* Posts by MOH

143 posts • joined 27 Apr 2012


Facebook building 'on-demand executable file format' that self-inflates using homebrew compression


Re: give developers minimum spec

If they use their own software, it might be more effective to give the CEO a bog-standard device.

I'm sure the message will filter down to the devs pretty quickly.

You want us to make a change? We can do it, but it'll cost you...


Reminds me of the time I bought a new PC with a free year of Norton AV.

The year expired, I switched to a different AV, tried to uninstall Norton. Or even disable it.

"Please log in to access the admin screen ..."

"You can't log in as your subscription is expired. Click here to renew your subscription..."

The product as installed offered no way to remove it after your subscription had expired, without paying for renewal.

They did provide an "uninstall tool" as a separate download. But it was pretty well hidden on their website, took quite a bit of googling to find it.

The Sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Microsoft has pulled support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365


"your daily usage experience could get progressively worse over time"

How is this any different from the rest of Office 365? That certainly describes Excel

Kepler spots four rogue Earth-mass exoplanets floating in space, unbound to any star


Are you suggesting that planets migrate?!

To CAPTCHA or not to CAPTCHA? Gartner analyst says OK — but don’t be robotic about it


Re: "Here is advice about CAPTCHAs from somebody who knows jack about CAPTCHAs"

I'd be in favour of a GARTNER test that ensures none of their "predictions" ever get any attention

Excuse me, what just happened? Resilience is tough when your failure is due to a 'sequence of events that was almost impossible to foresee'


"... but if management have any sense..."

I think I see the problem

Boffins show sleight-of-hand tricks to Corvids, find they are smarter than people


We need a magic show face-off between corvids and orangutans

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?


Years ago on college work experience, we had an issue where users randomly couldn't log into the network. Seemed to be intermittent, the same user might be able to log in one morning, but fail after lunch. This went on for a week or two.

After a while I noticed the problems typically happened mid-morning, or a while after lunch, and came up with the theory there might be a limit on the number that could log in at once, with anyone after that being refused. Licensing issues and the like were above my pay grade, it was just based on empirical observation. A bit of trial and error and I reckoned I'd worked out what the limit was.

As it happened, we were building a new PC for the managing director. Keen to make a good impression, my manager had insisted we work through lunch to get it finished. Finished it shortly after lunch, tested everything including the login credentials, all worked fine. Manager breathed a sigh of relief.

I checked how many people were currently logged onto the network, saw it was at my expected maximum, and suggested we prove my theory by logging the MD off, me logging in on my own machine, and then if we tried to log him in again it should fail.

Manager was aghast at the suggestion, and insisted that we quickly deliver the PC to the MD while everything was working OK.

Of course if was about two days before the MD called to complain he was unable to log in, and somebody finally checked and discovered we'd hit our license limit.

Google's 'Ask me anything' on Privacy Sandbox was more about questions than answers


Kleber said Privacy Sandbox is all about "partitioned identity," adding: "We're trying to transition to a web in which the site you are visiting might have its own personal notion of some information about you like what you've done while visiting that site in the past but there's not a way to take one site's notion of what it knows about you and another site's notion of what that site knows about you and join them together."

But surely that’s straightforward? If it’s beneficial to me then I’ll be willing to create an account on the site and then they’ll be able to track me by that on their site.

"FLoC is about... ways to do ad targeting when third-party cookies and the profiles built based on them are not available any more," said Kleber.

Ahhhhh, there we go. So this is no way beneficial to me, it’s purely about you trying to continue retaining profiling information to sell ads, without explicit user opt-in. Good luck with that. Not.

Holy margins, Batman: Pandemic tech prices balloon as demand outweighs stocks and suppliers get greedy


The only silver lining is that Gartner are predicting continuing shortages into next year. If they predicted sunrise tomorrow I'd be stocking up on candles.

Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss


Got an IT support call on Monday morning saying "My printer's not working" back when people had their own individual printers plugged into their PC.

Down to the desk, check all the basics - printer is plugged in, turned on, no error lights flashing, print a test page, etc, all fine.

Try to print from the PC, nothing.

Took longer than it should have for me to check the cable from the PC to the printer wasn't loose. It wasn't loose, it just wasn't there.

It had been there on Friday because I'd been dealing with another issue.

