* Posts by Stuart Castle

1610 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I use Virgin Media, and generally, they've been quite reliable, apart from the odd outage (which can be expected), and have offered near the gigabit connection I pay for, so I'm usually happy.

The one thing I never use though is their router.

I had used my own router before I had virgin, and carried on using it when I initially had a cable modem, so I was happy to manage my own network.

Then, I upgraded and had to have a superhub, so I switched to use that as a router.. Wired connections were fine, but Wifi lasted around 7 days before vanishing and requiring a reboot to get back.

So, I bought a new router (the WRT54G I had used before was brilliant, especially with the DD-WRT firmware, but I needed something faster). Ended up with some awful looking Asus Gaming thing that did offer excellent speed and connectivity for the time, and ultimately replaced that with a mesh network of Orbis. The orbis are missing a couple of things that would be nice (it would be nice if they offered local DNS for instance, so I could access any device by name rather than IP, and I would like some freedom to add DHCP options), but they do work with very little fuss once set up.

I just think it would be nice for Virgin to offer the option of a dedicated modem if you don't want a router.

Marvell disputes claim Cavium backdoored chips for Uncle Sam

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Motherboards containing spy chips

One other possible explanation is that they removed one or more circuits or traces, as part of the normal updating of motherboard designs. Maybe the new way was cheaper, or more reliable.

Sysadmin and spouse admit to part in 'massive' pirated Avaya licenses scam

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Similarity to "BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure" article in The Register?

In fairness, this isn't new. Microsoft have been providing different facilities with different Windows licences, but bundling all the code into one ISO or disk since the early 2000s..

Microsoft tells partners unbundling Teams is a 'compromise' with the EU

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: A little homily comparing two basketball players?

I think part of the problem is that we've become used to receiving certain services "free". I put "free" in quotes because these products and services are not free. Sure, you don't pay in money times, but they likely do collect and sell data they gather from you.

Sadly, the old model of buying access to services like Zoom or facebook isn't likely to work. People have got used to having these services free, so they'd need to add features that add real value for a purchaser, and even then, it will likely be a subscription and not a one off purchase.

ArcaOS 5.1 gives vintage OS/2 a UEFI facelift for the 21st century

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I was a longtime Amiga User, but needed a cheap PC for my degree (I preferred the Amiga, but was learning computing science and realised I would likely have used PCs in any future career (as I do). I didn't really know my way around the hardware, so went for the cheapest pre built I could buy (being a student, money was a concern).

I bought an Escom 486 mini tower. It outlasted Escom, although that wasn't really an impressive feat.

I don't really remember the specs, but it came with a hard drive (likely 250 or 512 meg) , and a 486DX2 66. I bought an Aurel Vortex 2 sound card. It came with Windows 3.1 and OS/2 Warp. I loved OS/2, but sadly had to use Windows and DOS for my studies, so eventually the PC got reformatted and I only installed Windows.

Unfortunately, I don't have the OS/2 CD anymore.

It's good to see OS/2 back in some form, but I doubt I'll install it anywhere. I might play about if it's free, but I can't justify spending money on a new OS with very little softwre.

US Air Force wants $6B to build 2,000 AI-powered drones

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: $5.8 billion

In terms of monetary cost, I should imagine the pilot of the aircraft is probably the cheapest bit. You get one for spending a couple of million on training, then a few tens of thousands of whatever your local currency is a year..

The real cost is in providing a plane with the facilities a pilot would need, such as a system to pump fluid around their flight suits, air and heat, as well as the fuel and extra engine power required to carry both the pilot and the equipment needed to keep them alive and conscious so they can function.

An unmanned drone requires none of that. So, even if it does carry the same amount of fuel as a manned plane, it will be able to fly for longer. it will also be able to fly faster, and perform manoeuvres a manned plane wouldn't because it doesn't have to keep it's pilot alive and conscious as said pilot, assuming they exist, will likely be sitting in front of a computer in an airbase thousands of miles away.

Why these cloud-connected 3D printers started making junk all by themselves

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Why does a 3d printer need to be cloud controlled? That would seem to be over complicating things massively.

