* Posts by Paul Shirley

2121 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball

Paul Shirley

Re: The consolation prize

Paying up front for the original Spectrum long before any finished versions were built isn't a lot different!

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Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Paul Shirley

The extreme version of picking up the box and dropping it from an empirically determined height to "reseat the chips". My Atari ST needed about 7cm to remind it where half the RAM was.

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Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions

Paul Shirley

not seeing the switch for the forest

I have a friend who gets paid large amounts to drive out to failed trains and get them moving before Network Rail fines get too bad. The number of times that ends with quickly looking at the drivers cabin then flipping one switch is frightening.

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Paul Shirley

Re: Am I missing something?

Because it soothes the users into thinking something useful and important is happening

Even if you know someone just guessed what % of the total time each phase of whatever you're showing progress for should take, completely ignoring wildly different phase times because computers aren't prescient. Yet a wildly jerky loading bar is still more reassuring than a smoothly spinning 'I'm working, don't bother me' spinner.

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Heatwave shmeatwave: Brit IT departments cool their racks – explicit pics

Paul Shirley

True but hot air tends not to leave enclosed spaces very fast without being nudged and cool air prefers to kip on the floor instead of working :)

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Paul Shirley

shoelace, when cable ties won't work

Instant flashback to the many jerry built cpu cooling solutions I've used down the years. The 12cm cooling can tied onto a fan 12to8 reducer and stupidly heavy copper radial heatsink with a shoelace worked surprisingly well. As in didn't fall off or break the vertically mounted mboard or CPU holder.

Still always a surprise how well popping the case and aiming a deskfan at the mboard works as well.

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Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested

Paul Shirley

Re: I don't know if anything has changed

Not yet seen a manual written before ship that matched the product

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Paul Shirley

Re: Back in my day

Insulating tape, for when you can't find anywhere to thread the cable tie...

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ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

Paul Shirley

Re: Slippery slope

"no more unlecected as they are in any government."

You're forgetting many Americans believe it's better to expose civil servants to political pressure and the dumbness of the mob via election, instead of choosing them based on competency, honesty and balance. Depressing that so many this side of the pond imagine ours are selected in the same dangerous way.

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

Paul Shirley

Re: Gas shortage

I remember finally enticing some of the older local CAMRA members into out favourite continental bar 20+ years ago and watching the idiots have a meltdown over CO2 bottles on the real ale lines. Some of them self professed experts but clueless about pumps. Couple of the current crop needed it explaining at the weekend, they weren't claiming expertise though.

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Paul Shirley

Re: Bravo madam!

Orwell wrote 1984 about a LABOUR government.

The 2 halfs of our 2 party state are increasingly hard to distinguish, just slight differences in their choice of evil.

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EU negotiator: Crucial data adequacy deal will wait until UK hands in homework

Paul Shirley

Re: Requoting from another thread

"should START with the definition of the final instance for conflict resolution"

But that's a UK red line that guarantees no deal. If A50 allowed the EU to walk away or say no deal immediately the only 'negotiation' happening would be the technical details needed even for the no deal scenario. But they're forced to hang around listening to impossible UK scheming and there's no advantage in doing only essential detail work.

This has left the brexiteers with the mistaken belief the EU is weak, just a matter of time and repetition before the EU abandons it's red lines. Worse it allowed the UK gov to avoid preparing it's voters to accept what must be done to achieve a deal.

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Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?

Paul Shirley

Seems like a lot out trouble to avoid buying a dumb or feature phone...

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Paul Shirley

Re: Google & Contacts

> You can't remove GoogleMaps, YouTube, Chrome etc on my tablet or phone.

If you want to recover the system partition space they occupy you'll have a route challenge. I highly recommend not attempting to resize partitions so you won't really get the space back. Converting user apps to system can do that but just don't do it of you value security.

Do the easy thing, use apps settings to disable them. Malware laden devices might fight back but otherwise they vanish and user space they're using gets freed. Well, that works now...

