* Posts by AndrueC

3675 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

AndrueC
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Meh

For people with a truly random schedule a proximity based system might be the best heating/cooling system they can hope for. But most people's lives just aren't that random. This might be the 21st century but 9-to-5 is still a thing for most of us,.

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AndrueC
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To be honest I'd prefer a hands-less key. Almost like that of my car. I know there are drawbacks to it which is why it'll be a long time before I fit such a thing, But the idea of my front door automatically unlocking as I approach it does appeal. My car almost does that except that I have to put my hand through the handle and wait half a second. And when leaving work what I actually have to do is walk to the front door, put my hand through the handle, wait half a second, then step back to the rear of the car to put my bag on the back seat. If I drove the car forward into the bay it might work better but I prefer to back into parking bays.

But yeah the security aspects of some kind of near-field presence detection do bother me and I think we all know about the MITM attack vector around keyless entry on cars so that needs to be resolved.

As for the thermostat control - big meh. I have a better idea. Why doesn't the reviewer just fit a timer to his system and tell it to get the room temperature where they want it by - oh - 6pm on a week day? Chances are that's when they usually arrive home and that means instead of walking into a hot house with the air con blasting a cold draft everywhere they will walk into a room that is already at the right temperature and the air con softly murmuring. The neat thing about that is that timer control systems have been available for just that task for several decades now. And they are cheap.

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Machines learned to assemble IKEA’s semi-disposable furniture

AndrueC
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Re: Instructions

..not to mention trying to identify the pieces. Eventually deciding that a dot on one corner of a rectangle is just a blob of ink left over from the printing process. Of course you get to the end and realise that no, actually, one of the wooden pieces has a small screw starting hole in one corner. And, yes, there is a difference between the top of the cupboard and the bottom.

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BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

AndrueC
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Re: Oh well

Does that mean free line rental then as telephone users won't have the old system to pay for now?

Oh dear. How many more times does this have to be explained to people?

Line rental is primarily to cover the cost of maintaining a copper pair (including staff, engineer's vans etc). For historical reasons a proportion of the cost also covers the provision of a voice service. That never was the major cost though. You will need to pay line rental of some kind for as long as you rely on a cable to connect your property to a network.

Openreach have already launched a product that allows for a customer to forgo the voice service. Very few CPs currently offer it as a product but one that does is AAISP.

It saves quite a few quid over the normal cost of line rental although a chunk of the difference is due to most CPs excessive markup on the openreach product they are 'reselling'. The underlying cost of providing a voice service appears to be a couple of quid a month.

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OK, this time it's for real: The last available IPv4 address block has gone

AndrueC
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Facepalm

My ISP (IDNet) has been offering it dual stack for several years now.

I used to be with Plusnet and it seems they still don't offer it even though they rebuilt their network a year or so ago. In fact the only thing IPv6 related that happened during that rebuild is that their IPv6 test servers were turned off so those lucky few on the IPv6 trial lost it.

Meanwhile their parent company has at least been offering it for a year or so.

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Surprise! Wireless brain implants are not secure, and can be hijacked to kill you or steal thoughts

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Ghost in the Shell

Also used as a form of attack in the rather good novel ORA:CLE.

In that case the poor sod has a loud beep played incessantly inside his head.

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Chrome 66: Get into the bin, auto-playing vids and Symantec certs!

AndrueC
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Re: Ok, so you have fixed some bugs

Well...I feel like a pillock now.

Anyone working in IT that has never felt like a pillock is probably doing it wrong. Or has no shame.

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Best thing about a smart toilet? You can take your mobile in without polluting it

AndrueC
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Re: I don't know.....

People are beginning to take the piss.

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AndrueC
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An IoT toilet sounds like a crap idea.

There. You just knew one of us was going to make that pun, and I am that person :)

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Boffins find new ways to slurp private info from Facebook addicts using precision-targeted ads

AndrueC
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Stop

That means advertisers can zero in on their products' ideal buyers, and, say, sling expensive pet food ads at rich dog owners. However, these systems can also be exploited by scumbags to potentially slurp sensitive records.

Both of which sound bad to me.

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Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte creating app to register 3m EU nationals living in Brexit Britain

AndrueC
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Re: Really?

Foreigner Application Reporting and Tracking System

FARTS.

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Birds can feel Earth's magnetic fields? Yeah, that might fly. Bioboffins find vital sense proteins

AndrueC
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Joke

Cheep shot

Yes, but there's no need to get in a flap about it.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Damn

Any recommendations as to where I should move to?

