* Posts by 0765794e08

54 posts • joined 26 Jan 2010


BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding


Re: "and the total cost will be about £100m loss of profit. I wonder if that will affect his bonus?"

“Carter Burke in Aliens”

Sticking with movies, Johnny from Airplane! springs to mind...

“Just kidding! Oh, wrong cable. Should’ve been the grey one. Rapunzel! Rapunzel!”

Dr Hannah Fry: We need to be wary of algorithms behind closed doors


Re: Love her...

Indeed. I must admit that Tori Amos' warm-up, before the piano arrived, was exceptionally thought-provoking and intelligent!

Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada


Re: Just look at the flowers Lizzie

Harsh, but at least Lizzie had some redeeming features. Vista had none.

And isn’t it strange how you never see Carol Peletier and Bill Gates in the same room at the same time...

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings


Re: Maybe they need to build an old school meter into the "smart" ones

Not just hackers, I can see potential for a whole host of shenanigans….

The past: kids knocking on people’s front doors and then running away! What fun!

The near future: kids using smartphones to remotely disable or otherwise mess with people’s energy supply, using ‘smarty’ exploits found on the internet, and then running away! Even better fun!

Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component


Sore misgivings

When it comes to ‘smart’ meters, I must admit I have very sore misgivings.

A few weeks back, I got a letter from my water supplier, saying my currently non-metered water supply is going to be changed to a metered connection, and a ‘smart’ meter is going to be installed at the boundary of my property.

And then a few days ago I got a similar letter from my electricity supplier, saying that the old meter is going to be replaced with a ‘smart’ meter, and I need to contact them to arrange a day for installation.

But here’s the rub. In both cases, I wasn’t asked if I want a new smart meter. Seems I don’t get a choice – they’re going to be installed whether I give consent or not. The government wants us all to have them, you see.

Now normally I wouldn’t mind – I’ve had replacement gas/electricity meters before. But these new ones broadcast usage data over a wireless signal, and that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I’m reminded of a scene in the film ‘Heat’. Robert De Nero is discussing a bank heist with a fellow criminal. The crim has printouts of the bank’s cash flow. De Nero says, “How'd you get this information?”. The crim replies, “This stuff just flies through the air. It's just beamed out all over the place. You just have to grab it. I know how to grab it.”

And that is why smart meters worry me greatly.

AWS's S3 outage was so bad Amazon couldn't get into its own dashboard to warn the world


Re: I love the future

“IoT ? Not while I still have a functioning brain, thank you very much”

I agree with the sentiment 100%. However I fear IoT will be foisted onto the unsuspecting public, in various guises, whether they want it or not. ‘Smart’ meters being a prime example, which are presently being aggressively deployed by energy companies in the UK.

Get it while it's hot: NASA's Space Poo contest winners wipe up $30k


Re: one more....

Houston, we have a Pampers.

Man sues YET AGAIN for chance to marry his computer


Computers and Coats Joke, 2016

Computer repair man: “Erm, what are all those gaudy yellow stains down your Mac?”

Tennessee man: “To which Mac are you referring?”

Microsoft steps up Windows 10 nagging


Re: OK but is there a solution to make Windows Update work?

"There's a reason its Windows 10. Roman numeral X as in WRONG!"

A very shrewd observation, sir. Also X as in CROSS, because, well, Win10 is making a lot of people very cross indeed.

Factory settings FAIL: Data easily recovered from eBayed smartphones, disks


Re: In the ding

Indeed. A melted SSD and a Tesco spaghetti bolognaise actually taste quite similar...

So how do Google's super-smart security folk protect their data?


Re: Post-it Notes sales surge.

This age old saying can be applied to the ‘Post-it’ note situation: "It’s not what you’ve got, it’s where you put it…"


Strong password? Denied!

It’s all rather academic if the service you're using limits your account password to 6-8 characters.

