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* Posts by Richard Porter

549 posts • joined 18 Aug 2007

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The Beeb is broken

Richard Porter

Stripped down home page

Why can't they have it like that all the time? Unfortunately it's now gone back to the previous mess. Keep It Simple, Stupid!

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Dixons knocks £200 off laptops before Xmas...

Richard Porter
Devil

Up to

Any promotion that says "up to" in small letters hoping you won't notice goes straight in the bin.

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Is your old hardware made of gold, or just DIRT?

Richard Porter
Unhappy

Printer cartridges

We used to collect toner cartridges for the local air ambulance charity. The outfit that reprocessed them had a list of the ones they recycled and the prices they would pay - anything from 10p to 50p for most of them - plus you needed to save up £10's worth or you got nothing. It wasn't worth the storage space.

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Nokia's Brave New World is (almost) Finn-free

Richard Porter
Stop

Pink Smartphone

"But are you going to be seen with a pink smartphone? Anywhere?"

But are you going to be seen with a Microsoft Windows phone? Anywhere?

Not bloody likely!

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TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition

Richard Porter
Happy

re. Charlotte Green

Just what I was thinking when I saw your post.

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Web czar: 'Drag your nan online'

Richard Porter
Flame

Missing out, or just missing out the stress?

"If someone you know is missing out on the internet, they're missing out on loads of ways to make their life easier and more enjoyable,"

Maybe they don't even want to turn the computer on, if they actually have one (possibly left by a deceased partner). There are some nonogenarians who are alert and have lively minds; there are others who just think "why should I have to bother with all this new-fangled technology stuff at my age". For the latter it's just too daunting.

Perhaps when IP-TV becomes more popular that will be an easier way onto the web.

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Union enraged by secret driverless Tube plan

Richard Porter
Mushroom

ATO

"TfL is already running some semi-automatic trains on the Jubilee line, although these trains also still have a driver. "

The Victoria Line has had Automatic Train Operation since it opened in 1968. No doubt with the new signalling the 09 stock could run fully automatically, but you'd still need someone on the train and/or on the platform at each station to dispatch the train. Remote control with CCTV isn't much good when something goes wrong. You can't do CPR over long line PA!

Incidentally, Bob Crow may be a throwback to the past (he reminds me of Ray Buckton at ASLEF) but he's not a moron. He is a good negotiator and debater, and he can rin rings around most of our politicians as the recent Question Time debacle proved. We needed someone like him in 1964 - who did we get? - Sydney Green.

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Dennis Ritchie: The C man who booted Unix

Richard Porter

K&R

I'm somewhat surprised that the obit made no mention of Brian W. Kernighan, Ritchie's co-author of "The C Programming Language" in 1978, which was the bible for C programmers in those days.

Now correct me if I'm wrong - I'm sure you will - but as far as I recall Solaris was Sun's version of BSD. SVR4 was an attempt to bring to gether the two main threads of Unix: BSD and Systen V. I don't think it really took off because Sun and HP carried on as before with Solaris and HP-UX.

Now just in case you think cloud computing is something new, back around 1990 I was using Sun workstations. The software was installed on each workstation but all the data were held on fileservers so you could log onto any workstation on the intranet and access your own environment. And of course we had email, ftp and usenet. Mosaic arrived later.

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Email and compliance: How not to blow the storage budget?

Richard Porter

The other things you can do...

Don't top post.

Quote only the text required to put your reply into context.

Don't quote the whole of the preceding dialogue including signatures, disclaimers etc.

Ban wordy disclaimers, privacy statements, etc. Max. 4 line sig files.

Plain text only (as I previously posted).

Don't send Word attachments when plain text or PDF would do.

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Richard Porter

Ditch bloated html

Send and accept only plain text RFC5322 compliant messages.

Store attachments and delete them from the message (base 64 encoded files take up a third more space).

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Mozilla to Firefox users: Ditch crashtastic McAfee plugin

Richard Porter
Meh

In the meantime

"surfers have the choice to either re-enable ScriptScan; rely on McAfee SiteAdvisor or other tools to warn about bad sites; or choose a different browser. "

or simply not visit dodgy sites that they weren't intending to visit in the first place, and not use html for email messages.

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The security mistakes users make

Richard Porter
Facepalm

Very true

An outfit I used to work for had a very sophisticated security architecture that totally failed to realise that employees might use their laptops on the internet at home and then connect them to the intranet at work. All security by-passed!

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UK punters happy to pay £3 to top up e-wallets

Richard Porter

(paying nothing wasn't an option)

It's the only option. The vendor will use nfc if it's cheaper than accepting cash.

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Major BT exchange titsup in power outage

Richard Porter
FAIL

Where were the batteries?

Every exchange used to have a cellar full of 2 volt lead-acid cells in banks of 24 to provide a 48v backup supply until the standby generator kicked in. Nowadays the least you should expect is a UPS and a redundant power supply.

