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* Posts by Nigel 11

2344 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today

Nigel 11
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Joke

I read that as an expired cat!

Have you ever seen the damage that mice will do to the wiring under the floor of the server room?

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Nigel 11
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"You know all those staff you insisted we let go last year ...."

<letters>.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Pro tip

It's fairly OK even if you are. Just make sure you're clear to overdraw the one that your salary *doesn't* go into (or, better, that it's a savings account, if you have any savings).

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Nigel 11
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Mushroom

Re: Just one more reason

No suitcase of money. A well-stuffed wallet will suffice while people still think it's just a glitch. Only gold will be accepted after it becomes clear that TS really has hit TF. And be very careful who you let know that you've got gold, because of the knives and the guns.

Pray it never happens.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Wait till the lawsuits start

A relative once had to pay a day's interest on the price of a house because the payments transfer system caused his completion to fail. The bank wriggled out of its liability citing T&Cs. The glitch was only a few tens of minutes, late in the banking day. Mercifully the person whose house he was buying did let him move in, even though he hadn't yet paid for it.

But I doubt that the bank could escape liability for *several* days' failure and interest. If they try, the lawyers sure as hell *will* be involved. Wonder if it affects hundred-M completions as well as hundred-k completions?

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Nigel 11
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Re: Out-sourcing is bad

Oh, as little as nine months? These things usually manage to run on auto-pilot for a bit longer than that. Long enough for the seagull-managers to trouser their bonuses and find their next jobs!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Out-sourcing is bad

Good documentation frequently requires the benefit of hindsight. A person with experience of a system will often quickly work out what's gone wrong with it after the problem arises. His knowledge is implicit, not explicit, and couldn't have gone in the documentation.

Outsourcing, bad. Check. All other forms of de-skilling, likewise. Monkey see, monkey do, doesn't work for what the monkey's never seen before.

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Assange: Australian neglect made me flee to Ecuador embassy

Nigel 11
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Re: Lack of comprehension from our Jules

Some time ago I suggested that the UK ought to obtain an undertaking from Sweden that Assange will not be deported from Sweden to any third country without first being offfered free passage back to the UK. I was told by another poster that we do not need such an undertaking, because it's already built in to the EU arrest warrant system. (Can anyone confirm?)

Draw your own conclusions.

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Surface: Because Microsoft does so well making hardware?

Nigel 11
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Vista?

The Microsoft Shills were all busy raving about how wonderful Vista was before you could buy it. May have helped con a few neophiles out of a few bucks, but couldn't save it.

In retrospect MS were very smart pretending that Windows 7 wasn't Vista SP1. They dumped a name that was irreversibly associated with crap, and got to charge the neophiles for another "new" OS. That's a trick they missed with XP, which we tend to forget was as borked as Vista until SP1 (and maybe SP2)

However, all of these pale into insignificance compare to trying to convince the world that the desktop is a tablet. That's a one way trip to corporate oblivion, if they don't pull back from the brink before they can Windows 7.

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Nigel 11
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Re: MS have a few problems here..

I've been very critical on Win 8 on the desktop, but on a tablet it may actually work. All MS have to do is realize that the tablet and the desktop are different environments and offer an appropriate UI for each. If Win 8 included an XP-like UI and you could flip to the other one if you really wanted to use Metro on the desktop, I'd stop complaining. (XP UI = Win 7 minus Aero if they want, but not completely flattened, and retaining support for multiple windows, start menu, multiple screens, etc).

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Nigel 11
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Re: "OEMs, please pay attention. This is how you build a PC.”

The mark 1 stylus flop was a specialized piece of hardware, expensive, easy to lose and hard to replace. These days it can be any generic not very pointy object.

On my (not very smart) mobile I usually enter texts using a biro with the cap on, because my fingers are a bit on the blunt side. The phone packs a stylus, but it's less ergonomic than a biro. Useful if there's no biro to hand, though.

