* Posts by Pen-y-gors

2913 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

Donald Trump trumped as US Senate votes to reinstate ZTE ban

Pen-y-gors
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You call this a trade war?

Pah! When I were a lad we had propertrade wars - gunboats off Iceland arguing about who owns the cod! But if you tell that to kids today...

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Strip Capita of defence IT contract unless things improve – Brit MPs

Pen-y-gors
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3% of GDP?

Are they serious? What do they want? A nuclear-armed aircraft carrier to park outside the home of every Syrian jihadis?

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A cynic writes...

These networks rely heavily on digital and space-borne tech and fears were expressed by some who wrote in that the Armed Forces may not be fully prepared to cope without them being operational.

Many suspect they could not cope with them being operational either.

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

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Re: Oh my!

This is obviously a serious cock-up, but, to be fair, no padlock is invincible, and that applies for most (all?) security systems. They are just ways of reducing the temptation of an open door with something valuable behind it. The more effective the lock, the less likely some opportunist passing-by bit of shit will have a go at it. If a garden shed needs a noisy angle-grinder to open it will probably be effective. The same lock will not be so good in a remote location on a shed full of gold bullion.

If the contents are valuable enough, it can be opened!

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Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

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Re: I'm uncertain...

@deive

Sorry, lack-of-coffee moment. I of course meant duckduckgo, not Bing. But still get better results in Google!

The VPN problem isn't that the VPN needs access to stuff, but it isn't available in the Amazon store, so I need (I assume, possibly wrongly - I don't do technical wizardry with phones, I stick to webservers) to get Google store installed to grab it.

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I'm uncertain...

Basically, this is a very good thing. BUT...I quite like gmail. And the calendar is quite handy. And it's good to use both on phone and desktop. I appreciate there are alternatives, I just can't be faffed to install them and switch. For search I sometimes use Bing, sometimes Google. But I usually get better results in Google!

And, evil though Google tends to be, lock-in there is as nothing compared to Amazon. I recently needed wanted a new tablet, and succumbed to getting an Amazon Fire HD 10 (decent spec and price). But Jesus wept, talk about lockin! I've managed to kill Alexa (probably) but it looks like a bit of a faff to even get Google Play installed to get some of my more core apps installed (the VPN I pay for, Firefox Focus). I'm still googling to work out if I can completely replace the OS with vanilla Android.

Let the down-votes commence!

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Pen-y-gors
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Well, more like "sometime in several years we will celebrate our Independence Day!"

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Keyboard ecosystems

Having suffered the occasional coffee-on-keyboard incident I found that a good cure was sometimes to just put it on the radiator until it dried out. That doesn't work if there was sugar in the coffee. I have heard tell that in this case (and for any generally gunked up keyboard) then a quick trip through the dishwasher can work wonders! I suspect best without detergent, and on a low temperature, but why not? Let it dry thoroughly before plugging back in. And given that basic keyboards cost about a tenner, what have you to lose?

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Re: Trackball can be worse....

@james_smith

You also need to see a doctor if you have balls and a socket, as I thought they were mutually exclusive on the same individual.

No, more that you need to see a doctor if you have balls (or not) and don't have several sockets - hips joints? shoulder joints? eye sockets?

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... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

Pen-y-gors
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'Main' base?

Surely, more like their only base? And if they're not operational they're losing a lot in training. (Training for what?)

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Re: Thales

No, I think 5 out of 54 is closer to undecimated.

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Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk

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Re: More job displacement, yay

@Pete

However, it should not be used as an excuse to not ensure we train the right people to fill these jobs ourselves. Why can't we recruit and retain the necessary medical staff?

Because it takes time and money.

Doctors and nurses don't grow on trees. They have to be carefully nurtured from tiny seeds for years until they are fully grown, and even then they will require care and support as they develop to full maturity.

Or to put it another way: experienced doctors take about 15 years to develop from when they leave school. Specialist nurses less, but still not exactly months. And if we want to train them we need training schools, which cost money to build and run. And those schools need staff - which we're short of and would probably have to import to get sufficient numbers.

Problem is finding a government willing to invest for the future. God knows where we'll get one - they don't grow on trees either.

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Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

Pen-y-gors
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Counter-terrorism police?

And precisely which aspect of the alleged activities involves terrorism?

