* Posts by AlbertH

587 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jul 2012


Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks


Re: Being polite is great

I'd have given them a figure for a day rate and swung the lead with it.

On the few times I've been in that situation, my Consultancy Rate has risen to exceed the monthly turnover of the clowns begging for help. I have never needed that kind of work, so I make sure - in the most obvious way possible - that they can't afford to pay me and that they'd really fouled up! In a couple of instances, it has resulted in the demise of those companies.

Raspberry Pi Pico cracks BitLocker in under a minute


It's like every Microsoft attempt at "security" - it's a bolted-on afterthought, and like every Microsoft product "feature", it's poorly thought-out.

Linus Torvalds flames Google kernel contributor over filesystem suggestion


Likewise - I'm a long-term contributor / maintainer, and have also been shouted at by Linus - both on the Mailing List and in person! In each instance, I deserved it!

Linus (and the rest of us) don't have time for the idiocies of the ill-informed (or just plain wrong!).

United Airlines’ patience with Boeing is maxed out after repeated safety issues


Re: The 737 Used To Be A Good Aircraft ...

Indeed - the older 737s were wonderful. Unfortunately, there's a fundamental flaw in the design of all the 737MAX variants - they are aerodynamically unstable. Boeing had to make a software fiddle to try to make them behave within their permitted flight envelope only. Actual pilot control is minimised, because they might try to make the plane do something that it can't handle!

Because of the compromised geometry of the aircraft, the engines had to be moved (to prevent them dragging on the ground during take-off and landing), and this altered the fundamental balance of the airframe. Every last one of the series is an accident waiting to happen. The collapse of manufacturing standards at Boeing, and their reliance on flight control software and firmware bought in from India means that there's precisely no chance whatsoever of those aircraft ever being safe.

It's just a matter of time before Boeing collapses altogether.

I'm also unhappy with some of the standards at Airbus - indeed, their larger aircraft still scare me - but their standards are somewhat better than Boeing's....

I still won't fly on either 737MAXs of any variety or on any of the later fly-by-wire Airbuses. I value my life!

Batterygate bound for Blighty as UK court approves billion-dollar Apple compensation case


Re: Even if Apple lose

class members are expected to receive $65 each (which sounds reasonable for a relatively minor defect in a $600 device)

It's certainly not a "minor" defect. It was a 40 - 60% slowdown of the device, partly to improve battery life in aging batteries, but more to persuade the iFaithful that they need to buy a new phone. It was a cynical ploy to push sales, and should be punished as such. After all, Apple have a captive market, and they're going to exploit it just as much as they can!

King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause


Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

No, this labour leader is the one that had all-night courts to deal with protestors

No - this is the Labour leader that failed to prosecute any number of well-known kiddie fiddlers, can't define what a woman is, and changes his "mind" every hour.....

Make-me-root 'Looney Tunables' security hole on Linux needs your attention


Config Files

Yes - I've heard of config files and they're just another vulnerability. Several of the recent zero-day Windoze 10/11 zero-day exploits worked by manipulating or replacing config files.

Farewell WordPad, we hardly knew ye


Re: No...Not "Free"......Actually "Pre-Paid"!!!!!

Most of the bigger manufacturers - Dell, Lenovo, HP and so on - pay between $66 and $92 per install according to version of Win 10 or 11. The discounts are for when they bundle Office 365 - they get around $50 off per install. This is why sales droids at those bigger companies always try to up-sell to include Office and other junkware.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead


Re: Not holding my breath

Saddiq Khan (taqiya spoken here) has done more damage to London than anyone else has ever managed (including the Luftwaffe!). He has turned what was once a thriving modern city into a morass of slowly moving vehicles, uncontrolled crime, collapsing businesses and white flight, leading to falling property prices and so many societal ills that the place is largely uninhabitable.

Every major company with a London Head Office is moving elsewhere - often out of the country altogether. It has become apparent that Khan's aim is to destroy London - presumably for some bizarre "religious" reason - and he's mostly succeeded.


