* Posts by Daedalus

1091 posts • joined 15 Oct 2009


Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

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Noble waffle

Stop for a moment and think what this means, not for Apple or John Deere or Massey Ferguson (are they still in business under that name?), but for Acme Products (Wyle E. Coyote, CEO, head cook and bottle washer). They're a small company trying to make it in a newish market where the big boys haven't yet set up shop in any serious way. Faced with the regulations, obligations and machinations necessary to support Right To Repair, they decide to sell out to somebody else with better legal and compliance departments.

Thus always with good intentions. I've been on projects for small companies (most of which sucked) and I can't imagine what they would have done if RtR had been in force. Come to think of it, Apple Inc. were once a small company. Hey, if RtR had existed then, we wouldn't have Apple to kick around!

What's that? There will be exemptions in the law? Yes, but it always turns out that in order to qualify you need to pay people to help you prove that you qualify.

The bottom line is that regulations tend to favour the big players, always, because they can absorb the cost and effort, and turn them to advantage in shutting out the competition. So it goes.

You MUST present your official ID (but only the one that's really easy to fake)

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On forgery

Some little shops where you buy bagels etc. have those frequent flyer cards where your 13th dozen is free, with a shapely hole punched out of a small card for each dozen you actually pay for.

You'd think they'd use punches that can't be bought at your local craft store.

Not that I'd stoop to such chicanery myself, of course.

Who needs 'Bliss' in Teams when you can have the real thing on a Bristol bus?

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Re: Clippy nostalgia

My US born son was given a stuffed toy Andrex puppy by his UK granny. He assumed the label on the collar meant that the dog was called "Andrex". I did not tell him the truth.

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means

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Reminds me of the (probably exaggerated) tale from Spike Milligan's war memoir, concerning the night guard, the local girl, the rifle, and the Jehovah's Witness....

IBM insiders say CEO Arvind Krishna downplayed impact of email troubles, asked for a week to sort things out

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The gorilla lost weight

So you sell your e-mail system to another company who decide to cut you off. And you roll over and take the hit. What happened to IBM getting its way because it's the 600 lb gorilla? I'm reminded of another incident where a large company (now formerly large thanks to a shift in how people take pictures) got shafted by a supplier of hardware for its new "digital revolution" and said "Oh, OK". Come to think of it, that supplier also went under in a way, being bought by a company that was bought by another company that lost its own way and is now best known for annoying cruft supplied with printers.

All of which tells us that we're in an asylum run by idiots.

Devilish plans for your next app update ensure they never happen – unless you start praying

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Re: More Zeds

And a Wizzard is Roy Wood in some bizarre makeup.

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Just a thought....

When are you most likely to take a taxi? When the weather is too bad for walking.

When are you least likely to be able to take an air taxi?

Five words everyone wants to hear: Microsoft has 'visually refreshed' Office

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Re: I have recently had the enlightening experience...

I love the way how, in the face of all common sense and even company policy, people will save a new version of a collaborative document as a new file with some "version" info in the name.

I also love how comments about why changes were made, or were even necessary, tend to mean something only to the commenter and to anyone telepathically linked up. Or they amount to "Kevin wanted this change"

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Re: Just repeating the same nonsense every time...

I remember when MS Office joyfully announced that they would no longer be slaves to the Windows UI and would roll their own instead. You can see a certain sense. As you drop down the scale from the tech-savvy through the fakers to the everyday drones, you realize that allowing change to occur is a bad idea. Even today some poor striver will accidentally change a setting an start thinking their PC is infected and the world is about to end. So fixing the style of the UI, even if it allowed only bland, blander, and blandest choices, made sense. Of course that didn't stop the fungus of designeritis from infecting other aspects, which is how we got the ever-changing, ever-confusing ribbon.

What really rankled was that the same gang of idiots got to work on Visual Studio. Now that was a crime.

Daedalus Silver badge

Once upon a time...

