* Posts by Andy Non

1154 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014


Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ – but it performs better than just OK

Andy Non Silver badge

Quite OK Image Format

Expected it to be QUIF

Wi-Fi not working? It's time to consult the lovely people on those fine Linux forums

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Ditto that

He wanted to give the old laptop to his young grandkids just for them to use as a web-browser. WiFi would be more practical than tying them to an Ethernet cable (the computer not the kids).

Andy Non Silver badge

Ditto that

got the T shirt. A family member presented me with an old laptop he wanted me to install Linux on. No problem I foolishly said. I'd recently updated the Mrs Windows 10 laptop to the latest version of Mint so had an installation stick ready to use. It just wouldn't have it though. Kept failing to install with an unreadable error message flashing past the screen lasting a millisecond. I turned the laptop over and noticed it had a sticker for Windows XP. Ah! the penny dropped, it was so old it needed the 32 bit version. Dug a 32 bit version of Mint out of the archives and that installed great, except no WiFi. Connected the Ethernet cable and got it fully up to date with all the patches but still the WiFi wouldn't work. Tried a plug in USB WiFi adaptor, nope didn't work. Eventually after much gnashing of teeth, I waded through the BIOS settings and noticed one to "Disable WiFi" which was ticked. Bugger. Turned the setting off and the WiFi worked. It never occurred to me that there would be such a setting.

Thank you, FAQ chatbot, but if I want your help I'll ask for it

Andy Non Silver badge

Shell energy

I changed to a new email address for dealing with such entities and had no problem updating most websites as they have a feature for that purpose. Not Shell energy. I clicked the link that would allow you to update your details, except it didn't include email address. Tried their AI bot, which directed me to the part of the website that didn't include any means of updating my email address. Phoned their customer services number where I joined a queue at position 98. An hour later after being lobotomised by inane muzak and "your call is important to us" crap I'd got down to 7 in the queue at which point the line dropped. No contact form or email address on their website. Had to google search to find one. Sent them an email and they replied suggesting I update my email address via their website, which I'd already discovered didn't have such a feature anyway. Grrr. Sent them a snotty email back and they updated the email address for me at their end. So much faffing about to do a trivial thing.

UK data watchdog fines government office for disclosing New Year's gong list

Andy Non Silver badge

So will the £500,000

be paid out of government coffers for ICO to deposit the fine back into same?

Huawei's AppGallery riddled with malware-infected games

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: "if we receive a substantial reply"

That's very cynical, I'm sure they'll quickly inform El Reg that they take the security of their users very seriously. ;-)

New study demonstrates iodine as satellite propellant... in space

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Maybe mix the iodine

It made my chem lecturer "react" when he stepped on a bit and it exploded sending more fragments of it around the lab floor, followed by more cracks and bangs as others subsequently walked around.

Andy Non Silver badge

Maybe mix the iodine

with Ammonia first. That would give it a bit more "kick". ;-)

I'll get my lab coat, mine's the one with hole blown in the pocket and label saying "mad scientist".

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email

Andy Non Silver badge

Yes, but take care neither of them discovers you also have a girlfriend.

Earth's wobbly companion is probably the result of a lunar impact, reckon space boffins

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Horse - optional

Too late to close the stable door.

Google's Pixel 6 fingerprint reader is rubbish because of 'enhanced security algorithms'

Andy Non Silver badge

Give it the middle finger instead.

Angling (re)Direct: Criminals net website of Brit fishing tackle retailer, send users straight to smut site

Andy Non Silver badge

Must have been


Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Reason to

I see you are in need of adverts promoting wood carving chisels, blocks of timber and sandpaper, maybe some varnish or teak oil with that too?

Microsoft: Many workers are stuck on old computers and should probably upgrade

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: What a crock of shit

The wife's 5 year old Windows 10 laptop had been getting slower and slower over recent months. A cynic may put that down to Microsoft deliberately providing bloated updates with exactly that result in mind. However, having now got rid of Windows 10 and installing Linux Mint on it, the laptop now runs like greased lightening. No Windows 11 for us thank you.

22-year-old Brit accused of Twitter SIM-swap heists charged with $784k cryptocurrency theft

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: So what's "FA" mean?

4FA is bad enough, having to wait for the postman to bring a letter with code numbers in it and don't even get me started on needing to submit a sample of my dog's DNA.

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I tried DAB but it didn't let me sleep

Nope, doesn't work, the display is still illuminated. The only way is to turn off the display is to unplug the radio and the power socket is not very accessible.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I tried DAB but it didn't let me sleep

We've got a DAB radio in the bedroom and due to the same problem I've stuck black tape over the display so it doesn't act as a sodding night-light.

DAB reception is good where we live; I like the fact the radio in the kitchen displays the composer and title of the track currently being played (Classic FM).

The car radio uses FM, so don't have many reception problems when driving around.

Best of both worlds.

