back to article My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Don't you just love it at this time of the year when Some Experts predict the new technologies most likely to catch on over the next 12 months? Me neither. Three Januarys ago I proposed five technologies NOT to look out for. Reading it again today, I get the impression I may as well copy and paste it here for 2019. IoT, VR, 5G …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge

    Might I add...

    14. ANYTHING with Windows 10 on it !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Might I add...

      I would upvote that, but my log in to post comments does not work for when I want to upvote (or downvote). Hence this utter-waste-of-time post.

      That said, there's a half-baked solution for the W10 problem, i.e. longbench, which can be downloaded for testing purposes from the usual linux distro sources...

      1. illiad

        Re: Might I add...

        "half-baked solution for the W10 problem" ??

        give it another try, and you can win an award for vagueness... :) :)

        I do believe ubuntu solved it...

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Might I add...

          I do believe ubuntu solved it...

          Right up until they were infested with systemd..

          Yes, linux with systemd is still better than Windows, but only just.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Might I add...

      Upvote from me, but there's a caveat!

      I bought three PC laptops (new) for my own use in the last year or so. One cheap, go-everywhere, passive-cooled, all day battery life model, another one a few months later for that same role that was a big upgrade over the first and offered at a price I could not pass up, and the third a DTR for when I am able to set up camp while out and about (ie plug in and not have to haul it around everywhere).

      All three came pre-infected with Windows 10, which I was prepared for, so I cured that pretty quickly. All three are now running Linux, with everything working save the fingerprint reader on one of them (the second in the sequence), whose OEM as usual did not release a Linux driver and does not have an open-source one yet. I would not be using that anyway, so no big deal.

      Buying with Windows and wiping it is still the best way for consumer-level shoppers to get Linux PCs, since so few come that way from the factory, and those that do tend to be costly (even without the MS tax) and/or come with distros I would wipe and replace with my own anyway. One of the things I like about the PC world, as opposed to the Mac world, is the broad variety of hardware choices and manufacturers, and most of that goes away if you stick to models and OEMs that have Linux as an option.

      It does annoy me to pay Microsoft for garbage that is so full of moneygrubbing attempts that it should at best be a "freemium" product, not a commercial one, but MS has demonstrated that licensing fees for Windows aren't their focus anymore in the consumer sector... it's about the monetizing, and they're not getting any of that if I'm not using Windows 10.

      They pushed so hard to try to force me to use 10 that they lost a nearly three decade long user of Windows. The more they tighten their grip, the more star systems slip through their fingers.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Might I add...

        There's an apparently increasingly common snag with this: 'bugs' in the UEFI system that prevent the installation of Linux without jumping through major hoops. Acer, I'm looking at you - my wife's machine, a cheap and cheerful goes-all-day-on-a-charge laptop won't boot anything except Windows from an internal drive; I have to keep a tiny USB stick with a bootloader on it to allow it to run the Linux which has completely replaced W10.

        It's quite happy to boot from that external drive...

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge


          You might find that using 'rEFInd' will allow you to boot your wife's Acer laptop without a tiny USB stick.

          Wikipedia article:

          Actual website:

          It is not a simple proposition*, but as a reader and commentator on 'El Reg', you probably have the smarts to deal with it.

          I have an Acer laptop where the UEFI is set up to expect only the Windows EFI module. If you replace that module with the rEFInd module, you can then subsequently choose to boot any available Operating System from a convenient menu. The Acer UEFI is not standards compliant as it should correctly boot with a module placed in the fallback default location if there is not one in the (Windows) standard location, but it doesn't. I also have to disable Secure Boot via a non-intuitive process.

          *It involves mucking about with the contents of the EFI System Partition, and modifying NVRAM UEFI boot variables. If you get it wrong, it might brick the system unrecoverably. In principle, you can use GRUB2 as a boot manager also, but I've not got a large enough collection of round tuits to have a go at doing that yet.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: rEFInd

            I don't recall the details - it's been a few months - but I couldn't get anything to stick in the EFI module. It reported everything fine, but after a reboot it forgot. I have rEFInd booting from the external USB stick, but it's not really a major issue now since most of the time she simply suspends the OS (Mint) by closing the lid.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Last year I finally persuaded my wife that non-chain small hotels with friendly staff were at least as good as renting other people's houses. Almost all of the dystopic "advances" are intended to stop us interacting with other people at all. I suspect it's so that when the 0.1% have solved global warming by killing the rest of us, they won't notice the difference.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "Hospitality"

      When the 0.1% have killed the rest of us to solve global warming, the 0.01% will promptly turn their attention to subjugating those with less than 8-digit fortunes into drones worthy only of wiping 8, 9 and 10-digit bums.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: "Hospitality"

        Ah yes - "Gentleman of the Bedchamber." Gets to empty king's potty.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Hospitality"

          "Gentleman of the Bedchamber."

          A good and sought after role. It brought influence. The modern equivalent would be lobbyist. Which would be the dirtier job?

          1. The Boojum


            I must admit I didn't expect the question mark at the end of the sentence.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Rhetorical questions are still questions and thus require the question mark.

              1. 's water music Silver badge

                Rhetorical questions are still questions and thus require the question mark.

                Indeed but I think the point being made was that if you omit the question mark from that sentence it rendered not-a-question and thus no longer needs one as well as humorously altering the meaning.

        2. Claverhouse Bronze badge

          Re: "Hospitality"

          Well, every human needs their potty changed, like it or not. It is not something that only affects those funny old rulers.

          Nor are we grateful to those vital sewerage workers who eventually empty all our 'potties'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Hospitality"

      shhhhhhh you might be on to something there watch your back ; )

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hospitality sector had it coming

    I'm fairly old, I was born in the late 50's and I'm fully conversant with how travel agents used to operate back in the day.

    last year I went to a high street travel agent to book a holiday, after giving her the details she happily logged into ....

    Sorry I am not paying a 10% surcharge for someone to surf the internet for me, I created my own account on Booking and the holiday and the flights were booked just fine.

    Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate, even being able to describe the country and hotel are irrelevant now as you can find no end of videos on YouTube.

    These days they are about as relevant as Hansom Cab lamp fitters

    1. rg287 Bronze badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate, even being able to describe the country and hotel are irrelevant now as you can find no end of videos on YouTube.

      Oh I don't know, we have a small indy agency near us who are cracking. Staff are accredited to the tourist boards of various countries and very useful for "off the beaten track" type stuff - actual off-the-beaten track, not stuff which was off-the-beaten-track until three years ago when "influencers" and youtubers invaded the place. They're also quite good at getting flights changed without incurring a change fee.

      But I will concede they are the minority, specialising in high-end travel. I've used them on occasion (honeymoon) but anything "mainstream" like European city breaks I do online. There will always be a niche at the higher end of things.

      The majority of high street travel agencies are entirely superfluous to requirements and just selling you packages out their catalogue, which you could just as easily do on their website.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Oh there will always be a market for efficient, knowledgeable people providing specialist services, I was referring to the run of the mill general high street establishments.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

          Oh there will always be a market for efficient, knowledgeable people providing specialist services

          Much like opticians. I would rather not go to somewhere like Specsavers where they seem to specialise in grabbing just-qualified opticians and then burning them out..

          I'll stick with my traditional opticians thankyouverymuch. The place where I know all the staff, they know me and, if I've managed to pull off one of the nose pads on my glasses (again!) will replace it without bothering to charge me..

      2. livin' thing

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        "The majority of high street businesses are entirely superfluous to requirements".

      3. VikiAi Silver badge

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Sounds a bit like real-estate agents. I didn't understand the point of them until I came into contact with one of the rare really-good ones!

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      Like mortgage brokers, I also don't understand how and why travel agents still exist.

      1. Charles Calthrop

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Big difference between mortgage brokers and travel agents, though.

        People often book flghts / hotels now, so are confident in doing so. Plus, if you screw up, you've screwed up 2 weeks maximum.

