* Posts by Holleritho

45 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Dec 2015

Facebook, WhatsApp farewell BlackBerry


Grammar Nazi reporting

'disinterested' means 'does not have an interest in' as in 'impartial, altruistic'.

'uninterested means 'is not interested'

Easter Islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all, says archaeologist


The same way Scotland did, and large parts of North America

A quick read shows that outsiders, especially Chileans, although they were merely accelerating what had been already introduced by Europeans, cut down what wasn't; useful for grazing animals, cut down what they needed for short-term use, i.e. fires and buildings, and really did not give a flying anything to the fact that they were denuding a perfectly functional island. By then, of course, the original settlers (Rapa Nuians) were decimated by illness and turned into semi-slaves. Having been on the island myself, I can tell you that the local population is doing its best to bring back the trees, and have intelligently chosen eucalyptus, which thrives in the climate and grows quickly.

Indonesian comms ministry orders 'gay emoji' block


So children might be scarred by seeing LGBT emojis and...child trafficking

I can see that little Indonesian children could be upset, distressed, and even frightened by pornography, especially if it is child pornography, and to learn that there is just a thing as child trafficking (is the danger that they will succumb to traffickers?) and gaming addiction (is the fear that they will get hooked?) But I don't see their little brains being fried by a tiny emoji of two guys and a heart.

Move over, Google. Here’s Wikipedia's search engine – full of on-demand smut


Easy to remember

And it has no words you need to hesitate over saying.

As far as your maiden aunt is concerned, Debbie is a tourist enjoying the sightseeing and shopping in that interesting Texan city.

Bye-bye, BT: Finance director jumps ship


Babgalore would get it right

It's your UK marketing/PR folks that can't write.

Well, to be fair, very few PR people in any country can write.

Health Secretary promises NHS £4.2bn to go 'digital'


Re: 4.2 billion.

I agree that this money, even if it a one-off (which it is supposed to be, but won't be) could be better placed elsewhere in the NHS. My local surgery is being taken over by Virgin: all the good doctors have gone, the standards are already slipping, and I know the costs will be driven down ('not so many referrals, please!') and the pressure for me to remove the lock on my data will go up.

Needless to say, I am moving.

I would rather have housing built for nurses with this 'digital' money.

Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print


The telescope madness must stop

Scientific American had a good article recently on the absurd doubling-p of telescopes, built by rival universities in the USA with a consortium of me-toos for each side. The projects would benefit from being rolled into one, where the money could build something great. The observatories in Hawaii and Chile seem remote and minimal, but in fact they have a hell of a footprint, and the tops of mountains (former) and the fragile ecosystem (latter) are brutalised by a petrochem attitude: bulldoze and to hell with anything else.

'Sacred' is often invoked to say 'quite wrecking our beautiful areas and reserving these special places for your private purposes'. The sacred might be attended to, as 'quite riding roughshod over us and thinking that your scientific purposes trump everything else'. I love astronomy, but it's not the only thing of value in the world.

Mall owner lays blame at Apple's door for dragging down sales


What about a kiosk?

One of those nice mid-aisle stations where the Apple salesperson sits on a stool and tries to tempt the passers-by.

Layoffs! Lawsuits! Losses! ... Yahoo! is! in! an! L! of! a! mess!


She's hardly in tech

And apparently never has been. She does marketing and executive suite stuff for tech companies. And had the bad judgment to move to Yahoo.

NOTHING trumps extra pizza on IT projects. Not even more people


I assume we're being softened up for something

El Reg keeps pushing it and I am thinking that this is more-or-less paid-for (sponsored) content or that they are 'partnering' with somebody and we'll find out why soon, or they are positioning themselves for some new incarnation, or all of the above. Also wonder if some of our departed reporters didn't fit in with this Next Big Thing that appears to be slouching towards Bethlehem.

Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion


Re: rates

Oh, you mean Uber's millionaire owners want to peonise the drivers while putting 100% of the risk on them while trousering yet more billions? But isn't this what grass-roots, non-hierarchical 'sharing' services do? Isn't that what the new world of web is delivering? Vast bloated corporations living off walmarted employees' degradation while coining it to the tune to Croesus while paying as little tax possible because they are smart enough to?

Microsoft buys SwiftKey, Britain's 'stealthiest software startup'


Not just me, then

Kill it with fire.

App for homeless says walking on water is the way to reach services


Re: ummm

The screenshots were by way of examples. Had they been shots of hostels and services for homeless men, I suspect we would not have heard a peep from you.

Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash


Parachuting into the Arctic

I regularly fly to Canada, and about 80% of the flight is over Greenland, the Arctic islands of Canada, Nunavut and the especially cold bits of the country. To float down in a passenger pod into -40 degree weather with nothing but my bag of peanuts and the elderly couple beside me to share body heat with, I think I am still dead.

Slashdot, SourceForge slurped by travel publisher


Re: Sourceforge is the best, bar none

SourceForge used to be the best. I remember it fondly from about 2002. And then the darkness entered its soul and you can't trust a think that comes from it. I remember getting something studded with malware like a ham with cloves and thought WTF, then tried again a few months later and realised everything was like this. So, with a tear of nostalgia for what once had been, I walked away.

The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears


I used to think 'the clearner' was urban myth...

...until I, too, saw it in action. There was a big sign saying 'do not switch off' but the cleaners either did not read English or did not care or were so harried and exhausted that they didn't care, and they would pull out the plug and plug in their floor polisher.

They needed to use the plug, as their cord did not reach the length of the room. An extension cord would mean making them walk all the way down the length of a big open-plan office to unplug and drag to the other end. So we put in a multi-plug, fixed it to the socket with a bracket, taped our own plug onto the multi-socket with a skull and cross-bones on it, and they understood and used the free socket. Both our needs sorted for less than a tenner.

Universal Credit: The IT project that will outlive us all


Re: Project Management

Not sure why he is a whore. He simply has different priorities. There's lots to be said for his, given that 'client keeps paying the money' is in there.

Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination


When I am soured on humanity...

...I read Victoria Cross citation, for Canadians, then any Commomweath country. And then the Medal of Honour citations (USA). To remember that courage, self-sacrifice and gallantry exist. But these are only those acknowledged -- so many more have to take our thanks to the Unknown Hero.


Re: Despite helping found the KKK...

Forrest was an amazing tactical commander and an absolute shit.


Re: Jack Nissenthall

'Green Beach' is excellent.

Criminal records checks 'unlawful' and 'arbitrary' rules High Court


Spokesperson for the Home Office 'disappointed'

Why would the Home Office be disappointed in this considered and sensible ruling? What do they have to gain in the ruining of people's careers for trivial offenses that mean nothing?

How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?


Re: Of mice and men

I taught myself to use my mouse with my left hand so I could scroll and move around on the screen while taking notes. Made me more productive. People see me mousing and then, later, writing something down and consider e a genius for being ambidextrous. I try to say it's like playing guitar or anything that needs two hands, but no, for some reason a mouse in your 'off' hand is the ne-plus-ultra or brainiac. So now I merely smile humbly.

Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA


The answer is windfarms

Aberdeen wants an offshore windfarm right off the coast where Trump's fancy golf course is. Trump is furious and protesting that he will clear out if they go ahead. Easy solution.

Group rattles tin in bid to snatch TfL licence from Uber's paw


Haven't heard that Uber

I haven't heard that Uber drivers:

1. have vehicles that can take wheelchairs

2. are insured to take disabled passengers

are obliged to take you to your destination once they have accepted the fare.

Given that (1) and (2) are central to my partner's life, what will happen when Uber drives the black cabs out of business? If taxis or taxi services aren't required to cater to everyone, who caters to those who are more difficult to carry?

Kiev airport goes dark after 'BlackEnergy-linked' power outage


Where are the frieds of the free world when you need them?