Soon littering will get you shot by 'counter-terrorism police'.

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Geoboffins baffled as Ceres is crawling with carbon organics

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It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

Liquid water and carbon are both considered essential ingredients for the creation of life as we understand it

FTFY

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

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Re: Wrong type of wall

very irregular blocks of stone held together by what appeared to be crunchy, granular mortar and a lot of hope,

Obviously very effective hope (and lime mortar) - it's lasted for centuries!

My house is similar. 200 years old, 18" thick stone walls, and not always even lime mortar. When I was doing some work I found that the interior side of the wall was held together with mud and horsehair. I just slapped some plasterboard over it and carried on! Floor is slate slabs on earth, and foundations? What are they? Good for another few centuries though, unlike the average modern build.

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Tinfoil sales to soar

Tinfoil is your friend here.

It can be very effective. We recently opened our nice new community shop, state of the art environmentally sound design etc. And because Welsh slate costs a fortune, a black corrugated iron roof (looks much nicer than it sounds - and the 10kW solar PV panels just fade into the background).

But... we also have foil layers on the wall insulation. And a thin metal layer on the triple glazed windows.

Coudn't work out why we had absolutely no mobile reception inside, but 3 bars of 4G outside the front door.

We'd built our own Faraday cage! But it's lovely and peaceful in the cafe. None of this "I'm in the cafe. I SAID, I'M IN THE CAFE"

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Trademark holders must pay for UK web blocking orders – Supreme Court

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Good decision

And of course the rights-holders have the right to sue the infringers for their costs, including anything they pay to the ISP. But it gets it back to a fight between a right-holder and a bad person, aided by their well-paid lawyers (technically also bad people, but you know what I mean)

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

Pen-y-gors
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A fairly basic question...

Why do all these businesses store credit card details? Small businesses have a system where they let a payment provider take the details and just say yes/no. Or even if the details are gathered locally, why do they need to be stored on a customer record once the details have been transmitted to the bank and the payment authorised?

That would expose far fewer bits of critical data. Before now I've refused to develop an online shop for a customer who wanted to store CC details!

And lets face it, if they crack the bank, Worldpay or Paypal you're stuffed anyway. Getting your CC details will be the least of the problems.

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Men are officially the worst… top-level domain

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Re: I'm feeling left out

ditto .cymru and .wales, of which I have a number, and register more quite regularly. None of my customers seem interested in .uk for some reason.

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Serifs are goooooood...

the third worst registry - .loan – with 59 per cent bad domains and a 6.22 index.

I really hate sans-serif fonts - I read that as .Ioan not .loan. Couldn't work out why there was a TLD of .Ioan, but not .dafydd, .gareth, .mair, .lowri or .nia - and why anyone would fill it with badness. Most of the Ioans I know are really nice blokes.

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

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Re: Undecimate?

@John H Woods

Not only does El Reg have the best-educated sub-editors on the planet, who combine classical education with technical knowledge, but the commentards actually understand the references!

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First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

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Cramped?

a mid-sized twin-aisle jet that makes the A321LR look cramped and cheap.

So Ryanair likely to rely on A321LRs then - with a few extra rows of seats squeezed in for luck? And do they do an A321SRO version (Standing Room Only)?

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Tech rookie put decimal point in wrong place, cost insurer zillions

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Re: Lloyds

Similar problem back in the 1970s with an insurance company. Memory is expensive, so all numeric values were stored in a packed format - that's common, two decimal digits per byte, with a zero and sign (C for positive) in the last byte. To save space we stored everything by chopping off the last byte, so we could store a ten-digit number in 5 bytes instead of 6 - and then had to do some odd pointer-based overlaying of fields (in PL/1) to actually manipulate the numbers). Kids today have no idea of what we went through...

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And a Lloyds tale

Actually about Lloyds International, the bank, not the Insurer.

A friend was working for them as some sort of junior trainee capitalist when all hell broke loose one evening - £1 million gone missing! They found the cheque down the back of the radiator.

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Another decimal tale

Way, way ago, working with a very early on-line CICS motor insurance claims system, there was sudden panic when it looked as if the company had just had a massive increase in claims. Turned out someone had entered a total loss claim for a fairly expensive car (£6000.00) without the decimal point. It was early days - sense checking and validation wasn't as tight then as it (sometimes) is now!

