* Posts by Doctor Evil

194 posts • joined 9 Feb 2013


Yes, Microsoft Access was a recalcitrant beast, but the first step is to turn the computer on

Doctor Evil

The first step

Hah! I had one like this just today!

"The phone charging base is dead. Can you come look at it?"

A couple of minutes later ...

"Never mind. They just forgot to switch the phone on." (And in the background: "It's the little red zero-one button on the right ...")

FYI: NASA appears to have scooped dirt from an asteroid 200 million miles away and plans to bring it back home

Doctor Evil

Congratulations, NASA!

Awesome accomplishment! Hope the huff-and-puff thing worked out and you can bring it on home again soon.

We don't need maintenance this often, surely? Pull it. Oh dear, the system's down

Doctor Evil


Do Easter eggs (innocuous ones) tick?

Q: What’s big, red and pulses UV light into the cosmos three times a night? A: Mars

Doctor Evil

Or else

Mars isn't exactly a "monolith" (along the lines of TMA-1), but perhaps ...

You're testing them wrong: Whiteboard coding interviews are 'anti-women psychological stress examinations'

Doctor Evil

Re: "writing code" v. solving a problem

Unfortunately, that damned "time is money" thing does tend to interfere with the analytical and synthetic processes of high quality problem solving. This is often where the stress comes in.

You're not getting Huawei that easily: Canadian judge rules CFO's extradition proceedings to US can continue

Doctor Evil

Re: Here's the thing...

"The CCP may send spies and other covert agents to [...] break her out of jail and whisk her out of the country"

Actually I'm more than a bit surprised that this hasn't happened yet. I fully expect(ed) it to, given the lenient conditions of Ms. Meng's "detention".

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Doctor Evil


I don't know monikers. I just really like the photo you've chosen to accompany the article.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

Doctor Evil

Re: Good for data-less phone plans

No smartphone here. I have an LG GR500 (touchscreen + physical keyboard). It works just fine for making phone calls and texting -- all I need/want it to do.

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions

Doctor Evil


"The Hubble constant, an indicator of the rate of expansion, is lower for the observed galaxies on the right side of this diagram compared to the left."

Wouldn't that make it more of a Hubble variable, then? Not really constant, is it?

You in for a curl up and dye? Yeah, looks like the same for this screen in a hairdressers

Doctor Evil

Re: World

"December is still too recent the virus was in the system but had not yet spread much."

And we now see what happens when you leave ports open. 'Course, detection was a bit of an issue too; nobody was really looking for the signatures back then.

Huawei P40 Pro: Camera setup really captures the misery of an empty world foods aisle

Doctor Evil

"ime is especially important when you're looking at a smartphone, not merely because they're expensive, but also because a simple software update can radically change the overall experience – by addressing features or introducing new bugs."

There, FTFY

From Gmail to Gfail: Google's G-Suite topples over for unlucky netizens, rights itself

Doctor Evil

Re: Clouds sometime rain

"Dunno about you but I live in a world where large cloud companies constantly bang on about how much more reliable they are than using your own equipment."

Indeed, and you are free to believe/accept that -- or not -- as you wish.

For myself, I prefer to keep my data and backups on premises where they're (mostly) under my control. YMMV

London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

Doctor Evil

Re: @Zolko

"How justice works is if a judge is convinced there is reasonable evidence to proceed, he gets charged and put on trial. He doesn't unilaterally decide he is innocent and escape."

Well, that's a bit of a subjective standard, isn't it? There's evidence and then there's "evidence". There are judges and then there are judges (east Texas, anyone?). Yes, there is certainly the appearance of due process ...

How many times do we have to tell you? A Tesla isn't a self-driving car, say investigators after Apple man's fatal crash

Doctor Evil

Wait! There's more!

This just in:

Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians

TLDR: as you might intuitively have expected, more expensive car == bigger asshole driver

Doctor Evil

Re: Stop calling it Autopilot

"I would suggest that there is no living owner of a Tesla who thinks it is autonomous. It is only non-owners (or ex-owners) who assume that."

