* Posts by Kubla Cant

1952 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

British firm to build world's first offshore automated ship

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: The first automated ship should be called

Mary Celeste

6
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Useless Fact of the day...

My immediate thought when I read the name was of the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758.

0
0

Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Annoying questions

There's something at least as bad as the stupid question, and that's the too-well-informed question.

Almost any tech presentation's Q&A is liable to feature an interminable question from an audience member who's only asking a question to prove that he knows much more about the subject than the presenter. Often, the question will be distinctly off-topic, because the subject about which he is omniscient isn't really the subject of the presentation. During the ten minutes it takes him to ask the question, the more sensitive members of the audience are trying to crawl under their seats.

13
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Fear of flying

Three guys got vomited on by some poor woman

If I had been one of the vomitees I think I would have phrased it "Three poor guys got vomited on by some poor woman".

19
0

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Giggling French Schoolchildren...

A sale is even more snigger-inducing when it's a LINGERIE SALE. Talk about washing your dirty linen in public.

9
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Cool

I'd heard it as "Oh, quel queue tu as", which probably means much the same. But I've never heard an explanation of why one would transform it in such a way. I can't imagine that Kenneth Tynan expected to improve the takings by exploiting nostalgia for the Raj.

Of course, it's "Oh, Kolkata" now.

4
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I think I've seen streets in France labelled voie sans issue.

Apparently, the first known use of cul de sac was in 1738, which rather rules out its being invented by a PHB in the suburbs. Quite possibly it was idiomatic French at the time.

2
0

Self-driving cars doomed to be bullied by pedestrians

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Wait a minute...

An interesting opportunity for us cyclists to become even more unpopular. We no longer have to bump along in the gutter, running the gauntlet of broken glass and drain covers. Now we can share the spacious traffic lanes with cars, as is our right.

This won't make much difference in city centres, where bikes travel faster on average than cars, but it will be fun to see how many driverless cars you can collect on a country road.

3
15

Internet of S**t things claims another scalp: DNS DDoS smashes StarHub

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: sanitise customer kit

Should ISPs be responsible for sending technicians "to sanitise customer kit"? It sounds great, but very expensive. I don't know whether ISPs have "greedy pockets", but I suspect that such a competitive business works to fairly narrow margins. Either way, the cost of the roaming technicians is going to find its way on to customers' bills.

The real responsibility should be with the manufacturers of insecure kit, but they currently have little incentive to increase their prices in pursuit of security. Perhaps ISPs should restrict connectivity to certified kit. In the UK, Post Office Telephones (the predecessor to BT) used to do that with modems. The trouble with that is that a 300 bd modem used to cost £300.

2
0

HMRC to create new compliance team focused on 'gig economy' workers

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

We know it when we see it

They have to check, using a pathetic, inaccurate and not-yet-finished online tool (which obviously will use HMRC's viewpoint, not that which has been written into law or that which has been shown as correct in the courts) to determine whether you are in disguised employment.

There's a reason why it's inaccurate and unfinished, and it's not just another public-sector IT cock-up. Ever since the early days of IR35, HMRC have been shifty about providing a clear definition of disguised employment. They prefer to say "we know it when we see it".

The reason is obvious. If they provide a clear set of rules then contractors, clients, and their accountants and lawyers, will be able to establish relationships that are definitively not employment. Everybody will be happy except HMRC.

3
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: I am not a contractor

I too fail to grasp how IR35 can be "costing" anything

It's not difficult. When the costs incurred in collecting a tax exceed the revenue collected, the tax costs something.

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

@AC All of the [IT Consultants] I know are employed by their own limited company, and are not 'self employed'. No one in their right mind works for a personal services company.

"Personal services company" is the term used to describe the kind of limited company that an IT consultant works for. It's a company whose sole business consists of selling somebody's personal services.

0
0

Sysadmin flees asbestos scare with disk drive, blank pay cheques, angry builders in pursuit

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

parents at a school sports day honing in on you

This is an eggcorn. The actual expression is "homing in".

