* Posts by Nick Ryan

1967 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up

Nick Ryan
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Re: Why not go further?

I suspect that too far would be the Oric-1 :) Although it would be an educational and possibly a hard task for a relaunch to accurately replicate the serious problems that these devices were launched with. In theory it was a superior device to the Spectrum however the implementation lead to it being considered the clown-car equivalent at the time.

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IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

Nick Ryan
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Re: Demand pricing...

Airlines/online travel agents have done this for a long time. It's not the searches that ups the price, it's the cookies on your local computer. For a long time (haven't tried for a while) the only safe way to buy such things online was to search using one browser and then go back with a different browser (or clear all cookies) and then buy the damn ticket/holiday/flight at the original price. Operated by Utter Bar stewards.

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Less than four weeks till DevOps' finest assemble in London

Nick Ryan
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I can't wait

"Just" four more weeks of this long running advert masquerading as articles? I can't wait for it to go past.

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Mastercard launches card that replaces PIN with fingerprint sensor

Nick Ryan
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Targetting the wrong method?

And there I was thinking that "cardholder not present" fraud was the most costly and most serious - sticking (undoubtedly low quality) fingerprint readers on cards won't help with this at all.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: @Tony

The sensor fails because the water or grease on the sensor smoothes out your fingerprint either by filling the troughs making it harder to pick out the ridges or by being electically conductive and therefore confusing the sensors as they would otherwise detect the patterns of conductivity on a finger - depends on the implementation and many sensors are the the electical conductivity type. Nothing much to do with measuring bio-electrical activity or heat.

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Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Nick Ryan
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Re: Chrome works better

Chrome is pretty awesome though. Firefox is good too. Anything is better than IE.

Unfortunately Microsoft would like to disagree with this therefore they created Edge. As a result they feel a need to push this tripe browser and therefore have put a shitty little icon in the latest version of IE prompting the user to open using Edge instead.

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Euro Patent Office reforms hit another stumbling block: Reality

Nick Ryan
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Superficial examination, whatever its outcome may be, helps no one.

Would somebody like to tell the US Patent Ofiice? Where the practice is that not even a superficial examination is performed with just a rubber stamping and adding to statistics to prove how innovative US business are. All that then happens is that patent validity is considered "somebody else's problem", much to the delight of the US legal system.

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Pong, anyone? How about Pong on a vintage oscilloscope?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Kudos for the effort....

AFAIK Pong (the game with the name) was invented, or populised, by Atari. There were many earlier computer games but none called Pong.

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Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t'dead to prevent reanimation

Nick Ryan
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Re: Help a foreigner, please

I believe that Mediaeval is more correctly represented as Mediæval however due to various technical limitations in technology (and Americans, who are generally poor at spelling) the æ ligature(?) was dropped in favour of the separate letters. Not sure when/why it morphed into Medieval as well (probably the same buggers who keep forgetting the letter u and replacing the letter s with the letter z).

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Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Nick Ryan
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I suspect it's not a coincidence, but would be hilarious if it was genuinely patented :)

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Creators Update gives Windows 10 a bit of an Edge, but some old annoyances remain

Nick Ryan
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Re: Github power shell script

True to windows nature, doesn't work every time, sometimes needs to be run a couple of times, sometimes needs a re-boot, but it does (seem) to work.

This is due to the incompetent way the Windows store application works. If an update for an application is queued in the windows store (this is, of course, an invisible queue and cannot be purged) then regardless of whether or not you uninstall an application in the mean time the application will be reinstalled later. This gets dafter because of the useless speed of the process (probably due to not wanting to grind a PC to a crawl on startup, therefore understandable in intention) an update to an update can also be added to this update/installation queue. What should happen is that when uninstalling an application all pending update to the application are purged from the installation queue, but this seems to be beyond Microsoft.

Of course, every time a new user accesses a Windows 10 system all the crappy default windows store applications are installed for them - these buggers are on a per user, per machine installation profile. Which gets added to arbitrarily by Microsoft.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Auto Wastebasket purging based on date?

I had a particularly daft "office manager" who stored emails that she didn't want in the deleted items in her mail client. These got deleted after a while (server based, therefore a deleted items purge was occasionally needed to make space). She only finally understood the stupidity of this when I went to went to her desk, took her paperwork in her in-tray and put it in her bin and asked her if she expected to see it there tomorrow after the cleaners had been in the evening. Sometimes physical demonstrations work well.

