* Posts by Andy Non

861 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014


Lockdown team building: Actualise the potentiality of your workforce... through the power of video games

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm starting to go off these games

Not because I don't like them, but because some of them are just too damn good. Not only do they interfere with life and get me in trouble with the Mrs but I'm losing sensation in my left thumb from being too forceful with the PS4 controller from melee fighting enemies in Assassins Creed Origins and other similar games, I don't tend to notice the force going into the L3 joystick until I can't sleep at night as my left thumb is throbbing and aching with arthritis. After forty years coding on a keyboard with no noticeable effect, I never envisaged getting RSI from a few months on a PS4. Sigh.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Alternatives are good.

One of our dogs had a liking for electricity cables in addition to all his other chew toys etc. He chewed right through the charger cable to the wife's laptop, luckily without shorting/trashing the transformer, I just had to join the cores back up again. Similarly one day while eating lunch there was a sudden CRACK with a little blue flash followed by a dog yelp - he'd chewed through a live mains cable. We tried some bitter apple spray on other cables, he found it a tasty relish to add to his diet and still managed to chew through a live lamp cable. He's now grown out of the habit. Wish we'd named him Sparky. I'll bear in mind the hot pepper spray if he goes back to his old ways.

One year ago, Apple promised breakthrough features to help iPhone, iPad, Mac owners with disabilities. It failed them

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Lack of engagement with disable people

Well it sounds like there was something fundamentally wrong with Apple's approach if people can't do something a basic as ending a call using voice. What if two disabled people are talking to each other and neither of them can physically hang up the call, does it go on for days or until the phone's battery dies? I'd call that a serious fail of the most basic kind.

Andy Non Silver badge

Lack of engagement with disabled people

I get the impression from the article that able-bodied people at Apple have just got together and decided what features disabled people "need" rather than, you know, actually asking them and getting disabled people involved with the design, implementation and trialling of the project.

Grav wave boffins are unsure if they just spotted the smallest black hole or the biggest neutron star seen yet

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I feel an overwhelming urge to quote Holly!

Hawking radiation is very feeble and has yet to be detected in practice. Most of the radiation from a black hole is from the extremely hot accelerated matter that is being pulled into it and swirled around it in ever decreasing circles - before disappearing over the event horizon. There are also the colossal magnetic poles around black holes that also cause matter to give off lots of light, x-rays etc as charged particles swirl through the field.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

No, just cookies cooties

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: with respect to the UK app

Is the string the regulation two metres?

Winter is coming, and with it the UK's COVID-19 contact-tracing app – though health minister says it's not a priority

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Friend or foe?

No. Especially as they are not allowed to say who you may have caught the virus from for data protection reasons; so you have no anchor on reality to substantiate their claim.

I'd hear them out though, but the moment they want either financial information or to "take me through security" I'd hang up on them.

Bloke rolls up to KFC drive-thru riding horse-drawn cart only to be told: Neigh

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: with hour-long queues snaking down the road and around the roundabout.

On the one occasion I ventured into a McD and ordered a double cheese burger I was told I can't have one as they were still serving the breakfast menu... so I bought a cheese burger from a van on the market place outside. Jolly nice it was too, and cheaper.

Sony reveals PlayStation 5 will offer heretical no-optical-disk option. And yes, it has an AMD CPU-GPU combo

Andy Non Silver badge

Losing the second hand market would be bad as far as I'm concerned. I tend to buy mostly new, but have discovered that you can't take other people's ratings for a game for how much you will like them yourself. I've just finished Assassins Creed Origins and accumulated something silly like 100 hours enjoyable play time! Just tried Resident Evil 2 and found it so bad I deleted it after 10 minutes play, so that will be going on eBay. Both games have 5 star ratings on Amazon and with reviews that make them sound like my sort of game.

It would be annoying to pay full price for a game only available by download and no means to sell it if you don't like it.

