* Posts by plrndl

482 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Feb 2010


Twitter, aka X, tops charts for misinformation, EU official says


I have never used Twitter / X, but I would just like to point out that "misinformation" includes anything that does not agree with the currently mandated "scientific consensus", much of which is BS.

Microsoft: China stole secret key that unlocked US govt email from crash debug dump


"Redmond assures us it has made changes to prevent them from happening again.". Until tomorrow.

NASA experts looked through 800 UFO sightings and found essentially nothing

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Having a camera doesn't make you a photographer.

To take a decent quality photo or video of a distant moving object, you need near-professional quality equipment and skills, and you need to be prepared before the object comes into view. If you don't believe me, try whipping out your phone and photographing a passing bird.

Judging by what I've seen on the internet, most people with smart phones can't take a decent picture of a cat sitting in front of them.

Plagiarism-sniffing Turnitin tries to find AI writing by students – with mixed grades


About Time

This is a clear demonstration of the pointlessness of testing students' ability to regurgitate what they have been taught.

Maybe it's time to start testing their ability to do something useful with what they have learned.

Unfortunately this may result in academics having to do some real work.

UK Prime Minister wants £800M to spend on big British iron


Given the government's record on IT procurement, I doubt if a mere £800 million would cover the cost of the committee meetings to determine where it should be located.

Europe to consult on making Big Tech pay for the networks it floods


Death of the Dinosaurs

This is a suicide note for the Big Carriers.

If they succeed in getting Big Tech to pay for the bandwidth their customers use, Big Tech will simply build their own networks with cheaper, faster technology and put the carriers out of business. They will then buy up the assets for pennies on the £/$/€ and laugh all the way to the bank.

Unix is dead. Long live Unix!


Re: BSD?

BSD is Unix. It is not UNIX™. The legal distinction can be of vital importance in large and multi-national roll-outs.


Re: About 15 years ago... Linux tries to become all things to all people

Linux IS "all things to all people". It currently runs on everything from the top 500 supercomputers, the majority of phones and tablets, to the tiniest of IOT devices.

The fact that one can port it and adapt it to suit one's dreams, whims, or marketing fads, (and others can embrace. adapt, or reject them) is arguably its greatest strength.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it


Re: Marketing Skills

The best marketing people work for marketing agencies, where they get the best paid and most interesting work. The second rank work for companies like Apple, who are noted for the quality of their products, and their advertising. Marketing people in other companies are mostly third rate at best.

Regarding IT people, I have been heavily flamed on this very site, for suggesting that their first duty is serving the company's needs, rather than to the escalation of the IT budget.


Marketing Skills

There is only one reason why a “marketing person” needs to change a product, and that is incompetence. A person with real marketing skills can sell a given product to a desired market.

The person who needs to copycat whatever is currently trendy in marketing circles has no marketing skills whatsoever.

Is it time to retire C and C++ for Rust in new programs?


History Repeats Itself

I predict this will have even less success than plans to deprecate FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC.

BOFH: Who us? Sysadmins? Spend time with other departments?


Workplace Relationships

In my experience, the best interdepartmental workplace relationships occured when the entire workforce was united in a hatred of the senior management. Even the marketing people were part of the Friday night session in the local pub.

Elon Musk had secret twins in 2021 with Neuralink exec


Musk for PM

Seems ideally qualified to replace Boris.

FBI and MI5 bosses: China cheats and steals at massive scale

Big Brother

Pot? Kettle?

How does that differ from what MI6 and the CIA have been doing since inception?

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux


TLDR Version

A sensible Linux wannabe will have a quick Google, and discover that most people recommend Mint for newbies.

Original killer PC spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 now runs on Linux natively


Not Perfect

WordPerfect was popular with two finger typists. For real typists, WordStar was the only choice. Unfortunately, most IT decision makers (ie buyers) belong to the former category, and the latter category (who are mostly female, and did most of the actual typing work) had to suffer with an inferior tool.

