* Posts by Not previously required

45 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jul 2014

Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II – Britain's first high-tech monarch

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Re: She was a good one

I am very much hoping that Jeremy Corbyn, as a recent leader of HM's loyal opposition, will be invited to the funeral etc, and that Boris, as a disgraced criminal, will not. Thank goodness HM held on long enough for the small improvement that Liz Truss represents. Tough gig for Liz, 48 hrs in, whatever one thinks of her.

End-of-life smartphone? Penguins at postmarketOS aim to revive it

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Re: 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste

I'm prepared to have a thicker phone with a removable battery so that I can use it for a longer-than-designed lifespan.

You are describing Fairphone 4 - but it's not much thicker Andi don't notice it.

OTOH my new shorts do not have pockets big enough for any recent phone to sit comfortably

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

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Stop cocks


So the song is about gas, not water, but the principle applies. Actually most of the song seems relevant in a general sense to the on-call stories!

Smiley because anything that reminds me of F & S deserves one

Inkscape adds multi-page support with v1.2 update

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Re: "Hubris brings the mighty down."

I find this an odd comment for several reasons.

Linux has several desktop GUIs available. I use KDE everyday, and it also works for the remote work I have to do in the corporate world where I am interacting with Windows data or virtual desktops. Personally I prefer it to Windows. Some of that is familiarity, some concern about corporate data sucking etc. I quite understand if you prefer another system and have the money to pay for it.

I don't believe in the theory of spontaneous software evolution, so sufficient numbers of highly skilled people must be writing the stuff. Some of them even seem to be paid by largish companies.

Hard to see why adding open source applications to the mix of paid software reduces choice. Inkscape and Illustrator may be the most obvious vector packages in those categories, but there are other instances in both.

As for Inkscape, I'm an amateur artist mainly with wet stuff slopped on dry stuff. Inkscape is fun (and less messy) and I look forward to trying the new version.

Heresy: Hare programming language an alternative to C

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My encapsulation of that is

"If standards are so great, let's have several different ones for people to choose from"

But then I'm using a different languages from xkcd ...

Reg scribe spends week being watched by government Bluetooth wristband, emerges to more surveillance

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Re: What do you want from your surveillance state? Competent assessment

"The usual rule was to cordon off the city with the army and kill anybody trying to get in or out until the plague ran its course.

Plain, simple, effective. No surveillance, no government imposed restrictions on movement/meetings. Darwinism at its best!"

Which part of the first statement is not covered by the terms "surveillance, restrictions". No little fines either. Terminal enforcement.

The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

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Re: Way Back...

Why are you writing this in the past tense? I receive a large number of stupid forms to complete and return that are still formatted in ways that only make sense if you print, write in pen, scan back. One company required a "wet signed" document (singed in ink). It looked identical to the scanned signature I use, apart from the embedded "Electronically signed" text I include in the latter. For the other filth, I delight in reformatting them, breaking the character limits and saying what I want to say without the restrictions. (Of course I bin anything I don't want to complete at all)

FYI: If the latest Windows 11 really wants to use Edge, it will use Edge no matter what

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Dodging MS abuse

I spend 90% of my time in Linux, including remoting in to some NHS machines.

The 10% I have to use Windows, mainly for NHS use, I use operating system and office software for which I have paid real money (mine, not an employer's) - but still I have to "log in" to use a simple word processor as if I was using the 365 rental version. And it seems to want to shove adverts at me - I thought only "free" software did that, but what do I know, the free software in Linux turns out to be "Free as in Beer, Free as in Speech and Free from Abuse".

Add in the mess that is Teams, which has stopped working in Linux and is still a dog in Windoze and the mess resulting from working for two or more employers who don't share a single system, and the mess that the NHS has made by buying Office 365 for all and ... (what's the character limit here?)

If your apps or gadgets break down on Sunday, this may be why: Gpsd bug to roll back clocks to 2002

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Sending help to Nebraskans

There are a few thousand of these projects - not too many for a public database. How about one of the big FOSS groups maintaining a list of critical projects, their maintainers etc. OASIS / EFF / FSF etc or even a new group (El Reg ...). Then it would be possible to organise financial support or extra humans to help on a more rational basis. Such database would have to avoid pointing rogue states or other actors wishing to cause chaos at a list of humans to delete.