There -- FTFY

Doctor Evil

Re: Tesla never said it's driverless

"correlation between purchasing power and dick-headedness still being researched."

Results now in: Int J Psych: Not only assholes drive Mercedes. Besides disagreeable men, also conscientious people drive high‐status cars

Aww, a cute mini-moon is orbiting Earth right now. But like all good things, it too will abandon us at some point

Doctor Evil

Re: Another question for QI

Oh, even that is over the line! They're "differently massed"

Elon Musk shows world that he is truly awful at something

Doctor Evil

Re: Award-winning

"Personally, I thought Shatner peaked at the cover of Common People by Pulp."

Only because he had the incomparable Joe Jackson on keyboards and backing vocals.

Medical biz LifeLabs fesses up: Hackers slurped 15 million customer records – and we paid them to hand it all back

Doctor Evil

major FU

It's still not entirely clear (there are conflicting messages on this) what type of attack it was -- whether it was a classic ransomware shakedown without wholesale data extraction from the network, or whether patient information was indeed downloaded.

If the latter is indeed the case, the company letter includes passwords among the data having been stolen. LifeLabs' CEO, in a statement, was unaware of whether or not the data was stored in encrypted form on their system.

In 2019, who stores passwords (or, indeed, any contact information from a sensitive data trove like this) in clear text, unencrypted? That's inexcusable, the height of irresponsibility! And if this does prove to be the case, I'll line up to join a class action suit for absolutely criminal negligence.

NASA boffins tackle Nazi alien in space – with the help of Native American tribal elders

Doctor Evil

a matter of perspective

"NASA said it obtained consent from Powhatan Tribal elders to use the word. “We graciously accept this gift from the Powhatan people," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division."

Hmmm. "Gracious" seems to be more what the Powhatan elders were; "gratefully", perhaps?

Apple techies analyzing Siri recordings may have heard you unzipping and bonking – plus more

Doctor Evil

An honest mistake!

"[...] technical errors, for example if the AI bot incorrectly hears "Hey, Siri!" and responds when it wasn’t explicitly activated"

I can easily see how this would happen. I mean, "Hey, Siri!" sounds a lot like "Oooh, yes! Yes!"

Sleeping Tesla driver wonders why his car ploughed into 11 traffic cones on a motorway

Doctor Evil


"Luckily nobody was injured and the only damage was to Richard's pride (and those barrels)."

Nope. If you watch the left-side camera (which Richard FS helpfully posted a link to in the description of the front camera video), you'll see the left-side mirror getting wiped off the car by one of the first barrels he hit. That's gonna cost a few bucks to replace! And if a plastic barrel could do that kind of damage, I wonder what hitting a bunch of them did to the front of the car? I suspect he's a few thousand dollars down now -- and that's before any fines that get levied.

But he was indeed lucky. Another 30 m and he would have plowed into a trailer-mounted electronic sign and done a whole lot more damage to the car (and possibly himself).

Apollo 11 @ 50: The long shadow of the flag

Doctor Evil
Black Helicopters

Re: The most expensive dick swinging contest in history

"Vietnam cost 516% as much as the full Apollo project."

Oh yeah, but look at all the great music we got out of it: "... I ain't no fortunate son!", "Four dead in Ohio", "Where have all the flowers gone?", "We gotta get outa this place, if it's the last thing we ever do".

And the movies: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. [...] It smells like ... victory!"

Totally worth it.

(for once -- a use for the helicopters icon)

Excluding Huawei from UK's 5G will harm security, MPs warn

Doctor Evil

Hurry up and decide?

Why the rush? The urgency of the demand to "make a decision" is really "hurry up and say yes". Because, really, what's the difference between (a) saying no to Huawei 5G gear on the network at this point in time and (b) the status quo without a yes/no decision?


And so where do you think the pressure to make a "yes" decision is coming from?

Doctor Evil

Re: Because the grass is so green on the other side?

