* Posts by Badbob

116 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Sep 2009


Microsoft's 11-year itch: The uncelebrated anniversary of Windows 8



I was reminded only yesterday that my two year old laptop has a touchscreen interface, for reasons only known to the good people at HP.

I understood on the old one, as it was one of those 360 models that could transform into the worlds heaviest tablet, but this one has the usual 110deg hinge.

I went to wipe a bit of cat fluff off the screen and somehow magnified the page by 500%.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure


I did quite like the smugness that came with boasting to a colleague that while his heated seats were a monthly subscription, my puny Vauxhall had heated/cooled seats and a heated steering wheel as standard.

Oh, and I was about £300/month better off.

UK bus and rail giant FirstGroup looks to replace decade-old Cyborg system in £8m HR and payroll contract


You wait 10 years for one HR solution....

I suspect whatever solution they select, it’ll arrive late, followed very quickly by the next version and will smell faintly of damp farts and body odour.

Remember so-not-a-pirate Kim Dotcom? New Zealand’s highest court has just said the USA can extradite him for copyright naughtiness


MS Trawling OneDrive

I’ve used OneDrive for years via Office 365 and keep oodles of stuff on it. A couple of years back, Mrs Bob was working in India and the finale of a favourite TV show was on. Rather than trying to explain VPNs to my good lady I simply uploaded the show to OD and sent her a share link, immediately my account was suspended (until I sent an angry email to MS).

Until I got a decent web accessible NAS and a reasonable UL speed at home (for live streaming), I used to use it all the time to watch shows away from home that I had uploaded. It seems they only took an interest as soon as I created a share link.

Not that I condone the illegal downloading and sharing of copyright materials you know.

Fancy a steaming portion of Kentucky Fried Bork? A fingerlickin' flub that's pure poultry in motion


Re: Urghh

Why do people who don’t like KFC always have to tell you?

Boeing puts Loyal Wingman robot fighter jet through its paces... on the ground


Re: Cylons

With the consciousness of an angst ridden teenage girl?

Or am I the only person that watched Caprica? Yes, ok, I’ll get my coat....

UK state of the Internet report: Virgin Media 'fast', BT's PlusNet last


Re: Vermin media here

Tried to sign up to Vermin about 6 weeks ago. Was happy with BT service, but peeved at never ending price rises (which they wouldn’t negotiate on).

Signed the contract with VM who promptly informed BT to terminate my service (because of number porting). Then, 3 days before install a text arrives telling me that due to a “construction issue” my installation would be delayed indefinitely. Calls to Customer Service were a complete waste of time and their “pre install team” kept cutting us off after 45mins on hold.

Decided to cut our losses and beg BT to halt the termination of our service, as we couldn’t be without service for much more than a few days due to my better half keeping the wheels of high finance rolling from our study at the moment. BT duly obliged and logged a complaint for us about VM not being able to provide the service they sold (which apparently goes to Ofcom as misselling).

Cue the next calls to VM to cancel our installation and contract. Only took 4 phone calls and 6 hours.

Still left BT the following week though, for one of their subsidiaries providing the same service for half the price.

We're not getting back with Galileo, UK govt tells The Reg, as question marks sprout above its BS*


Re: Launching

"Shetland Islands could expose SNP for the one-trick con artists they are says..."

Ah yes, balanced "journalism" from this neutral "newspaper".

I'm surprised the don't have a headline saying that Nicola is secretly holding the body of Diana in a dungeon in Glasgow.

Doesn’t alter the fact that the Shetland Islands Council voted to investigate seceeding from Scotland and becoming a Crown Dependency of the U.K.. I can see positives, maybe weather maps won’t look so unintelligible any more as the TV companies will no longer be bound by law to show the entirety of the northern isles (yes, our parliament devoted time to making sure that the maps show hundreds of miles of empty sea).


Re: European Union

“ Ahh, but England is 'special' and the whole world knows about it.”