Re: Not holding my breath

None of the ULEZ schemes are anything to do with cleaner air! How can paying a fee clean the air? Saddiq Khan believes it can, while driving around in his convoy of bullet-proof diesel-powered SUVs. The hypocrisy of loons like Khan is breathtaking. The thing that is truly amazing is that these council clowns actually believe this arrant nonsense, whilst destroying the economy of the city they're supposed to be running for our benefit.


Re: Computer MOT

I had a similar issue with several phonelines into the building I lived in. After several phonecalls to BT, eventually culminating in employing the "Old Pals Act" with the local area manager (who I'd been at school with), I got a couple of engineers to turn up at the building, to investigate the fault. It was obviously due to the cabling that ran just over 700m to the local echange. After replacing the microphone in my telephone and those of my neighbours, they decided that there really was an external fault on the cable....

Three hours later, the "External" crew arrived, and - after they'd gone back to the exchange to collect a ladder - they decided to follow the cables (which were overhead). One of them climbed up the front of the building on the ladder and opened the Krone connection box beneath the eaves. The splat of green mossy crud that hit him in the face could be heard from quite a distance! A replacement Krone Box was installed - including the sealing rubber ring this time - and all was well for the remaining two years that I lived there.....!

Mint 21.2 is desktop Linux without the faff


Re: The best

And most frustratingly of all, they just rudely cut in when you’re trying to shut down your system in a hurry or boot it up quickly to check something. Nothing like shutting down your laptop because you have to board a flight or it’s almost out of battery charge, only to be told “Windows is updating. Do not turn off your computer. 1% done…”

The second time that happened, my Father deleted Windows from his laptop and installed Mint. He never used anything other than Mint and found that it was perfect for his personal "use case". After a while, when he'd leaned a bit more about it, he began proselytising, and installed Mint for all his friends, colleagues and acquaintances!

Clingy Virgin Media won't let us leave, customers complain


Re: Simple approach

That's close to what I did....

There was a nearby lightning strike a few months ago. The resultant spike down their unprotected network smoked their "Hub" and destroyed most of the things connected to its Ethernet ports. Two days later, they sent 'round an oik with a replacement "Hub" - and then proceeded to try to charge me for an "engineering visit". I pointed out that their bloke had just dumped the Hub in my doorway and beaten a hasty retreat. I connected the Hub, and after several hours managed to get a connection at less than 10% of the speed I was paying for....

Phone calls to their "help desk" were pointless. Their people mostly couldn't speak English, and were connected over the worst VOIP connections I've ever heard..... I decided that this had to end, so I wrote a firmly worded letter to their CEO, and made sure to send it by Recorded Delivery. I also cancelled my Direct Debit.

The next day I was connected to "Zen" via City Fibre. I now have a connection more than eight times faster than I was paying for at VM at slightly less than half the monthly price. Zen also provided a nice "Fritz!Box". I now have a proper internet connection, and for the last four months it has been flawless. In the meantime, all the neighbours have migrated from VM to City Fibre.....

Brit broadband subscribers caught between crappy connections and price hikes


Re: Ofcom rules?

VM are probably one of the worst companies I've ever had the utter misfortune to have to deal with. Their "Customer Service" is an expensive joke - they expect their victims users to pay to talk to their "help desk". Their "help desk" staff seldom speak English very well, are usually connected over an appallingly bad VOIP connection and never have any sort of clue.

I suffered their "service" - with its frequent drop-outs, wildly variable speeds and heavily limited access to much of the web for several years. Every year they increased their prices, but their service never improved (despite their claiming that my connection speed had been increased by 30%)....

The final straw came when their cabling sent me a huge spike due to a lightning strike a few hundred metres away. Their modem smoked, and anything connected to its ethernet ports was fried. I got off lightly - my neighbour had all the wiring in his house destroyed, complete with exploding computers, Playstation and TVs..... VM - of course - denied any responsibility and tried to charge me for the replacement of their router!

Fortunately, the lightning splat coincided with the arrival of FTTH to our neighbourhood, and I had City Fibre installing three days later. I connected via the one at the end of the alphabet, and found their service to be exactly as advertised - their "900 Mb/s" service is actually closer to 1 Gb/s and is symmetrical, so large uploads are no longer painfully slow. Their prices are roughly half of the VM tariff for a service that's ~12 times faster....!

