* Posts by VinceH

3425 posts • joined 26 Nov 2009

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Bad planning

"Surely the only living thing on the planet having any real chance of surviving the lunar night has to be Theresa May."

This calls for a suitable mission to be arranged forthwith in order to test your hypothesis. How do we get this done?

It might also be a good idea to send the opposition leader as well, for comparison.

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more

VinceH Silver badge

Re: deepfake?

"I didn't see anything that a bit of colour correction and fudging with playback wouldn't achieve."

Quite. Also, the edited ('faked' really isn't the appropriate word here) version was broadcast by Q13, owned by Fox News. IIRC, isn't Fox News a Trump-fan station? That's probably the real reason the staffer was sacked - he took the piss out of their beloved messiah by doing this.

Just for EU, just for EU, just for EU: Forget about enforcing Right To Be Forgotten outside member states

VinceH Silver badge

Re: EU being sensible again...

"Why are we trying to leave?"

Because of liars and cheats.

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

VinceH Silver badge

Re: xfer

I also have one of those.

But worse, whenever I move to a new computer, I decide to 'start again' in how I organise my (local) files. I therefore used to create a directory for the data brought forward from the old system until I can find the time to properly integrate it into the new system. So I have directory containing data from the old computer, which contains a directory containing data from the old old computer, containing a directory from... you get the picture. :)

I'm now sensible. They're no longer recursive, and instead self contained folders on the NAS. :)

Google-whisperers beat reCaptcha voice challenge with 90% success rate

VinceH Silver badge

Re: idiots like this

"You're lucky, I spent God knows how long identifying an endless stream of fire hydrants, shop fronts, bicycles, cars, buses, 'cross walks' what ever they are."

Yes. It's bad enough when you get one reCaptcha challenge, but when it's followed by another... then another... then another... I get just a touch annoyed by them. IIRC, the record number of challenges I've had to deal with in one go is around eight.

And I'm also now occasionally seeing them simply not work properly in Palemoon, and having to resort to another browser to get shit done. My first guess was a script issue, but even temporarily disabling NoScript and allowing them all to run doesn't solve it. (Ordinarily I'd simply not bother when encountering a problem like that, but sometimes I have no choice.)

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Optional

I can still keep my what job now?

VinceH Silver badge

Optional

When I first heard it, I commented that it's an awful racket, almost - but not quite - enough to make me change my mind about being a remainer.

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

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Facebook's shadow profile.

Ah, okay - I assumed you were misunderstanding that I was talking about ad-blocking.

But either way, you are still missing the point. I wasn't saying "Facebook's getting data, how do I stop it?" - I was pointing out that there is more to it than shadow profiles built up from friends' data.

A more interesting side point is one of identification. Given that they know I installed Plex - the question isn't so much "how" as "how do they know it was me?" Remember, no Facebook app is on my phone; even if something on the phone is feeding data to Facebook, nothing on the phone knows my Facebook log-in details. It can't even be tied in via the email address, because the one I use for Facebook is unique to Facebook.

The answer is, I would guess, those shadow profiles. I haven't given Facebook my phone number - but you can bet one of my friends has allowed access to contact data. And if I'm right that the source of them knowing I installed Plex is that TrueCaller shite, I wouldn't be surprised if my phone number isn't amongst the data it's given Facebook behind my back. These two separate sources of phone number would enable the link to be made.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Facebook's shadow profile.

Blokada appears to be an ad blocker, so wouldn't AFAICS have any effect on what I was talking about.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Facebook's shadow profile.

Well, they don't use them exclusively - they combine them with data from other sources.

I've commented before on El Reg about an interesting discovery I made when I looked at my ad settings on Facebook. To summarise:

I installed Plex on my phone at one point, in order to try it out - and it was listed there in my ad settings as an app I'd installed*. I do not have the Facebook app on my phone. Nor the Messenger app. Nor any other app from their stable.

* Along with TruCaller, which was foisted on me by WileyFox in an update. My gut is telling me that's the source of their data, but I can't say for certain.

US told to appoint a damn Privacy Shield ombudsperson already or EU will take action

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Oooh just you wait

My grin would be very wide were that to happen - but like you, my breath will not be held.

Also: Threaded comments! It's about time!

Ofcom asks networks, ISPs: Hey, wouldn't it be nice if you let customers know the best deal once their contract's up?

