* Posts by Colin Bull 1

80 posts • joined 15 Apr 2010


HSBC suggests it might have found a... use for blockchain?

Colin Bull 1

Re: Just to be clear

"These things are of interest to techies like the people who read this website, but not really that important in the overall scheme of things."

I think the following paragraph might create a step change in the financial system.

"It transforms the process around intra-company foreign exchange activity, automating several manual procedures and reducing reliance on external settlement networks."

At present credit and debit cards are an effective duopoly of Visa and Mastercard, both charging exhorbitant fees. This could eliminate these parties skimming every transaction

Ofcom: More spectrum for all the good boys and girls. Except you, EE. You've had your fill

Colin Bull 1

Tossers ftom Ofcom

These must be the frequencies that were being used by some Freeview channels that were just yanked without warning earlier in the year by Ofcom. And they will be back when...?

BBC 4HD, PBS amongst others

For fax sake: NHS to be banned from buying archaic copy-flingers

Colin Bull 1

Re: Recent Experience....

I am amazed to see crap like this on the Register. It will only take someone with IT knowledge to transform this system into something fit for purpose.

It is not dissimilar to the DVLA system. As soon as my car is MOTed it is on the system. PC plod knows it is MOTed or not. I do not have to walk 5 miles to the post office with a VC5, MOT certificate and f** knows what else to tax it as the system is connected and I can do it online in 2 minutes.

Get real. The removal of fax machines from NHS should have happened years ago. Emails between trusted partners is a piece of cake. I bet in twenty years time some places will still be paying for line rental for devices removed twenty years earlier because there are no systems in place to check requirements.

Identity stolen because of the Marriott breach? Come and claim your new passport

Colin Bull 1

Re: And one requirement to use this is

I have had notification I might be involved. Last time I used any of these hotels was 2008!

Budget 2018: Landlords could be forced to grant access for full-fibre connections

Colin Bull 1

Fire risks

There is a block of flats in Ipswich where the leaseholders have just had a bill for £20k each for cladding replacement. The freeholders are pushing for a sprinkler system to be installed because a very large proportion of the properties have had their integrity compromised by tradesmen leaving gaps in between properties when maintaining services.

Would you trust a telco installer to do this properly?

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

Colin Bull 1

cp can also be dangerous

After several years working in a DOS environment I got a job as project Manager / Sys admin on a Unix based customer site for a six month stint. On my second day I wanted to use a test system to learn the software more, so decided to copy the live order files to the test system.

Unfortunately I forgot the trailing full stop as it was not needed in DOS - so the live order index file over wrote the live data file. And the company only took orders for next day delivery so it wiped all current orders.

Luckily it printed a sales acknowledgement every time an order was placed so I escaped death and learned never miss the second parameter with cp command.

Contractors slam UK taxman's 'aggressive' IR35 tax reforms

Colin Bull 1
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"the real "common workers" on min wage & zero hours"

These statements are contradictory, if the common worker is on a zero hours contract then they are not on PAYE.

NOT TRUE. I would say that most zero hours worker ARE on PAYE. I certainly was for many years.

Your employer or employers all have a tax code for you. Often you overpay tax -but get it refunded.

Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers

Colin Bull 1
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'So, the credit history and ID of the Cockney is worth about a tuppence. '

In another lifetime I was a customer of TalkTalk and had a line fault reported to them.

After this data was nicked I had no written notification from TalkTalk. I did have regular calls from them telling me my modem was showing faults and I needed to do Windows R to get them to fix it. (quoting my address and TT account no to prove it was TT) In the last week this has escalated to 2 calls a day. I know how much my details are now worth in India. Sweet FA.

Software changed the world, then died on the first of the month

Colin Bull 1


Coincidently I have just had 2 lots of insurance documentation from Sainsburys Bank date 2 minutes apart with expiry date quoted in different places as Midnight, 11.59 and 23.59.

Consistent ? - consistently crap.

Outage? No, phones are playing silly buggers, insists Sainsbury's Bank

Colin Bull 1

If their web site is anything to go by ...

Coincidently I tried to access my car insurance details online yesterday with Sainsburys bank. It says you need to reply to notification email. 2 tries at getting notification email and no emails received.

Phone up ( only 5 or 6 minute wait ) and I am told it must be a problem with my spam box. I have not got a spam box I say. Yes you have the call centre wonk tells me. Do you want me to change the email address and try again. Yes - gave him a different email address.

Same result.

