* Posts by Whiskers

153 posts • joined 15 May 2014


Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds


Lead aprons

Anyone else remember the lead-lined aprons issued to 'Computer Operators' because of the (alledged) radiation from the cathode ray tube monitors? My company's health and safety people allowed their use to be optional unless the operator was pregnant. Most of the computer operators had peviously been short-hand typists now updated to using 'word processors' - big ugly things looking like the control station from Star Trek, with stacks of big floppy disks around.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?


Re: Sorry to be technical

Ideally, the viscsity of the cream and the jam should be very similar, both requiring the use of two spoons, or a knife and spoon, to transfer them to the split (or the scone if that's what you've got).


Re: It doesn't matter..

Glad to see I'm not the only fan of the split :))



Growing up in Cornwall in the '50s, I came to prefer splits to scones. For a start, they hold more cream (and jam). Strawberry jam is OK, best if home-made from wild fruit, but blackberry jam or bramble jelly are best with clotted cream.

We used to have to fight the flies and wasps for the jam; whatever happened to all of them?

Amazon's not saying its warehouse staff are dumb... but it feels they need artificial intelligence to understand what 'six feet' means



I've heard at least one comedian suggest that everyone should wear six-foot-wide hoop skirts, as an aid to maintaining distance.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails


'Kaiten' allows you to interleave your reply if you want to. Its 'free' relative 'K9' may do so too, I don't remember. (I have no connection with the product, it's just the email client I dislike least of those I've tried on Android).

Lies, damn lies, and KPIs: Let's not fix the formula until we have someone else to blame


Re: KPIs

When these were introduced in my last workplace someone asked what the initials stood for. I came up with "keeping people ignorant".

We are Google, we are proud, English football is moving to our cloud


Football is not our national sport; 'discussing football' is [☆]. Football is not moving into the clouds (although it does sometimes happen in fog), but 'discussing football' has always had a large nebulous element.

[☆] For several values of 'discuss'.

Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers


Re: The only conspiracy

The email just arrived, and confirmation worked. Still just shy of seven figures ...


As the site says, allow 24 hours for the email to arrive, and check the spam and junk filters. I can imagine the email servers struggling just as much as the rest of the system.


I think the one against compulsory ID cards had some influence.


Re: The only conspiracy

The site does say to allow 24 hours for the confirmation email to arrive, and to look in your spam and junk folders. I've been waiting about 30 minutes for the email to get to me.

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...


Getting more like Usenet:))

NASA gently nudges sleeping space 'scopes Chandra, Hubble out of gyro-induced stupor


The eternal struggle to not break things.

Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?


Re: Tea with milk

Just for the record, tea is grown in the British Isles; just £39.50 for 11 grams (which can make up to 20 cups if you do it right) <https://tregothnan.co.uk/product/single-estate-loose-11g/>. They also sell their tea blended with more common imported leaves at more ordinary prices.

Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China


Re: Oh dear...

So anthropomorphism cuts both ways ....

FBI's flawed phone tally blamed on programming error. 7,800 unbreakable mobes? Er, um...


Re: ...an audit could take weeks...

They're probably not counting actual phones at all; rather, a mixed bag of paper and electronic records about phones that are not easily accessible (what with being 'evidence').

Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me


>> "It seems to me absolutely right that when one drives down a street, one should be able to spot an electric charging point rather as one can spot a pillar box or Belisha beacon," said Conservative MP John Hayes. <<

If there are to be enough public charging points to cater for all cars being electric, we're going to need more or less continuous rows of charging points along all streets where parking is allowed. If there's anything that needs to be clearly marked, it will be those parking places where the charging point is missing or not working. So the 'Hayes hole' will be the one that's of use to almost no-one.

Where the electricity is to come from, is not at all clear.

If charging points are only as common as Belisha beacons, we're not going anywhere. Literally.

Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs



In keeping with the anachronistic steam-train and bellows-camera signs, shouldn't the soccer ball depicted be one of the real leather lace-up sort with large complex curved panels? The Bucky-ball shape is too modern.

Firmware update blunder bricks hundreds of home 'smart' locks


The key's indoors ...

I wonder if any users have left their only physical keys inside the house whose lock is now bricked? This could get a bit messy and expensive. I know, as I've managed to lock myself out more than once (purely by my own actions, no internet required). Doors and windows aren't cheap.

If their only computer is also inside the inaccessible house, will they even have got the email?

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'


Re: Moving sidewalks

Not Asimov; H G Wells in 1898 "When the Sleeper Wakes" <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/775/775-h/775-h.htm#link2HCH0005> (re-written in 1910).


