* Posts by Nick Gisburne

69 posts • joined 23 May 2010

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Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

Nick Gisburne
Alert

Office 365 no good in a leap year

There will be 366 days in 2020. Expect some down time.

A second preview of .NET Core 3? Shucks, Microsoft. You spoil us

Nick Gisburne
Facepalm

Standalone EXEs - what futuristic sorcery is this?

"We are working on making it possible to create standalone EXEs for desktop apps"

With the power of Microsoft we can all go back to where we were 30 or 40 years ago.

Ooo shiny! First Visual Studio 2019 sneak peek here in time for Chrimbo

Nick Gisburne

Age before beauty

I always prefer to use the previous version, at least until the next one is released. That way every tool and gadget I like to add will have no compatibility issues. Using VS 2015 now. Will probably shift to VS 2017 when this new one comes out, although even then only if there's a compelling reason to do so.

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Dim advice by the dashboard lights

Someone I know, who looks a lot like me but definitely isn't me, drove a Vauxhall Corsa and over time the dashboard lights were getting dimmer and dimmer until finally they went off altogether. He was just about to take it in to be fixed when his significant other, who looks like my significant other but also definitely isn't, wondered if it was simply the dashboard dimmer dial (I believe that's the technical term for it). Not having heard of such a thing, he wondered where this was.

"Down by your knee."

He being 6'9" and driving a Corsa (I refer you to Hightower, Police Academy), his knee not only obscured the dial but regularly brushed against it, gradually dimming the lights. Once fixed, never forgotten, and constantly reminded of it.

I'd also once turned the fog lights on that way. Or he had. We no longer talk about it.

Bonus points: the red paint had faded to pink over the years. Loved that car, and I still see it parked outside my house on Google maps.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Nick Gisburne
Mushroom

Don't forget we had Darwin

I know we got rid of Darwin with the change to the plastic tenner, but he is certainly one of the most influential figures in science and history. I still remember the reactions of some American evangelicals, who were congratulating themselves on having 'In God We Trust' on their money, when I showed them that one of our notes had that pesky evolution bloke Charles Darwin on it. Minds blown.

Twilio tweaks twicky twalkative bot toows to dewight devewopers: It's Autopilot for chat apps

Nick Gisburne
Pint

Walter the Wobot would be pwoud

Judge Dwedd not so much.

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Nick Gisburne

Empty device + TeamViewer

Whenever I travel I just take a basic device (phone, tablet or laptop, whichever is most appropriate) with little of importance on it, and use TeamViewer to connect to my computer back at home. This has the added advantage that if I'm somewhere with slow WiFi I can still run software at full speed - it's running at home and TeamViewer essentially just sends me screen updates. It would be trivial to enter a country with a factory reset device, install and use TeamViewer once you get there, then remove TeamViewer (or factory reset for extra security) before you leave. You'll need to remember your TeamViewer codes, but nobody can ask you for those if you don't have TeamViewer installed at the border.

British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

Nick Gisburne

Pork pie!

The egg people say "Eggs are the perfect salad accompaniment", which by definition means they are not a part of the salad, just something to go with one. Me, I think a pork pie is the perfect salad accompaniment, but I will understand if the salad emoji doesn't show it. Wait, what? There is no separate pork pie emoji? You'll be telling me there are no Cornish pastie or black pudding emojis next. As for the pork pie with an egg in, that is simply an abomination - does it even have a name, let alone an emoji? Pig-egg pie?

In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Nick Gisburne

Re: Ads were better in the good old days

You think that's luxury? I've done tech support using a 300 baud modem (no k, just 300), in a corridor (because that's where the only spare phone point was) so cold that I had to bring my own electric bar heater to work. It was often just quicker and easier to drive to the customer site instead.

Nick Gisburne

Ads were better in the good old days

We had proper ads in my day. None of this video and scripting malarky, no dragging your browser and computer down to the point of death. No, they were good, solid rectangles, nothing more than an animated GIF with a quick link to a crappy product page if you liked it, or keep scrolling if you didn't. You could see the content and you could see the ads and (important this) you could tell the difference between the two. Now it can take 2 or 3 minutes to load a page, but in the good old days it took, well, 2 or 3 minutes. No broadband. But when you tell kids these days about 14.4k dial-up modems they just don't believe you.

Exclusive to all press: Atari launches world's best ever games console

Nick Gisburne

Re: Wowiee

Neither. I was merely pointing out that 'El Reg posts snark' is not something unusual, and particularly not something you need to cry about.

Nick Gisburne

Re: Wowiee

Two things:

(1) Have you read about the other crowd-funded old-time consoles/computers which never EVER materialise?