The cloud does offer the advantage that the device is accessible wherever the user happens to be in the world, but with any 3D printer, you need to ensure someone is there to remove the print from the plate.

The only advantage I can think of is if you are out, you can trigger a print job (these can be quite lengthy), so it should be ready by the time you get to the printer.

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

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I find it's best to assume that unless a cloud provider actively pushes that they back up your data, it's probably best to assume they don't, and maintain your own backup. Even if that backup is just the same thing on someone else's cloud.

Lost voices, ignored words: Apple's speech recognition needs urgent reform

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Of course, the sad thing is that there are some very good solutions out there for making computers (and consoles) accessible to disabled users, if those users can afford them. Sadly, in a lot of cases, those users can't and while they may qualify for help from a local authority, or charity, the budgets for those organisations are limited, with the limits effectively being reduced year on year.

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I'm no expert, so apologies if I have this wrong, but a few years back (and I am talking the early 200s), Apple did have very good accessibility options. Compared to the opposition.

The problem is that the competition, in this case, Microsoft has come on leaps and bounds and while, based on the accounts of some of our disabled users, the features in in Windows aren't good, they are generally adequate. Beyond the introduction of Voice Control, and lumping a whole load of permissions restrictions under the subject of "Accessibility", Apple haven't really changed the accessibility options of macOS that much.. They certainly have not improved them.

Hey Apple, what good is a status page if you only update it after the outage?

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Is there any status page that is that up to date? Even using a monitoring system that updates the status one (or more) system(s) stop working? Even if it switched to a page saying something bland and generic like "We are aware of a problem and our engineers are investigating" without giving any details. Or do they all rely (as the one where I work apparently does) on users actually updating the status page?

The reason I ask. is that, as a user, it's annoying to be told that everything is OK when for whatever reason, I cannot access multiple systems covered by the status page, and I know that everything on my end is OK.

And yes, this has happened a few times, even with Apple on a few occasions.

ISP's ads 'misleadingly implied' existence of 6G, says watchdog

Stuart Castle Silver badge

6G is an odd name to have if you aren't selling mobile internet, or aren't being misleading.

Sure, there could be a legitimate reason for the name (the 6 founders could each have a name beginning with G for instance), but this smacks of trying to cash in on the naming scheme used for Mobile networks. Even in 2012, when 5G wasn't a thing yet, and 4G had only just started, it was reasonable to assume there would be a 6g, and a 7g and so on..

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

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Not a spreadsheet, but I worked for Blockbuster when I was a student.

After the shop closed, we had to take the computer through an end of day procedure, where we had to respond to various prompts, then at the end, the computer would lock any terminals attached (two, in our store), then sit there processing for about 2 or 3 hours, printing out reports showing various things, like the day's cashflow, and tapes rented/returned etc, along with any late returns..

It printed out a *lot* a reports, which meant the printer (a dot matrix) was going for pretty much the whole time. Thankfully, we didn't have to wait around, so usually went home while it did this.

I was covering a shift in a branch I didn't normally work in the next morning. Normally, when working the morning shift, we checked the printouts for any thing due. We would check the drop box (in case stuff was returned overnight) and cross off any items that had been returned. We'd then start to phone the people who were late returning stuff, and go through the other figures.

My heart sank, when I saw that the cashflow report was showing the store was £2,000 down. Panicking a bit, I called my manager. It looked like the £2k had been stolen, even though the stores never had that much cash in the tills. Thankfully, he came to the store quickly, and we checked the figures again. What had happened is that someone had issued a credit for £2k on the system. The manager voided that credit and presumably had a word with the guy who had been working the previous day. Thankfully, that guy admitted he meant to enter £20.00, but missed the full stop. He had only given £20 to the customer.

Let's play... Force off the power to someone else's datacenter systems

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: A backdoor, in reality

It is 2023, and yes, we are still talking about hardcoded credentials. And that's before we even think about all the network attached stuff in the average data centre that's been there years, and is still in use, barely touched (let alone updated) because it just works, so it gets forgotten about.

