* Posts by john 103

32 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Sep 2012

New UK product security law won't be undercut by rogue traders upping and vanishing, government boasts

john 103

Re: "Things" fall apart; the server can't be polled

Nice use of WB Yeats!

China plans to swipe a bunch of data soon so quantum computers can decrypt it later

john 103

Upvote for the Cryptonomicon Reference

Calendars have gone backwards since the Bronze Age. It's time to evolve

john 103

Re: By hand!

Top Tip

If you are worried about losing your house keys - put your address on them so people will know where to return them. Even better put the times you will be home so that they can be sure to catch you.

Day 3 of the Apple vs Epic trial: What actually is an iPhone anyway?

john 103

Re: BS, BS everywhere

Fun fact

Cydia is named after Cydia pomonella - the apple worm...

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

john 103

Re: "Well Analysis - New Knowledge"

When I worked in a Bank the Mainframe Logins were of the form Firstname + First Letter of Surname.

We had an English Contractor named Chris Tompkins who was very very knowledgeable.

If there was ever a question about the system we would happily reply "Christ knows"

Bless you: Yep, it's IBM's new name for tech services spinoff and totally not a hayfever medicine

john 103

Steven Erikson

Might have something to say about the name...


The sheer "Gall" of IBM

Talk about a Blue Monday: OVH outlines recovery plan as French data centres smoulder

john 103

Re: Worse Things Happen...

you mean webmainers

Habitable-zone exoplanet potentially spotted just around the corner in Alpha Centauri using latest telescope technique

john 103

Good Book

Anyone who is interested in Exoplanets should read

"The Planet Factory" by Elizabeth Trasker.

It's a brilliant read about the science of planetary formation and the different discovery methods.

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

john 103

BASIC Loop on a VAX

Back in approx 1990 I was introduced to the University's VAX.

It had a BASIC (interpreter?) so using my Commodore 64 skills (& a colleagues terminal of course) I duly fired up the classic

10 Print "F*ck Off"

20 GOTO 10

I then started laughing as it filled the screen with expletives.

My poor unfortunate colleague had to ask the supervisor how to kill it.

The Supervisor tried CTRL-C, CTRL-Z etc but to no avail.

It turn out that the VAX would print to screen very slowly but would happily run lots of instructions so despite the program being killed it had a massive spool full of swear words ready to send to the screen.

Happy days.

Linux Foundation, IBM, Cisco and others back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’ to change nasty tech terms

john 103


As a lefty - I'm offended by such terms as sinister and adroit.

I move that they be banned from English here and forthwith.

While I'm at it I'm also offended by the term Right - this should be replaced with unwrong.

Google screwed rivals to protect monopoly, says Uncle Sam in antitrust lawsuit: We go inside the Sherman parked on a Silicon Valley lawn

john 103

Re: Democratic AGs are on board with a separate effort

upvote for "attorneys general"

Police face-recog tech use in Welsh capital of Cardiff was unlawful – Court of Appeal

john 103

However, Its worth pointing out that the German forests are riddled with Game Cameras put up by hunters.(Source Peter Wohlleben & he should know)

There was a famous case of a Bavarian politician caught in delicto ...

That's despite these Game Cameras being illegal according to German law!

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

john 103

other excel woes

Credit Card numbers transformed to scientific notation -BTW these were test card #s - We weren't storing real customer numbers in excel.

When loading to excel - excel looks at first 20 rows and "guesses" the datatype so you end up having to load a Dummy row with chars at the top to prevent excel deciding its an Integer column.

Schizophrenic Compatibility Checker Dialog box - did i save it or not?

Dates transformed into numbers based off 1900 -01-01 as 1 - Why?

Non-standard copy-paste rules - you get one shot and then excel helpfully clears your clipboard.

VBA is still the best way to program with Excel - In 2020 really?

C# Interop is "not recommended" for Server code - what's plan B?

Named Ranges - A clue as to the Range names would be nice.