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WONTFIX: No patch for Windows Server 2003 IIS critical bug – Microsoft

Nick Ryan
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"but there's a limit to how long Redmond – or indeed the vast majority of software companies – will continue to support outmoded operating systems."

Which is fine, however this is an exploit of an Application, not an OS. The fact that some class-1 a-hole at Microsoft (marketing) decided that an Application, such as IIS should be inexplicably linked to the Operating System is the cause behind these problems. Yes, at some point an application may go beyond the native capabilities of the host OS, however these points should be relatively rare and more related to underlying hardware or just-above-hardware abstraction levels and as time goes by these points should become rarer due to feature saturation. However, this doesn't sell, or more accurately force the sale of, new Operating System licences therefore this is not a business model that the likes of Microsoft (they're not the only ones) operate.

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Windows 10 Creators Update: Clearing the mines with livestock (that's you by the way)

Nick Ryan
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Moo

OneDrive updated? It's just ****ing application (or should be anyway), therefore what does this matter with regards to a Windows OS update? Will the next Win10 update be squawking about improvements to Word? If it's not just an application, then there should be questions asked regarding competition.

As for other changes - frankly I can't see much to get excited about. Improvements to Windows store - whatever. Until this can be supplemented or replaced by an in-house store (or application deployment system) it's of no interest whatsoever. Until then it's mostly populated by tumbleweed and wholly entirely ontrusive and unwanted - no, I don't want ****ing CodeWriter, similarly for "Get Office", "American News" (or whatever it's called), a pitifully under-featured version of PowerBIDesktop or any of the other crud that is forced, unwanted onto every user on every new login. Edge? Meh, it's useless because for "consumer" browsing everything else is better and for corporate use only Internet Explorer works "properly" with many Microsoft services.

I've yet to see what it's called "creators update", it may as well just be named arbitrarily.

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How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Nick Ryan
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Re: The CAN standard makes it very clear that security is not a part of the core specification.

The same thinking that gave us the botnet internet of tat things.

How unhelpful.

No. Not at all. CAN is devised as a closed system. Not a system that operates across the public Internet. It's a world of difference. In CAN if you want security don't connect it to anything insecure.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Security ???

Exactly. The CAN standard makes it very clear that security is not a part of the core specification. It may be added using customised protocols (typically initial controller-device authentiction), but that's it. It's not designed to protect device-device configuration and there is nothing much to stop a rogue device flooding the CAN bus network, thereby generating a local DOS attack.

So the following:

It's also data that the car makers are keeping for themselves. Apple and Google may have a place in many dashboards, but there is a Chinese wall between their smartphone platforms and that CAN bus data.

is very sensible. It's when the manufacturers cut corners and allow direct CAN to Internet connectivity that there are problems.

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Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

Nick Ryan
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Sometimes you have to look beyond idealistic fanboism and understand that businesses tend to gravitate to what they are used to and what works (to some measure of "works").

OneDrive is used because it's not bad, as in it's no worse than DropBox for example, and it comes bundled with Office365 which despite being a recurring revenue stream model forcing vendor lock-in, does have quite a lot of advantages. Admittedly many of these are forced by Microsoft's software and licensing changes but they are there.

This doesn't make OneDrive (for business) any more stable, but it is useful and it is used nonetheless.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: There are already many sites that work on Chrome but poorly on other browsers...

It's not just lame developers targetting the single browser they're using, it's also lame developers using inappropriate and unnecessary (JavaScript) code when they could just use the standard features of the web browser's HTML/CSS or just don't add utterly unnecessary and pointless things to a website in the delusion that it's a desktop based modal client application.

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Norfolk County Council sent filing cabinet filled with kids' info to a second-hand shop

Nick Ryan
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Re: Ha ha ha!

Given that it's "just" 7 records I'd guess that the cabinets had been emptied but some files fell down the back and were at the bottom. Anything vaguely heavy would/should have been spotted by council staff, movers or charity staff.

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Face down in a Shoreditch gutter: Attack of the kickstarting hipster

Nick Ryan
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Re: Yikes

In itself creams like E45 are decidely safe when it comes to flinging matches at them. However once the water and other compounds have evaporated or otherwise left, what's left is rather more flammable. It's still very unlikely to be any cause for problems on skin, however when these paraffin oils are rubbed off onto fabrics, which have a large surface area due to the fibres and oxygen gaps in between, the situation is rather different.

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Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears

Nick Ryan
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Re: Scary. Really.

Possibly, or it could have been the fact that she lent her head onto them in such a manner that caused the battery compartment to be deformed a bit, causing the battery to short internally. In this case it wouldn't matter if they were turned on or not.