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop


Re: If you're daft enough to start with Arch, Slackware, [...] you will get what you deserve.

I too started with Slackware, ZipSlack to be specific, but I had years of UNIX experience. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't recommend Slackware to a NEWBIE today, unless they has a UNIX background.


Re: "Linux Desktop"

Multiple distros and desktops is only a problem for the terminally (sorry!) stupid. Any sane Linux newbie will start with a quick google, which will tell him that Linux Mint / Cinnamon is the best beginner's choice. He will then download Mint and boot into it. A quick play will establish if it works with his hardware, in which case he can install it. Simples!

If you're daft enough to start with Arch, Slackware, or some hackers' favourite, you will get what you deserve.

'Bigger is better' is back for hardware – without any obvious benefits


Still No Voice Dictation

Most of the people who are smart enough to communicate with a computer directly with language, are already doing so, They're called computer programmers, and they have to be specially educated to do so. Most humans don't have sufficient grasp of the syntax of their native language to communicate clearly with one-another, let alone with a strictly logical computer.

Maybe with another 20 years of development of quantum computing and AI, we will have a computer capable of understanding typical human babble.

Help, my IT team has no admin access to their own systems


Ultimately, all usable IT products are "insecure by design". The trade-off between security and usability is one of the biggest problems our business faces.

The fact that most users and decision makers have zero IT training massively exacerbates this problem.


Fans of original gangster editors, look away now: It's Tilde, a text editor that doesn't work like it's 1976


Re: vim? Backslider!

I presume you prefer bang paths to URLs.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE


At Essex University in the 1970's, the University proudly introduced an internal telephone system for the student residential towers. It was of course called the Towers Internal Telephone System. They didn't realise what they had done until after the directories had been printed, with very large initial capitals on the cover. Much merriment ensued amongst the students.

The dark equation of harm versus good means blockchain’s had its day

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History Lesson

Criminals / terrorists / pornographers are ALWAYS the first people to exploit any new technology.

That is not a good reason to attack it.

Crypto for cryptographers! Infosec types revolt against use of ancient abbreviation by Bitcoin and NFT devotees


Mind Your Language

Specialist terms that become known to the general public via the media WILL be corrupted. There is no escape from this. Language changes. For example idiot, moron, cretin, imbecile, spastic all started life as medical terms for specific conditions. "Paedo" has become a general purpose insult for school children. Life goes on.

You forced me to use this fancypants app and now you're asking for a printout?


You believed that? Computerising an imperfect system can only result in errors arising far faster and in far greater magnitude.


Plus ca change

For a person born in a previous century, there is something wonderfully reassuring (ie familiar) about a doctor's prescription that cannot be read by modern technology.

BOFH: What if International Bad Actors designed the vaccine to make us watch more Steven Seagal movies?


Travaglia for PM

Thank you Simon, for unleashing a tsunami of amusing commentard nonsense. Have a beer on me.

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


Re: Beer Definition: Hops

Originally in the UK, ale was brewed from water, malt and yeast. Beer was ale flavoured with hops. Other flavourings produced ales, not beer.

More recently the definitions have become somewhat muddied. Young's, for example refer to their draught beers as "ales", while their honey flavoured product (bought in from a deceased brewery) is called a beer!

Scientists reckon eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio, harder than smallpox – just buckle in for a wait

Big Brother

Till Death Do Us Part

The medical industry makes vast profits from treatment of illness, NOT from curing it. A patient cured is a customer lost.

This is the fundamental problem that needs to be addressed before we can expect technology to give us better health.

Meanwhile, I'm off to the pub. Got to keep my spirits up.

Global tat supply line clogged as Suez Canal authorities come to aid of wedged 18-brontosaurus container ship


Re: I am most disappointed...

So. it was a colossal cock-up.

