* Posts by Screwed

198 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Mar 2013


Chrome's HTTPS padlock heads to Google Graveyard


"Unlike the padlock, it has no obvious link to any real world object that hints at its function."

My eyes say it is two keys. But my house has an unusual key design throughout. (Not the usual Yale-type.) I'd not expect that interpretation to be at the top of the list for most people.

And it is horrible.

Australia gives made-in-China CCTV cams the boot


And in the UK?

Has anyone done and published a similar audit in the UK?

I suspect some properties in Marsham Street might have Hikvision security cameras.

The Twitpocalypse may have begun, as datacenter migration reportedly founders


Re: Here is data everyone, including Musk, has been looking for

Though it rather depends on how tweets are counted. For example, a reply, a retweet and a quote tweet of the same thing can be done very quickly.

And the continuing lack of an edit function sees numerous replies to tweets just to minor correct typos. Often within seconds. Which can ramp up tweet numbers for those of us with fat fingers.

It has also been suggested that non-payers will be limited in likes they can apply.

Longstanding bug in Linux kernel floppy handling fixed



Thank goodness ZIP drives didn't become standard. At least, not while they were still affected by click of death. Did that ever get fixed?

And remembering processor usage they could achieve. (SCSI ones were much better.)

Amazon halts work on ‘Scout’ delivery-bot that delivered parcels no faster than humans



Round my area, Royal Mail have largely switched to electric vehicles. And what a difference to noise and, most especially, diesel exhaust - which can be very bad when they restart the engine multiple times even in our short road.

From that point of view, I'd very much appreciate one of these delivering rather than the diesel vehicles Amazon (and most others) use. But how would Amazon handle the sixty miles from their nearest depot to where I live? A local depot which employs people to transfer packages from vans or lorries to Scouts seems the only possibility. Which would require considerable numbers of transfer depots to cover even the urban areas of a country. With staff. And lots of Scouts so they can still deliver in a sensible time even at busy periods. And particularly so when they have to wait, possibly for many hours, for the customer to unload them.

So this seems feasible to use only in specific areas which match how they operate. No wonder Amazon are not expanding the project.

And I very much agree with those who prefer a brief chat with a human.

Micro molten salt reactor can fit on a truck, power 1k homes. When it's built


Concentration on the size of the reactor tends to read as if an artic turns up, the reactor gets put on a prepared slab, and someone turns up to connect some cables.

We need the full scale of the plant to be clarified.

If each one can power a thousand homes, we'd need 3634 (2020 figures) for London alone - and that's just for houses. Add in the extras you identify, and fitting them in will be extremely challenging!

Waxworm's spit shows promise in puncturing plastic pollution


Calling Milton Jones

Are very big ones called bee he moths?

USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule


Re: Lint Magnet

With both micro-USB and Lightning, I have had small pieces of paper find their way into phones' sockets. But no such problem with the one USB-C phone I temporarily had (a few months).

Is it possible for the USB-C socket to incorporate some sort of silicone cover, or dummy plug, without breaking USB-C standards?

And while the EU are at it, please force all carriers to support eSIMs at no extra charge. Not to force a change to eSIMs, just ensure that they cannot effectively be blocked by technology or cost/charge decisions made by the carriers.

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie


Re: Perfect fidelity

I've found setting the default printer to a PDF virtual printer can help to avoid, rather to side-step, the issue with Word.

Inconvenient if you do actually print to a real printer. But if that is fairly rare, this approach can work acceptably for many.

And heaven help if you use label printers and other such devices. Bound to forget to switch back at least occasionally. Especially with the "make last printer used the default" option selected.

Update your Tesla now before the windows put your fingers in a pinch


Typical Musk

He tweets (ironic in itself) about the word applied to the process!

"Recall" might not now be the word anyone would choose. But it is familiar and, with the extra information about it being possible over the air, has pretty obvious meaning.

Would he really prefer some sort of "Ban from the highway until updated" notice?

Meta accused of breaking the law by secretly tracking iPhone users


I decided against facebook and their stable-mates many years ago. Never joined nor installed any of their software. Tried never to visit any page in their empire. Block traffic.

