* Posts by Pen-y-gors

3700 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google

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So, what if...

A Russian billionaire oligarch ups and says

"I was bought up in Soviet Russia. I was taught to hate the vile Yankee capitalist scum and everything they stood for. I would have happily worked as a KGB agent to infiltrate their degenerate society and help bring about its downfall. But now that I have had the opportunity to visit America and become very very rich I've changed my mind"

Would that be treated in the same way?

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

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System requirements?

The IT titan already sparked a backlash by stating that 7th-generation Intel Core processors will not be sufficient to run the new Windows

That would be bad. One of the more impressive things about Win 10 was that it actually reduced the system requirements compared to 7 & 8. I upgraded a seriously sluggish 10-y-o laptop (some sort of i5? 430M) to Win 10 and an SSD and now it bounces around like the lambs in the field outside. Won't be impressed if upgrade is unavailable on newer machines, like my 3-y-o i5-6300HQ which is 6th gen and zips along with Win 10.

319 terabits – great Scott! Boffins in Japan speed along information superhighway at new world record

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When will Openreach upgrade my village? 900Mbps is so passé.

(Just noticed that after 14 years as an El Reg commentard I am now a scant 29 upvotes short of a total of 32768 ! And only 4000 down votes.

Go on, help me over that line...)

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

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England != UK

just as "Freedom Day" in the UK hits the half-day mark

Free Doom Day only applies in England. That's the bit of the UK at right bottom. (very apt really)

The governments of Cymru, Scotland and (amazingly) even NI seem to have a natural aversion to killing their citizens.

Roll on our independence days. Won't be long now.

Teen turned away from roller rink after AI wrongly identifies her as banned troublemaker

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Re: "If" - Context

Genuine apologies in advance may well save the cost of the lawsuit and the need to apologise in cash afterwards.

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Re: "If" - Context

Actually, admitting they were wrong, genuinely apologising (not 'if there was an error we are sorry if anyone has misunderstood' Tory-style apology), and offering some sort of compensation, even if it's only free admission for the next decade, would be an incredibly WISE thing to do. Might even get some good publicity.

That and reviewing their procedures. Perhaps require the bod on the door to look at a photograph (of a banned person, flagged up by the system) and require them to decide if the customer is the same person. And take responsibility for their decision.

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

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Small screen sport

"You lose some of the grandeur of a major sporting occasion when part of the chilli tortilla chip you're munching falls onto the screen and obscures half the playing field."

It's tricky. Every night at the moment I'm watching the daily highlights from the July Basho of Grand Sumo, on NHK World. It's nice to relax in bed before lights-out but it does lose something on the small screen, particularly when a cat settles down and blocks the view. So much more satisfying watching two muscular 30-stone giants thumping into each other on a 37" screen.

This page has been deliberately left blank

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Does 'ordering 10,000 custom printed T-shirts' really count as ""bankrupt and surplus stock, as well as end of line clearances to individuals and companies of all sizes""?

It would make more sense if a printer had accidentally printed the pro-Bretagne T-shirts before realising the cock-up and then offered them cheap to this guy.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why

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Horses for courses

I've worked from home for the last 20 years, so my technology has evolved. Problem is that while WifI has problems with internal walls, when the internal walls are in a cottage in Cymru and are usually 18" of stone, then 'problem' is a serious understatement. So I've built up a mix of cables strung around walls, skirting boards and through holes in the wooden floors (untidy, but I can't channel those stone walls), and in a pipe between the house and the office, which then conect to a little switch or a WiFi box in the different areas. Some things then use a wired connection from the switch, others (phones, printer) use the WiFi. Garden is covered by putting router on windowsill!

I also volunteer in a community shop and caffi, and we have interesting issues. It's a nice new wooden-framed building, so we happily run two wifi networks off our Fibre router, one for public, one for staff and business. All works fine. But...doesn't reach outside the building. (And 4G doesn't reach inside the building). In our desire to build a really environmentally sound building, we slightly overdid it. The roof is lovely black-enamelled corrugated iron, the walls are massively insulated, and include a foil layer on each panel, and the windows are triple-glazed, again with a metal film on the outside. Result, one giant Faraday cage, so we had to run a cable out to the shed in the garden to get a connection there.

Trouts on a plane: Utah drops fish into lakes from aircraft and circa 95% survive

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Nice idea

Take a tank full of fish, drop them from the air into a lake where they aren't native, in a way that will be so shocking the 5% will die, just so 'anglers' can trek up into the hills to catch them. Doesn't sound really ethical?

Perhaps just keep them in a tank and invite fishermen to come and hit them with clubs?

Boffins find an 'actionable clock' hiding in your blood, ticking away to your death

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<music on>Who wants to live forever?

