* Posts by AlanS

60 posts • joined 28 Oct 2010

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The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

AlanS
IT Angle

Wensleydale

Reared on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border, my day-to-day cheeses are Lancashire and Cheshire, slightly sour and crumbly, with good bread and olives. Wensleydale, to me, is becoming too creamy, perhaps because they now export a lot to the US? My late mother did like the Wensleydale with cranberries, though.

Privacy activists prep legal challenge against UK plan to keep coronavirus contact-tracing data for two decades

AlanS
Flame

PHE?

As PHE is the body supposed to plan for public health in England, up to and including pandemics, I wouldn't trust them to organise a pissup in a brewery.

Oracle faces claims of unequal pay from 4,000+ women after judge upgrades gender gap lawsuit to class action

AlanS
Headmaster

Re: @SuperGeek

SuperGeek has used English, where the comma is inside the "" only if the thing quoted has a comma.

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions

AlanS
Holmes

Re: As always, neutrinos are left out the mix.

IIRC, photons and matter are different under gravity. That was why the eclipse experiment was done during WW1, to check the displacement of star images near the sun during a total eclipse. Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts twice the displacement of Newton's theory of gravity.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

AlanS
Boffin

Re: No so much COBOL as the tools

I was still using overlays in the early '80s. IBM370/165, 4Mb RAM, of which my partition was 256K.

2020 MacBook Air teardown shows in graphic detail how butterfly keyboards were snipped for scissor switch

AlanS

Re: Stop insulting your readers

IBM did allow access: when the PC came out they followed their standard practice for their equipment and published the specs, including the main bus. This allowed third parties to build add-in boards, while other manufacturers offered only their own designs, then when the BIOS was cloned, other people (eg, Gateway) could build compatible boxes, allowing the market to mushroom. Only now did MS bribe the clone makers to use MSDOS rather than, eg, DRDOS, for which they were duly fined after the competition were dead.

Boffins find asteroid with the shortest solar year of any space rock in our Solar System

AlanS
Holmes

Re: Short observation window

This is a solved problem bar minor technicalities: your observatory hovers in shadow by the Sun-Mercury L2 point, hanging from an annular sail. The thrust from the mirror stabilises the orbit, directs sunlight onto the cold cells powering the satellite, and the instruments look through the hole!

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

AlanS
Holmes

MIPS

I was a systems architect for the Parasolid solid modeller in the '90s and we produced a prototype for Win/MIPS which ran well, unsurprisingly as we already had it running on MIPS under DEC Ultrix. IIRC, when the C compilers were handed over to MS to integrate into Visual Studio etc everything went titsup and we never went to production.

After 1.5 million days of computer time, SETI@home heads home to probe potential signs of alien civilizations

AlanS

Re: What frequency?

IIRC it's the wavelength of neutral hydrogen, which has the advantage of passing through the galaxy with little absorption, and it's the same for every civilisation which might be trying to send a message, whether in millimetres or microcubits.

Virtual inanity: Solution to Irish border requires data and tech not yet available, MPs told

AlanS

Storm in a teacup

The entire trade between the two halves of Ireland is less than the amount of fraud which is known to exist in the EU budget, which has been unsigned by the auditors for many years.

Now you can officially dox Scrabble players, thanks to the new dictionary definitions

AlanS
Holmes

Re: hackerazzo

The Chambers app for Android still has "ai" and is great value for money: it was approx £6/$10 when I bought it, and it gets updates for free!

Pull request accepted: You want to buy GitHub, Microsoft? Go for it – EU

AlanS

Contestable monopolies

So the Commission reckons that if MS screw up GitHub, someone can easily create a competitor, but do not accept that Google search has an effective monopoly just because it works, not because no one can establish a competitor? I write as one who, when Yahoo and Google first established themselves in the UK, much preferred Yahoo, but after a few years, Google got better and Yahoo didn't.

I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

AlanS

Re: Vogon

"Winning by cheating doesn't count." We also know that Remain broke the law and still lost.

UK.gov leaves data dashboard users' details on publicly accessible site

AlanS
Holmes

I've just looked at this site (by its contents I'm unlikely to have registered) and the home screen says it's in still in beta! After more than two years! I used to work on CAD software and a beta that long would either be a pile of doodoo not fit for public display, or a cancelled project accidentally left on the system.

FAKE BREWS: America rocked by 'craft beer' scandal allegations

AlanS
Pint

Re: "India Pale Ale went *to* India"

Yes, please do not mention 60/-; it should be poured back into the horse it came from.

Apple: Crisis? What innovation crisis? BTW, you like our toothbrush?

AlanS
Facepalm

HTC Magic

I had one for a few years, and a nice phone it was, except for the headphones connecting through the power slot. Guaranteed to be listening/watching something nice/important when the low-power message popped up!

Apple may face $900m bill after A7 CPU in iPhones, iPads ripped off university's patent

AlanS
Paris Hilton

DEC's Alpha CPUs were doing similar things in '92 - prior art?

