* Posts by H in The Hague

564 posts • joined 17 Jan 2013


Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Simlar ...

"Damn good idea, a giant trackball / foot rest, with buttons ..."

There are actually quite a few models available.

When I had bad RSI I figured it wasn't the pointing with the mouse that hurt me, but clicking the buttons. So I got some foot pedals from a musical instruments shop and connected those to a mouse PCB - worked really well. Nowadays you buy units like that.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

"The screen does get charged, which produces an image charge on your face which attracts dirt."

That takes me back around four decades, to Apple ][s with crappy monitors which got very static and gave me a facial rash. Never had that with any other display before or after. Mind you we were posh, I think we had 48 k memory, way more than the base model of 16 k.

--> That time of week again.

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Partial blackout story (not UPS, though)

"The power flicks** took out 1 phase ..."

In my, fortunately limited experience, when 1 phase goes it is best to expect the other 2 to follow soon. To fix a distribution board or substation the sparky attending to it usually has to power the whole thing down.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Almost mouse free

"A colleague found that his freshly stocked garden pond was a magnet for a heron."

I've been told that the solution is to install a fake, plastic heron by your pond. Supposed to keep passing herons at bay.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Alternatives are good.

"The men's bathroom had a sign on the door suggesting people wash their hands on entry as well as exit."

That used to be an instruction at some chemical plants as well, in the days when they handled the products more casually than now.

--> Because it cools .... whatever it's applied to - here's one for the weekend.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Sending a child to do an adults work

"industrial water resistant free-form type"

CEE form?

Here's one for the weekend -->

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

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Puny English measures.

In Scotland a pleuchgate was the area tilled by a team of eight oxen over a season: 104 Scots acres (which were larger than English acres) or 53 hectares. An oxgang was the contribution made by one of those oxen, i.e. 6.6 ha.

There also used to be a Scots mile of 2.29 km or 1.42 English miles.

Source: Dictionary of Scottish Building

H in The Hague Silver badge

"Don't talk to me about miles. "

I though statute mile were "mille stadia" - 1000 double paces of a Roman soldier. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

A while ago, while on a visit to Noviomagus (young people call it Chichester) I did measure my paces and discovered they were indeed approx. 0.8 m long, i.e. in accordance with that definition.

And a nautical mile is one minute of latitude.

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: @Chris G - Terminate

"But maybe El Reg should include a link in all future articles of this type."


And perhaps gradually build up a list of Commentard-recommended software. Various comments have led me to some interesting software such as Sumatra PDF reader, FreeCAD, Notepad++, etc. I would feel more comfortable picking from a list like that than just searching the Intawebs - where I might find software that's 'interesting' in the wrong way.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Perfect Mail Client

"One of the best features in Lotus Notes, which has STILL not been ported into Outlook by Microshaft, is the ability to detach attachments and save them to separate storage"

Eudora did that. Meant I could keep years of message boxes of a reasonable size for instant access. But now have to use Thunderbird which keeps messages + attachments in one large blob which is v inconvenient :( And searching and signature handling not as good as in Eudora.

Any suggestions for a better alternative to Thunderbird? I'm happy to pay for it.

A good weekend to all Commentards.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: 3 years for a terrorist offence ?

"As to the effects of lifelong exposure to these particular radiations, this logically can not be known by anyone until scientifically sufficient subjects that have lived with these radiation for all their life are both dead and cleared of significant impact."

Slinger/signallers who instruct tower crane operators, etc. have been using handheld transmitters close to their head for decades and I'm not aware of any adverse consequences. And those units operate at a constant power when transmitting.

Modern mobile phones have a variable power (lower power if close to a base station, higher power when further removed) which they try to minimise to make the battery last longer. So the exposure may well be lower. Furthermore the wavelengths used by 5G have long been in use (4G, TV, PMSE, etc.). That previous use didn't cause COVID so the use of these frequencies for mobile telephony won't either. (Quite apart from the fact that there is no causal link between EM radiation and viruses.)

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Not quite the same...

"I hadn't noticed that log switch in the script was turned on so it had printed every analysis action ..."

