* Posts by Colin Bain

103 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jun 2007


California wildfires hit CTRL+Z on 18 years of CO2e removal

Colin Bain

Previous times

According to the data, Early 20th c had more and more extensive fires in US than currently occur. Also our cities an towns have expanded extensively in that timeframe so more prone to fires.

Just wondering if this has been factored in somewhere

CERN draws up shutdown plans to save energy

Colin Bain

Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

Enquiring minds want to know, and I am surprised that there is no clarification. Conspiracy theories threading their insidious way into my consciousness.

AI detects 20,000 hidden taxable swimming pools in France, netting €10m

Colin Bain


So as some have pointed out the negative ROI. There is also a limit on the future use of this. I am also pretty sure that the Pandora papers etc, if followed up would net a whole lot more. especially since the legowrk has been pre paid.

But then large companies woul d have less to funnel back into certain hands....

Germany orders Sept 1 shutdown of digital ad displays to save gas

Colin Bain

Another simple mistake

"simple mistake of substituting 06:00 and 16:00 – meaning digital signage could only run from 4PM to 10PM."

Unless I am mistaken and/or Germany has a different interpretation of the 24 hour clock, surely the run time would be 4pm to 5.59am?

UK govt promises to sink billions into electronic health records for England

Colin Bain

A form of

"At the moment, 86 percent of NHS trusts have a form of electronic patient record in place. The government wants that figure to reach 90 per cent by the end of next year, he said."

I'm more than 86% certain that those forms are not compatibile, or exportable, or useful. The problem with healthcare is that data is not what cares for people. Data also needs to be integrated into an agreed system of care. NHS (nor any other "system" for that matter) does not have this. Even more so as these are changing times with little leadership and much profit to be made sucking out resources from the financing.

The dream which is modelled on "what will" has no basis, no input from the people actually doing the work.

Pretty much anyone actually providing care will be rolling their eyes wondering just how long this thing will take until the next thing comes along and wastes valuable financial resources that could make a diffrence by actually paying and employing more people.

California Right-to-Repair bill quietly killed in committee

Colin Bain

Democracy ......

......For people by people who don't really want people to decide anything

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words

Colin Bain

Weekend not weekend wven

There is the definition of Sunday as the first day of the week. So actually the common understanding of weekend really week end week stsrt.

Given that every French translation is much longer than the English version, to save the planet from destroying as many forests. Also n the heat generated from thus suggestion could power the world for csnturies!

Now leaving , closing door softly.

Cars in driver-assist mode hit a third of cyclists, all oncoming cars in tests

Colin Bain

And then there Canada...

With a simple lane assist with my Toyota Corolla, come the snow comes the warning that the camera is not active. It doesn't have to be heavy snow either. Also, with construction (essentially on every trip, local and otherwise, lanes are not often identified.

In fact as an added technology that I thought was promising, it has remained virtually unused. (Two or three times in five years)

My dad used to say that added electrics (by which he meant windows at that point) meant more to go wrong and expensive to repair.

The only really useful "tech" foe me has been seat warmers.

Vital UK customs system outage contributes to travel chaos at its borders

Colin Bain


Being that Fujitsu is on the Horizon to do IT for UK public service, I would suppose that they need the contract to pay.off the messes they have made with previous projects

Northwest England councils in £31m SaaS HR system tender

Colin Bain

Good Luck

Good luck with that massive change, especially if the onboarding is ignored. Personal experience (and Maslow) suggests that any savings and apparent neatness from the exec level is more than wiped out with loss of productivity and extra work that the systems require.

London university on hunt for £17m SAP ERP replacement

Colin Bain

Good Luck

All will be well until they get to "improved usability and control will support our staff, students and partners"

As ever this is listed last and is only given passing attention. After all what would users know?

Users know that they are going to lose learning time and support and productivity. Oh and if there is an onboarding package that would avoid the user hurt, that will be cut because it is thought to be too expensive, you know, people are smart, they will just get on board.

And the payroll utility (a misnomer if ever I heard one!) will take more time and cause more headaches and lost time that you can ever calculate. Not that the system could actually do that either.

How do I know all this? You may well ask! I had the un/mis fortunate situation to be not only a user, but a sub implementor. Which means I had to explain to people why their pay wasn't right, why we could never get it right, why the password change was so arcane it seemed like the system was designed just to frustrate our most valuable resource.....people!