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So you wanna be a Wall Street techie? Or anyway, get paid a lot

Nigel 11
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Boffin

Manhole covers

So they can't fall down their own hole - yes, that's one answer. I've never yet seen an equilateral triangular manhole cover (a shape which is even more proof against falling down its own hole). This answer may therefore be only part of the whole truth.

Minimizing the stress concentration at the corners (because there aren't any corners) is another possible.

"I doubt your premise" is also a possible answer. I see plenty of rectangular covers in the pavements I walk. Does it depend on the definition of "manhole"?

I'll get the job for showing that I can think things through, or not get the job for demonstrating that I'm a smart-ass. It's a crap-shoot. Except that in the latter case, I probably wouldn't want the job anyway.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Zen-like puzzles...

I love questions like these. They involve thinking, rather than regurgitation. I'm bad at the latter. I tend to carry only an index in my head, and know where to look up the fine details as and when I need them. (these days, it's often Google! )

If they are part of an interview process, I guess it all depends on the motivation and attitude of the people doing the interviewing. If they are sadists looking for their brand of fun, the whole process is pointless. If they are genuinely looking for someone who can think outside of his narrow specialism, then this is probably the best way to go about it.

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Can't watch Flash vids in Firefox? It's not just you

Nigel 11
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Re: Thread Hijack

See my previous post about 10.0.5esr. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html if you value stable more than new features.

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Nigel 11
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10.0.5esr is better

You'd do better to ditch 3.6 and switch to the long-term-support Firefox based on 10. (Currently at 10.0.5) http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html

I'm quite happily using the latest 13.0.1 but it's well worth knowing that there is an official version that's getting only bugfixes, if you're supporting an organisation or allergic to new features being dropped on you. (I am allergic that way, but so far Firefox hasn't done anything bad enough to annoy me back to 10).

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Nigel 11
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Devil

Adobe quality software

"Adobe quality software" has replaced "Microsoft quality software" in my lexicon. This is because for about two years now, the latest Adobe Acrobats have been incapable of printing some Adobe pdf files generated by Adobe's own software to a Postscript printer (possibly even an Adobe Postscript printer). The same pdf files printed to the same printer using Foxit or Evince work just fine. The same files printed using ancient versions of Acrobat reader also work fine.

Capable of writing software that works and works well? You decide.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Windows 7/Vista? XP FTW!

Read the linked help document, and Real player is implicated in some way - the first things to try are turning it off and un-installing it.

I'm no fan of Microsoft but I'd put them a fairly long way down the suspects list on this one.

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Fujitsu cracks 278-digit crypto

Nigel 11
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Note that they cracked a 978-bit code. That suggests they matched the target to the available hardware. For any sensible cryptographic algorithm, the amount of CPU needed to crack it rises *exponentially* with the number of bits. 978 might be indicating that 1024 isn't enough bits to be safe against a government agency (don't know enough about the maths of this algorithm).

If in doubt add some more bits. The only trouble is that the time to encrypt and decrypt rises when you do that (but far less so than the time to crack! )

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Nigel 11
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WTF?

Re: That's some PC they use

Some might call it a workstation. But there's no exact definition of what is and isn't a PC (Personal computer). I'd say that if it's a system that can sit on or under a desk without making too much noise or heat for an office environment, then it's a PC. Maybe also require that it contains an Intel-x86-compatible CPU and/or can run MS windows if you want it to, if you want to rule out a Sparcstation or a Mac.

Out of interest, what do you call those souped-up gamer systems with overclocked water-cooled CPUs and humumgous GPUs? (Apart from insane, of course).

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Microsoft takes on tablets with keyboard-equipped Surface

Nigel 11
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Re: BAU for MS then?

Out of interest - why do you dismiss Macbooks (i.e. non-tablet portable Macs)?

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Voyager ticks one box for interstellar arrival

Nigel 11
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Head nowhere near hurting

It's less than a light-day out. Great engineering, but ...

The nearest star is about four light-YEARS away.

Our galaxy is amout 120,000 light-years across and contains around 400 BILLION stars.

