* Posts by John Brown (no body)

10569 posts • joined 21 May 2010

ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Horace goes to Epping forest

"with some dodgy characters"

...a shovel, and many bags of quicklime.

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What happens to your online accounts when you die?

John Brown (no body)
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Re: I Ate Hitler's Love-grandchild

"Magnificent!

You should write that story and submit it!"

Maybe he was there fixing Hitlers personal Enigma machine so could could submit it to On Call?

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Go Zuck Yourself: Facebook destroys patent suit over timeline

John Brown (no body)
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"Out of curiosity is there any scenario in which a patent suit can be lost by both parties."

When an apparently safe patent is properly examined under the spotlight of the court and lawyers and it's ruled invalid? Nah, this is the US we're talking about!

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Who was it that hacked Apple? Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, boy boy boy!

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Am I the only one?

Not me, maybe it's an age thing, but I keep hearing this!

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Boffins build the smallest transistor, controlled by an atom

John Brown (no body)
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Re: The REAL real challenge

"The real challenge will actually be maintaining predictable behaviour in the face of the incredible amount of interference now present pretty much everywhere on Earth. Any control system that operates at the quantum scale intrinsically has very little if any noise immunity, so its reliable operation is problematic in real-world environments."

Shirley the answer is to coat the device in wonder material graphene to shield it.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: 1 atom switched junction <> 1 atom wide junction.

"Now, HOW fast can this gel-substance switch at?"

And if the gel starts to slosh around and cause data errors, are you holding it wrong?

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Google risks mega-fine in EU over location 'stalking'

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Ban Google

"there's no way to claim uniformity."

Apart from the Google blobs embedded in the OS.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: It is also wifi

"Google also uses its wifi database to locate users. I have my location switched off, but based on the wifi/ADSL address of my phone, it knows and registers where I am."

Why is your WiFI on anyway, except when you want it to be?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: "Does "accessible to advertisers" mean that Google"

"attempted to opt-out, and are actively misled."

This is what will hang them.

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EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Connectors!

"2. That immensely valuable gender-changer at the bottom of the drawer turns out to be female-female instead of male-male."

I used to know a guy who made a very good living setting out his (quite large) stall at all the local computer fairs. All he sold was cables, connectors and gender changers. But he did sell almost any one of those you could imagine. If he didn't have one in stock, odds are that it didn't exist. And he was raking it in :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: I'm numerate

"Which is the least amount, an iPhone SE at £250, a OnePlus at £450 or a Galaxy S9 at £600?"

Isn't that like comparing a whitebox Chinese android phone with an Apple SE?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Just add wireless charging

"Micro-USB is fiddly but thus far I've not had to replace any cables and I do take them with me a lot. I suspect people who complain about cables don't pack them very carefully."

I suspect you are correct. I have a Galaxy Note 2 (still!!) and plug it every night without issue. So what? some people may say. Well, it's also plugged into the USB cable in the car multiple times per day often just by touch day in, day out, every working day. Phone is still fine as is the original cable. Having said that, the phone is now on it's second battery. Am I clever? Am I careful? Am I exceptional? Or are some people simply careless and/or clumsy? eg, I've replaced the power connector on my wifes laptop twice in four years, but never on mine. I suspect some people simply can't get it into their heads that those small items are actually very expensive, very complex devices and forget to treat them as such.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: EU Standard plug

"Would that be a reference to the 3 pin plug, which is the safest in the world? Also the most painful thing in the world to stand on."

That's a the added bonus feature. It teaches people not to leave potentially dangerous mains leads laying around where they may get damaged and later cause death or injury from damaged plugs or insulation. :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Plug cable entry angle

"What we need is something that has the genuine pluses of the UK plug (earthing, fuse) but is somewhat more compact (but not to the extent of the ridiculously weedy and dangerous looking US plugs). "

You mean something like this ? Available for about 5 years now.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Be much more interested in...

"Universal" mains sockets will never be allowed in the UK because they do not meet BS1363, for at least two reasons:

You'd think that after all these years, the EU would have standardised on the UK wall plug/socket combo by now. They are well known for forcing all of the EU to whatever is the "highest" standard, rather than averaging out. See copyright duration as a prime example. the average was 50 years, same as the UK, but we had to switch everyone to 60 years because that was the highest (Germany).

