* Posts by CT

106 posts • joined 16 Apr 2009


How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables


Bent coat-hanger and curtain wire

I think I've still got my official cable-running kit of bent coat-hanger and curtain wire somewhere. Budget would never run to a trained ferret.

Florida man's deadliest catch forces police to evacuate Taco Bell


Not just in Florida...

...but with an annoying frequency, WW1/WW2 souvenir hunters bringing old ordnance into the Paris Eurostar terminal and consequently shutting everything down for a few hours when they go through security.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


My keyboard's jammed

User: "My keyboard's jammed, can you take a look"

Me: "Have you been eating doughnuts again?"

Yes, it was literally (raspberry) jammed, with the jam causing the keys to stick in the down position.

Everyday doings of a metropolitan techie: Stob's software diary


Super write-up on the Mac Mini - when I did mine, I looked inside, cross-referred to the ifixit page, then ran away and installed the SSD externally via a FireWire case. Worked a treat. Super-fast now.

Stairway to edam: Swiss bloke blasts roquefort his cheese, thinks Led Zep might make it tastier


See also Les Barker's "Hard Cheese of Old England" for more puns, e.g.


Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?


waist-high jungle to save 100m

Thanks to google maps for taking me up a steep path which started OK, but then turned into waist-high wet grass and no lighting. I'd have turned back, but I didn't want to lose the height and then have to climb again with a heavy rucksack. Wrong decision = wet trousers.

In the morning, I saw that it had saved me all of 100 metres or so, bypassing a perfectly walkable minor road.

Austria, since you asked. I'd have used the OS if it was the UK

Deliveroo to bike food to hungry fanbois queuing to buy iPhones


Typo alert... or is it?

"...stand in line to prey at the altar of dreams..."

Hmm, perhaps I prefer the original

How an augmented reality tourist guide tried to break my balls


Seat reservations in bike compartment

SNCF kindly reserved us coach 12, seats 11 and 13, on the intercity train to Boulogne (don't ask). Unfortunately, the numbering in coach 12 started at 21 and went upwards, as the first compartment (presumably with seats numbered 11 upwards) had had all the seats removed to be converted to a bike compartment.

As my other half suffers from saddle soreness at the slightest mention of a bike ride, we picked some random empty seats in the next coach, expecting an interesting conversation with the inspector.

Neither sight nor sound of the inspector for the 1h30 journey, and we could have had a free ride in first class.

We picked the print-at-home option, with two A4 sheets giving a nice large barcode, rather than the app.

OMG! Battle looms over WTF! trademarks


The actual Hull-based range of OMG! products here:


Boffins build a NAZI AI – wait, let's check that... OK, it's a grammar nazi


Re: Am I missing something ?

Minor correction: We already have grammar checkers built in to stuff like Word.


of coarse I did


"At the moment, it can only deal with commas and full stops, the most common and easiest of English's punctuation marks."

If they were that easy how come so many people do without them writing enormous walls of text without so much as a pause as if their taking one deep breath and just letting out a single massive belch of their stream of consciousness ooh look a cat video ?

You have suffered without red-headed emoji for too long. That changes Tuesday


On the other hand...

There are about half a dozen people absolutely ecstatic that

"Intonation marks for Lithuanian dialectology"

have finally been implemented, and they no longer have to take a biro to printouts and re-scan the results from a photo taken on a wooden table.

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick


Saracen and Roland - not surprised at the blank faces, too obscure even for me, and I had a grammar school education with real O-levels AND I remember white dog turds, jumpers for goal posts blah blah

There are 10 types of people in the world, but there is only one Melvyn


Re: If you press litmus paper to Jim Al-Khalili, does it go blue?

The litmus paper gag made me literally laugh out loud. Thanks.

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper


Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

We had a "burster" machine, with two rotating knives to slice the tractor-feed sides off, and a device to rip off the perforated sheets and stack them neatly. Made a hell of a racket when it worked, and despite hiding it in a soundproof cupboard, we were all tuned in to the remaining noise, so that any change in tone had us running to the rescue for the frequent hiccups, slips and general paper mangling/automated origami.

