* Posts by VinceH

3483 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Nov 2009

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers


Re: Might have mentioned this before...

I'm so glad I'd just finished my coffee before reading that, jake - or I would have helped quench my keyboard's thirst. I did NOT see that last line coming.

The delights of on-site working – sun, sea and... WordPad wrangling?



WordPad. Ugh.

Hand me my laptop with an emulator running RISC OS so that I can use StrongED to edit such files.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?


Re: Not mains but wiring just the same

NHS-supplied porn. Gotta love the concept! :)


Re: DIY Electricians

"I argued with my Dad over that. His assumption was if it works it's fine."

You are my long-lost brother, AICMFP.

(Not based on that specific argument, but more general ones that lead towards a similar conclusion.)

123-Reg is at it again: Registrar charges chap for domains he didn’t order – and didn't want


"So if you're a 123-Reg customer, please check your records to make sure you aren't an unwilling owner of an unwanted domain. If you are, please let us know. ®"

I'm not a customer, but I know one of my clients is - his company's domain is registered through them, with the web hosting managed by one company, and email through me. I've just looked on Nominet's WHOIS and I can see that the .uk equivalent of his .co.uk is marked as registered via 123-Reg - registered October 2017, with a renewal date of October 2024. I'll get him to check his account when I next speak to him.

No wonder Bezos wants to move industry into orbit: In space, no one can hear you* scream


"perhaps one day in the distant future spawning another intelligence"

Fixed it!

Astroboffins baffled as Curiosity rover takes larger gasps of oxygen in Martian summers


Re: The book got it wrong...




About that...


Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs



Yes, but you first have to rotate one by ninety degrees, then overlay it on the other.

Hmm. As well as a joke alert icon, I think we probably need a bad joke alert. :)

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences


Re: My current organisation is like that

"Two things I hate the most is when nobody listens and when I end up being right because nobody listened."

I'll drink to that - out of the sheer despair of it!

And what's worse is when nobody listens, I end up being proven right, the affected party's finally take note of what I warned them about in the first place and behave accordingly, and eventually stop doing so because "effort".

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?


Yes. Ordinarily, I'd say you can never have enough sockets... but that's a bit OTT. (Also, it's not just about having enough sockets, but where they are placed, but that's another matter.)

I notice in the very first picture, the leftmost group of three appear to be slightly wonky.

Baffled by bogus charges on your Amazon account? It may be the work of a crook's phantom gadget


Re: It is hard to find

I was going to comment about this in the comments of the other article: I'm a little curious that in my case, the latter method (Accounts and lists -> your apps and devices -> your devices) shows my Kindle and Fire Stick, whereas the former method (Your prime -> prime video -> menu -> settings -> your devices) doesn't show the Fire Stick. I thought it WOULD have showed up there, given what it is and what it's for.

Edit: And looking now, Accounts and Settings section of Prime doesn't seem to be working for me. (It initially appears, with the nav bar that includes Your devices, but then the content section immediately disappears to be left by an empty white space. Possibly a Javascript issue - I wasn't using this computer yesterday - or maybe they're tweaking things. I'll look again later; I don't have time to do anything now.)

A stranger's TV went on spending spree with my Amazon account – and web giant did nothing about it for months


Re: Blergh.

"I'm not sure about Amazon, but I've experienced many sites that don't let you remove a card unless you replace it with another valid one"

Amazon does allow you to remove all payment methods. I mentioned in the comments on another Amazon story that I recently placed on order on behalf of my mum via her account, and there was swearing due to the Prime trick. After placing that order, as I've done every other time I've done this for her, I removed the card.

One possible gotcha when you do this is that it warns you the card will still be used for any existing orders that have been placed using it but not yet fulfilled - but given that (I assume) the orders placed via a smart TV were videos, they will have been fulfilled immediately.



You can add a PIN to your account for purchasing videos* via smart TVs and the like. While a PIN isn't the best solution, it's at least a small level of additional security.

* I'm assuming that's what was being purchased in this case.

Delayed, over-budget smart meters will be helpful – when Blighty enters 'Star Trek phase'


Re: What was that you said?

"Got an email from Scottish Power recently stating the meter "was 20 years old and therefore needed to be replaced for accuracy"."

Translation: This is the new lie we're going to tell people to get them to accept smart meters.


Re: What was that you said?

""Those who stuck with "relic meters" risked "very high" maintenance costs, he said."

BS, my "relic" meter is only about 10 years old, new compared to others I have had and like the older ones HAD NO ANNUAL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED.

