* Posts by Anonymal coward

48 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Aug 2017

The chip that changed my world – and yours

Anonymal coward


I was introduced to IT when (having screwed up my A-levels) went to work in a bank in the mid 70's. Eventually, I was trusted to key in the day's cheques and credits on the 'computer' AKA a huge Burroughs teletype device (maybe a TC500). Then there was that special day that we had to deal with the processing centre at Wythenshaw using reels of paper tape called 'algorithms'. After the trusty TC500 had hammered out the eagle logo in text graphics, I had to know more and went to uni to learn about computers. Only then, in the dying days of the 70's, did I discover the new-fangled microprocessors....Luxury! Yah, you try an tell the young people of today that, and they won't believe you...

FDA clears way for an AI stethoscope to detect heart disease

Anonymal coward

Smart-watch bound?

I assume that this will find its way onto a smart-watch sooner rather than later...

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel green-lights Mike Lynch's extradition to US to face Autonomy fraud charges

Anonymal coward

As far as I'm concerned I recall trying to deal with Autonomy to resolve a problem with their search engine; we'd switched to Autonomy and (mostly) it did OK. However when it didn't, we were on our own. Trying to get worthwhile support from them was best done with a Ouija board. All this flows from Lynch's attitudes, so a sojourn with the less-privileged will be good for his soul...

Quantum computing: Confusion can mask a good story, but don't take anyone's word for it

Anonymal coward

The Laundry might, or might not, strike back...

This is Bob Howard's doing, isn't it....

Intel's SGX cloud-server security defeated by $30 chip, electrical shenanigans

Anonymal coward

Indistinguishability obfuscation

This is interesting, and may make Intel's efforts redundant at some time in the future - https://www.quantamagazine.org/computer-scientists-achieve-crown-jewel-of-cryptography-20201110/

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide

Anonymal coward

Purity Spiral

See here: https://unherd.com/2020/01/cast-out-how-knitting-fell-into-a-purity-spiral/

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

Anonymal coward

Re: Delivery?

UPS actually sent me a letter asking me (a) where I lived and (b) to pick the parcel up from them. The letter was addressed properly, so it reached me OK, and so I've never used UPS again if at all possible.

Facebook, AWS team up to produce open-source PyTorch AI libraries, grad student says he successfully used GPT-2 to write his homework....

Anonymal coward

A new tomorrow for conservatism...

"It also doesn’t care about facts..."

Yay! RoboTrump and AutoBoris can be simple VMs...

Imagine OLE reinvented for the web and that's 90% of Microsoft's Fluid Framework: We dig into O365 collaborative tech

Anonymal coward


Amongst the many problems that this brings is that it takes people's/users attention away from their work and puts the focus on how a bunch of programmers *think* they could work. In the Real World, we need to pass around invoices for approval, POs for completion, works orders to get something done, a spec to persuade a bunch of coders that there *is* a Right Way to do things... All of these really mustn't be dynamic, practically all of English jurisprudence is predicate upon something from the past staying as it was in the past. Imagine an IT contract that was 'dynamic'? Interesting technological thing, but don't let it near SpaceX or NASA. Or the US military, or the UK MoD. Imagine the SA80 cockup with this involved in its genesis....

Linux kernel is getting more reliable, says Linus Torvalds. Plus: What do you need to do to be him?

Anonymal coward

How sweet - a *young* person....

Virtual inanity: Solution to Irish border requires data and tech not yet available, MPs told

Anonymal coward


I am faintly surprised that no commentard has referenced 'Puckoon', one of the seminal texts on the partition of Ireland...

Anonymal coward

Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

That turns out not to be the case; look at http://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/is-the-uk-marginalised-in-the-eu-2/ and note "The UK government is closer to final EU policy outcomes than are most other EU governments. This is also true for policy issues the UK government is particularly concerned about.". That's an academic way of saying that the Brits usually get what they want.

Be still, our drinking hearts: Help Reg name whisky beast conjured by Swedish distillers and AI blendbot

Anonymal coward


Well, it is El Reg...

How does UK.gov fsck up IT projects? Let us count the ways

Anonymal coward

Goalpost moving...

The one thing that the junior civil servants who get these things dumped on them will do is regard the project as a CV improvement service. They shift the project requirements to suit their career and the poor bloody supplier gets to try to square a dodecahedron. The cretinous lack of oversight of the juniors is where the Sir Humphrey's could actually make a difference, and then you could start worrying about why a supplier was chosen (see 'Door, Revolving, Mark 1')...

Could you just pop into the network room and check- hello? The Away Team. They're... gone

Anonymal coward

110V is not a good setting...

