* Posts by Nifty

1406 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Sep 2012


Tax helpline callers left on hold for nearly eight centuries

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Re: Needs a landline...

"The wait times are so long that a mobile phone will drop the call before coming off hold"

I binned the landline for exactly the same reason, the indoor DECT wireless handsets would get a flat battery before HMRC answered. The mobile will last several hours of calling, plus its speakerphone is far superior and it's easy to plug it into a charger if the battery is low. Now on unlimited free UK minutes with Lebara.

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I'm still trying to file my Domesday Book property tax.

Support contract required techie to lounge around in a $5,000/night hotel room

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I was working in Bavaria and we were to meet senior guys from a large British manufacturing company to demo them a system. They arrived late on a Saturday towards the end of September so we planned to show then around the system on Sunday for an hour or two then take them on a tour around the little provincial German town where we were based.

Then discovered that Bavaria had strict Catholic working hours rules and before anyone could enter the company building on a Sunday, a regional minister had to sign it off.

It turned out that the Sunday was the opening day of Oktoberfest. Regrettably we had to take the 2 hour train Journey to Munich and spend the day there with our customers.

British watchdog has 'real concerns' about the staggering love-in between cloud giants and AI upstarts

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Couldn't spot any teeth. Poor mutt.

As AI booms, land near nuclear power plants becomes hot real estate

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Re: Anticipating grid failure is more like it..

"You know what's great about legislation - you can change it"

In the UK? You're new around here, right?

EU users can't update 3rd party iOS apps if abroad too long

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And when the fabled alternative app stores arrive... The apps will be as locked down as tightly as before apart from payment, as Apple controls the OS API.

A VPN with split tunneling? A WiFi scanner that shows empty channels in the vicinity? An EQ app that applies to audio on all apps? Nope, nope and nope.

Android apps can do all of the above.

IBM lifts lid on latest bid to halt mainframe skill slips

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Re: Benefits of working for IBM

"Benefits of working for IBM"


Chrome users – get an alert when extensions are in danger of falling into wrong hands

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How will I know when Under New Management is under new management?

Cops visit school of 'wrong person's child,' mix up victims and suspects in epic data fail

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Re: Similar mistakes not limited to public sector

"The optician was convinced there must be someone living there now with the same name and DOB as me"

Did you suggest he should have gone to Specsavers?

In its tantrum with Europe, Apple broke web apps in iOS 17 beta, still hasn't fixed them

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Re: I love Apple...

"A lot of companies don't allow you to move purchases from one account to another. Amazon doesn't either"

Last few albums I bought online from Amazon came with a set of non-DRM'd MP3 files. Isn't still that a thing?


What is AutoRip?

A service that gives customers MP3 versions of eligible physical albums (including CD, vinyl, and other formats) purchased from Amazon since 1998.

Let's just say I never buy captive music from Apple.

Deepfake CFO tricks Hong Kong biz out of $25 million

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What's the betting that the standard process of recording this video conference was "forgotten"? So the hard evidence just happens to be unavailable.

Dell said to be preparing broad Return To Office order this Monday

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When I last worked from office for Big Corp I practically never talked to solution architects, developers or customer facing execs outside my corner. Covid caused some sort of revolution. Nowadays I chat daily to these guys - all via video meetings or chats apps, all WFH and of course with a new more enlightened employer.

IBM talks up cost savings, including 'workforce rebalancing'

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Re: "workforce rebalancing"

When you start seeing IBM flashlights for sale on Temu.

Logitech warns of logistical impact of Houthi attacks in Red Sea

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Re: Welcome to the future

Doesn't the Suez represent a third or something of the Egyptian govt's revenue? They may be trouble ahead.

Meanwhile I had been wondering about which things come by air and which by sea - was quoted about 3 weeks' delivery on some little AliExpress bits I'm expecting/

GCHQ's NCSC warns of 'realistic possibility' AI will help state-backed malware evade detection

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Couldn't they use the budget from the Dept of Coal Mine Sabotage Prevention?

Is it time for 6G already? Traffic analysis says yep

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No one's so far mentioned that Musk is claiming he'll be offering satellite to LTE handset comms for wilderness areas. Seems scarcely believable.