Despite all that, I suspect they know too much about me. And are far too dominant. Quite how they have been able to make the acquisitions they have without triggering antitrust / monopoly concerns is astonishing.

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months


Re: Look to Dinorwig

What's wrong with British Fava Beans? (Except they've run out at present.)

"Whole Fava Beans, Organic

Hodmedod's British Pulses & Grains

Britain's original bean, the fava bean is delicious, nutritious and good for the soil. Our Organic Whole Fava Beans are perfect for spicy Egyptian ful medames, truly British baked beans, stews, curries, salads and more.

Our current crop of whole fava beans are the unusually small, round and wonderfully tender Maris Bead variety, bred over 50 years ago at the Plant Breeding Institute on Maris Lane near Cambridge. Whether they're cooked from dry or used canned, we think these are our best ever whole fava."


US accident investigators want alcohol breathalyzers in all new vehicles


Re: Sounds like it could be

Or isopropanol also present in many screenwash mixes.

I suspect there could be a number of such substances which could cause a false positive.

Including petrol which could contain up to 10% ethanol...

Wearables sales slacken as the novelty wears off


Even with the money available, I'll give them a miss

The only reason I'd like an Apple Watch 8 is to check out the health features - there are some features which might help to illuminate my own bodily issues.

But I'd probably end up barely using any of its facilities after an initial, and rather short, period of obsessive checking. Hopelessly not worth buying.

And the AW 7 hasn't dropped in price sufficiently to appeal even as an Apple refurb. (Even going back to the AW 3 is still remarkably expensive as an Apple refurb. And that is surely a dead-end.)

Letter to FCC: Why are US carriers locking handsets to networks?


First Amendment

Switching network should be regarded as a Freedom of Expression and covered by the First Amendment.

Anyone ever tried that tack?

California to try tackling drought with canal-top solar panels


Re: 13GW

Over car parks!

While they wouldn't have the evaporation benefit, think how much less cooling of vehicles by A/C would be required - especially when they have been roasting under the midday sun.

AI detects 20,000 hidden taxable swimming pools in France, netting €10m


Chemicals & Services

I'm a bit surprised there was no mention of checking who buys pool chemicals, or provides pool services.

I'd have thought access to that data would help identify pools which are not visible from above. And help to confirm information from other sources.

(Not saying I want them to do so.)

Germany orders Sept 1 shutdown of digital ad displays to save gas


Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

Whereas we in the UK have to rely on some petrol price web sites few by drivers' observations.

The one I currently use has actually been quite accurate but the reported prices are often noted to be two or three days old. So am always suitable sceptical of some super-low price until I actually get it into my tank.

Have recently seen a differential between forecourts of as much as 21p a litre. Which is large enough to cover the monetary cost of driving quite a number of miles to fill up. As it is ludicrous to use petrol to save money, we make sure we plan to fill up when already travelling in the direction of the cheapest petrol. But not everyone has that luxury.

The times when supermarket petrol looked like a loss leader are well and truly dead. With Tesco now often being the most expensive in the area (though usually equalled by Morrison's).

UK's largest water company investigates datacenters' use as drought hits


Re: Hosepipe bans

Living in a Thames area, as I did, I am aware of some significant mains replacement schemes. They did so where I lived.

But they connected that new main to the existing water supply pipe and communication pipe. Months, possible a year or two later, we had a significant leak. Back-calculating suggests it was of the order of 10 to 20 litres a minute. It is feasible that the mains replacement disturbed the other pipework and caused the leak. Shame no-one from Thames thought to check.

Thames didn't even check for stopcocks - we didn't have one! (Had always relied on the down-a-hole stopcock by the house and never looked for a street stopcock.) Nor a meter - which would have highlighted the issue.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: From Mssrs Pratchett & Gaimain

And the Romans used an eight day week - nundinal cycle.

Does anywhere today use a non-seven-day week?


Re: From Mssrs Pratchett & Gaimain

one and a half

Which was very often said as three ha'pence. At one point, there was even a three halfpence coin, and a three farthing coin.


The many derivatives of the CP/M operating system


Re: Apps? Apps?

I blame Ken Dodd. He started all this app-iness.

