Feeds

* Posts by Kubla Cant

1198 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

How smart does your desk phone need to be?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Conferencing

The last office I worked in used desktop-sharing software (Bridgit and something else) that integrated nicely with the desktop phones. You could join a conference on the computer and get it to call your phone, whereupon it would show who was dialled-in and who was talking.

The audio quality was obviously too good, though, because most cofnerences were punctuated by the manager saying "Somebody's breathing into the phone - please mute it!".

Of course the handsets were covered in buttons with no discernible function, but that's the way handsets always are. How many home phones have buttons that seem to assume everybody has a PABX?

0
0

Retro-tech fan seeks cash for Commodore 64 clones

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

How?

able to connect to the internet via a local network, and use Micro SD cards for storage

I know nothing about the C64, but given its age I would be surprised to learn that it runs an operating system with either of these capabilities. I suppose it might be possible to emulate a cassette recorder with SD cards (the emulator will need to run very slowly and fail on a random basis). But is he planning to write his own network stack in Basic?

2
0

10-day stubble: Men's 'socio-sexual attributes' at their best

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

@Montreal Sam

Her response was "Go out and find one of these women and sleep with her then."

And did you?

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: @"nations that are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags."

@Drakkenson: Brush up your predicate logic.

"most nations that disapprove of facial hair are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags" does not imply "a particular nation (or even most nations) run by sexually repressed religious nut bags disapproves of facial hair".

∀a(MustShave(a) → RunByNuts(a))

is consistent with

∃a(RunByNuts(a) ∧¬ MustShave(a))

(Why can I paste these symbols into the message, but not enter them as HTML entities?)

0
0

We've done it - we've gone and made LONG-LIFE BEER

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Pint

Re: I will never understand...

@The Grump: I take it from the way you spell "flavor" that you're a native of the country that specialises in flavourless beers, served so cold that any vestigial taste is undetectable.

0
0

BMC successfully sells self

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

BMC?

I have to say, their Morris Marina was rubbish.

0
0

How did something so small and pink cause so much trouble?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Decisive action and commitment

@Phil W: "phasing out passports as they expire"

- so we'd only be able to travel to countries that don't require a passport?

1
0

Forget choice: 50% of firms will demand you BYOD by 2017

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Meanwhile on planet Earth...

As a contractor I imagine I see the inside of more offices than many other people. What I see is people working at large desktop workstations with the biggest screens they can get. I'm looking at two wide screens, the person sitting next to me has three, and at my last place of work there were people with nine screens. You'd need a van to get the stuff home.

OK, let's leave aside these power users and look at low-paid clerical workers. At the moment they usually have a box under the table, a moderate-size screen, a keyboard and mouse. It's still a lot of kit to carry back and forth on the bus.

I guess the presumption of BYOD is that all this work will be taking place on portable devices. The accounts clerk will be using spreadsheets on her smartphone, and the secretaries will be hammering out letters on fondleslabs. Does Gartner have anything to say about the 90% drop in productivity that will result?

0
0

Tiny fly-inspired RoboBee takes flight at Harvard

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re:

I bet it can't walk on the ceiling, either.

1
0

Japan's XP migration solution: Remove network cable

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Re: No network = No Work

I'm wrong. Just re-read and seen that the network ports are taped up.

So it's back to sneakernet.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: No network = No Work

@keithpeter No Internet != no network

1
0

Yet another Cabinet-level ID card farce

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Alert

Here comes Godwin

One problem is that identity documents are so strongly associated with films of Anton Diffring in a long black leather overcoat shouting "Ausweis! Schnell!".

1
0

Star Trek: The original computer game

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Alien

The original computer game?

Not even near. When I read that part of the ancestry of Star Trek was a game called Space Wars, it reminded me that I'd read about an earlier game with a similar name. It seems that Spacewar! is no relation to Star Trek, but it's much, much earlier.

According to a "reliable source", Spacewar! was written in 1962, on a PDP-1 (I never knew there was such a computer, though it makes sense that DEC didn't start from number 8. Were there ever PDPs 2-7?)

