* Posts by Spamfast

270 posts • joined 23 Jun 2010


A real go-GETTR: Former Trump aide tries to batter Twitter by ripping off its UI


Re: chmod 777

chmod 777 allows everyone to read and write

And execute .. very Republican.

Tesla Autopilot is a lot dumber than CEO Musk claims, says Cali DMV after speaking to the software's boss


Re: I don't get it

Is it really sociopathic to think about the spouse and kids, or is society prepared for a bunch more widows and orphans?

Wow, I'm impressed. Invoking 'think of the children' to justify dangerous driving. What about the children and those of the adults killed in the accidents caused by driving too fast?

Rather than risking having to drive dangerously to meet my commitments, I factor in contingency if it really is that important to my livelihood or the lives of my loved ones. If road conditions were so dire that even this didn't work I still wouldn't take risks as I'd have a good justification for missing the appointment. At the end of the day I would like to think my loved ones would prefer me to lose employment or money than risk losing my life. "Better late than never."

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Re: I don't get it

Ask yourself this: if you were in danger of missing a plane (or train, or whatever), would you (a) press on, turning up the spatial awareness so that you can stretch the rules a little bit on speed limits, or (b) accept that the computer won't go any faster no matter what.

If (b), which is a perfectly valid choice, why have a private car at all?

If (a) then you're a self-admitted criminal sociopath who considers your own desires more important that others' safety. You've also admitted that you don't pay attention when you normally drive.

The (a)s shouldn't even have driving licenses, let alone private cars and are likely to be a menace when being a pedestrian too. Just take a taxi door-to-door when you need to leave the house, eh?

Beyond video to interactive, personalised content: BBC is experimenting with rebuilding its iPlayer in WebAssembly


Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

The last time I checked the commercial channels need a TV licence. That includes watching live sport on Amazon.

That 'live' is the important bit.

If you do not watch any live broadcasts and you don't watch anything on BBC iPlayer you do not need a TV license.

So if you take down or remove the cable from your aerials and satellite dishes and only use the catch-up services from ITV, Channel 4, Five etc. you are not obliged to pay the license fee.

I believe that in days of yore you had to pay if you owned equipment that was capable of receiving live TV broadcasts regardless of whether you did or not. To have solid grounds against CCJs people resorted to bunging up the aerial inputs with resin or unsoldering them.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site


Re: LinkedOut.

The Daily Mash has LinkedIn covered here.

Also, despite having turned off all public access to my profile, how come recruiters can still find me on there?

Think this has now spurred me on to delete my account...

Thanks all.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain


Colour me annoyed.

Given that a larger proportion of the population have some form of colour-blindness than are, for example, left-handed, perhaps more web sites should have a 'view in greyscale' option? Provided of course that it's been tested for usability.

I could then use them on my old monochrome X terminal running an OSF Motif themed UI. :-D

Mullet over: Aussie boys' school tells kids 'business in the front, party in the back' hairstyle is 'not acceptable'


Re: Traditions?

Australia isn't old enough to have traditions; they merely have habits.

Don't you mean 'previous'?

Semi-autonomous cars sales move up a gear with 3.5 million units leaving forecourts


I'll send flowers...

transport expert Christian Wolmar previously describing fully autonomous driving as an over-hyped pipe dream

I'm glad I'm not the only sceptic commenting here or in the industry.

The simplest form of passenger transport to automate is the train - brakes & throttle control only and track section occupancy managed centrally and backed with automatic emergency brake systems between the tracks & vehicles. Yet as far as I know there is not one autonomous open ground passenger train service that runs at speeds above a walking pace anywhere in the world. (Underground & elevated systems are not 'open ground'.)

If it were safe to do so, train operators would have had no problems getting recent UK governments to allow them to replace all those annoying RMT drivers!

Grotesque soundbyte alert: UK government opens wallet to help rural areas get 'gigafit'


Re: Money-go-round?

Even better value if they don't actually spend it.

Oh don't worry. They'll spend it. It's not like it's their money they're spaffing - look at Test & Trace.

