* Posts by Nick Gisburne

90 publicly visible posts • joined 23 May 2010


Privacy advocate challenges YouTube's ad blocking detection scripts under EU law

Nick Gisburne

No videos until you consent?

If you are required to consent to the ad blocker detection, could YouTube simply say 'if you don't consent to us running the code to detect ad blockers, we won't let you watch any videos'?

WTF is solid state active cooling? We’ve just seen it working on a mini PC

Nick Gisburne

"Frore is being cagey about the tech inside the AirJet"

So no patent then? Patents being freely available to view.

NASA names astronauts picked for next Artemis Moon test flight

Nick Gisburne

Re: what do you call...

Brazilnauts have to be cracked out of the capsule when they return. Unless they go up in a Space Shuttle, in which case they need a long but very narrow landing strip.

LLaMA drama as Meta's mega language model leaks

Nick Gisburne

"Getting the model up and running also isn't straight forward, unless you're used to handling systems of this kind, and repurposing it for more nefarious activities will also require further technical expertise"

Somehow I don't think the level of difficulty will dissuade the kind of people who engage in 'nefarious activities'. Technical expertise is not in short supply in the world of cyber crime.

Intel wants another €3.2b from German gov for Magdeburg mega fab

Nick Gisburne

Demand not there

"semiconductor demand has declined"

So why build another factory? If you'll only build it with German government money, and there's no demand for it anyway, well then don't build it.

I'm assuming the subsidies Intel are getting are just free money. If they were loans, that's not a problem, because a chunk of Intel's profits would pay it back. If it's just free money, Intel gets to keep any profits they make and the German government gets nothing.

If the banks won't give Intel free money, why do governments feel they need to do it?

Elon Musk tells Twitter: My takeover deal is back on

Nick Gisburne

You REALLY want me to buy you?

First impressions at this news is that Musk is thinking:

Okay, whether or not the price is good, I will OWN one of the world's most important communications platforms. If I've paid 5, 10, 15 billions more than I should? Whatever. It's all numbers. It's all Monopoly money. I will have Twitter, which gives me:

(1) The power (He-Man)

(2) The Force (Star Wars)

(3) The eyes of the world (Twitter)

I have so much money. I'll take it. You know you will regret this, right?

In other news, shares in popcorn just went up. Chomp. Chomp.

Bipolar transistors made from organic materials for the first time

Nick Gisburne

Re: Totally of subject

Brian Cox seems to be fine with his name, and Philip K Dick was reasonably successful, so maybe it's just you.

Chinese developers protested insanely long work hours. Now the nation's courts agree

Nick Gisburne

"Do you think never having to work 996 in your life is an honour to boast about?"

Yes it is. Of course it is. Why would anyone ever want those kinds of hours? I have never worked those kinds of hours and never will, and I will gladly boast about it. Time is more important than money.

Ancient telly borked broadband for entire Welsh village

Nick Gisburne

Re: Need a rubber hammer

It may my Yorkshire origins, but if anyone's device needs a gentle nudge, my catchphrase has always been:

"If in doubt, give it a clout"

Pope tells his followers to log off for Lent

Nick Gisburne

Vatican web site still up

The official Vatican web is still online, so he's obviously only half serious about this. No "closed for Lent" message then, Frankie? Whatever the Latin is for that.

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'

Nick Gisburne

Re: Women are more sexist than men

I think the point is that both of the following are sexist:

"Wear a short skirt to show your legs"

"Wear a long skirt to cover your legs"

It is the act of telling a woman what to show and what not to show which is the issue. "Dress smartly" is what they should have said. That would be open to interpretation, but at least it would not be telling women how much of their bodies they should be showing.

Go champion retires after losing to AI, Richard Nixon deepfake gives a different kind of Moon-landing speech...

Nick Gisburne

Re: AI Go.

New rules - you have to present your legal birth certificate for ID, shake hands with your opponent, and sit on a standard-sized chair at the game table, where you will be required to physically move your pieces without outside assistance. That should stop the robots competing... for at least a couple of months.

But seriously, why is he giving up because an 'entity' can beat him? The fastest female sprinter doesn't stop competing just because she will never beat the fastest male, who himself will never beat the fastest greyhound. You compete like for like, to be the best in your field. In Go, this man is the best HUMAN Go player.

Deepfake 3.0 (beta), the bad news: This AI can turn ONE photo of you into a talking head. Good news: There is none

Nick Gisburne

Only trust high quality video sources

From now on, we will have to assume that only high quality video sources are not faked, because the fakers cannot do 4K video, and maybe even good 1080p, convincingly. The fakers will catch up, but they will need to be an order of magnitude better to fool us - the more detail used by a video format, the more it can be analysed for forgery and fakery. Courts will presumably at some point no longer allow 'grainy' footage to be used as evidence, being too unreliable and easy to manipulate. Forensic tools will improve, and so will the tech needed to avoid them. It's an arms race. Interesting to see where this goes.