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Not a funny story this, more a small boast.

When I had just left school, I worked for BR in the Quantity Surveyor's office. a major part of the job was entering data into a database that used some relatively complicated code to generate some mailshots, and spreadsheets.

Basically, we had to mail out these sheets to various other departments, and the system did this. It also generated the covering letters, and labels for the envelopes.

My colleague who did my job before I did had gotten the boss to buy a fairly powerful (for the time) office suite called "Smart Office" (which makes the product difficult to google, as the name is too generic). This was the first office suite I'd seen, and certainly the first to have a scripting language linking the applications.

I was a decent hobbyist coder, and had a fair bit of experience with this suite from a previous job, so I started tweaking his code.

By the time I finished, the system ran something like 3 times the speed, with no change to the output.

Unfortunately, the boss decided that the pretty blonde he'd just employed could then use the improved system to do both her and my job. He didn't tell me this, of course. He got me to train her, and being a teenage geek, given even a chance to spend some time with a pretty Blonde woman, I leapt at it without really analysing things. Being a temp, I really had no rights, so my agency got a phone call the next week asking me not to come back..

Scientists strangely unable to follow recipe for holy grail room-temp superconductor

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I hope I am proved wrong, but this seems like a scheme designed to attract venture capiital. After all, the first person who builds a superconductor that works at room termperature is going to make an awful lot of money very quickly, so venture capitalists are likely frotthing at the bit to get in on this, and will likely throw money at it like crazy.

Whoever invented it can work on the material for a few months, living off the investment, and possibly disappear with the money, saying "Sorry, didn't work".

This last thing is something I suspect will happen with at least one of the current hyperloop projects..

Soon the most popular 'real' desktop will be the Linux desktop

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Hmm, reading through this, not sure I agree. Yes, Microsoft *are* actively pushing people to the cloud, but Apple don't seem to be going that way. Yes, they want you to use iCloud for your storage, and have web based versions of the main iCloud apps, but they don't seem to have actively gone beyond that. Microsoft appear to be pushing all Windows users down the VM route, with Onedrive storage being part of the journey.

I think ultimately, Microsoft would like all of us to access Windows via a (probably Microsoft branded) thin client or even a browser, with the xbox being an option for those who require a little more grunt for their gaming.

Apple don't seem to be going that way. They seem to be pushing to sideline macOS and replacing it with iOS.

Don't get me wrong: I don't like what Apple are doing, as I like knowing I can install software from wherever I choose (even some virus infested hell site).

Soft-reboot in systemd 254 sounds a lot like Windows' Fast Startup

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: something else to shout about

I think people are too quick to judge others now. It's entirely possible to like someone, even be friends with them, even if their views are opposite to yours.. It's also possible to have a reasoned debate with them about why their views are different, without just dismissing them as a hater. In fact, such reasoned debate can be helpful because they may have legitimate reasons for their views that you can address.

I try not to judge people based purely on their age. Being old does not make you wise, any more than being young makes you stupid. It's about life experience, and I've met some young people that have experienced way more than most older people. You can be intelligent, wise, or stupid whatever age you are.

How to get a computer get stuck in a lift? Ask an 'illegal engineer'

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I used to work in a 3 storey building. Only one lift. This only went as far as the 2nd floor, and was at the other end of the building. The reason the lift only went to the 2nd floor was because the building was originally designed with 2 floors, and they added bits of a 3rd floor where they needed extra rooms. So, parts of the building had 3 floors, but most if it had two.

My then boss was working in the office when printer turned up. This was a Laserjet 5Si, a rather large and heavy network printer. We had also ordered the 2000 sheet paper drawer. There were three techs working in the office. Me, my boss, and a third tech. No idea where the third tech was, but I was at lunch. We had some colleagues in an office on the 2nd floor. What the boss should have done was asked the driver to deliver the printer there (it had a coded lock, but we all had the code), and waited for everyone to get back from where they were.

Even if that weren't an option, his boss's wife was one of the secretaries, and she worked in a large office with the other secretaries on the 2nd floor. He could have put it there. He didn't do either. He decided to help the driver carry the printer up the stairs.

