* Posts by David Gosnell

952 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jun 2007


Unity closes offices, cancels town hall after threat in wake of runtime fee restructure

David Gosnell

Unity Ads

The main contact I seem to have with Unity is via the somewhat unavoidable (if into casual mobile gaming) Unity Ads, which appears essentially to be a pyramid scheme, whereby the only way apps can afford to advertise as they do is by containing millions of ads themselves, ad nauseam. If they're now also going to have to recoup these insane licensing costs, there really is going to be no functional app left between the ads.

ChatGPT study suggests its LLMs are getting dumber at some tasks

David Gosnell

97.6% + 2.4% = 100%

It's almost like the underlying logic might still be correct, but they somehow got a stray negation in the result presentation? Perhaps someone found the "always lie about prime numbers" backdoor?

Amazon to shutter Digital Photography Review

David Gosnell

Disastrous decision

I've never been much of a contributor, but that's perhaps because I've mostly bought older kit where I am more of a consumer of wise advice, and DPReview has always been my top go-to when web searching issues. So gutted to see this announcement, wiping (without even the plan of an official archive) the most definitive resource on the planet, clearly trying to steer customers towards Amazon's unreliable reviews, product info and Q&As and to hell with the collected knowledge of most of the digital photography era.

Yes, Samsung 'fakes' its smartphone Moon photos – who cares?

David Gosnell

Re: it looks good, not the bright white blob you'd normally expect on a phone camera

Not necessarily. Do you use a tripod to photograph a flower, a dog or a building? Certainly not essentially. People forget that the Moon is just another well-illuminated sunlit object that doesn't require any remarkably different treatment to anything else similarly lit, and if hand-held (+IBIS/OIS if available) is enough for a sharp image, there's no reason for extra clobber. The reason why most newbie Moon photos end up hopelessly overexposed is mostly because they use auto-exposure based on a frame that's 99% dark. Spot metering is all it takes, and yes, bracketing provides a useful insurance policy!

For password protection, dump LastPass for open source Bitwarden

David Gosnell

Did LP actually delete old data, I wonder?

I dumped LP when it was no longer free for cross-device. I just hope they actually deleted my data when I left.

Firefox 106 will let you type directly into browser PDFs

David Gosnell

Re: I imagine this will be hated by the UK DWP

Then they scan your posted printed ink-filled PDF upon receipt, and lose half the pages. At least the people on the other end of the phone there generally seem to realise how crap it all is.

ZX Spectrum: Q&A with some of the folks who worked on legendary PC

David Gosnell

I'm pretty sure I remember the box of mine specifically using the words.

David Gosnell

Re: Outrun for the win!

Peaches and cream! Peaches and cream!

ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite narrowly dodges debris

David Gosnell

Re: Units

Updated now, anyway. Apt author name, might have been expected to know better?

David Gosnell


I misinterpreted the "kmph" as 1000 miles per hour... 7% of c would be getting into relativistic realms.

Geomagnetic storm takes out 40 of 49 brand new Starlink satellites

David Gosnell

Spoiler alert

It was the Sun wot won it

Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info

David Gosnell

Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

Elon would never make it beyond the Moon.

Shut off 3G by 2033? How about 2023, asks Vodafone UK

David Gosnell

Re: Phase out 3g

And therein is the thing, they want you to. Even the forced obsolescence from baked-in batteries will become less of a thing with the "right to repair", so they need some way to keep the gravy flowing.

ASUS recalls motherboards that flame out thanks to backwards capacitors

David Gosnell

School memory

I remember in an A-level physics lesson the teacher preparing a demonstration of blowing up a capacitor, outside the lab window. Suddenly and unexpectedly there was a flash, bang and large shower of sparks from across the lab. One of the students had jammed a large electrolytic straight into a 240V AC socket. He said he thought there was a 50:50 chance it would be the right way round...

In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done

David Gosnell

Galaxy generation

I understood that the galaxies were generated based on using the BBC B ROM image as a pseudo-random number generator, and that this was one of the hindrances with releasing it for other contemporary platforms given that the ROM was copyrighted and would need to be redistributed. Not such a problem with later ports, without such constraints on static storage.

Amazon says it's all social media's fault for letting fake review schemes thrive

David Gosnell

Re: Is this the same Amazon...

I can see the room for confusion here.

What about when they offer almost the entire purchase price back as a reward, and coach you towards those magic five stars before obliging?

David Gosnell

Is this the same Amazon...

... who pop thinly-veiled review invitation cards into their shipping boxes for "fulfilled by" orders, tacitly condoning the practice?

China says its first Mars rover Zhurong has landed on the Red Planet

David Gosnell

Re: BBC posted impressive footage of the landing...