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Amazon's Kindle Fire is sold at a loss

Richard Porter
FAIL

Competing with the Also-Rans

You've said it before - people don't want tablets, they want iPads.

Anyay, why are people stupid enough to buy things at $199 that they wouldn't buy at $200 or $201? I try to avoid buying anything with a 9 at the end of the price.

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Bank emails punters asking for their, er, email address

Richard Porter
FAIL

re. Security Detail

The account number is not a security detail. You give it to anyone to whom you give a cheque or direct debit mandate or standing order form, or whom you ask to send you an on-line payment.

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Reebok used 'very fit woman' in buttock-related deception

Richard Porter
IT Angle

And the IT angle is ...?

Irrelevant Titillation.

OK I'll buy that.

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Renault Wind Gordini roadster

Richard Porter
Thumb Down

Re. Quelle horreur !

Ever since the lard-arse Méganne Renault seem to have lost the plot with styling. Maybe I just don't get modern styling, but why the rising body line and high haunches? Why the gaping grille? Why the side vents, as though you need extra cooling for the brakes on a road car? The R8 Gordini looked superb (though sadly rust prevention wasn't a priority in those days). This one just looks tacky.

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Local radio stations band together against DAB

Richard Porter
FAIL

DAB = Dead And Buried

We need a European standard (at least) for digital radio. DAB isn't it. I haven't bought a DAB radio a) because I don't need one and b) because I don't want to add to the statistics.

I can get digital channels on Freeview (a misnomer because it's not free and half the channels you can't view) and I can record programmes on my PVR. I haven't seen a personal DAB recorder though maybe one exists.

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Gaps in the apps mean shops miss out on sales

Richard Porter
FAIL

Platform compatibility

"By not giving customers the information they need on the platform of their choice, they are less likely to complete purchases,"

Very true. I have failed to complete purchases on a number of sites because of browser compatibility problems. They use flash or javascript. I use NetSurf by choice. Sometimes I get right to the end of a transaction and when I try to use my BoA MasterCard I get thrown onto a verification site which doesn't work, so I have to backtrack. Then BoA phones me up because they suspect some fraudulent activity. It's not difficult to design web sites that work with any browser, even if it means doing a bit more of the processing on the server.

They sometimes send me email messages with a cop-out text/plain part that tells me nothing, and of course there's a reply address that isn't monitored so you have no way of contacting them except by struggling through their incompatible web sites. If there's a problem with the web site you can't tell them because there's a problem with the web site. Catch 22.

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Schoolkids learn coding at GCSE level in curriculum trial

Richard Porter
Flame

Fabulous initiative

"In the 1980s the BBC not only broadcast programming for kids about coding, but (in partnership with Acorn) shipped over a million BBC Micro computers into homes and schools. That was a fabulous initiative, but it's long gone."

Because the government of the day decided to get into bed with Microsoft and turn its back on the British computer industry. The BBC Micro was designed to be programmed with BBC Basic (including assembler capability) built in. By contrast IBM PCs and clones were a nightmare.

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UK cyber security plan delayed till October

Richard Porter
Black Helicopters

National Security

is obviously trumped by party politicking. Sorry, but what is the first duty of the government? Oh yes, to get re-elected. Silly me.

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Hunt: We'll slightly inconvenience pirate sites

Richard Porter
Devil

Funny really

Just as Sir Cliff and Sir Paul are about to get their wish to continue to get paid for what they were doing over 50 years ago their stuff is increasingly available for nowt on tinterweb.

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BT to fibre-up another 114 exchanges

Richard Porter
Unhappy

"Up to" is meaningless

My present "up to 8Mbps" ADSL gives me 200kbps on a good day. In fact sometimes upstream is faster than downstream. If they give me an "at least" speed then I might think about it.

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HP's UK PC boss: We're going nowhere

Richard Porter

HP going nowhere?

That might well be true but it's not what Hunter said!

Actually HP laptops aren't all cheap plastic craptops. An organisation I'm associated with has just bought a 13.3" Core i3 Probook and it's quite a nice machine in a rugged metal case. The only problem is that it runs Windows 7 (necessary for the software we wanted to run) and the touchpad is horrible to use if you're used to Apple's.

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IDLENESS sees Brits haemorrhage cash to mobe firms

Richard Porter
Stop

re. going into shops

The fact that operators find it attractive to run their own high street shops must mean that there is too much profit on mobile phones. I got a simple pre-pay phone for £3.45 plus £10 on a Virgin SIM but they wouldn't let me keep my number so although Virgin have got £10 for nothing (unless I decide to use it for outgoing calls) they won't get any further business.

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Apple after Steve Jobs is still Steve Jobs' Apple

Richard Porter
Coat

maybe IBM?

IBM is a shadow of its former self.

Btw I heard that Apple had invented a new dessert. It's called the iPud.

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iPhone 5 to include Japanese earthquake warning system

Richard Porter
Joke

Bit late innit?

Perhaps somebody should tell Apple that the earthquake has already happened.

