* Posts by Steve Foster

673 posts • joined 10 Oct 2007


Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...

Steve Foster

"Responsive" web design

Once upon a time, web pages were built with simple HTML and CSS. Which is light on bandwidth, and easy for browsers to render.

But these days, web developers don't use simple HTML - everything (and I do mean everything) has been reinvented and implemented with JavaScript frameworks.

An example - I have to submit meter readings for an online energy company. The page used to use a straight-forward HTML form, and I could fill out all the fields and click Submit. A little while ago, the whole site was replaced with one of these damn "responsive" designs, and now that simple form is overloaded with JS that changes it from a single page fill-and-submit into a 3 page fill-one-field and click NEXT time sink. All just to make it look very pretty (probably to serve some ads too, but I don't see those!).

From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes

Steve Foster

The concept is good (of colonizing Mars - we do need to get a foothold somewhere beyond earth if we wish to ensure the long-term survival of our species), but the Mars One proposed implementation always sounded likely to crash and burn (and that's not a la "oops, we hit Mars too fast/hard").

Steve Foster

"Sounds a bit like the Brexit campaign"

I didn't realise that the Brexit campaign had promised to get people to Mars at all, let alone safely.

Hell, it's become very apparent that they[1] had no actual plan for exiting the EU either (mind you, Remainer May is doing her best to sabotage the whole thing too!).

[1] I meant the Brexit campaign here, but Mars One works too!

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

Steve Foster

Re: Pulled the plug...

It's a bit of a nuisance that the URL for that view is capitalised *and* case-sensitive (which makes both remembering it correctly and typing it in that little bit harder than necessary)

Microsoft reveals terrible trio of bugs that knocked out Azure, Office 362.5 multi-factor auth logins for 14 hours

Steve Foster

Re: I'm a bit slow

"I assume the 362.5 then 363 then 364 was a piss take?"

Oh yes.

cf. previous articles on Microsoft cloud outages (there are too many to cite individually, of course).

Steve Foster


OC, it's not entirely clear from your post, are you talking about Microsoft now, or systemd?

Technical foul: Amazon suffers data snafu days before Black Friday, emails world+dog

Steve Foster

Re: Nothing to worry about

Except that this would essentially fall under "legitimate interests", providing that he has made sure to do the proper notifications and publish an appropriate privacy policy.

What, you deleted that email from Santa?

Slabs, huh, what are they are good for? Er, not quite absolutely nothing

Steve Foster

Re: But ... but ... they're going to replace consoles and PCs

It's derived from the Titanic (cf. Intel Itanium > Itanic). Imagine voicing it as Wintenic.

But, yes, it's a bit on the lame side.

Brit smart meter biz blamed Apple's iPhone 7 launch for its late taxes

Steve Foster

Re: @Spazturtle

If an invoice has been raised, then yes (for VAT purposes at least).

Steve Foster


Except that this is VAT, which is essentially calculated and collected on the basis of sales invoices less purchase invoices (at least in principle), and is not usually affected by the status of the goods/services or the company's cash flow. The standard position is that, yes, companies may have to pay the VAT due on income that they have not received yet (and the corollary is that they can receive a VAT refund for purchases booked if the corresponding sale has not been completed before the VAT period is over).

It appears that the primary reason they've been allowed to get away with the [essentially bogus] "typhoon Nida ate our homework" excuse is that HMRC failed to do its job properly, even though it looks like the company has "form" in not paying their VAT on time (according to the article).

Boffin: Dump hardware number generators for encryption and instead look within

Steve Foster

Ultimate Source of Entropy!

Use ElReg article comments as your source of entropy. Far more effective than any HWRNG!

Google's 'other' phone platform turns up in post-apocalyptic mobe

Steve Foster


Well, it makes a change from 10:08... :)

Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone

Steve Foster

Re: Java

I'm using LO, and do not have Java on my machine. *Some* functionality in LO requires Java, but I don't install or use those bits.

That went well – not! Broadcom’s value dives after CA biz gobble

Steve Foster

Spend $19bn on CA, and see your market value fall by $19bn?

Sounds about right to me, given that it's CA we're talking about!

The only surprise really is that the value didn't fall further...

Who fancies a six-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB NVME ... convertible tablet?

Steve Foster

Re: HP Ink?

It's deliberate. (word play on the fact that HP Inc holds what's left of the Hewlett-Packard printer business)

Seagate's Barracuda SSD bares its teeth at PC, laptop upgraders

Steve Foster

@Siberian Hamster

5 year warranty = 4 regular years + 1 leap year, much more often than not.

