* Posts by Clockworkseer

83 posts • joined 11 Mar 2010


Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe


Predictably, the leftpondian response has run the gamut from "goodgood" to "how dare the UK do something like this, this justifies the revolutionary war!"

We'll ignore the fact their Senate Committees can do more or less the same thing.

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90


I kind of feel sorry for Mr Rain (and not just because he's died.)

He has had the misfortune to die more or less at the same time as someone significantly more famous than he is, so he'll get shoved to the back of the line.

(see also; Farrah Fawcett/Michael Jackson, Mother Theresa/Princess Diana, Lauren Bacall/Robin Williams)

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges


"inside a city you don't need knives, unless they're stored in your toolbox, for your job - which usually aren't the knives best suited to kill people"

Actual Law Time: You may carry, without a good reason, a folding knife of blade less than three inches with no locking mechanism whatsoever. Anything else, you must have a good reason (or its banned outright if its certain kinds of knife.)

On a practical level, you re much more likely to hurt yourself with the first kind of knife than you are whatever you're hitting. Ain't nobody stabbing with something like that. Having one of those close on your fingers (the most likely result) is nasty.

Now, as to need: I know a reasonable number of disabled people who, for reasons of hand dexterity and other such conditions, find dealing with food and packaging while out and about significantly easier with some kind of sharp object. My work canteen has no sharp knives whatsoever, so actually cutting anything up as part of lunch is a massive chore. just because you can;t think of any good reasons for something like that doesn't mean there aren't any.

Most of the stabbings out there are either big fixed blade knives(which, you really don't need to carry around a city) small locking folders (the law is a little knee-jerk in this regard) and weapons of opportunity (kitchen knives, cleavers, etc, screwdrivers, anything sharp and pointy.) and those last few are something you'll never truly stop.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs


Re: The mewling quim vs the corporate hypocrite

"Pleased to see a few mentions of Loki's judgement of Black Widow. I was thunderstruck when I heard the phrase, and like others here, then realised I was about the only one in the audience who understood it. Whether I owed that to early exposure to Shakespeare or grammar school in Yorkshire, I cannot say."

Yes, that did make me smile.

Of course, Joss has form for this kind of thing. If you look back at Buffy, Spike sneaks an awful lot of British profanity in under the American radar

No, that Sunspot Solar Observatory didn't see aliens. It's far more grim


Given as I am to paranoia, aliens were never on my list of "reasons to shut the facility down."

To me it was much more likely someone had seen something military or government or somesuch that they really shouldn't have, and the closure was more cleanup.

Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early


Re: Rug Pulled by pissed off third party..

Well, that would be an Interesting Day.

Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork



Vodafone never really got fully over that billing fiasco. It doesn;t help that one of their most recent "innovations" is one of those fully voice-driven IVR systems where it asks you to say what you want to talk about.

To be fair, it did seem really apologetic when I called it an idiot machine because it didn;t understand what I was going on about.

The problem is, rather than me being able to run through the menu and find what I want (or not) it makes its best guess as to what it thinks I want. Which doesn't help where the thing you need to deal with is complicated enough that it isn't neatly pigeonholed into what it's been told to expect.

It's also made it exponentially harder to talk to an actual human being. the only way I could find to actually get through to anyone human was to tell it I wanted to complain, which puts you throught to a human fairly quickly.

all the bad points of an IVR combined with all the bad points of a speech recognition system.

The law of run Nintendo consequences: Sega brings out mini Mega Drive / Genesis


Re: So exactly what they've been letting AtGames sell for years?

I suspect an official Sega version will have any sound problems that crop up in emulation ironed out. Well, you'd think they will, anyway.

My PC makes ‘negative energy waves’, said user, then demanded fix


Re: Real waves

True, it is. Howver the only reason I had to was because the people tasked with the support job hadn't done it and just told him to buy a replacement (not "we'll send you a replacement" but "you must buy one.")

