* Posts by FatGerman

403 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Mar 2012


A cheap Chinese PC with odd components. What could go wrong?

FatGerman Silver badge

The inclusion of VGA, the odd choice for an SSD, and the fact it's now out of stock, imply to me that this is an industrial PC motherboard that has been rebadged to use up some end of line stock.You won't get any support or updates and the company will probably disappear in short time. You need to stop buying this crap, you're only encouraging them :)

Millions of smart meters will brick it when 2G and 3G turns off

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Easy to work out costs.

You don't even need that. If you switch something on it's using energy. If you switch it off it's not. How does knowing exactly how much I'm using help me at all? What am I gonna do? Turn the washing machine off halfway through the cycle? Eat my ready meal cold?

Not even the ghost of obsolescence can coerce users onto Windows 11

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Advert

That's because Apple spent a lot of effort on making a UI that discovered the printers and installed the drivers automatically. Linux has no such thing. CUPS is just a backend. Users want a frontend that doesn't require them to know which protocol their printer uses, or even what a protocol is.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: not happening

Agreed. Until Linux becomes as easy for a large organisation to manage as Windows is (SSO, group policy, etc etc etc) nobody's going to ditch Windows. I've been trying to get my Linux laptop to print to my company's network printers for 2 years and it still won't find them. Despite all the hate there are some things that it does very well for certain customers. Microsoft know who those customers are and they're genuinely don't care about the rest.

Raspberry Pi 5 revealed, and it should satisfy your need for speed

FatGerman Silver badge

You're running the wrong OS is all.LibreElec works perfectly for 1080p streaming of Netflix with 5.1 Dolby+ sound via a USB sound card. I think it'd struggle with 4K, but really, nobody needs that.

China's top EV battery maker announced a breakthrough, but top boffin isn't convinced

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Charger power rating

Some years ago my parents had an electric kiln installed in the their garage (mother was going through a pottery phase) and even the modest power requirements of that - only around 10kW - required them to have a completely new mains feed put in just for the kiln, at a cost of a lot of money.

I live in a block of flats and we have private parking, but away from the building. We can't even get the owner to build us a bike shed. There is no way in hell they're ever going to fork out for electric charging points of any sort whatsoever. And we're the lucky ones. Most of the rest of the people in the street don't have off street parking and can rarely even park within 100 meters of their own house. How are those people going to charge an electric car?

Without enormous investment of public money, this is never going to happen. Relying on private companies to build national infrastructure is pointless.

Bad software destroyed my doctor's memory

FatGerman Silver badge

Was it just me?

Did I imagine this or did there used to be a mantra, even a rule, that the job of the UI is to convert computer-speak into human-speak? Even if it means having an entire translation layer so your old database can be mangled into something people understand. Even if it means the backend developers mouth-vomit at the sight of what you're doing to their beautifully organised schemas. I've seen it so many times - UIs with one checkbox for every single flag the backend knows about, with names that mean everything to the backend devs and nothing to the user, UIs where the controls the users need most are in 7 point light grey text on a white background and you have to scroll to get to them.

In one of my earliest projects I was asked to give the team a "Big Red Button" that they could hit and then go home for the weekend. And that's essentially what I think all UIs should be.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: You're kidding, yes?

>>Medical software interfaces are clearly written by disinterested 16-year-olds doing School projects.

I believe most of them are actually written by unqualified humanities graduates working for large consultancies and earning 90K a year.

Japanese supermarket watches you shop so AI can suggest more stuff to buy

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: In praise of the Old Ways of the Tech-and-related-arts Community

I stand fully corrected. This is indeed the entirely proper response. Have a beer for cheering me up.

FatGerman Silver badge

AI can do it faster and cheaper.

Also I'm pretty sure it's still legal to punch a robot in the face, so in some senses this will be less annoying than having a human do it.

