* Posts by This Side Up

440 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Nov 2011


The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

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Surely we should all be using 112, not 999?

Waymo robo-car slays dog in San Francisco

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Now if the dog had killed the robo-car ...

that would be news!

Cop warrant orders Ring to cough up footage from inside this guy's home

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Surely if the video is encrypted it can be decrypted again, otherwise what's the point? Encryption only protects the link between the camera and the server.

BBC is still struggling with the digital switch, says watchdog

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Re: TV Licence future

Why bother with the licence fee? Given that most households receive live tv, just pay for the BBC out of general taxation, at the negotiated rate times the number of propeties. There would be no need for separate collection, enforcement and administration of the fee. You might need a tweak to legislation to deal with overseas visitors in large hotels. As for telly in pubs, gyms, workplaces, etc., their clientele would for the most part be taxpayers anyway, so no special treatment needed.

Twitter set for more layoffs as Musk mulls next move

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"some must be bots"

On both sides, oviously.

Only iPhone 15 Pro models will have higher data transfer speeds on USB-C – analyst

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Eeee You!

So the EU wanted to standardise the connectors, So what have they done?

NOW: we have two camps: Apple+Lightning and Android+USB

IN FUTURE: Apple+Lightning, Apple+USB and Android+USB.


Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II – Britain's first high-tech monarch

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Driving Tests

It is unlikely that the Queen was the only person in the UK who didn't need to take the driving test. The test was compulsory in 1935 but testing was suspended during the second world war and during the Suez Crisis in 1956. Therefore there will be people aged 83 or over who qualified during these periods (e.g. in the forces) and didn't have to take the test.

Also there are lots of people who never had the need to drive.

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything

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Runs on anything?

Sorry, but I can't see how to run it on RISC OS and produce output to Impression.

EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

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It's hard to see the logic of this. Instead of two camps (Android/usb and Apple/lightning) we'll add a third: Apple/usb. What about all the existing kit? Will Apple users need to buy new chargers for future equipment? Why can't Apple just make usb/lightning adapters available for a fee. Why can't they standardise on the other end of the cable which is normally the larger USB A? - the big one used on mains sockets. Then we'd only need different cables.

But won't we need different chargers or mains adapters for different types of equipment. Whilst 1A will be OK for phones, laptops and tablets can swallow 2A or more.

In any case, by 2024 won't we be using wireless charging? That's when standardisation should kick in.

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims

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Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML "That means Apple fans who want to stop faffing around with extra proprietary Lightning charge cables should hold off purchasing the iPhone 14, which is slated to launch later this year. "

On the other hand if you want all your Apple devices with the same connector get them now.

The EU says it's aim is to simplify things. In reality it's doing the opposite:

Now: Apple+Lightning


In future: Apple+Lightning (while it lasts)



Surely it would be better to standardise on the next generation with inductive charging and Bluetooth?

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

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Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

"I've been working with desktop computers since CP/M-80 was the operating system of the day. Since then, I've used MS-DOS, Windows, OS/2, AmigaOS, System 7, macOS, Xenix, SCO OpenDesktop, and more versions of Linux than you can shake a stick at. Even today, I have Windows 10 and 11 and macOS running on test boxes. "

So obviously you haven't used RISC OS then?

File suffixes: Who needs them? Well, this guy did

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How many times did I tell Windows users NOT to hide filename extensions? Scammers use it to conceal the real type of the malware files they're trying to make you run. If you unhide the extensions it becomes very obvious what they're up to.

Car radios crashed by station broadcasting images with no file extension

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Mazda's fault

"And to hear Xperi and Madza tell it, the broadcaster is to blame for transmitting images ? which show up on HD Radio display screens ? without the required file extension in the file name."

No, the filename extension shouldn't be required - the content-type should. This problem is all too common. People sent out files which may have DOS-style filename extensions bit no content-type, so they get stored as text or data. Filename extensions are useful if you're not using file type icons but they shouldn't be relied on. I can call files whatever I like (accepting that some characters can't be used) and I can set the file type to what it should be. The two are independent. If the file type is missing then you may be able to guess it if there's a valid extension.

Why machine-learning chatbots find it difficult to respond to idioms, metaphors, rhetorical questions, sarcasm

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Re: Training the chatbot should be dead easy...

Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed. The trouble is they don't train the bots on all the scenarios that they are likely to come across, in particular reporting technical issues. That's really nothing to do with idiom, sarcasm or whatever. I usually get somewhat annoyed and end up with "Please can I speak to a human being".

BT's Plusnet shows Google how it's done as email woes enter their third day

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Re: They've had email issues for years now

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML I wouldn't dream of sending html!