The observable universe is tens of billions of light-years across and contains more GALAXIES than our galaxy contains stars.

Head hurting yet?

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Windows Metro Maoist cadres reach desktop, pound it flat

Nigel 11
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Great ad copy!

Same slogan, different images ...

A roadkilled rodent

A failed souffle

A mediaeval map of the world

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Nigel 11
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Unhappy

Emperor's new clothes?

My guess is that someone very high-up is making these bad decisions and everyone under him is too scared to voice dissent, or too effectively silenced.

They can pull back from the brink as long as we can choose to buy Windows 7. (Just as continued availability of XP saved them from Vista, although that was only bugridden not completely brain-dead). If they withdraw 7 so it's "8 or nothing", it'll be the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

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Microsoft plots entry into tablet trade

Nigel 11
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Meh

Price

Shouldn't be hard to get 25% cheaper than an iPad. Look at the prices you can buy low-end Chinese Android-hack Tablets for. It'll be Microsoft versus Google fighting for the section of the market that's rejected Apple for being too dear and Chinese no-support tablets for being too cheap.

Microsoft will be locking their tablets, so you won't be able to run any software not Microsoft-sanctioned. Google will presumably leave theirs open, both to non-Google app stores and to non-Google o/ses being installed on jail-broken Google tablets. I'd like to think that makes it no contest, but of course the average drooler doesn't give a monkey's about open-ness.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Microsoft Hardware

Not my experience. MS keyboards seem prone to wearing out. It's Logitech keyboards that are nigh-on everlasting and pleasant to use (even the cheapo ones).

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£CHING: ICANN bags $357m from 1,930 dot-word domains

Nigel 11
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Meh

Re: .fail fail?

I presume they'll be selling subdomains. If 18,500 businesses pay $10 for their name.fail to prevent anyone else using it to disparage their products, then the TLD will be turning a profit.

Wonder how much the'll ask for epic.fail?

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Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Nigel 11
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Re: @Nigel

"Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon."

At which point the real crims with a clue will switch to steganography. Send a completely innocent-looking photograph with an encrypted payload steganographically concealed in the noise. Perfectly encrypted data is indistinguishable from noise.

And don't send it. Just post it in a public place. As public and as popular as possible.

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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Nigel 11
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Re: @Nigel

What you've just said is that any UK employee of an overseas business accessing that business's intranet via a VPN is obviously a criminal.

Not sure if you intended irony or not.

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Nigel 11
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Meh

Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

On the other hand, there ARE records of your phone usage (and everyone else's). There may be no records of your internet usage. So they're going from one extreme to the other. I'm reasonably cool with the concept of my internet usage being logged (I know that this visit to the Reg is logged). Those records should not be available for the authorities to trawl through without a warrant.

As for the practicalities ... VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? Switzerland might be a good choice for a non-criminal who believes in privacy.

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Hitchhiker shot while researching 'Kindness of America'

Nigel 11
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Meh

Re: A personal view

I once had the thoroughly disconcerting experience of being held at gunpoint by armed and jumpy cops. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time: exiting a USA DoE facility with a research reactor on site, a few seconds after they'd had an alert that someone else had just shot at his ex-girlfriend. I matched the suspect's height, race, etc. and was driving the same model car.

It was very scary. The fact that the cops were armed quite definitely did not make me feel safer.

Yes, I can see the other side of the coin. There was an armed crazy on the loose, and unarmed police would have been far more reluctant to get close to him. But I'm still of the view that life is a lot better where the crazies rarely manage to get firearms in the first place, and the armed police are a separate division who are called up only when needed.

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Nigel 11
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Gun Training

Like in Switzerland? (Also the model of gun is tighly regulated there).

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Linux Mint joins mini-PC hardware business

Nigel 11
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Re: Sheevaplug etc

????Plug devices don't have graphics hardware, or any means to add such, so that's an apples to oranges comparison. You might better try comparing it to a Rasberry Pi plus accessories (Power supply, box, USB hub, USB disk).

