* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

5860 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Why you might want an email client in the era of webmail

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

revamping the user interface.

Am I the only one who thought "oh Fuck no, what have they broken this time, and how long will it take me to redo all my configuration"?

Mozilla so sorry for intrusive Firefox VPN popup ad

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

We’re continuously working to understand the best ways to communicate with people who use Firefox

What part of "opt in" are they struggling with? If the users haven't asked to be communicated with, then just don't.

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

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For 2A @ 5v a USB phone charger would probably have done the trick.

Fahrenheit to take over Celsius

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Re: Charles Ponzi born 100 year too early.

A "cryptocurrency lender" sounds more like a PT Barnum idea.

Microsoft finally gets around to supporting rar, gz and tar files in Windows

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I always thought internet back in the day had compression

You may be thinking of Van Jacobson compression, which was often used on slow PPP or SLIP links to reduce the size of TCP headers. It only affected the headers, not the data in the packets.

Keir Starmer's techno-fix for the NHS: Déjà vu disaster or brave new blunder?

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Re: There are clear options to reduce costs

just today the tories appear yet again to have not gon through with adding information about calories to drink bottles

Which serves no useful purpose:

- the people who have problems don't read or pay attention to those labels anyway.

- it encourages the manufacturers to stuff their products full of artificial chemicals (sweetners instead of sugar, start instead of fat, etc.) to keep the magic number down, and as a result the product is far less healthy in every other way.

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Re: NHS Linux

I know from my own experience how much less admin time is spent in keeping Linux up to date

Basic out-of-the-box Linux alone, perhaps. As soon as you add complex applications with different dependencies on libraries and other packages it's very easy for a "simple" update to drop you into dependency hell, where package A needs Vn of package B, but updated package C now needs Vn+1, and you can't install both, etc. I'm no MS fanboi, but although both Windows and Linux updates can be straightforward, when they do go wrong it can be much harder to fix the Linux mess. There's a reason why these sorts of systems used to specify commercial systems, like Solaris.

Rigorous dev courageously lied about exec's NSFW printouts – and survived long enough to quit with dignity

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Bit puzzled for a moment

I was bemused by how much imagination would be required to extract anything vaguely NSFW from ascii art

Not necessarily visual art, there were many, umm, entertaining stories floating around some usenet groups, they just needed some imagination.

UK's GDPR replacement could wipe out oversight of live facial recognition

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Re: The reward for your support

Politicians want control, that's why they go into politics.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Come on, Ariana Grande isn't that bad.

Cheapest, oldest, slowest part fixed very modern Mac

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Re: Bridge technologies

Absolutely nothing wrong with SCSI.

Provided that it wasn't Apple's "almost-SCSI", which seemed to have terminator rules that were all its own.

What's your Mean Time To Innocence – the time needed to prove that mess is not your problem

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

NASA's electric plane tech is coming in for a late, bumpy landing

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Re: My plan

In fairness to Beeching he didn't actually cut anything. His remit was to report on the costs of running the lines compared to their passenger numbers, assuming steam-hauled trains. It was the Ministry of Transport of the day, and a Transport minister allegedly in bed with the road transport industry, who decided on the cuts without any attempt to look at efficiency improvements that could come from, say, replacing steam trains with diesel railcars. That's one of the reasons that lines are being reopened, they are actually viable with the right equipment.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Any scientists left at NASA?

one of the issues with fuelled, rather than electric, flight is the emissions are at high altitude and can produce condensation trails

Use the fuel in a fuel cell to drive electric motors, it doesn't have to be simply burned in a turbine.

Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill

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Re: $452,047,268

But is it accurate?

OpenAI's Sam Altman rattles tin for crypto startup that will support bot-replaced workers

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Re: Dystopian Future

we'd be using rabbits or hogs as an energy source right now, today.

Roasted, with the right sauce, that works for me.

