* Posts by eldel

44 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

What do WLinux and Benedict Cumberbatch have in common? They're both fond of Pengwin


Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

You have a point. Maybe it's just that I'm familiar with the Debian (and derivatives - all my home machines run Mint) 'style' and that makes it easier. The presence of 'apt' makes getting extra functionality simpler. That's about the only concrete advantage that comes to mind. As I said above it's just my choice - not a definitive statement of superiority.


Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

I have a number of dedicated Linux VMs at my disposal for dev work. My corporate laptop is windows. I choose to have Unix utilities on there because it makes my life easier. Cygwin in times past. Now Ubuntu. My choice. I'm sorry that it seems to offend you.


Re: I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again ...

People who (like myself) are stuck with a corporate windows box and want something better than Cygwin. A small minority probably but a thankful one. Cygwin is getting awfully old in the tooth.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Re: Annoying pedantry - Try aviation, anything aeroplane is expensive.

The most expensive fluid in the world. The ink in the A&P's (airframe and prop) pen. Get him to sign anything is a grand.

Facebook didn't care if your kids ran up gigantic credit card bills – lawsuit


They spent how much?

So - not being a user of farcebook - how the hell do you run up a 6 grand bill in a few months?

IBM HR made me lie to US govt, says axed VP in age-discrim legal row: I was ordered to cover up layoffs of older workers


Re: Corporate Parasitism

I have fond memory of a previous employment where I was in a technical meeting regarding the new "wonder project". The topic of conversation got around to lead engineer/architect and we informed the attending bigwig that we had identified the ideal person and had informed HR to make the job offer. At which point the HR drone that was present informed the bigwig that due to HR rule they wouldn't be making the offer. The response was beautiful. The bigwig, an ex naval aviator with the classic steely glare, simply looked at the HR waste of space and said (and I'm paraphrasing a little - it was quite a long time ago). "I am the President of this division. You work for me, not the other way around. That offer will be emailed within the hour or your replacement will be sending it".

We got the guy. Was worth it too.

If at first, second, third... fourth time you don't succeed, you're Apple: Another appeal lost in $440m net patent war


Re: Not sure how I feel about this

I believe the standard phrase is "a pox on both their houses"

Q: If Pesky Pepper had a peek at patient papers, at how many patient papers did Pesky Pepper peek? A: 231


Re: (for US readers)

I suspect the USAF are about the only source of genetic diversity there in the last 500 years. Which probably means something.

You're burning £1.2bn for what? UK spending watchdog gives digital court plans a kicking


Re: I took the advice of a duty solictor before a court case

Some decades ago, when I was still resident in the sceptered isle my mechanic friend was clocked doing #stupid mph when 'road testing' my car. His copy of the copper's roadside paperwork clearly showed his name and details. Yet the ensuing court case was aimed at me. Nothing I could say would alter the "that's the police report so it's you" response from the system.

Until I paid a good lawyer who just laughed and surmised that the idiot in a uniform had lost his copy but still had the number plate info from the stop check enquiry. So they put my name down (the registered owner) and thought job done. One letter later (only 50 quid because it was a standard letter) and the charges were dropped - well, redirected.

So lawyers may be blood sucking parasites bit sometimes even leeches have their uses.

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears


LG? Never again

The fact that the G4 is praised makes me discount the rest of the article. I have one. Biggest purchase mistake I ever made (given the cost). Crappy battery life and a network stack that was written by an intern after a heavy might out. Totally incapable of maintaining bluetooth connection when moving between cells. Sometimes requiring you to re-pair with the phone (for reference the car and the headphones work just fine with every other phone in the household).

In 3 years I had 3 security updates. I've had that many from Motorola already for my G5s in 9 months.

I would ding it on call performance but given that we're on Verizon that would be unfair on the phone. The only thing worse than Verizon is the GSM coverage around here. Still, the Moto is better. If you listen very hard.

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?


Re: Offline

That's not just Western Colorado - anywhere between the Cal central valley and the Mississippi once you're 5 miles out of town and more than a couple of miles from the interstate or other major road you're pretty much hosed. Even then it can be iffy. I76 north out of Denver is a phone dead zone for freaking miles.

Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force


For a historical perspective

May I suggest "Britain's Wonderful Air Force". Published 1942. Given to me when I were but a lad in the late 50s. As you might understand it's not exactly a 'balanced' narrative but it makes clear just how influential they were.

