* Posts by Kubla Cant

1478 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

This box beams cafes' Wi-Fi over 4kms so you can surf in obscurity

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Missed a trick........

have it drive round the urban roads at night mostly hidden under parked cars

It's a neat idea, but why do you want to film the underside of parked cars?

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: libraries

Think about the IT people working behind the counter at the access point.

So the counter staff in Starbucks are really IT people? Understandable, as they certainly don't know how to make coffee.

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Self destruct?

I hope "self destruct" doesn't mean it bursts into flames and burns down the library. The cassettes in the original Mission Impossible used to emit smoke, but no flames*. In real life it might be difficult to guarantee one without the other.

* I guess it wouldn't look too cool if the MI operative had to stamp out flames when his message "destructed" itself. AFAIK this was the original use of the odd phrase "self destruct", and responsible for the odd back-formed verb "to destruct". Why not "destroy"?

0
0

Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Joke

Re: A modest proposal

@Ledswinger Because supplier margins are around 4%, that's all you'd save

I would guess that 4% is much larger than a typical Forex margin. And you're making the mistake of assuming that the meter is actually buying electricity for me to use, whereas I'm suggesting that it should build a position. Commodity traders don't actually eat all those pork bellies.

Please note the icon that you seem to have missed first time round.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Joke

A modest proposal

If they're going to all this trouble, why not install really smart meters that do algo trading? I'm thinking of something that can send an RFQ to all the energy suppliers and take forward positions to minimize my energy costs. With 26 million traders, it could be an exciting market.

8
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

@Drefsab_UK: I will use the same amount of electricity with or with a smart meter

Me too.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Correction

Other, non-UK governments are good at big infrastructure projects because they are committed to serving their citizens, not to lining the pockets of themselves and their mates.

Citation required.

Also, I think this assertion may be susceptible to the application of Hanlon's Razor.

1
0

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: The RN's inability to operate unsupported wasn't the RAF's fault

There's a well known saying that the military always start out fighting the previous war.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: A beautiful aircraft though - Possibly the loudest thing I've ever seen move.

I saw a Vulcan take off at the Farnborough Air Show as a kid - I suppose it must have been the early 1960s. I recall the massive noise that made the ground shake, and also the incredibly steep climb as soon as it left the ground (I think they were showing off).

1
0

F# earns Syme top Royal Academy of Engineering award

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

A quick, unscientific way to assess the popularity of a language* is to see how much demand there is for the skill. JobServe returns 15 jobs requiring F#. Not many, compared with C# (1599), Java (1797), JavaScript (1736) or even Scala (162). This suggests that the opinion of people who actually use programming languages to do stuff isn't quite as enthusiastic as that of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Cross-platform? Up to a point. F# seems to be tied to Visual Studio**, which I think only runs in Windows, and the output is apparently CLI, JavaScript or GPU code. It's not my area of expertise, but depite Mono, I'm not aware of extensive use of CLI languages on non-MS platforms.

* Or at least to assess whether learning it is a good career move.

** Yes, I know real developers don't use an IDE (or a screen, or a keyboard).

3
1

Devs, welcome your EVIL ROBOT OVERLORDS from MIT

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Black Watch Opportunities in Dark Web Ventures at the Silvery Lined Cloud Interface

I always try to read the posts by amanfromMars 1, but I find brain-pain kicks in after about five lines. I'm off to lie down.

6
0

Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Scandal-mag-cum-style-sheet

I think "cum", Latin for "with", is found in place names where two villages shared a single parish church. Within a few miles of where I live are Pidley-cum-Fenton and Earith-cum-Bluntisham. Neither name is in current use except maybe at the church. The Manchester district of Chorlton-cum-Hardy is a case where the composite name seems to have survived.

The formula X-cum-Y, meaning "X amalgamated with Y" is presumably derived from this.