Re: "Electric vehicles are the obvious solution to that particular problem"

> apartment buildings [that have only one parking spot per apartment], <

As many as that? Where I am, there are more than 40 households and only 16 parking spaces - all on street. Parking only works because many households don't own any sort of road vehicle at all; something that has been a basic planning assumption for centuries. There are lock-up garages in the vicinity, but they seem to be used for storing something other than cars. Only the streets with low-rise housing on both sides have the luxury of a parking space for each household. (And the local authority charges for annual parking permits these days, too).

AI vans are real – but they'll make us suck at driving, warn boffins


Re: The future:

> Have you ever ridden in a truly nasty cab? Now imagine that experience without being mitigated by the presence of another human being. <

Perhaps the self-cleaning public loo will provide the model; after each use, the auto-cab goes to the nearest cleansing station for a thorough hose-down and decontamination inside and out. Users will soon get used to the smell of disinfectant and the need to don a plastic mac before getting into one.

Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios


Re: "Because you can"

> Adding "yet another proposition" to a paper ballot is not cheap. <

You don't have to have just one sheet of paper, and you don't have to have all the elections and referendums taking place on the same day. Here in the UK we seem to manage local and national and EU elections pretty well with paper ballots - and referendums too, although we struggle to ask the right questions with those. Sometimes there's just one paper, possibly with a single question on it, and sometimes the ballot has a long list of names on it; sometimes we've even managed to have some of the papers for 'first past the post' elections and others for some form of 'PR' - on the same day. Paper is very flexible, and so are human counters.

Huawei missed memo that PC's dead – so here are three new notebooks


Re: Linux?

My Toshiba Ultra HD4K i7 laptop running Arch Linux has an operational touch-screen. I hardly ever use it though, the old USB track-ball is still my preferred pointy-clicky thing.

Cook fights for life after Google summit blaze


Buiilt-in extinguishers?

You'd think by now that legislation would have ensured that all commercial or industrial deep fryers had built-in extinguishing systems of some sort.

Tesla's latest car crash: Its 'meritless' lawsuit against ex-Autopilot bod


Re: Self-regulating recall?

>> 2) Once your car will also be sentient, there'll be nothing but new problems. Like constant bickering about how "you only ever want to drive to boring places like work and shopping. I wanna go someplace fun!" and stuff like that. Who needs that? <<

Sounds like the mind of a campervan stuck in the body of a hatchback. Are car mechanics going to have to become counsellors? Could the 'Thomas the Tank Engine' stories become foundation texts for a new vehicle culture?

Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern


Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

@ Charles 9:

I think the most Lynx-like text browser for Windows is probably Lynx <http://lynx.browser.org/lynx.html>

As ad boycott picks up pace, Google knows it doesn't have to worry


Reply Icon

>"Surely there must be some way for advertisers to tell Google 'do not put our adverts on content provided by the following: ..."

Unless you are keeping very quiet about a massive break-through in Artificial Intelligence, the three dots at the end of your question can only be a list of specific providers.<

Either identifiable entities or meaningful categories should be manageable. There's enough money in the business to cover however much it costs to keep advertisers happy (or Google's business model is untenable). Advertisers may want to dissociate themselves from all sorts of content providers - particular political parties, religious groups, government agencies, competitors, themselves, entities from countries they don't trade in, etc; it needn't only be 'offensive' stuff (which is of course a subjective category, not a judgment that could be trusted to anyone else, human or AI). I'm sure some advertisers are delighted to be associated with content providers others might find 'offensive'.

The surprise is not that some advertisers object to some content, but that they hadn't already insisted on some mechanism to enforce their preferences - and instituted routine checks.


Allowing free speech (even on YouTube) doesn't mean that advertisers who don't support the views expressed should be expected to help pay for the organisations expressing themselves.

Surely there must be some way for advertisers to tell Google 'do not put our adverts on content provided by the following: ...'

Automated, insight cannot be: Jedi master of statistics was good – but beware the daft side


Key Performance Indicators?

You have to choose very carefully what you measure as KPIs. Then make sure you're collecting real data, not stuff 'estimated' at the end of the week by whoever has to fill in the forms.

KPI = Keeping People Ignorant

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling


Re: What is social media?

Does usenet count? This could be just the boost usenet needs. Or doesn't. Likewise IRC.

Devonians try to drive Dartmoor whisky plan onto rocks


Sheep ponies and walkers

I hope they manage to filter out the effects of sheep ponies and walkers on the local streams. But anything that makes the water more palatable has to be welcomed.

I can't say I've ever noticed vast fields of golden barley on the moor, but there's plenty of peat.

