* Posts by Screwed

211 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Mar 2013


PayPal is planning an ad network built off your purchase history


What an odd person...?

My PayPal history is confined to a subset of my purchases where I cannot use one of my other preferred ways of paying. These days, that is quite rare.

If PayPal analyse me for advertising, they will see a very odd and biased view. And if they sell that onwards it will mislead potential advertisers.

I am still hoping that my bank will offer an anonymised payment mechanism where the payee doesn't get to know anything about me and my account like card numbers, expiry, even bank name! Something like Apple Pay but better.

I stumbled upon LLM Kryptonite – and no one wants to fix this model-breaking bug


Ask AI

Have you asked the AI systems what they would do in your circumstances?

(Honestly not expecting a helpful response from them. But responses might be anywhere from a waste of time through mildly interesting, even amusing.)

Vodafone and Three's UK merger hits regulatory roadblock


5G, 3G, 2G

I live in an area with somewhat, or very, patchy coverage on all networks, on 3G, 4G and 5G. I am currently on Three while partner is on EE. (She had to move from Vodafone because their network is so awful here.)

This means that most of the time, at least one of us has a signal. Which is helpful.

At the end of this year, Three will have terminated all 3G coverage but still has virtually no 5G in the whole county and beyond. O2 and Vodafone have no 5G at all. While EE has at least got some coverage in the more populated areas - though still with many gaps.

Yet the websites of all these networks are pushing 5G phones. We are being told the network

Apparently we will enjoy a better network experience with greater coverage and reliability at no extra cost. I can't see why we will see any improvement at all.

Their claim:

"MergeCo will achieve this whilst also reducing energy consumption by accelerating the installation of energy efficient 5G equipment and replacing less power-efficient 2G and 3G systems."

is also junk as 3G will be turned off by the time the merger happens (by end of 2024) and Vodafone 2G will only exist for utility meters. (And Three does not have any 2G.)

250 million-plus reserved IPv4 addresses could be released – but the internet isn’t built to use them


Re: I propose a new solution

Imagine that Regland Kingdom has a revolution and becomes the Republic of Regland, they will want nothing to do with the old assigned IPv4 address and will demand a new one. (Even if they keep using the old address.)

Then, when the Republic of Regland splits into South Regland and Reglandia, the same will happen again. With the added issue of neither of the new nations accepting the other controlling the old IPv4 address(es).

In time South Regland and Reglandia settle their differences and become United Regland. And again, to mark the occasion and avoid ending up using two addresses, or one address taking precedence over the other, they need another new address.

Raspberry Pi Pico cracks BitLocker in under a minute


Virtual TPM

Where does this leave virtual TPM systems - such as are widely used on Macs running virtual Windows 11?

HP's CEO spells it out: You're a 'bad investment' if you don't buy HP supplies


Even if I do as you suggest, and move my fingers left and right as far as I can without being painful, my ring fingers are longer than my index fingers. (I do mean the ring finger on each hand, not both the ring fingers on my third hand.)

Any relationship with athletic performance, however, has passed me by entirely.

As for being psychotic, I'm really not the one to judge.

User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work


Re: April 1st and Windows 3.1 joke

We used to move some or all the desktop icons off into a separate folder.

What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?


Can you invoke AML on a non-emergency call?

Like reporting something to police 101?

Mind, if you allow your camera to access your location, you can just take and send a photo.


Re: My iPhone compass app includes the w3w location as well

The standard IOS 16 Compass app doesn't display W3W location! Well, not the one on my iPhone.

Apple Maps also shows Lat/Long for current location, but does so in decimal. Whereas Compass displays it in degrees/minutes/etc. format.

UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'


My first ever program caused the IBM mainframe to snarl up. Early 1970s, at school, punched with a manual card punch and a simple Fortran program.

Seems I made a mistake with a punched card but not sure if it was mis-punched or left out. Should have been something like:


Got a curt note back with my stack of cards.

While I never made that mistake again, one of the joys of computers is the seemingly infinite number of opportunities to screw things up.

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix


There were some very information and helpful health-related usenet forums. And one I used a lot is still in existence with one chap valiantly still posting regularly.

Two things made it progressively less and less pleasant to use: spam and belligerent posting. But all the binary posting - requiring much greater server capacity and bandwidth - didn't help. And we saw several ISPs drop out.

I used to pay for access through "the Berlin server" - which was pretty damned good.

Occasionally I use Google groups to see what is happening (not much!).

Anyone know of a reasonable client for use on an M1 macOS machine? The one I liked best was xnews.

Resilience is overrated when it's not advertised


Re: Failover backup redlining

Or they used some memory from the backup server when they found they needed more in the prime server.

British Airways, Boots, BBC payroll data stolen in MOVEit supply-chain attack


And spam?

In the last five or six days, I've received spam purporting to be from Boots (but clearly not if you look at the headers) - to an email address I used for communicating with Boots customer services.

Keep wondering if this hack is why it has started.

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.