* Posts by Maty

714 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jul 2007


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


Re: "The IT manager turned up clutching a clipboard"

Actually useful things, clipboards. We had a department which was inspected regularly, and those who didn't have their stuff together would spend a day of panic getting organized.

Since I was organized and unwilling to get pressed into the service of those who should have done the work earlier, I'd pick up a clipboard and wander around going 'hmmm' and ticking off an imaginary list. No-one ever asked what that was about. I had a clipboard. End of story.

Yeah, that Zoom app you're trusting with work chatter? It lives with 'vampires feeding on the blood of human data'


Re: Hmm

'We sincerely apologize for this oversight'.

Oversight: error of omission, lapse


supervision, surveillance, inspection.

I wonder which one they are apologizing for?

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home


Re: Bread

I'll offer my 2 bits worth here, since I've been working at home these past 20 years.

First of all, if you stick to a schedule and work 9-5 you'll be more productive than you have ever been because you are not attending useless meetings, discussing whatever TV show has the office hooked, helping some gormless colleague with work that's technically nothing to do with you, generally goofing off. (As a friend remarked - the problem with being self-employed is that the boss is always watching.)

Second, I like to bake and make cheese while working. You can do that with a proper kitchen 10 seconds away. Mindlessly stirring curds is a great mental time out, and pounding dough is great stress relief. You need to get up from the keyboard every 45 min or so anyway, and checking what stage your bread products are at is a good reason for doing this. Oh, and when we all had to suddenly self-isolate, I already had 30kg of flour at home as future bread, tortillas, pasta, cookies etc, and around 17kg of cheese in different stages of maturity.

Final rule - apart from those 10min keyboard breaks, don't do home stuff in working hours or work stuff in home hours. (Except shopping. Shopping at 11am once a week is great.)

Overall, working from home can be just as productive as office work, but you have to do it very differently.

Take it Huawei, Pai: Senate passes bill to rip 'dodgy' kit from rural telcos


Re: Americans are dumb

'I've noticed that the number of comments on El Reg posts is much lower than it used to be'

Well, all is not totally well. I logged in, and on the box which said 'Hi Maty' I clicked on the link 'view previous posts' (just above the 'log out' button). The link went to a page saying 'you must be logged in to do this.'

Gee, if only there was a tech site that could help me with this issue ...


Re: Americans are dumb

'if all states worked on a more representative system like nebraska and maine, the outcome would better reflect the popular vote'.

This is not necessarily a good thing. There's a reason the founding fathers made the USA a Republic and not a pure democracy. In a country as large and diverse as the USA, having policy made by and for the majority living on the east and west coasts would lead to alienation of the huge mass of 'flyover states' in the middle.

Thus the college and the Senate were specifically created to protect the interests of smaller rural populations, not so that they 'reflect the popular vote'. After all, pure democracy has been famously defined as 'two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.'

Windows takes a tumble in the land of the Big Mac and Bacon Double Cheeseburger


Re: To be fair

'Sadly actual bakers are largely a thing of the past ...'

So make your own bread. It's not rocket science - the recipe below is flour,salt,yeast and water. And preparation takes 10 min. (After that the yeasty-beasties do the work)


I often wonder why people who can put together complex apps in half a dozen computer languages can't assemble a decent pizza..

Are you getting it? Yes, armageddon it: Mass hysteria takes hold as the Windows 7 axe falls


Re: Microsoft Win10 Specs

RAM memory? Add it to the list that already includes PIN numbers and ATM machines.

GPS cyberstalking of girlfriend brings surveillance and indictment for alleged American mobster


Re: American Justice?

'Usually if you run a red light you face 20 years inside, because the red light was in one county, and as you went through you ended up in another, thus making it federal.'

er ... what? Leaving aside that traffic lights are not 'usually' at county boundaries, and crossing counties does not make it a federal rather than state offence, running a light is a traffic violation rather than a crime.

A search of the net (I was bored and waiting for a phone call, okay?) revealed only one such draconian punishment, and the drunk who ran the light killed a mother and two children, making the 20 years rather generous IMHO.

So unless you can produce a reference for this hyperbole, I'm going to suggest you are blowing smoke.

BOFH: We must... have... beer! Only... cure... for... electromagnetic fields


Wi-fi also turns the milk sour

A while back I had an online conversation with an individual who wanted to turn off the wi-fi for our entire little town because of the 'dangerous radiation'. After pointing out the abundant data to the contrary I concluded that wi-fi was safer than 'fresh milk or apple pie'. The discussion was concluded when our campaigner admitted that she never permitted her kids to touch milk or apples either ....