3
0

Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Welcome to the 19th century

If the Siberian object, at 120 feet across, was equivalent to to 185 * Hiroshima (185 * 20 kilotonnes = 3700 kilitonnes), why was the Chelyabinsk object, at slightly over half the size (65 feet), only equivalent to 500 kilotonnes?

0
0

That man told me to stuff a ROLE up my USER ENTRY!

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Login Names and Access...

Passwords had to be changed weekly. Woe betide you if you took a Friday off because that was when everyone had to change them.

If I've ever changed my password on a Friday I spend most of Monday morning trying to guess what I changed it to.

3
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Login names

As a contractor, I've had more than my fair share of usernames. In my current job my username is a 9-digit number.

Though I too have a poor memory for names, I can usually remember a username derived in some way from my real name. But a number is impossible. I daren't log out.

I am not a number, I am a free lancer.

2
0

GM's cheaper-than-Tesla 'leccy car tested at batt-powered data centre

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Fuel tax

I don't know about the UK but up here in Australia, fuel excise goes straight into consolidated revenue. It's not a road funding system.

Same in the UK. Few taxes are hypothecated, anywhere.

But a "reliable" source tells us, "government revenue from fuel duty in 2009 was £25.894 billion, with a further £3.884 billion being raised from the VAT on the duty contributing some 4 per cent to the total UK tax revenues." That's about £30bn that's going to have to be found somewhere. Either direct taxes go up, or, more likely, electricity gets a two-tier tax system rather like the current system for diesel.

I wonder how the economics of an EV would look if it paid £1200/year in fuel tax?

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I'm sure you'll be glad to know

Not directly relevant, but still an arresting statistic: Britain has twice as many taxpayer-funded electric car charging points as it actually has electric cars.

From the same article:

“If you were to charge a car in 12 minutes for a range of 500 km, for example, you're probably using up electricity required to power 1,000 houses," Yoshikazu Tanaka, a top Toyota engineer, told the Reuters news agency in April. “That totally goes against the need to stabilise electricity use on the grid."

8
0

Warning flags were raised over GDS farm payments system – yet it still failed

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Gov is sure to fail

Underpaid Overpaid under-qualified mediocre civil servants

FTFY

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Why do government projects fail?

I'm genuinely interested to know.

We all make a habit of deriding the incompetence and failure rate that bedevil givernment IT projects. But you have to wonder why it always happens. Is it failure to analyse the problem domain fully? Poor design skills? Incompetent developers who don't deliver to spec?

If the answer is inadequate skills, why? The days when public sector work was badly-paid are long gone.

I used to assume that scale must be a big factor, but that doesn't seem to be a legitimate excuse here. There are 300,000 farms in the UK, so it's big, but not overwhelming. And financial institutions deal with much larger systems without major issue (except RBS).

The excuse here seems to be "The challenges for a system like rural payments were integrations [around] legacy, third-party supplier...", but that's the case for most systems. It's vanishingly rare to build a system that doesn't have these features.

4
0

BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

+1 for the Four Tops reference!

4
0

Humongous headsets and virtual insanity

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Try doing certain things to yourself when you've got a blindfold or hood on

I'm reluctant to sound like an expert in this area, but I'm sure the things people do to themselves while watching porn can be done in the pitch dark, if necessary.

10
0

'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: anything goes.

Unnecessary quotes.

I disagree. The formula x means y has two usages:

x implies y, as in Nuclear war means the end of civilisation.

x can be paraphrased as y, as in Antediluvian means "before Noah's flood".

In this case my intention was something closer to the latter. In other words, not The text referenced in your posting does not imply that everything is permitted, but The text referenced in your posting cannot be summarised as "everything is permitted". To my ear, at least, the two are quite distinct.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: For all those pedantic bastards out there....

A pedantic bastard writes:

That doesn't mean "anything goes". I think you're making the incorrect assumption that prescriptive usage is the basis of pedantry. Not so. What pedants are trying to protect is defined by usage.

