* Posts by The_H

84 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Sep 2011


Switch to hit the fan as BT begins prep ahead of analog phone sunset


Power failure critical problems

There's no point in having a phone that automatically switches over to mobile. In my area (HU12) every time there's a power failure it takes *all* the mobile networks out too. There will be simply nothing left to make an emergency call on.

SpaceX's second attempt at orbital Starship launch ends in fireball


Re: Today's SpaceX Success

It's not a "success" in anything like the same way as the first ever launch of a Saturn V was a success. I certainly don't recall one of the success criteria for Apollo being "it didn't trash the launch pad".

Let's be honest, if the thing had blown up whilst still being fuelled Rocket Boy would still have called it a success.

RIP: Creators of the GIF and TRS-80


Re: Loved my TRS-80 as a kid.

I loved my TRS-80 as a kkkkidd too.

BT to phase out 3G in UK by 2023 for EE, Plusnet, BT Mobile subscribers


All because I've got a 5G phone...

... doesn't mean I can get a 5G, 4G or even (gasp) 3G signal.

Here in the barren wastelands of East Yorkshire the very fastest signal I can get - if I'm lucky - is 3G. At home, just a couple of miles from Hull, I get 1 bar of 4G. Most of the time it's just GPRS or EDGE. I can get a better signal in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, 30 miles from the nearest street light. (I know, because I've done it).

BBC Micro:bit with boosted specs and onboard mic to go on sale from next month


Re: One question


We had a Teletype 33 in the maths storeroom, connected to a proper phone with a dial via a modem the size of two shoeboxes, which was linked for one hour a week (4.30 - 5.30pm every Tuesday) to the Humberside County Council mainframe in Beverley. I've still got my O-level punched paper tape.

Nine times out of ten trying to dial up all we got was "HCC Computernet will not start". How we ever passed was a miracle.

Just before I left (1982) they ended up with one Commodore Pet 8032 and they started teaching kids to program in CESIL - anyone remember that?

Burning down the house! Consumer champ Which? probes smart plugs to find a bunch of insecure fire-risk tat


Re: Not just smart plugs!

Have a look on t'Youtube at bigclivedotcom's channel. He revels in taking shoddy equipment apart and explaining just why it's shoddy.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount


Re: Not exclusive

Are we really the only two who've read "Titan" ?

How a Kaggle Grandmaster cheated in $25,000 AI contest with hidden code – and was fired from dream SV job


"One of our rescue cats has only one eye but doesn't miss a trick. Hence I call him a pirate."

Surely you call him Nelson?

(bonus beer if you get the 80's sci-fi series reference!)

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero


A fashion accessory rather than audio

Daughter bought a pair. I tried them and honestly, they can't hold a candle to my cheapish JBL Tune110BT's. Which themselves are cheerful but hardly hifi, compared to my normal work-wear (wired) Sennheiser £40 earbuds.

The Apple ones look good, but only until you put the things in your ears. Anyway, every time I sneezed or coughed, they fell out.

When I'm doing serious listening it can only be my HD700 References, but then I'd mention vinyl and my lovely valve preamp with NOS 60's Mullard tubes and lose the room.

Stalker attacks Japanese pop singer – after tracking her down using reflection in her eyes


Re: Unexpected result of digital cameras

Twin Peaks. Reflection of James' hog in Laura Palmer's eyes. Clearly Dale Cooper had a way of doing it off a shaky NTSC VHS movie.

BBC said it'll pull radio streams from TuneIn to slurp more of your data but nobody noticed till Amazon put its foot in it


Re: No.

I can actually see the bright lights of the Belmont transmitter from home (okay it's distant, but they're there), but our DAB signal both at home and work are absolutely unusable.

iPlayer Radio was fantastic, but they've shafted that and now we have the so-called "BBC Sounds" app which appears to be the sort of project that a work experience kid would churn out. Dreadful UI and half the features of iPlayer missing.

Bad enough but when your radio station of choice is BBC6Music and is *only* available on DAB or app, it's kind of limiting.

I dunno, you'd think they were trying to reduce listenership so that they had an excuse to close 6 down, or something. They tried once before.

Finally in the UK: Apollo 11 lands... in a cinema near you


Re: Amazing...

There is absolutely no point in reasoning with people like this because they simply do not have the common sense to understand the concepts involved.

Coming on here though - where the average IQ is stratospherically higher than your usual Youtube commenter's - and trying to persuade rational, intelligent people with dribbingly crackpot theories; it's doomed to failure and ridicule.

Best remember the old saying: better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone think you're stupid, than to open it and leave no doubt.

Sky customers moan: Our broadband hubs are bricking it


Re: Ubiquiti USG

You can *always* switch something off. Sometimes though it needs a small pair of wirecutters.

