* Posts by acid andy

39 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Sep 2016

How important are tech and other contractors to UK? PM candidate promises tax review if elected

acid andy

I still can't understand what happend to Weetabix. I'm sure years ago they used to be larger, with more rounded corners and a nicer consistency.

UK, French, Belgian blanket spying systems ruled illegal by Europe’s top court

acid andy

Re: Leave it to Boris

Just give them a few more terms. Actually, I'd really rather you didn't!

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

acid andy

Re: Lovely.

That wouldn't work on old IDE devices where Primary and Secondary names the channels each of which can have a Master and Slave disk, so there's a Primary Master, Primary Slave, Secondary Master, Secondary slave.

I bet the Linux kernel has code to talk to IDE, so I wonder what will happen there!

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

acid andy
Thumb Up

Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

There's also a distant monarch named Far King L.

Suspicious senate stock sale spurt spurs scrutiny scheme: This website tracks which shares US senators are unloading mid-pandemic

acid andy

Re: How long before his site is DoS'd or forced to be taken down?

I think Bob might be channelling Christopher Walken. Or is it Zippy the Pinhead?

New UK Home Sec invokes infosec nerd rage by calling for an end to end-to-end encryption

acid andy

Re: What took her so long?

Corbyn's a strong leader. He's stood firm despite endless attempted character assassinations. I'm willing to bet you only think he's weak primarily because you read or heard other people expressing that view, rather than forming the opinion purely from the evidence you observe. Don't fall for all the propaganda.

I know some Remainers are frustrated with Labour but going 100% Remain would be electoral suicide for them.

Brexit: Digital border possible for Irish backstop woes, UK MPs told

acid andy
Black Helicopters

Surveillance State

It seems to me that any real "technological solution" is a great excuse for massively increased snooping. After all, if you don't stop someone at the border, surely your technology needs to be able track down where they are, and any goods they may be carrying, both before and after that crossing. At minimum they could just scan number plates at the border, then scan them elsewhere and conduct random spot checks but then how do you prove that whatever they're carrying when they're stopped was inside the vehicle when they went over the border? I can't see how this system could be anything other than either fully Orwellian, completely useless, or both, depending on the levels of surveillance conducted. Am I missing something?

Fortnite 'fesses up: New female character's jiggly bits 'unintended' and 'embarrassing'

acid andy

Re: Shock doctrine

"You remember incorrectly, from Wikipedia..."

I was talking about the more recent (and ridiculous) internet restrictions but FWIW Blair and Brown were pretty right wing by yesterday's standards.

acid andy

Re: Shock doctrine

"Actually, I think the sort of people complaining that breasts are sexist are actually pretty in favour of socialism. It's no longer some puritan religious Right leading the charge, but left wing SJW types, ime."

Actually, I think it's no longer bigoted old alcoholic armchair critics making sweeping generalizations, tarring whole swathes of the population with a broad, dismissive brush, but El Reg posters.

As far as I can remember, it wasn't the left that recently banned "extreme" pr0n in the UK.

Connected car data handover headache: There's no quick fix... and it's NOT just Land Rovers

acid andy

Re: let's go back to the good old days... oh wait!

you can make a copy of the key before you sell your car (or house for that matter...)

Car is driven off very unlikely never to be seen again. Unless you have access to a tracker in it (which, in part, is what this is about) your key does nothing for you.

The car is quite likely to often be parked near the new registered keeper's address. In a private sale the previous owner would have ample chance to get that. Unless you change the locks, you rely on a certain amount of trust in the previous owner. Caveat emptor!

Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

acid andy

365 Days a Year

"Our goal is to ensure all Visa cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

Oh! I'd better cancel my regular 29th February shopping sprees then. What a pity. That's my favorite time of the year for extravagant card purchases!

Microsoft wants serious, non-gaming developers to make more money

acid andy

Game Devs

They always seem to end up with the worst working conditions which is ironic given that when they're making decent, cutting edge games rather than crappy throwaway low tech ones, they're actually succeeding at some of the most technically challenging and interesting fields of software development!

Zombie Cambridge Analytica told 'death' can't save it from the law

acid andy

Re: Wow!

No saddle, no tyres and the presence of pedals depends on conduct in the mean time.

UK PM Theresa May orders review of online abuse laws in suffrage centenary speech

acid andy

Re: The last general election results ...

@ codejunky "Part of this is trying to get it past the EU rules. If it takes so long to make changes then people cant be blaming the tories and instead blame the coalition, the coalition cant be blamed it was labour etc."

