* Posts by Pen-y-gors

3489 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

Barmy ban on businesses, Brits based in Blighty bearing or buying .eu domains is back: Cut-off date is Jan 1, 2021

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Re: @codejunky

It would have been more useful if the EU had, as has been suggested, introduced some sort of "Associate EU citizenship" open to any UK citizen who wanted it. Then they could have a .eu if they wanted, as they would still be EU entities. It may still come as a last minute two-fingers to Johnson.

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It's what a sad, angry minority wanted

The strange thing is that, despite saying "You lost, get over it" all the time, they are still sad, still angry, and even more of a minority now. God knows why. They should be happy - they've destroyed the UK, they've got what they want.

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Anticipating the demise of the UK and the dissolution of the .uk registry after Wales & Scotland become independent, and NI joins the rest of Ireland.

The United Kingdom of England just doesn't have much of a ring to it. And if the English people then decide to get rid of Queenie thanks to her resolute failure to do anything to protect her subjects from her ministers, then it's even less appropriate.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

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Re: Algol W?


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Algol W?

"Involved in the ALGOL X effort, Wirth proposed ALGOL W, which, while not deemed a sufficient advance over ALGOL 60, became Pascal in 1970."

Strange. I started programming in Algol W on the St Andrews IBM 360/44 in Jan 1975, and was still doing so when I left in 1978.

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread

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Is there anything stopping...

an enterprising and public-spirited company in the UK from grabbing a copy of, say, the Swiss app, and making it available in the UK (after translation). Presumably would need local servers to talk to when it's triggered.

Broadcom sends its England-based staff back into office as UK lockdown eases – though Welsh workers get a free pass

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It's great being Welsh! And once we're fully independent (coming soon) it'll be even better. The English can then sort out their own political problems.

eBay users spot the online auction house port-scanning their PCs. Um... is that OK?

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Re: Browsers don't.

And hopefully promptly turn off javascript like any other sensible trained chimpanzee.

Absolutely - I always recommend that people should brick up all the windows in their homes to stop burglars getting in.

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Re: Fraud is a big issue for etailer -- MEAT

Chinese bats?

Twitter ticks off Trump with new 'Get the facts' alert on pair of fact-challenged tweets

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Ooh, fun!

Sadly the warning doesn't appear when a tweet is embedded, only when you see it in your feed.

Can we also start seeing something similar on UK Govt & Tory tweets, and anything from Cummings.

Mind your language: Microsoft set to swing the axe on 27 languages in iOS Outlook

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Use it or lose it!

Seriously though - if software is available in non-English, use it if you can. My Swiftkey keyboard on Abdroid happily does predictive text for me in Welsh, English, Irish and Scots Gaelic (I assume other languages are available).

My Win 10 defaults to Welsh, as does my Firefox.

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Re: You vill parle Amrecianish Da!

Irish is not dead, and it is a useful language. But it's an interesting example of how official policies can have the reverse of the intended effect.

The Gaeltachtai are meant to protect the language, but in fact they let everyone else forget about it, as it's 'safe' in the Gaeltachtai.

And, another interesting factoid, I believe more people use Scots Gaelic on a daily basis than do Irish!

But what is the 'use' or 'value' of a language? Any language? It's to communicate of course - "Me wantee drinkee", but it's so much more. Knowing a variety of languages opens the mind to the possibility of difference. Different languages can reflect totally different world-views, based on a very different history and culture. Languages do not map word-for-word from one to the other via a dictionary (although I have met people who seem to think they do). It's interesting to see how different languages refer to colours, for instance. A colour name sometimes doesn't match a range of wavelengths. In some of the Celtic languages (like Irish and Welsh) the same 'colour' is used for grass and sea/lakes

As software users we should be well aware of this as a problem - USian software that not only comes in any language so long as it's US English, but also thinks the world does everything the same way as they do in Arkansas. Actually we don't all have addresses or phone numbers in US format.

Treat yourself, learn another language - several preferably - from different families, and open your mind. 350,000+ now learning Scots Gaelic on Duolingo, 1 million learning Irish and 440K learning Welsh!

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Re: You vill parle Amrecianish Da!