        When it comes to things with huge financial risk, and which are not done frequently, like mortgages, people are happy to pay 200 quid for peace of mind. Same as why I think estate agents still exist. What do they do? Take worse photos than you or i, with their iphone, apply no artistc thought to them, stick a listing on rightmove and get someone else to show you around? Yet I will probably use them if I ever move again, because, wankers that they are, I would rather use their expertise than mine

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

          Same as why I think estate agents still exist. What do they do?

          Do they still do all that?

          I thought they're purpose was to put leaflets through your door telling you to move away because someone nicer and more deserving aught to live there - Also a popular pastime in certain parts of Northern Ireland (and maybe Gaza).

          I'm honestly surprised one half haven't eaten the others yet....

      2. Graham Dawson

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Mortgage brokers exist for people like me, who don't have the time to go dredging through the myriad offers on the market to find the one that both fits my circumstances and is actually affordable.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

          Travel agents, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, etc., help you save time. How much is your time worth? Mine is not only expensive but on short supply.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

            "How much is your time worth? Mine is not only expensive but on short supply."

            So much so in fact that you spend your time posting comments on The Register? I freely admit that I'm here because my time seems to be cheap and plentiful.

            1. My-Handle

              Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

              Really? I'm here because my time is currently being paid for by someone else :) My -own- time is an extremely precious commodity to me.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

                "Really? I'm here because my time is currently being paid for by someone else :) My -own- time is an extremely precious commodity to me."

                All the more reason to do your own holiday finding online during "work" time! Not only do you not pay for the service, you actually get paid to do it ;-)

              2. Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

                Is that you Phillip Schofield?

              3. jgarbo

                Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

                You know, of course, that Time doesn't exist. Everything is only in the Present. But I appreciate the joke.

        2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

          I simply used an independent product comparison website, it really wasn't that onerous. You may also choose to use a trailing commission refund service to claw back the thousands of dollars the mortgage broker makes off you (or, if you don't use one, that the bank keeps for itself).

      3. Stuart Moore
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Our mortgage broker definitely found me a deal I wouldn't have found myself, probably saving thousands over the length of the mortgage, as well as explaining things like the way rates are calculated (e.g. your rate won't improve unless you can get your deposit above this level...).

        Total cost to me? Zero! They did it based on commission from the building society (but still it was better than any rate I could find publicly). So as far as I'm concerned it was a win. The same person has also helped several friends and family too.

        This was Nick at - I hope the mods won't mind me posting that here.

        1. kwhitefoot

          Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

          Thank you for posting that link. I wish more people would post details when they post about exceptional service. In this case it's not relevant to me but I'm sure it could be helpful to someone to have a recommendation directly from someone with firsthand knowledge.

          1. Rol Silver badge

            Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

            Mmm..Yes and no. In the context of how this site has historically been run, and the acceptance of its membership to certain limits, then yes I agree with you, but opening the door to spammers, even just an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bit could prove disastrous.

            On the other hand, if posting links in your comment was limited to badge holders, then yes, that would work.

      4. JustWondering

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        "Like mortgage brokers"

        Here in the northern colony, they do amazing work for people with less than ideal credit ratings; they certainly save on shoe leather and disappointments. They will also usually get you a better rate than if you walked into a bank yourself.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Mortgage brokers

          ...they do amazing work for people with less than ideal credit ratings...

          Well thank fuck someone was around to help subprime borrowers acquire mortgages. Imagine a world where that never happened

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: Mortgage brokers

            @'s water music

            Rather short sighted. My credit rating took a bit of a hammering several years ago and is still recovering (6 month looking for work and your credit rating would also look like a pay day lender's wet dream unless you're fortunate enough to have a small inheritance to fall back on). However I do earn enough to be more than capable to repay a mortgage (which I do).

            Subprime lending in the USA however was a totally different ball game that involved lending to people who they knew were unable to make repayments.

          2. Maty

            Re: Mortgage brokers

            Not everyone with a poor credit rating is a financial risk. I once had to have a credit check because I was involved with managing a business, and it was appalling. The reason was that I've never borrowed money in my life and pay off my credit card every month. Mortgage rates for someone with my credit rating are sky-high, so instead I purchased the house outright.

      5. Tomato Krill

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Wait, what? Mortgage brokers don't understand how or why travel agents exist?

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      One area I thought they might be useful was in helping arrange a winter golf trip. The logistics on that are a little more complex and I felt that talking to a specialist in the area would smooth the process. I've also noticed that booking a couple is far more expensive per person than going as part of a group and thought maybe they'd be able to organise groups from willing customers. So the year before last I called two of them, spent nearly half an hour with each discussing my needs. Both said they'd send me emails with options.

      Neither of them bothered. And I never have problems with emails vanishing. I don't use anti-spam or anti-junk software so there's no junk folder where important emails can be placed. I run my own mail server so I can look at the logs and see exactly what emails have arrived over SMTP - neither company ever sent anything.


      Fast forward to yesterday and out of the blue YGT send me a spam SMS touting for business, over 18 months after my attempt to buy a holiday through them.

      Well done, guys :-/

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Well you were looking for a golfing holiday (a good walk wasted during a wasted holiday :-?)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      this has hit a nerve, last time I dealt with travel agency was in early 1990s, when I was booking a flight. To think now, that I would have searched the back pages of a free magazine, then called them, one by one, then went for one that... I dunno why, but I did some sort of (semi) due dilligence...

      Today, I'm crapping my pants when I think of booking anything through travel agent. And I have had a near brush, saw well-prices flights to the US on a well-known travel comparison site, tried to book through one agency with 4.5 out of 5 ratings, it turns out all those (attractive) fares are "no longer available". What IS available is what's more expensive than on the airline's own site (which is expensive).

      And then, there's hidden charges and vague wording re. "main luggage" (charges), and total "fuckyou" attitute from the airline when you didn't book with them direct... That said, total "fuckyou" from the airline, period :)

      But yeah, travel agents, why do they still exist?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        I usually try comparison websites for flights (Usually clearing my cache between sites) & then cross reference with the airline itself.

        Sometimes just playing with the dates\times brings up interesting permutations like my $30 & $50 (plus taxes) flights to Blighty & return for the same flights, only happened the once like getting a 40 - 50 quid first class return from Paddington - Exeter on a Bank Holiday weekend, whereas normally it was 55 for second class for the same journey.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      My previous employer used to use a local travel agent, or Reisebüro, and, whilst it was often cheaper to book directly, when it came to flights and hotels in foreign climbs for trips, which could be changed at the last minute (different people flying, different dates or different departure and arrival airports), the travel agent dealt with everything - and knowing this could happen, always ensured we had the flexible tickets that allowed such chopping and changing.

      It might not have been cheaper, initially, than doing it "ourselves", but given the amount of time staff would have spent re-organizing things they weren't expert in, and not doing their real work, plus all those cancelled, non-refundable flights they had booked, because they were cheaper, it probably saved them a fortune over the years.

      1. Irongut

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        Last time my employer required flights to be booked through a travel agent (~10 years ago) it always took more of my time than if I did it myself online. It was almost impossible to book next day flights unless I looked the times up on the airline website and phoned the travel agent with the exact details of the flight I wanted. Sometimes they still could not put me on the correct flight and it always cost more.

    6. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      Hansom cab light fitters.

      You trying to do me out of a job?

      1. Charles Calthrop


        you should be ugly like me, then you'd be safe

    7. Halfmad

      What about banks?

      Last time I went into a bank to discuss a mortgage the "mortgage advisor" - who I needed an appointment to see just loaded the same damn website and typed in exactly the same as I did.

      Apparently it's all handled in mortgage call centers now, not in branch.. jesus no wonder branches are closing!

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: What about banks?

        I personally would still use a travel agent - as long as they are a "proper" one.

        That means they know what the company prices on the website are, and more importantly what additional discounts are available via the backend or some other back channel.