I am so waiting for the follow up, so I can write those immortal four words.....I told you so.

Tick Tock

How to polish the bottom line? Microsoft makes it really hard to claim expenses, say staffers

Colin Bain

Its not just expenses

Its also payroll. "recently" (5 years) installed system still takes more time to process payroll than the old system and often gets it wrong anyway. And no they did not pay for the onboarding module preferring to save a.minimal amount in the purchase and lose thousands of hours of muddling through and more importantly trust and motivation in the long term.

You wood not believe what a Japanese logging company and university want to use to build a small satellite

Colin Bain

I fir cedar problems here

140,000-plus drivers sent $60m in compensation checks after Amazon 'stole their tips'

Colin Bain

Oh Dear!

So THAT is why all those ads show Amazon employees wanting to become managers - less swindling of wages!

In terms of socialism being so abhorrent in US, perhaps in the talk. However tax dodges, lobbying, subsidies to business, especially big business is socialism in effect. Just don't let the hoi polloi in on the act, that would reduce the profits. And so back to Amazon swindling their 'partners' = another word for slavery.

And the capitalist drive to "gig" economy simply is the new grinding the faces of the poor.

Anonymous: We've leaked disk images stolen from far-right-friendly web host Epik

Colin Bain

In the old.days we.got.news from papers. They were.entities.that often had a view, often censored themselves or were censored by govt. We had laws to protect us and so could sue.to.determine what was appropriate. They were private companies. Now we need and opinion from every one on a "we are not a publisher platform. But by censoring, they are essentially performing a publishing function. However the censoring is not challengable. It is also somewhat arbitrary. I agree personally that antivaxxers are harmful and distribute misinformation. However a light perusal of every political promise is a direct deceipt. Should we stop that? There are many more dangerous deceipts currently up and running without being taken down. Who in the social media world is capable and qualified to make those decisions? Have private companies for so large and government like in the sense that everyone buys into them, that they can now censor without impunity, but hide behind the "private company" to avoid responsibility? Dystopia, you are already here

If it's going to rain within the next 90 mins, this very British AI system can warn you

Colin Bain

The question of good does not seem to include concept that it actually predicts the rain if I read this right. Merely that compared to current models it is better than them. I haven't met a model that really works junked they set in front of a camera, so a total waste of time really.

Alan Turing Institute to spend UK.gov grants on AI for air traffic control and banking

Colin Bain

Big tech

Ah yes. A wonderfully hopeful aim, laudable even. Unfortunately big Gov plus public money plus software plus people ensures the continuation of the usual outcome. Big waste of time and effort followed by a report from the NAO saying the same.

I promise to say I told you so, assuming I lived through the experiment

UK government resists pressure to hold statutory inquiry into Post Office Horizon scandal

Colin Bain

Credit where credit due please

All of the scandal was documented early on, almost as soon as it started, by Private Eye who have been banging on about this injustice for years. Long before anyone/business/journalist/ cottoned on to it.

The least you could do is give credit to worthy journalism. Possibly the only real investigative journalism going on in the UK.

Docking £500k commission from top SAS salesman was perfectly legal, rules judge

Colin Bain

Certainly uncertain

The judge denied saying that the clause was certainty.

Except that the certainty is uncertain from the sales persons point of view. And proven by this case. The calculation was correct, the payment proved to be uncertain. Worth an appeal if available on the basis of logic.

Watch it go: World's smallest self-folding origami bird that reminds us we were promised nanobots at some point

Colin Bain

Re: The Terminator is in your blood!

That was.my second thought. Innocuous ingestion and at the touch of a button it folds into a neurotransmitter or poison. Torture and death and perhaps inadvertent death by static electricity.

What does that say about us!

Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles

Colin Bain

Glass half full

I keep reading the Elon Musk appellate as Tech - No king! A negative take on his monarchial position.

Also Nosmo King was a band in the 70's (and possibly later) that I saw up in Aberdeen while pretending to study at Uni.

