* Posts by Andy Non

1247 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2014

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NASA, DARPA to go nuclear in hopes of putting boots on Mars

Andy Non

Re: Where is the handbrake?

At the halfway point, you turn the rocket around 180 degrees and the propellant will slow the rocket down. It ain't rocket science.

Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs

Andy Non

Microsoft said has been scanned to ensure it's not infected by malware.

An odd thing for Microsoft to say. Kinda like going into a cake shop and being told the cream cakes have been checked for salmonella.

Uncle Sam OKs vaccine that protects honeybees against hive-destroying bacterium

Andy Non
Coat

Re: Thanks!

Yes, it would be quite difficult to inject bees, without them wanting to inject you back!

More pre-Musk Twitter 1.0 execs leave the building

Andy Non

Re: And yet...

It won't impress suppliers either... want some new servers? Payment in advance please Mr Twit, no credit for you.

Up to 18,000 Amazon workers in firing line as it chops cost

Andy Non

Re: The "Many Worlds" conjecture of physics ain't got nothin' on this.

Upvoted for double-plus good post.

Patients wrongly told they've got cancer in SMS snafu

Andy Non
Facepalm

This should be

a firing offence. No excuse for such a monumental screw up that no doubt caused considerable upset and anxiety to a large number of people.

Computing's big question for 2023: How many more questions can we endure?

Andy Non

Re: Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

Yes that happened to me a couple of years ago. Bought the wife a Kindle but the first time you use it you have to wade through lots of questions and I accidentally subscribed to Audible. Had to contact Amazon (with some faffing around) to get them to cancel it. If you just click through all the crap you find you've bought stuff you never wanted or needed.

Andy Non

Re: With every Amazon order:

It's already had that effect on me with the latest sneaky attempt to con you into subscribing with the "Use gift card voucher for Prime". I've abandoned my basket on a couple of occasions and bought the items on the high street instead or simply not bothered buying certain items anyway. Annoying the hell out of customers isn't a good way to keep getting repeat business and Amazon are really going out of their way to piss me off at the moment. There needs to be a checkbox: "NO, I DON'T WANT FECKING PRIME, NEVER ASK ME AGAIN. EVER!"

Andy Non
Flame

With every Amazon order:

10 Would you like to subscribe to Amazon Prime?

20 Would you like your next gift voucher to be used for Amazon Prime?

30 Get your order tomorrow with Amazon Prime.

40 We'd hate for you to miss out on Amazon Prime

50 Try Amazon Prime free for X days.

GOTO 10

(In tiny letters lost on the page) Place your order without the benefits of Amazon Prime.

Meet the merry pranksters who keep the workplace interesting, if not productive

Andy Non
Mushroom

Going BOFH on a spammer.

A confession from the 1990's when I was working as a contractor in the days when the internet was more trusting and open to abuse. It would be more difficult to repeat some of my actions today. I started receiving spam emails from a company selling holiday homes and time share properties. They arrived almost daily and there was no unsubscribe option. My email address appeared in the TO part along with a number of other people's email addresses, notably in alphabetic order and alphabetically close to mine, so the same spam must have been sent to hundreds of people over multiple emails. I politely emailed back and asked the sender to remove me from his spam list, but my request was ignored and the spam continued to arrive. After a few more months of ongoing spam I'm afraid I lost it one day and went full BOFH on him. The link in his spam led to his website, a small company fronted by one man, with a grinning mugshot of him on his contact page. He gave his full name, business address, contact email address, telephone and fax numbers.

