* Posts by Nick Ryan

1705 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Isis crisis: Facebook makes Bristol lass an unperson

Nick Ryan
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Re: Isis

There's a goddess called Daesh?

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NVMe SSDs tormented for months in some kind of sick review game

Nick Ryan
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Re: Endurance???

...and there I was thinking that endurance really isn't that much of an issue with modern SSD technology. The things generally have enough wear space and good enough cycling (can't remember the actual term) algorithms that they will last for 5 years even when treated horribly. That's more than we'd usually trust spinning rust for.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: wrong image?

They do look like I'd have some serious problems connecting those to the PCIe bus in a system without a little help.

Maybe they meant this instead? https://regmedia.co.uk/2016/04/13/micron_9100s.jpg

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Beautiful model to explain the universe to physicists

Nick Ryan
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Re: Lumps?

I'm sure it's not just me, but getting one's head around a largely "flat" surface (2d-plane) is relatively easy. Getting one's head around the fact that we're omitting a dimension and the undulations and densities should be represented in a full 3D volume, now that's a bit harder to visualise.

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Time to re-file your patents and trademarks, Britain

Nick Ryan
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Re: "Never was so much lost by so many due to one stupid decision"

I know several people who voted Leave. Some of them are beginning to realise what they did. There is far less "crowing" about the result than might have been expected.

Quite possibly because other than the rabble-roused contingent (generally the readers of the press where absolutely everything is blamed on whatever bogeyman is currently popular to blame: non-"English" (aka immigrants), EU, Irish, gypsies (travellers), communists, whatever - the story has always been the same just with different targets), a lot of folk voted leave because they were unhappy with politicians in general. This was not a great time for such a protest vote.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Nick Ryan
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"If a racist like Farage is happy about it as well then you know you're in real trouble."

Are you another idiot who can't tell the difference between race and nationality?

No, however unless discussing technical details it's usually best to communicate in commonly understood or used language, even if it's misused.

So how would you define a "race"? :) [honest question] A set of people sharing a similar average skin tone, a set of people where the genetic similarity is over a certain percentage from another arbitrary set of people, a group of genetically varied individuals who happen to believe in the same invisisible friends or those through luck or circumstance happened to be born within the same, often rather arbitrary, geographic area of the same planet (or where their parents or other ancestors were born there)?

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Nick Ryan
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If a racist like Farage is happy about it as well then you know you're in real trouble.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Nick Ryan
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Pint

No, no, no. Tell me either I have the date wrong and this is a very poor April Fool's day joke or it's a case of mistaken identity.

He's been a total top bloke to El Reg's commentards and a real asset to the place.

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

Nick Ryan
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Re: Heathens!!

Eden project pasties are excellent!

There are (at least) two suppliers to the Eden project, the better pasties come from here: http://www.cornishpremierpasties.co.uk/. The Eden project has rather more exacting desires for local and organic produce than most other pastie pushers in Cornwall.

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'Massive great big' vulture goes AWOL in Somerset

Nick Ryan
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Re: You would think

That's nothing. IBM was advertising RFID tags that let you know where your goods were in the middle of a desert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAvQcYcvyaw

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UK Home Sec makes concessions to please Snoopers' Charter opposition

Nick Ryan
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MPs should be more accountable, not less

MPs should be more accountable, not less. They are meant to be examples to us all, demonstrating through leadership and action how to operate ethically and legally in both their private and professional dealings. Instead they manage to find ways to except themselves from every form of oversight and check on their behaviour which seems to give them free reign in the pork barrels.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Nick Ryan
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Frankly, and I know I'm not alone in this, I haven't worn a watch since I had a reasonable mobile phone as I use this as my time telling device. I had a watch, but couldn't be bothered to replace the battery when it ran out when I had a convenient alternative.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: There is *something* somewhere ...

Bugger that. Let's put a calculator on it. With buttons that are almost too small to use with a finger requiring some form of pointing device...

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Nick Ryan
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Re: If a multi-billion company can't produce safe mainstream code

As for my heating...jeez. Wouldn't a basic education about frugality taught in school make more sense, than having to rely on an app?

Part of the problem of heating is systems is that the (hardware) interfaces are appalling. Really appalling. I know it's a balance of cost vs usability but ramming an entire two-part (heating vs water) scheduling function into as few physical buttons as possible never works.

