* Posts by Dropper

393 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jan 2011


40 years of Turbo Pascal, the coding dinosaur that revolutionized IDEs


Amiga Version

Turbo Pascal on the Amiga was freaking awesome. It automatically created a Windowed UI for your application, and was an excellent gateway to C and C++. Really miss those days.

As for what it created, it was a stand-alone executable. Not sure what the deal was with the PC version, but the Amiga version created software you could distribute without the need to include anything other than the executable on the disk / CD. Was is a bit slow? Sure. But it worked. It's not like we were writing games with it, so it didn't matter.

AI coding is 'inescapable' and here to stay, says GitLab



Nothing about the nonsense I've seen "generated" by AI seems to be all that concerning for coders.

If generative AI can't even produce a working PowerShell script from a simple request, I'm not sure how it's going to produce complex coding any time soon.

I've tried using ChatGPT to generate basic PowerShell scripts, and all it seems to do is Google the answer then display the first result that vaguely matches your query. I would say you have what amounts to a zero chance of getting anything useful if you tried doing more complex than asking it how produce a script that can copy a file. And sometimes not even then. Introduce even the slightest complexity to that query and you will 100% get a wrong answer, that would take longer to correct than it would to write it from scratch.

80% of execs regret calling employees back to the office


Useless Information

It never fails to annoy me that people will insist on justifying why VP and above positions exist in any business. It's almost a certainty that if a bad decision is made, these are the people that make them.

Do they have the knowledge and experience to make such decisions? The normal reaction to this question is to fall off your chair laughing.

What executives bring to the table is their connections with other executives. The good ol' boys club. The club that guarantees large contracts pass from one table to the other. They were mostly born into their money, they were sent to the right schools and universities, and they have networks of similarly placed individuals.

All of this is great. They are the upper class answer to secondhand car salesmen.

But for god's sake don't let them make day-to-day decisions about running the company. They have no real world knowledge. Seriously, it's time to stop letting some idiot wearing a bowtie make decisions that cost money, simply because they're bored because there was no one around to bully into wasting their time with useless tasks.

Funnily enough, AI models must follow privacy law – including right to be forgotten


Bigger Problems

Sure this is a big problem, and as more countries and US states adopt these laws, the problem will only get larger.

But I would have thought the largest problem AI faces is copyright theft. Whether it's used to generate copy, photos or video - eventually people are going to notice how often their content is being stolen.

If AI drives humans to extinction, it'll be our fault


Search engine or photo editor

Never really understood how a malicious search engine or photo editor could bring about an end to humanity. Also.. if your company is willing to risk its future on content generated by AI.. good luck to them. If they are even hinting at moving in this direction, you should probably look for a new job anyway.. because they are likely to fail spectacularly and go bankrupt.

Will any of this change in the future? Possibly, but it still doesn't answer the question on how something really good at analyzing and displaying the results of a data search - or by flawlessly removing something from a photo - is going to bring about Armageddon. I suppose the AI used to predict weather might be troublesome if it wasn't for the fact that almost anyone alive has a healthy skepticism of weather forecasts.

To me the most serious threat AI poses to society is its ability to predict what you want to buy.. corporates have been quietly developing increasingly reliable predictive advertising for years, to the point that people believe their devices are listening to them.

Identity thieves can hunt us for 'rest of our lives,' claims suit after university data leak



I've always thought that the only consequence that would truly force businesses to take security seriously, and enforce the use of encryption as well as the decision to not store information for the sake of it, is to make them 100% liable for the financial damage done to every individual who suffers from a breach.

If they had to make payments to refund victims for the cost of making purchases at high interest rates (due to the resulting bad credit score), that would be step in the right direction.

Another would be to force them to finance the purchase of cars and homes at the perfect credit score rates.

Not practical? Nor is having to pay 20-30% more for major purchases for years because someone at a company the victim did business with thought it was too expensive to implement proper security.

