* Posts by Frederic Bloggs

344 posts • joined 17 Aug 2010


Attorney General: We didn't need Apple to crack terrorist's iPhones – tho we still want iGiant to do it in future

Frederic Bloggs

They probably got into it as soon as they got the necessary update from their phone cracking supplier. But the politics of the situation are about the principle of getting the back door, not whether they can manage without - and in particular - without, necessarily, having the physical device. Also it's about "not having to ask someone first". They like *do* to poke about secretly :-)

So why announce now? Well they think this reinforces the line that this sort of thing is "difficult" - "just look how long this has taken!" etc. Pure theatre.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

Frederic Bloggs

List of people that need to know:

3. Carefully vetted and NDAed medical researchers.

4. Epidemiologists and other qualified medical people actually working on the problem.

1. Interested parties that will pay the NHS (small but always welcome) amounts of money for information on which they can put on a 1000% markup selling to the highest bidder. And, who knows, we may get a small bung.

2. Finally, something to track the population with and be used to install software of our choosing on their phones.

No wait ... There's something gone wrong with the HTML on this comment, probably a bug, somewhere.

If it feels like the software world is held together by string and a prayer, we don't blame you: Facebook SDK snafu breaks top iOS apps

Frederic Bloggs

By all accounts, it *is* nice to work at Facebook and you get paid rather well too...

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Frederic Bloggs


What's wrong with M$? It's short and and descriptive.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Frederic Bloggs

Re: The real mystery is how Paula discovered the clock work around ...

And there was me thinking that the surname might be "Dei"...

Yes, yes, I'm out the door already.

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

Frederic Bloggs

Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

I suspect I have a similar walking stick, made in Iwama, I was toying with adding iron caps on the ends as well, but for a different reason. Perhaps now I could get away with it :-)

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

What about Wallabies? Can we get away with one, or are two required (one in front and one behind)?

Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all

Frederic Bloggs

Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

Erm... Elon is not the dickhead that is being portrayed. The NHS is now actively using CPAP machines with an added oxygen feed (either by using an inline "T" valve or using the masks that are already adapted for adding extra oxygen). Their purpose to provide added support before patients become too sick, to prevent them having to require sedation and ventilation in a full service ICU bed.

In other words it is successfully being used for new patients that present with breathing difficulties but can manage with extra oxygen and nursing. Another side benefit is that CPAP machines used in this way don't need 50L of oxygen a minute and this allows more patients to be hooked up the hospital oxygen system at a time.

Finally CPAP machines are available, they work, and are relatively cheap (£300/£500 a pop to the NHS). Cheaper still if Mercedes F1 get their way. They say they can produce 1000 units per week, starting next week.

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that

Frederic Bloggs

Re: I thought it was

Some highlights in my 1st year at school were English lessons, where the English master had his own erm... unique set of phonetics. They usually came out after spelling tests, and included:

A for antidisestablishmentarianism or sometimes Aloysius (master's family ghost).

B for brat

C for contrarianism

D for dunce

E for elephantiasis.


I for Ignatius (name of his bike)


N for nit

If there was anybody else on here in 1B that year, perhaps they can fill in some of the blanks. Among this bloke's eccentricities was that he claimed that he had written a book about Finnish prepositions - and before any Finnish scholars out there take me up on this, I am already aware that there may be a oxymoron lurking in this sentence.

And yes, you may have guessed it: O IS for oxymoron.

Taiwan collars coronavirus quarantine scofflaws with smartphone geo-fences. So, which nation will be next?

Frederic Bloggs
Thumb Down

Re: So does anyone read Pre 1989 history?

Meanwhile, just over Canada's southern border...

British Army adopts WhatsApp for formal orders as coronavirus isolation kicks in

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Whatsnext

No point. There's very few people there. Those that are will likely not be in a week's time.

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

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Power Blocks

One for the portable, one for the little 5 port switch, one (or sometimes two) for a suitcase full of radio gear (don't ask) that I am "testing". Then there is the charger for my phone (or a customer's) ...

Frederic Bloggs

Power Blocks

Just what is it about power blocks? No-one has ever got one that isn't already full. At home, not even me! So I am completely with Dabbsy here. I always carry one in my rucksack, it is always a six way because not only do I need at least three but, far more often than not, the people I am with need the rest. I also have a continental two pin to six way 13A block, that I made, for outings in the EU.

Vivo's APEX 2020 concept smartphone grabs life by the gimbals to shoot stable snaps

Frederic Bloggs

Sony (amongst others) make sensors and other imaging chippery which end up in many phones. They (or someone else) may now be experimenting with phone sized OIS.

Frederic Bloggs

Why not have internal OIS on a phone?