        Its also worth bearing in mind that in some cases the agent may still have access to sources that are not on the interwebs. There are hundreds of private network or intranet type sources in the travel industry.

        You should walk out on anyone who uses for anything but a price/amenities baseline.

        It should also be noted that content and rate reference data management in Travel is absolutely lousy and the chances of a better deal being out there somewhere are quite high, but the chances of an individual being able to find it are quite low, unless they have old skool mad travel agent skillz.

        Like most things its experience and aptitude though.

    8. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate

      You could add Insurance brokerages to that - This year mine happily offered a renewal my car insurance at nearly double last years cost.

      I found the online big websites a useless waste of time also - had to actually talk to someone on the phone In this day and age???

      It's not that I don't think that it shouldn't be necessary but that companies are trying to convince us other methods work as well - they don't.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

        The fortunes made by London's financial services, is mostly based on making it virtually impossible to deal directly with the organ grinder.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Talk to someone on the phone

        Indeed. Humanity invented the art of writing thousands of years ago, amongst other things so that we could have conversations with each other without having to both be present in the same place at the same time, and with the usual side benefit of creating a record of what was said.

        Although the option to contact a company by phone should be there for those who want it (or for something genuinely time critical), there is no excuse for any medium or large business not to have a secure messaging system nowadays, to allow customers to contact them at a time that suits themselves.

        1. Jtom Bronze badge

          Re: Talk to someone on the phone

          Worse, when they DO have an email option and it goes something like this:

          Me: “Please cancel my service effective upon my renewal date.”

          Them: “ Please call our customer service department at 555-000-0000 for information concerning terminating service .”

          And the primary reason you emailed is because you can’t reach a live person via their interactive response system, and the voice menu doesn’t give you an option for ending the service.

    9. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      Didn't they cease to be relevant with the onset of Oracle (Teletext) for flight bookings.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

      A good travel agent, and a good any other agent/retailer etc, is worth a little more expense because of "value add". You pay for their expertise and knowledge.

      For travel agents we have a good local one that gets to know us and can recommend which companies will best suit our need (we don't need local "entertainment", we do want to interact with the locals). The last holiday they helped with the airport hotel stay after returning rather than before going because of flight times (this can be a way of saving on airport parking, free 14 night parking if you stay one night and stress getting to airport on time). They also know the destinations and so forth.

      Trouble is too many are little more than a way for some part timer to get more money off you. But the good ones have a major issue with rent and rates that favour the bigger operators. We've lost far too many local, specialist shops because of that.

    11. EJ

      Re: Hospitality sector had it coming buried my bed bug horror story about the small motel where I experienced enough discomfort to seek medical treatment (photos of my neck and arms still make me itch). did not.

      Guess which one I recommend folks use for researching their stays?

  4. SeanEllis

    Any computer game after 1994...

    ... with the honourable exception of West of Loathing. It's well written, funny, bonkers, and only $11.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      I thought that Deus Ex & Half Life were not at all bad now.

      Now, not Dark Castle or anything from Infocom, to be sure, but not bad nonetheless.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Any computer game after 1994...

        Have an upvote for Deus Ex, I absolutely loved that game although it's sequels/prequels are really not very good.

        Have to agree on most games though, pretty much anything I play is part of a series that began before 1994 (Doom, Wolfenstein, Need for Speed occasionally, Duke Nukem Forever if I'm feeling masochistic)

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Any computer game after 1994...

        Deus Ex is not a patch on Deus Ex Machine from Automata.

        1. Mike300ZX

          Re: Any computer game after 1994...

          Still got that in the nostalgia box. Next to my Speccy. Wonder if it still boots?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      Wipeout? Parappa The Rapper? Tomb Raider? Doom? Duke Nukem 3D? Ridge Racer (well, the PlayStation port was in 1994)...

    3. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      Baldur's Gate II

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any computer game after 1994...

        So many of them actually, too many to quote ...

        While I agree with all Dabbsy's points, I really can't on video games. I have an insane backlog of post 2010 video games, that are brilliant, yet I'm lacking the time to play them !

        2010+ are really the golden ages of video games with crowdfunding and the fact some devs now publish on their own without having this sort of conversation:

        1. Spoonsinger

          Re: While I agree with all Dabbsy's points

          Nah, He's just wanting to invent some nostalgia so he can flog that big hole filled with ET cartridges he's got in his back garden. (ET cartridges get everywhere).

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Any computer game after 1994...

        +1 for BG2

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      I wonder what 7 Days to Die is a clone of ?

    5. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      It's a question of semantics. You call it a foolish dismissal of post-1994 video games. I call it "initiating UGC".

    6. earl grey Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      So my Sim Ant floppies are still a go?

    7. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      Personally, I think Dabbsy needs a monk.


      I need a monk.

      1. Alligator

        Re: Any computer game after 1994...

        It looks very pink around here.

    8. Ken Mitchell

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      1998, "BattleZone". Excellent tank combat in space.

    9. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Any computer game after 1994...

      Dark Souls

      Total War series

      re. the robot sex, why is it that women talking about dildos => sexy/risque. men going about penetrating silicone implements or the like => creepy/desperate.

      sexism much?

      :-) '19, y'all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I've let three pre-recorded Jools Hollands go by [...]"

    In days of old it was "The White Heather Club" at midnight on BBC TV. Live and with the usual cast getting apparently more inebriated and maudlin as the programme progressed.

    1. Tweetiepooh

      I watched the programming on BBC Alba - failed to understand a word apart from those read in English from Twitter etc but there were English subtitles and the music mostly better than the mainstream BBC.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I watched the programming on BBC Alba

        Chan eil Gaidhlig agat?

        (Mind you, I don't have much anymore either. I can pick out the odd word..)

    2. smudge Silver badge

      In days of old it was "The White Heather Club" at midnight on BBC TV. Live...

      Actually, it wasn't. The Scottish Hogmanay shows were usually recorded at TV studios, or at somewhere like the Aviemore Centre in the dog days between the summer and the skiing season. Far too risky to have a live show featuring real Scottish people and strong drink. This also enabled Moira Anderson or the Alexander Brothers to entertain us whilst actually sunning themselves - or earning top dollar - thousands of miles away from the cold and filth of a Scottish winter.

      Twas only fairly recently - which to me means 30-40 years ago :) - that they went live.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Interesting - TV programmes were generally live in the 1950s. The only viable alternative being film until the Ampex video recording system was adopted in place of the BBC's own embryonic VERA.

        The New Year White Heather Club programme sticks in my childhood memories for two reasons. Moira Anderson's style of singing which was never to my taste - and men with a glass to hand who gradually seemed to become more and more slurred in their delivery.

        Always reminds me of our Scottish office's 1970s parties which inevitably ended with a rendering of the song "Flower of Scotland" in Gaelic.

  6. a cynic writes...

    It's an age thing...

    The kids* at work are very taken with the Black Mirror CYOA thing. Never seen anything like it apparently. I didn't have the heart to tell them.

    * Roughly the same age range as my kids, i.e. grown adults in their mid to late 20s (in one case with a mortgage).

    1. Naich

      Re: It's an age thing...

      As a jaded 51 year old who always thought CYOA was pointless, I quite enjoyed the Black Mirror episode. But that was purely because the CYOA aspect was an integral part of the story line. The trouble is that you can only do that once, so CYOA is now back to being pointless and shit for any future reincarnations.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: It's an age thing...

      How many Spectrums were harmed during the making of that episode? There should be a law against that kind of thing.

    3. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: It's an age thing...

      I enjoyed it. Though I would like to point out that "hotshot" Spectrum game programmers didn't use Sinclair BASIC- we were using Z80 machine code.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: It's an age thing...

        Machine code-like crashes for a supposedly BASIC program were also jarring. As were error messages being incorrectly presented, the key click being slightly the wrong tone, and RUN [enter] not clearing the screen...