Buy your own domain. A lot come with a mail service and if they don't at least owning the domain allows you to relocate providers without changing your address. I run my own mail server at home but that is a bit more technical. Gives you the most control though ;)

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No chance of flying too close to this: Icarus, the most distant star seen, is 9bn light years away

AndrueC
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Re: Douglas said it best.

Two of the best books I've read for creating an impression of the distances involved are Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. Both talk about stellar empires being born, growing and dying without ever contacting any others. A Deepness.. talks about how you might attempt to grow an interstellar civilisation when FTL Travel is not possible.

The final part of the last chapter of A Fire.. is particularly poignant. I also think the whole concept of Zones of Thought is pretty awesome.

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BT to slash landline rentals by 37%... for the broadbandless

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Why change the line rental price

Why make it so complicated? Line rental 'is' line rental.

The problem there is that a lot of people who only use their line for broadband don't understand why they have to pay line rental. There's a lot of people who associate it with voice services. You often see that cropping up here in discussions about line rental (there's probably a couple in this very thread). And you can see where some of their confusion comes from. They know that their telephone line is providing two services (even though they are not using one of them). They see two things on their bill. They think one is for broadband and the other is for voice.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Why change the line rental price

Your reply doesn't seem to address anything in my post. I didn't say anything about how such a scheme should be 'policed'.

All I did was point out that without this discount some people (mostly the vulnerable in society) are paying more for their line rental than they should. This is because despite openreach dropping the price it charges to CPs for line rental, the CPs have been increasing the amount they charge us. The end result is that Granny ends up paying for things she doesn't want or need.

My solution would have been two-pronged: stop CPs over charging for line rental and introduce a separate 'vulnerable user' discount system that people can apply for and that requires proof (or at least a signature attesting to them meeting the criteria for it).

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AndrueC
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Re: Why change the line rental price

It's not that simple. While line rental used to be just about the maintenance of the cable (and still is for openreach) for CPs (the companies we actually sign up with) it's become something more. For over a decade openreach has been reducing the line rental charge while CPs have been increasing it. This is either price gouging by the CPs or else the extra revenue has been used to keep down the cost of other services. Given that Ofcom have recently asked CPs to stop differentiating between line rental and other services I think they accept that it isn't price gouging.

However Ofcom have also realised that this is unfair for those people who don't take a broadband service. If you don't need or want broadband why should you be helping subsidise it for other people? Especially since most of those who only want a voice service are the vulnerable in society.

So this correction is addressing that. It's sending a message out (I think) that it's okay to charge one price for those people taking a 'full range of services' on their line but in exchange those who only take a voice service should only be paying for just that.

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AndrueC
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Re: I'm getting too old to bother with correct spelling

What about the grammar though?

She's fine. She's just received a discount on her telephone bill.

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Amazon warns you have 30 days before Music Storage files bloodbath

AndrueC
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Meh

I'm glad I continue to download my purchased music and run my own server. Good ol' Squeeze Server as I like to pretend it's still called :)

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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

AndrueC
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Meh

I've always wanted to vote for LibDems because their policies generally sound so sensible. Unfortunately good sense has mostly(*) made me forget the idea. The public rarely vote for sensible policies and anyone proposing sensible policies is probably naive.

(*)I did vote for them at the last election. It was a protest vote. I live in South Northants so it probably meant less than a gnat's fart in a hurricane but I did it anyway. If they try to get elected on a 'role back Brexit' I might do it again. I bet Andrea is shaking in her boots at that :-/

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AndrueC
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Meh

I still can't work out why this is privatised.

Presumably you're under the age of 50 and therefore have no memories of the telephone network prior to BT's privatisation. Lots of clever people, lots of great technology but no money to actually upgrade the network. The government privatised the telephone network because it couldn't be bothered (or couldn't afford if you want to be nice) to invest the money needed to fix it.

But even if you are young I have to wonder what it is about successive UK governments that has lead you to thinking they could do a better job than BT.

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Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

AndrueC
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Re: Yolk? Seriously? I'm oeuffended!

Please, folks, stop egging them on.

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How a QR code can fool iOS 11's Camera app into opening evil.com rather than nice.co.uk

AndrueC
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Boffin

but the notification display mechanism and Safari handle the URL string in a different way.

"Well there's [part of] yer problem."

