* Posts by John Jennings

201 posts • joined 14 Apr 2011


The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

John Jennings

Amstrad 2386

Great machine, back in the day, with an Achilles heal

I sold almost 300 individual orders for (perhaps 500 machines) of those boxes in a small independent SOHO store- every one with a factory replaced HD. the 386 DX CPU was powerful at the time - for a grand (I think) it was far and above every other machine out there for the price.

I remember that the cmos battery was 4 AA batteries that lived under the screen - they had to be changed while the machine was running AFAIK.

I think they successfully sued segate on the HD - but it was too late for Amstrad to recover its lead in the PC market.

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland

John Jennings

Re: WTF ?!!

I think that 'real' plate would protect you against a 9 MM round (perhaps not a AP round, but certainly a hollow point).

Beanbags would bounce - as would plastic and rubber

Plate was meant to be worn with a quilted body suit underneath, along with a leather overshirt.

Depending upon the period, the proteciton would run (roughtly) as follows....

Plate then

Mail (especially over the joints - sometimes a full hauberk),

then a leather or linen padded overshirt

The plate had an additional benefit of being curved - causing deflection in many cases.

A shield provided extra cover.

remember that these were effective at protecting the wearer against early firearms and crossbows/longbows at any range over 100 yards.

As for kinetic engergy, they could survive a hit from a spear on a charging horse.

The Bodkin was partially effective - more at restricting movement or weak points than direct injury. A knight on his feet was relatively safe - when they fell over, then there was a problem, as they often couldnt get up and a peon or an archer with a sledgehammer would finish the job.

Earlier laminar armours would also be quite effective - thats the sort of stuff Alexander the great likely wore - again massively padded with linen undergarments.

The problem would be the weight. Fully armoured (not weapons) would be over 50KG or 150 LBs. so real movement was out.

Metal armours were issued to machine gunners during WW1 (they couldnt move anyway). They were reasonably effective - even against rifles

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

John Jennings

Re: Note

A Celtic Nation - with a Calvinist twist? While Northern Irish, and proud of it, not sure if Scotland and Northern Ireland would get on for long......


You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

John Jennings

Re: Why bother?

Owwww the image - I cant get it out of my head!

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

John Jennings

Dont rely on Lizzie Dehnam!

She was on the select committee - the UK ICO - and quite frankly was appalling.

She wanted to be a 'critical friend' to the developers. Didn't raise the obvious issues about privacy, and didnt blink when the rights were being overridden (no opt out, request for the data held centrally, or deletion). Spent her whole time trying to justify why the ICO office should be responsible for the privacy oversight of the systems.

She cant be the 'critical friend' while being the auditor

She really should have been sacked on teh spot for that.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

John Jennings

Re: I sense an app in the making...

I would be very surprised if that could be done with the goolge API or (if it can) that it wouldnt break terms of service.

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life

John Jennings

sorry to be pedantic

the article says

Calcium, magnesium, and sodium were formed on the meteorite when it was in the Solar System's asteroid belt some 4.5 billion years ago.

this is extremely unlikely. The elemental salts would have been created, not the elements themselves.

Interesting though - keep it up!

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

John Jennings

Re: Irresponsible?

with less mass to each piece, wont its orbit just decay all the faster?

John Jennings

Honest question....

How does this increase the cost of sattelites in geostationary orbit (mentioned in the article)? Geo orbit is 36,000 KM up. Low earth orbit (LEO), I can understand. I would also be surprised if the rapid dissambley was anything other than a strike - why else would it disintegrate (wether it was natural or not).

Australian contact-tracing app sent no data to contact-tracers for at least ten days after hurried launch

John Jennings

I am sure Australia will get as far as the UK does in 'working with apple'


or the french


IE not very far

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

John Jennings

Ah Haynes commands... Remember them vaguely

ATDT 123456




or something - I cant remember the details

Ex-Imagination Technologies boss tells UK Foreign Affairs Committee: Britain needs to stop overseas asset stripping

John Jennings

Re: And who will pay ?

Britain was built on Laissez fare.

