* Posts by VicMortimer

59 posts • joined 14 Feb 2017


'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad


Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

I'm afraid I simply must object.

You never know when the recipient might be using a terminal that's only capable of 40 columns. An 80 column signature is unnecessary.

Amazon gets green-light to blow $10bn on 3,000+ internet satellites. All so Americans can shop more on Amazon


Re: Global Internet

So you're sort of right, in that this would give the internet more potential to route around damage (and government censorship IS damage, whether that be China's "great firewall" or the UK's porn laws), so that's a good thing. There's absolutely nothing problematic there, not sure why you'd say that.

No, the only problems here are the space junk mess, this is apparently going to be in addition to Elon's system that's already being launched, and that Bezos is going to get even more obscenely rich and powerful.

Computer misuse crimes down 9% on last year in England and Wales, says Office of National Statistics


What do you mean "so called" victimless crimes?

They are crimes without victims. They should not even be crimes. They exist only because some busybody couldn't mind his own business and had to make other people suffer because he didn't like it.

Drug possession is a crime for the same reason gay sex used to be a crime: It seems "icky" to some people. That's NOT a justification for ruining people's lives.

Everything must go! Distributors clear shelves of ALL notebooks in Q2, even ones gathering dust over last 12 months


Re: Still plenty of good used laptops on eBay

No, it already is.

The schools here are handing out thousands of Chromebooks this year. One for every student. Millions of them are being handed out across the country.

Linux on the desktop happened while you weren't looking.


I'm a freelancer, my house is full of all kinds of gear, including a couple of racks of servers and switches.

But If I was an employee? If a company wanted me to have that gear at home, they'd be buying it for me, and paying rent for the space and the utility bill for the power and cooling it needs.

And "consumer phone"? WTF is a "consumer phone"? There's no separate "business" iPhone product line.

Macs, iPhones, iPads to get encrypted DNS – how'd you like them Apples?


Re: Good & Bad

If a black box IoT device wants to connect to something unsavory, why would it need DNS at all?

Hardcoded IP addresses work fine for that.

NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself


It does vary. The health department here opened for the day an hour ago. Testing is free and open to anyone who walks in, they do it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They're encouraging everybody to show up. (Of course, a cynical person would say that's really just because they want to get large numbers of negative tests to justify prematurely opening everything back up, which they're already doing anyway.)

And of course, this being America, if you want treatment for anything you'd better be rich or have insurance.

NASA's Human Spaceflight boss hits eject a week before SpaceX crew launch



Cancel. The. Launch.


With Elon's recent decent into madness, I'd be afraid he'd even sabotage it personally.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least


And that means Apple is now 44.

So how's that for weird? The iMac is 22, Apple is 44.

I just really wish Woz had won the argument.


SGI was happy enough to sell one to somebody playing with drugs if they wanted to buy one, but those machines were built for CGI, and the real market cared what it looked like.

But as I recall, Merck was mostly using blue & white G3s back then.

The iMac was actually Apple's corporate workstation design, that's why it got 100Mb/s ethernet. It just got a design revamp that also put it in homes.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin


My favorite keyboards are the Apple MB110LL/A wired keyboards. The key travel is perfect, they're quiet, and unless you spill something on them they last pretty much forever. And in a pinch, you can do some serious damage to somebody with that sturdy aluminum if you swing it right.

My second favorite keyboard is the Apple Extended Keyboard II. For years I used them with an ADB > USB adapter, I've got several that still work beautifully today. They're not horrifically loud like the garbage IBM M, the key travel is fine for a traditional keyboard, but I've really gotten addicted to the shorter travel of the newer keyboard.

I'm not a fan of Apple's latest keyboards. I've got a few of the "Magic" series, but the key travel is just too short. They're fine for TV remotes, but I don't want to type on them.

Oh, and those awful clicky mechanical keyboards? Particularly the IBM M? They're great - for beating the user with. They've got enough weight to do some serious damage to the stupid motherf**ker who thinks loud keyclicks are even remotely acceptable around other humans. Other than that, they need to be sent to an industrial shredder for destruction.

