* Posts by wolfetone

3998 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Aug 2011

Europe wants easy default browser selection screens. Mozilla is already sounding the alarm on dirty tricks

wolfetone Silver badge

The good old days of having browser specific stylesheets for IE5.5, IE 6, IE 7, IE 8...

One massive problem though is that while devs tend to go with Chrome is because they use so many of the Google tools which play nicely in Chrome. Emails? Gmail. Search? Google. Analytics? Google Analytics. What mobile you using? Probably Android.

There is also a prevailing and wrong attitude about Chrome being "faster" than other browsers. That's not the case now I don't think, especially with RAM. But I would say too that Chrome is fairly frictionless to get going with while Firefox has a little bit of friction with it.

No, no, no! Disco joke hit bum note in the rehab center

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Imagine the mayhem if Gene worked at a fertility clinic and put Buddy Holly's "Maybe Baby" on instead...

Airport chaos as eGates down for the count across UK

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Re: Current problems

I'd suggest that maybe 13 years of cuts have resulted in the quagmire we find ourselves in.

And to think a decade ago, to not vote Tory would've resulted in a "coalition of chaos".

Happy Friday everyone!

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

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I hadn't long been at the company I'm at now when we were all sent home for COVID. Eventually the office reopened and some office staff were allowed back on site. But you had to keep the whole 2m distance etc. The other thing with all of this though is that I hadn't really gotten to know my coworkers so I was still putting names to faces and getting to know what everyone was like.

One chap is on a spectrum of his own. He's lovely but very quirky and the littlest bit of IT trouble he goes in to a panic. I am really not over stating this. I was on a remote call with him and he once tried to delete Outlook because he had clicked on the button to hide the ribbon bar because he wanted it gone from his machine. He found the Mail app and deleted it thinking it was Outlook, but as Outlook was still there he got in to more of a panic. It's something I soon learned about him and whenever he has an IT problem I know to treat him with kid gloves. We've a good working relationship now.

One day though, during this period of 2m separation, he had a problem with his laptop. Fine, I'll be right over. Masked up and walked over and it was the first time I had gone near his laptop in person. We had given everyone keyboards to bring home with them and use in the office. Honest to God, I have never seen a keyboard covered in dust, cat hair, and dried white liquid substance. It was grim, and I thought there is no way I'm touching that. I used COVID as an excuse and said I would use his laptop keyboard to type on for that reason. He was fine with it. As soon as I finished I doused my hands in hand sanitiser.

I learnt 3 months after this that he's an erotic novelist too. So while I would like to think the substances were just cake icing (as he often says his wife makes cakes and he eats it over the keyboard), knowing that about him, and the state of the keyboard, I'd say it's a biohazard. What makes it worse though is that we have since given people a keyboard and mouse to use in the office (separate to the one at home) and his work keyboard is no where near as grim.

UK Online Safety Bill to become law – and encryption busting clause is still there

wolfetone Silver badge

This needs royal assent before it becomes law. There is still time for the companies in question to pull out or do something although, realistically, what's the point? It's not technically possible to do what the law requires. Meta go to court over it, court rules against the Government as the law in it's current state is unworkable.

What's more though, it is typical of the current British mindset to think that the world can't survive without it. There are 2 billion active users on WhatsApp (as an example). There are 30 million active users in the UK. You'd think after Brexshit we'd have a bit of cop on about ourselves. But the penny is still falling it seems.

Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Dignity isn't the only thing at risk

It's fine. Honda will just plant more plastic trees. Give them a break!

Scientists trace tiny moonquakes to Apollo 17 lander – left over from 1972

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'murica. That's who.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

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"I stuck my neck out to help this guy, and then that happened. If that won't turn me into the grizzled, gruff, and uncharitable sysadmin of yore, I don't know what will."

Embracing the PICNIC-first mindset has meant that I am that grizzled, gruff, uncharitable person who deals with people's problems. So much so now I'm told I'm too miserable, it's something I should change. Be the "friendly face of IT".

Change it I would, but my PICNIC brethren need to stop being so fucking stupid first before I become happy. While everyone has the capacity for change, there are some aspects of a personality that can't be. And for as long as being the PICNIC person in a company, I can't be happy.

Google Chrome pushes ahead with targeted ads based on your browser history

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Re: Or...

Of course you wouldn't.

AC indeed Larry Page!

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

wolfetone Silver badge

We had the money to host the Commonwealth games too, and the Wealdstone Raider was on about Birmingham hosting it again because Alberta said they couldn't afford it.