Not me. I'll settle for a few millennia.

Thank you Brian May

UK govt draws a blank over vaccine certification app – no really, the report is half-empty

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Errm...what about the appointment card I got from my GP showing the date and batch no of both vaccines?

Euro space boffins hatch comms satellite hijack plan to save Earth from extinction

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"[But] we think we could expect about 10 to 15 launches available within one month around the entire globe."

What's the turnround time on a Falcon Heavy?

Devilish plans for your next app update ensure they never happen – unless you start praying

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Re: Not evangelical, of course, …

Yes, but...

evangelist is from eu- (good) -angelos (messenger) - good bringer

so really it should be something like cacangelical (bad messenger) not evdemonical

(c.f. cacophony)

...but the joke wouldn't have been as funny that way

NASA's InSight lander expected to survive most of summer before choking to death on Martian dust

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Learning point.

For future missions - just attach a small feather duster to the arm. Really wouldn't add much weight.

Hungover Brits declare full English breakfast the solution to all their ills

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Possibly a waste of money by the makers of Tabasco sauce, and a godsend to the makers of HP sauce. Only one item in the list benefits from/requires tabasco, and that's the Bloody Mary at number 26!

Whereas HP makes just about everything better (maybe not the bowl of cereal)

SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband constellation to achieve full global coverage by September, boss claims

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System capacity

Does anyone know how many simultaneous customers the 'complete constellation' will be able to service? I suspect it won't be in the billions...

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Re: Does space have an ecology?

Earth orbit is part of our ecosystem. If it's full of bits of junk it becomes unusable, in the same way that if the sea and our rivers are full of junk they can't be used. And not being able to use satellites any more would have a major impact on human lives these days.

Pub landlords on notice as 'Internet of Beer' firm not only pulls pints, but can also clean the lines

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Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

Yeah, proper bitter (or mild) beer is really totally different to lager. They are different drinks. I'm not saying that all lager is like pish, because it isn't. In the right time and place it can be quite refreshing, as can a lovely cold pint of cider on a hot day.

But lager is not for drinking slowly and savouring, as a good pint of Teifi is.

(Note to El Reg: Can we have a proper bitter beer in a straight glass icon please?)

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)

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As a result, the rules for updates now are: "Don't tell me you're updating""

Well, it half works. It doesn't tell you it's updating, but you find out when you restart for some reason and spend ten minutes watching a circle go round with a "Windows is updating 17% complete Do not switch off your computer" message - Irritating when you're about to deliver a Powerpoint presentation.

UK spends £36m on 18 little 'bullet-proof' boats to protect Royal Navy assets

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Has someone been writing a custom bot? I think we should be told...

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£2 million each?

That sounds rather expensive for a fast motor-boat.

Is Honest Ron's Pizzas & PPE of Canvey Island involved in the contract?

Want to keep working in shorts and flipflops way after this is all over? It could be time to rethink your career moves

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Re: So that you're looking them in the eye...

"Sorry - my camera seems to be broken. Can we just do audio?"

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Interview cheats?

"I have had two cases reported to me of candidates blatantly looking up answers on the web during Zoom interviews

Back in the 90s we needed to recruit a number of coders from a distant country. This was pre-zoom, so we did telephone interviews, calling the agency we were working with.

Some seemed a little strange - we'd ask a technical question and things went very silent for a while, as if someone had pressed mute. Then they gave the right answer. Could there possibly be someone in the room prompting them? Other times there was no mute, but we could distinctly here the flipping of pages as someone looked something up in the manual (although that was fine. Whenever anyone asked me in an interview what a DB2 xxx error code was my answer was always 'not sure - I look them up')

We changed agency.

Whatever you've been doing during lockdown, you better stop it right now

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Yes, it’s odd but that’s all good podcast-listening time.

Is it just me or does everyone (including the BBC) seem to be launching podcasts lately?

I confess, I really haven't got into them at all. They seem such an awkward idea - if I see an ad for one while browsing the Grauniad website, I don't have the time and leisure to click on it and take an hour off from work. When do people listen to them? Is there some sort of podcast RSS-like program I can use to queue them up and then forget about? And would it work on my bedside clock-radio?

EE and Three mobe mast surveyors might 'upload some virus' to London Tube control centre, TfL told judge

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Sits Vac

That evidence is provided by Mr Kevin Clack, who is the soon-to-be former network security and policing manager for Transport for London


Hate to break it to you, but football's not coming home if this AI pundit is to be believed

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Re: At last

Great idea, would save a fortune on wages for the pundits.

Could then extend it to filling in for 'interviewers' (like Marr) and politicians on TV

Australian cops, FBI created backdoored chat app, told crims it was secure – then snooped on 9,000 users' plots

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Not a problem.