Google relents slightly in ad-blocker crackdown – for paid-up enterprise Chrome users, everyone else not so much

Nick Gisburne

Ads were fine - once

Ads used to be just that, something to display information about a service or product. They were boxes with basic information. You clicked if you were interested. That was it. Then they became horrendous 'suck the life out of every page' monsters, where on some sites you have to fight to know where the actual original web site's content is being displayed at all. Refresh, refresh, pop under, pop over, track, auto-video-play, spy, send data, follow to other sites... how does any of that translate to something any casual visitor of a web site really wants?

I get it, you want to fund the content, because content isn't free. But you made the experience so damned impossible to bear, and that's why we use ad blockers. Now Google, you want to take that away? Well let's see... can you just leave us with a popup which says 'this site is so plastered with ads you really don't want to go here'? We'll all be happy with that. We already get it - the anti-ad-blockers which tell you you can't come in unless you view the ads. If I see a site which says 'you absolutely cannot view this site without ads', I give it one try. If I can read the page and still ignore the ads (if they don't take over the whole experience), then I'll stay. If they crawl over my screen like a bad infection, I just won't go there again.

Come for the content, stay for the experience, leave because the ads take over and spoil everything..

We don't really need ad blockers, we just need something which tells us 'this site is impossible to use because the ads have taken over like a virus'. Either way, Google seems to be saying 'no chance' to that.

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

Nick Gisburne

Coffee with that sandwich

The coffee will ensure that you venti your spleen.

Self-taught Belgian bloke cracks crypto conundrum that was supposed to be uncrackable until 2034

Nick Gisburne

Re: relaunch the computation?

"How do you do all of that, not to mention write the actual calculation part, in "a few lines" of C or indeed any programming language?"

A few lines of C is anything less than a thousand

Nick Gisburne

No prizes for second place

"On course to crack the puzzle in just 61 days". File that under 'too late, it's been done', although presumably the new team's methods will be useful for applying to other problems.

Customers furious over days-long outage as A2 Hosting scores a D- in Windows uptime

Nick Gisburne

Servage.net is worse

Until very recently I was with Servage Hosting who have just had a mammoth 30-day email outage, with web sites down for half of that too. Check their Trustpilot entry for a lot of angry customers. Needless to say, I was one of them and left as quickly as I could.

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

Nick Gisburne

Office 365 no good in a leap year

There will be 366 days in 2020. Expect some down time.

A second preview of .NET Core 3? Shucks, Microsoft. You spoil us

Nick Gisburne

Standalone EXEs - what futuristic sorcery is this?

"We are working on making it possible to create standalone EXEs for desktop apps"

With the power of Microsoft we can all go back to where we were 30 or 40 years ago.

Ooo shiny! First Visual Studio 2019 sneak peek here in time for Chrimbo

Nick Gisburne

Age before beauty

I always prefer to use the previous version, at least until the next one is released. That way every tool and gadget I like to add will have no compatibility issues. Using VS 2015 now. Will probably shift to VS 2017 when this new one comes out, although even then only if there's a compelling reason to do so.

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Nick Gisburne

Dim advice by the dashboard lights

Someone I know, who looks a lot like me but definitely isn't me, drove a Vauxhall Corsa and over time the dashboard lights were getting dimmer and dimmer until finally they went off altogether. He was just about to take it in to be fixed when his significant other, who looks like my significant other but also definitely isn't, wondered if it was simply the dashboard dimmer dial (I believe that's the technical term for it). Not having heard of such a thing, he wondered where this was.

"Down by your knee."

He being 6'9" and driving a Corsa (I refer you to Hightower, Police Academy), his knee not only obscured the dial but regularly brushed against it, gradually dimming the lights. Once fixed, never forgotten, and constantly reminded of it.

I'd also once turned the fog lights on that way. Or he had. We no longer talk about it.

Bonus points: the red paint had faded to pink over the years. Loved that car, and I still see it parked outside my house on Google maps.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Nick Gisburne

Don't forget we had Darwin

I know we got rid of Darwin with the change to the plastic tenner, but he is certainly one of the most influential figures in science and history. I still remember the reactions of some American evangelicals, who were congratulating themselves on having 'In God We Trust' on their money, when I showed them that one of our notes had that pesky evolution bloke Charles Darwin on it. Minds blown.

Twilio tweaks twicky twalkative bot toows to dewight devewopers: It's Autopilot for chat apps

Nick Gisburne

Walter the Wobot would be pwoud

Judge Dwedd not so much.