Woman sues McDonald's for $14 after cheeseburger ad did exactly what it's designed to

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Obvious solution

On the few occasions when I am forced (grandchildren etc) to eat a Mac, I struggle to tell when I have finished the anaemic bun and chips and started eating the pale polystyrene box.

Maybe Our Lady of Omsk could have deliberately eaten the box and thrown away the burger. She would still get the smell. Would that count as Lenten observance? A religious scholar ... actually I don't want to know.

Icon because I don't believe in him either.

Windows 11 still doesn't understand our complex lives – and it hurts

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Re: Browser Profiles vs Containers

I think you can only use one profile at a time, but Firefox has a new feature (via a plugin from Mozilla) called Containers. These are brilliant! Colour coded tabs so you can see which is which, with own cookie store, history etc. I can log into different MS email accounts at once. If you launch Teams from one of these it still gets a little confused sometimes, but luckily I mainly use Zoom.

And yes, that's Teams in Firefox in Linux.

The only thing I dislike about containers is that so far you can't associate a container with a url in the bookmark system. Containers can be set for urls, but with MS or gmail its often the same url for multiple accounts.

An anti-drone system that sneezes targets to death? Would that be a DARPA project? You betcha

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Makes you want to stand to attention and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Shorely shome mishtake

Makes you want to take the knee and .... wonder what the hell is happening to the world

UK's Labour Party calls for delay to NHS Digital's GP data slurp until patients can be properly informed

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Re: Note to El Reg

Even if you apply both opt-outs, "Your hospital, community, mental health, social care records" are sent to "NHS digital data linkage" and then "Dissemination of Anonymised & Pseudonymised linked information about you" occurs.

I don't know what the NHS digital data linkage is. As a working hospital doctor I can tell you it doesn't help me when a patient is seen at all 3 or the local hospitals for much the same thing. I don't always have practical access to consultations in my own hospital, because things don't join up properly yet. Despite nearly every PC now sprouting two screens.

Clearly there are huge potential benefits from running the complete NHS database through some AI. The NHS should expect to pay for the processing of the data, but the nation owns the data and should not let others profit from the outcomes without some returns to us.

This project should have been trumpeted as a significant contribution to health. The fact that it is more or less hidden makes me think it is not going to be used for the public good. Given the award of PPE contracts at inflated prices for useless kit to friends of the Tories and the cavalier approach of Johnson to the law and parliament ....

Sure, your app is crap, but Windows won't tell. Promise

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Bright ideas

Anyone looked at the pdf referred to? That advertisement really does look bright, against a lot of dull traffic on a dull day. Is this:

a) A neat bit of graphics editing


b) A shocking waste of electricity in this climate stressed age?

Clothes retailer Fatface: Someone's broken in and accessed your personal data, including partial card payment details... Don't tell anyone

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Data breeches from Fatface

I assumed this was some trendy item of clothing. Perhaps you need them to ride one of those fancy kneeling stools.

Gummy bears as a unit of measure? The Reg Standards Soviet will not stand for this sort of silliness

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Desirability of standards

Having standards is clearly very important to all of us, so I think we should have several that people can choose from.

Lab coat to represent international bureau of variable standards - and hope they won't charge the exorbitant fees of the ISO

Chrome 89 beta: Google presses on with 'advanced hardware interactions' that Mozilla, Apple see as harmful

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Toaster / Toothbrush / Shaver

Pretty difficult to buy an electric toothbrush or shaver now without a bluetooth connection and an app to "control" it. Still needs an on / off switch. I really don't need to log the cumulative time I brush my teeth, or transmit it to Philips, or have anybody predict when I have squeezed that last annoying bit of paste from the tube and re-order more for me.

We need to oppose this nonsense which is bad for the environment and merely more data grabbing.

Say NO to the Google Toothbrush!

ps my grandchildren would defeat the marketeers - they clean everything but their teeth with the brush, and wave it around for minutes at a time in mid air.