Fairytale for 2019: GNOME to battle a patent troll in court


A possible solution ...

Okay ... so why not file a patent in the USA for 'A thing that does stuff.' Then allow the patent to be licensed to anyone for 1 cent. After 20 years the patent expires, and anyone who invents things that do stuff can do so freely.

Dry patch? Have you considered peppering your flirts with emojis?


Wasn't it in Neal Stephenson's 'The Diamond Age' that writing had been replaced by emoji for most purposes?

Incognito mode won't stop smut sites sharing your pervy preferences with Facebook, Google and, er, Oracle


Outfits such as Google etc might know all your smutty details, but its hard to weaponize that stuff against individuals.

Let's say for example you have absolute 100% certain evidence that random politician, let's call him BJ (appropriately) has been browsing highly inappropriate websites. If you publish this information, people are going to reasonably ask where you got it from. Somehow I can't see Google or his ISP coming forward and saying 'Well yes, it was us. We keep everyone's highly private information and we don't keep it secret.' Well, they could do it once - then the shitstorm from a very worried and guilty public is going to hit them hard.

Furthermore BJ can go the Trump route, and just shrug it off as just another slur. He can reasonably point out that anyone with the means to verifiably discover that information also has the means to credibly fake it. In an age of deepfakes, a film showing him personally receiving the Order of Lenin from Putin for sabotaging the British economy can be dismissed as just a clever video manip.

After all, everyone knows you can't trust stuff you find on the internet.

Capital One gets Capital Done: Hacker swipes personal info on 106 million US, Canadian credit card applicants


time for change

Let's face it - if your personal details have not yet been splashed over the web by one breach or another, they are going to be. Large organizations can no more keep data secure than an infant can keep a diaper dry. It is time to recognize this and move on.

Security by obscurity no longer works. Just because someone has the right social security number, passport details etc, etc, does not mean that this person is who he says he is. The system has to change. Banks have to take responsibility for issuing debt to the wrong people and do better due diligence. If that makes applying for credit a more difficult task, this is probably a good thing.

'Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!' Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev


Re: yes, well, but...

"Yah, you can bore everyone to tears trotting out some case where water really is lighter than air, but oh please."


Human-rights warriors crack on with legal challenge to UK's lax surveillance laws

Big Brother

perfectly reasonable

... if you start from the government standpoint. 'If we know everything about you, we can look after you. If we know everything about everyone else, we can protect you. It's all for your own good. Because terrorists and kiddies.'

I'm always amazed by the bare-face hypocrisy of parliamentarians in their faux-indignation about companies like facebook intruding on privacy when government agencies are hoovering up private data on an industrial scale.

Techie with outdated documentation gets his step count in searching for non-existent cabinet


Re: Another 5 minute job...

Um ... just checking here. The bottom of the vehicle was amoured, but there were no seat belts? Every mine-proofed vehicle I've travelled in used a parachute-type harness to ensure that you stayed very much in place while your vehicle was doing backflips.

Also, often the seats were unpadded, because you really don't want the seat hitting the base of your spine very fast and very hard as the padding is compressed.

Key to success: Tenants finally get physical keys after suing landlords for fitting Bluetooth smart-lock to front door


Re: Key? No thank you.

I did something similar once, by accident. I lost the key to my flat, and since the company I was renting from charged a fortune for replacement keys, I told the custodian i'd locked myself out and borrowed the spare key to let myself in.

A quick trace of the key was followed by some work on a blank with a triangular file, and I had myself a replacement key for a few bucks. I only discovered that I'd copied the master key for the entire tower block after coming home drunk one night and sleeping on someone else's sofa.

I woke up before that person and quietly let myself out. I dread to think what would have happened if I'd staggered as far as the bedroom.

Owner of Smuggler's Inn B&B ordered to put up a sign warning guests not to cross into Canada


Re: Both sides?

I recently saw this one in a men's room. 'Do not flush anything except toilet paper down this toilet.'




Ssssh. Blabbermouth.

There was yet another net neutrality hearing today in America, and it was all straightened out amicably and smoothly


Re: "Congress is a joke."

Mr Twain really did not like Congress. Among his more nasty remarks are:

"There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

"Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can."

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Amazon's titchy robots hit the streets, Waymo starts a self-driving car factory...