VinceH Silver badge

You might also find they are unlocked anyway. The last phone I got on contract was a Sammy Galaxy S3 - and I was playing around with someone else's phone trying to solve a SIM problem for them, and tried their SIM in my phone, completely forgetting that it was on contract and probably locked.

It turned out it wasn't locked.

The other person's phone, however, was - to a different network than the SIM they had. :)

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?

VinceH Silver badge
Meh

"Matthew, thanks for the replacement but there seems to be something wrong… When I try to go up, it goes down, and when I try to go left it goes right. The buttons are also in a weird place."

Um. If you turn a mouse over and try to use it as a trackball, then either up/down will be wrong with left/right correct, or left/right wrong with up/down correct, depending on which way you've turned it over (pivoting around the tail/wire or longwise so that the wire is pointing towards you). But not both.

China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

VinceH Silver badge
Coat

Optional

"The first human eyes to see the far side were the crew of Apollo 8, and one of them told Arthur C. Clarke that they had debated radioing back news of a large black monolith on the surface, having seen the film 2001 before launch, but that wiser heads prevailed."

Well, obviously wiser heads prevailed. The monolith that was found on the moon was buried. It wouldn't have been visible from orbit.

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

VinceH Silver badge

Don't pressure them - they need time to make up something that sounds plausible.

FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Giant wombats in space?

"I'm worried - it looks like a Borg cube."

Perhaps it's the one from the documentary "Star Trek - First Contact" but the documentary makers got it wrong. They had it as a sphere, when it was really a normal cube. When the Borg cube actually travelled back in time, it went a bit too far, right back to the formation of the solar system, and as a result of waiting around since then it has accreted so much matter that it now looks like an oddly cuboid asteroid. The plan might be for the Borg to arouse when they receive any indication that we are about to achieve warp capability, shed the matter, and carry on as per the documentary.

In order to ascertain if this is so, we need to study other asteroids more closely and see if we can identify one that vaguely resembles NCC1701-E.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Careful with that TAGSAM Eugene

Especially if we bring back something we shouldn't, and the Bennuans* want it back. Or they might just send a battle fleet, instead of risking their entire world.

* Who, judging by the size of Bennu, are probably very, very small. After what to them might seem like thousands of years tearing across the empty wastes of space, they'd finally dive screaming onto Earth - and due to their terrible miscalculation of scale, all we'd need to defend ourselves is a small dog.**

** With apologies to Douglas Adams for rewriting that to fit the set up.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Can't we just use...

I'm sure there must be a way we can use sharks with frikin' lasers.

£10k offer to leave firm ASAP is not blackmail, Capita told by judge

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Terminology

According to the quoted email, that's what she described it as - she described a perceived threat to get rid of her if she didn't take it as blackmail.

"Simon Mayall stated that he "couldn't have me escalating issues to you", and if I didn't take the £10k offer then I would be managed [presumably out] via my sick records.

Is that not bribery to keep my mouth shut and blackmail to take the offer?"

The two things seem to have become confuzzled by the time it reached the court, AFAICS.

Musk's popstar girlfriend Grimes croons about next-gen AI, plus more machine-learning news

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Grimes against humanity

I've never heard of Grimes before - and TBH I quite liked it on first listen.

AI snaps business titan jaywalking

VinceH Silver badge
Joke

[still from] "DeepEye promotional Video Click to enlarge"

Are you sure that's not a still from the opening titles of Person of Interest?

Black(out) Friday for HSBC: iOS and Android banking apps on the fritz

VinceH Silver badge

Optional

As for getting the all-important security code for internet banking, the spokesperson told us that "customers can opt to login with their memorable word and password". How delightfully retro.

Memorable word and password? Surely they mean memorable word and second factor security device? They got rid of the password yonks ago, didn't they? And then, IIRC, they suggested people get rid of the security device and use the app instead - but I'm still using the security device. (I guess I'll lose that option when the battery dies).

Was there a change between that I've blissfully ignored?

It has not been a great few months for HSBC. An outage at the end of September presented users with errors on their smartphones. Still, at least customers can pop into a local branch if needs be, right? Oh, wait. Never mind.

It's worse than that - I'm pretty sure I saw comments on their Twitter feed a week or two back (i.e. a bit more recently than the end of September) to the effect that there were problems with both online banking and the app.