As per normal, they'll give it all to BT who will use some of it to upgrade the profitable bits of their network and the rest to give to upper management as productivity bonuses.

Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles


Re: Mock tech-knocking as much as you like ...

Ways of getting very wealthy, in descending order of success rate:-

1. Arrange to have very wealthy parents.

2. Arrange to have wealthy parents, a little luck and sociopathic tendencies.

3. Start with very little, have a large amount of luck and be a highly talented functional psychopath.

4. Win a mega-lottery.


Re: Job titles!

"Fruit juggling" often goes down well, as does "Wombat Tester".

Oh Mr Dabbs! What have you done?!

Now I'm going to have to accept all those LinkedIn invitations from recruiters who have fabulous job opportunities for me at half my current rate.


Magic Boots

Every month or some some gullible journo at the BBC (and sadly at New Scientist who I'd hope might know better) reports on another revolutionary way of extracting energy from footfalls, arm waving, gastric juices, farting or whatever - usually with some meaningless statement such as "the system was able to produce more than three volts of power".

I don't understand how the 'bio-tech researchers' (Head of Biokinetic Energy Engagement, anyone?) get funding given the basic thermodynamic impossibility of getting worthwhile amounts of power from a person's unrestricted day to day activities.

My favourite, which keeps coming back, is powering the street lights from the pavement. I have an image of pedestrians bumping into each other negotiating a surface with the consistency of a meter's depth of foam rubber with a few flickering overhead LEDs.

Realme 7 5G: Parents, this is the phone you should have got your kids for Christmas


I've never in my life paid more than £150 or so for a phone, and never had any of the problems the reviewer talks about.

I've payed £300 but Up Vote!

Phone screens & cameras are now better than my eyesight. CPUs, GPUs, RAM & flash have outpaced anything a phone needs to do. (I don't play games and I can only watch one video at a time using one pair of earphones.) I've yet to see a real-world use case that requires 5G. Wireless charging is fun but a USB C cable is easier to carry than a charging pad and not exactly difficult to use. (You can use your phone while it's charging too!)

I'm planning to spend £1200 on a new work laptop this year because I can justify the build time saved but for everything else I'd be happy with the £500 quid one my other half bought last year.

The idea of paying a grand or more for a phone is bananas.


Re: Battery

Dual SIM? Sorry, who needs that exactly?

People who don't want to lose connectivity in less well served places or when one of the carriers has a spasm?

People who spend significant amounts of the year in another country?

People who like to keep work & private communication partitioned?

IBM repays millions to staff after messing up its own payroll


Rates of pay difficult or complex ??? Then why has no worker been accidentally overpaid?

Upvote because you beat me to it.

Banks are the same. They claim mistakes are bound to happen from time to time - which is true of course - but never explain why mistakes in their favour far outweigh mistakes in the customers'.

We all know but it might be refreshing if they occasionally fessed up that they're way more focused on the upper management's remuneration than the customers' interests - or even the shareholders'. ("USR shitting on the little guy".)

Climb every mountain, wsl --mount every Linux disk in latest Windows Preview

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Re: Alternatively

So I install Microsoft's half-assed half-hosted/half-bare-metal hypervisor in order to run multiple OSes. But I can't do anything with the Windows instance that is hosting Hyper-V otherwise all the others will stop.

Have you ever tried uninstalling Hyper-V after installing it to try out WSL2? I don't recommend the experience.

Think I'll stick with a proper bare-metal hypervisor if I want that or VMwW or VBox for Windows-hosted, thanks. (Which, despite post facto patching - thanks for the warning, MS - still seem to run poorly with Hyper-V enabled.)


Re: Dual boot is so 1991

I came to realise that computers were better off just running until the next service pack came out

I'd ask if you are tripping if it wasn't for your moniker.

So your philosophy is "fuck my decendants"?

If a desktop machine isn't doing something useful, turn the bloody thing off. At the wall.

As a bonus, with none of the transformers for the monitors, desktop USB hubs, switches & PC consuming juice and making the aircon work harder, you save money.


Re: Not till hell freezes over.

Upvoted because I agree.