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Paul Shirley

Re: stimulate innovation and increase choice for consumers

Sony do it to all their phones. Pick a less abusive brand.

LG at least require you to enable their relatively small bunch of apps, infinitely preferable. First phones I've not immediately rooted.

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Paul Shirley

I remember taking 3 passes deleting APKs and rebooting just to excise Facebook from my Xperia, it was so deeply hooked into the OS. Had to root the phone to do it. Or doing the same to remove useless duplicate mail, store, maps and more from my wife's Orange mangled San Francisco.

It was a happy day when Google started restricting how and what crap OEM's could peinstal. When I disable built in stuff on my current devices they stay disabled, even googles system services, without root. Then again I don't install malware like linkedin or Facebork.

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Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

Paul Shirley

copy protection fail

Long, long ago we decided to ship Spindizzy Worlds leaving the game editor included as a secret bonus. Where secret really meant we'd leak the access hack and manual in time for launch as part of the promotion grind.

All going well till the copy protection was bolted on and no one remembered to check if the save function still worked...

More successful was the non standard MFM floppy disc coding cobbled together so I could nuke the Amiga OS, that confused the disc duplicators when they spotted it but worked anyway.

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Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

Paul Shirley

WHOIS makes carpet bombing users with threats effectively free. Like spam they don't need accuracy, consent or any shed of proof to turn a profit from the hits. Making them actually approach a registrar for the information destroys the most abusive business plans economics, make them fight for records and the evidence needed should stop most cases before the target knows about it.

Most IP lawyers aren't freelancing, they're employed in-house by companies. They're job is hunting down violations to keep their employer happy, this will force them to do just their job, not pad the numbers with blanket sweeps.

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Paperback writer? Microsoft slaps patents on book-style gadgetry with flexible display

Paul Shirley

Re: "The hypothetical device pictured contains two flexible displays hinged, like a paperback book."

Ideas that the patent office is supposed to require you demonstrate an implementation of. Though someone needs to remind the US patent office...

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Paul Shirley

Re: Why?

And why would you bother folding a screen, with all the challenges that creates, instead of the simpler rolling it up?

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Bargain-happy Brits snub big four mobile network operators

Paul Shirley

Re: It would have been useful

I was given mis-information about pricing of other providers

I see GiffGaff now only compare their PAYG offer with EE and Vodafone. "3" was dropped the moment their 3-2-1 tariff launched, O2 more recently - I believe because they now compete with "3".

Competition, they've all heard of it and struggle hard to avoid it.

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Two's company, Three's unbowed: You Brits will pay more for MMS snaps

Paul Shirley

Shareholders are the owners, the company is their asset.

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BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Paul Shirley

sanmigueelbeer" I think the home analogue phone will not be replaced. At the exchange shift will be done to logically connect the analogue "lines" to VoIP."

That's how the system has worked since system x was introduced decades ago, over BTs network not the public internet. The announcement can only mean VoIP from the premises or cabinet. A move to purely fibre requires something that looks like VoIP so they might as well just use the existing standards.

Broadband modems sometimes have phone support built in already, virgin have it disabled in their Superhub, haven't checked BT recently but they used to have some sort of support in their modems. The hardware for adapters is cheap enough that a backup battery will be most of the cost!

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UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

Paul Shirley

Re: Non-story?

I don't follow it but people I do follow keep retweeting the local JDW drinking barn output. It's little more than announcing what's on the bar or what's coming soon. Experience taught me long ago the beer usually won't actually be there if I did make the trip, won't taste right anyway and the pubs I actually drink in keep tweeting much better beer lists that really will be on the bar, served by people I know.

JDW dropping social media will be completely forgotten within a week.

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Paul Shirley

Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

The voters Tim convinced/reinforced with his saturation Leave campaigning are likely to start asking awkward questions as Tim continues to back away from what he said back then.

If still under investigation the last minute pretence of balance (which simply filled equal space with the worst Remain advocates he could find) won't get him off the hook and neither will revising his public position.