A lot of money has been spaffed up the wall. The council is far too big really and must be cut down in to smaller areas (like Manchester and London are). But it's good to know the reason the council haven't been out to fix my mom's fence that was broken by a council tenant 12 months ago is because they just don't have the cash to do it.

antiX 23: Anarchic for sure, but 'design by committee' isn't always the best for Linux

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That never used to be the case. certbot could always be installed via apt. I only found out they switched to snapd last week when I was spinning up a new web server.

I didn't have much luck with acme.sh for some reason, but I was under time pressures so couldn't really investigate why.

Personally, I feel there is a magpie mindset that has encroached in to Linux. I don't know where it started, I felt that web development was bad for it and continues to do so, so I don't know if it's come from there or what. But the mindset of "the latest is the greatest" and that there is no room for the older more established ways of doing things is infecting Linux and it's not the better for it.

Probably answered my own ponderings here. It's "techbro" culture isn't it?

Farewell WordPad, we hardly knew ye

wolfetone Silver badge


You're better than Google. I had a look when you mentioned it and found no reference to it being open source.

Have a Monday morning beer on me.

wolfetone Silver badge

I made the jump from Windows 3.11 to Windows 98, and WordPad blew my mind. Why? Well do you remember having to do anything in Write?

I'll be sad to see it go, but no doubt some bright spark with time on their hands will made an opensource tribute to it.

Sure, give the new kid and his MCSE power over the AS/400. What could possibly go wrong?

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Learning experience

"1. There was an issue with his training, including chain of command and authorized operations"

That makes it sound like the manager's fault. Last time I checked you don't get taught to accept responsibility for your own mistakes at Manager College.

Grant Shapps named UK defense supremo in latest 'tech-savvy' Tory tale

wolfetone Silver badge


It always raises a smile that a particular type of person from a particular section of society always points her out as someone who's a joke. Why? Well, other than the obvious reasons as to why she'd be used as a figure of fun, she got numbers wrong on how many police the UK had at the time.

Over the course of the same period of time, then Chancellor Phillip Hammond couldn't actually give the figures of how much money HS2 was going to cost or had cost at the time. No one bats an eyelid.

This week alone, Suella Braverman stated quite happily that we currently have the highest ratio of police to public in history - when in actual fact the figure is less. On the back of 20,000 police jobs being cut by this government and the number of recruits falling. No one bats an eyelid.

These are just two examples of how dog shit numeracy is in the Tory party. Yet it's always the whole "Diane Abbott" that gets attention, when the party who apparently prides itself on being good with numbers can't count the fucking fingers on their own hands.

But no, do go on about Diane Abbott!

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

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"4691 irradiated haggis boar!!!!"

We all scream for ice cream – so why are McDonald's machines always broken?

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I'll see your £350 from Nissan, and I'll raise you £1,800 for two rear shock absorbers for my Land Cruiser. Direct from the Toyota dealer here in the UK.

I ended up getting the same ones from a dealership in Australia, including the duty and the delivery, for £330 for the two of them.

Toyota UK are fucking horrible to deal with if you need a part that's unobtainium from 3rd parties.

Southern Water to drink up tech deals worth up to £358M

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Sewer spills

"although it was perfectly fine when nobody knew how much it went on."

Er, no. It wasn't fine because we didn't know about it. It was never fine.

wolfetone Silver badge

Is that going to stop them dumping shit in to the rivers and sea?

Windows screensaver left broadcast techie all at sea

wolfetone Silver badge

Master Bates would never have allowed such buffoonery to happen on his watch.

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: bizarre state of affairs

Why would anyone want Netflix over a DVD? Really?

Takes you longer to find something to watch on a streaming service than it does to pick out a DVD - and that's if you find it on the service. You might have to sign up to yet another streaming service just to see it in (sometimes) poorer quality.

Criminals go full Viking on CloudNordic, wipe all servers and customer data

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Why is it the company's responsibility to make backups of the customer's data?

If CloudNordic provided a back up service then yes, it's on them. But you are not meant to have just one back up for data resilience. In a physical setting you are meant to have an onsite back up, and an off site backup. If you're operating solely in the cloud you should have a back up away from the provider because it's not enough to just rely on the provider's backup.

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Where are the backups?

Why is it the company's responsibility to make backups of the customer's data? It's the customer's responsibility, and any customer who doesn't believe that to be the case deserves everything they get.

