* Posts by Sean o' bhaile na gleann

87 posts • joined 24 Feb 2016


SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: this is only half the trip

Not exactly on point, but I'll stick this link in here:


80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

from my prehistoric experience, dropping - or overturning - one of those grey trays containing up to 2000 punched cards used to be known as a 'floor sort'...

5G mast set aflame in leafy Liverpool district, half an hour's walk from Penny Lane

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

"...And respect is something you should give to everyone, until they demonstrate they aren't worthy of it..."

We must have different ideas of what "respect" means.

As far as I'm concerned, the person I respect is someone I look up to, someone who I'd perhaps try to emulate (but never be "the same as"). All other people I'll eat with, drink with, etc. I'll tolerate them. I'll accept them. I'll talk/argue with them and listen to any views they put forward. If a person is my manager or a law/security/safety officer, I'll probably obey instructions they might give - they can expect a demand for a justification of such instructions if I can't immediately see the need for them.

But automatically give respect to?

No - you've got to prove to me you're worthy of my respect first.

Sorry, I'm with the OP on this.

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

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: here's something to do :

Hey, it's only a little cupboard. Got meself a Dyson suck-broom, but it has to live in the spare bedroom.

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: here's something to do :

Just how accurate/reliable are those two sites - and, indeed, any other site?

I didn't know about them up to now, and have always relied on the Ookla test available at https://www.speedtest.net/.

I've got a bog-standard residential connection, no capping, but no contractual speed promises either. The complete landline and broadband package sets me back £25 a month - I never use the landline, preferring to VOIP to various contacts, so no actual 'phone' bills involved. It occasionally drops out, and when I check the router (in the broom cupboard), I normally see a red light on it, along with a couple of flashing green ones, indicating that there's a problem of some sort. The connection usually resumes within a short period of time, and then I see '5 greens'.

So when I saw those two test site addresses, I tried them out, along with Ookla, and compared results. Ran 3 tests back-to-back on each of them.

All three sites report latency values of 29 to 30 ms

All three sites report upload speeds of between 0.93 and 1.09 mb/sec. The Ofcom site reported a constant 1.0 mb/sec

For the download speeds, Ookla and Ofcom reported 13+ mb/sec - once again the Ofcom site readings were constant, at 13.1. The MLab site on the other hand reported download speeds of 4.72, 5.06 and 6.47 mb/sec.

Additionally, the Ofcom site always ended the test with a warning that my "...connection is performing badly..." That warning simply doesn't appear for the Mlab and Ookla tests, so I'm guessing that bit of analysis isn't built into them.

I'm aware of the possible confusion between mB/sec and mb/sec, which I've always taken to mean megabytes/sec and megabits/sec respectively, so went back and re-read the summaries. All three sites say mb/sec, but read into that what you will.

The Mlab download stats are so out of whack, I not sure what to believe...

Cricket's average-busting mathematician Tony Lewis pulls up stumps

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

"...The game’s shorter forms were devised to produce a crowd advertisers-pleasing result in just one day..."

With no disregard intended to the sterling work done by Lewis and Duckworth - at least it kept this wonderful sport alive.

Welcome to the telco, we've got fun and games: BT inks 5-year deal to outsource mainframe management to IBM

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: On the subject of BT and India

"...challenge the caste of their mother."

Ohhh! Please, please, please: how do you say that? How do you pronounce it? Go on... pleeeease!

(my minimal language skills only got me as far as COBOL and FORTRAN)

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds: They're good – though for close to £300, they really should be

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Waxy build-up

"Otomize is acetic acid no less, vinegar"

Yeah - I had a little chuckle to myself when I read that on the label. If I'd known that vinegar (or, for that matter, lemon juice) would have done the trick, things would have been much simpler.

It's got to be said though, that Otomize is just 2% acetic acid - so don't go reaching for the bottle of Sarsons.

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Waxy build-up

For the love everything you hold sacred, DON'T... DO. NOT. DO. THIS.

My story: Wax build-up first identified some 50 years ago, causing my hearing to be considerably impaired. Went to GP - was told to use olive oil and to duck myself when taking a bath to flush my ears out.

It worked - for a while, but the wax eventually came back, and was a constant irritant for the next n years.