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

Andy Non Silver badge

Designing the right algorithm always helps

One of the first programs I wrote for my employer was on an Apple 2 as I remember back in the early 80's. At the time one of their programs was taking around 2 to 3 DAYS continuous processing and I got that down to around half an hour. The software had to reconcile invoice information for the accounts dept, (outstanding invoices against payments made as I recall). Essentially there were two very large sequential lists (in data entry order) to check off against each other. The guy who had written the original software worked his way down the first list and checked every item against the second list to see if it matched the invoice number, so the second list was being searched top to bottom thousands of times. It worked, but the poor algorithm wasted lots of processing time. My approach was to sort both lists first by invoice number, then proceed crabwise down both lists necessitating only one pass of each list. The extra overhead of doing the sorts first was massively outweighed by the subsequent fast comparison. I found the sort algorithm in an old Commodore Pet book - Shell Metzner. Used it quite a lot after that. This was back in the days of sequential files before databases came along.

Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

Andy Non Silver badge

He's got no shit left to get together, he's flung it all at anyone listening.

Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

"I've got a family member who switched to a Mac when trying the UI of Win8."

Windows 7 was great, however, the dogs dinner Win8 was the reason I first tried Linux. KDE first by recommendation then on to Mint which I've stuck with ever since. Microsoft not only lost a user but a Windows application developer of around thirty years experience too as I switched to developing software for Linux and also browser based software. No more Windows for me thank you very much.

With millions upon millions out of work in the US, here come the scammers claiming victims' unemployment money using stolen info

Andy Non Silver badge

Too late Dee Dee is heading into your secret lab... (explosion imminent)

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Andy Non Silver badge

"If I tell my wife I was torpedoed while fishing, she'll never believe me."

You owe me a new keyboard and cup of coffee.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

Andy Non Silver badge

Good incentive for China

to become fully 100% self sufficient. Then they will have no need to buy anything made in America at all either directly or indirectly. They will also be able to compete with American exports worldwide even more strongly. Trump aiming gun at own feet again. I'm happy with my Huawei phone and will continue to buy Chinese tech and products regardless of the orange idiot.

Source code for seminal adventure game Zork circa-1977 exhumed from MIT tapes, plonked on GitHub

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Xyzzy (or PLUGH)

I remember those passages well. Got stuck down there for ages wandering around in the dark. xyzzy was the code for something, was it a magic rod or lamp or something that teleported you elsewhere... it was a very long time ago.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Andy Non Silver badge

Given their lack of direction and failed initiatives.


Prepare to have your shonky password hygiene shamed by Firefox 76

Andy Non Silver badge

Floating video window

"the existing Picture-in-Picture functionality now enjoys double-click support to toggle the floating video window from small to full-screen and back."

Anyone know how to disable floating video windows? Google wasn't my friend.

If I scroll past a video it means I'm don't want to watch it or have seen enough and want to read the rest of the page, not have the video following me and shoved in my face.

NUC NUC. Who's there? It's Intel, with a pint-sized 8-core Xeon workstation

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Have some Mint instead!

That's around 5 times the amount I'll be spending on my next Linux desktop. I like the small aluminium air-cooled SSD boxes you can get from China via Amazon; my last one is still going strong after 5 years giving me confidence about the build quality.


We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: In other news....

That's how it was for my car insurance company site. I ended up changing my long complex password to a short easy one because it wouldn't let me paste it in. Their site was also very unforgiving, click the back button and you've got to log in again. Click the wrong item trying to navigate their awful menu system and you can't get back, so end up having to log in again. Don't click anything for a couple of minutes and guess what...

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: In other news....

"For a while it worked quite well if this was saved in the browser."

For anything not overly important I store (unique and complex) passwords in the browser, e.g. for El Reg. What really bugs me are sites that won't let me paste in a password. As I always chose long complex passwords it can be a pain in the rear to type them in; so I tend to avoid such sites... I'll often abandon a site registration form if it blocks password pasting and either not bother or go to another site.

Recently tried to register with the National Lottery but they did the password pasting blocking thing so abandoned my registration. I'll probably be a couple of quid a week better off anyway.

As for storing my passwords, I use encrypted documents stored in an encrypted folder on an encrypted drive on my local hardware (not cloud). Backed up to other encrypted drives. While it can be a little tedious accessing my bank login details etc, it does allow me to use long, complex usernames and passwords and I don't need to trust a third party to store them for me. Just a pain if some sites block me from pasting them in.

It looks like you want a storage appliance for your data centre. Maybe you'd prefer a smart card reader?