Programmable or 'purpose-bound' money is coming, probably as a feature in central bank digital currencies

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Re: Why gift cards

Like cash then. 20% of my savings disappeared over 2 years of UK inflation. I should have spent them before their best by date.

Cybercrooks book a stay in hotel email inboxes to trick staff into spilling credentials

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The major scam with booking.com is that the scammers insert messages directly into the chat stream of your booking. Asking for a cash transfer, since your card "didn't go through". Bank account details for the transfer are always included. This is a 5 year old scam on booking.com and a perennial on chat forums. When will this platform have the wit to block anything that looks like a payment request with bank transfer details?

NASA makes purrrr-fect deep space transmission of cat vid

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"It took 101 seconds for the video to reach Earth, with the system running at its maximum bit rate of 267 Mbps"

Not much good for gaming then...

To be, or not to be, in the office. Has returning to work stalled?

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Re: Remote

In our 'highly secured' office, we used to be blocked from calling Asian countries due to cleaners misusing the phones after hours. Inconvenient before the days of Teams and Zoom. Now, what was that about offices being more secure than home?

Time to take action: Google's inactive account purge begins Friday

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What if your Android phone needed a Gmail address to activate it but you've never touched the account since?

Cisco whips up modded switch to secure Ukraine grid against Russian cyberattacks

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So the Ukrainians start strapping a GLONASS backup to their systems. Apparently a cheap mobile phone will do. Another point is that grid infrastructure isn't very mobile, so GPS on its IOT was probably a matter of convenience. Why not just store the last known good coordinates and ignore any jamming? I supposed that's already happened as I write this.

But the irony is, surely that Ukrainians are already able to jam GLONASS and not affect their own infrastructure. Much more to this than meets the eye.

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Which GPS system are Russian drones or missiles using while GPS is being jammed? Something not quite right with the state of Denmark here.

To pay or not to pay for AI's creative 'borrowing' – that is the question

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Oi! You got that off Shakespeare.

Bad eIDAS: Europe ready to intercept, spy on your encrypted HTTPS connections

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Re: Never understood certs

"the certificate for every site I visit on our corporate kit is signed bt Forcepoint"

I'd thought that when a certificate is injected like this, the browser throws a pop up and you have to click something to proceed. Like when you're using Witeshark.

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Re: Never understood certs

"if the certificate chain leads to a trusted root certificate"


We're getting that fry-day feeling... US Army gets hold of drone-cooking microwave rig

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Re: Countdown ..

"The amount of power required to zap unshielded electronics is orders of magnitude less than the power necessary to cause lasting damage to humans."


Russia's parliament on Tuesday extended the maximum age at which men can be mobilised to serve in the army by at least five years - in the case of the highest-ranking officers, up to the age of 70.

So how many in the Russian army will have pacemakers?

World leaders ink AI safety pacts while Musk and Sunak engage in awkward bromance

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Re: Remember the 70's promise's

I upvoted however, should mention that it was the Covid-19 lockdown that finally put paid to paper at work for me. Applied for and do current job paperlessly and have not seen a scrap of paper so far, except for the tag that was attached to last year's postally delivered Christmas edibles gift from the boss.

Unintended consequences, eh?

Boffins find AI stumbles when quizzed on the tough stuff

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We're just waiting for ChatGPT-alikes to get some logic, rather than just making good guesses. I can see a collusion between the likes of Wolfram Alpha, some physics engines and the chat bots coming.

UK to crack down on imported Chinese optical fiber cables

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"the UK has gained the ability"

But I bet it hasn't used it.

Amazon unveils new drone design, plans liftoff of aerial delivery in UK, Italy

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Something for country folk to do once the grouse season is over?

Excel recruitment time bomb makes top trainee doctors 'unappointable'

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Re: "The NHS suffers from a chronic shortage of anesthetists"

"the booking portal"

The portal was meant to replicate a GP reception. Working as designed.

Gas supplier blames 'rogue' code for Channel Island outage

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It was an upload of bad French gas.

Police ignored the laws of datacenter climate control

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...When Sylvester opened the rack and looked at the fans, he found "a solid, unrecognizable black lump."...