I have never hand anyone, in all my life, perform maintenance on a meter."

My interpretation of that "very high maintenance costs" nonsense is: "Once we've reached a certain threshold of smart meter installations, we'll allow companies to charge annual maintenance charges for "relic" meters. That'll teach the smarmy buggers who don't want our new tat!"

Or something like that.

UK ads watchdog slaps Amazon for UX dark arts after folk bought Prime subs they didn't want


Re: My Dad got caught by this - many times

"He's 90 but still uses the internet and Amazon. He's been caught by this a few times now and I've had to remote connect to his machine and cancel it (which is NOT easy)."

My step dad also, some time back. He hadn't even realised he'd done it until the payment was taken. My youngest brother (learning difficulties) has also been caught out by it. In both cases, I got it cancelled and refunded.

A short while back, I was ordering something on behalf of my mum, and it was a case of if I wasn't there and she was ordering herself, she would have been caught. As it was, there was some cursing on my part as I looked for the way to NOT sign her up to the 30 day trial.

Any claim on Amazon's part that people want this is total bullshit.

Come on, you can't be serious: Now Australia mulls face-recog tech for p0rno site age checks



From the article:

It’s safe to say that the proposed facial recognition would frequently take place through the built-in camera of a laptop or PC ...

Which, incidentally, is the same approach used by online blackmailers who view and record the subsequent graphic interactions of porn watchers and then email the unsuspecting victim with screengrabs asking for money if they don’t want the full video posted online, as has happened to one Register hack.

Surely that should say "...online blackmailers who claim to view and record..."

Okay, in the case of the linked article there was a real video of someone enjoying his own company (just not the reg hack), but the general modus operandi is to spaff out these emails claiming such videos exist and demanding money to keep them unpublished to all and sundry in the hope that some recipients will be worried enough to cough up.


Re: Maybe

"This will stimulate the re introduction of dead tree mags like Razzle or a resurgence of CD porn."

And teenagers will once again discover the joy of hedgeporn!

Help! I bought a domain and ended up with a stranger's PayPal! And I can't give it back


Bob, to reset the password (and change the address) you first need to get into the account. You might not be able to if there are security questions with answers set by the account owner that you do not know.


As I hit submit on that, I suddenly remembered Amazon and their old forked account problem - which at the time I realised what had happened, they'd already fixed, but I think by accident rather than by design. Written up here, but in summary:

In August 2010 I decided to change the domain I was using for per-site unique email addresses, and in some cases passwords as well. In Amazon's case, the change included the password, and at that time it was possible to change both at the same time.

Thereafter, I started getting spammed by Amazon at the old address, and when I got in touch with them about it they told me the old address was still linked to an Amazon account.

It turned out that when I made the dual change of email address and password, their system actually split my account in two and treated the old one as a new account for the purpose of promotional crap. However, I was able to reset the password on it and log in (no security questions) and it still had my card details etc associated with it.

If that had been a case like this one, the new domain owner would have been able to make purchases from Amazon on my cards. (But an honest one would be able to see my postal address and let me know).

Amazon refused to accept this was a problem - albeit one that had been fixed, possibly by pure luck - by the time I realised what had happened, the email address and password change options had been separated; they could no longer be done at the same time. However, my argument was that there could have been similarly forked accounts out there just waiting to be accidentally discovered by miscreants.


"How hard has this Reg reader really tried?"

Does PayPal include that physical address in emails sent out to users? AFAICR, no, they don't - so the person who owns the domain wouldn't have been able to determine that address.

(Note they deliberately carried out a password reset - which would be by attempting to log-in and clicking on the 'forgot password' link, or however it's done for PP, but that was just to confirm it as an email address genuinely associated with PP; they wouldn't have been able to actually reset the password due to the security questions, so wouldn't have been able to get in and see the postal address.)

Imagine finding this bad boy in your shower: Brit startup pulls the sheets off Moon spider mech


I remember it as well! (Though, until now, not what it was called.)

As to Spacebit's "Walking Robot" I feel they've missed a trick by not making it look like a Stargate Replicator.

'Technical error' threatens Vodafone customers with four-figure roaming fees



"In any case if any company is nefarious enough to devise such a strategy, they ought to at least be clever enough to add just a few quid here and there on some bills, which might be paid without question, rather than 4-figure bills that are certain to be questioned / refused."

Not dissimilar to a suspicion I've commented on before (not sure if here or elsewhere) about my current electricity provider.

