* Posts by Kubla Cant

2518 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Not the Wright stuff: Bitcoin 'inventor' loses bid to sue YouTuber who called him a liar

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Judges names

And rather later Beachcomber, who frequently reported events in the court of Mr Justice Cocklecarrot.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Kubla Cant Silver badge

"We are in possession of a great deal of technical information, with plenty of back-up historical research

They researched the Battle of Hastings, Magna Carta, the Wars of the Roses, the Spanish Inquisition, the Corn Laws... what more could you want?

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: What 5G ?

This led me to check a 5G availability map or the UK and I don't see any 5G in the Glastonbury area

Don't people in Glastonbury normally communicate using magic crystals and ley-lines?

Wanna force granny to take down that family photo from the internet? No problem. Europe's GDPR to the rescue

Kubla Cant Silver badge


Georgia, for example, has a law that forbids any photography of a minor by a registered sex offender without consent from the child's parents

"Good afternoon, I'm a registered sex offender, and I'd like to photograph your children. May I have your consent?"

Chicago: Why I just grin like a dork... It's my kind of Bork

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Jumped up quiche?

Black pudding is a delicious food. Deep pan pizzas are just a way to increase profits by reducing the ratio of (expensive) topping to (cheap) dough.

The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

Kubla Cant Silver badge

"an ill-advised redesign"

It's a nice afternoon for a rant, so I'll take the opportunity to sound off about the abomination that Micros~1 have made of the solitaire patience games in Windows 10.

Today it starts with a hideous banner announcing "National Solitaire Day" and encouraging me to play as many games as I can. "Get Double XP EVERYWHERE!", it screams (capitalization sic). I thought Windows XP was obsolete. And why would I want it doubled? "Visit Facebook to see how close we are to beating the record!!" - an invitation I find easy to resist.

I always elect for random deals, because that's how card games are supposed to work, Micros~1. But it insists on progressing me through "levels". So the random deals at Level 31 are harder than those at Level 1, are they? How do you know, if they're random?

Worst of all, of course, are the ads. Micros~1 seem to have worked out my age by spying on me, or maybe they just conclude that a taste for solitaire patience is a symptom of senility. So I'm sent ads for funeral services and teasers about things for "seniors". They think I'm susceptible to local enthusiasms: "People in St Ives are going mad for this smartwatch | funeral service | life insurance". I assume this is a lie. And there's a bizarre category that shows a picture of some long-forgotten celebrity with a link that says "You'll never guess what X looks like now!". True enough, but why should I care?

It would be bad enough if they just showed the kind of ads you see on TV or in print, but the solitaire patience ads have a distinctive intimate wheedling tone that I find especially obnoxious. I'll certainly never buy any of the stuff they're promoting, and as for the funeral services, I'd sooner be dead.

Windows Terminal hits the big 1.0: Fit for production?

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: A terminal program?

Intrigued, I searched for kitty. All I got was endless cat pictures. I suppose I should be glad it wasn't called pussy.

Berlin's renowned nightclub scene is showing signs of life. Just one problem: No dancing

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Guests and staff will be required to wear the now-ubiquitous face mask.

At the same time as eating pizza and drinking beer? This I have to see.

We're going underground, and this time it's not an inebriated banker crapping themselves, but Transport for London

Kubla Cant Silver badge


The default browser on the corporate Windows build is IE11 - seven years old and doubly superseded. Every time it starts up it displays that stupid message about removing add-ons to speed up browsing. Other browsers just get on with it, but IE has to waste time putting the blame for its crapness on somebody else.

The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Windows that won't resize :(

Not an error message, but I can't miss a chance to complain about the box used to edit Windows environment symbols. The one that mostly needs editing is the path, which on many systems is about half the length of War and Peace , but you're given a titchy little box to work in.

Eclipse boss claims Visual Studio Code is an open-source poseur – though he would say that, wouldn't he?

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Nicely balanced article

The Stack Overflow survey results are more than a little weird.