British Airways, Boots, BBC payroll data stolen in MOVEit supply-chain attack


Nothing will change

As there is no meaningful consequence to losing personal information, this will continue to happen and the victim will continue to get absolutely no help whatsoever.

Except for the pointless credit monitoring, which just tells them how fucked they are.

So you have credit monitoring, someone uses your information to open a credit account and it dings on your monitored credit report 2 months later.

What fast, simple and painless method does the victim have to have that account closed and removed from their credit?

What consequence that actually compensates the victims and punishes the lax security does the company that allowed the breach suffer?

If a victim gets a mortgage, and their interest rate is increased 2% because their credit is now shit, who do they contact to receive monthly payments for up to 30 years to refund the difference between the rate they got and the rate they would have received?

Funny how none of this is even a consideration. No, you get credit monitoring. Woo-fucking-hoo.

Aggressive PC discounts might not be here for long, says HP



Yeah, well good luck with selling PCs and laptops without those "discounts".. we've watched corporate greedflation artificially push prices of all goods into the stratosphere, and in many cases we're forced to grin and bare it. But in a world where a PC can last 5-7 years before it can no longer keep pace, there would be zero incentive to purchase an over-priced machine with a 5% performance gain.

Thinking about raising your PC and laptop prices? Take a look at video cards if you want to know your future. We currently live in a world where someone is calling a $400 video card "budget" with a straight face. You can tell people that paying that much for a single component is great value, but no one is actually going to believe it and no one is going to buy it - just ask NVidia about its RTX 4060/Ti range and how well that's doing right now. So thinking you can sell what is essentially the same thing, but with a higher number on a few components, for more money than last year is not going to go over well when we are already being milked for every spare coin to pay for housing, utilities, food and transport.

Nvidia's RTX 4060 and 4060TI are actually priced like mid-tier cards


Re: A triumph of marketing over substance

Yup, most generational GFX upgrades offer little more than 10-15% on the previous. I don't own a single game that includes support for DLSS or AMD's FSR - but even if I did, the version my card supports is already out of date because I've owned my card for over a year. Tying performance gains to a technology that loses all manufacturer support within a year is just artificially propping up their numbers.

Then you have the fact that much of the assumed performance gain also assumes that the rest of your PC got upgraded with the graphics card. No point in thinking you'll see much difference in performance if your mobo's PCI express version is 2-3 years old.

Astronomers spot Earth-sized exoplanet probably 'carpeted' by volcanoes



Sounds similar to where I live in Nevada.. only with a tad hotter ground, but much better air quality. Prob less people driving the down freeways in the wrong direction too, so sounds pretty nice.

Here's what the US Army picked for soldier-worn tactical USB hubs



Does that mean a $10 Amazon basics usb hub in a zip-lock baggie?

UK PM Sunak plans to allocate just £1bn to semiconductor industry


What would we do with it?

“What would we do with it? We’re not going to build high volume fabs to compete with Taiwan, South Korea, or the USA, or even China,” he added.

Yes, that's the spirit. This comment explains exactly why we don't, and never will, have meaningful investment into the UK tech industry.

I'm in the process of trying to move back to the UK from the US, for reasons other than the fairy stories people make up about America.

What is true is the work/life balance in the UK is far superior. Not perfect, but infinitely better than the always-on life in the US.

What is also true is the money invested into UK tech is shameful. This is not just about becoming world leaders in whatever segment we decide to invest in. It's also about attracting and keeping talent. Because if you don't have the funding, you can't pay the wages - and that is as serious a handicap as any. If you could just move your career from the UK to the US, doing the exact same job you're doing now, you could expect to bring home about 30% more than you do now. Factor in cost of living and that actually goes up if you move to the right location.

So yeah, work/life balance sucks. But because there's investment - real investment - you will probably own your own home, own a nice car, have money to spend on cool toys and be able to go on nice "vacations".

