* Posts by AndrueC

3876 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Brit prisoners to be kept on the straight and narrow with JavaScript and CSS

AndrueC Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: of the 70 offenders who had taken part in the programme, none had gone on to reoffend

A relative who used to to do prison education said it was very poorly funded, and with little to no follow up.

So..much like education and training anywhere else.

Overhyped 5G is being 'rushed', Britain's top comms boffin reckons

AndrueC Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Well then

You seem to have both the internal details and the curves...

I say, steady on there, this is a public forum.

Never thought we'd ever utter these words, but... can anyone recommend a spin doctor for NASA?

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: Blame it on the thrusters

So now the cube is walking on sunshine?

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: 100% 999 coverage?

It's a bit far for us and definitely in the back-end of beyond but we keep going there because it's gorgeous.

AndrueC Silver badge
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When I was renting a holiday cottage near Newton Stewart I found that climbing a mountain (or at least a hill) was the best way to get service. At the cottage there was pretty much nothing at all unless you stood in the right part of the garden but half an hour walking uphill and I could get several megabits of data throughput - way better than the internet connection at the cottage :)

AndrueC Silver badge

The emergency services always take priority over other call types so I don't think that's an issue. When a personal handset tries to establish a connection it will just be refused. I'm not entirely sure how mobile phones work but it's even possible that the mast can just signal 'no service' and the handsets will refuse to transmit and will just passively listen for a 'service has resumed' signal from the mast.

Anyone know for sure?

AndrueC Silver badge
Alert

Re: 100% 999 coverage?

There are plenty of places in the UK, some quite near to major urban areas, where the mobile signal is non-existent for all networks!

Brailles, Warwickshire. Only twenty minutes from Banbury. I'm with Vodafone and there is no signal in parts of the village or at a nearby golf course. I can't even send a text. My mate is with another network and he says the same thing. We've often thought that it makes that golf course a bit more dangerous than most in the area because if you have a heart attack while playing someone will have to get back to the club house (which could take fifteen minutes) to raise the alarm.

Thought you'd seen everything there is to Ultima Thule? Check this out: IN STEREO!

AndrueC Silver badge
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Not bad. It looked funny as soon as I saw it and my eyes crossed and produced the third 3D image almost automatically.

That's quite a dent on the duck's noggin.

.NET Core 3 Preview 3 takes a bow, but best not hold your breath for the final release

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

Yup. Not only reported it but initiated an email convo with several of their developers. Sadly not a lot has come of that yet :-/

AndrueC Silver badge
Boffin

Our team has a bit of a problem with VS2019 debugging at the moment. We can't use it to work on Xamarin Android apps because if left idle for more than half a minute or so the app crashes and the debugger drops out. I'm in contact with their team but so far no-one seems to know why. The only clue we have is that it seems to have come in with preview 2 when apparently they switched to a different version of Mono.

Moving forward could be an issue for us because most of our code base is shared and we don't want to be using multiple versions of vs. So we risk being stuck forever more on VS2017. It's a shame because otherwise VS2019 is a reasonable improvement on VS2017.

The first ZX Spectrum prototype laid bare... (What? It was acceptable in the '80s)

AndrueC Silver badge
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Yeah, I moved onto a CPC 6128 eventually and its BASIC was a huge step up, both in features and performance. It came close to rivalling BBC Basic for speed with optimisations such as storing the memory address of lines and variables to avoid having to look them up.

AndrueC Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Just use emulation

Does anyone else get that 'how the hell?' feeling when they realise that you can write a Spectrum emulator in JavaScript and it needs to be slowed down to be useable?

I mean it can even correctly emulate the result of 'randomize usr 1331'.

AndrueC Silver badge
Happy

Yeah the BASIC was a bit lethargic but I wrote a few games entirely in BASIC (a version of Snake was one, a turn based graphical exploration game (viewed from above with visual field calculated) was another. I also did a very large maze game, no monsters but it was 3D! (although to be fair that's pretty easy to do). But still if speed mattered there was always the USR function to call into some machine code. I tried to write a couple of more advanced games (Lunar Lander for one) using a mixture of assembly and BASIC but the assembly defeated me. The ratio of instruction count to work done was just too high and when it went wrong the machine froze or crashed and the frustration factor was too great.

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: stuff needs electricity simply to exist

In some hotels, you are supposed to put your keycard in a slot on the wall to turn on the electric supply to the room. A Tesco Clubcard or similar will work as well

Do you get points?

AndrueC Silver badge
Alert

Re: International plugs

Handy (but dangerous) tip: If you pull a US plug out of the socket by a few millimetres the distance between the prongs is the same as for a UK shaving plug. I once kept my shaver and toothbrush charged up by doing that. Push the US plug back in to trap the UK plug and it will just about stay in place on its own :)

Danger mouse! Potent rodents 'see' infrared after eyeballs injected with nanoparticles

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: "With few harmful effects"

I'm probably not alone in thinking I'd rather be using IR goggles than being stabbed in the eyeball even if the harmful effects are "few".

