* Posts by Kubla Cant

1395 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: El Reg eggs Benedict

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: says:

a bit of fresh spinach

Spinach makes it into eggs Florentine, doesn't it?

0
0

I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Robo-penpushers of the world unit

Upvoted. Everyone ought to read The Tin Men for robotics and academic infighting, and Towards the End of the Morning for journalism.

0
0

TalkTalk 'fesses up to MEGA data breach

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

...the sort code and account number. Information that was always on any cheque I wrote anyway...

In the days when payments were mostly made by cheque, it was far less easy to exploit knowledge of these details, not least because most bank account transactions involved a written instrument. These days most transactions are "electronic" and the total volume of transactions is greater. The worst thing is that it's now difficult to isolate a bank account from the world of instant transactions and pay-by-bonk.

2
1

Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Updates is all that matters...

This is what the web application looks like from the inside of various "enterprise customers" I've worked for.

Back in the dawn of prehistory, several mission-critical requirements were coded as intranet web applications, IE6 was the dominant browser at the time, so everything was written to run on IE6.

In the intervening centuries, the corporate standard browser has been updated to IE7 and the legacy applications have been fixed, but that was such a colossal effort that nobody wants to do it again. In the meantime, lots more important web applications have been written, but they've all been born into a world of prehistoric IE versions, so nobody really knows if they can be updated.

IT professionals within the company all use Firefox or Chrome (they generally have the local admin rights necessary to install them), but development continues to target old IE because that's the standard desktop build. New applications are tested on all browsers, and great unhappiness is caused by how much faster and better-looking they are, even on the latest IE version.

There's a plan to upgrade all the desktops to a more recent IE, but this will involve fixing all the legacy applications. Apart from the expense, this is a big risk, because the people who built them have gone to a better world and the documentation is either fat and uninformative or non-existent.

3
0

MELTDOWN: Samsung, Sony not-so-smart TVs go titsup for TWO days

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: TV / DVR etc. menu systems

Agreed! The new iPlayer UI is especially bad.

I suspect that many of the problems are a result of developing and testing in environments that are much faster and more responsive than the TV at home. In the case of my Samsung, the response to the remote is sluggish, and a UI like iPlayer that seems to load a complete new page with every key press is barely usable.

0
0

Britain needs more tech immigrants, quango tells UK.gov

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

in an employer's eyes - on the very day that you turn forty your skills become obsolete

Not in my experience. Admittedly, the skills I had at age 40 are mostly obsolete today. Most of the skills I use were acquired in the past 10 years, some in the past year, and there are a few where I'm still reading the book. You have to keep learning.

6
0

C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Monopolies

@Dogged: I see your point. The distinction between a monopoly and exploitation of a monopoly didn't occur to me, but your explanation makes it clear.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

there's nothing illegal about a monopoly

Eh? I don't know where you're posting from @dogged, but most countries have anti-monopoly laws. It may not be the case that all monopolies are illegal, but the majority are.

5
5

'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I admit, I am Word Processor inept.

Styles are an excellent concept. One set of rules to, er, rule them all. The trouble is that few users of Word (or, I suspect Libre) get it. I've given up trying to explain that there is an important difference between "format this paragraph so it looks pretty much like all the others" and "apply the same format to all the paragraphs". In consequence, most word-processed documents contain a format zoo.

7
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I like MS Word...

That hardly justifies statements that Word is "utterly unusable" or the general attacks on it as rubbish

Which is not to say that such statements and attacks are unjustifiable.

3
1

Cannonbridge sells us a dummy – great premise, crap ending

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Faux Victoriana

Sounds a bit like The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, another faux Victorian novel.

I got so engrossed in this that I read it all night in the expectation of a solution at the end. At 5am I gave up with 200 pages to go (it's about 800 pages long). When I recovered I read through to the finish, at which point my reaction was along the lines of "Eh?". A great read, but one that I've never felt the urge to repeat.

0
0

Want a MEEELLION-year data storage? Use DNA of course

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I'm afraid we've lost your data. Yes, we had a backup, but it evolved legs and ran away.

12
0

Evil CSS injection bug warning: Don't let hackers cross paths with your website

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

The route of the problem would seem to be the browser is way too lenient with parsing css and will pull definitions out of any old junk.

You shouldn't rely on browsers for security. The problem is that the server hasn't parsed the request URL properly. I just seems to have scanned it from the left until it found something that looks like the script name and assumed that anything after is a querystring. I can't believe many servers do this.

BTW, the expression is "root of the problem". The analogy is to plants, not navigation.

6
1

HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: LOOSE != LOSE

This is so common that I wonder if it's a losing battle (or should that be a loosing battle?)

