* Posts by Kubla Cant

2091 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

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

Kubla Cant

Re: Pissed

No one ever got fired for buying IBM Microsoft.

...which is why every company in the world relies on an IBM computer running an an IBM operating system.

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Bright spark dev irons out light interference

Kubla Cant

Any other products like this, that work better when used incorrectly?

Road sweepers, who must be assumed to know a thing or two about brooms, always seem to use them upside down.

That sounds as if they hold the brush and sweep with the handle. What I mean is that they use the brush end with its bristles parallel to the pavement so that the wooden back scrapes the ground. I'm beginning to wish I'd never mentioned it.

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Kubla Cant

Re: Have you ever put something apparently useless to good use?

downvote for the grocer's apostrophe

It's usually a greengrocer's apostrophe, as in "potato's" and "tomato's".

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Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Kubla Cant

It's the usual story. No matter who you vote for, they end up giving the job to a politician.

Politicians: a group of people whose only skill is disagreeing with other politicians.

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

Kubla Cant

AbeBooks specializes in rare books, and provides a marketplace for sellers of expensive tomes dotted all over the world.

Maybe they do sell rare, expensive books, but that's not my impression. I've bought quite a few books from Abe, and I don't think I've ever paid more than a fiver including postage. Second-hand bookshops are an excellent way to buy a nice copy of anything that's not a recent publication.

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My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

Kubla Cant

Re: I feel the need...

You're not the only person. For me, it's got worse since I moved into a big house. When I measure the chore of searching the place for the tool I need* against the cost of replacing it with something that probably costs much less than the original, the replacement usually wins.

*I wouldn't need to search If I put things away neatly when I've finished with them. But I'm a lifelong believer in "associative retrieval" - I can find anything by remembering what I last did with it. Unfortunately my memory isn't what it was.

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Kubla Cant

@Alister I'm not a motor mechanic, but I think if I was rebuilding a car engine I'd do it at ground level. How did you get it out of the loft?

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Kubla Cant

Re: Bin it all.

the "agile" bloke with a toothbrush and a shirt as his sole possessions

That's going too far. Even Jack Reacher has trousers too.

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Kubla Cant

How about...

Numerous motherboards removed when upgrading my PC and kept in case I ever needed to build a really slow computer.

Even more IDE hard disks, in case I wanted to revert to less storage.

The ISDN stuff that came off the wall when I graduated to broadband, in case I wanted a slow, expensive connection for my downgraded PC.

A Vodafone PCMCIA card.

A Bluetooth dongle.

And tonight's star prize: a Digital Equipment SCSI tape streamer and a collection of DLT tapes, some containing backups from the last millennium.

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Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

Kubla Cant

Re: Just install Linux (joking aside)

@Ken Hagan

based on your comment, you haven't got around to trying to put Linux on the host PC and Windows in the VM

As I said in my comment, installing Linux on the host PC was what I tried first.

...since your monitor appears to be so big...you might be interested in virtualising a second monitor on that VM

I'm using a laptop - there is no monitor.

That said, I fully accept that there are solutions to all the problems I've encountered, and that I should stop complaining and get on with solving them.

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Kubla Cant
Unhappy

Re: Just install Linux (joking aside)

@AstroNutter

My recent experiences with a new Dell laptop bear this out. I don't like Windows 10, but I'm reluctant to zap the installed O/S completely, not least because of reports of poor battery life under Linux.

So I thought I'd dual-boot. No luck, some infernal BIOS feature means that the Linux installer can't see the disk.

Well how about running Linux in a VM? I read enthusiastic reports (El Reg and elsewhere) about the Ubuntu image Microsoft have created for Hyper-V. So I enable Hyper-V and install it. The VM window is about the size of a postage stamp. Switch to full-screen, and it's a postage stamp in the middle of the screen. Messing around with Grub in the VM got me a slightly bigger stamp. It turns out the maximum resolution of the Hyper-V video driver is a miserable 1920x1080.

OK, let's try VMWare. No luck there, either. It seem W10 has some VM-related security feature that prevents VMWare from launching a VM. There's a solution to this, but I don't like entering commands I don't understand, and I haven't got the time to investigate.

