* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

3712 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Do UK.gov wonks understand sci-tech skills gap? MPs dish out Parliamentary kicking

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Long-term?

Anything involving hard thinking or unpopular decisions, in fact.

That is one reason I'm surprised there's so much interest in replacing the House of Lords with another elected assembly. It'll just create another chamber focussed on short-termism.

11
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: STEM??

And here I thought that the only degree that mattered was PPE!

I'm surprised, only about 80 of the UK politicians from the last 50-odd years, although it does seem to have most of the useless ones in it.

4
0

Have YOU had your breakfast pint? Boffins confirm cheeky daily tipple is good for you

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Pint

Re: This is not good news

Now doctors will be asked to prescribe a daily pint or two.

Unfortunately the Doc may prescribe the Old Firklestones at NHS price of £20/pint, but the pub will be allowed to replace it with a tasteless fizzy yellow generic and will still charge the NHS £10/pint for that.

6
0

Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Pint

Re: He started a new life

a career change and take up dentistry.

I've never understood what drives normal, non-psycopathic, people to take up dentistry anyway, even if they were competent with power tools. Yet they do. Funny old world, sometimes.

My wife's at the dentist as I type. I'm contemplating a Friday icon ==> instead.

11
0

Don't panic, but your baby monitor can be hacked into a spycam

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

No as easy as that

The first question is why a password is required. If it's so the user can log in remotely and control/access the device then giving them a random password is pointless. They'll get so fed up not being able to remember it that they'll change it to be Password1.

What they really need is some better password-less authentication system, perhaps a way to securely link an app & the device at install time. That, unfortunately, costs more money to develop, especially to make it both secure & sufficiently simple for a non-technical user to setup. If it's too complex we'll just see Amazon comments along the lines of "Too hard to set up, returned and bought XXX instead", where XXX is the model that allows you to enter "Password1".

It's cheap consumer tat, and very difficult to get past the "leave the key under the mat, no-one will look there" mindset.

5
0

EU negotiator: Crucial data adequacy deal will wait until UK hands in homework

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

The EU is going to be much less likely to admit such a fudge.

I wouldn't bet on that. The whole EU is built on fudge, from the Parliament with two homes, to the Eurozone convergence criteria. No way would 28 countries agree on anything without fudge and ambiguity, and I'm sure they'll find more to make this work.

10
5
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Will EU miss GCHQ information?

Barniers role is to provide the best results for the EU

Precisely, and in this area what is good for the EU and good for the UK should be pretty closely aligned. We may argue a lot about politics & economics, but security is one area where things generally work well, with good co-operation between all the national agencies.

The EU is saying "this will hinge on the UK gaining a data adequacy deal." and "The UK government has committed to doing so,". All that is obvious, since the UK has been a strong defence ally for other EU nations for a long time. It's in no-one's interests to break that, so this is just Barnier posturing on a quiet news day, trying to keep Brexit on Page 1 of the tabloids ahead of the World Cup. Maybe his boss has set him a target of at least three blog entries a week?

Even his comment that "the EU would not be drawn into a 'blame game' about the effects of the EU's latest position statement." is a fairly clear admission that he expects his "position statement" to be seen as such, rather than as any useful negotiating information.

10
4

Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Yeah - but if I am a "common criminal" I'll definitely find another non-indiegogo to pawn

An attack dog is like an attack helicopter, it's armed to the teeth with machine guns and rocket launchers.

No frikkin' lasers?

11
0

Swiss cops will 'tolerate' World Cup rabble-rousers – for 60 minutes

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Being sensible

but being Swiss, it is a very sensible mob.

Do men still vote by waving their swords?

1
0

Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: The government position:

@Phil

Well, if you think you can do better, why not give it a go?

And of course that's the problem. Maybe I could do better, but to be completely honest it is a job that I would hate so much that I could never give it the effort it needs.

Most of the time I enjoy going to work, but the thought of having to get up in the morning and do that as a job, plus dealing with politicians on a daily basis, gives me nightmares. I'd probably go BOFH and end up in jail.

One can only hope that somewhere out there is someone both competent and willing, so we don't have to choose one or the other...

6
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: The government position:

WTF has happened to government in the UK?

Same as is happening everywhere. It's being run by people who see it it as a business, not a service. Career politicians who put their own interests ahead of those who voted for them, and assume that normal rules & laws don't apply to them.

Then again, we voted for them.

72
0

Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: I'm uncertain...

I appreciate there are alternatives, I just can't be faffed to install them and switch.