You can now fine-tune OpenAI's GPT-3.5 for specific tasks – it may even beat GPT-4

wolfetone Silver badge

Prompts are everything

I ten to agree with OpenAI in regards to thinking about the prompts.

I'm using ChatGPT in a project and the results I've been getting have varied a lot. This stems from two things: the prompt and the "temperature" (which, AFAIK, adjusts the accuracy of the result). Part of the project relies on the translation of text to different languages, and in a specific test case I asked it to translate given text in to Chinese. It translated the first line in to chinese, then the rest in to Russian! Alot of the content too was a bit questionable, but changing words in the prompt from "rewrite" to "translate" or even "provide a translation" provided different results.

The process of refining the prompts has to take in to account the temperature you set (which ranges from 0.0 to 2.0 and is a fucking stupid naming convention for it) as well as how many tokens you want to spend on the process. I feel throwing more tokens at it does more to generate the best result so far.

So with all of this, it's not enough to just say training the model provides the best results. You need to look at them as pillars and refine each of them individually in order to provide the best overall outcome.

Microsoft wants Activision so badly, it's handing streaming rights over to ... Ubisoft?

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: "Rare were at their best working with Nintendo"

Conker's Bad Fur Day > Knight Lore.


wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Here's A Deal

I can see why, but to me Rare were at their best working with Nintendo. Ever since they have been part of Microsoft they've suffered.

wolfetone Silver badge

Here's A Deal

Microsoft - spin off Rare in to it's own company along with the rights it holds to Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day.

Do that, then you can have Activision.

SUSE to flip back into private ownership after just two-and-a-bit years

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Re: "merging it with an unlisted Luxembourg entity"

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

30 years on, Debian is at the heart of the world's most successful Linux distros

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Devuan User here

I'd like to think with the efforts MX Linux are making showing what Debian could be like with how they've implemented systemd (as in, it's there to satisfy code dependencies) then it's a no brainer to make systemd optional.

wolfetone Silver badge

To Ian

Man arrested in Northern Ireland police data leak as more incidents come to light

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: So, arrested for accessing published information ?

I'd like to see what happens when the lawyer gets involved and points out the PSNI were acting as Agent Provocateur with the release of information. Because surely they're not that incompetent that they'd release information like this by just a pure mistake?

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash

wolfetone Silver badge

If the banks wanted some good PR, they could just say "Look, we remember when you all bailed us out in 2008. And times are harder now than they were then. So just take the money as a sign of our gratitude to what you've done for us."

But then I remember it's a bank.

You're not seeing double – yet another UK copshop is confessing to a data leak

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: The data was hidden from anyone opening the files

Seems quite complicated.

You sure they just didn't change the text colour to white?

The price of freedom turned out to be an afternoon of tech panic

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: I'll assume this was America


wolfetone Silver badge

"Thankfully when it was all done the owner was very forgiving, though it had cost an afternoon's online sales. And he did dock Jeff's pay for the cost of relisting everything."

That should focus Jeff's mind.

"A while later he moved to a larger concern in the manufacturing industry, where he was able to make more industrial scale errors."

Guess it didn't.

Northern Ireland police may have endangered its own officers by posting details online in error

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Ulster Says No

To processes that prevent the details of their police force from being published to the public.

Palantir lobbied UK pensions department for its software to tackle fraud

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: "Reduce fraud in the social security benefits system"

We all know any money saved here would go anywhere but the people who need it most.

Start sorting out how multinationals are paying less tax than the tea lady that works for them. The rest will sort itself out.

UK voter data within reach of miscreants who hacked Electoral Commission

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Any monitoring taking place?

I don't want to make this political, but we have had 13 years of cuts and "austerity" which has effected so many departments you'd need the toes of a co-worker to count them. Roles such as police and nurses have been cut (or at least the budgets servicing them have been, forcing the cuts), why do we think IT would remain ring fenced among all of this?

Couple this with the convenient "I don't understand computers" clap trap that's a get out of jail card for people caught out by these things, why hasn't this happened sooner and who else is this happening to?

Techie's quick cure for a curious conflict caused a huge headache

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: "Ever done a little thing that made a big mess"

"I'm not an admin, so although I found the request curious, it is not for me to speak up on such a matter. "

Bad things happen when good people stay quiet.

Middleweight champ MX Linux 23 delivers knockout punch

wolfetone Silver badge

I've tried to use Devuan a few times, but where I stumble is the installation of packages that do require systemd. PHP, for example, requires it. Why the fuck does PHP require systemd? Why? It's always at that point I stop, put my tail between my legs and have to put up with another distro and systemd's bullshit.