I've said this before. MS Word ran on a bog standard Mac in 1990. It did everything you might need to write a coherent, well-structured document (not that people actually want to write such things, ever). You can still do the things that it did in 1990, right down to having to deal with the same annoying bugs (ever try yunching a whole paragraph up past other paragraphs, and then hitting a table?), though they have managed to introduce a few new ones, and obfuscate what used to be simple.

Of course, a bog standard Mac didn't have 32 Gigs of RAM in 1990. Funny how you now need that to do now what you did then.

Containers make life easier for the software vendors you buy from, and that's why they'll win

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less time on multiple versions of their products, and more time innovating on your behalf

Reality: less time supporting multiple versions, more time for marketeers to churn out ideas for new shiny add-ons that compromise basic functions.

What knocked out Brit cloud slinger Memset for the night? A busted fibre cable upstream of its data centre, apparently

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Re: Many moons ago a Fire in Manchester

Auf Englisch, bitte?

What job title would YOU want carved on your gravestone? 'Beloved father, Slayer of Dragons, Register of Domains'

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Re: Headphones

Yes, I bought one myself after seeing the ad in some sci/tech publication back in the dim and distant past when a stroke of academic fate sent me to west Texas for a few months. Of course it didn't actually arrive until I was back in Blighty, so the former boss in El Paso had to ship it to me.

Unfortunately the device was designed with the US in mind, a country where VHF/FM reception is excellent as a matter of commercial necessity. Using it on the outskirts of London was a matter of facing the right direction while wearing it, which led to some odd situations before I abandoned it entirely. The interference from airliners landing at Heathrow didn't help either.

Toyota reveals its work on an honest-to-goodness cloak of invisibility

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Er, why??

Improving visibility is pointless in a world where people rarely pay attention to anything else on the road anyway.

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Re: Easy peasy

One of the more flashy US trucks (i.e. pickups) is being touted with a system that renders any large trailer you may be towing invisible to the driver, the better to see any other vehicles you may be inconveniencing. Well, it's just a camera system on the trailer and some processing, but it has the sales droids dancing in the streets.

Whatever you've been doing during lockdown, you better stop it right now

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Microwaved bananas are overkill. You can achieve complete breakfast air supremacy with those "liquid egg product" globs zapped in a zappable container. All the sulphurousness, and some of the flavour. A former colleague used to do this and eat it with an equal amount of ketchup. I resisted the temptation to echo a school teacher who observed to a friend, "So nice to see you having some food with your ketchup".

Amazon puts an $8.5bn MGM in its shopping cart, clicks on checkout

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Here we go again

Sony !!

Gulf + Western!! etc. etc.

Many companies have bought into movies and bought out again. Disney has become the giant that it is because it already knows the pitfalls of the business, having nearly fallen into one of them itself. Every now and again big money comes along drops its pile of chips onto the table, only to see them disappear. Amazon will fare no better.

How much would you pay me to develop a COVID tracking app that actually works? Ah, thought so: nothing

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Re: Vive la Fra..... oh, wait.

He's likely to be sucked into a corporate black hole where meetings, evaluations and recriminations work to abolish all hope of real work.

I just landed a gig where I am supposed to become an "expert resource" on an obscure application framework supporting legacy this and that in one of those businesses where salesmanship trumps common sense. I await my list of meeting obligations.....

RIP Spencer Silver: Inventor of the Post-it Note, aka the office password reminder, dies

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Mixing and matching

Apparently Fry heard of Silver's glue from a colleague at the company golf course, and knew him from a company bike club - based on a policy of getting different departments to mix their people.

One wonders if that kind of enlightenment has survived the bean-counter blitz, or if it has gone the way of cheap company cafeterias, sports facilities and good parking. Many companies these days are so many silos in a desert, where the grinches hoard their shekels.


Your private data has been nabbed: Please update your life as soon as possible while we deflect responsibility

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Inspiration from the Secret Policeman's Ball

I have been guilty of making the answer to every challenge question be "Pork!"

For the marketeer that has everything – except a CPU fan

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Dev: This is an embedded device, all those shaded multicolour graphics for the display are using up memory like crazy!!

