* Posts by aBloke FromEarth

87 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Oct 2009


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aBloke FromEarth

There's a browser add-on for that at fbpurity.com

It lets you filter out words and makes the interface cleaner too. I've used it for years.

PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

aBloke FromEarth

Putin seems pretty content with the situation today.

England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

aBloke FromEarth

Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

"Solar doesn't work at all" - pointing to an article written by Euan Mearns, a long-time consultant for the oil industry. Nice.

IBM introduces fleecing-you-as-a-service for retailers

aBloke FromEarth

Re: I don't know about anyone else...

or of course that b'stard number 5:

5) onerous credit card fees that appear out of nowhere. I'm looking at you, event and travel websites.

NASA photos: Dawn's December deep-dive haul arrives on Earth

aBloke FromEarth


"Dawn's 386 km ... orbit has it closer to Ceres than the International Space Station is to Earth"

I'd say it's almost the same as ISS's 400km.

Although, given the size of Ceres, I guess it's actually relatively further away.

Boeing builds British Airways 787 Dreamliner in 4 minutes

aBloke FromEarth

Re: You need deep pockets for any class on 787 with BA

nah, no first class according to seatguru. At BA direct prices it'd probably be cheaper to go private...

VW: Just the tip of the pollution iceberg. Who's to blame? Hippies

aBloke FromEarth

Re: "on hold"

Have you got a better source than Judith Curry? She has a well publicised track record of refuting reports which she transpires never to have read in the first place.

aBloke FromEarth

"on hold"

"global warming has actually been on hold since maybe 1998"

Do we have to sit you down and talk to you about how maths works?


PALE, MALE AND STALE: Apple reveals it has just ONE black exec

aBloke FromEarth

Re: well, they've done quite well so far.

She's called Caitlin. It's not difficult.

Or do you have a collection of Reg Dwight albums in your itunes library?

Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

aBloke FromEarth

Probably air con fear

Germans are notoriously anti air con -- they say it 'makes you sick'. Although I've never managed to elicit exactly which illness that is.

Which also explained why during this most recent heatwave some of my coworkers' offices have been regularly over 30°C.

Intel doubles its bounty for women and ethnic minorities

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Surely any prejudiced company should darwinate itself

That's exactly the problem: companies *have* been hiring on criteria other than technical competence: men have been hired over women with the same qualifications in the past. This is about redressing the balance.

And they have been working with schools, but sadly only relatively recently - and the effects won't be seen for about another decade. Until then, what do you do? Rest on your laurels, or ensure that there are great role models to look up to?

aBloke FromEarth

Incentive, not enforcement

There appears to be some misunderstanding and FUD in the comments about what's happening.

Many large tech corps are finding that their monocultures are to their disadvantage. So in Intel's case _amongst other measures_ they are _also_ offering a signing bonus for the people they consider to be lacking in presence.

This doesn't mean that they're hiring less qualified women over men! It means that nowhere near representative numbers of women are applying for the jobs in the first place. What they want is a larger pool of qualified candidates in the first place.

Quotas aren't being forced upon them, most definitely not upon small companies.

And in fact, the Norwegians found that board-level quotas do kinda work: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/women-on-board-norway-s-experience-shows-compulsory-quotas-work-a-705209.html

It's difficult for us as men (particularly those of us at the very top of the pyramid: white, male, middle-aged, straight) to even _see_ the huge hurdles that women, ethnic minorities, & LGBT people face in their daily working lives. As a female colleague said to me: "women just have to adapt to the man's world". Those who don't, don't survive, unfortunately: and we lose great talents because of it.

So companies are already using a multi-pronged approach:

- incentives to employ more minorities

- improvement of company culture

- encouraging young minorities to pursue STEM education

Now, which one of these provides the quickest initial results?

Please, I urge those of you who don't see a problem, to go and actually talk to women and other minorities in IT and ask what their working life's really like: you'll be surprised, just as I was.

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

aBloke FromEarth


Lovely and clean! The layout's really improved.

Added bonus: not a hint of joss sticks or whale song.

Blast-off! Boat free launch at last. Orion heads for space

aBloke FromEarth


Fahrenheit? Really? I believe it's orbiting 12.5 million cubits above the surface too.

Edward Snowden: best ... security ... educator ... EVER!

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Pedant alert

Further pedantry: it's whoever, not whomever.

GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

aBloke FromEarth

Careful now. A boson is a subatomic particle. A bosun is a sailor.

If the LHC started spitting out bosuns, I'd somewhat surprised.

Facebook: Over half a BEELLION loyalists have SPURNED our Messenger app

aBloke FromEarth

Re: crApps

Agreed. The app was a battery drain, so I got rid of it and browse the mobile site on Chrome instead. Works pretty nicely.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from God'

aBloke FromEarth

To those of you who "yawn" at the news: he didn't come out for you. No need to read on (or go to the effort of commenting to say that you don't care).

But unfortunately yes: a lot of people do care.