As a matter of fact, the errors corrected in postings to El Reg are mostly malapropisms, spelling mistakes, and solecisms such as "there" for "their". These would be wrong in any language community.

16
1

Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

As far as I know, the object of copyright law is not so much to prevent publication but to ensure adequate compensation for originators of IP.

If you publish a picture of a historic building, who gets the royalties? Gustave Eiffel (d. 1923), in the case of the Eiffel Tower? William the Conqueror for the Tower of London? Stonehenge, er...?

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I doubt it's hard to prank them

The Telegraph's online edition has no sub-editors - they publish directly to web without any proofreading or fact-checking of any sort

That explains a lot. I glance at the online Telegraph over breakfast, not because of deep sympathy with its views, but mainly because it's not behind a paywall. I've often been astounded by the typos and sloppy editing.

2
0

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I appreciate the points made about emergency calls and power cuts*. But it's tempting to say to BT, "OK, it's a deal. You make sure every building that has a POTS connection gets genuine, fast broadband. Then give everybody a free router and as many VoIP phones as they need to replace their old equipment. After you've done all that, we'll scrap the USO."

*I keep an old wired phone for use during power cuts - not least because they're quite frequent in my village. But most people I know rely entirely on wireless phones, which won't work during a power cut.

11
0

Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Limited

10.The Dude - The Big Lebowski

Never heard of him.

He's the only one in the top ten whose primary activilty isn't fighting and killing people. The reason I rarely watch films is that these days they seem to be targetted at people with the taste and discrimination of ten-year-olds.

16
0

Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Flame

Why am I more likely to make a type in my email address than anything else? Doesn't everybody just copy and paste it between the fields, anyway?

Yes, but there are a significant number of sites where some bastard UI developer from hell has gone to the trouble of disabling copy and paste in these fields.

6
0

Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: NEAR Shoemaker

To judge from the bouncy-bouncy problems with the Philae lander, it may not be a very hard landing.

0
0

THEY WANTED OUR WOMEN: Neanderthals lusted after modern humans

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Early modern

Interesting, though slightly less astounding than I expected when I saw the title An early modern human from Romania with a recent Neanderthal ancestor. In most history books, the Early Modern period runs from c1500 AD to c1800 AD.

0
2

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Transistors?

No. Gears.

2
0

In My House, Stalin's Daughter and The Smartest Book in the World

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Unhappy

A bit less baseball next time out, eh?

I know what you mean. Not so long ago I read Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927. It's a fascinating and entertaining book, except for the two or three chapters where he gets stuck into baseball. Then it becomes a farrago of meaningless decimal statistics about players you've never heard of, playing for teams you've never heard of, achieving feats you don't understand.

Now if it was about cricket... that would be more comprehensible, but just as boring.

1
0

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

I thought I'd Google "slamming" too. The first result was an article from the Independent, summarised thus:

The trend – known as “slamming” – gives users a more intense high and commonly takes places at sex parties which can go on for several ...

So it's not just a case of phone hijacking.

1
0

Take that NATS! Jocko IT is also totally rubbish. BOOM!

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Meh

Who's crap at IT?

both nations seemingly equally crap at IT

The article reports that the Scottish government and the UK government are both crap at IT*. I believe the British, as a nation, are actually quite good at IT. It's the government that's crap at IT. No surprise there, being crap at things is a government speciality.

*Maybe because they don't know that it isn't called "ICT". Wasn't ICT the name of the company that became ICL?

10
0

MOUNTAIN of unsold retail PCs piling up in Blighty: Situation 'serious'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

No, don't stop it. You're all doomed, doomed, I say!

(I'm thinking of buying a new PC soon.)

2
0

It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: du -sh @ orig ac

It's reasonable to assume that the RBS systems have are able to handle exceptions at a transaction level, i.e. reject records that contain bad data, rather than the entire file. If they didn't, problems like the recent one would happen at least once a week.

If a system that can handle bad records rejects a whole file, the likelihood is that the third party that supplies the file has modified the format, either deliberately or accidentally.