Designer: <sound of crickets>

NASA's first asteroid sample on its way to Earth after OSIRIS-REx boosts for home

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It will zoom 2.3 billion kilometres (1.3 billion miles) around the Sun twice to perform a gravity assist maneuver that will slingshot it toward our planet.

Slingshot around what? The nearest planet is Earth, or rather its orbit, and according to the trajectory the only approach to Earth is when it releases the sample to re-enter the atmosphere.

See https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Animation_of_OSIRIS-REx_trajectory.gif

Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss

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Re: Its said

In Japanese it's スカンクワークス. Unfortunately, that's just a phonetic rendering in Katakana. The original reference was to the comic strip "Li'l Abner"

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Legend has it that, in the dim and distant past, when some piece of new-fangled chippery was a bit later to market than the sales droids had advertised, there would be shipped some units with no or dummy components on the board. The defunctery rate of new stuff back then was high enough that buyers just shrugged, put in the RMA, and awaited the promised replacement.

On the other hand, there were also instances where boards were shipped with full capability, only to have a disabling jumper installed to reduce that capability to what was initially promised. Getting said jumper removed was an expensive extra.

Microsoft bows to the inevitable and takes Visual Studio 64-bit for 2022 version

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Re: Refreshed icons

Alltime sometime deep joy of a full moon scintyladen dangly in the heavenly bode.

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" Engineers accustomed to leaving ridiculous numbers of browser tabs open "


Northrop Grumman's MEV-2 gives Intelsat satellite a new lease on life until the next rescue in another five years

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Re: Hubble?

In fact, at the time an ex-spook said something of the nature of "Imagine this pointed back at the Earth....", implying that his former employers were getting pictures in that exact manner.

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Re: Hubble?

Not with this vehicle. Hubble's problems are with failing gyros, crucial to it being able to point at one part of the sky for long periods. I doubt if MEV-3's attitude control is anything like as good. In addition, moving from geosynchronous orbit down to Hubble orbit would take too much fuel, probably more than it has available. Drifting from one part of geosynchronous orbit to another is cheap on fuel.

In any case, Hubble is being superseded (or is that starved) by the James Webb scope. With a communications satellite, there's somebody's profit at stake. Hubble doesn't make a financial profit.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site

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Re: another beautiful bit of prose

Regarding the circular clusterflip of recruitment sites: Long ago, classified ads would be full of "WE'VE GOT THE LEADS" ads touting the sale of "sales leads" to unsuspecting punters. The idea was that you would buy lists of prospects and sell them on.

When Dame Esther and the staff at "That's Life!" tried to find out exactly who you could sell them to, they were told "Take out classified ads touting 'We've got the leads!'".

In other words, it was a mugs game, or an example of the Bad Fish Chain.

Just repeating other sites ads is something like a 21st century version of this. They also throw in clickbait to take you to "online courses", and in fact one agency I won't name seems to have that as its main objective.

NASA's Mars helicopter spins up its blades ahead of hoped-for 12 April hover

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In space, nobody can hear you sneeze.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

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Re: Soul of A New Machine

There were a lot of personalities involved. There was something about a status bit that would control whether the CPU operated in one mode or another - I think it was word width or possibly VM usage - and one guy storming out yelling "You're going to hang a bag on the side of the Eclipse!".

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Re: Soul of A New Machine

He went away from the basement of Building 14 that day, and left this note in his cubicle, on top of his computer terminal: "I'm going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season."

Great quote from the book. IIRC the guy in question did not stick with life in the slow lane.

British gambling giant Betfred told to pay stiffed winner £1.7m jackpot after claiming 'software problem'

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This isn't over

Following the win, he extended his overdraft and spent more than £2,500 celebrating with family and friends. - from the BBC report

It's pretty obvious that Mr. Plaintiff has issues of his own. One might even say he could use an intervention. He's won now, of course, but it would be interesting to see what happens down the line.

Anyone old enough to remember "Spend Spend Spend!"? That was the equivalent of over 3 million quid in today's money, on the football pools.

Easily distracted by too many apps, too many meetings, and too much asparagus

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Re: Stranger than Fiction

There were probably some people who saw some really interesting color effects before they collapsed to the floor.