Tech support wasn't actually even remotely in my remit at that job, but I like to think I helped where I could (working around KPI's, call stats, and a SELLSELLSELL mentality.)

Hence glad to be out of there.


Real waves

I once had a legitimate case of "my router is hurting my brain."

I was working in the sales department for An ISP who provided A Wireless Router/Modem/Hub Type Thing. Got a call one day from a chap who'd been told to call us to buy a non-wireless modem from us by tech support, as the wi-fi from his was interfering quite badly with his Bone-anchored hearing aid.

Cue me spending a minute talking him through turning the wifi off on his router, saving him about £30 in cost and doing the job that tech support hadn't done.

Sort of glad I dont work there any more.

Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?


I always liked his work, but I can see the logic behind my exes criticism when I tried to introduce her to Snow Crash (which between babylonian mythology and poltiical sarcasm should have been right up her street) that he's a little too much in love with the sound of his own vocabulary.

The whole meta situation gets even more confusing when you ask the question of whether the material you are referencing exists in-universe. Characters in sci-fi movies directly referncing things like Star Trek and Star Wars as media that exist/existed.

Microsoft: Yes, we agree that Irish email dispute is moot... now what's this new warrant about?


Malicious Compliance

"Yes, we agree our old objection no longer applies, but as this is a new request, you must now jump through all our usual hoops again."

Like most things, the power can be used for good or evil (see also: filibustering.)




Equipment Smarter than Operator

'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'


That's the badger. I credit that with a lot of my interest in the word of science.


Went to one of those public/schools/fun lectures when I was at school, at what ended up being my Uni. The whole theme was "things wot go bang and make bright flashes" and didn't disappoint. The part that stands out in my mind though even after 25 years is the lecturer messing around with liqud oxygen (dipping digestive biscuts in it and setting them on fire was a good start) and saying thusly:

"Now this is pretty dangerous stuff, and the British Oxygen Company, who make it, won't give it to pyromaniacs like me. Here at the university, however, we make our own. and they WILL give it to pyromaniacs like me."

He then proceded to demonstrate oxyacetylene bubbles, fun things to dip in liquid oxygen and set on fire, and many more loud explosive things.

It was a fine time to be an impressionable youth.

Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped


Like FB, like google, and related others, as far as the DVLA is concerned, you are the product, not the customer in this scenario

The customer is the government, who are not known for encouraging leniency and common sense in bureaucratic tangles that affect the regular person.

Paris Hilton

Or then you get the situation that skewered us. Sell car. Send off V5 and give new owner their part.

DVLA claims no reciept of your half of v5. New owner doesn't bother sending their part off. Ring DVLA to point this out after getting letter about fine for not taxing vehicle which we hadn't owned for two months. get told to go on website to sort it out. Website says "you cannot do this online, you must phone us." Phone them, they try to charge £25 for a replacement v5 for a car we don't own. Send more forms off. DVLA claim not to have received them. Finally get these shenanigans sorted two months later when they admit we don;t owe them back tax for a car we didn't own, but still owe them the £80 fine for not taxing the car we didn't own. Continued shenanigans including appointing someone to speak on behalf of the car owner due to anxiety problems, having no problem working with that for the previous process, andthem suddenly claiming they can;t speak to the appointee due to not having explicit permission. Which they had.

Paris, because at least when she gets screwed, she gets something out of it.

Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?


"British cities that have tram networks (London, Edinburgh and Nottingham)"

Y'all forgot Sheffield.

To be fair, everyone else does.

Slapping crap bosses just got cheaper: Blighty's Supreme Court nixes tribunal fees


Re: Great and correct decision

Thats certainly how certain "newspapers" were spinning it. "Oh my god, bosses can now be flooded with hundreds of spurious claims. Won;t somebody think of the elite!"

Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers


"Option one: Sing " My god's better than your god" (the lyrics are out there, trust me - just can't remember them off the top of my head)"

As I recall:

"My god's better than your god,

and my god's bigger than yours

My god's coming round your god's heaven to show your god what for"

Glorious tuneage.

The old classic is "How did you get this number? Please stay on the line while we trace you No civilian should have this number."

Creators Update gives Windows 10 a bit of an Edge, but some old annoyances remain


"Option to install apps from Store only"

And next version, it will be "Option to be able to install non-store apps."

and then a version after that, the option will move to Advanced Developer Settings (like Android/iOS) and hidden from regular users.

Eventually... well, you get the idea.

Brit telcos will waive early termination fees for military personnel


Re: Quick, call them and get out!

At least back in 2007/2008 they were, although it was never really advertised as such. I imagine there used to be a lot of "managers discretion"

Lawyer defending arson suspect flees court with pants on fire


As a northerner

Really? for what value of "north?"

Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users


Re: "Mechanical Sympathy" and magic

I've actually used this for software fault diagnosis from time to time.

They try it with me watching, it works. Turns out that when you're watching, they slow down a fair bit so you can see they aren't messing it up because they don't want to be the one at fault. The actual fault is that when they're doing it normally, they're typing and flipping between screens and fields so fast that the software can't entirely keep up and does untoward things. Useful to know sometimes.


Re: Technomagic

"Any sufficiently advanced form of technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demonstration."

Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment


Agreed that that would be a... bad idea. Lets take someone who already dislikes authority, and punish them by forcing them to have combat and weapon training and put them through hardships. You either end up with a bad soldier who really doesn't want to be there (which messes with discipline and morale and could get people killed) or someone who gets washed back out of the military for the aforementioned reasons, and now is walking around in public with weapons training, and now resents you for putting them through it.

There's no possible way that could go wrong.

Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment


Surely that should be "unexpected funbag in item area?"

Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?


I worked for one of those Computer recycling schemes back around the early 2000's, that took old civil service (employment service mostly) desktops and reloaded them for the "Computers within reach" scheme they had back then, were if you were on certain benefits, you could get a computer for £60 or thereabouts.

My oddest memory is of finding a floppy disk in one of the drives in one of the 486's that we got sent (that we never used as we'd moved onto pentiums by that point) that had some anonymous civil servants complete set of musings, monographs, etc on how much he liked women in stockings, paying particular attention to a lady he spent some time with who may or may not have been his wife (in fairness, no way to tell either way.)

Very little of it was actually 100% smutty, but it was just so well and articulately written that it bordered on art. Nameless civil servant, I salute your dedication to your interests, and occasionally wonder if you ever missed the disk you lost.

BT's hiring! 500 more customer service folk to answer your angry calls


Also, they're ony technically going to hire them. As per BT usual form, they'll probably go via an agency, and get contract workers with worse pay and conditions than those on actual BT contracts, shovel them in, and see who sticks. They might hand out a few BT contracts a year to "top performers."

GoPro revenues skydive


Certainly wouldn't be the first company to create the market leading product, then sit back and coast on that success, only to notice too late that they aren't the only game in town any longer. Probably not the last either.

And! it! begins! Yahoo! sued! over! ultra-hack! of! 500m! accounts!


Its not about the hack. Those happen. Its about either

A) Them sitting on it for two years (assuming they knew about it)


B) Them not spotting it for two years. Which tells you everything you need to know about how much attention they pay to security.

Either way, calling them to account is legitimate.

Seroiusly, we know attacks and leaks happen. It's how the company responds afterwards that really shows you what they're made of.

Electrical box fault blamed for GS2 data centre outage


DRUPS. Flywheel UPS.Always running. The idea is when your main power kicks out, the flywheel keeps the power running and then the diesel generator kicks in to takeover the load. This means they have to have loads of them so they can afford to have a couple out of service at any given time for repairs (they take a fair bit more maintenance than battery systems, but seem to be preferred because of higher current output.

