* Posts by kmac499

930 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jul 2013


RIP: Microsoft finally pulls plug on last XP survivor... POSReady 2009


Certification Costs

(Things may have changed since this was my dayjob but here's my experience)

One of the Big problems of doing a new EPOS system is certification, Three agencies will show an interest

1) Weights and Measures if you are using an integrated scale

2) The Banks if you are taking Card payments (which of course you are)

3) HMRC for the VAT calculation

The weights and measures certification involved us making a trip to the National Physical Lab Teddington to demonstrate our kit with various test scripts to prove we could weigh,claulate and price transactions. The certification at the time was for a 'set' of kit The OS Our software and specific hardware.

.Once certified the package was sealed and you had to show how it could be verified as the tested kit (i.e. our suggestion was MD5 signature on the weighscale module of the software).

OH and don't forget to pay on your way out

(Brexit note it was possible once to certify in an more relaxed EU state but I don't know if this is still possible)

The Banks, Oh Joy; Data protection card protection etc well covered by EL Reg but the practicalities are again similar to the weights and measures.

You trot off to WorldPays offices (they are the only one left now aren't they) Demonstrate your kit, work through the scripts and get a pass or fail. Again you are limited to specific kit so another card reader company would require certification again, Plus when they dream up a new payment method such as contactless you have to go back and certify again.

OH and don't to forget to pay again (a lot) on exit each and every time you pass GO.

Finally HMRC; VAT is easy right price + 20% is selling price. Except in all those cases where it isn't second hand, kids clothing, energy costs, food take away\eat in, Jaffa cakes. Plus how do I round out the pennies. Anyone who's worked with HMRC knows how inscrutable they are .

ME: How do you want me to work this out

HMRC : Show me how you do it now

Hmm not quite right,,,,

Oh and how do you print the receipts ??

ME: (FFS kill me now )

And the final one of course, retail being that great cash generating business You could see the eyes glaze over every time you said to your customers; You'll need a new computer, Sorry you can't upgrade this one it's ten years, old knackered, you can't get the bits, and the memory isn't big enough, so you'll need to spend thousands to be able to take <£30 contactless..

That's why I no longer have that Day Job..

Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early


Re: Usually gets worse, the bigger the company ...

When the Brexit apocalypse hit's, you sir will be rich beyond your wildest dreams.

I reckon one 56k modem will be worth 17 cans of spam...


Rug Pulled by pissed off third party..

Not being experts in Hosting and unified comms the small company I was in had a shared hosting resource with a partner company (aka 'Kev'' the unified telecomms guru) . For some unknown reason 'Kev' had a falling out without the actual hosting company and closed his super account without telling anyone else.. Which of course cast all our sites adrift as well.. 'Kev' remained in a huff and out of contact, so we had to mad scramble an alternative hosting platform recreate the sites and wait for DNS's to catch up. An interesting Monday morning..

(BTW Always make sure you have ALL the passwords from your supplier\support guys to your unified comms IP voice data PABX box.)

SpaceX finally Falcon flings NASA's TESS into orbit


How about we....

I am continually astonished by engineers who turn the daft idea created down the pub on a friday night into something that actually works.

You can imagine the converation

Eng1 how we gonna save money ?

Eng2 re use 1st stage

Eng1 how

Eng3 land it back

Eng1 in the ocean

Eng4 howabout on a barge

Eng1 Fall back from space do a 180 and land on a postage stamp in the sea


Eng1 tell you what if by next friday you can show how, I'll buy the beers

Chorus DONE.....

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today


Let's all blame the developer

LIstening to the steam radio this morning (Wed 21st) Camridge Analytica and Facebook seem to be blaming Dr Kogan the academic who wrote the harvesting app. (what's the betting the actual coder was an undergrad called Colin?)

Just proving the eternal truth that when shit hits the IT Fan the managers blame the developers.

BTW:- For several years we ( me and the SO) have taken part in a longitudinal social survey organised by a UK university. Once a year a reseacher pops round with a laptop and questionnaire. We are interviewed seperately and for the more personal questions we are handed the laptop or we can refuse the questions altogether. As a thankyou we recieve a £10 shopping voucher.

Look! Fitbit's made a watch that doesn't suck!


Pebble successor

The Fitbit Gravel.. Same idea just not as polished ??

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics


Re: Screwfix

Screwfix really piss me off with repeatedly trying to grab my details on cash purchases. Even on things that cost pennies.

They also insist on photo ID for click and collect.. not just the card that bought the stuff. Just a tad Orwellian for a Tradesmen warehouse.

Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian


Me to US colleague from the hot shot team flown in to 'fix things'

"In Europe we use A4 paper"

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?


Old military adage

Tracer Bullets work both ways...

Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing


Toffee sauce pah...

The only ethnically approved condiment for Yorkshire Pud is Hendersons Relish made in Sheffield.

Court throws out BT's plans to reduce pension rates


Staff Ratio

DId I read that right 11,000 managers and 21,000 front line staff ??

Call me old fashioned but that seems to be a helluva ratio of chiefs to injuns; or is it just job title inflation?

Causes of software development woes


One useful rule...

Requirements will change, expect it and design/code for it.

GoPro exits drone market and slashes jobs amid sales warning


Go Pro or Faux Pro

I've got a faux pro (can't even remember what the brand is.) It's HD, the case uses a GoPro style mount, the battery is removable

It also does timelapse and wifi to my tablet.

it cost £30.

UK lacks engineering and tech skills to make government's industrial strategy work – report


Gimme some training...

Once had a mildly heated discussion with some greedy young permy colleagues. They wanted their employer to send them on a training course; so that in a few months they could take their new skills to a new job and more money.

I then suggested that any training should have some sort of test with a defined pass mark (not the dreaded MCP shite) to show how much of the training course they had actually taken in.

This didn't go down well for some reason. Presumably they just thought attendance was all that was required to add the new skill to their CV's

Shady US sigint base upgrade marred by stolen photograph


Croughton Local..

Yeah I live close by as well..

They used to have "gate guardians" by the main gate. I think one was a Voodoo and the other was a Sabre, in typical US style they weren't on their wheels on the ground but mounted like airfix toys on small pylons very dynamic. They've gone now and I don't know if they'll be replaced.

Two of the old brown radomes had aircraft lights on top which was great at Xmas, cos they looked like giant Xmas puds.

When they built a new white one it was a geodesic panel job, and they left the top open with a jagged rim, and just lifted the last few segment in one go by crane. So for a while it looked like a giants hard boiled egg.

Once again, UK doesn't rule out buying F-35A fighter jets


At this rate we'll have the Prince of Wales permanently anchored in Lough Neagh flying air patrols over the Irish Border.

Is Oomi the all-in-one smart home system we've been waiting for?


Me No...

But I volunteer as a puppy walker for a charity that trains Assistance Dogs for people with mobility disabilities. Even though the Dogs are trained to press light switches, pickup phones TV remotes etc a system like this would be a boon for many people with such problems

Also if the system has a water flow sensor and maybe a power useage sensor it could easily provide safe oversight for a vulnerable person living on their own. Has the Loo and kettle been used? according to the normal pattern or should it raise an alarm.

Dawn of The Planet of the Phablets in 2019 will see off smartphones


Design Opportunity

If we are forced to carry these ugly great things around, maybe we could rethink the design back to the old fashioned desktop telephone with a seperate handset; not a headset. Something along the lines of Nintendo switch controllers. When unplugged from the base they cleverly unfold to a length and angle that covers the gap from ear to mouth. (C'mon Jony Ives get your magic markers out)

The 'handset' unit when docked leaches a bit of charge from the phablet to keep it's charge level. When a call comes in simply slipping the handset off the base connects the call and activates the link between the two.

No dial option on the handset just a On hook Off hook button. Also solves the problem of looking something up on the 'phone' while you'r using it without going to speakerphone mode.

(Proud owner of a 4" Samsung S4 mini)

Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project


I can imagine this hybrid tech appearing in drone aircraft well before passenger aircraft. Especially if offered with a stealthy battery only mode.


Diesel Electric trains also allow massive torque at the traction motors, enabling the initial move on big trains. (imagine slipping the clutch on a few hundred tonne)

Possible cut to British F-35 order considered before Parliament


Sort of right, I think you'll find it was a U2 that the Lightning caught up with not the Blackbird.

One version of this story involves the Lightning accelerating below the U2, pulling up into a ballistic climb and vertically passing the U2, whose pilot was shall we say a little surprised.


Re: Still not too late

As well as Bulkheads they would need a few thousand kettles to raise the steam. BIg Lizzie is Diesel electric.

Which is also why the electric catapult launch was tricky, The new US super carriers have massive amounts of nuclear electric generation on board, They were designed from day one to be fighting power stations that could have upgrades loaded onto the hulls over the years.

Lizzie would need a bigger battery or a very long extension lead back to blighty. Maybe in the Men in Sheds brigade could come up with a supecapacitor system it might work.