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Re: I suppose it worked well enough for watching football....

Ya beat me to it. Full marks for speed.

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Re: Stranger than Fiction

I seem to remember some of the more tricksy hobbitses selling color conversion filters that were sheets of vinyl that would stick to the screen. There was a blue band at the top, a green one in the middle and so forth. I suppose it worked well enough for watching football....

You put Marmite where? Google unveils its latest AI wizardry: A cake made of Maltesers and the pungent black tar

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Re: Maltesers translated

Yes, the all too ubiquitous smell of "pumpkin spice" which has no pumpkin in it, consisting of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. It's traditionally used to flavour the otherwise bland pumpkin pie, a tart similar to certain kinds of custard tart, but it is also sprayed liberally about the displays of pine cones, dried plant material and yes, pumpkins piled outside the typical supermarket in the USA. Tiresome after the first 5 seconds, like muzak.

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Re: I have noted

It takes a while to build up immunity, like eating arsenic.

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Bill Bailey, won't you please record this again?

I refer to "The Great Marmite Spill of 2011" which was on YT for a while before taken down, presumably due to trademark issues. It originally was heard on The Now Show after a lorry load of yeast extract spilled and blocked traffic while sufficient rounds of toast were made to mop it up.

Daedalus Silver badge

Re: Maltesers translated

The flavour of licorice is just anise, which is found in sweets and liqueurs. Probably Americans find the UK fondness for anise as strange as we find their fondness for cinnamon. Or wintergreen, God help us all.

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Re: Known in the US and Canada as The Great British Baking Show.

I think it's a case of knowing your audience. One foot etc.

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Maltesers translated

The (very rough) equivalents in the USA are known as "Whoppers", reminiscent of the sayings of a certain ex-President and his lackeys. For some reason US chocolate is of inferior quality to UK chocolate, due to a different process, so the equivalence is in appearance only. Since I can now sample Cadbury's and Hershey's products side by side in the supermarket, I can testify to the smoothness of the former compared to the latter.

For some reason it seems impossible to import Raisin and Biscuit Yorkies here, despite there being plain Yorkies available from time to time, and a steady supply of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. And Egyptian Mars Bars.

Also, Merkins do not seem to like licorice very much, but a local taste is for salted boutique licorice. Like spicy food, I think you're supposed to start mild and work your way up to the stuff that gives you -100 health points and +100 thirst points.

Vegas, baby! A Register reader gambles his software will beat the manual system

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Re: Look before you quantum leap

It would make a change from "Dear Reader, I married him"

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Look before you quantum leap

Once upon a time there was an African country that ran its phone system on legacy tech from the old colonial masters. Yes, we're talking GPO tech, with clickety counters measuring the time spent on your line, the higher the tariff the faster the clicking. A camera was used to photograph banks of counters, whose values were manually entered into a billing system. For someone who grew up when the old country still used all that electromechanical tat, it was familiar ground.

Come the end of the 90's and it's time to modernise. New billing systems, powered by the software this US company supplies. We heard of "interesting" practices out there, including sub-letting your line and letting your service lapse when the money was short, re-activating it when the boats came in. I might have mentioned to the intrepid manglers sent to install the new system that, given the tendency for some people to exploit old systems for their own benefit, they should watch their backs.

Long story short, the building got set on fire.

Diary of a report writer and his big break into bad business

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Re: Many Years Ago...

I remember having an argument with a manager about a gerund.

They can't touch you for it.

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Re: I hate Adobe, but...

Funny, but the one kind of "proofreading" that's easy to do (in Word at least) is the one people seem utterly unwilling to do.

Hit F7.

It's astonishing how many "final" versions of important documents have lacked that touch. Maybe they don't like it because it points out all their mistakes.

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sub-editing (noun) : the irrepressible urge to alter somebody else's text.

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Re: I get this all the time

Start signing everything "Washington Irving". It worked for Major Major Major Major in "Catch-22" - nothing signed that way ever came back.

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Re: Mentioned Before...

This is a direct implementation of the OSS secret agent manual for disrupting commerce.




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