Might work some places

Yup, the amazon delivery bot will be in deep do-dos in some rough neighbourhoods. Mind you, human drivers are probably not too keen on those neighbourhoods either. (A truckload of deliveries is more valuable than a single delivery in a bot after all.) I'd imagine the bot has all-round vision being streamed back to HQ, so if something does go wrong, amazon knows exactly how it went wrong, and who the perp was.

OTOH a lot of smaller US cities and most Canadian ones are remarkably safe places. Hereabouts, if you want the sort of goodies an amazon bot might deliver, you can probably walk into any garage along the street and help yourself (and God help you if you're caught - there's soooo many ways people can make your life a misery in a small town).

In these or suburban communities with wide pavements, little traffic and almost no crime bots seem a reasonable idea. So yeah, downtown LA might not be practicable, but there's lots of places it can work.

We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD


Rehabilitate, don't exclude

There's not that many letters in the alphabet. If we keep dropping some because they offend we are going to have to go back to cuneiform. (Until someone realizes that the root word of cuneiform is 'cuneus' anyway.)

Personally I'd like to see 'SS' applied to everything from Sam's Sandwiches to Space Shuttles, until the abbreviation is so common that it is no longer azzociated (I'm being very careful here) with a murderous order of thugs from the previous century. So yup, the South Sudan TLD is for me a step in the not-left (still being careful) direction.


Re: Ah, but ...

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness ..." --SLC

Um ...no? I recall once being abroad teaching at an international EFL school. One of the older teachers was explaining to a newbie that until you travel, forrigners are a single undifferentiated mass. One you get to know them, you learn which habits among which nations are the most disgusting, irritating or simply incomprehensible. Eventually you get rather good at knowing which foreigners to hate for what.

At this point,unprompted but with perfect timing, a teacher stormed in, flung a pile of textbooks onto a table and snarled 'God I hate the f*ing French!'

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish


Re: Mortgage brokers

Not everyone with a poor credit rating is a financial risk. I once had to have a credit check because I was involved with managing a business, and it was appalling. The reason was that I've never borrowed money in my life and pay off my credit card every month. Mortgage rates for someone with my credit rating are sky-high, so instead I purchased the house outright.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display


Good to see the ancient traditions being maintained

In Greece and Rome the phallus was a symbol of good fortune and abundance. It was regularly carried on religious processions - sometimes requiring several people to do the job.

There was even a deity called Fascinus who was represented by a set of male genitalia, whose image was kept - for some reason - by the Vestal virgins.

So if the students are told to take their symbol down, they have several reasons for refusing on religious grounds. Depending where you work, this image might not be safe for it.


What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs


Re: Border wall

Let's assume this suggestion is halfway serious.

So we're building a border wall. A lot of this is in pretty rough territory that you first have to build access roads for to get the construction materials in. Secondly, imagine building a wall from Paris to Moscow.

The Canada/US border is not that long - it is four times longer. In fact because the border is not straight, and there's factors like Alaska to take into consideration, you are seriously looking at the equivalent of building a wall well over a third of the way around the earth.

By way of comparison, Hadrian's wall would get one sixth of the way across British Columbia, with all of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba before we get to the Great Lakes ...

Much cheaper to just import refugees from the US as we are currently doing - at a cost of CAD 400 million per year. (Seriously)

Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck


insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

This quote is very annoying for two reasons. Firstly because unless all the other variables in your environment are static you WILL get different results. Try throwing dice for a basic example.

Secondly Einstein was not dumb enough to say that, and he didn't. As far as anyone knows the first use of the quote was by an obscure novelist called Rita Brown in 1983, by which time Einstein wasn't saying anything on account of being long dead,

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone


Re: A paranoid mount option ?

There is a secure device into which you can insert a dodgy USB stick.

It's called a rubbish bin.

Californian chap sets his folks' home on fire by successfully taking out spiders with blowtorch


Black widows

Only good thing about the little buggers is that you have to work quite hard to get one to bite you. Mostly they prefer to get out of the way, or sit quietly even if you disturb stuff around them.

Nevertheless, in parts of North America it's a good idea to check boots before putting them on, and wear work gloves when reaching into dark corners.

I know a guy who does inspections for prospective house buyers, and he reckons that he gets one black widow bite for every 25 or so crawl spaces he checks. It's an occupational hazard and like a mild dose of the flu, apparently.

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee


bacon grease

Hereabouts people put it on dog poop if a random animal fouls the garden. That way the damn animal cleans up after itself.