See how successful it was and still is with everything from the development of steel to steam engine design to canals, from the building of textile industries to jet passenger planes and to advances in banking. Oh wait.... Some investors got stupendously rich, then stripped their industries internally - either directly by excess payouts to themselves with under investment in long term strategy or becoming distant from their business. That distance is only exacerbated by investment where the profit motive is to make returns on the capital - rather than long term development of the business.

We call the investment process the 'financial market' for a reason - it is a mechanism for investors whose product is shorter term financial return, rather than the long term health of the business. Destroying the business in the long term is of no consequence. Britain invented this in the 18th and 19th C, with the 'canal boom', the 'rail boom', etc.

in It does not take an international sale to destroy an internally developed industry, its a function of the financial market.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

John Jennings

Re: Covid jail "prank"

100? - think thousands - if you leave the phone in a factory canteen. Nice to have a couple of weeks quarentine as the weather gets better.

You dont have to even use a burner. You self report so you, could claim to have a sniffle and a temperature, and it appears that would be enough. Sit the phone by the door or the till of the canteen for half an hour and everyone going through is wiped out.

Or put a burner beside a rivals office/home or whatever and they get a call after the button has been pressed

It wouldnt even be illegal, currently, as far as I can see.

John Jennings

I actually listened to the select committee hearing last night, so you dont have to ;) It was truly disgraceful.

The only cogent people speaking were the lawyer and professor in infomatics.

I cant say anything about the keepawake option - they may have agreements (or get agreements) from Apple/Google to keep awake in the background for this - NHSX claim to be working with them.

What shocked me was the extent that Elisabeth Denham - the counties Information Commissioner - rolled over and rolled back on the ICO previous statement that decentralised was the way to go. It was almost like she had a vested interest in pushing it. She was also fighting for her quango to be the responsible organisation for its oversite - while also working with the developers to ensure privacy - both ends of the accountability side. She claimed to be a 'critical friend' to the developers - too much invested means her organisation cannot be responsible for system oversight. The ICO site has no mechanism to complain about the app and its privacy - or its mis-application.

On another note

One of the speakers brought up an interesting point - abuse of the system. Anyone can press 'the 'green button - its self reporting - an any phone they get their hands on - so, law enforcement could get contacts (they take phones on some assault accusations, for example, but also the public could potentially send some rival into 2 weeks quarentine for giggles or gain.

It was interesting watching Trimble (a lord from Northern Ireland, who lives not far from me) drop off the calls when he tried to speak.. Broadband hasnt reached Lambeg yet, it seams!

Australian digital-radio-for-railways Huawei project derailed by US trade sanctions against Chinese tech giant

John Jennings

I wonder if they can do it at all

I am not a Aussie legal eagle, but I do know that their law is based upon common law.

Common law has no concept of 'Force Majeure' - which is a French/Gaullic idea.

You can have Force Majeure in a contract - dont get me wrong - but it has to be explicit in a UK (and I assume Aussie) contract. Problem there is how ca you be explicit with the unexpected?

Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you're in virus isolation, you stay there

John Jennings

No it wasnt

There is a difference between a state and an entire country...

The PM was the leader of the country- the leader of the state seems to have completely gone off on one.

This is no way to enforce the covid quanentine. It completely tramples over peoples rights to privacy. You can also bet that it wont go away after Covid had gone.

And what makes you think that the phone location monitoring would be anonymous - in your dreams The ICO left that WIDE open....

Welcome Brazil (the film, not the country)

Want to see through walls? Electroboffins build tiny chip in the lab that vibrates at just the right frequency to do it

John Jennings

At last - the X-ray specs

from the back of mad magazine are in my future!

India's peak IT body tells outsourcers to check contract cancellation fine print while Coronavirus reigns

John Jennings

Re: Don't most contracts

The comment on UK law and the lack of force majeure is not strictly true.

There is no common law on the subject - however - it is usual to have force majeure defined within the contract - and from there have the concept.

You likely have it in your mortgage contract. like this: https://www.virginmoneyukplc.com/resources/df9d1f11-f5ea-4532-a0cb-20fc419e2f6f/Collection_Account_Declaration_of_Trust.pdf

It is typical in many significant contracts - its how its defined is the kicker in the UK, as it really depends upon the particular contract.

It's time to track people's smartphones to ensure they self-isolate during this global pandemic, says WHO boffin

John Jennings

Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

thats not how the system works.