No insult intended, but vim isn't really a development environment that is comparable with IntelliJ (both on 25.4%). Notepad++, which is more popular than either, is a handy tool that I use quite often, but I've never thought of it as a development environment.

And there's something odd about the dominance of Microsoft tools. I'm sure Java is more widely used than C#, but Visual Studio is more popular than the three main Java IDEs.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: 'Deny Friday' ?

Maybe you should take some time to reflect on why you can be triggered so easily, eh?

Maybe you should take some time to learn about irony?

Lords: New IR35 off-payroll tax rules 'riddled with problems, unfairnesses, unintended consequences'

Kubla Cant Silver badge

just as you consider holiday pay and sick pay as benefits then a permie might consider being able to work only half the year and saii in the southern hemisphere during winter as a massive benefit

An employee benefit is something that you get in addition to your normal remuneration. I've never seen a contract that offers sailing (in either hemisphere) in addition to a daily rate, and I don't suppose you have, either. A contractor who chooses to work only half the year is sacrificing half a year's pay. Any holiday taken is paid for out of taxed income.

It's a sad fact that some people's work is more highly paid than others'. Tax regimes that aimed to do more than slightly moderate this disparity haven't generally worked out well.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: It didn't affect us

Back in the 60s, a friend who occupied a cottage on a twisty lane was woken early one morning by the sound of a commuter rolling his Mini on to its side in the front garden. The driver got out, called "Sorry, can't stop - see you later", pushed the car back on to its wheels and drove off. He returned to offer compensation for the damage that evening.

Around the same time, I knew someone who swore that the easiest way to underseal* a Mini was to put something soft on the ground and turn it on its side.

* Cars of the day were apparently made of Weetabix compressed to look like steel. If they got even slightly wet they disintegrated.

Singapore's corona-crushing superhero squad grounded by football fans

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: You'll never walk alone...

Don't care who wrote it or which football clubs espouse it, that song is maudlin trash.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: "Hopefully he also added a bit of text along the lines"

The mantra with many operating systems is "If it completes silently, it worked"

In the long-ago world of 24-line terminals, the last thing you want is to scroll valuable history off the top of the screen to accommodate the output from some chatty utility.

$ cd ~

We are now in your home directory.

Have a nice day!


Remember the hatred for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation doors with Real People Personalities.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels

Kubla Cant Silver badge

For a good look try the Apple computer fitted with the Campagnolo wheels.

Reg fashion special: Top designer says 'video chat accessories' are in for spring!

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: A quick descent

I expect "Business mullet" will be what I end up with after being stuck at home for three months without a haircut.

Salesforce publishes self-themed activity book to keep your kids ‘Appy

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Crossword clue

Some crossword clues are quite fun, such as “Leonard McCoy’s nickname”

I'm struggling with this. "Leonard McCoy" is an anagram for "demonocracy", but there's an unused L, and no whole-meaning component.

Apostrophe S is often used to introduce ambiguity between "is" and the possessive, so this may be meant to be read as "Leonard McCoy is nickname". Perhaps there's an anagram that means nickname?

"McCoy" could mean "real"?

"nickname" anagrams to "mink acne", but how does that fit?

No. No idea.

What's the difference between Windows 7 and a bin lorry? One is full of garbage, and the other… oh dear

Kubla Cant Silver badge

we're not entirely clear what rem StartCOM10Check.bat is intended to do

I'd guess the batch file has its name in a comment at the top so you can tell what's running. But the path under which the batch is invoked in the previous line seems to start with an underscore, so that isn't actually its name.

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Bad Blood

Agreed, Bad Blood is a terrific book. I'm surprised you found the picture of Holmes attractive. The best that might be said of her is that she's a tragic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. But she seems to have been an obnoxious employer and a thoroughly deceitful business person.

UK government puts IR35 tax reforms on hold for a year in wake of coronavirus crisis

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: So they know it’s damaging...

I think the disease is COVID-19. "Corvid-19" is some kind of crow.

