* Posts by JohnGrantNineTiles

47 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Sep 2018

Firefox slow to load YouTube? Just another front in Google's war on ad blockers


Re: seen it

I run Firefox; I haven't installed an ad blocker but somehow it never seems to show me ads (even on El Reg pages).

It's time to mark six decades of computer networking


Re: Now forgotten

Quite. In the 1980s we had a good business making a network that linked RS232s together. As one customer said, "we have N devices with serial ports and used to have N-squared problems linking any to any, now we just have N problems linking each one to the network." Later we made nodes with parallel interfaces and file-sharing software.

While the TCP/IP folks went connectionless to avoid having to keep information on flows, we went connection-oriented to avoid having to keep information on all the reachable addresses.

Publisher breaks news by using bots to write inaccurate stories


Echo IV lives

This reminds me of Michael Frayn's novel The Tin Men from back in the '60s. The plan was to generate headlines that included what we'd now call click-bait words such as shock horror report, and then generate a story to fit. No relationship to the real world necessary.

HDD Clicker gizmo makes flash sound like spinning rust


Nothing new under the sun

Back in the 1980s when we made what must have been one of the world's first remote file access systems we had a similar problem -- fetching stuff from the server took about the same time as from a local floppy, but without any indication that anything was happening. So we got the PC's speaker to produce click-clunk sounds whenever a network drive was being accessed.

Deluge of of entries to Spamhaus blocklists includes 'various household names'


Re: Lack of feedback

It's not unknown for spam senders to spoof the "from"" address, in the same way that phone spammers spoof the calling number. For a while I got a lot of spam that apparently came from the person that preceded me in IANA's list of private enterprise numbers (a public list with e-mail addresses in clear).

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes


Re: Closest I've seen...

Cleaners moving things -- one of the lads got so annoyed he wrote a program, named after the cleaner, that placed all your windows one on top of another in the middle of the screen.

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier


Re: Solder? What's that?

I heard a similar story from (I think) South West Technical Products which I remember as being in Peterborough (UK). The customer knew chips don't like to get too hot, so thought soldering would be a bad idea.

ARPANET pioneer Jack Haverty says the internet was never finished


Re: TCP?

If you think TCP is bad you clearly don't have experience of SIP.

Plans for UK rival to Silicon Valley ditched


Re: They've been talking about the varsity line since before I was born...

Actually the quickest route by road is via Northampton: A14-A45-A43.

Building the western half of the railway (Oxford - Bletchley) and the eastern half of the road (A428, A421) doesn't seem like a great idea.

Car radios crashed by station broadcasting images with no file extension


Re: GIGO for the goddesses sake!

There is a standard for RDS, it's IEC 62106. And no, I don't know what it says about filenames.

Toaster-friendly alternative web protocol Gemini attracts criticism for becoming exclusive clique


Re: fucking pointless

Come back John Dunlop all is forgiven.

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'


Re: Well...

What's *really* idiotic is hiring graduates to crimp cables

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81


Re: Literally a legend

Wow, I don't remember that, maybe we needed to save a byte to fit all of Steve's floating point package into the 81?

Arms not long enough to reach the plug socket? Room-wide wireless charging is on the way


Re: Never mind the humans....

With implanted devices such as pacemakers it's mostly magnetic fields that are the problem, because they're likely to put it into the engineering mode that's used when you have a check-up. As well as stopping it performing its usual function I suspect that drains the battery. And no, they're not rechargeable. You're told to keep at least 2 ft away from an induction hob (in a kitchen), and this system sound like a room-sized induction hob.

Banned: The 1,170 words you can't use with GitHub Copilot


Wise to use hash

Back when computers were newer there was an exhibition (I think it was at the Science Museum) with an exhibit where you could type in a sentence and it would reply with something one of the earlier visitors had input. So it had to avoid parroting rude words, and had a file containing the forbidden words, in clear. Some enterprising person managed to get it to list the file.

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone


Re: “Re-wilding”

Also Aberdeen railway station (built of granite): I've heard it exceeds the radiation limits for a nuclear power station.

EE and Three mobe mast surveyors might 'upload some virus' to London Tube control centre, TfL told judge


Whose cross?

"next to the Thameslink tracks running between King’s Cross and London Bridge stations"

Actually it's next to the line to Charing Cross, which would be SouthEastern. There's a Thameslink line the other side of Gambia Street, but it doesn't go to London Bridge.

[removes anorak]

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again


Re: The light..

There's a light switch in our garage like that, it's got a neon indicator so you can find it in the dark. The indicator goes off when you switch the lights on, probably the idea is that when the lights are on you can see where the switch is anyway. Of course, if the lights and the neon are both off you know there's a power cut.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?


Re: Funny placenames

If you go a bit further down the M25 and then take the A21 eastbound you pass Pratt's Bottom.


Back when e-mail was new our local planning department had a problem with e-mails containing the word "erection"

Microsoft warns against SMS, voice calls for multi-factor authentication: Try something that can't be SIM swapped


I hadn't used my PAYG phone since lockdown in March and it stopped working in September, after 6 months. Fortunately I noticed soon after, and they reconnected it. You don't get an e-mail or text or anything to warn you.

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update


Re: Obviously was not tested

Shows how unwise it is installing anything with a version number that ends in .0

Smoke on the Tyne: Blaze at BT exchange causes major outages across North East England


Re: Openreach network architecture

So much for the Internet surviving a nuclear war.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?


Re: Sounds like a lack of due diligence

ARM's original idea was that they set the price at a point where it was clearly a better deal than developing your own.

Apple warns developers API tweaks will flow from style guide changes that remove non-inclusive language


Re: Black or black

To an accountant, black is positive. Red is negative.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree


Re: My first computer language...