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...


Re: There are holes

Or, as the revered Milligan put it ...

There's holes in the sky

Where the rain gets in

But they're very small

That's why rain is thin

WINNER! Crush your loved ones at Connect Four this Christmas


Re: It's not Christmas without a game of...

Mine a million. Ye gods, that takes me back a few decades. Just tossed the old battered box from my mum's loft last year. Now you've got me looking for a new copy :-)

The hated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will soon be dead. Yay?



<quote>Corporations view such systems very differently – as a vital route to bring in the best people</quote>

Errm - no. Really really no. To bring in cheap indentured labor. That's the vital part of it. Often as a transition to moving the whole thing overseas and thus avoiding all those picky data security regulations that just cut into the bottom line.

My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back


Re: Yellow 'sunglasses'

As a competition shooter I can readily confirm that in poor light (or indoors) yellow tints on glasses are a good thing. Especially when shooting iron sights (as opposed to optical).

In the Arizona sunshine however, because you forgot your normal ones which were now 1000 miles away, they generate a headache of quite spectacular intensity. Apparently the latest thing for such conditions is a pale reddish tint (I hesitate to call it pink - but it looks rather like that). Maybe I'll try that.

Android gets larger-than-usual patch bundle as researchers get to work


Re: Hooray!

Whilst I rarely have anything positive to say about LG (mainly because of the bizarre swapping behaviour that android seems to have on this platform as opposed to the S6s in the household) they are at least pretty good about patch OTA updates. I got the March update on the 21st and Android 6 before that. Not exactly Nexus levels obviously - but waaaay better than Samsung.

Bitcoiners are just like everybody else: They use rubbish passwords


So - what constitues a suitably strong password

If they can run 10e9 password checks for $60 - what sort of complexity is 'suitable'? For normal use. I'm not talking about withstanding a year of continuous attack on something that isn't rate limited or anything of that nature but let's assume a non-2FA web site (i.e. not your bank).

Yeah - I know that's a 'how long is this piece of string' question - but I really have no idea what sort of size/complexity we're dealing with nowadays.

Now if you'll excuse me there's some youngsters I have to chase off my lawn.

We applied to Google's €150m journalism fund – here's what we sent in



>Stories exposing alleged wrongdoing at Google are unlikely to draw huge online audiences.

>Advertisements placed on the same page as the stories would bring in significant income

If they are unlikely to draw huge audiences where does the income come from. Jeez - you're asking for a 6 digit handout and you can't be bothered to proof read. Welcome to modern journalism.

America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?


Re: Amex transfers

Yup - did just that (quite fortuitously) 14 years ago when we first moved out here. That plus the credit union which still had my employers name in it made the credit score a comparative non-issue. It took me quite a while to realise just how lucky I'd been. Talking to other newish arrivals and hearing horror stories of not even being able to rent somewhere to live because there was no credit record.

In fact the biggest issue I had was persuading one of the phone providers to give me a phone which was capable of international calls. Now *that* was hard.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH



Indeed - I will disinter mine for a very rare outing today. A reminder of a beloved old friend that is no longer with us.

Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays


Interestingly enough, and this may qualify as a social commentary, Wal-Mart automated check outs have a major hissy fit with alcohol, requiring all sorts of authentication (and I haven't looked under 21 for a number of decades) but ammunition goes straight through with no issues.

You need a list of specific unknowns we may encounter? Huh?


Once learned - never forgotton

After 17 years as a contractor (and now 13 years 'on the dark side') I was recently invited to mentor some junior engineers. The mid-level manager type nearly had a fit when I proposed the following exhortation "It's a commercial transaction, they rent your life for 40 hours a week, if they decide to waste that time that's their privilege and they will exercise it. Take every opportunity to plausibly add buzzwords to your resume because you will inevitably be deemed expendable when a PHB fouls up a project and you will be out with the trash because the bean counter's spreadsheet is more important than you"

Apparently I also lack respect for the company. No shit sherlock - I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't told me. Now STFU and pay me.

Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'


Ah yes - the Johnson manned space center (as was). First went there about 20 years ago - fascinating stuff, guided by people who were space geeks. Now that I live just up the road (well, in Texas terms - about 200 miles) it's an easy day trip - and no longer worth the effort. Some of the 'specials' they put on are OK but in general it's set up for the touring family with young kids and no real interest in the space program outside crappy CGI movies. The 'more interesting' (read older) parts are almost deserted. I suspect because they aren't interactive enough.