The next part of the problem is almost certainly compounded by the appalling interface, but a huge number of (supposedly bright) people just don't understand and seemingly don't want to even try to understand how a heating timer and a thermostat work. These people tend to turn the heating OFF in summer or when they're warm, or turn the thermostat to maximum when they're cold. In general, no amount of patient explaining gets through to these people and they will continue merrily being stupid because that's how they've always ran their heating and it "works" for them. Just accepting that the "on" periods only dictate when the heating could come on but this will depend on the thermostat setting and the temperature is beyond them.

In this instance, a sensible way to schedule a heating system along with being able to control temperature freely rather than a fixed target (minimum) temperature is a good thing.

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UK eyes frikkin' Laser Directed Energy Weapon

Nick Ryan
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Re: Nice videos and all

I wonder what a laser pulse hitting the sea would do.

Not a lot? Possibly light it up briefly but that depends on the frequency.

Despite the kid in me I'm rather dubious of "laser weapons" because unless the amount of energy output through the laser is very high, the beam width is very narrow or the beam is held resolutely in place on a single spot on the target then generally not a lot is going to happen.

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Microsoft won't back down from Windows 10 nagware 'trick'

Nick Ryan
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Re: From Microsoft dialog boxes UI guidelines....

Microsoft frequently violate their own guidelines.

Of course, they are only guidelines and not rules but MS have spent a huge amount of research and development time testing and generating these guidelines. Only for other parts of MS to ignore and trash them. Office frequently ignores and violates them, Windows 8 (~metro) is so bad that it frequently violates elementary design and usability guides let alone Microsoft's more specific ones.

It can't be an enjoyable department to work in.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: so

Total asshattery. "We decided to screw you over and we meant it".

What's galling is that Windows 10 is rather better than Windows 8 (and 8.1). Not that this is much of an achievement.

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Galileo satnav fleet waxes orbital

Nick Ryan
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Re: Hydrazine. Nasty stuff.

Energy available in the fuel compared to weight? It would seem to be the most obvious selection criteria (after being able to contain it and ignite it of course).

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Hate Windows 10? Microsoft's given you 'Insider' powers anyway

Nick Ryan
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Re: Only one big request

In particular the regional settings. I still can't see why when upgrading a system that was in English I'd like the bastard thing changed to American.

Then there's the magic of "uninstalling" some of the crud that's foisted onto a system only to find that after the next reboot it's been reinstalled as "new".

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

Nick Ryan
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Re: Time

Last I heard he was working in the language department.

Yeah, I'll get my coat.

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LinkedIn mass hack reveals ... yup, you're all still crap at passwords

Nick Ryan
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Re: Advice please

...or somebody guesses the master password, or watches you type it in, or the keepass encryption algorithm has flaws, or the application itself...

While services such as keepass are very useful they do shift the focus onto a single password with which an attacker will get access to a lot of services.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Advice please

Keepass can run as an independent application and all it needs is to access your Keepass data file.

Keepass comes with a Portable version (no installer required), download from the keepass website itself: http://keepass.info/download.html.

The next step is that you need to keep the Keepass data file available to you. There are many ways of doing this, the issue is likely to not have a single (losable) copy on something like a memory stick and to instead use a web storage service of some form. Pretty much any of them would do as long as you trust the encryption of the Keepass application the strength of your password to it.

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Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

Nick Ryan
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Re: Predicting Problems

Quite likely. However with this kind of engineering and design the default position and/or configuration should be "safe", which is the general requirement for many industrial systems. Any lack of power or "incident" response should return the mirror to a default "safe" state (good luck with this on a power loss scenario). Part of this was probably in place, however automatic monitoring systems in the tower should have triggered an "incident" alert and all or some of the mirrors should have switched to a safe alignment automatically. Now implement this to a very strict build and maintenance budget...

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VMware flushes Windows vSphere client and Adobe Flash

Nick Ryan
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Re: How hard can it be?

I'm no programmer, but how hard can it be to write a proper bit of software instead of some browser abomination?

or more usefully:

How hard can it be to write a proper web interface instead of some browser abomination?

There's a growing industry idiocy in attempts to replicate a rich application interface using JavaScript on a web browser. Whereapon it's no longer a web application it's invariably just a badly laid out and barely useable mess that just happens to be delivered through a web browser. Also, this isn't "HTML5", that's just marketing BS as HTML5 is nothing more than an extension of HTML4 and it's not a suddenly new or enabled environment to use with web applications.