VM used to have >95% of the households around here connected because of poor off-air service around here - they now have fewer than 5%. Most folks have moved to Sky (satellite) for their TV service and to City Fibre for their 'net connections.

Virgin Media email customers enter third day of inbox infuriation


VM are Totally Clueless

I was a VM victim - sorry - "customer" - for several years since moving out of London. The only way to get a tolerably speedy service appeared to be VM. The clowns in their local shop claimed that they provided "fibre internet" - they don't. They have some FTTC, but most of their network is just run over the cheapest, nastiest coax they could find. The ratty old pieces of coax in our neighbourhood would fail almost daily, with random outages sometimes lasting for hours. I was supposed to be on their "M350" service, but seldom got "down" data rates of more than 45 Mb/s. I pointed out several times that I could get better than this with cheap 'n' nasty ADSL, and each time I complained they claimed to have "fixed" the problem. I would get marginally improved data rates for a day or two, and then we'd return to the same old slow, unreliable rubbish.

Because I was frequently out of the country, I didn't have the time or inclination to complain further. However three events meant that I cancelled my "service" from this crowd immediately and am seeking significant financial redress from them....

Firstly - we lost all service for over a week.

Secondly - service was restored (sort of) and after a few days there was a lightning-induced spike down their (obviously unprotected) cable that blew up their Router ("Hub"), destroyed my telephones, wrecked the ethernet cards and the power supplies in three of my computers, and left a lingering smell of burnt electronics from my fried ethernet switches..... I got off lightly - my neighbour had three TVs and most of his household wiring destroyed, along with his fusebox, gas boiler, and virtually everything connected to mains sockets in his house!

VM (of course) deny liability, but they didn't know that lighting protection has been a part of my engineering remit since the 1970s.....

Thirdly - "City Fibre" ran fibres around the town, and covered my address.

I immediately cancelled VM (their "minimum period" expired some time ago), and four days later, was connected to Zen. I now get a symmetrical service at around 980 Mb/s with almost unmeasurably fast ping times at slightly less than half the monthly extortion that VM used to apply. I also discovered that they don't restrict IP addresses at all (unlike VM's Bowdlerised "service"), and they don't sell details of my browsing habits to "Phorm".

I got the infamous "Final Bill" from VM for some arbitrarily high figure (in the low hundreds). I counter-billed them for the destruction of my equipment and have given them 28 days to pay. If they fail to pay up (and I'm sure they will), my Barrister brother will take them to the cleaners....

I must also add that any attempt to phone up VM "Customer Services" is either answered by someone who can't speak or understand English, answered by a clueless Scottish woman with a bad attitude, or just get endless recorded messages telling me just how important my call is to them followed by some distorted "music" obviously intended to deter persistent callers......

When I cancelled, I received a phone call from their "Retentions Department" offering a monthly reduction of 70p, and when I pointed out that this was derisory, was threatened with "Disconnection Charges" and "Equipment Retrieval Charges".

The sooner this crowd of criminals goes out of business, the better!

Keir Starmer's techno-fix for the NHS: Déjà vu disaster or brave new blunder?


Re: It's not THAT hard!

Just remember - Labour destroyed education in this country by introducing "Comprehensive" Schools, ensuring that the best and brightest students would be held back by the dullards. Labour also presided over the bizarre grade inflation that means that "nobody loses" - today's GCSEs are virtually worthless when compared to the REAL examinations back in the 1960s. Back then, three UK A-Levels were roughly equivalent to an American MA / MSc! We had the very best education system in the world, then Labour decided that the last thing that would ever get them elected was an educated populace.....

Labour always bankrupt the country - each time they've been in power, they've destroyed the UK economy within 3 years by squandering borrowed money like a drunken sailor. As Thatcher said all those years ago "Labour always runs out of other people's money to spend".

Unfortunately, we're now beset by an ill-educated and rather stupid "political class" none of whom have the slightest idea about anything even vaguely scientific - which is why they're always in awe of any charlatan with some spurious "degree" in some subject they just can't understand. That's why they've been so easily fooled by the idiocies of "St" Greta and the IPCC, so now we're condemned to the "Net Zero" stupidity...