Wikipedia has a couple of good(ish) articles on the subject.

Conviction by computer: Ministry of Justice wants defendants to plead guilty online


Re: Ive got a solution...

"If you have an interview that needs a £20 train ticket that you cannot afford, then you need to ask yourself, can I afford the commute to this job?"

Y'all are aware that a £20 train fare may be perfectly affordable if you HAD the damn job? Now, back when I was doing this, there was a scheme where they'd pay your fares to get to an interview, which is probably fairer than a blanket "pay for all travel."

It is a strange truth that it's easier to get a job if you already have one (having to faff with holidays for interviews aside)

Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads


Also: no ads masquerading as something else. No ads under the guise of "Sponsored posts" "Suggested posts" things my friends have apparently liked, or articles.

If it's an ad, it should obviously be such.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashing under Avast antivirus update


Avast also breaks proper installation of Windows Subsystem for Linux, so that new shiny bash shell they've been touting doesn't work right.

Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung


Re: Blame It On A Transporter Malfunction

"Or why Ferengi (etc) couldn't just use replicators to replicate gold-pressed latinum (that would quickly make it worthless, but let's not tribble, I mean quibble...). Or "

I seem to recall they handwaved it as being unreplicatable, for whatever reason.

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd


Re: Fixed

No, not first. There's a poll making the rounds from yougov that suggests that 40%+ of brexit supporters polled believe that the whole thing is going to be fixed.

Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies


Unnamed Retailer

But from the description, may be a very Direct supplier of Sports goods?

The last shoes I picked up from there where while Karrimor still meant something.

Vodafone posts uptick in Europe but UK still a challenge


For my sins

I'm with Vodafone, both for mobile and home phone/BB. My experience with their customer service has generally been "godawful" with interspersings of helpful. The last couple of times I've spoken to them I've ended up speaking to a UK callcenter, which accelerated things tremendously, the overseas ones generally being neither use nor ornament. I haven't had a recontract go without incident since I've been with them. The most recent one they managed to overcharge me because there was a part month involved, and some parts of their billing system don't seem to be able to handle parts of months very well.Fortunately, in this instance, they were swift. The previous recontract they managed to completely forget to set me on a 4g tariff, despite me getting a 4g phone, and forget the discount they'd offered me (because nobody ever notes things down.) I'm mostly still with them for asorted obscure financial reasons, but I must admit, the last month or two, they have taken a significant upturn in my satisfaction with them.

Now they just have to work the bugs out of this new billing system they have.

What to call a £200m 15,000-tonne polar vessel – how about Boaty McBoatface?


Reminds me of the Gitwizard/David Blaine and his attempt to hang in a glass box over the Thames with no food. At which point the british public obligingly used remote control aircraft to drop cheeseburgers on the roof.

If there's a way to skewer excess dignity, the british public will find it.


It no longer matters what they officially call it.

As thanks to the publicity,it will now, in the public conciousness, be forever "<soandso> also known as Boaty McBoatface"

Microsoft Surface Book: Shiny slab with a Rottweiler grip on itself


Re: looks much cheaper

I mostly remember the estelle as the car that made my life an utter misery for several years (because, frankly, there were few worse thing about being a 12 year old than being the laughing stock of your entire school year because your parents bought a Skoda.)

Amazon launches Lumberyard beta, a free gaming engine, but there is a catch


Although you apparently can use it in a case of the Zombie Apocalypse..

From the T&C's

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

BT dismisses MPs' calls to snap off Openreach as 'wrong-headed'


There are other strands to the BT/OR issue, that aren't just to do with OR, and acccess to infrastructure.

I'm willing to bet that at least 50% of most customers (by which we mean end users) complaints as regards Openreach are based on some variation of the following scenario "We'll tell OR that this needs [activating/repairing/doing.] We'll let you know when they decide to do something. They say it's delayed. We can't get any information as to why, when it''ll be sorted, how you get it sorted. they will only speak to us, not you, and we can't push the issue with them." The complete lack of any accountability from OR for delays, timescales, information, anything.