Much the same has happened to the Kennedy facility. There is a saving grace there though. Pay for the Canaveral rocket site tour. That's the old army rocket/missile sites. Again (well, as of a couple of years ago) that is still guided by people who worked there when they were preparing things like nuclear anti-aircraft missiles designed to take out the Russian bomber fleets in mid-atlantic. You get to see the bunker which was the control station for the original Redstone manned flights. And find out why it was only 250 ft from the launch pad. Wonderful stuff - highly recommended for your El-Reg reader.



Re: bacon

More to the point - you can even get 'proper' bacon in Austin - unlike the streaky mass produced crap that seems to be endemic elsewhere in the colonies.

Hmm, now I'm salivating, OK - I know where I'm going for breakfast on Saturday.

Apple said to be 'exploring' 5.7-inch iPhone


Re: I called it!!

Actually - I think they are a company that out-do even Apple. Like $2300 in shipping charges. That's airmail - it's only $230 ground mail. To either the US or the UK. Damn I bet Tim Cook would cream himself for those margins.

It's strangely depressing to think that someone would pay that.

Half of US smartphone owners have no idea which mobe to buy next


Re: It'll be Android but that's all I know

Just about sums it up for me too. MicroSD and a replaceable battery are positives, SWMBO has a fruity phone and I don't get on with it, I've played with the winphone and I like that even less. I will look at the blackberry but the bugginess stories don't make me hopeful. I looked very hard at the Nexus 4, but the 'everything in the cloud' aspect of it finally put me off (no google - we don't have infinite data plans here in the real world). Looks like an S4 - but cyanogen saying that they won't support it makes that less appealing as the carrier crapware irritates the hell out of me.

Sigh. My old S1 really has reached the end of it's practical life so I've gotta do something. Maybe I'll just wait until I can pick up an S3 at good money.

Civilization peaks: BEER-dispensing arcade game created


Some hints for beer

Hi thee south for about 450 miles, find the Stone brewery. Sample. Extensively. Actually Safeway and Raleys/Bel Air carry their stuff so you just have to go to your local supermarket. I wouldn't suggest starting with Ruination IPA or Arrogant Bastard - but I would offer the opinion that they disprove the assumption that all American beer is crap (admittedly 90%+ is of a quality that would make a cat ashamed to piss it - but there's some really good stuff as well).

Oh - and if you can get hold their winter ale (Oaked Double Bastard) make sure you don't have any other plans for the rest of the evening. Reminds me of Robinsons Old Tom of many decades past.

Google to splurge $82m for exclusive airport exec enclave


Best guess would be just south of the HP Aviation terminal. There's a bunch of space there that's used for tying down GA planes but SJC have been 'easing' them out for 5 years anyway.

British armed forces get first new pistol since World War II


Re: shooting Glock 17 from a UK newbie.

I've taught gun safety and how to shoot. The dangerous and silly things an untrained person will do with a handgun will turn your hair gray.

I used to run a ladies handgun training class - I always knew I was in for a stressful evening when 2 friends would come in together for their first class. They always want to 'share' the experience - which means turning to speak to their friend. Normally forgetting about the bang stick in the hand.

On the plus side - they do listen - which makes them a damn sight easier to teach than the guys that come in convinced they can outshoot John Wayne because they've watched the movies. How often do you have to explain that gangsta style shooting is just on the screen and that 9mm handguns do not have an infinite magazine.


Re: Suck my Glock..

In general - no. Standard ball is only used for practice (coz it's cheaper) and by the military (as per the Geneva convention I believe). JHP is way more effective and less likely to pop out the other side. Personally I ask the local cops what they use - Hornady Critical Duty/Defense seems to be the order of the day in mid Texas. If they are willing to spend the FBI's time and money figuring out the 'best' stopping round then I'll go with that.

Amazon puts up CD rack in the cloud, unearths your OLD stuff too



True - but it's a nice freeby if you happen to benefit. I just got an email from Amazon telling me that they'd populated the cloud player. Should keep me entertained for the afternoon while I watch people wave their egos around. Dontcha love meetings.