Bosses failing to offer hybrid work lose out in recruitment



What I found is that it's hard to justify the existence of VPs and upper management positions when their are no people around the office to bully. What's a VP to do if they can't find a worker to pick up a piece of paper or replace an empty toner cartridge? It's almost as if these positions serve no purpose whatsoever, except to siphon off a large percentage of the payroll into one bank account.

Companies that think they can retain key employees, will have to offer more than a pay increase that doesn't match inflation.

Besides the quality of life benefits from having 1-2 days working from home, there's a simple truth for you. Petrol, road tax and car maintenance costs me more than the free electricity your getting from turning on my computer at home. Note that electricity - because it's not the only bill that goes up if you unnecessarily require people to work in your office. Water, gas and even rent is going up for you.

Maybe 30% smaller office space and 30% lower utility bills could be seen as a benefit to allowing the 30% of your employees that can easily do 100% of their jobs from home to work there. I've yet to see a job ad that offers not only a hybrid or remote position plus being able to expense the increase in utility bills that comes from working there. That's free money to any company that allows it.

Oh yes, the other reason they don't want you working from home. They think you won't work. Guess what, people who want to keep their jobs still need to do their work. Also, if you think someone is going to goof off most of the day at home - well those same people will do exactly the same thing at work. They're just good at hiding what they're doing. Not remote cameras needed. If think you can tell how hard a person is working just by looking that them.. well you're probably the same person that thinks a VP position is necessary.

UK refreshes national security plan to stop more of China's secret-stealing cyber-tricks


Solid plan

I believe the explanation is simple.

Imagine all your data in the form of an egg.

The plan is to carefully place all these eggs into a single, ultra-secure, out-sourced and off-shored container.

Let's call that a basket.

Now that all of your eggs are in one basket, nothing can go wrong.

UK seeks light-touch AI legislation as industry leaders call for LLM pause


I find it a bit rich that "leaders" from companies that have been using AI for years to deliver ads so on-point, it feels like your devices are listening to you - suddenly get drama'd up over a bunch of glorified search engines.

Boeing's first-ever crewed mission in Starliner ISS spacecraft delayed to late July


Just in time for the summer holidays eh?

So what you're really saying is "delays at Heathrow again this year".

Microsoft promises it's made Teams less confusing and resource hungry


That's Cool

Always best to change something for the sake of changing it. Nothing bad ever happens when you do this.

Google reminds everyone it too can offer an AI code-suggestion bot


Still some way to go

I like these bots, but there's still a long way to go before they're genuinely useful. For example:

"As an AI language model, I cannot assist you in taking over the world or engage in any activity that may cause harm to others or violate ethical principles. It is important to note that any attempt to take over the world would be unethical and potentially harmful to others. Instead, I encourage you to focus on positive and constructive goals that benefit humanity as a whole. You can use your skills and knowledge to work towards creating a better world through innovative ideas, volunteering, advocacy, or any other positive means available to you."

Tech job vacancies hamper England's digital health plans


Don't really understand what this 1.1 million is supposed to be for? Certainly it can't possibly for wages - because it would cover a little over $366 per person if they need to hire 3000. The best guess I have is for recruitment services, but that won't help them.

I've seen NHS jobs posted on indeed and I can't see why anyone would apply. The pay is horrendously low. Unless they're will to increase pay by at least 50%, they won't fill those vacancies.

Windows 11 runs on fewer than 1 in 6 PCs



I benchmarked my PC before / after (did several) and found that, within a 2 percentage point margin of error, it makes no difference whatsoever.

The most noticeable change to performance was moving the start menu button closer to where my mouse is sometimes. Other times the relocation of the button has slightly slowed me down. Obviously this depends on where my mouse is in relation to the start menu button's new location - about 3 inches to the right of where it used to be.

If my mouse is in the top right corner, then reaching the start menu button is nearly a fraction of second faster. And I consider this scenario best highlights the advantages of upgrading. Of course you can't ignore the disadvantages - namely if your mouse normally resides in the bottom left corner, it might take as much as 0.05s more time to reach the start menu button. So you know, 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Why is everyone looking at me funny? You'd think no one ever uses the start menu or something.