(2) Have you read The Register before?

If (1) then (2). Cynical and bitter is the perfect tone for yet another crowd-funded fart in the wind.

Star Paws: Attack of the clones

Nick Gisburne

Why clone any pet?

I've owned several dogs, and although they've all been the same breed (English springer spaniels), part of the joy of having each dog is that they were all very different, in both looks and personality. The only reason I can see for having a clone is that they would look the same and/or act the same. Yet I wouldn't want to be constantly reminded that my new companion looks just like the old one, but really isn't. Sam, Ralfie, Douglas... never replaced, just, er, a word that means I'll be looking for a new one eventually, but NOT a clone!

Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

Nick Gisburne

Updating Windows 10 to Windows 10 also has its problems

When updating to the 'Windows 10 Fall Creators Update', it decided that it didn't like the folder which contained my user information, so promptly changed a registry entry and pointed to an empty 'temp' folder - same username/password, different folder. Without knowing what it had done, it appeared that the update had wiped all my installed software and settings, and it took a number of hours before I (a) realised things were still there and (b) found what registry entry to change to get my login pointing to the correct folder again. A non-techy user would have had little chance of fixing it. This techy user did not appreciate waking up to a seemingly 'clean' Windows desktop and the prospect of getting my entire working environment re-installed.

Learned my lesson. I now have Windows Update scheduled for its next update several days in the future, which I constantly kick forward every few days. I'll update when I'm ready, thanks. Just AFTER I do a full system backup, in case it all goes tits up again.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Nick Gisburne

Single Point of Failure? No thanks

A single point of failure for every garage door? Wonderful. So if the company's servers go down, every customer's garage door will end up being stuck, closed (or open) for hours. Please tell me there's a manual override. There is? Then ditch the company before it has a blackout, and just open the door yourself, manually.

I really do not see the sense in everything being connected to the internet. My personal bugbear is the Hive-style heating nonsense. Wow, I can switch on the heating remotely before I get home? Is that a problem I've ever needed to be solved? Right now I get home early, the house is 5 degrees cooler than I'd like, I switch on the heating, it warms up. A basic timer caters for 99% of my needs. If I'm late, the house has been warmed up without me and the extra expense will probably not force me to re-mortgage the dog.

I certainly do not need to open my garage door from anywhere in the world. The only place I need to open it is when I am directly in front of it, probably driving up to it or out of it, but certainly not driving while looking at my phone and trying to find the correct app to open the door.

UK National Lottery data breach: Fingers crossed – it might not be you

Nick Gisburne
Pirate

Watch out for the spam

Next up, the hordes of spammers telling you 'your lottery account has been compromised, please log into this entirely genuine server and type in your real details'. Which will probably catch out more people than the original breach.

User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Nick Gisburne

Re: Can you hold down the power button

When I looked it up it gave me something about jets in a carburetor, which is why I assumed it was a job for the garage mechanic. If you'd said water jets we'd have been on the same page immediately. The combined effect is that it's always necessary to communicate properly, so we're all conceivably right and wrong at the same time I suppose. But it's still good to vent about idiot end users :o)

Nick Gisburne
Pint

Re: Can you hold down the power button

"I'm looking at my keyboard and I can't see a key with "Enter" written on it."

Mine does say Enter, but I've had keyboards with the bent arrow there too, so I take your point. The real issue is that an IT manager should know what the Enter key does and where it is, even if there was nothing on it at all.

Thinking back, I may even have called it 'Return', but then I learned to type on typewriter, which had an actual carriage return. The whole thing happened in the 1990s, when I was doing tech support in a cold corridor over a 300 baud modem. Tell that to kids these days and they won't believe you :o)

Nick Gisburne
Headmaster

Re: Can you hold down the power button

You've told people not to use jargon, but I have no idea whatsoever what 'top-up the jets' means*. As far as I know, my car has a four-stroke petrol engine, no jet power in sight.

*I had a quick Google for it and I'm not much wiser. Unlike checking the tyres, it doesn't seem to be something the average car owner would want to do for themselves. Saying that 'power button' is jargon is the same as saying 'put the key in the ignition' is jargon. No, at some point you have to be aware of such fundamental terms to be a user of any kind of machinery or tech. Jets? As a driver I don't need to know about that - I drive the car, but I pay my garage to service it. And yes, I can 'check the tyres'.

I'd maintain that 'power button' is absolutely NOT 'jargon'. If someone is employed to use a computer at work all day, I'd hope that their standard of education is such that they can understand basic concepts such as that. He'd already 'asked her to turn it off and turn it on again', and she later said 'Oh you mean the button I use to switch it off with?' Neither 'turn it off' or 'switch it off' are 'jargon'.