China plots new Great Leap Forward: to IPv6


Nope; it was either Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump (cos it's yuge and biglier than IPv4)

Royal Navy destroyer leaves Middle East due to propeller problems


If the crew cannae fix it captain; I'm guessing it's a variable pitch prop that doesn't vary anymore.

Donald Trump's tweets: Are they presidential statements or not?


Quantum Tweets

The blurred legal line is a classic quantum superposition. The origin of the tweet only crystallises when observed and it's wave function collapses into private or presidential.

Sadly for the lawyers and as all physicists know it is actually both at the same time..

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?


Broken Public Key made easy...

Dear Amber;

It goes like this...

For security the locks on all government buildings, office doors, ministerial cars and your Red Box have been fitted with a super duper lock and key (made by GCHQey where the Q is like the Q in Nissan QashQai) where even though the design of it is made public It is so complicated that no-one else but GCHQey can make one.

Unfortunatley on the PMs instruction all the Qeys sorry Keys have been made in such a way that one skeleton master Key can open every lock and every lock of that type that will ever be made in the future.

Now just imagine what would happen if ....... (OK we know you don't do imagination)


Brit military wants a small-drone-killer system for £20m


A neighbour of mine was the Chief engineer on a naval ship during the Cod War (UK vs Iceland back in the 70's) They rigged up water and air hoses (air fed from the engines starter system) linked to a rotary valve and nozzle. Hand cranking the valve fired 'bullets' of water about two feet long with a few hundred psi behind 'em. They used it gattling gun style to play along the thin hulls of the icelandic fisheries vessels as they tried to cut up the RN ships. Made a helluva noise apparently.

If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck


Re: I must be luckly then...

I deduce therefore you are not, a teenage girl who insists on jamming a few hundred quids worth of phone in her already over stretched jeans back pocket. then wonders why the screen has cracked.. .

Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time


Three Finger salute ?

Three Keys across two hands is a good engineering solution for a "Get out of Jail" option.

(see Atlas missile launch using two keys six feet or more apart)

A two finger salute would involve too much schoolboy sniggering

A one finger salute would get caught all the time.

Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit


Simple Safety tricks

Why don't people just copy their apps and data to the SD card, then if the upgrade screws up you can easily reset by popping the battery out..

Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league


Re: Microsoft has always had problems with

Could be worse; they could have installed the Vettel driver.. crashes straight outta the box..

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled



BoJo was elected MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip with 23,716 votes (a moderately safe Con seat)

a Fair old majority of 5,034 over the next candidate

or even more fairly 50.8 % of the Vote.

(from here on I approximate)

But wait the turnout was 66.8% so of the approx 69,000 eleigible voters only 46,000 or so could be arsed to turn out at all.

Iin fact out of 69k electors he got 23k votes or about 33% of the total possible.

So using the BoJo statistical method 2 out of 3 people don't want him to be their MP.

I trust Boris you will do the honourable thing and respect the overwhelming combined will and apathy of your electorate..

RIP Stanislav Petrov: Russian colonel who saved world from all-out nuclear war


LIke most true Heroes, a modest man who believed he was just doing his job. Thank you

Just how are HMRC’s IT systems going to cope with Brexit?


Real Reason for "Brexit Transition"

Could it possibly be that someone in the Treasury whispered in Hammonds ear.

"You do realise if we 'crash out' a la Boris; we won't be able to collect the revenue due to us, and you will have the mother and father of all financial crises, and it will take at least three years from now to fix it."


Re: The online VAT Form will need to be redesigned

Beta Test in Production == DevOps Love it.

Definitely an upvote and possibly a beer..

US government sued by 11 pissed-off travellers over computer searches


Re: Not just searching for information

If I was carrying a works laptop\phone that was detained and taken to a seperate room for the old cyber rubber glove treament. I think I'd be tempted to say "Nah you can keep it now!".

I also think I'd probabaly start the trip with a fresh and cheapest bit of kit I could find.

This article has been deleted


Anything they can do..

Believe it or not there was once a hand car wash staffed by topless young ladies in Coventry.

yeah I know Coventry unbelievable..

It was called Bubbles

Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'


The alternative Model X

A rough BTE calculation about

75 Apple iPhone X = 1 Tesla Model X

Or another way an all electric SUV with shit hot performance and genuine innovative design or a cardboard box of phones that double as mediocre pocket computers.

I can't afford either, but I know which I'd have if I could, and it wouldn't have a half eaten fruit on the back.


Come on people get with the programme.

Apple needs to sell lots of these little suckers so they can afford to buy the warp drive engines Area 51 got from the aliens. Then they can strap them on to their shiny new building (secret spaceship) and take off for Alpha whatever.