Sorry.

13
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Die Hard VII: Sysadmin

Lord Vader is on his second warning. He's already crossed swords trays with Mr Stevens the Catering Manager.

18
0

Who killed Cyanogen?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: @ Ratfox "try to leverage its market power"

Doesn't stop it sounding like Twatspeak

To achieve the true Twatspeak sound, you have to pronounce it to rhyme with "beverage".

9
0

Drone idiots are still endangering real aircraft and breaking the rules

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I can see it's bad news if a drone gets sucked into an engine, but I'm slightly surprised that they pose other risks. The wash from an airliner is considerable - enough to pose a serious danger to light aircraft in its vicinity. Unless it's directly in the path I would have thought a drone would just be blown away.

2
2

Google DeepMind 'learns' the London Underground map to find best route

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Freya's maternal uncle

The DNC was then asked questions such as "who is Freya’s maternal uncle"

That sounds much harder than tube navigation. This page says:

Freya (Old Norse Freyja, “Lady”) is one of the preeminent goddesses in Norse mythology. She’s a member of the Vanir tribe of deities, but became an honorary member of the Aesir gods after the Aesir-Vanir War. Her father is Njord. Her mother is unknown, but could be Nerthus. Freyr is her brother. Her husband, named Odr in late Old Norse literature, is certainly none other than Odin, and, accordingly, Freya is ultimately identical with Odin’s wife Frigg.

If her mother's unknown, it will be tough to find her maternal uncle.

1
0

Time to crack down on sales of dragon's gold - securobods

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Confused

The article starts off talking about money laundering, then conflates that with theft of game (and real) currency from players' accounts.

Money laundering is about concealing the origin of money that has already been criminally obtained. So it involves buying stuff and reselling it. If you steal money in a game, then you have a bigger laundering problem.

2
0

VMS will be ready to run on x86 in 2019!

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Will there be applications (what DEC used to call "layered software")? Otherwise it'll be a case of writing nifty DCL scripts, editing text files, purging all the old file versions, and, er, that's it.

I'm guessing that it won't emulate the exotic VAX instruction set, that supported an amazing variety of datatypes, and included features such as polynomial evaluation and vector operations in a single instruction.

2
0

A robot kitchen? Whatever. Are you stupid enough to fall for this?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

At last - the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation

I'm guessing that this thing will turn out something that's almost, but not entirely, unlike food.

4
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: It's all bullshit

Strange, that's how they tech robots in things like car manufacturering. See how the human does it and then repeat.

But car manufacturing doesn't require the frequent exercise of judgement that is a feature of cooking. Watch any of the numerous cookery programmes on TV, and you'll see the chef is tasting all the time. He's also making decisions based on colour and aroma.

How's the robot going to manage that?

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Marmite

Can I just say that I'm fairly indifferent to Marmite. Don't love it, don't hate it. Where did the idea that the whole world is polarised on the subject of the stuff come from?

2
3

Bloke gets six years in slammer after fessing up to £4.75m tax scam

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Vital Public Services

with cash that should have been funding vital public services

That's terrible. But it would have been OK if he defrauded them of the cash that should have been funding wasteful failed public sector IT projects.

0
0

Internet of pills plan calls for drugs to tell you when to take them

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: And my pill packets live in my cupboard

Exactly. If I'm looking at the packet, I don't need to be reminded. If I'm not looking at the packet, I won't see the reminder.

2
0

'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Easily fixed...

Pedestrian crossings on dual carriageways often have instructions painted on the road telling you which way to look to avoid being run over (because you have to look right, not left, when crossing from the central reservation).

The trouble is that when I'm preparing to cross a busy road I don't look down at the gutter just in front of my feet, where it says "Look left", I look across towards my destination, where it says "Look right". The writing is upside-down, of course, but most people find that easy enough to read, and, as far as I'm aware, there is no law of the universe that says things in upside-down writing mean the opposite of what they say.

3
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: When we get to the stage where we have to label everything...

