* Posts by Kevin Johnston

1179 posts • joined 6 May 2007


Just keep slurping: HMRC adds two million taxpayers' voices to biometric database

Kevin Johnston

They've been deleted?

Yeah, let's go with that then

Google faces another GDPR probe – this time in the land of meatballs and flat-pack furniture

Kevin Johnston


This could be a far more successful strategy that trying to put in place a 'digital tax'. While they may find lawyers able to weasel they way around tax legislation, they will never be able to give up the slurping as it is fundamental to their business process.

€50m every year for each country would easily exceed any likely tax income too...win - win..unless you happen to be Google/Facebook/Twitter et al

Amazon takes aim at MongoDB with launch of Mongo-compatible DocumentDB

Kevin Johnston

If the database is sharded then I would not be surprised if it became a PITA. If it was SHARED now, that is a very different thing indeed

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

Kevin Johnston

OK, so I am liking the look of that monitor. I could replace my current config of two 22" Widescreen monitors plus laptop screen with a simpler and cleaner...

Two 49" screens for surround video

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Kevin Johnston

Re: That's it, I quit teh interwebz!

Not often you see a comment which deserves billions of upvotes but this is on my 'Best from 2018' list

Oh Deer! Poacher sentenced to 12 months of regular Bambi screenings in the cooler

Kevin Johnston

Odd choice of film (beware - spoiler included)

Yes, I know there is the 'Deer' link and 'Disney' but while the nice judge says he has to watch the film, is there anything to say he is not allowed to cheer when Bamibi's mum gets shot?

If he chooses to go to sleep while it is playing does he have to sit through another viewing (rinse/repeat until the sentence is over?)

This is pure justice theatre

Dev's telnet tinkering lands him on out-of-hour conference call with CEO, CTO, MD

Kevin Johnston


As a newly badged engineer I was working in Systems Test on radar systems and I was given the task of programming and labelling the various PROMs for the systems. This was done with white ink for readability but after final test I would go round and re-mark them all. In an attempt to give this some degree of permanence I would then dab some varnish on to seal it.

By the time we got to my third system I was looking to speed up the process so I had re-marked them all and put them on some cardboard so I could use some spray varnish which was quicker to apply and dried faster too. A couple of hours later I discovered the third feature as the system would not run and I had to re-burn a full set as the varnish was bonded to the legs as a perfect insulator on the first set.

Not my finest hour

Pencil manufacturers rejoice: Oz government doesn't like e-voting

Kevin Johnston

Re: Would an "informal vote" still be possible?

I have been saying this for years now (possibly even decades). Not only should there be a 'none of the above' but if that selection gets the highest count then no candidate is elected and they have to try again in one year.

That would really cause a sphincter moment amongst the politicians as currently no matter what you do, one of them boards the gravy train.

Former headteacher fined £700 after dumping old pupil data on server at new school

Kevin Johnston

Maybe not, if there was not time inside then it may not class as an offence which prevents him from teaching. A lot of employment (and public service) has thresholds which need to be passed before you are barred, I think to be an elected Public Official it is less than 30 days inside? Probably wrong but you get the idea.

Just quickly checked and to be a councillor you have to have served less than 3 months yet to be an MP it goes up to less than one year...how perverse is that? The more power you have the more of a criminal you can be

It's the wobbly Microsoft service sweepstake! If you have 'Teams', you've won a lifetime Slack sub

Kevin Johnston

Wonderful product

We have been piloting it and when I was struggling with killing a chat I did some searching and found a huuuuuge pile of comments around the GDPR issues with Teams (ie, you cannot delete data from old chats, just hide it)

With the reams of overlapping products from Microsoft you have to wonder quite why they are bothering with Teams, seems to be the ginger-headed child of all the unloved MS products.

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

Kevin Johnston

The ever accurate tax man

Even now, years after it was confirmed in various court cases, I cannot get over that if you ask HMRC how to complete a form and it turns out to be wrong it is your fault and you have to pay any penalties they decide on????

Sorry, we haven't ACLU what happened in sealed 'Facebook decryption' case, but let's find out

Kevin Johnston

When it came to Token ring Type 1 connectors I heard them referred to as asexual

I was once one of you, F1 star Lewis Hamilton tells delighted IT bods

Kevin Johnston

Re: What a knob

Claire Williams?