Later on in life, while having my morning shower, angling my head so that one individual jet of water was directed straight down my ear seemed to work... for a while. Trouble with that idea was that it cleaned my ears out completely... and ear wax, in normal amounts, is a normal (even necessary) thing, intended to trap any particulate stuff that might enter the ear canal.

With no ear wax to speak of, even bits of floating dust were an extreme irritant - enough to get me started on using cotton buds. That worked for a time too, but...

Next stage started because I found cotton buds to be too flexible, I wanted something more rigid, something that felt like it was doing something, and so... 'kitchen matches' - the ones with a long stalk.

Overall result: 'Otitis Externa' - ear canals continually exuding a clear liquid that irritates when it dries up on reaching the open air, causing more scratching, more damage, more scratching and so on, and also leaving some fairly unsightly stains on bed pillows.

These days, I have to keep things under control with neomycin. I use a preparation that goes by the name of 'Otomize' - an ear spray that appears to work nicely.

There's an old wives saying about not putting anything smaller than your elbow into your ear. That's a bloody stupid way of saying something that's obvious in my opinion, but it's very stupidity is what keeps the concept in mind.

Don't mess with your ears, people - they're just too damn fragile

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

A similar experiment is ongoing at my abode too.

Not so much because of laziness but because you don't actually get rid of dust - you just re-arrange it.

(that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Corporate VPN huffing and puffing while everyone works from home over COVID-19? You're not alone, admins

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Personally I'm a huge fan of working from home, but - just like many others have mentioned - there appears to be an innate lack of trust on this front between manglement and underlings.

The excuses I've heard that come most readily to mind:

1. "We pad a lot of dosh for this office space - it has to be used!"

2. "Emergency maintenance". Give your keyboard a can of coke to drink at work, and a replacement can normally be provided tout suit. Pull the same trick at home and you'll probably be off-line for a few hours at best.

3. Insurance. Trip and twist your ankle at the office and elf&safety decrees that the company has to DO something. Damage yourself while working from home and... who pays?

RIP Katherine Johnson: The extraordinary NASA mathematician astronauts trusted over computers

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

RIP indeed..

101 years is a helluva innings.

Coincidentally, I sat and watched Hidden Figures only yesterday - a cracking film.

I only noticed two anachronisms - I dare say others will have noticed more.

1. The 7090 computer is described as a 'mainframe' - the term hadn't been invented back then. There weren't any 'minis' or 'micros' to compare against.

2.There's a sequence at about the 55-minute mark where two Redstones blow up, followed by another explosion... which I'm pretty sure is the Challenger disaster. There's just no mistaking the shape and colour of that fireball hurtling through the sky.

It is with a heavy heart we must inform you, once again, folks are accidentally spilling thousands of sensitive pics, records onto the internet

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Just goes to show...

Ooohhh that triggered a much-cherished memory.

From "Round The Horne"... Kenneth Williams doing his "Rambling Sid Rumpold" bit, this time with a 'country cookery' lesson.

"How to make Sheperds Pie..."

"First, catch and peel two shepherds"

Canadian insurer paid for ransomware decryptor. Now it's hunting the scum down

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Find the tossers who did it, then send in a wet team - it's the only way to be sure...

US court rules: Just because you can extract teeth while riding a hoverboard doesn't mean you should

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I can't see that anyone has posted it yet, so I will...


Elon Musk gets thumbs up from jury for use of 'pedo guy' in cave diver defamation lawsuit

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Musk would have won in an English court too

Musk might have won here too

Couldn't agree more!

Having been told to "stick his submarine where it hurts", mere vulgar abuse is a fairly light response.

Musk apologised and deleted his tweet but, no, that wasn't good enough.

Did Unsworth think about taking back his initial response and restating it in a less attention-grabbing way? Nooo "I'll go for the big-money man - he can afford it".

Taking the big guy to court just because you feel hard done by is another aspect of compensation culture.

Unsworth is one of those people who need to grow a thicker skin.


Welcome to cultured meat – not pigs reading Proust but a viable alternative to slaughter

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Artificial Protein-Based Meat

Get hold of a copy of the Arthur C Clarke short "The Food of the Gods"... Neat twist at the end...