And yes, I’m looking squarely at you, UK National Savings & Investments (www.nsandi.com). For Pete’s sake, get rid of that creaking Univac or whatever it is you’re using, and get your systems up to date.

Smart meters set to cost Blighty as much as replacing Trident


Smart Is As Smart Does

I wonder if the Government has factored this into their equations:


And I’m sure I’m not the only one...

Star Trek's Lt Uhura hospitalised in LA after stroke


Get well soon Uhura

Here's hoping she recovers at warp factor nine.

Strokes are horrible things. It’s like Death wants to take you for his own, but he can’t get to you yet, so he whacks you on the head instead.

Fortunately Nichelle’s stroke was mild, so with the right treatment (which I’m sure she’s getting), her prospects for recovery are good.

Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION


Re: Not exactly aces up Microsoft's sleeve

How dare you Little Mouse! I’ve not been doing anything of the sort! Apart from Chuckie Egg…


Not exactly aces up Microsoft's sleeve

I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but when they threw in Solitaire and Minesweeper it was pretty much the same time they threw out the BASIC interpreter. Not much to celebrate as far as I’m concerned!

A game of Solitaire gives you, what, 15 minutes of repetitive fun? BASIC has kept me entertained (intellectually and creatively) for 32 years, and counting.

Solitaire? Four king hell!

National Grid's new designer pylon is 'too white and boring' – Pylon Appreciation Society


Pylon hacker extraordinaire!

To my mind, the original definition of a ‘hacker’ was someone who took a great pride and passion in a particular subject, and worked exceedingly hard (for work, or pleasure, or both), to further that subject, usually creating great things in the process.

It matters not whether the subject is model railroads, mainframes of the 60s, computer networks, or, indeed, electricity pylons. Even gardening could be considered hacking of a sort if you’re into it enough!

I’ll admit that electricity pylons hold no interest for me, but Flash Bristow is a sparkin’ electricity pylon hacker of the highest calibre, and it’s to their credit!

Popular crypto app uses single-byte XOR and nowt else, hacker says


Re: It’s XOR I feel sorry for

Indeed. Thanks for zeroing in on that one....



It’s XOR I feel sorry for

Poor old XOR. Talk about getting a bad press. It’s not XOR’s fault! When used properly, in a specific circumstance, it gives you unbreakable encryption. Which other humble logic operator can claim such fame?

This app sounds like something a twelve year-old would write when playing/learning about crypto.

Indeed, back in the day, I wrote little programs myself (command line stuff) that did XOR encryption. But my programs at least had the common decency to operate on the entire file….

So don’t blame XOR. XOR is brilliant. XOR is groovy. It even has a cool name.


Brian Ignatius Nary,

Chairman and Vice President, The Royal Society for the Appreciation of XOR and Its Wondrous Flipping Versatilities

Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Thumb Up

My Solution

I was thinking about this very topic a couple of years back.

I’ve been writing computer programs on and off (for fun, and at work too) since my schooldays in the eighties. I must have written ten of thousands of lines of code over the years. I totted up the number of different languages that I’ve coded in (mostly BASIC and variants thereof), and the total came to nine.

Then it dawned on me that, years from now, no one would likely know of my lovingly crafted programs, much less be running them for any reason. All my digital creativity would be lost. I’d have no digital legacy.

Then I had a brainwave. I’d make a piece of artwork out of my computer code. I took screenshots of snippets of nine program listings, in their respective IDEs - one for each of the languages. One was BBC Basic, one was Microsoft QuickBasic, one was a batch file, etc, etc.

I used InDesign to layout the artwork in A4, with the nine screenshots sized proportionately on the page. This left space in the bottom right hand corner so I added in a digitally embellished photo of my childhood self. I finished off the ‘montage’ with a nice ‘circuit board’ themed bezel area.

I printed out my masterpiece and mounted it in a silver frame. It is hanging, with pride of place, in my bathroom opposite my toilet. So now, whenever I’m doing a poo, I can look up at it and relish in my geekiness.