Thought no problem, I will register as a new user. For the second time that day I encountered a web site that would not allow cut and paste of password. F**k this I thought, I have got better things to do with my time, but to be helpful I will let them know why I could not be arsed.

"Sorry our contact form is out of action at present"

What a way to run a railway!

IP freely? What a wind-up! If only Trevor Baylis had patent protections inventors enjoy today

Colin Bull 1

Re: Concerning Trademarks

However what commonly happens is that John Smith Widgets gets bought-out and the trademark is applied to stuff from China with no connection to the original company.

Hear , hear.

You can get cornish Doom Bar any where in the country but it is mostly brewed in Burton on Trent because Sharps brewery were bought out by Coors.

Just a ploy to use the icon !

'Your computer has a virus' cold call con artists on the rise – Microsoft

Colin Bull 1

Re: Re "putting the phone down is almost always the right thing to do."

Oh no it's not.

I used to get one every month, but not had any for about a year. Think it is because the TalkTalk data list is past its sell by date.


BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Colin Bull 1

Re: So what about the customers?

"Perhaps there'll be a ten year gradual changeover period like DTV?"

This is an ongoing ballsup. Every year or so Ofcom fuck it up. Why did I lose BBC4HD signal with no warning 3 weeks ago. Because Ofcom can piss about without a thought for the end users.

Please take the wankers out the back and shoot them. If it is a problem for me and I am IT literate, what about the millions of other punters who cannot use Google properly.

It's baaack – WannaCry nasty soars through Boeing's computers

Colin Bull 1

It is not only Windows

My fairly recent Garmin satnav gives a commendable warning not to interact with it when driving when booting up.

Then just as you get to a large french town centre it splats a full screen warning, that the SD card is deteriorating due to over use and will not get back to its primary function of navigating until you acknowledge the warning.

You could not make it up.

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Colin Bull 1

My Sidekick agrees too..

That was the ultimate TSR program. I do not think there has ever been anything to better it. It was always your best friend on a boot floppy. And it was free with an AST 6 pack.

Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

Colin Bull 1

Cornish 2 for 1

Cornwall has 2 of its own favourite relics next to each other. Both still in working order!

Trago mills - Cornwall's favourite place to shop and the St Pinnock viaduct.

From Wikipedia - Milepost 269.5, 1.25 miles (2.0 km) west of Doublebois above the Trago Mills out-of-town shopping complex. (50.453064°N 4.568532°W)

A Class B viaduct 151 feet (46 m) high and 633 feet (193 m) long on 9 piers. It was rebuilt by raising the piers and replacing the timber with iron girders in 1882. This is the tallest viaduct on the Cornwall Railway. The line was singled over this viaduct on 24 May 1964 to reduce the load on the structure.[43] This was listed Grade II in 1985.[44]

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly

Colin Bull 1

Fitbit - lost the plot

My view of Fitbit is that it has quality and support issues. The Blaze has not been supported for over a year. Users are crying out for new watch faces - even just tweaks to the colours. Fitbit has not found it worth 10 minutes of developers time to put out minor mods.

My Charge 2 developed a screen fault and I upgrade to a Blaze. The battery level indicator is a joke. It is just possible to see it when fully charged, after a day you need a magnifying glass. Pebble had a thousand and one screens to highlight what you wanted to see. Pebble was light years ahead.

Fitbit are pissing off their user base to concentrate on the latest model.

KFC: Enemy of waistlines, AI, arteries and logistics software

Colin Bull 1

Human element

As I was driving in and out of Poole yesterday I had a deja vu moment. Bridge support roadworks, just like they had a year ago. But this time with a twist. Alternating between inside line closed signs with use both lane signs. How could anyone think this was sane. How many police have driven by and not questioned the stupidity. As it happens the inside lane closed was correct.

How would a autonomous vehicle cope - switch in and out and in and out and in and out - this is what logically should be done if no vehicles overtaking

Look on the bright side, Pebble fans. At least your gizmo will work long enough for you to get beach body ready

Colin Bull 1

Re: I love my Pebble

I have been in IT for 30 years and yet find it incredible how difficult it can be to sync recent Fitbit devices (Charge 2 & Blaze x 2). They have to have access to the cloud or will not sync to mobile.

If the blaze does not sync it loses the time and for me does not fulfil its main purpose. My Blaze lasts under 3 days on a full charge and I do not sync mails or texts or anything else.

