* Posts by J.G.Harston

1406 posts • joined 4 Mar 2009

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

J.G.Harston
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Re: UK UBI

"In the UK, if you are out of work, the government gives you cash, jobseekers allowance, about £3.8k a year."

No they don't.

If you are unemployed, and you sign on and agree to a job search agreement, where you agree to spend many hours a week searching for and applying for jobs, and confirm this with proof every two weeks, then you will get an electronic funds transfer to your bank account of about £3.8k a year.

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Computing in schools improved, but still needs major patching – report

J.G.Harston
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Re: Same old same old

Exactly! It's like leaping up and down demanding that school kids should be taught to drive, and then writing up an automotive engineering curriculum and decrying the paucity of kids signing up for it.

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Uber loses appeal against employment rights for workers

J.G.Harston
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When Urber are told they are a dispatch service and must be regulated as a dispatch service, they say: no, no, we're a fleet company. When regulators turn around and say, ok, you're a fleet company, you must be regulated as a fleet company, they say: no, no, we're a dispatch service.

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User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot

J.G.Harston
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Re: I think we need a set of white lies to tell users

I use "somebody may have been using headed paper and hasn't shut the tray properly, can you just check"

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J.G.Harston
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Re: This kind of idiocy is not confined to matters IT

Doing an enzyme/starch/iodine reaction test: warm the sample to get the enzymes to the body temperature they normally live at. Spotted one student's sample merrily boiling away.

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J.G.Harston
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Re: Dilbert?

"I photocopied the screen of my laptop and have sent it to you in internal mail"

At university I needed to move a big reel-to-reel tape recorder from the studio to somewhere else on campus. So I put it in the internal mail. :)

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Landlubber northern council shores up against boat-tipping

J.G.Harston
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Re: Doncaster?

Doncaster is almost exactly north-east of Sheffield. And at 25 miles, not quite "just" either. It's a good three hours by bus.

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Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

J.G.Harston
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I grew up in the era of having to code your transient utilities into 512 bytes of memory. ;)

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Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

J.G.Harston
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Lights....

I had a similar problem with my last car. I couldn't work out how to turn on the cabin light, I would pull over and open the door to turn the light on so I could check a map. I eventually discovered by accident that *pulling* the *headlight* switch turned on the cabin light.

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Credit insurance tightens for geek shack Maplin Electronics

J.G.Harston
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Re: Screwfix

"It was then not coiled again but she bent it at various points way past 90° to get it into the plastic carrier bag."

Arrrgh!!!!

When rewiring my flat I needed 25m of 16mm cable. *NOT* 25 one-metre lengths, but a 25-metre length. I had to snatch the cable out of the sales assistant's hands before he folded it into one-metre lengths for me.

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Legends of the scrawl: Ordnance Survey launches augmented reality tool for maps

J.G.Harston
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Until somebody develops a screen 60 centimetres across that I can fold up and put in my pocket, it's going to remain paper maps for me for most of what I use them for. And actual proper maps as well, not the unprintable route navigation diagrams that Google brainwashes people into thinking are 'maps'.

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Google adds planets and moons to Maps, but puts bits in the wrong places

J.G.Harston
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Ganymede, Mimas, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea, Iapetus, Europa, and Titan.

Isn't that something Dave Lister used to sing?

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

J.G.Harston
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Hey, any ful kno that's two words: Wasserstoffionenkonzentration Bestimmungsgerät.

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J.G.Harston
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The really annoying thing I find in most West-Pondian documentation is the preponderance of putting everything backwards: Select 'Increase' from the 'Contrast' menu in the 'Balance' menu in the 'Colours' menu instead of the sane Select Colours -> Balance -> Contrast -> Increase.

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Hipster disruptor? Never trust a well-groomed caveman with your clams

J.G.Harston
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Re: Turtlenecks, boybeards...

956 might well have been a mistranslation of "ninety-five or -six".

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White House plan to nuke social security numbers is backed by Equifax's ex-top boss

J.G.Harston
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At least UK NINOs are checksummed and aren't a contunuous sequential set of numbers, so you can't just string together a random string of numbers (and two letters) and get a valid NINO.

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Shock! Hackers for medieval caliphate are terrible coders

J.G.Harston
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Re: (Unimportant) Things that Daesh have ruined

What else?

The International Secret Intelligence Service has had to pack its bags. "Seems there was some sort of trademark infringement."

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J.G.Harston
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but... but... but.... computers are western technology, the spawn of the infidel. Surely ISIS should be chucking off tall buildings any of their followers who contaminate themselves by using them.