*Checks...*

Working backwards, then...

2018-11-23: The tweet in the article appears to be missing.

2018-11-18: Reported mobile problems at 4:53pm, saying they were fixed at 6:56pm.

2018-11-16: Reported mobile problems at 6:58pm, saying they were fixed at 11:34pm.

2018-11-06: Online problems reported at 11:10pm, and fixed by 12:34am.

2018-10-27: Online problems reported at 1:24pm, reported fixed at 5:14pm.

2018-10-16: Reported online problems at 11:25am, and that they were solved at 6:13pm.

2018-10-08: 9:49pm - mobile problems. Fixed as at 11:20pm.

2018-09-28: Mobile problems reported 8:30am, fixed by 12:05pm. I guess that one is the end of September one referred to. Glancing back further, the next one working backwards is this one:

2018-08-29: Online and mobile problems reported at 9:25pm, and said they were fixed at 9:38pm.

After that the next one I can see is all the way back on May 26th.

So over the last month and a half the problems look worryingly frequent.

Peers to HMRC: Digital tax reforms 3 days after Brexit? Hold your horses, how 'bout 3 years...

VinceH Silver badge

"As I understand it (from a brief conversation with my accountant) you are having to submit a lot more than boxes 1-9. He said all transactions involving a VAT element will need submission so presumably they can match the claimed refunds for one business against the sales for the other."

I suspect that was sort of what they were originally thinking - and when it was still at the planning stages some time back, I read stuff (on HMRC's site, I think) that suggested that during the submission process, the server could request more background data from the submission client. i.e. they could interrogate your software for the full data.

However, even that's been scaled right back - to the extent some people have told me I was imagining it; I'm sure I wasn't. If you look at the API (I've linked to it in comments on El Reg before, and someone else has done so further upthread) it does indicate only the main VAT return boxes.

There is supposedly a requirement that the figures be built up digitally (because that was supposed to be the point) - but AFAICS you could still keep manual records, and just key the VAT return figures into something that will then submit them, and they would be none the wiser at this stage*. It's all a big exercise in wasting lots of money.

* Things might change in future, of course.

VinceH Silver badge

Not necessarily. You can still buy Sage on a perpetual licence, and if you want to make MTD submissions directly from the software you'll just have to subscribe to the MTD module. Still an annoying cost, but nowhere near £850/annum.

And if you do go down the route of updating Sage and using it to submit, try SJ Software as a supplier instead of Sage. They're cheaper. :)

Sage CEO: £60m says we can convert more folk to Business Cloud

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Sage are pushing customers

"Sage have always been aggressive with marketing, but they have pushed the boat out for subscriptions and tried to use making tax digital to force everyone into some sort of subscription."

Exactly what I've been saying all along. I would jump ship (I already use VT for some clients), but the problem is, I've found no software that is as good as Sage for those whose accounts I keep in it. If I have to upgrade from my five year old version for something, I will - and I'll be looking at non-subscription options - but if I can avoid doing so I'll stick with what I have for as long as I can.

"Those who held out against the sales pressure may reap the rewards because there are now multiple companies offering bridges to submit VAT returns."

Indeed - both the sales pressure and FUD whereby some cloud-first companies were at one point trying to make people believe that making tax digital means you need to use cloud software.

An ex-client called me a dinosaur for my position on stuff like this. I think we therefore need a dinosaur icon!

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality

VinceH Silver badge
Joke

Re: Windows Mail gets worse and worse

"And MS will promote that as a feature to keep you safe from spam."

Well, spam other than their adverts, anyway.

Thank $deity that week's over. Look, here's some trippy music generated from pixels of a Martian sunrise to play us out

VinceH Silver badge
Thumb Up

"I like it, when are they releasing the album?"

Early 1980s, IIRC.

By which I mean it sounds like it would fit nicely in amongst some of the tracks on Brian Eno's Apollo Atmospheres and Soundtracks album. At least, based on my recollection of it - I haven't listened to it in many years, but I think some of the tracks had that sort of sound to them.

Obviously, that was Moon/Apollo inspired rather than Mars/Opportunity derived (!), but still!

In news that will shock, er, actually a few of you, Amazon backs down in dispute with booksellers

VinceH Silver badge

"Antiquarian Booksellers: almost as badass as Librarians."