The Blaze is effectively unsupported since the Ionic was released. On their forums users are begging for a battery level indicator that is legible. It is a small blob in a corner. They do not care. When the battery is almost flat the level indicator goes red but is useless unless you actually look at the screen. The pebble has thousands of clockfaces with almost anything you could wish for on them. Blaze users cannot even get a change of one colour to make the clockface viewable.

I will be looking towards China for my next wearable.

Perhaps it is me, but I feel the poor follow up support for this type of device is endemic. My recent Garmin had VG specs but the first time I tried to update the maps after one 20 mile round trip I got the message Device Memory is full. The support wonks answer was to reset the device and loose any setup or POIs that were on it. It is my own fault because I have not got a Windows machine to run their crappy software on. FTP has been around for about 100 years and these tossers cannot use it.

Woo-yay, Meltdown CPU fixes are here. Now, Spectre flaws will haunt tech industry for years

Colin Bull 1

Re: DEC Alpha

"And once DEC was bought by HP they dumped it in favour of the Itanium, because it was clear that Intel's new design was going to be a great hit, eh?"

More likely they dumped it because Carly got a backhander from HP. It was obvious to everyone and his dog that the Itanic was going nowhere fast.

Expert gives Congress solution to vote machine cyber-security fears: Keep a paper backup

Colin Bull 1

don't assume officials are morons

Or as one election clerk summarized: please help, but please don't assume officials are morons...

This is from the UK national elections


6.48 The error in the declaration of the result for the Plymouth Sutton and

Devonport constituency was out of keeping with the rest of the count

organisation. The error occurred as a result of a faulty formula applied to an

excel spreadsheet collating the results from the ward based mini counts

within that constituency. The Formula counted seven of the eight mini counts,

omitting Efford and Lipson. The same faulty formula on the same

spreadsheet was used to verify the count against the votes cast thereby

balancing the numbers.

I think it is reasonable to assume that a large proportion of officials are morons and who would believe these officials are using excel as part of an election system.

Connected and self-driving cars are being sent to Coventry

Colin Bull 1

Re: Why Coventry?

The Coventry Transport museum is well worth a visit - even more so as it is free entry.

BT agrees to cream off less profit from landline-only customers

Colin Bull 1

broken market, broken regulator

This proves that the telecomms market place has been broken for the last year or so, aided and abetted by Ofcom. It has been obvious that the other major providers slavishly follow BT's line increases when the unbundling prices are orders of magnitude lower than line rental. Couple with the fact that broadband has more or les been thrown in for free recently. It is obvious BT have the majority of the market for the older consumer, making it a captive market. Ofcom have allowed BT to gouge this market with annual rises as costs have fallen.

Energy firm slapped with £50k fine for making 1.5 million nuisance calls

Colin Bull 1

Different planet

The ICO also pointed out that subscribing to the TPS register for 12 months is £2,640, which is "much cheaper than a fine for making nuisance calls".

This is a moronic statement. If they had a licence and used it they would not have been able to call 1.5 million people. What is the choice?

Can we get some real regulators that make punitive fines please.

TalkTalk fined £100k for exposing personal sensitive info

Colin Bull 1

Lying arse wipes

I had an engineering call with TalkTalk and then several spam calls that had my details offering to put my computer right. Sadly they kept telling me to hold control key down and press letter R which does not do much with Mint.

I have never been informed by TalkTalk that my details had been leaked and therefore I am very sure the number of leaked customer details is closer to 200,000 than 21,000.

Meg Whitman OUT at HP ...Inc

Colin Bull 1

BTW, what is Carly Fiorina doing these days?

she does not have to work after the bungs she got for ditching DEC/Alpha for Intel - sorry meant for Compaq.

BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Colin Bull 1

Power hosed

I worked in a data centre once when a power contractor disconnected a cable he should not have that was live. The cable then progressed to wave about in the air like a snake on fire and arced several items of power supply kit including UPS batteries.

After the immediate problem was solved it took more than a few hours to determine what kit was damaged. This include many server PSUs, many network interfaces and much more less important items.

Luckily this was a facility that was not live, but because the kit was sprayed over a period of time (perhaps a minute or 2 ) there was always a chance data would be out of sync or corrupted.

What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course

Colin Bull 1
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10 out 10 to AWK

I have always admired the authors of awk. And this makes me even more in awe of them. Not crashed by fuzz testing.

