* Posts by SVV

1217 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Nov 2013


There are always two sides to every story – except this one, which is just a big billboard borked in all directions


We doubt anyone is going to be trying to play Crysis on the digital signage of Sydney Airport

Having once known an expat Aussie sysadmin whose rather devil-may-care approach to personal use of the company servers and netwok included organising permanently ongoing Half Life tournaments for the IT department and hosting a shared music library that was about half the size of Spotify, I'd be putting this into the "highly plausible" category of possible causes.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style




Although it does have a unix command line that isn't really unix. When IBM renamed their systems about 20 years ago, OS/390 became z/OS as the mainframes were rebranded as z series. Because the AS/400 became the i series, the operating system OS/400 should really have been renamed i/OS. Instead it's apparently called IBM i. Although nobody who uses it actually calls it that. If you aren't starting to get confused, then you might like this operating system. Otherwise, you can join everyone else who finds it's uppercase vowel free tribute to mainframe job control languages of decades past CMPLTLY FCKNG RRTTNG.

Data science alliance in talks with UK Cabinet Office to help ease economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic


The goal is to bring together datasets that are not normally combined

Reading between the lines of the reasoning given for creating this organisation. it appears to be using the current crisis as a pretext for supplying any company who wants it with massive amounts of personal data that would previously have been covered by data protection and privacy laws, including infinite amounts of personal location and financial transaction data, in order to "assist the economic recovery". Presumably, the main way this will happen is by ultra targeted and personalised advertising based on analysis of that data, with a nice funnel of linked and cross referenced data also flowing into the private company databases of the tech giants that can be used to judge the success of their efforts and fine tune them to be even more effective. All it was needed to do was wait for the right crisis, I mean opportunity, just say the magic words "AI data scientists", and hey presto, all the giant tech companies have everything they ever dreamed of knowing about us in one magic moment.

UK govt probes Brit chip biz Imagination after growing Chinese ownership sparks national security fears


It is very good that the Secretary of State is intervening

Hmmmm, I thought "Britain is open for business" as that is what ministers have been saying for years now. Did they not actually think that might mean that people came and bought not only the products but the businesses that make them too? Have they not noticed that a lot the world is now being gobbled up by state owned sovereign wealth funds and investment banks? Maybe after ARM got sold, they might have given the issue a little thought afterwards?

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels


Hey, these are High Performance wheels you know

Cornering is up to 0.3 seconds faster than a normal wheel in standard office conditions, and the extra grip in wet conditions (e.g. coffee spillage on trendy wooden floor) could prevent a dangerous pile up. Tyre life is an average 50 metres of optimum performance, after which you will have to call in the Apple pit crew, as only they can change the tyres safely at a cost of $399 per wheel.

Wanted: An exit strategy from the overt surveillance of smartphone contact tracing


Like a snowball gently descending into the firy pits of hell.....

These calls to end it asap afterwards will be torched by the desire to make it compulsory forever. The excuses will be perfectly plausible and seem almost objection proof to most people, such as "needing further research to see if we could have learned more useful information that would have saved lives" and "being instantly prepared for the next time this happens". The "oh look, we now know so much about everyone that we can now terrify them into obedience in our new authoritarian state" bit will sadly only be discovered later. That bit only needs to happen once, however much the "don't be silly, we would never do such a thing" may be true for any incumbent government.

Google Cloud's AI recog code 'biased' against black people – and more from ML land


as it turns out, your anal print is unique

This has just given me an idea for a fun art project that everybody can try at home during the lockdown.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so


"I made the clock slightly smaller. Disk errors."

Easy. If if fails when the clock is too big or too small it's obviously a C coding error when checking sizeof pointers.