"competent translators"

Being bi-lingual does not make you a competent translator. It is an acquired skill. Bi-lingualism means you happily switch from one language to the other, but that is not the same as having both languages working in the brain at the same time, which is needed for simultaneous translation.

My Welsh has been acquired as an adult, and I frequently can't remember what "x" is in the other language, even though I technically do know it, and would have no problem using the word if I switched languages.

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

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Re: I went back to Web 1.0

The median desktop web page now tops 2MB

I remember a guideline, not that many years ago, that home pages should be less than 40kB.

And despite having insanely fast FTTP (300Mbps) pages still take an age to load - the bottleneck now seems to be in the network/servers/DNS - dozens of connections to load a page, many of them libraries and adverts.

Bring back WAP phones! (Just kidding)

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?

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Re: Bugs?

BBC reported that 50% of the population on the Isle of Wight had installed and were using the app.

a) Would you trust the BBC on this? Where did they get the number - Hancock?

b) The IoW is in a 1960s time-warp. Most of the population think a 'smart phone' is an old GPO bakelite rotary job that's been given a nice polish. Not sure how you install an 'app' on that.

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register

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Re: Sounds sensible

Air-conditioned air? Fresh from outside, or recycled from the rooms next door with their plague-ridden occupants?

Sounds about as a safe as a cruise ship.

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Re: Participating in Agile rituals

A new software development manager has introduced agile practices, so stand-up meetings are taking place remotely. Staff are staging scrums and working on sprints.

Good reason to stay in quarantine and claim your internet is bust.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

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Calling Isaac Newton...

And as the sails move further from the Sun, they'll slow down.

Well, yes, but, no but... I suppose that interstellar drag will have a small effect, but check Sir Isaac's First Law of Motion.

perhaps you mean 'the rate of acceleration will decrease'

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

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Re: I'll give it a go...

We've been using variations on Micro$oft for years. And they still make money. But now we have to rent all there stuff from a cloudy place which isn't always available.

So maybe Micro$haft362

Fake crypto-wallet extensions appear in Chrome Web Store once again, siphoning off victims' passwords

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That's a good idea

It's such a faff having to type in things to access my bank account online.

Think I'll launch an app that remembers all the login details and enables one-click login.

That will be a big help.

I could share it with other people - for free.

I wonder how many people will download it?

India acknowledges, but brushes aside, features-not-bugs in Aarogya Setu virus contact-tracing app

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"The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight - raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent."

%s/Arogya Setu/UK Govt/

Virgin Galactic takes another step towards blasting Richard Branson into space

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Re: Priorities?

air travel as an expensive luxury

That's an interesting and tempting thought. How do we manage the mechanics of it? Left alone, the airline industry will recover over time and grow again to the size it was last year, and bigger.

That implies some form of intervention. Traditionally, governments use taxation as a mechanism to reduce anti-social and unwelcome behaviour - taxes on booze, fags and fuel f'rinstance.

So how can we tax air-travel? Should there be some sort of tax-allowance so that we can all have one short-haul flight a year? Some sort of reverse air-miles system? 2000 miles free per year, after that there's an extra 10p/mile tax? 25p/mile in First/Business class?

Or would it be better to tax the aircraft rather than the passenger?

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

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"Britain is sleepwalking into another coronavirus"

No, don't think so. UK Government is wide awake and knows exactly what it's doing.

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

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Re: They are the virus

Every time they have a get-together, send along a few people with confirmed COVID to give them all a hug and a sloppy kiss.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

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Re: How to stop people from having "fun"

"code from a doctor after a test."

So, never then?

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The whole thing smells to high heaven, but let's assume they're just not too bright, rather than maliciously planning something.

It's an emergency, Okay. Some normal rules may need to be relaxed. Okay.

But the situation has some very clear time limitations. We know how long COVID takes to incubate or become obvious, three weeks tops. So is there any justification for NOT automatically deleting all records each day once they are past 3 weeks old? They are of no use to trace contacts of infected people who might themselves have become infected.

And once the emergency is over, or daily infections are down to x, then the app stops collecting data. It could be re-enabled is there was a new peak, but say 6 months after that then the apps are instructed to uninstall themselves.

Having a 'die on' date built into the app (12 months time?) wouldn't be unreasonable either.