        They obvioisly made the wrong choice in not hiring me as a consultant.

  7. Moog42

    You missed one...

    Adult electric scooters. They are coming, and soon they will be in every canal the length and breadth of the country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You missed one...

      they have already come (at least in another EU country). I don't know why, but every time I see an adult use one, I think of them, as "idiots". This is irrational, yeah, they are stupid trying to follow every fad, because it's there, not because it's of any / much use, yeah, they are stupid for standing on a platform, when they should be using their lower limbs, yeah, they're stupid pimping their data, etc. But... idiots? A bit harsh.

      DUMB FUCKS!!!

      That said, what irritates me is not the (...) users, it's the sight of those scooters scattered here and there. I mean, I know they're not scattered, they are just resting, but still, it looks... untidy. Now, must wash me hands, have used the keyboard for too long...

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: You missed one...

      Adult scooters of any kind, electric or not. It's an infantile and inefficient mode of transport.

      Also, there's something about the posture of scooterists that makes them look insufferably smug. I don't punch people in the face, but if I did, that's where I'd start.

      1. BGatez

        Re: You missed one...

        Try my knees before you say that

      2. Tikimon Silver badge

        Re: You missed one...

        "Adult scooters of any kind, electric or not. It's an infantile and inefficient mode of transport."

        Smug gits like this used to make the same stupid comments about adults on bicycles. I used to take public transport to work. It was one mile level ground to the train station, trade later to a bus, then a quarter-mile to work from the bus stop. I could drive to the train station and have a car sit all day, or get there under my own power. Sorry, that's too far to walk when I'd rather be back in bed. So I used a Xootr, an adult-sized kick scooter. It folded up and made a good footrest on the train and bus. If I detoured to a store, it carried easily in one hand. For my short runs it worked great. I later switched to a bike and rode that instead of taking the bus, but it was difficult getting it on a crowded train (there was space nominally reserved for bikes but real world and all).

        My wife and I have also used them to get around beachside towns and similar places where parking is a pain and you're not in a hurry. We don't have to lock it up like a bike, just carry it along. My concrete-floored downstairs - in addition to a Tiki Lounge, bike shop, gym, and airgun range - has a scooter track that winds through the rooms. Guests and party-goers have a blast scootering around down there. So don't knock it until you've maybe tried it!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: You missed one...

          "My concrete-floored downstairs - in addition to a Tiki Lounge, bike shop, gym, and airgun range - has a scooter track that winds through the rooms."

          I suspect you might be the exception rather than the rule. I doubt many people even have the space for all that, let alone the scooters to ride around on.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You missed one...

        Adult scooters of any kind, electric or not. It's an infantile and inefficient mode of transport.

        I was down in that London the other day and saw some hipster type guy scooting around on a bizarre contraption...kind of Segway-ish, but just one wheel, and no upright. I suspect that he thought he looked the bees knees....but from the look the faces of everyone that he passed by he was more like the bees rectum

        1. Mark 110 Silver badge

          Re: You missed one...

          Theres some fella comes past my flat in Liverpool occasionally on one oof those. It seems to have a built in soundsystem playing banging techno . . . .

          He looks quite pleased with himself </shrug>

        2. VikiAi Silver badge

          Re: You missed one...

          One of the guys in the mech-engineering department rides around campus on an electric mono-wheel. But he built it himself (actually built, not assembled from a kit) so I will give him a "that's pretty cool" pass.

        3. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: You missed one...

          Self balancing unicycles. The ultimate "I deserve to get punched in the face" device...

    3. Tromos

      "soon they will be in every canal the length and breadth of the country"

      Hopefully with the owner still attached.

    4. SonOfDilbert

      Re: You missed one...

      Barcelona is full of adults on electric scooters, hoverboards, mini skateboards, electric skateboards, electric bicycles, electric uni-wheel things. Adults. Fully-grown adults. Often in suits. Female. Male. All of them. Often on the pavement doing 15kph. Annoying as buggery.

    5. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: You missed one...

      These will be buried in the silt underneath:

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: You missed one...


        Were there actually enough of them to provide one for each canal in the country?

    6. JLV Silver badge

      Re: You missed one...

      Maybe when you're too inebriated to drive, but home's too far to walk?

      If they're anything like rollerblades however, even minimal drunkenness can be very taxing when operating them.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: You missed one...

        This one quite appealed to me when rushing for airport gates (especially after delays at security or sudden changes of departure gate), it also had enough range on paper to get me to the hotel from Seatac on public footpaths, rather than the long way round that the hotel shuttle was forced to use.

        I don't do enough flying alas to make it viable purchase (or at the moment possess enough $$$).

  8. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    With the exception of 11 and a slight curiosity towards 3, this list warms my heart. Cheers Mr. Dabbs!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sorry I am not paying a 10% surcharge for someone to surf the internet for me, [...]"

    A few years ago our local small Boots (the chemists, pharmacy) had a 3-for-2 offer on an own-brand product that I used regularly.

    Unfortunately they only ever stocked two jars of the stuff. The big Boots store in town eschewed that product in favour of more expensive "beauty" brands.

    So I asked if they would be getting more stock before the offer expired - to which the reply was "no". Can you order some for me? Off she went to her terminal - and informed me that it would only allow her to order 3 jars - and there would be a £5 charge for it to be delivered to the store for me to collect.

    Went home and placed an online order with Boots for a large number of jars - with free delivery. Nowadays I have found that the local independent chemist stocks a better branded product intended for prescriptions and it is much cheaper.

    Now to implement my New Year's Resolution to spend time decluttering rather than reading El Reg with lots of pictures.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "spend time decluttering"

      Life is too short.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Life is too short."

        That is why I want to declutter. It's part of what is called "putting my affairs in order" for my executor.

        When I retired I did a very neat job of tidying up the office accumulations of 40 years. I had experienced the loose ends some colleagues had left behind when they had left.

        Not that I expect to go just now - but with a general anaesthetic for a minor op in the near future then the dice are being rolled. The sense of ones own mortality is an interesting feeling. I have attended too many funerals of people who went before their time due to a "rare" complication of their health.

  10. Ragarath

    Wrong letter?

    Dabbs, you made an error in number 7. You wrote:


    Beware of anything described as "AI" because this invariably means it isn't AI: it's just programmed that way. We should rebrand AI as PS = "Programmed Software".

    I can see where the error occurred as the you saw the curl of the P thinking it was the B key you were pressing. We really should rebrand AI as BS!

    1. b0llchit

      Re: Wrong letter?

      So, B)rilliantly S)hining it is, as ample examples are available all around. Brilliantly at mistaken identity and Shining in fooling the investors. What could possibly be wrong with this interpretation. I am going to BS myself through life from now on and be rich as a consequence.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Wrong letter?

      Presumably, that would make it "Brogrammed Software", as in software programmed by some insufferably smug hipster?

      1. Moondingo

        Re: Wrong letter?

        I think the current AI term should be Partially Optimised Software or POS for short.

  11. MacroRodent Silver badge

    The Playmobil angle

    > Choose-your-own-adventure entertainment

    Yes, the Black Mirror episode was a bit underwhelming (a bit fun when you choose the "sign" on the main characters screen to be "Netflics"). There was a Playmobil film about pirates that implemented this idea just as well on a DVD, had it once borrowed for the family.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: The Playmobil angle

      Did El Reg, throw these toys out......

      Not seen a Playmobile re-enactment in ages.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: The Playmobil angle

        I think the Playmobile re-enactments thing was a Lester Haines thing (May he rest in peace).

  12. simonb_london

    Road rash

    So medium for an initial investment that has multiplied at least by more than 7 times since 2013 is, "exclusively for fools, liars and conmenen"?