Very “special” indeed. So much so that the rest of the passengers on the bus increasingly want off at the first stop because they can no longer tolerate the behaviour of the “special” passenger up front that seems to have taken control of the steering wheel and is heading straight into the sea.

Bork, Beer and Breweries: Three of our favourite things


Not even...

... the best lager brewed in Glasgow, never mind Scotland.

The tour though, I thoroughly recommend. I left it absolutely sloshed.

Upside down, you turn me, you're giving bork instinctively: Firefox flips as a train connection is missed


Re: The UK government was forced to step in

It’s far more complicated when switching between older and newer stock. The pacers were remarkably simple trains, with a lever for every power and brake operation.

Newer trains have far more computer control, complex door control and coupling systems as well as single lever power/brake control that takes a bit of getting used to.

That combined with different power and brake efficiencies.

Doesn’t take to long to show a new driver the controls and give them a chance to learn them, but imagine that, one at a time, over the course of hundreds of drivers, without interrupting the standard service. Also, a lot of new aircraft come with a Sim package for the airline, trains remain quite bespoke to the operator, so an SIM type facility is usually quite generic and more to do with learning how to deal with specific conditions rather than specific trains.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles


Awa’ an bile yer heid!

Ah’ve bided in Scotlan’ fir 33 o ma 38 years an fir the life o me, I canna recall onywan e’er usin’ Scots tae blather tae onybody, ken?

Now, if I may use the Queens, as it’s easier to type. As someone born and bred in the northlands, I’m not convinced it is a language, rather than just a very short branch of English. It certainly sounds like English with an accent, with the exception of a few slang words (in the same way that someone from Bristol will throw in a few “Gert”s).

If you want a distinctive dialect that is a clear branch, then you need to go to Aberdeen (Not at the moment though), where Doric is a language all of its own.

A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos


Reminds me of...

... Open top bus tours in NYC.

The fascination with fairly low hanging traffic lights suspended over the carriageway are an ever present hazard to the tourist that wants to stand to get that shot of the Chrysler Building.

I was on one that went under a bridge in Brooklyn that was so low, that from a seated position you could touch the underside of the bridge (which was possibly carrying the BQE?). The bus did go dead slow and even stopped immediately beforehand so the tour guide could give us a final warning. Luckily I speak English, the rest of the tourists may or may not have understood.

First alligators, then dogs, now Basil Fawlty is trying to standardise social distancing measures



I believe the indoor social distancing measure is the “Cat Swinging Length”. If I there is enough room to swing a cat, then you are sufficiently far away.

However, as an animal lover, I recommend the use of an appropriate analog for a cat. I personally tape 20 sharp Stanley knives (other brands are available) to a toy Bagpuss and head off down the aisles of Tesco merrily swinging away.

I’ve only been arrested 4 times so far, and tasered twice.

Alarming news: ADT to flog Nest smart home kit after Google ploughs $450m into corporate security dinosaur


It still exists?

People still pay for monitored alarm systems for home use? When even the cheapest vendors sell wireless web-connected systems now?

I run a simple B&Q bought system, and keep the WiFi router/modem and alarm hub on a UPS. I was able to diagnose a low battery warning on a door sensor from 3000 miles away allowing me to instruct the person I had employed to feed the cats (my mum) on which battery to change in order to silence the beeping from the hub.

All without an extraordinarily high monthly fee.

Boeing confirms it will finish building 747s in 2022, when last freighter flies off the production line


I’ll miss her but...

... I hadn’t really appreciated just how loud it is inside and on both top and bottom decks of a 747-400 until I flew on my first (maybe last) A380 last year.

Outbound to LAX on the Queen, I hardly shut my eyes and arrived with a throbbing headache (which an hours evening peak drive on the 405 didn’t help). Homeward bound on the pretender to the throne, I slept like a log and woke up as we approached Blighty genuinely refreshed.

The 747 carried a lot of poise and looked sleek from the outside but inside was showing its age, however the A380 looks fat and ungainly outside but has one of the best cabin experiences.