Earlier this year, they raised a bill of £x.yz, and a while later they 'revised' that by issuing a credit for the original bill, and a new bill with the revised amount of £a.bc - except that the credit was for £x.zy. That meant I would have been out of pocket, albeit by a small amount (zy being smaller than yz) had I not raised it with them.

You might think that it was probably human error; a typo, but when they later rang me to discuss my complaint (when I spotted it, I was logged into their system to retrieve my bills, so it was almost no effort to go to raise the mistake), the guy was adamant that no human error was involved; the credit and revised bill were raised entirely automatically.

So, it would seem that they apparently have a billing system which at some point, in some circumstances, stores a numerical value as a string, and accidentally reads the pennies in reverse, before converting it back to a number. That's quite a bizarre bug.

I can't help but think the particular set of circumstances are when the first digit of the pennies is greater than the second digit in the original bill, so that the credit is a multiple of nine pence less.

Imagine if they did that to all their customers where the pennies were the right way around for it to work: 27p here, 45p there... all adds up, and many people probably wouldn't even notice the "mistake".

Stalker attacks Japanese pop singer – after tracking her down using reflection in her eyes



Wait! Does this mean Crime Cops is no longer a parody?

We're all doooooomed: Gloomy Brit workforce really isn't coping well with impending Brexit


Re: When to move abroad


There aren't enough upvotes.

Or pints.

UK.gov's smart meter cost-benefit analysis for 2019 goes big on cost, easy on the benefits


"I just tell them I'm not getting one"

This. When I signed up to my current electricity provider, they offered me one and I said no. That was back in February.

A couple of months ago they rang me "to arrange an appointment to install your smart meter" - not a follow-up question of do I want one; ringing to arrange installation. I said (again) that I didn't want one, but it's quite clear they're doing that to catch out people who don't realise they have a choice.

For Foxit's sake: PDF editor biz breached, users' passwords among stolen data


Re: It won't make any difference

I see what you did there, you tried to fool us with the factorial symbol - but that still comes out as 2. Cunning, but it didn't work.

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage


Re: Female names

A slightly less silly reason not to call it "the Camelia Programming Language" is that if it is called that, you can be absolutely certain that some dolt will start abbreviating it to CPL. If the reason this name change has been suggested is to avoid confusing it with another version of Perl, making it possible to confuse it with another language altogether seems a bit silly.

Zapped from the Play store: Another developer gets no sense from Google, appeals to the public

Thumb Up

Upvoted for #3 - which comes right out of Scarfolk.

Security gone in 600 seconds: Make-me-admin hole found in Lenovo Windows laptop crapware. Delete it now



We have asked Lenovo why they changed the EOL date on the Lenovo Solution Centre page to make it look like they were releasing updates for a product they had already EOL'd.

And it looks to me as though the question they answered was "Why are you releasing updates for a product after its EOL?"

Can Amazon's AI really detect fear? Plus: Fresh deepfake video freaks everyone out again


"This is the best one of these I have seen to date."

Agreed - easily the best I've seen so far, and probably helped by Hader being a good match, as you said. That's probably also why the previous poster said they can't see it - which does defeat the object just a bit.

Pokémon Red and Blue-era trading cards just made their owner a load of green: Complete set sells at auction for $107k


"I wish I could find some old shit lying around the house that an idiot would buy for silly money."

I wish my parents hadn't got rid of the things I'd collected as a child and which some idiot might now buy for silly money. (Though probably not as silly money as the silly money mentioned in the article).

The most annoying one was the my first collection of comics when we were moving. I brought them downstairs, ready to be carted off... and my mother decided they'd be perfect for ripping up and using to wrap her ornaments.

Researchers peer into crystal ball to see future where everyone's ID is tied to their smartphone



Headline: Everyone

Article: 40% of people by 2024

Maths: See icon.

Brit regulator Ofcom put at helm as hosting platforms threatened with hefty fines for violent videos



"(Note gmail minimum age is 13, despite most secondary schools [starting age 12], assuming that your child can be contacted via email )"

Other email providers are available.

Virgin Media's Project Lightning now at 1.8m connections. Just 2.2m to go before year's end, right?


Re: Upgrading

"because mine is going up by a different amount: £5 £4.

(I happened to be going through my paperwork this afternoon and spotted that I'd said the wrong amount. Either way, though, it's still a different amount, so it's undoubtedly package related.)


Re: Upgrading

"(Or if it's a VOIP solution, inform me of that and arrange a replacement Superhub)."

