* Posts by Pen-y-gors

3576 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

Up from the depths, 864 servers inside, covered in slime, it's Natick!

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Re: Orbit

And isn't it a bit tricky to lose the heat?

And will need an awful lot of solar panels to power a few thousand servers. Or does he plan to beam power up from the ground?

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Cue Bond villains with their mini-submarines, hacking in to the servers...

UK Home Office seeks suppliers: £25m up for grabs to build database to keep track of crimelords' ill-gotten gains

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I can do that!

I'll do it for £24,500,150.00

A few hours in Access, cost £150

Donation to Johnson's Child Support Fund: £500,000

Profit: £24 million

Cayman Islands for me.

COVID-19 tracing without an app? There's an iOS and Android update for that

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Re: No app required?

...and it's something you have to "OPT IN" to....

If you want an alternative system without the functionality, I believe messages can be written in charcoal (or blood) on a piece of bark and despatched via HumanMessenger(TM) in a cleft stick

Nominet backtracks on .uk domain expiration money grab, critics still fear sweetheart deal to come

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I've been using .wales/.cymru since they became available, or .com

I'm surprised no-one has though to launch .england yet. Given the time it takes to get a new tld set up, they should get started now. UK only has a few years to run.

Sounds like the black helicopters have come for us. Oh, just another swarm of FAA-approved Amazon delivery drones

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Remind me....

The US is the country where everyone owns a high-velocity rifle, isn't it? I foresee a new and very popular hobby. Much more fun than hunting Game wardens, hunters and cows.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

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Re: Local 'languages'


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Re: Local 'languages'

Anon only because the above contains PII

Ah-ha! You are Mrs Edna Scroggins, aged 56, of 17a Railway Terrace, Rothwell and I claim my £5

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Re: Enough

True. But of course C in Welsh is always pronounced as a hard K, never as a soft S. It's odd how English has a K and an S, but feels the need for another letter which can be either!

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Re: Enough

You forgot Nghymru - and they are all correctly spelled. A good example of how interesting languages are. Not all languages are as strange and inconsistent as English!

There are many excellent courses on-line if you wish to learn more.

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Re: International Recognition

English is fine as a lingua franca, as is Swahili. And that's why people around the world are keen to learn English. But few people in China want to stop speaking Chinese. Being bi-lingual or multi-lingual is actually the norm for a majority of the world's population. And being a monoglot English speaker doesn't help you during business negotiations when you can't understand what the Dutch negotiators are whispering to each other!

Language is a key part of a culture, and a mind-set. The way that different languages deal differently with ideas and concepts can be eye-opening, and help to explain cultural differences. Going from one language to another is not just a matter of translating word-by-word with a dictionary (as Pedro Carolino showed with "English As She Is Spoke") - it's more like Worzel Gummidge swapping heads.

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Re: International Recognition

If you ever watched BBC Alba you'd know it's considerably better, more interesting and more entertaining than the rest of the BBC output combined! And it's a bargain. Same with S4C in Cymru.

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Re: International Recognition

"Life support for languages"? Or funding to correct an institutional imbalance?

Use of some of the Celtic languages has declined (although many are now increasing again) - often because of uncontrolled immigration by non-speakers, many with the same attitude as Brexiters living in Spain. It's their colony and they will continue to shout in English at the stupid locals, and demand warm Stella. Thankfully some incomers become part of the community, learn the language and immerse themselves in the culture. Even so, if a group of Welsh-speakers are joined by a monoglot English speaker they will usually (out of misguided politeness) switch to English. This does not help the language survive.

In Wales we have many incomers who have little English and no Welsh. They often come because their homes have been bombed and are starting a new life with nothing. But they set to and learn both languages - quickly. Their children attend Welsh-medium schools. These are the people we need.

But the pressure of the 'default' imported language, omnipresent in the media, films, radio & TV, coupled with generations of effort by governments and individuals to 'down-grade' the importance of language, in some cases even to extirpate them completely - - Scots, Gàidhlig, Gaeilge, Gailck/Manks, Cymraeg, Kernowek have all suffered - means that some positive action (not just funding) is needed to redress the balance.

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Re: Enough

Interesting mis-spelling of 'Welsh' as Welsch - because of course 'Welsh' is derived from a Germanic word used by the Saxon economic migrants who came to Britain a while back. It basically means 'foreigners'. I believe Wallonia comes from the same root, as does the district of Wels in Austria, Valais, Wallachia etc. And the '-wall' in Cornwall.