I know you say that as a joke, but there's this documentary about librarians that I haven't seen yet, but does make it sound like there may be something in the idea that Librarians are indeed a bit bad-ass.

Bean-counting outfit Sage appoints bean-counter as new CEO

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Perhaps

Payroll does change every year, yes - but I was talking about VAT, which doesn't.

To illustrate how much it doesn't, as I said I've been using Sage 50 Accounts Plus 2013 since it came out - which was probably in 2012 - and using it to submit VAT returns. It was only at the end of the first quarter this year that I could no longer do that, because HMRC changed the log-in process. So that's five years at least with no change.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Perhaps

Indeed; I have a multi-company Sage 50 (2013 version IIRC - wrong machine to check) which I use for a few companies. One (my own) I could do in something else, but nothing I've looked at comes close to being good enough for my clients' data, in some cases due to mickey mouse inputting methods, or in others lack of adequate reports.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Perhaps

Sage are fairly determined to get people onto a subscription model for their software, because they like the "pay and keep paying" model, over the one preferred by people like me, which is to pay once and then just keep using it until it actually *needs* to be upgraded. And you can still get Sage's main products on a perpetual licence - but for one thing.

For day to day work accounts and bookkeeping work, tax law changes are irrelevant - it's down to the person using the software. There is one change coming RSN, however, that does force an upgrade: Making Tax Digital.

If you're using a Sage product that you have on a perpetual licence, unless Sage have changed their minds since I last commented on this, if you want to be able to submit VAT returns under MTD, you have to *subscribe* to the MTD module.

HMRC don't charge for access to the API.

The API, once finalised (and I believe it now is), shouldn't be a constantly changing, moving target. It's possible that it might change occasionally, but as a general rule it should remain fixed.

Therefore, in my opinion, there is no justification for a subscription model for the module. Sure, they may update and improve the software over time, but if people want a version with a better bloody UI or whatever, they can buy an upgrade - and similar if and when the API does change.

But to insist on only selling it on a subscription model is, in effect, to tax businesses for being able to pay a tax.

Roughly 30 years after its birth at UK's Acorn Computers, RISC OS 5 is going open source

VinceH Silver badge
Trollface

Re: the best-ever source-code editor StrongEd

Nope. StrongED all the way. :p

VinceH Silver badge

Re: A bit too old now.

"I think the best route would be to build a RISC OS desktop on top of a Linux kernel, rewriting the RISC OS modules and applications in Rust (or C), and use Linux drivers etc. to make it exploit modern hardware."

Although this isn't what you meant, take a look at this.

VinceH Silver badge
Happy

Re: I see butt plug, i upvote...

Nonsense - that's clearly Weebl after he's eaten a bit too much pie.

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

VinceH Silver badge

Re: "oh boy"

"or Microsoft could've possibly introduced Windows Mobile to the consumer market."

They already had done IIRC.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: It's not April 1st, is it?

"I guess the satire was a little too obscure for some people."

I thought it was hard to miss - the article was dripping with it. So much so that some has dripped out of my computer and I've had to wipe it off my desk.

Hunt for Planet X finds yet another planetoid, just not the right one

VinceH Silver badge

Re: 2000 AU in context

And the fact that I've somehow replied to the wrong post just goes to prove my point. My brain is not to be trusted today.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: 2000 AU in context

Yes, it's an incredible orbit - a perihelion of just under 65AU to an aphelion of just under 2040AU.

That gives it a semi-major axis of just over 1050AU, which I *think* means it doesn't fit my Titius-Bode (re)workings, but my brain doesn't seem to want to work it out properly at the moment. It's been a long week. I want to say the closest point on the sequence at that distance would be 1200AU, but I don't trust my brain right now.

Boffins bypass password protection with pilfering by phony programs

VinceH Silver badge
Coat

Re: And still...

It is perfectly safe for them. After all, if anything happens it'll be YOU who allowed something to run on the device and which pilfered your passwords, and thence your money.

NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

VinceH Silver badge

Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

"It's all about doing more with less. So this will send daily missions to the moon at £5/capsule."

Yeah, but those are Ryanspace prices, so don't forget to add several million for your luggage, being able to pre-book your seat, and for priority boarding.