Dodging the shitstorm about to rain on his mullet from social media is not surprising and has bugger all to do with what he claims.

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HMRC delays digi tax plans amid Brexit customs woes

Paul Shirley

Re: I hope that HMRC...

Hard to trust an organisation that can't even migrate my decades old self employment registration so I can use the online system at all. The page that offers to do it actually makes you register all over again, using information i forgot 30 years ago, with no confirmation I won't end up with 2 different accounts and a world of doubled hmrc aggravation. Muppets.

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Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Paul Shirley

Re: Rebuilt my sister's machine

My brother bought a cheap laptop running Vista, despite being warned to avoid it. It took so long booting he just gave up after 10-20min and powered it off every time. Told him to just leave it for a couple of hours to get whatever it was doing done but that just gave a machine running incredibly slowly. Unusably slowly.

I still remember the pain waiting minutes for settings to open after the POS finally started, and the horror of disabling indexing not quite fixing the problem. Never got boot below 5min and it still ran sluggish. Vista was bad all by itself but certifying totally incapable machines for it was just criminal negligence. He never got far enough to break it.

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It's April 2018, and we've had to sit on this Windows 10 Spring Creators Update headline for days

Paul Shirley

Re: cant win

To be fair I've not had any misbehavior from Win10 today. I expect that to change rapidly when I get out of bed and fire up the PC, like every other day to date.

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While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

Paul Shirley

Re: A little bit too late to matter

I can understand 3 letter agencies running false flag ops on social media, could believe they would interfere in brexit (for different reasons than russia and not *before Trump*), can't work or why they would support Trump though.

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Paul Shirley

Reddit has a rep for harbouring cesspits of partisan, hateful crap. But I doubt anything on there affects the beliefs of any users, or that state actors can outdo the real posters! That's not to say reddit shouldn't make attempts to keep the worst trolling crap where it belongs and out of more sane parts, much like it stamps on commercial hijacking of subreddits.

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One solution to wreck privacy-hating websites: Flood them with bogus info using browser tools

Paul Shirley

Re: I've seen this before

The easiest way to discourage visits to abusive sites is to force them into deploying abusive countermeasures. Even the terminally stupid or ridiculously uncaring about privacy will respond to sites becoming a pia to use. You have a modicum of proactive choice about visiting these sites, unlike spam and anything forcing visits is going to get stomped on hard.

Countermeasures from abusers are part of the solution!

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2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations

Paul Shirley

Re: Redlining memory? Buhahahaha! Not a chance.

Or the cooling has degraded over a couple of months and the overclock headroom shrank with it.

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Paul Shirley

Re: I guess we shouldn't be surprised

Using a computer and finite resolution math scientists expect results to be repeatable with provable error bounds, NOT exact. Nvidia returning random tainted values breaks both expectations and gets results wrong in all other senses!

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BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose

Paul Shirley

Re: Collapse of Facebook

AC:"there's a good chance that the ICO will be instructed by the UK government to really take them (where "them" = Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and literally anyone else who might be doing anything like this) to pieces on this one."

There's a better chance a sitting brexiteer UK gov will find not revealing details of the Leave campaigns use of CA is more important than exposing the truth and any demolition will be purely superficial.

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No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

Paul Shirley

Re: Cognito ergo universi?

Too many make the error of assuming an observer has to be intelligent or conscious. A cloud of gas will also observe anything it bumps into, whether you believe observation creates something or just discovers it. Anthropic arguments just constrain the sorts of universe intelligence can exist in to be observers.

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Paul Shirley

"Only under some conditions, they write, do anthropic arguments hold"

Surely that's just stating the anthropic principle!

If they do have some justification for why the anthropic arguments cannot be true that would be interesting and with reporting.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Paul Shirley

Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

"especially at Christmas, there is no real comparison between a 2800mAh rechargeable and a cheap multipack of Duracells from the discount shop."

My experience is there was no real comparison between a Maplin 2800mAh rechargeable and a rechargeable with 2800mAh capacity after the 1st cycle. Probably not even before then.