I heard there were other advantages to reskinning Windows 10, but I'm buggered if I can find them. I see they moved some things - task manager is so much better for having to click stuff running down the left side of the window instead of at the top. I'm delighted they pushed adding printers out of control panel and into Windows 10 device settings - said no one ever.

They also broke some things - but those decrying Windows 11 should do well to remember that they probably would have broken those exact same things if Windows 11 had never happened. Personally I suspect that most of their developers have a fondness for the sound of shattering glass or that "noise" two cars make when someone forgets to stop at a red light. Without doubt they have taken that philosophy to heart and run with it for about 3 decades now. No one will forget the hilarious time they deleted a whole bunch of peoples' data forever. And then did it again a few months later. But no more nostalgia over Windows 10.. I can't wait for the first time they empty everyone's one drive in Windows 11 and we can all reminisce over how much better it was when they did that in Windows 10. How much cooler it was. How more hopeless it felt. The good old days, before they reskinned the exact same OS then declared it was safer.

DARPA says US hypersonic missile is ready for real world



Are you telling me they managed to fuse together an 8 year old child hopped up on Easter eggs with a really fast blue hedgehog?

Raspberry Pi OS update beefs up security


Ransomware attack causes massive 4 minute outage

I can imagine the sinking feeling you'd get if your Raspberry Pi was compromised.. especially when the realization hits that trying to find another SD card amongst all the crap in your desk drawer is a complete nightmare.

Remember Norton 360's bundled cryptominer? Irritated folk realise Ethereum crafter is tricky to delete


Heh Norton

Over the last few years I've found it installed on enough PCs and laptops to know plenty of people still use it. Without the crypto stuff enabled, it isn't any worse a drag on resources than any other consumer AV software - if you're not still using something you built in the early 90s.

And in terms of performance/protection, pretty much all mainstream, commercial AV suites are more or less equal - which is to say slightly better than having Windows Defender but a long way short of having real endpoint s/w and h/w protection.

What I find funny though is how people are proudly stating they ditched products like Norton in comment entered using Google Chrome or Firefox.

You don't get to be superior about not installing software that makes free use of your PC when you gift tech companies all your personal information. And if you use any social media or have installed a smart device? ROFL at the people that do this and then claim they know what they're doing because they avoid McAfee or Norton.

Don't worry, the halo won't fade from the IT dept when this pandemic is over – because it was never there



2020 was an awesome year - I was working for a non-profit that provided very decent low income housing to the less well off in Vegas. In the words of our CEO, "IT knocked it out of the park" when it came time to transition 100% of the office staff to working from home. The move was flawless and took about a week for the 3 of us to get laptops fully setup, patched and delivered to 134 staff.

All laptops came with docking stations, dual monitors and a decent keyboard and mouse. VPN software was installed, accounts created and connections were tested using hotspots. Remote conferencing was handled by Teams and Zoom. We had already migrated to Exchange online and Office 365. Surveillance, rent collection and project management applications were also browser-based, so as far as software went it was fairly easy to get it all ready to go.

Another week later and any teething issues were sorted - everyone was able to connect, work and communicate. Job done.

About a month later all IT staff were called in for a meeting, where it was announced that the entire department was being outsourced. The wonderful non-profit we worked for gave us an entire 3 hours notice before terminating our employment. The reason, we were told, is that despite handling the transition to working from home quickly and flawlessly, despite keeping control over issues and having no long term problems to address.. they did not have confidence we could continue to provide the necessary service as the company grew.

So absolutely. Don't worry about losing that halo - it was most certainly never there.


This always-on culture we're in is awful. How do we stop it? Oh, sorry, hold on – just had another notification


In my job I'm not allowed to be part of the always on culture, because they're now too afraid to let me join.


Re: Expect a reply when I am in the pub ?

