* Posts by David Woodhead

80 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Dec 2012


Is it a bridge? Is it a ferry? No, it's the Newport Transporter

David Woodhead

Re: Small Welsh town of Newport?

Monmouthshire or Pembrokeshire?

What's the top programming language? It's not JavaScript but Python, says IEEE survey

David Woodhead


QuickBasic 4.5 for me - I still have the manual.

One of my very few claims to fame is that I wrote the interpreter in compiled QB4.5 for a high level interpreted language (which I also created) used for developing touch screen applications, Mind you, this was in the eighties when touch screens were indistinguishable from magic, and when there were actually a lot more diverse technologies than nowadays. We sold a few copies though.

Oh, sorry - it's new technologies we're looking at (goes back to shaking fist at clouds ...)

38 million records exposed by misconfigured Microsoft Power Apps. Redmond's advice? RTFM

David Woodhead

Where are they now #237

Anyone else remember 'The Last One - the only software you'll ever need to buy'?

So the data centre's 'getting a little hot' – at 57°C, that's quite the understatement

David Woodhead

Re: I once had to do something similar in a Skoda...

About thirty years ago, I had an Series 1 E-Type (1965) which had a tendency to overheat at the slightest provocation. The trick with the heater was not much use either. Replacing the original 4 bladed fan with a modern 16-blade fan solved the problem for good.

Not a very interesting story, I admit - I just wanted to boast that I owned an E-Type....

Blimey - this is my second Skoda related post in 30 minutes. Anyway: my boast is that my three year old Skoda Superb automatic estate is very slightly faster to 60mph than a 3.8L E-Type, which was always my ultimate benchmark for a whizzy car. (It's not nearly as beautiful as an E-Type though.)

Senators urge US trade watchdog to look into whether Tesla may just be over-egging its Autopilot, FSD pudding

David Woodhead

Re: Appropriate Licensing

Volkswagen Auto Group was the only maker where I found a decent selection.

And bizarrely, the VW Audi group also makes the finest automatic gearboxes (DSG) available, in my humble opinion. If you opt for the steering wheel paddles you can drive it as a manual if you wish, but the automatic mode is so good that it will shift better than you can.

Unfortunately, Ford messed up the dual clutch gearbox market in the US by putting out a poor version which had a lot of problems in the Focus, so the concept never really took off over there. You're still stuck with torque converters.

(Disclaimer: I am a Right-pondian with a Skoda Superb 2 litre petrol automatic. Best car I've ever owned, apart from the touch screen interfaces which were designed by an autistic chimpanzee. I have no connection to VW Audi.)

BOFH: 'What's an NFT?' the Boss asks. In this case, 'not financially thoughtful'

David Woodhead

Re: Turings?

Goodness knows what an English based person would say to a Scottish £100 or £1 note.

"Hello Mr £100 note. Would you like to come home with me?"

Jackie 'You have no authority here' Weaver: We need more 50-somethings in UK tech

David Woodhead

Oh please

Hello Mr Coward,

I've just read your post and, after I could stop myself reflexively facepalming, two points came to me:

1) I'm in my 70s. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about about the recognition, or more importantly the lack thereof, of the abilities of experienced programmers back in the 'gravy train days', whenever they were supposed to be. I most certainly have.

2) See 1) above. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

The splitting image: Sufferer of hurty wrist pain? Logitech's K860 a potential answer

David Woodhead


In the 1980s/1990s I owned numerous IBM 'M' keyboards which I gave away to friends and family. Most of them of course promptly put them in a skip and bought a shiny new one.

Please see the title to my post.

Audacity users stick the knife – and fork – in to strip audio editor of unwanted features

David Woodhead

I think the fork should be called...."MONKEY FIST!"

I seriously recommend that you don't type this into a search engine.

That is all.

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs break out of nuclear hellscape home and into people's hearts

David Woodhead

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs break out of nuclear hellscape home and into people's hearts

I think that this my favourite headline of all time.

NHS England staff voice concerns about access controls on US spy-tech firm Palantir's COVID-19 data store

David Woodhead

Re: blah, blah, blah

* Step away from the shoehorn - now!!! *

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum

David Woodhead
Thumb Up

Thank you Mum

He'd obviously learned to type on a very old school typewriter. I remember my dear old mum (lifelong secretary) talking about how when she first started work there were still quite a few old manual typewriters around that didn't include keys for 1 or 0 - you were expected to use a lower-case L or upper-case O.

Yes indeedy - I owned an entry level Smith-Corona in the 1960s which had this very 'feature', bought for me by my loving parents to speed up my homework. And I taught myself to touch-type on it - not perfectly, but enough to have been of significant benefit to me over the course of the next 50+ years compared with my fellow one-finger software developers. Thank you, Mum and Dad.

