* Posts by Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

300 posts • joined 21 Oct 2019


Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Or in this instance, failing to know where to hit it and taking an unreasonably long time (and effort) getting there.

I sometimes pay people for jobs rather than do them myself. When I do, it's because I expect them to be proficient and get it done quickly. For example, the gardener could do in a two hour session what would take me most of the day.

Protesters backing Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou during her US extradition hearings were 'duped paid actors'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
Big Brother

Whose false flag?

How do you tell the difference between:

(a) A staged demo whose participants were paid, coerced, or whatever?

(b) A genuine demo infiltrated by agents whose purpose is to let slip to the press that they were paid, coerced, or whatever?

Or indeed other nuances on the theme.

We need to make it even easier for UK terror cops to rummage about in folks' phones, says govt lawyer

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: Ideal password

Nobody is attacking me -- Polyphemus (the Cyclops).

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Thin client

expect to be asked (nicely) would you mind doing the talking..

Whoops, it seems my voice doesn't work on it when I'm this stressed.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia accused of hacking Jeff Bezos' phone with malware-laden WhatsApp message

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


The BBC have been broadcasting a slightly different version of this story, citing a UN report (from some months ago IIRC) as a source for it.

Sorry to be vague: I was travelling all day yesterday (bloomin' rail disruption), and getting an often-poor radio signal on my phone, so I only half-heard it.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Fair play to Mr Bezos though for effectively spiking the attempted blackmail - despite the consequences.

Indeed, methinks a worthy successor to Wellington's famous defiance.

Looking for a great value broadband deal? War-torn Syria will do you proud

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Pissed off with the whole UK broadband thing

I'd be fine with 8Mbps ADSL as a tradeoff for living somewhere nice. It was the coming of then-2Mbps ADSL sixteen years ago that took me from poverty to prosperity, and my best years were at 2Mbps rising later to 8Mbps.

The showstopper would be no connectivity at all, or insufficient for VOIP and intermittent for everything (like Virgin cable). Or connectivity on dialup/ISDN terms of pay-by-the-minute.

But with satellite broadband now at affordable monthly prices, there are very few places indeed that are completely unserved. Down a steep valley you'd want to check terrestrial availability ...

Who says HMRC hasn't got a sense of humour? Er, 65 million Brits

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

My father and mother were forbidden to be upstairs together during the day time.

They had an actual bedroom? Luxury!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Anyone else wish you could start a tax return during its own tax year? So you could enter things as you go along, especially those things that don't get summarised for tax purposes at year-end (like PAYE).

Last few years I've had a one-off taxable payment around the end of January (about £200-ish). By April, when I can start filling the tax return, the only record I have of it is the payment into my bank account. This year I don't even have that, as I've closed the bank account in question.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

They will indeed collect it: it all resolves in the tax return, where you declare charitable donations and gift aid. Makes no difference to basic rate taxpayers ('cos that's already the assumption when the charity 'reclaimed' it), but if you pay higher rate you get the excess refunded, and if you pay zero rate, you have to make up the amount reclaimed by the charity.

Important to watch if - like me - your annual taxable income varies between all those bands. No tax to offset, no gift aid.

If you don't fill a tax return, then none of the above applies, and I expect you're probably right about them then ignoring it.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: It's The Same The Whole World Over...

Even Brits aren't necessarily utterly useless with foreign documents ...

When I returned to Blighty from several years in Italy, there was one piece of bureaucracy that worked. I was able to get car insurance with maximum no-claims bonus based on a letter from my Italian insurer.

Other matters were much more problematic, but methinks we're already off-topic here.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

That guard dog story is one I heard many years ago, as a young grad. Told by a friend who went into beancounting the same time as I took my first hacking job. They were auditing someone who tried to claim dog food against tax. They (the auditors) had met the dogs in question in circumstances where a guard dog should've seen them off, and the dogs had been entirely friendly. They disallowed that claim.

