* Posts by Screwed

142 posts • joined 27 Mar 2013


'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now


Re: Why opt out ?

Don't even have to move abroad for there to be issues and questions.

If you left England for Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and your new GP surgery did get your medical records, you might think yourself in the clear.

But both I and my partner have definitive proof the old GP surgery in England retained data. We got things like SMS reminders!

If you visit NHS Digital's website, it actually takes quite some effort to identify whether it is UK-wide or just England. Yes, you can see the word "England" but not in a context which makes it clear whether this data transfer issue is confined or not. After all, the NHS Covid-19 app actually covers England and Wales so there is at least some lack of clarity.

US Patent Office to take only DOCX in future – or PDFs if you pay extra


It was always such fun opening Word documents on a computer which was primarily used for other tasks such as printing labels. With a small format label printer set as default.

Add allowing Windows to change your default printer automatically.

This is why I have sometimes set the default printer to whatever print to PDF option has been available. You can get Word to be pretty consistent at the cost of always having to select a specific printer if you actually want paper output.

And agree about captioning. Whoever would have thought a caption belongs with something else?

SpaceX flings another bunch of humans into orbit in reused capsule atop reused booster


All this, and yet they can't detect if there is a driver actually in the driving seat of a Tesla. Preferably awake and aware.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain



Interesting that the greyscaling can be switched on or off – albeit by the bizarre approach of ad blocking.

I’m trying to imagine the development meetings which decided that a greyscaling option was desirable, even necessary and financially justified. What was the rationale? Did they actually anticipate using it in this way? And that the chosen technique could be switched by end users blocking/unblocking ads.

Also interesting to speculate on how it was tested, perhaps whether it was tested. Certainly doesn’t appear to have been tested by a truly representative selection of real world end-users.

Finally, how many other websites have planned things like this? When the queen does eventually die, can we expect even more websites to adopt this sort of approach? Maybe black on black.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson reluctant to reveal his involvement in the OneWeb deal


Re: When is he going to build a bridge

Perhaps worth looking at it the other way round?

The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage


Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

There won't be any left by then!

Funny how in "normal" circumstances, the range of coffees on the shelves includes everything from undrinkable to really good. When there is a shortage, anything reaching "acceptable" on the scale disappears almost immediately.

Rather suggests that the hoarders have some taste.

US state AGs: How can Facebook, Google, Twitter say they tackle misinformation when *gestures wildly at COVID-19 BS everywhere*


It's all very well going on about misinformation. There are many reasons people post misinformation. Some of them could be, in themselves, innocent even if the effects are anything but.

What about disinformation? And the motivations behind spreading disinformation.

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub


Re: Just go to your local library

If we are allowed to access the papers by going to a library, especially if we are able to make copies while there, what does Sci-Hub do?

All it does is make it possible for many who for numerous reasons cannot get the papers at their local library. And make it more convenient for those who could.

Imagine someone offering a service of going to a library on you behalf. And, by having a headcam (or whatever), enabling you to see what they are looking at. Difficult to argue that would be criminal. Especially if the person paying for the service is disabled and could not themselves go to the library.


Re: Just go to your local library

What nonsense to suggest in a time when libraries are largely closed!

The nearest decent size library to me is probably an hour and a half drive - and I'd have to make sure I have access as it is in another county.

I might as well go to my nearest copyright library - which is only a little further away - but again, access is an issue.

And with the nature of these papers, you can't just read them in half an hour and leave. You need to make copies so that you can go back and forth, and check out references, tables of data, figures.


Is it likely?

When I have had opportunity to access both versions (i.e. official and from "somewhere else"), there has never been the slightest hint of an intentional change. Only, sometimes, things like graphics being downgraded, or bits missed due to poor scanning, etc.

Of course, it is possible. But so too could the publishers. And we might find it pretty hard to track down.


Re: children! terrrorists! illegal! dangerous! risk! threat! Russians! nukes! trolls! roubles!

For reasons related to health, I frequently wish to read items which are behind paywalls.

The idea that individual health is being held to ransom - and at completely unaffordable prices - is despicable.

Frequently you can find things like a single short letter published as a response to a paper from over a century ago that would cost tens of dollars to access. And at that point, we would often have absolutely no idea whether it would actually be of interest, or not.

Vast numbers of papers are downloaded and passed around as PDFs in order to make them accessible. Sometimes by their authors.

From time to time, papers are accessible prior to publication - often in draft with line numbers, etc. But as soon as they are published, they are chargeable. Hence I have many uncorrected proof versions of papers. Which will tend to propagate mistakes - from typos up - which were addressed in the final versions.