Not saying they were linked, but within a few months, he took a couple of days off for back pain. When it didn't subside, he went to the hospital, and they said there was a prolapsed disk. He was off for months..

Vodafone tests waters with 5G Raspberry Pi base station

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Agreed, to some extent. As far as I am aware, most devices that have 5G also have Wifi, and can perform most functions on both (including calling). There may be some IoT devices that require 5G, although that is a niche market.

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

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Deep Space Network station

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=586Zn1ct-QA

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUvzgZt1Vug

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfZz4EnhJBE

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

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I think there is also a psychosomatic effect here. You realise you've just spent the price of a car on a record player, so you convince yourself it sounds much better, when in reality, it probably does sound a little better, but not a lot..

Stuart Castle Silver badge

An old friend of mine shutdown the wrong server once. Nothing major, just the primary web server for NTL.com. An outage that, IIRC, was even mentioned on El Reg at the time. I never found out what happened, but he was looking for a new job very quickly after that..

Arc: A radical fresh take on the web browser

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Edge updated itself this morning...

You forgot the multiple requests to sign in so Microsoft can see your favourites and other data..

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look

Stuart Castle Silver badge

It's good that El Reg is taking a slightly skeptical view. Too many media outlets take what someone has said at face value and proclaim it is a breakthrough. Questioning data you provided isn't being a hater, pushing fake news or anything like that (despite what some politicians will tell you). It's required for good science.

I'd like to see some of these breakthroughs come true. I'd like to see Fusion become a thing (I don't think it will, but I hope I am wrong). I'd like to see room temperature super conductors, and experience any benefits they bring. I'd like to see a safe replacement for Lithium in batteries that offers the same or better capacity.

It's good to remain skeptical though, as long as you stay open minded. I try to do both.

Too many bytes and not enough bricks for datacenters

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Smaller, faster

It does, but I think the need for extra servers is increasing as fast as their size is decreasing.

Google's next big idea for browser security looks like another freedom grab to some

Stuart Castle Silver badge

This seems like a massive grab of rights for little or no gain (at least from the consumer side). At the moment, I use Vivaldi or Safari, but I like the fact I can use whatever browser I want. I could even write one from scratch (assuming I had the time and inclination), or I've no doubt there is source code for a number of browsers on Github I could compile and use. I like the fact I am free to do that. Websites requiring a specific browser is a step back, IMO.

OK, so this could stop bots. Fair enough, that is a laudable goal. The bot writers could bypass it by changing tactics though. All they need is to write the bot in such a way that it reads the browser window, and sends keypresses/mouse movements to it. There are a number of legitimate applications that can do this. They can even attempt to bypass the robot checks built into some systems by moving the mouse randomly, or not taking the direct route to a link., like a human may do if browsing. In this cause, other checks may catch the bot, but WEI wouldn't because it would be communicating with an unaltered browser.

Hackers will also probably find a way to bypass it. All they need do is find out how Google are generating whatever signature is sent to google, and fake it.. That way the pile of scripts your bot is using to access a website could appear to be a legit copy of Chrome.

While I don't game online, so am not affected by online cheating, I can understand it is frustrating for players to be dealing with someone who cheats..

But, this thing requires we sign in to Google. I'll come clean, and admit, I do surf the web signed in to Google. Google provide services I use (such as Youtube) and it's more convenient for me. I am aware of the tracking they do, and, TBH, it doesn't bother me that much. But, I like the idea I am free to browse the web while not signed in to any company. Sometimes, I do this. I know that a lot of the web is behind paywalls (even if they are free, some websites require registration to use), but I don't like the idea that potentially a *lot* of websites could be inaccessible if I don't sign in to Google (or any web ID provider).

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Best way to kill this...

I agree. Fixed value fines don't seem to me much of a detterent. Google could take a lot of $50k fines before they even notice. Even if they did, it may well be worth their while to pay the fines rather than pay whatever is required to solve the problem that caused the fines. Yes, companies do this calculation, even for things that *might* be dangerous. If the solution to a problem will cost more than they are likely to pay out in punishments, they may opt for the punishments.