That's why more and more of use insist on using the proper name 'Cymru' for our country, and Cymraeg for our language. Hopefully it will catch on in England as well.

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Re: International Recognition

Don't get me started on the treatment of Welsh by the powers-that-be...

But it survived - nearly a third of the population speak it today, and that's growing.

Interesting that support for Welsh independence is growing fast - now at 32% (but compare that to 55% in Scotland). Even 49% in England think England should be independent - but they may have mixed the question up with Brexit!

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Re: Enough

Gordie? Scouce? Some people can't spell.

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Re: International Recognition

Scots is a language. But this is complicated because there is a continuum of language here, between Scots and English. At one end there is English with a Scots accent and a few odd local words (much like the Wiki) - clearly just a dialect, easily intelligible to speakers of standard English, and this progresses steadily with different people as more vocabulary changes and, importantly, the grammar starts to change, until you have true Scots, whether Doric or whatever. This doesn't seem to happen so much with other languages (although I could be wrong) - is there a smooth continuum of speakers between Dutch and German? It could be argued that it happens to an extent in Wales - with full blown 'Wenglish' taking the place of Scots. There's a lot of English in it, but there is a lot of Welsh grammar and vocab which takes it away from just being an English dialect.

If you want to know more about the Scots leid, go to oorvyce.scot or follow them on @oorvyce

And try this as a starter

"Whit wye shuid we be carin aboot Scots?

Scots is a leid thit is integratit intae Scots cultur, is pairt o wir identity, an is whit maks oorsels different fae the rest o the warld. A wheen o fowk hae an attatchment tae the leid fae bairnheid an their hames wi'oot even kennin it. Scots has ayewis hid spikkers at aa livvels o society, fae aa backgruns an fae aa waaks o life."

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Re: Wee radge bastard

Is toil leam IRN BRU (that's actually Gaelic, not Scots, and is taken from the Duolingo course)

Yes, Irn Bru is sold in Scotland, and is made in Scotland - fra' girders!

Yes, it's a foul chemical concoction, but it's the only thing to drink with your haggis pudding supper after an evening on the bevvy. It helps to cut through the oil and fat.

Ah, happy memories. Actually I used to sometimes have it with my steak pie supper - the chippie used to deep-fry the pies. Obese? Moi?

NHS tests COVID-19 contact-tracing app that may actually work properly – EU neighbors lent a helping hand

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Re: Irish support

And why shouldn't they? They'd developed a working app in a matter of weeks, for pretty well peanuts, which had already been adapted for other countries. Their work here is done. Time for a well-deserved pint or two of plain and a chorus of 'Fields of Athenry'.

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Re: As far as I can tell, Northern Ireland is part of the UK....

Irish app cost: €850,000 - seems to work

English app cost: £12,000,000 - doesn't work at all

And I assume the Irish one was at least bi-lingual. I trust the English one also catered for a wide range of the languages used in the UK (if not in the IoW).

But I suppose that's better than £150 million on face masks that don't work at all.

Why, oh why, aren't we all marching down Whitehall with pitchforks and lengths of rope?

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Re: More useful

I'd prefer one that detects holiday-makers from England, so I can keep 1000 linguini away. Although you can usually spot them: many of them ignore social distancing rules, don't wear masks, and get irate when it's pointed out that Wales has different rules to England.

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Re: How will they know it's a false alarm?

To be technically accurate, 300 of them had a positive test. Which tells us little about how many of them actually had it at the time of the test, or had had it and recovered etc.

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Re: How will they know it's a false alarm?

Number of new cases in England has been going up steadily for weeks. It's now doubled in the last month (1000/day) - Wales and Scotland largely under control. Funny that.

Deep-root database: Kew Garden's 8 million specimen collection to find new life through data management

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Re: going to tender?


And it doesn't need a particularly large team. There's a lot of data, but it's relatively straightforward. The big job is creating the meta data and catalogue records for the 90% that doesn't have a digital record, and that's basically grunt-work. Having said that I did work on a project to digitise 900,000 typed catalogue records, created over a century or so, which needed some considerable IT cunning, and manual cleaning up, to go from OCR text to database. I think we found over 30 different date formats!

I'd also suggest that they consider splitting it into two parts. Firstly get a digital catalogue of everything, then move on to actually digitising the objects as part 2. It would be interesting to know how much of the budget is allowed for each chunk - design and build DB and system, populate DB, do digitising.

To be honest, I suspect one good bod could build a system in months.

Chinese ambassador to UK threatens to withdraw Huawei, £3bn investment if comms giant banned from building 5G

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Re: No super-site for Sawston then.