A wise old man told me one time

Happiness is a frame of mind

Emergency services call-handling provider: Ransomware forced it to pull servers offline


Is it coincidental that I have today received my first fake/scam Covid proximity alert? The same message has already been reported multiple times in the past few hours.

UK Parliament bins its TikTok account over China surveillance fears


Keep the account!

I hope they had the wit to retain @UKParliament - simply to stop anyone else using it.

Having never used TikTok, I really don't know whether you can retain dormant accounts. Comment is based on supposition that you can. Have no intention of going off to find out.

Find it difficult to understand why anyone thought it a good idea. I mean, Hansard is a stodgy thing to read. But they never thought to make thinks accessible to UK Youth by adding an "In Parliament Today" section to the Beano, or Judy... So why, just because it is "social media", go to TikTok?

FDA clears way for an AI stethoscope to detect heart disease


Re: Smart-watch bound?

If a doctor asked me: does it feel like your heart goes racing while your pulse stays about normal?, I'd answer: No

I have AF - my heart rate will zoom up easily to 160/180, possibly higher. But I literally never feel it at all. Never any feeling of racing. Even when watching a screen showing my ECG traces meaning I am prompted by seeing the rate go up, I still don't notice it.

(Found simply by a GP doing a BP test and noticing heart rate. BP was OK.)

And wearing a proper monitor showed nothing. It simply didn't happen during the time I wore one.

But a very cheap wrist band did show pretty much exactly what the ECG had shown.

Therefore, detecting AF might not be rocket science, but asking the patient alone, and even in conjunction with a Holter, is inadequate for some of us.

That emoji may not mean what you think it means


Why don't flag emoji display on Windows?

The one large group of emoji I would use if I could are flags of the nations. But...

"Emoji flags are supported on all major platforms except Windows, which displays two-letter country codes instead of emoji flag images."


Thank you, Microsoft.

So, for my purpose, I collected the images of flags from Emojipedia (chose the Apple ones as they looked best to me), and embedded images. At the cost of significant tedium doing so, and document size inflation.

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash


Re: Am I the only one

If we get massive quantities of fusion energy available, we will pollute our environments with heat and light.

Easy enough to imagine people maintaining their gardens as tropical paradises all year even in the coldest of climates. Lots of heat and lots of light. Along with roads heated to prevent ice. And cooled in summer to prevent tarmac melting.

Will optics ever replace copper interconnects? We asked this silicon photonics startup



An extreme example of wavelength division multiplexing?

For more, including Wavelength Routing Networks, a quicjk look here might be of interest:


Password recovery from beyond the grave


Re: Not happened to me, but

Apple and Google both have arrangements. But Etsy’s policy is to agree it is a sensitive issue and refuse to discuss further. Which isn’t good for Etsy sellers, family, friends or customers.

Partner does sell on Etsy and, after our next-door neighbour died recently, she decided to find out about all her accounts and arrangements.

She was going to check eBay but hasn’t yet.

EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices


Other devices? Other features?

Why, dear EU, do you stop at fifteen types of device?

There are many other electrical devices which should have been included. (Though maybe applying to new models only, or some such get-out clause?)

Shavers (come on, Philips) and trimmers. Toothbrushes (or at least, the charger bases, come on Oral-B), water flossers, etc. Torches. Lower-power kitchen, garden and workshop tools/chargers. Smart meter remote displays (mine, yes, it really does have a micro-USB connector despite being brand new the other week). Blood pressure, TENS, and other health-related devices.

However, I would like to see a specific improvement such as others have suggested. First, breakaway connections like new MacBook MagSafe. Second, a waterproof version which enables safe use in wet, steamy environments (possibly power only, using Bluetooth for data if needed). It's quite easy to see that it might be possible to come up with a standard which addresses both issues in one. Even just a USB-C waterproof blanker could help protect devices when not being charged.

Let us also see a universal visible marking scheme to help identify chargers, cables and devices and their capabilities/requirements. For example a single green band meaning it conforms to some basic level, double orange that it goes up to 60 watts, triple cyan that it is good for 100 watts. Something that has negligible cost, is easily visible, doesn't rely on colour alone.

