* Posts by flokie

77 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Feb 2014


Copilot pane as annoying as Clippy may pop up in Windows 11


Well we can't rule out it's the usual "every other version is rubbish and should be skipped" - we'll have to wait for Windows 12 and see.

Just as a reminder: 98 good (or was it 95 good, 98 bad, 98 SE good? a little before my time). ME bad. XP good. Vista bad. 7 good. 8 bad. 10 good. 11 bad.

If anyone wants to argue that all Windows releases are bad, that's fine with me too.

Air Canada must pay damages after chatbot lies to grieving passenger about discount


Re: Air Canada must really be terrible

Ouch. But if Air Canada are that bad, where does that leave Air Transat then?!

Post Office boss unable to say when biz knew Horizon could be remotely altered


Re: Compensation?

It's unlikely Fujitsu had to be called in as experts in any PO prosecution vs postmasters because: "In English and Welsh law, computers are assumed to be “reliable” unless proven otherwise."


Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris



I just posted before reading your comment and am now distressed to find there are at least two people in the world who'd stick AZERTY onto a QWERTZ keyboard...

I write in French every now and then on a QWERTY keyboard, and I use AltGr+e for é, and let auto-correct fix other accents. The only real annoyance is "à" which isn't always picked up by auto correct and sometimes require some copy/paste instead.



One step further: a friend had brought back a QWERTZ keyboard from Germany, and had stuck the AZERTY layout on it.... good luck with that one.

The Q<->A Y<->Z subs are the easy part for different keyboard layouts. The real pain in the arse is punctuation. With AZERTY you get easier access to accents, but a simple full stop needs a Shift... The M positioned next to L is annoying too.

Intel inside a world of pain as revenue plunges by a third


Re: Slash spending and layoff employees

Any source for your claim they sell the majority of server NICs?

I wouldn't expect they do - their NICs are more expensive than their competitors' and the chipsets for IceLake and Sapphire Rapids don't provide LAN-on-motherboard (part of the PCH with Skylake/Cascade Lake). Servers today typically have an OCP slot and all major NIC manufacturers provide options in that form factor, not just Intel.

Version 252 of systemd, as expected, locks down the Linux boot process


Re: For a second....

I misread fall as fail... which only reflects on what I think of systemd.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it


Re: Not the only game in town

I was a big fan of Blackbox - and when I had to use Win XP for work I managed to find a BB4Win setup!

But as you mentioned Blackbox/Fluxbox/Openbox are "only" window managers.

I recently got a laptop on which I installed PCLOS Linux, and I tried the Openbox community edition. Getting a compatible taskbar and widgets etc so I could see Network manager, battery levels, and all the things you'd expect from a fuller desktop proved more work than I was willing to undertake, and in the end I settled for the KDE edition. The difference between a "window manager" and a "desktop environment" isn't just a few icons.

Study: How Amazon uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads


I'm not bothered by the DDG text ads, in fact I don't often see many of these, and it usually finds what I'm looking after, ie. information about a technology or product etc.

Google search results on the other hand seem to assume I'm looking to buy something.

Google and Facebook's top execs allegedly approved dividing ad market among themselves


Re: Expletive deleted

IIRC [REDACTED} retracted the super-injunction after a Scottish Sunday newspaper published their name.The super-injunction was obtained from an English court, and therefore didn't apply to Scotland which has its own judicial system.

United, Mesa airlines order 200 electric 19-seater planes for short-hop flights


Re: 250 mile range/19 passengers

Absolutely, I'm not entirely sure what parts of the US this would apply to, but I can envision a fair few flight routes in Scotland where this could be viable: the likes of Glasgow - Campbeltown (min 3h30 by road with 2 ferries, 5h otherwise), Aberdeen-Orkney (4-5h drive, 2h ferry), Orkney-Shetland (8h ferry).

Range wise, this would work for the likes of Glasgow - Belfast, or Liverpool - Dublin but not enough capacity with 19 seats.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout


Re: French Roundabouts are useless

Funny, I was just thinking of a town in France that was known for its roundabouts because right of way was different to roundabouts anywhere else in France - but not anywhere in Germany it now seems!