Formulas - can't append more than 255 chars - however CONCAT() works - why

Still no easy way to cycle thru sheets via keyboard (hint CTRL-TAB would be nice)

Two large flightless birds walk into a bar... The pub's owner was not emused *ba-dum tsh*

john 103

I can't take any moa these puns

Reply-All storm flares as email announcing privacy policy puts 500 addresses in the 'To' field, not 'BCC'

john 103

Reply All

Please remove me from this thread

Oh deer! Scotland needs some tech smarts to help monitor its rampant herbivore populations

john 103

Re: Thinking about this realistically ...

A few points

Hunters usually shoot Trophy Stags which has very little impact on the population carrying capacity as the population is governed by number of Hinds.

Not only do we want to reduce deer numbers but we also want to change deer behaviour. When man is the main predator - deer tend to hide in thick undergrowth. This increases tick numbers (and Lyme disease) and also has a far worse impact on Tree growth. When deer are naturally predated they avoid heavy cover and stay away from trees as they need to be able to see approaching predators.

Natural predation creates a much healthier prey population - the sickest and weakest are first to go - wolves in particular are superb at judging the health of an animal and always prey on the weakest. When the population pressures are lowered there is less malnutrition and disease.

Predators leave carcasses for other carrion eating animals - eg Golden Eagles and there are very few people would argue that there are enough eagles.

Large predators control the numbers of smaller predators (eg foxes)- this has a massive benefit for a host of other species - eg ground nesting birds and small mammals which in turn creates more ecological niches for other species.

Silly Google's Photos app labelled black people as gorillas

john 103

Monkey Bars

Reminds me of the Old Clip Art Search functionality in MS Works

Searching for Monkey brought back a Black family in front of a set of Monkey Bars

Blade Runner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it

john 103

Tears etc

I have to say I wouldn't mind seeing Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion or watching c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.


john 103


I think this would be a fantastic technology for payphones.

Instead of fumbling around in your pocket for loose change you could simply use your smartphone to pay by NFC. I'm surprised no one has thought of this yet...

Hate phone games that make you buy in-app gumble? Congrats, you're a niche player

john 103

Re: Are these the same researchers that tell us PC games are dead?

That'd be the pig Pey'J from Beyond Good and Evil. A proper genius with Avionics.

Or Scorpio from Alastair Reynolds' series - could fly anything that fella.

Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

john 103

What about being able to prove you don't know the pwd?

Ie - Bruce Schneier's Trick* in The Cryptonomicon where the Key is the sequence of cards in a shuffled deck.

When the front Door gets busted down - Drop the cards & the pwd disappears.

You can then prove to the court that the pwd is non-recoverable.

Or is it possible to be Charged with Contempt retrospectively?

Any Terrorists out there willing to try this out?

*Bruce did say not to use cards as spooks/secret police are often known to read books on Crypto...

Tech titan Bill Gates: Polio-free India one of the 'most impressive accomplishments' ever

john 103

Gates vs Jobs

One will be remembered for eradicating Polio

The other for wearing black Polo necks

(And being a See You Next Tuesday to everyone)

How UK air traffic control system was caught asleep on the job

john 103

Re: One million lines of code

RE: PassingStrange

One tip might be to use more than one sentence when writing the Functional Spec!

World-leading IT expert? We'll fast-track you into Blighty, promises PM

john 103

Re: Is it just me....


Friday beer for you Sir/Madam.

Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

john 103

Reg Users are not typical

Personally I think its a bit ironic as I blame Microsoft!

Cast your mind back 10 years when Mum/Wife/Girlfriend/Uncle Albert were all buying PCs

(Desktops - not even Laptops). When asked why the common answer was:

Email/Internet/Word Processing/Games/Print Christmas Cards etc

None of them were going to write code/ perform complex statistical analysis/ do CAD or any of the myriad of complex computing tasks that we take for granted.

To a large extent these people were suckered (Mainly by Microsoft/Intel) into buying massively over-specced PCs that never got above 5%cpu utilization.