We're not Finnished yet: Nokia chalks up €200m sales hit to 'COVID-19 issues'


Nokia still exists? WHY?!??!??

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


Re: Two spaces?

It should have cost you a job.

TWO spaces after every sentence. No more, and NO LESS. A single space is WRONG.

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'


The rumor needs to die before the Macintosh does.

If Apple does this, it's because they've given up on the Mac.

Apple's earlier architecture changes made sense. They were painful to go through, but there were good reasons for them. The PPC was a huge speed win from the 68k. The G5, great chip that it was, just never got low-power enough to put in a laptop. The whole fat binary problem, the slow and crashy emulators, and worst of all was when the PPC emulation was finally really good, and could have kept legacy software going for decades, Apple stripped it out with no warning. But this, this one is utter stupidity if you're trying to be a computer company. We're finally at the point where there's an industry standard architechture for CPUs, one that works well, and one that isn't even single source unless you're Apple (and the Intel exclusivity deal ended years ago, but we still have no AMD Macs, and no NVidia GPUs in them). If Apple wants another chip, there's one right there at AMD. As far as that goes, Apple could buy AMD with cash on hand, and have enough left over to buy Adobe.

The only reason they'd try is because they know it'll kill the Mac, and that's what it seems like they ultimately want, a sealed box that's not even really a computer, just a content consumption tablet that can be used for some light word processing, and a few industry-specific apps, but spends most of its time as a toy.

What they don't realize is that killing the Mac WILL eventually kill Apple.

Hopefully Cook comes to his senses and kills this garbage before it ever gets close to a release.

Web pages a little too style over substance? Behold the Windows 98 CSS file


That's like being offered a choice between being stabbed in the eye or having your hand cut off.

They're both horrific.

Real-time tragedy: Dumb deletion leaves librarian red-faced and fails to nix teenage kicks on the school network


Was never a problem for me

Back in junior high school, I essentially ran the computer lab. Sure, I was a student, but I'd decided that the state computer curriculum was kind of shit, and I'd redone it. I then did teaching sessions for the teachers who were supposed to teach the classes, a few days ahead of where they were in the lesson plan.

Anyway, I also spent my lunch and "study hall" periods in the lab, supervising the machines. Games were allowed, and if you didn't bring your own floppies from home, I had a few things in my case that you could play, plus any game in the MECC library was available.

Of course, there was no network, no hard drive, and unless you took a hammer to it, you weren't going to do anything to those Apple //es.

In college, there were some restrictions on what software the lab Macs could run, but I had a nice collection of patches to fix them, and a password grabber that would snag any connections to the lab server, I just had to come back later and retrieve them. I had admin access to almost every lab server. The lab admins actually liked it, it made their job easier when ResEdit could run. They didn't know about the passwords.

(The statute of limitations ran decades ago, so that story can now be told.)

And now I'm the asshole admin, saying "no, you can't install that, it's got malware in it".

Apple updates iPad Pro with a trackpad, faster processor. Is it a real computer now?


No you don't.

The iPad can't do general purpose computing. General purpose computing by definition requires that you be able to run arbitrary software from any source of your choosing.

And the iPad can't do that. It's an overpriced toy, nothing more.

MWC now means 'Mobiles? Whatever! Coronavirus!' as Ericsson becomes latest to pass on industry shindig


Re: End of MWC?

Five downvotes? Looks like the salesdroids are reading El Reg today.

Computer, deactivate self-destruct system requirement, says Sonos... were it on a starship in space, and not a smart-speaker slinger


So are they going to unbrick the gear they already ruined?

Post Office coughs £57.75m to settle wonky Horizon IT system case


Wow. As badly as the USPS treats employees these days, you guys in the UK took it to some next level sh*t here.

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police


Re: Wasnt this a spoof?