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Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

John Brown (no body)
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Re: @Milton ... Extraordinary claims—

"Considering the materials used (gold and silver), you may find that the cost required to use super conducting material in place of what is used today far exceeds the cost of the energy lost."

Don't be silly. If you have reasonably economic superconductor you just a build a cold fusion reactor and use it to turn lead into gold or silver, problem solved!

Anyway, all those naysayers are probably in the pay of "Big Oiltm"

Icon for the hard of thinking---------------------->

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John Brown (no body)
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"It's on arxiv, so not reviewed yet, peer review as Skinner has done is absolutely expected there, and it's based on supporting evidence in the paper itself. The rest is just noise."

I thought the article said the noise was the problem? :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: It's dead, Jim, but not as we know it

"Sigh, a windmill may have to do instead of plasma."

Apparently they work better when tilted.

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Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why still a phone line on it??

"If fax is "dinosaur" technology, what the math are ballpoint pens? or pencils? Or heck, (electronic versions of) the slates my grandma used to write on at school?"

As recently as 5 years ago I was called out to fix a PC. It was urgent because it was the only remaining one in the company with a working telex card in it!

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Boffins blame meteorites for creating Earth's oldest rocks

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Pedant Alert

"A team (of geologists) has analyzed samples..."

Of course. As any fule knows, it's not a team, it's a gaggle of geologist.

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Whistleblower org chief quits over Assange critic boot demand

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Dissing Contest

"Assange-Brown-Courage imbroglio has the markings of a spy operation to foster dismay, dispute, disagreement, disgust, disillusion among allies."

Vivienne Westwood is an NSA sleeper agent!!!

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: In solidarity with Assange

A sign of the end times? You know, like using Google to search for Google.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9: A steep price to pay

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Have they got Andrew locked in a bunker?

"It must be a tough gig at Vulture HQ. They would not let the poor sod out for two minutes to test the screen in daylight. Keep taking the vitamin D tablets Andrew."

Maybe Andrew Orlowski is a Nom De Plume of Julian Assange? I mean, have you ever seen them together? Of course not!

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: The one thing I wholeheartedly agree with Jobs on ...

"In my case, my touchpad scrawl (with stylus or finger) looks nothing like my pen signature, and more like a seismograph recorded in a building that a truck has just driven into."

Same here, and I visit the courier depot most days. There's never a stylus and finger-writing for a signature is shit.

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Prank 'Give me a raise!' email nearly lands sysadmin with dismissal

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Common sense

"And his opposite-sex clone 'sisters'. And his computer. And his adopted daughter. And... do you really want a complete list?"

No thanks. I know the Internet is big, but I don't think it's big enough to take that list without breaking.

"Remember, if you break it, you bought it!"

Jubal Harshaw (probably)

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What do a meth, coke, molly, heroin stash and Vegas allegedly have in common? Broadcom cofounder Henry Nicolas

John Brown (no body)
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Re: ?

Most likely the housekeeping staff reported what they saw and that allowed security staff to be dispatched by the hotels owners to the rooms which they own to confirm whether something illegal might be going down in their building (which, for clarification, they own).

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Talk about left Field: Apple lures back Tesla engineering guru

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Tesla has plenty of problems...

"The SEC is investigating Elon Musk's latest tweet about taking the company private which appears highly unlikely but was successful in jacking share price."

...which then returned to normal very quickly. Only the stock shorters were hurt and that's a pretty dubious practice anyway. They not only need to prove intent, it shines a bright light on the practice of selling stuff you only borrowed in the hope you can later buy it back cheaper than you sold it for. Gambling with other people property would be illegal in pretty much every other situation.

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Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

John Brown (no body)
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Re: The Acme Decision Inverter software needs a reboot

"an oscillating Baudot ASCII EBIDIC mode"

Nice one. Added to my personal bullshit delivery system dictionary.

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John Brown (no body)
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"longer than the recommended maximum length for parallel leads, moved the printer down closer to the sharer and used a much shorter lead --- the problem was cured. Turns out the problems had started after the printer had been moved."