It is my fond hope that, long after I’ve turned to dust, my computer artwork may survive and be pored over endlessly by historians of the age.

TrueCrypt considered HARMFUL – downloads, website meddled to warn: 'It's not secure'


TrueCrypt Forum

I just want to mention that this has wiped out the TrueCrypt forum too.

There were hundreds of users at the TC forum (myself included), which contained a goldmine of information, not just about TrueCrypt itself but also crypto and computer security in general.

Many people put in many hours of work in the forum, and it would seem that that repository of knowledge is gone at a stroke.

So farewell Dan, pepak, Nicky and all the others…. “Sic transit gloria mundi”.


Grace Hopper gave us COBOL, 'debugging' and inspiration. So Google gave her a Doodle


Re: Women In Technology

Ah yes, Adele Goldberg - I remember seeing her in 'Triumph Of The Nerds' - when she reluctantly gave a demo of Smalltalk to Steve Jobs (she begrudged ‘giving away the kitchen sink’ – not without reason as Apple ultimately got more out of it than Xerox…)


Women In Technology

I’ve been wracking my brain but I can’t think of many famous female tech pioneers – there must be more than this:

Ada Lovelace (worked with Babbage)

Grace Hopper (thanks for reminding us Google)

Sophie Wilson (okay, was born male but what the heck)

Is that it?

I’ve read several books on computing history but female names are few and far between. Were there no women at MIT Tech Square playing with the TX-0? What about the Homebrew meetings – was it all just blokes with massive sideburns? Was a single female in any way involved in the 80s microcomputer revolution (apart from Sophie)?

How STEVE JOBS saved Apple's bacon with an outstretched ARM



“… a company called Acorn Computers, which made desktop PCs primarily for the education market…”

Forgive me for being pernickety, but I certainly wouldn’t describe a BBC Micro or an Acorn Archimedes as a ‘desktop PC’. There weren’t IBM-PC clones, young fella-me-lad.

They were microcomputers. Get the terminology right please, or you dishonour the wonderful machines that Acorn created.

The micro YOU used in school: The story of the Research Machines 380Z


That’s changed my opinion of Research Machines

When I was at secondary school, the ‘computer room’ had about six BBC Micros and a couple of Commodore 64s. In my last year, an RM Nimbus appeared too. I remember it sat in the corner more or less unused – everyone was playing games on the BBCs and 64s – although occasionally someone would play a ‘Reversi’ type game on the Nimbus’ desktop and then get bored after five minutes.

As time went on and I learned the history of Acorn, and the subtle rivalry between Acorn and RM (them both targeting the educational sector), I came to have quite a distain for RM – believing them to be completely un-innovative and simply churning out PC clones. Compare and contrast that with Acorn’s innovative and original designs.

My opinion of RM didn’t improve when I later saw an advertisement for an RM machine, in Acorn User magazine no less (talk about aiding the enemy!), which basically slagged off the Acorn Archimedes (fast chips but no software) and the Apple Mac (screen like a letterbox). Bloody liberty!

But having read this article, my opinion of RM has softened. The record has been set straight - they obviously were innovators – at least at the outset. And they were ahead of the game by a few years. Maybe they weren’t so bad after all!

How my batch process nightmare was solved by a Wombat


“P.S. If anyone knows a place hiring a educational network geek at the moment…”

Try an IT recruitment agency – Messrs Modest & Humble spring to mind.

Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO


Re: Kids not programming? Here's why...

But the issue here is how many kids, when presented with their first Windows laptop, are going to say to themselves “Ooh, now I’m going to connect to the internet, download a language I haven’t even heard of, and start programming!” Not many I’d wager. That’s the situation as it now stands, anyway.

On the other hand, if they see a shortcut to ‘FunBasic’ in the Programs folder (on even better, slap-bang on the desktop), they’re much more likely to try it and become interested, without any further prompting or hunting around on their part.