Andy Non Silver badge

Amazon have some weird suggestions; I recently bought a new cordless drill and under their heading "Customers who bought that item also bought" and suggested a salacious novel. The mind boggles.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Bit like Amazon at the moment

It was the opposite of that when we lived in France, the DIY programmes on TV there often had presenters covered head to toe in muck and dust from using power saws, angle grinders, ripping down old ceilings etc and no masks, eye protection etc. A total disregard for personal safety; I've seen some really gung-ho use of chainsaws too with no respect for what damage they can do to flesh within a split second.

Andy Non Silver badge

Bit like Amazon at the moment

I wanted a new heavy duty face guard for when I'm using my table saw, big angle-grinder or chainsawing down trees. Narrowed my search to the DIY and tools section but was offered page after page of cheap nasty PPE medical visors. Totally useless, but you can see what Amazon are shifting at the moment. I'll wait until I can get a proper one from B&Q or Wickes.

Ride now, ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is here at last! Kind of

Andy Non Silver badge

"Platform: Just PC for the foreseeable"

And in one sentence, that's the reason I won't be playing it; otherwise it looks halfway entertaining. If it ever comes to a Linux PC or the PS4 then maybe, but I won't hold my breath.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

Andy Non Silver badge

Fraudsters will likely clone the app

with one or two modifications and require you to enter your credit card number - for age verification purposes of course.

(Sorry, I'm just a cynic, always looking for the worst)

Andy Non Silver badge

I guess the bare minimum way of tackling this would require people to disclose their phone number so they can be contacted by SMS or via the app. If the proximity with other people is done purely using bluetooth then location would not be needed, only a log of whose phone you were near, when and for how long (i.e. did you stand chatting to them for twenty minutes or race past them on a bicycle). Recording location data would be a grey area in my opinion as it could be legitimately useful but also is a significant intrusion into privacy.

I'll balk at installing the app though if I need to enter name, address, date of birth, ethnicity, NHS number, inside leg measurement etc.

Andy Non Silver badge

I'll be looking closely at the details when they emerge and will (or not) sign up depending on the data they require.

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Andy Non Silver badge

As business models go

screwing your existing customers for as much money as you can will only last so long before the customers wise up and switch to different brand printers when their HP printers die. I used to swear by HP printers both for business and private use; but for the last few years I've switched to Brother printers and they work just fine without me being forced to use HP's extortionately priced ink. I see no reason to ever buy a HP printer again.

Back in the day I also used to swear by HP computers and their excellent technical support. They fell over themselves to immediately help you, but that dwindled into a tardy email from what was left of their customer services a week later more or less saying, meh, we can't be bothered. The once mighty company has fallen to being little better than a third rate manufacturer with dodgy business practices. It is just living off its once respectable brand name.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: HP printers

Ditto that. I stopped buying HP inkjets long ago due to this ink scam. Now I happily use Brother printers.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Andy Non Silver badge

Credit to Trump for one thing though; I didn't think it was possible I could ever have a lower opinion of him, but he's managed it with the injecting disinfectant thing. I'm now absolutely convinced he's a total twat and a moron, no lingering doubts left. I fear for America and the rest of the world with that nut job in control.

Nineteen mysterious invaders from another Solar System spotted hanging around the outside edge of ours

Andy Non Silver badge


"In these times of coronavirus concern, someone thought it looked a bit like a mask and put out a press release."

The aliens are sending an earth sized mask to wrap around the planet so the virus can't infect their world.

Keen to go _ExtInt? LLVM Clang compiler adds support for custom width integers

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

Sorry, yes, you need 6 bits to encode 39 characters. My excuse is that it was a very long time ago in a universe far, far away. Well late 1970's anyway.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

Of course it should be tested! I never said it shouldn't. I'm saying the idea in principle sounds good and should be looked into, not just dismissed out of hand. There could easily be issues found that make it a non-starter. We won't know until it is properly researched and tested.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

The one instance that sprang to mind when I wrote the above was when the original programmer was storing a value that never went negative, so he'd used the highest bit to store something else. Until the inevitable happened and it did store a negative value.