Sometimes, I have even seen official guideline papers behind paywalls.

Obviously there is a cost to providing the access, but PubMed Central (and EuropePMC) are sitting there providing fantastic access when the publisher allows.

On top of all this, if papers are not accessible, they will not be adequately archived. All too many journals have disappeared taking their entire back catalogue offline. Although copies might still exist, finding them can be close to impossible.

How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use


Can we have a search engine function for the first ever occurrence of whatever term we are looking for?

With suitable logic that ensures it finds the first time it was used, not the oldest page. When a paper document is digitised, the date needs to reflect when it was written, not first put on the internet.

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent


The Wiki entry for Dido says:

"In February 2017, Harding announced that she would stand down as CEO of TalkTalk in order to focus more on her public service activities."

If what we have seen is her public service, please return forthwith to commerce. Preferably retire. Lots of people who have genuinely put their experience to use in public service have done so for nothing or a notional salary.


Re: Catch 22

Even more pronounced if you look at distances between Cornwall/Devon and Wales.Seems to think Barnstaple is nice and close... Actually takes about the same time as London or Manchester.

Lovely though Barnstaple might be, it is hardly a sensible option if Bristol or Birmingham has what is needed.


Re: [Apple & Google] have been on the record as saying that the UK app … is a world first

Last time I even saw a QR code, the establishment didn't notice or care whether you scanned it. They wanted name and phone number - and that was all they cared about.

Soon, no more blood tests or probing for prostate cancer? AI claims 99% success rate using more relaxing methods


Re: "limited experiment should be taken with a pinch of salt"

You appear to be making assumptions there.

That I have a prostate.

That I do not already have prostate cancer.

(And that I am lying face-down on the floor?)

Further, in my quick look, I could see association between salted meats and prostate cancer but neither a proved causal link nor confirmation that it is sodium chloride and not other salts (or just the sodium, or the chloride) that is being pointed out.

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking


Re: Oh dear!

(what the fuck is wrong with using the key, anyway?)

I'd have to find the keyhole first - I genuinely can't remember where they are. Don't think I have ever used one on either of the two cars I regularly drive. I just walk up and press a button on the door handle. And another on the dash/console. The remotes are deep down in a bag I always carry.

Judge denies Parler an injunction to force AWS to host the antisocial network for internet outcasts


Re: Censorship by Private Companies

I had not known anything of the Scottish connection to Parler's return:

DDoS-Guard was registered in 2017 under a limited partnership, a financial structure in Scotland that allows nonresidents to create companies with little scrutiny. Aleksei Likhachev and Evgeniy Marchenko, two Russian businessmen who registered it, remain owners of the company. The partnership under which DDoS-Guard is registered is called Cognitive Cloud and is listed at an address in Edinburgh’s Forth Street.



Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'


Despite already being uncompetitive, they increased the storage allowance at the bottom rung in a mad attempt to increase apparent value. When many were using way less than their existing allowance. And applied a considerable increase in price charged.

So they lost me. Yet I still use their "free" option for convenience. (Lots of people had links to some files on Dropbox. Easier to allow that to continue than to try to force them all to change.)

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'


USA uses pounds.

Just not as currency. You ever looked at any of their diet and weight loss sites?

Also for stray dogs.

Loser Trump is no longer useful to Twitter, entire account deleted over fears he'll whip up more mayhem


Re: An elephant in the room

Just a little bit of help from the Soviet Union. Probably over 10 million dead. And, for example, numbers of tanks that are astonishing.


Re: Tweeted by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

From what I have read, not too "top". Rather, reasonably competent at golf but utterly adept at accepting fake scores.


Re: An elephant in the room

That's phenomenology for you.

I think I've figured out a way!

Consultants bag £375m for their role in developing the UK's faltering COVID-19 Test and Trace system


Re: In context

I looked at that figure. And then at the figures for my county from the very start of statistics collection. Looks like England right now is ahead of the county's total cumulative cases. However it is expressed.

(No - I'll not tell you where I am! At least, not until we have all had effective vaccines.)

Dutch officials say Donald Trump really did protect his Twitter account with MAGA2020! password


Re: less than a month before no one has to care what appears on Trump’s Twitter feed ever again

I think it's Rudy who has the grey bits. You know, the bits the dye (or whatever it was) dripped from?

Reading El Reg while working from home? Here's a pleasant thought: Kaspersky says 1 in 10 of you are naked right now


Ordinary nudity is one thing, might be a bit odd on webcam but, really, so what?