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Marriage makes women get fat, divorce does same to men

Richard Porter
IT Angle

Sorry, I didn't quite see ...

the IT angle on this one.

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Police kill mobile phone service to squelch protest

Richard Porter
WTF?

No mention?

" those warnings made no mention of a mobile-phone service shutdown."

Of course not! The protestors would have made alternative arrangements.

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New York police launch Facebook perp watch unit

Richard Porter
Meh

A Kevin

'Kevin O'Connor – styled as the NYPD's "online and gang guru" '

I mean the mental picture is just inescapable innit?

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LinkedIn pulls Facebook-style stunt

Richard Porter
Devil

Tick unticked

Thanks for the tip off.

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Will the looters 'loose' their benefits?

Richard Porter
FAIL

Government + IT

What do you expect?

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It's official: Journos are dumb as a bag of IE users

Richard Porter

As a matter of interest

What are the browser stats for El Reg?

(NetSurf user)

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NotW 'targeted' phone of Sarah Payne's mum

Richard Porter
Unhappy

Now tell me something that surprises me!

More phone numbers from Glen Mulcare's notebook don't.

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BT on site-blocking: Every case will need a court order

Richard Porter
Mushroom

But?

"The rights-holders said the law was inadequate – but the case shows it is."

Uh?

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'Up to' broadband claims out of control, says Ofcom

Richard Porter
FAIL

I don't want to know about "up to" speeds

I'm paying for "up to 8Mbps". I'm lucky if I get 200kbps. Why can't they use FTTC to give my what I'm paying for? I don't want empty oromises of lightening fast internet when what I get is thunderously slow.

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Phone-hack backlash BBC in embarrassing headline gaffes

Richard Porter
Headmaster

OTHER news you might have missed?

Never mind the attrocious grammar, how could anyone possibly have missed the news about phone hacking? In any case it was voicemail hacking.

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'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

Richard Porter
FAIL

Non sequitur

Jones also claims "95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources

while in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration"

There's nothing contradictory about these two statements. If the concentration due to human activity had increased from 3.57% to 5% that would be roughly a 40% rise. In any case, over what timescale? At one time there was no CO2 coming from human activity because there were no humans.

Anyway the fact that climate is changing is not in dispute - it always has been changing. What is up for debate is whether there's any point in the current preoccupation with Canutism or whether we would be better engaged concentrating on how to live with climate change. Fiddling around with a few wind farms here and there is totally insignificant compared to the likes of Eyjafjallajökull.

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MPs probe science behind bogus gov booze guidelines

Richard Porter
Pint

Looks good, tastes good...

and by golly it does you good!

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Bill seeks to decriminalise pianos in pubs and schools

Richard Porter
Devil

Just a tick in a box

I well remember the notorious Kim Howells interview with Mike Harding when he said that oublicans just had to "tick a box" to put on live music. What bollocks!

Of course you didn't have to have a special licence to show Sky Sports. I wonder why that was?

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Ofcom ignores radio in annual report

Richard Porter
WTF?

£91.24?

How can a "typical household" spend only £91.24 on communications products? Do you mean per month? If it's per year you can't even rent a fixed line for that, never mind broadband, mobile and the tv licence.

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Microsoft plans to open 75 retail stores in US

Richard Porter

re. Problem is

Apart from X-box Microsoft doesn't actually have any shiny hardware to sell. The shops could only push other people's hardware that's loaded with Windows, plus application software and that puts it into direct competition with its dealers. Apple, on the other hand, has lots of sexy products that people want, that have a high profit margin and that the high street box shifters have largely ignored.

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Richard Porter
FAIL

Great OS?

No, it's not a great OS - it's just that you need it to run some apps that have only been written for Windows because a lot of innocents bought it in the early days. It's no more a great OS than VHS was a great video technology.

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Romanian NASA hacker fights 'inflated' damage assessment

Richard Porter
Black Helicopters

Hackers get this into your heads

The US really doesn't like having its u/s security shown up for what it is. Just leave it to the Chinese, North Koreans, Russians etc.

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BBC mulls talent Twitter ban to prevent storyline spoilers

Richard Porter
FAIL

Making a big splash?

You mean trailing the programme ad nausiam for a fortnight before it goes out.

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Insider says doom looms at RIM

Richard Porter

Problems = opportunities

But the point is that other people's problems are your opportunities, not your own problems.

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Richard Porter

@bob_blah

Been there, even got a tee-shirt or two. I used to work for a once respected Canadian telecomms company that took a bit more than two years to go down the pan. Fortunately I got "optimised" before the bitter end (there was an infamous internal memo about mass redundancies headed "workforce optimisation").

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Hackers pierce network with jerry-rigged mouse

Richard Porter
Headmaster

Jerry-rigged?

Do you mean jury-rigged?

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dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

Richard Porter
FAIL

Replacing something

purpose designed by an ex-BBC Micro guy with something concocted by Microsoft? What do you expect? Classic example of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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