I was in the little machine room I habituated (back in the day) when an HP engineer was fitting a replacement PSU to our HP3000 Series III. I was just checking the 50Mb drives (washing machine size) when the engineer powered up the new PSU that he'd had flown in from the USA. He said afterwards that I appeared to teleport past the drives, mostly because he'd forgotten to switch over to 220V and a Series III PSU was a big. meaty beast to go POP...

Register Lecture: Hidden heroes of Alan Turing's Enigma

Anonymal coward


The one thing about TNMOC is that they don't operate on a shoestring; they'd be overjoyed if they were given a whole shoestring... Video recording equipment would cost money that could otherwise be spent on rebuilding something interesting.

Microsoft debuts Bosque – a new programming language with no loops, inspired by TypeScript

Anonymal coward

Re: Such vitriol for something that costs virtually nothing...

Here we go again, this looks like someone's re-invented RPG but with Really Cool Jargon (tm)...

Prepare yourselves for Windows 10 May-hem. Or is it June, no, July?

Anonymal coward

Re: Such vitriol for something that costs virtually nothing...

"Or the typical impossibility of installing MacOS."

Nope, see https://www.tonymacx86.com/

"You aren't stuck with old hardware on your new system's day one like you are with MacOS."

Nope, see https://www.tonymacx86.com/buyersguide/building-a-customac-hackintosh-the-ultimate-buyers-guide/

And yes, I've tried this and it works. I used one such system for 18 months, for everything including Win 7 under Parallels.

We're not throttling you, says Vodafone, claiming slow vid streaming is down to the 'cards'

Anonymal coward

"Our 70Mbs are better than VM's 300Mbs!"

Really, that's what a Vodafone sales droid tried for 5 minutes to convince me was true. I don't know, perhaps I'm just getting old and even more cynical but is number recognition no longer taught?

Trying to log into Office 365 right now? It's a coin flip, says Microsoft: Service goes TITSUP as Azure portal wobbles

Anonymal coward

Complete BS as a reliable service...

"We are unable to connect right now. Please check your network and try again later". Still NBG.

Just updated Windows 7? Can't access network shares? It isn't just you

Anonymal coward

I simply got the Explorer restart loop on Win7

A quick system restore point later and I'm good. That System Repair Disk is still very useful...

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Anonymal coward

I thought this nonsense was over...

Haven't the Code Wars been well and truly buried these past 20 years? No? For anyone else thinking of making claims like "<thingy> is the largest/widest/most indented language", go look through https://esolangs.org/wiki/Main_Page and then just stay there...

US Republicans bash UK for tech tax plan

Anonymal coward

Re: International norms

"The UK already has full powers to cut down on tax evasion"

For a better but profoundly depressing view of this, seek out the Private Eye/BBC Panorama investigation called "Tax, lies and videotape".

Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

Anonymal coward

The first thing that Liberty Global did when they took over VM was to lose as many of the service vans/people that they could manage to get away with; the core infrastructure was lean enough (read 'under-manned'), but the vans weren't anything but a cost...

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Anonymal coward

Evolution isn't working properly...

I thought this sort of nonsense had died out after Y2K, but no. Bank sent a replacement departure lounge card after they decided that the old scheme was too generous, and so I had to find the appropriate app. Started that and was asked whether I would like to add a card to the app; 'Ho ho!', thought I to myself, the letter said they'd already activated the card so all should be good. Enter 16 digit magic number and activation code; no, letter only has 16 digit card number, no activation code. OK, use email. No, app doesn't know email address; enter 16 digit number and password. No, password not known, choose from email addresses to send password reset. No, no email addresses, so do not pass Go, do not collect £200, do not uninstall the app and file card with plastic waste...

UK.gov went ahead with under-planned, under-funded IT upgrade? Sounds about right

Anonymal coward

Re: fundamental bad idea

The issue I found with governmental IT (I only ever dealt with one, just one) was that the junior civil servants who had to talk to us suppliers regarded the whole thing as a CV improvement contest. Consider that we were going to supply a football pitch (no, it's an example); the progress meeting went like this:

1. Approve minutes

2. Actions taken

3. <interruption> 'I wasn't happy with the way this was left; we quite clearly stated that the pitch had to be all-weather.' <nope, not in the minutes, but I've been told to go along with this>

4. <interruption> 'The shape is very limiting. Football is only one of many sports that we want to play there. It should be capable of being a running track as well. The football pitch can go inside.'

5. <interruption> 'Also, it needs to be pink. It's an all-weather pitch, we need to be able to see the players of whatever sport...'

After that, the competition to see who could bankrupt us became more intense...

Micro Focus belches as it struggles to digest HPE Software

Anonymal coward

Lost opportunities...

Given that much of the HPE stuff was predicate on minicomputer architectures that Fiorina killed off, it's not an obvious choice... Mind, I still have my MPE handbooks, I could help ...