All I want for Christmas is a delivery address that a delivery courier can find

Andy Non Silver badge

Your parcel has been delivered

I've had that message a couple of times from Amazon. Er, no it hasn't, we've been in all day and nobody has knocked on the door or rung the door bell. End up chasing Amazon customer services who reassure me the parcel will be delivered within 48 hours. The following day a note through the letterbox from an Amazon delivery driver saying we were out, except we were in again all day. Sigh.

FTC carpet bombs industry with letters warning that fake reviews will be punished

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: The Register is an amazing website

1 Star.

It broke as soon as I used it, poor construction, has parts that a small child can choke on.

Want to support Firefox? Great, you'll have no problem with personalised, sponsored search suggestions then

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Why do devs insist on trying this?

I get that all the time too. Whenever I log into Amazon I get a warning text message querying that I've just logged in from London, Newcastle, Cornwall etc and I'm still in the same room on the same computer in Nottingham.

Google News is funny like that too, If I'm logged in to Google, it shows a section of news from my "Local Area" which is anywhere in the country, often from small towns I've never even heard of.

Microsoft's problem child, Windows 11, is here. Will you run it? Can you run it? Do you even WANT to run it?

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Want to run it?

"anyone has some pointers"

Linux Mint Cinnamon. The GUI isn't too far removed from Windows 7 and it is a stable and popular version of Linux. I've been using it for years since ditching Windows.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Needs more work

The average user will just tick boxes asking "Share all data" and "Don't ask again" to be rid of the pop up.

At the moment I share as little as possible with websites and when they do require specific information such as date of birth I put in fake details. If forced to use some sort of data sharing box, I'll just put fake data into that too.

The current system is broken, but I can't see how the proposed change will offer any real world benefits for the average user.

Andy Non Silver badge

Can't get my head around this concept

So we store all our personal data on our phone or other device then somehow select what companies can dip in and take in exchange for using their website? You decide how far you are prepared to bend over to use their services?

This sounds very cumbersome and disconcerting to me. It also sounds like your personal data store would be a fantastic target for data / identity thieves to target.

What happens if you lose your phone or other device with the data on it, or if it is stolen?

What is to stop third parties keeping or selling on any data you have gifted them anyway?

Years of development, millions of lines of code, and Android can't even run a toilet

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Not flushed with success

It's just taking the piss.

'Extraordinary' pigs step in to protect Schiphol airport from marauding geese

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Couldn't they cut out the piggy in the middle?

Pigs might fly.

Ransomware-hit law firm secures High Court judgment against unknown criminals

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Law firms and security

Wise decision, as you'd have probably ended up being sued or otherwise in court. Let no good deed go unpunished.

App Annie fined $10m by the SEC for deceptive practices around how it presented data

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Gimme the difference!

Too late, its now worth 10 m Zimbabwean dollars. Which is probably about 10p.

Boffins say Martian colonists could pee in buckets, give blood if they want shelter

Andy Non Silver badge

I wonder if fecal matter could be used

but would the settlers be shitting bricks?

Brits open doors for tech-enabled fraudsters because they 'don't want to seem rude'

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm extremely polite to scammers

Much easier to string them along until they finally give up in frustration at my incompetence using a computer.

Lenovo blames 'firmware' issue for blank-screened Smart Displays, says Google's working on a fix – 6 months after complaints started

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: get a refund from the retailer?

Exactly, it's broken, send it back for a refund while it's still under warranty.

Why tell the doctor where it hurts, when you could use emoji instead?

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: History repeats itself

You must be doing it wrong. You aren't supposed to read the instructions until *after* you've assembled the item and only then to figure out what to do with all the spare parts. ;-)

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: History repeats itself

Instructions? You got instructions you could actually see? Too often nowadays any written instructions I receive with products are in text so tiny as to be utterly useless short of a microscope to read them.

Glasgow firm fined £150k after half a million nuisance calls, spoofing phone number, using false trading names

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Usual dissolve company start a new one

In other words, the law is utterly toothless against such callers. Company 1 dissolved, so can't pay the fine. Open company 2, rinse and repeat company 3, 4, 5...

A speech recognition app goes into a bar. Speak up if you’ve heard it already

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Broadmoor

I remember that one. I did my college programming placement at TRRL (Transport and road research laboratories) which were within earshot. If you also heard any loud bangs it would be when they (TRRL) were testing crashing cars and lorries into a massive concrete block outside the building. Something of a distraction when you were mid line in coding and BANG, windows rattling!

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Palm glyphs

Still got my palm pilot in a draw upstairs. Got it free in 1998/9 during a government initiative to coax software businesses to get involved in fixing millennium bugs. It was fun writing on it using the stylus in that glyph alphabet. Nice bit of kit, never had the heart to throw it away.

Windows 11 will roll out from October 5 as Microsoft hypes new hardware

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Genuine Question

The advantage is for Microsoft who will be laughing all the way to the bank with people buying new hardware that meets their stringent requirements. Advantage for you? None, you don't matter.