Deliveroo UK adds 'Don't interact with the help' option for when ordering a burger

Kubla Cant Silver badge

@anon - You've missed the point. Unless you're an unusually offensive person, it's possible to wish someone would leave you alone without actually telling them so.

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

Kubla Cant Silver badge

I thought the same, but I think the story describes an attempt to run all the workstations from a single network folder.

The first PC network I set up consisted mostly of diskless workstations booting off the network. The server mapped the MAC ID to a 1.2Mb read-only network resource - you could just about fit a Windows 3.1 on a disk that size. The main problems were instability resulting from the need to shoehorn the network stack into extended memory, and the excruciatingly slow performance caused by keeping the paging file on a network drive.

Broken lab equipment led boffins to solve a 58-year-old physics problem by mistake

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Weren't they called blood oranges because they were smuggled to fund civil wars? Or am I thinking of something else?

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

Kubla Cant Silver badge

A few days ago everyone in the office where I work received an email asking them to clear their desks because the cleaners would be using a special anti-coronavirus spray on them. The odds and ends at the back of my desk had been there for some time, so removing them exposed a thick layer of dust.

I can report that the cleaners have apparently managed to apply the magic prophylactic spray every day this week without disturbing the dust.

So it's not always the cleaners that do it.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Not just cleaners

is the Vax the server or the vacuum cleaner?

When I first saw a Vax vacuum cleaner I commented on the hubris of a manufacturer apparently naming a humble domestic appliance after the VAX. Twenty-five years on, and not only is the VAX no more (superseded by the Alpha, and who knows what since), but DEC has followed it into oblivion. Meanwhile, the Vax keeps sucking.

Borklays soz for the ailing ATMs but won't say if fix involved a Microsoft invoice

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Barclays are rubbish

PCI DSS compliance

Nice to know that the Department of Social Security is monitoring Peripheral Component Interconnect bus standards.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

Kubla Cant Silver badge

But are they networked?

If they aren't, then the "cost of providing secure Virtual Private Network to 2,000 Windows XP laptop users" is money down the drain.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: "...simply due to a lack of funds..."

Some do, maybe. But I believe many barristers in criminal practice are miserably paid these days.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Maida Vale Studios

I used to live round the corner from these, and I'm pretty sure it's a converted roller-skating rink, not ice rink (unless the BBC occupies more than one converted rink in W9). Actually, I suppose a thawed-out ice rink is pretty much a roller-skating rink anyway.

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

Kubla Cant Silver badge

You can't get there from here

I seem to recall some computer* that only had a single floppy drive from which it booted. When running, the system would control the floppy, allowing programs to eject disks when they needed to. If you wanted to do so yourself, you clicked a desktop icon or something. The drive would eject as part of an orderly shutdown.

The problem, of course, is what happens when the thing is unexpectedly powered off with a non-boot floppy in the drive. No doubt there was a simple way to get it out that was well-known to experienced users of these computers, but when you have no manuals, and it will be several years before the Internet is generally available, it's a bit of a challenge.

*Early Apple Mac? The decision to have a drive with no eject button because it looked cool seems consistent with the bonkers single-button mouse.

What's inside a tech freelancer's backpack? That's right, EVERYTHING

Kubla Cant Silver badge


There are lockers at many co-working spaces but these have been baggsied long ago; by whom is a mystery to all who work there.

The baggsers have doubtless moved on to proper jobs, perhaps on other continents. When I retire I plan to tour the City to see how many of my bike locks are still in place outside offices where I once worked.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Power Blocks

You may have six sockets in your 13A block, but the manufacturers of wall-wart power supplies have cleverly designed their products so that you can only use three of them.

Come kneel with us at UK's Cathedral, er, Oil Rig of the Canal: Engineering masterpiece Anderton Boat Lift

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: The issue is ...

The fenland rivers are mostly higher than the surrounding country. The peat in the fields has contracted because of the removal of water, and it was apparently common to set fire to it in the early days to enrich the soil.

Water is pumped up into the rivers from field drains. Originally the pumps were powered by windmills, then by steam engines, then internal combustion, and finally electricity.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Interesting idea.