After all, there are plenty of examples out there. Even Canon now offer internal OIS on their latest full frame mirrorless R5. Many of their small snappers have it. Sony (where many phones get their imaging chips from) have had internal OIS on most of their models for years. There are many other examples including Panasonic (another source of imaging chippery), Fuji and just about anyone else that makes cameras worth having. I'm sure Nikon will catch up soon :-)

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Microwaves are good for you.

Since the anti-5G brigade are allowed to pretend that there some correlation with things that are demonstrably figments of their imagination, I fail see why someone can't point one out based on some actual facts.

Who knows? It might even be true. Especially if someone could actually tease out the effects of a few micro watts of 5G mm wavelength signal out of the 1.4KW/m2 that that sodding great bright thing up in the sky bathes us with.

Frederic Bloggs
Black Helicopters

Psst. Don't tell them that all those dangerous rays that they use on their phones to arrange their next stash from Glastonbury High Street (apparently) are coming from the bell tower in St John's Church.

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Dangerous levels of EMF

What happens if someone else's satellite parks in an unauthorised LEO? Will they send a LEO up there to get it towed away?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: I'll wait it out.

"something that needs several kilowatts to run"

I'm afraid that this is yet more FUD. Somewhere between 50 -200 watts depending on what one counts as the "transmitter" is much nearer the mark. But you need a small 19" rack panel to put it all in.

Oh, and don't forget the GPS feed and UPS.

Perhaps you meant Kilo GRAMS?

Xerox hopes wining and dining HP shareholders will convince them of takeover

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Still seems to be the wrong way round

They are, after all, acknowledged experts in this sort of thing. With a long list of well judged and successful acquisitions over the last few years.

Oracle tells Supremes: Fair use? Pah! There's nothing fair about 'Google's copying'

Frederic Bloggs


Well? What happens to OpenJDK if Oracle wins?


Uncle Sam: Secretly spying on networks around the world without telling anyone, Huawei? But that's OUR job

Frederic Bloggs


We've heard, no wait... Someone mentioned that word a while back on some PP presentation, I wanted to ask what it meant, but we ran out of time for questions. Is it about anything important?

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Junk Facts

But nice to see a mention of Amateur Radio. We still exist at El Reg then.

But "swarms" of satellites, no. Less than one hundred.

Ah, night shift in the 1970s. Ciggies, hipflasks, ADVENT... and fault-prone disk drives the size of washing machines

Frederic Bloggs

No-one seems to have mentioned the smell and then that noise...

In the 70s (and into the 80s before PCs and "winchester disks" become a thing that got stuffed into toy computers called PCs) I spent many happy hours looking after ICL and CDC disk packs. Maybe I was erm "lucky" but invariably a head crash would be preceded by a funny (but very distinctive) smell which, if caught early, would save the heads from actual destruction. There would be a small amount of oxide on the (usually) one head which could be cleaned with the special spatula and early form of wet wipes (they came dry and you wet them with isopropanol). But if you missed the smell, then the next stage emitted a characteristic "ping, ping ..." noise. There was still a 50/50 chance of saving the heads, although by this stage more than one would be affected. If all these clues were missed then that loud humming noise would tell you that the head assembly needed replacement after a tedious cleanup of the drive bay and filters and another trophy (or two) could be added to the "groovy disk" platter collection on the wall.

Not doing an adequate cleanup and then crashing the expensive drive alignment test disk was also erm... a strong learning experience!

Senior health tech pros warn NHS England: Be transparent with mass database trawl or face public backlash

Frederic Bloggs

GDPR? Informed Consent?

Have they heard of it? Or, when there is (considerably more than they will ask for) money to be made: "oh well, it'll be OK. No-one really cares anyway".

I wonder who gets to keep the fine?

How do you ascertain user acceptability if you keep killing off the users?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: car replacements

If James May is any guide, a Fiat Panda 4x4 would seem to fit the (or maybe just a) bill. I know two owners who love them and, unlike the larger excellent Skoda Yeti (a Clarkson recommendation remember), it is still made.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: glow worms?

Perhaps crows are more intelligent than some "sparkies".

We asked for your Fitbit horror stories and, oh wow, did you deliver: Readers sync their teeth into 'junk' gizmos

Frederic Bloggs

It isn't just Fitbit

I only sync manually but my Alta HR became very reluctant to sync - and then screen cover came off (Oh and the strap started to irritate after two years).

So I cast around for a (hopefully cheaper) replacement and I bought an Honor 4 HR (as recommended by Which). It looks stunning, colour amoled screen and only £30. Well firstly the app requires one to sell give away your soul by having to load Huawei's "play services" as well as the app. Fortunately I have an old phone with nothing else on it and, as said earlier, I only sync twice a day manually. Then one discovers that on the 19th August there was an app update that disabled permanent HR recording. Also it doesn't auto recognise anything. You have to tell it to start recording whatever sort of exercise you are doing and then it starts the HR, So of course the obvious thing is to start an exercise and never stop it (actually you have to do it daily). Then the real reason for disabling HR becomes apparent - the battery is flat after about three days. The watch is recording HR data during exercise and you can see your HR on the watch, but you can't then see it on the app. The daily HR graph stays resolutely blank.