So that's where they were hiding the cannabis.

Cat accused of wiping US Veteran Affairs server info after jumping on keyboard

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El Reg now featuring cat stories?

This site has really gone to the dogs.

No, no, no! Disco joke hit bum note in the rehab center

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The Partisan would really have done it. Still remember a student party where when we all crashed to sleep on the floor, someone started singing it. When he got to the bit where 'she died without a whisper' someone retorted 'wish you would...'.

Textbook publishers sue shadow library LibGen for copyright infringement

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Re: They are blocked in France

Those used books had better contain all the latest updates to the German language.

Apple's iPhone 12 woes spread as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands weigh in

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Don't flatter the French.

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If the phone isn't receiving any signal it's likely to only be emitting a polling signal for a short burst every 15 seconds or so, so as to be assigned a cell tower. Once a call begins or data starts being transferred between the phone and a cell tower, that's when the radiation starts continuously. The radiation level will depend on the strength of signal/distance from the tower. It'll further depend on whether 3g, 4g, 5g or even WiFi is the transmission method. Finally the radiation level could be directional, depending on the antenna design.

Testing this to pass EU regs, and then France's special interpretation will IMO be a very variable matter.

This smells of some sort of politically motivated move by France.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

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Re: BMW was also at one point a byword for quality engineering-first thinking.

"Overall older BMWs were decent cars, and most of the engineering was good, but maybe BMWs Bavarian workers should have kept their hands off the beer when designing some of these things."

When I worked in Bavaria, the works canteen had draft lager on tap just before the payment point. I asked about this and apparently it was due to a Bavarian law that classed beer as a food, and had to be available wherever food was served.

Portable Large Language Models – not the iPhone 15 – are the future of the smartphone

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Re: Sure, it's possible, but why would you want it?

"A simple flow chart is all that was needed there"

And a personal LLM would have pointed you towards one.

How's this for X-ray specs? Wi-Fi can read through walls... if the letters are solid objects

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Oh so it was the neighbours who borrowed my drill.

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

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Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

", what is the impact on your available range when using heated seats?"

From a designer's perspective, positive in Winter. The idea of a heated seat and steering wheel is that the driver can turn down the more energy hungry cabin heating a bit and extend the range. Which still leaves me unconvinced as you get complicated car electrics, more to go wrong, and that weight.

Lithium goldrush hits sleepy Oregon-Nevada border

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Re: Where's Worstall?

"raising the price artificially merely serves to make previously uneconomic deposits, economic"

Assuming this Lithium find is viably real, then we'll see China first wait for competitor plants to come onstream, then dump cheap lithium onto the world markets. That's the trouble with having a single source of manipulation.

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week

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Re: I can see good reasons for being together as a team...

"Ah, hmmm, well then, we might make an exception. But you really should be there"

I think Dilbert became non-PC before a rich tranche of 'back to the office' and 'productivity' jokes could have been the material.

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I'm WFH here with the Mrs, she needs heating all day anyway. And these new fangled heat pumps that we're all going to install... work best providing steady background heating, not stop start bursts.

China iPhone curbs reportedly extend to local government and state-owned businesses

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Re: Not just iPhone

Ban iOS but not the arguably less secure Android? Plus with Android it's possible to sideload a banned VPN. No such luck with iOS. And I'd taken China to be something of an IT literate technocracy.

Bombshell biography: Fearing nuclear war, Musk blocked Starlink to stymie Ukraine attack on Russia

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Re: "If Ukraine wants to fight a war with Russia"

"they were defending their country and Putin's Puppet intentionally scuppered that"

Musk stated that he was concerned that a successful sinking of a chunk of the Russian fleet would have given Putin an excuse for a (possibly nuclear) escalation. That at least is plausible even if you don't want to believe it.

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig

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Who else read the headline as 'accessed military data data through high-security fencing' ;-)

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Re: > but lacked a firewall

"actors and video game workers form guilds and strike, protecting their (easier?) jobs, instead of doing more in-demand IT or medical jobs"

Haven't we been here before?

Government scraps ballet dancer reskilling ad criticised as 'crass'