HP Ink's UK profits tumble nearly 85% – of course Brexit to blame

Anonymal coward


Whatever they're doing, the Dublin Inkjet Manufacturing Operation is still wetting itself at the sight of druids trying to turn lead into gold. They turn soot, iron filings and water into gold, and all with a very tiny workforce. DIMO (the other one's in Singapore) is a huge factory site with machines and a small admin side. Very sparsely crewed as the machines are large, simple and just work.I think the manufacturing costs for an inkjet cartridge are on the order of about 7p (a blurp of plastic, a very small PCB, a small amount of water, some pigment and a little cardboard box. Then you pay how much for it???

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Anonymal coward

Happens everywhere but...

I worked at a Mars unit for a while when the Brothers Grimm were still in charge. We did the whole 'paint everything' schtick, only to be well-chuffed when one of the Brothers emailed about the enormous waste of time and money that had occurred in getting the place painted just for them. Shortly afterwards, a company-wide policy on maintenance was well-received...

Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

Anonymal coward

Liked the translation table...

Very similar to the Haynes one:

Haynes: Rotate anticlockwise.

Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer anticlockwise.

Haynes: This is a snug fit.

Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with hammer.

Haynes: This is a tight fit.

Translation: Clamp with molegrips then beat repeatedly with a hammer.

Haynes: As described in Chapter 7...

Translation: That'll teach you not to read right through before you start. Now you are looking at scary photos of the inside of a gearbox.

Haynes: Prise off...

Translation: Hammer a screwdriver into...

Haynes: Undo...

Translation: Go buy a tin of WD40 (giant economy size).

Haynes: Retain tiny spring...

Translation: PINGGGG - "Jesus, where the hell did that go?"

Haynes: Press and rotate to remove bulb...

Translation: OK - that's the glass bit off, now fetch some good pliers to dig out the bayonet part (and maybe a plaster or two).

Haynes: Lightly slacken...

Translation: Start off lightly and build up till the veins on your forehead are throbbing then clamp with molegrips and beat repeatedly with hammer.

Haynes: Weekly checks...

Translation: If it isn't broken don't fix it.

Haynes: Routine maintenance...

Translation: If it isn't broken, it's about to be. We warned you!

Haynes: One spanner rating.

Translation: An infant could do this... so how did you manage to **** it up?

Haynes: Two spanner rating.

Translation: Now you may think that you can do this because two is a low, teensy weensy number... but you also thought the wiring diagram was a map of the Tokyo underground (in fact, that would have been more use to you).

Haynes: Three spanner rating.

Translation: Make sure you won't need your car for a couple of days.

Haynes: Four spanner rating.

Translation: You're not seriously considering this are you?

Haynes: Five spanner rating.

Translation: OK - but don't ever transport your loved ones in it again.

Haynes: If not, you can fabricate your own special tool like this...

Translation: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

Anonymal coward

Re: Betting against Elon Musk?

There's always a "total lack of any commercial demand" for anything truly new, until it exists. How can there be? Then clever/greedy/unscrupulous (delete where applicable) people come up with a reason for it.

Autonomy ex-CFO Hussain guilty of fraud: He cooked the books amid $11bn HP gobble

Anonymal coward

re: in this case, both sides are right

I was inside Vignette during this time, having spent a fair number of years working with and for HP. I was truly gobsmacked at hearing what HP did. Vignette used Autonomy as the federated search engine inside their content management software, and sometimes it worked. Sometimes, it simply wouldn't and then we got to try to get 'support' out of Autonomy. After years of contract PM work, I thought I could get blood out of a stone but Autonomy 'support' was mind-numbingly crap. Hearing that HP were going to pay $11b for such a lame pile of dipshits?? I thought the world was taking the mick, but no, HP post-Fiorina was simply a management wasteland.

The Register Opera Company presents: The Pirates of Penzance, Sysadmin edition

Anonymal coward

First seen in 'DataLink'

A version of that came out on the back page of 'DataLink' these many decades ago - "I am the very model of a modern systems analyst.."

HP is turning off 'Always On' data deals but won't say why

Anonymal coward

Fiorina was the beginning of the end for HP...

She dumped the mini business, even whilst there were buyers like Shell Expro, Lockheed, Boeing et al, bought Compaq ("Because it stands for 'Compatibility and Quality', doesn't it?") to bolster HP Consulting (Compaq still had the rump of DEC Consulting), redirected HP Research to digital cameras and flat screen TVs (which they had to buy in from Dell), and generally tried to go for consumer electronics margins to consumers. After that, there was no way back.