Microsoft readies the swatter as more bugs wriggle out of the Windows 10 woodwork

Kevin Johnston

Re: snip

I always worry when I agree with a Bombastic Bob post. I can never decide if I missed my meds or if I missed the joke


Washington Post offers invalid cookie consent under EU rules – ICO

Kevin Johnston

Re: Contempt of their customers

You have to be careful with scripted options as I am sure there will be a few 'reversed' selections which will be ticked to say No Thanks. This has always been used by websites to increase their chances of you signing up for stuff and as long as they can show the wording was clear then the fact it was the third option and the first two acted the other way round they can get away with it.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

Kevin Johnston

Implanted chips

So will these be built to a universal standard so that when you change jobs your new employer can scan you and add you into their security database?

Actually I am amazed I could hold off laughing enough to finish typing that

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

Kevin Johnston

Re: paranoia

Don't recall which ones but there were conferences/trade shows where the free USB sticks turned out to be far less than suggested. They were 'adjusted' to report as a much higher capacity than they really were.

Free gifts are often worth every penny

OK Google, why was your web traffic hijacked and routed through China, Russia today?

Kevin Johnston

Since China is implicated in this, it may be that part of is their thinking...Force every connection through a single gateway and suddenly it is so much easier to ensure you can track what everyone is doing

Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy

Kevin Johnston

Re: there were millions involved

Ah, a location I recognise (for similar reasons) along with the sign-off paragraph. I was well regarded for my twice-processed grape juice and heard many a story of people flown home in a hurry after having being seen in public after a few glasses of modified 'near-beer'.

Could never get the hang of the modified Coffee machine to produce Sidiqi(?)

Google: All right, screw it, from this Christmas, Chrome will block ALL adverts on dodgy sites

Kevin Johnston

Re: It's a start

if you guys have an issue then spare a thought for people who are not USAians and who do not instinctively recognise all these fragments since they have never seen them other than as brief glimpses in various films.

When they ask for a Bus what does that include? I have yet to see a Routemaster image

Unsure why you can't log into Office 365? So is Microsoft

Kevin Johnston

Re: Incomprehensible complexity

I fully agree with your describing the limitations of the Executives, PHBs and Beancounters but as for what excuse we techie-types have it is simple...We are ignored whenever the value being discussed is more than the cost of a cup of coffee.

I have seen all too many times when some person arrives at the top of the tree and declares that all the core systems will change to match what they used at their last company despite the fact is will cost multiple millions and offer no improvement in functionality. The critical part is that this important person will then not have to learn a new way to enter their expenses into 'the system'. They carefully ignore that they don't even use these systems, that is what their EA is for.

BlackBerry KEY2 LE: The first budget Android QWERTY for years

Kevin Johnston

Re: Close but no cigar

Landscape? Really? You do realise how that would impact the usable screen don't you?

I have a KeyOne which is very similar in size and a quick shows the keyboard would take half of the screen area if they tried that unless they went for a more square phone a la the Passport as the keyboard needs a strip about 4cm tall to fit in the keys.

Android Phones are 10: For once, Google won fair and square

Kevin Johnston

+1 for BB10, fatally injured by being too late to the party. If Blackberry had been a little more awake then this should have come out at least 4 years earlier at which point they would have at least slowed down the expansion of Apple into the Enterprise market.

In reality the delays meant no developers wanted to play when it arrived so it had no chance

Swedish ISP spanked for sexist 'distracted boyfriend' advert for developer jobs

Kevin Johnston

Re: The first time

I'm sorry but Political Correctness was mad from Day 0

Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms

Kevin Johnston

Reality check

All these arguments 'on behalf of someone who was/would be offended' were beautifully summed up by Billy Connolly talking about Political Correctness...

It is arrogance in that you have no proof that the person would actually be offended and you have not allowed them to state their opinion, assuming that you know how they would feel.

All you can say if if you personally are offended

Microsoft accidentally let encrypted Windows 10 out into the world

Kevin Johnston

Wasn't that the Cortana Rampancy update?

Email security crisis... What email security crisis?

Kevin Johnston

Re: Who the fuck cares about such semantics in this day and age?