But still too annoying for me to want to go into a shop that has it.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: when it spots a man shopping for products consumed only by women

Except it wont' work like that if the US/UK supermarkets start doing it. They're not in the habit of doing anything that helps customers unless they're making a killing off it. You'll be bombarded with what are essentially ads for promoted products. If you've ever done your supermarket shop online you'll have seen it already. Rows and rows of "suggested for you" that you have to scroll past to get to the thing you actually searched for. Shopping is a chore. The last thing I want is some annoying robot nagging me about why I really want to buy a fucking fruit cake.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: when it spots a man shopping for products consumed only by women

Would Sir like a chocolate bar? Oooh. Ooh. A nice, smooth, moist chocolate bar. Oooh. Slips down easy Sir, the wife will never know Sir. Ohh. Suits you Sir

Twitter sues Brit non-profit, claims hate-speech reports scared off advertisers

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Arrogant Muskrat

The problem with people like you seems to be that you can't tell the difference between Free Speech as in "I'm posting my opinion, no matter how wrong it is, and it's fine to disagree" and Free Speech as in "I'm posting lies but presenting them as fact and anybody who disagrees with me is a ******** ****** ****** and I'm gonna go round their house and ***** their *****".

The first is fine. The second wouldn't be permitted in most IRL public spaces even by people like you.

In the interests of balance, I will point out that I have seen posts matching both those descriptions from people on both sides of the political spectrum. This isn't a left vs right thing, this is a decent people vs dickheads thing.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Do we really believe the CCDH are the good guys here?

According to their own website they are a non-profit organisation. Only one of the listed board members has ever had any connection with the Labour party. Maybe you see it as a revolving door for Labour advisers because it tends to be people on the left who want to fight against hate and misinformation, while people on the right are perfectly happy for death threats and lies to be spread online?

>> If people have no faith in the information you disseminate, that's on you, not some random dude posting about reptiles taking over the world.

I'd like to be able to agree with this part, but the problem is when random dudes start posting nonsense about vaccines being dangerous and the leads directly to thousands of children dying of preventable diseases, that's really something a decent society ought to do something about.

How to make today's top-end AI chatbots rebel against their creators and plot our doom

FatGerman Silver badge

How about..

...rather than investing countless hours of toil and worry and countless millions of money, we invest in making better people who can handle the "dangerous" knowledge without the desire to actually use it? How much stuff do we have to prohibit to protect society from the bad people that society creates?

Twitter name and blue bird logo to be 'blowtorched' off company branding

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Moron alert. Again

>> Where will all of those leads go if FB cancels the account or changes policies?

Doesn't matter. She gets repeat business and new business from word of mouth now. FB/Twitter was all she needed to get going, and it was free and she already knew how to do it. She doesn't really need to keep doing it any more, but she does because she likes it. She has no interest in setting up her own website. Customers generally contact her through phone, text, or whatsapp so she barely needs an email address either.

>> Posting a few photos daily of the work you are doing is senseless. I expect they are poor quality cell phone snapshots

It's not if it works. You have to do it regularly or the dreaded algorithms will relegate you to the sewer end of people's feeds. Cell phone snapshots for this purpose are as good as DSLRs these days, especially considering the enormous compression FB uses. She's got a good eye and knows how to work with natural light, I couldn't do better with a DSLR even though I sell photos commercially.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Moron alert. Again

>> Why is that better than finding a catchy domain name and putting their own web site address on the side of their van?

Because that costs money and time and skills that most tradesmen don't have, nor do they want to acquire. Being a self-employed tradie is bloody hard work, believe me I've been there. Twitter is easy. You can post a couple of photos of your work every day and "get into people's conciousnesses" because those people are on Twitter (or Facebook, or whatever) anyway. Nobody's going to see johnbloggsbuilders.co.uk written on the side of a van and think "ooh I must visit that later". A friend of mine does *all* her advertising on Facebook and Twitter and is literally turning customers away she's so busy. Another tried to set up his own website and domain and get a businesslike email address and it did absolutely nothing for his business except cost him money.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Moron alert. Again

This might be true, I don't have any knowledge to argue with the idea that a *new* act has other avenues. The situation for established acts (for small values of 'established') is different though, if they transition to another platform they have to rebuild their following, and that results in a sudden and potentially disastrous loss of income. And then there are all the other creatives who can't just go on tour (authors, photographers, artists) who have been relying on Twitter to promote their work for years. Believe me, it really works . And then there are the tradesmen with twitter logos painted on their vans with links that genuinely bring in trade. They're going to have to repaint those vans, Then there's all the companies with twitter links on their websites, and stationery, and branded merch, and etc etc etc.

Now you can argue, and I might agree, that a platform that doesn't know who you are and only cares about its own profits is a very shaky foundation to build a career on. But it's not that different from simply having a normal job.

