* Posts by Robert Forsyth

352 posts • joined 1 May 2007


Drone goal! Quadcopter menace alert freezes flights from London Heathrow Airport

Robert Forsyth

Last time was coincident with shortage of fuel and a French majority share takeover.

Robert Forsyth

Re: Yet another...

African or European?

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

Robert Forsyth

Re: Great for this Engineer

Software Engineering exists, but it isn't what companies typically want when they ask for a Software Engineer.

Software Engineering is (devising ways to) efficiently producing software of sufficient quality. This may be by means of a compiler or interpreter for a domain specific language; or some trade off in choice of algorithm between implementation complexity and speed; or using some off-the-shelf part instead of bespoke.

Software, at one level, is giving detailed instructions on how to do a task on a slightly abstract machine or simplified model of a machine.

I think an engine is the work of an engineer, not the other way round; engine is named after engineer; a design is the work of a designer, clean is the work of a cleaner; compared to, paint is not the work of a painter.

With running a railway steam engine, some body plans water (and coal) refilling which will depend on the load on the engine. The engine driver may be a safety engineer, in that they imagine/predict the consequences of a coarse of action, so letting the fireman drive the train when it is safe to do so.

Robert Forsyth

Many a true word is said in jest.

Could you speak up a bit? I didn't catch your password

Robert Forsyth

Re: If this is how things are going to be

If not LEMONS?

IBM: Co-Op Insurance talking direct to coding subcontractor helped collapse of £55m IT revamp project

Robert Forsyth

Just Goes to Show

I was under the impression (I swallowed their PR) IBM were much improved over days of past, but seem I have wrongly spouting rubbish - I am truly sorry to all those in earshot.

My more direct experience is, they seem to deliberately choose a less common interpretation of the requirement* - for no financial advantage - just to show stupid the customer is.

* we can all easily do this, invent an unlikely 'round hole' scenario and let it suffer the 'square peg' requirement.

My IBM experience was the PC hell/help-desk was moved (outsourced) to a Canadian first-line call centre, I think the requirement was for a polite and English speaking call centre (like in Leeds or Ireland, perhaps). The Canadian call centre was quite good with late evening problems.

GCSE computer science should be exam only, says Ofqual

Robert Forsyth

Re: Doesn't matter

John Majors' Labour Government !?

Robert Forsyth

Ofsted Have Caused It

Ofsted inspections cause some schools to game the exam system:

Not allowing borderline students to take exams;

Teaching how to pass exams, but not learning much about the subject.

I assume the school's reward is based on exam results, and not how they improve the pupils.

Looking at my daughter's recent exams (and mocks), they are almost exactly the same as mine of almost 40 years earlier.

Computer Science is not really Software Engineering, Software Engineering is not really Programming. There is some overlap.

Computer Science, the science of computers - how they work

Software Engineering - how to build software more correctly, cheaply and quickly

Programming - devising a solution to the requirements and instructing the computer to execute this solution

Need a modest Arm Cortex-A CPU in your custom chip? Just apply online. Plus $125,000

Robert Forsyth

Re: Age

PIC 22p

AVR 21p

555 25p Capacitor 3p to 20p

4060 25p Watch crystal 10p

Robert Forsyth

Re: Age

A PIC is often cheaper than a 555 + capacitor

Cabinet Office: Forget about Verify – look at our 3,000 designers (and 56 meetups)

Robert Forsyth

Cargo Culting Apple?

Disclaimer, I didn't read the cited document.

Robert Forsyth

Re: Doug Adams was right

Cheap shot

MIMEsweeper maker loses UK High Court patent fight over 15-year-old bulletin board post

Robert Forsyth

Re: The Patent Claim at issue

The article said the judge thought "using the whitelist indexed by part/file type (and sender) to bypass the AV rejection" was non obvious.

The plaintive, if not idiots, badly presented the evidence i.e. a shedload of documents with no narrative.

According to Wikipedia, Dr. John Harrison described whitelisting applications to prevent the execution of malware in 2005.

Access Control Lists have been around since 1984, and could be considered a whitelist, also the passwd file on Unix.

