* Posts by Twanky

629 publicly visible posts • joined 17 May 2017


Central UK govt awards £12M+ contract to leave Google Workspace for Microsoft 365


Re: Why did it split into two in the first place? Answer enclosed

Whatever happened to government's commitment to using ODF V1.2?

see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-open-document-formats-odf-in-your-organisation

The Open Standards Board has selected the ODF 1.2 standard for use across government. The government chose ODF 1.2 because it:

- is an open standard that allows suppliers to create interoperable office productivity solutions

- allows stricter security checks to help prevent common cyber-attack scenarios

- can lower IT costs as ODF is either low cost or free to use

- allows the government and citizens, businesses and other organisations to share documents

- allows government staff to share and edit documents

- is compatible with a wide range of software including assistive technology

- can add digital signatures to a document

- has a powerful generic metadata system

Note the bit about across government. In my book that includes local government. So no more bloody .docx documents you lot!



French IT service giant Capgemini has been awarded a deal worth between £12 million and £15 million

So you mean a deal worth more than £30m?

Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins


Re: Hmmm

murse (male nurse)

One of my nephews is a psychiatric nurse. I wouldn't like to call him a 'murse'. He looks like and is the sort of person it would be a bad idea to annoy unnecessarily. He describes himself as a nurse.


Re: Hmmm

I take your point about some job roles having gender connotations.

I note that the only term in your list which has been mangled* is 'School dinner person'. Presumably because we find it difficult to call a bloke a 'dinner lady'. 'Caterer' probably encompasses most of the role or possibly 'lunchtime assistant'.

What I would take issue with is reading gender into terms like 'chairman' just because it has the 13th, 1st and 14th letter of an alphabet in that order within the term. So does 'human' but it definitely encompasses everybody in my opinion. Yes, I know we can use phrases like 'in the chair' or 'chair of the board' but that brings me back to my (mild) objection to 'dinner person'.

I met someone recently who described themselves as a 'manageress' - I found it jarring but certainly not something to object to in casual conversation. A totally unnecessary extension of the word in my opinion.

*persongled if you like.


Re: Hmmm

I do know that people of both do the above jobs, but still ...



...said in UK and Ireland, the formal study of physics struggles to attract girls, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, people of Black Caribbean descent, people with disabilities, and LGBT+ young people into the subject.

"We need to do absolutely everything we can to break down the barriers young people face and the language used by our media can play a really important role in that," she said.

Absolutely everything? What do you mean? Even educate them?

It seems to me that if STEM subjects are perceived to be difficult or boring then young people may be reacting to a bad rep rather than terms like 'boffin'.

Perhaps if a career in boffinry was seen to be financially rewarding then more might want to pursue such a course.

Twitter algorithm to be open sourced 'next week,' says Musk


Re: Make Twitter a public utility

Make Twitter a public utility

For the sake of everyone's safety, put it in the hands of the people (no refunds, Elon) and have the government impose the appropriate restrictions needed to stamp out hate.

the government?

Google's $100b bad day demo may be worth the price


Re: Censorship from Google?

...harming the credibility of medicine, and medical regulation


There is a growing movement of people experiencing and objecting to the increasing medication of the general population (may I recommend Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma published in 2012).

Big Brother

We've always been at war with EastEurAsia


Re: Censorship from Google?

Well this is what Dr Fauci et al actually wrote: https://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(22)00572-8 (note he is the correspondence - ie lead - author).

note this particular paragraph:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has saved innumerable lives and helped to achieve early partial pandemic control. However, as variant SARS-CoV-2 strains have emerged, deficiencies in these vaccines reminiscent of influenza vaccines have become apparent. The vaccines for these two very different viruses have common characteristics: they elicit incomplete and short-lived protection against evolving virus variants that escape population immunity. Considering that vaccine development and licensure is a long and complex process requiring years of preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy data, the limitations of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines remind us that candidate vaccines for most other respiratory viruses have to date been insufficiently protective for consideration of licensure, including candidate vaccines against RSV, a major killer of infants and the elderly, parainfluenzaviruses, endemic coronaviruses, and many other “common cold” viruses that cause significant morbidity and economic loss.


Re: Censorship from Google?

Not just Alex Berenson.

Try researching the 'Trusted News Initiative' and its members. They have an agreed list of 'no go' areas. So you won't find discussion on certain topics on Google, Bing, BBC, CNN, NBC, Reuters, AP, AFP and many others.

No, of course it's not the same as Soviet era Pravda. It's far bigger.

Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs


Re: Is it Legal ?

Not the dog!


Yep. Ed Miliband sniffing Laura Tenison...