The very worst outbreak of icon disease is the pandemic that has taken over instruction leaflets, especially those for power tools and domestic electrical appliances. These days, before you can use a new purchase, you have to puzzle your way through complex assembly and use advice written entirely in pictograms.

The manufacturers seem to be unaware that one of the reasons we're now using power tools instead of flint axes is that we developed a sophisticated communication system that allowed us to convey information unambiguously. Their argument, presumably, is that the picture-message transcends language barriers. If so, it's entirely nullified by the fact that their safety warnings are always fully translated, no doubt on the advice of their lawyers.

25
0

Robots blamed for wiping 10 per cent off the value of sterling

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Most of the knee-jerk, fact-averse downvoting seems to happen early on

It's a downvote flash crash caused by algorithmic forum reading systems.

14
0

Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Third time (un)lucky?

Just seen the following error message from an application that has nothing whatever to do with toast:

angular2-toaster.js:2Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'Toast' of undefined

Coincidence? I think not. But if the toasters' plan to exterminate humanity is executed with the same efficiency they bring to their primary toasting function, then we have little to worry about.

7
0

What’s that Sooty? You want a girlfriend?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: on the grounds that sex would be creeping into the programme

I don't recall any objections to Bill and Ben's ménage à trois with Little Weed, nor Andy Pandy's relationship with the sultry temptress Looby-Loo.

9
0

User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I rated myself as 4/5 for HP-UX Unix

A bit tangential, but that reminds me of the following killer interview question:

"What are your five favourite Linux commands?"

10
0

HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I took my home printer to the tip a few weeks ago.

I have a sneaky suspicion that nobody actually *likes* the printer they have. It was something they've just learnt to tolerate

True. But for real annoyance you have to have a wireless printer. The stupid thing sulks in the corner waiting for opportunities to go offline and disconnect from the network.

4
0

'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Nonsense.

Exactly. The results of the study demonstrate the limited ability of the CS course and its final exams to discriminate on the basis of innate ability. Which is as it should be: the exam isn't designed to spot outliers.

2
0

Dev teaches bot to talk spammers' ears off

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Phone bot

Here are some hilarious examples of a phone bot deployed against unsolicited phone calls. I especially like the ditzy receptionist bot.

It would be great to have a phone bot for the Indian "errors on the Windows server" scammers.

0
0

Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

A 200-strong audience of paying conference attendees stare on impassively in disinterested silence.

They may be disinterested (why wouldn't they be?), but I suspect you mean uninterested.

disinterested = not influenced by considerations of personal advantage

uninterested = having or feeling no interest in something; bored

6
0

Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! 'state! hackers!'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Wondered that too about BT

I contacted BT Support to ask them how the Yahoo breach affected their email service. I wish I could say the reply was convincing.

Me: What are the implications for BT email of the massive Yahoo data breach? Your site claims my account uses BT Mail, but your web mail page is titled "BT Yahoo", and it is served from a Yahoo domain: https://us-mg42.mail.yahoo.com.

BT: Hello. I'm <name redacted>.Thanks for that information, I'll check it and get back to you in a moment.

Me: Thank you

BT: Your e-mail would be powered by Yahoo, so you have to use Yahoo page to login.

Me: So what are the implications of the Yahoo data breach for me?

BT: There is no data breach using Yahoo page, as it is secured.

Me: The page may be secured, but Yahoo has just admitted they have been hacked. What is BT's position on this?

BT: There is no such update for BT e-mails.

BT: If there would be any we will update you thorugh text

Me: What does that mean? Have BT Yahoo email accounts been hacked or not?

BT: No, they have been not. However, you can change your security question and answer, along with password for your e-mail.

Me: Thank you

9
0

Behold the fruit of your techie utopia: A $43 San Francisco fog-infused martini

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

It's distilled

It probably makes no difference whether the water comes from the fog or the kitchen tap. Most distillation processes result in flavourless alcohol. Gin is subsequently flavoured with botanicals, whisk[e]y and brandy get their flavour from the barrels they're aged in. I don't know what they do to the sort of vodka you use to make Martinis - it has very little flavour anyway.