There's the religious fanatics who today are still trying to legislate to deny gay people the rights that they should be allowed to enjoy (heck, look at the number of UK MPs/Lords who tried to block equal marriage last year)

And the visibility does two jobs:

1 - (not so relevant for a CEO in San Francisco) showing the general population that gay people do exist and want to have the dignity that's otherwise denied to them is an important message that helps counteract the sort of legislation I just mentioned.

2 - it shows younger gay people that (a) they're not alone, and (b) they have successful role models in all walks of life.

Did you know that the attempted suicide rate among gay teens is around 20-30%, even in "western" countries? And the % of homeless youths who are gay in the UK and US is somewhere around 30 to 50%.

Surely it can only be a good thing for those young people that they have a hugely successful role model to look up to?

Game of Thrones man stars in sci-fi bit on comet-catcher Rosetta

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Because I am a horrible little pedant

the Sun?

aBloke FromEarth


Nah, it's the whoremonger. Er, I mean, Director of Gentlemen's Entertainments.

It's not always about you: Why the Apple Watch is all about China

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Please explain

Stroke order does matter, but only for handwriting - there are a few reasons for it, such as making sure the character looks in proportion.

Or, if you're finger-signing a character on the palm of your hand then if it starts with, say, a left-to-right line, then that immediately excludes the thousands of characters that don't start like that. If you get what I mean.

But you're right, it doesn't matter for typed text at all.

NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Who the fuck cares?

The irony of you going to the effort of writing a comment (and thereby negating your "who cares?") aside...

I suspect the embassy workers do care. And the few UN teams that are there. Visitors who do international business need to access the outside world, too (not just Russian/Chinese but you'd be surprised how many foreign companies operate in NK).

UK WhatsApp duo convicted of possessing extreme porn

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Possessing an image likely to cause injury

Really? Even though the scientific evidence proves that it's not the case?

I thought it was widely proven that watching porn / playing violent games doesn't lead people to copy what they see on screen?

In fact (and I'd need to have a proper search for this sometime) there was a loose inverse correlation between access to porn and incidences of sexual violence.

But then again, when did politicians ever use facts to decide laws?

aBloke FromEarth

Possessing an image likely to cause injury

How in the name of all that is unholy is it possible for an image to cause injury?

The only way I could possibly imagine that to happen is if you burn the image data to a CD, then fashion said disc into some sort of ninja throwing star.

As Dickens's Mr Bumble so aptly put it:

"If the law supposes that, the law is a ass. A idiot."

SAP: It was our Big Data software wot won it for Germany

aBloke FromEarth

Re: "Vorsprung durch grossendatatechnik"

You probably mean unlesbar.

Unleserlich is more like unintelligible (e.g. handwriting)

*fetches coat

CERN data explains how Higgs heavies other matter

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Why is it so hard to see?

As I think I understood the article...

When particles are smashed at the right energy level, Higg's bosons are produced. But we can't detect HBs themselves.

However, HBs decay into other types of particles (in almost every collision it becomes a pair of quarks, and very infrequently it's other particles). The trouble is, many of the other particles in the collision *also* produce particles just like those.

= Needle in a haystack.

However, in 0.1% of collisions, HBs produces a pair of photons, which are what you can measure. If you add up their energy & mass it should equal the energy and mass of an HB (good old Einstein at work, there).

IANAPP (I am not a particle physicist), so if there's anyone out there who actually understands it, please correct me!

Comet-chasing Rosetta spies SWEATY prey

aBloke FromEarth

Re: With all this transpiration -

Here's an article about Halley's comet that discusses mass loss:


Apparently, some of a comet's mass (including water etc) will come off, usually in the time it spends in the inner solar system (where it's warmer - further out it's completely frozen). As it leaves the inner solar system, the evaporate gradually refreezes.

As a comet loses its ice, the darker coloured rock surfaces are exposed, so it gains more solar heat and so could theoretically change its orbital path over time.

IANAA (I Am Not An Astrophysicist)

Facebook 'manipulated' 700k users' feelings in secret experiment

aBloke FromEarth


Actually it's called fluff busting purity, because otherwise Zuck + pals might get a tad... litigious about it.

A vote from me for fbpurity: the function that hides posts containing your chosen keywords is a $deity send.

How practical is an electric car in London?

aBloke FromEarth

Even worse situation: they closed a whole bunch of (perfectly good) nuclear power stations in Germany (because Japan's prone to earthquakes) and have been increasing the amount of coal power. All the while promoting the use of leccy cars.


aBloke FromEarth

Screw that: I want a flux capacitor, and I want it now.

Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant cancelled

aBloke FromEarth

woah there

If you read the article (gasp!), you'll see that amongst other issues, there was no plan in place to rehouse the people whose villages would be flooded by the dam. Given the enormous problems people in China are still having because of being displaced by megadam projects, it makes sense to postpone the project until a suitable plan's in place.

I say, yes, go for hydroelectric, but don't make a ton of people needlessly homeless to do it.

Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Background noise

Perhaps a little bit of black sticky tape might be less of a warranty voider than disconnecting the camera.

Just a thought there.

Boycott Firefox, gay devs urge as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

aBloke FromEarth

Re: right - 'what's wrong with white middle aged males?'