I needed something under £100 that did at least what the Alta did - I bought another Fitbit, an Inspire HR. Which seems to be working just fine and, apart from the app displaying "searching for device" when it obviously means "syncing", it syncs much quicker than the Alta HR. It still sends the HR data to HQ to be <cough> processed, so it still needs two syncs in the morning (with a decent gap between them) to see whether one is still alive. Yes, the screen is nothing like as good as the Huawei but it tells the time and still auto recognises most of what I do in the way of exercise. And I can now wear it in the shower. Bonus.

For my limited use case as a historical exercise and sleep monitor it works just fine. And the battery lasts at least a week.

Hack a small airplane? Yes, we CAN (bus) – once we physically break into one, get at its wiring, plug in evil kit...

Frederic Bloggs

Re: I'm a GA Pilot and I've wondered

And, if necessary, look at the backup instruments which are the old fashioned analogue type.

Also CANBUS connectors are not usually in nice accessible places and, should you be thinking of fiddling there in flight - particularly on a retrofit - it might be rather obvious when you stick your head under the panel trying to find one. Mind you, whilst you are doing this you'll probably be fouling the yoke/stick and bumping lord know what. Meanwhile the pilot (seated to the left of you), could be wondering what you're up to. After all, at this point you be will be trying to kneel on a seat that is too small and the only thing that will be approximately upright will be your bum.

It would be interesting to see the result of a loop with a 180 on top with you in this position (4G will likely not be kind).

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Foxes and dogs

A Border Terrier (two or three are better) is(/are) very effective, but one does have to put up with them then perfuming themselves with the shit. Never quite understood why they will go for the foxes and then, having seen them off, as a reward to themselves, then roll in the shit left behind. And having seen off the foxes, the necessity of making the area BT escape proof will also keep the foxes out in future.

Incidentally, the best way to remove fresh "perfume" is to slather the affected area in tomato ketchup (yes, really) first (any brand will do) before washing it off in the shower with the dog shampoo.

Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

Frederic Bloggs

When I was at school (in the 60s) my mother regularly used to add a small fabric covered blue coloured "pill" (about the diameter of a two pence piece and 1cm thick) which was partially dissolved in the wash to make whites look whiter. This was superceded by the likes of Daz (and other brands) containing "blue whiteners" at about the same time.

Mind you she was never one for using starch.

Frederic Bloggs

Mijn grootvader is een schaap

One of the er.. unusual things one has to translate on DuoLingo. Perhaps the French/German version of this means something other than the literal translation does in Dutch

In English: my grandfather is a sheep.

Google's Fuchsia OS Flutters into view: We're just trying out some new concepts, claims exec

Frederic Bloggs


Sounds to me much more like the AMOEBA (pdf) operating system which, I believe, introduced capabilities as an addressing/security addressing method to operating systems. It also spawned the FLIP (pdf) protocol as way of communicating efficiently between capability based entities on a network.

Andrew S Tanenbaum has a lot to answer for. Probably in a good way.

Queue baa, Libra: People will buy what Facebook's selling. They shouldn't, but they will

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Icon say it all

Definitely Metaphor of the Month: "roger your anus with a monkey puzzle branch"

Finnish and Russian comms giants shake hands on submarine cable across Arctic Sea

Frederic Bloggs

Map projections

One of the problems with maps using mercator projection, such as the one used to illustrate this story, is that it greatly exaggerates distances at the Poles. The picture implies that the distances involved are much longer than they actually are. Which degrades the point of the story rather.

Refactoring whizz: Good software shouldn't cost the earth – it's actually cheaper to build

Frederic Bloggs

Writing for change

The real problem is that nearly no-one writes code that is designed (from the very beginning) to be changed. The fact is that all code will be altered and also added to. Very few people design their systems (never mind programs) with this in mind. Why? Because it's hard - at least until one has done it a couple of times.

Hate e-scooters? Join the club of the pals of 190 riders in Austin TX who ended up in hospital

Frederic Bloggs

Re: The High Way Code needs to be enforced 4MPH!!!

What it doesn't mention is that e-scooters are illegal in the UK, unless and until one taxes & insures them (good luck with that) and it is issued with a number plate (diito with that as well). One presumes that they count as mopeds so a rider will need a CBT course and a licence. Oh and don't forget the compulsory helmet.

They did it! US House reps pulled their finger out, voted to restore net neutrality in America!

Frederic Bloggs

Re: You say you want a revolution?