A set percentage of their gross turnover, even one percent, is a *lot* more likely to get them to solve any problems.

Logitech reports broad declines as pre-pandemic buying cycles return

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I'm not surprised. While (as I stated elsewhere on this thread) I generally like Logitech stuff, they don't generally make stuff you upgrade. They make stuff you use until it fails and you need to replace it. Very few people outside of gamers will always want the latest Headset, Mouse, Trackball or Keyboard. If what they have works, they are generally happy. They've also had a massive increase in sales in the past two years because of WFH and Covid. That was never going to last. Either people stop WFH (and a lot seem to be, certainly in London), or they have their kit and aren't going to need to replace it for a while.

I think that last bit is actually a massive problem for the PC industry as a whole, not just Logitech.

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Logitech kit used to be reliable.. I'm still using a USB Trackman Trackball that while I don't remember when I ordered it, I'm certain it's older than some of the younger adult users I deal with day to day.

World's most internetty firm tries life off the net, and it's sillier than it seems

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I think I sometimes come across as quite anti cloud sometimes. I am actually quite pro cloud, as long as it's the best tool for a given job. At the moment, I'm typing this, but we have a cloud based management system (that I specified) for our Macs. To minimise traffic on the company internet link, we have a local cache for the application installers and scripts. I'm typing this in one window, and in the window next to it, I'm running a small utility that syncs the data between the cloud and local server..

I could have gone for an on-prem server, but in this case, cloud is best, as we also need to manage Macs used off site, and the firewall we have protecting our network is quite restrictive, and the process we need to follow to get it changed is deliberately bureaucratic (the process itself is designed to discourage change).

That said, I think the cloud over complicates things sometimes.. I updated my work Mac this morning. Because I needed the network connection it was using for something else, I downloaded the installer for the new version, ran it, and while it was installing the update, unplugged the network cable and started using it on another PC.

The installer quit because, despite being a 15 gig download, being freshly downloaded from Apple's own servers, and being verified on first launch (Apple installers are protected by a digital certifiicate), it apparently needs an active internet connection. Previous macOS installers, while not being the fastest installers in the world, have at least worked offline.

Stuart Castle Silver badge

It's somewhat ironic that Google, arguably one of the companies who popularised the idea of cloud computing, is now experimenting with the idea of some of it's workstations going off line (at least from the Internet).

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Air gaps don't work

In fairness, Stuxnet had the advantage that it was installed by spies, from whatever country. As one of the interviewees in Alex Gibney's excellent documentary, Zero Days, says getting the virus into the plant wouldn't have been a problem. The CIA (and other spy agencies) have plenty of people who are quite used to getting things into, and out of, even the most secure places.. But the CIA, MI5/6, Mossad etc won't be interested in most companies..

Air gapping isn't perfect. No security method is, short of locking the computer in a lead box in a heavily defended bunker somewhere that has no connection to the outside world (not even electricity, which would have to be generated in the bunker) and ensuring no one ever touches the computer. But such a computer would be pointless. We buy them so we can use them, not leave them doing nothing.

Linux lover consumed a quarter of the network

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Ahh Sunsite, I remember that. Probably the best archive of shareware and public domain software for Linux I saw as a student. I spent a lot of money on CDRs and Zip disks to download the software from this.

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Years ago, I worked for a Uni doing staff support. Can't remember the specs, but we had a decent internet link that was also available in one of the University owned student accomodation sites (basically a small housing estate on one of the campuses. Obviously accomodation in this estate was *very* sought after, because they got a much faster connection than they would outside the Uni.

I had friends on the University Networks team, and was talking to one of them one day. He pointed out that during the academic year, nearly a quarter of University bandwidth (and this was a University that had 3 large campuses housing over 18,000 students and a couple of thousand staff) was used by two of the larger buildings on this estate. Funnily enough when, after getting cease and desist orders from at least one record company, they introduced measures to reduce file sharing (Napster, Limewire etc). I don't think they ever entirely stopped it, but bandwidth usage went down massively.