If you really want to be picky (an ElReg commentard? surely not!!), the calculation should be based on:

0.75 x ( (4 x 365) + (1 x 366) ) + 0.25 x ( (3 x 365) + (2 x 366) )

(no doubt someone will chime in about leap seconds next... :) )

Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion

Steve Foster


Perhaps Microsoft will be thinking of resurrecting CodePlex...

(or possibly it's just business as usual, only done in slightly the wrong order!)

Three storage hardware devices, a cash raise and Oracle gets blocked

Steve Foster
Big Brother

Re: "We’re going to see surveillance video cameras get a whole lot smarter"

Not with 256GB MicroSD cards available (and getting bigger next week, no doubt)...

Finding/creating space to fit several of those within a motorised tilt/rotate mounting would not actually be overly difficult.

ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t

Steve Foster


It references an advert shown in the run-up to Christmas, and has essentially quoted the script of that advert.

Coca-Cola have run several adverts on the same theme (of groups of women ogling male flesh), although theirs were marginally less overtly sexual in nature.

Samsung preps for Z-SSD smackdown on Intel Optane drives

Steve Foster

Re: "slightly lower latency"

I rather think they meant "slightly worse" (as in they were using lower/higher in the usual positive sense [ie higher = better], without considering that for latency, the logic is reversed), for wide-ranging values of "slightly".

US govt shutdown lobs spanner in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch

Steve Foster

@unwarranted triumphalism

Which, NASA or the US Air Force?

Samsung topples Intel as semiconductor top dog, but lead 'literally built on sand'

Steve Foster

Re: Who are the "others"?

But AMD got out of actually making chips for themselves, didn't they? (IIRC, they mostly get them from Global Foundries [who also don't make the top 10]).

Meanwhile, if 10th place has 2.1% share, and "others" are 40% of the overall market, that suggests there are a lot of bit players (at least 21!).

Dentist-turned bug-biter given a taste of freedom

Steve Foster

Re: Cyberstalking?

Erm, no, it looks like the FBI raids were the result of the STM reaction, the cyberstalking charge seems to be the outcome of the "he embarrassed LEO" reaction.

Microsoft to rebuild Redmond campus, including cricket pitch

Steve Foster

@Wensleydale Cheese

You say that like it's a bad thing...

(as we all know, management are most useful [to us] when distracted by comtemplation of something new, or a grand project, or similar)

HPE straps AMD chip into 2P/2U server box with Epyc results

Steve Foster

Re: DL 385

Yes, HP have used the model number for a long time, as it's the mainstream 2U dual AMD x64 box in their ProLiant range.

The actual contents are refreshed every couple of years as AMD's 64-bit processor lineup changes.

Over time, it's moved from the original Opteron and 8x3.5" hotswap drive bays to (now) the latest Epyc with a shedload of 2.5" hotswap bays (with, as seven of five says, the option to stuff even more in the back if you're prepared to sacrifice the expansion slots).

Post-Brexit economy SAVED: Posh-nosh truffle thrives in Wales

Steve Foster

Re: The Welsh desert

Nah, just the time frame (the figure quoted is presumably per day, not per annum).

Atto, boy! Eggheads fire laser for 43 attoseconds, fastest Man-made spurt

Steve Foster


Surely they could have managed/contrived to hit 42 attoseconds, and thereby keep Douglas Adams acolytes very very happy.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Steve Foster

Re: I'd trust the build quality

I have a 1st generation (possibly 2nd) Dyson DC01 that is still working well. It does look a little battered these days, and one or two bits of the plastic have broken off or split, but as I tend to bash about with it (particularly against/under furniture and tight spots), I'm not really surprised about that.

Portland posts full report on Uber's dirty dealings with Greyball

Steve Foster


Indeed, these stories are practically uberquitous...

(yes, yes, I'm going already)

Google to kill Chrome autoplay madness

Steve Foster


Disable JavaScript on the BBC news website. That gets rid of all the "millennial" shiny shiny crap and leaves the news stories (mostly). Yes, links to somemany "stories" will get you to an essentially empty page (because they're nothing but soundbites or blipverts), but after a while it's fairly straightforward to know which ones will be like that and avoid them.

Gov claws back £645m in BT broadband from subsidy

Steve Foster


I think you'll find that there is now an Openreach Limited (incorporated earlier this year), as well as BT Limited. Both appear to be operating companies within the BT Group PLC corporate structure.

Nest cracks out cheaper spin of its thermostat

Steve Foster

Re: It is worth it, you just have to try it...

The metal/glass Nest thermostat does not _need_ to be internet connected to work, though you do have to forego the remote management aspect in that scenario.

I had a Nest installed when my boiler was replaced just under 2 years ago, and it is not connected to the internet. All the clever stuff to do with "just turn the dial" and the pattern learning associated with that are working just fine.