If you look at Amazon, many vendors are offering USB-based devices in many of these classes. Though sometimes they use micro-USB, USB-B, or some proprietary aspect. Get everyone over, please. Let me go on holiday with just one charger!


Re: Remember how well it worked last time...back in 2009.

And there is a good safety reason to consider non-integrated cables for many, many devices.

You can often see the integrated cables on tools such as electric drills, the other sort of router, sanders, etc., which have suffered obvious damage. But they don't get replaced because of the difficulty (and cost) of opening up the tool and fitting a new cable.

Indeed, you also see cables either being pulled because they are too short, or in loops everywhere because they are too long.

(I think Festool have removable cables on many of their power tools. But 'tis proprietary.)

IEC connectors are not suited because most of them come adrift too easily.


Re: The BS 546 Brexit connector next

Not always!

And quite a number of devices supply some sort of adaptor from Schuko to BS 1363. A few years ago, got a refrigerator or freezer (can't now remember which). A sort of clamp-on adaptor was fitted which worked fine. Trouble was, being much, much deeper that a BS 1363 plug, it stopped the device from going into the space made for it. So I changed the BS 1363 socket (which was fitted into the under-worktop space) by a real Schuko socket, and removed the adaptor. Worked just fine as it takes much less depth.

Smart homes are hackable homes if not equipped with updated, supported tech


My smart meter (for electricity and gas) is close to useless.

I came down this morning at about 08:00 to find I am going to go over daily budget for both electricity and gas. My gas usage so far today being (in money terms) £0.00 and my budget for both fuels (which I set to see the effect it had) is £1. Now (18:13) gas says £0.04 and still "Predicted over budget".

My electricity usage was about £0.66 at the same time and, after doing some cooking (oven for bread, and a little hob usage), that rose to £0.96 and says "Over budget".

If I want to investigate further than the very dumb unit provides, I have to connect to the supplier's systems. Afraid I can't see why the smart meter remote can't feed my computer as well as the supplier's systems.

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine


I always thought the ability to brick things remotely needed to be applied to arms sales.

I bet Russia wishes it could have bricked all the Russian/Soviet military equipment in Ukraine. And Ukraine might wish it could brick all Antonov aircraft used by Russia.

Obviously, given time, the recipient might find a way round the remote bricking, if they knew it existed. So it would be best if it could be implemented in a stealthy way.

Quite a difficult job to do well. And potentially embarrassing and inflammatory if found out.

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro


140 characters? I think not!

It is 280 now, I believe.


Re: Do what?

All a meter company has to do is have in their T&Cs that non-functioning of a meter does not allow anyone to park there without charge.

Then, if you find a broken meter, they are stopping you from using that meter for as long as it is not repaired. Which could be their decision for any reason - arbitrary or real.

Just two die for: Apple reveals M1 Ultra chip in Mac Studio


Re: The Apple price

The number of times I have seen DIMMs ripped out and replaced because the original memory occupied all the slots! Drawers full of small DIMMs.

The number of times I have seen processor upgrades precluded by changes to socket design.

The number of broken pins I've seen on chips - including expensive processors.

The two things I really want to be able to access are storage. Even then, I suspect it would be largely if the device requires repair. Far easier to take an SSD out than backup and restore. And ensures no-one can possibly access the data.

And battery in devices which have them.


Re: Oh the keyboard ….

I got a Logitech cover for my iPad Pro - which includes a keyboard. Inexpensive on eBay. And very convenient. Just a bit plastic rather than a nice finish such as leather.

Got a previous model of the iPad as an Apple refurb (could be 2018, from memory), with 256 storage, and cellular, and the Logitech case, and a knock-off stylus/pencil, for only a few pounds more than the entry level iPad Air.


Re: No Mention. . .

The Mac Studio is so small and light, there is no longer an opening to sell the Mac Pro wheels at £699.

Risk-based algorithm could improve cancer screenings


Swings and Roundabouts

In another area of medicine, it is becoming recognised that some people require a different medicine regime. The science has indicated that this can be due to a specific genetic factor (a particular SNP on a gene).

The positive is that people with this SNP are seeing better chances of getting the different medicine. Some consultants accept that it is justified despite its higher cost.

