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* Posts by AndrueC

2300 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Setup costs

If they're not providing the service they should then fuckem.

One problem with that is that the most complex and error prone part of a connection - the last mile - is often not being supplied by the ISP. Everyone except for VM customers and people living in Hull(*) are reliant on BT openreach for the physical cable. Even LLU only replaces the DSLAM and is still reliant on BTor. Even the exchange backhaul is usually BTor.

And FTTC is BTor for cable and cabinet.

It's entirely possible for an ISP to only own whatever is in their server room. And I imagine there are companies that will rent that kit as well. It could be that your ISP is nothing but support and billing staff.

Legally your ISP is still responsible but they don't always have much control over the last mile. With FTTC they can't even request a DLM reset. The disconnection charges being levied here are probably just the ISP passing on BT's charges.

(*)Oh and a handful of people on alt nets.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: cost no more than outstanding contract

£625? That's £52pm.

Not if it's an 18 month contract. And 24 month contracts exist ;)

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AVG stung as search revenue from freebie scanners dries up

AndrueC
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WTF?

Re: Toolbar install

However the arrival of Windows Security Essentials was the nail in the coffin. It renders AVG pointless.

I thought MSE had been shown to be the worst AV of the lot?

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: I feel a vote coming on...

I would say Avast for granny but lately that's been getting spammy and confusing to novice users.

Yes, it has. I use that on one of my home machines and am getting fed up of it offering me various products. I'd remove it except that I hardly ever use it and as you ask - what do I replace it with?

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Pleased to meet you. I'm Joe Bloggs, MVP, vExpert, Cisco Champ

AndrueC
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Re: Preschool Diplomas

I don't remember when I last showed anyone my degree certificates. It has maybe been once or twice in the last 20 years.

I've been a programmer for nearly 25 years and I've never shown a certificate to an employer. Not that there'd be a lot of point. None of mine relate to computing. Even better - the highest qualification I have is an old style OND. That added a certain piquancy to the couple of times I had to help interview candidates where our minimum entry requirement was a good degree :)

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AndrueC
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I was a member of Borland's TeamB for a while. Perks included a license for everything, and once a year a flight to their California HQ. Oh and moderator rights on their News Server which allowed me to exercise my inner demon occasionally :)

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Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage

AndrueC
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I have to admit when moving house I'd want to be within 500 metres of an enabled FTTC cabinet. 300 or less for preference. But mobile coverage - meh. Adequate to make and receive texts and calls if I'm lucky but it's not a deal breaker. I lived without a mobile for 30 years and I don't make many calls on it even now.

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

AndrueC
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Go

Re: Point of Issue

I suspect the reality is that the "insecurity" of C has less to do with the language itself, and more to do with the underlying application code being written 10/15/20 years ago and not being looked at since

I'd say it's mostly due to the code age but a fair amount is also down to the language. Although it's true that C/C++ code is not inherently unsafe it's also true that there's not a great deal of pressure within the language to dissuade you from unsafe practice and even less to encourage you to good practice. You can improve things a bit if your compiler supports 'treat all warnings as errors' but that's a choice you have to make and reliant on the verbosity of your compiler.

The good thing about both those languages (and I'll always have a soft spot for C++) is that they trust the programmer and allow them total control.

The bad thing about both those languages is that they trust the programmer and allow them total control.

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

AndrueC
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Re: It's about real-time pricing, not just turning things off

Electricity - although costing about 3x/kWh than gas - is typically a few per cent of domestic costs compared to gas-powered heating and hot water, which account for 40 per cent or more of the bill.

But isn't that just because most homes don't use electricity for heating and hot water? It'd be interesting to know what the savings would be comparing on-demand electric heating v. gas central heating. I'm not interested in storage heaters because they are (in my opinion) just a bad idea. But perhaps it would be cheaper to have genuine electric wall heaters. There's surely scope for them to be more intelligent than a single thermostat for the entire house.

But..I believe that electricity for heating is inherently less efficient than gas because of the transport losses. The closer you burn the fuel to where you need it the less wasteful it tends to be.

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AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Just sayin'

Every time the government or big business say they are doing something for your benefit you just know they are lying.

Fixed that for yer :D

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AndrueC
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Re: He's dead right.

Modern electronic meters have a LED on the front,

My 35 year old house has analogue dials for meter reading. And a fusebox that uses actual fuse wire. Come to think of it a better way to spend money might(*) be to pay to have the consumer unit in properties like mine upgraded.

(*)When it involves (however indirectly) taxation I always struggle to come up with a good reason for spending money.