Yes but, no but.

The new plant? Yes we need high-tech stuff, but please don't tout it as a way of creating jobs.

Better to invest £1 billion of public money to create jobs by investing in small, locally-owned startups and expanding businesses. Invest the money as equity, and vest that in a local community trust, so that decisions are made that benefit the community, not distant shareholders, and prevents a sell-off to a big competitor who will close them down, or relocate.

Yes, some will fail, but many will still be there and employing people in 10-20 years time, long after the Huawei site has closed. Massive investments by big firms aren't any help in the long term.

That way, you could probably get 5-10,000 jobs for a billion.

UK govt finds £200,000 under sofa to kick off research into improving mobile connectivity on nation's crap railways

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wireless antennas on overhead line equipment??

What's 'overhead line equipment'?

The only electrified line in Wales runs from the border to Cardiff, about 40 miles. Wales has over 900 miles of track (11% of Network Rail total).

So no great hope for improving internet on the rest of the network.

We're not all about rockets, says NASA: Balloon tech is good enough for economical star scanning

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Obviously the boffins know what they're doing, but how do they keep the platform stable? Or is there no wind or anything at that altitude to cause movement?

Ex-boss of ICANN shifts from 'advisor' to co-CEO of private equity biz that tried to buy .org for $1bn+

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Well, just goes to show

that massive corruption isn't limited to Trump and the Tory party.

UK.gov admits it has not performed legally required data protection checks for COVID-19 tracing system

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But of course

If we had a competent UK government, who had done all in their power, successfully, to keep the death toll down to a few thousand, then people would say, well, OK it's an emergency, we won't worry too much about GDPR if it saves lives.

But of course, we haven't. Their 'app' wasted millions, weeks and cost lives. And still they breach GDPR.

The sooner Johnson and the rest of the Tories start their whole-life sentences breaking rocks on Dartmoor the better. No need to waste time on a trial...

Report: CIA runs secret cyberwar with little oversight after Trump gave the OK, say US government officials

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But on the bright side...

This means that attempting to hack US government networks is now completely legal outside the USA. If they are fighting an undeclared war against the rest of the world they can hardly object when people fight back.

So no more extraditions to the USA.

Release Julian-the-prat now!

Mozilla unveils $4.99/month subscription-based VPN, says it won't hang onto user logs

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Re: TBird

I believe antibiotics are available now that can cure TB. No need to suffer for years...

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HMA (Hide My Ass) VPN has 1000+ servers in 190+ countries.

PureVPN has 2000 servers in 140+ countries.

I use PureVPN for various things, including getting a fixed IP (small extra charge). Their 5-year plan works out at 99c/month! Connecting can be a bit slow at times, though.

Chinese mobile giant OPPO claims new 125W fast-charging spec will fully fuel your phone in 20 minutes

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Yeah. The most important thing really is how long a charged battery lasts, rather than the charging time. So long as you can get a couple of days plus of 'normal' use and charge every night, it doesn't really matter if it takes 1 hr or 4 hrs to charge.

And for emergencies, I always have a cigarette lighter adapter and a USB cable in the car.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

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Great idea

Our village caffi (in Wales) re-opened yesterday - outside service only (as per Welsh Government rules). Entry to building to pay and to use the loos (via the back door).

Would you believe the number of visitors (on holiday from England) who couldn't understand why they couldn't sit inside (it was pissing down). Explained slowly in words of one syllable, but no, they couldn't grasp the concept that Wales is not in England, and has a different government and rules.

I like the idea of the electric fence and cattle prods. Or could we get a few 2nd hand Tasers on eBay?

Microsoft to pull support for PHP: Version 8? Exterminate, more like...

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And of course, for development on a Windows machine, there is WAMP.

Email seems lost in the post? You might be a Tsohost customer

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They are seriously f**ked.

"Cloud" database servers disappearing for hours (obvs tata to websites that use them) - still not sorted.

Support dire - 2-3 days to get reply to ticket. Try their 'chat' and "You are at position 52 in the queue"...One hour later you get a human.

It's sad - I switched to using them (under a different name) several years ago, and they had been great. Tech support guys (usually E European) really excellent, and quick. A nice hosting setup.

But that's now all gone to shit. Weird new hosting packages, switched to cPanel (that's okay), but suggestion that you can't direct external domains to their DNS.

Time to switch providers again I think. Any suggestions for who can host 100 domains for me?

CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor

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Re: Sad.

I've had one of their meaty laptops as my development machine for a few years. Solid bit of kit.