As for the mother-in-law joke, that of course comes from an era of much more acute housing shortage than today's "crisis", when young couples would live for years on the mother-in-law's couch before they could get their own place. Naturally the mother-in-law walking in and out cramped a chap's style, and the classic joke was a safety-valve for pent up frustration.

What's this year's excuse? I just had a minor hiatus, where I'd lost all record of a modest (£200-ish) taxable commission-rebate payment. A simple 'phone call got me a copy of that from the rebater.

The delights of on-site working – sun, sea and... WordPad wrangling?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Beards are a storage device for much more than that. As noted by the (firmly bearded) inventor of the limerick, Edward Lear:

There was an Old Man with a beard,

Who said, "It is just as I feared!—

Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,

Have all built their nests in my beard.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

The old ones are the best

That is, editors. If you're using a text editor on a binary, better a line-mode editor than a visual. And better sed than anything more interactive (yes, sed was available for DOS before there ever was Windows). Where's that greybeard icon?

Still, credit where it's due, he used the tools available and fixed it. How is this a story of our protagonist's cockup or misdeed?

Help! I'm trapped on Schrodinger's runaway train! Or am I..?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Enquiries

I don't do apps unless I see a d*** good reason for an app over standard tools such as a browser.

Email is one such standard tool. No software to install. No superfluous bloat, no associated risks of a misbehaving app.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Enquiries

I already have the downloadable PDF. It's where the problem arises in the first place. Along with other sources of the identical document, such as that displayed at (some) bus stops.

As for the phone, that would be great if it were a once-and-for-all matter, but a high overhead for a per-journey query.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Science fiction?

I take it you never encountered the infamous DAMTP (back when it was on Silver Street)!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Charity and Anarchy

I happily buy "misshapen" fruit&veg when I spot something I could use. They're generally perfectly good, and sometimes more than that.

Best was the coop's misshapen onions. Sufficient real flavour they're the only shop-bought ones in many years to have brought tears to the eyes in chopping. And indeed, the eating brings corresponding pleasure.

Just be careful when using them together with hot chilli (as I frequently do). Chopping chilli and rubbing the eyes don't mix well.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Enquiries

Talking of a school ...

There's a bus route I sometimes use. Some of the buses are marked as running only on schooldays for [foo] school; others as running on non-schooldays.

Googling [foo] school finds nothing[1]. Evidently [foo] is not what the school calls itself and I could look it up by.

There is a school that the bus sometimes diverts into and picks up kids, so I guess that must be it. It's near the far end of the route, so most of my journeys don't overlap with the kids. But nowhere can I find information on schooldays vs holidays there. Result - if I want to catch certain buses, I can only guess whether they're running on the day.

[1] That is, nothing within 50 miles of anywhere on the bus route in question.

To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Wait a minute

Certain companies are required by governments to store data.

In the case of google, what they have is of uncertain value. It may or may not help police in this particular investigation. Telcos and ISPs doubtless receive comparable requests from time to time.

Shouldn't you be more concerned about the companies who collect data with the explicit purpose of using it to affect your life, perhaps adversely? Like those that compile "credit ratings" and hold lots of data often more sensitive than anything google has.

EU declares it'll Make USB-C Great Again™. You hear that, Apple?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

(a) USB-D will be back-compatible to the extent of conforming with the rules. History suggests this is not an undue burden.

(b) If industry (as opposed to some lone Apple-wannabe or breakaway group) really see a good reason to change, they can lobby for it, and the commission is responsive if they present a good case. It'll take time, but industry will need to take time too if it's not to be a botch job.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Can we have a schrodinger's joke icon?

That'll be before we reached USB-C, and not merely a C but a limitless ocean of possibilities.

I'll get me C++oat.

Copy-left behind: Permissive MIT, Apache open-source licenses on the up as developers snub GNU's GPL

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: What's not said

GPL2 is a work of genius (whether you agree with it or not).

GPL3 is a work of committee (ditto).

Ex-Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain's part in the accounting badness was 'wildly overblown'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: "We take a rather different view over here"

Um, the reference there seems to be to Hussain, whose evidence was reported as having been affected by the risk of prejudicing his US appeal.