A few years ago the street furniture in my area was plastered with posters saying "Loose weight now - ask me how". My response was "No thanks, I have plenty of loose weight already".

4
0

(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: How to freeze animations?

Fair point, Mr Dabbs.

I've installed "Toggle animated GIFs" in Firefox. "Superstop" looks like it stops rather more than I want.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Unhappy

How to freeze animations?

Irrelevant question prompted by the animated image at the top of the article (repeated inline and in a sidebar). Does anyone know a way to turn off image animation? I'm blocking the image with ABP, but it would be better to be able to say "stop twitching".

Steve Caplin's Stella Artois ad is amusing for the first 30 seconds. Thereafter, it's annoying. The sidebar is especially annoying because it's in the periphery od my field of vision while I'm trying to read. Peripheral vision is sensitised to movement, so every time the damn thing changes my visual cortex raises a little alarm.

0
0

Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Paint Contract

It's the same story with the XF Sportbreak, and presumably its saloon siblings. British Racing Green paint costs extra. Why? Despite the name, it's just green paint. It doesn't actually make your car go faster.

0
0

Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: phnaar..

What sort of redesign would you expect for 20k? Don't you mean 20m?

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Random observations

Revolution not evolution sounds like the answer to "How do you guarantee failure in a software project?"

hinderance Leisa Reichelt, the GDS "head of research" should avoid using words she can't spell.

fashionable “digital” magic There's currently a public-sector body recruiting "digital Java developers". The phrase appears in listings by several agents, so it must originate with the client. I won't apply, as I'm just an analogue developer.

4
0

Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: TAX shouldn't be taxing

@Yet Another Anonymous coward:

No doubt we can all see a difference between an ISA and an elaborate arrangement involving Swiss accounts. Perhaps we can even agree that the former is desirable and the latter undesirable.

The question is, how to promote the one and discourage the other. The tax laws are supposed to do this, but people find holes and exploit them to avoid tax. There are two possible solutions to this. One is to block the holes and accept that more will appear. The other is for the government to decide what is and isn't legitimate over and above the law. This is what got King John into trouble 800 years ago. Worse, arbitrary taxation is a guaranteed recipe for economic collapse.

5
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

There seems to be a worrying tendency to conflate tax avoidance and tax evasion. There have been recent attacks on "agressive tax avoidance" - the implication being that half-hearted tax avoidance is OK. Many of the tax laws are specifically designed to encourage avoidance, the most obvious example being the taxes on tobacco, alcohol and motor fuel, which are kept high to discourage their use.

At this point it's usual to quote Lord Clyde, who was a Privy Counsellor and Judge in tax cases:

No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue.

17
1

A cookie with a 7,984-year lifespan. Blimey, Roy Batty only got 4!

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Year 9999

OK, expiry in 9999 is absurd.

On the other hand, assuming there is a benign reason to persist some kind of state beyond the current session, what is a reasonable lifespan? 10 years? 20? In most cases there's no functional difference between these and 7984 years. One year? A month or a week? In some circumstances this might defeat the purpose of the cookie.

If you accept cookies at all, why is a cookie with a lifetime of 7984 years more of an intrusion than one that lasts a week? The space consumed by most cookies is trivial. Most of a browser's disk storage is used for static resources like images and HTML pages; nobody seems to be getting upset about the expiry dates on these.

5
0

Chinese food safety officials drank so much during working lunch that one of them DIED

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

all of his colleagues and his boss were penalised for drinking during work hours

Probably unnecessary. If one of them drank enough to kill himself, I'd guess the others woke up wishing they were dead too.

4
0

Atlas unplugged! DARPA's unTerminator robot cuts the power cable

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Is that you, Gregor Samsa?

It seems odd that what we're seeing is either bipeds that need a lot of engineering just to stay upright, or quadrupeds that can't do much except run around and carry stuff (though I have seen a clip of a 'mule' that throws pieces of masonry across the room - presumably it's been equipped with a temper module).

Why hasn't anyone made a quadruped with arms - like a centaur? Or a giant robot cockroach?

3
0

Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I don't get it... ?

This happened nearly 4 years ago. Why are we only just hearing about it now?

Possibly that's the time it takes to write up the observation and get it published in Nature.

5
0

Worst … commute … EVER – Surrey to Sydney

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

a "Bronte lifestyle"

That would be living in a chilly parsonage next to a seeping graveyard, writing a classic novel, and expiring on the sofa at an early age?

3
0

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Windows

Re: Yes, but,

The real thing simply isn't being sold because of industrial practices and corporate corner cutting. If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself because there's NO WHERE you can buy it.