    Most mediums for investments, such as bank "savings" accounts, are exclusively RUN BY fools, liars and conmen and give almost non-existent returns.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Road rash

      Multiplied by 7 for a limited number (I suspect a small minority) of 'investors' . So no, there is a difference between that and regulated banks and investments.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Road rash

      You're talking about investments. I'm talking about currencies. I'd argue that instability is bad for both. You may have earned 7x your initial investment. Someone else may have list two-tbirds of theirs. It's a conman's dream.

  13. Candy

    Late to the party. As usual...

    By the time 2000AD started, er, branching out in their stories, Messrs. Jackson* and Livingstone had been at it for several years.

    *Co-founder of Games Workshop rather than that other Steve Jackson bloke. You know. The GURPS, Ogre and Munchkin guy.

    1. Mr Humbug

      There was the 2011 Dredd story 'Choose your own Christmas' (Prog 2012 Christmas issue). I spent a good 20 minutes jumping between panels and pages before I worked out that it's best read from Dredd's point of view, not the victim's.

    2. Lloyd

      Re: Late to the party. As usual...

      No mention of Livingstone's part in Eidos and Tomb Raider then?

    3. daflibble

      Re: Late to the party. As usual...

      I remember them well, still on the bookshelf.

    4. David Given
      Thumb Up

      Re: Late to the party. As usual...

      Can I also plug Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series of games, which have absolutely kick-arse mobile phone ports? Complete with the ability to rewind time if you think you made the wrong choice, so effectively emulating sticking multiple fingers into the book as impromptu bookmarks!

      There's an iThing port as well, somewhere. I believe it's also on Steam.

  14. Dr_N Silver badge

    "What are you, a fucking 8-year-old?"

    We all need to apply this thinking more, to more areas, in 2019.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: "What are you, a fucking 8-year-old?"

      Good enough for the President of the United States, good enough for me.

  15. steelpillow Silver badge

    No. 14

    I will never pay for a parcel at a post office ever again. Pre-pay via a comparison site (say ParcelMonkey) costs less than half as much for exactly the same service, and that's before taking off the broker's commission. Just print the label, hand over and they scan-and-send. Even the Parcel Post web site charges the full price for its pre-pay service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No. 14

      Going to try this one.. thanks for the recommendation

  16. big_D Silver badge

    You grumpy old b'stard

    Erm, I mean, right on. I have pretty much an identical list.

  17. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge


    I was lucky enough to be invited to a few different peoples Xmas parties over the recent festive period. I was horrified however about how many (seemingly) sane people now have Alexa devices in their homes and seem to be prattling away to it with all sorts of inane requests. I was quite relieved to see how dumb it actually is, and how flaky it seems to be in terms of operation and understanding.

    Same thing for Facebook to be honest. I was surprised to see how many people are still using it without a care in the world.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Alexa...

      Yep, have to agree. My in-laws were aghast because we bought some Sonos One speakers but opted for the version sans Alexa. Apparently ours were cheaper but weren't as good as the Alexa enabled versions.....

    2. livin' thing

      Re: Alexa...

      1. Enter friend's house.

      2. "Alexa! Buy me a Rolex submariner!"

      3. "Alexa! Confirm purchase!"

      4. Exit ex-friend's house.

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Alexa...

        Yeah but knowing the quality of Alexa, your ex-friend would end up with a ham and cheese roll, delivered by a poor Sean Connery lookalike dressed as Marko Aleksandrovich.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Alexa...

        1. Enter friend's house.

        2. "Alexa! Buy me a Rolex submariner!"

        3. "Alexa! Confirm purchase!"

        4. Exit ex-friend's house.

        Obligatory XKCD

    3. John Miles
      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Alexa...

        I bought a couple of Dot's after we received a free Echo.

        I have to admit I was a bit (very) reluctant but it's made a difference in home automation. Turning the Christmas tree lights & other lamps On\Off & it's handy in the morning to turn on the kettle from upstairs & setting the heating.

        I have been able to stream music (rare tracks & forgotten gems), without rummaging through wherever my CD's are still packed around the home.

        The phase of asking it dumb questions has abated. Although I'm tempted at the moment to plug one into the nearest Alexa controlled power switches & tell her to turn itself off.

  18. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Smart speakers remind me of Sirius Cybernetics

    I am more likely to staple my tongue to my desk than buy one of those. If someone gets me one, I will probably ask them to hand me the stapling gun (or the BOFH-modded cattle prod (disguised as a sonic screwdriver, maybe)).

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Smart speakers remind me of Sirius Cybernetics

      Its not just smart speakers. My kids got some 'upmarket' BT speakers via the misses who had asked me for something for the kitchen that played CDs and had a radio etc and did BT etc so I got one I could stand listening to.

      The look on the kids faces a few days later when they BTed into the kitchen one and discovered a whole layer of instruments they hadn't heard on their music before!

      I knocked up an MP3 of a sine sweep and got out the ribbon mike and there is nothing below 250hz on the BT speakers but harmonics!

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Smart speakers remind me of Sirius Cybernetics

        There's a reason cheap BT speakers are Cheap. They're all rubbish. I'd avoid anything under €30 to begin with if you want a good listening experience.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge

    What a load of rubbish...

    I wouldn't use many of those on the list... Like Dabsy said: FAIL

  20. Stumpy

    You miserable sod ...

    My god, you're being a miserable sod this week Dabbsy. [Must be Dry January taking it's toll]

    Not that I disagree with your list mind you (apart from a couple of items: Choose your own adventure books were great at the time [especially since I struggled to find any other geeks in my teen years who were also into any form of RPGs], and there have been some decent games written post 1994 [not many mind, but there have been some].

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You miserable sod ...

      I've thoroughly enjoyed a choose-your-own-adventure series (technically several series) by Joe Dever. They're RPGs, with (basic) stats, combat, items, etc. Now free to read/play on

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: You miserable sod ...

      He's an entertainer. The curmudgeon is good entertainment.

      Give him 50 columns over the year, I expect most of his no-nos will put in an appearance. Maybe not all of them describing his own experiences with them.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: You miserable sod ...

        "I expect most of his no-nos will put in an appearance."

        Isn't that one of those things for "shaving" your legs but actually rips the hairs out by the roots?

        I'm not sure I particularly want to see Dabbsy mutilating himself with one of those.

  21. JDX Gold badge


    You're worried about your smart speaker listening to you but you own a mobile phone which can do the same thing (even if you ask it not to)? I was very disparaging about them but friends have an Alexa and while I'm not swayed enough to buy one, I can see some benefits as a glorified Siri.

    As for IoT I'm not sure exactly what counts but I have a smart multi-room heating system which is genuinely a huge improvement in terms of convenience, cost and comfort.

    I don't yet have smart sockets/bulbs but I do have a little IR remote which can turn a bunch on and off (been around for decades I'm sure) and this IS very handy for things like Christmas lights so I am strongly considering upgrading to a phone-based one (it'll probably be worse but I won't keep losing the remote).

    For me IFTTT and Google Assistant is key to them being really useful because I don't have to launch some cruddy 3rd party app on my phone which takes longer then walking to the switch... I just say "OK google turn the Christmas lights off" or "OK Google I need to work for 2 hours" and it just works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      "As for IoT I'm not sure exactly what counts but I have a smart multi-room heating system which is genuinely a huge improvement in terms of convenience, cost and comfort"

      About this time in 2016 NEST messed up an update to people's heating systems. The result was people were in the cold.

    2. Nematode

      Re: Hmm

      No, not worried, because on my phone I jave to turn voice recognition on. Which I do occasionally. By mistake. Before turning it off again

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Hmm

        Yeah, there's absolutely no way they can listen to you now. Nobody would snoop on you.

        People who are worried about the implications of services like Siri but trust their phones can't be tracking their every action?

    3. Mike 125

      Re: Hmm

      >I have a smart multi-room heating system which is genuinely a huge improvement in terms of convenience, cost and comfort.

      I have a timed CH system with thermostatic radiators, and a limited imagination. Care to explain just 1 way in which your system is either 'smart', more convenient, cheaper or more comfortable than mine?

