Referendum. If you actually read the Leave campaign's website you very quickly realise it was all smoke and mirrors with no substance. Lots of phrases like "a deal will be the easiest thing ever" and "we could stay in the Common Market, or the EEA. Be like Norway, or Switzerland". Nowhere did it say "voting Leave means leaving on WTO terms and only those terms".

So it's true, everyone knew what they were voting for, the problem was no one was voting for the same thing.

Fairphone 3 stripped to the modular essentials: Glue? What glue?

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Sony were notorious with charging port failures. Lack of support for the charging port mainly to blame, but they won't see a design flaw as a warranty repair, so any damage caused by normal use is considered out of warranty, which is why I stopped using Sony's phones.

Lights, camera, camera, camera, action: iPhone, iPad, Watch, chip biz in new iPhone, iPad, Watch, chip shocker

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Subscription services

@LDS this has now happened with the TV series Lucifer, which is split across Netflix and Amazon Prime

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Not even parity

It's amazing how many people don't understand the concept of VAT (*cough* ex IT boss *cough*)

Sales Price = Cost Price x (1 + VAT Rate)

or

Sales Price = Cost Price + (Cost Price x VAT Rate)

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Not even parity

Correct, however goods imported from China are paid for in US Dollars for some reason.

My current reading for work is to do with the rules for exporting goods to the EU from the UK where they've first been imported from China. We've even considered the option of setting up an EU subsidiary and have the goods imported direct to the EU, but the sales don't currently scale up enough to make running an EU warehouse worth it. Instead we're paying all the customs charges ourselves and we'll have to increase our costs to the EU customers to cover the increased costs of doing business in the EU. Time will tell if those cost increases will result in lower sales, we're not the only company selling to the EU, we may end up being undercut by an EU based seller.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Not even parity

I think the point is that the price has been raised due to the current exchange rates. The real test though will be once Brexit has happened. My personal feeling is that we'll see the exchange rate slide even further once inflation sets in from the higher import costs for EU goods. Not to mention the lower sales to the EU due to the higher costs of exporting to the EU. If only there was some sort of arrangement where we agreed free movement of goods and people across the border with our largest trading partner...

Handcranked HTML and JPEG japes. What could possibly go wrong?

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Re: ability of MS Office ... to bloat code out of all proportion.

That may be the case today, but I certainly don't recall an option to optimise the HTML code in Office 4.3

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Hand coded HTML

The first website I ever coded was for my brother's artwork, I had rollover buttons that then changed the main image above it to show the title of the page it would take you to, all done with a lightning effect gif. May look exceedingly basic by today's standards but back then it looked pretty cutting edge. I was even designing my own icons in Paint Shop Pro at the time. Not sure exactly when, but it was sometime around 1995.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Hand coded HTML

The ability to hand code used to be an essential skill given the ability of MS Office and Dreamweaver to bloat code out of all proportion.

The first intranet I worked on included a telephone list, basically just an excel spreadsheet saved as HTML. When saved it created a 4Mb HTML file due to it insisting that every single cell in the table must include every font, size, and colour option possible. Once all the formatting was stripped out it became a much more manageable couple of hundred k.

My ability to hand code also put me in the dubious position of teaching HTML at an Open University camp. Turned out I had more experience than the lecturer so taught half the class while also doing my own coursework. This was back in the days when mouseover commands were the most complicated bit of code you could write for the web.

Four-year probe finds Foxconn's Apple 11 factory 'routinely' flouts Chinese labour laws

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Foxconn is NOT Apple

This. This is the point I've been trying to get across to the AC above who seems to think if Apple just stopped making iPhones child labour in China would simply disappear. Apple is just the most visible customer of Foxconn, but are by far not the only one. And as I stated, this is a much bigger issue than just phones and electronics made in China, it affects the entire supply chain for pretty much everything that's not made in the Western world. It's the clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet, the jewels in your rings and necklaces, the tea and coffee you drink, the chocolate you eat. China is just the most visible offender. You absolutely cannot avoid buying unethically.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

Foxconn are the issue, and Foxconn make a lot more than just iPhones. Even Samsung has been listed as using child labour in China. It's just trendy to bash Apple because they're popular. That's not to diminish the report on the conditions iPhone producers work under, it's just saying that it's a lot more widespread than you seem to be able to comprehend. Foxconn are the primary manufacturer of everything electronic in China, supplying Apple, Samsung, Dell, HP, to name just a few. They're a leading supplier to Amazon. The issue is that they have a monopoly on production so can ignore any demands from their customers to improve conditions. It's not like they can just switch to another factory overnight. The entire western world is built on Foxconn's labour. They own Sharp, Linksys, Belkin. You cannot avoid using their products.

http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/reports

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

As an iPhone user I certainly have never called the users of any other device inhuman and demanded they be destroyed. That said, I'm under no illusions that switching to another brand would be more ethical. If it says made in China then it's almost certainly falling under the same work conditions. And not just China, many other places are the same. India is a hub of jewellery making, where children often make jewellery for pennies. Indonesia makes your trainers for pennies. Your shirts are made in Bangladesh for pennies. I want everything I buy to be ethically sourced, but I'm also acutely aware that in order to do so I'd have to buy everything locally made to ensure it at a much higher price.

Finally! A solution to 42 – the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything

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Re: Disturbing

SQUEAK

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Self fixing

Strangely enough that's now my current role. Except now I have about 20 years experience in IT so can actually do the job.

The office role they turned me down for was just data entry, so nothing even that taxing, the problem was I was also the best production engineer they had as well, so training my supervisor on how to do my job also didn't go down well with me at the time. The excuse was that they felt I was too young, at 26. The manager at my previous role had been 24 so I did the sensible thing and changed jobs.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: I don't do this anymore. I feel much better now.