That was the beauty of the 8-bit machines – the programming environment was there, right in your face, as soon as you switched the machine on. If we could get back as close as possible to that situation – with a programming environment just a double-click away after booting into Windows, surely that would be better than the current situation.

So Mr Gates, you’re still Chairman of Microsoft and you must have a soft spot for Basic – after all Altair Basic on paper tape was where it all started for Microsoft – make it happen why don’t you!


Re: BBC Basic

“How I longed for a version of basic that could be compiled rather than interpreted but that never came to pass”

Microsoft’s QuickBasic was a good Basic compiler, back in the day, although it wasn’t free. Nowadays PowerBasic is a stonking Basic compiler – again not free.


Re: Kids not programming? Here's why...

Yep, I agree there.

I seem to recall in the days of DOS, there was GW-Basic or QBasic interpreters sitting right there in the command directory, just waiting to be played with.

Then with the advent of Windows, they disappeared. Someone at Microsoft obviously thought Solitaire and Minesweeper would be more useful.

The goal of the Raspberry Pi is laudable but I don’t think it will achieve its stated aim of creating a new generation of coders. I think that aim would be better served if Microsoft resumed the inclusion of a version of Basic with Windows – something simple but genuinely useful for introductory programming.

It could be called EasyBasic or FunBasic – with a limited but easy to use command set – just enough to whet the appetites of budding young coders. Make it a compiler and kids would be able to create and share their own tools and games.

I use PowerBasic at work and it’s a joy to use – I’d like to see something similar (like the simpler ‘console’ version) in Windows as standard.

RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C


Er, hello?

“In the 1970s companies such as Altair, Apple and others…”

Altair was the name of a computer. MITS was the company that made it. Anyone with a passing knowledge of recent computing history will know this. Get it right for God’s sake!

Peter Capaldi named as 12th Doctor Who


Re: BBC PR = news

This is so true. I was watching BBC News 24 an hour or so before the ‘reveal show’, and there was a long news item featuring their entertainment correspondent standing outside the broadcast studio, in front of a queue of ‘Whovians’ waiting to go into the studio…

And I’m thinking….. never mind Syria, never mind Egypt, never mind Zimbabwe, never mind anything else important happening in the world… the self-obsessed and self- important BBC proclaims to planet earth: WE ARE THE NEWS

The toy of tech: The Mattel Aquarius 30 years on


The Age of Aquarius

I have a soft spot for the Aquarius. Not because I ever owned one, but because I pined for one, back in the day...

My first ‘computer’ was a little Casio programmable calculator, with a qwerty keyboard, BASIC, and 1K of RAM. After I’d devoured that, around the time of my 13th birthday, I wanted a proper home computer. At school I saw the "Whatever happens in the future..." advert in a computer mag, pinched it, and fell in love with the little machine with the blue keys.

I wanted one. I really wanted one. I pined for one. Nothing else in my world mattered. I remember I would stand at the lounge window, waiting for my dad to come home from work, hoping against hope that he’d be carrying a box with ‘Aquarius Home Computer System’ emblazoned on the side.

Alas, he never did. He couldn’t find one. The little machine with the blue keys and I were destined never to meet.

In the end I got an Acorn Electron for my 13th birthday, and I quickly forgot all about my prior obsession.

Probably just as well - I didn’t know at the time that the Aquarius was a good-for-nothing piece of crap. And the Acorn Electron was a great computer that gave me years of enjoyment. Pity its keys weren’t blue, though...

Doctor Who? 12th incarnation sought after Matt Smith quits


Re: New Dr.

If he’s got the stamina, I think Bill Nighy would make a great Doctor. I think we need an ‘older’ Doctor next time round - Matt Smith was too boyish and petite. They might as well have cast a sperm in the role.