A loooong time ago, in the days of punched cards, a friend of mine did a project at uni. Unfortunately he hadn't formatted the output properly. So, instead of using all 80 columns of a card his program only used one, massively increasing the number of cards needed. Apparently after his program had gone through the third box of cards, the operators cancelled his job.

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

Many years ago I was lucky enough to get a tour of the CADAC factory in Luton where they made very high spec analogue sound desks - cost about as much as a reasonable house I seem to remember.

All the channel circuit boards could be hot plugged and unplugged. I think if you unplugged a board the power got disconnected first, and then the signal pins. V impressive engineering.

They're still in business (now Chinese-owned I think) and make some classy digital consoles.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

H in The Hague Silver badge

How to spot a scammer

The comments here suggest that most Commentards will be appropriately cautious when receiving a call from a supposed contact tracer.

However, these tips might be useful for more trusting folk such as elderly relatives:


Disclosure: I have donated to them.

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Conspiracy time?

"Slight red herring there on document length"

Thanks for the additional info.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Conspiracy time?

"... the UK govt can blame it's total failure of test/trace on a bunch of Guardian reader social justice types using European GDPR legislation to block vital tracing app."

Hardly. UK data protection legislation predates EU legislation in this field. As far as I'm aware the GDPR only resulted in relatively minor changes to the UK Data Protection Act. (Though that didn't stop a lot of folk claiming that the changes were massive and that you had to buy their expensive consultancy services to cope with them.)


Incidentally, may I quote from one of my earlier posts:

[GDPR runs to] 78 pages, with wide margins, so about 50 standard pages.

The UK ICO's GDPR guidelines are about three times longer. And the Data Protection Act, which transposes the GDPR to UK legislation runs to 354 pages: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/pdfs/ukpga_20180012_en.pdf.


Even more incidentally, "it's total failure" should be "its total failure".


Oh, and the countries you refer to also have data protection legislation, e.g.:


https://www.dlapiperdataprotection.com/index.html?t=law&c=NZ (about to be updated)

By the way, although I do read the Guardian occasionally I'm more of an FT reader (and pay for that).

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: It went wrong all by itself

"... the Squareial was consigned to the dustbin of "what were they thinking". "

Well, there's still something similar on the market:


We've got one and it gives us good Freesat reception in NL (except during heavy rain) and it's rather less unsightly than a conventional satellite dish.

Icon as it's almost that time of the week again. Wishing all Commentards a good weekend.

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam

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Re: So...

Possibly. But methinks that using the term NMR for both chemical analysis instruments (which produce a pretty graph) and medical imaging instruments (which produce essentially a photograph) is potentially confusing. So having two terms for two quite different instruments (which use the same physical principle) might be helpful.

Wanna force granny to take down that family photo from the internet? No problem. Europe's GDPR to the rescue

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Where does the copyright law stand on this?

"As such if she wished to publish said image she is entitled to as she owns the copyright?"

No. Holding the copyright means you can stop others publishing your work. You can publish work whicih you hold the copyright in, but only if that is not prevented by other legislation.

(If I go and have lunch with my friends at MI13¾ and take a photograph of the 2-year old child of one of them running around the canteen in the altogether then I do hold the copyright in the photograph but cannot publish it for at least three different reasons, even if I remove metadata.)

H in The Hague Silver badge

Rough summary of the court's decision

Rough summary of the relevant paragraphs of the court's decision. Please note that I'm not a legal bod.

4.5 GDPR aims to protect the personal information of natural persons. However, GDPR does not cover the processing of personal data by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or domestic activity. Although it is possible that posting a photograph on a personal Facebook page is such an activity the court considers that there is not enough information about how the Facebook or Pinterest accounts are protected. It is also unclear if the photographs can be found by search engines. In relation to Facebook it is possible that the photographs could be distributed, and be held by third parties. Given these circumstances this does not appear to be a purely personal or domestic activity. Hence the provisions of GDPR and the UAVG [Dutch implementation of GDPR] apply to this dispute.

4.6 According to the UAVG, photographs of children under 16 may only posted with the permission of their legal representatives. The parents have not given such permission. Hence the photographs have to be removed. The emotional interest of the grandmother in placing such photographs on social media is insufficient to support another decision.