And of course the full story: https://web.archive.org/web/20190721034849/http://www.adequacy.org/public/stories/2001.12.2.42056.2147.html

8. Is your son obsessed with "Lunix"?

BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are all versions of an illegal hacker operation system, invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War. It is based on a program called " xenix", which was written by Microsoft for the US government. These programs are used by hackers to break into other people's computer systems to steal credit card numbers. They may also be used to break into people's stereos to steal their music, using the "mp3" program. Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for writing many hacker programs, such as "telnet", which is used by hackers to connect to machines on the internet without using a telephone.

Your son may try to install " lunix" on your hard drive. If he is careful, you may not notice its presence, however, lunix is a capricious beast, and if handled incorrectly, your son may damage your computer, and even break it completely by deleting Windows, at which point you will have to have your computer repaired by a professional.

If you see the word "LILO" during your windows startup (just after you turn the machine on), your son has installed lunix. In order to get rid of it, you will have to send your computer back to the manufacturer, and have them fit a new hard drive. Lunix is extremely dangerous software, and cannot be removed without destroying part of your hard disk surface.

How do you like them Apples? Cook drops 'record' 30 times* on conf call as iPhone sales up, services up, wearables up


Re: 480 million services subscribers

It's entirely possible to use an iPhone or iPad without an Apple ID, if you're happy with the stock apps you don't need one, and if you jailbreak you can install apps without one.

Sure, it's not a common use case, but it's absolutely possible to do.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games


Re: Re:software engineer

You forgot the most important engineer. The one who operates a train.


Please tell us why you're not securing yourselves, UK.gov asks businesses


Re: Post-card

If they're in the oil industry, please don't let them know.

Not every company deserves to be saved.

BOFH: What's the Gnasher? Why, it's our heavy-duty macerator sewage pump


Re: ST225

The ST225N was SCSI. I've probably got a few of them sitting around somewhere.

It was one of the drives used in the Apple Hard Disk 20SC. They didn't ever last very long, if you were lucky you got one with a Rodime drive, those lasted decades.

I couldn't possibly tell you the computer's ID over the phone, I've been on A Course™


Re: He should be proud that of that guy

You're thinking too recent.

The Western Electric 565 5 button phone really did have 5 line buttons, a hold button, and a dial.


Ohm my God: If you let anyone other than Apple replace your recent iPhone's battery, expect to be nagged by iOS


Except everybody seems to be forgetting something:


Apple isn't a battery manufacturer and never has been. They don't make batteries. ALL batteries in Apple products are third party parts. Apple doesn't tell us who the battery OEM is, but it's not Apple.

Oracle told to warp 9 out of court: Judge photon-torpedoes Big Red's Pentagon JEDI dream


Re: A legitimate use of the word "literal." FINALLY!!!!

Begone foul prescriptivist!

The word "literally" has literally not had that exclusive meaning for well over three centuries.


So the current crop of alleged 'morons' will be in good company with 'morons' the likes of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte.

FCC boosts broadband competition by, er, banning broadband competition in buildings


Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

Not nearly as well as it works here.

One federal agency generates the power, then a local agency supplies power, gas, and water to my house.

That's right, I have socialized electricity. And chances are REALLY good it's cheaper than yours, since by law neither agency can make any profit.

DoH! Secure DNS doesn't make us a villain, Mozilla tells UK broadband providers


So they're planning on using DNS filtering?

At least that should make it easier for you guys to route around the damage.

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly


Ugh, this is all so familiar.

Just this morning, I finished up a job for a dentist. It seems his old digital x-ray system was failing. Now, he'd gotten a new system and was using it for all new x-rays, but the old ones were still in the old system. The old system that was running an ancient version of the software, on XP, with a failing power supply, fan, hard drive, and who knows what else, covered in dust and that lovely white powder you find in all dental office computing gear, that powder you strongly suspect to be bits of ground-up teeth.

Anyway, after moving the drive to newer hardware and faking out the XP activation (apparently MS won't activate it any more) I finally got it to boot long enough to export the data. (Yes, just moving the drive was risky. But there was something wrong with it, I couldn't get it to image to a newer drive. I did manage to sort of get a backup before I dropped it in another machine.)