(the real answer is probably some shared memory corruption, so not actually that far away)

Hi, Google Duplex here, trying to book a haircut for a socially inept human. Sorry, 'COVID-19'?... DOES NOT COMPUTE


AI personal assistant that can call real-life people

For an AI phone caller to be considered a real artificial intelligence, it will have to pass the Tu-Ring test :

"OK Google, call me a taxi"

"You're a taxi"

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet


a US state the size of 8,100 milliWales

Or, more properly, 8.1 Wales (avoiding the unnecessary downscaling of units and upscaling of number). But I believe that an American Wales is confusingly only 17/23 of a British Wales, due to their own bloody minded need to be different to everybody else. Never mind, it's a warm sunny day here isolated indoors so everybody have 1000 milliPints on me.

Dixons Carphone top brass take 20% pay cut as swathes of Brit workforce furloughed


Tesco is paying shareholders £900m in dividends while enjoying £585m from the government

Well, then I expect them to deliver £585m in shares to the government by the end of the week, in lieu of a refund of the cash they were given. The government cash is meant to keep the business from going bust so that it can survive and participate in the normal risk / reward sector of the economy again afterwards. It's not a free reward for shareholders because the risk materialised. Behaviour like this is also not going to be looked upon well by the public if the damage causes mass hardship and executive snouts stay in the trough.

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again


Needs a big rethink

Spotify and other wifi radio station streaming have made it look a bit like a trend whose time came and went. To me it has almost become a bit of a naff cliche : the unnecessarily expensive fake bakelite retro 1940s style "wireless" tuned permanently to Radio 4 in millions of middle class kitchens.

The horrid local commercial radiio stations, where musically it is still and always will be the mid 1980s are not going to succeed by moving away from their solidly FM listeners. No, we need to reimagine the use of digital radio.....

I know : bin DAB, bring in DCB. Yes digital citizens band radio can now succeed where the analogue original failed in what was then still a rather socially reserved country. A citizenry now entirely used to broadcasting inane crap about themselves on social media platforms all day long could take the principle into the local randomsphere and jabber away mindlessly with an endless array of other such likeminded folk..

Capita inks deal with NHS to 'bring back staff': Workers get an hour of training to recruit and vet retired doctors, nurses


In other news, rail services have been effectively renationalised

All except the Capita run gravy train.

Reg fashion special: Top designer says 'video chat accessories' are in for spring!


Gap’s posh workwear brand Banana Republic

How quaint, they just picked a boringly literal name describing how their government is currently run.

From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5G


emitting towers use all the oxygen in the atmosphere

I'll just leave the thought here that if this were true, then setting fire to them would not be a very practical way of solving the problem.

Has someone got horribly confused because a phone company decided to call itself O2 and someone complained about the signal not being very good?

Virtually – no – actually borked: We'd slap ailing ATM's 'OK' button but it's probably against government guidance


Virtual Memory Minimum Too Low

This error message means that you need to free up some space inside the machine, for example by expelling a large number of the banknotes inside it through the cash withdrawal slot.

Minister slams 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories as 'dangerous nonsense' after phone towers torched in UK


Michael Gove has used a daily briefing to slam those advancing baseless theories

Oh, it is far too early in the week even to be bothered to gently roll this ball into the open net..........

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


we literally needed cobalt programmers

Yes, every techie knows that to process higher numbers of a particular transaction per day, you need to add more programmers not more servers.

However if they really do need to change the code, maybe because some ultra restrictive conditions for a claim were hard coded in that now need to be relaxed, then they of course are going to hit the Fred Brooks paradox whereby adding more and more people to a project makes it later and later. And I would definitely add this example to the list of false economies where penny pinching frugality increases long term costs.

Not only is Zoom's strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn't even that strong


Automatic for the People: Pandemic-fueled rush to robo-moderation will be disastrous – there must be oversight


Don't fear the robots

I f y o u p o s t l i k e t h i s t h e y c a n t s e e y o u

ZX Spectrum prototype ROM is now available for download courtesy of boffins at the UK's Centre for Computing History


known and loved (and argued over) in 1980s playgrounds across the land.

Yes indeed, and for those of us who were there at the time, this comments section is of course the digital equivalent of that playground nearly 40 years later. At break times only of course.