On that, though, it's worth noting my Superhub is in modem mode anyway. When the installer was here this came up and he thought I was mad - but amongst other things I pointed out the problems with it from way back when, and he said they've long since been fixed.


I was at my parents' place last week. They also have VM broadband. The first day I was there, the WiFi was dropping out. Looking at the hub itself, it was rebooting itself quite frequently. I then discovered other people on the same street were complaining about their VM internet connection dropping out.

So it seems that if their hub loses its internet connection, it reboots - thus taking out the WiFi (and given that it was rebooting, anything connected via ethernet would also be problematic).

That, right there, is a good enough reason to still keep their crap in modem mode and use a separate router. I can print over the network without an internet connection. I can access files on my NAS without an internet connection - or stream movies from it.

But if my network depended on their hub, and their hub depends on an internet connection to work? A loss of internet would be a loss of local network. Sod that.


Re: Upgrading

If that's how they are providing the telephone service on my contract, they would have informed me right at the start, rather than (mis)handle my complaint the way they have so far. (Also my Superhub is one of the older ones, and doesn't have a voice RJ socket. It was a continuation of services - and equipment - from the old address.)

There is some logic to your suggestion, though; perhaps the reason the installer couldn't find a line to bring in is because there isn't one in the block, because VOIP. As I said, the installer had no experience of tower block installations, so it's possible he didn't know. But that then brings me back to my first sentence: they would have told me by now - indeed, right from the start.

FYI, the day after installation, they rang me (on my mobile, obvs.) to ask how the installation went, and I first mentioned the telephone situation then - the person said he'd look into it and get back to me to get it sorted. He never called back.

Solving the problem at that point should have been simple: Confirm no phone line was installed, and arrange an engineer (with the necessary experience) to come out and install one. (Or if it's a VOIP solution, inform me of that and arrange a replacement Superhub).

Six months on, I'm still being fobbed off with "someone will get back to you" type excuses1 - with the latest being a letter from their complaints department to tell me someone would 'take ownership" of my complaint, investigate it, and contact me shortly. That letter was dated 18th July - about three weeks ago.

Just how much investigation is required? It's not rocket science:

  • Problem: No telephone line was installed.
  • Solution: Arrange installation of a telephone line.

1 One exception. A couple of months back I had an email from them dismissing my complaint on the basis that their systems show all three services activated (yes, the line exists on their systems) and that I haven't reported a fault. I've pointed out that I have reported the problem (it's not a fault per se, which would suggest the line was in and something had gone wrong with it) - if I hadn't done, they wouldn't have been sending me that bloody email (etc).


Re: Upgrading

"They already upgrading the bill next month by £3.50. Nearly 9% increase."

As I've just said in reply to someone else in the comments on a different article, it might depend what package you're on, because mine is going up by a different amount: £5

I have three services according to my contract TV (the cheapest package, really just freeview but with their box for recording), telephone line, and 200Mbps broadband. The letter doesn't break things down, so I've no idea if that's a fiver more for broadband, a bit for that and a bit for the mythical telephone line, or whatever.

The telephone line is mythical because it doesn't exist. Their installer had never done a flat in a tower block before and just couldn't find it to bring in. That was in February, and I've been complaining ever since - coming up on six months in about a week.

I know I get a discount that covers the cost of the line, but the point is I want a telephone line, and they are contracted to provide one.

If I have to go to another provider to get one, it'll cost me more on top of what I'm paying Virgin Media - and if I do that, once I have one I could also get broadband over it from someone else; the unnecessary extra cost of a telephone line would motivate me to look elsewhere for broadband. You'd think that small point might motivate them to do something - but nope, not yet.

Brit couch potatoes increasingly switching off telly boxes in favour of YouTube and Netflix


Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

"Plus Virginmedia are putting the bill up by £3.50 a month from 1st October..."

That might depend what package you're on. Mine is going up by a full fiver - which is a bit of a kick in the teeth given my ongoing (now six month old) complaint with them, and about which I'm told - yet again - that someone will be in touch soon.

The problem is the telephone line - or lack of one, though I do have one according to my contract (and, yes, I know it's cheaper with the mythical telephone line than without).

Everything old is new again in this week's Microsoft roundup



Microsoft VP and Technical Fellow, Laura Butler, weighed in by tweeting, "I don't wanna rain on the parade" and then did exactly that by pointing out that good old calc.exe had the topmost functionality back in 1994.