Please Please tell me some where on t'interweb there is a photoshopped picture of the 'campus' with a construction board saying "B Ark due for completion soon"

Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow


Re: dBase II...

OOh I loved Clipper.. I'm sure the comp-sci crew on here will be running for their pitchforks screaming "injection risk" but the ability to have scraps of code as text in the database which can be read in, dropped into a code block and executed was wonderful.

Multidimensional nested non typed arrays that could be constructed at run time, mimicing the discovered data structures not just parent child but multiple childrren as you walked the tables.

The -> operator with variables for the table name so you could access other tables at will

The simplicity of @SAY..GET with pre and post validation

NOW that was power.

Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller


Re: Please

OK then. What would such an icon signify?


The absurdity of us human beings trying to make their mark against the flowing stream of uncaring, unstoppable chaos that is the clockwork of the universe slowly running down.

I suggest a pointy hat as "Embuggerance" is just too big to fit in the icon Box..

Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon's lawyer, UK supporters rally around Marcus Hutchins


Re: But...

"First off the crime is accused of caps at 20 years."

Where we come from that is a long time. But I suppose compared to the centruy plus terms some inmates are serving it's a breeze.

Marcus Hutchins free for now as infosec world rallies around suspected banking malware dev


Re: Poor bastard

Milwaukee; home to Harleys and Beer. In different times that good be good holiday.


Re: kmac499 Legal Blasphemy.

re Matt Bryant

Your description may well be the situation when a case get's to court. I admit to having no legal knowledge.

My point was purely about the initial almost reflex reaction in the US to anyone 'breaking the law' which is almost a bigger crime than the actual physical crime committed.

(I believe the figure are; US population is about 320 million 5% of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds lawyers. with I think 2 million plus people behind bars. That's a big industry. )


Legal Blasphemy.

I've been trying to think of a way of describing the American attitude to breaches of their law.

The closest parallel I can come up with is the way some other states regard blasphemy. The 'law' is an unchallengeable absolute, and the sin of transgression, whatever the alleged offence, is deemed so unpardonable that hostile popular opinion and the full powers of law enforcement are applied unthinkingly.

Just follow the flame wars between the trump republicans and liberals where the sanctions being demanded against either for percieved crimes are extreme.

Whether Marcus has a case to answer or not, now the machine has him his life is totally out of his control.

With states requiring the skills of people like Marcus; I can think of no better way to alienate them than how the FBI et al has gone about his case.

US border cops must get warrants to search phones, devices – EFF


I know criminal mastermind is a bit of an oxymoron .

But I would expect any 'professional' ne'er do wells to have at least two social media personalities, A public one easily viewed by the border forces full of cat videos and anodyne postings, "Nothing to see here welcome to our country"; and their working one which is accessed by a computer in a broom cupboard somewhere over a vpn.

No, Apple. A 4G Watch is a really bad idea


No-one memtioned the Pebble (yeah I know they're dead coutesy fitbit) I still think their design using e-paper is the best for a smartwatch, as opposed to a watch which goes ping when a text comes in.

Combine that with a contactless chip that you can turn on by pressing the watch crown or the strap somehow, to avoid 'drive by' theft and we've got something useful.

HMS Queen Liz will arrive in Portsmouth soon, says MoD


Re: I've been thinking about cheap ways to kill carriers.

HIre the Swedish Navy with their super stealthy, Stirling engine (via Liquid Oxygen) powered subs.

Apparently they scored a kill against a US Super Carrier in a recent war game..

Presumbly the Hot End of the Stirling engine is clad in Pine and doubles up as the Boats Sauna.

Openreach pegs full fibre overhaul anywhere between £3bn and £6bn


Re: £3-6bn vs HS2 at £56bn

SImple solution:- Stop HS2 at Warwick, use a bus replacement service for the last bit to Brum, and give OpenReach the leftover money.


Back in the real world

So it would costs 9 times as much to link two cities saving 20 mins, as compared to networking a sizeable proportion of the population (domestic and commercial) saving them how much time per upload\download. Flattening the geography of the UK and enabling any information business to be established pretty much anywhere in the country, Less travelling, Less CO2, Less pressure on the South East etc etc

Don't you just love cost benefit accountancy....

Apple pulls massive HomeKit chip U-turn to keep up with Amazon Echo and Google Home


LIke the analysis but in ranking of importance I think it should be 3,2,1

I also like the "Never embarass Apple rule" as in "ooh look the Emeperor has no clothes".