After a series of experiments combing whitley neill rhubarb & ginger gin with various tonic waters, flavoured drinks then eventually carbonated water because we just stopped caring, I found that responding to every work-related notification I received has resulted in new HR policies regarding responding to Teams messages, emails and work-related texts after hours.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell


Been there

Seems like covid has brought out the worst in hiring practices, and for some reason interviewers still don’t understand that the candidate is also interviewing them.

As for the 8 interviews saga. Every idiot company does this now, or so it seems.

“We noticed the guy that delivers sandwiches hasn’t had an interview with you yet, so we’d would like to line just one more.”

I had one company suddenly contact me after 6 weeks of silence, to see if I could do one more interview. Besides the fact I’d long since started a new job, that length of silence means one of two things. Someone quit on the first day and they’re now contacting a 2nd or 3rd choice - or they’re a disorganized, dithering bunch of morons.

I’m now done at 3 interviews. If they ask for more I tell them I’ve chosen another company who was better qualified for the position I’m interested in, but I’ll keep them on file should I need a new position in the future.

Windows 11 still doesn't understand our complex lives – and it hurts


Multiple Accounts

If you want to access multiple Microsoft accounts without resorting to multiple vms, make liberal use of incognito browser windows and never save your passwords - unless you have a multi-platform, multi-browser, password manager.

And no one does this well - as you stated, everything assumes that each user will only have one account. I admin 4 separate Office 365 systems, 2 of which use the "hybrid" combo of an on-prem mail server + Exchange 365. I have migrated users from Google Workspace to Exchange 365 several times - and what I learned is the more forgetful a system is, the better.

Saving passwords nearly always ends up being more of a hindrance than a help, and even if software says it can handle multiple profiles, usually that's an outright lie if you need to do anything remotely administrative.

SteelSeries Apex Pro plays both sides of the mechanical keyboard fence – and wins


Not convinced

I believe Razer has released something similar with their new Huntsman keyboard, and it has an equally eye-watering price tag. I'm not really convinced by either, but I can see the appeal. Personally I need to feel the actuation, but I also don't want the keyboard to be too noisy - so I just prefer the razer orange / mx brown switches.

If someone doesn't care about typos - and their gaming requires an instant response - then I understand why they'd prefer these linear style switches. I can't see myself being converted though. I've tried a linear switch keyboard and I ended up hating it, because it was too horrible to type with.

Embrace and kill? AppGet dev claims Microsoft reeled him in with talk of help and a job – then released remarkably similar package manager


Never Change

They never change really do they? Since the late 80s they've been doing this - whether it was the hard disk space doubling software, the clones of Norton and PC Tools utilities or whatever else they vacuumed up in their pursuit and destruction of rival software houses.

Back then there were all kinds of rumours about cloning software, destroying the originator's sales in the process, then waiting them out in lengthy copyright trials which they eventually won by default when the competitor went bankrupt.

They developed OS2 for IBM, accidentally creating a better product than Windows (it actually had something only the Amiga could lay claim to at the time, pre-emptive multitasking), but if the rumours are to be believed they deliberately sabotaged the product with bad code.

In the 90s it was Linux, which they assaulted after buying Unix from Novel - then claimed that Linux was just a rip off of their product (acting as if they were somehow responsible for all the development of Sun Microsystems).

So.. here we are again.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump


Re: Give a child the information in the wrong order.

No sorry. I watched this mess live (I'm still at a loss to explain why).

Word salad or not, he did state we should try injecting it as a treatment, then went on to insinuate that it could be used to clean the lungs (admittedly no delivery method was mentioned).

He was talking about disinfectant. No mention of bleach (thankfully, as some use this as a hideously painful form of suicide). He did not mention other products, he did not say develop a drug like disinfectant. He said we should try inject it, to treat the infection inside. In-fucking-side (profanity directed at Trump, not you).