Link to BBC thumbnail for anyone interested and with an account on another dodgy superpower.

David Gosnell

BBC posted impressive footage of the landing...

... until someone with half a brain got into the office in the morning and pulled it for obvious reasons. About as real as the Beijing Olympics fireworks.

Revealed: The military radar system swiped from aerospace biz, leaked online by Clop ransomware gang

David Gosnell


LowKey cool: This web app will tweak your photos to flummox facial-recognition systems, apparently

David Gosnell

Reverse the example images...

... and they could be "before and after" samples for a top plastic surgeon specialising in acid attack victims.

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen

David Gosnell

Re: Google Play Services

It's in the phone settings, not the app. Go to Settings, Google, Covid-19 Exposure Notifications, top right menu, Exposure checks and authenticate. Click on a time for the details, such as they are.

The app itself I think only logs the QR check-ins.

David Gosnell

Re: Google Play Services

Just did a kill and restart on the app, and finally got an exposure check logged in the Google back-end at 13:55. So might now be working.

David Gosnell

Google Play Services

So it's looking most likely that it's a change in Google Play Services, given that there was an update to that overnight. Now, what's the betting that Google forewarned NHSx (and Denmark's equivalent, based on LosD's comment) but no-one took any action?

For now, the message has gone from my phone without any intervention, but the Google back-end confirms there have been no syncs since yesterday evening so the lack of any further messages is only a placebo of workingness.

Buggy chkdsk in Windows update that caused boot failures and damaged file systems has been fixed

David Gosnell

Re: Connected?

I think you confuse a "wondering" question with a "seeking specific help" question.

David Gosnell


Connected with the unexpected boot-time "repair" my (SSD) PC carried out the other day? No obvious ill effects manifested as yet.

Retired engineer confesses to role in sliding Microsoft Bob onto millions of XP install CDs

David Gosnell

Comic Sans

If I remember rightly, Bob was the original bearer of the delightfully timeless Comic Sans font.

Also pioneered TFA logins (truly f*** all), with invitation to change your password if you'd obviously forgotten it.

Test and Trace chief Dido Harding prompted to self-isolate by NHS COVID-19 app

David Gosnell

Re: Suggestion...

Not Serco though; this is a popular myth now widely debunked. I believe they have a lot to do with the manual tracing programme but not the app, which is completely separately operated (to the chagrin of the government).

Officially, the following were involved with the app:

Accenture, Alan Turing Institute, NHS Digital, NHSx, Oxford University, VMware Pivotal Lab and Zuhlke Engineering, plus the National Cyber Security Centre.

David Gosnell

Only advisory

Of course, the app is only advisory, unlike any call you get from an actual human successfully able to feign being from the government. But I guess she has no practical choice having staked recovering her reputation on this crock.

England's COVID-tracking app finally goes live after 6 months of work – including backpedal on how to handle data

David Gosnell

Re: Compulsion or not

I gather Matt Hancock belatedly rescinded the Department of Health's wishful statement, presumably under pressure to actually be honest.

David Gosnell

If they included kids, the system would melt down and the entire country would be in isolation. The government knows that (they really do not understand school transmission, and are using this term as a test, basically) so best avoid it, huh. Same principle applied to NHS nursing staff testing, with management refusing to allow it in many areas because they knew Covid was endemic and they'd lose all their staff to isolation.

David Gosnell

Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

Any data gathered via the QR coding cannot be pinpointed to an individual (supposedly), and therefore, according to the entirely advisory nature of the app as defined in its privacy policy, cannot be used as the basis of a mandatory isolation instruction, so I'm sure the government would rather we continued supplying our full contact details where at all possible.

David Gosnell

Compulsion or not

Needless to say, confusion over the level of compulsion with this thing, with the app's privacy policy making it very clear that everything it recommends is advisory, but the Department of Health saying you can theoretically be fined for not following it (even though it's a voluntary app and supposedly anonymised anyway). With the venue QR coding added in (also anonymised) as an alternative to paper records, this is going to take a lot of the wind out of the control-freak government's sails of enforcement. No wonder they weren't happy with Apple and Google's restrictions, and it wasn't just about the lack of access to Bluetooth rangefinding.

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

David Gosnell


.... we should start treating this global crisis as, well, you know, a global crisis, with a global solution?

As others have commented elsewhere, we (well everyone apart from Boris and his crazy gang) don't give a flying one about having "world-beating" anything, just an end to this damned thing whatever it takes.

Bricks and mortar chemists take down Indian contact-tracing website

David Gosnell

At least they HAD an app

No further text.

'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue'... XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS after Amazon fires COVID-19 whistleblowers

David Gosnell

Re: You can buy books online from other sites.

> In case you hadn't noticed, Amazon is not a bookseller and hasn't been for a *long* time.

