* Posts by agurney

160 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Nov 2015


UK judge rates ChatGPT as 'jolly useful' after using it to help write a decision


Similarly, ChatGPT's saved me a couple of days' effort by generating the structure for a course I wanted; it wasn't perfect, but by giving it appropriate criteria it came up with the sort of framework I would have written myself in days rather than seconds.

This isn't particularly novel; for millennia, painters, sculptors and the like have used their students/apprentices to knock lumps out of marble to create a rough shape, paint generic backgrounds, and so on, leaving the SME to use their expertise to finish (and take credit for) the masterpiece.

ChatGPT, and its ilk, is just another tool.

Hope for nerds! ChatGPT's still a below-average math student



.. the mass statistics of the global idiot network to support it's "answers."

One thing I've noticed from playing around with ChatPT is that its responses are reasonably correct grammatically, although the content is often dubious.

If its/it's or their/there are used correctly I am sadly now more suspicious that the answer is AI generated.

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look


Lead with a hint of copper? A few FMJs down range then scrape up the residue sounds like a good start.

About ducking time: Apple fixes up autocorrect in iOS 17


By taking the context into account hopefully other irritating stuff can be addressed, such as the tautological ".. autocorrected words will be underlined with the ability to revert them back"

Lockheed Martin demos 50kW anti-aircraft frickin' laser beam


Re: Frikkin Lasers

I am laying claim to the following:

SHort Attack Range Kilowatt Laser - SHARK Laser

I will happily license this name to anyone who wants to build one. ;)

.. there's a new shiny version to counter the disco ball defenc(s)e : Short Prismatic Attack Range Kilowatt Laser - SPARKL :)

Rookie programmer's code goes up in flames ... kind of


Re: Bernie

I think the Regoniser did rather well with Bernie, a pint for Mr Powell -->

That's too generous for simply changing the character's name from Harry - https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/01/who_me/ .

Are we now going to see a plethora of recycled stories with changed terminology for the Americas (in this case changing "supermarket" to "grocery store")?

Queen's shooting star was actually meteor, not SpaceX junk


Re: Islay

.. and Lagavulin has the best anchorage

Rare hexagonal diamond formed by crash of dwarf planet and asteroid, scientists believe


I thought it sounded familiar ... https://www.theregister. com/2020/11/20/elephant_ballet_shoe_pressure_oddity/

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


Re: Titles not necessarily constant

Does this mean that the letterboxes in Scotland have ER on them and not E II R as one sees in England?

Yes, the Scottish crown replaces "II" ... plenty of examples online.

Salesperson's tech dream delivered by ill-equipped consultant who charged for the inevitable fix


Tales from the future

Towards the end of the 2000s, Norman left...

Hopefully not near the end, we're only 22 years into the millennium.

Tesla faces Autopilot lawsuit alleging phantom braking


Re: Last week

Braking suggests you haven't anticipated the bend - better to lift off the gas earlier and arrive at an appropriate speed. Saves fuel, wear and tear, and makes for a smoother trip.

GitHub Copilot may be perfect for cheating CompSci programming exercises


It's not problem .. you have a chat with the student, let them know you're impressed with their solution, and ask them to explain it.

You are testing comprehension, not necessarily implementation.

So what if you are using someone/something else's code, does it answer the question that's been presented?

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint


And unless you insist on some kind of hierarchical page structure, most of the pages that users create are never looked at because they are impossible to find.

On the contrary, I've had SP working well (for a given value of 'well') for years with all docs (hunners of them) in one location, categorised using metadata; means that a document can be found by type, product and so on, without having to guess which folder it is in (or worse, multiple versions in different folders). Use revision control and insist on check-in comments and you have a decent revision history.

Search is still *^%$ though.

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash


Re: thinking outside the box

Superfluous weight wasn't a problem, this was a dummy payload to test the Falcon Heavy. The roadster was replacing the more usual concrete blocks.

The Return of Gopher: Pre-web hypertext service is still around


Re: Don’t think solar panels in a rather cloudy and snowy climate …

The fact that they exist doesn't, by itself, make them a good idea.

OK, not brilliant on a short dull winter's day, but I'm at 56 degrees north, currently generating more than 3KW with a 4KW PV system, have plenty of free hot water, and the feed in tariff has more than covered the initial outlay.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout


Re: Full names please.......