And I don't want to rain on Butler's or Microsoft's parade (I want to piss on it), but they should go back a little further and look at the calculator on RISC OS - or indeed any application on RISC OS. (To be fair, it has many problems due to the numbers involved - developers, users, and the money developers can make because of the number of users - but the active window not being forced to the top of the stack is one of its very good points).

It's official: Deploying Facebook's 'Like' button on your website makes you a joint data slurper


Re: Excessive scripting

"One thing I really want to see (particularly for e-commerce sites) is a list of domains that need to run scripts for transactions to actually complete. (Whether they should actually need to run scripts is another matter entirely)."

This ^.

I'd like to be able to visit a site, see a (non-JS, obviously) link that lists the domains/scripts that need to be run for basic functionality - so I can enable scripting for those domains, and the retailer has the opportunity to take some of my money off me.

But, being a cynical old fart, I just know that there will be sites listing domains from which they earn money (i.e. advertising) as necessary script sources, which puts us right back into square one of enabling them carefully, one by one, until we hit the right ones.

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


Re: It's a shame...

If ever there was a good reason to put all effort into developing a way to travel to the stars, Katie Hopkins is it.

Actually, if she's on board the first ship, even with today's technology we should be able to send it to the nearest star. Deep into the nearest star.

Bad news: Earth is not going to be walloped by asteroid 2006 QV89. Good news: Boffins have lost sight of it, so all hope is not yet lost


Re: September 9 this year should be ignored

9th September is a Monday. I'm happy to ignore it.

Facebook: The future is private! So private, we designed some handy new fingercams for y'all!

Thumb Up

Re: It comes to mind

Agreed - this book is recommended, particularly for those of us who are worried about the erosion of privacy through (and by) social networking sites/companies. The book (and the documentary based on it) were the first things that came to mind when reading this article precisely because of the wearable cameras.

Facebook celebrates Independence Day by lighting up American outage maps


Re: Some people never forget

"You do realise that the Mayflower was just the first of the 'B' Arks, don't you?"

That explains everything!

Bonkers British MPs rant: 5G signals cause cancer


Re: Dihydrogen monoxide

If there are any of these muppets' constituents reading this, they should write to them, bringing dihydrogen monoxide to their attention... see if they can be trolled into bringing up the subject in an official capacity in parliament.

Top websites screwed over in WordPress.com super-outage: VIP Go? More like VIP No Go


Re: awful Gutenberg editor.

I don't think I've seen an option to use the old editor. ISTR when Gutenberg was being trialled there was an option to use the classic editor which, IIRC, was a bit of a fudge, effectively turning a single block into the 'classic' editor, but wasn't as usable.

(Amongst other things, the Gutenberg editor is SLOOOOW on the hardware I normally use - and that fudge was just as slow. It gets tedious typing and then waiting for the words to appear on the screen.)

What I resorted to doing was using a text editor, and typing my posts with mark up in that, then copying and pasting the result into Gutenberg - which is much faster (until I start editing my typos, or adding images, etc). Sometimes I use the code editor, but generally the external text editor covers me - but the point is, if I'm doing that, why do I need to continue with WP? (The answer, of course, is I have a lot of old posts that I'd have to migrate if I moved away.)

[before I submit this comment...]

I've just logged into one of my sites on this computer, and I still can't see an option to use the classic editor.

Installing a classic editor plug in, it looks as though it's as I described above; a fudge by turning a block into the editor - but I won't know until I'm on my slow PC at home whether it's usable or not because of that slow speed.


Re: Oh dear

Unfortunately, when you do you'll be using the awful Gutenberg editor.

Please be aliens, please be aliens, please be aliens... Boffins discover mystery mass beneath Moon's biggest crater



"While the enormous mass of the finding on the Moon speaks to something somewhat larger and more blobby than Clarke’s neat 1:4:9 object, poked at by a fictional Heywood Floyd, in the interests of whimsy we'll give it a pass. Although the fact it also wasn't found in the relatively youthful Tycho crater either threatens to snap the increasingly tenuous link."

You can't expect the man to be that accurate. Who do you think he was? Agnes Nutter?

When it comes to DNS over HTTPS, it's privacy in excess, frets UK child exploitation watchdog


Re: Does this change anything?

Just to clarify, you appear to be correcting me by explaining how DNS over HTTPS works - but I took the question to mean the existing system, not DNS over HTTPS.

(And although I didn't mention caching the IP address, I wasn't implying that every single page visit includes a DNS lookup - at least not intentionally - but you seem to have inferred it.)