1
0

Samsung spins up its latest rusty rotators for release

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Not necessarily

With 2400h of video it sounds like you're hoping to keep the back seat occupants quiet until they're old enough to drive their own cars.

6
0

Airbnb beats actual posh hotel chain with stupidly large valuation

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
IT Angle

Storage?

I'm trying to work out why this article is classified under Data Centre / Storage. I suppose accommodation is, loosely, storage?

4
0

MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

To produce reliable figures, you'd need a minimum % of the providers customer base (or of the entire customer base).

Statisticians may correct me, but I was under the impression that statistical significance is determined by a combination of absolute sample size and the relative frequency of the attribute being sampled for. For example, if you're measuring the percentage of population under 20, a sample of 1000 produces results that are equally significant for Cambridgeshire or the whole UK.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Does the CAP fit?

BT uses the method to describe our speeds that is defined by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)

I think I'd place more trust in a method devised by network specialists than one made up by a committee of admen.

16
0

JavaScript creator Eich's latest project: KILL JAVASCRIPT

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Kill JavaScript?

I don't think the availability of other languages for the browser will kill JavaScript now. Five years ago, maybe, but today most of its peculiarities have been turned into strengths.

It's very odd. JavaScript spent the first half of its life as the idiot cousin of the family of block-structured procedural languages. Then, apparently without significant change to the language, developers started to bend and twist it to the extent that modern JavaScript looks very different, and can do some remarkable things.

Personally I still find working in JavaScript makes me feel like I'm going round Hyde Park Corner on a bicycle, and it's exasperating the way every month brings a new best-ever framework or library. But these days it doesn't owe its continued existence to the fact that it's the only thing that runs in the browser.

3
0

Version 0.1 super-stars built the universe – and they lived all the way over there, boffins point

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Question

It would have been less confusing for us non-boffins if the star populations were numbered in order of creation, rather than discovery, but that would have meant knowing from the start how many populations there were to discover.

1
0

Downing Street secretly deletes emails to avoid exposure to FOIeurs

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Email isn't (shouldn't be) a filing system...

Why? Most email clients go out of their way to provide filing-system-like features such as hierarchical folders.

Important documents should be kept in a version controlled respostory.

Maybe, but emails, however important, are intrinsically different from version-controlled documents. It's rare for an email to be modified, as opposed to being copied into another email.

14
1

AdBlock aims to send filthy malverts on one-way LSD trip

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Proxy server

Why mess about with browser-level filters? Almost all big companies access the Internet via a proxy server, and in my experience the proxy server also filters content. I should have thought that ad-blocking would be a logical extension.

I use Privoxy at home, but I don't know whether it has the capability required of a corporate proxy.

3
0

The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Flame

Re: It happens

Pour petrol on it.

Exactly. If the team in the story was gifted with any ingenuity, they could have made Tim's life hell.

Take the example of not committing router config to NVRAM: it shouldn't be hard to make sure Tim gets to reconfigure one router an hour throughout the day and night.

29
0

Hating on 'Like Farms': boffins trawl for Facebook fakes

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

most net users are not native English speakers, and by that I mean US/UK/AU

Cue angry responses in fractured English from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand...

0
1

British banks consider emoji as password replacement

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Somebody please stop the planet...

My recollection is that blancmange only came in two colours, white and pink, or, if you prefer rosemange.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Somebody please stop the planet...

@MrXavia a dead, cold, dessert of a planet

Made of blancmange?

4
0

Zionists stole my SHOE, claims Muslim campaigner

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: A few pointers

there's 1.6 billion muslims in the world from every walk of life

Including, presumably, the one-shoe hobble.

5
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Stasi

The Stasi also used to steal people's underwear* so they had a smell sample for their tracker dogs. There was a program on TV that showed all these jars with grubby kecks in them.

* And socks? Somebody's certainly stolen a few of mine.

1
0

Forums