I've been with PlusNet since Argonet shut down. Initially they were very good but they withdrew cgi-bin and scripting. Web space was 20MB but went up later. Meanwhile I hosted my sites elsewhere, except one.

PlusNet isn't good at sorting out email problems. There is a persistent fault in which certain messages I bounce from one mailbox to another are rejected by their SMTP server as spam, although they had been delivered to me with no spam indicaion at all. I have supplied them with complete raw messages, transport layer logs and Wireshark traces but they won't sort it out.

Their usual tactic is to tell me to use their webmail service. That is a non-starter because I download mail from the server and then delete it from the server, and I never know when a problem message is going to arrive. The error report says the body of the message has been rejected, and progressive deletion of bits of the message which eventually works. Sometimes just deleting the html part gets it through, but that is unsatisfactory. I get fed up with raising tickets which end up getting nowhere.

Is it a bridge? Is it a ferry? No, it's the Newport Transporter

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THE Newport Bridge

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML Don't forget the other Newport Bridge which is upstream of the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge. It's a vertical lift bridge unlike Tower Bridge which is a bascule bridge (iirc). I don't know if it's still operational.

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

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Re: AI for air traffic control?

Mid-air collision: Oops, sorry. We'll learn from that.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

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Shift of Blame

"many restrictions are being lifted with a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility."

In other words a shift of blame onto the public for the next wave of coronavirus.

Apple's macOS is sub-par for security, Apple exec Craig Federighi tells Epic trial

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Re: Think of the children

"Never been pushed to schools for education purposes. "

What about Element 14? They did have a go at getting into education.

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Water's wet, the Pope's Catholic, and iOS is designed to stop folk switching to Android, Epic trial judge told

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Switching cost

"Epic Games was keen to highlight, as its own marketplace allows users to run the same software on multiple platforms."

So why can't they allow users to run it on Android and iOS? Can't they give customers on one system a voucher to switch to the other? Or even an install file which they can carry across?

Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'

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NHS App?

Do they mean the NHS app, or the widely discredited Serco Trash and Trace App?

Ministry of Defence tells contractors not to answer certain UK census questions over security fears

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In what way...

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... does knowing your sexuality assist local or national authorities in providing services?

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Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

"only question about gender had just M & F as possible options. Good start!"

And if you happen to be inter ...?

MPs slam UK's £22bn Test and Trace programme for failing to provide evidence that it slows COVID pandemic

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Re: NHS Test & Trace??

Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

If it goes badly blame it on someone else; if it goes well take the credit.

So it's "NHS Test & Trace" and "Government Vaccination Programme" (complete with Minister who does nothing as far as I can see).. Of course it should be Dido Harding Test & Trace" and "NHS Vaccination Programme".

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?

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Halt and Catch Fire

Wasn't there once an apocryphal IBM 360 instruction HCF = halt and catch fire? Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

Actually it was rumoured that you could get an IBM chain printer to catch fire by alternating between upper and lower case!

Copper broadband phaseout will leave UK customers with higher bills and less choice, says comparison site

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Why can't ...

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML OK, Why can't the ISPs and Openreach use the technologies they have to deliver the performance they advertise? I pay for 'up to' 8Mbps. I don't care how it's delivered. I do care if I'm only getting 300kbps on an ftp download.

Pure frustration: What happens when someone uses your email address to sign up for PayPal, car hire, doctors, security systems and more

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An email address isn't good ID

There are many cases where there is one email address for a household, or where one partner uses the other's address. Not all ISPs give you multiple usernames or your own subdomain.

Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs

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Smart TVs are Dire

I have a Panasonic box and the apps are limited to iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix and maybe one or two others I never look at. Trying to navigate iPlayer is tedious in the extreme. Surely this is completely the wrong approach. It would be far better to have a Linux computer with a built-in tv tuner, a bluetooth keyboard, and a tv application.

As for Samsung, I have one of their tvs (not smart) but I won't get another because of the appallingly designed timer facilities.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

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Ah yes, at one location I worked at we had a staff canteen that was popularly known as the Restaurant at the End of the Unibus.

Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

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Re: This could actually make $$$

Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

"... it could cut out the vast majority of smut on little Johnny’s phone. Which is 100% more that is achievable at the moment."

Doesn't that imply that currently we can cut out approaching 50% of smut?

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

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Re: Never understood this

"Consumer grade appliances are trash, with no longevity and (usually) no repair options[0]."

I bought my Servis washing machine c.1989. It was one of the first to use full microprocessor control instead of a big clunky rotary switch. It had a new mother board under warranty and has been extremely reliable since then. It's only now starting to go up the back end of the bathtub curve. Sadly the company was liquidated in 2011.