Surely it is Eric Clapton

Nokia reinstates 'hide the Notch' a day after 'Google required' feature kill

Kevin Johnston


That's not a notch, it's a bloody great chunk bitten out of the display. A notch is...

Definition of notch

1 a : a V-shaped indentation

b : a slit made to serve as a record

Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

Kevin Johnston

Re: Punished if you buy phone from elsewhere

Being fortunate enough to already be on a SIM-only deal, when I tried (and failed) to set up Wireless calling with 3 I simply walked rounds the others until I found one who guaranteed it could be done on my phone. The salesdroid in the shop even put in a SIM and logged into their Wifi to demonstrate it on my phone. They got my business.

Premera Blue Cross hacker victims claim insurer trashed server to hide data-slurp clues

Kevin Johnston


I presume we will discover this is the same 'rogue engineer/technician' responsible for data security at any number of other firms who makes a good living taking the blame for these problems before moving on to the next firm in need of a scapegoat.

I wonder what the hourly rate is like?

Apple to require privacy policy on all apps

Kevin Johnston

Re: re: Anything interactive MUST collect data as a matter of course, and usually use that data

I think there is some confusion here because of the wording used. Collect can mean simply Receive/Use/Discard or it could mean Receive/Store

There would be a lot less wiggle-room if people were to use words which more clearly explained which side of the fence such as 'Gather and retain your data' for the slurpers or 'only make use of your responses within the app' for the minimalists.

Obviously this will never come to pass as the slurpers will want to blur the lines as much as possible so that the less observant users give more permission than they would otherwise.

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Kevin Johnston

Re: 'Facebook will become more powerful than the NSA in less than 10 years — unless we stop it'

But you have to keep in mind, it probably gathers more data from 'other' websites than from Facebook.com (or local variants). Doesn't matter where the cool kids go, Facebook is watching them.

Self-driving cars will be safe, we're testing them in a massive AI Sim

Kevin Johnston

Re: Roll Out...

If I recall correctly, there are more countries drive on the correct side, just that they are all very very small ones in comparison.

Dixons Carphone: Yeah, so, about that hack we said hit 1.2m records? Multiply that by 8.3

Kevin Johnston

Good point, the correct reporting should be along the lines of 'We asked for a response and they used the same rubbish as last time'.

You get one chance to use that excuse and when the second breach hits you go into the 'Can't be trusted with personal data (or looking after the tea kitty)' category until you can prove you have really fixed it with independent testers.

FBI boss: We went to the Moon, so why can't we have crypto backdoors? – and more this week

Kevin Johnston

Re: Man on the sun

"Contrary to popular belief and what most mathematicians will tell you, all of the digits in the decimal expansion of π are known! They are: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. It is the order that they appear that is not known."


The Eric Morcambe reposte

Shock Land Rover Discovery: Sellers could meddle with connected cars if not unbound

Kevin Johnston

Contact Previous Owner

A lovely sentiment but if this is the 3rd/4th owner then how do you backtrack to find the one that the car is bound to? As mentioned, you cannot rely on the V5 to hold all the previous keeper details so how is Joe Public supposed to go about this?

The proper, and in fact only, solution is for there to be the disconnect button #Graham Cobb suggests.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

Kevin Johnston

Re: One move and we shoot

Back in my apprentice days I worked on the Isle of Wight and a local sailmaker loft was going through hard times. They needed to lose one headcount to keep going and after a lot of investigation the Manager confirmed he was the only person who fit the bill as every other person was critical to the business. He was retained on a very part time/acting unpaid basis for a number of months until enough orders had come in to take him back full time.

Amazingly, he got absolute loyalty from the rest of the company

Kevin Johnston

Timing is everything

In a former permie role I was one a 'team-building', touchie-feelie, make the employees feel wanted, type away day and after a lot of primary school type activities where we were busy working in small groups we were all gathered back together so we could speak about the day. One chap was asked how he would do things differently when he got back to his desk and his reply?

'Once back at my desk I will finish training a guy in Asia who is taking my job away from me so I can be let go'....A very long silence fell until one of the presenters announced the day was over and we could all go.

No more sessions were held.

Enterprise Windows 10 users, Microsoft has some 'quality' patches coming your way

Kevin Johnston

The 'Nearly' platform

As someone who has used Microsoft for OS and other applications pretty much since day 1, I have to wonder what is going on.