I get what you're saying. He regularly rambles on, emitting an unintelligible word-salad of nonsense.. so it stands to reason that maybe the same happened here. It did not. He said the words, in the correct order to make a sentence. On the one hand I was delighted for him, he said an actual sentence in English. On the other I was in a state of shock for about 3 minutes, unable to respond, after hearing what that sentence was.

And yes, he did mention using UV light, but as he clearly has no understanding of science, he does not recognize how dangerous this would be. It's unfortunate that someone allowed him to learn of this method of cleaning surfaces without at least an attempt to educate him first on its dangers.



I tried my first Clorox-Tini.. shaken (of course).. and aside from a little hoarseness, difficulty breathing, retching, full-on vomiting, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and mouth burns.. I didn't notice anything untoward. I think he might be on to something here.

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket


Steam Powered Rocket

Mad Mike: The Earth is flat.

Earth: No.. you're flat.

Tea tipplers are more likely to live longer, healthier lives than you triple venti pumpkin-syrup soy-milk latte-swilling fiends


Tea and Beer


So a cuppa in the morning and a beer before bed.. heart attack risk reduced by nearly half!

So can I cancel death completely by eating bacon sarnies with my tea and a vindaloo with my beer? If so, it would be the final proof that God is British.

Behold Schrödinger's Y2K, when software went all quantum



After emigrating to the US in 1999 I was besieged by weirdos asking me why I wasn't snapped up by companies panicked about the approaching apocalypse.

I remember being incredibly confused.. because while everyone in the UK had long since worked out that the worst that could happen was some obsolete kit (mostly VCRs) might get the time wrong and fail to record (or actually record) a few TV shows. Oh I think someone mentioned shop/bank doors on timers might need to be manually opened.

I tried to explain to everyone who asked that a few vcrs telling the time wrong would not cause buildings to explode, economies to collapse or planes to fall out of the sky, but they remained unconvinced. Eventually I did find employment and spent New Years Eve on-call, silently laughing inside at the huge amount of nothing I was doing while earning massive amounts of cash.

Gas-guzzling Americans continue to shun electric vehicles as sales fail to bother US car market


Cost prohibitive

I can get the car I need - a 1-2 yr old AWD vehicle - for about $20-22K. To get an equivalent hybrid would add a minimum of $10K or 30,000 miles. If you're lucky.

And even if I was able to spend the extra money, buying a used hybrid is too risky. The cost of replacing hybrid batteries is extortionate.

If I didn't live somewhere where it snows for 7 months of the year, with temperatures that regularly fall well below 0F, maybe I'd consider a used hybrid FWD car.

I'll do my part to try to be as carbon neutral as I can in other ways. Transportation just isn't something I can gamble with.

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive



My problem with articles like this is the assumption that only one sub group of people are affected by preferential treatment. There's no doubt that certain groups have been discriminated against, but that discrimination isn't against a single target. The greatest con game played against the poor is to pit each group against each other, leaving the wealthy to laugh at us all.

No we should not start reverse discrimination based on gender, orientation, ethnicity, financial status, nationality, age or whatever other arbitrary factor pits one set of people against another.

Why should person be at a disadvantage for the rest of their working lives, just because people who look like them have committed injustices? That kind of reasoning promotes discrimination and anger, while those with the power and money just sit back and laugh as the people below them fight amongst each other.

Why can't we just have fairness? Make it a civil crime to not be fair. Fine companies that have been found to deliberately exclude individuals from promotion or other rewards when it can be clearly shown they favor one set of people over others.

All I hear when I see articles like this is another attempt to let the good old boys club continue as before. Because this article isn't a call to bring them to account for their actions. It's a call to let them continue as before, but instead of targeting women they get to choose another group to ignore.

You only need to click once, fool: Gaming rig sales up as Trump presses continue on trade tariff tussle


Re: Panic buying ?

He couldn't care less what the effect is on his own economy. He's used the common right wing tactic of stating the opposite of what is true, and as usual it's being lapped up by everyone who votes that way.