Microsoft has Windows 1.0 retrogasm: Remember when Windows ran in kilobytes, not gigabytes?


Re: Win3.0

But almost nobody actually ran it on Windows. It started out as a Mac program and mostly stayed on the Mac for many, many years.

Comms room, comms room, comms room is on fire – we don't need no water, let the engineer burn


Re: Petrol

No, it really will put a cigarette out. I've done it, in Phoenix Arizona, in 40+ C heat.

Yes, it was a fire training class with fire department supervision. We then actually lit it and used various extinguishers to put it out. We also tested stuff you should never do, like spray it with water and throw flour on it, got some cool effects going from that.

A lit cig will break through the vapor layer and extinguish in a pool of gasoline.

The flash point is not the autoignition temperature, that's 280C. And yes, a lit cigarette is hotter than that, but the liquid gasoline quickly cools it.

If the pool isn't deep enough to submerge it, you would likely stand a much better chance of getting fire.

That's Huawei I like it: Chinese giant's cloudy arm dumps 19-inch rack for newer model



I hadn't been paying attention, but wow, what an incredibly f-ing stupid thing to do.

The 19 inch rack has been a standard for nearly a century. Everything ever has been built to fit a 19 inch rack. You can take racks built in 1975 and put brand new equipment in them. There's no need to replace racks, they last pretty much forever.

And then F*c*book comes along and does this. And we even let them get away with calling it 'open' instead of calling it what it really is, the "Stupid F*c*book Rack".

Sometimes "We've always done it this way" actually IS a compelling reason not to change something, because changing it means discarding many, many years of standardization that has resulted in a solution that may not be absolutely perfect, but is very much good enough and doing something like this will not just set up a competing standard but will let others know that this long established standard can now be violated with impunity, thus resulting in even more new 'standards'. See also: https://xkcd.com/927/

(Why did I mention 1975? Oh, because I've got racks in service that used to contain PDP-11 systems built back then.)

There was yet another net neutrality hearing today in America, and it was all straightened out amicably and smoothly


Re: If you know anything about US politics....

Oh, bullsh*t. The BSAB crap isn't gonna fly any more. The Rethuglicans made that VERY clear when Obamacare, which was essentially THEIR plan, got no votes from them and they spent the next 8 years fighting it and failing to properly implement it.

There's no compromising on needed tax increases with people who signed the Norquist pledge to never raise taxes. There's no compromising on healthcare with people whose healthcare plan for the poor is "die in the street, we'll have sanitation clean up the bodies". There's no compromise on voting rights with people who use disenfranchisement as an electoral strategy. There's no compromise on education with a president who literally said "I love the poorly educated." And there's no compromise on race relations when they literally say things like “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

Those last two quotes aren't made up, they're very real. Take your center and shove it, there isn't one that includes Rethuglicans. The Democrats ARE the center.

They're BAAACK: Windows 10 nagware team loads trebuchet with annoying reminders to GTFO Windows 7


System Requirements

The system requirements said "Windows 10 or better", so I installed macOS.

(No, not really. I've been using Macs since System 6. If you think Windoze 10 is bad, take a look at Windoze 2.)

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine


This sh*t again?

So, they think we need yet another browser from MS to download Firefox? Really?


US told to quit sharing data with human rights-violating surveillance regime. Which one, you ask? That'd be the UK

Black Helicopters

Lots of whataboutism in the comments.

The US and UK have BOTH got some human rights problems. And they're frequently different human rights problems. So let's not play Reece's Peanut Butter Cups with them and combine them, they don't taste great together.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget


Sounds like a Thatcher problem.

Seriously, you guys had a nationalized electric system, and you gave it up. Ultimately the only fix is to re-nationalize it. Natural monopolies have no business being in the hands of private business, ever.

We don't have it everywhere, but at least in my part of the US, power is generated by the federal government, and distributed by the local government. There is no profit motive, and it's relatively inexpensive.

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

Big Brother

Bad idea

This is obviously modeled after some American states, where voter suppression is in full swing this election season.