Australia asks Twitter how it will mod content without staff, gets ghosted

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Those funds are needed, in part, because Twitter is moderating less content

make Twitter a good place to visit


Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess

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Re: With two-faced "friends" like Dyson, Britain doesn't need enemies

If we had a presidential election now, the top 3 most likely candidates would probably be BoJo, Tony Blair, and Harry Windsor. Would any of them as President really be an improvement, even over King Charles III?

Let white-hat hackers stick a probe in those voting machines, say senators

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Re: A good step forward, but not enough

What guarantee would you have that the open source code you've seen was the code running (and the only thing running) on the machine?

You need a secure development chain from source to binary installation, and provided the source has been properly audited as part of that, being open or closed is irrelevant.

Cisco: Don't use 'blind spot' – and do use 'feed two birds with one scone'

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Re: People with Reynaud's disease will shiver just hearing the term

So we've gone from scones to farls? I'm hungry now.

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Pain in all the diodes down my left side.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: IglooDame

Mistress is singular, so it would be mistress's bedroom. The trailing apostrophe used alone is only for plurals, e.g. mistresses' bedroom (although if you have more than one and expect them to share a bedroom you're a brave (wo)man...)

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Cultural references are forgotten, people make uninformed guesses about their meaning

"Room to swing a cat" being a good example.

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Passing broadside isn't ideal, since the other ship can shoot back. Better to pass across the stern, and rake the ship with sequenced fire. Cannonballs will carry the length of the ship, demolishing all in their path.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


With enough cream and jam, wouldn't "kill two birds with one scone" be more appropriate? Or is that diet-shaming?

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel

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Re: Strange things in dark corners

Anyone who gives assurances like that is either

a) very naive, or

b) the person who installed them.

Datacenter fire suppression system wasn't tested for years, then BOOM

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Re: death trap

I've never really understood why the discharge has to be so violent. It's obviously important to get a lot of gas everywhere in the room, quickly, but would a gradual 20 seconds versus explosive 2 seconds really make much difference?

Users complain over UK state-owned bank's services as Atos eyes the exit

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Seemingly it's Failed Authentication.

FCA mulls listing rules after Hauser blames 'Brexit idiocy' for Arm's New York IPO

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Re: Herman Hauser and his views

And, of course, the UK government approved the change from trade & economic union to political pseudo-empire without a referendum. Supposedly because it wasn't the way we did things in Britain (according to John Major), more likely because all the polls showed 60+% opposition to the idea. That's when we should have had a referendum with a supermajority requirement.

Pornhub walls off Utah in age-verification law protest

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Geo blocked?

Presumably this is implemented using some form of IP address geolocation. How well does that work with IPv6, and does PornHub have IPv6 connectivity?

(I'm not in Utah, for those wondering :) )

Top Google boffin Hinton quits, warns of AI danger, partly regrets life's work

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you can ask it a question, and it may well give you something that reads exactly like a satisfactory answer, even when it doesn't have any actual data to work with.

Just like that guy in the pub last Friday?

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Re: Ah......"truth"......

Why single out the Republicans or the Tories? In the UK, the same could be said of Labour, the Greens, LibDems, etc. In fact I can't think of any political parties who's chunterings I'd take without a very large pinch of salt.

Intel to rebrand client chips once Meteor Lake splashes down

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Re: Ultra Max Super

"Ultra" strikes me as one of those generic words, like Super or Extra, that would be very difficult to trademark.

China again signals desire to shape global IPv6 standards

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Re: Thanks to the Great Firewall

if say the EU decided they wanted to go IPv6 they can't force US websites to support IPv6 connections

I bet they'll try, though.

Shocks from a hairy jumper crashed a PC, but the boss wouldn't believe it

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Re: At my first job back in the 90s

Exactly, each zap across one of the tiny wires or tracks inside the chip will have weakened them, they may not have been burned through right away but when something stresses them later they'll fail.

NASA InSight lander spills the beans on Mars' core

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Re: Dusty Panels

Elon ... a feather duster and a French Maid's outfit

I could have done without that image this early in the morning!