It uses bluetooth, and records a GUID for what ever phones the first phone comes int proximity with... Then, f you get covid, the data in your phone is sucked out, and the guids are de-anomised. It does not contain gps data (allegedly) - at least the singapore version.

It has to be a smart phone, because it needs both local storage (and network access to extract this data) and bluetooth to harvest the guids.

still, its evil from a liberties perspective.

BT CEO tests positive for coronavirus, goes into self-isolation after meeting fellow bosses from Vodafone UK, Three, O2 plus govt officials

John Jennings

Re: It's getting the 1% as well

Catching the he disease doesnt care about wealth.

I imagine the chances of getting tested or a respirator might

John Jennings

Re: It's getting the 1% as well

Orkney is about it atm. Even Shetland have some cases. Faroes are also free, I think. both places a bit difficult to get to, and not many Air BnB places for self isolation. better than most places for '29 days later' eposodes, though

Apple reopens stores in China as Middle Kingdom regains control of COVID-19 – after closing all its outlets in Italy

John Jennings

Re: reasons not to close schools...

I dont think that the current figures suggest a peak after 3 weeks.

The newest growth rate (with no controls) suggest a doubling of infections every THREE days.

Italy now shows no sign of slowing its rate.


Logarithmic scales here.

John Jennings

Re: So what did China do...

Keep drinking the KoolAid.

playing in the park is likely less risky than sitting for extended periods within 2 feet of each other.

Sorry, closing schools is a standard WHO reccomendation.

Where you have vulnerable parents (a good percentage are) it makes sense for the parents to isolate whith the children. And sorry, but most kids can do this.

John Jennings

Re: So what did China do...

And why do you think that China has Covid under control at this point?

Because it didnt report many new cases? perhaps its like the UK - dont test so nothing to report.

The math does not lie. Covid 19 is not over in China.

Good luck pitching a tent on exoplanet WASP-76b, the bloody raindrops here are made out of molten iron

John Jennings

Re: The "night" side is colder dropping to 1,500°C

Likely they are nails

Google: You know we said that Chrome tracker contained no personally identifiable info? Yeah, about that...

John Jennings

Perfec redtop

it was the Reg what won it.

Enough said

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

John Jennings

In my case

No one would let me bake any wet shoes of mine two days in a row :)

Surprise! Plans for a Brexit version of the EU's Galileo have been delayed

John Jennings

Re: Good

The UK isnt a world power any more - likely doesnt need more than a regional system - when you consider that regional means 1/3 of the globe with 8 satellites.

Chinas full system only comes online this year - its still regional until September. Its used in Search and Rescue Systems (SAR)

John Jennings

Re: Good

Article is a bit harsh. There are already more than the 3 common systems


Gallelo - EU

Glonass - Russiua

Beidou - China (comes online this year)

India has a regional version,

Japan does too.

It is NOT unreasonable to avoid having such a strategic resource tied to a supplier not controlled by the state.

The UK military would be one of the few countries without direct access to GPS while being in the top 10 by spend. S Korea (a US satellite) and Saudi (with its own issues) being the only others.

It doesn't have to cost so many billions - its not as if the Uk hasnt built GPS satellites before. The ground infrastructure is indigenous as well.

India and China both proved that full continent coverage could be achieved with 8 satellites. The UK could cover local requirements with similar. It could do it with less, by side loading something like the French DORIS system for better coverage at the fringes as range extenders.

UK interests are likely to be UK and Atlantic, EU and USSR and ME (for military). It has lots of little possessions around the world which could be DORIS stations.

It's only a game: Lara Croft won't save enterprise tech – but Jet Set Willy could

John Jennings

Re: "anything you can do in software you can do in hardware"

Matrox excelled in CRT driving- they had much better DA controllers than anyone else, back in the day. You needed to pair them with something like a Sony Trinetron monitor (if you could stomach the ghost lines). From the G200 they could drive twin monitors. Nowadays - I think 6-10 are possible.

After the mystique (and later to an extent the G400) they dropped out of the consumer market. The Parhelion was no use for gaming - it was uncompetative when it came to market..