Nervous, Adobe? It took 16 years, but open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape now works properly on macOS

H in The Hague Silver badge

Thanks, duly downloaded, looking forward with playing with that next week. (I used to use Draftsight, but that's now gone subscription. It's reasonably priced but can't really justify it for two or three drawings per year.)

Have a good weekend and one of these -->

H in The Hague Silver badge

"I've run into this with trying to get, e.g., FOSS drafting software"

Which package did you select? (I'm looking for something for occasional light CAD work, so AutoCAD would be inappropriate.)

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

H in The Hague Silver badge

Testing, in another industry


The video is linked to the pic at the end of the article.

Why should the UK pensions watchdog be able to spy on your internet activities? Same reason as the Environment Agency and many more

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: In other news

"as soon as the lockdown's lifted, I'm emigrating."

Out of curiosity: where to?

Police drone fliers' wings clipped to prevent them bumping into real aircraft

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Mixed measurements

"Why is altitude given in feet while horizontal distance is given in metres?"

Welcome to the wonderful world of aviation. By now I've learned not to ask such questions anymore. At times it actually gets a lot weirder than this example. I've also learned to be grateful for the mental arithmetic I learned in primary school which I get to use again (and learned to regularly reach for a glass of something to relax overworked grey cells).

Have a safe flight,


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

H in The Hague Silver badge

Policing by consent

"... while the National Police Chiefs' Council, a semi-official police body that decides which laws are enforced and how, ..."

I'm old enough to still believe in the quaint idea of policing by consent:


Principle 2 states: 'To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.' Most of the other principles are very similar.

So where does the NPCC fit into that? I rather thought that deciding which laws are to be enforced (by passing and withdrawing them) was the job of Parliament, not some unelected bureaucrats.

"... this morning endorsed Derbyshire Police checking on people going for walks in empty stretches of the countryside via drone."

If you need a drone to spot them they're likely to be more than 2 m away from others - in line with government advice. So what is the point of this, apart from giving the public the impression you're a police force which is totally clueless?

Is it beer o'clock yet?

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Out of print (wag the long tail?)

"I wonder if there's a parallel with those portfolios of patents, where there are bunches of patents that have no known (current) usage."

To discourage that some patent systems charge renewal fees, sometimes increasing every year. So you're only going to keep a patent alive if you think it can be used.

Example: EPO renewal 3rd yr: EUR 470, then increasing to the 10th year and after EUR 1,575/yr. There may also be renewal fees for national patents.

Source: https://my.epoline.org/epoline-portal/classic/epoline.Scheduleoffees

Appareils électroniques: Right to repair gets European Commission backing

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

"Possibly, but if we end up with a less restrictive trade deal with the USA then said policy won't long survive people buying at a low price and importing to the UK and making a more modest profit reselling it at below the market rate."

Short response:

If the tools are the same, then the importer can apply the CE mark. So they could be importing them now.

Long response:

Incidentally, not all Milwaukee power tools are made in the USA. I get the impression quite a lot of them are made in China. Just plug "where are Milwaukee tools made" into your favourite search engine. (Sorry, can't go out now to the builders merchant's to look at the actual tools and check the type plates.)

Therefore, chances are they are designed to meet both EU and UL requirements and it's only the product label that's different. (And, for mains tools, obviously the voltage.) So the importer could apply the CE mark.

Hence any price differentials are likely to be based on the manufacturer's policies rather than differences in regulation.

Further musings:

As it happens I do a bit of work for a company which actually produces all its kit in the US and exports to the EU and I've never heard their guys complain about tariffs or regulatory barriers.

Apologies for rambling.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

"Possibly, but if we end up with a less restrictive trade deal with the USA ...."

Could you let me know how restrictive the current lack of a trade deal is when importing tools from the USA into the EU/UK? I.e. what tariffs are imposed on import?

From what I could fathom from http://tariffdata.wto.org/ReportersAndProducts.aspx the tariff is either 0 or 1.7%. I.e. mostly insignificant. However I'll be the first to admit I may have been looking at the wrong product categories. Please let me know what you find on the WTO website.