Ukraine is no angel, but it knows it needs to tackle corruption and to learn how to do things better. It is getting far too little help, and yet this country (as George Soros says) is key to Europe's future. Greece getting into trouble was a pain in the backside, but Russia in control of Ukraine, which has a whole generation wanting the opportunities of western Europe and willing to pay in blood and sweat for them, is left to go the way of Belarus. Can't GCHQ or even NSA spare Ukraine a few experts and help them harden themselves against these attacks? With so many Americans hankering for the old Cold War clarity of good and bad, here is a battlefield that can only being glory.

Friends Reunited to shut down. What do you mean, 'is it still going?'


Many a marriage was made via FR

I know, personally, of three couples who have married (or settled down permanently) thanks to FR. One woman left her husband for her sixth-form flame, who evidently still carried a torch. Another said that the relationship worked better when the other half had the same background and knew all the old familiar things.

Actually, based on what I have just said, FR broke up at least one marriage.

I'd rather be the creators than ITV, at least as far s £££ go. At £30m goes a long way.

PDF redaction is hard, NSW Medical Council finds out - the hard way


Accessible PDF

If you turn the PDF into an image, you are making it totally inaccessible. I know making a PDF disabled-accessible is not child's play, but it should be done, especially by an organisation funded by public money.

IBM introduces fleecing-you-as-a-service for retailers


So just like Uber

That old surge pricing: sell high when commodity is scarce, lift the price until the pips squeak, drop only when you have to.

Even black cabs do this, albeit just the day and night prices, and these are fixed.

What do we do about a problem like Uber? Tom Slee speaks his brains


Re: short read but...

Adam Smith said that capitalism led inexorably to monopoly unless the Government established regulation. Once again, he was right. What people want is to be able to control the market and set their own price, and we constantly see that happening today -- unless the Government enforces competition.

Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander


I am shocked

To me, a spag bol with cheese on top is a holy thing. And they dare mock!

Put your private parts on display if you want to keep earning a living



One of those shelves that hang from a worktop, a hot water bottle or small electric heat-pad, a very small pivoting fan (or one of those Chinese cat statues that waves a raised paw).

Slide shelf under desktop beside knee, put filled hot water bottle and moving object on shelf, walk away. Come back at lunch time and remove for 20 minutes. Back to pub.

I leave it to my fellow commentards to add to the list a widget that generates keyboard activity to one's laptop or PC.

Nest thermostat owners out in the cold after software update cockup


Re: This should be considered safety critical software

When I was in Canada, I was never in a house that didn't have insulation, and usually a good boiler in the basement pushing warm air through vents in the floor. Toasty warm inside all the time, and the heat never went off, when when the house was empty, because everything inside would freeze.*

Heating is essential for life in Canada: houses, garages, car parks, buildings, you name it.

*Freeze as in frozen solid, not 'gosh I am freezing'

TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup


Gone but not forgotten

I left TalkTalk in November but they keep taking money. Said 'don't cut off your DD, as we have a process', and it turns out the process is to keep taking the money. DD gets chopped this weekend.

Now a very, very happy camper with Zen Internet.

Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox


the last words

The last words between the photons are preserved.

"You rat, I know you were flirting with that neutron!"

"Oh, fine, fine, be like that when I'm friendly at work."

"You never take me seriously. That's it. We're done. We're through."

"Suits me. Shall I drop you off at the event horizon on my way to the office?"

"Thanks, I can manage it myself. Don't expect to hear from me."

"Not till the heat death of the universe, darlin'"

And then...silence...



I guess I'd just hang back a bit and think if it coud be that a question posed by Stephen Hawking could be cobblers. It might be, but I wouldn't put money on it.

Engineer's bosses gave him printout of his Yahoo IMs. Euro court says it's OK


One cannot but wonder...

...if the engineer in question had other blots on his copybook and a few messages were the easiest way to give him the boot.

Or it wasn't a few messages, but dozens and dozens. Ah, young engineers in love...