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Paul Shirley

Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

Some of the poorest quality cells I've ever bought and consistently bad.

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Paul Shirley

Re: In a complete about face...

Even if you can claim against the manufacturer (a big IF), you'd struggle to even id the manufacturer of most of the tat they sell and fail completely to get those far east sweatshops to respond anyway.

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OK, deep breath, relax... Let's have a sober look at these 'ere annoying AMD chip security flaws

Paul Shirley

Re: It rather involved being on the other side of this airtight hatchway

While being able to install unsigned firmware has it's uses, on a device with supposed security features it's always a fault. Hacking clocks on a gpu is a different from the potential to expose keys on a CPU.

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Swiss see Telly Tax as a Big Plus, vote against scrapping it

Paul Shirley

Re: Basic maths?

If you believe the "usual suspects" rants about the BBC, getting more than 20% to pay anything would be a challenge.

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Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian

Paul Shirley

Re: I've never quite understood

Used to alias common things like color-colour but when auto completion appeared in programmers editors it became just pointless extra work. Can't remember if we ever 'corrected' Sony's hilarious MargePrim to the intended MergePrim in the PSX devkit... Sony never did.

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Intel didn't tell CERTS, govs, about Meltdown and Spectre because they couldn't help fix it

Paul Shirley

Re: Easy

It would leak seconds after informing government.

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Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face

Paul Shirley

being your way of of unwanted work

Sometimes you need to bullshit your way out of unwanted jobs. Like the time I sat in the pitch session for writing a football game and pokerface on talked about the difficulties dealing with 22 players PER SIDE on the 8bit hardware of the time... Never found out if my boss worked out why the pitch failed ;)

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Paul Shirley

Depends on how it was set, an api like opengl can specify out of range values will saturate. But pass them in as actual 8bit value and they'll wrap before ogl can clamp them.

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Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study

Paul Shirley

Re: It doesn't help

Start by observing vanishingly few ordinary users have any need for FTTP performance, won't have that need for years and stop trying to sell it hard. A lot of users have a need for a better connection than the wet string BT gives them. FTTP has a place renewing tired old infrastructure, quietly without the hype.

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If this laptop is so portable, where's the keyboard, huh? HUH?

Paul Shirley

I suppose if you haven't used a coffee shop, pub/bar during daylight hours or train, watched very little TV, only watched 20+ year old films you might just have missed seeing a laptop in use. We'd probably be too busy wondering how you accidentally fell into our century to deride anything ;)

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'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Paul Shirley

Re: Exploding chips - not fun

Modern silicon does seem a little more fragile than old TTL. Many years ago a miswired quad gate package explosively delidded exposing the chip glowing red. Still worked after cooling down.

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Meltdown, Spectre bug patch slowdown gets real – and what you can do about it

Paul Shirley

Re: Don't buy a new Intel based system for a while?

"AMD when eBPF JIT is turned on"

While running interpreted out of bound access will be checked and speculative execution will be in the interpreter, not an attacker controlled address. Turning on JIT allows an attacker to craft code that will be compiled to machine code to run potentially without checks. It's a way of weaponising an otherwise unusable kernel exploit.

If enabling JIT does make AMD vulnerable then AMD is vulnerable in that test and you read too much into this. I believe the only test they succeeded with was user to user snooping which is expected to work. The more frightening user to kernel Meltdown blocking claim hasn't been disproved yet.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Paul Shirley

Re: Hmmm...

"If the kernal is in the same address space as user code and using the same pipe then nothing changes. Either a seperate CPU/cache for kernal code and without speculative execution or scrap the whole model.\"

Even in user space page permissions exist. There's nothing intrinsic to a flat, shared address space that stops a CPU enforcing all permissions at the thread/page/exe page level, all the way down to prefetch and cache access. Separate cache/memory systems per ring is a high price to pay to replace access control logic in the memory system. Dumping cache state is an even higher price to pay for not having that logic.

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