They sensibly ended this exception in 2002.


AI recommendations fail fans who like hard rock and hip hop – official science


This reminds me of this investigation by Stereogum - why have some tracks that weren't even singles, B-sides in some cases, become the most listened to for some indie bands?


Quick answer is.. "auto-play" picking these because they sound more like mainstream songs..so yeah it totally chimes with this article.

You think the UK coronavirus outbreak was bad? Just wait till winter: Study shows test-and-trace system is failing


Re: But... but...

It's been rolled in Northern Ireland too hasn't it?

And earlier this week the Scottish Government have announced they will implement it too - and the app will work across the Common Travel Area, so up to Wales and England now.


Re: But... but...

The privacy issues were by design surely. That central db can be monetised, and why do you think Cummings' pals were picked for the app.

I wouldn't use the upcoming 90 min from DnaNudge* either unless I know first what will happen to my data.

*"a company that analyses people’s DNA from saliva in order to sell them a wristband and smartphone app that will “nudge” them towards healthy food choices"


The focus on mortality isn't helpful

Neither are comparisons with the flu.

"Mild" seems to mean anything not serious enough to go to hospital - but that still includes much worse symptoms than the flu, read some accounts from people who actually went through it if you don't know anyone first-hand.

Want one I know? 7-10 days of temperature going up and down. Nausea, couldn't keep down food - lost one stone in a week (10st woman). Confusion - fell off bed, no short term memory. Tiredness. Fainted once. Some coughing but hardly any respiratory symptom. No hospitalisation. This is an example of mild.

Then there's the long haulers - read this eg. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/28/coronavirus-long-haulers-infectious-disease-testing or


It looks like 10+% of symptomatic sufferers take 6 weeks or more to recover. Some still have symptoms after 4 months. Many young people with no underlying health conditions fall within that category.

Some people still experiencing symptoms and getting post-Covid checkups are finding out they had strokes or heart attacks leaving lasting damage.

Folks who want to take their chances because mortality isn't that bad? Idiots.

Dutch national broadcaster saw ad revenue rise when it stopped tracking users. It's meant to work like that, right?


Re: Duck Duck Go privates?

No comment on the 'topical' results, but yes DDG now implement geo-based results.

On the results page you'll see a couple of filters at the top: Safe search, filter by date - and the first one is geographic. You can switch it off, or change to another country. I think the default is on, and it will derive your country from your IP.

If you're serious about browser privacy, you should probably pass on Edge or Yandex, claims Dublin professor


Re: Is this relevant though?

I kind of agree, what would be useful is to know what settings can be changed in these browsers, either through the main settings, or via advanced options.

Can you have a separate search bar and disable search in the address bar? Disable search suggestions altogether? Is DuckDuckGo easily available as a default search engine or does it take manual steps? etc etc.

Glasgow extends middle finger to southern fairies as London ranks bottom in mobile signal top 10


Re: So...

"yous/youse" is plural.

I once had a conversation with a Texan couple, who were telling me people easily know where they're from due to their use of "y'all" and wondering why it's not more widespread:

"But how else do you make it obvious you mean the plural?"

Sure you'll guess what this Glaswegian replied.

Ah, this should totally reassure Euro workers: They'll get Brexit EU settled status app on iPhones from October


Re: Have they (EU nationals) not go the message yet ?

I use the e-gates whenever possible as border staff must have had new instructions in the last few years... Whereas I just used to show my passport, thank you, bye, last time I was asked by staff "Visiting for a holiday?" even though my passport shows my UK address. "No, back from the holiday and coming home now". I was waved through no problem but it jarred with me.

Usenet file-swapping was acceptable in the '80s – but not so much now: Pirate pair sent down for 66 months


Re: Still use it

Wow, have the spammers finally left? I probably haven't checked for >5 years, but last time I did all I saw was spam, and a lot of it.


Unfortunately most ISPs dropped Usenet at some point in the 00s. I think I kept subscribing through Claranet for a few years after my ISP did so. I'm not that old: only suffered 12-18 months of dialup access before I first got broadband, but my time on the internet then was mostly spent on Usenet and IRC.