I haven't got around to trying VirtualBox yet.

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Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Kubla Cant

Re: Edward Jenner, the inventor of vaccination.

I strongly suggest looking up Variolation in 15th century China before bragging too much about which country invented vaccination.

It's a well known fact that absolutely everything was invented in China before we even knew we needed it.

But the important difference between variolation and vaccination is Blossom the cow. Even in backward old Europe it was known that inoculation - a mild dose of smallpox - provided future immunity. The problem was ensuring that the dose was mild enough not to kill or disfigure the patient. Jenner recognised that cowpox, apparently a fairly benign infection endemic among milkmaids, provided immunity to smallpox.

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Kubla Cant
Headmaster

Re: Astrology??!!

@diodesign Bletchley Park – the code-breaking center

Was that the Bletchley Park in California?

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Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

Kubla Cant

Re: "Erm" is for the speech impedimented.

their habit of making so many of their vowels the same as in "her"

The sound in question is called a schwa, and it's the most common phoneme in English of all varieties.

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Kubla Cant

There once was a theory that Greek roots take "ize" and Latin roots "ise". The OED says "bastard" is from medieval Latin bastardus, probably from bastum ‘packsaddle’ (?!).

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Kubla Cant

Re: Wittgenstein, eh?

In Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein famously* said that "the meaning of a word is its use in the language". So "erm" has a meaning determined by how it's used: as a nonce-word.

*for small values of famously.

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Kubla Cant

Re: Forsooth!

Ask Norman where, in the time line of the English Language, he would prefer us to weigh anchor.

@msknight: I agree utterly with the sentiment of your post, but I'm bound to point out that to "weigh anchor" is to raise the anchor from the sea bed and, by implication, sail away. I think "drop anchor", or just "anchor" would make more sense in the context.

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Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s

Kubla Cant
Mushroom

Re: Wonderful Nostalgia

And before Windows sounds, Novell had a command called FIRE PHASERS that made the standard PC speaker make a sort of 'Pew pew' noise.

I think the PHASERS part was (appropriately) phatic - FIRE CARRONADES would still result in a weedy 'Pew pew'.

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Kubla Cant

Re: Ringtones are cringworthy

Before they became cringworthy [sic], I had the opening bars of The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised from Messiah. The message seemed appropriate.

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Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel

Kubla Cant

Ubuntu's decision to put the menus at the top of the screen was a usability disaster.

Too true, but it's a disaster shared by Mac OS. It gets even better when you install Excel on a Mac: you have the ribbon, a menu at the top of the window, and another, subtly different menu at the top of the screen.

I thought there were people who actually study the ergonomics of user interfaces. Do they keep their results secret?

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Chrome 70 flips switch on Progressive Web Apps in Windows 10 – with janky results

Kubla Cant

MS spend a lot of time on their UIs and compared to the amount of time most Web designers spend it shows.

If anybody spent a lot of time designing the Windows 10 UI, it must have been a team of psychopaths.

My least favourite bit of Microsoft UI is their penchant for providing a fixed-size dialog for editing long text values, such as the environment tool in Control Panel.

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Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

Kubla Cant

Re: Are you Sue?

In the 1970s a teacher friend discovered her new class had a Yvonne. But pronounced Wy-von-knee, her parents saw it written down...

But the fact that you write "a Yvonne" rather than "an Yvonne" makes me wonder which consonant you start the name with.

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Microsoft deletes deleterious file deletion bug from Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Kubla Cant

Re: After 43 years in the business ...

Businesses seem to regard IT as a cost and nothing else.

Maybe. But it's an odd attitude when IT is what the business sells.

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On the first day of Christmas my true love gave me tea... pigs-in-blankets-flavoured tea

Kubla Cant
Joke

Re: Sprouts

the secret is to not overcook them

Quite right. They're ruined by people who put them on to cook on Christmas Eve. 05:00 on Christmas morning is plenty early enough.

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Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub

Kubla Cant

We still have to wonder why modern keyboards have "Break", "Pause", and "SysRq".

And, of course, the key labelled "Scroll Lock", which doesn't.