Oh Britain. Worried your routers will be hacked, but won't touch the admin settings


Re: Default passwords etc

The 'next door teenager' aspect could be ameliorated by disabling the WiFi completely unless reconfigured via ethernet. That wouldn't apply to routers that have no ethernet connection available, of course, but then whoever gets to those first becomes the owner. A factory reset would give the person holding the device another chance to set it up themselves. Perhaps running the wifi at 'low power' and with a limit of 'one connected device only' until set up would give the purchaser a good chance of being the first one into the setup interface. Staff in shops selling the routers should be trained to be able to help innocent customers get started safely (I know that's unlikely to happen in reality).

Going underground: The Royal Mail's great London train squeeze


Re: VIP passenger service

I have no objection to travelling in a seated position, or even laying down. In fact I rather prefer it.


VIP passenger service

There were times when I'd have gladly paid for a fast way to get between Liverpool St and Paddington, avoiding the crush and hassle of the Tube.

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works


Re: Calculations

"Come to think of it wouldn't BI put lots of public sector workers out of a job due to the simplification of the benefits system?"

Absolutely. One of the key benefits. Those people might even be inspired to find something useful to do.


Re: I'm not paid a lot

... and also no disincentive to seek work, unlike the current system whereby your 'benefits' are cut or cancelled as soon as you're 'earning' thus leaving you possibly a lot worse off working than not working. It's called 'the poverty trap'.


Re: I'm not paid a lot

Boredom, people to get to know and relate to, earning money for treats and luxuries.

Pound falling, Marmite off the shelves – what the UK needs right now is ... an AI ethics board


Re: Don't ...

Can we defer taking their feelings into account until they can convince us that they have feelings? It's not all that long ago that humans were arguing about this in connection with their treatment of other humans (and I'm not sure that everyone is satisfied that that argument is over).

BT Yahoo! customers: Why! can't! we! grrr! delete! our! webmail! accounts!?


Re: unless they are old there's no excuse

You'd probably think I'm old. So is my BTInternet email address; it dates back to dial-up days in the last century. When I wanted the internet, I had to get a new-fangled plug-in telephone socket instead of the hard-wired sort 'everyone' had at the time - so I had to get a new telephone too. I waited in all day for the BT engineer to come and do it all - they wouldn't let just anyone mess around with their wires.


Re: Pay for Email

I do pay for email. I pay BT/Yahoo! The account was converted to 'premium email' when I gave up BT as my ISP, as I'd used my BTInternet address for so much that it was (is and will be) inconvenient to try to get all those contacts to use some other address.

I have had auto-forwarding to another address in place for all incoming emails to the BTInternet address, and auto-deletion from the BT server, for several years. This worked fine, and I wasn't obliged to use either the appalling webmail interfaces they invented from time to time nor their insecure SMTP. I discovered by accident the other day that although the auto-forward is still working correctly, emails are no longer being deleted from the BT server - and there is no setting interface at all for changing either the auto-forward or the auto-delete. So the 'inbox' is steadily filling up with old messages.

After wasting hours digging around on the BT web pages, I found a 'contact us' web form for problems with email. But it refuses to let me send any messages without being given my BT account number - which I do not have, as I have no account with BT.

You can check out, but you can't leave.

UK IT consultant subject to insane sex ban order mounts legal challenge


Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

If the medical and psychiatric practitioners believe he is a danger to himself or others, surely their proper course of action is to direct him to a suitable hospital. If he resists he could be 'sectioned'. <http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/legal-rights/sectioning/#>. Of course that would cost the NHS money and would't titillate any police.

Bimodal IT: Let the backlash begin


Bimodal? That sounds like what we did when we first started to try using computers to do some of the paperwork. The trick was to get the paper and electronic systems to deliver the same answer; whether that was the correct answer was a different matter entirely.

West country cops ponder appearance of 40 dead pigeons on A35


Dead of course

Live ones don't stay put when you dump them.

Pokemon GO-ZILLA: Safety fears after monsters appear in Fukushima danger zone


Pokemon in The Whitehouse

Pikachu in the Oval Office? (I think that's the only name of a Pokemon I know).

Blighty's Coastguard goes into battle against waterborne Pokemon


Sky meets grass?

That's a fallacy. If the sky meets the grass there is no room for the house or the stick-people. I'm an artist so I know this stuff. Honest.

Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day


Re: Yorkshire Pudding

But do you put the cream or the jam on first? Where does the milk go? What happens to the scone?

Belgian brewery lays 3.2km beer pipeline


How many pints?

How many pints does the pipe hold, and is it only one sort of beer at a time or are there multiple tubes for different brews to be moved in parallel? And is this any way to treat beer?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Aquaboffins sink lost Greek city theory


Carbon capture

So how many tons of those microbes would be needed to eat our surplus methane output, and could they do it fast enough? Are those natural concretions tough enough to be used as substitute brick or cement? I'm sure someone must have thought of this sort of thing before.



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