I had an IT manager - a MANAGER mind you, of an office full of IT equipment and employees - who when told to type in something and press the Enter key said 'what's the Enter key?' Having to tell someone that it's the big key with 'Enter' printed on it was embarrassing for both of us. It's hard not to lose it in those situations.

Jargon isn't the problem. Some people are just morons who shouldn't have passed the interview for the job in the first place.

TrollingTrump.gop

Nick Gisburne

#DonaldAndMickey

Donald Trump + Mike Pence = #DonaldAndMickey

El Reg blows chow down at Justretch.com

Nick Gisburne

Ju stretch - worse than waterboarding

Ju stretch - a medieval anti-Semitic torture regime?

Philae comet probe got down without harpoons

Nick Gisburne

FSM for the win

Intelligent falling is thus proven and is no longer 'just a theory'

Psst: Heard the one about the National Pupil Database? Thought not

Nick Gisburne

Actually...

Actually the legal obligation is that a child must be provided with an education. There is no legal requirement that the education must be provided by sending the child to a school. Education is compulsory. School is optional.

http://www.educationotherwise.net/

35 US states petition for secession – on White House website

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Children, children!

We lost so we don't want to play any more. Boo hoo.

Gay porn burglar must pay $150k for each grumble flick

Nick Gisburne
Coat

That's got to be painful

And the fine will hurt too.

Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Pointless slap on the wrist

How many times have we seen the statement "The ISP was told that the advert must not appear again in its current form"? Since this invariably comes *after* the company's ad campaign has already ended, why bother at all? It's just a licence for anyone to start a short-term deceptive campaign, one which will already be over before they are criticised for it. Until financial penalties are imposed, this kind of warning will continue to be ignored. An ad with Usain Bolt and Richard Branson sat on the naughty step is what we want, at the very least :o)

Amazon accused of remotely wiping punter's Kindle

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

So the only option is...

So now that she is no longer allowed to buy e-books from Amazon, presumably the only option is to find 'alternative' sources for these books. Alternatives which are not going to add any money to Amazon's coffers, or indeed to the pockets of the author. Spectacular fail there guys, you just sent a paying customer over towards the dark side.

Can she at least get a refund for the purchase price of her now-useless Kindle, and for the books which she can no longer access legally? I suspect not.

Mmmm, delicious new sugar batteries keep gadgets up all night

Nick Gisburne
Coat

From Li-ion batteries to Lion bars

What next, Wispa Drives?

Did Mitt Romney really get 117,000 REAL Twitter followers in ONE DAY?

Nick Gisburne
WTF?

What's the point?

What's the point of having a million 'followers' if none of them are real? Isn't one of the basic ideas of Twitter supposed to be that you send out information to people who are interested in what you have to say? Then why buy a list of people who aren't actually people but fake accounts who will therefore never read your tweets? You might as well be delivering newspapers to empty houses. I don't get it.

Did your iPhone 'just stop working' - or did you drop it in your BEER?

Nick Gisburne
Go

What if the water isn't the problem?

Let's say you have a minor spill on your phone and some liquid gets into the detection area but doesn't cause any damage. Phone gets wet, still works. Weeks later the phone fails for a completely unrelated reason. You take it back, they check for water ingress, and immediately reject it, without investigating any other possibility. Fair? No.

What is needed is an app to tell you the status of the phone's water detection device. If it's been activated but the phone is still working, maybe you can pay a small fee to have the device serviced and reset - has to be cheaper than getting a new phone if your warranty is invalidated, right?

So the patent needs a slight mod to allow the phone itself to tell the user the state of the liquid detection device.

Can I patent that? I'll keep it secret just in case.

Smoke-belching flash drive self-destructs on command

Nick Gisburne
Meh

Problem scenario

Can anyone spot a problem with this scenario...

TSA: Excuse me sir, please come with us, and we'll take your computer

You: Before you take it, can I just power it up and press the shiny red button?

TSA: That sounds very reasonable, please continue

A destructive mechanism is surely more useful if the owner needs to DE-activate it every time it's switched on. How often are you likely to be just about to fall into enemy hands and yet also have enough time to power up the system and press the red button? I would have thought that a more common scenario is this: the equipment is taken (surprise attack / theft / seizure) before you can destroy the data - you may in fact not even realise it's gone. In which case you need to be sure that if the correct password isn't entered at boot-up the thing will self-destruct.

