* Posts by DoctorPaul

129 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jul 2018


Revamped Raspberry Pi OS boasts Wayland desktop and improved imager tool


They broke VNC

Got a handful of Pi's and all of them run headless.

Default for this is VNC but it doesn't work with Wayland - "maybe next year".

So it's back to the legacy version for now.

‘How not to hire a North Korean plant posing as a techie’ guide updated by US and South Korean authorities


Re: Best code ever!

But did it work?

Casino giant Caesars tells thousands: Yup, ransomware crooks stole your data


an outsourced IT support vendor

Didn't need to read beyond that really

You snooze, you lose? It's not quite as simple as that


According to my go-to fount of all knowledge (QI on the BBC) this is a syndrome "suffered" by 1 in 500 people including the likes of Renée Descartes, who never got up before midday.

Now that I'm retired I typically go to bed between 2am and 3am and I'm never up before 10 in the morning. If I got up as soon as I woke, I would be up at 4 or 5 as sleep is more like a series of naps for me. That said, I reckon that I could nap for England!

Been like it all my life. I'm 71 now but as a teenager in the 60s I used to cycle to school about 2 miles away - had to be there by 9am but I would not be heading downstairs to grab breakfast any time before 8.30.

Excel recruitment time bomb makes top trainee doctors 'unappointable'


Re: These things happen everywhere

Very much this.

My last gigs before retirement involved converting Access databases to MySQL with a web front end. The sort of Access databases (I use the term loosely) that people put together after their Excel spreadsheet has run out of steam and which in turn finally fell flat on their faces. Anyone ever noticed how Access fails just as things get really complicated, or is it just me?

Best example was when I was asked to make a small mod to an Access database that a new partner had brought in from his previous post. Obviously he hadn't written it or he could have changed it himself. I reminded the client that I had made it very clear that I only touched Access in order to get data out of it, but said that I would make an exception in this case.

Turns out that the mod was to remove the previous company's logo and replace it with the company's own logo. Simple enough, but when I deleted the "old" logo there was another logo from an even earlier company underneath! IP rights anyone?

For context, my client was a firm of consultants charged with the oversight of multi-billion pound projects. Don't want to be more specific than that, to protect the guilty.

Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess


Re: With two-faced "friends" like Dyson, Britain doesn't need enemies

While the current royals don't have my support, I still prefer the idea of a constitutional monarchy over a republic and have always had a two word reason why - "President Thatcher".

BOFH: Ah. Company-branded merch. So much better than a bonus


Re: When do people understand that cash rules?

Ha, amateur effort!

As a schoolchild in the 60s a friend and I got interested in making gunpowder. We realised that a "fine grind" was the thing to achieve, resulting in the construction of a small mill from Meccano, an Andrews Liver Salts tin and some marbles. Worked a treat. Only exploded once!

The results were placed in a pill bottle with wires from a toy train transformer joined with a sliver of cooking foil to act as a fuse. Screwing on the top meant that things went off with a very satisfying bang!

That said, I did hear the sound of a shard of glass flying past my ear, so was probably inches from losing an eye.

Brexit Britain looks to French company to save crumbling borders and immigration tech


That anyone could downvote your simple statement of fact makes me want to weep.

For the hard of thinking, here's an example from within my family. My stepdaughter and her husband set up a business selling clothing online and over the years built it up into a multi-million pound enterprise. They actually stock and ship the stuff world-wide themselves rather than act as a middle man and are UK based.

Then came Brexit. They have tried everything, including setting up a subsidiary in Holland, but have had to give up selling directly to customers in the EU. Luckily they also supply a few retailers as well, so now they just refer potential customers on the continent to them.

The utter killer is the cost of returns. The business has been built on exemplary customer service, and honouring returns has been a big part of that. I can't remember the precise details but essentially they can't reclaim something like VAT or customs charges. So if a customer returns a £70 shirt it will cost them around £40 to process the return. You do the maths, you can't run a business on that basis.

CERN celebrates 30 years since releasing the web to the public domain


Re: it changed software development

The age-old question I ask myself when someone walks towards me apparently talking to themselves - Bluetooth or schizophrenia?

Errors logged as 'nut loose on the keyboard' were – ahem – not a hardware problem


Re: Aaaaargh!

Back in the 60s I was lucky enough to be taught the "Nuffield physics" A level rather than the regular syllabus.

This was based on the wonderful books by Richard Feynman and the whole point was to make you "think like a scientist". I can still remember one of the exam questions - "Design an experiment to measure the drag on a ship's hull". We'd never covered anything about that in the syllabus, the idea was that we'd been provided with the skills to tackle the problem.

Thanks for fixing the computer lab. Now tell us why we shouldn’t expel you?


Re: old password

Back in the 90s I was the webmaster for god for a while, that is the Global Online Directory at www.god.co.uk

Baidu sues Apple and anyone else in sight over ERNIE chatbot fakes



Upvote for the Morecambe and Wise reference!

Of course Facebook will monetize an ad-generating AI


At last a use case!

It's beginning to look like these systems are only any good for replacing advertisers and lawyers.

Hang on, did I just discover an upside to all this?