Good points and I actually *want* it to be difficult for governments to change things. There's just about enough good aspects left to western civilization that stopping a rogue government from quickly and easily screwing everything up is highly desirable. I'm against Lords reform for that reason. Any entity (including for example the ECJ as well) that can slow up big government changes and add scrutiny is a good thing in my book.

"What former glory? Blackouts and British rail? Underinvestment in water and sewage, BT. Unions on strike. The NHS nearly went under when it was created due to its expense. Begging to the IMF."

There are increasing electricity and water shortages under the current regime. I heard that private companies have been selling off lots of our water reserves. I agree that beyond a certain point union action can be troublesome but the opposite situation where worker compensation and welfare is utterly neglected for years is just as bad.

"Very true. We have seen under 13 yrs of labour what more money into the public sector and expanding it rapidly has done. Here we are complaining about those services."

I disliked almost all the initiatives that Blair and Brown's governments poured their money into. Many of them just seemed to erode civil liberties and others created work for busybody pen pushers. That doesn't mean that all public sector investment is bad. It's about the true aims behind it and who really stands to benefit. Just remember that Corbyn is a world away from those two chaps.

"Socialism will work this time, all the other times they did it wrong. Thats a lot of failures and almost no successes in that tally."

I've already been very clear that I don't support extreme Socialism. I'm advocating a centrist social democracy. This is what Corbyn offers. Free market capitalism with some small checks and balances to discourage monopolies and encourage investment in employees and smaller businesses rather than sitting on assets and concentrating wealth at the very top. And a decent support network of social benefits and services. What we have now is not a free market. It's crony capitalism where any risk involved in reckless speculation for the largest businesses is covered by near zero interest rates, government bailouts and funding and legislation for their own pet private projects.

"If rent controls can deflate the monstrous housing bubble then I say bring it on!"

"It cant. History is not on his side again."

All the previous housing bubbles in the 70s, 80s and 90s corrected naturally within a few years. This time successive governments have thrown everything at artificially propping the market up. The whole thing is so fragile it wouldn't take much to get it to correct back to a real fair market value. Especially if you're content with living outside of the South East.

"You cannot stop boom and bust, it is part of the business cycle. In fact the more you restrain it the harder life becomes for all and less money for those lovely social services you want."

And yet stopping a housing bust is something Nu Labour and the Tories have been desperately trying to do for years - with exactly the consequences you have just stated above.

"HS2 is a huge cost to the tax payer for something that doesnt even sound like it will work. And you want more government? Government is doing this."

Look, generally speaking I prefer smaller government to big government. But it's an oversimplification to just consider small versus big. It's a question of what part of government is being expanded, whether it is overseen and regulated by a truly independent external organisation, and precisely what purpose it is going to serve. I want increased civil liberties for the individual and ideally a good environment for small businesses. A big authoritarian government can be very bad for that but a small government can be bad for it also if it is just replaced by hugely powerful, monopolistic big businesses. In the current situation big business has almost become its own wing of the government, such is their lobbying power and financial clout.

"When we look at facts, experimentation, history we should be able to learn from our mistakes. So why repeat what we know doesnt work?"

Good question. Blair, Brown, Cameron and May's extreme brands of Neo-Liberalism aren't working. So let's not repeat that. Let's learn from our mistakes and give JC a chance to fix this mess.

acid andy

Re: The last general election results ...

@ codejunky "That sounds like a lot of hope. So he wont try to make the changes within the 5 years he is in power if he was to be elected?"

Of course he'll try to make changes but everything has to get through parliament and he won't want a vote of no confidence. I think he's canny enough to know he's got to strike a balance. He's been in politics for a long time now. Very big changes take years to fully implement anyway. A case in point is all these internet controls the current government (and civil service) seem so desperate to rush through. Yes, they're getting them, but they're taking many years. So when you say he'll "trash the country", it just sounds like scaremongering to me.

Even if I'm wrong, if we have a recession, to many that would still be a price worth paying in the short term to restore our public services and support network back to their former glory for the longer term. In the last recession no such improvements took place. I sense that you perhaps don't care about that and would be happier with the status quo. The problem I have is that there really is no status quo. The current right won't ever stop squeezing the working and middle classes and cutting back public services so long as they can keep getting away with it. That's why we need a few years of the opposite to restore some level of sanity and balance to this system.

"As for trash the economy- Venezuela."

Ah yes the standard mainstream media one word comeback. From what I understand their policies were arguably too extreme, poorly implemented and they were too reliant on oil wealth with the subsequent consequences when that crashed. Apparently they were also dealing with a lack of housing supply - something our government are actively perpetuating and Corbyn aims to reverse.

"That all? No peoples quantitative easing? No rent controls? No building trident to please the unions but not arm it to please his followers? No nationalising?"