Japanese airline ANA spins out telepresence-bot startup for virus-avoiding medicos and fearful tourists


Gentlemen, I now reveal my greatest invention yet.....

A mobile iPad.

Er, tablets are already mobile, quite easy to carry around and use for talking to other people on anywhere.......as are phones. On the other hand, the company have been tremendously quick off the mark to try and cash in on the current crisis.

Amazon says it fired a guy for breaking pandemic rules. Same guy who organized a staff protest over a lack of coronavirus protection


We are not anti-union, but we are not neutral either

Simple logic would then conclude that you must be PRO union, if you are not neutral or anti. But of course these days all the worst people in the world have cottoned onto the fact that you don't actually have to say anything that is logically consistent or truthful any more when covering up or excusing some awfulness. Just make it convoluted and confusing and slightly meaningful sounding and many people will accept it without further consideration.

Zoom's end-to-end encryption isn't actually end-to-end at all. Good thing the PM isn't using it for Cabinet calls. Oh, for f...


Re: most senior officials and ministers were using bog-standard Zoom

Does it really matter, when all it will reveal is that yes, they really are a bunch of clueless idiots?

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that


Re: Truncated

It is unwise to disclose the full secret password to all and sundry. Haven't you seen Barbarella?

Oracle makes some certifications and cloudy content free, in case you have time on your hands


Oracle University

If I join is there a Fresher's Week where I can spend the whole time in alcoholic oblivion? And do I earn a degree, seeing as you call yourself a university? Can I be part of the University Challenge team? Travel by punt beneath those dreaming spires.........

What's the difference between Windows 7 and a bin lorry? One is full of garbage, and the other… oh dear


Re: More to the point.

Maybe it shows adverts too to recoup the cost, like a lot of these screens. However their prepondency towards borkage is also doing a sterling public service of advertising that yes, Windows really is this flaky and unreliable everywhere. Somebody in Microsoft will have to come up with the idea of the negative software licence soon, where they pay companies not to use Windows on computers used for public displays.

And having it on the side of a bin lorry driving round grotty places like Camden doesn't really conjure the idea of a futuristic Blade Runner style tech metropolis that the ad agencies who must have conceived this idea in their trendy offices thought it would.

Official: Office 365 Personal, Home axed next month... and replaced by Microsoft 365 cloud subscriptions


We’re always looking for ways to simplify

"Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic; Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard; Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium; and Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps."

So just to recap, business premiuim will become business standard, business (presumably standard) will become business premium, business will become an app, notepad will become the square root of control panel divided by task manager and if you stand on your head facing backwards you'll be able to use the updates before they're installed.

UK civil service has a new boss: Alex Chisholm dubbed permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office


to further enhance its efficiency, effectiveness and agility

Ah yes, the first three words that pop into my mind too when I think of the civil service.

I think the phrase can more realistically translated as "embark on yet more disastrously expensive failed IT projects".

Call for netizens to demand scraped pics from Clearview, ML weather forecasts, and Star Trek goes high def with AI


Should be opt in, not opt out

Ah, but then the "business model" wouldn't work would it? However I have no interest in this particular slurpy scumcorp making money off my noggin, so they can sod off. I suspect the EU will move towards enforcing opt in for these sort of companies when it comes to monetising our identities. As for the UK, I'm afraid we are on the path towards corporately bought and sold US lawmaking on such matters now.

Interested in Busting a Move? Mmmm? IBM UK: We couldn't get to GTS redundo numbers we need by voluntary means


In an email to staff on 25 March, Brian Farr, IBM UK veep....

Wow, that was Wednesday, after the government had announced the shutdown of almost the entire country. Do his executive talents not even stretch to having the slightest ability to think things through? Or is he secretly angling for a new job at Sports Direct or Wetherspoons as executive vice bastard of selfish insensitivity?

Microsoft staff giggle beneath the weight of a 52,000-person Reply-All email storm


what a bunch of ker-ayzy guys!