It is as though they have split every function out to separate teams and they have each gone their own way with no communication between teams. So many changes and 'improvements' that nearly do what was intended. Updates that nearly fix faults and bug fixes which also kill minor functions or introduce new bugs and an overall plan that...OK so no overall plan then.

It is made worse because even though the alternatives are quite good, they have their own problems either through price (Apple) or else from a lack of the slightly niche applications (Linux) used by the people who would then sing Hosannahs for their liberation from Windows

I had mostly moved away from Windows but only by keeping a VM running for those oddities and using a console for gaming but I have been drifting back because while I can keep Windows 7 going it is just so much more convenient even though it means I have weird things happen every once in a while.

Is this a failing of OS developers or is it just that we demand more from a simple PC than it is able to supply in one box?

Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

Kevin Johnston

Re: Ok, put it another way...

My wife thought I was mad when I suggested 12 double sockets when our Kitchen/Breakfast room was rebuilt. It was just under a year before she was looking for extra sockets

Notes/Domino is alive! Second beta of version 10 is imminent

Kevin Johnston

Most of that hideousness came from Enterprises which set their 'look and feel' in version 4 and never updated it (same happened with Admin processes). I have shown people two systems sat side by side, one with Outlook 2013 out of the box and one with Notes V9 also out of the box. They basically both look and perform the same way for email and as mentioned above it is way simpler to make changes on the Notes side than the Outlook side.

I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

Kevin Johnston

Re: So then people rely even more on the system, what if it fails?

Actually I have to disagree...Automation assumes that you have put in place rules/filters to cover all potential situations and this is where it always fails. The net effect of automation in cases like this is that 60% of your staff see no difference but the people working on the edges in research, security, customer support etc have to be excluded or else they spend half their day explaining why the have triggered an alert.

My wife is a nurse and for a while was working on Sexual Health, on a daily basis her account was locked because 'the system' had identified her as accessing inappropriate materials/websites.

Net effect, automation reduced her effectiveness by a big margin plus it required significant investment from support to keep clearing the alerts. This tends to be the case on all 'Edge' workers

Vodafone drank Facebook's network Kool-Aid … and LIVED!

Kevin Johnston

If you dig around I am sure you will find the answer

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

Kevin Johnston

The amazing thing about El Reg's comments is the level of education in the comment fields. Sometimes people clearly explain less common areas of science and nature...

and sometimes they are ripped to shreds for minor errors by people who are in turn shredded for their own errors.

Entertainment at every level

Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

Kevin Johnston

Re: It's a sound salvation.


I casually mentioned to my young daughter (aged 5?6?) that the inventor of the flip-flop was a Frenchman called Phillippe Philloppe. It was only last year she discovered from her University classmates that this was not the case.

My name is still Mud

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

Kevin Johnston

Re: But...

Fully agree here. Many many moons ago I worked on Flight simulators and we had a perfect example of this when the Lockheed Chief Test pilot came to evaluate the work on our first C130 Sim. He sat in the cockpit and went through some basic procedures and reached up to the overhead panel and immediately failed the build.

Apparently the drawings for the overhead panels were wrong and everyone on the shopfloor at Lockheed knew that and they fitted the panels where they should be and not where the drawing said.

UK taxman has amassed voice profiles of 5.1 million taxpayers

Kevin Johnston

Re: Or...

As they are likely to have a good catalogue for phrase matching you could try offering mp3 files for the phrase in Klingon or Esperanto just to really test the system

HMRC: Aria PC's £2m MSN Messenger deals bonanza was VAT fraud

Kevin Johnston

What you mean possibly how they came to sell off their own offices to a Bermuda-based investment copmany and then lease them back to save tax? That sort of standard?

Have YOU had your breakfast pint? Boffins confirm cheeky daily tipple is good for you

Kevin Johnston

Re: Doctor, doctor

Quoted by many (but the one I remember is Billy Connolly)...

There is no pleasure so guilty that it is worth giving up for an extra 6 years in a Nursing Home

Bank of England to set new standards for when IT goes bad

Kevin Johnston

and there was me thinking that this was the Bank of England following El Reg's lead and defining grades of crap such as a TSB being a loss of online banking, a Barclays being a total outage requiring rollbacks and so on


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019