0
0

She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: "So called" tumblehome?

I don't think it even needs quotes. Anyone who's read Patrick O'Brian* knows what tumblehome is.

* If you haven't, you should start now, as there are about 13 books to get through.

4
0

Oracle confirms Java EE 8 is delayed for 'major enhancements'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Lambda?

To help simplify coding, Java SE 8’s Lambda is coming to Java EE 9.

What does this mean? Lambda expressions are a syntactical feature of the Java SE 8 language (and lots of other languages, of course). Java EE is a set of standards, frameworks and libraries, but the language used to create JEE applications is... Java. So lambda expressions are available regardless of the JEE version, as long as you're compiling your application code with Java 8.

Have I missed something?

0
0

2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Finding DNA could tell archeologists more about the ship and where it came from.

I think the origin of remains is usually determined by analysis of minerals in the teeth, rather than DNA. I have to confess that my knowledge of archaeology is largely derived from episodes of Time Team.

3
0

Going, going, done: Trio of prolific auction fraud fraudsters jailed

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

As a matter of interest, are "auction fraud fraudsters" different from "auction fraudsters"?

3
0

EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Even EU supporters hate these sort of rules.

He's just a fool.

No, he isn't a fool. He just acts like a fool because he's pissed all the time. Brandy for breakfast, apparently.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Users required to reveal identities

you have to prove your identity before Postman Pat will give you the password that allows you to receive letters

In future, you will require a password to post a letter.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Meh

Oddly enough it's the eurosceptic countries like the UK and Denmark that have implemented the largest number of EU directives in national law

That's why they're Eurosceptic.

In the EU, the Germans like plenty of rules, the more unreasonable the better. The Club Med countries don't care whether you have a lot of rules or not, because they ignore them.

2
0

'Google tax' already being avoided, says Australian Tax Office

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Get expert advice

The problem is that the best experts are all hired by the multinationals.

It's essentially an endless churn cycle. Tax experts spot a loophole and advise their clients to exploit it. The government acts to close the loophole, but by the time they do the tax experts have a new loophole ready.

The only way for a country to ensure it gets a fair slice of a multinational's tax is to levy taxes at competitive rates. That way it becomes the haven where the taxes are eventually paid.

1
0

Rise of the Machines at Sea: The British firm building robot boats

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Submarine tracker

Once you’ve found a sub, it is cheaper to drop a small roboat on the surface to track it where ever it moves.

I should have thought it would be within the capability of a competent submarine commander to ensure that the roboat suffers some kind of accident.

4
0

The Internet of Things isn't just for Bluetooth toothbrushes, y'know

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I read

Thingmonk...

Internet of Things conference...

London’s Old Street district...

located under an East London railway arch

but for some reason I found it difficult to continue lost the will to live.

9
0

JDK 9 release delayed another four months

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

The trend seems to be to mix a high level scripting language with a low level language.

For very small values of "trend". There are currently 6 out of 14,500 jobs on JobServe.com that require Lua.

Seriously, the world that Java (and COBOL) development mostly serves is more interested in consistency than the latest whizzo idea.

2
2

Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Look and learn

It goes against the grain to cite Google as an example of virtue. But it's the biggest ad publisher on the web, and it got that way with unobtrusive, text-only ads. Most of the search engines that plastered their pages with annoying display ads are dead.

Maybe there's some kind of lesson here.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Wouldn't take much for someone to Copy and Paste the AdBlock concept

How does Privoxy handle HTTPS sites?

Privoxy is a proxy. It filters on the basis of URL patterns, so HTTPS and HTTP are both handled the same way.. That obviously isn't foolproof, but it works well enough.

0
1

Oracle happy to let Apache Foundation adopt NetBeans

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: "“I'm worried that anyone is still using java to be honest"

This is an excellent reason to use node.js

This is the second post to suggest node.js as an alternative to Java. It's a category error, and it implies a degree of ignorance: one is a server/platform, the other is a programming language.

14
1

Forums