And there is the likely insurmountable problem. Knowledgeable techie-types like ElReg readers may go for this, but for "Mom & Pop" this will be just like asking them to run Linux instead of Windows on their laptop. It might be "better", it might do less spying, but at the end of they day the average user wants something that just works, where they can run the same apps as their neighbour/son/mum/friend, and where problems can be fixed by a friend or a high street shop without needing to find a geek with arcane knowledge. Whether we like it or not, the problems that this will solve simply don't matter to the general public. If they did, no-one would use Facebook.

29
1

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Brexit Schmexit

the political mess we're in can actually be attributed more readily to the failure of opposition parties to up their game

I think that's a fair summary of politics worldwide at the moment, at least in those places where opposition parties are allowed.

23
0

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

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

just rent an ICE/Hybrid for the once or twice a year you go away.

That works while ICE vehicles are still in a majority, but who's going to maintain a refuelling network for them if they are only used occasionally? How do you manage the economics of a fleet of ICE cars that lie idle for months, but everyone wants to rent one at Thanksgiving?

The tipping point in the US is further away because they pay nothing for petrol

Hardly nothing compared to, say, Venezuela, but that's even more true for EVs. Their "fuel" is cheap because it isn't taxed like petrol/diesel, but no government will abandon that revenue. If EVs take over from ICE vehicles you can be sure that they'll be taxed just as heavily, with no more subsidies.

1
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Why not just switch the batteries

Petrol stations seem to have managed it, so I don't agree that planning permission will be an obstacle.

Petrol station fires rarely reach the tanks, they tend to be on the surface where they can be dealt with relatively easily with conventional firefighing means. I wouldn't be so sanguine about dealing with, say, a Tesla battery pack catching fire in the middle of a warehouse full of others like it.

4
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

How many people, in reality, use their car for long 400-mile trips to random locations that are 'in the middle of nowhere' enough to not have an electric socket available. Maybe 5-10% of road users? The other 90-95% are covered by Raj's description of what the Tesla delivers.

You're confusing road users with journeys.

Maybe only 5-10% of my journeys are long drives to places where I can't conveniently recharge, but that still means that an electric car doesn't meet all my needs, and an IC one does. An electric car is therefore of no use to me, except as a second car. If I only have one car it needs to meet 100% of my needs, not 90%.

And before you suggest renting an IC one for that 5-10%, remember that for that to be possible requires someone to make those IC vehicles, and maintain a refuelling network for them, just like today. That is unlikely to be practical if it's only for 10% of journeys, many of which will be bank holidays and summer weekends, when everybody will be trying to hire at the same time.

EVs certainly have a niche market in pollution-conscious places like cities, although it will be interesting to see how popular they remain once they are taxed as heavily as all other vehicles instead of both them and their fuel being subsidised.

5
5
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Undecimate?

that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation.

Wouldn't that requre reincarnation?

7
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Why not just switch the batteries

standardized interchangeable battery packs. The service station would charge them for hours

That just moves the problem, the service stations would need grid connections able to supply the energy for that, which might be feasible for motorway stations but not for ones in towns. Then you have the fire hazard issues of a warehouse full of on-charge aging Li-Ion cells in every service station, getting planning permission for those all over the country might be tricky.

Lastly, how do you cope with the fact that as they age the storage packs lose capacity? Will a garage charge less money for an older pack that doesn't hold as much? Will drivers insist that they only get a newish fully-charged pack?

On the plus side it would be easier for a government to tax, just add 60% fuel tax to each battery pack swap bill. Then it would be no cheaper than petrol/diesel, of course.

5
1

Bad news, mobile operators: Unlicensed IoT tech rocketing ahead of NB-IoT and LTE-M – report

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

They also seem to disregard the possibility of deliberate interference.

0
1

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

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Lira?

Come and visit Hastings, then tell me exactly what is 'pampered and subsidised' about it..

It's almost a thousand years since anything big happened there, but we're still talking about it. What more do you want?

18
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Old school

unfortunately it was for 500 reams of paper and not the 500 sheets

Ah yes, ordering 100 items from RS Components, and not noticing they were sold in lots of 50. Been there, done that...

41
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Lira?

The UK does manufacture a lot of stuff

Yes, it's now the 8th largest manufacturing nation, just a shade behind France (and the UK is going up, while France is going down). Unsurprisingly the big nations are China, USA, Japan, S. Korea, India, but to claim the UK doesn't have a manufacturing industry is complete nonsense.

45
0

Actual control of Windows 10 updates (with a catch)... and more from Microsoft

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Why doesn't MS see reliability as a marketable feature for normal PCs?

Lack of historical evidence that it matters to their victims customers?

15
2

Worst. Birthday. Ever. IPv6's party falls flat

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Lack of commitment

I was still a teenager in the 1990s,

So, are you ready for 19 January 2038?