So it appears some of you really don't want us to use the word 'hacker' when we really mean 'criminal'

Colin Bain

Too late

There are all kinds of trite cliches to describe why it is never going to work. Main Stream media always gives the impression of a coherent professional approach. However MSM has degenerated into a ghastly barely reporting biased mess following whoever is giving them cash (El Reg and possibly Private Eye excluded)

The cat is out of the bag, it is closing the stable door the horse has bolted, it is VHS versus beta, PC vs Mac.

Nice to discuss, but pointless unless it has a topical hook like BLM, or Metoo, or even Arab spring (although not generally the best example given the long term outcome!)

Microsoft's Gooseberry is a dish best served really, really cold: Progress made on silicon quantum computing

Colin Bain

Kelvin not so Absolute after all?

I thought by definition Kelvin 0 degrees was well, where everything stopped, Absolutely (pun intended for those old enough!) -2K? What is that, and how do you get there? Even the backgorund heat of the universe is around 3K, is it not?

Smartphones are becoming like white goods, says analyst, with users only upgrading when their handsets break

Colin Bain

Why I don't upgrade

The mobile company I use stopped giving me an upgrade every couple of years. They keep offering "bargains" if I upgrade my plan. Understandably since I pay $45 CAN per month for unlimited texts, free long distance in Canada, and a cheap rate to the UK. Data? 400mb! I mainly use wifi, so use it when when I'm nowhere near a coffee shop and need to find my way because I'm lost.

I could go with buying a phone from them, but they don't seem interested. I have a Moto G8 currently (twin SIM) so my employer supplies up to 3G without questioning it, and I rarely use that anyway.

So the mobile industry is facing a crossroads. They basically have an everlasting income stream until something really disrupts access to the internet or whatever it will become. Up until now they had total control of how wide that revenue stream was. It was a smoke and mirrors deal with a manipulation of numbers and social engineering to make us believe something (normal sales behaviour)

Now customers have a certain amount of control of the width of that stream. At the same time they have caught themselves out. I can buy an reasonably good phone at a price less than they will charge. It will be mine from the start. As opposed to a monthly payment scheme which generally make me pay more for a limited range of phones and then try to make me buy some extra insurance.

Unless they really offer more value for what we are paying, then the big companies will stagnate. The may try to buy out upstarts and then raise prices again, but this is not a long term future.

They have to offer more or diversify for success imho.

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'

Colin Bain

I've heard that name before...somewhere

Fujitsu, the name behind Horizon. They made pretty good 35mm film, but computer systems, not so much

We didn't collude with Twitter to throw Parler off our servers, says AWS in court filing

Colin Bain

What else can companies do?

This most publicly started with the credit card companies not processing transactions for Wikileaks and Assange. I thought that was wrong then, especially since banks and credit card companies bankroll drug/trafficking/taxevasion transactions, certainly at the "wholesale" level if not at the local level.

This is also wrong.

What next, Trump won't be able to buy gas at Shell?

Platforms have been arguing that they are not really responsible for content, and they certainly don't want to have a bureaucratic system in place and pay for that.

Accountability...where is that in this? Nowhere!

Researchers made an OpenAI GPT-3 medical chatbot as an experiment. It told a mock patient to kill themselves

Colin Bain

This sounds familiar...

Forgets appointments, can't/won't do accounts and paperwork, sometimes gives the wrong advice? Sounds like more than a few docs to me, so they might be on the right track after all!

Oculus owners told not only to get Facebook accounts, purchases will be wiped if they ever leave social network

Colin Bain

Strange bedfellows?

This tendency to make a commitment and then renege on them using relatively spurious language seems to be endemic. Are Boris and the Zuck man reading from the same play book?

US govt wins right to snaffle Edward Snowden's $5m+ book royalties, speech fees – and all future related earnings

Colin Bain

Some are more equal than others

So the US can spend oodles of resources on one man's relatively meagre earnings, but cannot track or trace the billions of corporate tax avoidances by Multinational companies and individuals. Oh but wait, they also donate to the politicians, I forgot that was how it works in the supposedly greatest democracy.

Where are we now? Microsoft 363? 362? We've lost count because Exchange Online isn't playing nicely this morning

Colin Bain

Help! Desk approaching

Our org just went full tilt 365 with huge restrictions for most users.

When the outage occurred, not one announcement mentioned the global outage, but simply that users were having difficulty signing on and they were investigating. I had already figured out where the outage was.