He's using tariffs in the same way he's using a fence on the southern border. To get votes for his re-election from xenophobes.

The fact that all tariffs on goods are paid for by American consumers isn't a concern for him. He has his supporters thinking that he's got one over on "Johnny Foreigner". They certainly won't let something as inconvenient as facts or the truth get in the way of the believe that he knows what he's doing. Even when it affects the cans used to make the beer they ask other people to hold.

How long is a lifetime? If you’re Comcast, it’s until a rival quits a city: ISP 'broke' price promise


It definitely doesn't mean what you think it does

Even if you can get a corporation to admit they used the word "lifetime" on a cable/internet contract, they'll quickly refer you to the small print definition.

"Lifetime contract" generally means the lifetime of the contract - which can be any length of time they want it to be.

Guarantee that even if they did use the word on a written contract, there will be small print definition that explains that as soon as the company decides to cancel or change the contract, it's "lifetime" is over.

The tech world is always using this word and it always means the lifetime of the product, not the lifetime of the person buying it. The usual time frame for "lifetime" warranties is 2-5 years.

Other industries do the same thing. Your "lifetime" warranty on a mattress is usually about 10 years, but can be 20. Your lifetime warranty on a vacuum cleaner is normally 5. Hard disks 3. I've yet to hear of a product whose warranty ends when you die.

Consumer campaign to keep receiving printed till receipts looks like a good move – on paper


Trust in thermal ink?

It makes zero sense to trust something that won't last as long as the shortest warranty. Fortunately any shop worthy of your business wouldn't need an actual receipt for returns, there are numerous other ways to pull that data should your gear turn wonky.

Geo-boffins drill into dino-killing asteroid crater, discover extinction involves bad smells, chilly weather, no broadband internet...


Re: Fahrenheit?

Never really understood why anyone cared about what set of units a person uses. They're just numbers. As long as the person using them is consistent, it doesn't matter which are used.

As a child of the 80s I was brought up using both imperial and metric numbers and like most of my generation I just automatically convert one to the other.

I suppose the other part of that is base 10 is a poor fit for a world dominated by technology, which prefers base 2 or 16.

There's a fair argument to be had that base 10 is the mathematic language of simpletons who can't count beyond the number of fingers and toes they usually have. Of course imperial is even worse.. because it uses random quantities as it leaps from one measurement to the next.

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI



Exactly this every time someone suggests something as stupid as giving up your DNA voluntarily.

I know people will swap their AD usernames and passwords for a pen.. but surely they would want to keep something that can put you in jail, identify pre-existng conditions to medical insurers or proof you're related to the Welsh safely contained in their keyboards (skin, hair, etc).

Sorry, Samsung. Seems nobody is immune to peak smartphone



Networks failed to deliver anything close to the true potential of 3G and 4G. Right now most users say that 5G download / upload speeds are no better than their old 4G LTE networks. Obviously the key attraction of 5G is capacity rather than speed.. because the capacity will be greater phone companies will be more able to meet their bandwidth demands, which they patently can't with 4G. But anyone who believes that throttling and metering won't return are naïve.

It's been a cycle of yo-yoing from metered to unlimited to metered over the last 15 years or so.. the promise of giving something I used to get for a fraction of the price if I buy a $1000 phone? Yeah.. right.

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock


It's not just the cost of iPhones

As much as I enjoy randomly bashing large corporates like Apple, the truth is they aren't the only phone company that's going to feel pain.

1/ It's taken a while, but people have finally woken up to the fact that new phones aren't that much better than old phones. Apple kind of blew it for everyone when they decided to cut the price of battery replacement to $30 for a year. Anyone who replaced their battery found out the phone started performing like new for a multitude of reasons, not least the fact the a cell phone OS is not exactly demanding on a modern day processor and most cell phone processors have been overkill for tasks they perform for about 10 years now.