You can also have lots of fun compressing alpha-numeric characters. If the user's input data can only consist of A-Z, 0-9, comma, full stop and Space - a total of 39 characters, you can encode this as binary in 5 bits (0 - 38 decimal). Leaving 3 bits free per byte. Luxury! So you can start your next character using the remaining 3 bits from the previous byte and so on. It was a relief when RAM and disk space increased and such binary gymnastics were no longer required.

Andy Non Silver badge

Sounds like a good idea

No point wasting time processing unused bits. Reminds me of my early days programming in the 70's and 80's when RAM and disk space was at an absolute premium and I (everyone really) used all manner of weird and wonderful ways to compress data to the minimum. It did of course eventually lead to problems like Y2K with an assumed "19" or "20" depending on whether the year was more or less than 80 for example. It did make handling other people's poorly documented code a nightmare though, especially if they munged multiple values into one integer variable (using higher bit positions) to hold boolean or other data; no bits wasted. I've come across some real pigs to debug later when the bits "unexpectedly" overflowed into each other.

Zuck loves free speech so much Facebook will censor 'anti-state' content in Vietnam after telcos 'crippled' access

Andy Non Silver badge
Big Brother

Facebook has strict moral principles

but if you don't like those, it has others.

House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly

Andy Non Silver badge

"a glimpse of Michael Gove in a leopard onesie"

Where's the mind bleach?

Something a bit phishy in your inbox? You can now email suspected frauds straight to Blighty's web takedown cops

Andy Non Silver badge
Big Brother

Not sure I trust

bungling bureaucrats to take down domains. If I forwarded them a phishing email they'd be more likely to take down my domain rather than the one in the forwarded email.

This hurts a ton-80: British darts champ knocked out of home tourney by lousy internet connection

Andy Non Silver badge

Crap in rural France too

When we moved there 13 years ago we were informed we'd have broadband within 6 months as part of a local infrastructure project. Never materialised and we were stuck with dial-up internet at a miserable 22k for 8 years which often dropped out completely. Our telephone line was hanging off the poles in a nearby field on the ground - the cows used to play skipping with it. Reported it to Orange/France Telecom but because it still "worked" they did nothing. Eventually I managed to get a Wi-Fi router which was significantly faster but limited to 2 GB download max per month.

Now back living in the UK in a large town, it's fantastic to have a proper high speed connection.

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

Andy Non Silver badge

ED 209

Please put down your weapon, you have 20 seconds to comply...

But I'm a doctor, and this is a temperature gun.

You now have 15 seconds to comply...

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

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm putting you through to the wrong department now; please wait.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: An alternative use case

I'm sorry, I don't understand your post. Can you repeat it using a few words to state the reason for your post.

I'm sorry, ...

Doom Eternal: Reboot sequel is cluttered but we're only here for the rippin' and the tearin'

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: we're all DOOMED

Unless you live in China, you can't buy it there any more as it is considered "subversive".

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I prefer the original

Some of the WADs I released via a magazine. I've still got them backed up somewhere, around twenty or so if I remember correctly. Some fairly long and with unique challenges. The tricky bit was always ensuring that the player couldn't get stuck in a catch-22 situation where they were left alive but unable to complete the WAD, so if they fell and got trapped down a pit for example, it had to be radioactive so they died anyway.

Andy Non Silver badge

I prefer the original

Doom and Doom 2 on DOS. Great fun was had. I also liked the fact I could wander around and explore and look for hidden rooms. I also wrote numerous add-on levels for Doom 2 which my colleagues had fun playing.

Tried Doom 3 but it just seemed to be non-stop fighting while locked in a corridor or room, mainly with me getting killed a lot and having to redo again and again ad-nauseum. I miss the lack of a proper save feature and the chance to wander around without getting killed every ten seconds. I got bored with it in the end and abandoned the game. I gather that Doom Eternal is more of the same, so I won't be buying it.

I've taken a liking to games with more plot and the chance to explore; open world games like "The Outer Worlds" and "The Stranding". Still plenty of combat, but the games are more rounded and satisfying to play.

French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Lucky he didn't get seriously injured during ejection.

I guess it is a compromise between too fierce ejection killing the pilot with excessive g forces and not ejecting him hard enough to get high enough for the parachute to slow him down enough if he ejects at very low altitude.

Andy Non Silver badge

His heir was a fly by night.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020