The UK is in a hole - neither of the political parties that could win the next General Election have a clue between them. It really is time to find somewhere nice abroad to live out the rest of my days....

UK government scraps smart motorway plans, cites high costs and low public confidence

Big Brother

Fortunately, the hard shoulders are to be reinstated and the "smart" nonsense to to be ditched. It's been a disaster, and now we're saddled with endless electromobiles running out of charge at awkward times, the sooner the better!

Fortunately also, the electromobile nonsense is also going to end since the "Greens" have finally realised that they're not "Green Vehicles" at all, and are in fact significantly less "green" than a conventional petrol-powered car!

This is just the first part of the roll back of the "Net Zero" claptrap. The UK isn't going to cripple itself for the supposed benefit of not using fossil fuels.

Parts of UK booted offline as Virgin Media suffers massive broadband outage


Re: And Again

...Probably something to do with VM still selling every detail of what you connect to online to "Phorm" (even though they publicly claim not to....).

The fibre arrived in my street last Thursday, and today I started the dance with VM to cut them completely out of my life.... Zen have been very helpful and have suggested that they may be able to help with cessation of VM "service".

Interesting VM factoid: A "Speedtest" on VM shows down speeds of 255Mb/s here, and a couple of the others show similar speeds. A proper test shows real speeds of around 22Mb/s - less than a tenth of the rate I pay for. The sooner this crowd are consigned to history, the better. I'm considering legal action to get 90% of my bills back!

Hey Siri, use this ultrasound attack to disarm a smart-home system


Re: One C, one R

Not a topic I have any particular knowledge about - but might a broader bandwidth allow improvements in speech recognition in noisy situations.

Nope. In most instances you want to restrict the bandwidth to improve intelligibility. Obviously there's a limit to bandwidth reduction before you get to the point of reducing intelligibility, but if you cover the "speech band" - which is that which was conveyed by the old telephone network - (300Hx to 3kHz is normally enough, sometimes with slight emphasis around 2kHz), you achieve maximum intelligibility, even in noisy environments. The use of noise-cancelling microphone methods really help (two microphones in opposite directions - the user talks into one,and both receive the ambient noise. By phase reversing one of the mics, the common-mode signals - ie: the ambient noise - is cancelled, and the difference - the speech - is transmitted).

The "hi-fi" bandwidth of mobile phone microphones is probably provided to enhance recording. It's trivial to filter the speech input to these "digital assistants", so it should be done!

The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt


Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

I was caught by Gordon Brown bringing in the first and only retrospective change to inheritance tax via trust fund rule changes. Cost me about £100K.

Gordon McDoom cost me rather more than that, stolen from my pension savings!


Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

Speaking of which, whatever is going on with those many, many allegations of bullying from Dominic Raab?

They've been shown to be malicious fabrications - a fiction created by some BBC "producer".


Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

... Then they're not "One Time" Pads at all. A real "one time pad" is non-repeating.....


Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

Cretins also. The whole political establishment is the modern equivalent of the Victorian family idiot being sent to be ordained into the church: The family idiots are usually dispatched to third class redbrick "universities" (former Polytechnics), where they're indoctrinated with various amounts of left-wing nonsense whilst doing their worthless "history", "sociology" or "media" "degrees", then they're consigned to the various political parties, and we all have to suffer their stupidities. The whole "political class" are dangerously clueless fools.

Service desk tech saved consultancy Capita from VPN meltdown, got a smack for it


Re: Wrong Visa

Moral? **it always runs downhill.....

UK PM splits govt department in 4, creates dedicated 'Science and Tech' bit



The clowns in Downing Street haven't realised that "Net Zero" is directly counter to their wish for "reliable power generation".

As long as Westminster is peopled by arts graduates with no practical experience of anything, it doesn't really matter which variety of political dolts gets elected, the results will be largely the same. They're ALL incompetent, troughing fools!

Arca Noae is modernizing OS/2 Warp for 21st century PCs


Re: 16-bit sw in Windows x64

I do work for a multinational pharmaceutical with a lot of Windows computers running their machinery. Not an issue.