Just put a note on page 37 of the EULA saying that messages may be read by law-enforcement agencies worldwide, and you're clear. No-one ever reads those things anyway.

Nasdaq's 32-bit code can't handle Berkshire Hathaway's monster share price

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Or do weird things

Working for insurance company, in the dim and distant, when storage cost money.

So, how did we handle UK decimal currency in PL/1?

We defined a signed fixed (11,1) (packed decimal) field which took 6 bytes, and then moved the amount in pennies into it, so we got 001234567890C in hex. So £123.45 was x'000000123450C'

Then, we defined a 5-byte character field on top of that, using a pointer.

Then we moved the five bytes into the record for storage, to save the waste of space of the last x'0C'.

Reverse process when reading.

It got worse. Disk storage was expensive. We had one file which was a Regional(1) dataset (if I remember rightly from 30+ years ago). These had no key, but were accessed by location on disk. The file held 10,000,000 one-byte records, one for each policy number. The first two bits of the byte held two status indicators, the last 6 bits held an integer that was the policy type (10-63).

Ah the good old days.

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Re: Use of floating point numbers ?

And 1 furrowlong (furlong) x 1 chain (or cricket pitch) = 1 acre

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Re: Use of floating point numbers ?

Very true. I used to work for a Life Assurance company who had a lot of pre-decimal policies on the books. Values were stored as integer farthings (for you youngsters out there, that's a quarter of an old penny, i.e. 960 to the pound)

Thanks, boss. The accidental creation of a lights-out data centre – what a fun surprise

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I may have mentioned this one before...

Back in the days of big iron, a friend worked for one of the utility companies. They too had problems with bosses showing people around and showing off their shiny.

Problem was that sometimes they'd turn up during a monthly billing run, when the box was just crunching its way through calculating thousands of bills and spooling the output. As a result this was a good time for the Ops to sit back, drink coffee and read the paper, because no intervention was needed for hours. Basically the blinken lights blinked, a tape drive or two inched their way round, and that was it.

Bosses not impressed with this apparent lack of activity when showing off.

So the Ops bods had a chat with some developers and between them put together a program which, when loaded, suspended the current (useful) operations and made all the machinery work at once. The blinken lights went berserk, tapes rewound, things ejected, printer covers went up and down, things that go beep all beeped, and ops ran around looking busy. Very impressive. Once the grockles went they just shut it down, and got back to real work (and the crossword)

They were the same team who worked out that printing certain combinations of characters on the line printer made the chain vibrate at a certain note. After a bit of experimentation they put together a card deck that would get the printer to play God Save the Queen.

BOFH: I'm so pleased to be on the call, Boss. No, of course this isn't a recording

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Re: Brilliant!

In the end I constructed a video loop of myself which had me blankly staring into the screen, nodding and "mmm-ing" randomly when people stopped talking.

I think you could make a fortune if you marketed that.

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Instead of an honest meeting where people admitted to watching TV in their underwear for the past 2 days,

Wearing underwear? How unnecessary.

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

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Power buttons

I grope blindly behind the fascia edges hoping to locate an elusive power button

...Every time you try and operate these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up in black to let you know you’ve done it

RIP Douglas. He didn't mention the 'hidden away round the corner bit'

Royal Yacht Britannia's successor to cost about 1 North of England NHS IT consultancy framework

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Britain is to get a new ocean-going gin palace to schmooze VIPs, negotiate trade deals and fly the flag for UK Plc

Nah. It'll be for Boris to swan around on with his latest mistress, leaving La Cicciolina Symonds to have a week on the beach in Essex with poor Wilf.

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I suspect it's more likely that it will be sold off cheap to some Russian billionaire oligarch after it's seized for non-payment of harbour fees in Monaco.

Xiaomi touts Hypercharge 200W charging tech, claims 4,000mAh battery goes from 0 to full in 480 seconds

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Re: Is this really useful for anyone?

Yep. Solution looking for a problem.

I can remember my first analogue mobile, nearly 30 years ago. 8hr battery life (so long as you didn't use it much) and 8 hrs to recharge. 10 minute charging would have been great.

But now? My Android Honor thingy can run for a couple of days on a full charge (depending on usage) and fully recharges from 20% in under an hour. I charge it at night.

And it doesn't need a separate charger - just a standard USB-C plug.

Firefly Aerospace's Blue Ghost lunar lander set to ride a SpaceX Falcon 9 to the Moon

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Dies at night?

Seems strange to send something all that way, and build it so that it can't survive through a lunar night. Surely some form of low-power hibernation mode is possible and not too heavy?