      1. Rob007

        Re: Hmm

        Tend to agree, the flat/house only needs to be at 20C when someone is in it. Just press the on button when you come in (most places warm up within 20mins - otherwise money better spent on insulation). House guests could understand this and you've got frost protect on the thermostat for holidays.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Hmm

        1)It's smart because it connects to my phone/whatever... that's all 'smart' means in 2019 and you know it.

        It does also have the function to learn how long rooms take to heat up and cool down, so you tell it when you want the room to be warm and it knows how early to turn on/off to achieve that. Haven't used this much ourselves.

        2)It's cheaper because our heating costs are reduced since we fitted it.

        3)It's more comfortable because the rooms we spend time in are now warm despite 3) when previously, we spent all day shivering to avoid crazy heating bills.

        4)It's more convenient because we can control every room separately. Our bedroom can be set to be warm when when we're in it, my home office can be set to be warm 9-5, our living room can be set to be warm 5-11. The rooms we don't use much can be set to be cool by default, for instance we have a dedicated film room so we only turn the heating on when we want to watch a film.

        For all those downvoting just because it's IoT or 'smart', well I don't have to connect it to the internet at all and can still set schedules per room, etc. But, it is actually convenient when we're both out and deciding what we want to do in the evening, to press a button on my phone "watch a film" and the tV room heats up for 2 hours.

        I was dubious of it before and we only got it for the cost benefits because we live in a large Victorian house with many rooms - even with TRVs either rooms are colder than we want them or warmer than they need to be. But as well as objectively making our house cheaper and warmer, I actually find it useful. Those with tiny new-build flats and/or limited imaginations wouldn't benefit from a multi-room heating system for sure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          for instance we have a dedicated film room

          Like the chap arguing electric scooters are good because they allow him easy access to his indoor shooting range and bike room...

        2. Mike 125

          Re: Hmm

          Good answer. We have different lives.

          "I'm cold."

          "And if you stick on a jumper you'll get warm. But I'll always be a tight a'se."

  22. Herring` Silver badge


    I quite like the recent Tomb Raiders - puzzles + platforms + shooting - but I do miss Llamatron.

  23. WoobieVonFruitbat

    Thanks for the 'Squaxx Dek Thargo' reference. Cheered me up no end!

  24. livin' thing

    Please add article upvote buttons... I can upvote this article. Thank-you.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Please add article upvote buttons...

      I'd have been more impressed if Dabbsy had managed to put up/down vote buttons by each list item :-)

  25. SonOfDilbert

    #7 - "AI"

    Don't even get me started...

    "AI" has become a new marketing soundbite for anything that might contain an 'if...else' code block. If the product isn't telling me, 'don't do that, Dave,' whilst I try to disengage its power core then it's not proper AI.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: #7 - "AI"

      "AI" has become a new marketing soundbite for anything that might contain an 'if...else' code


      1. Steevee

        Re: #7 - "AI"

        Ahhh, so it's the "digital TV aerial" for the next decade then.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: #7 - "AI"


      Don't forget it is not an AI unless:

      It know all the words to 'Daisy Daisy' ...... which it can sing while you are pulling out the 'right' memory core to verify that the 'bad' bits are being removed and not just the '37 versions of the rules to play Jenga' or some such it saved during original training. !!!

      :) :)

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: #7 - "AI"

      Although I'm tempted at the moment to plug Echo into the nearest Alexa controlled power switches & tell her to turn itself off.

  26. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    New Years resolutions...

    I'm always amused at how folks keep making NYRs & then bemoaning when they fail to keep them.

    Decades ago I made the resolution never to make any more resolutions. So far so good!

  27. Stevie Silver badge


    "What are you, 8 years old?"

    Sometimes, yes. An eight year old with a 63 year old professional's income. Pray I limit my foolish purchases to such harmless tat, lest my drone smack onto your car at warp 9.5 while I'm "getting the hang of it".

  28. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Except for #13, I agree completely with your list. If you bothered to take care of your records they wouldn't skip, crack, or crackle. I have records from 1968 that still sound clean and a far sight better than and CD, MP3, OGG or any other digital file.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You need a deck whose arm can track properly. I have a dynamic test LP that will cause most decks to skip on it most severe track.

    2. nijam

      > If you bothered to take care of your records they wouldn't skip, crack, or crackle.

      Don't be daft, that's how they're made. Plus the weird equalisation to try to cope with the appalling distortion you'd get from the majority of domestic "hifi" record players.

    3. Daedalus Silver badge

      Do you have records from the 70's? CBS label records were notorious for surface noise, warping etc. And I still have my copy of "Wish You Were Here" with the hole 1 mm off centre. Sounds OK-ish except for the end of the last track when you really hear the wow on those long notes.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Somewhere around the place, I probably have 'Crisis? What Crisis?' with the rather odd feature of an off-centre hole on one side only... and it was a damn sight more than 1mm.

    4. Nematode

      I very much doubt a 1968 vinyl is anywhere near what vinyl can actually do technically. Only a few decent labels turned out quality stuff back then, Decca classical being one. Most of my 60's 70's and 80's vinyl just doesn't hack it really, though the odd CD replacement/remaster etc is usually grotesque in its CD-ness

      1. Freddellmeister

        Vinyl is an inferior transfer technology, and hence will not allow to much volume compression or the needle will skip. Hence even for contemporary music, Vinyl has a sonic advantage in many cases since the master is not as brickwalled. (Google Loudness wars).

        For all music up to 1994, I can guarnatee you ythat the original vinyl release will be far superior to any remaster or CD version.

        There are inferior vinyl relesaes, mostly issues in different countries from bad tape copy or reissues..

        I remember bying Diana Ross, Diana in the in the early 90-ties and the transfer was worse than 10 year aged casette with wrong Dolby setting.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Assuming a lossless format -- FLAC -- then you won't hear any difference between the vinyl and the digital copy.

      Compressed audio doesn't work at all well on a decent high quality system. Some compression systems work better than others but they're all based on psychoacoustic techniques that make assumptions about how the listener hears the music. Its the 'AM Radio' of the digital age.

      As for 'Vinyl sounding better' it mostly does because the mastering on many CDs, especially popular music ones, is designed to exaggerate the presence of the music. A decently mastered CD or digital file is about as good as its possible to get.

  29. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    Mostly true...

    I once read a quote that said, "Tech for tech's sake? Someone will try to get embedded Linux running on a dead badger if they could, just for the hell of it!".

    My old man in his 70s loves his Alexa, he says he can't remember stuff as easily as he once could so he loves that he can use Alexa to remember GP appointments and such like . He likes to remind me as I scream through my middle aged years, that he has many more GP visits and pills to take than he has before in his life and technology is very adept at reminding him that he's an old git now!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mostly true...

      I have an Arduino to remind me to take my after-meal pills. It has a wide time range for each meal. If my coffee cup is going up and down on the coaster within a time range then it flashes a bright LED until I press a button to acknowledge the pill has been taken.

      By default two hours after the button press it can flash another LED and send a signal to ring bells in the house. That is to remind me when I want to do a glucose spot blood check.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Mostly true...

      Hiya FuzzyWuzzys,

      My dad is 82, diagnosed with dementia mid seventies. I've tried to use tech to help him but that is all slipping away. His TV broke late last year. That floored him.

      We got him another TV but he can't comprehend the simple remote control. I'll make him a pictorial manual.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Mostly true...

        An interesting reference, that. Unfortunately for many of us dementia isn't a matter of 'if', its more 'when', so we really need to be aware of it and how we can cope with it.