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AndrueC
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Stop

Re: Perfectly logical

The reason you need a smart meter is so that the people who make smart meters can sell them.

And the people who make appliances can use the information as a marketing tool to persuade us to replace perfectly functional things with newer versions.

And never forget of course that the government can increase taxes to pay for this (and prolly 'forget' to lower them later when it's complete) in order to protect the environment and future generations.

Oh dear. My cynicism seems to be showing :-/

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AndrueC
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Meh

I'm still not convinced smart meters will really help. I take energy usage seriously but I wouldn't gain much from such an app. By being interested in energy saving(*) I already know how to determine which appliances are the worst offenders(**). Those not interested will probably ignore the display anyway.

And when all's said and done what is anyone supposed to do with the knowledge that their fridge is the biggest consumer? Go into the kitchen and give it a good talking to? Spend several hundred pounds replacing it with a newer model in order to save a quid a month?

Does anyone really leave energy hogging appliances running excessively long without realising it? Would such people pay any attention anyway?

I suppose that if the HID glows bright red and flashes with a 'whoop, whoop' siren when household consumption goes above some chosen limit that might trigger a response. But I suspect the likely response will be to throw the HID in the bin or a soundproof drawer rather than to turn off the appliances causing the problem.

(*)More a hobby as a result of a lifetime of being a resource concious programmer.

(**)Hint - the warmer it gets, the more power it consumes.

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BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: No thanks - no remote control

If you need to check your car is locked just get off your fat arse, go to the window and press your lock button.

My car is left at a train station and during the day is over 50 miles from where I work. I believe that the curvature of the Earth prevents me from seeing it. Well, that and the roof of the multi-storey car park. Plus I'm still using the original batteries in my key fob so I suspect the signal won't get that far.

But I don't think I've ever wondered about the car doors so not a problem. House doors though..yeah. I ruined one Christmas holiday because I thought I'd left the front door open and flapping in the breeze. I hadn't - it was closed and locked. But that haunted me all week.

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AndrueC
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Joke

the constant flashing of the bulbs reduces the life of the bulb and indicator unit.

Strangely a lot of them don't seem able to maintain good speed around corners as they often come up behind me (ooh er missus) on single lane roads then drop behind when it gets twisty. Perhaps they are trying to prolong the life of their tyres as well.

If wear and tear is to be minimised it would help if they had some kind of obstruction early warning system. Like "There's a roundabout ahead. You might as well ease off now rather than slamming on the breaks at the last minute".

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NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

AndrueC
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Joke

My mugshot is a pair of buttocks.

That should be fine for a passport as long as you're not wearing glasses or smiling.

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Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage

AndrueC
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WTF?

So was it a coincidence that the weather site was also very flaky?

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BT: Hey guys, we've developed NEW MOBE TECH! It’s called... 2G

AndrueC
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Happy

Sat in an office in Brum. one end of the office 3G, other end 2G

Here in Brindleyplace my S3 is saying 'H' so that's either H or H+ (I'm getting 5Mb/s average so impossible to know based on that).

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MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: Giant golfer? Not likely.

You've never seen me golf

You, I might have seen. My ball in the rough on the other hand..natch. I play either bright yellow or bright orange and still the buggers can vanish without trace barely an inch off the fairway.

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

Its a cover-up they have been breeding giant gofers

I briefly mis-read that as giant golfers.

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Rural mobile coverage: Tweeting twits to join chirping tits in UK's national parks

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Hooray

Unless you call £53 for 7 days or £88 for 15 days rental expensive ?

For the UK - yes. Granted people sometimes get into difficulty in really bad weather on the top of what we like to call mountains(*). But suggesting people should take a sat phone when they go walking around our national parks is a bit silly. The biggest communication problem we face on our small island when out enjoying the scenery is trying to get away from twitters, texters, talkers and the beeping noises that accompany them.

Now if you actually live in a remote(**) area it can be a bit of a pain but then you'll be making more use of it so investing in a proper installation might make sense.

but when your several hundred miles from the nearest person

Extremely difficult to achieve in the UK. In fact about the only way to do is it go and sit on a small rocky outcrop in the north Atlantic ;)

(*)The rest of the world call them 'rocky hills' :)

(**)Again, our definition of 'remote' is not the same as in most parts of the world.

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X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Buzzword bingo

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1998-12-27/

Maybe the new CEO is Scott Adams in disguise playing the world's biggest prank.

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Cops nab suspect using CREEPY facial recog system

AndrueC
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You're right about witness testimony, but human eyes are very impressive optically.