How cruel can kids be?

Teacher had a briefcase with his initial and name "R Slater" .

Youngsters' nickname for him was "heid first"

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe on to PCs, is 40


Computers in schools at the time were of course pitched at the how-to-drive a word processor level; and all rather a wasted exercise...

I beg to differ - in the 1980s I was with a group teaching with a variety of kit; there were Amstrads and IBM PCs for business applications, BBC micros for programming, Apple Macintoshes for graphic design, and yet more BBCs for CNC machining.

The resource was shared across all schools in the area and catered for all abilities.

A lot of the educational software at the time was cr*p, so a part of our remit was to evaluate what was available, develop our own courses (and software if necessary), and share our experiences.

So, hopefully not a wasted exercise.

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes


Re: Such memories...

When I ran out of floppies and cash I used to punch extra index holes and notches in the sleeve and insert them in the drive upside down - I was able to convert many single sided floppies to double that way.

When forgetting to set a password for root is the least of your woes


Re: Hitting Enter....

Shouldn't that be fill the keyboard buffer G.10G.10:G.10... ?

Hitting Enter would expand it to GOTO 10:GOTO 10 .. overwriting the sound buffer causing the chaos.

Similar fun was to be had on the Beeb with VDU CTRL codes to change graphics modes and the like on demo programs that should have less accepting of their input.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*


No, not that new-fangled thing. Gossip, the only method known to man for moving information faster than the speed of light .

.. or as I've heard it: What's fastest, Telephone, Telegram or Tell-a-woman?


Massive rugby ball-shaped planet emerges from scrum of space 'scope sightings


I originally saw this reported on CNN with the headline "This giant exoplanet is so 'deformed' it looks like a football" .. and skipped it because, well, don't they all?

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist


Re: Failsafe?

If it goes out of range, wouldn't the best failsafe course of action to be to turn around?

Not if it's heading home when the signal's lost.

Maker of ATM bombing tutorials blew himself up – Euro cops


Re: You can just ORDER ATMs???

I read it as the dealers run their own cash machines and stuff them with the cash they want laundered.

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum


To be fair to the dingbats, Iona is a fairly common name in Scotland.

Three thousand sea birds abandon nests amid nature reserve drone crash hullabaloo


A sparrowhawk recently caught itself in netting in our garden. We called the RSPB for advice and/or help, but they didn't want to know and suggested we contact the SSPCA.

The RSPB seem to be more interested in land preservation and pushing their agenda in the countryside.

[btw, the SSPCA were helpful and the hawk was released unharmed, much to the chagrin of the local song birds]

Chrome 90 goes HTTPS by default while Firefox injects substitute scripts to foil tracking tech


Re: No, this is wrong

It may be zero cost and seamless from your provider, but some providers 'make' you pay through the nose (e.g. >£50 annually for a single domain SSL certificate from Heart Internet).

That's fine for businesses, but OTT for a small club or charity website that doesn't collect information or sell stuff online.

Telecoms shack in the middle of Scotland put up for auction at £7,500


That's not the end of the fibre, it runs far closer and there are Openreach crews rolling more out in the area. Wayleave shouldn't be a problem as there are few landowners, and there may even be an existing route to the exchange (though doubtless in pretty poor shape if it's underground).

It's certainly not a Des-Res, with fully loaded timber lorries belting past just all day just a few feet away (when the R&BT isn't shut).


Broadband isn't that far away .. I recently had FTTP installed at a property 6 miles from there (as the crow files).

NASA building network cables that can survive supersonic flight - could this finally deliver unbreakable RJ45 latching tabs?


Re: No need to reinvent the wheel

And yet "railway certified" adds peanuts compared to "gaming". Just imagine how much the two combined would add!

That would be "Marine Grade" then.

When even a power-cycle fandango cannot save your Windows desktop


I completely agree. As a student teacher in the 1970s I was advised of the importance of schools' janitors (caretakers). Sage advice.

One does not simply shove elephants on a ballet shoe point and call it an acceptable measure of pressure


Re: Unexpected Reaction?

They unexpectedly created Lonsdaleite, it's tougher than diamond.

Trouble at Skull-Top Ridge: ESA boffins use data wizardry to figure out Philae probe's second touchdown site


Re: Frothy?

If the boulder is that soft, how came that the probe bounced instead of simply sinking in?