Cats: Not a fan favourite when the critters are draped around an office packed with tech

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Re: No cats but... GPs

When the kids were little we had "outdoor" guinea pigs. Occasionally they were allowed a a cuddle on the sofa and to run around indoors. The telephone engineer was very understanding about the cable they chewed through and chalked it up as IT failure so that we didn't have to pay. However they also ate part of the spine of our European atlas and there were bits of France (*) we dared not visit for years.

* = Written on the day the French have locked us out, like most of the rest of Europe. "Take back control of our Borders" - Ha Ha,

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Re: No cats but... GPs

When the kids were little we had "outdoor" guinea pigs. Occasionally they were allowed a a cuddle on the sofa and to run around indoors. The telephone engineer was very understanding about the cable they chewed through and chalked it up as IT failure so that we didn't have to pay. However they also ate part of the spine of our European atlas and there were bits of France (*) we dared not visit for years.

* = Written on the day the French have locked us out, like most of the rest of Europe. "Take back control of our Borders" - Ha Ha,

Excel is for amateurs. To properly screw things up, those same amateurs need a copy of Access

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Re: I had fun with PARADOX in the 90's

I can't understand it - all these Reg readers bewailing the awful Access. Is no one going to join me in shedding a tear for Borland's Paradox? It worked well enough with a database held on a file share with record locking and without falling over. Access didn't do that. It had proper database features like referential integrity. The programming language was basically Pascal, although it did get scattered a bit.

Penguin because I still hate anything made by MS, but there should be an icon for fond reminiscence ?slippers by the fire

Don't Zoom off elsewhere: Google plugs video-chat service Meet into Gmail as user eyes start wandering

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Happily paying

Most people pay for their home broadband and mobile phone connections. Why is videoconferencing different? I bought a low end Zoom account so that I could host meetings lasting > 40 mins. I like Zoom better than Skype or WebEx, which I have tried. I am forced to use Teams for some things, which is OK.

I like opensource software, but there is clearly an expensive server and a service to run here. I'm not made of the stuff, but happy to pay for a job well done, and "If its free , your'e the product" for this sort of thing.

Biggest problem is everyone having different services of course.

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

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Some years ago the castors on my sofa broke. Probably kids using the sofa as a bus, fully loaded. I spent a happy weekend browsing "castors R Us" websites before buying 6 castors and screwing them to the wooden base of the sofa. They look remarkably like the iWheels and for the ? £30 I paid I am sure could be Velcro'd to the base of any PC. And you get a choice of size and colour. And they will support 400Kg.

ps for Mac users - You don't need original brand Velcro either. Cheap clones of hook and loop in glorious technocolour would look just lovely.

Zoom adds Choose Your Own Routing Adventure to keep chats out of China

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I assume that Zoom's rivals have been desperate to dish the dirt on the security issues, given that Zoom is wiping their faces in the dirt. Or am I too cynical to be a Reg reader? Zoom seems to be very balanced geo-politically - Accused of leaking to both China and Facebook at the same time. I don't defend that, hence the penguin. But Skype and WebEx have had security issues in the past too. It seems to be Zoom's general website, not the comms system, that leaks to Facebook. That's no different from every other company I deal with selling my data to large US Corps.

Five of us tried Zoom, Skype, WebEx - Zoom had the best interface and features. Surprisingly it had the best call quality too. Perhaps Chinese servers are better than US ones? Of course small scale, single trials are .... just that.

I have had to add Teams to the clients cluttering up my systems, for dealing with officialdom. It is also lacklustre.

I refuse to use WhatsApp. Anyone wanting me in that sort of texting group has to use Signal. It's not yet clear to me which is the equivalent in the WebConf world. Incidentally I resent the dumbing down Signal is engaged in ....

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

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Medical facts straight

"significant lung damage and neurological problems that stem from a bad infection with this particular virus."

Quite a large number of people are going to be left with respiratory damage. Not my specialty. There are very few direct neurological consequences, which is my specialty. Perhaps I should add "so far". Of course if you are really knocked off with bad lung disease and drop your oxygen levels low enough, long enough you might sustain some secondary brain damage. Probably not as much as if you are boxing though, which is well known to cause several different types of brain damage.