US hands UK 'dossier' on Huawei: Really! Still using their kit? That's just... one... step... beyond

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: It's cute

But they do. The threat they hold over our government's desperation for a trade deal is all too credible.

There's something fishy going down in the computer lab

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

tunasaurus and latuna. Similar principle to filters that have problems with Scunthorpe and Penistone, but a bit of novelty. Anyone want to parse psychotunarapist?

The story says early 90s. So regexps to make it easy existed, but weren't quite so widely-known as they became when the Web - and with it Perl - went mainstream.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


Was this dolphin-friendly tuna-fishing?

Give a bunch of schoolkids a shiny toy and ... I'll bet this wasn't the only such prank the school had to deal with.

MI5 gros fromage: Nah, US won't go Huawei from dear old Blighty over 5G, no matter what we do

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Bog Off USA

Not just USA. UK politicians should back off in meddling in matters whereof they are clueless.

Leave the procurement decisions to the telcos who are building the actual networks.

National Lottery Sentry MBA hacker given nine months in jail after swiping just £5

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: This seems out of proportion to the offense

and one day a burglar enters and steals £13

... or one day an intruder enters and takes nothing of more value than a much-needed glass of water from your tap, despite seeing your wallet and other easy-to-filch valuables ...

are you justified in saying

Of course you are! It's classic shoot-the-messenger.

Tea tipplers are more likely to live longer, healthier lives than you triple venti pumpkin-syrup soy-milk latte-swilling fiends

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Builder's tea

My ex terrified me by drinking tea while driving.

Good builders helps keep me hydrated. Take it away and I could get dangerously dehydrated. Unless ... here's a radical idea ... I could find another way to imbibe pints of water. Hmmm, what else comes in pints? --->

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Unfortunately,

That's sad.

Nothing sad about herbal tea - delicious. Just sad that you can't *also* drink green and black teas - delicious each in its own way. Life shouldn't be about either/or choices, it should be about a wide range of delights.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

They may have drunk pretty poorly. This is a study on older generations, so they'll have grown up in what was then the third world. Tea-drinking may have been a luxury beyond the poorer among them, and the correlation could be no more than with being comfortably-off.

Why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks' personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address? Seriously, why?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: How long before all our NHS data appears there too ?

Nostradamus didn't foresee our current prime minister by name.

The late Sir PTerry, on the other hand, got him exactly right, long before most of us saw the threat.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: market forces, political processes

Exactly. How does JoJoe Public express their dissatisfaction with (e.g.) Crapita?

I can give you a real live example there. I bin their regular letters from TV licencing, leaving them forever wasting their effort on chasing me. A very minor thing, but that's all a single consumer can expect to do - if I boycott a particular supermarket as an individual, they'll notice it even less.

Flying taxis? That'll be AFTER you've launched light sabres and anti-gravity skateboards

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: @ Warm Braw

They'll need to fly by hitchhikers principles.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: These kind of ideas go back a long way

Or perhaps because unproductive time gets noticed. In the office it was six months blocked by waiting for your vital inputs - the cost of institutional inefficiency. At home it might be days rather than months, but it's your fault and you need to be watched.

Sometimes I'm glad I gave up working in an office. Though to be fair, many of the things that blocked me in the past - like waiting for a 'puter on which to work - are more-or-less N/A nowadays.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: CCTV confirm that Jacob Rees-Mogg was to blame.

Private Eye have been running a long series of JRM lookalikes. Ranging from human and other animals through to a creatively-crumpled plastic bottle.

Sometimes shining a light on a nuclear problem just makes things worse

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Mice too

Those mice were always crap. Poor, coarse, control; mouse mat that was unpleasant on the hand. Troubles with natural light were the least of its problems.

Love T-shirts, but can't be bothered to wash them? We've seen just the thing!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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It's certainly true that some garments can be worn a lot longer than others for any given level of whiff-tolerance.