Temperature - have you never noticed that soft scoop ice cream straight from the freezer is still rock hard?

We've heard some made-up stories but this is ridiculous: Microsoft Flight Simulator, Bing erect huge skyscraper out of bad data


Re: Storey not story

Not to the west-pondians it isn't.

Wisepay 'outage' is actually the school meal payments biz trying to stop an intruder from stealing customer card details


One advantage of the cashless system is that all youngsters use the same method - there is no distinction between subsidised/free/paid which (in theory) removes the stigma associated with being seen to have free school meals.

Spain's highway agency is monitoring speeding hotspots using bulk phone location data


Re: Perhaps the answer...

My adaptive cruise control car is a (not top of the range) Skoda. It's not a Tesla, it doesn't steer for me, it's 20th century cruise control but with the benefit that it maintains a minimum distance from the vehicle in front; perfect for those long slow road works with average speed cameras.


Re: Perhaps the answer...

Adaptive cruise control is one answer - it maintains a suitable distance from the vehicle ahead, but stops you going over a set speed.


Re: Railway Lines?

I regularly drive the length of Spain and it's a refreshing change from blighty.

With few exceptions, everyone drives on the right; they signal, pull out, overtake, and return to the right leaving the left lane(s) free (except rush hour around Madrid).

Last time I returned from a visit the traffic in the UK looked similar .. on the A3 most folk drove on the right, and on the M25 they drove on the right and over/undertook on the left albeit with less courtesy than the Spanish.

England's COVID-tracking app finally goes live after 6 months of work – including backpedal on how to handle data


For what it's worth

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own tracing apps, too, for what it's worth.

Living in Scotland it's worth a helluva lot more to me than England's.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'


Re: good grief

Erm.....?? ERM 29C my first car, a red MK I mini I owned as a student.

RM: Carlisle

C: 1965

What the duck? Bloke keeps getting sent bathtime toys in the post – and Amazon won't say who's responsible


Re: As funny as this is...

Firstly just tell the delivery driver that you hadn't ordered anything from Amazon and simply refuse to accept delivery on the basis that you didn't place the order...

That doesn't work during Covid - delivery drivers are just leaving goods on doorsteps, maybe taking a photo as proof of delivery in lieu of a signature, then ringing the doorbell and scarpering. By the time I get to the door they're already in the their van ready to go.

Spotted the ISS in the sky yet? How about pulling out some spare kit and giving it a listen?


Re: Rats

Radiofax (aka WEFAX) is still alive and kicking, and is used to transmit weather charts.

US starts sniffing around UK spaceports – though none capable of vertical launches actually exist right now


Re: Film

There's also "Rockets Galore", based on Compton MacKenzie's follow up to "Whisky Galore".

It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are


I tried something like that recently and got a ticking off.

HSE guidelines refer to constant control being required and latches not being wedged open: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg216.htm

Police drone fliers' wings clipped to prevent them bumping into real aircraft


Re: Mixed measurements

Why is altitude given in feet while horizontal distance is given in metres?

It's metres, because if the drones had a decent range they'd use the preferable nautical miles.


Oh Hell. Remember the glory days of Demon Internet? Well, now would be a good time to pick a new email address


Re: "Another bemoaned the hammering of yet another nail in the coffin of Blighty's ISP past"

It IS worth moaning about and getting all misty eyed over .. that tenner a month for dialup included a static public IP address.

'Peregrine falcon'-style drone swarms could help defend UK against Gatwick copycat attacks


How about training pergrine falcons to attack drones? That'd be a much more eco-friendly solution

.. what would you do when the bad guys start attaching razor blades to the rotors?

<edit> Jan 0 beat me to it..

Radio nerd who sipped NHS pager messages then streamed them via webcam may have committed a crime


Under that clause, is it not the responsibility of the NHS trust in question since it is them that are making the content of the communication system available by broadcasting it in plain text in the first place?

Why should the NHS spend a fortune upgrading their systems just because some scrote has a cheap SDR dongle and chooses to broadcast their pager messages? It may be old technology, but it has wider coverage than mobile telephony.

This is the same as intercepting ambulance, police, fire, coastguard, aircraft etc. radio conversations in the clear .. listening in is illegal but unlikely to lead to prosecution, however acting on those messages or re-transmitting them is the bigger problem.