I did all the usual miscreant deeds of the day, and subscribed his contact email address to the most extreme pornographic sites I could find and to dodgy looking scam / get rich quick sites, but then became more creative and went on to search for suitable web contact forms. I arranged for around ten random companies to phone him as he was 'interested' in their products or services and submitted his fax number to various organisations to receive their brochures and price lists. A bit more difficult but I managed to arrange for the wholesale delivery of one ton of fresh bananas to be delivered to his business address. Guessing he'd have nowhere to put the fruit I ordered a container at the docks for him to store it. As he would likely be somewhat fed up by now and in need of a holiday, I booked him a hotel room for a week at the seaside and a hire car from his business address to the hotel, with a different company's hire car to bring him back again (he was to be invoiced for all the things I'd booked / ordered). Finally, thinking of his health, I arranged for him to visit a private clinic where a doctor could discretely examine him and his problem of an oversized testicle.

Oddly, the spam stopped straight away. As he didn't know it was me who gave him the grief, he must have stopped spamming everyone.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

Andy Non

Re: I'd just like to Nuke Siri

A visiting relative with an iPhone often has to fiddle on with his phone as Siri has misinterpreted something within general conversation as an instruction to play some music, phone someone, other task or to complain that it doesn't understand what is being asked of it. It's quite funny/annoying the way it keeps butting into conversation. The Mrs who is hard of hearing commented the other day she thought he was quite rude keep fiddling with his phone while we were all talking, I had to explain to her what was happening.

Andy Non
Meh

We recieved one as a gift from a family member

It was an awkward situation as we told him "thanks but no thanks, can he take it back for a refund?"

Twitter CISO flies the coop

Andy Non

Re: Mastodon

Thanks, just signed up. :-)

NTT claims it can stop the noise leaking from annoying people's headphones

Andy Non

Re: Can they also stop ...

Or over-loud music in films and TV dramas, sometimes to the extent you can't even hear the dialogue over the background music.

Feel Luckey, punk? Oculus designer builds VR murder headset

Andy Non
Trollface

In the interests of quality control

I trust the inventor will be the first to test it?

Multi-factor auth fatigue is real – and it's why you may be in the headlines next

Andy Non

Surely there's a design fault here

"overwhelming the user with push notifications. The user may initially tap on the prompt saying it isn't them trying to sign in, but eventually they wear down from the spamming and accept it just to stop their phone going off."

Instead of repeatedly sending out such notifications, surely the system should lock the user out completely after X number of rejections, requiring the user to escalate and contact IT/Security to try to gain access, who would hopefully use other measures to verify the identity of the user or determine it was a potential hack attempt.

Microsoft mulls cheap PCs supported by ads, subs

Andy Non

Hi There!

Clippy here. It looks like you are trying to get your financial forecast spreadsheet done by the end of the day, but allow me to show you this new electric toothbrush, it not only cleans your teeth but you can use it to scratch your ears and remove unsightly nose hair for the low low price of £200. <clicks CANCEL>. Thank you for your order, it will be despatched within 24 hours. Have you also considered the latest Karcher electric kitchen mop...

Big brands urged to pause Twitter ads until Elon's learned how this all works

Andy Non
FAIL

Re: Respected?!?!

I got locked out of Twitter the other day around 30 minutes after creating an account with a full screen message that there was "unusual activity on my account" and it demanded my mobile number to unlock the account. Nope, you're not having it, I don't trust you. Out of curiosity I created another couple of Twitter accounts over the following days with a fresh IP address, email address and entirely different profile and interests. Didn't even tweet, just followed a few folks and read their posts. After around 30 minutes or so the same thing. Locked out of the account due to "unusual activity on my account". As my actions could not in any way be construed as unusual activity I can only assume they want to harvest my mobile phone number and use this message as a ploy to get that information. Won't be creating a fourth account. As others have commented, the timeline / feed was 90% spam anyway. If they treat all new users this way, Twitter is destined to become obsolete.

InSight Mars lander has only 'few weeks' of power left

Andy Non
Alien

Re: Use inclined solar panels

What's needed is for a Martian to pop out with a bucket and sponge, give it a quick rub down and demand 5 Martian dollars.

Hong Kong wants to be the world’s home for virtual assets

Andy Non

Re: No.