Top AI conference NIPS won't change its name amid growing protest over 'bad taste' acronym


If we are going to change every word that someone can possibly get offended by, we are going to have a very small vocabulary remaining.

I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea


Re: Wood floats...

Which is why no-one has ever found a trireme wreck. Those things really were buoyancy-positive. Even if you knocked a dirty great hole in the bottom, it wold just get rather swampy inside. (As contemporary Greeks demonstrated in a number of sea battles.)

OTOH, load a heavy cargo in the bottom, and if the ship stopped displacing water for any reason, and it would go down like a stone - which is why many merchant wrecks from the Roman period have been found.

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean


Security? we've heard of it

One of the things I like about living hereabouts is that dinner parties are usually potluck - you each bring a course. After the dinner the hosts wash up, and you pop around to the house over the next few days and root around in the kitchen until you find the plates you brought the food on - whether the host is home is not really relevant.

Likewise when my wife was visiting family I would discover pre-cooked meals waiting for me in the kitchen, because the neighbours were (unnecessarily) worried about me starving while she was gone.

You do need to close doors though. Another friend looked over her sofa and discovered a bear dragging out the trash bag from the kitchen, and not that long ago a woman hereabouts was attacked by a cougar while watching TV. (Oh, and in British Columbia, Canadian milk comes in plastic bottles, as nature intended.)

UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

Big Brother

This isn't about porn

It's about controlling your internet access.

People doing stuff that the government can't control is something a centralized state like the UK finds hard to tolerate. If HMG had set up the internet, we would have licensed users with registered IPs paying a license tax every year, with all usage monitored.

As it is the govt. is playing catch-up. In incremental steps over the past decade, it has banned hate speech, extremist material, violent and other 'unacceptable' porn and now makes people in effect register for the rest. Monitoring and data retention systems ensure compliance. Because terrorists and protecting the children.

They are halfway there. Expect more, much more to come.

Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?


Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

'Irrationally, I'd guess antropomorphism'

Buying something because it has the shape of the antropos font is certainly irrational.

Eat my shorts, watchdog tells every city mayor in the US – FCC approves $2bn 5G telco windfall


Re: Cities still have power

'When the Feds rule something there is still a lot local cities can do to block them ...'

Sir -

Your cynicism in this matter is truly shocking. Shocking, I tell you. I am sure such a thing would never happen in reality.

By the way, on a different matter, did you hear about the Trans-mountain pipeline in British Columbia? There are all sorts of problems getting it built, because the BC government keeps asking for extra environmental impact studies, and then challenging the results in court.

Oh, and the Supreme Court has just ruled that First Nations were inadequately consulted, so that has to be done again, after which the First Nations intend to challenge the environmental impact studies. ...

That syncing feeling when you realise you may be telling Google more than you thought


Re: Shrug

Reason to use Chrome? Well, most websites are configured to run it, and I wouldn't use Edge if they paid me.

OTOH I've got Firefox configured with adblock, noscript and anti-tracking devices along with almost every other type of plug-in disabled, with the result that some websites simply refuse to run. Others are recursive - enable one lot of blocked sites on a webpage to run scripts and they load another lot that want to run their scripts too.

Mostly I just ditch the sites, but occasionally I need the content. So I fire up Chrome (which I regard as insecure by definition) read the contents and close it down again.

BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical


Never document your code.

If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read.

Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out


Rocket science

Um , the first thing the machine said was 'insert cash ...' which was in fact the last thing that Dabbsy did (and the thing which finally worked).

Okay, not everyone speaks Italian, but if he has Google maps on his phone, presumably he also has Google translate?

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops


Re: @AC ... The cat is pretty well out of the bag already


Where do you get the information it was a 9mm? According to the news story linked in the article it was the 'family .22 calibre pistol'.

Actually, catching a 9mm in the neck would be a pretty big, bad, deal. Given the mass/velocity difference a 9mm is much more likely to do serious damage to the many essential bits crammed into the area than a .22 would.

With a .22 he would be unlucky to be fatally injured. With a 9mm he'd be lucky to survive.

Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti


Re: Not biting the hand that feeds it?

'Do they want war? That's what they'll get if they bring down a plane with the orange one in power.'

While I'm no fan of the 'Orange one' let's take a look at significant American military activity this century starting with Afghanistan 2001 (Bush jnr), Iraq 2003 (ditto), Somalia 2007 (Bush again), Lybia 2011 (Obama) Iraq - the surge 2014 (Obama) Isis in mid-east 2014 (Obama).