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: George 2+

From memories more than 40 years old (and thus subject to neuronic disintegration), there's a missing program name in the quoted commands.

"GO #ABCD 25" would cause:

- an external interrupt to be sent to the OS;

- program #ABCD to be suspended;

- the next instruction address to be overwritten by the address identified as 'entry point 25' in program 'ABCD';

- the suspended program would then be restarted.

Like I say, 40-year-old memory. I stand to be corrected.

IBM stands for I Block Money, says sales rep: Big Blue sued yet again by its own staff over 'missing' commissions

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: IBM ....

I Believe in Magic

Install Bigger Machine

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

A GP visit for a cough? HAH! You'd be lucky to get past the receptionist to the triage nurse, only to be told that the next available appointment is in 6 weeks!

UK culture sec hints at replacing TV licence fee, defends encryption ban proposals and her boss in Hacker House inquiry

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: replacing tv licence

If they are truly unbiased (and personally, I think they are), then by definition they've got to be pissing off nearly half the audience nearly all the time...

2001 fiction set to be science fact? NASA boffin mulls artificial intelligence to watch over the lunar Gateway

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Workaround

Doesn't "waldo" come from Heinlein's 1942 novel of the same name?

Or was the word invented prior to that?

(Something to do with the a-bomb development, methinks)

Three UK slammed for 'ripping off' loyal mobile customers by £32.4m per year

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Bonuses

...Can anyone tell me how much the CEO of three earns is paid every year,including bonuses?...


COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: I remember

At one site, we ran opened a book regarding the maximum number of error messages caused by the least number of deliberate errors.

A hyphen in the middle of ENVIRONMENT-DIVISION caused every subsequent statement to rejected with at least 5 messages.

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: My first programs were in COBOL

ooohhh, yes, I SO remember the one-day turnaround thing. And I'm not so sure it was all bad either - at least you tried your damndest to get it right first time (which never happened, of course).

As for a card deck catapulting itself across the room - we used to refer to that as a 'floor sort'.

COBOL - the language for people whose lips move when they're reading

Astroboffins baffled as black hole at center of Milky Way suddenly a lot hungrier than before

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: I have to ask...

A 'short' by Arthur C Clark tells of a super-duper spaceship, pride of the American fleet, getting too close to a black hole. It gets destroyed by the gravitational forces involved. All that can found after the event is a star-mangled spanner...

Like a grotty data addict desperately jonesing for its next fix, Google just can't stop misbehaving

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Not once have I been harmed by them having access to my data

I agree completely with Mr. Summers, here.

I, too, have used Google and gmail almost from the outset and never experienced any troubles.

Adverts don't bother me - they are easy to ignore, and I do.

Political influence? Don't make me laugh. My political views are completely private and unaffected anyone else's - I'll vote the way I want to vote, not the way you want me to. Your own views are of no interest to me at all - save for their comedic value.

Along the same lines, I've never had any of my computers hacked or subject to a virus attack. (I once deliberately downloaded the EICAR test virus, just to see how the AV reacted to something 'bad'). Simple common-sense ensures my AV database is bang up-to-date, and a single look at an e-mail subject is enough for me to decide whether to open it or immediately consign it to the rubbish bin - which is then quickly 'emptied'.

Valorous Vikram lunar lander – or Star Wreck: Enterprise? India's Moon craft goes all silent running during descent

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Steptoe & Son

IIRC it was 'Hercules'

Last one out, hit the lights: UK energy supplier SSE to axe 115 bodies from tech department

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Trouble shortly to arrive

Not exactly on topic, more a bit of personal history re outsourcing...

Mid 90's, working mainframe tech support for a large insurance company, got 'sold' (TUPEd) to an outsourcer. Best thing that ever happened to me. Got a 30% pay rise, and all pension funds carried over (as per TUPE law). Got exposure to the many different ways that outsourcer's client companies could find of fucking things up & that I had to subsequently sort out. Lots of fun! No, really. At one time, I was asked if I wanted to be the tech support guy for just one client. I said 'No', because the sheer breadth of experience I was getting was far too valuable to me. Now still working after turning 65, and the pension from the original company has kicked in, and very nice it is too.