Take the wheel, Arm tells its notebook-grade Cortex-A76 CPU: Now you're a robo-ride brain

Robert Forsyth


Apple hands €14.3bn in back taxes to reluctant Ireland

Robert Forsyth

(I was under the impression) Ireland wants hi-tech jobs in Ireland, by attracting hi-tech companies with low taxes. I'm not sure the strategy works, I guess it works for Ireland as they seem to be trying not the frighten other 'hi-tech' companies.

Having rich companies (and poor ones) stifle technology diversity and innovation.

Check out this link! It's not like it'll crash your iPhone or anything (Hint: Of course it will)

Robert Forsyth

Tried on KDE Konqueror

KHTML engine -> Thomas and Triggered

WebEngine -> Thomas and Triggered

WebKit -> 0

KHTML taken by Apple for base of WebKit

WebKit taken by Google for Chrome

The Register's 2018 homepage redesign: What's going on now?

Robert Forsyth

Desktop Version OK, but...

(I thought) The original design was to mimic a red top tabloid, I assume that is why in landscape there are useless grey bands left and right. Could these unused areas of screen fulfil the mechanics of a web-page (navigation to the left) and (slow moving or static) advertising (to the right).

I am not sure you have to limit yourself to this metaphor, it is a web-page.

Don't have an ad at the top, then repeat it down the page, that just annoys. Although I want you to make the most money from your adverts. Perhaps you could have a classified ads section.

Basically there are landscape and portrait modes, with a roughly portrait content area.

In landscape the banner, navigation menu, and footer can slide to the left. And the equivalent to the leaflets that fall out of a newspaper to the right.

In portrait mode the banner and navigation menu reveal when you scroll up or stop scrolling for a few seconds.

The main content area, seems reasonable:

Big picture news story somewhere near the centre.

Top News big size, medium, small, small; top left

Most read just a list to the right

Latest news big size, medium, small... below

I don't think the categories (Data Centre, Software, Security, etc.) work, although the headline could be tagged with its category in small perhaps DC, SW, Sec, DO, Bus, PT, Sci, ET, BN, and Lec. Clicking on the section navigation would filter.

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

Robert Forsyth

I too, just switched to magnetic connectors.

The micro-USB phones Xperia X and P8 Lite 2017 seem happy.

The Lightning iPad will only charge from the Apple charger.

The USB-C Xperia XA2 would not fast charge from the NetDot 5th gen. cable, but does from 7th gen.

Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design

Robert Forsyth

Re: Plot twist? What plot twist?

The aerial lead made the aerial not the thing to grab in the loft or on the roof; may be an anti-theft measure?

Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

Robert Forsyth

Shame No Wacky Nokia Concepts



Camera bump on PrueView 808

Instead of a large screen, have an eye piece (like an old camera viewfinder) you hold the phone up to your eye and see a 13" screen while guiding the controls/cursor with your fingers/hand holding the phone

Robert Forsyth

Re: Peak phone

As much of a fan as I am,

the USB-OTG did not work (no power), it has no 4G, the front facing camera did not work well and looked up your nose, the lamp/flash for the front camera did not come on to light your face, it could be easier to change the battery and much easier to replace the micro-USB.

However, there is plenty of good in it.

Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

Robert Forsyth

Re: Only ugly bed-wetting pansies use RISC-V

You missed a bit...

"This is the greatest processor. Everybody is using it, because it is really great. No one is greater."

Perhaps you are channelling BJ and not DT.

Great news, cask beer fans: UK shortage of CO2 menaces fizzy crap taking up tap space

Robert Forsyth

I was under the impression that once hydrogen was established (initially from natural gas methane) it would be split from water in a nuclear reactor.

Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired for opposing hiring caps on white, Asian male nerds

Robert Forsyth

Re: The art of discrimination

Q10: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

A10. African or European?

Is surely ageist.

Robert Forsyth

Appears Aburd at the Micro Level Less So at the Macro

So the child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, they think back to the grown ups they have seen.

UK peers: Is this what you call governance of facial recog tech? A 'few scattered papers'!

Robert Forsyth
Black Helicopters

Re: Big Brother IS watching you

Actually 63386 and you are 52670.