        I have been interested in whether I could use a voice assistant ("Echo") as an interface. My model for this interface would be that of one of those CPR units that are designed for use by non-EMS personnel. ("HeartSmart" or similar). These devices talk you through the steps, cross checking that what it asks you to do has been done. The genius in their design is that they are designed to be used by people who are inexpert and -- obviously -- stressed. They're not going to read the manual and even if they did they'd skip or repeat important steps with potentially disastrous results. The machine won't let them. Now imagine a washing machine that talked you through the steps, cross checking each one. It is better than pure automation -- or a laundry service -- because it would give the person something to do, a purpose, which is at least as important as clean laundry.

  30. Stevie Silver badge


    Reasons why music on vinyl was more satisfying than what came after.

    a) The whole rigmarole of equipment set-up and music deployment was a skill (to judge by the lamentable state of your records, not one to which you gave much attention) that made the payoff loads better.

    2) The equipment was dead steampunky. Goldring Lenco had all sorts of fishing rods and weights hung over corkscrews to get the magic working. A piece of sculpture that played music! No amount of servo-assisted tray opening and closing can compete for cool visuals.

    $) Zerostat pistols. Great for stunning spiders, tasing friends and resetting smug gits' digital watches to January 1st, 1900.

    @) Artwork on a square foot, or if you were lucky two square feet of canvas. 25 or 50 square inches does not compare.

    :) Lyric sheets you could read without electron microscope eyeballs

    Vinyl was a multimedia experience and the racks in HMV, Boots and Virgin were an art gallery everyone could and did enjoy every Saturday.

    But I agree, the fucking scratches and surface noise were annoying. EMI* and their lousy dirt/handling protocols. I remember eagerly hanging by the radio for the very first airing of The Wall only to turn it off in disgust when the recording was badly scratched. EMI strikes again. The job *could* be done right (witness Deutsche Grammophon's expensive offerings) but as usual, EMI couldn't be arsed to try.

    * - they owned the busiest pressing factories in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!


      Upvote just for your numbering system for the points :)

      Love it and it is now added to the official El Reg Standards ;) :)


      I was a HiFi Nut from the 70's and agree totally .... you could spend 3 hrs setting everything up before you listened to 1 side of an LP ....... then did it all again because you thought it was 'slightly off' !!!

    2. John Presland

      Re: Bah!

      @+) and the square foot of artwork was perfect for three Rizlas plus.

  31. jelabarre59 Silver badge


    Major reason I listen to a lot of music on "vinyl" is because I spent many years in the 80's and 90's (plus a handful from the late 70's) accumulating all of it, and I'm too tight-assed cheap to replace it with a newer format.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Vinyl

      You don't have to. Back in the day -- the early 2000s -- I ripped my vinyl onto CDs. Years later, the early 2010s probably, I then converted the CDs to FLACs. It sounds just like the vinyl.

      Its a tedious process if you do it all at once but if you rip an album every time you play it then you rapidly convert those recordings you're actually going to listen to (the others obviously don't matter).

      (The CD format is worth keeping because the indexing system beloved of digital music is oriented around individual songs -- 'singles'. Anything else it makes a pigs' ear of.)

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Vinyl

        Its a tedious process if you do it all at once but if you rip an album every time you play it then you rapidly convert those recordings you're actually going to listen to (the others obviously don't matter).

        That actually is what I'm doing with mine. Although I would prefer to have a CD-Audio recorder I could directly attach to a *GOOD* turntable (not those "Crosley" things the department stores sell) and I'd just dump each side to a raw uncompressed file, to be ripped from CD and split later. That's how I'm handling all my old VHS and 8MM tapes; dump to DVD-Video, then sort through them later (the blanks are cheap enough to use as an intermediate medium).

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One in four women would have sex with a robot, according to this survey. In that case, she can buy her bloody own.

    I'd go for it, if it were designed to look and sound like Megurine Luka.

    1. Steevee

      Re: Robot?

      I WAS going to look up Megurine Luka, but was worried it wouldn't be safe for work

  33. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Any IoT device

    I beg to differ, I finally found a useful one.

    Cheaper than half of the "normal" thermostatic radiator valves on the market, sane manual mode, Bluetooth support, support for controlling it from Linux (there are scripts on github) and most importantly NO F*CKING CLOUD!!!

    1. Martin

      Re: Any IoT device

      But if it doesn't connect to the cloud, it's not IoT, it's just useful technology.

    2. Nifty

      Re: Any IoT device

      It's now on my wish list, was already looking at it and you seem to have supplied the seal of approval.

    3. David Given

      Re: Any IoT device

      How long does the battery last? When that goes flat does it fail on or off? What's the behaviour like when the battery is *nearly* flat (will they detect low voltage and refuse to operate, or will they just go nuts as the RAM starts dropping out)? How often do you get firmware updates? Are there any known exploits in the Bluetooth stack? Are settings retained when the power goes out? What's the clock drift like? What's the predicted lifetime of the electronics given the whole thing will be cycling in temperature between 5° and 70°? What's the water-resistance like (I've never seen a radiator valve which wasn't damp)? What's the resistance to battery leaks like (given the intended very long lifetime)?

      And, do they do anything genuinely useful compared to an old fashioned mechanical thermostat?

  34. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    "What are you, a fucking 8-year-old? It's a TV series for children."

    I take you didn't actually watch this season then? Dead Nan/wife, the grieving process, sexism, paternal responsibilities, dehumanizing work practices, automation of work and loss of identity, the partition of India and subsequent ethnic cleansing (with bonus fratricide) are a bit more young adult than kids stuff.

    It's been a good season, but it's brought me to tears more than a few times. Which may be an adult thing, or an absent father thing*, or one of the joys of being a parent**, but dismissing Dr Who as a kids show misses quite a lot of the point.

    Plus there's the general message of non-violent compromise**, respect for life and trying to understand what the other person wants.

    So it might be a kids show, but it's a damn sight better than most adult shows out there.

    *"You don't have to be the best parent, you just have to be there"

    ** The whole "dead kid" as a characters backstory is depressingly common. Went from "yeah, whatever" to "I can't watch this" after my son came along.

    *** OK, feeding an alien an anti-matter bomb may not be entirely non-violent :D

    1. Afernie

      Re: "What are you, a fucking 8-year-old? It's a TV series for children."

      Talk about taking the bait...

  35. Martin

    OK, I'd like to add another one

    That "up-to-date" electronic music sounds something Jean-Michel Jarre might have done around the time of Oxygene.

    So, electronic music - that's one more piece of technology to avoid. There is so much good music, played on, y'know, musical instruments.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: OK, I'd like to add another one

      different strokes, I guess. I came to say that I actually LIKED that particular musical selection. Of course I also occasionally like (relatively small doses of) Jarre, Jean Luc Ponty, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Larry Fast/Synergy, etc as well so I suppose it's all a matter of personal tastes.

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: OK, I'd like to add another one

      I think electronic thingies can safely be considered actual musical instruments these days, and for many previous days (stylophone excluded). I have to say, though, that I can listen only momentarily to most music emitted by such things. That might be more due to the knob twiddler than the knobs. The only thing that kept me within that particular video was the visuals, not the bleeping and burbling.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, I'd like to add another one

      "So, electronic music - that's one more piece of technology to avoid."

      Back in my distant youth I was introduced to baroque music by the LPs of Wendy Carlos using a Moog synthesiser - "Switched On Bach" and "The Well-Tempered Synthesizer".

      When I later heard the same Bach pieces on classic instruments - it was amazing how electronic the sound of the classic instruments was.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Switched on Bach

        When I later heard the same [as Wendy Carlos' Switched on Bach] Bach pieces on classic instruments - it was amazing how electronic the sound of the classic instruments was

        Generally I am a sucker for cross-genre mashups or musical parodies but I was underwhelmed by these.

        What I have been amazed by was whilst pushing a horse along with a motor car doesn't seem like a big deal, you should see how fast an un-motorised hay cart could push a horse back in the day. I'm at a loss to explain how it was done really.

  36. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    From the article "One in four women would have sex with a robot..."

    And 2 in 4 nerds/men can Only have sex with a robot.