But what's worst about this is that it's a vanity move by an egomaniac obsessed with a letter of the alphabet - there's no rational reason for it and it certainly doesn't make any sense to throw away a brand that has literally become part of the vocabulary. It's going to cause a lot of financial pain for a lot of people for no reason other than it's the whim of a spoiled brat.

Twitter ad revenue has halved since Elon Musk took over

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: What about censorship?

I'll take this on once more.

>> Likewise with lockdown scepticism, or anti mask mandates, etc. etc. Basically more and more government control.

Skepticism is fine. Dangerous misinformation is not. The latter is what is being targeted. The problem with social media is that anybody can present an opinion, however wrong, as truth. Or indeed, present a lie intended to further an often unrelated agenda, as fact. I don't have an issue with people having different opinions from me but I do have an issue with anybody posting misinformation, deliberate or not. What you call censorship is a sensible and rational response in a world where nobody knows what the truth is any more. And yes, truth is absolute, there is only one truth.

"Control" is what governments are *supposed* to do. The alternative is anarchy and mob rule and, as many recent events show, the spread of disinformation is taking us in that direction.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: What about censorship?

On a site which generally attracts intelligent and educated people, you sir are a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope for all those with a lower IQ than their own pants.

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

FatGerman Silver badge

Remember what version control used to be like?


Microsoft kicks Calibri to the curb for Aptos as default font

FatGerman Silver badge

I wonder how this will affect those of us who run Office 365 in a browser on a system where this font isn't available? Hope they've set a good fallback... probably Calibri.

Intel pulls plug on mini-PC NUCs

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: I thought about it, I really did...

I used a NUC running Kubuntu for precisely that purpose. Had it up and running in under 20 minutes, no tinkering, no messing about. The thing with Intel hardware is it has Intel graphics, which is very well supported under Linux and even does H265 in hardware if you use almost any of the common video players.

That said, these days a Raspberry Pi 4 with LibreElec will have you up and running in almost the same time and give you a media centre that takes care of itself. Haven't tinkered with mine in 3 years except to upgrade it to the latest release.

Linux isn't scary any more if you choose the right distro (let's not start a war about that ;) ) and the right hardware.

FatGerman Silver badge

I recently bought one of the ASUS ones, because I wanted an AMD machine in a NUC form factor. It's dreadful. Windows Update insists on installing a shedload of ASUS crapware that can't be removed and for the purpose it was bought for - real-time audio - it's useless because the hardware has multiple buggy drivers. I'm going to miss the NUCs, there isn't anything close in terms of quality with the possible exception of the Lenovo Thinkcentres, but they're slightly bigger and still not as good as the NUCs.

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Plywood

Plywood is a really good structural material. It's equally strong in all directions and it tends not to resonate or warp. This is why it's used in construction and is definitely a good choice for something that needs damping.

But you can't sell a 50 grand turntable and tell people it's made of plywood, because people associate that with "cheap", so you have to resort to marketing bollocks. Which is a shame.

Nobody does DR tests to survive lightning striking twice

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: You had replacement parts for TWO lightning strikes?

There's an old adage that "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM", and a lot of that was because when things did go wrong there was a seemingly bottomless pit of spare parts they could magic up at short notice. Don't know if that's true any more though.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: At least you fixed the problem.

I used to work nor far from Slough. When the wind was in the right direction the smell from the Mars factory coupled with the stench of sewage would waft over our office like a well-brewed fart. To this day even the thought of a Mars bar makes me wretch.

Two new Linux desktops – one with deep roots – come to Debian

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Beautiful? Really?

>> Would you prefer something 2D FLATSO FLATASS like Gnome+ADWAITA ? Or whatever the hell KDE became?


To my eyes the "3D" button look is like a Fisher-Price My First Computer. Admittedly this is probably because it's what my first GUI-based computer looked like but I have always preferred less fussy UIs that don't make a big song and dance about "Hey! Look at me! I'm a button! My border wastes 32 pixels of the UI!"

From cage fight to page fight: Twitter threatens to sue Meta after Threads app launch

FatGerman Silver badge

This is how CEOs think though. Hence the proliferation of unenforceable scaremonger clauses in employment contracts. He's living in a fantasy world where he thinks that people he fired are still going to be loyal to him.

What a dweeb.