Lots of fond memories from newsgroups, from starting trouble by crossposting to several alt.music.* newsgroups, to finding an unused group that became a haunt for me and a few pals, youksef! (I wouldn't be surprised if that is still active!), and of course discovering so much new music in a.b.s.m.indie. In retrospect, I have to apologise for only sharing back 160kbps mp3s, not even 192kbps, but I only had 128kbps upload (or was it 64kbps?).

I think the decline of usenet wasn't purely due to the rise of the www, and forums and messageboards and then social media, but that binaries indeed played a big part. Things were fine as long as binaries were jpegs and even mp3s, but once people started to have fast enough connections to share movies, the amount of data stored on news servers must have grown huge & therefore expensive for ISPs who then, one by one, either stopped offering any alt.binary.* newsgroup or cut off news: access altogether.

I'll raise a glass to the Usenet too, plus it's Friday.

UK taxman spent six times more with AWS last year than cloud firm paid in corporation tax


Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again


Re: How easy it is to get an international deal

French news were reporting on this last weekend, and surveyed random people on the streets for their thoughts.

"Obviously, everybody uses kilos. Well, except the English, but then they're not normal".

Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s



This Frenchie here certainly didn't need reminded of Lagaf. Yes it was a joke, but one that stopped being funny after the first listen. 18 weeks at #1 you said? So it must have stayed about 6 months in the charts. 6 months of being constantly subjected to that atrocity on the radio.

Then he had another stupid hit single the year after, and one year later, it was Jordi's "Dur dur d'etre un bébé" that went on to be even more successful...

We probably got cable TV around that time, and seeing the UK and Euro single charts on MTV was such a relief compared to the French Top 50.


Re: If windows 95 starts and nobody hears it?....

I never understood why people paid for ringtones when indeed you could type them in.

I didn't copy mine from websites though, as they didn't really cater for my indie tastes, and instead used a cheap keyboard to work out some melody's notes and then put them into the ringtone composer with that weird syntax.

I'm no musician so similar result in that it was never quite exactly what I wanted (well I had the notes right, but timings probably not). I definitely wasn't the only one doing that, as I swapped a few ringtones created that way with friends.

You can look up the Nokia 3210 manual online for details of how the Composer worked if you're feeling nostalgic.

Boeing embraces Embraer to take off in regional jet market


Re: Size matters

There are some but they tend to split brands, ie. KLM (737s) and KLM CityHopper (E-195s), or Air France (Airbus 320-321s) and their subsidiary iHop (E-195s). In the UK I believe BA operate some Embraer jets, but that's only to serve LCY and its short runway.

But yes, you're unlikely to get cheap fares with any of these.


Re: Size matters

The E195 has a 2+2 seating config for 100 pax or so.

IIRC they're the largest planes that can fly into London City airport and its short runway.

The one downside to the ERJ and E-Jets I can think of is that the overhead lockers are tiny indeed.

The last flight I took had two legs, one in a 737, the other in an E-195. I clicked on KLM's "learn more about your aircraft" link and was surprised to see the Embraer's cruising speed was marginally higher than the 737. Maybe I shouldn't have been, because yes, their engines seem to pack a punch!

Here in the UK regional routes are limited with LHR being such a hub - either Easyjet or Ryanair with their Airbus and Boeing craft, respectively. Or FlyBe, who if IIRC have a few Embraer planes, but mostly use propeller planes for their UK routes unfortunately.

Send printer ink, please. More again please, and fast. Now send it faster


Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

On Call has always been about those crazy users we have to support.

Simon's started "Who, me?" recently for the kind of tales you mention - on Mondays, latest is here:


Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)


Clearly not me, I saw a very Flashy Dave the other day (actually, I heard his car more than I saw it) and the first thought that came to my mind was "tiny dick".

Jeff Bezos purple prose reveals Amazon Prime's passed 100m customers


How many signed up unwittingly?

I've always managed to find the very small hidden "Free delivery" or normal delivery options and avoided signing up for Prime, but they make it incredibly easy for people to sign up for Prime without realising.