Meta virtual reality interrupted by financial reality as thousands lose their jobs

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Lay off the meatbags, and populate the Metaverse with AI employees?

US changes rules on tax credits for electric cars to cover American-made only

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Re: News

By taking tax money off everyone, and then giving it back (minus administration charges) to those rich enough to buy a new electric car?

Curiosity gets interplanetary software patch for better driving and more on Mars

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Re: Eurpean format numbers?

I'd guess that a lot of bloat comes from developers who need a function to perform a 'wibble' operation, so turn to Google. Someone on stack exchange says "I used fwibble() from libstuff.o, they try it, job done.

Meanwhile they're oblivious to the fact that they've just linked 150MB of other crap from libstuff.o, just to get a 2kB generic version of fwibble(), which they could have written in < 1kB themselves if they'd actually bothered to try.

Repeat that a few times and you soon get GB bloat.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Eurpean format numbers?

Curiosity only has 2GB of flash, according to Wikipedia.

The idea that 21GB of software could be "realistic" in any content is ludicrous even today, especially for an embedded system without graphics. 21MB is plenty for almost anything, if it's properly written. We used to regularly design complex telecomms software that fitted in 256kB.

Fancy trying the granddaddy of Windows NT for free? Now's your chance

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Re: The modern museum

At uni I remember discovering that VMS HELP understood wildcards, including VMS's unique "and so on" (...) operator.

$ HELP xxxx

would give top level help for the xxxx command, and

$ HELP xxxx ...

would list all the help, including options, for it.

$ HELP * ...

would list all the help for all commands.

That was also when we discovered that dumping a 2" think wad of HELP printout to the lab's dot-matrix printer in one go would burn out the print head ...


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Re: Kernel design

It's like changing the engines on a plane while it's in flight.

If they'd all failed and you were heading for a mountain, being able to do that might just be the last resort you need.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: The modern museum

it eventually took 4 of use a half day going through numerous manuals to eventually find the syscall he wanted.

I used to know that documentation, and the preceding blue wall, so well that I could have told you what book, and probably roughly what page, from memory.

Fun times, I must dig out an old box to load that hobbyist version. Does it come with any compilers?

Moon's glass beads contain enough water to support a mission

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Europol warns ChatGPT already helping folks commit crimes

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Re: Interception

That'll be the next stage, NSA and GCHQ will poison it to the point where it spouts rubbish most of the time. It will then become as useless as most other internet "services".

The most bizarre online replacement items in your delivered shopping?

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I'll take it from the front with a date that fits with when I'll eat it.

If I want something for tomorrow's dinner, and the front item is within date, I'll take it. If I'm shopping for the week and need something for next Sunday then of course I'll look back through the shelf for something still within date by then. Why would you not?

French parliament says oui to AI surveillance for 2024 Paris Olympics

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Re: Between this and the pension "reform" action ...

This is his second and last 5-year term.

AFAIK the rules prevent more than two consecutive terms, he could probably try again later.

I doubt if he wants to, though. He'd much rather change things so that the EU president has more executive power, like a US president, and then aim for that role. He seems more like Tony Blair every day.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Not by decree, the French President doesn't have that power.

After the opposition tabled thousands of amendments to try and make the debate time out, the prime minister used a constitutional clause to adopt the law without a vote. The inevitable consequence was two votes of confidence. Macron gambled on the opposition parties hating each other more than they hate him, which worked, this time.

BOFH: The Board members are looking very ill these days

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The comments are entertaining, though:

"my accessory is still too small! 3/5 until it comes in Extra Small"

"Confusing mount- All I saw was balls slapping the lens. Make sure you point camera towards shaft "

Errors logged as 'nut loose on the keyboard' were – ahem – not a hardware problem

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Re: I see this a lot

The bottom line is that we have a development culture based on "look, it runs. My job's done" but this merely reflects a societal culture of least effort for maximum reward so there's little chance of changing it.

Ah yes, the Microsoft model.