If Nighy could bring the same intensity and vibrancy to the role as he did for Victor (a vampire) in the Underworld films, it could make the Doctor a darker, more fearsome character. As opposed to the rather soppy, underwhelming portrayal by Matt Smith.

Brits on benefits: 'Dole office site only works on PCs over 10 YEARS OLD'


Nah... that would be silly

This service doesn’t work with some modern browsers and operating systems. Tell me more...

The service was designed to work with the following operating systems and browsers:

‘Browser v1’ on the NeXT computer.

The NeXT computer currently resides in a cabinet outside Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s old office at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) in Switzerland. I’m sure if you ask nicely they will let you use it. Please form an orderly queue.

Lotus 1-2-3 turns 30: Mitch Kapor on the Google before Google

Thumb Up

1-2-3 For Ever!

I still use Lotus 1-2-3 (for DOS) at home for all my personal spreadsheet work. My household and personal finance spreadsheets have been lovingly crafted and honed to perfection over the years, and I’m damned if I’m going to ‘convert’ them to nasty old Excel!

My first encounter with 1-2-3 was at work, in 1987. We had it running on a couple of IBM PCs, and a beefy Toshiba laptop with a funky orange gas plasma screen.

At home, I first used version 2 for DOS on my Acorn Archimedes, via Acorn’s nifty PC Emulator.

After that, version 3 for DOS came along for the ride as I transitioned through several laptops, running Windows 95, 98, XP, and now Windows 7. It now lives in an XP virtual machine on my Win7 laptop. I should be able to keep it running indefinitely, provided I can continue running an XP virtual machine on whatever host OS comes along (I’m seriously considering moving over to Linux after Win7 has run its course).

But why, you may ask, am I still using quaint old 1-2-3?

1) It’s retro. Retro is good. Plus it looks really cool running full screen on a black background.

2) It’s rock solid. It doesn’t crash.

3) It doesn’t create temp files. This has certain security benefits.

4) You can ‘draw’ lines and borders by putting extended ASCII characters in the cells via their alt codes.

5) The default font is white – you can make the text green by formatting the cell as protected. Two colours – neat!

A big thank you to Mitch Kapor and Jonathan Sachs for creating such a fantastic piece of software.

McAfee: Emma Watson riskiest celebrity search


Movie quote

Hermione: That's right. Now, if you two don't mind, I'm going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed...or worse, McAfee'd! {turns and leaves, shutting the door behind her}

Ron: She needs to sort out her priorities!

Harry gets out his wand and yells "McAfee Crapivirikedavra!" and Ron's head explodes due to a dodgy signature update.

'Picture of Dorian Gray' borrowed in 1934 is finally returned


Re: @ 0765794e08

Funny gag, kind Sir, but you seem to be behind the times yourself.

Kate Bush’s R.U.T.H. 2012 remix, which featured in the Olympics opening ceremony, entered the UK charts at no.6 on 19 August, and peaked at no.3 on iTunes on 21 August. Dig it!


Re: It's not what you know....

I don't think he was in Experiment IV but Hugh Laurie and Dawn French were.

As an aside, Kate Bush seems to be working her way through the cast of Blackadder in terms of collaborations - Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson, and Stephen Fry the latest.

Which basically leaves Tony Robinson and Rik Mayall. Kate Bush and Rik Mayall - oh God please let it happen...


It's not what you know....

I’m not a fan of Stephen Fry but he does have one endearing quality - he's sung on an album by Kate Bush!

Passwords are for AES-holes


Yes, passwords are annoying...

... but really annoys me is sites that, for some inexplicable reason, force you to use weak passwords. And by weak, I mean short.

For example, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) limits their account password to a measly 8 characters. If you use Tesco.com, you’re stuck with a maximum of 10 characters for your password.

Rather than bemoaning having to use strong passwords, I think it would be more productive to name and shame the silly companies that don’t even give you the option of choosing a strong password.