Half-baked security: Hackers can hijack your smart Aga oven 'with a text message'

Colin Bull 1

Incredibly inefficient - not

We have a circa 1950 Rayburn version of the AGA. It was solid fuel but converted to oil. It heats a > 400 year 3 bed house and provides hot water for less than £500 a year. Not on all day. We once left a roast lamb dinner it it when we went to a beer festival. We were 3 hours late home and the lamb was delicious. If they are used properly can be a great asset.

It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality

Colin Bull 1
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succesful standard

The PS2 brought with it one of the longest used PC standards - VGA. Only in the last year or two has the VGA standard connector been superceded by HDMI.

Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'

Colin Bull 1

Pelican crossings

BTW -- "Pelican crossing"...? I've heard of "zebra crossings"; why "pelican"?

Zebra crossings have a singular mode. In theory pedestrians always have priority. When I was a boy, this was fine, but as traffic volumes built up a more shared system was introduced- similar to traffic lights.

The cars had a sequence of green and the pedestrians had their sequence on green. The subtle difference from traffic lights being that once all pedestrians have cleared the crossing it IS OK for cars to cross on an amber.

Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada

Colin Bull 1

still using Vista

Sadly I still have to get the laptop with vista out to update the relatively new TomTom. It can only be update on a Windows machine and I cannot be arsed to install a Windows VM on my Linux boxes just for that.

Laplink brings back some memories - who remenbers the blue double headed transfer cables?

Thank heavens the wrangling over BT's Openreach separation has ended

Colin Bull 1

continue to sweat their copper assets

This is 100% the problem.

Ofcom are a negative influence. They have not got a clue and never have.

Openreach are relying on BT for funding and we will never get a decent percentage of FTTP/FTTH while this is the case. BT WILL SWEAT THEIR COPPER like they always have. They gave up on SDSL as soon as they could because it was threatening leased lines. They will never voluntarily convert existing copper to FTTH and realise the benefits of IP because they want to charge £200 a year for copper landlines. They will never install FTTH to new builds because OFCOM are a bunch of tossers and will never force the issue. Time to take my blood pressure tablets again!

Amazon S3-izure cause: Half the web vanished because an AWS bod fat-fingered a command

Colin Bull 1

Re: Funny, this should have finished while I was at lunch

It is very easy to set an alias for rm so that it lists all directories it is going to delete and asks you for confirmation first - simples

Next Superdome CPU chips amble into HPE

Colin Bull 1

Put that right for you

Our understanding is that Itanium was developed by Intel to compete with IBM's POWER and Oracle/Sun's SPARC processors AND DEC/Compaq Alpha.

Itanic could not compete with Alpha so Intel bunged HP a few sweeteners to take over Compaq and drop Alpha. The itanic has been sinking ever since

Would you like to know why I get a lot of action at night?

Colin Bull 1

State of the art

You youngsters are spoiled rotten. In my day the revolution was the IBM luggable. With a 20MB NEC drive and a quadram Apple ][e emulation card you could demo anything anywhere.

We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

Colin Bull 1

what could go wrong

I went to see a financial advisor to discuss a pension last week and took a printed summary of my finances. He replied by email declining his services with a PDF attachment of my summary with the words " I am returning your paperwork".

Most people do not understand the basics of physics. Not only has he still got a copy, so has his printer/scanner, his ISP, my ISP, GCHQ and anyone who wants to infiltrate this morons probably defenceless IT system.

Exasperated of Cornwall

3... 2...1... and 123-Reg hit by DDoSers. Again

Colin Bull 1
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Re: Why oh why

I have been with Zen for a couple of years. No issues.

Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Colin Bull 1
Paris Hilton

You can stick it ..

up your jumper. I still get brownie points for buying 'er indoors an original fitbit and it seems to work perfectly on her bra. Can cause puzzled looks if she wants to check progress so far in a pub. Been working solidly for years without a blip.

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Colin Bull 1


Around 6 years ago I was involved in a nightmare because of a Philip's inability to support their hardware.

The mother in law with dementia had a Philips TV. When installed HDMI was connected to TV. TV defaulted to HDMI when powered on. Sky remote handled everything.

On her 8oth birthday a group of middle aged men egged on each other to disconect the unused video and DVD players. When powered up the TV now defaulted to a different input. Disaster. Mother in law could only use Sky remote - had no clue about button sequences and switches and spent 15 hours a day in front of the TV, which was now unusable for her. Reading manual, spending hours on phone to Philip's tech support and hours scanning the internet and trying different key sequences still unable to get the TV to revert to original pattern. After 4 days I managed to find a different key sequence that worked on the internet and the world again resorted to normal.