I certainly heartily agree with

In the meantime, folk were left twiddling their thumbs and pondering the wisdom of a leap cloudwards versus an on-premises service, staffed by engineers that could be yelled at face to face.

I was one of them!

Oh yeah, we had just gone through a seemingly pointless email address change.

Do we actually do any work other than grappling with IT issues? Boss of mine once said, "We never had these problems with typewriters!"

UK.gov to propose new rules for online political campaigns after last election marred by an avalanche of fake news

Colin Bain

Er Truth>

So the proposal is to put some kind of "kitemark" of authenticity on the obviously truthful and transparent claims of legitimate politicians.

Or in other words, a rubber stamp on "political" statements in a campaign.

Or in other other words, only official lies are to be allowed!

This is 2020, not 1984, right?

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

Colin Bain

Close call


Lists an almost on-call using rm *

I blush because I am a super user fixing things at the user end at my work which is non computer related and I had to look rm * up

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

Colin Bain

Classic IT "Service"

Ah yes, IT always thinks that users are idiots, but fail to program with this in mind. And when it goes wrong, close down the system so that only IT can do it.

Jeff Bezos: I will depose King Trump

Colin Bain

Long game

Trump played the long game. Democrats in disarray and harmless. The most dangerous was Biden. Called Zelensky, knowing it wasn't private, knew it would be public. He's an expert confuser that knows confusion works and has the Senate won. End result? Pleases base and ensures they will vote. Biden fights for 3rd place having been the front runner. Trump sure knows how to play the political game better than the politicians!

Please note, applause for playing the game is not an endorsement of the player!

Colin Bain

Re: To be honest ...

You mentioned Pink Floyd.....guaranteed up vote...oh and a cogent comment, ...but mostly PF. Another brick in the wall of sanity!

Chrome suddenly using Bing after installing Office 365 Pro Plus... Yeah, that might have been us, mumbles Microsoft

Colin Bain

My Company

My company is transitioning us all to 365. Most of us have not yet been transitioned and unusually in the grand tradition of IT not telling users useful info as to what is happening until it actually has happened, they informed us of this change to Bing and even more unusually informed us of how to get Google back! My respect for our IT has soared. However, I haven't actually been told when my transition is going to happen, but I am thinking that Sod's law will ensure that I will be on vacation at the time!

You know the President is able to shut down all US comms, yeah? An FCC commish wants to stop him from doing that

Colin Bain
IT Angle


Ironically this will not actually be used by Trump, but my sense of political history makes me think it would be Democratic President that will end up doing this. After all it was a Democratic President who took out an enemy of the state, Osama bin Ladin. Despite all the hoo hah about Bush et al removing democratic systems post 911.

You heard it first here folks!

The IoT wars are over, maybe? Amazon, Apple, Google give up on smart-home domination dreams, agree to develop common standards

Colin Bain

Finally I'm an old fuddy duddy

Having been THE tech person since dial up for family and work, I am afraid that the IOT is the line in the sand for me. I had thought is would be a fad and a nice thing to have if you had a couple of brains cells.

Having seen the massive data breaches and the utter failure of anyone to do big IT systems and make peoples lives insecure and in many cases miserable for years (Horizon in UK, Phoenix in Canada, any hospital, any medical system aiming at integration, etc) my fear level is now exceeding my excitement for idealistic possibilities.

Revealed: NHS England bosses meet with tech and pharmaceutical giants to discuss price list of millions of Brits' medical data

Colin Bain

Data+ computer systems+ government = Perfect Storm

Problem 1 - Very very few health professionals have good records

Problem 2 - most people don't care about data, they just stuff it in what they think is an appropriate place without thought for retrieval. Hence my wife was told by a receptionist that btw her prostate results were ok.

Problem 3 - not an IT project on earth with government involvement works.

Problem 4 - Most doctors just care about their patients rather than the fiddly job of records, or indeed any of what we used to call paperwork and delegate it without proper thought to underqualified, untrained personnel. That's in practice and in hospitals

Problem 5 - There is no-one going to properly negotiate with the jackals of capitalism.

I could go on.