100% speculation of course.

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Microsoft nicks one more Apple idea: An ad-supported OS

Nick Ryan
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Registry

For those that like to mess with the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

DWORD:ShowSyncProviderNotifications, set value to 0

Of course in classic Microsoft ass-hattery, and as noted in the article, this will also disable important sync provider messages. Scumbags.

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UK Home Office warns tech staff not to tweet negative Donald Trump posts

Nick Ryan
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Joke

Ban?

So this is really a ban on posting about trump then? After all, it's all but impossible to find anything positive to say about him...

(see icon)

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After 20 years of Visual Studio, Microsoft unfurls its 2017 edition

Nick Ryan
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Re: Reboot required ...

While I can perhaps understand that an IDE has to install components at quite a low level, and given Windows these require a reboot, what is not acceptable is that it is impossible to uninstall Visual Studio and undo the "damage" that it does to the configuration of a system - i.e. masses of additional controls, libraries and registry entries that are no longer relevant.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Nick Ryan
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Re: pah....

The last run in I had with the TV licensing folk was when I received a blunt/rude threatening letter about not having a licence because I bought some video kit that was capable of receiving TV signals under my name and the TV licence was under my partner's name (same address). They demanded that I provide evidence that we had a TV licence. I wrote back to them informing that they must know about the TV licence we had because that is what their TV adverts stated on their very clever systems and therefore they should check their records first before sending rude threatening letters. I didn't exactly get an apology, more something along the lines of "in this instance we are letting you off for forcing us to do our job properly".

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Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Nick Ryan
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Re: When is the last time you decided to use your 7" or less phablet in portrait mode?

These terms derive from photography. Some developers, including Adobe, also use the more sensible" vertical" and "horizontal".

Pretty sure the terminology comes from much, much earlier than photogeaphy. Go to an art gallery or stateley home and you'll see the difference between portraits and landscapes - as in portraits of people or landscape scenes.

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Frustrated by reboot-happy Windows 10? Creators Update hopes to take away the pain

Nick Ryan
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Re: Hmmm

Obviously system stability isn't an issue and every application that every one of your users use is not a leaky resource hog that needs to be closed occasionally just so the user experience becomes marginally less treacle like.

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Microsoft slaps Apple Gatekeeper-like controls on Windows 10: Install only apps from store

Nick Ryan
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Unhappy

Re: +30% & +22%

...and somehow that's still less that Adobe.

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Intel scales Atom to 16 cores, updates Xeon SoCs

Nick Ryan
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Re: Get into cars !!!

Same here. While I'm quite a fan of virtualisation (the computer industry have been virtualising different layers for decades) when it come to life critical systems these should be physically separated from anything else. This is standard practice in industrial safety systems.

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Amid new push to make Pluto a planet again... Get over it, ice-world's assassin tells El Reg

Nick Ryan
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Re: 9-planet Orrery

That must have been a fine bit of orrery engineering if it also included an approximation of Pluto's solar orbit - being on a different plane and swapping places with Neptune must be a bugger to engineer :)

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Dying for Windows 10 Creators Update? But wait, there's more!

Nick Ryan
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Re: ugh

So there's plans to overhaul the Cortana assistant, Which is not available in my region (still).

My favourite overhaul would be to permanently disable Cortana. It's not necessary for 99.999% of uses and far better would be an improved local search tool with the option to subsequently search configurable external sources (i.e. corporate search systems, choice of search engine, not just the next to useless American-Bing). If a user wants to use Cortana, then that's fine but it shouldn't be rammed into the OS/Shell at a deeper and deeper level.

Add more support for virtual reality hardware, which almost no-one uses

Since Microsoft have taken over the deplotment of many device drivers, which does save problems and should improve quality given the state of many device drivers, they should support more hardware. Whether the OS shell (UI/desltop) itself needs to particularly support VR is a very different matter.

Improve mobile integration, which almost no-one uses if they mean Windows phones. Which might be interesting if they mean Android phones, but they will probably make a total hash of.

MS have made a pigs ear out of bluetooth support (e.g. SYNC) and their awful tools for phones which is foisted on all Windows 10 devices is pretty much a total waste of time. It's still considerably better than Samsung Kies but that shouldn't really be taken as any kind of measure.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: ugh

@P. Lee - Bottom of the barrel case - you business grinds to a halt because the "update" is incompatible with some 3rd party program. Even the Slurp shill Ed Bott on Zdnet had a post that the frequent "upgrades" are likely to cause problems with businesses because they will always be behind the curve on testing.