Admittedly, this is at least somewhat down to the service providers, who seem to, as a general rule, be unwilling to try and hold OR accountable for their actions (convenient scapegoat ahoy) and hide behind the "we don't have any access to OR" rules, which leaves consumers feeling utterly powerless, when the company that's actually going to do the work isn't even contactable. At least with other utitlities where they subcontracted out, generally the contract means they actually have a measure of control. If the ISP's have any control, they mostly seem to be declining to exercise it, because it's no skin of their nose if OR screw up, as they can just go "not us, guv."

Divesting BT of OR may or may not help with issues of infrastructure access, investment and upgrading, but it probably won't fix the other issues with the system.

After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line


Depends on the hardware

I have an old compaq laptop that I make attempts every so often to throw linux at, alas, it seems that the new shiney open source nvidia drivers don't really handle some of the mobile nvidia graphics chipsets very well, so I have to faff arund with grub just to get the livedisk to boot, and then faff with blacklisting modules when I get the thing installed (and even then, it mostly just seems to break on loading X)

Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court


Couple of things that bother me

I must admit, as a taxi user, Uber does worry me for a couple of reasons.

1) Surge Pricing. Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that cab companies will make you pay more at christmas/new year/etc. But all of those changes are well advertised, I know they're coming and when, and can plan accordingly. Uber, as far as I understand it, I won't know whether someone's chosen to up the price until the journey is calculated at the time. Kind of buggers up planning a tad.

2) Insurance, safety etc. Proper insurance and safety stuff is part and parcel of getting the private hire plates/taxi plates. Is the safety training and insurance part of the whole Uber deal, or can any tom dick or asshole with a car and a phone sign up?

Otherwise, booing a taxi through an app and knowing what it'll cost before it starts is a great improvement.

Windows 10 climbs to 3.55 per cent market share, Win 8.1 dips


I'm now trying to work out whether I got the thumbs down because I was too nice about windows 10 or not nice enough?


Once I'd turned off the report back crap, things so far seem to have been progressing smoothly.

Actual Issues:

1) On install, it failed to detect my nvidia card properly until i rebooted a second time, after that it had no problems with the card. I rather suspect this was a side effect of the shennanigans with the nvidia driver update they had just prior to release. Been fine ever since.

2) One day, I attempted to sleep the system rather than shut down, as a test,and it just woke itself back up a few seconds later. Need to explore this now they've run through the first big update.


1) The white explorer backgrounds and toolbars. One of the first things I did was the colour toolbar hack. Still needs work in that area, but it's an irritation, not a showstopper.

2) The sheer lack of customisability (For example, anything pinned to the right hand side of my start menu will never appear in the most used programs section.)

3) Half the settings in one place, halfthe settings in the other.

4) the menu and heading text in modern apps is just way too large and can't be changed.

Good Stuff

1) It's rather faster on the same hardware than 7 was. Stability is good too.

2) No issues with hardware support aside from that nvidia niggle on the upgrade.

3) I've always been impressed with the windows 8.1 task manager screens, and this is one of those improvements that found its way into 10.

Shadow of the Beast: Amiga classic returns from the darkness


Re: Custom chips

Not just agnus, the uprated version was Fat Agnus, and the next uprated attempt was, yes, Fatter Agnus.

Along with the demise of Guru Meditations, I miss all the character from the amiga days.

BT set to undercut rivals with return to mobile biz


Hopefully better than Anywhere

Anyoen remember BT Anywhere? The last dregs of BT's mobile strategy previous to the EE thing.

"We'll give you a substandard phone for a large payment, and tell you you get inclusive calls. What you'll actually get is a small minutes allowance like a much cheaper normal mobile contract, and set it so that it switches to our VOIP when you're near one of our public wifi hubs."

Gods that sucked.



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