RIP Freeman Dyson: The super-boffin who applied his mathematical brain to nuclear magic, quantum physics, space travel, and more

John Jennings

Re: Nothing ignomious

Many more accidents at that age are fatal. You could argue that he may well have died of old age. I am sure Dyson knew the risks - he might have developed a formula for it.

One of the greatest minds of the 20th C.

Hey, Brits. Your Google data is leaving the EU before you are: Hoard to be shipped from Ireland to US next month

John Jennings

Re: Convenient BS from Google...

The ICO should be involved.

The difficulty will also be with EU citizens personal data using google services. I am Irish, living currently in Northern Ireland, but I have a gmail.com email addy -

Under GDPR, my (Republic of Ireland) rights under GDPR remain - how in the name of sweet bejesus would Google work out if I am EU or UK?

Further, I might recieve other peoples personal data to my google drive - and how do I respect eu citizens rights ?

Finally - the latency to Ireland from London is around 20-30 ms. Its 90 to New York. Is this an opportunity for Microsoft?

25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

John Jennings

Re: Progman Error

Windows 3.11 was 11 floppies, if I recall....

John Jennings

Re: Pascal has always been great

I used to write all my commercial applications in Pascal - specifically Turbo Pascal (v6, I think 3 floppies?). I never had the issues with IO - in my line at the time, there input files were never standard between installations, so having to write custom readers for binary data files (with no documentation, of course) was the norm. A lot of our stuff was built as apps which were loaded on the fly from batch files (these were DOS apps). A lot of the manipulation then centred around managing BTrieve databases and new binary data files. TBH. I found TP the strongest and most productive compiler - especially when you built a custom bgi librart.

Astroboffins agog after spotting the first repeating fast radio burst that pings every 16 days from another galaxy

John Jennings

Re: Aliens? Or something more prosaic? We're hoping for aliens

Unless its a cosmic art project.....

These truly are the end times for TLS 1.0, 1.1: Firefox hopes to 'eradicate' weak HTTPS standard by blocking it

John Jennings

Re: @Drefsab_UK - Good


Your supplier/vendor in the supply chain will have to fix it- they wont until they have to.

OR your teams that you are supporting who are using the old protocols are not re-enginerring themselves to the vendor/suppliers new product - usually because its 'inconvenient' (which is often wrapped in 'its not possible').

OR your policy says that connection to X for purpose Y must be encrypted (usually for some external compliance piece like PCI) and now it is being exposed that it isnt, so you need to find a 'better' solution.

Use IE11 if you are stuck - keep Firefox for the day to day stuff.

John Jennings

Re: Evenhandedness

The problem is that most admins of those servers either dont give a damn or their managers dont give a damn. 'Just works well enough' is all that they are interested in.

It is all very well saying that they should care - but even blue chip companies dont really.

They do care when it doesnt work any more. And the only way to force that is to break the servers at the browser.

Sorry - but its how social inertia works.

John Jennings

Re: "We decided on a global fallback"

Precisely that. He seems to be equating their failure with the management (rather than that and the insane communist tenancies that existed within the workforce).

Management was by the very committees and central planning that he seems to want earlier in the post.

John Jennings

Re: "We decided on a global fallback"

You can contribute to the discusion - in the appropriate place. Bitching on ElReg isnt it.

I would humbly submit that your whine here, (even though you are not interested in changing, so they must be doing something right) is more the reflection of modern society you decry - where you want something for no (apparent) cost, and whinge when you dont have the specific option to suit you personal preferance!

Developers need to make decisions - or change doesn't happen.

Firefox development (and OS in general) isnt some 1970's style collective of comrades developing under a vote for every design line. If it were, you would have truly beautiful code - that could barely render HTML.

Don't tell us to go Huawei, Chinese ambassadors tell UK and France

John Jennings

End of choice.


Spying to the left of them , Spying to the right

Into the valley of the surveillance State rode just about everyone.

<Quote> “There are only two companies that can compete with Huawei right now: Nokia and Ericsson,” Barr said in a speech on the Chinese economic threat. “The main concern about these suppliers is that they have neither Huawei's scale nor the backing of a powerful country with a large embedded market like China,”</Quote>

So, create/prop up a 5G alternative to Huawei - shoulda done that before they told countries not to use the kit.