Go on, hit Reply All. We dare you. We double dare you. Because Office 365 will defeat your server-slamming ways

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Why stop there?

It would actually help if they could ban top posting and quoting the whole of the preceding conversation unnecessarily.

Also users should stop gumming up the internet by sending megabytes of html, css, js, logos, tracking links, etc when a simple text message would do.

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard

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No specific evidence

Type your comment here — advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

"there's no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those 5G theories. I hope that clears that up."

There's no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those God theories. I hope that clears that up.

Bad news: Coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the world. Good news: Nitrogen dioxide levels are decreasing and the air on Earth is cleaner

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Well, we won't want runway 3 now will we?

But if people are self-isolating themselves and working at home you would expect emissions from domestic heating and cooking equipment to increase.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

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"It has long been industry practice not to actively remove domain names from the internet "

Try telling that to EE!

Guilty: The Romanian ransomware mastermind who infected Trump inauguration CCTV cams

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Windows powered?

"Each of their CCTV units consists of a camera attached to a Microsoft Windows-powered computer"

Do you need to know any more?

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

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Re: Oh well

What about loop disconnec t phones? Will they be catered for by the legacy interface.

Btw it used to be 48v (traditionally backed up by 24 x 2v glass accumulators in the basement). Are they using 50v now?

'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

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There's a lesson here

Never use your ISP's domain for your email address or web site. Register your own domain then you can keep your address when you change your ISP. All you have to do is update the DNS servers.

Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

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Big Brother

Back door and not back door

"... there is a way to both have a backdoor and not have a backdoor ..."

No problem.

Just don't open the box.

Transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

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Autonomous vehicles


Something I wrote last year along similar lines.

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

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Driverless means there isn't a driver

1. Please stop using "driverless" and "autonomous" interchangeably. A driverless car (SAE level 5) doesn't have a driver, hence the name "driverless" (no driver). So it doesn't have driving controls and can't switch to being driven by a person. Vehicles with lower levels of automation can.

2. Software will have bugs in it. It's only a matter of time before the right combination of circumstances will arise to reveal them.

Car insurers recoil in horror from paying auto autos' speeding fines

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"Our view was that when you're talking about a ton of metal that's travelling at high speed on the roads, you should potentially lose that right to take risks with other people's lives. Our input would be that we think the updates should be implemented right away."

What if the car is parked in a location where there is no data signal? Do you set out on a journey only to come to an abrupt halt as soon as the vehicle picks up a signal and discovers that an update is available - possibly when you're doing 70 in lane 3 of a motorway?

What if the update contains a bug? Can the vehicle revert to the previous version or does it have to stay where it is until the manufacturer fixes the bug?

This obviously hasn't been thought through.

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Once again we read this nonsense about the government banning the sale of diesel and petrol engined vehicles after 2040. This is not what has been said. They are only proposing to bena the sale of NEW diesel and petrol vehicles (excluding hybrids) after 2040. It will still be possible to buy and sell existing vehicles at that time, barring further restrictions.

Flash... Nu-uh! Tech folk champing at the bit to switch off life support

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OK, so you get rid of Flash

from the browser. I won't mourn its passing. But what do you do about all the sites that contain flash and don't get updated but do continue to be hosted?

Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

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Re: Broadband

and Bandwidth - this used to refer to the width of a signal within the frequency spectrum. Now it seems to mean capacity or throughput, or just the amount of time you have available for something.

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Re: AKA iPhone?

Ah, Spam fritters! They served them at the canteen when I worked on the BSC Redcar complex in the dim and distant past. We reckoned they were made from dumper truck tyres.

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Re: Testiculate

Wasn't it Adam Hart-Davis who coined that one?

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Ultrasonic Sound

Surely it's an oxymoron, not a tautology?

BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

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"Presumably only a UK phone can generate a CLI number itself? BT should not allow a CLI to be different from its allocated number unless pre-registered."

A phone (handset etc) doesn't know its own directory number. It's connected to a line card at the exchange or local concentrator which has an equipment number. The software on the switch translates between equipment number and directory number. So presumably to spoof a CLI you'd need to access the switch e.g. by using a particular command sequence, but I'm not a BT technician.

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Re: A Typical Scam Call I Get

Call from withheld, unavailable or international number comes in.


Answering machine pickes it up.

"Hello, thank you for calling. So that we can deal with your call efficiently please select from the following menu:

If you're a claims management company press 1;

If you're a boiler room press 2;

If you're a bogus Microsoft engineer press 3;


For some reason they don't seem to want to play ball. Can't think why.