I'll take that back then. Most of the problems are probably the result of how we direct attention which is of course the visual system. Apparently we find it very hard to see people dressed in gorilla suits :)

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AndrueC
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Stop

organise an identify parade, both of which carry weight in court

Does it? Not much I'd hope. Certainly not as key evidence. Witness testimony has been proven to be horribly unreliable. Human eyes aren't very accurate optically, the human visual system makes things up as it goes along, human data storage is tainted by emotional triggers (both storage and retrieval) and human memory is fallible.

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Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

AndrueC
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I loved the original. I think 2000 was okay but the more recent ones introduced micro-management and got rid of water and/or power management (I forget which). SC was always an excellent time-sink. Hours could fly by without you realising.

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AndrueC
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I played it on the CPC I think. Have to admit it was great fun although there could be arguments if the players tried to explore too far on their own. Eventually someone had to agree to turn round and go back.

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

AndrueC
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Meh

just a tedious procession round and round in a circle with hardly any passing

That hasn't been true for at least a couple of years now. DRS and a reduction in aero grip means that there's quite a bit of overtaking and close racing. Not as much as in closed wheel racing, true, but probably as much as there ever has been in F1. If you've ever liked F1 you'll probably like it now.

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Unique Passwords

I don't understand why password systems *insist* on capitals, numbers, non-alphas, etc instead of just *allowing* them

Dilbert covered this a while back.

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AndrueC
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Re: spot on

I use unique crap e-mail addresses

I do that for every contact. I have my mail server set up with a wildcard pattern so I can hand new addresses out to anyone without having to change anything. I only have to administer the server if an address goes bad so that I can add it to the blacklist.

This is how I know that LinkedIn either sell their email addresses to third parties or else can be farmed. Last time it took barely two months before the latest address went bad.

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AndrueC
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Re: Password Managers?

Or a notepad and a pen

In some cases you can improve security by only writing down a pattern. In my previous job where the passwords changed every 90 days I used incrementing numbers and for each account wrote down the number.

So my main login would be written down as 'MLI:57'. Even if you found the piece of paper it wasn't going to help you much.

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AndrueC
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Meh

I've been doing this for a long time. I have three main levels of password and the most secure has variants for those sites that are particularly strict. It's slightly marred by Tesco who have recently enforced stronger passwords. Consequently when I log in to order groceries I have to use one of my strongest passwords. That's overkill. It's not like anyone can spend my money if they gain access. It only needs a second-tier password in my opinion.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Not surprising

All I can say is thank you, Ofcom. I don't agree with all they've done but compared to what I hear about the US in these cases I think they deserve some credit. Most of us can at least choose the DSLAM or backhaul provider and when it comes to cost and customer service we all have lots of choice.

It's also quite cheap here which is nice but the flip side of that is the damage it does to the case for investment. Swings and roundabouts but I think on balance I prefer what we do. Someone stuck on a sub-2Mb/s line might not agree :-/

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Barclays Bank counter staff to become iPad-toting 'community bankers'

AndrueC
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Happy

They've been doing that in the Exeter branch for ages and it's seriously annoying

That brings back memories from a long time ago. Is it still a large, round underground chamber? Always made me think of a dungeon when I was a sprog :)

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Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?

AndrueC
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Re: Mistake ?

Is this a mistake ... surely if the analyst's expected $17.1 bn and MS made 17.63 bn revenue this is a good thing ?

Does it mean that the analysts were expecting $17.1bn profit not revenue? Although that would mean they saw $4bn instead of $17bn which is a nasty, nasty surprise so doesn't make much sense either.

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

AndrueC
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Re: @ Simon Harris - This new stuff looks boring (Soldering iron)

I have an Onkyo 507. Not top of their line but pretty good and great for the price at the time. It has four HDMI inputs and as of last month I'm using them all. Luckily you can modify input assignments so now I have DVD/BD, Cbl/Sat, VCR (actually my Freesat box) and Port for my media server. I have one optical in for my Sky HD box (they didn't used to support 5.1 over HDMI) and the other for my Freesat box (same problem I think) with my Squeezebox Touch feeding in through coax digital.

When I first got my PS3 it sometimes didn't sync video and needed restarting but a firmware to the PS3 eventually fixed that.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: This new stuff looks boring

A single LED - to indicate its power status - should be quite sufficient.

For a home theatre system there needs to be something to indicate the source format, but otherwise I agree.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: Sigh,,,

Logitech. Le sigh. Le BIG sigh.