Fasthosts officially not the best in UK for virtual servers

Nick Gisburne

Re: worst hosting company I ever had the misfortune to deal with

I'll second that. Mine was a short, sharp shock and I struggled to get my company's domain name and hosting out of their clutches when I realised how bad they were. Later, when I put up a page about my troubled dealings with Fasthosts, they threatened to sue me for defamation, until I pointed out that I was simply listing every bad experience they had subjected me to.

Russian upstart claims BitTorrent-killer

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

They assume a lot

They seem to assume that once this 'service' starts to become a problem people will continue to use the same, unmodified BitTorrent clients which no longer work, and won't instead download new, improved clients which have been upgraded to be attack-resistant. Because that's how the internet works, right?

Perhaps they should try to sell the government a device for shooting down bi-planes. I'm sure it would be just as effective.

Cameron hardens stance on UK web filth block

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Why just porn? Let's have an opt-in for the whole thing

If we are 'protecting the children' why is it always porn which faces the censor's wrath? Surely ALL content suitable for adults only should be opt-in. Do you like video games which are 18-rated? Sorry, you'll have to opt in if you want to see reviews, clips, etc. Horror, violence, any movie with an 18-rating - opt in or you don't get to see it.

What if a 10-year-old clicks on a trailer for 'The Hunger Games' (rated 12A)? Opt in only! What if the household has kids under 5? Shouldn't parents have to opt in to receive content which isn't suitable for pre-schoolers? Think of the damage those TV shows for 8-year-olds might do to a toddler. Think of the children!

Here's an idea. Assume that the default setting is 'no Internet at all'. Then use an opt-in method for the whole thing. All of it. Give this opt-in a special name, something like, oh I dunno, 'service contract' and pay for this opt-in 'service' month by month using an adult-only payment method - a credit card for example. That person could then take responsibility for the viewing habits of the household, because of course what's suitable for Dad might not be okay for little Jimmy.

What? We do that already? Who knew?

Which of these would the average person most like to take part in: sex, violence, torture, death? And yet the portrayal of which one of these is the only one the opt-in will cover?

It's not really about stopping children viewing content which is not age appropriate is it? It's just porn. Bad old corrupting old porn. Bad old LEGAL old porn (because the illegal stuff is ALREADY blocked). Sorry, if porn is bad and must be kept away from children, then so must all other adult-rated content. Cover it all with an opt-in or cover none of it, but don't just pick on porn because... well, why DO they just pick on porn?

Virgin Media cuts Pirate Bay access for millions of punters

Nick Gisburne
Holmes

Lots of deleted posts here

I'm assuming the large number of deleted posts are all 'this is what to do to get round the block', in fact I've just spotted the El Reg comment confirming that. Suffice to say, then, that if someone censors a part of the Internet, there will be ways around it and people will find them.

The block won't even stop people who don't have much technical know-how - they just have to find someone on the web to tell them what to do.

GCSE, A-level science exams ARE dumbed down - watchdog

Nick Gisburne

Why not tell them the actual percentage?

Here's a radical idea: instead of A,B,C why not just tell students how many marks they got out of 100? Universities could immediately decide which percentile they want their applicants to fall into - for Oxbridge you might need 90%, for Scuzzo Uni it could be 65%.

If different exam boards set less challenging questions, perhaps the universities could take that into account when making their offers. Board A - you'll need 80%, Board B you'll only need 75% (because they have higher standards).

If they introduced A* to identify elite students, giving out the actual percentages surely does that job much better.

Basic instinct: how we used to code

Nick Gisburne
Thumb Up

I like BASIC

I like BASIC. And I REALLY like VB6. The money I earned from it paid for 95% of my house, so I don't really care if it's a 'good' language. It just works for me. It lets (present tense - I'm still using it well after the expiry date) me code things quickly and easily and just works for the things I need to create. I've been coding since the ZX81 days and using BASIC hasn't stopped me structuring my code, properly commenting it, etc - even though I'm the only one who sees the source. I don't allow myself to write sloppy code - sloppy coders do that, don't blame it on the language.

I also used to love assembler, and in fact developed my own dialect of BASIC in 6502 assembly code for the Atari 400 and 800. I miss the days when you knew what, where and why every single byte of your code was going/doing. I still have the assembler cartridge somewhere... but sadly no longer own the old computers!

Use the holy word of God to stay secure online, says bishop

Nick Gisburne
Alien

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

You will need all 24 tentacles to type that one phonetically.

Geeks seek cubits for Battlestar flight sim

Nick Gisburne
Go

Nice project, but...