I think there are a lot of valid use cases presented by the commentators here where tablets are clearly unsuited but the key point is that the majority of all PC users can manage quite happily on a tablet/phone and there's absolutely zero incentive for them to ever need to buy a new PC.

As someone above pointed out - this is a shame as these were the people who, to some extent, subsidized our PC innovation.

From now on - the notion that the PC is a "consumer" device is dead and we will revert back to the pre-internet days when only the techies/scientists etc need one.

As an analogy -In the old days you could use a C64 to write games for the C64 but now you need a PC to write games for the PS4. Same thing is happening in the world of PCs/Phones/Tablets.


Apple erects measures to stop app-happy kids splurging parents' dosh

john 103
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If Apple were serious - then they'd allow a system where free stuff could be added without needing the AppleID Pasword. As it is - parents & grandparents give the phone to the kids - kids learn pwd when they ask Grandpa to download temple run or something. Setting up & managing separate AppleIDs is a no go for most users.Instead there should be a 2-tier security system with a separate password for free stuff for kids. But it always comes back to the 30%...

Mystery object falls from sky, area sealed off by military: 'Weather balloon', say officials

john 103


Obligatory XKCD reference here:

Ah fugit -go look it up yourselves.

Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

john 103

Re: Problem with Online Ordering (Amazon)

Ha Ha- your comment made me laugh - Have an upvote Sir.

john 103

Problem with Online Ordering (Amazon)

Hi Folks, One problem I had recently with online - I ordered 2 books from Amazon - did the add to basket thing but then shut down the browser tab (Boss Key)

Anyway I went back in when the coast was clear and re-ordered the books. Wasn't really paying attention & when the lot arrived I found I had 2 copies of each book.

Of course as a Supposed Tech-Literate I should have been aware that the cookies persisted and checked my basket & all that but lets face it - you'd want to be a proper numpty to accidentally buy 2 copies of the same book in a bricks & mortar establishment. (I also believe that Amazon could and should have had a little more validation - "are you sure you want to order 2 copies of etc")

Had to send them back to Amazon & got charged for postage which p*ssed me off mightily.

A win for Waterstones etc as I won't be using Amazon again in a hurry.

Smooth criminals spared the clink for hacking Sony's Jacko archive

john 103

"The hacking pair were then tracked down by officers of the UK's Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)."

I'll sleep easier tonight knowing that these 2 hardened criminals have been apprehended.

I dread to think what might have happened if their dastardly deeds had gone unpunished.

Agility without anxiety

john 103
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Agile = Meh

OK - I'll Bite,

My overall experience of Agile has been extremely underwhelming.

The crazy bit is that it started as a pretty good idea (Kent Beck etc) but the 2 best features (IMO) Test Driven Development & Pair Programming are the one's that are never implemented.

"We haven't got the resources for PP"

"We haven't time to invest up front in a TDD Framework"

Instead you get the bits that Mgmt like because it gives a massive rod to beat the Devs with.

Typically you're given 5 mins at the sprint meeting to work out how long something will take - then when you finally figure out that you've underestimated - you get shafted. So the Devs cop on & start to game the Sprint - massively over-inflating the easy tasks so that they fill their capacity.

Agile is great for little noddy tasks that you'd give the college work experience guy.

"Add a widget to this screen", "Write a report to show X"

Fag-Packet Specs.

For any significant Software Delivery it falls over.

Also I hate the way "Agile" always puts up this 20yo strawman parody of Waterfall methodologies - like we're all still writing COBOL on green screens.

Ask yourself - would you use Agile to: Move data centres? Implement SOX? Port your Software to iOS or Faceback apps? Good luck with that.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

john 103


Spoiler Alert - but you knew that.

Best Bit was when you make friends with the Horsey as a boy then come back and he/she? remembers you when you play the tune.

Fantastic - then you get to jump the broken bridge (after about 50 goes).

Probably one of the best games ever.