I'm no expert, either. But half a mile from my house are the Bedford Rivers, two canals constructed in the 17th century to alleviate flooding in the Fens. They aren't much used for navigation, probably because the area they traverse is very rural (and not very picturesque, to be honest).

As far as I know they've worked successfully for 350 years. There was bad flooding in 1947, but that seems to have been caused by failure of a flood bank on the Ouse upstream from the drains.

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Six o'clock in the evening...

...and we'd reboot into DOS and start playing network Doom. Three hours later, on the way out, if the lift doors opened to reveal an occupant, everyone would flinch.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: We were doing that at the lab at uni

Ethernet crossover cable is better than null modem.

Sure, check through my background records… but why are you looking at my record collection?

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Contractor Testing

And the operation I used would indeed be modulo. Sloppy nomenclature, but I'd always viewed as an integer division returning the remainder, rather than the dividend.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Coding Tests

I can't resist the opportunity to enumerate some of the things I hate about coding tests:

  • Tests that show you fragments of code that explore obscure corner-cases, often with misleading formatting, and ask what happens.
  • A problem presented as a business requirement where you spend 24 hours coding up a robust solution, only to be told it's "over-complicated". They wanted a 10-minute version
  • Tests where you have to write out code by hand. I lost the skill of legible writing about 20 years ago, and I've got used to being able to edit stuff as I go.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Contractor Testing

The FizzBuzz test is so hackneyed that it's more a test of the person who uses it than the interviewee. Whenever I've been asked to do it I've concluded that I'm being interviewed by a bunch of amateurs, and this has generally proved to be true on the occasions when I've taken the job.

There is a tiny subtlety: sloppy solutions tend to do one unnecessary division.

Hey, fatso. If you're standing desk-curious, the VariDesk Pro Plus won't break the bank

Kubla Cant Silver badge

I've tried a horse, but it kept wandering off while I was typing.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: That setup doesn't work for me

I had the head-back problem a few years ago, so I asked my optician for a pair of varifocal (I'm guessing that's the same as "progressive") glasses where the lower part is reading-distance, and the upper is correct for screen distance. They solved the neck-ache problem and they've outlasted two pairs of general-use glasses. Highly recommended.

BOFH: Gosh, IPv5? Why didn't I think of that? Say, how do you like the new windows in here? Take a look. Closer...

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Optional

Very imaginative. But where does the donkey feature in this?

Revolut-won: British banking app gets half a billion bucks in backing, seeks to subvert today's market incumbents

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: The startup got a European banking licence in late 2018

the Netherlands where people are legally permitted to choose any of their first name to be used as their calling name (provided they stick to it afterwards)

I only have two given names, but I'm called by the second of them. As far as I know, the UK doesn't apply any legal constraint on which of them I use.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: Hybrid children watch the sea

VAXes named Hera and Zeus... VAXstations Eos and Io... terminal servers (remember them?) Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia.

A subsequent generation was named after Norse gods, at which point people started saying that the IT department was staffed by Nazis.

Windows 7: Still looking after business (except when it isn't)

Kubla Cant Silver badge

To be fair, this isn't a BSOD or similar abomination. The system seems to have handled the failure reasonably well, though it would be more professional (and perhaps fractionally more secure) to avoid revealing details of the O/S.

Don't worry, IT contractors. New UK chancellor says HMRC will be gentle pushing IR35 rules

Kubla Cant Silver badge

Re: What's with the blanket assessments?

If the civil service can do it, why can't the private sector?

CEST is basically a roulette wheel. The civil service is playing with somebody else's money, so they can afford to take risks.

Kubla Cant Silver badge

essentially they were employees but they were being taxed as though they where self-employed

In the future they will essentially be employees, but without any of the rights, protections, or long-term prospects.

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket

Kubla Cant Silver badge

you could walk up a taller mountain and get a better view

Save yourself the walk. There are any number of ski resorts with lifts above 3000m. Choose from cable-car, underground funicular, bubble-car or, for the truly dedicated, T-bar.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020