Data cops order Ireland to delete 3.2m records after ID card wheeze ruled to be 'unlawful'

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Just outsource it to Zuck

Yes, it is a work of fiction...

But when you read it, you realise it's horrifyingly close to the truth.

(I was disappointed by the ending - seems to me that it could have gone on for a few more chapters. It felt to me like Eggers simply got tired of writing it)

Here's a great idea: Why don't we hardcode the same private key into all our smart home hubs?

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

So that's an excuse, is it?

If I am manufacturing 250,000 devices ... >> is that all?

am I going to generate 250,000 unique SSH keys ... >> yes!

give them to my (Chinese) manufacturer, and expect them to ensure that each device is programmed with a unique key ... >> absolutely

and correlate the devices to the keys (so that I know which device has which key) ... >> that has to be a MINIMUM expectation.

AND keep all that from leaking to ______ ... >> whyever not?

It's really fucking hard ... That's exactly the way it should be!

Dedicated techie risks life and limb to locate office conference phone hiding under newspaper

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Shouty men...

Couldn't agree more, Terry

I'm with kiwi on this one.

Jake's driver who is "... obviously in a hurry and driving irrationally..." has no right to be sitting behind the wheel of any sort of vehicle. They're not in control of themselves, so how can they control a potentially lethal weapon?

When I'm driving, I drive at *my* speed not *yours*. If you don't like that, you are free to overtake... or are you too chicken?

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: ALL my calls from shouty men

One of my Father's favourite lines:

"When I'm shouting at you, you're safe. It's when I go quiet that you know you're in danger."

It's 50 years to the day since Apollo 10 blasted off: America's lunar landing 'dress rehearsal'

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: The 60's

I wasn't allowed to see the live broadcast of the Apollo 11 landing & Armstrong's 'first step'.

As I remember, it took place in the early hours of the morning for us in the UK.

I was on a school trip with other class mates - a week clambering over the Yorkshire Dales - organised by the school's geography department.

The geography teacher in charge of the trip wasn't interested in 'all that science fiction stuff', so nobody was allowed to stay up to watch it on TV.

I've never actually got around to forgiving that teacher...

Portal to 'HELL' cracks open in street – oh sorry, it's just another pothole

Sean o' bhaile na gleann


Similar situation with the earlier-posted link regarding Norwich pothole that "swallowed a bus".

OK, there it was 4 buttons to flick from one side to the other, but no indication - other than the colour of the background in the selection icon(s) - to show whether the switch was from 'On' to 'Off' or the other way round. This can't be a valid implementation of GDPR rules either, I feel.

Later - I revisited the linked site and the GDPR overlay didn't redisplay. Surely this is some sort of indication that a 'previous visit' record is being stored somewhere.

Later still - just to chase this thing as far into the ground as I can.. Shut down my platform, re-booted and revisited the linked site. STILL no GDPR overly.

Am I letting my ingrown paranoia out of it's cage again?

Three planets and two stars adds up to one research team made very happy by Kepler's unique discovery

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Naming conventions?

Your statement; "... I would hazard to guess that pretty much every star has planets, we just can't see most of them because they don't pass in front of their star" is almost certainly correct, but I'm going to add a few words: "...because they don't pass in front of their star when we're looking"

Techies take turns at shut-down top trumps

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

For me, I was doing a guided tour of the computer room to some company bigwigs (both international and local).

The room housed a Digital C-350, an IBM 4341 and - the latest acquisition - an IBM S/38

While showing off the 8-inch floppy drive on the S/38, I leaned back to allow the assorted gentry to see things more clearly...

… and hit the EPO with my spine.

As someone else has already alluded - the resulting silence is deafening!

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

(repeated by mistake)

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Plenty of financial institutions need to buck up.

And there's no 'change password' function on the web page(s) either. If you want to change your password, you have to contact NS&I by phone, then they send you a 'reset' code by snail mail...

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

Sean o' bhaile na gleann


I imagine when she goes on twitter she says "I literally feel physically sick".


Scumbag hackers lift $1m from children's charity

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Charity...