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Nick Ryan
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Re: I'll really be impressed when..

@Simon Harris

That sounds right. I suppose we could lookup the 6502 instruction set but it's quite interesting how well the instruction set comes back to memory despite so many years of not using it. I remember reading through it all in detail when teaching myself 6502 (6510) assembler as the C64 came with great manuals, particularly the Programmers Reference Guide(?).

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Nick Ryan
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Re: I'll really be impressed when..

From memory, yes: the X and Y registers had different capabilities when it came to the indirect/offset addressing modes.

I remember when I first figured out what one of the more obscure ones actually did, and then wondered if there was ever a useful use for it. Like you do I searched the entirety of both of the C64 ROM chips and couldn't find the instruction in use. Not a definitive use case, but it was what I had available at the time...

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SHOCK: GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

Nick Ryan
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This still gets pushed around the Internet like it's true:

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore now promotes vitamin A-fortified blindness-fighting Golden Rice, which Western NGOs are attempting to restrict in the countries that most need it.®

Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace and the more that careless reporters blindly reproduce this the more this incorrect statement gets spread. Not that it's just El Reg, the Golden Rice website also claims that Patrick Moore was a co-founder of Greenpeace when he is not.

Here's Greenpeace's take on it: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/about/history/founders/ (Patrick Moore was an early member, but not a founder).

However for me, there is only one Patrick Moore...

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Motion Picture Ass. of America to guard online henhouse

Nick Ryan
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Re: Business Philosophy

To be fair (yeuch, this hurts), when it comes to the ten year sentence for online pirating it's harmonising the online and offline maximum sentence values. As it stands, a repeat/serial offender dealing with physical media can be given ten years maximum, however a repeat/serial offender dealing online can only be given two years maximum.

While it makes sense to harmonise the maximum sentences, it does rely on the courts applying them sensibly rather than believing the rampant MPAA (US so shouldn't have any direct impact on UK judgments but yeah) and FACT lies about the supposed level of damage and therefore the level of sentencing.

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Nick Ryan
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The windows are probably key structural components keeping the atmosphere in while the debris shields are retractable and therefore cannot keep the atmosphere in - hence the need for spares. As for why windows, most likely two reasons - we're humans and like to look out on occasion and a viewing aperture like a window is considerably more flexible in use than a video camera.

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Google asks Unicode to look over 13 new emoji showing professional women

Nick Ryan
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Re: Who invented the term "emoji", and why?

The font of all definintive knowledge, Wikipedia, has a page explaining this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji

Emoticons, originating with the ascii smileys, were generally to depict emotions. Emojis are essentially just pictures, which is kind of reverse evolotion for many languages but not incorrect as such because it's the nature of languages that they change.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Discriminatory

And Pirates. Bastards. Where are the required array of pirate emojis?

There need to be a full spectrum of these with different eye patches, hats, skin colours, gender, scars and parrots. Never forget the parrots. The Norwegian Blue just doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

(my pockets are full of pirate stickers)

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

Nick Ryan
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Re: Firefox is catching the Microsoft attitude.

Or possibly use Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release)

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Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws

Nick Ryan
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Re: Amazingly, on sunday ...

Not so! One may also post XKCD links as well, not just Dilbert.

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Why has Microsoft stopped being beastly to Google?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Is this really Microsofts POV?

Pretty much, it's about the money and the route to it.

If you look into Microsoft's financials for quite a long time now, whatever division the Office suite is in is the one that's made the most money. The OS division, while a valuable enabler and lock-in aid, has been making less and less money over time. With other OSes being given away for free, the ability to sell "just" an OS is a harder and harder prospect particularly when the previous OS worked and continues to work fine. Microsoft are also finding this with the Office suite, because any further functionality they add is beyond what most users want or care about therefore selling a new version is becoming harder and harder.

The result? OSes are effectively free and while Office suites are, for the time being, a source of income as these become more commodotised this income will dry up and they'll become effectively free as well. However just because something isn't sold doesn't mean that it isn't valuable as an enabler for other sales therefore Windows 10, even if given away, has considerable value in pushing Microsoft's services and applications. Take Microsoft Office, currently it's arguably the best office application suite by a reasonable margin, or at the very least has enough remaining lock-in to keep users "loyal", however even this is being eroded by the likes of Google Docs which is given away for free. However both are being used to gently (or not so gently) push users into a cloud subscription - as in a perpetual, regular income.