My last flight on a 747 was only a result of the airline changing from the originally booked 787. Little did I know it would be my actual last flight on one.

Farewell big girl. You’ve served the world well. Enjoy your rest.

BT: 'Because of the existing underlying supply of the 4G equipment, most of our 5G (NSA) so far is with Huawei'


Yet, the “privatised” railway consumes far more public cash than BR could have dreamed of.

Franchise holders look at government as a vast pool of cash with which to pay their shareholders, and I for one will not be shedding any tears for any of them when the inevitable franchise failures happen as the government withdraws emergency support towards the end of the year.

BR was a hugely efficient organisation that carried out its task using pitiful resources, fighting HM Treasury at every turn and was unable to do any long term planning due to its single year budgets with no guarantees to maintain those levels in the following years. NR has funding agreed for 5 years at a time and has no problems paying vast pools of executives. The franchises aren’t much better. Let’s also not forget that BR didn’t carry a great deal of debt, whereas NR dumped pretty much all of Railtracks and it’s own debt (multiple billions of bonds mostly held by RBS, before it vanished into central government borrowing) on the Treasury and that the franchise holders have been underfunding their pensions for years, a liability which will also fall on the government eventually, while the former TOC operators walk away scot free.

You try creating a plan to upgrade and improve a network with no notion of what your financial position will be in 12 months.

Then we reach a national emergency and everyone has their hand out again....

UK govt finds £200,000 under sofa to kick off research into improving mobile connectivity on nation's crap railways


Not on your life, my Hindu friend.



Do we have a scouse hack?

First time I’ve heard the West Coast Main Line described as the line which links Liverpool and London (That fine Merseyside city usually mentioned alongside Manchester and Glasgow). Also the focus on the very recently wired L&M.

Strange, considering the majority of Liverpool’s suburban railways are electrified using a 3rd rail, which are of no consequence to the plan.

Also, mobile connectivity on the railways is a bigger problem in areas like Northumberland, Cumbria and Dumfries-shire (all of which contain electrified High Speed mainlines), as opposed to the well populated and fairly continuously inhabited areas between Merseyside and Euston.

When you bork... through a storm: Liverpool do all they can to take advantage of summer transfer, er, Windows


Re: Sounds like a night out in this hack's often less than fair city of Brighton

I take a fence at the Glasgow remark. Been enjoying libations for many a year in that city without incident.

On the other hand, when I lived in Bristol, I witnessed fights, stabbings and had to sit on someone once who had been accused of rape until he was removed by Plod (turned out be a spurned lover and a bit of a tiff). I had the misfortune of working in the city centre briefly in a nightshift role next to the Bear Pit, and heading in there was taking your life in your own hands.

Hear, hear: The first to invent idiot-cancelling headphones gets my cash


Every time you make something...

... “idiot proof”. They make a better idiot.

Train-knackering software design blunder discovered after lightning sparked Thameslink megadelay



The batteries on most multiple unit trains are, like your combustion engine car, designed to keep some of the lights on (for a short period) and to provide the bare amount of power required to restart the thing. There is no “limp home” facility for the overwhelming majority of electric multiple units. The primary exception being the 80x series, most of which are bi-mode and some have at the minimum a tiny diesel generator which will keep the AC on and provide a small amount of traction power for a slow limp (providing there aren’t any steep gradients). The only exception being the units ordered by First for their new London to Edinburgh operation which will be pure electric, with only a very basic battery for AC and lights.

Vote rigging, election fixing, ballot stuffing: Just another day in the life of a Register reader


Luckily for his chum

B*witched are recording a new album, so he’ll be able to catch them again!

IT workers: Speaking truth to douchebags since 1977


Much hilarity would ensue during my higher education days when we would take much childish pleasure in altering the Windows startup and shutdown screens to some puerile nonsense created in Paint.

All fun and games until somebody decides to invite the education department of the Scottish Government to tour the labs. Our labs. The ones with the magenta cock and ball drawing when you hit “shutdown”.