If both pieces of software are written by Apple why aren't they using a common URI parsing module/library? Of course a single implementation can still be wrong but code duplication is never a good idea and inconsistency of results is part of the reason why.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

AndrueC
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Re: The Swiss are in it

In the absence of any gunboats in the RN I suppose we could send a rowing boat. Preferably a leaky one with Farage and his mates doing the rowing.

They'll need to check that they have the right permits first. And I must say that it all sounds rather fishy.

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Just when you thought it was safe to go ahead with microservices... along comes serverless

AndrueC
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Happy

It's all just the same ideas repeated with different names.

Which often seems to sum up the entire IT industry and has done for decades. What goes around comes around (but with a different name and - sometimes - a better implementation).

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SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

AndrueC
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Re: "The particularly large circular size of the shock wave"

..and if you were watching it happen it'd be a see-SAW.

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Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

AndrueC
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Facepalm

Re: Long File Paths ?!

As far as Sharepoint is concerned, last time I used it a few years ago, it was even worse, there were whole project sub-sub-folders that refused to save to it. We stopped using it as a result.

Oh gawd, yes. I first encountered it when writing a data recovery tool for it in the early 00s. Its menu structure was a bit convoluted (menus to the left, menus to the right, menus along the top and context menus in the corner). But the most recent incarnation is worse. Why is 'Check Out' on the 'More' menu of the context menu? And checking in involves dragging the replacement document onto the browser then choosing Yes to replace it then you have to find the check-in menu item.

Sharepoint is very configurable so it's probably just that we're using the default template but it ain't pleasant. Oh and of course it's following the modern 'fat fingered tablet user' design methodology so that all I can see on my 1900 x 1020 monitor is the main menu and two documents.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Long File Paths ?!

The long path limitation is to protect older applications (and poorly written modern ones) where the developer might still be assuming that paths cannot exceed 260 characters. Such applications might not work properly or experience dangerous buffer overflows. I would imagine Explorer limits itself in order to discourage users from making directory paths that are too long for legacy applications.

Any application that is being properly written can either use the registry setting mentioned earlier or prefix all paths with the string "\\?\" when calling API methods. NTFS supports paths of more than 32,000 characters.

So it's a protection for the vast number of legacy applications and programmers that occupy the Windows ecosystem but easily worked around for those who know what they are doing.

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You must be yolking: English pub to launch eggstravagent Yorkshire pudding

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Draw a line going

I lived my formative years (7 to 16) in Exeter then went to Plymouth Polytechnic. I befriended a chap that had never been outside Plymouth. I used to wind him up by suggesting that the border ought to be moved so that Plymouth was in Cornwall "because we don't need it and it's lowering the tone of the county" :)

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AndrueC
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Re: Draw a line going

Basically true, although people within counties which straddle that line are not likely to see a North-South divide within the county.

I think Northamptonshire does. Down in the south of the county most of us look toward Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire for employment and entertainment. We consider ourselves to be part of the M40 corridor. Our county town is a long way north (over half an hour away even though it's dual carriageway) and most of us can't be bothered going up there.

But Northamptonshire is an unusual shape - quite narrow and very north/south.

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AndrueC
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Meh

And speaking as a resident of South Northants I wish that 'South Midlands' was an official term. My outlook is definitely southern yet officially I live in the East Midlands even though I'm only a few miles from the west midlands :-/

Our part of Northamptonshire sticks down in to the area known as 'the South East'.

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AndrueC
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Joke

Is it expensive or will it be going cheep?

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UK.gov to plough £67m into gigabit broadband for all and sundry

AndrueC
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Stop

Re: "up to" 1gbps

It always will be 'up to'. Anyone that gets a 1Gb/s connection installed and thinks they are going to see 1Gb/s 24/7 is always going to be disappointed. Yes, it should at least connect at the agreed speed but actual throughput is another matter. Even if you can find a remote host that can serve you data at that speed domestic connections are always going to be contended and you're always going to see some kind of peak time slow down unless you pay leased line prices.

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AndrueC
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Re: For those wondering

If the average speed for the UK is 5mbps,

It isn't, and hasn't been for many years, quite possibly not for a decade. Estimates vary but even the most pessimistic put us well into double digits now. Ofcom's latest figure (2017) is 36Mb/s.

I'm actually a little surprised that it's that high given that so many people only opt for the lowest spec package but Ofcom are using Samknows data so it's probably not far out.

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AndrueC
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Re: Why?

The money would be better invested in forcing the telcos to roll out fttp to all premises in the country.