NHS looks to the market for advice on one system to replace two separate, giant Oracle ERP and HR systems


Translation: "Throwing billions of taxpayers' money at imaginary "solutions" is the new black in Boris's government, and we want a piece (a BIG piece) of the action"

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: 'spreadsheet software as "human middleware" in the sector'


Venerable text editor GNU Nano reaches version 5.0 and adds the modern frippery that is scrollbars


We're not all two finger typists. Function keys are a PIA for touch typists.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do



Free beer?

Right now it's way past beer o'clock on Friday, and I'd be a sucker for anyone who could tell me where to get paid beer.

(And I don't mean that garbage that comes in cans!)

We strained our eyes with Lenovo's monster monitor: 43.4 inches for price of five 24" screens


I have a couple of second hand Dell 24 inchers that give me 3840 x 1200 for £70. I shall not be upgrading any time soon.

I say, it's beer o;clock. Must be going.

Gospel according to HPE: And lo, on the 32,768th hour did thy SSD give up the ghost


Validation of the supplier's part

If HP can screw up the due dilligence on a multi-billion dollar acquisition, what hope do we have for a cheap, replaceable component?

The wheels on the bus go round and... Oh dear. Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils spending review


London's Experience

In the short period when Boris was Mayor of London, he increased bus fares by over 50%.

Be still, our drinking hearts: Help Reg name whisky beast conjured by Swedish distillers and AI blendbot


Abort, Retry, Fail?

Given the Microsoft connection, I suggest:

Old Dosser

Iran is doing to our networks what it did to our spy drone, claims Uncle Sam: Now they're bombing our hard drives



So, you employ vast armies of people who have never had even a minute of formal computer training, stick them is sensitive government and government support jobs, and give then a powerful, internet connected PC.

What could possibly go wrong?

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary


I used to have a problem with an American namesake using my gmail account, mostly for porn sites.

He got the message when I changed his NetFlix password, and cancelled the account. Unfortunately I still get masses of spam as a result of his activities.

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans


THINK of the Children

I should just like to point out that the nonsensical idea that children should be kept ignorant about sexuality until they are old enough to marry, was created by paedophiles in the Christian church, because naive children are easier to seduce and manipulate.

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again


Re: Filthy SI Units

Presumably, post Brexit, we will revert to the avoirdupois "system" which as any fule kno, is based on peas, pounds and ounces (1 pea ~ 0.23gm). Who needs froggy measurements?



I am disappointed to see that no-one has translated this article into proper el reg units.

Standards are falling.

I'm off to the pub.

Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers


Re: GDPR can't Fix this

If you're using Windows and other MS software in a business environment where you have access to confidential data, you deserve everything you get.

Australia blocks Huawei, ZTE from 5G rollout

Big Brother

5 Ears?

I strongly suspect the the real reason is the absence of back doors in Chinese equipment.

Amazon, ditch us? But they can't do without us – Oracle


Re: Of course they're still spending...

"Sure, and when Amazon is the only retailer left, come and tell us how you are enjoying their prices, once they no longer have to undercut anyone."

In business, your profit margin is your competitor’s collateral. No-one could get backing to compete with Amazon, when it had 0% profit margin. If Amazon reaches a monopoly position and hikes its prices, competitors will rapidly emerge.

Select few to watch World Cup in 4K high dynamic range colour on BBC iPlayer


Re: Yeah...

Judging by current performance, Liberty will take F1 down-market until the sponsors quit, then sell it at a huge loss.

Ferrari and friends will start a new series.

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?


Re: Please also ask T May

The votes are in "being seen to do something about it". There are far fewer votes in "doing something effective".


Phase 2

OK, so you've got your magic impossible encryption.

How do you propose to make the black hats use it?

Chrome adblockalypse will 'accelerate Google-Facebook duopoly'

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Can Spam

Most advertisers are stuck in 1950's TV mode where you spam people as relentlessly as you can afford. This is no longer acceptable, and this is what Google is tackling. Advertisers need to recognise that targeted advertising is the only way forward. Facebook in particular has enormous capability to target ads, so that punters are unlikely to see ads for stuff in which they have no interest. Unfortunately for the advertising industry,this means sobering up and doing some work.