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Kubla Cant

Re: - and /

NT had Unix style sym links, then the interface to set them vanished on a later NT

Reappeared in recent Windows versions as mklink, but for some unfathomable reason you need system privilege to use it. I can create and remove directories and files, map network drives, map a drive letter to a directory, and do all sorts of other stuff, but creating symlinks is only for the big boys.

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Kubla Cant

CP/M looked a bit PDP-8-like

Except that one is an operating system and the other is a computer. Perhaps it was a bit like RT-11, RSX or RSTS? I recall that CP/M and RSTS both involved extensive use of a command called PIP.

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Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

Kubla Cant

NCN Signposts

A similar experience is available to anyone who has a bike, but no smartphone.

Try following the National Cycle Network signposts. If you're lucky you'll encounter nothing worse than a rough track with massive flooded potholes. I finally gave up on NCN when my route was signposted across the middle of a ploughed field. It would have been impassable even on a mountain bike, and I didn't fancy arriving at work caked in mud.

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Kubla Cant

it gives you an immediate indication of which direction you are walking in

I'm sure I remember that Google Maps used to do that, but they've upgraded it so it doesn't. The only way to tell which way to go now is to walk 200 yards in a random direction to see which way the pointer moves (usually the wrong way).

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Kubla Cant

Re: Hahaha...

what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking

No recreational activity allowed unless it involves lots of expensive equipment. For example: rugby is played by blokes equipped with nothing much more than a strip of insulating tape around their ears, while every American "football" player wears about $1000 worth of protective gear. Cycling used to be a fairly cheap activity until the Americans got interested.

It's hard to make walking expensive.

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Blueprint of modern construction can be found in a tech cluster... of 19th century England

Kubla Cant

columns, which could cope with up to 2.5 times their normal load. If one was broken, those surrounding it could collapse under the extra weight

Is this a bug or a feature? My knowledge of structural engineering is limited, but it sounds like there is sufficient redundancy to survive failure of a single column.

Fascinating write-up, nonetheless. This is now on my list of places to visit (as long as the columns haven't all collapsed).

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As one Microsoft Windows product hauls itself out of the grave, others tumble in

Kubla Cant

Who would want such a thing?

My wife has a Nokia Lumia that runs Windows, and I'm afraid she absolutely loves it. The hardware's gradually failing, and I don't know what we'll do when it gives up the ghost entirely.

She tried an Android phone recently, but in a couple of weeks her SIM was back in the old Nokia. I was sufficiently desperate to take her into an Apple store on Saturday, where I was surprised to find that the IPhone UI is more-or-less indistinguishable from Android.

Is there such a thing as a Windows emulator for Android?

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Spent your week box-ticking? It can't be as bad as the folk at this firm

Kubla Cant

Re: “were quoted a ridiculous price and told it would take four months”.

Morel of the story... don't practice mushroom management.

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I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Kubla Cant

Madness

A long, long time ago, somebody invented money. The nice thing about it was that you could use it almost anywhere, to buy almost anything. Then along came plastic cards, which in many ways were even better. With the development of contactless payment, they became an easy way to pay for anything, at any price*, anywhere.

But the "if it's not an app it's old skool" madness has now taken over. Every company in the world has to have its own app - a petrol station I used recently was promoting an app that would enable me to pay for fuel at any of their outlets (which I can do already), but not, presumably, at any other company's. Why would I want such a thing?

* A friend who is a similar age to me (i.e. more quatrodecennial than millennial) was upset when she saw her 24-year-old son's bank statement: "It's tragic, he's having to pay for coffees and sandwiches with his card". I explained about the stigma attached to cash money these days.

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30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days

Kubla Cant

Re: "who had a computer at home (with a modem)"

The problem was the modem - many computer didn't come with one, and they were expensive

Before BT was privatised and relaxed the rules, modems all had to be tested and approved by Post Office Telephones. As a result, there were about three models available, each costing more than a week's wages. All were robustly engineered so that you could stand on them to flash an Aldiss lamp - this being generally the fastest communication they could manage.

vi was built by programmers, for programming

I wouldn't have the nerve to badmouth vi. But for those of us who don't use it all the time, the startup sequence is usually like this:

$ vi filename

<start typing stuff, then notice that I didn't enable insert mode until the first 'i' in the stuff>

:q!