I've got a new laptop to play with that will be my daily driver at home (compared to the work laptop that I use), and this MX Linux will be the first one on there. If it provides everything I need - and by that, just a laptop I can develop PHP applications with and do some video and audio editing, then it'll be all I ever use.

I've gone past my anger for systemd. I don't even loathe it. I look at it like I look at the british political system. Everything could be so much better if a particular group of people weren't involved at all.

Yes, I've said it. Systemd is a very Tory thing to have. You know I'm right.

Voyager 2 found! Deep Space Network hears it chattering in space

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Re: Reset?

Thank you!

wolfetone Silver badge


Forgive me if this has been answered in another article - but what happens with this reset? Does the internal clock tick over to 15th October, and then does it just turn itself to a predefined point? Or does something else happen?

AI on AI action: Googler uses GPT-4 chatbot to defeat image classifier's guardian

wolfetone Silver badge

Re: Yes, but....


I've been developing something just to try out ChatGPT for translations. I gave it a block of text, a list of names, and told it to translate the text in to Chinese but to keep the names in the original language. While it translated the text in to Chinese 100% of the time, it was a coin toss as to whether it kept any names in the text in the original language. Now with the API you can adjust something called the "temperature" and that is meant to make it more or less accurate. I bumped this up to 1.5 (maximum is 2.0) and it would translate the first line of text in to Chinese, but then provide the rest in to Russian.

So while it's cool, it's a long way away from replacing a human. Or translator in my case.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

wolfetone Silver badge

Evelyn Hofer

Never heard of her, but she reminds me of Vivian Maer. I heard about her story (well first heard the Manic Street Preachers song about her, then deep dived) and I find her fascinating.

There's also Phyllis Nicklin who did a similar thing in Birmingham, as well as Vanley Burke who I've met and he's a wonderful man. There are so many people still documenting life around us and make great photography from it.

wolfetone Silver badge

I don't use fixer. I can't tell you why as I either didn't know you had to use it, or I've just never bothered. Can't really think why. But the film I've developed has been OK without the fixer.

wolfetone Silver badge

I'd ask you to do two things.

1) Don't hate me.

2) Stop looking through my window, pervert.

wolfetone Silver badge

I don't have a grey beard, but I remember having to go to Boots with a disposable camera or a roll of 35mm (actually my first film camera was a disc format!) and handing it in, waiting days to get it back. Then digital cameras happened and I didn't bother with film.

Until 4 years ago, where I bought a cheap russian 35mm camera and a roll of Ilford XP2 (black and white, but can be developed with the colour process). I've not used a digital camera since for serious photography. Don't get me wrong, I whip my iPhone out to take a photo if I have to, but if I am on holiday or just fancy a day of taking photos, I will use film.

Why? The development of it. It's alchemy mixed with meditation. It provides excitement at the same time. Load the film in to the container, mix the developer, swirl it at set intervals (or just leave it for 1 hour for interesting results), stop bath, rinse, leave them to dry. Then stick them in the scanner while taking a sneak peak of your shots looking at the negatives. Only reason I scan them is because I don't have enough room for a dark room, but if I did I would probably do that as well.

On paper it's an awful process. It's time consuming. It's expensive. It's not instant. But given we live a life of being in a rush and having instant gratification, film photography offers something different. Like I said, it's like meditation. Plus, given you have 36 chances to get a photo right it forces you to look at something and decide if it's worth it. Before I got in to film again I would happily snap away on my digital camera and I would get maybe 1 good photo and the rest would be garbage. And would I even look at that one good photo again? No, it'd stay on the device to languish with the other photos I took in the heat of the moment that never get looked at again.

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

wolfetone Silver badge

You know, people said MK Ultra, the Tuskegee Experiment etc was a load of bollocks too. Look what happened there.

You might not want to believe it and that's fair enough. But don't be a total fucking idiot and say that none of this has or can happen. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Let's just see what comes out and keep an open mind. That's the proper thing to do.

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

wolfetone Silver badge

Choke on that Ballmer.

We don't forget.

Boris Johnson pleads ignorance, which just might work

wolfetone Silver badge

"By Thursday the government claimed that it had found a record of the pin code for Johnson's old device and opened it up to the committee."

So the (thankfully former) Prime Minister wrote down his passcode? Or did he give it to Carrie so she could keep an eye on the philanderer?