E-reader demand slumps, slapped down by slates


Totally conflicted on this one

My latest e-reader (Sony TSR-1, which I loved but it just couldn't survive being the cushion when I sat down) gave up the ghost and now I have to replace it. Played with a Nexus 7 in the shop the other day and it's a *really* nice shiny thing. But - I like reading outdoors as well. And the phone can show movies but it's really limiting for web browsing (especially with my aging eyes). I like the idea that I only have to charge it up every few weeks - but I habitually carry an external power source for the phone anyway - so that is easily capable of charging up a tablet.

SWMBO will throw a fit if I get both and I've been digital for so long now that a vital part of my reference material mandates some form of reader.


'$199' Surface tablets: So crazy it might work, or just crazy?


Re: hungry

Single data point ... ICS (CM9) runs like a dog on a Captivate. I stepped through a bunch of the nightly builds, the RCs and the stable release. While they got better as they went it's still massively slower than CM 7.2. From my inexpert perusal it looks like it expects multi cores and lotsa memory.

El Reg probes pregnant Playmobil lass


Re: OK, one down...

Ah WallyWorld. Whenever I find myself anywhere near one I'm reminded of Arthur's reaction when they arrive at the Restaurant.

Arthur: Incredible ! The people ! the things !

Ford: The things are also people

Arthur: The people, the .... other people

For the true experience you really have to visit one in rural Arkansas. Where it's the best shop in town. The big challenge lies in trying not to poke your own eyes out.

Why women won't apply for IT jobs


Re: Male primary school teachers? Hah

So back when my daughters were just starting school (and we were living in the UK) there was a flyer from the local education people that encouraged parents to get involved as helpers in class. Given that I was contracting and working from home at the time I figured that I had the schedule flexibility to deal with it and I was still new enough at the parenting thing to think it would be a pretty cool thing to do.

So I send in an email and wander in for a chat. To be met with a 'but you're a man !!' attitude. Well, yes, I knew that. Turns out that the prevailing (or at least well entrenched) opinion is/was that only a male who is a pervert would apply to work with young children. I was left under no illusions that I wasn't welcome.

I spoke with some of the fathers of the other kids in the class - to be met with cynical laughter and a 'welcome to the new world' response.

Given that single anecdotal piece of 'evidence' you can draw any conclusion you like - but I have to say that the lack of male primary school teachers doesn't surprise me. The numbers are slightly (but not much) better in California BTW - although when I volunteered for my kids schools there I was welcomed with open arms.

US county named 'area of outstanding natural stupidity'


Re: The last tale...

They don't?? Hmm - wonder what my two were learning in driver's ed then? Last year.

Oh - and in Ca they have sex ed as well. Which they preview for the parents before the start of the year. Watching the reaction of some of the more 'religiously oriented' parents seeing it for the first time was side splittingly funny. Best laugh I had for ages.

Of course - having it all explained by the teacher who also acted as the girls water polo coach (young, very attractive and with legs of seemingly infinite length) was kinda dangerous for my blood pressure. Which my wife also found hilarious. All in all an excellent evening's entertainment.

On the firearms side - almost every town of reasonable size has at least one range where they teach a free course on kids firearms safety. With firing practice to go with it if the instructor wants. Normally based on the Eddy Eagle program (http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/). I teach it myself occasionally. You really do have to be verging on the criminally insane not to have your kids go through at least some training. Even if it's just enough so that if (when) they see a firearm they don't immediately want to play with the damn thing. At our club we have events like 'bring your daughter to the range day'. Which are generally a huge success - guns are a lot of fun when used properly and safely.

It's all in the wrist: E-ink smartwatch Pebble bags $2m


Re: Too little, too late.

Too little, too late for whom? Those of us over the age of 45 are still allowed to buy things you know. I even have my daughter's permission :-)

Success-hungry Valley needs code, not cash


Failure points?

Having owned and worked with a number of start-ups over the last few decades I think there are two specific failure points for product based ventures.

Firstly - getting a workable, saleable product out of the door and in paying customer's hands. This seems to be the limit of ambition of many start-ups and I think this is a major error.

The second, and I believe more pervasive, failure point is getting that second version out. With all the implications of upgrades, testing, customer support, maintenance of multiple versions in the field, the reality of hotfixes for specific customers.

Now - for the amazon hosted web service this works differently - but I think it follows a similar pattern. First step is getting enough people to use/adopt your wonderful free service. The second issue surfaces when they look to monetize their customer base. Same sort of thing - all of a sudden you have support issues because people are paying for the service.