Microsoft does and doesn't want you to know it won't stop you manually installing Windows 11 on older PCs

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: 2015-era systems thrown under the bus

The wife's old Windows 10 laptop is getting slower and slower after every update. It will only be a matter of time until I upgrade it to Linux Mint. It will still do everything she wants to do, but much faster boot up and program launches. Windows 11? Don't want it don't need it.

Sysadmins: Why not simply verify there's no backdoor in every program you install, and thus avoid any cyber-drama?

Andy Non Silver badge

Herculean task

Software is only getting more and more complex with more lines of code and third party components and contributors. Short of having an in house trusted group of programmers to wade through hundreds of thousands of lines of source code, I can't see this problem going away. What company is realistically going to employ such a team anyway? The problems are not just malicious code sneaking in but the endless bugs resulting in zero day exploits.

Miscreants only need to find one exploitable bug in software but those trying to make the software safe and secure need to find and fix every exploitable bug. It just isn't going to happen.

You MUST present your official ID (but only the one that's really easy to fake)

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: but there is logic

One flaw with the French system. When we lived there our postal address was identical to that of several of our nearest rural neighbours (up to a mile apart). The only differentiating factor was the names of the residents. When the local health authority (CPAM) sent my wife a letter (addressed to her maiden name) it left the postman scratching his head and the mail returned to sender, as we subsequently discovered.

Google updates timeline for unpopular Privacy Sandbox, which will kill third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Search engine revenues

I bought some ratchet straps a month ago, now the YouTube home page keeps offering me videos about the bloody things.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

Andy Non Silver badge

Ditto that. I dumped HP inkjet printers years ago due to the extortionate price of ink and their blocking use of third party inks. I happily use a Brother laser printer now. Its only black and white but don't really miss colour for my needs. It is vastly cheaper than HP ink. No more blocked nozzles either and similar problems.

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sad

I had a strange one the other day. All I could make out in his opening pitch was the word "broadband" due to his fast speech and very heavy Indian accent. He then asked me how I was today, to which I replied "fine" and he hung up on me straight away, which seemed bizarre and a little extreme. I hadn't even started to bait him.

Andy Non Silver badge

Ditto that, my record is keeping a scammer on the line for 45 minutes and getting him to phone me back twice more.

Depends on what mood I'm in and if I'm at a loose end for a while, but it is certainly fun baiting them. I take the view that while they are talking to me they aren't conning someone more vulnerable.

I get far less of the "Microsoft Support" calls nowadays. The most common one is "We've renewed your Amazon prime". I'm surprised people still fall for that one, it is becoming old and repetitive now.

As for calls about my "recent accident" I lead them down a long winded story culminating in the fact I was hit from behind by a flying elephant.

Engineers' Laurel and Hardy moment caused British Airways 787 to take an accidental knee

Andy Non Silver badge

The engineer's careers

will take a nose dive.

Windows 10 to hang on for five more years with 21H2 update

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: okay...

Linux Mint does all I need, used it for nearly a decade now. The one Windows 10 computer left in the household belonging to the Mrs will likely be upgraded to Mint too before long the way Windows is going. She's always moaning about how slow it is to start and the amount of time it takes installing updates.

Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

Andy Non Silver badge


Not an electric shock, but at my college's open day, the electrical engineering section had an experiment running with a large washer levitating around a bolt. Fascinated, I wondered how much force it would take to move the washer and grasped it firmly to find out... and branded my fingers. It was BLOODY HOT!

Andy Non Silver badge

Been there done that

Many years ago we kept a spider plant in a hanging basket above the (CRT) television set in the front room. One day the inevitable happened while I watered the plant and water ran out of the bottom of the pot and straight inside the TV set. There was a little cracking sound and the TV died. I face palmed at my own stupidity.

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: French water meters

There may be higher standards with new builds in France, but this was an old stone and cob farmhouse in rural Normandy. It had electrical wiring that looked like Napoleon had installed it and an illegal fosse septique (spelling?) that just consisted of a large tank that a local farmer came around and emptied occasionally, spraying the contents onto his fields, overflow from the tank ran into a nearby stream. There was no gas supply to the property, that is quite common though, and we had to buy gas cylinders from the local garage. There was no broadband and the phone line hung off a couple of the poles into a field for the cows to play skipping with. French telecom/Orange wouldn't fix the line as they said "it still works". My internet consisted of 22k dial up. So much for the services. Despite that we did enjoy our ten years living in France. :-)

Andy Non Silver badge

French water meters

When we moved to France I was asked to give the local water company the meter reading. I couldn't find the meter anywhere. Eventually they sent someone around to get the reading themselves. It turned out the water meter was deep under a concrete manhole cover submerged under two feet of dirty water. The guy had to bail all of the water out to get to the meter to read it.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022