MX 700. The best mouse I've ever owned. Wireless, rechargeable and takes two AAs so when the batteries finally give out you..just..buy..new ones. Discontinued.

Harmony One. Best remote I've ever owned. First one sucumbed to budgie excrement. Second was v2. Charge doesn't last as long. Ironically it goes to sleep to conserve power and has to be shaken awake before use. Discontinued.

Squeezebox. Discontinued.

Such a shame indeed :(

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Sigh,,,

CD player, DTT receiver, amplifier, two speakers.

I ditched the CD player a long time ago when I bought my Slim Devices Squeezebox but otherwise, I agree. Multi-room doesn't make much sense to me. I only have one living space and frankly the music travels from there into the bedrooms fairly well anyway since it's a typical modern house. Squeezebox does offer some kind of synchronisation through the server so I could do multi-room that way (I have two of them) but have never bothered.

My SB3 is in the study for when I work from home. The Touch is the primary player for the living room.

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Read the proposed US ASTEROIDS Act to green-light mining IN SPAAAACE

AndrueC
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Re: Footfall

Thinking about it though - perhaps the dinosaurs were space-faring and did themselves in?

There's quite a good S/F book along those lines. It's called Tool Maker koan. It's not a classic but it develops quite nicely.

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AndrueC
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Happy

Seriously, fuck you, groundhuggers.

I prefer the term flatlander :)

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Law doesn't enable, it recognises ownership

Without the law material could be taken from the miners and there wouldn't be any law that said it was theft as no country would have recognised the ownership.

This all assumes the material and/or perpetrator is brought to Earth. Personally I think it's better to use the material to build an off-Earth civilisation. Still it's probably best for now not to let Earthly governments know that. Let them pass their laws if it keeps them happy and encourages them to provide funding and assistance ;)

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

AndrueC
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Re: Increase in fuel consumption

Thanks for that :)

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AndrueC
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What is causing the increase in fuel consumption? I can't get to the report site at the moment to see if it says. I'm curious why a craft that is on an outward trajectory would need to expend fuel. I suppose it would be required to orient the antenna but given the distance I'm surprised it needs much orientation to keep it pointed at that slightly brighter but fading dot in the distance.

Anyway, thumbs up to both Voyagers and especially to NASA engineers.

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Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

AndrueC
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Facepalm

it may not be a coincidence that google.co.uk went down for approximately 10 minutes shortly before 11am UK time.

So that's what caused it. Barstools.

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You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR

AndrueC
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contemplate the humiliating prospect

Now you're making me ashamed and that deserves an upvote. Anyway I'm spending this weekend with him so it's all good. We get on well most of the time it's just the computing stuff that can be a bit frustrating.

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: VPN.

Teamviewer is a better option, as it doesn't rely on the user setting anything up other than a shortcut.

And for Windows, Remote Assistance doesn't even need that. It does require them to be capable of sending an email and reading a password out correctly though :)

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AndrueC
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Oh this is so like my tech support calls with my Dad. It's a lot better now that I can use Windows Remote Assistance but he still refers to his email as 'Firefox' and if something changes his homepage he calls me to tell me that he's lost Google.

And I really wish he'd stop confusing 'operating system' with 'program'. He was at ICL back in the 60s working on George V so I'd have thought he knew the difference. Then again he was mostly a tape engineer so perhaps that's unfair.

I wonder if I'll be like that when I'm in my 80s? It almost makes me want to have kids just so that I can piss them off with inane questions and leave them frustrated because they love me too much to vent their feelings.

Bless :)

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El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

AndrueC
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Happy

So, just to be clear, are sarcasm and cynicism in or out?

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

AndrueC
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Re: Is this really possible?

Separating out Windows 8 and 8.1 is a little disingenuous

I agree. Things still don't look brilliant for Win 8 but no worse than I'd expect for an even numbered version. As has been noted many times MS seems to alternate good versions with bad versions when it releases an OS. I think that Win 9 will be a good release and will do well. What's odd is that (to me at least) it even sounds like a good 'un - Windows 9.

We shall see. Things have changed a lot in the desktop market and if Win 8 was a stepping stone to something Win 9 should be the full blown effort.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

AndrueC
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Stop

Re: Ancient technology

Never heard of a digital amplifier. Amps have to be analogue.

They are called Class 'D' amps. I think I used to own a 5.1 receiver that was class D. I'm not completely sure but (this was about ten years ago) it was the same size as my DVD player. Despite being vertically challenged it could deliver 100w per channel.

Ah here we go. Took a while but this is the user manual and this is the beastie in the flesh:

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