Usually "consumer" multi-function printer devices from the likes of HP. Bloody things borked many upgrdes to Windows 10, borked Office 365 installs and many other joys.

It's impressive when even AV software makes itself less of a ball-ache when it comes to interfering with an Operating System.

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Google bellows bug news after Microsoft sails past fix deadline

Nick Ryan
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EMF problems?

Seriously, that's not a surprise. Most people who have tried to use a file saved in .EMF format gave up and went back to saving the file in .WMF format instead because that at least worked. .EMF support was/is so useless that exporting something as .EMF in one Microsoft application and then importing it into another and it would be flipped, missing components or otherwise corrupted. In short, Microsoft don't seem to understand their own format.

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Bruce Schneier: The US government is coming for YOUR code, techies

Nick Ryan
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Re: Compare and contrast

the Community Reinvestment Act was specifically created to FORCE the mortgagers into loaning money to low income people....

Perhaps, but it didn't force them to repackage these loans in to blocks, lie about the risk inherent in them and the go through a cascading game of pass-the-promisory-loan as if it had value until the stack was finally called in (in which case many lenders found that they were backing their own loans with their own loans).

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Well, maybe we should not put software in everything

It is a question of trade-offs. e.g. If you want a sat-nav able to read speed and steering angle from the engine, then you should be prepared to accept the trade-off of dying horribly in a hacker-generated car crash.

Why would a sat nav being able to "read speed and steering angle" allow hacker generated car crashes? If the sat nav could in turn control the vehicle's speed or direction then, yes, but otherwise these should just be additional input data streams into the sat nav's system.

/confused

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Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies

Nick Ryan
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Re: Stasi wet dream

No wonder Chairman May has to wear leather trousers.

(pass the mind bleech please)

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Mag publisher Future stored your FileSilo passwords in plaintext. Then hackers hit

Nick Ryan
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Re: Maybe there's something you can do...

It takes seconds (literally) to implement an encrypted password store as there are standard toolkits available that perform all the basic processes you need.

Security conscious developers will also carefully trace the flow of the unencrypted password to ensure that the code route is as short as possible and that any unencrypted copies are overwritten as soon as possible and no copies are made. It's a relatively simple process and can save a lot of potential problems down the line.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Clarification

I wholeheartedly appreciate how you even encrypted your post using QUADRUPLE-ROT13. To show a similar level of appreciation I have posted this message witth OCTUPLE-ROT13.

Good luck reading this post suckers!

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Not again!

Who designs these systems?

Morons. I'd love to come up with a more positive or forgiving description of them however years of jaded experience seem to point more and more towards this term particularly as "narrow minded idiots" just isn't as snappy.

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Microsoft touts cheap-ish anti-patent troll protection shield for Azure-hosted devs

Nick Ryan
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My firest impression when reading this was it's a "protection racket"... having re-read it again I'm still not sure that this was an inappropriate first impression.

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Web-standards-allergic Apple unveils WebGPU, a web graphics standard

Nick Ryan
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Re: Goodbye to annoying capcha systems?

Automatically defeating CAPTCHAs would be... good, in your world? Are you even aware of the purpose of CAPTCHAs, or do you think web site administrators just like to annoy people?

I'd guess he doesn't. But to spell it out... Yes, captchas are annoying, but not as annoying as having to manage a website that can easily receive thousands of form submissions per hour all generated by bots (distributed bots, so often not from a single system or originating IP). In the middle of these thousands of form submissions are usually a few genuine ones, which have to be identified and dealt with appropriately. These thousands of bot generated submissions also rapidly fill a site's database. For just these two reasons it's well worth the marginal annoyance to reduce the number of bot generated submissions. As for how annoying a Captcha is for the genuine human, that's up to the site administrator and designer.

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UK uni KCL spunks IT budget on 'reputation management' after IT disaster headlines

Nick Ryan
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Re: Mountain out of a mole hill

KCL are often ranked within the top 10 universities in the world (depends on the measure and who's doing the ranking). They have 27,600 students, 10,500 post-grad's (like students but either considerably more demanding or beyond caring/jaded - probably 50/50) and 6,800 staff to provide the support for this lot. Don't t consider that this is a high number of staff as the facilities and estate alone take up a lot of staff, let alone adminsitration across a very wide range of areas, much more than a normal business would have or require.

Detailed numbers are available on their "KCL by numbers page".