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Nick Ryan
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Readers may well applaud the focus on the brave strategy of litigating to gain the user's trust – but wonder why Microsoft's continues to use aggressive malware techniques to persuade us to upgrade to Windows 10. Good question. Some consistency here would be welcome, Redmond.

These are both business decisions with, arguably, good reasons behind both.

By focusing on being a trusted cloud provider, is a very good call and aside from being a key sales point in Microsoft's favour, should also help to improve the entire hosted services (cloud) market.

Windows 10, despite a lot of annoyances (in particular with patchy upgrades and the horrible default security options), is a change of tactic by Microsoft in response to a very real market change, namely that Operating Systems are now just commodity enablers and the value is no longer in the OS itself as it's in the services and applications that run on it. Does the average comsumer or computer user really give that much of a stuff as to what Operating System their computer happens to run on? No, they just want to access certain applications, or types of applications, which for the vast majority of users are a web browser and a word processor of some form and it's useful to note that more and more the word processor is accessed through a web browser. There are exceptions of course, but these are more down to specific requirements such as applications that only run on a given Operating System or even version of the Operating System, largely games and specialist software. So from Microsoft's point of view, the value isn't in the OS, it's in what sits on top of it and in how they can help steer users towards Microsoft's offerings rather than alternatives. If the value of the OS is reducing and the enhancements that can be delivered as part of OS updates are diminishing, then why would users even care to upgrade? They won't, for example the distaste of upgrading from Windows XP onwards as in general user terms the previous OS did what they required. This leaves Microsoft tying to implement their services on a fragmented and messy OS base, which is far from ideal particularly how in the past they have intentionally intermingled application and OS features. Support five different end point OSes or just one? It's an easy choice and I'd make the same call. Getting consumers to upgrade to this OS is a different matter, although my prediction is that after the free upgrade period is over MS will seriously consider extending it "for goodwill reasons", the time pressure of the current fixed date for free upgrades will ensure that a large base of installed users are in place by then and the rest will tend to want to keep up with the masses.

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What do you call an old, unpatched and easily hacked PC? An ATM

Nick Ryan
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Re: physical intrusion

Many "through the wall" ATM machines may be secure enough from the front, however the rear of them where the access to the "interesting" parts can be had is often not so well protected. Just behind a screen or in a box and often with nothing more than a standard "security" hex style bolt keeping the case closed. I've seen a few with vents where one can readily see more interesting parts.

Obviously tampering with an ATM inside a bank is risky, however so is tampering with one outside as they're often covered by CCTV. However what you've missed in the article is the fact that the ATM networks are often so insecure, that gaining access to one of them will give the successful attacker access to many more ATMs, so even if it appears to be physically secure, how about the one around the corner inside the bank or even another branch of the same bank?

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FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

Nick Ryan
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Re: Well...

The responsible Agency should keep an eye -now and then, depending of activity level- on anybody who is educated in Chemistry of Explosives, just in case.

That will include pretty much anybody with even a half reasonable education in chemistry then.

Making things go boom, and the formulas for these are generally quite simple. Particularly if you're the kind of "making things that go boom" person who doesn't really care too much about toxic residue or the overall efficiency of the boom as long as it goes adequately boom.

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Tokyo rebrands 2020 Olympics

Nick Ryan
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Yes, but....

Have the Japanese lawmakers created new, and entirely unnecessary laws, specifically to protect these trademarks of the money making organisation that is running the games locally? Or are they shamefully relying on the same laws that are already in place to protect every other business and individual but without such scope for higher financial penalties or due process skipping?

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BlackBerry is pivoting from phones to enterprise software

Nick Ryan
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IMHO it's very far from a good strategy. The IT industry is littered with the corpses and zombie marionettes of previous "named" organisations that decide to turn their back on their original market to "concentrate on enterprise", or "obscurity" as it's otherwise known.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update draws nearer with Inky preview

Nick Ryan
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The annoyance here is that Windows has had, since Windows 7, a "Library" feature that lets you merge folders, but this is not used by default. On the positive side, search found my image instantly.

It's good new that the utter farce and king of stupid "libraries" is not enabled by default on Windows 10. While it works OK when reading documents of a particular type from a system because you get to see all of the locations together, it's a total disaster when it comes to saving a file because you no longer have a clue, or any particular control, where the damn thing will go. Unless you save but pointedly ignore and bypass libraries, in which case you have two disjointed interfaces, one for read and another for write.