Blockchain nears peak hype: UK politicos to probe crypto-coin

Anonymal coward

Re: "assess the risks"

No, no, gambling is GOOD! Oh shit, what I *meant* to say is that financial services as specialised in the Stock Exchange and Wall Street are good. Not gambling, no, that's bad and wrong and addictive and very, very profitable... Not like stocks, shares, and stuff like that. No.

Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge

Anonymal coward

EV manufacturing costs

One of the things that bothers me about the whole EV question is that the manufacturing costs of EVs tend to be ignored by the Green side of things. An EV takes comparatively huge amounts of rare earths for its electronics etc. by comparison with an older ICE car, substances that are difficult to extract cheaply and which pose a question for recovery. I appreciate that the retail prices of Teslas et al are an indicator but I doubt that they show the whole cost. Although I would be classed as a 'petrolhead' within this thread, I wonder if we are really comparing like costs with like costs when I run an antique petrol hatch-back against, say, a Tesla?

You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

Anonymal coward

English as she are spoken....

"A seasoned software innovator would sniggle at the notion..."

After nigh-on 40 years in DP/IT/software, and much seasoning, I need a training course! I want to know how to sniggle, I want to be able to hold my head high in right-on places like Starbucks, able to sniggle with the best of them...

Elon Musk finally admits Tesla is building its own custom AI chips

Anonymal coward

Re: I agree with Musk

All true, but... free will?

Anonymal coward

Ah, so he thinks someone is going to solve the Hard Problem in the next decade? Don't think so; all the AI stuff I've seen recently was already around when I started back in the 70s, but now it can go further because there's more horsepower, and the Hard Problem is *still* hard. At a guess, it's because it's very similar to the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything" question; no-one actually knows what it is...

Neural networks: Today, classifying flowers... tomorrow, Skynet maybe

Anonymal coward

Plus ca change, plus c'est la....

In the late 70's at Brunel, we had Igor Aleksander and his neural networks. I think the only thing that's changed since then is the horsepower available to do this stuff; there certainly seems to be no qualitative advances...

HPE CEO Meg Whitman QUITS, MAN! Neri to replace chief exec in Feb

Anonymal coward

I wonder...

If there'll be the same sort of race to reception to remove her photo that happened when Fiorina left? I remember the one at Amen Corner, as it was only CEs that were allowed screwdrivers, SEs had to talk about stuff...

HP died at Fiorina's hands, the rest have been simply steering the corpse to where the bean-counters can extract the most.

US govt to use software to finger immigrants as potential crims? That's really dumb – boffins

Anonymal coward

I felt a great disturbance in the Force...

So *that's* where Steve Bong has gone...

Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox

Anonymal coward

Or you could do -it-yourself *and* fel superior...

I'd push this sort of thing (https://www.hifiberry.com/beocreate); the HFB stuff works very nicely, the spread of RPi-based things is good, and reusing Bang & Olufsen kit is always a Good Thing...

Compsci degrees aren't returning on investment for coders – research

Anonymal coward


Flippant answer - I married my degrees

Serious - I bombed out halfway through mine (which was in the wrong place, and folded around me), so I don't have a degree. I've got the intellectual curiosity to keep looking and learning (only to find that things really do go in cycles and we're back in the "Ooo, Visual Basic is so liberating!" phase), and it's only a few City-based agencies that won't talk with me. Experience, persistence and serious attention to integrity get me places. Again, FWIW, I started an OU masters a decade or two ago, only to find that I was being asked to learn and answer questions about a development methodology that I'd had to learn and use 8 years previously. Having to pay to 'learn' something I get paid to do indicated that the OU was a refuge for the incompetent, as far as compsci was concerned. Anyway, this is all just opinion...

Everybody without Android Oreo vulnerable to overlay attack

Anonymal coward

Watch this space...

This looks like a Good Thing: https://www.xda-developers.com/project-treble-custom-rom-development/

Surprising nobody, lawyers line up to sue the crap out of Equifax

Anonymal coward

Re: As has been said often before

And you're so right, garnishing will involve parsley or suchlike; garnisheeing, however...

Oh, ambassador! You literally are spoiling us: Super-stealthy spyware hits Euro embassy PCs

Anonymal coward

Re: For Sensitive Stuff

The GCHQ gonk giving an IoP lecture on encryption was using a Windows laptop...

Linux kernel hardeners Grsecurity sue open source's Bruce Perens

Anonymal coward


Here's what Chhabra says in the footnote:

"No court of law has ever established that a statement implying a false assertion of fact is constitutionally protected speech..."

They're going after Perens by implying that an opinion about a future event (which may or may not happen) is "a false assertion of fact", nothing to do with the GPL in and of itself. So that's any opinion about anything in the future that suddenly has become a false assertion if you don't like it. Is it me or is that really thin ice he's walking on?