But realistically, the most common pattern on desktops in most organizations is Linux running in a VM on a Windows PC since even developers' machines are required to be running the corporate-approved flavour of Windows as domain members with whatever daily changing and never pre-tested group policy and flaky AV shenanigans the IT drones engage in to justify their existence.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS


Re: Stupid millennials

Where's the Oxford comma in “Highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.”

“Highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod, and a dildo collector.” contains an Oxford comma.

By your measure though, it's still ambiguous because it could still be two or three highlights. What should I do - put two commas after "Mandela"?!

I don't need an Oxford comma to rule out Nelson being divine or ancient because I'm not superstitious and I haven't been living in a cave for the past fifty years so I know that he was a person and that people can't be demigods and don't live to 800. This means that the sentence must be referencing three highlights not two or one. One has to be sensible about when something might need a clearer formulation!

An Oxford comma is easy to miss so something that is genuinely ambiguous may still require a double-take even if it has one. If you need to use a screen reader it can be even more confusing.

As for infinitives & prepositions then when I'm writing a CV, product brief or grant proposal you're damn right I avoid split & trailing ones respectively. I've been on both ends of the processes in question and believe me, weeding out the submissions with poor grammar is usually done early on. If you can't be arsed to get that right I have to question your commitment.


Can't we just go back to OSF/Motif on greyscale monitors and be done with all this?


Really addressing the big problems there.

Well, that gave me a chuckle, Bob. Ta.

I always fall back on the classics in these circumstances.


Re: Stupid millennials

I use it, and frequently so. I like. Have an up-vote.

What sad fate of the Oxford comma? As an editor of scientific papers, I use it every day. It has the potential to remove ambiguity and never creates it. No brainer. Most journals I work with even require it.

It's a poorly written sentence that relies on an Oxford comma to disambiguate between meanings that are both plausible in context.

Now, donning my asbestos writing gloves, where do we stand on the possessive apostrophe? Would pedants like us be happier if it were abolished so we wouldn't have to rail against greengrocers' signs?

Discuss ...

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle



When you were calling several BBS's (sequentially until an answer)

Let's play ... Global Thermonuclear War.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much


Re: petty power

I'll get my arseless chaps

I'll have to check my old VHS tapes of The Virginian but aren't all chaps arseless? (The chaps in the British & US governments who are nothing but arses notwithstanding.)

If you're writing code in Python, JavaScript, Java and PHP, relax. The hot trendy languages are still miles behind, this survey says


Re: Gotards

Thanks. Glad I'm not alone.

I'm also sick of UML - seems mostly to be a tool for selling expensive graphics packages and training courses.


Re: JavaScript isn't just client side anymore

Upvote because in a former life I used to consult on web app development and I found LAMP (or preferably LAPP) way better than, say, ASP/SQL-Server/IIS.

But I've come to the conclusion that for net server stuff Python is much better. The syntax especially variable notation in PHP feels very clunky these days. Too reminiscent of trying to write production code in bash or Perl.

I've not tried but Javascript, Ruby etc are probably nice too - anything with sensible syntax and low amounts of punctuation.

I'm very jaundiced about a lot of the frameworks for JS/TS though - a gazillion lines of boilerplate code just to do the web equivalent of "hello, world" seems a bit OTT.

But then I come from a 1980s and/or embedded viewpoint - when you care about the RAM & bandwidth you get a bit antsy.


I can send you a 16mm cine film of the galvanometer readings if you send me a self-addressed jiffy bag.


Re: JavaScript isn't just client side anymore

Java client-side is a dead end security nightmare.

Java server-side always ends up being some sort of oh my god I need ten times the compute resources crazy town.

Java should be taken outside the back of the shed and put down.

Or if a place is infested, nuke from orbit.


I wonder what purpose they really serve other than keeping academics and training companies in business.

As the kids almost certainly don't say, "Preach!" *high five*

I struggle to understand the point of Haskell, Typescript or type hint notation in Python.

The whole point is loose typing - it's up to the callee to decide what to do with the arguments.


What's all this digital nonsense?

I can wire you up something to solve your problem using a few op-amps and passives - and it'll draw a fraction of the power.