Sometimes getting 'stabbed in the eyeball' is a good thing. It's a relatively common medical procedure when treating wet glaucoma. My Dad gets injections every month I think. He says they are uncomfortable and they irritate his eyes for several hours afterwards.

We're not throttling you, says Vodafone, claiming slow vid streaming is down to the 'cards'

AndrueC Silver badge
FAIL

Their technical support seems to be awful:

"I'm getting some extremely low download speeds on my Vodafone 80/20 FTTC.

So I complained and they requested I sent their Level 2 Tech Team some speed tests from my Windows 7 Desktop machine connected by Ethernet cable, with all other Ethernet cables removed and W-Fi disabled on the router.

When I telephoned days later to talk to the Tech Team about my speed tests I had sent, they would not talk to me but told the customer services person to tell me the following:

"This is not a fault sir. The Tech Team say, according to the data they have downloaded from your router, there are 41 wi-fi devices in you area which are causing interference to your broadband. So they have closed the ticket and will have nothing more to do with it!""

Thankfully I'm with IDNet so I don't have to put up such a crap service and crap support.

Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

This is getting ridiculous. When I was growing up Jupiter only had 14 moons and that should be enough for any planet!

Down productivity tools: Microsoft Teams takes a Monday tumble

AndrueC Silver badge
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A colleague and I suffered a barf from it first thing (0900 GMT). But we both just closed the application and forgot about it. There has been no impact on our productivity.

How's this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: Continents and Stars

..cry me a river (of stars).

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: And this is why you shouldn't use the same password/username on multiple sites.

Another reason why your email address is your username is A Bad Thing[1].

Unless you use a DEA system and register a different email address for each site ;)

That also makes it easier to see which site has been compromised.

AndrueC Silver badge
Happy

Just to extend the excellent replies I'll add that computers don't normally store your password and compare what you have entered with that. Instead when you enter your password for the first time they run it through an algorithm that converts it into something completely different. That's what they store.

Every time you log in they take what you have entered and run it through the algorithm and compare the result with what they have stored. Thus no at least half way sensibly written system has a record of your password. This is great because if the system is compromised your password is still unknown.

Password hacking as others have said is the process of finding 'some text' that when run through the same algorithm produces the same value. Once they have this they can log in using 'some text' as the password.

RIP Dr Peuto, Zilog and Sun's bright SPARC

AndrueC Silver badge
Boffin

Ah yes, the old register exchange shuffle. And for hard core you could access the high and low bytes of the index registers. Actually using them for indexing was in any case quite slow. That was one reason why I didn't like the 6502. Having taught myself assembler on the Z80 having to constrain myself to only one register or trust in the speed of page zero felt weird.

The other reason was that I just preferred the syntax. <operation> <target>, [<source>] and ()s to indicate an address reference seems more intuitive.

LD HL,1234

LD A, (HL)

or

LD A, (1234)

For the uninitiated both read memory location 1234 into the accumulator. The use of HL demonstrates the Z80s partial support for 16 bit values. It could do 16 bit arithmetic:

LD HL,1234

LD DE, 5678,

ADD HL,DE

Although there were faster ways of doing it, thus betraying its 8-bit nature.

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Rodney Zaks: "Interfacing up in the Loft"

Sounds like it should have come in a brown paper bag :)

AndrueC Silver badge
Boffin

Re: I have a feeling that was the first one I owned too

Wasn't there also something 'creative' about how you communicated with the sound chip and with the joystick? Something about putting one of the chips into an odd mode.

Ah, possibly this.

"The CPC keyboard is directly connected to the AY chip - Thus, the keyboard service routine (which runs as an interrupt service routine) is accessing the AY ports directly.

Accessing the sound chip sometimes needs non-atomic operations like "register select" + "register write" - If the interrupt service routine for the keyboard collides with such non-atomic access, it (or your own code) might become upset."

AndrueC Silver badge
Happy

Re: I have a feeling that was the first one I owned too

...although I seem to recall the cover of the edition I had being pink, and google tells me otherwise.

Mine was blue/white with a picture of a 'planet' and a lightening bolt apparently gouging a canyon into it.

the Amstrad I had at the time

Which Amstrad did you have? I eventually moved from the Speccy to a CPC6128. Much as I loved the Speccy the CPC has to be my favourite ever computer. The Speccy was a good introduction to programming but the CPC was a more capable and interesting machine. Locomotive Software did a great job with the BIOS and the BASIC implementation.

Mind you I remember a letter in one of the Amstrad mags from someone wondering what CPC stood for. It was hilarious when the editor pointed out the obvious.