As it stands currently, noone provides a viable alternative....

Iowa has already won the worst IT rollout award of 2020: Rap for crap caucus app chaps in vote zap flap

John Jennings

Re: Don't blame the users for the app failure

Well said

I had to explain how a batchfile worked to a graduate

John Jennings

Re: Don't blame the users for the app failure

<quote>Wouldn't existing MPs (at least labour ones) be Labour party members?</ quote?

You think so? I remember the Labour party of the 1970's and 80's.... Comunist, militant tendancy, etc - all those little sub-parties, more interested in themselves and their back room machinations and petty politics than the good of either Labour or the country... Corbyn was (unfortunately) from that era really. Bit like Foot in his day - left wing, intelligent, but uncharasmatic to normal people. Not a great strategist, but a good party tactician.

UK to Chinese telecoms giant: From 5G in Tiree to the Isles of Ebony, carry me on the waves… Sail Huawei, sail Huawei, sail Huawei

John Jennings

Re: Exactly

actually we do make some of the most precise electronics/switches and sensors in the world. We physically make them but US companies own almost all of the companies and their IP now. Funnily enough, when the large numbers are required, they build plant in china...

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

John Jennings

Re: Good, good.

That was to keep the Democratic Unionists on board while they held some power.

It is one of the stupidist ideas ever - perhaps partly why the DUP were so enamored with the idea.

German scientists, Black Knights and the birthplace of British rocketry

John Jennings
Thumb Up

Re: Another interesting article

And another interesting post. Keep them up :)

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

John Jennings

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

One could argue that Starwars was completely successful.

An argument can be made that the primary goal was the destruction of the Soviet economy - with the ability to plant US presences in Poland and Turkey.

Mission successful.

John Jennings

Re: Profits

You seem to confuse boeings customers. Its the Governments and Airlines that buy its stuff, for transport of goods (including human chattel) or to supply weapons.

Travelers are most definitely not Boeings customers.

Airlines, when they can go down the route of single supplier to simplify their training and supply lines - to save money - Southwest for example.

Sure, you could argue that 'people wont fly them' .... They will to save a few dollars or because they cant (or wont) take the time to find alternative routes to X on alternate carriers.

Spanking the pirates of corporate security? Try a Plimsoll

John Jennings

Wouldnt work - without some modification.

It wouldnt work.

Why? 2 main reasons spring to mind, and there would be others you think about it...


Precisely how do you define the plimsol line? Rember the story this week about the ICO running out of legal budget - how big would a sim1ilar cybersec organisation need to be to empower an authority to properly audit a company - and it would have to be every company, their suppliers and partners etc.? Every industry type has a variable level of compliance required for regulatory compliance. It would be a nightmare of compliance and enforcement.


Because my BOFH would know where the out of date flares or dodgy liferafts are. So, they have an option to effectively blackmail the company. They pass the details to a friendly researcher who squeals to the beak, and so spits the profits as they go out the door. No company would willingly put itsself in the situation. Imagine the compliance a BOFH would have to go through to prove they were not going to do this at some stage in the future. Be careful what you wish for!

Our problem is that 90 days is what the market really values. IT and associated service teams need to justify expensive change over years. It is, and will remain. But its the same with most things. In manufacturing, we dont have everything done by robots becasue they are expensive, and cant recover the cost in some areas quickly enough.... A ROI of a year might be the best a production engineer might get away with - its the same in IT, as it is everywhere - HR, Transport etc. Whatever the service....

Starliner: Boeing, Boeing... it's back! Borked capsule makes a successful return to Earth

John Jennings


They seem to be quite good at it now.

over 80 progress flights alone, out of 126 to ISS, nevermind Mir and 4 salut space stations.

Almost all of these flights were automatic - especially ISS. The nice thing about the russian modules is that they can be manually controlled if something does go wrong.

ACLU sues America's border cops: Tell us everything about these secret search teams targeting travelers

John Jennings

Re: McCarthy would be proud of his legacy.

This outfit was set up by Obama, not Trump, and its base mission remains unchanged.

There is no point blaming Trump on this one.

The problem for him now is that if it is disbanded, and 'something happens' - then he will be blamed for that too.



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