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins

Robert Forsyth

Gravitational time dilation

The further away the faster time flows

Blackbird shot down, patent nuked by judge in Cloudflare legal battle

Robert Forsyth

Re: Patent System

Sadly perhaps, you don't have to invent anything: you can just combine some things invented by others which solve a problem better (or differently) than an existing solution.

Say you had a cam which is stepped by a rotating spindle and encoded an optimal speed of winding cotton on to a bobbin (one of Granddad's patents) . Now the software (optimal speed per rev) could be encoded in a microcontroller. Both use others inventions, both are kind of obvious, it is the researched speed per rev which needed protection.

The lazy patents "solve X by a computer" without explaining how or what the advantage of this solution is.

The Reg visits London Met Police's digital and electronics forensics labs

Robert Forsyth

They probably assume everybody is guilty of something, so just keep it until you are convicted.

Wave Tata, Capita: You've lost mega-contract to rival outsourcer

Robert Forsyth

Re: maths

I think the (broken) idea is,

In House services costs get bloated with tea breaks, career progression training, workers' Xmas party, pension schemes, sick pay, health & safety, etc. that these execs do not care about.

Also 'Accounts' have to deal with many suppliers of things use by the In House staff. All those extra account staff to check your 20p expenses claim was filled in correctly...

Also the (broken) idea of with no competition there is no drive to efficiency - sending things 1st class instead of second or in A4 envelopes - keeping useless staff because it is more expensive to fire them.

I worked for a global co. we had locally source cleaners who were happy and caring. Then HQ makes a deal with a Crapita type which costs the same locally, but may be cheaper in central London. We get the same actual people doing the cleaning, but now they are miserable and uncaring because their (hours and hence) pay has been cut.

Upset Equation Editor was killed off? Now you can tell Microsoft to go forth and multiply: App back from the dead

Robert Forsyth

LibreOffice Writer or Math

Or Google Docs...

1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run

Robert Forsyth

It's the Parents' Fault, Partly

That gender neutral school experiment/document on the TV last year, initially the boys could do the logic puzzles, but the girls could not. However, after some practice the girls could do as well as the boys. The conclusion draw by the program was, the toys given to the children has a big influence on their STEM abilities. So nurture rather than nature.

When they cross dress babies and get other parents/carers to play with them, the babies dressed like girls were given doll like toys and those dressed like boys car or construction like toys.

With teenagers, peer pressure seems stronger than parent pressure, but gender stereotypes have already done their harm (in my opinion).

In the late 70's, for me, the computer class was equally mixed and given by a woman teacher. Most kids make something in metal/woodwork and sewing/cookery, I guess my school was fairly progressive, before you choose which exams to take.

Robert Forsyth

Isn't it a small minority

of white males that give the rest of us a bad name?

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

Robert Forsyth

Re: Oh why?

However, looking at the drawings on the source link, how is this hinge different to the HP Pavilion x360, I am typing on?

Robert Forsyth

Re: Oh why?

If it does an existing thing better, you can (and could) always patent it.

Exploding alien bodies' space death-rays gave Earth its radiation cloak

Robert Forsyth

Re: Neutral atoms?

Isn't space full of hydrogen atoms, an electron around a proton, one per cubic metre. What would be required to ionize that into H+ and e- ?

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means

Robert Forsyth

Re: so, say you have gone "full Agile"

You could make the shovel more cheaply.

Make it the right size for your newly identified customers.

Make it more comfortable to use.

In asking the customers and listening to them, they become invested in the product, they know about the new "smoothy grip" before it is available, you do not have to explain it to them.

Robert Forsyth

"And Agile is just an excuse for micromanagement." no it's not. It is supposed to be a process of continuously improving the development process (and product) - making it more efficient, reducing rework, allowing people at the coal face to spot and communicate improvements early, so they can be implemented early and act for the greater amount of time.

Waterfall (and Agile) can suffer from flash-in-the-pan requirements from marketing, that will not go away until it is seen implemented.

Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

Robert Forsyth

You can install many desktops

Reading the comments, it seems a lot of people seem to think you can only access one DE from your login

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Microsoft's 'Ms Pac-Man beating AI' is more Automatic Idiot

Robert Forsyth

Re: ""I rode a bicycle with no hands today" has no meaning to someone who has never rode a bicycle"

You miss the point

I have the experience of riding a bike, like many other people, using that experience as context makes the sentence (even badly formed) unambiguous.

You could argue that the story involved in most contexts is like loose rules.

You enter a train carriage and ask:

"Is this seat taken?" or

"Is this seat free?"

Hundreds stranded at Manchester Airport due to IT 'glitch'

Robert Forsyth

It is better to get it fixed than apportion blame and lose the source of any information.

'Major incident' at Capita data centre: Multiple services still knackered

Robert Forsyth

Re: British Airways

These are low paying holiday makers, not business travellers

Microsoft to spooks: WannaCrypt was inevitable, quit hoarding

Robert Forsyth

Re: If you cannot patch it quarantine it

Not incompetent (many are as arrogant as you) but overworked and lacking funds.

So you should not be able to access the X-rays from anywhere, but print them out and post them in internal mail, really?

The rise, fall, and rise (again) of Microsoft's killer People feature

Robert Forsyth

Re: Talking to people at the computer

I really love those emails with instructions to open the (Word) attachment, so I can read a paragraph of text - in a nice font.

Are you broke? Good with electronics? Build a better AC/DC box, get back in black with $1m

Robert Forsyth

Re: No they don't

Many if not most switch mode power supplies SMPS convert the incoming 50Hz AC to DC then drive a small/tiny transformer with 10kHz to 1MHz AC signal.

Most PCs and laptops and 5V USB chargers could probably take AC or DC,

It should be noted the peak voltage of the 240V mains is 41% higher (339V) than the RMS.

I heard France had a DC grid, in the old days you had a DC motor drive an AC alternator.

Barbican Digital Revolution exhibition: Techies, arty types get intimate

Robert Forsyth

Re: Not brutalist, but...

Back in the mid 1980's, it did have a serendipitous nature, you could look over a balcony and see a band playing, but not anyway to reach the place.

Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]

Robert Forsyth


In Structured Programming (without GOTOs) the idea was that each block had one entry and one exit to make the code easier to debug, etc.

An idea which came in with Java, is you write the code as if there are no errors, so as not to hide the algorithm with error handling, then catch all the errors/exceptions at the end. The garbage-collection would clean up any unreferenced resources.

The 'IF' statement causes problems, especially a sequence of if-them-else statements which hides what is going on and the switch-case statement(s) can easily become unwieldy. However the logical and && and logical or || can be a camouflaged if-then-else statement or conditional branch or goto. The and && loosely the then part and the or || the else part. The 'and' && becomes; if the left side is false, return false, if the left side is true, then return the right side. The 'or' || becomes; if the left side is true, return true, else return the right side.

Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

Robert Forsyth

Re: I'm sure you were railing against something

I think "nobend" is missing a k at the beginning and a hyphen/space after the "b", if it isn't obvious.

The picture is to illustrate the effect of the gushing cheesy words of a particular press release partly described in the article.

Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

Robert Forsyth

Re: Bah!


Could it be that the water make a feint low frequency rumble which resonates the rib-cage?

Ever been too close to the bass bins at a concert and have the feeling your lungs vibrate?

Why does Tarzan beat his chest?

Although missing out the machinery in a hydroelectric plant, which converts the potential energy of water up hill to rotating magnets was amusing - akin to being frightened by the WiFi signal, but not the microwave oven, car alarm remote, cordless phone, etc.

FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Robert Forsyth

Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

Currently, the document is emailed amongst the group and then there is a merge headache at the end of the day.

With Google Docs the problem was, as I see it, your bit of the document moved up and down as someone else deleted and inserted lines above your insertion point.

The other problem with these word-processors, is (other) people spend most of their time fiddling with the font and line spacing for page layout, which is wasted when someone corrects their spelling or grammar.

Most corporate templates, I have seen/used, are more of a problem than a solution, based on thinking that the word-processor is a dumb typewriter.


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