Tesla Semi, out since December, already facing a recall over brakes


1989 BMW owner here, you certainly know when that handbrake goes AWOL. Mind you, the sound of the cable rubbing on the propshaft should have been a clue!

Defunct comms link connected to nothing at a fire station – for 15 years



I'm getting that way with my Raspberry Pi's, but that's probably just old age.


Just for the education of the younger readers out there, can anyone specify how much a (say) 10 minute call to Australia from the UK would have cost in the 1960s compared to the average wage?

Seem to recall that the call had to be booked beforehand as well.

Ex-politico turned Meta hype man brands Metaverse 'new heart of computing'


I mean, if the visuals were up to the standard of most computer games from the last 20 years or so, then maybe just maybe there would be a use case.

What Meta came up with is great if you want to live in a virtual Pingu universe, but the Next Big Thing? Please.


Re: They should ask Elon

You mean apart from the ones they have produced but no-one wants?

Version 100 of the MIT Lisp Machine software recovered


Re: The Forgotten Fifth Generation

I did my PhD in expert systems in the late 80s at the University of Brighton (as opposed to Sussex where I did my degree), anyone remember POP11?

I added a capability to RBFS, the Rule Based Frame System, which I still think is the best named software I've ever developed - it was the Truth Maintenance System.

Nostalgic for VB? BASIC is anything but dead


Nothing but a toy

I started coding using BBC Basic, moved on to Turbo Pascal, then bought Delphi on the day that it shipped in the UK (Windows95 show in London?)

That showed up VB for the toy that it was - you dropped a component on a form and the code appeared, change some code and the component updated itself. Magic!

B-List celebs including Lindsay Lohan fined after crypto shill probe


Re: Hope & Change

Do you mean modern beat combo?


Re: Adviced advice adviced

Recently discovered Within Temptation and happy as a pig in the proverbial exploring 25 years of back catalogue.

Tails 5.11: Secure-surfing 'amnesiac' live distro arrives


Worth reading just for

a Bitcoin wallet for the terminally gullible

Winnie the Pooh slasher flick mysteriously cancelled in Hong Kong


No, it's obviously because Pooh is a master of the Tao, and the followers of Confucius *really* don't like that!

Cisco kindly reveals proof of concept attacks for flaws in rival Netgear's kit


Re: 1970s museum pieces?

Upvote for "unassisted porcine aviation"

Lenovo Thinkpad X13s: The stealth Arm-powered laptop


I refer you to Elite running in kilobytes of RAM on the BBC Micro

Catholic clergy surveillance org 'outs gay priests'


Re: Prigs

That's why I tend to Cathar beliefs - "never trust a Church that needs bishops and their ilk"

Tech demo takes brain scan, creates a picture of what you're looking at


Re: Finally

Upvote for the Allo Allo reference

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …


Re: Change window - cue the drums

Here in the UK "cash & carry" is a type of outlet.

Typically a warehouse on an industrial estate selling food and cleaning products and not open to the general public. Users are hotels, guest houses, cafes etc.


Re: Why would one ...

I make my "proper" coffee in an electric "Italian cafetiere" where the water is forced through the coffee grounds as it boils. Don't ask me why but I find it tastes much better than a "french cafetiere" where the water and grounds just mix, or a filter coffee which gives me a bad stomach while I can drink cappuccinos all day no problem.

Most Italian cafetieres are non-electric stove top devices and for some reason the electric ones are almost impossible to source in the UK. I got my previous Bialetti on Amazon via Bulgaria if I recall correctly.

Versions now seem available as "Moka pots" as well. Instead of watching a stove top boil, just put in the water and coffee, switch it on and walk away. Keeps the coffee warm for up to 30 mins after it's been made as well.


Re: Why would one ...

Reminds me of touring holidays in France in the 80s, if they did make tea it was with warm water, yuk!

Hot water was only possible by boiling a pan. I still remember seeing a kettle in a shop window in France back then - complete with large illustrated poster explaining what it was and how it worked.


Re: Why would one ...

Must be true, I love Twiglets and hate Marmite - go figure.

What's really up with data disconnects in the deep blue sea?


Re: Excellent opinion piece

I think it's more a case of whose facts, so many alternate truths out there these days. /s

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis


Re: South don't work in the North

Reminds me of the "gate" poem from Knots by R D Laing

Go to security school, GoTo – theft of encryption keys shows you need it


Re: LastPass

Which is why I spent time last week installing vaultwarden on a spare Pi.

FAA grounds all US departures after NOTAM goes down


Re: "but which aren't known about enough in advance to publicize by other means"

Upvote for "the professionally offended" - a phrase that perfectly sums up my feelings, especially as they are usually offended on someone else's behalf.

Corporations start testing Windows 11 in bigger numbers. Good luck


Not only did Microshaft fail to offer Win10 users the option of a "classic shell" with a Win7 look, they actively sabotaged the efforts of those who tried to offer users that very thing. The hubris and sheer bloody-mindedness just beggars belief.