AndrueC Silver badge
Facepalm

I knocked my copy off a table and onto my foot one night while trying to get to the toilet. I regret to say that I swore at it. I shall forever feel shame for such a blasphemy.

But damn, it hurt.

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: Halt and Catch Fire

waits for a grumpy old sod to complain it's not THAT old

The first computer I ever programmed had a Z80 in it. It was a Sinclair Spectrum, 48K RAM, rubber thump keyboard. I shall forever have a place in my heart for the Z80. It was a bloody good design as proven by its continuing use in products even now. Albeit clocked a bit faster than the dear ol' Speccy was :)

It's a shame the Z8000 never had the same successful career, but at least it was appreciated by some.

From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

The problem was that, while Mars One had plenty of flashy demo videos and public soundbites, it was worryingly vague on the specifics of, you know, getting people to Mars safely and keeping them alive.

Sounds a bit like the Brexit campaign.

High-speed broadband fiber in America: You want the good news or bad news first?

AndrueC Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

when NY flooded a few years back, lots of Verizon copper got damaged, so got replaced with fibre, which doesn't fall under competitive access regulations

Yeah I don't think that could happen here. BT has to provide equivalence of access to all Communication Providers regardless of medium. They are sometimes allowed an exemption from the normal margin squeeze tests for significant investment (they were allowed to charge other CPs what they wanted in the early days of FTTC for instance) but they wouldn't be allowed to just exclude other CPs by rolling out an incompatible technology.

Although switching copper for fibre would present a slight conundrum because at the moment only a few CPs have signed up for BT's FTTP offering. Ofcom would have to decide how to tackle that - do you just shrug and say 'tough titty' to those CPs that have yet to embrace FTTP? If so what about their customers?

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

Having a single entity own the physical infrastructure but allowing other entities to use it doesn't have to be socialist. That's the essence of LLU. It's what the UK's British Telecom has been forced to do for nearly twenty years now.

Competitors can pay BT to carry traffic from their customer all the way back to their own servers. Or they can pay BT to carry the traffic to a convenient POP where they themselves will take over (or arrange for another company to do it). Or they can pay BT just to carry the traffic to the exchange then they will take over. Interestingly some of BT's competitors are even offering their own wholesale service using BT infrastructure these days.

In fact BT have been required to allow competitors access to its poles and ducts for several years although few competitors have been able to make the numbers work - possibly because it's a PIA :)

But does this strategy work? Hmmm. If you want everyone to have a choice of ISP and expect that to drive down costs, then yes. Almost everyone in the UK has a choice of a dozen or more ISPs. And internet access is pretty cheap. It's also ubiquitous and is adequate for most people most of the time. However what it isn't is world record setting fast.

What a re-leaf: IBM's AI smarts to tell 'leccy companies when their bushes need trimming

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Have you had a look at the log files?

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

So..they've got to the root of the problem?

Sure, you can keep Grandpa Windows 7 snug in the old code home – for a price

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

My mail server is running Windows 7. At one point several years ago Windows Update broke so I couldn't even keep it up to date. Last year I tried to upgrade it to Windows 10 but after working away for half an hour it failed at the last hurdle. As best I could tell from the log files it was unable to talk to the SSD. Considering at that point it had successfully copied hundreds of megabytes of files onto it and presumably written/updated various configuration files that seemed to make little sense.

While troubleshooting I tried to update it (in case there was some aspect of Windows 7 it was relying on) and ran the Windows Update fixer. Rather to my surprise when it completed I discovered that the machine could get updates again. So I decided to leave it at that. Maybe some time this year I'll try again. Maybe :)

I should point out (lest anyone think I'm mad) that this is a personal server :)

Amid polar vortex... Honeywell gets frosty reception after remote smart thermostat tech freezes up for a week

AndrueC Silver badge

Re: I admit to having a (not Honeywell) smart stat

Yes, coming back from holiday occasionally shows the limitations of mine, albeit they aren't that big a deal. I can only tell mine that I'm going away for several days and which day I return. Most of the time I arrive back in the afternoon which means that the morning heating is wasted. If I return on a week day (unusual but not unheard of) it can mean returning to a cool house.

Then again I don't go on vacation much in the colder months and in summer the heating (although I leave it on all year round) won't be doing anything anyway. So better control over how it should handle the resumption of normal programming would be nice but is far from essential.

My model (a Honeywell CM67) had an add on module that allowed for some kind of control by telephone. I opted for the Radio Controlled Clock module instead though as that seemed more useful.

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

I hope someone gets into hot water over this :)

But I still say there is little point for most people in internet heating control. Every house I've owned has taken at least an hour, a couple of hours sometimes to get up to temperature in the afternoon. Just how often is the average person so far away from home that their sudden decision to return allows enough time for the heating to act? Come to that just how often is the average person uncertain what time they will be returning home when they leave?