How much would you pay me to develop a COVID tracking app that actually works? Ah, thought so: nothing

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24 years old - an old man!

Here in soggy Cymru, we have our own Covid data hero - Lloyd Warburton from Aberystwyth, who basically did exactly the same thing to make statistics accessible for Cymru, months before Welsh Government got sorted. He was 15 when he started. He's still doing it (and has added vaccine stats) while doing his A-levels.

His website is at https://coronaviruscymru.wales/

We also have https://portalcovidcymru.co.uk/least_map.html which is an excellent data-crunching site developed by Dr. Lowri Williams, a data scientist in Caerdydd who's done a lot to break down and map the data to local levels so we can easily see how far away the nearest cases are.

Cymru leading the world!

UK data watchdog fines 'pandemic partner' biz £8k: It sent 84,000 marketing emails to people who'd given info for track and trace

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This is not rocket science.

£8K is a joke.

By now every business should understand and be able to implement the basics of data protection, no excuse.

I mean, our community caffi has been using paper T&T forms (several thousand to date) and after 3 weeks they come to me to be incinerated (without adding email addresses to a spreadsheet).

You can listen right here to the whir of a robot helicopter flying on an alien world

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Ho hum

and its own machinery cranking away as it drives around the Jezero crater

One of the nicest things about all the recent lockdowns, particularly the first one, has been the quiet. I've been able to sit outside in the sun, and listen to the wind in the trees, the birds, the stream, the animals - and minutes pass without any mechanical sounds at all. No cars, lorries, revving motorbikes, airliners, chain-saws, lawn-mowers, strimmers.

So what do we do on this peaceful alien planet? Rev up the engines and rattle the machinery. Next off - sound of Perseverance doing a wheelie and handbrake turns. (Robotarm-brake turns?) The locals will be getting seriously pissed off.

Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP

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The legacy copper network has proven particularly expensive to maintain as the cables and telephone poles used are exposed to the elements, and thus susceptible to weather damage

So how does the fibre get from green box to house? Carried by a team of fairies?

I've had FTTP for several years. All our fibre is strung along poles until it is attached to a box on the outside of the house. Granted that fibre is less prone to bad weather problems, or too-long lengths of cable, but it's still outdoors and potentially prone to damage in places by farmers cutting back hedges and grass with mighty machinery. About 10 years back ours gave a short back and sides to some sort of junction thing near ground level. Took BT weeks to sort out which wires were which. Fibre will probably be harder!

The Starship has landed. Latest SpaceX test comes back to Earth without igniting fireballs

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Re: A pedant notes...

What would be interesting to know is how many successful Raptor launches there have been - i.e. how many total Raptor uses have there been. It must be in the 100s by now - a tried and tested engine.

NASA comes up with COVID-19 infection detector that's out of this world – E-Nose built from space station gear

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Re: Possible false positives?

The 'testing' systems currently in use (The Lateral Flow ones at least) have a rather low accuracy, often due to being administered improperly (shoving swabs up the nose and down the throat). And when infection levels are low, false positives can exceed real positives. e.g. if 1% of negatives actually report a false positive (pretty good numbers) then when infections are down to 1 in a 600 (as they are now), for every accurate positive there will be 6 false positives.

So if they can get something that is better than LFTs they're on to a winner.

Listen, son... Monster trucks just aren't cool anymore. Real winners drive Tesla Roadsters

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Re: Recycled or recyclable?

'Recyclable' is one of the most weasely weasel words in the whole green-wash business. What does it mean? It means it's made of virgin trees and oil, which can - if you feel so inclined - be put in the recycling bag when the kid is bored. Monster trucks - real ones - are 'recyclable'.

Pigeon fanciers in a flap over Brexit quarantine flock-up, seek exemption from EU laws

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Under the hawk-ward new rule

Surely auk-ward?

Blue Origin sends Mannequin Skywalker aloft again, testing out comfier capsule for future space tourists

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Why? Just....why?

This seems to be a heck of a lot of money and effort to build what is basically a giant fairground attraction.

Surely it would make more sense to spend a wee bit more and actually build an orbital launch system - then repurpose that for joy rides.

Spy agency GCHQ told me Gmail's more secure than Microsoft 365, insists British MP as facepalming security bods tell him to zip it

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Friends in GCHQ?

"I was told by friends at GCHQ that I was better off sticking to Gmail

That would be his friends Louise in reception, George who raises and lowers the barrier in the car park and Mrs T in catering? Yes?

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

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Re: No TV

I can't complain. I don't watch the BBC (or any live TV, or iPlayer) because I cancelled my TV licence 3 years ago - I object to paying for the Tory BritNat propaganda on BBC News and current affairs. Pity, because they do make some good programs.


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