David Woodhead

Re: The Joy of Date Routines

I had a go around with the guy who wrote the date routines at I company I was working for. On the first pass, he had 1900 as a leap year. I pointed out that that was wrong. On the second pass he had 2000 as NOT a leap year. So Pointed out that error (I'd given the correct--Gregorian--formula the first time). On the third pass, he got it right.

Given that this is such a fundamental error which could cause untold problems, possibly very expensive, I hope that either (s)he or the person who employed them was soon let go.

What job title would YOU want carved on your gravestone? 'Beloved father, Slayer of Dragons, Register of Domains'

David Woodhead

It has to be ...

... 'He didn't suffer fools gladly'.

Should be the default epitaph for every BOFH.

Apple's iPad Pro on a stick, um, we mean M1 iMac scores 2 out of 10 for repairability

David Woodhead

Re: Thickness

They only have to look achingly cool on the desks in hipster offices. Then the new owners can aspire to be the exiting, disruptive digital natives that inhabit such offices.

If only they were 'exiting' rather than 'exciting'. Too much to hope.

I just find this whole smaller / slimmer / cooler / throw it in the tip thing so depressing, from a personal and planetary viewpoint. I repair and enhance *old* technology for people in our village and surrounding area, trying to give them something which is faster, cheaper and more usable than anything they can buy in a shop or on the interwebs. They appreciate and thank me for it, for which I'm grateful, but there's only one of me around here and huge landfills of stuff that passes me by and which no-one cares about.

Sorry about that. I need to go and shout at some clouds now.

Cloudflare stops offering to block LGBTQ webpages

David Woodhead

Re: only a few minutes in

@captain veg

He spelled it perfectly, but punctuated it incorrectly.

If you're going to be a grammar pedant you need to be pretty damn sure that your post is flawless, or you leave yourself wide open.

*Smiley face*

FreedomFi's 5G gateways will mine HNT cryptocurrency for owners who dole out coverage to passing users, IoT devices

David Woodhead

Is this really what it's all about?

If you had 5G and cryptomining on your buzzword bingo cards, crack open the bubbly – FreedomFi gateways will mine the HNT cryptocurrency in exchange for providing 5G cellular coverage to IoT devices and passing users.

In the 1970s I took a giant leap and moved from accountancy and financial services into the brave new world of IT, thinking that this was a good way for things to be developing in the future. I've done ok out of it, but really: is this what it's all come to?

Stop the world: I want to get off.

Bank of England ponders minting 'Britcoin' to sit alongside the Pound

David Woodhead


Just no. Really. Please.

What could be worse than killing a golden goose? Killing someone else's golden goose

David Woodhead

Re: Wash and Rinse


But I want to find out how this played out. Did the new manager get you to fix it, or was he sufficiently competent to take it in house? We need to know.

Google says once third-party cookies are toast, Chrome won't help ad networks track individuals around the web

David Woodhead

Re: PiHole

I don't know the numbers, but by now setting up a PiHole is about as easy (and a lot quicker) than installing Windows, which has become easier over the years as well. And that RPi costs a lot less than a new Windows machine, leave alone a Mac, as well.

Virtually no-one installs Windows. It comes preinstalled on your PC or laptop. The concept of setting up PiHole, or a new Windows installation, or any reason for doing so, is so far beyond most people's comprehension as to be in the realm of magic. You may as well ask them to sacrifice a unicorn.

Smartphones are becoming like white goods, says analyst, with users only upgrading when their handsets break

David Woodhead

Re: I with

I support a number of people locally with Galaxy S4s, which you could not remove from their owners' cold dead hands with a chisel. They all make phone calls, communicate on WhatsApp, and do internet and email stuff, with no desire to do anything else. New battery: no problem. £3 flip cover: no problem. SD card: no problem. Fits in the average pocket: no problem.

What the vendors want to sell and what these users need do not intersect at any level. We all understand that they are not the target market, so we local support people look after them. Hello out there. Someone has to do it.

Sorry, /rant. Have a good evening y'all.

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?

David Woodhead

Re: 12 inch CDs?

... a little thorn ...

You may jest. Back in the 50s my father had heard that playing 78s with a steel needle wore them out, as indeed it did. So, at the right season of the year, he would go out and collect a year's worth of blackthorn (sloe) thorns which he used instead, changing them after every half dozen or so uses.

I have no idea whether this was better or worse for the records, but I do recall being amazed the first time I saw the almost shameless luxury of records being played with needles that you actually had to pay for.

CentOS project changes focus, no more rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux – you'll have to flow with the Stream

David Woodhead

Linux? Don't go there

In the future, whenever I see one of the perennial arguments about the average user ditching Windows instead of some flavour of Linux, I'll just point them towards this thread.