Have you ever wondered how some issues become so entrenched in American British society that they become impossible to resolve despite widespread frustration from both the public and the majority of lawmakers - topics like abortion and gun control? Well, this is how. Net neutrality Brexit is now officially an impossible topic.

And, sadly(?), we don't have the wiggle room to shove it into a Finance bill (for instance). I must confess I am somewhat conflicted as to whether this is a good or a bad thing.

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

Frederic Bloggs

"They want coverage where nobody lives, while people want coverage where people go," EE's Jones told us. "If you take the limit of 95 per cent geographical coverage you're going to find yourself where nobody has been for years, if ever."

Just remind me, isn't it EE who are supposed to be providing the service for the new Emergency Services comms network?

What people perhaps have not appreciated is that ESN is predicated on having 95% LTE coverage. Not GSM/3G. If one takes the South Downs National Park as an example, much of this is sparsely populated and also covered in trees (AKA "green sponge" [especially when wet]). EE has a non-existent to rubbish signal over a considerable portion of the non-urban bits of the Park. Precisely where emergency services might need to help an injured walker or rider. ESN press-to-talk and group calling (which Airwave was designed for) requires VoLTE. All requiring good LTE coverage - which is mostly unavailable in rural areas.

But, never mind rural areas, what happens when there are 50+ plods all clustered around a major incident in an urban(ish) area around just the one base station? Airwave uses this strange property of radio called "broadcasting" which means that everyone on an EBTS and talkgroup will be listening on one channel and slot - it does not matter how many there are, one person speaks, everyone else hears. Contrast this with VoLTE which effectively uses SIP and VOIP (based) circuits to each handset. Someone presses their PTT, 50 individual LTE circuits need to be negotiated and lit up (BTW kicking off any non-ESN users on that base station in process). Will it ever work? On a major incident?

Pandas so useless they just look at delicious kid who fell into enclosure

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Get Informed

And don't forget to include the chlamydia bacteria that seems to help everything along...

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees

Frederic Bloggs

So which bridge in London is that?

I can't quite place it.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Frederic Bloggs

Maybe Texan?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Crossing the Line

IT graduates who maintain their prInciples

Those will be the ones that actually have an IT job. The "vast majority" of IT graduates do something else.

This ain't over, Viasat snarls as tribunal rules in satellite rival's favour

Frederic Bloggs

I'm confused...

How is an aircraft, flying at 30000ft+, going to select a base station on the ground from the several 1000 that have been lit up by its broadcasts? It never used to work. has LTE got some magic that allows this to happen now?

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

Frederic Bloggs

Re: "Why a copy of Office is needed on a PC tasked with showing line information is anyone’s guess"

Isn't the powerpoint where they plug the trains in?

Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'

Frederic Bloggs

Re: "the vast and disparate NHS"

Having trudged through all the comments to this piece, can I thank this correspondent for reading what was said and understanding the implications (unlike nearly every other comment in this thread).

If this set of policies gets anywhere near reality, then this is the first time (that I can recall) that Government is seriously contemplating setting out (or nailing their colours to the mast of) a set of data interchange standards - rather than mandating this company or that software.

This is, of course, what they should have done this the first time around. By defining data interchange formats and the data to be transferred, it really could open up competition and innovation. This is what Government should be doing, not picking and choosing software for the clinical users.

Existing players will be dragged (probably kicking and screaming) into compliance and they will have to shape up or go under. Having seen the lack of capabilities and UX design of some of the "market leaders" in this space, I can only hope that some enterprising SMEs will take the incumbents on and show them how it should be done.

P.S. NHS number as a unique key - who'd have thunk it?

Beam me up, UK.gov: 'Extra-terrestrial markup language' booted off G-Cloud

Frederic Bloggs


Personally, I think it might be that time again to welcome our new Alien Overlords from their Disc Based Platforms. They may run the government rather better than the shambolic way the fleshy humans are currently managing doing.

Mmm, yes. 11-nines data durability? Mmmm, that sounds good. Except it's virtually meaningless

Frederic Bloggs

Pratchett's Law

We all know (especially when trying to restore from "backup") that that 1 million to 1 chance happens 9 times out 10...

Ah, British summer. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the internet is on the fritz

Frederic Bloggs

Guerrilla Marketing?

More like (angry) Gorilla Marketing

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

Frederic Bloggs

Re: It goes back further than that

In the 1980s I wrote a rather nifty builders merchant system that worked just like that, complete with "pick lists" generated from the "files" of data (not just a simple price, pages of info about it as well) - meaning that the user did not have "search" by typing out words (although they could, but rarely did). The merchants absolutely *loved* it.

And what about yer standard menu system on the browser you are using to read this? Isn't that a set of "pick lists" bringing up "files" (especially if one considers the history or book mark pages)?



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