That's really scary! I have never seen any Windows installation of anything that wasn't "an issue"! I remember being pointed to the EULA when I complained to MS about the fundamental lack of stability of any version of Windows: "it's your problem, not ours" is the gist. We solved the problem entirely with a move to FOSS software that was easy to maintain, and entirely reliable.

Nice smart device – how long does it get software updates?


Re: IoS

I get the same laughter for my >20-year-old radio controlled solar-powered Junghans analogue watch. Entirely accurate, elegant, utterly reliable....

My nephew's iWatch fails if he moves more than a couple of metres from his iPhone, and persistently bursts into life telling him that it didn't understand his last verbal command (that he hadn't actually made - Siri had just assumed that the conversation was directed at it!)

This can’t be a real bomb threat: You've called a modem, not a phone


Re: Work bomb scare

Same deal in Bush House, except the Internal Shelter Area was the canteen.

.... not in my days there - we used to use the Club Bar in the Basement (the one with all the Fish Tanks).

Royal Mail, cops probe 'cyber incident' that's knackered international mail


Re: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

The BBC are confirming the Russian ransomware theory

There is a famous saying in our newsroom: "Is it true or did you hear it on the BBC?"

Shame really: The BBC was the world's premier broadcaster until the late '90s. It's now a "woke" shambles of lefty disinformation.

Microsoft to move some Teams features to more costly 'Premium' edition

Thumb Up

Re: This is silly MS

Nope - this is (of course) entirely deliberate. MS want to push everyone to pay - repeatedly - for their products as "services". This will sooner or later lead to the demise of Windows in the commercial space. They've already alienated the owners of "non-compliant" hardware by refusing to left them use Windows 11. This idiocy is going to push ever more corporate clients towards other solutions.

Our consultancy stopped dealing with MS products entirely about three years ago. Our hassle to remuneration ratio has significantly improved, and our market share has grown massively. We no longer have to deal with MS' brokenware!

Corporations start testing Windows 11 in bigger numbers. Good luck


Re: Fast machine required

There is a perfectly viable alternative if you don't want the expense of new hardware - any modern Linux replaces the latest offerings from MS easily and economically.


Re: it's the GUI, stupid

The GUI is appalling (as described above), but the underlying code is even worse: Once again it's spaghetti. It's another bunch of kludges, hacked together to make it - sort of - work.

The "qualification" specifications for the latest iterations of this mess means that it won't run on many machines more than a couple of years old. In fact it never "runs" - even on the fastest modern hardware - it just sort of stumbles along.....

It's dreadful.

Techies try to bypass damaged UPS, send 380V into air traffic system


Re: Testing, Testing, and More Testing

We used to get our standby diesel fuel "polished*" periodically!

* It's a thing: look it up!


Re: Carbon Footprint

Simply because it's total nonsense. The infamous "97% of scientists agree" is a figure made up ONLY of workers for the IPCC. The IPCC's name alone tells you that the expect "Global Warming / Climate Change".

There's a saying in both the Scientific Community and in the Media: "Is it true, or did you hear it on the BBC?"

The BBC used to be the world's premier broadcaster, but since the mid 1980s has been an embarrassment!

NASA may tap SpaceX to rescue ISS 'nauts in Soyuz leak


Re: The Why

Rumour has it that Roscosmos is out of rockets, and is unlikely to get more in the near future because "there's a war going on"!

An American (even if it's private American) rescue mission would be the end for the Russian space effort. The embarrassment would be terminal!

Incidentally, the Soyuz would cook its passengers on re-entry without the cooling system - the Russian angle of attack isn't like the American approach (which goes for minimal heating) - they trust their cooling system...... Oops!

India sets USB-C charging deadline for smartphones


Re: So much for "Brexit freedoms" eh ?

" in the end I'm confident the British will come out of Brexit much better off than they were."

You're probably right. The Dutch and even the Belgians are seriously examining the possibility of getting out of the ridiculous EU - in both instances, membership costs them a lot of money. It's all expense for little or no return.

Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000


Re: You get what you order

I lived in LA in 1980. There were random murders there even that far back. Nasty place. I moved back to nice, civilised Europe after 11 months. to a job that paid half as much, but I didn't run a daily risk of instant death!


Re: You get what you order

It also goes the other way: when I stop doing business with crappy clients and put them on our black list.