Oh, and tall buildings are also western technology, they should be chucking off tall buildings any ISIS followers who use tall buildings.

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Why Uber isn't the poster child for capitalism you wanted

J.G.Harston
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Former Taxi Licensing bod writing....

On-demand taxi booking has been available since the invention of the messager boy. Private Hire taxis, with lighter regulation because every booking must go through a booking office and must be recorded and the taxis are banned from plying, has been around since the 1970s. But, in London, only since 1998 and everybody in the chatteratii are oblivious to what happens outside the M25 and through their metropolitan navel-gazing and don't even realise - some can't even *comprehend* - that Private Hire is a thing and think "taxi" means black cab.

It's like the brain-dead idiots who can't manage to notice the outside world and realise that London has had 8-digit telephone numbers for 20 years, they can't manage to get it into their heads that London has had Private Hire for 20 years. There's some fundamental flaw in their mental processes actively preventing them from noticing the world around them.

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Compsci grads get the fattest pay cheques six months after uni – report

J.G.Harston
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Re: Recent report suggested a uni degree in Computer Science

And also continues the perpetual misunderstanding of the difference between computing (making stuff) and IT (using stuff).

"I'm a computer engineer"

"Ok, here, run my IT department"

"Didn't you hear, I'm a *computing* *engineer*, not a secretarial pool administrator".

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

J.G.Harston
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Re: Accepting missions where you have no clue where you're going or who you're meeting...

"Can you do a site visit tomorrow in Doncaster?"

Ok.

"It's DN37 xxx"

That's not Doncaster, that's Grimsby.

Or, mixing up DN (Doncaster) with DL (Darlington)

Oh, and of course, just giving a postcode and no address. "You do realise DLx xxx" covers three hundred square linguinis/is a road three hundred elephants long don't you?"

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J.G.Harston
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Re: Ah, memories.

Links here are standard HTML. Open chevron a href="url" close chevron text open chevron /a close chevron.

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Hi Facebook, Google, we think we might tax your ads instead – lots of love, Europe x

J.G.Harston
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When I bought a book from Kenkyusha in Tokyo and it was posted to me in the UK, where was the economic activity taking place?

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Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time

J.G.Harston
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Re: Speaking of Gates FAILs...

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."

Well, if you look at the original IBM architecture documents, that was hardwired into the original design. Video and I/O devices from 1M downwards to 640K, program memory from $800-ish upwards to 640K.

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J.G.Harston
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Re: BREAK

Ctrl-Break (and Soft Break) only clear memory if you have previously told the machine to clear memory on reset - *FX200,2 or *FX200,3.

Soft Break reinitialises the machine and re-enters the current language.

Ctrl-Break reinitialises the machine, clears the soft keys, filing systems may select default options, and enters the default language.

Power-On wipes all memory then procedes as with a Ctrl Break.

Shift-Break is a Soft Break (or a Ctrl-Break if you are also pressing the Ctrl key) that asks the filing system to run a boot file.

You can force any Break to wipe memory by telling the MOS to wipe memory on the next Break.

You can force any Break to be a Power-On Break by putting the hardware into the Power-On state.

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Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

J.G.Harston
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Re: inserting a clause that encourages users to remember to put the seat down afterwards

Why not just enter the toilet area FORWARDS and use your EYES to see where the seat currently is and adjust it for the use you need it for? The only possible explanation for the "leave the seat down!!!" mania is people wishing to do a sit-down-toilet enter the toilet backwards with their eyes closed.

Personally, I leave toilets with the LID down.

And the door CLOSED. I mean, what is it about American sitcoms where every possible shot of the living area includes a clear open shot of the toilet? Seinfeld, I'm looking at you - and unavoidabley, your loo as well.

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Compsci degrees aren't returning on investment for coders – research

J.G.Harston
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Re: FWIW

Same thing here when I looked into doing a Masters. Most of it was at an even lower level than the degree I did 30 years ago.

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J.G.Harston
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Re: Study if you are interested in learning a subject in depth

If you want to be a manager WHY THE F***k ARE YOU APPLYING TO BE A TECHIE???????

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J.G.Harston
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Re: More!

Yes we do. I did Computing Science with a subsidiary in Japanese Language and a minor in Education, Stirling University, 1987-1990.

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J.G.Harston
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Well, what do you expect when you spend two decades turning university computing courses into "how to type".

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Downloaded CCleaner lately? Oo, awks... it was stuffed with malware

J.G.Harston
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People are dissing CCleaner, but what exactly is so diss-able about it? I've got v4.17/2014 and use it from time to time after any time I've done online banking or uninstalled something I've tested and discarded. I've never found any problems with it.