While I'm writing, is "numberical" a word you made up?

0
0

UK.gov's love affair with ID cards: Curse or farce?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Big Brother

The big difference is this

All the identifying documents I have at the moment are things that enable me to prove who I am, that I can drive, that I have a line of credit, that I shop at Tesco, that anyone who messes with me is going to hear from Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State, etc. I have them because I think the loss of anonymity is worth the benefit (or in the case of Tesco, I don't because I don't).

The ID card, on the other hand, was going to be something we were all required by law to own and to carry.

3
0

Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

Not to mention:

- Sugar and weedkiller, but not in small tins. The class pyromaniac favoured lengths of bicycle frame with the ends beaten over.

- Potassium permanganate and glycerine, inside an empty desk. Began to burn about halfway through the lesson.

- Acetylene from calcium carbide dropped into a bottomless oil can standing in water, then ignited through the hole in the top. Amazingly, in the 1960s bike shops still stocked calcium carbide for people to use in cycle lamps.

- Iodine and ammonia. Anywhere.

It sounds like Bash Street, but this was a grammar school in what was, according to New Society, the most middle-class town in Britain.

3
0

Linux kernel 3.9 lands

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

@1Rafayal

MS has some advantages, they make a product and let people know all about it and offer help on how to use it.

Microsoft offers help on how to use Windows? How? Where? I don't actually want help myself, but I'd love to be able to redirect friends and family to some helpful Microsoft person.

1
0

CLIMATE CHANGE forces women into PROSTITUTION - US politicians

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: @deshepherd Gender sensitive framework

I suppose you can see why the effect of a 20mph limit on prostitutes might be important, too.

5
0

Is the IT industry short on Cobolers? This could be your lucky day

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Terminator

CV generator

So agents and employers rely on keyword search. Who can blame them, given that a day spent reading CVs is probably a day we'd all prefer to miss?

I see a requirement emerging here. I'm seriously thinking of writing a CV generator. I'll paste in the keywords from the job listing, and it will construct a CV from paragraphs that emphasise my experience with these skills, drawn from a database of everything I've ever done. I already do this manually in covering letters, which I suspect nobody ever reads.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Unhappy

Cobol

From the very beginning of my coding career I kept meaning to learn COBOL, but I always found myself falling asleep somewhere between the words "IDENTIFICATION DIVISION." and "ENVIRONMENT DIVISION.".

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Dibol anyone? Powerhouse?

Interesting and useful article. Maybe it's time to reinstate some fossil skills on my CV. Then again, if I do that I might have to use them, and in most cases I was glad to leave them behind.

The worst part of programming is trying to understand old code written by a somebody for whom a good program is one that makes it to the end statement (which is usually in the same module as the start, 25,000 lines later). Any fossil job is going to involve a lot of that, and until the wolf comes scratching at my door I'd rather not.

0
0

Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: ICT is not attractive to women

@Faye B:

Only when young girls believe that IT will be welcoming, exciting and socially enhancing will it become as attractive as other professions and encourage them to pursue a career in that direction.

It's a job, not a f***ing coffee morning! You're there to get stuff done, not swan around interacting and socialising and enhancing.

greasy overall profession

In 30 years in IT, the only people I've seen in greasy overalls have generally been the cleaners.

I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them.

Maybe if you had anything intelligent to say you'd get more interaction.

2
2
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Joke

So why is it acceptable to make such a claim about men?

Because that's what women do, bless them.

2
2
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Automatic tills?

Nothing really wrong with self-service checkouts, except that they're as yet imperfect. Half of them claim to let you use your own bags but then make you hang around for verification if the bags aren't gossamer-light. And it's annoying to have to hang around for age verification because your shopping includes wine. The worst ones are in B&Q. They're voiced by a ratty woman who nags you if you pause for more than ten seconds between items.

But in what sense is this technology "imposed on us aggressively"? These checkouts are rarely more than 25% of the checkouts. I use them because they're fast, but if the former shadow minister for innovation doesn't like them she could always queue up at a manual checkout.