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Nick Gisburne

Empty device + TeamViewer

Whenever I travel I just take a basic device (phone, tablet or laptop, whichever is most appropriate) with little of importance on it, and use TeamViewer to connect to my computer back at home. This has the added advantage that if I'm somewhere with slow WiFi I can still run software at full speed - it's running at home and TeamViewer essentially just sends me screen updates. It would be trivial to enter a country with a factory reset device, install and use TeamViewer once you get there, then remove TeamViewer (or factory reset for extra security) before you leave. You'll need to remember your TeamViewer codes, but nobody can ask you for those if you don't have TeamViewer installed at the border.

British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

Nick Gisburne

Pork pie!

The egg people say "Eggs are the perfect salad accompaniment", which by definition means they are not a part of the salad, just something to go with one. Me, I think a pork pie is the perfect salad accompaniment, but I will understand if the salad emoji doesn't show it. Wait, what? There is no separate pork pie emoji? You'll be telling me there are no Cornish pastie or black pudding emojis next. As for the pork pie with an egg in, that is simply an abomination - does it even have a name, let alone an emoji? Pig-egg pie?

In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Nick Gisburne

Re: Ads were better in the good old days

You think that's luxury? I've done tech support using a 300 baud modem (no k, just 300), in a corridor (because that's where the only spare phone point was) so cold that I had to bring my own electric bar heater to work. It was often just quicker and easier to drive to the customer site instead.

Nick Gisburne

Ads were better in the good old days

We had proper ads in my day. None of this video and scripting malarky, no dragging your browser and computer down to the point of death. No, they were good, solid rectangles, nothing more than an animated GIF with a quick link to a crappy product page if you liked it, or keep scrolling if you didn't. You could see the content and you could see the ads and (important this) you could tell the difference between the two. Now it can take 2 or 3 minutes to load a page, but in the good old days it took, well, 2 or 3 minutes. No broadband. But when you tell kids these days about 14.4k dial-up modems they just don't believe you.

Exclusive to all press: Atari launches world's best ever games console

Nick Gisburne

Re: Wowiee

Neither. I was merely pointing out that 'El Reg posts snark' is not something unusual, and particularly not something you need to cry about.

Nick Gisburne

Re: Wowiee

Two things:

(1) Have you read about the other crowd-funded old-time consoles/computers which never EVER materialise?

(2) Have you read The Register before?

If (1) then (2). Cynical and bitter is the perfect tone for yet another crowd-funded fart in the wind.

Star Paws: Attack of the clones

Nick Gisburne

Why clone any pet?

I've owned several dogs, and although they've all been the same breed (English springer spaniels), part of the joy of having each dog is that they were all very different, in both looks and personality. The only reason I can see for having a clone is that they would look the same and/or act the same. Yet I wouldn't want to be constantly reminded that my new companion looks just like the old one, but really isn't. Sam, Ralfie, Douglas... never replaced, just, er, a word that means I'll be looking for a new one eventually, but NOT a clone!

Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

Nick Gisburne

Updating Windows 10 to Windows 10 also has its problems

When updating to the 'Windows 10 Fall Creators Update', it decided that it didn't like the folder which contained my user information, so promptly changed a registry entry and pointed to an empty 'temp' folder - same username/password, different folder. Without knowing what it had done, it appeared that the update had wiped all my installed software and settings, and it took a number of hours before I (a) realised things were still there and (b) found what registry entry to change to get my login pointing to the correct folder again. A non-techy user would have had little chance of fixing it. This techy user did not appreciate waking up to a seemingly 'clean' Windows desktop and the prospect of getting my entire working environment re-installed.

Learned my lesson. I now have Windows Update scheduled for its next update several days in the future, which I constantly kick forward every few days. I'll update when I'm ready, thanks. Just AFTER I do a full system backup, in case it all goes tits up again.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Nick Gisburne

Single Point of Failure? No thanks

A single point of failure for every garage door? Wonderful. So if the company's servers go down, every customer's garage door will end up being stuck, closed (or open) for hours. Please tell me there's a manual override. There is? Then ditch the company before it has a blackout, and just open the door yourself, manually.

I really do not see the sense in everything being connected to the internet. My personal bugbear is the Hive-style heating nonsense. Wow, I can switch on the heating remotely before I get home? Is that a problem I've ever needed to be solved? Right now I get home early, the house is 5 degrees cooler than I'd like, I switch on the heating, it warms up. A basic timer caters for 99% of my needs. If I'm late, the house has been warmed up without me and the extra expense will probably not force me to re-mortgage the dog.