  37. J 3

    Vinyl 2

    Gee, Dabs must either have access to a very crappy pick up or to some very crappy disks... I mean, I am no audiophile, even less some hipster who thinks everything old was better, but I must say: my 1981 Telefunken sound system (just a few years younger than me; inherited from my parents), with my well-looked after LPs, sounds really good. Sure, there is a little (quite) pop sometimes, but rarely (I clean the vinyl before dropping the expensive needle), mostly at the beginning, before the music starts. I do not use the stuff often, digital is much more practical, but sound bad it sure doesn't.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Vinyl 2

      Doesn't sound bad? You should hear a disc my cat used as a scratching pad when played through my ex-Hawkwind stage sound system installed in my bedsit, when cranked up to 11! Mind blowing!

  38. PhilipN Silver badge

    Blade Runner

    If anyone has already commented approvingly on the pic at the top I have not spotted it, so : good choice, AD.

    Smart move of the film makers to choose a look-alike sound-alike young version* of Harrison Ford to do the interrogation.

    *Clone? Replicant? Now, now - do NOT hijack this forum with a BR digression.

  39. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Wisdom equals repitition

    I just read all my 2018 comments for the first time. I made three good jokes that I repeated twice. The first time I cracked the jokes I was slightly downvoted, but the second time I cracked the same jokes I was heavily upvoted.

    So my top tip for 2019, if people here don't like your joke first time around, just tell it again.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Wisdom equals repitition

      Works with dad jokes too. After I trot out a belter for the hundredth time my kids are in tears.

      The one with the apparently bottomless wallet in the pocket please-->

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Wisdom equals repitition

        Works with dad jokes too. After I trot out a belter for the hundredth time my kids are in tears.

        My brother and I assigned them numbers...

        "#14: the 'lens-shaped' rock"

  40. Ken Mitchell

    Mostly Agree

    I agree with all except #11, Any computer game invented after 1994. There have been a plethora of newer games. Granted; I still enjoy playing the original "Wizardry" game from 1981, I think, and "Might and Magic" of a slightly newer vintage. But the 1998 "BattleZone" game was outstanding for vector graphics.

    But I'm still a big fan of the "World of Warcraft" and "Starcraft" series, from Blizzard.

  41. Atlantic Roller


    Whilst in Boots today I saw toothbrushes on sale for £200. Now admittedly they had Bluetooth connectivity (seemed appropriate), but WTF?

    1. Martin

      Re: Toothbrushes

      Ah, they don't just have Bluetooth connectivity, they also have an associated app.

      I actually investigated this sort of thing out of incredulity. It seems you attach the toothbrush by Bluetooth to your phone, and it times how long you're brushing your teeth, so you know when you've done two minutes. Seems a bit of a faff to me. could buy the cheaper one which costs about thirty quid from the same manufacturer, which does a little buzz every 30 seconds to tell you to change quadrant, and a further long buzz after two minutes.

      Not exactly the toughest buying decision I've ever made.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: or a 30p toothbrush and a timer?

        Need I say more? £198.70p more?

  42. Nematode

    Re "smart" speakers, I loved the true story the other day about the parrot ordering stuff online from Amazon

  43. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Cosmic background weirdness

    He spent the Christmas break binge-reading back-issues of Fortean Times and Heavy Metal and is now having trouble trying to come back to terms with conventional reality.

    I'm clutching my Fortean Times mug this morning, it always makes me smile. For what's written on the drawing of the monitor see title.

  44. Spamfast Bronze badge

    I can't say how much I agree with Mr Dabbs here. Spot on in all respects.

    I'd add my opinion but I think he's covered it.

    Happy New Year.

  45. SNAFUology

    Avoid Cybermen

    Avoid Cybermen, ! they will convert you to more of the same.

    Distracted from your daily grind, at the very least you will be enthralled and become their servant.

    As a thrall you will serve them by converting others to more of the same.

    No one should require Cyber to exist or live in the world. Any Cyber is a tool to fulfill a purpose, that purpose should essentially have an analog equivalent alternative.

    The world we build is on skyhooks but as thralls you do not see this, and will keep paying to prop it up. Check your superannuation to see if the latest Apple collapse did not cost you $$$ in reduction in it's value.

  46. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Music on vinyl?

    Just eat a pack of crisps while you listen to your MP3 and you'll be back in the 70's - I'm still digitizing my collection with Audacity and it's tons of fun!

  47. msknight Silver badge

    Fixated with automatically ordered toilet rolls

    Ok Mr Dabs, you mentioned them twice in the same article.

    Come clean. What happened? Did you get a good price for them down the market afterwards, and do you still squirm every time you see a toilet roll?

  48. Chronos Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    That could have been me saying that. On top of what you wrote for autonomous cars you can add "shelling out several grand when the battery dies" or, in Renault's case, never owning the bloody thing in the first place.

    As for number five, many of those who said they wouldn't probably already do.

    "That? Oh, it's a dog toy, Vicar. Yes, the vibration knocks all the tartar off his teeth."

    I suspect by "robot" they mean "android". This is why this industry is leaking talent like a sieve: Even the experts don't know how to categorise their shit.

    Sadly, your IoTosh going mainstream prediction fell flat judging by the number of those Ring video doorbells I see in my new, much sexier job as a parcel bloke (at least I'm getting exercise and decent money), usually on houses with pretentious names that begin with "High" which is probably what the sign-writer was when he painted the bloody thing if its legibility is anything to go by...

    "No, sir, unless your fancy Internet of Vulnerabilities doorbell can actually sign for this and take it indoors, it's going back to the depot and you can collect it from there."

  49. Rob007

    Dear Alistair - you've nailed it

    Do you think that the FBI/CIA/MI6 et al have been developing AI to filter out the fart noises from all the Home 'Assistant' voice feeds.

    And if so could Fart Code become the new Morse Code !?!

  50. NanoMeter

    Quarantine - 95/96

    "Any computer game invented after 1994"

    Ever played Quarantine from 1995/1996? That was really original then and too bloody for some countries which required censorship of the blood.

  51. mediabeing

    THANKS for the laugh.

    You already interact with some of those things on your list.

    You already interact with A.I., silly person. Wake up. Educate yourself.


  52. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Robots (misprint)

    No no no.... You'll find its one in four would sleep with a Robert. They mis-heard / mis-read the question and started thinking about Robert Downey Jr, or similar.

    Either that or they consider their Ann Summers Rabbit a robot?

  53. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    I was with you until No 13

    I recently started to listen to Vinyl again and realised how crap most CD's are.

    I'd like to add

    14) Windows 10

    15) Using any Amazon service or store be it online or physical especially the ones with no staff.


    16) Giving Social Media the big finger.

  54. Miss_X2m1

    Useful Stuff

    For the holiday, I upgraded my computer's memory from 4 gigs to 16 gigs. I also installed an SSD, replacing a very old but highly reliable HDD. Only time will tell if the SSD can prove itself being as reliable as the old HDD. In the meanwhile, I backup my system weekly onto ....... an HDD.

  55. Dr Gerard Bulger

    A.I. will replace {insert professional here]

    I sit there as a doctor, seeing patients, and for something rare I will go to dr google, adding restriction other search terms to make sure not USA, but UK guideline or Oz or NZ medical sites.. Alas the patient says "I could have done that! But you did not, and you did not know how or would have settled on Gwenneth Paltrow instead I retort. Similarly I still use Travel Agents for the more complex trips and their always find a better deal than I could extract on the internet

    Why the fuck do Estate Agents still exist in this internet age. Thier demise has been predicted for decades long before the crap term AI was all the rage.

  56. DrM
    Thumb Up

    May I add?

    May I add any household appliance with a color LCD touchscreen?

  57. Not previously required

    AI or AI?

    I am always amused by the abbreviation AI for artificial intelligence because it is also used for artificial insemination. Only one of these technologies will leave you right royally screwed.

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