Must be a better way to give control to users.

Fox's meal Sky ready to smother Europe with foreign language OTT content

Colin Bull 1

Change of heart

Sky were happy for EU to not allow free movement of TV signals when they could gouge the UK customer base. ( nothing whatsoever to do with Peter Mandelson's cosy relationship with Elizabeth Murdoch )

Looks like the internet has caught up with them and given them a change of heart.

Ofcom fleshes out plans to open up BT's ducts and poles

Colin Bull 1

Re: How many times?

I think it would be nice if there was someone at Ofcom who understood what IP telecoms is all about. In most areas it is is far more economic to have infrastructure provided by a single organisation. AND THAT CANNOT BE BT or OPENREACH. It needs to be and independent organisation similar to National Grid for power. Not someone who is competition with its customers. BT / Openreach have a vested interest in keeping multiple copper pairs to each premise from the exchange. IP to the cabinet or premise is the way forward. Why has line rental gone up 40% in the last 10 years when IT hardware has gone done by about 300%. Because BT and the other majors are gouging the line rental only customers.

Snail mail thieves feed international identity theft rings say Oz cops

Colin Bull 1

That is easy

* I wish I could make the idiots in the tax office stop sending me tax code changes by snail mail too.-

Send me your NI number. I will add you to my spoof payroll. Change your address to my accommodation address. When I run my EPS/FPS (Real Time Filing) all your changes of coding, refund cheques and history of employment will be sent to my address. Simples.

ICO and HMRC do not think this is a problem.

The OTHER Colin Bull

C'mon, it's the current year! Report finds UK gov could save £2bn by modernising IT

Colin Bull 1

Low hanging fruit

I deferred my state pension for a year. I had a letter with a number to call when I am ready. Call the number. Message states you can do this online. Go online find that I must get a Pension gateway authorisation as well as my Gov.UK gateway auth code and I also have a verify system ID. So rather than wait a week for a letter to be posted I phoned back and waited for 10 minutes to be answered and then have a 25 minute telephone call.

When you already have a gov gateway ID why is Online not online. Why go through the rigmorole of mailing an auth code?

I reckon there is 250mill savings straight away.

And do not get me started how an inept employer changed some elses address for mine at HMRC and then sent an employment statement AND a refund cheque in my name with NO verification.

ICO are still chewing on that one but initial feedback is they can see no problem.

And so we enter day seven of King's College London major IT outage

Colin Bull 1

I'm curious

Back in the day best practice would be to mirror all drives on different shelves with drives from different batch and different power supply for each shelf.

The definitive guide to RAID is at http://www.baarf.dk/BAARF/BAARF2.html

About 25 years ago I witnessed a classic RAID 5, 5 disk failure. Every day for a week one drive went down and was replaced the next day. At the end of the week the recovery had not quite caught up. Spectacular.

Brit cops cuff Sage employee at Heathrow airport

Colin Bull 1

Re: Sounds like they care...

Re: Sounds like they care...

"Your call is important to us. Please hold the line."

But we don't give a toss, so if you have a problem, call this premium rate number.

(My definition of premium is not the same as the so called regulator Ofcom)

£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

Colin Bull 1

As a bonus it provides work for someone to come round and read the meter,....

The pay rate for this outsourced job is usually less than the minimum wage (whatever is it is called now) and the energy companies would rather estimate your usage so it is normally above what you normally pay, AND they do not create an invoice so they do not pay HMRC VAT until a later date, so keeping the difference in their bank.

Cynical, moi!

English Uber alles in London taxis? No way, TfL – taxi app titan

Colin Bull 1

Level playing field

I am glad to see some common sense and the application of the same rules to everyone. I live 2 miles from Plymouth City centre, but because I am in Cornwall cannot apply for a Plymouth PH licence unless I have a base there. Note. This does not stop me operating in Plymouth.

If Uber want to operate in all districts they should have premises in all districts AND logs in all districts that can be visually inspected by the authorities when required. If I must do it - so should they.

PC pioneer Gary Kildall's unpublished memoir revealed

Colin Bull 1

The next chapter

When I got to page 78 I kept hitting the page down key because it was keen to read the next episode.

I hope the children release that soon

Belgian brewery lays 3.2km beer pipeline

Colin Bull 1

been done before

Have got a friend in Villamoura Portugal who has got 3 x 1000 litre tanks in an underground cellar for bulk deliveries then a pipeline under road to bar. The only kegs are the ones for the bulk gin.


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