The KDF9 had two Algol compilers: W, written by a group at Whetstone, ran fast but didn't optimise, used for testing and teaching, while K, from Kidsgrove, was an optimising compiler used for production code.


Re: Algol 68 is not ALGOL 60

The problem with Algol68 was that Aad van Wijngaarden treated it as an academic exercise, valuing elegance over practicality. He regarded Algol68-R as unclean, it having compromised on some of the more esoteric features to make it actually usable for real work.

People who used it told me one great feature was that most bugs were detected at compile time, i.e. once you got your program to compile it usually worked (unlike C).


Re: .. never used .. ?

One of the good features of CPL was that the semicolons were optional,

Europe publishes draft rules for coronavirus contact-tracing app development, on a relaxed schedule


Re: One big problem with the bluetooth approach

For more problems with it see Ross Anderson's blog post at https://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2020/04/12/contact-tracing-in-the-real-world/

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard


Re: One can but dream...

Then again, I can remember when asbestos was thought to be safe. And lead in petrol. Maybe there are frequencies that couple into people's brains and make them come up with these crazy ideas.


Re: Anti 5Ger

Yes, frequencies around 700 MHz are intended to give better coverage in rural areas. It's 26 GHz that is causing all the angst. And tbh while ITU are very clear there's absence of evidence of any harmful effect, I'm not entirely convinced there's evidence of absence.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so


Re: Memory-mapped video?

"Wasn't pretty much everything of that era memory-mapped I/O?"

As I recall it, the 680xx didn't have a separate I/O space, so yes.


Re: My favourite timing bug

It used to be quite usual to find a 20pF capacitor on a signal, and you knew that was one that in testing only worked when there was a 'scope probe on it.

Consumer reviewer Which? finds CAN bus ports on Ford and VW, starts yelling 'Security! We have a problem...'


Clockwise on the M25 between the A3 and M3 feels exactly like a flat tyre.

Internet Society CEO: Most people don't care about the .org sell-off – and nothing short of a court order will stop it


Re: Most people don't care one way or another.

.. and most people have lives to live and will focus on that so not notice until it's too late.

Internet Society's Vint 'father of the 'net' Cerf dodges dot-org sell-off during public Q&A


"Expand services" -- why?

"We truly believe that this transaction is good for all stakeholders because it allows PIR to invest in the registry and expand services for the benefit of all registrants"

If you own a domain name, you need to know it's globally unique. And from a registry that's all you need. So what exactly are these new "services"?


Re: Excellent reporting!

RFC1591 also says "It is extremely unlikely that

any other TLDs [than EDU, COM, NET, ORG, GOV, MIL, INT, and the two

letter country codes from ISO-3166] will be created."

Yahoo! customers! wake! up! to! borked! email! (Yes! people! still! actually! use! it!)


Re: "The former policy wonk -

Depends what you mean by "UK". I live in East Anglia where we can go for weeks with no rain. Yesterday I went to London, and it was raining there. In the north-west it rains all the time.

I just love your accent – please, have a new password


The last few paragraphs remind me of a friend who ran a B&B. Guest turns up on the doorstep expecting to stay. "But your secretary rang and cancelled the booking." "Oh. She doesn't work for us any more."

What else can we add to UK.gov's tech project bonfire? Oh yeah, 5G


Re: Indeed, why are we doing this?

The idea was to give UK companies a head start in developing applications that use the new services 5G provides. Problems include:

- they wanted the testbeds to be built using off-the-shelf equipment (which by definition isn't the latest technology) on the assumption it's cheaper

- there are precious few applications that can be done with the current (3GPP Release 15) version of 5G that can't be done with 4G

- the way the calls for proposals are structured locks out micro-enterprises with really innovative (and cheaper and less power-hungry) technology which could have got the UK into a position where it wouldn't be dependent on China and the US for the equipment that implements the really interesting features of 5G

AI has automated everything including this headline curly bracket semicolon


TV Timing

"30 seconds after the final whistle" or 30 secs after it was on the TV? Which would have been at least 10 secs, and possibly several minutes, later.


Re: Robot journalism and ethics

Good to see it's still in print; the main character was Echo4 which was intended to generate random click-bait style headlines and then write a story to fit. Probably still working for one of the red-tops.

Gather round, friends. Listen close. It's time to list the five biggest lies about 5G


Re: Of course it's nearly all bollocks

ITU has a nice triangular diagram that shows three main use cases for 5G: faster Internet, IoT, and applications (remote surgery is often cited) where latency matters. The first of these is LTE with a few tweaks, and is the only one being delivered, or even really supported by the 3GPP standards, as of now.

The main problem for IoT is battery life in devices that are so cheap you can have lots of them in different places; IPv6 over LTE is the problem there, not the solution, because of the amount of data to be transmitted to upload a couple of bytes-worth of information.

Critical applications that need low latency need something more than just a bit less contention for a best-effort service, and no, slicing is not a viable way of achieving it.

Slap for Slack chat app after US, Canada chaps zapped in Iranian IP address map whack


Re: Is it a GDPR violation?

If it was "a few years ago", that would have been before GDPR came into force.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


Alan Blumlein

Invented the 405-line TV system that was actually used, unlike Baird. Many other inventions including stereo audio. Died young, in a plane crash while testing a new radar system during WW2.

Microsoft gets ready to kill Skype Classic once again: 'This time we mean it'


They need to learn the lesson Michael O'Leary learnt a few years ago.

Watt the heck is this? A 32-core 3.3GHz Arm server CPU shipping? Yes, says Ampere


Re: 125W for ARM?

What voltage do they run at? Guessing around 1.2V, 3.9W per core must be about 3A. Whatever happened to "MIPS per milliwatt"?