Yeah, right on! I'm working on my own CPU chip at the moment. It looks like it will take me a while, but it's going to be much better than the rubbish Intel make.

7
3

Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Digital vs. analogue?

I can see the problems that arise from the volatile nature of digital records. It's much easier to lose or destroy than paper. But on the other hand it's much easier to duplicate, so the net attrition may be the same or less.

What surprises me is the suggestion that the ability to read old digital data may be lost in the future. Is there any evidence that this happens? If I dig out a 40-year-old CP/M floppy, will it be impossible to read (in the unlikely event that there's anything on it worth reading)? The effort and ingenuity that go into reading historical material like the Dead Sea scrolls and carbonised documents from Herculaneum suggest not.

It's a bit like the distinction between digital and analogue computers. Reading ancient digital information is presumably a matter of emulating the obsolete technology; a tricky but quantifiable problem. Ancient analogue information presents much greater challenges.

3
0

ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Stellar Movement

@Jade the location they expected Gliese 581 to be sitting at in 20 light years

20 light years is a measure of distance, not time. You mean "in 20 years".

2
0

NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Oh God, it can do stairs!

I was wondering if it can descend stairs as well as climb them. Some dogs are reluctant to go down staircases, and I believe horses can't.

1
0

Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: more advertising

Going back to... the first television show?

The first television show was a pre-war BBC broadcast from Ally Pally, so the answer is 'No'. It wouldn't have included advertising.

13
0

TOTAL DARKNESS lasted 550 MILLION years until the first STARS LIT UP

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: It's all wrong anyway

I'm sure I read somewhere that the stars only took four days.

2
0

Remote control table lamps - any suggestions?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Thanks @masonbrown, but both these seem to be US sites, and I'm in the UK (hence the reference to 13A sockets).

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Remote control table lamps - any suggestions?

I keep reading about remote control lighting, but I never seem to see a solution to what I imagine must be a common requirement.

Most rooms in my house are illuminated by a combination of a central ceiling light and several table lamps. For most purposes, the table lamps provide the better lighting scheme, so it's normal to enter a room, switch on the ceiling light, go round turning on the table lamps, then switch off the ceiling light. There are a couple of rooms where I've installed a 5A lighting circuit controlled by the wall switch at the door. This is an excellent arrangement, but one major rewire per house is more than enough, so I can't replicate it in other rooms.

Enter wireless lighting control. What I'm looking for is a wall-switch transmitter that can be fitted in the switch box, and a set of receivers that will fit between the 13A socket and a table lamp. Ideally these would replace the 13A plug top - fitting a receiver into the lampholder is a less satisfactory solution. Obviously there must be some kind of pairing so that the switch doesn't control every lamp in the house.

What I'm not looking for includes the following. Multi-colour, flashing, or other novelty lighting, which I reserve for the Christmas tree. Any kind of TV-style remote control - the wall switch is the place to control the lighting, and I have too many remotes already. The ability to switch on lamps selectively or to dim lamps.

0
0

'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

WiFi Hotspots

I guess I've been lucky: none of the ISPs I've used has been bad enough to compare unfavourably.

Last time around I chose BT because the agreement includes access to a large number of BT and FON WiFi hotspots. I suspect this is a feature that boutique ISPs find it hard to match. When I switched from Zen I told them this was the reason, and they said that they were working on a scheme where at some time in the future, in agreement with some hotspot provider, they'd probably be able to provide somthing....

If anyone knows of a non-BT ISP that can provide decent roaming WiFi, I'd be glad to hear about it.

0
0

Chunky Swedish ice maiden: Volvo XC60 D4 Manual EE Lux Nav

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Safety??

Automatic lights? Rain sensitive wipers? If you can't tell it's dark or wet you shouldn't be relying on the car to tell you: you should walk.

Automatic timing? If you can't tell when the engine's backfiring, you should walk. Automatic choke? If you can't tell when the engine's cold you should walk. Self-cancelling indicators? If you can't tell when you've turned the corner ....

It's not just cars. The tendency with all machines is to automate functions that start out manual. Personally, I like the automatic lights, though sometimes I disagree with their judgement.

Automatic wipers are actually a safety feature when there's little or no rain falling, but a passing lorry throws up a shower of water and mud and totally obscures the windscreen. They're also a logical development: my first car had single-speed wipers, subsequent cars had two-speed, intermittent with a constant delay, then intermittent with a continuously-variable delay. Taking the meatware component out of the loop makes sense.