Going back further we find several wars under Clinton and Bush snr. So far all Trump has managed is a credible prospect of peace talks with North Korea. I'm not saying we won't get a Trump war yet, but compared to his predecessors, to date he's been pretty peaceful.

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help


mouse golf!

My father-in-law has a tablet, and constant training has got him to use the basic functions through pure muscle memory.

However, it's a joy to see him at the computer, where he moves the mouse by delicate whacks until the cursor is where he needs it. Actually holding and moving the mouse involves gestures so extravagant that if the pointer wasn't limited to the screen, it would end up in the next room.

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?


Re: When "off duty" and out & about with the Wife ...

This is rather like speaking in a foreign language - it works wonderfully until you try it with someone who knows it, and you didn't know they knew. Then it can get embarrassing.

.- -. -.. -- .- -. -.-- .--. . --- .--. .-.. -.- -. --- -- --- .-. ... .

An easy-breezy attitude to sharing personal data is the only thing keeping the app economy alive


Devil's advocate

Okay, just wondering - why are targeted ads worse than untargeted ones? I pay for my TV programmes by sitting through irrelevant advertisements for stuff I'll never buy - vaginal washes, child-safe products and mildly insulting crap which suggests that any middle-aged white man is a bumbling moron.

By and large online ads show stuff I might actually be interested in - upgrades for my Jeep, outdoor hiking kit and new computer products. Yes, they often get it wrong, and if I buy something online, I don't need twenty more of the damn things. OTOH Amazon's alogs have got it pretty much right, and thanks to their recommendations I've found and enjoyed several new authors.

My local grocer (I live in a small town) often recommends products that he knows I will like, and when our cat died the local SPCA sent us pics of a little feline orphan who is now on the chair next to me as I write. I never feel the need to slap either for' violating my privacy'.

In other words, insensitive and intrusive advertising is unarguably a bad thing. But if people know what you like and use that information sensibly and politely, what's the problem? Seriously, do explain and don't just downvote.

2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations


As Einstein didn't say ...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again on your computer and expecting the same results.

New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination


Re: Does that mean...

'but the sausage fest that academia is ...'

When arguing for gender equality, it's probably not a good idea to identify one gender using derogatory slang that refers to their genitals.

Had you referred to a group of women as, let's say, 'a taco feast' you would rightly be condemned for misogynistic language. It would appear that, as a warrior for equal treatment for men and women, you fail to practice what you preach.

Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!


Re: Well done Google....

'Google never does anything that doesn't directly benefit Google.'

well, yes. I assumed from the start that's what this whole 'https:' thing was about. A year or two back some phone companies announced that they were going to be stripping out ads - including Google's adwords programme - and inserting their own.

e.g. https://www.cnet.com/news/newspapers-to-brave-browser-dont-mess-with-our-ads-or-else/

Google is basically an advertising company that also does search and some other stuff. Threaten their revenue stream and big G will - literally - change the web to stop you.

London cops waste £2.1m on thought crime unit – and they want volunteer informers


'... in an eugenic attempt to preserve racial vitality.'

While not disagreeing with the extreme Spartan proclivity toward practical eugenics, what 'race' are we talking about here? The Spartans did not see themselves as a separate race. Overall, the Spartans were that branch of Greeks called Dorians, but they didn't show any great fondness for other Dorians, yet alone trying to keep that race 'vital'.

As for chucking people off cliffs as a punishment, that was the Romans. Google 'Tarpeian Rock' for details.

NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy


Major crime?

There was an article in the NY Times a while back where a woman sued to get back a gold crucifix that a cop saw dangling from her rear-view mirror and rather fancied. It was the only item of value in the car when it was stopped.

The crucifix was worth <$100 but the woman wanted it back for sentimental reasons and had to spend thousands to do so. And no, she was not stopped for, or accused of, any crime, or even a driving offense (other than driving while being black).

IT plonker stuffed 'destructive' logic bomb into US Army servers in contract revenge attack


Re: Slightly inflated cost estimate here?

What you have here is what we used to call a 'logistics sink'.That's when a incident occurs which allows a military unit to write off stuff that has gone missing/been misappropriated, been broken, or just needs replacing.

As a result a one-minute contact with the enemy can consume a truly amazing amount of equipment. I'd imagine this logic bomb presented the IT folks with a similar opportunity.