Hacks rebel after bosses secretly install motion sensors under desks


Re: Unfortunately this is the latest badly thought out senior management/HR craze

I was a consultant on a big project and doomed to hot-desking. Given that there were always too few to go around, and I had no storage, I tethered my laptop to a friendly colleague's desk every night and had my bit of paperwork in a lever arch file under her desk. Every morning I spent about 30 minutes trying to find a desk. I totted up the time per day wasted hunting a desk and then getting set up over the lifetime of the project (about 17 months) and, my goodness, this great HR/senior management scheme to save money had cost the company quite a packet. I could have actually been productive in that time, but no.

Investigatory Powers Bill: A force for good – if done right?


Re: nothing short of major scandal

You have to be ashamed at what you are exposed as doing for any change to happen. The three-letter agencies (and their brother agencies in every other country) are not ashamed, indeed, feel completely justified.

BlackEnergy drains files from Ukraine media, energy organisations


forty years ago...

During the cold war, the USA (and I'd like to think Europe as well) would have leapt upon Ukraine as a country they could 'save' from Soviet communism by pouring funds, experts, economic aids, etc into it. Now when Ukraine is desperate for support, aid, cheap loans, expertise, nobody wants to know. It is a complete disgrace to the EU. They let Greece distract them. Greece will always e with us, bless 'em, but letting Ukraine be subverted and attacked and slashed at around the ankles until it finally collapses: what will this do to us in Europe? I find it profoundly discouraging that the EU had no bottle and, frankly, no gonads.

What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar


Libre of Open

I used OpenOffice, jumped to LibreOffice after a friend enthused, then jumped back to OpenOffice when Libre couldn't do stuff I wanted, or did ot so weirdly or slowly that I threw up my hands. Sorry that Open has been thrown into the fade.

Remembering those who logged off in 2015



Claques? Cliques? People remembering the recently dead whom they admired and would like honoured in this list?

The Police Chief's photo library mixed business, pleasure and flesh


Not once but twice

I worked for a very small charity and one of my jobs was the daily and weekly backup. Dailies got stored in a secure place on the premises, weekly had a second copy (floppy) that came home with me.

When I quit, I wrote out the back-up process, showed the people in the office the very clearly-labelled floppies (sets of five so we actually had Monday-Friday for five weeks before re-using them) and the weekly back-ups (again, used five sets, plus a Q1-Q4 set of disks), and stressed the importance of this job.

Several months later, they were burgled and I got a panicked call. All computers stolen, secure closet broken into, floppies gone or trashed, wot to do. I advised them to back up from the old-site weekly as soon as they had bought their new machines. Silence. "You have been backing up daily and weekly and quarterly, haven't you, given that you are a research charity and data is uber important?" Silence.

Absolutely nothing I can do except to give them the last clone-of-a-clone weekly I took because I just had this sense...

What was especially fun is that about seven months later they had a burglary once again (I suspect the same tealeaves) and the same stuff stolen again (although the equipment was much newer, of course). Floppies gone or trashed. Panicked call. Had they learned from the first debacle? No. Not one backup ever had been made.

The charity went to the wall about a year later, and I thought it was funders' money well-saved, because they were truly too stupid to live.

Ad on that cheerful note, happy Christmas to El Reg and my fellow commentards.

The ball's in your court, Bezos: Falcon 9 lands after launching satellites


Poetry in motion

I agree: blast-offs have been a thrill since the Saturn days, but to see this thin needle come down and land smack-dab on its own flame was awesome.

Oracle ordered to admit on its website that it lost the plot on Java security


Re: Not even internally consistent

Lawyers: you know this as a fact or are you just sounding off?

If you knew how the law and lawyers worked you would be a little quieter.

There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches


Re: Image

As a Canuck over in Blighty, I can assure you that the Nordamericano style of outlet is universally recognised thanks to US TV and movies.

IMHO, the American and the European styles of outlet both make sense, with the American one smaller, with a smaller plug required, and the European safer (plug needs to be nested in). The UK plug is a huge monster and the outlet therefore ditto.