UK's annual PCB waste = 81 HMS Belfasts, says National Physical Lab

AlanS
Holmes

Re: Displacement is not weight of the vessel.

Ever heard of Archimedes' Principle? The weight of a floating ship is identical to its displacement.

REVEALED: The 19 firms whose complaints form EU's antitrust case against Google

AlanS
Holmes

TripAdvisor

I haven't looked at this site since I was asked to rate the hotel I had just stayed at, along with another dozen places I had never heard of.

On a wider topic: I book overnight accommodation for my group of golfers. Algorithm: search web for hotel near course, call and ask whether they can cope with 8-10 50+ men on such-a-such date. 15 years ago, I used Yahoo! as they had a better index for England, now I use Google, as they have improved their stuff. Competition works.

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

AlanS
WTF?

Odd. I get Amazon entries when I'm searching for books.

Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

AlanS

Re: I reckon that I have something...

I like "Jet" and have watched it several times (Kelly McGillis doesn't hurt). I've never watched it stone cold sober, though, and the DVD came free with the player.

Gorilla Glass maker gobbles Samsung's fibre optic biz

AlanS
Holmes

Re: Best Known?

And they've been making optical fibre for over forty years, too.

'It's NOT a fishing expedition', say police over random spot checks on gun owners

AlanS

“Incidents and intelligence go unreported every day": do they have a crystal ball?

The Schmidt hits the clan: Google chief mauls publishers' 'abuse of dominance' claims

AlanS

Re: Gateway to the Internet

I used to use Altavista and Yahoo in preference to Google, as they seemed to have better indexes for Britain. Then Google caught up and they are nowhere. I'm not bothered by targeted ads as 99% of my searches are for information, and for my (few) usual purchases I go direct to the company.

Net tech bods at IETF mull anti-NSA crypto-key swaps in future SSL

AlanS
Facepalm

The only surprise is ,,,

why this isn't done already. When I first learnt about DH negotiation, years ago (some TV programme on how GCHQ had invented RSA before RSA), I assumed all connections used DH for the initial (quick) link and then negotiated something better.

BBC hacks – tweet the crap out of the news, cries tech-dazzled Trust

AlanS
Holmes

W1A is a documentary

I listen to the World Service by preference as I find Radio 4 too London-focused; it used to be news bulletins with selections from BBC Radio features, but the features have been cut and the extra 'news' is full of opinions/feelings.

OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

AlanS
Boffin

The problem isn't C

It's the spec. At this point we have a binary blob of known length B. The spec says the blob has a header byte, a two-byte payload length P, and some unspecified data which must be echoed. The intent is that the transfer mechanism can add padding so that B >= P+2+1 but there's nothing in the wire protocol to ensure this. The fault is not checking that P is appropriate to B and could occur in any language; other languages with bounds checking have been suggested in other threads but you still need a constructor - if the implementer uses "byte data[P]" rather than "byte data[B-2-1]" you have the same bug. Further, with hindsight you should use [min(P, B-2-1)] but would you think of that first?

USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

AlanS

don't forget Amazon

I locate the two small springy things: on my phones and tablet, they are inserted upwards, on the Kindles the other way.

AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'

AlanS

I'll stick with Sudoku on my phone.

Wookiee! CHEWIE'S BACK in Star Wars Ep VII – blab Hollywood 'sources'

AlanS

Leia and Luke are siblings...

offspring of original stars Han Solo AND Princess Leia, OR Luke Skywalker.

Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

AlanS

Re: Things change: Ireland

I played Dromoland Castle golf course some years ago (you may remember it for the Pro/Celebrity TV programme over Christmas/New Year - which is why I wanted to play it). The original 9 holes were built in the days of yards, the second 9 in metres; the distance markers were accordingly in a mixture of metres (new holes) and yards (old). Problem: the tees and greens have since been moved and 1. not all the markers have been updated and 2. some of the 'old' markers are now on 'new' holes and vice versa; you really must use your eyes or be 30 yards wrong into the green!

AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

AlanS

Re: Cable/Fixed line telcos are all trying it on

Nationalise all telcos? Look up Britain's General Post Office/Post Office Telecommunications/British Telecom for an example. When I was at uni in the early '80s, we weren't allowed to run a network link between two adjacent buildings: it had to be run to a junction box half a mile away and then back again, by BT engineers, and took months. Good of the nation?

Hey 4G bods: We need to make 'phonecalls' with our 'voices', too

AlanS

Re: Personally...

On the other hand, I moved off 3 because of its 3G: my phone insisted on trying to keep a 3G connection, just in case I wanted to switch to video, and voice calls were often dropping out during the conversation. This is Cambridge, the supposed heart of "Silicon Fen".

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

AlanS
Holmes

Personal anecdote of no evidential worth

I have just been away for two weeks with my phone (HTC1X), my tablet (Nexus7) and my Kindle. My problem wasn't chargers, but wall sockets! I survived by plugging in my laptop (Lenovo 3000 N100: old but v.good screen), then using three USB-to-mUSB cables at once, remembering to insert into the Kindle other-way-up.