The proper video seems to have been removed - but some kind soul has left us a GIF,


Re: Death to subscriptions

The PA has a mallet, and everytime one of these groovy changes fucks their work flow they are allowedencouraged to hit the UI dev.

Privacy on the line: Boffins break VoLTE phone security



But the miscreants will almost certainly never self-identify.

Quantum entanglement discovery could enable futuristic comms tech, Nuclear physicists say


Oh I remember that theory... err something about princesses being able to pee through 40 mattresses?


So regicide* is 'sending a message'... yeah, I see what you mean.

*Subtly different from Ronnicide.

The Guardian ransomware attack hits week two as staff told to work from home


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

OK. Who's job was it to guard the Guardian?

Yes, yes, rather more than fashionably late to the party.

"We have been able to keep publishing our journalism digitally and in print, but a number of key IT systems have been affected."

So the finance (sub-)system is down? What else should a newspaper* need?

*showing my age here.

TikTok confirms it tracked journalists' locations as part of leak investigation


Oh no...

Someone tried to track the physical location of *journalists*!

No journalist would ever stoop so low as to try to do something like that.

The double standards are sickening.

Five British companies fined for making half a million nuisance calls


So they used personal data gathered for one purpose (TPS) for a different, incompatible purpose (cold call telesales)? Isn't that a GDPR infringement? Where's the Eur 10m fine?

SWMBO and I fall into the 'over 60 and on the TPS' category. We've noticed a significant increase in telemarketing bastards over the past few years. Also, of course, scammers/fraudsters. I must be getting slow - it never occurred to me that TPS itself could be being used against us.

If I've got enough time I like to string them along. I once got a 'you've got a computer virus' scammer to call back two days running before he twigged. My! Such language from a 'BT tech support' bod!

One thing I hadn't realised was that TPS only covers 'live' marketing calls. I'll have to check up on that.

States label TikTok 'a malicious and menacing threat'


Re: Disingenuous

All governmentscompanies should have a blanket ban on anything not governmentcompany-related when using governmentcompany-oriented platforms

- Privacy law compliance

- Licence/copyright compliance

- Information security

- Productivity


Why not Douyin? Because Chinese.

Why install on a work device? Because Freedom.

There, I think that covers it.

Microsoft 365 faces more GDPR headwinds as Germany bans it in schools


Re: scalable collaborative document server subscriptions

I'll start by admitting I'm out of touch with educational use of IT. I'm from an era when 'the dog ate my homework' was a (very unlikely) possibility. My daughter is a teacher but she works in 'early years' where I don't think the kids' inability to use M365 is particularly relevant. As a possibly relevant side-issue she says that in recent years she's seen a large increase in kids starting school who are completely non-verbal (not even 'yes' or 'no') and still in nappies/diapers.

I take issue with: For educational use, collaborative functionality should be the norm. It's a huge help to teachers and students for enabling assistance and grading. (Of course, it can supplemented by email or printed pages when things go wrong, but that should be the exception rather than the norm.)

Why should this be the norm? Why should multiple people be able to work on a document/spreadsheet at the same time? It's possibly useful when you want to teach older kids about teamwork but in my (ancient) experience of paper-based school collaboration projects a couple of kids do all the work and the rest of the 'team' enjoys the credit...

Hmm, come to think of it, that is a valuable lesson.

icon: modern equivalent of 'the dog ate my homework'----->

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine


Re: Revert back to airships?

I knew of the effect from practical experience and dire warnings from my supervisor at the lab during a between school and university year working. I do recall that the larger cylinder would get warm and that had to be moderated. If the outside of the cylinder is warming up then the gas inside is even hotter. I didn't actually remember what the effect was called until I DDG'd it a few hours ago. Here's another link which might explain it better https://profound-answers.com/why-does-hydrogen-get-hot-when-it-expands/. From a skim read I don't think it's actually a friction effect.

I changed career from lab work to IT after about seven years (which was an age ago).


Re: Revert back to airships?

gases cool down on expansion

Mostly true but not for H2. See; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule%E2%80%93Thomson_effect

We sometimes used to refill small H2 cylinders from larger ones (outside, of course) when we needed to 'hydrogenate' something for a lab experiment. We had to monitor the temperatures of the cylinders to guard against thermal shock.


Re: Revert back to airships?

Hmm. 700 bar fuel tanks will need to be robust and therefore, probably, heavy. Also compressed H2 heats up on expansion (depending on the initial temperature) so the tanks and plumbing will have to cope with significant temperature changes during the flight. I think we'll need a new design of plane rather than retrofitting into an existing fleet of A320s.