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Farthings

In days gone by I worked for a large life assurance company who had a reverse-lira issue. Some of their 'Industrial Branch' old policies (life assurance collected weekly by agent knocking on doors) went back decades, and when they matured they need to be processed on modern computer systems - which had to handle weekly premiums of 1/5d or even some in farthings. So they multiplied the pounds by 960 and did all their sums in farthings.

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PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

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"vegan fish"

WTF???

Although our village shop does sell vegan 'black pudding'...

Or are they referring to fish that live on a vegan diet? As our local butcher in Machynlleth says on a sign "All our meat is vegetarian - the cows feed on the green, green grass..."

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Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security

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Good old days?

Can we go back to the good old days, pre-IoT and google cars? I doubt anyone has worked out how to hack a horse and cart or the Flying Scotsman.

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Australia wants tech companies to let cops 'n' snoops see messages without backdoors

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Beware!

Obviously belief in Unicorns is infectious.

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In World Cup Russia, our Wi-Fi networks will log on to you!

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Not really, but running a VPN will help a lot.

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No lie-in this morning? Thank the Moon's gravitational pull

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Joke

Re: Interesting times...

@rmason

Ladies of the earth would unite and stop your plan.

Too right - PMS is bad enough every 29 days - no way do we want shorter months!

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UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

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Health problems?

If OCD is a reason to keep people out, why is the Army historically obsessive about keeping tidy barracks and laying out uniform on beds 'just so', within a millimetre?

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UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

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Re: New better technology?

Why didnt we buy a batch of F-18, more Eurofighters? or even the F -16? or for naval aviation the Rafale?

Heck, we could have built a few squadrons of Mosquitos or Sopwith Camels (or Gladiators for carrier work) and got a more effective fighting force.

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Replaceable

either the jet (which is easily replaced) or the pilot (who isn’t).

For a given value of 'easily'.

As we aren't allowed to know the full cost of each of these white Dumbos, and we assume a conservative £100,000,000, that's a tenth of a DUPbung or a magic money shrub.

Or in real terms, about 30,000 people on £30K will have to work for an extra year to pay £100M in tax for it. So, not really 'easily'. Hands up who's willing to do some overtime.

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Just a third of Brit cops are equipped to fight crime that is 'cyber'

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Re: Who cares how are they are equipped. Do they know how to use it?

Been there, done that, got bored filling in the form.

Yes we need a central team. But we need a central team that is actually equipped and staffed to take immediate action for 'crime in progress'.

I tried to report some live phishing attacks that seemed to be using live bank accounts (possibly). Hopeless. Used 'live chat' to communicate with some call-centre drone who basically said all they do is record things which may or may not be looked at by real police-persons, sometime. I ended up reporting the phishing domains to the registrar myself who killed them.

Remind me - which party of government was keen to support the police, and which Home Secretary cut 20,000 plods?

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'Moore's Revenge' is upon us and will make the world weird

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Re: Getting more and more off topic ...

I remember a London-based friend explaining right-of-way on roundabouts and when lane-changing in the Smoke as being that the vehicle with the cheapest paintwork has right of way. i.e. if you're driving a Ferrari don't argue with a clapped-out old Cortina.

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Re: A chip in everything...

5 years is nothing like the acceptable lifetime of a TV or fridge, imho

And extending the argument a bit, or a car.

We have cars chock full of built in computers, including GPS etc. I have a car that is nearly 30 years old and still runs well, most of the electrics still work. It was made by a company in the VW group. Will VW guarantee that their latest in-car GPS and computer-controlled aircon will work in 30 years?

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Send printer ink, please. More again please, and fast. Now send it faster

Pen-y-gors
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Re: In the early days...

@Doug S

Thermal printers are bad news for historians.

I was recently working on a collection of receipts from the 1850s. Apart from being works of art in their own right (lovely engravings) they had all sorts of useful and interesting information. One was for a cast-iron stove and noted how it was being delivered - Rail, canal and cart.

That won't be available in the future - what's the chance of a thermal print-out not having faded totally in 100 years?

Bring back old technology! Ban e-mail! Print everything!