That's right. And these days, as far as I'm concerned, that's where it stays.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Arrested for being drunk

ISTR (from more years back than I care to remember) a newspaper report about a bloke who tried to get around the law by using a hovercraft to navigate along the river that was common to his house and the local pub... Dunno if he got away with it, but it makes for a good tale.

IBM talks 'emerging, high value segments' – so you know the Q3 numbers aren't great

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Way back, when I was still at school, we had a 'Careers Advisor' who told me "Computers, my boy! They're the coming thing!".

That turned out to be sound advice as, 9 years after the introduction of the S/360 line by I Believe in Magic, I landed my first job in the computer industry as a Trainee Computer Operator.

Now, after 45 years of gainful employment on the same line of machines and operating systems, I'm looking retirement in the face. All I can say is "It's a shame to see you going down, IBM. But it's been a helluva ride - Thanks!"

Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I have a lot of time for Mr Musk, despite recent unsavoury events where he features at the centre of the stage. He is one of those people that forces others to look UP instead of continuing along their established paths - a well-deserved kick in the backside for most of us.

My only problem is the realisation that it all he has done to date could so easily be completely wiped out.

All it would take is a single step-change development in the technology required to store and/or transmit electricity.

And when (not 'if') it happens, his battery mega-factory, all his cars (and all other electric/hybrid cars), all his solar panels, everything... becomes useless junk overnight.

TSB goes TITSUP: Total Inability To Surprise Users, Probably

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Why does anyone still bank with them?

I've just been reading the BBC News report on this latest fuckup.

"So why haven't people moved the money elsewhere?" - Apparently they did. 26,00 accounts have been closed sine 'the big one' earlier this year.

Unfortunately, 20,000 NEW accounts have been opened in the same time frame.

*hangs head in despair*

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

What's so difficult?...

I find it truly difficult to understand the fuss about choosing passwords. Perhaps it's just my mind-set. It often seems to me that 'computer security' is just a money-making FUD generator.

My current employer is very typical of all the sites I've worked at with regard to passwords:

...Eight characters max length

...First character must be alphabetic

...Case-insensitive (lower-case gets translated to upper-case by default)

...Use of @ ! $, etc is frowned upon because of code-page translation difficulties (SecAdmin says "Use 'em if you want, but don't come crying to me if things go wrong!")

...Passwords expire every 30 days

...New password cannot be any of the previous thirteen

...New password cannot feature anything from a long list of prohibited character sequences

...Three tries are you're out. (SecAdmin has to manually reset password to an expired one that I have to change again upon first - successful - retry)

Coming up to my 50th-ish year of working on IBM mainframe systems protected by RACF and I've never once, not ever, had my password cracked or my account hacked, etc., and - to the best of my knowledge - none of the systems I've worked on has suffered any form of exposure either (if they did then *I* never got to hear about it).

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

A while back, I added a comment to a similar article "Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave". I'll repeat it here because I believe it to be applicable in this case, too:

"I may be missing something here, but what, in practical terms, could the Competition Commission do if Google said 'No'. Not going to argue… not going to appeal... just 'No, not going to pay'."

(and this time I'll add: "or just ignore the situation - don't even bother to respond")

Change "Competition Commission" to "GDPR" (or whatever the authority's name is) and "Google" to "Facebook", and the same question holds.

Yes, I can already hear people proposing responses to such an event along the lines of "shutting the gate" on Facebook - requiring all ISPS to block them, etc. Well, we all know that such a restriction would last, oh, thirty seconds or so, give-or-take 25, before someone developed a workaround and published it.

Don't get me wrong - I fully agree with almost everyone here, that Facebook, Google, etc should not be collecting data on me and selling it on or otherwise making use of it **unless I say it is OK to do so** (and they would have to work extremely hard to make me say that).

Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I *think* it was Arthur C Clark who said something like "...either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both situations are equally alarming."

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I may be missing something here, but what, in practical terms, could the Competition Commission do if Google said 'No'. Not going to argue… not going to appeal... just 'No, not going to pay'.

Science! Luminescent nanocrystals could lead to multi-PB optical discs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

From the report:

...Multilevel encoding, conceptually similar to 2bits/cell and 3bits/cell flash, may be feasible "by discretizing the level of valence state switching by adjusting the UV-C intensity for the conversion"....

I think my brain just exploded...



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