SpaceX's Elon Musk high on success after counting '420' Starlinks in orbit and Frosty the Starship survives cryo test

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Re: This may be a really obvious question.

So, your average Tanzanian or Bangladeshi villager then?

'Non-commercial use only'? Oopsie. You can't get much more commercial than a huge digital billboard over Piccadilly

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Re: Free for non-commercial use?

Teamviewer have an odd pricing model. It's either free for non-commercial use, or it costs an arm and a leg for even minimal commercial use. Starting price is £30+ per month, which if you're a small business, who may only need it once or twice a month, is a lot, and seriously encourages dishonesty. If they had a 'Light-use' option of say £20-30 p.a. I think they might get a few more people giving them money.

Oh Hell. Remember the glory days of Demon Internet? Well, now would be a good time to pick a new email address

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Ah memories...

But I have to admit that I decided to buy my own .co.uk domain in 1997 (£70 p.a. ?) and that's still in use for a lot of my email!

Cloudflare dumps Google's reCAPTCHA, moves to hCaptcha as free ride ends (and something about privacy)

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Re: Let's not go into...

Or the popular fenland sport of Dyke-jumping.

From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5G

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Re: Consequeneces

Just can't stand knowing half of them are probably knobs that were moaning about the NHS before this

And, more to the point, knobs who voted Tory but fail to make the connection between that and an under-resourced NHS

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Black hole quasar tsunamis moving at 46 million miles per hour

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Re: Mindboggingly fast

I think it would take a couple of hours to cross Wales. We don't really do things like motorways much, and we don't have any railways between north and south, so travel tends to be quite leisurely here, particularly when stuck behind a tractor, a timber lorry or a Mansell-Davies tanker. Even astronomical tsunamis have to learn to chill out and take it easy.

But at the moment we really don't want ANY visitors, astronomical phenomena or human. Please stay at home and stay safe there. Diolch.

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

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Re: Use fresh fruit and veg

Support your local/village/community shop? They seem to be having far less trouble than the supermarkets.

And keep supporting them after this is all over.

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Household jobs?

I don't entirely agree about doing chores at start and end of working day.

I've worked at home for nearly 20 years. I have a separate office 10 yards from the house. I find it's very good to fit the chores in with natural breaks - coffee, loo, meals, snacks. While the kettle is boiling you can pop a load of washing in the machine, or wash the cat-food dishes. Then the next break you put the washing out to dry or in the dryer. Surprising how much you can get done in bursts of a few minutes throughout the day, and it doesn't feel like housework.

Surge in home working highlights Microsoft licensing issue: If you are not on subscription, working remotely is a premium feature

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Re: On the cheap

Teamviewer is quite neat, but has crazy licensing rules. They offer the free, non-commercial version - fine. But there is no option for 'light commercial' use. If you want commercial then it starts at £31.90/month! Crazy.

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

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Paul Neil Millstone Jennings

Or whatever his/her name was.

You've put up with us banging on about IT for years. Now it's your turn. Grab a mic and join us on The Register's podcast

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Useful tips?

Like = is not the same as ==

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

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Re: Penny for a cup of tea, guv?

What goes round, comes round.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying solar panel: BAE Systems' satellite alternative makes maiden flight in Oz

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Re: Up to 1 year?

(why are we using feet btw!)

Because we're British, dammit. (Well, a lot of us)

The foot is God's unit of length, being exactly the length of the right foot of Joseph of Arimathea and recorded on a sacred slab in a shoe-shop in Glastonbury.

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Re: Why, oh why...

"If you do something "for the benefit of humanity", the mathematical result of that is "more humans"."

Some would argue that the development of safe, reliable birth control was done for the benefit of humanity.

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Sitting duck as in "H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth" and "H.M.S. Prince of Wales"?

And a thought. After Wales becomes independent do we get to keep "H.M.S. Prince of Wales"? I suspect it could fetch quite a few quid on e-bay.

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Up to 1 year?

Even allowing for the usual "Up to " meaning "far less than" as in "up to" 100Mbps, what causes the 1 year limitation? Dead batteries?

And presumably launching could be a bit of a fingers crossed moment. They fly above the jet stream but they have to get through it to reach cruising height.

Uncle Sam tells F-35B allies they'll have to fly the things a lot more if they want to help out around South China Sea

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Re: !!!