What did turbonerds do before the internet? 41 years ago, a load of BBS


Happy days indeed

Made some good friends back in the day. Forum-80 Hull, Betelgeuse-5, the old BBC BBS (with Innocence the Sysop). Spent way too much dialling the damn things up, but it was good, clean fun. Amiga 1000 with a Hayes 1200/75/ +1200/1200 modem.

Dine crime: Chippy sells deep fried Xmas dinner


Re: battered?

Never steamed.

Halve your sprouts, put in an oiled baking dish little-bald-headed-man side up. Sprinkle pancetta over, drizzle with pure maple syrup, a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and bake gently until caramelized.

Absolutely awesome, and I've won over a lot of sprout haters (including my *very* fussy daughters) with these.

Merry, Jolly etc.

The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt


Everything about Voyager inspires awe

It kept me enthralled as a kid, and the same spacecraft keep my kids enthralled 40 years later. That's quite something.

I think the best thing about Voyager is not that they've worked flawlessly for 41 years - they haven't - but that in working around the problems, they've added an immense amount to our nuts'n'bolts knowledge of long term space missions. I worry that all of this expertise will be lost in the current US political climate.

If anyone likes a good read, the Haynes Workshop Manual for Voyager is fascinating - worth the price for the blueprints alone.

Raising a glass to all of those visionaries who "filled it to the brim".

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't


Legalised theft

If an artiste - let's say Mike Goldfield - leaves his record label - WontGoAllTheWay Records - in a huff and signs to Pony Music, WontGoAllTheWay loses the rights to his future music. They can't create it; they can't sell it. That is fine.

What it doesn't mean is that WontGoAllTheWay Records will then visit every record shop in the country, remove all unsold records, and then visit every house and remove every SOLD record too.

Yet that is exactly what is happening here.

It is theft. No ifs, no buts, no weasel words. (And don't bother pointing out the legal niceties of licensing; that's just another way of saying "extortion")

Pluto is more alive than Mars, huff physicists who are still not over dwarf planet's demotion


New proposed classification system

Here goes:

Mars class planets: things you can land on

Jupiter class planets: thing that are clearly planets but which you can't land on

Pluto class planets: things too small to be planets but look like planets and are fascinating in their own right

Earth class planets: things you can land on but wish you hadn't once you meet the inhabitants

Space debris: everything else

(Inspired by Miles Kington's "Nature made ridiculously simple")

NASA's Kepler probe rouses from its slumber, up and running again


Re: 12 kg fuel

Now that we're close to Brexit, I hear we're brushing the dust off some of the older British weights and measures. So on that basis, I reckon it's carrying about 0.0045 Newcastle Chaldrons of the stuff.

Fruit flies use the power of the sun to help them fly in straight lines


"They carefully poked a tiny hole..."

...into the flies' heads

Not when I'm eating my Friday apple, please.

God help us if we ever find aliens and that's how we work out how they go. Or worse, if they ever find us....

They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today


There are much worse things than Hotmail

I've had my Hotmail account since pre-Microsoft days, so I've got a very useful first.last username. I cannot recall the last spam email I got in the inbox - the junk filter is very good indeed. Compare that to my "came with the ISP" email account which I have never used for anything at all (except that my invoice invariably is sent to it)... it gets dozens of spams per day. Only my ISP could have given that out. Same with the iCloud email which came with my imposed-on-me iPhone. Never used it, full of spam.

Not everything which Microsoft do is automatically crap.

RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89


Come see a real Clanger

Shameless plug: come pay Hull's Ferens Art Gallery a visit, they've got an exhibition of original Clangers, Pogles, Bagpuss (the Mouse Organ!) and a few more (including the sets and original filming equipment). On until 29th July. Free entry.


In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying


The thing is... it's nothing new.

I ignored the ads in print magazines too. Take PCW which was the thing back in the day. Did any advertiser honestly think that I was going to plough through a couple of hundred pages of ads to get to the content? Because I didn't. For a while they put in a cardboard subscription form just before the real content which only served as a handy bookmark.

The advertisers paid, 99% of the world ignored the ads, and everyone was happy.

It's the same on Sky+. Never, ever watch the ads. That's what fast forward is for. But I, and the advertisers, are reassured that they're there for a dull moment.

Postal mailshots? That's what the paper recycling bin is for. It keeps the printers in work, but nothing else. Cinema ads? No point, hovering outside the screen until just before the movie starts is an artform which I've developed to a serious skill.

The only difference between the 1980's and now is that advertisers seem to want to be assured that if they lather my screen with clickbait, loud autoplay videos and irrelevant "personalised" offers, that I'm going to read them. Wrong.

German sauna drags punters to court over naked truth

Paris Hilton


A story like this and no mention of a stiff penalty?

Paris, cos...

Does Parliament or Google decide when your criminal past is forgotten?