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Adobe scrambles to untangle itself from QuickTime after Apple throws it over a cliff

Nick Ryan
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Re: Maybe Adobe should consider...

Not just video editing, randomly Microsoft PowerPoint requires that QuickTime is installed for many video formats. Despite other compatible CoDecs being installed.

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How does a business make decisions? How should a business make decisions?

Nick Ryan
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Is it me or is the message of this article contradictory?

The ending seems to be to recommend "big data" or in most business terms "just analyse the (limited) data you have and watch for trends" however the core message is that when bringing in a new product one has to look at the data that one doesn't have because there won't be sales data for a new product or service and predictions for uptake of a new product or service are often vague at best.

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Win XP, Flash, Java... healthcare makes easy pickings for hackers

Nick Ryan
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Many popular electronic healthcare record (EHRs) systems and identity access and management (IAM) software supporting e-prescriptions require the use of Java, factors which could account for the higher installed base. But this is bad news for security because Java browser plug-ins are a popular exploit route for hackers.

I strongly suspect that the writer is confusing the word "popular" with "common".

As for requiring Java, this is because these systems were designed and written by utter fuckwits who wanted to do the "modern web thing" but couldn't get the concept of web delivery and "applications" using a standard HTML interface (where we shouldn't have dumb OS dependencies) as they were too hung up on traditional windows applications. So instead they tried to write web applications as if they were rich client applications but in order to get the degree of stupid/control in the interface they found they could only do this using Java, which "obviously" wasn't a problem because it's multi-platform, right? Frustratingly we have a continuation of this level of fuckwittery but instead of Java, "rich client applications" are being coded in JavaScript. Same concept, same stupidity.

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BOFH: Thermo-electric funeral

Nick Ryan
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Joke

Re: Surprising how much thermal mass there is in the cool head of a hammer

All tools are hammers.

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What's wrong with the Daily Mail Group buying Yahoo?

Nick Ryan
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Re: The AOL Time Warner merger

Technically it was a "merge" with both organisations transferring into a new combined organisation, 55% of which was AOL, 45% Time Warner, as dictated by their current "value" at the time. The shifting of management positions and shareholdings would likely make for quite dull but insightful reading.

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Nick Ryan
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The AOL Time Warner merger was masterful. I'm pretty sure the case was that there were some very clever people at AOL who managed to hoodwink Time Warner (who were until this time pretty successful) into believing that AOL had any value, had any income and weren't the laughing stock joke player on the Internet. That would have taken some effort, but to somehow come up with a value in excess of Time Warner's was a masterpiece of creative accounting.

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Google found 760,935 compromised web sites in a year

Nick Ryan
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Re: 760,935 breaches Google detected

These days it's usually the applications that run on the webservers that are the source of the problem, not the web server itself. Earlier versions of IIS were a blight on the Internet, more recent versions are relatively safe; Not 100% safe of course, in reality that's that's effectively unachievable. The same with Apache, the security has improved since earlier versions.

And depending on your statistics, IIS is either doing quite well or is still quite a long way behind. It depends on how you filter and weight the results.

I'm more happy that there isn't a monocultore of web servers. Both IIS and Apache annoy for different reasons while performing administration tasks on them, both have strengths and weaknesses on this side and the performance front.

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Censorship FTW! China bans Paris Hilton, minor Kardashians et al

Nick Ryan
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Re: yah know...

If this were to happen what would the Daily Fail (and Facebook's "trending") actually "report" on. After all, I cherish all the articles highlighting that some talentless twat who's happened to be on TV at some point was photographed wearing swimwear. On a beach.

Now if the aforementioned twat was photgraphed wearing swimwear while going to the cinema then, yes, this actually has a tiny bit more interest to it (just for the stupidity). On the otherhand, please don't let the Daily Fail and Facebook know this otherwise there would instantly be many of these z-listers wearing swimwear to the cinema just so they can be photographed doing it.

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Half of Facebook's Free Basics users ditch the freebie web-lite service for the paid-for real deal

Nick Ryan
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Re: Just because my band is broad doesn't mean your web site has to be fat.

It's not just "abusing modern web APIs with oldskool web design" an even more recurring poroblem is "oldskool" windows/client developers abusing modern web APIs. These are the same kind of idiots that rather than use Flash to enhance a website instead chose to build an entire "website" out of one Flash object.

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