'Weird' OBJECT, PROPELLED by its OWN JETS, spotted beyond Mars orbit by Hubble

AlanS
Holmes

Hot ice

It's in a vacuum, weightless, and it sublimes quickly.

Cash-blackhole Twitter will shower itself in gold by 2015, investors told

AlanS
Thumb Down

I had hoped that EBITDA had been exposed by the last dotcom crash as a useless method of valuing a company!

Firefox OS update adds performance, polish to Mozilla's webby mobes

AlanS
Pint

Re: No MMS?

I rarely use MMS ... because of the cost! I've had phones with O2, 3 and Vodafone and they all charge approx US$1 per photo. Better to wait for a WiFi signal and email.

HALF of air passengers leave phones on ... yet STILL no DEATH PLUNGE

AlanS

Vodafone

Last time I flew from Goa I forgot to switch my phone off, and arrived at Heathrow to a text saying "Welcome to Vodafone Turkey"!

World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

AlanS
Happy

Re: Research is needed

I prefer Antigua. The wind can be cold on Jamaica's north shore...

Retailers: You could get the chance to TEAR UP Penguin ebook contracts

AlanS
Angel

Re: Price Fixing?

"chosen by Amazon to gain the most money for Amazon whilst crushing publishers and authors"

No: Amazon are prepared to take a small slice, wishing the pie to grow. Apple wanted a large slice for its iBooks so the publishers had to sell to Apple at a higher price than to Amazon, just to maintain their income. The MFN clause meant that the publishers would automatically stop selling cheaper books to Amazon => the pie doesn't grow &/or the customer loses.

Declaration of interest: I do have a Kindle but buy many of my books as EPUBs (not from Amazon) so I can emend the worst typos and then convert to MOBI.

If Google got a haircut, a tie and a suit, would it be Microsoft?

AlanS
Linux

Re: AC @ 12:49 - Google vs Microsoft

The key was that IBM published the technical specifications of the IBM PC, just as they did for their larger, more expensive, products. That openness allowed other companies to supply add-in boards and peripherals that IBM did not supply, and when the BIOS was cloned, complete compatible systems could be produced.

As a *nix-based Brit, I do not know the exact details of MS's behaviour from personal experience, but the gist seemed to be 1. they promised system producers to undercut the prices of their OS competiors and 2. they would supply MSDOS even cheaper, if the manufacturers didn't offer a competing OS at all. This uncompetitive behaviour was eventually stopped, but too late for the competition.

Rivals to Brussels: Google labelling its own stuff won't help us

AlanS
Big Brother

Re: Build it and they will come

Upvoted: I was the same ... I started with Altavista (work related), moved to Yahoo! as its UK index was better for my searches (holiday related), and then Google appeared, better all round. As to its use of my data to produce targeted ads, it's not very good at it! Big Brother: asleep on the job.

UN telecoms talks FOUNDER as US, UK, Canada and Aussies quit

AlanS
Alert

Re: Dont dis Round the Twist

Hands off PrisonerCBH!

(I also Have fond memories of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.)

How talent-spotting boffins help Team GB bag Olympic gold

AlanS
Thumb Up

RE: UN Security Council

I vote for that: the French wouldn't!

Party like it's 1999: CDE Unix desktop REBORN

AlanS
Paris Hilton

Fond memories!

10 years ago I used mainly Sun and HP machines under CDE. When I had to install software on Apple Mac or MS Windows machines, they were so clumsy by comparison.

Paris, 'cos she's an icon.

Million-plus IOPS: Kaminario smashes IBM in DRAM decimation

AlanS
Holmes

You get what you pay for, and you DO pay!

A minute with my phone's calculator shows that a DRAM array of the same size as the disks costs over $110 million, almost exactly thirty two times as much.

Windows 8 'bad' for desktop users - Gartner's one-word review

AlanS
Paris Hilton

Re: ok

I use Unix for work, Linux for pleasure, but I can usually help people when they want advice on their MS or Apple machines, even though that may be my first exposure for weeks. If a knowledgeable user can't find something, he's probably not going to roll out an office-full.

Dutch payment-by-bonkers bonk payments on the head

AlanS
Happy

Re: I have a bad feeling about this.

Google have had my number for three years (in case I need a password reset or similar) and they have never spammed me.

British Gas bets you'll pay £150 for heating remote control

AlanS
WTF?

Would this be the BG who want me to buy a new boiler, thereby saving at least £100 pa on gas, but then they would charge me £135 for its annual service?

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Haggis pakora v huevos rancheros

AlanS
Mushroom

Huevas Ranchero: fond memories

Some 20 years ago, I was sent to California to debug someone else's code for a Data General machine (Eclipse IIRC - different numbers for byte or word addressing was the problem). I used to have Huevos Ranchero at my hotel for breakfast, but it also came with chilli beef and refried beans! It set me up for the day of fighting this stuff which was lucky to run on any machine...

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