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Two devices

If your phone is already connected to a device - such as headphones - does it still promiscuously sniff for other connections all the time?

And I still worry about the central server in all this.

Thunderbird is go: Mozilla's email client lands in a new nest

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Polite request

Please, please PLEASE Mozilla

Don't bugger Thunderbird up.

It's multiplatform, handles multiple accounts and just works. Works for three generations of my family too with little support required from yours truly, the de facto IT support.

And its got nothing to do with Microsoft, Google or Apple.

And it has a useful system of extensions.

I hate using Outlook. Have to in the day job. It works, but it's not a patch on Thunderbird.

One-time Brexit Secretary David Davis demands Mike Lynch's extradition to US be halted

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Refuse to hand over documents

Lynch needn't worry. He can refuse to disclose any document which proves his guilt and refuse to allow anyone to testify against him. Or don't they apply that law to everyone?

So yes, the asymmetry of the extradition law scares the hell out of me.

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

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Thumb Up


I'd like to give you more than one upvote for the landfill aspects.

We need an icon for resource waste on this scale

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+1 for Windows

I have more sympathy for Microsoft calling EOL on Windows 7 than on Sonos damaging a "simple" speaker. Never thought I would have to say that - see icon.

My speakers are connected with bellwire.

ICANN finally reveals who’s behind purchase of .org: It’s ███████ and ██████ – you don't need to know any more

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Black Helicopters

Stop worrying

I found the article a bit complicated with so many companies involved, each seemingly buying the other. I suspect they don't understand it themselves if they can't even name their directors! They must be a bit simple.

I was reassured to note that the director of compliance is involved, so I suggest you all stop worrying and do something more productive.

Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent

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Stupid lights

Just built a new home PC - last one died after 10 years. I find everything now has stupid RGB lights if you are not careful. The beautiful case from Darkbase has a beautiful 2cm well lit power button that I am not likely to hit in error. At least not when looking what I am doing and it does need a 4s press as a delaying mechanism. Next to it are two diddly little buttons, one for reset, with no delay, and one for changing the colour of the stupid lights.

I can't decide if Darkbase's engineers are idiots, or just really hate people who put stupid lights everywhere in their beautiful case.

A stranger's TV went on spending spree with my Amazon account – and web giant did nothing about it for months

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Re: Amazon takes security seriously. As in my case.

Terminating the employment would be appropriate. Terminating the employee seems a little on the harsh side.

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Re: Giant Shortcoming in Amazon Customer Services?

I also prefer to shop elsewhere unless Amazon is the only source - but that's about ethics and convenience. The limited amount of shopping I do on Amazon presumably poses the same security risks as if I made multiple purchases daily, in the context of this story.

Whatever faults there are in the OP's story, the fact that account owners cannot see and delete all the connected devices is clearly a security risk.

The Year Of Linux On The Desktop – at last! Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 brings the Linux kernel into Windows

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Pass the barge pole

So now my "free - as in beer" AND "free - as in speech" operating system can be used within the costly, controlled world of MS. AND they want to dictate which version of kernel I use. I do sometimes have to use the MS system to communicate with the NHS, but it's restricted to one of my computers. I dual boot and keep the two separate.

In the long term, perhaps MS wants to become a services company and stop making operating systems. If this is a step to replacing Windows with Linux then I might be interested. Seems a long shot though.

Amazon Prime Air flight crashes in Texas after 6,000ft nosedive

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Re: We all thought the same!

Thinking it does not mean that you have to post it. Clearly inappropriate. Get a brain filter.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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AI or AI?

I am always amused by the abbreviation AI for artificial intelligence because it is also used for artificial insemination. Only one of these technologies will leave you right royally screwed.

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

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Same price as Dell?

On Amazon (only for price comparison purposes) seems same price as for equivalent Dell XPS 13 touch version. Dell is 100g lighter. There are multiple options for both so comparison is a bit hit and miss.

My deliberately non-touchscreen Dell XPS 13 claims a battery life of 22hrs and is probably near that for simple browsing and word processing. It dual boots Windows and Linux. It has a fingerprint plus power button that allows one touch entry, but only in Windows. It's pure USB C, done properly I think. USB-A adaptor in pack.