Fully agree and if China's sabre rattling about Taiwan being part of China devolves into an invasion, then the subsequent sanctions on China (if not substantially worse) wouldn't bode well for accessing any investments held there.

Privacy watchdog urges companies drop emotional analysis AI software

Andy Non
Devil

I wonder what companies would

make of the expression on my face while I'm stuck on the telephone for half an hour or more waiting to talk to someone while listening to the same ABBA record in a loop punctuated with "Your call is important to us, please hold the line...".

RIP: Kathleen Booth, the inventor of assembly language

Andy Non
Happy

Re: Good long life and a lasting legacy

"learn some assembly, it is good for the mental muscles"

It is indeed. I cut my teeth writing assembly for the 6502 processor (Commodore 64), sophisticated code that took full control of the computer, handled the interrupts and banked out the operating system ROM giving me full access to the 64k RAM. I wrote software in assembly that rewrote other people's BASIC programs, doing things like updating all the line numbers to go up in tens, and compressed the code to run faster and load faster from cassette tape. Very unforgiving code though - I made a button to ground the reset pin on the microprocessor so I could do a soft restart without having to do a cold power off and on again when the machine code crashed during testing. It kept the contents of RAM without wiping it. Exciting times.

Twitter's most valuable users are ghosting the platform

Andy Non

Re: Out of curiosity

I'll just add that I do have a number of other interests and hobbies, they just weren't included on Twitters popular list of interests.

Andy Non

Re: Out of curiosity

Yes I agree. Science is a very broad interest area in itself. I shouldn't have to select other topics like "Sport" or "Fashion" etc that I have absolutely no interest in, just to get the sign-up process to complete. I get the impression from what other posters have said, that with Twitter in general it is more a case of "eat what you are given and stop moaning". Others have said that with the new "bulk spam", you'll spend more time trying to get rid of unwanted crap from your feed than actually reading the stuff you actually want to follow. Twitter hasn't inspired me to get involved, quite the opposite.

Andy Non

Re: Out of curiosity

"I don't think that choosing 3 things is a too unreasonable 'starting point' as it acts as an initial 'pump primer' so that you start seeing some things actually of interest..."

There really weren't three areas of "interest" in their general list that interested me. That is why I didn't proceed with the sign-up process. I know a number of scientists and scientific organisations that I'd like to follow on twitter, but not if I have to wade through a load of unwanted topics I have zero interest in. On the basis that I only wanted one topic (science), by ticking two other topics, more or less at random, would have presumably meant that at least 2/3 of my feed would be spam.

Andy Non
FAIL

Out of curiosity

I just created a twitter account to see what all the fuss is about, but had to abandon the sign-up process. It wanted me to select a minimum of 3 areas of interest from a small list of interests. I selected science but the site insisted I picked two more "interests" from the list of topics that I had little or no interest in. So gave up there and then and abandoned the screen as it looks like it would just want to spam me with irrelevant topics.

Meta wants to sweat its servers for longer – at a cost of $60b

Andy Non
FAIL

So they want to spam the feed even more?

"our discovery engine work allows us to recommend all types of content beyond Reels as well, including photos, text, links, communities, short and long-form videos and more. Second is that we can mix this content alongside posts from your family and friends, which can't be generated by AI alone."

The main reason I've pretty much given up on visiting facebook is all the extra crap they put in the feed: Irrelevant reels, irrelevant suggestions for other groups, irrelevant adverts that bypass my adblocker. The recommended videos are a total joke... utterly unrelated to my interests. The content to noise ratio is already bad but they are striving to make it even worse. The more sh1t they shove into my face trying to hook me, just drives me further away. Nowadays I maybe log in once a week to see if there are any interesting posts in the two remaining groups I'm a member of; which usually means in and out again in five minutes. Facebook really have lost their way.

In a little twist, last week Facebook suggested I send birthday wishes to one of my friends (who I knew in real life), which I would have done had they not been dead for a year. I guess it is just down to everyone to "unfriend" the deceased.