2.5" disks are silient enough for most people, and one can substitute an SSD if you're in the minority.

Never did understand why they doomed the ????Plug things by failing to include any graphics support at all. Just plain old 2D 1280x1024 would have sufficed. We don't all want to run games or watch movies.

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Nigel 11
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Trollface

Re: My phone has a faster processor

You've got to be trolling. Surely even Windows users know that Ghz comparison is only meaningful between chips with the same architecture (and then only if you're running something that's CPU-limited rather than disk-limited or net-limited).

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Nigel 11
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Fanless mini-itx system

You can, but a mini-itx box is considerably larger. My first thoughts about the mint box were "neat", "cool" and "expensive". A bit like an OpenWRT'ed router, but with the missing bits not missing (graphics, SATA, enough USB ports, enough RAM ... It's also got an RS232 port and a very high temperature tolerance. I doubt it's purely aimed at the domestic market.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Typical use?

A couple of years ago I built a PC based on a passive heatsink Atom 550 board and itx case. No fan. No noise. Low enough power consumption that I don't feel guilty leaving it on 24x7.

It means I can access the internet immediately, without having to wait for a system to boot. It also means that I can access "home" from work or anywhere else. Little things, but I like them.

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Nigel 11
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A hole in the middle

A hole in the middle is *exactly* what it needs, so that it can be chained or bolted down to stop it getting pilfered.

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Climate scientists see 'tipping point' ahead

Nigel 11
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Re: we will never know whether it saved China

And one other thought. If too many unsatisfied males causes wars, then the massive excess of females in the European population after ther carnage of WW1 should have prevented WW2.

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Nigel 11
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Re: we will never know whether it saved China

How can you be so sure? The traditional attitude that girl children are worth less will fade in the face of girls being highly desirable. The same technology that allows selection of a male child allows selection of a female one.

It's also possible that we'll see the evolutionary reason for male homosexuality in action. That's highly speculative, and not intended in any way as endorsing any moral viewpoint. Evolution doesn't appear to have a moral viewpoint, any more than the law of universal gravitation does.

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Nigel 11
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Influenza is a bad example

Influenza is an exception to most general rules about disease propagation.

It's anomalous because it can infect just about any creature with warm blood, rather than just one species. It is spread globally by migrating birds, even in times when humans hadn't worked out how to fly. It's also a fast-mutating virus. There are very many new strains every year, all busily adapting themselves to new species.

Flu is eventually its own antidote. As it mutates in a population, any strain which leaves its victims walking around despite being infected will have a huge advantage over a parent strain that isolates them in bed (or in a coffin). And because the strains are related, the less severe one spreads immunity against the deadlier. Flu evolves within a species to become more infectious but less serious. Were it not for the frequency with which it jumps between species, it would rapidly become no worse than a common cold.

One day, a scientist may have to decide whether to release a flu virus derived from a deadly one, engineered to be less deadly but more infectious.

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Nigel 11
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FAIL

Wrong climate regime @0_Flybert_0

What you describe is the very simple mechanism that's kept the Earth habitable through most of the last 600 Myears. It pertains whenever there is no near-sea-level ice to be found on the planet, which isn't today.

Today, we are in an intergracial period between ice ages. During an ice age, there's a built-in positive feedback regime. If the ice advances, it reflects solar energy back into space, causing further cooling. If it melts, more land is exposed, and that encourages warming. Especially since it thaws out methane hydrates trapped in permafrost, causing large releases of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. There's geological evidence that this sudden thawing has happened several times since the recent era of ice ages started, followed by a more gradual reglaciation.

We may have caused the tipping point towards melting, or we may be about to do so. We are living in a most unstable climate regime that would or will tip within a geological eyeblink(*) in any case, with or without the influence of humanity.

As for that ice-free planet, it's good news for large reptiles, and bad news for large mammals like humans. The stable temperature in the equatorial belt would be too high for humans to survive anywhere with high humidity. (temperature > body temperature, humidity near 100%, and you die).