As far as I know, Dell kit does not phone home. Not in Linux anyway.

So not clear what the excitement is yet?

Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

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Re: However, we can report that Ubuntu runs an absolute treat on a Dell XPS.

Dell sell both Windows and Linux versions of their XPS laptops. I bought the Windows version and put Suse linux on as well. The only thing that doesn't work on the laptop in Linux is the fingerprint reader. I won't put it in the skip yet. The docking station is a PITA about turning the laptop on all the time. Dell seem very reluctant to support dual boot though. Minus one point to them. Still not going anywhere near a Mac!

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

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The NHS does not really use Windows

@Dinsdale247. Much of the NHS is run using applications that look like text terminals. Whether they are browser based or some other kludge. If they don't need special Java or browser versions they could just as easily run on Linux. Many of these machines only do one job (reception in outpatients for instance).

For other systems, the changes in UI in different versions of Windows / Outlook / Office - and we have a horrible mixture - are no worse than changing to LibreOffice and your favourite flavour of Linux.

There are some very bright, highly motivated people in the NHS. I'm sure they could cope with a sensible staged transfer to Linux. It would be a huge project so of course there would be a cost and some cockups on the way. I think the end result would be better.

We could start with the government observing its own standards. We are meant to be using documents in OpenDocument or PDF formats only!

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The root cause of these issues is therefore purchasers buying poor software

I run a diagnostic lab in the NHS. Win 7 and up since you ask.

My employer has had some software in the past that required particular versions of IE or Java - these have been applications by big corporations that span multiple trusts. Applications like purchasing etc.

Which government department thinks this was a good idea? The advantages of standards based software over schneaky API use have been apparent for decades

Appointments on hold as (computer) virus wreaks havoc with NHS trust systems

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Did you miss something

... Goole NHS Trust on 31st October? Not 1st April??

I work in a hospital. With a fantastic IT department (I'm not in it). But hospitals are chaotic, complex places unlike most IT companies. How many of your colleagues would you trust to make stuff happen quickly if you were ill ....

And if you think the NHS is poor at data security, my bank makes it damn near impossible to log on, but they sent me important financial papers in plain email. The twit on the phone promised it would be encrypted. The figures were wrong and the next twit offered to email again, but at least the 2nd twit knew it was not encrypted and agreed to send by snail mail

And a little red devil for season's cheer.

Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

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Suggestion for worse use

Scrapping the barrel, but has El Reg considered blockchain for managing subscribers?

What's up, Zuck? FTC to probe Facebook for WhatsApp phone number mega-slurp

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Signal for me

Open source, recommended by Snowden. Works a treat.

On the downside it doesn't look as pretty as WhatsZuck and the Cool Young Things of my acquaintance resent my making them use it - but I'm the boss ...

Docs need to do remote consultations – report

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"Clinician" is correct. Sadly. Referrals to my hospital department are sometimes made by nurses and physios with posh titles who don't know their pubo-rectalis from their olecranon.

Sometimes nurses have more common sense than doctors though - it's best not to be ill.

Some of my job can be done remotely, but best if I have close working relationship with people at the other end, not random people in different continents. For the rest I actually need to lay hands on the sickness units - or patients as the more old fashioned would say.

NHS delivers swift kick to Microsoft's wallet over fee demands

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50% FOSS

I'm an NHS hospital doctor. My specialist work uses custom software on Windoze PCs with extra knobs on (literally) - ultimately supplied by faceless US companies who may well have heard of Europe. That work is probably locked into Microsoft for years.

The rest of the time I use email, word processors, simple spreadsheets and networked database applications of various sorts supplied by the hospital - all of that could be done on a linux platform. Moving from old versions of Microsoft Office to LibreOffice would be much easier than moving to Microsoft's latest versions with their changing interfaces and bloated features. It might also stop the overworked, idiotic spreadsheets that come my way. Of course we could start with LibreOffice on Windows, which works just fine. And its native format, ODF is apparently what the UK Gov wants. I have not seen any manifestation of that desire yet. Even US Corps might have to take notice of that.