Voter ID schemes are not about fraud. They're about keeping "those people" from voting. You can sometimes even catch our Republicans being candid about what they're doing.

Don't fall for it. And note that these schemes are always pushed by the "conservative" party, because disenfranchisement works in their favor.

You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark


No. Just no.

The last time dark mode looked good was when the only options were green text on black or amber text on black, and you had to choose those when you bought the monitor.

Stop trying to bring it back.

Scam alert: No, hackers don't have webcam vids of you enjoying p0rno. Don't give them any $$s



I mean, I've been getting these spams for months. Duh, there's no such video.

I laughed for a few seconds before I hit the junk button.

IT systems still in limbo as UK.gov departments await Brexit policy – MPs


One viable option

Honestly, you've got exactly one viable option at this point:

Stop Brexit.

That's it. Anything else, and welcome to your new third world economy. Britain will not recover from it for a very long time.

So suck it up, stop persisting in this foolishness, and start calling your MPs to let them know that remaining in the EU is the only choice you really have. Remind them that it was a non-binding referendum, remind them that it was damn near 50-50 anyway, remind them that the election was heavily influenced by the same Russian meddling that got the US the current Cheeto in office, and remind them that the British economy is toast if they don't give up on the ludicrous idea of leaving the EU.

Waymo van prang, self-driving cars still suck, AI research jobs, and more


Re: Clickbait headline

Wow, no kidding.

That video makes it pretty obvious that it wasn't the self-driving car's fault, I'm not sure how it could have avoided being hit. Maybe a quick cut to the right and full throttle, but it probably would have still taken a hit. Braking would definitely not have helped.

Bad headline, Reg.

Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?


Seriously, the god stuff?

Ok, so here's the deal. Can you disprove the existence of a god, of any kind, of any description, with 100% certainty? No, not yet.

Can you disprove the existence of the christian/jewish/islamic god with 100% certainty? Yes, of course, it's already been done hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times. That god isn't real. it utterly fails every test. it does not exist.

And that has exactly zero to do with the existence of life in other places than earth. The chances that life exists somewhere else are incredibly large, approaching 100%. The chances that that life has ever been to earth or will ever come to earth are infinitesimally small, approaching 0%.

The universe is a big place, with big being an understatement that the vast majority of humans cannot even begin to comprehend the magnitude of. Unless we figure out how to warp space, we're not going to get very far off this planet before the sun goes supernova. And to the universe, that's not even slightly relevant.

But hey, somebody wins the lottery, so maybe, just maybe, somebody will come visit us and not annihilate us to make way for a hyperspace bypass. But probably not.

And particles will keep coming, from other places, because that's what they do.

Oh good. Transport for London gives Capita £80m for WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi


I'm glad I don't live in London.

As an American, I'm glad I don't live in London at this point. I've never interacted with Crapita, but I'm aware of how horrible they are to you poor sods. They've got a corporate reputation on the level of Comcrap, but with even more fail and with the ability to harass even non-customers.

Console yourselves with not having to live with Donald Drumpf as head of government, Theresa May is bad, but she's not Orange Tweetler bad.

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered


Re: "Least(sic) the Linux fanbois..."

Yup, shockingly it turns out that all software has bugs, and Linux is no exception. Windows is certainly no exception either, nor is MacOS.

To be fair, Windows doesn't have bugs, Windows IS a bug.

No, Samsung, you really do owe Apple $120m for patent infringement


Re: Who invented what?

You're taking a mix of truth and pure fantasy and mixing them into a tale of silliness.

The reality is that Apple did what every other tech company did and does: Invent some stuff and borrow some stuff. They just do a very, very good job of it, better than anybody else.

Apple released the first good GUI operating system. Xerox showed them some demos, but they hadn't actually done a few critical things, like the concept of overlapping windows. Apple guys actually thought the Alto did some stuff that it didn't do, that Xerox couldn't figure out how to do, and the Apple guys implemented it anyway. The Lisa was already in development when the Apple guys got the hour and a half demo from Xerox. And Apple shipped it in 1983, it took Microsoft until 1995 to get anywhere close, and they still did a horrible job of it.