I've been using PCs since the BBC Micro and am still on Win7 - I've tried Win10 a couple of times and I simply cannot bear to look at it. I swear that those sharp corners actually hurt my eyes and the flat colours remind me of the bad old days of 256 colours being your limit. I may be retired but I still spend 6 - 12 hours a day looking at my PC's screens (6, count 'em) so I think that it's extremely important that what I'm looking at offends the eye as little as possible.

I must admit that I haven't checked whether the classic skin developers have managed to get back ahead of M$ in the last year or two, but even if they did I'm not sure that I could live with the update debacle in Win10 - at least with Win7 I can choose when and if to download updates. That's due to end in a couple of weeks of course :-(

I've been running Mint on other boxes for quite a few years now, so maybe I will finally make the jump.

It's a reflection of how crap Win10 is that, faced with a choice between Win7 without updates and Win10, I'm sticking with Win7.

Techies try to bypass damaged UPS, send 380V into air traffic system


Re: Critical

Similar happened to me some decades ago, I was already doing WFH in the 80s so luckily was at home when it happened.

It being water ingress to the wiring in the street which I think put another live phase on to my neutral. All I know is that the whole house started to hum and every standby light lit up like a Christmas tree. Cue a sprint to the fuse box (no fuses blew) to throw the main switch, if the house had been unoccupied I shudder to think what would have happened to the wiring.

Southwest Airlines blames IT breakdown for stranding holiday travelers


Re: Outdated scheduling software?


When I did my PhD in expert systems in the 80s, recalculating flight schedules was one of the classic problems that we were trying to crack.

Too big to live, too loved to die: Big Tech's billion dollar curse of the free


Totally agree that people should get their own domains.

I've lost count of the number of vans (20-30k value?) and lorries (100k+?) for small businesses where the expensively signwritten details include a Hotmail or btconnect email address.


Re: A couple of solutions, offered for free.

Personally I pay Mythic Beasts three quid a month for basic web hosting just to use for my email. Catch-all redirection means one mailbox but effectively infinite number of addresses, blacklisting specific addresses is easy, webmail is available and the performance just blows tsoHost out of the water. I spent a good part of last year moving people's accounts from tso to Mythic, and with the same mailbox running in different Firefox tabs for the different servers the difference in performance was "enlightening".

BBC is still struggling with the digital switch, says watchdog


Re: We have a commervial version of the BBC.

Fingers crossed that particular stupid idea has been canned. Other stupid ideas are available.


Re: A few things of interest.

Upvote for referencing Raydon's amazing firmware mods for the old Humax FoxSat receiver, and don't forget the other patch that flips a single bit so that HD recordings aren't encrypted.

Fully featured web interface, FTP server just for starters. Such a shame that Humax grokked what was going on and encrypted the firmware in their later models.

That said, thanks to Raydon my poor little mini-tower media server is now running 7 disk drives giving about 27 terabytes of storage!

Voice assistants failed because they serve their makers more than they help users


Re: Missing the point...

The quote that I always remember is

"People think that Ford are in business to make cars. They're not, they're in business to make money."

Elon Musk to abused Twitter users: Your tormentors are coming back


Re: pisses off all the right people

Upvote for the reference to the massacre in Beziers by the Catholic Church during the Albigensian Crusade - "Kill them all, God will know his own".

Any other Cathars out there in commentard land?

Boss broke servers with a careless bit of keyboarding, leaving techies to sort it out late on a Sunday


Re: "an on-prem email server"

Haven't got a repurposed coat cupboard but here at home I do have a repurposed airing cupboard :-)

It used to contain the hot water tank for the old heating system, but that was removed when we installed a modern combi boiler. Which left plenty of space for router, printer, one of my modded Humax satellite boxes, a couple of Pi-holes - you get the idea.

And of course the holes between floors where the 15mm or 18mm pipes used to run are perfect for routing ethernet cables, plus the waste heat from the kit means it still works as an airing cupboard.

Elon Musk issues ultimatum to Twitter staff: Go hardcore or go home


Re: The Twitterverse will soon be silent

Upvote for Mythic Beasts who I found thanks to the good commentards of this parish.

I spent a good part of last month moving friends' web sites to them from tso.

Parody Elon Musk Twitter accounts will be suspended immediately, says Elon Musk


Re: Wehrmacht != nazi

Good point.

My late father was born near Gdansk and was 16 when Poland was invaded.

A few years later he was conscripted into the Wehrmacht, but more as forced labour - wasn't given a weapon, just a shovel basically.

In Italy he did a runner and was able to join the Free Polish forces, hence my father had the dubious honour of serving in both armies during WW2!

Your next PC should be a desktop – maybe even this Chinese mini machine


Upvote for Desktop ok, been using it for more years than I care to remember, in my case on Win 7.


Re: Get a Used Desktop

Absolutely this.

I used to put together my own systems (anyone remember the Shuttle XPC?) but for the last decade or more I've just headed to eBay and picked up a refurbished business PC for not very much, then thrown in what's needed.

Main machine is an HP Z230 with 32gig of RAM, SSD, couple of HDDs and a pair of GT710 graphics cards. They both support 4 HDMI outputs so I've been able to go the "full Terry Pratchett" with six 24" monitors - Windows 7 has no problem seeing all six, but last time I tried Mint only seemed to see one of the cards.