So where does this end?

Does Nexis Lexis have to delete the information from its search results?

Does Hansard have to delete the information from its search results if the name had been disclosed under Parliamentary privilege?

And what about the Internet Wayback Machine?

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics


Sad day but no surprise

Me and Maplin go back a long way. To about 1978 to be precise. Those were the days of "PO Box 3, Rayleigh, Essex SS6 8LR". The catalogue better than any reference book. The flimsy separate price list. The coloured vouchers you got with each order (which could be exchanged for more bits). The photos of all staff in the catalogue, from Doug to Ivy the tea lady. The two shops in Southend and Hammersmith.

Maplin had a brilliant mail order business. They could have built on that, over and over, and when the web came along they could have made a modest mint out of it. Instead, they took the retail shilling, opened up a multitude of - let's be honest - tat bazaars, and the rest is sadly now history.

There were some genuinely great people at Maplin, so thoughts go out to them all today. And I'll raise a glass tonight to the old days, where between Practical Electronics and Maplin I wasted enough pocket money to get me where I am today.

Charity accused of leaving sensitive notes behind after office move


Twas ever thus

My parents bought a house back in 1976 which had previously been a doctor's surgery. The cellar was full of medical records, xrays, old bottles of stuff and pile upon pile of drug companies' advertising blotters (yes, they were a thing). We didn't go to the press though.

And as for the paperless office... some wag once pointed out that it'll happen around the same time as the paperless lavatory.

Six things I learned from using the iPad Pro for Real Work™


Dunno about iPads, but fishermen definitely use the net.

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)



If Elon Musk's anything like me (unlikely, but stay with me) he'll be realising about now that he's left his wallet in the glove box.

Lloyds Bank bans Bitcoin purchases by credit card customers


Re: The folly of individuals notwithstanding...

When did banks get to tell their customers what they can and cannot buy?

For ages. Last year I tried to withdraw £2,500 from my current account (HSBC) at my regular (big town) branch - there was hugely in excess of that in the account (and a decent sum in the associated savings account) - but they refused point blank until I could "prove" what I wanted the cash for. I've banked with them since they were the "Listening Bank". I even went to school with the cashier!! It was pretty bloody annoying, I can tell you.

I'm far from the only one to have suffered from this - look online, you'll be amazed.

The banks hate cash or anything they can't control themselves.

Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?



Half your raw sprouts, spread 'em like little bald men packed together in a greased baking dish. Crumble over some very crispy bacon. Drizzle with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil. Bake until caramelized. Your life will never be the same.

Archive of 1.4 billion credentials in clear text found in dark web archive


I'd love to know where they get some of this stuff.

I recently had an iPhone imposed on me by my employer. Created an iCloud email address that I have used for absolutely nothing, and it's a weird combination of letters and numbers that I'll never remember. The only time it was ever used was on the brand new, out-of-the-box iPhone's setup screen... but by the end of the same day it had *hundreds* of spam emails in it. That email address somehow got out of the iPhone universe... and not thanks to me.

YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven


Re: Confused

"It was a quite deliberate act of incredible stupidity, by an idiot who didn't think through what he was doing."

And on that basis maybe we should include in the same category: idiots who smoke in bed; people who insist on riding motorcycles at 100mph on narrow country roads; anyone who goes up Helvellyn in trainers; anyone who takes to the oggin in anything less than 40ft long (with twin motors), etc etc

Personally I don't think they should have called the fire service. If I'd seen what was going on I'd have called in good old Photonicinduction. "I ain't 'aving it!!!" to add a few kilovolts to the situation. Problem solved, one way or another.

Amazon Key door-entry flaw: No easy fix to stop rogue couriers burgling your place unseen


Re: Wait, the door doesn't re-lock until it's instructed to?

In our last house the gas was in a box outside... and some wag occasionally came around and turned it off.

A well-charged capacitor strategically placed put paid to that malarkey ;-)

Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare


It's not easy. I tried blocking as many of the sites as I could at router level, which worked a treat until one of my dear 15yr-old's friends showed her what hidemyass.com could do about that little ruse. We went through a spell of confiscating all tablets, smartphones etc (gave her a crappy old Nokia for emergencies) but unless you confiscate all their friends' tablets then they're still going to see stuff at school etc.

Last straw for me was just the other week, youngest (13) was sitting next to me watching some crap American dance thing on YT. Clearly not legit (picture messed with and sound fuzzed to get around content ID) but otherwise safe - until about 20 mins in and it changed to footage of a cat being doused in petrol and set on fire. Yeah, the real thing. She's still not in a good place after that.

Someone needs to realise that despite the lawyers' weasel words, YouTube ARE PUBLISHERS. The individual uploading a video doesn't do anything to put it on my screen. YouTube store it, index it, archive it, distribute it to servers around the world, curate it into "Mix" collections, recommend it "for me" and stream it wrapped in adverts (or so I'm told... but then I use Adblock). If that's not publishing then I don't know what is.

Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84



Bixies don't come out too well on 2017-era screens, but...


Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller


The man goes up more in my estimation every day.

Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding


Re: I Am Not An Aeronautical Engineer

All manner of stuff is cooled / heated using fuel and oil. Seem to remember the good old Saturn V ran the liquid oxygen / kerosene through tubes around the outside of the F1 engine bell to keep it cool too.

You'd be surprised just how much gear you'd find in an airplane fuel tank!

NASA flies plane through Earthly shadow of Kuiper Belt object


Gobsmackingly impressive

Impressive enough that you can work out that a tidgy bit of rock a few billion km's away is going to pass in front of a star which is several light years further off.

More impressive that you can then work out the angle that's all going to happen at, so that it's visible from earth.

But getting a 747 to precisely the right place, above a rotating, orbiting planet, at precisely the right time, so that you can photograph the damn event happening... that's jaw-dropping. Makes what Kepler does seem like a doddle.

Beers all round to the people involved (and especially the one who said "Yeah, we can do this"). Me, I just hope I never get beyond being totally and utterly gobsmacked at this sort of thing.

Humanity is doomed: We watch 45 BILLION hours of YouTube a month


Never seen a cat video in my life

We've got a proper telly but cannot remember the last time it was switched on.

YouTube (made bearable thanks to Adblock) gives me stuff like Photonicinduction; AcapellaScience; BigClivedotcom; Tom Gavioli; Techmoan; The 8-bit Guy. I've discovered Wintergatan and his amazing marble machine, Godowsky's studies after Chopin for left-hand only, and Kennedy Steve. When I want to laugh at idiots trying to skateboard down handrails, FailArmy it is. I could go on.

I don't feel a shred of guilt about Adblock, Google get enough ££ off me as it is. I look on YouTube as their way of saying "thank you" for all the data they slurp off me.

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election


Unfortunately Rudd 'n' May just don't understand encryption.

So let's assume the law is passed, backdoors inserted, and messages decrypted. Your freshly exposed cleartext message reads "Just off to the shops, I've got the list, I'll pick up a curry on the way back, anything else you want?"

You tell me if that's an innocent probationary co-hab off to Asda, or a coded message meaning something a lot more sinister.

NASA duo plan Tuesday ISS spacewalk to replace the mux that sux



If it's a 2hr spacewalk, I'm thinking the mileage claim from the workshop to the job site is going to be a little on the high side

Forgetful ZX Spectrum reboot firm loses control of its web domains


Oh, I've just realised who's behind this bunch. And they've got form.

Flan, anyone?


Boeing 737 turns 50


Re: But what about...

The whole XH558 story is ending sadly. Apart from the farce of its final flight, the poor thing's now in storage and the visitor centre closed "pending an exciting new development" that... well let's face it, is pie in the sky at the moment.

The 737 is quite a plane though - a nearly empty one on a near-sea-level runway is an awesome airplane to take off in.

Oz regulator hauls Apple to court over iBricks


Sorry, but...

Anyone stupid enough to fall for Apple's rip-off technique deserves exactly what they get. For years now they've been peddling behind-the-curve hardware and charging premium prices for it, but of course the iFools (aided and abetted by a salivating press; every new bloody iPhone gets a free, prime-time advertising slot on the BBC News for example) just think Apple can do no wrong.

Just keep that particular sub-set of society safely away from me - a 'B' Ark springs to mind - and if Apple want to extract as much money as they can from these sheep and impose ridiculous restrictions on them, then fine by me!

'Trash-80' escapes the dustbin of history with new TRS-80 emulator


kbeepfix anybody? :-)

Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears


There are three places...

... where I don't want to wear Li-ion batteries.

Eyes, ears, and... well, I think you get the idea.

To Hull with the crap town naysayers: UK Culture City's got some amazing... telecoms


Re: Needs more than culture

Oh, grow up. As if every major city doesn't have drugs. I've lived just outside Hull for 40 years and wouldn't have a clue where to "shoot up" - and have never seen anything being dealt in the streets (apart from dodgy Christmas jumpers, but that's another matter).

It's not as bad as people make out. Calling "City of Culture" a "Vanity Project" is missing the point that it's all about inward investment and tourist £££ - and already there's been rather a lot of that. And as for internet, yep - I'll go home tonight to my rather tasty 250MB/s non-throttled Lightstream service, which I doubt a lot of non-Kcom customers will do.

Japan tries to launch satellite on rocket the size of a telegraph pole


Re: Reg units?

Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society?

Lordy. Some days, I really love the www.

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

Paris Hilton

Re: Common sense required

Summer, probably. Beat you-know-who to it by several centuries :-)