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


Re: Better alternative


Must be the UK. The majority of sugary soft drinks now contain a mix of sugar and sweeteners. You can still buy diet/light drinks with zero calories, sweeteners only. But the non-diet versions now also include sweeteners. And that's the case with most of the major brands' soft drinks. The two main exceptions are Coke and Pepsi which have not changed recipes, and then there are the San Pellegrino fruity drinks, anything else will be from small brands with patch distribution.

Beer icon as that's still safe from sweetners, for now at least.

How machine-learning code turns a mirror on its sexist, racist masters


Re: Compiles and runs OK

A random text might be interesting, but I'd suggest you look into "Corpus linguistics" and download some corpora too.

BlackBerry Z10 'share-price pump' lawsuit is back from the dead


Re: Z10 Became Quite Good

My Q10 certainly didn't have the same issues as described here by Z10 owners, but BB10 was nowhere near ready at its launch either. Selecting text was near impossible to get right. This was sorted in an update, but maybe 3-6 months after I'd got my Q10. BB10 OS didn't support Android native apps then either. BB10 became very good - but only at least one year after the Z10 was launched.

Why isn't digital fixing the productivity puzzle?


Re: Low productivity

Fruit picking is seasonal work and cost of living won't be much of an issue for migrant workers as they'll be housed in temporary accommodation on or near the farms. The devaluation of the pound is the reason many workers chose not to come back last year.


Re: Low productivity

I had a fairly similar example in mind - car washes. Go to France eg. and you'll only find automatic car washes with minimal staff. In the UK your car will probably get washed by a ZHC worker.

(Now that I think of it maybe not as good an example as yours with car washes in the UK probably reporting higher activity and productivity than they should: cash businesses not uncommonly used for money laundering)

Unemployment is indeed much lower in the UK but how many are stuck in such low productivity jobs? And people in such jobs won't have any more spending power than someone unemployed in France or Germany. It's also worth noting that the UK has the least generous unemployment compensation in Western Europe, which in turn drives people into low productivity jobs.

AI taught to beat Sudoku puzzles. Now how about a time machine to 2005?


Re: Been there done that

I think that's always been a matter of contention. If you need to hypothesize a number in a cell and then follow a chain that's 7-8 cells long, is that an acceptable logical way of solving things, or does this count as trial and error and therefore not such a logical way of getting to the solution?

Mythical broadband speeds to plummet in crackdown on ISP ads


Re: About time....

Not sure that's still the case nowadays, but a lot of ISP provided routers only had 100Mb Ethernet ports, not 1Gb. A bit slow for NAS especially if you intend to stream HD videos to your TV.

The issue now is more likely to be modems doing away with RJ45 entirely as wi-fi is now fast enough - but many NAS boxes will only offer wired connections.

Or maybe they had something else in mind entirely, as I now find that the SH3 has Gigabit ports!

But shared storage was the reason I purchased a Gigabit router years ago.

At last! Vivaldi lets you kill looping GIFs


I never used the mail/news/bittorrent clients much - but outside of these there's still some Opera features that I miss.

Maybe I'm crazy but I liked "ask me each time" when encountering new cookies - prompting a pop-up with site-level settings and i'd usually set primary: allow, or session-only, and third party:block or session-only. And I miss the wonderful right-click "Block content" option. So for all the sites I visited regularly settings were saved, but whenever I went somewhere new I could really customise things to my liking, and enable/disable what I wanted. None of the defaults in modern browsers allow me to do that so easily.

Having said that, I agree with the general sentiment of your post.

Vivaldi also manages things I didn't think were possible with the Chrome engine, such as tiling tabs, and brings new features we didn't have with old Opera (and usually executes them well too) such as screen capture.

So yes, as much as I'd have liked to see the Presto engine moving forward, I'm grateful the Vivaldi team are delivering such a good browser.

To the previous poster - what are you using then? Other than Vivaldi, I still use Firefox, but it's certainly not improving. I don't see Pale Moon as a viable alternative - new websites won't support it just as they won't support Opera 12.* . Edge? Chrome?

Funnily enough, charging ££££s for trashy bling-phones wasn't a great idea


Re: "paying out the nose"

Not sure whether that's an American thing or the NFL getting focus from the UK. Thinking of the NBA, getting virtually ignored here, but go to France and it's a big deal. I have no idea what's actually the most popular in the US. Baseball - which is the one with the all American "World Series" IIRC - certainly doesn't seem to get much following from Europe.