Telecoms networks could provide next-gen GPS services without the need for satellites


combine harvesters for instance...

Yes I can see that they need accuracy. Also diggers on construction projects and many other things. I doubt, however that in the middle of a field or HS2 destruction site there will be 6 cell towers in range to triangulate from. My guess would be to drop in some temporary* beacons with known/calculated locations. Building something that can provide that level of accuracy for a phone does not seem to fit that use case. 'Which side of the bulldozer did you have your phone mounted?' ... 'Ah, that explains the collision'.

*Temporary = many years (depending on the project).


Like satellite-based systems, the one proposed by the researchers relies on the accurate measurement of arrival times of radio signals, but it uses a time signal distributed to all the radio transmitters via an optical fiber network to ensure they are synchronized to a common reference clock.

Elsewhere the article mentions sub-nanosecond time synchronization support.

With this the researchers achieved position accuracy to the decimetre (why not '10cm' or 0.712857 linguine?). What level of accuracy could they achieve without the improved time synch? Which side of which street you're on? Sounds good enough for me.

Epson zaps lasers into oblivion, in the name of the environment


Re: I agree.

Without thinking first I tried to laminate a printout from a Phaser solid ink printer. It re-melted the ink and smeared the colours all over the inside of the laminate pouch. Obvious - after the event.

Yes, it was incredibly expensive in ink (huge wax crayons) and other consumables.

UK bans Chinese CCTV cameras on 'sensitive' government sites


Re: Good idea anyways

No, I don't think the bad guys* are particularly interested in the video feed. What they may be interested in is having one or more devices under their control on the same network as some machines processing classified information. For example they could try to embed malware into the video stream to try to subvert the machines which are used to view the video stream locally. They could just cause disruption from time to time with network 'noise' or they could try to infiltrate other devices (eg printers) to intercept classified information.

*The bad guys are not necessarily Chinese just because they're (ab)using kit made in China.

Time Lords decree an end to leap seconds before risky attempt to reverse time


The main problem in France is that more than half the nuclear stations are still down for maintenance.

Not apparently true. See: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx


Wait. You're suggesting that the French have dammed up the rivers feeding their hydroelectric projects with raw sewage? If that were true their government would be furious.

see: https://www.hydropower.org/country-profiles/france


Re: I'm sure a certain somebody


(bless you)


I wonder how fast this could happen on a planetary scale? Might be wise to buckle up. We'll need more than leap seconds.


Ah yes, the 70s.

pensioners dying due to health service cuts.

Does not accord with the facts.


Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech


Re: My neighbour's got one

That's us off to the pub

Do you sometimes step inside but you don't see too many faces?

icon: mine's the one with cotton wool in the pockets.

EU reaches agreement on satellite comms project: Opens Iris


Re: How's ours getting on?

At €6 billion over 4 years the UK could easily afford it if we really wanted to. We're currently forecast to spend £88 billion per year in interest payments on previous borrowing - surely a bit more won't hurt?

It would take a 'catastrophic' recession to stop tech spend growth, says IBM boss


Re: Magical thinking

From the linked Reuters article I note that the Federal Reserve has the same 2% inflation target as the UK's Bank of England...

"the Federal Reserve, which has a mandate to bring inflation down from an annual rate of 6.3%, excluding food and energy prices, to its target of 2%

...except that the Federal Reserve's target excludes food and energy prices. Odd.


Re: It would take a 'catastrophic' recession to stop tech spend growth, says IBM boss

The thrust of this article is that there's a global economic problem [caused by a global event in 2020/21 IMO] but that some think that technology spend is somehow resistant to this.

Sure, IT spend is more difficult to trim now almost everything is in the cloud - provided the business keeps going. It's certainly not immune if the business goes bust.

World's richest man posts memes as $44b Twitter acquisition veers off course


Re: I'm going to need more popcorn

No. The hole is there mostly because of 2020/21. Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng stupidly decided they could ignore it and borrow enough to get the country out of recession. Not too surprisingly the market didn't have the capacity to buy ever more bonds - it was already bloated trying to absorb bonds from every rich country in the world.

<Homer Simpson voice>That's a problem for future Homer. Man, I don't envy that guy.</Homer Simpson voice>


Re: $44bn to teach the world...

Ah. $44bn wasted. The lesson has still not been learned.

It does not matter whether someone is with one or many 'social' media companies. The fact that Facebook (for example) won't let you see or reply to something on TikTok is the problem. It has resulted in silos controlled by media/advertising companies.

I was hoping the whole house of cards would collapse along with Twitter.


Re: world's richest

Ah. Is that a reference to 'Truth Social'? It's name is 100% lie. Neither Truth nor Social.