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Capture your late-night handbrake turns with this 'autonomous' car-chasing camera drone

Pen-y-gors
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Stalker's wet dream

Alexa? Tell drone to follow <insert name of famous person>'s car

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Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build

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Re: "reflects perhaps misplaced confidence"

yep, starts with 'now' or 'remind me later', then after a few days of that 'now' or 'in an hour', hit kill and come back a few hours later and it's updated.

Thankfully no obvious problems.

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Amazon can't or won't collect sales tax in Australia

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I sympathise

Okay, Amazon are a fairly large company, and can probably afford to set up their systems to cope, but the work involved with keeping up with all the global forms and rates of sales tax could be a nightmare. Having tried to work out the implications of doing e-commerce throughout the EU it would be 100x worse if they genuinely tried to do it globally (not just Australia - what if Nigeria wants the same, or N.Korea?)

I think possibly WTO need to get involved to come up with some general global scheme to simplify things, while not causing too many problems for local retailers. Perhaps a simple annual return by each retailer who has sold more than $x worth of goods to a particular country, with a flat rate tax on that total amount (a bit less than the standard rate to allow for differing rates on different products - e.g. UK might be say 15% instead of the standard 20% VAT - and the rate for the year is the rate that applies at the start of that tax year). And no variations for states or regions - it would be up to the national governments to divy up the dosh.

A simple list of countries and current tax rate would be very easy to implement, even for the smallest online retailer.

Can I please be appointed chief economist at the WTO? Happy to work for meals and $850K p.a.

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Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'

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Re: Also watch out for hidden alarms

@Gene Cash

"campus police" "guns drawn"

so, you weren't at Oxford then?

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MPs slam UK.gov's 'unacceptable' hoarding of custody images

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Basic problem is that the custody database can't talk to the court/prosecutions database, so STATUS is always NULL.

How about DELETE FROM custodydb WHERE arrestdate < DATE_ADD(NOW(), INTERVAL -28 DAY)

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Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

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Back to discussing Galileo...

Hammond: "“If that proves impossible then Britain will have to go it alone, possibly with other partners outside Europe and the US, to build a third competing system. But for national security strategic reasons we need access to a system and will ensure that we get it.”"

I may be confused, but aren't there already three competing systems? the US GPS, Glonast and Galileo.

So we have a chancellor who counts "one, two, many" - no wonder the UK budget is stuffed!

It's nice that we can afford $10 billion to build our own system (or $30 billion allowing for UK government project efficiency) - now we have a magic money forest!

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Re: Let's not question the EU

"Pulling up the drawbridge"

Nope, the hard-brexit nutters do want to pull up the drawbridge, but want our former partners to keep leaving supplies of food and goods in a basket for us to pull up on a rope, without us contributing anything in return.

Leave means leave. Mrs May said so.

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Re: It'll be worth it

@AC

No, the implication was very clear - instead of the EU lets fund the NHS.

Or did they mean lets give the NHS an extra £5 a week, and spend the rest on tax-cuts for hedge-fund managers? Or £10 for the NHS and £349,999,990 per week to the DUP bribe fund?

Surely you're not saying that Leave slogans were meaningless and worthless? Heaven forfend!

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Pen-y-gors
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Of course there are plenty of Gents left now. Our nearest one is in town, by the roundabout, next to the Ladies. And they charge 20p to let you in.

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Church of England will commune with God for you via Amazon's Echo

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Re: Buddhists had it first

Exactly. If you RTFA you'll see that there is no praying to Alexa involved. Alexa can be asked to recite prayers FOR you. Which is just the high-tech version of the prayer-wheel. Particularly if you can get Alexa to loop.

Rather takes the fun out of 20 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers, though. Bit like an automatic line-writing machine. Was it Molesworth who invented one?

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Microsoft gives users options for Office data slurpage – Basic or Full

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Re: Firewalls?

@John Fen

I can't think of a single one that would cause much trouble if I couldn't access it.

Organisations or individuals who share files with you via OneDrive?

Yes, alternatives are available, but this is someone else's choice, so I can't tell them they're idiots and doing it wrong.

Security updates to Windows?

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Re: Dear Microsoft

@JohnFen

Me? I block google at my router, and avoid using any Google service.

But, to be fair, not really an option for 99.9% of the connected population. Google has some really, really useful services: maps, digitised books, search, mail and lots more - alternatives for some, not for others.

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