$ vi filename

i

<start typing...>

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National Museum of Computing to hold live Enigma code-breaking demo with a Bombe

Kubla Cant

While the machine does its work, participants in the conference will hear papers

If they're in the same room they may struggle to hear the papers,

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Click your heels, um, mouse thrice and you've quickly got Ubuntu on Hyper-V in Win 10 Pro

Kubla Cant

Solution?

I recently acquired a sexy new Dell laptop. The fly in the ointment is that it came with Windows 10 installed. Even after several weeks I feel a wave of nausea every time I see the garish applications on the start "menu".

I've thought about zapping the horrible thing and simply installing Linux, but reports on the web suggest the battery life suffers. I've also tried a dual-boot installation, but it turns out the Ubuntu installer can't see the disk unless I tweak some BIOS setting that can only be changed before installing Windows.

I wonder if this might be a solution?

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Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Kubla Cant

Telstar

It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.

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Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone

Kubla Cant

Re: What's this Silverlight thing?

In an era where complete emulators for entire processor architectures can be implemented in pure JavaScript...

But SmallBasic presumably runs in a different era.

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Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

Kubla Cant
Black Helicopters

Rearranging the deckchairs

I've just spent 30 minutes reading the fascinating, but ultimately rather depressing page about client identification that @Norman Nescio posted. The short version seems to be that browser-detectable tracking is strictly for kids. It's only a matter of time before more sophisticated undetectable tracking methods are commoditised and generally used. To my personal knowledge, they're already used as part of anti-fraud offerings.

Basically, were all doomed.

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Kubla Cant
Thumb Up

Re: Check your tracking status

Thanks @Norman Nescio: very interesting and useful links

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Fruit flies use the power of the sun to help them fly in straight lines

Kubla Cant

Drosophila can fly nearly 15 kilometers - over nine miles - across Death Valley in a single evening

As long as there's an over-ripe banana on the other side of Death Valley.

The other superpower of fruit flies appears to be evasion. Judging by the way they fly and their small size, you expect to be able to grab one in flight, but they always seem to dodge at the last minute.

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No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

Kubla Cant

Re: The Last One.html

The Last One was actually the first in a long line of tools that make simple things easy and complicated things impossible.

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Kubla Cant

Re: I do wonder...

That's an interesting and plausible explanation, but I'm sure the coins-above-notes annoyance isn't limited to change from electronic cash registers. I'd always assumed the reason to be a subconscious fear that the notes might blow away.

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Kubla Cant
Mushroom

Web development these days is all about dragging in pointless dependencies from NPM.

Don't forget superseding last week's must-have tool with this week's. And devising new opaque commands. I just got used to npm, then I read a book where some of the commands have to be executed as 'ng npm'. Even this is apparently too lucid, as somebody's introduced a command called 'n'.

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Windows 95 roars once more in the Microsoft round-up

Kubla Cant
Angel

20Gb disk? I'm sure Gigabyes were such stuff as dreams are made on in 1995.

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Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

Kubla Cant

Re: All these people agreeing with Verizon...

carry on with the Ad Hominims

I think you mean ad hominem. I'm not sure what the plural is (maybe it's "testimonial").

If it means anything, "ad hominims" means "to the ape-men".

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It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Kubla Cant

Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

an abstract application name is just not helpful

Gnu Image Manipulation Program. The name says exactly what it does. (Apart from the Gnu bit, but then Adobe Photoshop doesn't have much to do with mud houses.)

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It liiives! Sorta. Gentle azure glow of Windows XP clocked in Tesco's self-checkouts, no less

Kubla Cant

Re: Eh?

Makes sense if you assume "will" is implied before "hit end-of-life".

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Et tu, Brute? Then fail, Caesars: When it's hotel staff, not the hackers, invading folks' privacy

Kubla Cant

The hacking world's summer camp ... a week of lectures, networking, and partying.

No doubt I'm succumbing to stereotypes, but imagining the sort of party they have at the hacking world's summer camp makes my toes curl.

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