That's why one of the printer diagnostics tests we used to run was the standard alphanumerical "stair-step" pattern. In the days of parallel port printers, all sort of faults could cause weird printing errors depending on one or more data bit lines being bad or intermittent. Too long leads as you point out, bad solder joints, port switchers, even a failed gate in a buffer chip in the printer. Generally it would be a specific data line which failed and you get, for example AACCEE instead of ABCDE if bit 0 was stuck. Other obvious patterns for other stuck bits which were immediately recognisable after a bit of experience. One time a 50p buffer chip and 20 minutes work saved the company about £600 and probably a week of lost time on a printer repair because we knew what we were doing even if the accounts dept. with the broken printer didn't and were just about to book in a service engineer.

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Brain brainiacs figure out what turns folks into El Reg journos, readers

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Before Snowden / Schrems / Cambridge Analytica

"That's why economists only make accurate predictions about the past."

And they can't even get that right, most of the time!

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Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

John Brown (no body)
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"Space based weapons platforms in violation of a 1960s era treaty would be par for the course for him."

...and probably decided on the golf course too, between rounds. Isn't Trump the guy who claimed Obama spent too much time on golf courses then went on to spend more time on the golf course in his first three months than Obama ever did?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Which raises the question

"the world’s greatest aviators and test pilots from the Navy, Air Force and the Marines."

Worlds greatest? It could be argued that the worlds greatest aviator was our own Eric Brown, RN, RiP.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: The US has a superfluous force anyway

"Why are US naval ground forces not US navy?"

In terms of the TV series NCIS, marines and sailors both come under their jurisdiction.

(Sorry, that pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the US military)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Interesting

"$8bn isn't even a rounding error on F35 cost overruns, and won't buy anything other than a logo, a few buildings and bases, an entire military command structure, and lots of gold braid,"

I was thinking along similar lines, $8B is barely enough to get the working party set up to design the new uniforms and it's probably not enough to even start planning the 6th side of the Pentagon they'll be wanting to exclusively occupy. Then there'll be another marketing budget to rebrand the Pentagon as the Hexagon.

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Creased Lightning: Profits wobble at Virgin Media while fibre project stays sluggish

John Brown (no body)
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Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

"If they stopped sending me "sign up" junk mail every few days."

Last time I spoke to someone who knew the marketing business, he said it depends on the industry and saturation rate in an area. It's often cheaper to mail-bomb an area to every "Dear Occupier" than to target specific groups, eg non-customers.

I'd imagine we will see more of this now with GDPR in force as to produce a marketing list of non-customers, someone has to subtract the customer list from the full list and that's most likely to be the 3rd party marketing company. That means handing over a very valuable dataset along with the inherent risks of allowing all that personal information out of your direct control.

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Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Prepare for...

"It's the publisher not the reader.

So it depends on where the site is."

Good point, thanks. Now it just falls on all those Google and Facebook users to wonder where their publicly accessible files are stored.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Prepare for...

"Speaking of which, aren't Disney due to extend the copyright on Steamboat Willie soon? What? Author's death plus 200 years should do it. Right?"

Which brings up a whole other can of worms on t'internet. Copyright is death of author + 70 years across the EU and death of author + 90 years in the USA. If I publish an out-of-copyright work on my .co.uk site which is, eg death of author + 75 years and a US resident visits my site, who's at fault, if anyone?

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Emma's Diary fined £140k for flogging data on over a million new mums to Labour Party

John Brown (no body)
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Re: UK's 11 main political parties

"What the UK needs is a charismatic character who could drain the swamp and make Britain great again.........no...wait !"

Are you talking about Johnson or Farage? Oh, the horror!!

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Almost 1 in 3 Brits think they lack computer skills to do their jobs well

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Do you feel you have recieved adequate training to use your computer effectively?

"1. Not at all.

2. To some extent.

3. Very much so.

4. Don't know."

Which button to I click on for option A?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: there is a simple reason for this.

"Training by support is cheap, effective and helps mitigate the constant HR fails, so do not knock those people who cannot be bothered to learn your "simplest things" because without them you would be out of a job, pal."

The problem with doing "training" as you describe it, is that most of those calling support never learn anything because they have "problem" and need to get their ob done, often as a matter of urgency (because they just spent ages trying to figure it out for themselves) so all they want is a fast "press this, click that, type the other" solution and don't spend any time understanding or memorising the solution. S/He will be back on the phone next week with a similar or the same problem again.