User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'


Fake nails

I wore fake nails once in my life, and that was for a Halloween party on a Sat night. Cue panic on Sunday afternoon as I realised I didn't have anything to take them off, and I couldn't type with them. I did find some remover in a local shop thankfully so no issue turning up at work the next day.

Not sure how I brought it up with my (very girlie) team leader later that week, but I told her jokingly - "I thought I may have to call in sick on Monday as I had nothing to take off the fake nails I wore on Sat. night!"

Her deadly serious reply "oh yes, they make them so long, I always have to trim mine off".

Somehow, even after being given the secret to how to wear fake nails, I never felt like sticking some on again.

Hi! I’m Foxy! It looks like you want to run Flash. Do you need help?


Re: The problem are not 'web' developers.

Upgrades include security fixes too...

I'd suggest "downgrading" to the ESR release - currently 45.9, so that should buy some months at least before it catches up on the auto-disable-plugins releases.

Cheer up, pal: UK mobe networks are now 8% less crap, tests show


Re: Customer satisfaction measurements?

I stuck with them then.. The 2-for-1 cinema tickets were good! Customer service became good again after a while, they went back to UK call centers. I had a Deezer mobile sub with my contract, which was good value (esp. as usage didn't eat into my data allowance.). I always managed to get the phone I wanted + a decent deal when renewing contracts by talking to the cancellation department.

Then EE came. No more 2-for-1 cinema tickets. 4G appeared and prices were extortionate and I stayed on 3G even with a 4G phone. Then suddenly my contract no longer included any Extras such as Deezer. That's when I said bye.

Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?


A trophy for hypocrisy

...goes to a former colleague when I was working in a post sales call center. We had some test servers, and there were network shares that most of us had forgotten about. Until on a quiet day a workmate was having a peek around, and found that the #1 weirdo in the team was using the shares to store plenty of personal files.

Not overly surprisingly, there were a few GBs of porn in several folders. Which would have been fairly unremarkable, if there hadn't been another folder with hundreds of .doc files. Most of the files contained lyrics to Christian hymns! My personal favourite though was sexshop.doc: a copy of a letter he and his missus sent to the city council, protesting against the proposed opening of a sexshop in town, as this went against all good Christian values etc..

We didn't grass him up. I certainly didn't like the guy, but he never went out of his way to be a nuisance to me or the other colleagues. If he had, then he would have found out we knew about his porn stash.

If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report


Re: is anyone surprised?

Thanks everyone for the replies. Glad it wasn't an entirely daft question!

It certainly sounds like Virgin trains have some of the least mobile phone friendly train carriages.


Re: is anyone surprised?

This could be a totally stupid question but could train design have an effect?

Anecdotal evidence, and this was before I had a 4G phone, but I travelled from Edinburgh to Newcastle a few years back, and 3G coverage was mostly OK on my way there in an East Coast train. For the return, Virgin CrossCountry - I couldn't catch a signal most of the way. Same route same tracks.

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think



The actual word is in fact even worse than simply 'shampoo', since it's 'shampoing'. An 'o' has been dropped, and the pronunciation has nothing to do with English & rhymes with the french 'point'.

reconnoitre does exist although it's archaic and has an î circonflexe, just like the modern form reconnaître.


This reminded me of that time I bought a Reading festival ticket + coach travel from Paris from a French company many moons ago. We arrived a few hours late, but talking to others on a coach, it turned out to be an improvement on the previous year, when there was even more of a delay after the driver took the wrong motorway exit and got lost in London suburbs.

Why that person chose to travel again with them the next year beggars belief, as they had afterwards sent a complaint and asked for compensation, and got an apology with this immortal line "Ca peut arriver a tout le monde de se perdre dans une impasse": "Getting lost in a cul-de-sac can happen to anybody".

In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning


Re: Aspartame

And sweeteners are even to be found in non "Diet" versions of everything nowadays. Fanta, Schweppes tonic, 7up, Robinsons' squash etc spring to mind.