Just think about what you would or wouldn't take for a long trek with a backpack, away from mod-cons such as washing machines. The kind of shirt that you put on in the morning and stinks by the end of the day is not going to be an option!

If this shirt delivers on its promise without any showstopper-sized downside, I'll be in the market.

Eggheads have crunched the numbers and the results are in: It's not just your dignity you lose with e-scooters, life and limb are in peril, too

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Posing for a good fee? Where's the problem?

No pics of any kind in my RSS feed, from which I clicked through to the article.

I spy, with my little satellite AI, something beginning with 'North American image-analysis code embargo'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Hasn't that horse bolted?

Projects on github may be precisely the target of this.

Those very specific specs sound like something targeted at a particular product or small set of products. A project backed by a bigco will have lawyers to deal with it. A github project might have no such resources, even if its major contributors do have that for their own supported versions.

It also sounds like a barrier to entry for innovative startups having any US component. And perhaps an opportunity for bigcos to mop up innovators on the cheap.

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: rewarded for failure

He was learning on the job.

$Employer must've known they were taking a risk giving the job to an unqualified PFY, and might've assessed that he was resourceful enough to be likely to be able to clean up his messes. I guess they assessed the alternative as being to pay a lot more to recruit a pig-in-a-poke.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Printer drivers: still cruddy after all these years

Remember that period around the later '80s when software packages came on increasingly ridiculous piles of floppy discs? The application took part of one floppy, and the other 20 (or whatever) were drivers for every printer known to $database.

I was among those already shaking our heads at M$, and pointing at how my Acorn Archimedes did printing. One API to support rather than 1000 individual printers.

From memory, Unix was somewhere intermediate. A unified lpr, but some complex incantations thereof. Though come to think of it, half that complexity was 'cos it gave you hands-on access to multiple printers across the notwork.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Whitney Houston

At least that's just bland. As opposed to some of today's weapons-grade tribal aggression designed to intimidate and offend when they want to deter you from holding on the phone.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


You really are a man with some history!

Did you also miss an opportunity to, for example, eliminate Trump in your youth?

Bruce Perens quits Open Source Initiative amid row over new data-sharing crypto license: 'We've gone the wrong way with licensing'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


Erm, what? Who is ignoring the BSD licence, and how?

Agreed, BSD is easygoing - though one might argue MIT is better still if you want lawyer-free. But that's nothing to do with this article. And ironically I don't think they're actually lawyer-free at all: rather they're a lawyer's minimum conditions for releasing source while covering an institutional arse against being sued.

If you mean the "we only need three licences" comment, I read that as making a point about duplication in the proliferation of licences. Not about the licences themselves. I could speculate that it hints at "Apache is the modernised BSD", but to say that's what he meant would be putting words in his mouth. And I wouldn't entirely agree, but then I still think GPLv2 was a work of genius - in part because it kicked off the whole debate, but also because it's a lawyer-free work that's since held up in court against lawyer attacks.

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: No Service

There's a long no-signal stretch on my semi-regular rail journey to visit my dad.

No, not the coastal stretch under the cliffs and through tunnels - that's only maybe ten minutes. But on two mainlines and the stop where I change between them - only an hour and a half by intercity from London.

Lynch lied about Autonomy's accounts, rages HPE to the High Court

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Double negative

Some slightly-confusing wording here:

Elizabeth Harris, told the court [...] she wasn't tasked [...] something HPE hotly denies was the case.

So HPE insists KPMG was tasked to convert accounts (whatever that entails). Presumably that would be a very simple matter to establish in evidence: KPMG's role being to enumerate legumes, the issue of packaging the beans for the US market would be pretty fundamental to the contract under which they were engaged? And if that were in dispute, would that not be a matter between HPE and KPMG?

Beware the three-finger-salute, or 'How I Got The Keys To The Kingdom'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Back in the day...

I like the image!

Good thing that was a young man's game[1]. Can't help thinking it could be altogether more troublesome with a 50-year-old prostate.

[1] I honestly can't even begin to relate this to a lady's life experience.



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