I've always regarded that second step as the maturing of the company. Of course - a lot of them look to get bought out by one of the big players at that point and so avoid having to grow their own infrastructure will all those boring grown up details that they've managed to ignore up until then.

Just my observations - your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

Vote now for the WORST movie EVER


Re: Highlander 2

Yeah - here too. Loved the original, even enjoyed most of the Adrian Paul TV series (well, up until series 5 - after that it seriously jumped the shark) but the H2 movie was for me the biggest drop-off between original and sequel of all time.

I mean I really really wanted to like it, spent money going to the cinema to watch it, gritted my teeth and stayed to the end just in case it had a single redeeming feature that I could point to and say "well, it wasn't all bad" - but no. It *was* all bad. It made party political broadcasts seem like masterpieces of erudite film making.

God it was awful.

Hackers expose Citibank CEO's privates


A note on colonial banking arrangements

>> "encouraging people to close their accounts at high street banks and deposit their money with credit unions instead"

Actually this is mandated by a knowledge of simple arithmetic. Anyone who has their main business with the big banks probably has a first name relationship with the drooling idiot at McDonalds due to eating there every day. Why people accept their abusive terms of business escapes me.

Example - I recently changed jobs and as is fairly normal in the US my new employer <bigcorp> has a 'special relationship' with one of the big banks. So as part of the induction process you get a pitch from the bank. Being new to the area I open an account (it's free and convenient - also you need a local bank to write a cheque - there is no concept of a cheque guarantee card). Skip forward a few weeks and the old truck I'm driving finally starts to show signs of incipient mortality so I consider replacing it. Go to onsite bank branch waving flier promising 'great service and special offers for <bigcorp> employees'. Undergo 30 minute grilling about income and assets. Get told I'll get a decision 'soon'. 36 hours later I get an email telling me that the wonderful reduced rate for a car loan will mean payments of $X (where X is a suspiciously larger number than I was expecting). Takes 4 more email exchanges before they will tell me what the interest rate is that they think they are charging (which actually worked out to 19%). They were proud that they were only charging 11.5%. So - not only are they thieves - they can't do simple maths either.

As the alternative I'd also contacted the convenient credit union at the same time. The conversation went like

"Got a job ?"

"Yeah - work for <bigcorp> - new starter"

"Welcome to <state> - brought a payslip with you?>

"Yup - here you are>

"Thanks - home address ?"

"Yup - wrote it all down (Note - I do this because the foreign accent tends to confuse the colonials)"

"Thanks .... keyboard keyboard ...... approved - 3.5%"

For those of you that are old enough to remember the local building societies (before they sold out) it's kinda like that

Mexico demands apology for Top Gear outrage


TG without the satire

Is truly awful. They now have an 'American' version. Not the 'americanised' UK one with the prices in $ - but reusing the old scripts (or situations at least) with 3 merkins. But to avoid annoying the advertisers they can't say anything rude about the cars and to avoid being sued they can't say much about anyone either. Which leaves it dull and boring. I managed to sit through 2 episodes (to make sure that the first wasn't just an aberration) before deciding that enough was enough.

My wife described it as 'watching a warm-up act with 3 failed stand-ins'.

Very very bad. To be avoided.

BBC America on the other hand is at last showing the uncut (and bleeped) UK versions and is raking in many many viewers. I get people at work who aren't car types at all commenting - though mainly along the lines of 'how do they get away with saying that?' :-)

Silicon Valley hypegasm for miracle shoebox powerplants


%age of US leccy from natural gas

Lewis - I think you need to investigate a little more - the US generates about 25% of it's electricity from natural gas (recent gov figures here ...http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html) - that's a shit load of gas (technical term defined as the traditional way of generating methane). More than the UK uses? The gulf of mexico has some *very* wide pipes coming out of it - some of which find their way to the left coast.

RIP Personal Computer World



Memorex - ahh yes - I had one of those. I even had the 'size of a small table' double floppy unit for it.

I actually bought the first issue of PCW while waiting outside a courthouse for a hearing to start. The mag was the high point of the day :-). I'm pretty sure I owned every copy up to Sept 2001 when I abandoned the sceptred isle. Sad to see it go - it actually managed to combine real journalism with an understanding of the tech, a feat which is all too rarely seen. Do they all still hang out on CIX or has that gone the way of the dodo as well?

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