2
1

Ex Machina – a smart, suspenseful satire of our technology gods

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: "The Machine"

really gets my goat when I hear the voice-over at the end of the trailer saying "Ex Mack in a"

I hope I'm not missing the point of some exquisitely honed irony, but can you let us know how you think ex machina should be pronounced? "Ex Mack in a" may not be International Phonetic Alphabet, but it seems a reasonable approximation, unless you favour Edwardian Latin pronunciation.

1
0

Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Facepalm

"having to build for not one but two Microsoft browsers"

No, no, no no, no!

It's 2015. You shouldn't have to build for anyone's browser. That's what standards are for.

19
0

Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I always

Everybody watched Girl on a Motorcycle to see (young) Marianne Faithfull fake an orgasm while riding up the motorway. There must have been something else in it, but that's all I remember.

2
0

Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: You can’t just say 'it’s national security – go away',” he said.

Who is this Baroness MILF?

8
0

UK Scouts database 'flaws' raise concerns

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: UK Scout Database

"no a happy parent"

What does that mean?

Does it mean that you have very little command of the English language?

"no a happy parent" is clearly an echo of "no a happy Scouter" in the original post. You should read the whole thread before replying.

11
1

Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Not too sure

OK, so I decided I'd better look at PowerShell. The introduction I was reading said you could enter ls for a directory listing. I was quite impressed to find that Unix commands are included. So I entered the directory command I use most.

ls -ltr

Get-ChildItem : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'ltr'.

At line:1 char:4

+ ls -ltr

+ ~~~~

+ CategoryInfo : InvalidArgument: (:) [Get-ChildItem], ParameterBindingException

+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : NamedParameterNotFound,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetChildItemCommand

0
1
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Not too sure

@big_D Did you look at using PowerShell to run commands and automate the process?

Yes, but having expended time in the past on learning the two previous attempts at a Windows command interface, and with the client breathing down my neck for instant results, I felt I couldn't afford the time for yet another. Why couldn't they implement a standard scripting language? There are plenty to choose from.

TBH, Windows servers aren't really my area of expertise, and it was supposed to be a development job, not server migration. I suspect I was only there because I have background knowledge of the legacy applications running on the servers.

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Not too sure

No more windows except for some of the servers, lovely....

I've never really understood why a server O/S needs Windows. I recently completed a six-month sentence contract where I had to migrate legacy applications from Windows 2003 to 2008. There were about ten servers, so it amounted to a lot of very repetitive point-and-clicking while following checklists. The IIS management interface is especially heavy going (not to mention gratuitously different between 2003 and 2008).

It's not that I'm a command-line machismotist, but the use of a Windows UI to manage servers makes it difficult to guarantee that the same thing is done everywhere. Microsoft never seem to have grasped this point. Windows was launched with a crap command interface inherited from MS-DOS, which they've tried to enhance with obscure extensions.

18
19

Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Voice?

A friend has just acquired a phone with Cortana. It's actually very impressive, but annoyingly it refuses to work without an internet connection. OK on a desktop PC, but a pain in the neck on a phone, tablet or laptop.

1
0

Latest menace to internet economy: Gators EATING all the PUSSIES

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Why would a croc leaves two cat carcasses?

I'm not an expert, but I think crocodiles/alligators like their food well-rotted. When they pull animals into the water they stash them in a hole under the bank until they're nice and squishy.

3
0

Amazon's tax deal in Luxembourg BROKE the LAW, says EU

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Luxembourg

it must just be that Luxembourg doesn't need to collect many taxes, because their government are just so damned efficient

Amazon may not pay much tax, but with a population of about 500,000 it probably amounts to about €20,000 per Luxembugger. No wonder they were quick to agree.

When there was all the row about Junker, I thought it was just because he was a federalist. But you have to wonder at how much useful experience he got from running a place the size of a smallish city where the main industry is tax dodging.

8
0

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: 1.5 MILLION SCOVILLE masala omelette

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Lhassi/Lassi

Unfortunately most yoghurts are low-fat. Even if your lassi is made with full-fat yoghurt, it probably won't have much more fat than the equivalent quantity of milk.

Interesting to read about the noxious vapours released when this omelette was cooking. Although I only use fairly mild chillies I've found that even gentle frying causes them to release a vapour that causes discomfort, so I've taken to adding them at the end.

0
0

Users shun UK.gov flagship digital service

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Please write out 100 times.

Yes but it was the first image they could find on Google.

Not least among the horrors of the Reg redesign is the replacement of a small collection of, admittedly rather boring, images with a larger range of bigger, more intrusive, and largely irrelevant ones.

3
0

Stuck on a coding problem – should you Bing it?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Unkind thought

To adapt the famous words of Jamie Zawinski:

You have a coding problem.

You decide to Bing it.

Now you have two problems.

13
5

Forums