Pointed out that the cable was missing to the user, who immediately exclaimed "Well I didn't take it!" - a surprisingly quick and strident denial from somebody who hadn't been accused of anything. Between that and the shifty look, they clearly had.

I didn't care, just grabbed a spare cable, but I always thought it was a bit weird, as if the guy had decided on the Friday he needed a printer cable for home, but hadn't really thought through exactly how that was going to work on Monday morning.

China has a satellite with an arm – and America worries it could be used to snatch other spacecraft


Re: Space Force predicted this

That was my immediate thought.

They're after the monkey!

NASA writes software update for Ingenuity helicopter to enable first Mars flight


They forgot that bytes are 11 bits on Mars, adjusting to compensate.

Rogue elements: Hades and Loop Hero manage to draw on the same legacy while having very little in common


Re: Roguelike

Tales of Maj Eyal is well worth a look.

Desperate Nominet chairman claims member vote to fire him would spark British government intervention


"This is a dangerous game. It would lead to an unpredictable future for the UK domain name industry and .UK pricing and policy"

As opposed to ...?

Huge if true: If you show people articles saying that Firefox is faster than Chrome, they'll believe it


I used to be

Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin


Re: Call Waiting...

Does the colour depend on whether they drink Holstein Pils?

Microsoft says it found 1,000-plus developers' fingerprints on the SolarWinds attack


"Most US cyber defences look at activity beyond the nation’s borders and assume the private sector in the USA takes care of itself."

That seems .... optimistic

Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one


Great sales pitch

Every TLD listed has a "How much are similar domains worth?" bit - which just gives the estimated value of the corresponding .com (e.g. .guitars is compared against guitars.com).

Surely this just underlines the fact that the .com is far more valuable than the vanity TLD?

And a far more accurate measure of value would be how moany domains are there for the TLD x price per domain.

So .country has 1000+ domains @ $29 so you're expected to bid $300,000 for something currently taking in $29,000/year.

While country.com alone is worth $450,000

There's a reason these things are being auctioned. You'd be better off buying Bitcoin. Or Gamestop

Missing GOV.UK web link potentially cost taxpayers £50m as civil servants are forced to shuffle paper forms


This sounds like it should be added the the El Reg list of standard measurements

Quixotic Californian crusade to officially recognize the hellabyte and hellagram is going hella nowhere


Re: K


Developers! These 3 weird tricks will make you a global hero


Re: And also started deviating from it

That's weird, the laptop definitely isn't a touchscreen.

You might need to add the option to the toolbar?



Re: And also started deviating from it

The MS vertical space thing drives me mad. If I want to use pivot tables in Excel my work laptop, I have to collapse the ribbon, as otherwise I can only see a single field at a time in the pivot definitions. Yet while the ribbon is collapsed, clicking on a menu item shows it, but a compressed ribbon with much less whitespace. Which is actually the ideal compromise, but there's no obvious way of getting it.

Eventually discover I can simply change the ribbon layout by the obvious solution of selecting "customise the quick access toolbar", and ticking "Touch/Mouse mode", which then brings up a new menu with options for "Mouse" and "Touch", which control the amount of whitespace on the ribbon. Despite none of the relevant menu entries giving any indication they're related to the ribbon. How intuitive.

That's not to mention the number of times they've totally redesigned the ribbon since they first introduced it, moving stuff around between categories or to different tabs under different icons, necessitating a quick google rather than spend ten minutes hunting for infrequently used options.

If they can't be consistent about general settings, there's not much hope for accessibility.

Passwords begone: GitHub will ban them next year for authenticating Git operations


Re: A self-defeating approach?

I tried to set up a business bank account a few years ago. They required I set up two separate passwords, both subject to a string of restrictions - and both exactly 8 characters long. I used a different bank with a least a basic grasp of security.

Google Cloud (over)Run: How a free trial experiment ended with a $72,000 bill overnight


This x 1000.

Based on the Firebase performance of 1bn reads per minute at 0.06 per 100K, that's $600 per minute.

If your "budget limit" is only an advisory limit that triggers an email, that's $600 of charges for every minute before that mail is read and actioned.

That's just ludicrous if there's no option for an automatic hard cutoff after a certain limit.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral



Did something fairly similar on some unix-y system in college.