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

Stuart Castle Silver badge

An old technician friend of mine had just started his job. He noticed that some of the patch rooms (the patch panels are generally in their own dedicated rooms) had got messy. So, being the enthusiastic newbie he was, he pointed this out to his boss, and volunteered to come into work on Saturday to tidy some of the rooms..

He got in bright and early on Saturday, and proceeded to rip out cables and placing them tidily, This went well, for the computers..

The problem was the old, analogue, switchboard. To save money, the company had used the same RJ45 sockets, with each phone extension connected via an adaptor. What my friend did not realise was that for the switchboard, each extension was assigned to a specific socket on the telephony panel in the patch room, so to maintain the same extension number, the socket in the room had to be patch to exactly the same socket in the patch room it had been before. My friend did not know this, and so didn't keep a note of what had been plugged in where.

Of course, because the phones had been installed by external contractors, there was no labelling in any of the patch rooms. The sockets on the telephony panel were not even labelled.

So, of course, when he'd finished re connecting all the phones, the extensions were in the wrong offices. He spent the entire weekend ringing all the extensions from his mobile, working out what office the phone was ringing in, and re-patching.

He learned his lesson though. Anytime he did anything like that in the future, he didn't touch the phones. The cables were easily identifiable even if what they were connected to wasn't. They were bright red.

Opportunity NUCs for Asus to continue Intel's mini PC line

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Nuc-Nuc

We have Intel NUCs in most of the video conferencing suites at work. I don't have exact reliability figures, but they are quite heavily used and seem quite reliable.

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: If ChromeOS is Linux...

Not Linux, but startx brings back some memories.

Mid 90s, during the first year of my degree. Wednesday afternoons, in the big computer lab. Rushing to the lab in hopes of getting onto one of the few Sun Workstations we had because we had a whole afternoon of being taught Unix based stuff, and the Suns were a whole lot more pleasant to use than the PCs next to them, which could connect to the Uni's Unix systems via a package called "Exceed".

Exceed, which still seems to be around, was a Windows based X client. Exceed wasn't bad by any means, it's just that the Suns had better keyboards (although with a crap mouse) and they had proper Sony Trinitron monitors, rather than the generic no name PC monitors the Uni user. They were also 17 inch, as opposed to 15..

Microsoft whips up unrest after revealing Azure AD name change

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I'd like to someone from Microsoft marketing to explain exactly how changing the name makes it easier to navigate what is available.

I suspect the real reason is that the name "Entra" is a made up word, that just sounds a little like "Entrance". As such, it can probably be trademarked or copyrighted, whereas "Azure" can't. Lot of potential royalties, and the ability to sue anyone doing something you don't like, but using your name.

Bizarre backup taught techie to dumb things down for the boss

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: I need my Trash

Personally, I'd like to see a time limit on trash being implemented at an OS level. Admittedly, I am not sure if Windows offers an option at GPO level to do this, but as a support person, I've dealt many times with someone complaining they've run out of disk space, then looked in the Recycle bin to find hundreds of thousands of files/folders in there.. It's not fun to have to wait for Windows to have delete that many files.

Producers allegedly sought rights to replicate extras using AI, forever, for just $200

Stuart Castle Silver badge

From a technical point of view, you could. However, it is illegal to film someone without their consent, so if they saw themselves in the background, they could potentially cause a lot of trouble for the studio. It might be difficult to actually sue the studio, but if the fact they did it went viral, it could tank the profits of whatever film uses the scanned extras.

Intel pulls plug on mini-PC NUCs

Stuart Castle Silver badge

I've always wanted a NUC, but never really been able to justify it. I have no real need for what would essentially be another PC.. I know a lot of people use them as HTPCs, but I have an Apple TV, and use Emby to stream media from my main PC to that. Emby also offers the advantage that it will stream to any device that has a recent web browser. I could also use it to stream games from my PC, but, TBH, most of my games are on Steam, and I have a Steam deck for that. Which is also essentially another PC, just running a custom Linux install (Steam OS).