The one thought that lets me sleep is that the level of incompetency will overcome the greed. However it is a fitful sleep because the innocents will pay both in finance and fitness

Not so easy to make a quick getaway when it takes 3 hours to juice up your motor, eh Brits?

Colin Bain

Not to mention the folks who have their minds compromised by nature, drugs, or alcohol, wandering along unplugging and vandalising the equipment

Colin Bain

Re: A load of ignorance about charging etc in the article and comments

.. and just where is this capacity coming from just to charge the vehicles? Research works both ways

Colin Bain

Numbers of apples and oranges

"More chargers than petrol stations"

So is that measuring chargers in singles? Most petrol stations have at least 4 petrol pumps. As with most things renewable, misinformation rules

WeWork filed its IPO homework. So we had a look at its small print and... yowser. What has El Reg got itself into?

Colin Bain

Trial.by fire

I want to see them go and sell this in the dragons den . Which is what I thought the authorities were, but then I'm impossibly naive for the times

It's official. You can get FUCT, US Supremes tell scandalized bureaucrats in rude trademark spat

Colin Bain

Not buying

I am sure they won't miss my business. Personally, I just can't give that message out. For similar reasons I dont patronize the F-t B--t--d food outlet. It's a free country and there folks will be free of me. I guess I'm not in their demographic. I prefer my humour to be a bit more clever than that. And yes, I know I sound patronizing.... that's my right too!

Tesla big cheese Elon Musk warns staffers to tighten their belts in bid to cut expenses (again)

Colin Bain


Judging by the number of Teslas I see on my relatively commute through relatively affluent Toronto, I am surprised at the relatively large quarterly sales. The number of the loss on those sales is not that high really and the price needs a bit of tweaking. Perhaps the subsidies from various governments is drying up, as it ought to, as the product in theory should stand (or run) on its own four tires (tyres).

The range of the electric vehicles is not large, which may account for the lower maintenance, and they are luxury/status items which I might suggest are used less and more for showing off.

I am less convinced that electric vehicles are going to be really viable in colder climes, like Canada, so we have a ways to go. My impression is that historically, the leader will start the pack off, make all the mistakes, and eventually fail economically, but succeed reputationally. Coming second is nearly always more profitable!

Freed whistleblower Chelsea Manning back in jail for refusing to testify before secret grand jury

Colin Bain

Whistleblowers always suffer

In terms of trusting the system/Grand Jury, given that Manning has, from her pov suffered greatly, there is little trust in the system. To her either way, she will be punished somehow. Even if theoretically she won't, in practice she will and has.

If the stuff she revealed was in the public domain and so worthless, this just highlights the inequity of her treatment.

As Private Eye often reveals, whistle bowers suffer, because people in power who do wrong things themselves, are embarrassed and can't stand it. So they use their power to crush the whistleblower. Even Doctors, who arguably are some of the most powerful in society.

Bullies win, those who stand up lose. No matter how many cutesy stories we get form well meaning, but wrong, teachers etc

It's May 2. Know what that means? Yep, it's the PR orgy that is World Password Day... again

Colin Bain

Spreadsheeting the passwords around

I use a passworded Excel spreadsheet to keep my passwords. The advantage is that it is NOT online. I tried to hack a spreadsheet once for something else and couldn't. Seemed like a no brainer, but I'm prepared to be convinced otherwise

What bugs me the most? World+dog just accepts crap software resilience

Colin Bain

Walk away

We had a Doctor who did not take blood pressure at the visit, even though we had high blood pressure and one of us had kidney disease. On the exit interview the enticement to stay was that they were adding extra services. Our responses was that if you can't get the basics right then why would we stay. They then asked if we wanted to see the doc. They looked at the calendar and suggested one 3 weeks hence. At that point we said point made and never darkened their doorstep. Why this matters is that software is the same. If it doesn't work, repeat business is lost and so are the future recommendations and reputations.

UK defence secretary ponders £50m hit to terminate Capita recruiting contract

Colin Bain

Missing stat

How do we know that a 7.5% success rate is poor? What do we compare this to? Perhaps 92.5% of current applicants are just not good enough in this particular generation. Not sure why though.

Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

Colin Bain

The proof is NEVER in the pudding

The proof of the pudding is in the eating! The proof in the pudding is meaningless.

The test of English is in the speaking.

Rant over, as you were....