To build a better quantum computer, look into a black hole, says professor Brian Cox

Andy Non

Re: Fermi Paradox and Drake Equation

That nails it in my opinion. As mankind has developed ever more powerful technologies, the damage that one person can do either deliberately or accidentally is increasing exponentially over time. An unstable person in control of the nuclear launch buttons, Putin, Kim Jong-Un or a lowly laboratory worker working on viruses or other pathogens having a mishap (Wuhan maybe?) or other technology getting out of control, self replicating nano-tech.

Global smartphone sales come tumbling down as reality bites

Andy Non

Re: About frakking time

Ditto that. I'll replace mine when it's broken. It's had a new battery installed which cost all of £30, but then it's not one of those iPhones which probably cost an arm, leg and your first born to have a new battery fitted.

UK government in talks with datacenter operators over blackouts

Andy Non

Re: contingency planning

"If only we'd planned and started building more nuclear power stations in the 90s, as we should"

I remember seeing a documentary about this very issue twenty odd years ago, maybe on Panorama? How the UK was becoming increasingly dependent upon energy from overseas and how vulnerable it would leave our power supplies to problems in Europe, Russia and elsewhere. So the issues were well known but there has been no political will or foresight to prevent the unfolding mess.

Block this: Using satellites to plaster ads over our skies could work, say boffins

Andy Non
Mushroom

Somone will invent a suitable ad-blocker

likely based upon rocket technology with a suitable warhead.

Google Japan goes rogue with 5.4ft long keyboard

Andy Non

When can I buy one?

Take my money already.

Tesla has a lot of work to do on its Optimus robot

Andy Non

So not exactly

Optimus Prime then?

US accident investigators want alcohol breathalyzers in all new vehicles

Andy Non

Sounds like it could be

fraught with accuracy issues. It really does need to detect the alcohol on the exhaled breath of the driver as stated in the article rather than the atmosphere in the car. Especially if you are the sober designated driver taking a car full of heavily intoxicated drunks home with all the windows closed in Winter. Regarding touch testing, that presupposes no driving gloves. The article made no mention of drug driving, which I gather is increasingly common.

ChromeLoader, what took you so long? Malvertising irritant now slings ransomware

Andy Non
Facepalm

Some folks just ask for problems.

"ChromeLoader is typically delivered in ISO image files that marks are tricked into downloading, opening, and running the contents of"

Knowingly downloading what they think is illegal content, from an unknown, un-trusted source. Anyone dumb enough to do that almost deserves what they get.

Amazon 'punishes' sellers who dare offer lower prices on other marketplaces

Andy Non

Re: Prefer to pay more, sometimes pay less

Doesn't always work. I wanted some smallish terracotta plant pots, found them on Amazon for ~£15 with free delivery. Noticed the name of the seller and had a look on their own website to see if I could save a few quid. Instead, the identical order direct from the manufacturer was ~£20 + delivery. So more costly to go direct.

Amazon drivers unionize after AI sends them on 'impossible' routes

Andy Non

Re: Routing

Yodel are pretty crap. I ordered a SIM card for expedited delivery. I watched on the computer as the driver got closer and closer and my number in the queue got smaller until finally... an email came saying my envelope had been delivered. Erm, no it hasn't. An hour later a lady from a mile up the road kindly knocked on my door and explained my envelope had been pushed through her letterbox. Her address bore no resemblance to mine. Very kind of her to go to the trouble of bringing it to me, but shame on the idiot Yodel driver.

Andy Non
Trollface

Re: Routing

Maybe the drivers should adopt Yodel's delivery process and just drop parcels off at any address that is convenient for them provided it is within a mile or two of the intended delivery address?

Andy Non
FAIL

My TomTom while usually very good, does occasionally "go off on one". There is a particular route where I always travel by fast main roads but the TomTom always wants me to go by a different route. I tried the TomTom route one day out of curiosity when I had time on my hands and it took me on a countryside trek down fifteen miles of twisting narrow lanes and farm tracks. Never again.