Or are you referring to safety requirements? As the UK tends to have stricter safety requirements than other countries, that would mean reducing UK standards - not sure that's what Brexit was supposed to be about. (And also something which could have been done while in the EU.)

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

"Milwaukee ones were a frequent example."

Sounds that the price differences are likely to be due to the company's policy rather than more onerous EU regulations.

I'm not familiar with Milwaukee but Festool seem to suggest roughly the same retail prices worldwide. E.g. their CXS compact drill/screwdriver is listed as EUR 235 on their NL website and USD 250 on their US site (both excluding VAT/sales tax) and those prices are in the same ballpark. I get the impression dealers sell at those prices or slightly less. So, different regulatory regimes but broadly the same prices.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

Could you possibly give us more details of that tool? Link to the manufacturer's website or something?

Incidentally the EU price may include VAT while the US price is likely to be exclusive of sales tax (applied at the till I seem to remember).

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

"It's not like the US, China or India are likely to insist on EU-level of standards any time soon"

Apologies for contradicting you, but I think some of them are already following EU standards in certain areas. Here are a few examples based on my v limited experience in this area.

Last year the government of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, issued a tender for a range of refuse collection vehicles. A friend of mine worked on that and from what I remember the engines had to comply with EU Tier 5 or 6 and the bodies and bin lifts with the EN European standard for refuse collection vehicles. I think the winning bid combined German chassis, British bodies and Dutch bin lifts.

India also uses the EU standards for diesel engines

Source: https://dieselnet.com/standards/in/

The Australian Design Rules (ADR) for vehicles are linked to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regulations.

Source: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/design/

I gather Australia is also happy to accept lifting slings, etc. with CE certificates:

Source: trainer of a v large heavy lifting company with a presence in the EU and AUS, and https://www.veltkamp.com.au/en/a-about-lifting-slings

Similarly Australia accepts CE marking for ships.

Source: https://www.amsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/marine-surveyors-manual-part-2.pdf section 3.9.3.

Two of my customers build high quality (i.e. expensive to buy but lower TCO and liked by the operators) kit in Europe for supply to US and Canadian customers and I'm not aware that they have to make particularly onerous modifications for that market. A US company (similar price - TCO) I assist occasionally has to up their standards slightly for equipment supplied to the EU (and in the US also have to comply with stricter Californian standards, e.g. California Air Resources Board).

On the whole I get the impression that EU regulations provide the consumer (i.e. thee and me, and numerous Commentards) with more protection.

Hope this doesn't come across as too aggressive. (I have upvoted several of your other posts.) And apologies for being a bore.

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: The cleaner did it.

Told to me by an oil company friend:

"We were posted to Egypt. While we were away a contractor came into our flat to do some work. They unplugged the freezer (full of meat) to use the socket for their drill and forgot to plug the freezer back in when they left. When we came back a week later we didn't even try and clean the freezer but had the whole thing with its putrid contents taken to the tip."

Now that's what I call a sticky situation: Repairability fiends open up Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, find the remains of Shergar

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Re: and samsung:


Thanks for the tip. Looks like they're cheaper than my local independent repair shop! (Fortunately that assessment is based on a sample of 1 repair.:)

Brexit Britain changes its mind, says non, nein, no to Europe's unified patent court – potentially sealing its fate

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Re: Benoit Battistelli

"Is it all sunshine and roses now?"

According to a friend of mine who works there it is certainly much better now.

Surprise! Plans for a Brexit version of the EU's Galileo have been delayed

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Re: Good

"All either gone completely or in foreign ownership and already halfway out of the door."

Well, the automotive industry seems to be doing rather well under foreign ownership - owners who have invested in the businesses and made them competitive.

I heard somebody say: Burn baby, burn – server inferno!

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Oh so special's

"Bernese Oberland in Switzerland"

Yes nice area, used to go there for family holidays when punched cards were a thing. A few decades later Pater went back with his mother and two sisters and a railway employee mentioned to them that despite their somewhat advanced ages they still qualified for a cheap parent-and-children ticket.