World's largest heap of untreated nuclear waste needs more bots to cart around irradiated crap


What does being a Scot have to do with it? So am I, and I wonder where our baseload is coming from once the high heid yins in Edinburgh get their way and sever our links to the rest of the island and Torness and Hunterston B eventually give up the ghost (which could be any day now).

Peterhead’s gas plant is going to be pretty important.

I’d also far rather see a single Nuclear plant being built than every damn hilltop around having a windmill on it. I live in Lanarkshire and their isn’t a direction I can look in outside my home where I can’t see a whirly mill somewhere.

In the bag: Serco 'delighted' to grab £450m ferry and freight deal between Scotland and Northern Isles


Re: Do they have any ferries though?

Actually no, the Northlink boats are owned by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which was split out from Caledonian MacBrayne a few years ago to comply with EU rules on competition.

CMAL also own all of CalMac’s vessels as well as much of their port infrastructure, as well as being allowed to bid for commercial work (I believe they operate a port somewhere in Hampshire too), in order to support the finances of the clearly loss making business of maintaining docks on remote Scottish islands.

HP printer small print says kit phones home data on whatever you print – and then some


Well, duh!

And in other breaking news, Pope is confirmed as Roman Catholic.

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


Re: Scripted

My other (and some would say better) half, worked in Probate for a large investment bank. One fine summer, her bosses decided that the grunt work could far more efficiently be done by a back office in India, with the UK office just carrying out approvals and checks.

The Indian staff would get requests to close down an account and mail any relevant documents to the executors, which would be duly excreted by a printing press somewhere in Blighty. If it was just a letter, off it went, straight in the post, but if it required such materials as share certificates to be added, it would plop on her desk or of one of her underlings. Every day she would tell tale of a letter landing on her desk with “Dear (Insert name of executor)”, or “Dear {Deceased}”, and those were just the ones requiring further approval, who knows how many the automated system would fire out.

She no longer works there, and moved to a competent bank (if there is such a thing).

Hull be damned: KCOM shuts shop as UK High Court waves through £627m Macquarie deal


Re: Is this the end of cream coloured phone boxes?

A phone box/urinal local to me provided an endless supply of mirth, as it advertised a local KFC with a big arrow and 150m on it. However, the arrow was only correct when the door was open, otherwise it was directing an endless stream of hapless souls hungering for the Colonels secret recipe onto a bus lane and towards a nice fine.

Stayed that way for years too, until the entire shooting (up) gallery was removed.

In a side note, I visited a chum down in Somerset a few moons back, and he was an avid geocacher. The sight of him on his hands and knees feeling around all the nooks and crannies of an old fashioned red phone box was enough to put me off my lunch. I hope he washes his hands afterwards.

Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID


Re: Silly first name.

“ NOT pronounced Stoo-art or for that matter spelt Stewart if it's being used as a first name.”

Ehhh, three people I work with are called Stewart (first name). All spelled that way. I’m also Scottish. It’s never as cut and dry as you think.

Brit airport pulls flight info system offline after attack by 'online crims'


I am amazed

Turns out that my old local airport isn’t the incompetent greed fest I always thought it was. In fact they are a perfectly competent greed fest. Chapeau to the IT dept for just pulling the plug and rebuilding the system. One would imagine that any potential hit from resultant delays was calculated to be less than the ransom, and that it was a simple case of purifying the servers, pulling out an old clean backup, plugging the hole (probably the time consuming part) and rebooting.

Given that Brizzle Airport is basically just one big departure lounge, it probably wasn’t too hard to make sure that the information was readily available to customers. In fact, one whiteboard by Starbucks would be visible to most of the passengers in said lounge. It’s not like it’s an old BAA rabbit warren like Gatwick or Glasgow.

'I crashed AOL for 19 hours and messed up global email for a week'


Probably fully formatted on the vehicle as:


I had a friend who operated a mobile disco service, and considered himself to be quite “with it” on the internet. He wasn’t bad, as he was perfectly capable of setting up a hosted domain and coding a rudimentary HTML page complete with every flashing and marquee effect the W3C had made available. An early adopter of internet advertising, he had posted his URL on his brand new vehicle INSTEAD OF his phone number.