I mean, really? Just within this conversation, we have references to the following terminology:


CentOS 6

CentOS 7

CentOS 8


RHEL 8.3

RHEL 8.4

Scientific Linux

Scientific Linux 8


Fedora Rawhide




Redhot 10


White Box Linux







System V










This is apart from assorted variations that I know and care nothing about from being a techie: Mint; Cinammon; Puppy; Elementary; Arch etc. etc.

Unless you have a relative with a predictably long lifespan who you can trust implicitly to maintain your computer before he pops his clogs, don't do it. Go with Windows. Even Windows 10 *spits in the gutter* which I hate as it's a pile of shite, but at least it's a known pile of shite which other people are familiar with.

Posted from the real world, where people just want to send emails, write documents and get on the Internet.

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable

David Woodhead

Re: Been there, done that.

And then there are the jokers that put a piece of clear tape on the switch end of a cable just for laughs. Took a while to troubleshoot and find.

That's a hanging offence, or shooting, or something involving large sticks with nails in the end.

There is no court in the land which would convict. Enough of us have been there.

Not sunshine, moonlight or good times – blame it on the buggy

David Woodhead

Re: "It's the system"

You are a born tester.

When I worked for ICL in the late 70s, we had a very senior guy in quality control who got first crack at any new software releases. The first thing he did was slap his hands down on the keyboard a few times and press 'Enter'. That got rid of more than 50% of every release without even having to start working through a script.

Now that's a Finnish-ing move: Finland offers free 90-day tryout of Helsinki tech scene with childcare thrown in

David Woodhead

Re: I've worked in Finland before

Too cold for you? Have your business meetings in the buff in the sauna (that's sow-na for the uninitiated).

Is that sow as in distribute seeds, or sow as in a female pig?

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

David Woodhead

Re: A common refrain @ wjake

Biden said, “Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well... Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake!”

If this is the best they can put up against Trump, another four years of the GOP awaits. It's Hilary Clinton all over again.

ICANN begs Europe: Please fill in the blanks on this half-assed GDPR-compliant Whois we came up with

David Woodhead

This is not useful

And just how are the rest of us out here supposed to a) understand, b) monitor and c) enforce all of this crap? It has no connection with the real world, except via the medium of lawyers. Good luck with that.

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable

David Woodhead

Re: Never work with children or animals?

A friend uses his ferrets occasionally. Tinned sardines as bait (YMMV).

I do so much hope that YMMV means 'your mustelid may vary'.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log

David Woodhead

Re: Bring back VMS Standard Date/Time...

MON means it's a Monday.

I'll get my coat.

Toshiba formally and finally exits laptop business

David Woodhead

So sad

I find it very sad that the demise of such a major player in the laptop world is marked by a whimper rather than a bang.

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

David Woodhead

Because ...

Because that would be seen as being negative. And you really don't want to be seen as being Negative in Seattle.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

David Woodhead

Don't just write it off

This could be either:

a) The collective failure of a relatively small amount of equipment and / or data analysis in looking at this star over a short period of time, or:

b) A once in a lifetime (of the human race) opportunity to observe and analyse whatever phenomenon caused it to 'disappear'.

You choose.

The point of containers is they aren't VMs, yet Microsoft licenses SQL Server in containers as if they were VMs

David Woodhead


I have never before come across a set of circumstances to which the reply 'I don't fucking care, and why should I have to waste a microsecond of my very finite life in considering the implications of this?' seem more appropriate.

There are teams of lawyers worldwide, who are presumably intelligent and reasonably creative people, making more money than I could ever dream of by devoting their lives to this dreck, and we wonder why things that need to be done like sorting out climate change, overpopulation, social housing and the depletion of natual resources (to name but four) seem to be overlooked.

Bring on the heat death of the universe. It's long overdue.

A grumpy old man.

IBM Watson GPU cloud cluster Brexits from London to Frankfurt – because GDPR

David Woodhead

English please

IBM Watson GPU cloud cluster Brexits from London to Frankfurt – because GDPR

I don't have the time or inclination to parse this garbage. Please write in English. UK: US, Australian or whatever - I don't mind.

Don't make it hard for people to understand what you're trying to say.

Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you're in virus isolation, you stay there

David Woodhead

But this is WA we're talking about, right? The home of the creationists?

Yes' I've been there.

Deadly 737 Max jets no longer a Boeing concern – for now: Production suspended after biz runs out of parking space

David Woodhead

Head for the hills

These mothballed part-completed planes are now effectively a pile of scrap.

There is a wonderful book called The World's Worst Aircraft by James Gilbert, in which he documents the same thing happening to, I think, the Convair 880. The problem is that once the build team has been reassigned to other work, no-one knows any longer exactly what stage of construction each plane has reached. If and when you come back to it say three months later, exactly which sections of the miles of wiring, for example, have been installed / connected up / tested? It turns it to be cheaper either to rip everything out down to the basic ariframe and start again or just to scrap it.