It also screwed up badly in Beeston, Nottingham, a very busy part of the city with heavy traffic, one way systems and trams. I don't know the town at all and it left me stranded in an impossible place having to go through a buses only bus station to extricate myself from the one way system. (Still waiting to see if I get a fine). I ended up picking up a friend to guide me through the town to where I needed to be as the TomTom (fully up to date) completely failed to navigate to my destination.

Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI

Andy Non
FAIL

In my experience

Human call centres and AI chatbots are both pretty crap. The AI's have too poor comprehension and only understand simple, common questions - they also don't understand when you tell them the information they are giving you is incorrect. Trying to phone a call centre can be a nightmare wading through deep menu systems only to wait on hold for an hour before the line drops. Communicating via emails or online forms with humans is also terrible. I had to report the same fault to Shell Energy multiple times over several months before they acknowledged there was actually a fault... but apparently it is beyond their ability to fix it (the smart meter display which they installed doesn't actually work and never has done).

77% of security leaders fear we’re in perpetual cyberwar from now on

Andy Non
Trollface

Re: How many windows users...

I bet lots of folks now know how to look in the events log due to all those phone calls guiding people to check their event log.... and look at all those errors! You've got a virus, let's go onto Team Viewer to fix your computer for small fee. ;-)

Micro Focus bought by Canada's OpenText for $6b

Andy Non

I have fond memories

of using Micro Focus Cobol on IBM PCs in the 1980's. It was great for financial applications and made a pleasant change to working with IBM Basic / GWBasic. It felt like a "proper" language.

Amazon has repackaged surveillance capitalism as reality TV

Andy Non
Facepalm

Someone near us

had their Ring door-bell / camera stolen. Apparently it didn't record the theft either! Couldn't help laughing.

Big Tech is building the metaverse of its own dreams. You don't want to go there

Andy Non

I'm in that older demographic, in my 60's. For me it isn't so much a case of leaving Facebook to go elsewhere, so much as it dwindling in relevance (due to all the Facebook generated spam) to the point I rarely visit. It has got a bit like like live television, too many ads and too much crap so I watch very little live TV now.

A significant number of family members around my age have migrated to WhatsApp to chat about family stuff and gatherings etc, but I left that group when FB changed the policy to be more data grabbing.

Not sure who Facebook is aimed at nowadays but there are alternatives out there. I still take part in El-Reg and another specialist forum but that's about all. I'm not interested in sharing the minutia of my life with strangers.

Andy Non

It becomes less relevant by the day. I think kids have moved onto more "cooler" social media. I login to facebook occasionally to read new posts in a couple of specialist groups (their old internet forums more or less died and they migrated to facebook).

The so called news feed is dire. I adblock most of the content but in an attempt to get me to participate more in facebook it spams my feed with countless suggestions for more groups and content that I'm not the least bit interested in. The noise to content ratio has become intolerably high, so facebook is hardly worth visiting any more.

We were promised integrated packages. Instead we got disintegrated apps

Andy Non

I've given up on my phone for reminders

I set one up to remind me every Monday afternoon to take the dustbin out for collection. It is supposed to beep or make some other sound and alert me. I rarely notice and if I look on my phone later the reminder must have come and gone without getting my attention in any way. Now I set up reminders on Thunderbird on my desktop, at least I can't miss them with a sodding big pop-up window in my face that won't go away until dismissed.

NASA selects 'full force' for probe into UFOs

Andy Non
Coat

Re: Is it neccesary?

Hey look! A UFO! Quick, grab the worst camera you can find with the lowest resolution and make sure your hands are shaking and the UFO out of focus.

Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Andy Non

Re: As an application developer ...

I've had service calls like that in the past. What I started doing was getting my software to create a log file of anything untoward so I could subsequently diagnose any issues without relying on such users.

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