I agree that Avast Antivirus has grown unmanageably though. It takes ages to start up, everything seems to move around between updates, and it's now in "finger painting" mode.

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Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

J.G.Harston
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Re: Cats are neither a solid nor a liquid.

Oooo! Back in 'A' level physics we applied wave-particle duality equations to a moving cat to work out its wavelength.

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'All-screen display'? But surely every display is all-screen... or is a screen not a display?

J.G.Harston
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A long time ago....

I used to teach English to furriners, and 'family' was one of the words we discussed, and I explained that it meant 'one or more parent plus one or more children (of that parent)'. Anything less than that and it wasn't a family.

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Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

J.G.Harston
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Re: £1,149

I bought my last car for 400zb, over five years spent another 400zb on MOTs before somebody crashed into it and wrote it off.

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J.G.Harston
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Re: £1,149

You use an iPhone as a *computing* *device*? I learned to type and graduated from finger painting when I was in primary school.

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J.G.Harston
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Tools for tasks

If I want to make phone calls I have a little Nokia I paid £15 for. If I want web-on-the-move I get arrested by the traffic cops. Ahem. If I want web-when-not-at-home I've got a £35 tablet that I slurp free WiFi with.

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Former UK.gov IT man and Python king's guide to neural networks

J.G.Harston
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gov.uk

as above

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Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

J.G.Harston
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Re: There's precedent for this

"Well landlords are now being taxed on revenue (anyone out there with a buy to let property not yet heard of the new Section 24 tax?)"

No they're not, they're still being taxed on profits, just the profit calculation is different.

Before, profit = income - outgoings

Now, profit = income - Class A outgoings - 20%*Class B outgoings

Tax is still rate * profit

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J.G.Harston
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So, if you have income of 100m and spend 99m on paying your staff, you will now need to pay a percentage of the 100m in turnover tax out of that remaining 1m on top of the 45m of that 99m which has already been paid in various payroll taxes?

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Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

J.G.Harston
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Re: IT angle

Jerry was also one of the first users of usenet, I think that this may be his earliest post, on info-cpm that later became comp.os.cpm.

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Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

J.G.Harston
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Re: If only if only...

I got the screenshot by *SPOOLing a few minutes in TALK while jumping between machines typing at them, then copying the file over to my PC, running BeebEm and *PRINTing the file, then taking a screen copy.

If it wasn't in MODE 7 I could have *BMPSave'd directly from the Beeb, but I haven't finished the MODE 7 conversion code.

And I've just checked my documentation for TALK, and the first working version was in Spring 1983! :)

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J.G.Harston
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Re: If only if only...

Hey, I invented instant chat back in 1985!

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Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

J.G.Harston
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I have a 1926 neophone in the office. :)

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VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

J.G.Harston
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What if the software has a table of calibration values with a comment

// NB: Until the wheels have moved, there is nothing to use to index into the

// table, zero-th entry is default value that assumes car has moved 100m

// This will give spurious results until car has actually travelled 100m

(Like my old Polo did. Hmm a VW Polo). And Management demands 'get rid of that intial 100m thing'. Is that then illegal?

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Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee

J.G.Harston
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"If it's a hotel stop over then we generally get the premier inn breakfast included as part of the booking."

Lucky bugger. I get the Travelodge breakfast, which is a bottle of juice and an inedible muffin.

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'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

J.G.Harston
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But then how will *other* vehicles get onto the motorway. Currently, slip roads are long enough to adjust your speed to join traffic where the longest blockage is 20m. If there's half a mile of lorry going past you will either end up stuck on the (increasingly non-existant) hard shoulder, or come to a stop to give way to passing traffic, and then attempt to enter traffic going at 70 mumphs from zero - exactly what motorways are supposed designed to avoid.

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Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

J.G.Harston
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Italics?

What italics?

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Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

J.G.Harston
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"GCSE computing results showed little improvement on last year."

Maybe, shock horror, this year's pupils are no smarter than last year's pupils.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

J.G.Harston
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Re: The Usual...

Even more important: IF YOUR SHIT IS IMPORTANT, DON'T STORE IT IN AN EMAIL FOLDER!

If you're treating an email folder as though it is a filestore, you're not competant to be using the computer. If the days of typewriters did you keep your sole only copy of your thesis in your letterbox?

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UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

J.G.Harston
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I know it was Blair's intention to make us the 51st state, but it's gov.uk not uk.gov

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