If I had any Boeing shares I would dump them now while there's still some residual value.

Gospel according to HPE: And lo, on the 32,768th hour did thy SSD give up the ghost

David Woodhead

Re: "Remediate"????

Jesus saves, but Moses invests.

Tesla Autopilot crash driver may have been eating a bagel at the time, was lucky not to get schmeared on road

David Woodhead

Re: Because most Tesla drivers are not pilots.

Then he would also think that an automobile does exactely what it says: Moving on its own. Bu tthat's not the case, is it.

Ah, so you think it's likely that anyone would know that the roots of the word 'automobile' come partly from Greek (autos - self) and partly from Latin (mobile - moving), would parse it accordingly, and would therefore modify their behaviour based on this? Right.

And it's 'exactly'.

I don't have to save my work, it's in The Cloud. But Microsoft really must fix this files issue

David Woodhead

Re: This...

Ah, QuickBASIC 4.5. I still have the manual and diskettes, just in case. It's all been downhill since then.

Tesla’s Autopilot losing track of devs crashing out of 'leccy car maker

David Woodhead

Re: I want some of what Musk is smoking

Hello Lee,

I love you and want have your babies. And the last time I looked I'm a man. Oh well.

All of this is blindingly obvious if you've had anything to do with software development, in any field, and have been paying attention and been responsible for anythng critical in the real world. I've been there, and the whole AI concept frightens the life out of me.

To quote John Denver: 'It turns me on to think of growing old.' Actually it doesn't, but it's a relief.

Exclusive: Windows for Workgroups terror the Tartan Bandit confesses all to The Register

David Woodhead

Re: Childish but satisfying...

Oh you bastard. That is the nastiest one I've ever come across, with the possible exception of the program you could invoke in autoexec.bat (in green screen days) which displayed the message "Your hard disc is being cleaned ..." and played the sound of a washing machine spinning up to full speed on the little system speaker.

I'm very jealous.

A real head-scratcher: Tech support called in because emails 'aren't showing timestamps'

David Woodhead

Re: "WTF do you think you're doing?"

When I began my Computation degree at UMIST in 1974 we newbies were shown their little computing museum which included, among other things, an 80 column hand card punch. We were all suitably impressed: gosh, how far things have move forward etc. etc.

Three years later, when I started my junior programmer job at ICL in Reading, the first thing I was given was ... my very own hand punch and a much photocopied document showing the finger shapes for each character. Apart from being seriously underwhelmed by the level of technology, I also remember being vaguely revolted by the decomposing rubber keytops which had absorbed the grimy sweat from many years of finger prodding by coding oiks.

Ah, those were the days. At least I never had to sellotape a chad back in to avoid repunching a card.

Just the small matter of the bill for scrapping Blighty's old nuclear submarines: It's £7.5bn

David Woodhead

Re: Plymouth?

Can you imagine being in the Navy and being posted as crew on a stripped out nuclear submarine which no-one knows what to do with? You couldn't help thinking that they're trying to tell you something.

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system

David Woodhead

Re College student ...

Looking at all the responses below the posting: this UNIX stuff is a piece of cake, isn't it?

Sure, we've got a problem but we don't really want to spend any money on the tech guy you're sending to fix it

David Woodhead

Re: Bah!

And this person was presumably being paid a 5 / 6 figure salary to be an incompetent administrator, a total idiot, antagonise the staff bright enough to analyse what was going on, and probably cost the company serious amounts of money in the process.

Oh, I'm so glad that I'm not in that world any more. So glad.

David Woodhead

Re: The other extreme

That's because 90%+ of UK 'Indian' restaurants are in fact Bangladeshi. They've also learned, from long experience, to keep it fairly bland as that's what people expect and it causes fewer problems in the long run.

Cobra or Kingfisher icon: take your pick. However, chances are that what they give you is brewed under license in the UK.

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off

David Woodhead

Re: They should stick to mice and keyboards


Over the two years, I probably exchanged the mouse 15 times. It would last a little over a month, and then the side button would break internally and come out ...

Just before the warranty ran out, the store apparently discontinued the mouse, so my last exchange didn't work. They ended up refunding the purchase price of the mouse instead! I can't remember if they refunded the cost of the warranty too, but I ended up getting a couple of years of mouse rental for at most the cost of the warranty ...

So how much of your life, to the nearest hour, did you devote to getting two years free use of an unacceptable mouse, rather than one which performed as you wanted?

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...

David Woodhead

Re: Important 'cause...

Although I do agree, the exact words used when I realised what was about to happen was "oh F***", then had the crash. Not the most eloquent of potential final words ...

But certainly the most popular in the history of the world in those circumstances.

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

David Woodhead

Whatever next, removing the colour black and using the hex code for it?