0
2
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Woman who gives up,

If she was a successful engineer, why on earth would she want to become a politician?

2
4

Science of the lambs: Boffins grow GLOW-IN-THE-DARK sheep

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: What's next?

Beware of "that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep"*.

*Monty Python

0
0

Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: We lack analogue greatness

@Eadon "an Office suit or browser without menu/toolbars"

Your suit has a browser, a menu and toolbars? Is it a pinstripe or tweed suit? What sort of GUI do your casual clothes have?

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Megaphone

The listeners are the problem

An audio system is the result of engineer's best effort to reproduce sound with minimal distortion. With the bass and treble controls centred you should hear something as close to the original as he could get it for the price.

So what do most listeners do? They turn the bass control to number 11. When that makes everything sound boomy, they turn the treble up to 11, too. The result is generally even more distortion as a result of overloading the power amplifier.

2
0

Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Windows

Re: NOW I feel old...

A previous post referred to "old DEC Alphas". I can remember working on Vaxes when the Alpha was a new thing. Actually, I think I can remember working on PDP/11s when the Vax was new.

5
0

Climate-cooling effect 'stronger than volcanoes' is looking solid

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Coat

The difference between weather and climate

When the weather becomes warmer or windier or less predictable, it indicates that the climate is heating up.

By contrast, when the weather gets colder or calmer or more predictable, it's a purely local phenomenon of no significance.

3
2

Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Essex

I though this test was on the Internet. Does Essex have its own Intranet?

1
0

Bill Gates offends Koreans after sticking hand down trousers

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Maybe

@NomNomNom what would YOU say if Bill Gates walked up to the queen of England, slapped her round the face and said FUCK YOU

Don't be stupid. The problem in Korea was an accidental infringement of a local cultural convention. There are plenty of countries where greeting somebody with your hand in your pocket isn't a problem, but I don't suppose you can instance a single one where slapping somebody's face and saying "fuck you" isn't deliberately offensive.

2
0

Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: And in the Microsoft World

"Blackberry PI"

who?

1
0

Red Hat renames JBoss application server as WildFly

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

JBoss currantly** encourages developers to use frameworks other than Java EE, such as Spring, and non-Java languages that run on the JVM, such as Clojure and Scala.

** I assume they must have a good raisin for this.

2
0

Dark matter researchers think they've got a signal

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Fahrenheit?

"Google can't convert very lower Farenheit[sic] temperatures to Kelvin."

Are we to believe that boffins in the impressive-sounding Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search measure temperatures in Fahrenheit, so you have to use Google to convert them?

What else? Dimensions in yards? Volume in bushels? Weight in grains? Time in some insanely old-fashioned units like, er, seconds?

0
1

Amazon's flash-backed database gets EVEN FASTER

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Pint

Flash-backed

When I saw the expression "flash-backed database", I couldn't help visualising a massive datacentre full of flash pen drives connected to USB sockets. What's more I imagined them all different, like the collection of pen drives in my desk drawer, from slick modern 5Gb units to crappy old 128Mb things. Maybe they even have a few of the novelty pen drives.

It's Friday afternoon and I need a beer.

0
0

The fast-growing energy source set to replace oil: Yes, it's COAL

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Renewable Energy

@h3 If we built astronomically large amounts of nuclear we could sell the energy really cheap

This is the second post here that makes the mistake of assuming nuclear energy is cheap because the direct unit cost is low. Nuclear power is capital-intensive. Most of the unit cost of output is a share of the cost of building and decommissioning the power station.

2
0

Game designer spills beans on chubby-fancying chap with his stolen Mac

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Ah the incompetence of the police.

@Neil B: My experience has been similar except for the bit where they found your bike.

When the Police haven't recovered anything, and haven't even investigated, it's exceptionally annoying that there are funds to make sure a "victim support" drone comes round to talk over the psychological effects of having your house broken into.

0
0

British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

I think the purpose of a sentence like "Who the fuck is X?" is less to elicit information than to emphasise the obscurity of X. Googling X won't help achieve that.