Where the hell are Malbolge & Brainfuck?

Vodafone: Yes, we slurp data on customers' network setups, but we do it for their own good


If you haven't built it yourself, don't trust it.

My ISP's router is on the same network as exactly one device - my border NAT firewall. Inside that our phones & Chromecast-type stuff are on a DMZ network separate from my compute gear.

Unfortunately, Joe Q P hasn't been given the understanding as to why this is prudent in the same way as he doesn't understand why posting his child's entire upbringing on Facebook is A Bad Idea™.

I'd still like to see the ISP's execs nailed to the the wall but it's never going to happen in the current political climate.

Quantum compute boffins called up to get national UK centre organised for some NISQy business


Re: Kinda superb, but.....

Ta for the info.

Must be a timing thing with the web/app thing then.

Or my subconscious bias.

Right with you on the dumbing down. Glad we still get the shipping forecast on R4 in the morning - it gives a much better idea of what's in store.


Re: Kinda superb, but.....

what MPs spend their expenses on

Generally a young intern and a pied-à-terre in which to discuss Ugandan Affairs.


Re: Kinda superb, but.....

Agree with AC about the Met Office being pretty good.

But the BBC now source their forecasts elsewhere I believe, the Met Office having lost to a more competitive bid, and their web site & app seem to be more accurate than the Met Office's.

What's with that?

In any case, my grandma had a perfect record regarding meteorological prognostication. "It'll either rain or go dark before morning."


Re: Kinda superb, but.....

£93 million for QC research ...

... £100 million per year for British MPs' expenses.

Just MPs' expenses - total running costs of the Houses Of Parliament including MPs' remuneration & expenses for the scum, sorry, cream of society who occasionally deign to appear in the other place is in the 10-to-the-ninth order of magnitude.

Also, we're about to spend £10 billion refurbishing the Palace of Westminster, estimated. (*hollow laugh* HS2, Holyrood, etc, etc.)

If we knocked it down and built a new one that's more fit for purpose I'm sure it could be done for a couple of billion - less if they built it in Birmingham or Manchester which would massively reduce the average commute for MPs & peers, and hopefully their expenses claims.

I seem to remember that the initial demolition was attempted free of charge once.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now: Brexit tea towel says it'll just be the gigabit broadband


Re: Drying

High speed air blade type dryer about 30 to 40 seconds and no need to rub your hands together.

You must be using the AirBlade Mk10000 then.

No blade-style dryer whether by Dyson, Mitsubishi or anyone else I've ever tried to use dries my hands effectively before I've given up in frustration.

As discussed elsewhere here, the ones that are even halfway effective are unbelievably loud.

Because you can't rub your hands together you can't tell when/whether they are dry.

Rubbing one hand over the other when using a conventional hand dryer spreads the remaining water out and therefore increases the area over which evaporation is occurring, speeding up the process no end.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - James Dyson patented a quite good way of designing a vacuum cleaner back in the day by using an already well-known way of separating solids from fluids by centrifugal/centripetal forces. Everything since is sheer bull and ludicrously overpriced. (Two hundred & fifty quid for a desk fan? With Bluetooth? Digital motor? Quatsch!)

The people who buy consumer Dyson products buy them for the same reason they buy iPhone, Lacoste & Burberry - for the name.

Dyson commercial products are chosen for the same reason - to try to make the visitors to the site think that the company is affluent and "cutting edge".

The consumer stuff isn't even very well made - I've got acquaintances who've been through four of five Dyson vacuums over the period I've owned one Samsung that cost less than a hundred pounds and still works perfectly. Some of them even keep buying Dyson while bitching about how flimsy they are.

Go figure.


SLS goes vertical at Stennis while NASA practises SRB stacking


old Scifi flicks with rockets landing fins down (cf Forbidden Planet for eg)

Are you comparing as a counter-example or straight up? United Planets Cruiser C-57D in Forbidden Planet is a flying saucer. When landing it has some sort of energy field. No fins that I can see.

The only other ship mentioned is the Bellerophon but we don't get to see that, since it blew up twenty years before.