Had something involving a main process forking a child process to do something, and another child to do something else. Accidentally commented out the pid check after the fork to only do the second fork if I was the parent, and ended up with an endless cascade of children forking children until the system ground to a halt.

Ad banned for suggesting London black cabs have properties that prevent the spread of coronavirus


How does the distance from the driver protect you if the previous passenger in your seat had been coughing and sneezing Covid all around the back of the cab?

Amazon's ad-hoc Ring, Echo mesh network can mooch off your neighbors' Wi-Fi if needed – and it's opt-out


Re: Illegal

You wouldn't download bandwid... oh, wait

Snap decision: 74-year-old Florida man wrests puppy from jaws of alligator


My first reaction on seeing the headline was "Again?". This sounds oddly familiar.

Nice to see Gunner sticking around to help after being rescued.

No, the creator of cURL didn't morph into Elon Musk and give away Bitcoins. But his hijacked Twitter page tried to


Re: Pointless

You're not looking hard enough. We have to go deeper!

Max Schrems is back... and he's challenging Apple's 'secret iPhone advertising tracking cookies' in Europe


Re: Wasting their time

And the other side nobody ever really considers is that the advertisers bake the cost of advertising into their product/service, so ultimately we (collectively) and up paying the advertising industry anyway.

The fact everyone get 50 useless ads for toasters after they just bought one contributes towards the price of toasters all round.

New lawsuit: Why do Android phones mysteriously exchange 260MB a month with Google via cellular data when they're not even in use?


What's the USD / lebara exchange rate these days?

You can now pepper your Windows 10 desktop with Android apps... if you have a Samsung phone, that is


Given Windows 10's history of fudging privacy settings and sending all kinds of telemetry back home, slightly disappointed that a DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION isn't in any way related to Windows reporting itself to the data protection commissioner

Let's Encrypt warns about a third of Android devices will from next year stumble over sites that use its certs


Re: Mitiations?

"Best viewed in Internet Explorer 1.3"

The car you buy in 2025 will include a terabyte of storage. Robo-taxis might need 11TB


This whitepaper is clearly nonsense. It doesn't even mention blockchain!

A cautionary tale of virtual floppies and all too real credentials


Re: Waddayamean "nowadays"?

So, fully Agile?

Got a problem with trust in AI? Just add blockchain, Forrester urges. Then bust out the holographic meetings. Welcome to the future


Putting the AI in blockchAIn

Opportunity lost there.

Surely there has to be a competition between this crowd and Gartner to see who can "predict" the most nonsense

Fancy a steaming portion of Kentucky Fried Bork? A fingerlickin' flub that's pure poultry in motion


For anyone struggling like I was, half blind at the end a long week, those are four screens in a row with the third one borked. Rather than three screens with a black wall between the second and third.

Dulux feel lucky, punk? Samsung wades into paint world with interior emulsions designed to 'complement' your, er, TV


Wonder how long it will be before some genius buys the paint and applies it *on* the TV instead of behind it. And then sues Samsung blaming them.

Though in fairness, it only makes marginally less sense doing that than the product existing in the first place

When you're On Call, only you can hear the silence of the clicks


Re: Classic Errror

My first night on call in a company and it was a Friday of a leaving do, half the IT department was in the local beside work. Reckoned I could have a slow pint or two before the batches finished around 9pm and still be back at my desk in two minutes if anything came up.

Spent the first hour sipping a pint and nervously checking the support phone every five minutes, then one of the Ops guys burst through the door, scanned the room, grabbed me by the arm. "They've been trying to call you for the last 20 minutes, no time to find your coat, come on!"

I was out the door and starting back to the office, confusedly wondering why the phone hadn't rung, when it hit me. Walked back in to see everyone cracked up laughing and patting the Ops joker on the back. (Must have been good luck though as I don't think I ever did get called on a night out.)

UK govt advert encouraging re-skilling for cyber jobs implodes spectacularly


Re: You missed off...

I think it helps drive home how idiotic the increasing use of "cyber" is if you deliberately pronounce it with a hard C. Maybe if we can get a whole gif/gif debate going it people will just give up and stop using it

From the Department of WCGW: An app-controlled polycarbonate lock with no manual override/physical key


Re: Welcome back

Is it really that long? That's depressing.