To some extent, it never has been. I remember years ago when they made a thumping loss on book sales - as I suspect they still do, because they can afford to put dedicated sellers out of business despite their bit of pocket-money support for real bookshops recently. In spite of selling books (and more lately everything under the sun) being their perceived purpose to Joe Public, they never really expected to make a penny selling any physical product, with the real focus on services and technology licensing.

Whoa, someone actually texted you in 2020? Oh, nvm, it's just Boris Johnson, telling you to stay the f**k at home

David Gosnell

Visions of a lackey tapping out 50,000,000 messages on his T9 keypad

Messages arrived over the course of at least 4 or 5 hours. Good thing it was just a deadly virus, not a nuclear missile winging its way - even a pretend one like Hawaii had.

Never thought we'd write this headline: Under Siege Steven Seagal is not Above The Law, must fork out $314,000 after boosting crypto-coin biz

David Gosnell

But he can say his mate Vlad's name like a boss.


Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

David Gosnell


Curiously, my 6.2 installation isn't even picking up on there being a 6.3 release...

6.4 in fairness is an early-adopter release and as such not generally pushed at users, but surprised not to be offered 6.3 automatically.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?

David Gosnell

Trade spat

This is not, and never has been, about technology and security. It's just a silly trade spat that the orange buffoon expects all his allies to side with him on.

In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs

David Gosnell

Possible licensing error

As one affected, been keeping close track of this over the last 24 hours. One recurring theme from those chatting with Samsung seems to allude to a possibly expired licensing agreement. Also suggestion of a working patch in 3 to 4 days, in which regard Samsung were rather unhelpful publishing a new support page that (for now) basically echoed the useless advice message on iPlayer itself. But at least Samsung are on the case.

Any finger will do? Samsung Galaxy S10 with a screen protector reportedly easy to fool

David Gosnell

In other words....

Samsung blamed the screen protector until they realised that the same (obviously) happened with their own, not being endowed with magical qualities. What's the betting you could unlock such a phone with a pork chipolata, keeping it clean?

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

David Gosnell

Two pesos (approx 8p)

I remember a charming story when I was little called "Two pesos for Catalina". Half a century on, who'd have thought the title would be so prescient of the worth of what should be a market-leading operating system?

Take the bus... to get some new cables: Raspberry Pi 4s are a bit picky about USB-Cs

David Gosnell

Re: Let me get this straight

Power may be the real reason for the new connector, but how many USB chargers are actually fully making use of this new capacity? Certainly Samsung are not yet shipping high power chargers with all their USB-C equipped devices, so to the end user it certainly seems like change for change's sake, and justified with hypocritical nonsense about saving polar bears and shizz.

Most of the micro USB connectors I have have some kind of tactile keying for orientation (either an indent or ridges), and those that don't (thankfully all white) I've sharpied. High tech solution huh? As for three attempts to plug in? Absolutely. I considered 2 to be a fair average...

David Gosnell

Let me get this straight

So, the new cable introduced because we needed a new harmonised standard and the one that every single sane device was using already wasn't good enough just because you usually had to try twice to plug it in, isn't actually harmonised at all, and far from reducing cable clutter (which it never did, thanks to the above, even by design) is actually now confusing the waters still further. Have I missed anything?

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

David Gosnell

Fat fingers?

Seems to be a bit of an issue with the typo-ridden company, even down to their chosen name.

Remember the Nominet £100m dot-uk windfall it claims doesn't exist? Well, it's already begun

David Gosnell

Re: Unsurprisingly, as a partner company, 1&1 have just followed suit

They've done some, but not all, of mine.

My primary domain is done, dated 4th June 2019 on whois. So they've been up to this for a few weeks.

David Gosnell

Unsurprisingly, as a partner company, 1&1 have just followed suit

Email just in:

"In order to extend the protection period for you, 1&1 IONOS has registered all of the .uk domain names, which you have not already secured yourself. This will ensure that your .uk domain name will not be registered by anyone except you until 2020."

Curioser and curioser: Little Mars rover sniffs out highest ever levels of methane

David Gosnell

Error error!

"Musk posted an image of the Moon during a solar eclipse confusingly tagged with the slogan Occupy Mars"

If you're going to point out a glaring error, don't make another one in so doing. Lunar eclipse, that should be.

*checks this post carefully* ;-)

It's alive! Hands on with Microsoft's Chromium Edge browser

David Gosnell

As I noted previously...

It'll all be tied in with their Windows 10S locked down browser model. They want people to love 10S and walled gardens, but know that Edge has been the kicker up until now, prompting many users to opt out if they ever bought the product at all. With Chromium behind it, they can push this angle much more confidently, and therefore lucratively - and probably even remove the opt-out option in the process.