Unlike 'People's Democratic Republic of Korea' which is 75% lie or 'People's Republic of China' which is only 66% lie.


1) The existence of a book or documentary (the latter often involves taking -moving- pictures) does not make the subject matter 'true'. There are many documentaries which have been made to fit an agenda. I hope you wouldn't sit down to watch pro-Nazi propaganda (neither would I except to rubbish it); its existence does not make the subject matter true.

2) You're surprised that people who have been ruthless enough to get richer than most others don't have their worker's interests as their first priority? Really?

3) Very rarely we get people who inherit great wealth and give it all away. History does not celebrate most of these people. The most famous philanthropists kept quite a lot for themselves. On the other hand, sometimes we get people who waste away their inheritance - they're not considered heroes but they're often remembered.

What of Elon? In my opinion he's got an over inflated opinion of his own importance but the fact that he looks like he's destroyed trust in Twitter is a great thing - but I wish he'd done something a bit more useful with $44bn.

The people who have lost their jobs have a little sympathy from me - but only a little, their work was keeping the Twitter monster alive. I do not think it's a good thing that powerful politicians of any stripe or nationality with or without a sleep deficit should be helped to rally a riot.


$44bn to teach the world...

Don't let any single organisation/person control your social media.


Re: world's richest

Books have been written, documentaries created, biographies of the workers penned...even photos taken.

So it must be true then?

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in prison


Re: Some...

her fraudulent product actualy caused people to die

AFAIK she was not found guilty of that. Was it in one of the indictments that the jury was unable to resolve?



Some of those who lost money investing in Theranos are extremely wealthy,

Yeah - and some were not. It does/should not affect the verdict of whether it was fraud or not.

After being found guilty the level of harm done should affect the length of the sentence and from the article it seems the judge has opted for minimum.

Twitter is suffering from mad bro disease. Open thinking can build it back better



Directly from the article:

1) The social media platform has become intrinsic to politics and media in many countries. And there's part of the problem, right there. Politicians and celebrities want a cheap way of bypassing the filter of the mainstream media and speaking directly to the people - at the expense of those people, of course. Rather than compose carefully considered speeches and carefully constructed arguments they go for sound bites - 280 character quips. FFS when did it become OK to offer condolences for some atrocity, bereavment or natural disaster via a tweet? An SMS text message would be more personal.

2) All these erode the user experience and thus trust, the sine qua non of social media. Eh? User experience and trust are the essential elements of social media? Not on my planet. Again, I think this is part of the problem. Why does anyone expect something dashed off in a moment of emotion or insomnia to be necessarily true or carefully considered. Tweets and other social media emissions should be treated the same as the opinions of your mates down at the pub with an implicit prefix of apparently, yeah...

and another thing:

3) There seem to be multiple standards being applied. I've seen many complain amount misinformation or even disinformation on Twitter and comparing it with Fox News or other outlets. Why should Twitter have to check that stuff posted by its users is true? Does Fox News or any other company have to do that? If it does have to check why are people still comlaining that their reports are conspiracy theory lies? Why hasn't it been closed down so we're not exposed to 'unsafe' news? What about The Sun or Straits Times or Sydney Morning Herald or Twll Dû or any other organ? Who gets to decide what's 'true'? The consensus of experts? FFS some moron tweets a stupid idea about cleaning people out with bleach and people take it as medical advice. If Twitter and other social media had the trust levels it deserves (no better than the guy down the pub) then nobody would follow advice like that.

Social media should be for exchanging social chit-chat - or 'chattin shit' as a young relative of mine so eloquently puts it.

Swiss drone-busting eagle squadron grounded permanently



Bloody hell! They're using Falcons to down illegal drones?

SpaceX must need the revenue.

I wonder where they land them?

NASA reassigns Venus boffins to save short-staffed asteroid interceptor


Re: metallic core of a failed protoplanet

Me too. I don't think planet formation starts by aggregating a core and then layering on the other stuff. As far as my limited understanding goes, the core forms when enough material has stuck together and remained hot enough for the heavy bits to sink into the middle.

Twitter begs some staff to come back, says they were laid off accidentally

Big Brother

Re: Modest proposal.

Mastodon may have seven employees but there are a great many server administrators and moderators running 'their own' federated Mastodon instances. It's a distributed system so little need for anything in the centre.

Although I very much like the idea of a distributed Twitter killer I'm concerned that a plethora of federated servers supporting the previous Twitter user base will result in less efficient use of resources (servers, power, administrators, moderators etc) than a centralised service. Would it be worth it? On balance: yes, probably.