"Honestly are any of the alternatives in the Tory or Labour parties any better? I mean seriously.. what a state politics in the UK is in."

You might as well say "what a state the world is in" because, really, the grass is no greener on this -- or any other -- side of the pond!

Adding the icon because this is all that's left to us as recourse. Cheers!

Scientist, war hero and gay icon Alan Turing is new face of the £50 note

Doctor Evil

Oh, this is awesome!

Congratulations to the Bank of England on making this perspicacious choice! I want one. Heck, I want several.

PC shipments back in black: Desktops to the rescue, aided by Win10

Doctor Evil

Red is the new black?

Whether these shipments turn into sales to consumers or linger unsold in warehouses will, obviously, determine whether PC sales are truly back in the black. One assumes that manufacturers are basing their behaviour on market intel, but is is a bit premature to declare that the market for PCs has rebounded just yet?

Grav-wave eggheads come closer to nailing down Hubble's Constant – the universe's speedy rate of expansion

Doctor Evil

Re: All of this assumes...

"This fails the Ockham's Law test - expansion is much simpler."

Sorry for cutting in like this, but did you mean Occam's Razor?

No DeepNudes please, we're GitHub: Code repo deep-sixed as Discord bans netizens who sought out vile AI app

Doctor Evil

Re: misogynistic monstrosity

"When with the opposite version be created, the guess-the-dong-length version for hen parties de-robeing men?"

Women don't need a special app for that; they just look at your hands and feet. Tells 'em -- with a good degree of correlation -- what they want to know.

Right, "Big Donald"?

This isn't Boeing to end well: Plane maker to scrap some physical cert tests, use computer simulations instead

Doctor Evil

Re: Boeing reacts cunningly to the deadly crash of the XXX airliner

"But again, what the hell do I know?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019"

Ooh, ooh -- I know this one!

Planes, fails and automobiles: Overseas callout saved by gentle thrust of server CD tray

Doctor Evil

Re: Brad, of course, was in Europe

"I still don't understand how they let Australia into Eurovision."

Why is the operative question, as in: why do they let Australia into anything?

Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more

Doctor Evil

Re: Autopilot is itself Incomplete

"Who in their right mind would buy a Tesla after reading a slopey - shoulder statement like that?"

Someone who wants a nice EV with great range between charges. Just don't use the Autopilot feature ... it's not mandatory! (Plus, hopefully they'll get it right someday and send you an over-the-air update.)

Microsoft? Oh it's just another partnership, insists GitHub CEO

Doctor Evil

Re: The Velvet Glove Part II bis

I'm certain MS had a nefarious hand in mistitling the 3rd section: they don't want it to be seen!

SpaceX takes a leaf from the Microsoft playbook and stands down Starlink for an update

Doctor Evil


From TFA: "Just ask the unfortunates still using Windows XP."

Reading the paragraphs immediately following that with respect to the delightfully extended update adventures of (some) Windows 10 users, I'd say the "install once and forget about it" update experience under Windows XP Embedded (POS Ready) looks fairly attractive. But ... progress!

Tangled in .NET: Will 5.0 really unify Microsoft's development stack?

Doctor Evil

Re: Wasm

Look, you can't talk like that here! It's just NSF

Uber, Lyft rides among the biggest reasons why you're probably sitting in traffic right now – study

Doctor Evil

Of course you do!

"An Uber spokesperson told The Register that the reasons for congestion are complex: “[...]That’s one reason we believe in comprehensive congestion pricing, which would provide millions to invest in cities’ public transportation systems.”"

Because, if you're the root cause of the congestion in the first place, then of course you believe in congestion pricing. Why wouldn't you? You've been a prime contributor to the problem -- and that way, the worse it gets, the more you benefit.

Until they catch on, that is -- which it appears they now may have.

Doctor Evil

Re: But are Uber and Lyft the root cause?

"The question is not "Why are there no sensible alternatives?" but rather, "Why do people go for cars even when the alternatives are more sensible?"."