How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home

Steve Foster

Re: Like the idea, but...

"an extra layer of unnecessary complexity"

Ah, so that's what the 3D printer is for.

(a two-pronged joke!)

Commonwealth Bank: Buggy software made us miss money laundering

Steve Foster

Note Denominations (@keith_w)

And are such notes in common distribution ($1000, $500, $200)?

Petition calls for Adobe Flash to survive as open source zombie

Steve Foster

Re: Destroy the culture too

Animated GIF would be pretty small too.

Google Chrome's HTTPS ban-hammer drops on WoSign, StartCom in two months

Steve Foster

Re: So where to next?

Comodo (both directly and under their instantSSL brand) also offer free email certificates.

[this post should not be considered an endorsement for Comodo]

Twitter will no longer snaffle data allowances on Virgin Mobile

Steve Foster


"In other news, Vehicle Excise Duty on TR6s to be zero-rated."

Most TR6s have been exempt from VED since at least last year, and it's only the last ones off the production line that have only recently gained Historic status.

Interestingly, more than 40% of all TR6s sold in the UK are apparently still running (according to Wikipedia), and another 15% are SORNed (presumably as restoration projects).

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

Steve Foster

Re: "pushing LGBTQI"

Intersex, probably.

Collecting the various "non-traditional" categories together in forming the "umbrella branding" seems reasonable (ie L, G, B, T, and I [so far]), but surely the Q is redundant (it's essentially a repetition of G).

Robocall spammers, you have one new voicemail message: Cut it out!

Steve Foster

If it passes...

...the obvious course of action will be to sign up Ajit Pai's phone numbers to every list that can be found.

Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Steve Foster

Re: The petition might be legit

"Of course the non-jerk employees are horrified."

What, both of them?

Fancy buying our aircraft carrier satnav, Raytheon asks UK

Steve Foster

Re: But.... Does it actually work?

"JPALS is a militarised version of this relatively common technology, with all the usual bells and whistles you'd expect to make it resistant to jamming and capable of working on a ship."

JPALS is a militarised version of this relatively common technology, with all the usual bells and whistles you'd expect to make it seventeen times more expensive, much later to arrive and not available when you actually need it.

There, FTFY.

When corporate signage goes BAD

Steve Foster


(without looking) Let me guess... There was some sort of mishap involving the "h", "i" and "e" portions of their signage.

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

Steve Foster

Re: Need is a strong word

Not when you're writing your grant application, it isn't.

Capita payments service Pay360 goes TITSUP

Steve Foster

Clue in the Name?

Unlike Office365, this one might have been more accurately named based on the annual uptime...

Auntie sh!tcans BBC Store after 18 months

Steve Foster

Re: State protected entertainment

"I think this clearly demonstrates that the only thing keeping the BBC alive is state protection, and if it were left up to the democratic vote of consumers' wallets then it would disappear in a bureaucratic puff of smoke."

I disagree. There's plenty of BBC-originated content that I would be happy to buy in a sensible form (although it also makes a lot of dross that I would not want to purchase).

The problem seems mostly to be that while the BBC is supported by the TV Licence income, it appears to be incapable of properly building (and promoting) decent mechanisms for operating in a commercial manner.

Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

Steve Foster

Re: I read the article twice, but couldn't see any mention

It isn't mentioned in the article.

However, it is common practice among many UK companies (banks, utilities and others) when calling you on the home/mobile telephone number they have on file (and often from a number that has CallerID suppressed/ or is clearly bogus) to insist that you have to answer "security questions" to verify your identity before they will talk to you. It is one of the most idiotic concepts ever.

SpaceX spin-out plans to put virtual machines in orbit

Steve Foster

Kim Dotcom

Is this a new plan for MegaUpload to place its servers where the US TLAs can't readily get their mitts on them?

72-layer flash die from SK Hynix towers over all, capacity a bit meh

Steve Foster

Re: "Two times = twice"

I would much prefer "twice as fast" over "twice faster", but there are sentences where that would not fit properly, and "two times faster" would be the appropriate choice.

In the article sentence, both "twice as fast" and "two times faster" are acceptable alternatives.

Huawei faces UK sales ban if it doesn't cough up 4G patent tithes

Steve Foster

Re: Somthing wrong with those numbers

The article has misplaced the decimal point for Huawei's original offer - according to the PDF, it was 0.034%.

SpaceX wows world with a ho-hum launch of a reused rocket, landing it on a tiny boring barge

Steve Foster

Re: Life extension tech

If that were to be Elon's exit, it would at least be fitting if it were a space bus.


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