(*) for non-geologists: a geological eyeblink is some time of the order of a hundred thousand years.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Hyperbole much? @Dave 126

I'm sure you're right about "Malnutrition, death, and horror" in some parts of the world. That's basically the same view Thomas Mathus espoused.

I'm also sure that you're wrong about large other parts of the world. 50 years ago, you'd surely have predicted the worst for Latin America: poor, run by dictators, and overwhelmingly Catholic, a religion that opposes birth control. Since then, population growth has slowed dramatically. The best extrapolation has it reaching zero by 2050.

There's also the Chinese approach, where having more than one child was criminalized. We can never know whether the Chinese would have curbed their fertility voluntarily, given female education and access to birth control. Also we will never know whether it saved (or will save) China from population control by famine.

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Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Nigel 11
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Re: Erm, magnetic charges?

I've always thought that Maxwell's equiations should be written with a term for the density of magnetic monopoles. They are far more symmetrical and elegant that way. Add a statement that magnetic monopoles have never been observed, and that for all everyday purposes this density is everywhere equal to zero, leading to the common formulation of the equations.

On the other hand, cosmologically, in a universe having 4-spherical topology, there must be at least one monopole somewhere, or else magnetic fields could not exist at all.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Historical record

If it was something naked-eye visible and of duration >24 hours, it would have been seen globally and recorded by quite a few civilisations more advanced than the Europeans at that date. China, for example.

Unless, possibly, it was in the Southern hemisphere near the (celestial) South pole. Could that have escaped notice?

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Nigel 11
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Re: Terrestrial origin

If so, one would expect many other radio-isotopes to be anomalous. I'd rather expect someone to have noticed the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the dark ages in (say) skeletons, but I guess it might be masked by the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the cold war.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Gamma ray burst ?

Would have had to have been a very small one. we don't know enough about GRBs to know if a small one is possible. A regular-sized one, of the sort we observe from cosmologically distant galaxies, would sterlilize the entire galaxy within which it occurred. The biosphere-killing mechanism is atmospheric ionisation, leading to the creation of huge amounts of Nitrogen Oxides, followed by deadly acid rain and ocean acidification.

A GRB in Andromeda?

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Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

Nigel 11
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Flame

Re: Won over? Really ?

We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was ME or ditch Microsoft.

We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was Vista or ditch Microsoft. (Yes, I know Windows 7 is pretty much Windows Vista properly debugged. XP had a fairly Vista-like start as well.)

This time? Who knows. DEC managed to kill itself, at the third or fourth try.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Just Geddit People!

Not true. Linux is a lot cheaper than half the price, and a lot more than half-decent, so it should have put Microsoft and Apple both out of business.

Sigh.

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Nigel 11
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FAIL

Re: Confused

Win 7 UI works as well as XP. It P*ssed me off simply because it was different, so I had to spend time out from thinking about the work and start thinking about the s*dding interface again. I'm over that now. Same as learning to drive a new car, but worse, because a desktop UI has a lot more controls than a car.

Metro is far, far worse. It's an enforced paradigm switch. That can only make friends when everyone who uses the old one is crying out, "there has to be a better way", and you supply the better way. And even then ... everyone knows what is said about better mouse-traps, and that it's not true.

Metro fails at the first. It's not better. It's a huge leap backwards. It's the equivalent of taking away the pedals and controls that are universal on all modern cars, and re-introducing the pedals and controls from a model-T Ford.

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Nigel 11
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Re: for users equipped with mouse and keyboard this feels wrong...

Indeed. Note that Apple have a different UI on the iMac compared to the iPad. They know that they are two completely different classes of devices and users. The iMac one is not unlike "classic" Windows XP or 7.

(Amazing. Microsoft has managed to make me say something nice about Apple! )

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Nigel 11
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Facepalm

Truth in naming

ME - a nasty debilitating illness. Yup.

Vista - means excrement in Sanscrit (allegedly). Yup.

Metro - anagram of Morte. Dead. Yup.

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