I'm pretty sure that for most people a 7 day programmable timer would suffice. Maintain temperature between 7am and 9am, 4pm to 11pm during the week. 7am to 11pm at the weekend. Jobs a good 'un.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: Is Alister paid per word?

Ah, that reminded me of one of the sillier Dilbert cartoons.

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: RE: Alister

And even more primitive was the Sinclair Spectrum. It didn't even have a proper speaker, just one of those piezoelectric thingies. But one clever bugger came up with this.

All that just by flipping bit 0 of port 254.

Oh cool, the Bluetooth 5.1 specification is out. Nice. *control-F* master-slave... 2,000 results

AndrueC Silver badge
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Re: battery state

It's already there, somewhere. My car infotainment system displays signal and battery for my telephone.

AndrueC Silver badge
Facepalm

'colon' and 'semi-colon' because some people are squeamish about the digestive process.

'slash' and 'backslash' because they sound violent.

I mean 'see colon backslash' sounds like an instruction to seriously injure someone, doesn't it?

AndrueC Silver badge
Happy

It's nearly always worked very well for me. My connects to my car via BT and can be used to stream music, satnav instructions and of course handle calls. I have several BT headphones they work seamlessly - a couple from rather surprising distances like the eight metres from my coat to the kitchen at work (going through a substantial stone wall on the way).

I've recently purchased a Game Golf Pro it apparently uses BT to link the sensors on the club grips to a medallion on my belt (and/or my phone) so that I can just pick a club out of the bag and use it and it will register it.

So it works well.

But there was one failure. I bought a hands free mic/headset to use at work with my computer and I never managed to get that to work. Windows 10 would see the device and apparently pair with it but then completely failed to see it as any kind of audio device. But hey - I don't blame BT for that. I blame Windows 10.

Mobile network Three UK's customer details exposed in homepage blunder

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: Only three?!

At least it wasn't a three for all.

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

It certainly sounds like something worth getting in a flap about. Obviously the previous solutions didn't work but that's what happens when you just wing it.

Smaller tech firms just aren't ready for a no-deal Brexit, MPs told

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: Taking Back Control!

"You were only supposed to take the bloody country out of the EU"

It's Shodan embarrassing: Red-faced Rubrik blames public-facing DB on developer ballsup

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

I bet they aren't foolproof.

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

Re: It's "What's the best language" all over again

Perhaps I should clarify what I meant here:

That doesn't mean I never use them but they are used sparingly and typically to provide intent or usage information rather than to actually say what the code is doing.

What I mean is that I dislike seeing this:

// Process all the items in the list.

foreach(var itemToProcess in listOfItemsToProcess) ProcessAnItem(itemToProcess);

or the utterly unforgiveable:

// Increment i

++i;

However the following is acceptable:

// Now that we've got our list of items we need to process them so that when we return the list

// to the caller they are ready to be used.

foreach(var itemToProcess in listOfItemsToProcess) ProcessAnItem(itemToProcess);

In this case that's probably exactly what I'd write however for a more complex code block it would probably be written as:

ProcessItemsToGetThemReadyForUse(listOfItemsToProcess);

I don't hate comments. I only hate comments that tell you things that are obvious from the code - often they are totally unnecessary and the more you describe code the more likely they are to be out of date. But giving an overview of an algorithm or saying whereabouts you are in that algorithm is absolutely fine.

AndrueC Silver badge
Meh

Re: It's "What's the best language" all over again

I have no particular problem with the example you posted, with one caveat, all you're doing is describing the intent of the function then the intent of the code and that's entirely permissible. The only caveat I have would be that rather than using comments to demarcate the steps break them out into methods or functions with an appropriate name. Now on some platforms the cost of function/method calls can be an issue but outside of embedded programming it's rarely an issue.

So for your example I'd prefer to see:

ObtainWidgetFromAppropriateRepository();

PerformSecondStep(); // Obviously these would use a better description.

PerformThirdStep();

..and now there's no need for comments. Even better if it turns out that other code needs to get a widget you now have a stand-alone (or close to it) method to call instead of having to copy code blocks.

That's not a fault of comments, that's a fault of lazy programmers.

Of course, but sadly the world is full of lazy programmers. If you expect everyone that looks after your code to do so in a conscientious and thoughtful manner simply of their own volition you're setting yourself up for failure. You'll either never find enough suitable programmers to meet your needs or else you'll be constantly falling foul of issues because you failed to anticipate the level or incompetence.

Japanese astronomers find tiniest Kuiper Belt object yet – using cheap 'scopes and off-the-shelf CMOS cameras

AndrueC Silver badge
Joke

Re: Solar system mass.

The Sun is not a planet.

Careful now. The last time someone declared something was not a planet it triggered an enormous row. Although I think you're probably safe with 'the Sun is not a planet' unless you encounter a particularly belligerent and argumentative astronomer :)

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