Reading some of the stories on here that's a possibility, most often preceded by "the cleaner had been the previous night".

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Cup Holders

Hmmmmm, I wonder if I can use the fact that she bought the 4k version as an excuse to upgrade the home cinema?

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: hmm

There is nothing worse than a previous owner who thinks they know what they're doing.

House I live in was owned by an electronics engineer. When he left there were loads of electronics components left in the garage for building circuits. The problem though is electronics engineer does not equal electrician. As we found out when we investigated the kitchen lighting.

Light switch in the kitchen, turns on the 5A under cupboard lights. The lights were connected to a connector box under the sink, so bare open wires in proximity to the taps. From there to another box behind the cooker. (This should start ringing alarm bells for anyone who knows electrics).

Yes, he had wired up the 5A lighting circuit to the 30A cooker main. The result being that in the event of a fire caused by a faulty light the house would not be insured.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Any key

To be fair though that one makes some sense. It's telling you there's no keyboard, therefore the solution is to plug one in and then hit f1 to continue.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: More common than you might think.

I was on CompuSlave when I first started using the internet. It was actually a course requirement as the OU bulletin board was run through them at the time. Fairly sure they still own my first born's soul.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Cup Holders

My wife decided to buy me a DVD once, bought the 4K version... (luckily it comes with the Blue Ray, but still)

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: The old days

Reminds me of the apocryphal story of the user complaining about not being able to get onto the internet:

"I can't get onto the internet."

"Have you turned the PC on?

"I've pressed the button on the PC, nothings happening."

"Is it plugged in?"

"I can't tell."

What do you mean?"

"It's dark."

"Turn the lights on then."

"I can't, there's a power cut."

Alien8n Silver badge

Self fixing

At least the user had pre-empted the request to box up their PC and return it. 28.8k modems places the tale around the mid 90s, and while PCs were themselves still quite rare they were making some headway into the home market, care of Windows 95 and an advertising campaign using Edie Brickell to push Windows Media Player (her video came on the Windows 95 installation disc as an example of what WMP could do, arguably the best bit of the installation). If the user wasn't aware that they needed a PC in order to connect it's a safe bet they wouldn't have been able to use the PC itself. This would also place then in the generation above my own given mine is the generation that grow up with the variety of home computers and lessons at school on how to play Elite (er, how to use a word processor).

ZX81 - ZX Spectrum - Commodore 64 - Amiga 500 - PC (486). By the time I got the PC (required for an OU course I was doing) I was regularly asked by my boss to help with his PC at work. A refusal to consider me for an office role (despite clearly being the most PC proficient person in the company) being the deciding factor for leaving said company.

Can you download it to me – in an envelope with a stamp?

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Not so many years ago...

Or in the case of the ones around here random crashes.

We had a pigeon attempt suicide by flying into the closed window of the office. It left an imprint, including a perfect impression of it's wings, against the glass.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Moved to France

Many years ago on a coach trip to Spain we came back up the motorway through France and stopped at the services. Turns out the services were being rebuilt so all they had were some very badly made sandwiches which even the most desperate Brits wouldn't touch, so back onto the coach and a trip to the next services. I managed to be the first in so I'm perusing the available delicacies when the owner overhears the next bunch of coach passengers walking in. His response?

"Vite, les Anglais, pomme frites!" (I clearly remember "Anglias" and "pomme frites", the rest may just be my poor French and misremembered past)

Massachusetts city tells ransomware scumbags to RYUK off, our IT staff will handle this easily

Alien8n Silver badge

I can absolutely tell you that it does not need someone to be phished to gain access. We bought a company not long ago and discovered that at some point they'd been ransomwared (they got hit by CrySis). For some reason they'd left the encrypted files on the server under the assumption they'd be able to decrypt them at some future point. They restored from their backups, so I'm not sure what benefit keeping the encrypted files would have. Once we got their hardware setup at our head office we decided to keep the servers separate from ours, turns out that was a wise decision as they then got hit by Phobos. What's interesting though is that both ransomeware attacks use the same attack vector, by brute forcing their way through the firewall using an RDP vuln. After the first attack they'd failed to patch the firewall, leaving the attack vector wide open for a later attack. Also turns out they'd failed to patch the servers, which meant the RDP settings weren't secure either. Hindsight is wonderful, but looking back I'm so glad I took the decision to ensure the 2 domains were on separate networks.

Bloke who claimed he invented Bitcoin must hand over $5bn of e-dosh in court case. He can't. He's waiting for a time traveler to arrive

Alien8n Silver badge
Alien

Re: Time

Who are you calling human?

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Time

And he's correct, everyone and everything is travelling in time. Admittedly only forwards in time, and at a fixed rate, but we are travelling in time.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw: Well, lookie here! For once a space game that doesn't promise the universe

Alien8n Silver badge

Jumpgate

One of the best multiplayer space games was Jumpgate from Netdevil. There was even an entire lore surrounding the game, and a very sneakily positioned asteroid (nickname Emma) that was situated exactly halfway between 2 jumpgates, so you had to remember to first fly away from the horizontal plane before locking on the exit jumpgate, unless you wanted to learn why it was called Emma (basically Emma Roid, because it was a pain in the ass).

There was a sequel in development for years that was just about to make it to Beta (Jumpgate Evolution) but was canned before release.

I just love your accent – please, have a new password

Alien8n Silver badge

The Luggage doesn't need a password, it's more than willing to eat anyone who tries to open it without permission...

Alien8n Silver badge

Still surprises a few people when I ask if they're from certain areas of Scotland or the North East. Lost my Geordie accent a very long time ago but can still pick out regional Geordie and metropolitan Scottish accents. To be fair it's not that hard to differentiate between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

(Born in the North East with family from Motherwell, does wonders for being able to understand some of the accents from around there)

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