I don't follow what you're suggesting there. There have been various estimates for the cost of rolling out FTTP to all premises in the country and prior to VDSL they were coming in at around £30 billion. BT's work rolling out VDSL will have reduced that slightly by doing some of the work as they've installed fibre aggregation nodes at various places ready for expansion. Unfortunately that's the cheapest bit to do. The expensive bit is actually running individual fibres from the ag nodes to each premise. Looking at other FTTP projects around the UK (KCOM being a great example) a figure of around £300 per property passed is looking likely. The figures for truly rural roll-out (villages and hamlets) are harder to find and likely a lot higher than that due to low density of housing.

So you're likely looking at a cost considerably in excess of £20b. How do you propose to use £67m to force private companies to spend £20b between them?

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Openreach hiring thousands more engineers

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Yes, that's a tidy sum isn't it...

And will they reduce the line rental charges when all upgrade work is done, and those engineers get the boot back to the dole queue?

No.

Actually Openreach probably will. It's been reducing line rental charges for over a decade now. It's just that the CPs haven't been passing those savings on and in fact have been increasing their markup.

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

However, many folk remain less than happy with Openreach, with Templeton, a town in Devon, England, burning an effigy of an Openreach van on Guys Fawkes Night in November to protest over slow broadband speeds in the area.

Which was uninformed and ill thought out. Openreach had already offered to cover that area in the next BDUK phase(*) but Devon County Council rejected their plan and went with Gigaclear instead. So responsibility for Templeton now rests with Gigaclear(**). If Openreach stepped in now there would (quite rightly) be howls of protests from the ALTnet providers.

(*)Not necessarily that specific village however. I don't think the plans they put forward were that specific.

(**)Though I don't know if Gigaclear are covering that specific village either.

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Millionaire-backed science fiction church to launch Scientology TV network

AndrueC
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Re: RE: AndrueC

Did they say how he moves the pen without a body?

Sadly the Wikipedia article doesn't elucidate and I'm not interested in following the footnote link on an article about the crackpot leader of a crackpot/evil religious organisation :)

I'll admit to reading (and enjoying(*)) Battlefield Earth 30 years ago - bought with a £5 gift voucher for good school attendance - but I am not an advocate for Scientology. I wouldn't be an advocate for any religious organisation although if pushed I could be persuaded to retaliate by rejoining Humanists UK aka BHA.

(*)The first half was good fun. The second half got bogged down in minutiae (how to prevent reverse engineering and how a gold-standard banking system works).

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AndrueC
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The network’s website and Twitter channels both have ominous-looking countdowns to the big launch, which is timed to coincide with the day Hubbard was born, 13 March.

Well if they timed it to coincide with his death it'd probably cause controversy amongst the faithful :)

"Scientology leaders announced that his body had become an impediment to his work and that he had decided to "drop his body" to continue his research on another planet,[331] having "learned how to do it without a body""

Uh huh

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UK digi minister Hancock suggests Facebook and pals give your kids a time-out

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Hmmm.

And they realized they can connect from other places than the computer in the home living room?

If the platforms 'pseudo-suspended' the accounts for - say - 18 hours a day it wouldn't matter much where the kids tried to access them from.

I'm unsure about this idea. On the one hand I have never liked government interference in parenting (or indeed any other part of citizen's lives). On the other hand it's a difficult thing for parents to 'police' so maybe they need some help. But I'm even less keen on abdicating responsibility to corporations.

And..do we actually know it does harm? It is very likely affecting the culture their generation is developing but just because it looks different to the older generation(s) doesn't mean that it's bad. There were plenty of people who thought Rock 'n Roll would cause the end of civilisation.

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Auto manufacturers are asleep at the wheel when it comes to security

AndrueC
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Re: Obviously...

"Lada Alert"!

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DVLA denies driving licence processing site is a security 'car crash'

AndrueC
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Re: theregister.co.uk gets an F at securityheaders.io

Whilst actually true, it really missed the point. Namely that the register isn't taking credit card payments through their website and the only details they have on me are minimal details that can garnered anyway from other websites given a little time (I'm thinking professional communities here).

I take your point but out of curiosity I pointed the test at my personal web server's front end. I got capped at a B rating because 'This server accepts RC4 cipher, but only with older protocols.'.

So that's a web server running in my spare bedroom using a low-cost Windows solution (VPOP3 for anyone interested). All I did was buy a certificate and install it.