His business pretty much evaporated overnight. For two reasons. One of which was that it was 1997 and no-one that seemed to require his services owned a computer, let alone a modem. Secondly, the URL on his van had omitted all the non alphabet formatting... it said along the lines of httpwwwmobilediscocouk.

Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals


Will I miss them?

There was a time when I would have missed Maplin. Not any more.

I was a regular visitor for components. Thanks to the ham fisted nature of my colleagues and the shambolic storage options in the rear of my shared vehicle, I was a regular visitor for such simple items as Croc Clips and Banana Plugs to repair test leads. Until I discovered RS had a better range, was half the price, and their counter service was only another 5min along the motorway.

I went into Maplin about 2 months ago looking for a resistor, discovered that their component range had been decimated and was now buried in a corner of the store. It’s former location having been replaced with flimsy looking “drones” from companies unknown and other expensively priced, cheap tat. When I asked the PFY for help, I got blank stares. I ended up walking out empty handed, ordered some on the RS website, and had them in my hand the next morning.

Private Equity may have started the burial process, but the management drove the company to the graveyard in some kind of attempt to sell as much crap as eBay but at twice the price.

Fanbois iVaporate: Smallest Apple iPhone queues ever


Trading up?

So, if you can tolerate an upgrade every second year, it's pretty much cost neutral. I usually get the 'S' model as it tends to be more reliable with the bugs ironed out.

Last year, I got a 6S delivered to my home, on launch day, for £100 on a £30 24mo contract, I then traded in my 5S for £150. If you discount the contract price, which I would still have to pay even if the phone was a box of crap, I was £50 up on the deal.

I really like my Apple gadgets, but I can't bring myself to spend £700 every second year for an out of contract upgrade.

Lindsay Lohan ‘happy’ to turn on Kettering


Where's that calendar??

No, turns out it isn't April.

Lohan for PM!

This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!


Same goes for lots of public services.

At my employer, we have to buy everything through our own "iProcurement" system and some of the prices are eyewatering and the lead time ridiculous.

I bought a cheap canon digital camera for our engineers, £59 at Argos and available immediately, £110 to us and with a 5 day lead!!

We can buy things out with iProc, but that's also laughable. One of my engineers spotted a new portable battery site light at a trade fair, and I agreed to lead procurement on one for each member of the team. I called the supplier and got a quote (about £69+VAT each) and told them I would put our purchasing team in touch. A day later I got a purchase order for them issued and the price had doubled, when I queried I was told, "overhead bias and internal approvals processes needed to be added". If have been better buying them myself and submitting expenses!

Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA


Make America Great Again...

By investing heavily in low skilled, low paid manual labour. Sounds like a winner to me (for rich old men like Trump that is).

EE's chief exec Olaf Swantee to step down


Re: Marriage made in (my) heaven

And the countless thousands that work in Bristol and Hatfield along with all the contractors at Ericsson and Huawei and others. They can't wait for their company to collapse.

If you don't like a company, don't use them. But they are both successful British companies employing thousands here in Blighty, a rare thing these days.

I was made redundant by FT/Orange years ago so I know how crappy that feels.

Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth


What they say about Turkeys and Christmas isntvtrue

This part of the U.K. is going to the dugs!

The thing is, despite all the interference in their daily lives and their horrid experiments in centralisation, their little sheep will still vote for them.

I recently noticed my CHI number on a document totally unrelated to healthcare from a public body. At least the UK ID card scheme was public and voluntary, this snooping is covert and suspect.

Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries


Leave in a safe place

The drone only needs to be accurate enough to drop the parcel in my back garden, because that's what my local post-person considers a safe place.

Hacked TalkTalk CEO: Dead as a Dido? Nope, she refuses to quit


Focus on the day job

Spend less time moaning about BT and concentrate on your own company's performance.