If rent controls can deflate the monstrous housing bubble then I say bring it on! And many, many people in this country would agree with me. Yes it will be painful for some but others have been enduring pain for the best part of 20 years. There's no way JC would implement full disarmament. He speaks openly about his pacifistic ideals but he's also pragmatic. He understands the need to compromise. Nationalizing I've already covered. Regarding people's QE, I'm not even sure what you're talking about but if it's something that would get just a bit of the wealth back to the middle and working classes then maybe it's something worth considering.

"Their 'ideas' have also been tried and failed. The outcome being fairly well known."

I've pretty much covered this. Your assumption is they will implement far left socialism and you look to other attempts at that for your examples of failure. My own expectation and hope is rather that they will restore the climate in this country back a bit more to how it was towards the end of the last century before the madness of the housing and credit bubbles, zero hours contracts and social benefits being cut off. I'm willing to accept that a lot of what happened was global but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be repaired here.

"Yes they can, they could be in government hands. Why do they cost so much for dirty, cramped and unreliable? Because people will pay for it."

I would argue train prices must be pretty inelastic because there's something of a captive market. When you travel by train in this country you typically do it because you can't find another viable option. When someone can't drive to a destination, for many places in this country the train's all they've got and it's not like they can choose a competitor to get a cheaper price. It's a monopoly. Yes I know a nationalized service would be a monopoly too but it wouldn't be motivated by profit to the extent the private sector is.

"There is a fixed amount of track and the state of the track is not in private hands so why is the gov not adding more track and maintaining it better?"

Perhaps because the current government are not interested in investing wealth in improving public services? There's HS2 but that whole project just seems totally irrational to me (when you consider cutting edge rail technology it's not even such a great improvement in speed). You've just yourself suggested a better use for the money.

"Why do public services tend to be accused of underinvestment when it is run by the utopia of big gov? Because the gov wants voters which means big and shiny (think of any of those projects?), things that can be seen. Maintenance is low on that list."

Sadly, yes. In a way that's symptomatic of the dishonesty that the public now perceive in many politicians. Corbyn on the other hand comes across as genuinely saying what he believes and wanting to actually help people. And that in itself is a refreshing change from those that are hellbent only on concentrating power with themselves and only the very largest multinational businesses.

acid andy

Re: The last general election results ...

@ Shadmeister "It depends on your viewpoint, but Corbyn is a welcome change from the he-hawing of the usual politics, but then, the policies of the far left have been shown to be suboptimal."

Despite what the mainstream media want everyone to think, Corbyn's not really far left. He's closer to what not too many years ago used to be called the centre ground. It's just Blair, Brown, Cameron and May's policies have pushed the country ever further to the right, dragging others like the Lib Dems with them, so that what's currently labelled Centrism is now right wing. Evidence? Well there are jobless and disabled people now starving that previously wouldn't have, an NHS being slowly dismantled, a ridiculous property asset bubble artificially propped up by government meddling, students that will be in debt well into middle age... This isn't just right wing. It's extreme. That's not even mentioning all the dystopian crap that's being rapidly introduced.

"Personally, i think the politicians on both sides have completely neglected the working class, and we now see the frustrations online, and the surge of momentum."

And increasingly the middle class, especially those that weren't already home owners in 2000.

@ codejunky "But it really does seem to take a special kind of person to believe Corbyns labour wouldnt trash the country. "

Corbyn is sensible enough to implement only incremental change. It won't trash the economy or the country. He only wants to raise corporation tax very slightly for example back to what it was just a few years ago. Their manifesto has been fully costed. The nationalization thing can work too. British Rail had its faults but our trains can't get much worse than they are now. Extremely overpriced, dirty, cramped and unreliable.

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

acid andy

A thin slurping rounded rectangle

Yet another stupidly thin, rounded rectangle complete with data mining OS. Oh for the glorious days of the Nokia Communicator. Bring back the clam shell. Bring back QWERTY. Bring back innovation.

If it keeps them alive I suppose it's a baby step in the right direction.

Quentin Tarantino in talks to make Star Trek movie

acid andy

"My first thought for casting was Samuel Jackson as the baddie plusJohn Travolta as the skipper,"

No, has to be Kiefer Sutherland for Captain. He was born for it. He even looks quite a bit like Shatner did (strangely they're both Canadian as well). And he'd pull off the cold, violent Trek that would surely result.

Investigatory Powers Act: You're not being paranoid. UK.gov really is watching you

acid andy
Black Helicopters

Re: Yawn

If you had half a clue you'd realise that these issues have nothing to do with left versus right. This is severe authoritarianism versus civil libertarianism (and the "civil" bit is important because there's been a deliberate campaign to poison the L word and destroy its meaning by equating it with right wing politics).