Google actually listens to users, hands back cookies and rethinks Chrome auto sign-in

VinceH Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: "tucked away in the Privacy and Security settings"

Just tried that in Palemoon and it brought up a "Clear recent history" dialogue, with the option to select what you want to delete (Cookies, browsing history, cache, etc) and to choose "how recent" (last hour, last two hours, last four hours, today, or everything).

I have it set to wipe cookies, history, etc, when I close the browser - but this could be a useful shortcut sometimes.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

VinceH Silver badge
Coat

Re: "Are you affected by the outage? Leave us a comment and let us know."

I so want to be outraged by the loss of service, I am tempted to buy one RIGHT NOW! But I fear that by the time it arrives, the problem will be rectified and I'll have a creepy snooping device on my hands that I don't really want!

Oh, the dilemma!

Cookie clutter: Chrome saves Google cookies from cookie jar purges

VinceH Silver badge

Optional

Again, Google's new slogan should be something like "We're Google. We don't take no for an answer."

Good news: Sub-surface life on Mars possible, moons from big impacts. There is no bad news

VinceH Silver badge

Re: after a powerful collision event

Tut, you're just having a stamping your feet event.

And it's prompted me to have a reply to your post event!

That syncing feeling when you realise you may be telling Google more than you thought

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Google, oh how we loved you

New slogan for Google:

"We're Google. We won't take 'no' for an answer."

UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

VinceH Silver badge

Re: WTF!

Retain the picture of Farage, and use the caption "This is what happens when you don't use protection!"

UKIP flogs latex love gloves: Because Brexit means Brexit

VinceH Silver badge

Re: "People's Vote"

"I'm all for that. The only problem is what the choices will be?"

That is the question. (Or was it "to be or not to be?" I forget.)

But being serious, you are quite right - do it wrong, and it's likely to get us in an even bigger mess. It has to be thought out carefully, and worded correctly, with no bias and in such a way that it is fair. No hint of "based on what we now know" or any reference to the 2016 outcome and whether it was "overwhelming" or "marginal", etc.

The problem is, the longer things go on as now, the less time there is to prepare for such a vote - and (should it happen) the more rushed that vote becomes. And I think we're more likely to see another snap election first (which there are now murmurings about) - and that'll just mess things up further.

I think what I'm saying here is: Bottom line, we're fucked.

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Non-binding it may be, but we're still doomed.

As you say, there's a good chance we'll see civil unrest in the two main opposing scenarios: If the government just turns around and says "No, we've decided we're not leaving after all" or if they end up taking us out and people become worse off and unable to afford basic necessities due to job losses and rising prices. (And ironically, I think the people most likely to be involved would largely be in the intersection of a Venn diagram of both).

That's why I honestly believe that the so-called "People's Vote" option is probably the best way forward now. It isn't back-pedalling to say to the voting public "Look, we've listened to you, and we're going to listen to you again - this is what's on the table, so what do you think?"

There's still a possibility of civil unrest in that scenario, but it's the least likely to lead to it, and if it does it would probably be the least amount.

But since our PM is more interested in trying to keep her party healthy, rather than the country she and it serves, I might have to learn about gardening, and growing my own veg.

VinceH Silver badge
Facepalm

""The referendum was supposed to be non binding"

NOT TRUE."

I'm perfectly well aware that David Cameron did a stupid by saying it would be honoured, and quite a big one knowing that there are an awful lot of people out there that don't understand the due process behind which such things are brought about. But I was talking about that due process, and the legal status of the referendum as debated in and brought into being through an act of parliament, to answer the question that was asked about what the term meant.

The bottom line is that the referendum was legally only advisory. The government did not have to act upon it, but chose to do so - with too much haste and too little planning.

"Cameron changed that with his big mouth."

Don't forget how the law is made in this country. The PM doesn't make or change laws by opening his (or her) big mouth. If they could, we'd probably all be in an even worse situation than we are now.

Couldn't give a fsck about patching? Well, that's your WordPress website pwned, then

VinceH Silver badge

Re: Lack of maintance

"The site is with a hosting company. We hope they know what they are doing in relation to the problems this article reports."

That depends. When you say "a hosting company" do you mean a company that specifically handles (and in your case handled) the installation, set up, and maintenance of WordPress, or do (did) they simply provide all the tools necessary for you to do it all yourself? If the latter, you need to look after it. (You = the group, obvs.)

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019