Fedora Project mulls 'privacy preserving' usage telemetry

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Stats please

I used to create sites that did that from time to time. It's not that I ever used any code that required a specific browser, it's just I rarely had much time to test any site I developed, so it was easier just to say that only one or two browsers were supported and make sure it worked well on those browsers. I was happy to help if it had problems, I just wanted to have the freedom to refuse support if necessary.

Thankfully, that didn't happen much. I used Opera at the time, so had to keep everything pretty much standards compliant.

Doesn't happen at all now. I don't build websites. If we need one as a department, I have staff to do that.

Turning a computer off, then on again, never goes wrong. Right?

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: PC Engineers...

Love the description of a thunderstorm lurking, as if they hang about on street corners like Teenagers or something..:)

False negative stretched routine software installation into four days of frustration

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Software vendor does half arsed install? Sadly, that doesn't surprise me. Part of my job is preparing various Applications for enterprise wide deployment. One application is the Meta Quest/Rift drivers. You'd think, bearing in mind that Faceache/Meta is a massive enterprise, they'd have a decent method of silently installing their software. After all, they potentially have to deploy it themselves to thousands of users. Nope. They have an installer, that has to download the software from Meta every time it's run. This is a terrible idea from an enterprise point of view : you want software to be adequately tested before you roll out a new version, so ideally you need to store an offline installer somewhere and run that. It also uses an undocumented switch to install silently. And yes, I've tried using Admin studio to snapshot the install, and also manually extracting the drivers and other software and installing it manually. Entirely unsuccessfully.

Also, one I'm having trouble with atm, Unreal Engine 5. The instructions Epic give *mostly* work. After all, in theory, all you have to do is copy a folder (and everything in it), but it has a slight problem that for debugging, it needs to open a port. We have the firewall running on each machine. Now, I can use group policies to allow the trace server it runs through the firewall, in theory. In practice, I can't, because it insists on copying the trace server to a random folder in the user profile, and running it from there.. FFS, just run it from a central location, it's already in a central location as part of the UE install!.

Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Think Tanks found to leak; use New Never-Before-Seen Sealant for Instant Repair!

Re : Isn't this a retread of The Third Ronnie, appropriately surnamed Raygun, and his Evil Empire rants of the early 80s? With its very own Budgetary Defense Initiative, nicknamed "Star Wars"?

If they are using 40 Year old hardware, I’d argue it isn’t a retread. This is the old system.

What it takes to keep an enterprise 'Frankenkernel' alive

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Good article, but the headline made me think it was an "On Call" story about a Linux Sysadmin who'd been forced to build their own Linux Kernel, using bits from other kernels because their employer has a strange set of requirements that couldn't be completely met with one distro..

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Back when I was a student, I worked part time in the local Blockbuster. One of my colleagues (who was unofficially the manager of the store, because the computer system required a store manager for some tasks, and the company were cheap enough they didn't employ a manager for every store). has a photographic memory, at least as far as Numbers go.

The In store computer was some sort of DEC machine, a 68030 powered desktop with a Micro VAX logo, with two terminals, that also acted as cash registers.

On a bog standard PC, if you know the ASCII code of the character you want, you can get it by holding "ALT", and typing the three digit ASCII code on the keypad quickly. Can't remember the exact key label, but the system had a similar option. You held a given key and typed ASCII codes. My friend was able to use this method to type in his 15 character password much quicker than most people could follow what he was typing. It was truly impressive..

Comms watchdog to probe errors that left Brits unable to make emergency calls

Stuart Castle Silver badge

Re: Ensure uninterrupted access?

Re: "This is the typical kind of bullshit spouted by people who have zero understanding of how anything works on a technical level. People who think because something is "regulated" that means everything will be ok."

Regulation enables them to blame someone. All that will happen is that at the end of the inevitable inquiry, they'll announce "Lessons must be learned" and do nothing else.

If it turns out someone has died, or been seriously injured as a result of this, the same will happen.

US export ban drives prices of Nvidia's latest GPUs sky high in China

Stuart Castle Silver badge

In my experience, Nvidia really don't need much of an excuse to raise prices..