And with regard to your comment about the law, just imagine for a second if you woke up one day in a situation like 30s Germany, with a leader that just happened to decide that something innocuous that you are, had or did at some point in the past, let's say 20 years earlier, will now be illegal to be punished by the unthinkable. Think long and hard about this one and tell me sincerely why that cannot happen to you, here. It can happen much more easily than most people care to think. The data will be kept forever.

Boss put chocolate cake on aircon controller, to stop people using it

acid andy

Re: Air con wars

"Too many people think that setting the thermostat higher or lower will accelerate the rate at which the cooling or heating happens. It doesn't."

I think it's actually often that the person has got very cold (or hot) with the setting other people left it at, so they adjust it a lot to compensate because it takes time and extra heat (or cooling) for their body to get back to an acceptable temperature. They're also well aware that very soon their nemesis will likely come and turn it back down (or up) again, so they inflate their own adjustment to try to compensate for that and stay warmer (or cooler) for longer. Think body temperature, not air temperature.

'We think autonomous coding is a very real thing' – GitHub CEO imagines a future without programmers

acid andy


You're right about CASE tools. It takes at least as long as writing the equivalent code would have done and then, more to the point, it's a whole lot less fun than just writing the code. Luckily, with most tools you can knock out the basic code first, click a button and have it generate the CASE model from that afterwards if your PHB insists on having one.

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

acid andy

Re: Lets Ban Amber Rudd

A list of things they use?

Hmm, how about oxygen, water and DNA. Nah, screw it, let's just ban quarks!

acid andy

Re: she said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags"

"So where should everyone with at least two neurons left to fire move to? Ideas? And will the last non-vegetative Brit turn off the lights as they leave?"

Oh, don't worry. Alcohol can deal with those neurons. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

acid andy

Re: Rudd

Maybe it's acid house music.

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

acid andy

Re: Can we please add

Luckily for me, I don't think I've heard that one yet. What does it mean, "derived" or "generated" or "discovered"?

acid andy

Re: September 13, 2017

As long as you read it as "September THE 13th, 2017", it sounds OK in the UK to my ear. As someone else said, it's a good US / UK compromise.

Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow

acid andy

"Fastest Growing"

Does anyone else feel like smirking cynically every time they hear the phrase "fastest growing"? Even worse of course is "We're one of the fastest growing...". It's used whenever marketing types need to hype up their product but cannot claim it's the biggest or most popular.

I mean, "one of the fastest growing" is basically meaningless. Even "the fastest growing" is meaningless if you don't know the context. When Python was brand new and went from zero users to one, that's an infinite rate of growth.

Why stop at "fastest growing"? If you can't claim that about your product, how about "it boasts one of the highest second derivatives of growth rate".

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

acid andy

Re: What's with all the hate for vinyl?

"CD decks for scratching exist. Whether these are up to what you describe, not sure."

Yeah I know they exist but it's only ever going to produce a synthesized approximation of the real scratching. I'm not saying people will necessarily be able to tell the difference. Whether it's an acceptable replacement would be a similar sort of question as asking someone whether a synthesized guitar sound would be acceptable in place of a recording of the real instrument. It's a matter of personal preference.

I am no expert on scratching but I'd imagine there could be certain effects or subtleties that some people could achieve with vinyl that they couldn't on one of these CD decks.

acid andy

Re: Permanent Storage

Archival Disc is supposed to be the answer to this, but they seem to be dragging their heels bringing it to the market.

It may be a very long time until the unwashed masses are allowed anywhere near something of this quality. "The disc format is not intended as a consumer storage medium as of 2014, but is intended by the two companies as a solution for professional-level data archival."

acid andy

What's with all the hate for vinyl?

No fans of scratching on El Reg? Or old skool mixing?

For a while it also had the advantage (now gone with mouse or touch driven music players) over cassettes and CDs that you could very quickly skip to a chosen point part way through a track without needing to wait for a fast forward or rewind.

I've occasionally daydreamed about whether someone could build a CD player structured like a record turntable, with a laser on the arm that could be positioned by hand over the disc to set the start point. It would certainly be a gimmick and would probably need a custom data format.

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

acid andy

Re: Gotta move to Linux

"I've been using a Linux distro called Zorin for the past few months and the transition was completely painless, and it doesn't get these Windows viruses."

Don't tell them that. If they all start using Linux, the virus devs will move on to that.

Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

acid andy

the promise of a Web built by everyone

"Yet Netscape (and Microsoft, which eventually triumphed against the upstart) never provided the server infrastructure to host those pages - a skill far beyond the average Web surfer. So the promise of a Web built by everyone for everyone got lost in the rush to a commercial Web favouring browsing and buying over creating and sharing."

What the actual fuck El Reg? What about geocities? Tripod? Fortunecity? And these days, to a lesser extent, wordpress and, I suppose, sites.google.com?

I'd accept an argument that hand coding or even laying out and designing a web page was a skill "far beyond the average Web surfer" and a common criticism of geocities et al was the proliferation of countless tacky, almost empty web sites perpetually labelled "Under Construction" but people who make that criticism are missing the point.

There were tools to simplify the creation of a home page, even then, so anyone could create a page even if it looked awful - and, more to the point, the fact is there are countless people who don't really have anything interesting to say. That doesn't matter though; it's the same thing in meatspace if you go and talk to a random person in a bar. You don't *have* to spend a lot of time reading a web page that doesn't interest you. Further, you can level exactly the same criticism at what people write on sites like f***book. Arguably with f***book the effect is magnified even more because all the more of the masses were drawn into it and encouraged to post inane crap.

It's been two and a half years of decline – tablets aren't coming back

acid andy

Re: @AC re: dogs.

"What's the atmospheric re-entry speed of a dog?"

African or European?

Is your Windows 10, 8 PC falling off the 'net? Microsoft doesn't care

acid andy



Do you use a Dvorak layout?

UK.gov state of the nation report: Infosec's very important, mmmkay

acid andy

Cyber Cyber Cyber

How many times can you get the word "Cyber" into a report?

All together now:

Cyber Cyber Cyber

Cyber Cyber Cyber

Cyber Cyber Cyber

Cyber Cyber Cyber!

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

acid andy

Re: Is there a petition to insist that we DON'T change the new £5 note?

@John Sanders

"It is all about virtue signaling, never forget that, they need to show everybody how much better people they are than the rest of us."

Oh really? There was me thinking that being vegan usually has nothing to do with other people's perceptions and everything to do with reducing the unnecessary suffering and premature (often unpleasant) deaths of other species that cannot speak up for themselves.

Ironically, you seem to be the one out to show everybody something. By criticizing the vegans, aren't you trying to show everybody that you're a better person than they are (and yes, I'm aware you could apply a similar argument to my own post)?

Hello, Star Trek? 25th Century here: It's time to move on

acid andy

Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

Yeah you've absolutely nailed it. Same thing is arguably happening to the Bond franchise and many others.

I think it's not just the pursuit of profit though, it's the ubiquitous short-termism in modern businesses. Who cares if what sets a brand apart gets diluted until everyone loses interest and it dies, just as long as the broader demographic appeal gets bums in seats just *this* one more time? Right? I mean just look at Windows 8 and 10 - one could argue M$ are burning users' goodwill and solely riding on brand loyalty and inertia while they can, so long as it maximizes their profits right *now*. To hell with the future.

I wonder what drives this obsessive short-termism. It's happened in politics too. Is it that people have shorter careers now for some reason or is it a widespread moral bankruptcy where they just don't care about their long term legacy? Or is it pure short sighted idiocy? It can't just be the latter, otherwise that would have always been the case, unless humans really are getting dumber as a species. So what's changed?

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving

acid andy

Re: TOS was high-science - considering

Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica (particularly the reboot) are almost devoid of science. The rebooted Battlestar Galactica seems to perhaps even abhor science in favour of religion. I noticed something similar in JJ Abrams' Lost (you can't call that space opera as they're not in space) where the whole series seems to represent a battle between science and religion and science loses! And don't even get me started on his reboot. : ( I personally seemed to grow out of Star Wars as a kid so was less than impressed when JJ's script writers seemed to consider the two as interchangeable!

Trek is sci fi as far as I'm concerned because they at least did their best to research their technology and define it with clear rules that, mostly, were followed. Much more so than any of the other contemporary TV shows set in space, which were more like B Movies. I have to concede respect for science wasn't allowed to get in the way of a good story or in the way of the key premise of any story really, which is why they had lots of foes with godlike powers and such. There's still too much science and engineering and pragmatism baked into the design and layout of the ship and universe to call it space opera though, for me.

The show doesn't try to hide science or apologize for it like others do, nay, it celebrates it. This is embodied in Nimoy's Spock.

You could make a case that the show is a good show, but *bad* sci fi, sure, but I don't accept your conclusion. All this said, I will concede that the boundaries of what makes a genre are a matter of personal opinion, so a protracted argument about this is probably a futile waste of time.