But I do draw a line on anyone doing a Jeffrey Toobin.

Someone's not Biden their time... Trump administration bars US investment in top Chinese tech giants


So vital to the US that it has taken them four years to realise (in their minds, at least) that it is something the administration should be doing.

New lawsuit: Why do Android phones mysteriously exchange 260MB a month with Google via cellular data when they're not even in use?


Re: Don’t use android

Does Huawei's EMUI do the same?

I know it is based on Android. Be somewhat ironic if Huawei effectively scoops up far less data and, of that, sends effectively none to China.

HP: That print-free-for-life deal we promised you? Well, now it's pay-per-month to continue using your printer ink


Re: print-free-for-life plan was "an introductory offer,"

For many years we have used a network-only printer with what is sold as a range extender for wifi. Simply connect a computer to the range extender to set up the range extender so it talks to the router, then plug the printer into it.

Works fine.

Biden projected to be the next US President, Microsoft joins rest of world in telling Trump: It looks like... you're fired



I can't think of any logical reason "A LOT" couldn't be a negative number.


Re: Yay! Party time!

Has anyone ever alleged the dogcatcher was elected due to fraudulent voting?


Re: Yay! Party time!

Back in the 1970 election, some of the top year at my boarding school were 18 and eligible to vote. One of the masters gave them a lift to the polling station. The master said something about stopping off and buying them a pint of beer on the way back. (Am pretty sure that was a joke. The school policy was very much against alcohol, even if legal.)

Somehow, and I have never worked out how, a complaint was put in that he had attempted to bribe them. The police came and asked some questions - they decided no further investigation was needed.

Have no idea whether that allegation ended up being counted.


Re: Yay! Party time!

Just yesterday I read a medical assessment of the two candidates. Biden has issues. But Trump seemed to be slightly worse. Calcium affecting heart and prescribed maximum dose of Rosuvastatin due to cholesterol. Plus rosacea and prostate issue.

Incidently, Trump uses a cream Ivermectin product. And Ivermectin is being investigated as a potential Covid-19 treatment. Could an existing Ivermectin level have helped him if he really did have Covid-19?

Let's... drawer a veil over why this laser printer would decide to stop working randomly


Re: Low IQ or low volition?

Agreed it is mostly a ridiculous decision but it can be sort-of right in other circumstances. Such as when a PC is built in one location and shipped to the user in a place with one printer. They plug it in, do one print - then it is right for the future. Similarly if they replace the one printer at that location.

However, options like Print to PDF entirely screw up the concept. The user might only have one physical printer but many also produce PDFs.

Update to NHS COVID-19 app brings improved warnings, end to 'ghost' notifications


Re: Risk level

But this is not England!

In Wales, the entire country is in fire break. Regardless local status.

The risk, though, does not change simply because a government has blanket applied a certain status.


Risk level

I live in one of the lowest incidence areas of the UK.

The whole county had 11 new cases yesterday. My actual town had 0 to 2.

Yet the app reports my risk level as HIGH. My guess is that it is using the fire break status to report risk level rather than actual incidence. Are there risk levels higher than HIGH? Like VERY HIGH?

NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app is leaving some unable to access government self-isolation grants


Risk level

Risk level in my neck of the woods has shot up from Low to HIGH.

Number of cases in the county in previous 24 hours = One. Deaths = None. Cases per 100,000 = 0.8.

It appears that being in an area impacted by restrictions (Wales) is nonsensically interpreted as changing the risk level. The restrictions could be seen as reducing risk level further!


On Thursday, we visited a place to have a cuppa - very quiet, outside, in a low risk area so as safe as possible. We were told that the name and phone number is legally required - regardless scanning the QR.

Which seems to make yet further nonsense of the system.

(We have previously been told, elsewhere, that scanning the QR was sufficient.)

Oh Mi: Xiaomi shows off 80W wireless charging, claims battery fully fat again in under 20 minutes


I am often involved in discussing medicine doses and the things that cause much confusion are switching between units and using decimal points - rather than (generally) whole numbers.

For example, vitamin B12. Required daily amount for many of us is around 3 micrograms. Standard low oral doses are 50 or 100 micrograms. Common high oral doses are 1,000 and 5,000 micrograms. Common injectable dose is 1,000 micrograms.

It just engenders confusion if the unit is switched to milligrams for doses of 1,000 micrograms and higher. Even more so when see 0.1 or 0.05 mg.

For batteries, we do see capacities below 1 Ah - such as some AAA cells. It is simpler to continue using mAh for all smaller batteries. Only going up to Ah when there would be no interest in anything after the decimal point.

IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests


Just what will, indeed could, be done with this information?

Assuming they can correctly predict Alzheimer's, so far as I know there is currently no effective treatment. In which case, about the only advantages I can see are a) allows time to make decisions and tidy things up; b) avoids treatment for other possibilities. And, just how long before any real deterioration would anyone wish to know this diagnosis?

But what if they wrongly predict Alzheimer's and the issue is actually a treatable condition? I have seen someone with a thyroid conditions more or less diagnosed with dementia and, possibly, Parkinson's. I am aware of people with Pernicious Anaemia who have been diagnosed with brain and mental conditions. Both of which can improve massively with treatment. (Though there are still major arguments about the exact choices of treatment.)

Samsung to introduce automatic call blocking on Android 11-capable flagships


I, very reluctantly, accept there can be reasons to allow withheld caller-id. More readily, I accept spoofing for some purposes - such as a single presentation number for an organisation.

But is there really no possibility of having a registration process for such numbers? For example, I have read of a spate of spam "HMRC" calls - and seen them on the house line which we never use except to find out who called.

Could the HMRC not register their presentation numbers and the carriers block any spoofing of those numbers from any unregistered sources?

Further, the bottom line is that we need to be able to almost automatically report spam calls. For example, have a logical button we can press instead of answering or cutting off the call - "Report as spam/hoax/etc." - or allow use during a call.

It's that time of the year when Apple convinces you last year's iPhones weren't quite magical enough, so buy this new 5G iPhone 12 instead


Re: Yawn, same as the all the others but faster

I'd like a small phone - the 12 mini might be suitable - with the ability to attach it to another device (iPad being obvious, but also PC, Mac or Android tablet) so as to have the option of a larger screen, keyboard, etc.

I can easily imagine carrying anything from an iPad mini through to an iPad Pro in may bag and using the new MagSafe to snap the phone onto the back of the tablet when needed. Automatic detection, of course, and automatic connection. Even new-style Touch ID if the iPad has it! With the iPhone/iPad combo then being like a huge phone. Why, the much bigger iPad could even act as a powerpack.

It might also make sense to then produce iPads without cameras.

A 73bn-kg, skyscraper-size chocolate creme egg spinning fast enough to eventually explode – it's asteroid Bennu


Re: 73bn-kg

Including the coal and copper that has been extracted?

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


My most frequent use of Excel is as a simple calculator.

Bung the numbers into cells and add a few formulas. Makes it so much easier to check for and correct typos. And, if needed, extend the arithmetic to a few rows.

But this is largely making up for the problems of calculators.

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: Spreadsheets are why we have jobs!

Certainly do!

The first time I wrote a seriously useful spreadsheet (in Lotus 123), I found it took up to about twenty minutes to recalculate. Whilst it was worth it for the job it did, the actual data content was tiny. Little enough that you could see every number on the screen at once. No macros at all. Just formulas.


On a computer with pretty much no graphics software, particularly no vector graphics, Excel has been surprisingly good for "drawing".

But if anyone ever chose it for the purpose, they should be fired from a petard.

Anyone remember batch processing systems? With their End Of File markers? Even record count records?

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it


Re: Prevention could be low-tech and cheap

As so often, encouragement to enhance our immune systems. Without regard to people who already have over-stimulated immune systems. (Common in some auto-immune disorders.) And that a "cytokine storm" appears to be a major problem in Covid-19 - which might need the immune system to be damped down a bit rather that strengthened.

Taking selenium might be OK - but it depends very much on where you live and what you eat whether it is sensible. To take a trivial example, someone who eats brazil nuts every day might already have high levels of selenium. And large parts of north America have fairly high soil selenium levels.

Things are a touch more subtle than doing a supermarket sweep through Holland and Barrett.

Windows to become emulation layer atop Linux kernel, predicts Eric Raymond


Re: Edge using chromium

Seabrook. Owned by Calbee.

UK, US hospital computers are down, early unofficial diagnosis is a suspected outbreak of Ryuk ransomware


I can't see the NHS (in England of the devolved organisations) having cyberattack insurance.

The costs will fall in the affected bits and, so far as they have to, government coffers. That is, us.

Brexit travel permits designed to avoid 7,000-lorry jams come January depend on software that won't be finished till April


Re: timing

You don't have to know it will be a no-deal to realise that arrangements needed to be made. Unless a deal which specifically avoided the underlying causes of the queue, the KAP (or some other way of addressing the issues) would be required.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021