All the more so since that's the last date I was in my local pub thanks to Ireland's insane fixation on blaming them for covid despite the fact they've all been closed for seven months.

Still, at least SFTW is back.

Here's US Homeland Security collaring a suspected arsonist after asking Google for the IP addresses of folks who made a specific search


Re: Percentage...

That's a very good point

Facebook's anti-trademark bot torpedoes .org website that just so happened to criticize Zuck's sucky ethics board


For most of the article, it sounded like another example of a bot overstepping its mark.

Right up to the the breathtaking arrogance of the Facebook tweet in response. From a communications manager?

I seriously hope he's just torpedoed his future career anywhere - that's the level of playground smugness and thinking you're clever that's become the norm for certain politicians. But for a supposedly professional business it's just puerile.

Facebook really is a cancer on society. How soon did they say they're pulling out of Europe?

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: Oh surely not...

Yep. Why would you record cases in columns, that's just insanse.

Surely it makes far more sense to add a new worksheet for each one.


Re: Hmm. 65 000 000 people. 1 000 000 col limit*

I worked with a self proclaimed "senior BA" who was testing some dev I'd done on a mainframe application.

His method was to copy figures off the screen and type them into his calculator, then type the results into an email if they were wrong. I *think* he may have also been writing them down in the interim.

We hit a production issue shortly after going live because, of the 6 bugs he'd sent me in a week:

- one was an actual bug which I fixed

- three of them were typos due to him transposing digits somewhere along the way

- one was a fairly straightforward case working as intended which he misunderstood

- the last was an edge case which only happened because of the sequence of events he'd followed, and I couldn't reproduce it. I should have looked harder but assumed it was another typo, but then again so did he when I told him I couldn't find it

Google adopts ‘value-neutral’ language to make selfies less about ‘beauty’


I found a lot of this recent nonsense was perfectly illustrated as such by Kanye West's recent twitter rant about his issues with record companies. Here you had a black man on a very angry tirade in which he frequently referred to his "masters," but there was zero confusion and everyone knew he was talking about the master recordings the companies held. Nobody felt the need to clarify that this was in no way related to slavery. Yet half the tech world is falling over itself to whitewash perfectly good tech terms on the off chance somebody to stupid to understand the concept of context might choose to take offence. Sounds about right for 2020.

Ancient telly borked broadband for entire Welsh village


It was probably less the old TV than the unexploded penguin on top of it.

We don't need maintenance this often, surely? Pull it. Oh dear, the system's down


I've had not entirely dissimilar issues with two different sets of AV software.

Bought a new PC that came with a free year of Norton AV. That expired, I had no interest in renewing it as I was planning to use something else. I can't remember if it actually restricted anything when it expired, or just kept giving nagging annoying messages. Tried to uninstall it, but in order to access the full Norton dashboard to perform the uninstall, I had to enter a license key. Which I could only get by renewing the subscription. After a lot of googling, I discovered that there was a very unadvertised software removal tool which could be found buried somewhere on the Norton site. But the whole thing was clearly designed to deter people to the point where they just caved and renewed the description.

Can remember the full details of the second, thing it was AVG (though possibly Avast). Rescued a machine that had been dead for a year or two to see if I could use it for anything, and also to get some data off it. It was working fine, apart from bizarrely partial networking issues (I think I narrowed it down to no browser would work, but FTP or ping would). Eventually somehow discovered that the AV's response to not having been renewed was to disable as much network access as it could. Changing the system date back a couple of years to when the license was still valid magically restored full networking.

Given that software I don't want on my machine which hobbles the system is pretty much the definition of malware, I swore blind I'd never use any products from either again (which makes it all the more annoying I can't be certain who the second culprits were).

Apple takes another swing at Epic, says Unreal Engine could be a 'trojan horse' threatening security


Re: 30% is highway robbery. No, 30% is fair

Fairly sure Apple regularly publish the amount they've paid out to App store app owners, so from that you can get a ballpark of how much revenue they've made (not everything will be a 70/30 split, but most of it will).

Obviously development/support costs might be harder to find, but from the insane number of billions revenue last time round, I think whatever figure you choose to make up isn't going to make a massive dent in the profits.

(disclaimer: I might be thinking of Google for all of this, but I think it's Apple. Or both)



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021