Because they're lazy? (Just a WAG)

What's that? Uber isn't actually worth $82bn? Reverse-gear IPO shows the gig (economy) is up

Doctor Evil

Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

@defiler - thanks! I somehow missed that one.

Doctor Evil

Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

"A recent SF study showed both that ride share is increasing, not decreasing congestion but more importantly is contributing to 15% of the vehicles on the road. "

Citation, please? (Seriously, I'm interested in this result.)

May Day! PM sacks UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for Huawei 5G green-light 'leak'

Doctor Evil

Re: "quite a few"

"People need to grow up about politics in general in this country and have a clue what they're voting for instead of flip flopping around every year from one end of the political spectrum to another on a whim.

I envy how much the Yanks are involved in their politics and actually get it."

These two statements are mutually contradictory. Believe me, few inhabitants of this planet are less actively involved in politics -- or have less of a clue how it all actually goes together -- than the average American. The view from this side of the pond is much different; the White House makes Whitehall look positively exemplary as a working democracy!

Sophos antivirus tools. Working Windows box. Latest Patch Tuesday fixes. Pick two: 'Puters knackered by bad combo

Doctor Evil

Preventing the update from installing (if not yet installed) ...

... should be easy: plug in an external drive.

Complex automation won't make fleshbags obsolete, not when the end result is this dumb

Doctor Evil

"Gregory Travis' recent analysis of Boeing's MCAS system "How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer" is a very powerful expose of how dangerous AI is in safety systems."

It's on IEEE Spectrum here -- does require a (free) sign-up to the site.

Canadian woman fined for not holding escalator handrail finally reaches the top after 10 years

Doctor Evil

Re: Bilingual

Nope. La Belle Province de Quebec has a language law which actually prohibits signage in any language other than French. Montreal being situated in Quebec, the sign is correctly (whether you agree with the provincial language law or not) in French only.

I still think she's absolutely in the right. Handcuffed and detained for half an hour for failing to obey a directive? That's abuse of authority and richly deserving of sanction. The same sign says to hold your baby's stroller in place ahead of you with one hand while holding on to the handrail with the other. How safe is that?

It's raining patches, Hallelujah! Microsoft and Adobe put out their latest major fixes

Doctor Evil

Re: Yeah, I know... (now)

"Be thankful you could still log on!"


While this CEO may be stiff, his customers are rather stuffed: Quadriga wallets finally cracked open – nothing inside

Doctor Evil

Re: Hint

"According to the terms of service, users of the service weren't depositing actual money into their accounts"

Well, this guy apparently did deposit real money. A fair chunk of it, in fact.

Tim Apple. Larry Oracle. Ginni Layoffs: It works so why the heck not?

Doctor Evil

Doesn't always work, though

Richard Virgin?

(Ironically, perhaps?)

Official science: Massive asteroids are so difficult to destroy, Bruce Willis wouldn't stand a chance

Doctor Evil

If I understand this correctly, what they're saying is that when the big one hits the earth, there'll still be an earth afterwards (once all the bits re-coalesce -- see video 2). It just won't be recognizable as the earth per se. So, no problem, right?

Thanks anyway for spending all that time thinking about stuff like this, you guys. Have one on me.

Artificial Intelligence: You know it isn't real, yeah?

Doctor Evil

Re: the error is in call it "AI" !!!

No error in calling it AI. Just make it "algorithmic inference" instead and then we can keep on using our (already well-established) acronym.

NASA's Opportunity rover celebrates 15 years on Mars – by staying as dead as a doornail

Doctor Evil

It would be so great if NASA could send a follow-up mission after Spirit and Opportunity -- another rover, equipped with a feather duster and a winch and cable, to extract these guys from their respective predicaments and revive them. Call it ... oh, I dunno, Rosie?

The Apple Mac is 35 years old. Behold the beige box of the future

Doctor Evil

Re: Apple hardware quality

Mea culpa. It IS an inkjet. (Vertical form-factor, so no -- a StyleWriter, not an ImageWriter.)



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