US Homeland Security mistakenly seizes British ad agency's website in prostitution probe gone wrong

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Re: > signing a waiver reneging any claim against the US government for damages

"Since the Government cannot be bound in contract, contracts with the Government are a nullity."

Which jurisdiction are you referring to?

Not the UK (or NL, etc.) I presume - if you conclude a contract, say to provide IT services, with a government body here and they don't fulfil their part of the deal you can definitely take them to court.

H in The Hague Silver badge

"It's a government cock up. Which is another reason for less government."

How about better government?

Here's one for the weekend -->

PS: this case illustrates why I opted for .NL and .EU domains rather than .COM.

Sophos was gearing up for a private life – then someone remembered the bike scheme

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Well that's embarrassing

"I presume a number of highly paid advisors have got a suitable bollocking for this cock-up."

In a similar vein: many years ago a men-only club in London decided to move with the times and admit women as members. So the articles of association, etc. were revised and their committee went to the solicitors to sign the documents. Then the most junior person present timidly mentioned that perhaps they ought to take a look at Article 1 first, which stated "The objective of the club is to promote intercourse between members."

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

H in The Hague Silver badge

"how do I open them now I plead"

You could try:


Haven't used any of their software yet but might be worth a gander.

I haven't done anything more exciting than connecting an Amstrad luggable with terminal emulator software to a microVAX to capture screen dumps for documentation - a long time ago.

Going Dutch: The Bakker Elkhuizen UltraBoard 950 Wireless... because looks aren't everything

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Mapped Home key!

"Remapped or non dedicated Home End, Page UP and Down is big no no for me."

Me too. Though they have one that might suit:


H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: "as your mum once told me"

"... recommended a non-numeric-keypad keyboard such as this, combined with a trackball. Worked a treat."

Worked for my RSI too. But now I've replaced the trackball by a roller mouse and that works even better. The great advantage is you don't really have to move your hands to the mouse/trackball, saving strain and time. I operate the roller bar and buttons with my thumbs and that feels very natural.


The price is a bit steep, but worth it if you spend most of the day behind a glass typewriter.

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: HOWTO Move Your Server

"... found in the book a warning that if the fuse blows you must not replace it with a nail."

Sound advice - a bolt works much better (say M12 or 1/2"). So I've been told :)

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Frankensolutions

"Engineer: "MMmmmm... yes. If we can get some of that stuff over there to here. I'll just draw up the...""

That worked so well at Flixborough :(

EU tells UK: Cut the BS, sign here, and you can have access to Galileo sat's secure service

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Hopes Dashed

"... duplex system so location data could be sent back via the satellite as well as being received from it."

No need to invent that, for emergencies, that function is provided by Galileo:

"As a further feature, Galileo is providing a global Search and Rescue (SAR) function, based on the operational Cospas-Sarsat system. Satellites are therefore equipped with a transponder, which is able to transfer the distress signals from the user transmitters to regional rescue co-ordination centres, which will then initiate the rescue operation.

At the same time, the system will send a response signal to the user, informing him that his situation has been detected and that help is on the way. This latter feature is new and is considered a major upgrade compared to the existing system, which does not provide user feedback."

Source: https://www.esa.int/Applications/Navigation/Galileo/What_is_Galileo

Ships and aircraft can also use conventional satellite communications to transmit their position and operational data, to base - if the operator is prepared to pay for that.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Galileo is the BS system

"... the Americans have stated that they will take it down by force if necessary if it ever contravenes their essential security interests."

Hmm, nice allies you have there. These are the guys the UK is supposed to get closer to? Guess that's one way of taking back control.

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Were we not told...

"The noises coming from our clearly right-wing Gubbermint ..."

Well, Mr Johnson has also complained that the EU stops him giving financial support to ailing industries - in my view that is clearly stolen from the Labour manifesto (Mr Corbyn has uttered similar mutterings). And, speaking as a moderate free marketeer, not something I'm impressed by.

El Reg tries – and fails – to get its talons on a Brexit tea towel

H in The Hague Silver badge

Re: Lesson learned?

"Bitter? Why yes, thank you, at all those who have so kindly screwed up my plans for retirement and the next forty years or so."

I feel your pain. Mrs H and I are in the same boat :(



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