.... We used to call them "Class A Customers" - "A" for A****le, of course. If the customer heard that they were a "Class A Customer", they'd usually preen and become even more insufferable!

Sizewell C nuclear plant up for review as UK faces financial black hole


Re: Daft

Comprehensive Schools were Labour's attempt to destroy Britain's educational system, and unfortunately they mostly succeeded in their aim. The level of education shown by most University entrants is woeful, and so the University courses have been dumbed down to suit their intakes and in an effort to comply with Blair's demand that 75% of school leavers should go to "University".

Education in the UK was (once) the best in the world. Now we're even behind Botswana!


Is It True, or Did You Hear it on the BBC?

The BBC have turned into a "woke" joke. Nothing they broadcast is accurate anymore. Sizewell C is going ahead (fortunately) and the BBC are just trying to stir up trouble.

Why I love my Chromebook: Reason 1, it's a Linux desktop


Re: I'll be buying a Chromebook

1. Win 11 isn't in the top ten OS worldwide. It's mostly reviled. Even you say that you don't like it!

2. Boot to broken? Just eight minutes! Win 11 quickly choked on some poorly written (but "certified") device drivers....

3. Nope. It was a badly written device driver that took down the badly written Win 11. After installation of something rather more stable (Ubuntu), it hasn't crashed since.

More than 4 in 10 PCs still can't upgrade to Windows 11


Re: 40% can't run Windows 11...

You can't seamlessly upgrade your Windows 10 PC to Linux

You can. It takes about 5 minutes in most cases. The longest part of the job is deciding which Linux distro to install - in my cases it's either (mostly) Mint or Manjaro. The tutorial for the newly upgraded system takes a few minutes, and the user (usually) contacts the installer within a few days to thank them and almost invariably comments "I can't imagine why I didn't do this ages ago!"


Re: "is called Windows 7"

The Windoze TCP stack was "based on" a broken, development version from BSD - and they've never bothered to fix it. All their networking was "borrowed" from other OSs, and the endless kludges they've applied to try to make it work properly (and "securely") have just worsened the situation.

Rookie programmer's code goes up in flames ... kind of


Re: Was the update deployed? Or not?? If so, When?

The worst kind of fault is the PICNIC type - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. No matter what mitigations you put in place, the (l)user manages to circumvent all of them, and break their system again...... And again!

No, working in IT does not mean you can fix anything with a soldering iron


Re: family support

Exactly the same with my Father: Wiped his virus-ridden HP laptop completely, and installed Mint. Ten minute tutorial, and a quick trip to the Mint Support Forum, and he then handled it all himself, without any need for further intervention from me.

He found out how to make install discs, and installed Mint on dozens of his friend's machines. That was about seven years ago, and all his "converts" still run Mint!

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie


Re: Thank you Liam

Absolutely. Liam's articles are one of the few remaining gems of the nu-look Register.... - even with the Americanised spellings!

California to phase out gas furnaces, water heaters by 2030


Re: Are they mandating the replacement tech?

Air source heat pumps are pretty much silent, they use a very large, very slow fan

What you omitted to mention is that they have to be really huge (and consequently quite noisy) to generate enough heat to warm the average house even a bit. In reality, the ones available will raise the internal temperature by a couple of degrees - enough to prevent indoor frost, but not enough to replace a proper central heating boiler.

They also necessitate the replacement of all the radiators in a house (for much bigger ones) and are - essentially - useless. They are NOT a viable domestic heating solution.

Microsoft debuts Windows 11 2022 Update – now with features added monthly


Re: The best update?

Simple - erase it. Install a proper operating system. Perhaps one that doesn't cost anything, comes with built-in security, proper networking and lots of free, high quality applications, and works well "straight out of the box". One that provides a nice-looking desktop that aligns with UX paradigms that have been around for many years, to minimise the need to re-train staff.....

NASA scrubs Artemis SLS Moon rocket launch


Re: Fun with Children

Actually, the correct spelling is "Bakelite"! - no "r"!!

I'll get my coat......

BOFH and the case of the disappearing teaspoons


Re: This work has already been done

No - they turn into "found bicycles".