Come work at Microsoft where the yuks never cease. I mean Fred from the Notepad team, he's got this poster on his wall that says "You don't have to be mad to work here : but it helps!". And Monica from the crash screen background colour research group, she sent one round with the title "I Love You!" Although she got sacked for that........

Borky shark: A deserted airport and a Raspberry Pi feeling poorly at baggage claim. Welcome to 2020


It might be a while before some of us pass that way again

At least the system had been up and running. Just imagine what's going to happen when all the little systems that are down right now finally get started up again and wheeze reluctantly back to life. Licences expiring, automatic updates downloading : it will be a bonanza of bork. And we all know about the mysterious increased likelihood of systems breaking themselves the longer they remain untouched, even when no hardware component has failed............

Don't believe the hype: Today's AI unlikely to best actual doctors at diagnosing patients from medical scans


co-author of the study and CEO of Cera Care, a startup

Gee, what an almighty coincidence. Nice of you to degrade the concept of academic computer science research papers into unproven advetorials for the business you're trying to hype. If you can't or won't show your workings, it's not science. In fact it raises the suspicion that, yet again, you've really developed something that already knew the answer to the question it's supposed to be solving and used that to nudge the algorithm along to the correct answer.

Crack police squad seeks help to flush out Australian toilet paper thieves


toilet roll theft

Some people got away with a couple of cash machines at a supermarket in Kent yesterday, after using a JCB to make a withdrawal. Mind you, the cash inside may soon be worth less than toilet paper the way things are going. If that happens, they can always swap the usages of the two around.

"Oh no, I forgot they're made out of plastic nowadays".

The shelves may be empty, but the disk is full: Not even Linux can resist the bork at times


Re: Interpretation

It's a screen showing adverts in a walmart. Not a mission critical finance system. I would send the logs to /dev/null as soon as I'd made a system restore disk. It is unlikey to ever need much system level work once it's running.

Capita CEO and CFO take 'voluntary' pay cut of 25% amid coronavirus outbreak


Re: "a 'voluntary' pay cut of 25 per cent"

I worked it out as about a 9% cut in total remuneration, approx 1.8 million in place of 2 million if calculated that way. I'm not sure if he's expecting a medal for public service for this noble sacrifice, but I'm sure the "cost base" he's talking about having to reduce (i.e. the employees he's going to give the boot to) will be happy to do their bit for future profitability and executive bonuses.

Your Agile-built IT platform was 'terrible', Co-Op Insurance chief complained to High Court


Another Agile project screwed because of fools who don't understand what it is meant to be about

"The reason for this was threefold: (i) to avoid incurring costly changes to the software during implementation; (ii) because changes to the original software can be time-consuming and risk implementation deadlines; and (iii) to ensure the system stays on the upgrade path to avoid high service costs after implementation."

(i) You are meant to expect to have to make changes during the implementation. And manage them on your constantly changing plan. That's why it's called "agile", because that adaptability is built in to the philosophy.

(ii) If you can't make changes because they're too time consuming, then you can't run it as an agile project. It's just monolithic software, probably very badly designed and written. Deadlines should change as requirements change : you can't have a fixed deadline agile project.

(iii) With agile, you're supposed to implement only what's required now, not hypothetical future scenarios, as they are the worst reasons for projects massively overrunning or getting so overcomplicated that they're hard to change. Being overzealous about this is one of the shortcomings of people who view agile as a religion in my view, as sometimes it's fairly obvious what the future will involve, but there's no rule to say that you can't incorporate a bit of time for extending software to ease future extensibility into your agile project plan.

Microsoft drops a seemingly innocuous Windows Insider build, teases the future


Start Menu flakier than ever

Twenty five years they've had. A quarter of a century. To simply provide a menu to invoke other applications that is stable, easily customisable and usable.

And still they keep fucking it up.