The healing hands of customer support get an acronym: Do YOU have 'tallah-toe-big'?



My other half swears I've got magic eyebrows - walk over, frown at the problem and it goes away.

How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini


Re: Interesting display. But not a word on the elephant in the room.....

From their website tech specs:

"Removable Li-Ion 4220mAh battery"

but with one caveat

"We are working hard to achieve the above technical specifications for Gemini"

Telly boffin Professor Heinz Wolff has died


Re: Sorry, but...

Or to put it more kindly, "wow, he had a good innings"

Apple’s facial recognition: Well, it is more secure for the, er, sleeping user


PIN numbers

Cut them some slack - PIN number is common enough. And in spoken language it might conceivably eradicate some ambiguity (PIN the number versus pin the pointy thing). Admittedly the context usually gives it away.

And we're using natural language, not a programming language, so it doesn't have to be complete:

- my car's passed its MOT --> MOT test

and it can be redundant:

- 5am in the morning --> 5 in the morning / 5am

- it's got an LCD display --> it's got an LCD

CrashPlan crashes out of cloudy consumer backup caper


Same here, home-based user using it for daily partial backups of current work to local removable drive, no cloud involved.

Bit annoying, as I only migrated to it a month ago.

A sarcasm detector bot? That sounds absolutely brilliant. Definitely


Never mind all that - can we have an AI that converts emojis into proper text? There's just too many now and I don't really want to have to learn yet another language at my age.

This ferry is said to weigh 250 cows. We say that is actually 20,600 Lindisfarne Gospels


Cows/Cowes, IOW?

What's brown and comes out of Cowes backwards?

The Isle of Wight ferry.

And, showing my age a bit,

If Isla St Clair married Barry White, then divorced and remarried Brian Ferry, would she be called Isla White-Ferry?

Tesla's big news today:
sudo killall -9 Autopilot


It seems to be correctly "braking" on the Tesla original article. Unless they corrected it since Reg copy+pasted it?

How IT are you? Find out now in our HILARIOUS quiz!


Re: Cockney Quiz

I think I can hear Bow Locks.

Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?


Pivot 45 degrees

Still more pivot pranks - pivot the screen itself to 45° and move all the desktop icons to a heap in what is now the bottom corner.

Steve Jobs, MS Office, Israel, and a basic feature Microsoft took 13 years to install


Excel, yes a similar problem, non-joined Arabic letters. As well as all the other problems with text in Excel not behaving like text in Word (double-clicks also select trailing punctuation etc.).

What did they use instead? There were specialist Hebrew/Arabic word processors, Mellel was/still is one.

Software engineer sobers up to deal with 2:00 AM trouble at mill


There are still steel mills in Rotherham

see title

Outsourcer didn't press ON switch, so Reg reader flew 15 hours to do the job


I was sent to Estonia in order to fix a font-related problem. Failed to fix it on the spot, but had a lightbulb moment that resulted in days of rework.

BT Infinity ‘working to fix problem’ after three days of outages


Not just infinity

We're on bog-standard broadband, and for the last few days, we have had web pages loading half way, then stopping, only to load instantly the second or third time you try.

Intermittent problem though - just loaded The Register instantly first time, but clicking to get to the comments section took two reloads.

Feast your eyes: 10 'fortysomething' smart TVs


Smart TVs - all we need now are some smart programmes to watch on them.

So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?


But why are we translating it literally?

- surely we need a phrase in the other language which means "something really good", and which is also slightly rude in that language. A literal translation won't carry the positive meaning of the English.

And anyway, how come a description of a dog's gentleman's parts means "something really good"?

Is it by analogy with the "bee's knees"? Which doesn't make literal sense either.

And while we're there, is it a dog's breakfast or a dog's dinner to describe something that's a bit of a mess?

I'm confused. And I'm a translator.

How many translators does it take to change a lightbulb? - Depends on the context.

Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy


Re: The Other Half

I'd guess any thickening in the lower half of the head wouldn't be as serious, as it's not compressing the brain.

Apple vows to add racially diverse EMOJIS after MILEY CYRUS TWITTER outrage


Oh no, Unicode Consortium taken over by cats

Looking at the Unicode listing given in the link above:










Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow


Base model £2,499.00 on UK Apple store

Base model $2,999.00 on US Apple store

Google says "2999 US Dollar equals 1833.69 British Pound Sterling"

US sales taxes can't account for all that difference can they?

Virgin Media to hike broadband prices by nearly 7 per cent


"Also if you get one of those 'new customer' flyers through the letterbox addressed to the Home owner with a great deal in it, they'll match that, even if you are in the middle of a contract"

IF... what do you mean "if"? We get those flyers twice a month at least*. I'm collecting a year's worth just to be able to go up to their caravan sales thing in town, dump them on the table and say "Still no, thanks"

*26 of them since 1 Jan

GiffGaff: We've got no iPhones, but here's how to cut down your SIM


...network run by you

Is this the bunch that advertise themselves as the network "run by you"? I'd prefer a network run by people qualified and/or experienced at running a network.

Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter


"We do have a treaty which is called the Treaty of Lisbon and in this treaty – and maybe not everyone has understood this – there are no more pillars as there were before, where [for instance] you had a pillar for security and that was completely in the hands of the national states and where the rules of the protecting of the individual, which had to be adapted to this pillar, were a little flexible.

There's none of this anymore since December 2009. Now the rules are horizontal."

That was described as an insight?

Pillars? horizontal rules?

Sitting down all day is killing you


I was going to comment...

...but I've drunk so much tea I need to visit the euphemism.

Ten... FireWire 800 hard drives



Handy to have drives powered by the firewire connection, saves yet another cable and power sockets are in short supply in my "office" (2-bed Victorian terrace). Any ideas which of these might be?

Ten... e-cars and hybrids


Re: MPG?

"Up to about double" - is that like "unlimited" broadband?

I meant comparing between the models listed



For a comparative round-up, why no comparison of MPG figures (at least for the hybrids)?

Crap PINs give wallet thieves 1-in-11 jackpot shot


Re: Re: "repeated digits"

yes, for 4 repeats, but what about only 2 repeats, abbc, acbb etc. That's a far bigger pool of PINs potentially eliminated. Perhaps the original article was referring to all 4 the same rather than just 2 repeats within a PIN, but I didn't read it like that.


"repeated digits"

The article mentions "repeated digits" as part of the "not-so-random" codes. Why? Surely random codes would occasionally* lead to repeated digits, and forbidding them would reduce still further the available pool of numbers.

*someone with better stats than me can work out the frequency of occasionally.

Cable thieves wreak havoc for cops, BT punters


Pretty sure that the signals fail safe, i.e. default to red, like a lot of other things on the railway are designed to.

But yes, the disruption is enormous, and "something must be done"

Ten... Valentine's Day gifts for him


To be honest, I'm not sure it does.

As a Reg-reading bloke, my reaction was a bit meh.

Don't get privates trapped in Facebook's silos, warn experts


Lifelogging a dead horse...

after the stable door was bolted in mid-stream, to mangle a few metaphors

Survey: '4 million' Brits stung by ID theft


sample of 2,002 in fact

A footnote at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/media-centre/news-releases/2011/identity-fraud-continues-to-rise-with-4-million-victims-in-uk-alone-65446565446

says "For this report, quantitative research was carried out with 2002 Great British adults aged 18+ as part of an online consumer omnibus survey"

and it was weighted for sampling deficiencies.

Still don't know what it actually asked though


and another thing...

how do you adjust for the probability that it's the more gullible/susceptible to fraud who will fill in surveys and the paranoid who won't?

Bank emails punters asking for their, er, email address


Isn't that what the banking home page is for?

or whatever you call the page you get to after logging in?

Surely better to remind people when they log in, as my bank repeatedly does (we haven't got a mobile number for you...).


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