13
1

Gov.uk named THE BEST THING Britain has made all year

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
FAIL

Rubbish

I've been an IT professional for about 30 years, so I flatter myself that I can find my way around a web site.

The first time I used the HMRC site to file a VAT return it took about 20 minutes for me to find the correct page. Every quarter I improve a bit; although three months is enough time to forget the details, I've got it down to 10 minutes.

Not for the first time, it seems the Design Museum values appearance way above function.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: For a safer, faster, better experience online you should upgrade your browser.

Why not code for the normal 99%? if you disabled javascript and cookies thats your problem

Because in some cases the use of these sites is compulsory. Paper VAT returns, for example, are no longer accepted.

If they want to make it compulsory, it should be compatible with whatever browser my operating system supports. In some cases that might be a character-based browser such as Lynx.

2
0

Londoners in mass test of telly tech savvy as 4G filters mailed out

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: What about flats

... or the Ariel who can put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes?

2
0

Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: to answer the headline question

@dave 93 Left to market forces there would be no alternatives until the fossil fuels started to run out

I think what you mean is this. Left to market forces nobody would waste money and effort on alternatives until the fossil fuels started to run out and the resulting rise in price made the alternative viable.

There isn't going to be one day when the last oil trickles out of the last well and "the market" says "Oops! We should have developed an alternative". The reserves of fossil fuels are actually quite large, but the cost of extraction of much of it means that it's not currently worth it. As more and more expensive-to-extract fossil fuels come into use, so it becomes more worthwhile to develop alternatives.

13
0

Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Punic? This war is MASSIVE

Punic has nothing to do with size, it's derived from Poeni, the Latin name for the Carthaginians. They were called Poeni because it was thought that they originated from Phoenicia.

Yes, I know it's a pun, and I can see the joke (though not actually laugh at it). But opportunities to display knowledge of this sort are few and far between.

0
0

Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Curious

From time to time, people complain that global warming doesn't seem to be making the weather in Britain any better, and that it recently seems to have been getting worse. The more flippant have been heard to say that we could do with some warmer weather. The rebuttal to this is always along the lines of "Don't be stupid: global warming doesn't mean the weather where you are gets warmer".

But when people produce anecdotes about localised phenomena that seem to indicate the climate is getting warmer - palm trees in Pensacola etc - it's accepted as yet more proof that AGW is real.

Not disagreeing. I just think it's curious.

1
0

Alibaba comes again with Android-unfriendly mobile OS

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Open source

because AMOS uses “the Android runtime, framework and tools” but is not technically compatible with Android, Alibaba shouldn’t be allowed to partner with Open Handset Alliance members

Nice to see how enthusiastically Google supports the open-source philosophy.

0
0

Smart metering will disrupt weather forecasts, warns Met Office

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: @JetSetJim Alternative

@Chris 3: "It's a fairly well tested theory that if people become aware of their power consumption they tend to reduce it."

Fairly well tested and disproved, AFAIK.

2
0

Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Same old same-old

The only difference between spying on your neighbours with a drone and doing it by attaching a camera to a long stick or climbing a tree or using a telephoto lens or a hole in the party wall is that it's marginally more convenient. The laws that apply to the current peeping Tom technologies will still apply. The same applies to the nuisance and safety risk that you can cause with a drone.

Believing that readily-available drones change things is a classic example of technology fixation.

1
0

Antarctic ice sheet melt 'not that unusual', latest ice core shows

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: To be fair...

Indeed, but this last happened as recently as the 1830s, and I don't think sea levels were 40ft higher then.

8
1

I salute Lady THATCHER - Shoreditch's SILICON GODMOTHER

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: 51% to 49% is hardly a sweeping victory

@AC: "It's actually almost the most divisive you can possibly be"

Yes, she splits the Guardian readership right down the middle. But they hardly represent the median of the political spectrum, do they?

5
2
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Seen elsewhere

All this week I've been wondering how many of the vocal anti-Thatcherites who've popped up are actually old enough to know what pre-Thatcher Britain was like. It was crappy, and getting crappier every year. But don't let that mute your right-on rhetoric - maybe crappy is what you like.

9
10