You'd only need the equipment to roll upside down if you were simulating a flight where gravity is a factor, presumably in the atmosphere of a planet. In space, all you need are visuals which tell you where everything is, plus some kind of mechanism to convince your body that it is experiencing acceleration/deceleration. Simulating something like a tight loop or roll is going to be extremely difficult - how are they going to force the pilot into his seat with some extra G forces? The cage can spin, yes, but it will need some serious forward motion if you want to simulate acceleration in a straight line. Even if all this is possible, it's going to take some heavy-duty physics number-crunching to produce something anywhere near realistic.

On the plus side, it's a high school project so perhaps their expectations aren't for 100% realism.

They can certainly expect to produce something capable of delivering a fun experience, so good luck to them. So say we all!

High Court confirms 'cheap DVD' tax loophole will close

Nick Gisburne
Meh

Rarely buy it new

Old school alert: I prefer discs in boxes, and books made from paper.

I stopped using the likes of Play.com long ago when I realised that I could buy near-perfect products from Amazon's third party sellers for pennies plus postage. So long as I don't want the latest releases (I can wait a year or so for used copies - nothing is THAT urgent) I can get something which has probably been played (DVDs) or read (books) only once or twice, and so isn't in any worse condition than it ends up being once I've used it myself.

I make an exception for boxed sets, which don't usually end up much cheaper from third party sellers, but those are usually priced above the £15 limit so presumably include VAT anyway.

Ageing Mario blamed for Nintendo's woes

Nick Gisburne
Pint

Re: Re: Analogue Mario?

My ancestors grew up using the Tally Stick version, but when tablets came out they switched to the ClayPad. Akkadian games for the win!

Sky flaunts F1 app with split-screen functions

Nick Gisburne

Or you can watch RTL online

Just like to add to that: if you don't even want to fork out for a satellite dish you can watch RTL live online for qualifying and the race. Of course it's in German, but Radio 5 Live is broadcasting live commentary for every race, so use one tab for video, one for sound in your browser. I tested it last year and it worked fine, though obviously I switched back to TV once I knew it was all working. I'll have no other option in 2012 for half the races - RTL it is.

Germany stalls over ACTA treaty ratification

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Boffins out earbuds that sound right when inserted wrong

Nick Gisburne

Simpler even than colour coding

Pete 2 suggests colour coding, but that might add a penny or two to the unit cost (different materials/coating), so why not have a physical difference between the two sides which can be detected by touch (so the blind could also make use of it). Left bud has a groove/depression/bump, right one doesn't?

Or if it's that important to have the things in the correct ears, just put another option on the MP3 player to switch the channels over, or to mono. That solution works whatever is attached to the player.

As for sharing your earbuds, this does seem like an awful lot of trouble to go to for the opportunity to give your ear wax to someone else.

NASA halts 'naut flogging Apollo 13 notebook

Nick Gisburne
Thumb Down

This is nothing more than petty spite on NASA's part. The notebook has presumably been in Lovell's possession since 1970, so why did they not try to get it back before now? I imagine he's selling it so that he can enjoy his remaining years with some extra comfort, so to yank that from him for no real reason is reprehensible. It's not that NASA really wants it, they just don't want anyone else to have it.

Boffins demo time-warp cloaking device

Nick Gisburne
Mushroom

Same problem...

"their current scheme would have to be 18,600 miles long"

They had the same problem when they invented the nuclear hand grenade and realised that the instructions for use were 'pull pin and throw 17 miles'.

Stephen Hawking seeks geek to maintain his unique wheelchair

Nick Gisburne

Give him the voice of Keith Lemon

Big Bang Tidy!

Apple's TV killer 'on shelves by summer 2012'

Nick Gisburne

Nobody believes me now when I tell them about coin-operated black and white TVs, so thanks for confirming it! I was born in 1966 so they presumably lasted into the early 70s too.

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

iTV? Er, maybe you haven't heard...

I'm not sure that name will pass unnoticed in the UK, given that ITV has been producing TV programming for over half a century. It's not like the name is used in an entirely different industry is it?

Perhaps Apple imagine that using a lower case 'i' gives them special powers... in which case if that's all it takes, who's up for releasing IPOds, IPAds and IPhOnEs?

Seagate matches and raises WD disk warranty cuts

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Deals behind closed doors

Could the HD companies not at least try to make it look like they haven't all got together and agreed this between them? Normal competition sees companies try to offer better service, products and value, so as to out-market the other companies in the field. Diving to lower levels of service, and announcing those low levels on practically the same day, smacks of shady back-room deals. Long warranties cost money, so it appears that they've all collectively decided to claw back some of that money. It's the same kind of dodgy operating as price fixing, and they couldn't even be bothered to stagger the announcements by a few weeks - the WD warranty reductions were reported only 24 hours ago.

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