Yes, The Register doesn't know much about me (only a disposable email address) but still. It's a technical site that loves to pick apart technology and gloat over its failings.

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A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it

AndrueC
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Oh some of the functions are useful, it was more the faddy nature of it. Didn't they produce a watch with a calculator that needed a small stylus to operate it?

All I currently want from a watch is:

* Radio controlled.

* Solar powered.

* Tough enough to survive being on the wrist of a golfer.

My current model does all it needs but at eight years old I suspect the battery will be going in a couple of years and I'm happy use the cost of replacing it as an excuse to buy something new for my wrist. But most of the G-Shocks that are radio/solar also have silly things like thermometers, hygrometers (WTF?), compasses and altimeters. Great if you need them I suppose (though the first two presumably require you to take the watch off and leave it to acclimatise before taking a reading).

Something like my current model in two-tone red (or orange) would be nice.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Back to basics

Could it be something going on with the network?

I suppose it could be. There doesn't seem to be any obvious cause in the stats but Android stats aren't very detailed unless you root the phone even with paid for battery investigation tools. I just irks me - 0.5% an hour or 2% an hour. That's quite a jump :-/

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AndrueC
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Re: Back to basics

Yah. My S7 Edge can last over five days on one charge(*). But every week or so without me doing anything out of the ordinary it suddenly jumps from losing ~0.5% of battery an hour to nearly 2%. Power cycling fixes it but Android isn't supposed to need that any more. I've invested time and (a little) money into investigating it and despite being an experienced (albeit not Android) software developer I have never managed to work out what it is that's increasing battery use.

And to cap it all, as I've mentioned before, it can no longer inform me the moment new email arrives. Even now that I'm using GMail for the initial notification. It will eventually tell me that a mail arrived but it can be anything up to three or four hours after the fact.

(*)I don't do much with it. The occasional phone call, occasional text and managing money. Oh and an hour every day streaming over Bluetooth.

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AndrueC
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Meh

I've always said that 'smartphone fever' will go the same way as 'digital watch fever'. I remember as a kid being envious of those with digital watches. Then the craze started for calendars, stopwatches, phases of the moon and data storage.

Casio seem to be keeping that alive a bit with their G-Shock series (of which I'm a fan but wish they'd produce a modernised but equally 'basic' version of my current ageing G-Shock-500E) but basically digital watches are just 'ho hum' for most people. Smart phones are going to go the same way.

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10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Sinclair jump started programming in Europe

One of the fastest ways to assign a repeating 16 bit value to an area of memory on any Z80 based system is to use the stack and unwind the loop a bit. From memory:

LD HL, SP

LD A, <inner loop count>

LD SP, <target address>

LD DE, <value>

repeat:

PUSH DE

PUSH DE

PUSH DE

...

DEC A ;// Although you can also use BC if you have a lot of memory to clear.

JR NZ repeat: ;// But you'll also need to upgrade this :)

LD SP, HL

A classic case of trading execution speed for instruction 'size'.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Sound card?

Or for some screeching and border flashing try: RANDOMIZE USR 1331 on a Spectrum.

That jumps you straight into the tape loading code. Press the spacebar to exit :)

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AndrueC
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Boffin

At least the membrane keyboard featured an early version of Intellisense, with commands and functions popping up while the user typed. A proficient user could rapidly fill the diminutive memory with only a few keystrokes.

Actually, no. Like all versions of BASIC that I'm aware of the keywords were tokenised once stored in memory. What the article author is describing is some slightly clever keyboard handling that knew the rules about keywords and automatically put the keyboard into an appropriate shift state such that keys generated token codes instead of letters.

With a lot of computers you typed 'PRINT "Hello"' and that was 13 characters. However a parser then stored that in memory as <PRINT token>"Hello" which meant it only occupied 8 bytes (note how the space after PRINT can be discarded by having the <PRINT token> expand to 'PRINT '.

What the ZX81 was doing (and the Speccy did the same) was to put the keyboard into a shift state whereby the 'p' key generated <PRINT token> (Character 0xF5 on the Speccy). This saved typing and simplified the parser but had no impact on the amount of memory consumed while entering program statements.

How interpreters optimise code storage is an interesting subject. My favourite 8-bit machine was the Amstrad CPC and its version of BASIC stored memory addresses alongside line numbers and variables to improve performance.

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Sacked saleswoman told to pay Intel £45k after losing discrim case

AndrueC
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Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

She's currently having her own personal Meltdown.

And is now facing the Spectre of a large payout.

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