Yes tom, I wasn't saying that mozilla was doing that. I was taking the opportunity to paint a broader picture of the situation so that people can understand the context in which these 2 devs are no longer working for that company.

Judging by the general tone of the comments on this page, it seems that there's a little lacking in the understanding of (a) the facts of the case and (b) the reality of the extent of sexism and discomfort around homosexuality in the IT industry that lingers today.

Like you, I don't think they're going about their protest in the most useful way, and it probably won't make a dent on mozilla's business.

aBloke FromEarth

Re: right - 'what's wrong with white middle aged males?'

Well Connor, that's what inequality feels like. Welcome to my world.

And I also find it frustrating that there are groups that exclude others in preference of their own kind. Be it religious schools, single-race universities, gay bars that don't allow straight people in, whatever.

But on the subject of whipping boys, name me just one time in the last 2000 years of western civilisation where it's been a bad idea to be a straight male. It's a minority that's finally finding out what unfairness feels like.

aBloke FromEarth

Pardon me for reading the original blog post, but they're not asking other people to join the boycott.

They're saying that they'll not work for a company that has that particular person at the helm, because that person has actively paid for a campaign that would break up their business and their marriage.

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Aw, poor luvvies

A luvvie is an actor, darling. If you're going to patronising, at least be accurate.

aBloke FromEarth

Re: right

Nothing at all. But what I see in the corporations I work at is that their the demographic that still makes up the huge majority of upper management and execs. Heck, in germany it's almost exclusively so.

Given that these corps are in a world where the majority are women, where IT talent is pretty young, and where --let's say-- 5% are gay etc, you must wonder what's going on.

aBloke FromEarth

Re: right

It's also a sector which is trying hard to be inclusive in order to attract talent: after all, especially in areas like software development, gender/sexuality should have absolutely no effect on your skillset. I chose my employer because they're striving not to be yet another bunch of white middle aged straight males.

So it's important to make ensure that when a person enters a top flight position that the ethos of the company isn't going to be compromised by the person at the helm.

Remember also that this is the US, where money easily buys political influence: the dev here doesn't want mozilla suddenly buying the sort of votes that would endanger his marriage or his company.

Whether he's going about it the right way is another matter altogether.

Wireless charging standards war could be over 'as soon as 2015'

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

"passes the hotels wireless SSID and key to the device"

And then charges you twelve sodding quid a night for the privilege.

Steelie Neelie 'shocked' that EU tourists turn mobes off when abroad

aBloke FromEarth

Re: What does she expect

I heard rumour that CERN (its campus straddles the Franco-Swiss border) tried to solve the issue by making a deal with a Swiss provider. They got the telco to put a cell or two on the French side of the campus so that they wouldn't get stung by roaming charges just for getting a push message while they popped down to the canteen for a coffee and a croissant.

Mind you, it is very good coffee, so it's almost worth the roaming charges :)

Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

aBloke FromEarth

Re: ReferenceError: invalid assignment left-hand side

Other way round:

Sex is the biological term for the physical attributes.

You’re NOT fired: The story of Amstrad’s amazing CPC 464

aBloke FromEarth

Ah, the days of tape

I often wonder exactly how much of my childhood was spent waiting for Sultan's Maze to take 17 minutes load.

And yet, despite all its shortcomings, I bloody loved my Amstrad.

Blocking BitTorrent search sites 'ineffective': Pirate Bay ban lifted for Dutch ISPs

aBloke FromEarth


Ah yes, our good friend the Streisand Effect claims yet another victim.

NORKS breaks ground on new high-tech industrial park

aBloke FromEarth

Re: A communist hotel

Having been there, I can tell you it'd be impossible.

And he mentions taking photos, without providing any in the article as evidence.

Also, Occam's Razor would suggest that it's a Daily Mail article and therefore highly unlikely to be true.

aBloke FromEarth

Re: A communist hotel

Ah yes, you mean the Daily Heil reporter who ran 4 miles through pitch black, unmapped, unsignposted streets past armed guards, walked around the hotel, ran the 4 miles back before sunrise and claimed to be the first person to have visited it, despite having produced no photographic evidence (and despite a tour group having been there a month before)?


Jawohl! Vodafone gets nod for £6.5bn Kabel Deutschland slurp

aBloke FromEarth

Re: ahem

This is true: it's not competitive: here in the state of Baden-Württemberg I can only get KabelBW, and not Kabel Deutschland. Oh, and contracts are usually a minimum of two years.

Certainly the mobile networks are competitive, but until we can up sticks and change to whichever provider we want it's pretty much a regionalised monopoly

EasyJet wanted to fling me off flight for diss tweet, warns cyber-law buff

aBloke FromEarth

Re: I guess I'm going to get downvoted here...

Clearly you're unaware of the infrequency of London-Portsmouth trains. I think it's about one train every 37 days.

Ghastly! Yahoo! Groups! gripes! grip! grumpy! gremlin! grumblers!

aBloke FromEarth

Re: Reminder

Ah yes. The great flickr disaster.

Yet again, Yahoo! have gone in with the attitude of "If it ain't broke, break it".