The Sony X505 was expensive crap. The technology wasn't ready, and they released it anyway. It was slow, and had almost no battery life. The MacBook Air was a thin machine released when the technology was up to building a thin machine, and they did it right. Sony didn't.

And while yes, macOS runs on a BSD-ish core (it's not BSD, it's Darwin, but it's definitely BSD inspired and BSD-ish, and that core is open source, you can download it from GitHub and build it yourself if you want) macOS is NOT just Darwin. It's a complete GUI operating system, with everything working far more smoothly than, well, anything else out there. The filesystem is Apple's design, the GUI is Apple's design, the "it just works" is Apple's design. Nothing before in the history of computers has just worked like macOS.

And while Apple isn't always the first with a technology, they're often the first to do it right. Look at the trackpad, while the PowerBook wasn't the first computer with one, it was the first with it centered in front of the keyboard, and it was the first with a truly usable trackpad, one that handles finger movements properly. Even today, Apple designs the best trackpads in the business, most PC laptops are incredibly frustrating to use with one, and many PC laptop users have to carry a mouse because their trackpads are so incredibly bad.

That said, yes, the fight over the roundrect is stupid. Apple didn't invent the roundrect, though they were the first to implement it in an OS the way they did, back in the early '80s. But the concept of a rectangle with rounded corners being an Apple invention is silly, and they need to back off on that.

But to call Apple a fashion house is disingenuous. Apple IS obsessed with making technology look pretty, sometimes to the point of hampering functionality these days, but they really do have some serious advantages over everything else out there as well.

And I'm not disparaging Samsung innovation either. They've done some great work on components, their screens are great, their SSDs are good, they've done some good stuff with RAM, they do top-notch components. But they're not good at fitting it all together like Apple is.

And every computer company out there copies Apple. Windows is and has always been a bad copy of macOS, going all the way back to Windows 1.0. Every laptop today is essentially based on the design of the PowerBook, the last time somebody tried something different it failed miserably - the IBM keyboard nipple, while still unfortunately with us on some laptops, is now always paired with a trackpad on the wrist rest. All-in-ones look like iMacs, laptops look like MacBooks (not infrequently with aluminum-painted plastic instead of machined aluminum like the MBP), and yes, phones look like iPhones, the others are even copying Apple's bad ideas like dropping the headphone jack.

Some of it (like the headphone jack fiasco) is fashion, some of it is just that Apple gets technology right. And unlike some Apple fans, I'm good with others copying Apple. Copies of good things are a benefit to everybody.

Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion


Re: The notch fades after a few days

If you asked for a list of things I hate about my current iPhone 6+, the bezel will NOT be one of them.

I actually LIKE the bezel, and I think an edge to edge display is stupid. A bezel is an area that can safely be covered by a case if you'd like, it gives you a bit more space to hold the phone without covering up the screen, and it's a spot for really useful stuff like speakers, proximity sensors, and the home button. The X method of swiping is NOT as good, not as convenient, and not anywhere close to as intuitive.

If I replace this phone in the next year, it's probably going to be with a 7+ or 8+, not an X. (And I'd consider a really good deal on a used 6s+, my main issue at this point is speed, and the 6+ is a little too slow now, not way too slow.) But Face ID is clearly not ready for primetime, and may never be. Apple would be wise to go with something like the amazingly advanced technology, far ahead of its day, of a decent-sized bezel.

If they really want to innovate, they could make a thicker phone with larger, significantly higher capacity, easily swappable battery so you can have one charging while the other is attached to the phone; and of course the marvelous invention of a standard headphone jack, but that would probably be too courageous for them.

Intel launches 64-layer 3D flash client SSD


Re: Who cares?

Except it's not a lower price right now. It probably will be eventually, but right now it's just not very interesting, particularly when Newegg has the similar-performing Samsung 850 Evo for $30 less.



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