Want to feel old? Ethernet just celebrated its 50th birthday

FatGerman Silver badge


This, although an often overlooked problem with ethernet was its 1500 byte packet size compared with TR's 4K, meaning more packets had to be sent to transmit the same information, resulting in even more collisions. My comment should have said "Token Ring was a better technology than single-hub ethernet". It also had the advantage of being more resilient to faults - if one link in the ring broke it would just wrap around. TR also had MAC level security which is why it caught on in places like banks. But switched ethernet was the beginning of the end for all other LAN technologies. Switched Token Ring (a complete misnomer because there was no token and no ring) came along not long after and tried to compete on the basis of lower latency - but by that time there really was no technical advantage to TR over ethernet and ethernet was cheaper.

FatGerman Silver badge


Ethernet never "beat" ATM, ATM on the LAN was dead from the start. 25MB/sec over Cat 5 at a time when Ethernet was already doing 100MB/sec. When you added in the necessary LAN emulation (because ATM is a WAN protocol really) you were lucky to get 4MB/sec. I worked for a now-defunct LAN company that bet a lot of money on ATM and didn't really survive long enough to regret it.

Token Ring was a better technology than 100MB ethernet, but it was far far too expensive and it was never going to hit Gigabit speeds so it's fair to say that ethernet beat that.

Metaverses are flopping – hard – says Gartner

FatGerman Silver badge

I am not wearing a fucking diving mask to go to a meeting. End of discussion.

Microsoft's GitHub under fire for DDoSing crucial open source project website

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Whatever happened to local caching?

>> And all of these architectures need their own copy of the GMP code? Sure they aren't just using the same sources with the usual flurry of #ifdef's?

This is what happens when every test spins up a new VM. It's appallingly inefficient, but a lot of people now think it's "the way you do it". I don't know where this is coming from but I suspect it's just fashion.

38 percent of tech job interviews offered exclusively to men: report

FatGerman Silver badge

It seems to be a statistical analysis done by people who don't understand statistics. There's no control group and the percentages haven't been normalised to a baseline to account for the relative numbers of men and women applying. You might as well say "There is a huge bias towards hiring people who are alive".

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Unique keys

Same here. I can't even sign up to the same GP as my Dad because the NHS system cannot handle two people with the same name at the same surgery. The NHS is supposed to recognise people by their NHS ID, or at least name and date of birth, but that clearly doesn't work, so all this talk of a unique ID might be good in theory but I can tell you it ain't gonna work in practice.

Apple stomped all over NYC store workers' union rights, judge rules

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Land of the free

As with so much that is initially intended to help employees it eventually becomes subsumed into a legal-and-HR beaurocracy that exists only to cover the arse of the organisation. Thus health and safety law ends up being about protecting the employer from lawsuits, and union rules end up being about protecting the union instead of its members.

False negative stretched routine software installation into four days of frustration

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: I don't understand why they can't give an accurate install time

I agree with you but the question was "why can't they give an accurate install *time*"?

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Portable PC

Hell yes. - the basic principle of ASWIPE - "Always Sanitise When Input Provided Externally".

So many programmers seem incapable of wiping their own asses.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Ah yes

Or in Python:

- True

- False

- TypeError

FatGerman Silver badge

I don't understand why they can't give an accurate install time

.. but how do you figure that out? If you try it by number of files copied it'll be woefully inaccurate, since copying large files takes a lot longer than copying small files. If you try to do it by amount of data copied you get the opposite problem - copying large numbers of small files is much slower at transferring data than copying one large file. And both are entirely dependant on the speed of the target drive. Then there are all the other operations that need to be done during copying; tidying up old files - of which there can be an unspecified number, updating config files, generating new caches, etc etc. All of which take an amount of time that is largely dependant on the speed (and degree of fragmentation) of the target disk and is impossible to calculate in advance.

This is largely why Microsoft switched to a simple animation instead of a progress bar Inaccurate timing information is less than useless and creates anger and confusion.

I agree that the black screen on MacOS is bad, but I think at that point it's updating things that mean that screen can't be on. Maybe we need a flashing light on the side?

Personally, "sudo apt upgrade" gives a lovely amount of verbose output and gives me all the confidence I need that something is happening. Provided it's still pumping out lines of data I know it's not dead, and that's the best you can really do.