The other way of cheaping out on training is to offer on-line training. Most of the times I've done it, there's no way to self-pace properly (much of it seems to be video based) and there's little to reinforcement or structured building on previous concepts. Each section or module is fully self-contained, often with an unattributed short test at the end. By the time you've reached the end, much of what you "learned" at the start is a haze and about half of the rest is irrelevant to your job so the final exam ends up becoming a lottery.

I'm sure everyone here has done the mandatory H&S type online courses and now knows how to safely lift an HP Laserjet I or a large Ricoh Fax Machine safely and anyone who might need to use a ladder once every year or so is now confident of assessing the safety of a weak roof and in the use of a cherry picker

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Just wait until all the old people die off

"but it's a chunk 'o change on this side of the pond, usually about $50+ a month even for SuperShittySpeed.""

Based on the current exchange rate, that's about the price here on the right side of the pond for a decently average to above average speed. SuperShittySpeed is probably more like the equivalent of $10, or even as a "free" add-on with phone+cable/Sat TV. This may depend on what is being compared of course. xDSL cost is on top of phone line rental.

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Greybeard greebos do runner from care home to attend world's largest heavy metal fest Wacken

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

"Future care homes have to be ready for all this!"

Current care homes are already seeing this. The original Mods and Rockers are arriving and fighting over the stereo with the incumbent Rock'n'Roll fans from the era of Bill Haley, Chubby Checker etc. Think about it. Early fans of the Beatles, in their late teens, early 20's at the time, are probably over about 70 now! Love Me Do was recorded 3 months before I was born :-)

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Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

John Brown (no body)
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"Context is everything the 1990 Computer Misuse Act - It's massively out of date and irrelevant."

There have been amendments since then. Just as with most Acts of Parliament. It quite rare for a law to be thrown out and replaced.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Or do they only scan <=1024? In which case, it's my business if I'm running 'finger' or something equally odd."

Not to mention the obvious thing. Lots of software uses networking and the loop-back address to communicate internally without ever going onto the wider outside network. *nix users in particular will be aware of this, but Windows is more *nix like these days in that respect too. And then there's the various devices inside the home LAN which are running servers and other services or which need you to be running apps/servers on your desktop PC, the one being scanned by Halifax.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: They are running code in my machine without my explicit consent for their own benefit...

"Law supersedes any wording in private contracts if the private contract breaks the law."

Except where the law has a loophole for consent and the T&Cs require you give that consent for security purpose.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Have they put up a policy that says you must have ports x, y, & z closed in order to connect?"

Maybe they are just collecting information to be used against you if any money goes missing from your account? "Well sir, on at least 4 previous occasions you have logged into our online banking service and we have proof you had open ports used by RATs, therefore we deny any responsibility for losing your money. You were hacked and we can 'prove' it"

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Top tip? Sprinkle bugs into your code to throw off robo-vuln scanners

John Brown (no body)
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Re: was it the red wire or the blue one to disarm the bomb?

Yes, it's probably not surprising to most people here when we see on TV shows the protagonist desperately trying to identify which wire to cut, or some "expert" at the other end of the radio when we can all clearly see a det stick poked into some form of plastic explosive and the obvious solution is to simply pull the det stick out of the plastic before the timer triggers.

Then again, if the hackers are as useless as the hollywood script writers or as stupid as the hollowood writers think the audience is, maybe this is a good plan?

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Internet overseer ICANN loses a THIRD time in Whois GDPR legal war

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Cut the EU off

"While I think most of us can agree that ICANN generally sucks, So does Europe when they think they can impose their own crappy laws on the entire world (your not that big a deal, really)."

Try Googling US commercial imperialism.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Not legally binding...

"the original ARPAnet, which was, after all, originally developed by the US military (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, hence the 'ARPA' part)."

Just as an FYI, ARPA was created in 1958. Later, in 1972 when much of the non-military research had been moved off to other agencies such as NASA, ARPA became DARPA.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Everybody else just wants a quiet life. And so willl do as little as they can, so long as the lights stay on and the packets keep on moving."

But it's worth keeping half an eye on, just in case.

How does the saying go? All it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing, or words to that effect.

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