Anyone know why, in this day and age, you're quoting thrust values in pounds?

Oh yes, to quote AFF, "Americans can't handle the metric system."

Pound isn't even a unit of force - it's a unit of mass. (And it's different in different systems just to add to the confusion.) The unit you need is lbf - which is the force experienced by an avoirdupois pound of mass under the influence of an arbitrariliy chosen strength gravitational field.

Get with it guys. Almost the whole of the rest of the world uses SI units for science & engineering. They are unambiguous and make the arithmetic much easier, you know?

Jeez - even the Brits have mostly switched to sensible units. (Although if you're asking, I'd rather have a pint than half a litre of beer, thanks.) ;-)

Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access


He-he. And I thought I was old.

Thanks gramps.


Access? Pah!

Anyone else remember coding dBase III?

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin


Re: Ingenious

Stephen Fry saying "Handy" in a German accent is fantastic TV.

Was quite funny, yes.

In the same vein, I remember an episode of Friends where Lisa Kudrow takes the piss out of an American acquaintance back from a stay in England insisting on calling her cellphone a "mobile". (Along with using "bugger" & "arse".)

(Demonstrating my age there, along with the fact that I don't get to choose the TV channel!)


Re: Ingenious

neunundneunzig alte telefone

Erm ... "neunundneunzig alte Handys" please.

It's a bit of a cheesy loan word but it's pretty ubiquitous.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it


Re: bah

If I could up-vote more I would.

This episode of Black Mirror sucks: London cops boast that facial-recog creepycams will be on the streets this year


can someone clarify the law. is it a crime in the UK to take a (camera phone, for eg) pic of a policeman in a public place?

IANAL but as far as I am aware It is not a criminal offence to take a picture of anyone or anything if you're doing so from a public place. (With caveats about creepy stuff through bedroom windows etc.)

However I wouldn't recommend it as the police in the UK routinely arrest people and/or steal or vandalise their cameras for perfectly legal photography of policemen or what they deem to be sensitive sites.

Some determined victims occasionally manage to get a successful prosecution but it usually just results in an empty demand from the judge for the force to train its staff better and maybe a fine or a tiny bit of compensation - which is payed using our money of course - but individual officers almost never get even a reprimand, let alone dismissal or personal prosecution for theft, damage or unlawful imprisonment.

(I'm sure most coppers are reasonable people but it sometimes seems that they are more likely to be subject to dismissal or prosecution for ratting out their colleagues' illegal behaviour or for refusing to break the law when ordered to by their superiors than for actual misbehaviour.)

Black Helicopters


Fills me with confidence that the ICO uses technically correct but strained cobblers like "in forthcoming days" to mean "soon".

The ICO seems to be going the way of the FCC, ICANN, OffCom etc. - in the pockets of those it's supposed to be policing.

Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole


Re: It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

Another one that particularly annoys me is Picasa.

That was such a good product - the geo-tagging and face recognition interfaces were really easy to use even for non-techies.

But because it could work entirely stand-alone Google axed it in favour of its crappy online ("let us look at all your personal photos") service.

By the way, SWMBO keeps badgering me for something that works just as well on Windows 10 (and preferably online too but that's not crucial).

Any suggestions, folks?

Beer necessities: US chap registers bevvy as emotional support animal so he can booze on public transport


Re: No beer on the train?

In Germany, you generally aren't allowed to drink beer on city S- and U-Bahn trains but it's fine on the IC/ICE inter-city services. ICEs often have a proper bar selling decent bottled beers like Veltins to drink there or take back to your seat if you've neglected to bring your own.

However they've started banning alcohol consumption on the cross-country RegioBahn services in some Bundesländer which are unfortunately the ones I use most. (ICEs are lovely but they cost way more than the red ones and I'm a bit of a skinflint.) Schade, as they say. :-(


Re: Came that reptile!

my Burmese python, and we adored one another

I like snakes too but I suspect it was merely humouring you in the hope that one day it'd get big enough to get you down in one. ;-)

I don't adore my Ringwood Fortyniner but I'm very fond of it, to get back on topic.



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