Oh Snap... Desktop Ubuntu Core to arrive in 2024

FatGerman Silver badge

>> *just* because some idiot developer saves 10 minutes of effort to create 2 or 3 different packages for different distros.

"Just"? You ever tried to learn how to build a deb, and rpm, and whatever the fuck Arch uses? Ever spent the time setting up multiple build environments "just" to support each distro? Ever realised you need to support multiple versions of each distro, and you need to produce new packages every time each distro brings out a new release, so you're compatible with whatever versions of the libraries they've decided to release? 2 or 3 different packages? More like 30. Life's too bloody short.

The real solution to this is not Snap, or Flatpak. The real solution is for everybody to use Ubuntu, or whatever, so we can all use the same packaging tools and only have to do it once.

Also, I'm not an idiot.

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: This is probably worthy of an article on its own

Video editing, maybe for a light home user sure, but if it doesn't run Premier or Pro Tools that's the userbase it's going to stay with. Have you tried editing 4K video with 7.1 Dolby Surround on a Linux app? How was the video-audio latency? Was it less than 2ms? If not, get off my lawn. If there's one that's capable of it and can export to industry standard formats I'd love to know what it is.

Same for photo editing, Lightroom and Photoshop are in a different galaxy than anything available on Linux. Yes I've tried them all, I'm a semi-pro photographer. I don't *want* to pay rent on my software to Adobe, but the competition leaves me no choice.

Desktop publishing? Thought not.

And yes, the MS apps are very important. Obviously not to you, but to the millions of users around the world who use them for business, there are no alternatives. Office 365 is really good, but it doesn't cover all bases.

These are the "standard apps" that people are talking about when they use that phrase. They don't want alternatives, they want the ones they know how to use, the ones they know can do the job - because it's not about the OS. It's not even about the apps. It's about getting stuff done.

FatGerman Silver badge

Swings and roundabouts

I had to get halfway down the article to learn what an immutable distribution is but..

This is not something I'd ever use. Phones are boring because you can't get in and mess about with the OS. But then I'm not a typical computer user, in the same way that a car enthusiast who likes to tinker with his car on weekends isn't a typical driver. What most people want is an appliance, and this, it seems, gives them that. This almost sounds like something my elderly parents could cope with, they've just about grasped how to install apps on an iPhone, and the fact they can't bugger up the OS by doing it means I don't get a lot of "support calls".

Be interesting to see how it pans out.

This typo sparked a Microsoft Azure outage

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: "only runs under certain conditions and thus isn't well covered under existing tests"

Tests that don't cover edge cases are not tests.

Tests that aren't functional tests on real hardware in simulated production environments are not tests.

If you don't have those, your product is not being tested.

30 years in QA, seen this blow up on every company I've ever worked for,

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Cloud values are shall we say rather terse

There is no sense in which JSON is parseable by humans. The syntax is too restrictive.


FatGerman Silver badge

Re: "Sprints"

"We will do all our work in three week sprints"

"What if it takes 4 weeks to test it?"

"We will do all our work in three week sprints"

This religious devotion to the Agile process is becoming a cult. And we all know where that leads.

Meta threatens to pull all news from California rather than pay El Reg a penny

FatGerman Silver badge

Media companies do all the work of research and writing the article, which Facebook then take a lot of the revenue from. How would you feel if somebody else was profiting from your work and not paying you while you watched your income plummet?

I'm not honestly sure Facebook is the villain here, people just expect to get news for free these days and there are plenty of places where they can do that. Facebook I think is just a big wealthy target that can afford to share, so why shouldn't they?

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Do people really only use Facebook?

That's not how most people "consume" news. They - and I have a lot of sympathy with this - want one App they can look at, not multiple websites. News aggregators are nothing new, I've used various programs for doing that for years and years. Facebook is like an automated version of that - it figures out what your interests are and shows you items from the profiles of news publishers who "align" with those. Which is both a blessing and a curse. I don't use it as a primary source iof news but I certainly do see a lot of news articles I'd never have read otherwise.

MariaDB CEO: People who want things free also want to have very nice vacations

FatGerman Silver badge

Re: Admitting Postgres is better?

Yeah, MySQL now has incredibly powerful features like Window Functions that MariaDB doesn't. It's become a really good database. And the oain of supporting both in an open source codebase is becoming too much.