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Intel's Atom C2000 chips are bricking products – and it's not just Cisco hit

Nick Ryan
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Re: This:

Unfortunately the bullshit bingo marketing statement is technically correct as 1.5 years is a multiple of a single year as we just expect it to mean "more than 1" (which 1.5 most definitely is).

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Nick Ryan
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Joke

Re: So basically...

Not at all. Intel did what any sensible tech company would have done and reverted back to using old, stable equipment to perform the cost vs benefit calculations on. Unfortunately this was an old Pentium chip...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: This will show up the good vendors vs the bad ones.

Why do corporates not take the high ground of admitting clearly to a problem and then resolving it? There's far more to gain and much less to lose that way.

Why? Litigation society, that's why. It's usually believed that if a company admits a problem then they are admitting liability and opening themselves up to litigation. Which can/will be expensive. Best to err on the side of caution and to never admit to anything. Ever.

See also: "Dark ages" or "why nothing of great importance happened because much of Europe was concerned with pointless legal matters and why external input was required"

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Javapocalypse soon! Oracle warns devs to bin plugins, fast

Nick Ryan
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Re: Fun?

I don't know if they still do, but Watchguard firewalls used to require Flash for their web interface.

and until VMWare get their thumbs out and shoot (multiple times, to be sure) the moron in their company who decided that building an application using Flash was in any way a good idea, we're stuck with requiring the bloody thing just to use VCenter... OK, there's a barely functional and half baked "web" version in alpha, but the Flash monstrosity should never have been built.

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Guess who's suffering an email outage. Go on, it's as easy as 123-Reg

Nick Ryan
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Re: Why would you use email from 123/GoDaddy/HostPapa etc. anyway?

longnamewithnumbers@hotmail says different.

But not as different as a longsetofnumbers@aol.com email address :)

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Brexit White Paper published: Broad strokes, light on detail

Nick Ryan
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Re: Words fail me

MPs serve the people, not the other way around.

Unfortunately that's not the case and it's this that the brexit vote was often used as a protest vote about, with appalling consequences (economic and xenophobic). Many MPs have now openly stated that it's their number one priority to tow the party line, with representing their constituents as a dim issue somewhere in there but not very important to them.

It's an "interesting" situation, where the vile hate mongers in the press (i.e. the daily mail) are shouting that 114 MPs "went against the will of the people" (and therefore should be persecuted by the Mail) whereas looking at the statistics what should have happened is that 51% of the MPs voted in favour of exit while 49% voted to remain. However given the actual numbers involved the reality is different even from this...

Only 72% (33.48m) of the brexit vote eligable electorate (~46.5m) voted (13.02m didn't vote) with a further 0.7m that were not permitted to vote as they were living overseas (despite being eligable for elections). Of those that were permited to vote 51.9% (17.38m) voted leave, 48.1% (16.1m) voted remain. So the totals become:

Leave: 17.38m (36.8%)

Remain: 16.1m (34.1%)

Not permitted: 0.7m (1.5%)

Abstain: 13.02m (27.6%)

There are 650 MPs, therefore the split should have been approximately (compounded rounding issues and all that):

Leave: 239

Remain: 221

Not permitted to vote: 10

Abstain: 180

This is very, very different from the vile statement that "114 MPs are not following the will of the people" that the hate mongers of the daily mail are pushing.

Disclaimer: I've probably got some of the above maths wrong, we don't live in a proportional representative government system and opinions can change, but this is a very different turn out even with a few errors taken into consideration.

While Nicola Sturgeon is often portrayed by the press (especially the likes of the Daily Mail) that she's not a very nice person, it can't be argued that she's not standing up for Scotland, that voted in favour of the EU, and is therefore representing Scotland appropriately on this front. For this the Daily Mail is branding her and her fellow Scottish MPs as "enemies of the people".

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Let's replace Ethernet with infrared light bouncing off mirrors!

Nick Ryan
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Re: And calls forth to my mind's eye...

Is this the beam in the recent film where it plainly goes FTL in order to jump between star systems which are quite a lot of Light Years apart but somehow is considerably slower when it nears the planet allowing the terrified inhabitants ample time to scream? Quite apart from the joke of multiple energy beams converging and changing direction and then doing the reverse on arrival (while being perfectly targetted at each planet).

Yeah, one can think on these things too much :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Problem diagnosis simplified

Same here - still amazes people who I show this technique to that it's that easy a tool to see if an IR remote control is genuinely dead or not.

It's also a nice practical demonstration of why images taken using these cameras don't match what our eyes see.

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