I certainly do not need to open my garage door from anywhere in the world. The only place I need to open it is when I am directly in front of it, probably driving up to it or out of it, but certainly not driving while looking at my phone and trying to find the correct app to open the door.

UK National Lottery data breach: Fingers crossed – it might not be you

Nick Gisburne

Watch out for the spam

Next up, the hordes of spammers telling you 'your lottery account has been compromised, please log into this entirely genuine server and type in your real details'. Which will probably catch out more people than the original breach.

User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Nick Gisburne

Re: Can you hold down the power button

When I looked it up it gave me something about jets in a carburetor, which is why I assumed it was a job for the garage mechanic. If you'd said water jets we'd have been on the same page immediately. The combined effect is that it's always necessary to communicate properly, so we're all conceivably right and wrong at the same time I suppose. But it's still good to vent about idiot end users :o)

Nick Gisburne

Re: Can you hold down the power button

"I'm looking at my keyboard and I can't see a key with "Enter" written on it."

Mine does say Enter, but I've had keyboards with the bent arrow there too, so I take your point. The real issue is that an IT manager should know what the Enter key does and where it is, even if there was nothing on it at all.

Thinking back, I may even have called it 'Return', but then I learned to type on typewriter, which had an actual carriage return. The whole thing happened in the 1990s, when I was doing tech support in a cold corridor over a 300 baud modem. Tell that to kids these days and they won't believe you :o)

Nick Gisburne

Re: Can you hold down the power button

You've told people not to use jargon, but I have no idea whatsoever what 'top-up the jets' means*. As far as I know, my car has a four-stroke petrol engine, no jet power in sight.

*I had a quick Google for it and I'm not much wiser. Unlike checking the tyres, it doesn't seem to be something the average car owner would want to do for themselves. Saying that 'power button' is jargon is the same as saying 'put the key in the ignition' is jargon. No, at some point you have to be aware of such fundamental terms to be a user of any kind of machinery or tech. Jets? As a driver I don't need to know about that - I drive the car, but I pay my garage to service it. And yes, I can 'check the tyres'.

I'd maintain that 'power button' is absolutely NOT 'jargon'. If someone is employed to use a computer at work all day, I'd hope that their standard of education is such that they can understand basic concepts such as that. He'd already 'asked her to turn it off and turn it on again', and she later said 'Oh you mean the button I use to switch it off with?' Neither 'turn it off' or 'switch it off' are 'jargon'.

I had an IT manager - a MANAGER mind you, of an office full of IT equipment and employees - who when told to type in something and press the Enter key said 'what's the Enter key?' Having to tell someone that it's the big key with 'Enter' printed on it was embarrassing for both of us. It's hard not to lose it in those situations.

Jargon isn't the problem. Some people are just morons who shouldn't have passed the interview for the job in the first place.


Nick Gisburne


Donald Trump + Mike Pence = #DonaldAndMickey

El Reg blows chow down at Justretch.com

Nick Gisburne

Ju stretch - worse than waterboarding

Ju stretch - a medieval anti-Semitic torture regime?

Philae comet probe got down without harpoons

Nick Gisburne

FSM for the win

Intelligent falling is thus proven and is no longer 'just a theory'

Psst: Heard the one about the National Pupil Database? Thought not

Nick Gisburne


Actually the legal obligation is that a child must be provided with an education. There is no legal requirement that the education must be provided by sending the child to a school. Education is compulsory. School is optional.


35 US states petition for secession – on White House website

Nick Gisburne

Children, children!

We lost so we don't want to play any more. Boo hoo.

Gay porn burglar must pay $150k for each grumble flick

Nick Gisburne

That's got to be painful

And the fine will hurt too.

Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Nick Gisburne

Pointless slap on the wrist

How many times have we seen the statement "The ISP was told that the advert must not appear again in its current form"? Since this invariably comes *after* the company's ad campaign has already ended, why bother at all? It's just a licence for anyone to start a short-term deceptive campaign, one which will already be over before they are criticised for it. Until financial penalties are imposed, this kind of warning will continue to be ignored. An ad with Usain Bolt and Richard Branson sat on the naughty step is what we want, at the very least :o)

Amazon accused of remotely wiping punter's Kindle

Nick Gisburne

So the only option is...

So now that she is no longer allowed to buy e-books from Amazon, presumably the only option is to find 'alternative' sources for these books. Alternatives which are not going to add any money to Amazon's coffers, or indeed to the pockets of the author. Spectacular fail there guys, you just sent a paying customer over towards the dark side.

Can she at least get a refund for the purchase price of her now-useless Kindle, and for the books which she can no longer access legally? I suspect not.

Mmmm, delicious new sugar batteries keep gadgets up all night

Nick Gisburne

From Li-ion batteries to Lion bars

What next, Wispa Drives?