Road trip on Mars: Thrill as Curiosity rover races up to 0.06 miles per hour. Marvel as it takes a mile-long detour

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Epsom salts?

That's handy. Traditionally used as a foot-bath for tired and inflamed feet. Perhaps Curiosity can dunk her wheels in some - they'll be pretty tired after a 1-mile detour.

Never mind rail and ports, let's help DPD... and, er, Amazon: UK gov and ESA call for ways to slap logistics with 5G stick

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"Both SpaceX and OneWeb (in which the UK government has plans to invest a cool half billion ^^^ under the mistaken impression it's a GPS system^^^) plan constellations which will enable greater 5G coverage."

Government must stop spaffing billions as the result of a chat over drinks with a chum.

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

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Cute idea, but please can they do it properly.

If I'm in the audience for a speaker, I want to see the view from my seat - people to left and right, back of peoples heads in front of me. If we're round a table, that's the view I want to see.

Anyone for full 3D VR? Then we can meet on a beach in the Maldives

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

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A friend was on IT support for the Met in the early days of desktops (and 5.25 in floppies)

Got called to some very senior officer who was having problems. "I keep putting the floppy disks in but I can't get them out"

Turned out there was a narrow gap between ill-fitting lid and body of case and he'd been feeding them in there.

Baroness Dido Harding lifts the lid on the NHS's manual contact tracing performance: 'We contact them up to 10 times over a 36-hour period'

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Re: The UK's chief stable door shutter.

No, although it's probably the best the Tories can do.

Several areas in Wales set up their own track and trace system very early on. Staffed by Council Environmental Health staff, been very, very effective.

And "specially-trained contact centre workers" - does "reading a PDF" count as 'specially-trained'?

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

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I'm not totally convinced that every reference to the word 'black' is a deliberate reference to slavery, or supposed racial differences.

For instance, blacklist: first use of black list (according to Wiki) dates to a play in 1639, and refers to the list of regicides compiled for Charles II.

Blackball? Original Greek voting system. You put the white ball in the urn to say yes, black to say no.

Black bottom dance? Named after a predominantly black community in Detroit, but although the name "Black Bottom" is often erroneously believed to be a reference to the African-American community that developed in the twentieth century, the neighbourhood was actually named by early French colonial settlers for the dark, fertile topsoil found in the area (known as river bottomlands)

Black body radiation?

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

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I'm not sure if people have 'abandoned analogue'. Like, I suspect many, I use both. Analogue in the car, digital (via broadband) at home. DAB? What's that? Not available in this part of Cymru!

E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

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No consistency.

Let's compare e-scooters with "electrically assisted pedal cycles"

e-scooters : must have helmet and insurance (max speed about 20mph)

bike: no need for helmet and insurance. (but max speed 15.5 mph)

Someone isn't thinking this through. But then, booze and tobacco are legal.

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I suspect with money - fines. They know who you are!

Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up

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I'm not sure how much these trials will prove. Surely a lot of the potential use will be privately owned ones that people use for a short-ish commute or run to the shops etc. The market for pick-up-and-go rental could be quite limited, and will only really apply in large towns & cities, for people who have perhaps driven in and then need to go a mile or two to other locations, as an alternative to a taxi or bus. The trial will give little evidence for overall demand and practicalities.

And for those complaining that they can be left to litter the streets? Easy, if one's been abandoned on the pavement, chuck it over a fence or in the canal.

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Re: Rental vs privately owned

Insurance: rental companies can be easily policed to check they provide insurance cover for when the renter rides into an old lady at 15mph. Harder to police for privately owned ones. If there is a requirement for licensing them, displaying insurance etc people won't bother. If they can be treated the same as bicycles (legal even with electric assistance) then the problem goes away.

LibreOffice slips out another 7.0 beta: Spreadsheets close gap with Excel while macOS users treated to new icons

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Ah CSV again. Not so much commas, as the field they're in can be delimited by " in most sensible exports. Real pain in the posterior is how Excel exports data with carriage returns in a cell. Which creates a new line in CSV, which causes some grief when trying to import into PHP - anyone got a suggestion?

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Re: Input of accents on mac

For many years on Windows I've been using a little utility called To Bach, originally developed to cope with adding a ^ to w and y in Welsh (It's called a To Bach, meaning Little Roof, or, more formally acen grom) - Basically AltGr + w gives ŵ , default is AltGr+letter puts a ^ on it - â - but it was extended to do more, much like the extended keyboard noted above AltGr+", i gives ï, AltGr+/,e gives é

A really neat bit of freeware!


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