Star Trek's Wesley Crusher blasts Google+ landgrab


Trekkie Spaghetti

I’m sure that Mr Wheaton is making a valid argument, but let’s face it, if it was Marina Sirtis that was doing the jumping up and down, we’d all be paying a lot more attention.

Hanging's too good for 'em - so what do you suggest?


Banish them from society

I like the idea of ‘banishment’.

Find some large, fairly inhospitable, uninhabited island safely away from the mainland, and simply banish murderers to it. They could be dropped in by parachute. There would be no infrastructure of any kind on the island - the murderers would have to fend for themselves, and live off the land.

Probably best to limit it to male murderers to keep the population in check. The space duly released in the prison system would allow for proper ‘life’ sentences for female murderers.

RIP Ceefax: Digital switchover kills off last teletext service

Thumb Up

RIP teletext

What I want to know is, whatever will become of Masha The Erotic Poetess, and The Fresh Prince Of Luton? We’ll never see their like again.

And if you remember those characters, you’re a true teletext aficionado.

BBC Micro team to celebrate historic machine's 30th year

Thumb Up

Re: burrrrrrrr-beep.

Amen to that!



A few thoughts:

1) I find it deeply satisfying that although Acorn came a cropper, its heritage and technical innovation lives on, and indeed continues to thrive, though ARM. It seemed that when Acorn went under, the PC clones (and companies such as Acorn’s arch nemesis, the dull as ditchwater ‘Research Machines’) had won the day. But the boffins in Cambridge weren’t to be defeated!

2) I remember running Acorn’s PC Emulator on my Acorn Archimedes. In one of life’s little ironies, I now find immense gratification in the knowledge that Microsoft are falling over themselves to port Windows to the ARM architecture.

3) Alas, my parents couldn’t afford a BBC Micro, so I got an Acorn Electron. But I’m not bitter. It was (and is) a great little computer. Plus the fact that I could program in BBC Basic helped me land my first job after leaving school.

4) You can keep your Elites and your Chuckie Eggs. Gisburne’s Castle was, and is, the greatest BBC Micro game of all time. And you can call me Susan if it isn’t so.

Cameras roll on 'blockbuster' new Who series


Matt has no gloss

Sorry but I just can’t get excited about this.

Matt Smith makes a poor Doctor. He’s too small. He’s too lanky. He’s too young. He doesn’t have screen presence. His voice is weedy and expressionless. He comes across as a gawky teenager literally playing “Doctor Who”.

All this might be forgiven if the storylines were any good, but since Tennant’s departure the stories have been ridiculous, and, frankly, all over the place.

Doctor Who needs a radical revamp in time for the 50th Anniversary. The Doctor and his two current companions need replacing post haste, so that some life can be breathed back into the brand.

Matt Smith should step aside and make way for someone he could do justice to the role: Paul Shane. With Sue Pollard and Orm & Cheap as the companions.

Seven Dwarfs password gag declared Fringe's best


Particularly good joke?

How do you make a French horn? Stamp on his foot.

I didn’t say it was a particularly good joke.

Oh well, as the old Chinese proverb says: “Man who go to sleep with itchy bottom, wake up with smelly finger.”

Pink Floyd guitarist pays McKinnon's health bills


Diamond Kite

Some observations:

1) Let us not forget that David Gilmour was instrumental in bringing Kate Bush to the attention of a grateful world. For that alone, he deserves more than a nod of recognition.

2) Gilmour's son, however, is a very naughty boy.

3) Cliff Stoll was writing about the pitiful state of US military computer security in the 1980s (The Cuckoo's Egg is a cracking good read). It seems not much has improved since then.

Has CERN made the VATICAN ANTIMATTER BOMB for real?*



Aw come on...

... Dan Brown's come a long way since Susan Fletcher "almost fell off her chair with excitement" in Digital Fortress.

eBay photocopier data risk ignored


Wipe that photocopier!

Okay, message received.

But where on earth am I supposed to insert my DBAN CD ???



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020