Thankfully, our AI savior is here to nail the COVID-19 pandemic: A neural network that can detect coughing


We have the initial validation that the coughing indeed has a correlation with influenza

I'm sure that your new discovery will prove very helpful to the doctors who never knew that before. Especially, since without thermal cameras, microphones and AI convolutional neural networks they may never have been able to determine whether a patient has a temperature and a cough. Luckily for the inventors, this useless tech has arrived at the precise time when people might be stupid enough to buy it. Especially politicians who are just itching to proclaim that they have thrown millions at AI to fight the problem in order to appear "with it". Now is the time when IT pros could be especially helpful in pointing out the true pointlessness of the many many opportunistic attempts to cash in from "medical AI" that are guaranteed to arrive very shortly. And point out any actually useful ones.

The show Musk go on: Tesla defies Silicon Valley coronavirus lockdown order, keeps Fremont factory open


anyone caught violating the order can be fined $50 to $1,000

A big deterrent to the silicon valley billionaires I'm sure. The world can wait awhile for unnecessary luxury goods, and the Tesla showrooms will empty anyway as this thing reaches its peak. After it blows over, people who want one will resume buying them and Tesla can resume making them.

Now is most definitely not the time for "I'm so special" egotists to be striking blows for freedom by carrying on entirely in their own self interest.

Come to Malmö for St Peter's. Stay for the Bork


We'd order in from a Triangeln retailer called Döner Kebab

You wouldn't if you click on the "Restauranger" link on the website. It's kebab internals served neatly on a plate! No pita bread! With a side bowl of "dip".

Major food børk.

IBM veep partly blamed Sopra Steria for collapse of £155m Co-Op Insurance Agile project


Agile project

This sounds nothing like how an agile project is supposed to be done. Whetever methodolgy you are or not using, it has been known for years now that you should get a basic functioning user interface out to users as soon as possible, then start user acceptance testing straight away : this way you catch the "oh no it shouldn't be like that it should work like this" as soon as possible. You should then keep UAT going as the functionality is igradually filled in so that the users don't feel that nasty surprises are being sprung on them and the developers can make sure the system does what is really required in a a way that is intuitive to the users doing their actual jobs with it.

From the story, this sounds like it was really a waterfall prioject dressed up in fancy agile clothing, and the users only got to test it near the end of the project whereupon they realised far too late that the system didn't meet their needs.

Yanking on the space supply chain: Rocket Lab goes Interplanetary with Sinclair acquisition


Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

This will seem a bad choice of location to all fans of nominative determinism.

Microsoft's Bill Gates defrag is finally virtually complete: Billionaire quits board to double down on philanthropy


Heal the World and Save the Planet

I cannot help but be reminded by all this of the time Michael Jackson did his messianic "Earth Song" performance at the Brit awards, complete with hordes of adoring children and videos of him bringing dead elephants back to life, and Jarvis Cocker jumped on stage and waggled his arse in his direction to show what everybody was really thinking of it, and I salute all those doing the same to such praise-hungry professors of public philanthropy.

Appareils électroniques: Right to repair gets European Commission backing



And when the companies start protesting, give them a public reminder that rather than relying on planned obsolescence and non repairability and replacability of parts, they should innovate and invent new stuff instead of desperately clinging to their cash cow which has been made fat by turning tech into throwaway stuff.

White House turns to Big Tech to fix coronavirus blunders while classifying previous conversations


Facebook and Twitter

The perfect tools to help.... spread mad conspiricy theories, market pricy quack cures to the ignorant, profit from shortages, hijack the crisis for unpleasant personal and political agendas and facilitate mob rule when things get really nasty.

Good luck pitching a tent on exoplanet WASP-76b, the bloody raindrops here are made out of molten iron


The "night" side is colder dropping to 1,500°C

The aliens that live there are tough enough to cope with it though. They're hard as nails.

There's gold in your biz's processes and mining them is the future, says bloke behind topic's first practical guide


set application upgrades up for failure

Upgrading 60 ERP systems from one version of SAP to the next must be a horrfic project. Personally, I wouldn't make it any more insane by saying "I know, let's do it using AI".

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?


A hole in the wall is often a result of broken windows...

In the meantime, I suggest renaming the bank as Borklays.