2/ The cost of phones has sky rocketed for sure, but the real factor in slowing down new purchases is the fact that phones are no longer discounted and tied to 2 year contracts. Instead they are leased for 2 years on a monthly payment plan. Once those payment plans go, phone bills go down $20-$40 per line. Anyone here eager to suddenly increase your monthly phone bill for the sake of a slightly larger screen with a slightly better (but still crap) camera? I have an iPhone 10. The photos I take are still shit because a/I'm shit at photography and b/it has a sensor the size of a pin head. The only reason I have the phone I have is because it was heavily discounted and my old one broke. If either of those was not true, I would not have saddled myself with a monthly payment plan. You see the whole "contract free" thing is a scam. You still have a contract, only now if you don't pay the bill instead of only slamming your credit and cutting off your service.. they can also repo your phone.

So yeah, phone sales are going down.. and I can't wait to see what other companies also feel the pain when everyone realises that cell phones can easily last 4 years.

Dawn of the dead: NASA space probe runs out of gas in asteroid belt after 6.4 billion-mile trip


"The flight team investigating the breakdown have deduced that Dawn’s hydrazine fuel reserves are empty".. or...A space alien invasion fleet turned it off to prevent detection.

It'll be one of those two things.

Bitcoin backer sues AT&T for $240m over stolen cryptocurrency


Maginot Line

Ironic he should mention the "Maginot Line" line.. because as with the original, what cost him was his unshakeable faith in what he believed couldn't possibly happen.. did happen.

The Maginot Line if anyone is interested, is not where the Germans crushed French troops. It was an impervious system of bunkers and fortifications that forced the Germans to re-evaluate and invade France via Holland and Belgium. The British and French had expected this and therefore set up a defensive front in Belgium, part of which included the Ardennes forest, which the French left undermanned. They believed it would be impossible for the Germans to move quickly enough through that region and could therefore reinforce at leisure. Unfortunately they were "wrong". The Germans successfully pushed through, encircled Allied forces and forced the British to retreat to Dunkirk.

Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)



I would have thought the easy way to fix this situation would be to insist that if anyone who wants compensation for digital content, they must insist that a notice of copyright and a link to obtain permission (or payment) on any work that is published. It would then be the responsibility of the website that is publishing the content to comply with the request, and would be liable for misuse if they did not.

The rights holder could easily have told the travel site: "Sure you can publish my photo for X number of shiny coins, but only if you include the above information."

Whether a rights holder allows free educational use of their material would of course be up to them.

Alaskan borough dusts off the typewriters after ransomware crims pwn entire network



"The attack is notable not only for the way it dismantled an entire organisation's computer infrastructure, but the remarkable honesty of the victims."

While I was living and working in Alaska, it was always refreshing that the IT staff I worked with didn't bother to waste anyone's time trying to hide mistakes. There wasn't really any need to. We just didn't have the money to hire the expertise that would have prevented this kind of attack, let alone the software and hardware. Besides, it helps with post mortem troubleshooting when you can step through mistakes without having to worry about whether a job is on the line. People are a lot more honest when they see that owning a mistake results in trying to figure out how not to make it again rather than finger pointing and disciplinary actions.

Microsoft's cheapo Surface: Like a netbook you can't upgrade


Windows tablet

It's a browsing tablet that allows you to edit the occasional Office document. It can probably handle the needs of students in lower age groups and can probably be used for coding or as a reasonable diagnostic tool (hook it up to electronic devices to analyse them via a USB / serial connection). No one who buys one of these things is going to try gaming or edit complex images in Photoshop.

At $400-$600 it's a bit over-priced, but not by much as it's obviously meant for someone that doesn't want to heft a laptop around. Only someone that wants a tablet-sized device would ever buy this - and as a tablet you expect limitations at that price point. No one buys a regular iPad and expects it to replace a MacBook Pro, so why would this be any different in the Windows world?

Boffins build a NAZI AI – wait, let's check that... OK, it's a grammar nazi


Tip of the hat

For the deliberate attempts to antagonize the few on this site that past there English language exam's.