Of course they need maintenance. But there's a difference between a check-up, new tyres and spark plugs, and a wipe-down with an oily rag, and a 'critical failure' in less than 12 hours.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

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A fair analysis. But, being devil's advocate here, for M$ , and for the customer, an element of subscription makes sense. If we bought a copy of Office 2010, (or earlier - personally I thought Word 2.0 on about 50 floppies did most of what I wanted) then we can still be using it now, but we expect M$ to keep producing security updates for free, indefinitely. How is that sustainable without a massive upfront price to invest to pay the engineers for the next 20 years? And what is the danger of people who don't get security updates? They send me an infected .docx file! I want everyone to be up-to-date and safe. So someone, somehow has to pay for that security.

The M$ pricing model could be a bit better - £100 p.a. for six devices isn't bad, but only if you have six devices! I could cope with £20 p.a. per device (or just get an academic licence - sign up for a cheap evening class at the local uni and away you go!)

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Re: The same arithmetic when choosing an automobile

Yeah. Bit odd that suggestion of changing a car every five years. Why? If you're being greenish, half the lifetime carbon cost of a car is in manufacture. Unless you're thrashing the mileage a modern car doing average mileage should still be running happily after 15+ years. My little Skoda Fabia is now 9 years old, only done 55K miles, needed a new clutch recently and will need a new timing belt soon, but otherwise should be good for another decade or more,

I do think about an EV scooter/motorbike sometimes. What I really want is something like a lightweight EV Smart-car type thing. Range of 100-odd miles, a roof and sides for bad weather, seats 2, and ideally under about £5-6K. That would be fine for most local mileage (probably 80% of what I do), leaving the old ICE Skoda for long trips.

We need to make it even easier for UK terror cops to rummage about in folks' phones, says govt lawyer

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Re: Wipe Password

Good idea - and perhaps shorts out the battery so that it catches fire at 3am next day and burns down the police station.

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Thin client

Do we need a phone that acts as a very thin client? All activity is handled by a box that lives somewhere else - including phone calls, web access, email etc, so nothing on the phone to be seized. Don't even need a password on it. Just make sure that you have TWO of the 'remote boxes' - one for real use, and the other that you only use to access gov.uk and phone your mum. When asked, you give the password for the innocuous one. Works as well for Homeland Security in the Land of the Free (TM), no social media trail!

Sometimes shining a light on a nuclear problem just makes things worse

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Dodgy electrons

Something similar...

Scene: University observatory, mid 1970s. Small group doing some work with a photometer plugged in to the telescope, to measure the amount of light coming from the target star. Working fine, but suddenly the count dropped. And then went back up again. Then dropped. etc. First theory (aliens) rapidly discounted.

Eventually worked out what was happening. There was a coax cable running across the floor from the telescope to the recording kit, and Tony had been standing on it when the count dropped. This was final proof (to us) that electricity works just like water - stand on the hose and the water/electrons can't get through.

In fact - what do we know about co-ax cable? The resistance depends on the shape - minimum when a circle and increases as it is flattened.

JavaScript survey: Devs love a bit of React, but Angular and Cordova declining. And you're not alone... a chunk of pros also feel JS is 'overly complex'

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Re: Frameworks

The rise is fine, it's the fall that worries me.

I develop a lot of sites for academic projects - typically funded for a few years, and typically delivers a nice website and database at the end, along with various books and conference proceedings.

I'm currently going through some older sites (10yrs+ in some cases) and updating them from PHP5.x to PHP7.x, losing PEAR, tightening security and various other little tweaks. Hopefully they should then run for another 10 years without major work. After that, who knows.

My worry with flavour-of-the-month framework in JS, PHP or whatever is that it may suddenly become unsupported and even stop working in 2,3,5 years. Not a major problem for large corporate-owned sites that have the resources to redevelop, but tricky for academics with no funding!

So I think I'll stick to fairly plain vanilla stuff, even if it does take a little longer.

What do you mean your eardrums need a break? Samsung-owned JBL touts solar-powered wireless headphones you don't need to charge

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Not such a silly idea. As we have more and more devices that have very low energy requirements, maybe nano-hydro has a future. Something to fit in a gutter downpipe that charges a battery to power a small LED outside light?


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