UK competition watchdog provisionally clears BT's £12.5bn EE gobble


I'm an oddball.

Been with Orange/EE since 2002 and always been perfectly happy with them. Not the cheapest but never had an issue with signal, especially now I'm getting 4G at upwards of 100Mb/s inside my house.

It was always inevitable given DT's desire to raise cash and Orange's surprising lack of interest in the UK market. My money had been on an AT&T takeover though. But I still think mama Bell will be looking at Voda, maybe as a JV with Sky.

Amazon DROPS next day delivery amid Cyber Monday MADNESS


Prime. Out.

My Prime is due up in January. Unless I get some kind of compo for a service I've paid for but not receiving, then it might be going bye-bye!

PLEASE let us build Fruit Loop Central, Apple begs Cupertino City


Re: Asda v Apple planning applications

Really sir?

May I invite you to visit Motherwell, North Lanarkshire?

Huge, poorly designed and hideous ASDA monstrosity built across the road from the main shopping precinct. It has taken almost 5 years for the shopping precinct to recover after ASDA vacated the main area to move across the road.

I don't object to supermarkets, just piss ugly design.

Verizon sniffing around Vodafone's US stake again


Vodafone, Tax. Pah!

Don't make me laugh. Vodafone pay their tax bill? What a load of tosh.

Our second largest communications company avoids far more tax than the banks ever do, yet no-one seems to care. It's about time the media got over their obsession with bankers and Starbucks and started looking at the real UK-based tax avoiders.

Happy birthday, Compact Disc


Re: Track information

My last Sony car stereo supported CD Text, but I only ever found one Album of mine that actually had the information encoded. (Room Noises by Eisley for those that are interested)

However, that stereo was stolen a few years back and the model that replaced it, which I still use, may or may not, as it has never to my knowledge had a CD inserted in it. The front USB port and a 32GB miniature USB stick has seen to that, comfortably holding a good proportion (about a fifth) of my entire digital music collection.

O2 outage outrage blamed on new Ericsson database



My company has just spent millions kitting out most of our 8,000 frontline staff with new iPhones on the O2 network, only to find they couldn't communicate with any of them. Many of the staff who got these new phones with limited personal use, binned their own personal contracts. Cue dozens of Tech's acting like their left nut had just been cut off.

I shouldn't have gloated to them, but my Orange handset was working fine.

Dixons Retail: A mirror held up to Europe

Thumb Up

Dixons have their place.

While most of us that use the Reg are savvy enough to use different specialist channels to get our hardware fix, Joe Public still needs a shop where they can go in, touch, feel and play with the tech. So the usual snobby comments such as that above are simply not needed.

I'll admit to having bought a few bits and bobs from PCWorld when I have an urgent need for a part. I've even bought a PC from them, when they were the cheapest supplier of the one I wanted.

Dixons are a moderately successful British company, employing British people and paying British taxes. It's in the interests of us all that they see out the downturn.

Best Buy UK spent £200m on failed megastores


Went shopping for a telly...

I went to Currys, Comet, Best Buy, John Lewis and done some diggin on t'internet.....

Best Buy was the most expensive retailer for the TV I wanted, didn't have it in stock anyway and said they would deliver it to my home in 2-3 weeks.

Currys was cheaper than BB by almost £50 (closely followed by John Lewis) and gave me the TV to take away there and then. Put me off BB on my first visit.

(btw, yes I could probably have found it cheaper than Currys if I had really tried, but I was happy at my £50 saving and sick of shopping)

Sony and Ericsson divorce


I've already jumped ship

Like a poster above said, my first phone, way back in 1998 was a Motorola (StarTAC), then I had a Nokia (nk402), then in 2001 I made the jump to Ericsson with a T68 and have been using SE phones ever since.

But recently, I have been dissapointed with SE's equipment. They seem overpriced, under-specified and lacking in updates. I was on the verge of changing manufacturers when this news came about last week. So I went out and bought a Motorola Atrix. Farewell SE.