Most of the patients have had a private gene test - it has not advanced to the point of being widely available on the NHS.

The negative is that those who do not have that SNP are less likely to get it. Despite genetic research, being a fairly young field, is still discovering new SNPs which have the same indication for the other treatment.

The statistics are clear across the population. But population statistics do not apply to the individual. That patient either does, or does not, need the other treatment. The SNP should be seen more as an automatic route, and an explanation. But others should not be excluded from being assessed on a clinical basis, maybe given a trial of the other medicine to see if it helps.

Research casts doubt on energy efficiency of 5G


Can't help wondering how much energy an ad blocker might achieve?

I block a lot of advertising, and try to avoid auto-run videos, etc. But it is quite possible that the blocking makes the web usable - I might give up browsing if every ad did get through.

A bandwidth-levy applied to online advertising might help? Though how you collect is a bit of a problem given the lack of borders.

Users complain of missing data in UK wills search service


Re: Special characters

How I hark back to the days when I could set . (a single fullstop) as my password. (This was when there were literally no external connections. Nonetheless, a dumbcluckstupid thing to do.)

It was so long ago that many didn't realise you could use any "special" characters in passwords - so unlikely to be guessed. Most were pure alphanumeric.


Why not index all names?

Have been looking for a will of someone who died in October 2020. This is a member of partner's family, and she is simply interested - not expecting to have been left anything, but would like to be sure. Despite being the current live service, it is emblazoned "beta This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it."

His name wasn't there before the "upgrade", and after the service did eventually come back, with the unintuitive interface you mentioned, he still isn't there.

Worse, it currently shows no-one with that surname was granted probate in 2021 - though there were several (from memory, around 7) before the upgrade.

From my point of view, it seems crazy that I can't see his name at all. We know some wills are contested. And others are late for many reasons. But the system won't even list the name if there is an outstanding caveat or for some other reason has not been granted probate.

There seems to be no obvious reason that the name isn't added to the database as soon as the probate registry first find out about the will. Indeed, why doesn't the probate registry pick up deaths from the registrars and automatically add them?

Machine learning the hard way: IBM Watson's fatal misdiagnosis


Re: Watson

The picture appears rather more nuanced than you suggest. He was rather more likely to take cocaine than morphine, I believe.


Chill out to the sounds of an expert typing on a variety of mechanical keyboards


Where is the analyser to convert the sounds into the actual keys being typed? So you can read as he types. Or get Siri/Alexa/whatever to read it out.

Think that spreadsheet in your company's accounts dept is old? 70 years ago, LEO ran the first business app


Re: "LEO was also kept busy ... calculating missile trajectories for the Ministry of Defence"

I heard it as a Morningside joke. The accent seems to work better...

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email


Can we use non-UK Visa cards?

There is an emphasis on UK Visa cards. Tried looking, but their help and information pages keep failing to offer the answer.

There's something to be said for delayed gratification when Windows 11 is this full of bugs


I run two Windows machines - both currently on 10.

Thankfully, one cannot run 11 (the other could) and I really get tired using two different versions at the same time. Hence, Microsoft have made it quite clear I need to remain on 10. Indefinitely.

Then permanently wander off to MacOS and/or a flavour of Linux. (Already have an M1 Mac mini and a Linux box. So neither is unfamiliar.)

Ironically, I do have 11 running - in Parallels under MacOS. But will probably scrap that when my trial comes to an end. The only way I would keep it is if Microsoft offer an ARM licence for 11.

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist


If a pilot bails out, or dies, does his plane suddenly become a drone?

(I know my father bailed out of a Wellington in about 1943.)

The signal need only be stronger from the perspective of a device. Could be very localised and directional, hence not easy to detect from a significant distance away on the ground. Also, if fitted to or used in a vehicle, that vehicle might have moved by the time anyone investigates.

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review


I have a slight hearing issue - a bit of a notch towards the higher end. Combining that with DAB results in horrible sound quality. Bearable in a car but not exactly pleasant.

Of my current options, the way of listening that gives the best quality for any radio station is streaming using an Apple iPad Pro. Or ear pods and a phone/iPad.