4
1

I see a satellite of a man ... Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, that's now 4 sats fit to go

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Well a unprecedented period of peace in Europe is not a bad start

The economic cooperation in the common market certainly contributed to that, but I would argue that since it was converted into the EU Europe has become less peaceful and less stable.

5
11
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: What's the point of this?

it seems highly unlikely that the USA would ever deprive the rest of the world access to the civil GPS service

How could they do that, without making all GNSS receivers (including US ones) useless? For that matter, how could the EU allow widespread use of Galileo, except to Brits?

Military-precision controls I can see, but the civililian service is surely beyond that level of control now.

3
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

<iu.What does the Commonwealth do?

What are its major achievements these last 25 years, say?</i>

One could ask the same of the EU!

5
12

Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Accidents happen, too

In the early days of software distribution on CDROM we got a CD with a Fortran compiler distribution kit for a Microvax. At least, that's what it said on the label. It wouldn't load, claimed to be unreadable, but before returning it one bright spark dropped it into a CD "Workman" player to see what would happen. Turned out to be a Springsteen album.

Presumably a mixup of masters in the CD pressing factory.

4
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Worse still ...

But this is the norm for software development.

I believe it's called "Agile".

32
1

HostingUK drops offline after losing Farmer vs Fibre competition

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge
Coat

Re: A common problem

when an idiot with a hacksaw removed himself from the mortal plane

So, you could take some small satisfaction, at least.

16
1

A Reg-reading techie, a high street bank, some iffy production code – and a financial crash

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: QA's fault @Phil re: lint

This code is not a no-op. It will change the value in the TOTAL_EXPOSURE variable each time it runs around the loop. Thus there is no need for lint to pick it up.

Fair enough, I suppose it depends on the scope of TOTAL_EXPOSURE. If it's local, or thread-local, storage then it can't be read by anything until after the loop exits, so the loop is effectively a no-op since it could be replaced by a single instruction to store the last value of POSITION.EXPOSURE in TOTAL_EXPOSURE.

If TOTAL_EXPOSURE is more globally accessible then I agree, other threads/processes could see the incremental changes during the loop.

2
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: QA's fault @Phil

Yes, C will read it and interpret it as a boolean because C will do anything you tell it, no matter how obvious it is that it won't help, but it's a type clash

C does not have boolean types, at least not before C99. Even there a boolean is just 0 or 1. A conditional expression is evaluated, and if non-zero is treated as true. To quote K&R (ANSI 2nd edition) "the conditional expression is indeed an expression, and can be used wherever any other expression can be.". When using a single '=' instead of '==' in that situation you may get a picky compiler issuing a warning about "possible unintended side-effect", but it is perfectly legal C.

You could argue that a loop that always sets x=[iterator] is incorrect, because the end value will always be the latest iterator, but you can't always know that.

The compiler is entitled to assume it, unless iterator has been declared with the volatile qualifier.

5
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: explicitly code a loop?

Better than "for i=0; i < total; i++" or similar

Or DO 10 I = 1, TOTAL ?

Once you're used to it, it just seems 'normal' (well, for some value of normal, anyway!)

3
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: QA's fault @Phil

what is written is quite valid code, just not doing what was intended.

but so is "if (a = 3)" and lint will pick up on that.

A code analyzer like lint will recognize things like the argument or argument types being wrong, code that will never be run

In this case it is code that won't be run. The loop is meaningless since all but the last iteration will be ignored, which a good code analyzer should be able to spot. I'll try it later.

13
4
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: QA's fault

A decent code analyzer, or possibly even a lint-like tool (any idea what language the original was in?) should also have highlighted this.

Although for that matter a good compiler would probably have optimized the loop out anyway...

10
3

Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Those brilliant minds who gave us IPv6

All that an IPv4-only device can do is barf when it receives an IPv6 packet.

Which is the problem. It would have been nice if the packet at least looked enough like an IPv4 one that an IPv4 device could have said something like "This is a weird packet, I'll pass it to weirdpacket.ietf.com and it can figure out where to send it".

1
3
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: failed, not

You might as well say that electric cars have failed.

They've been around for over 100 years, and we still aren't all driving one, so...

8
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Mapping plan

At the risk of having a Bill Gates moment, what on earth do you think we'll be doing in the future to need such an immense address space.

https://xkcd.com/865/

16
0

Chief EU negotiator tells UK to let souped-up data adequacy dream die

Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: What about auto-updates?

I don't understand why these leavers expect the EU to show, what they put in so many words, is actually nothing more than charity. It makes no sense to disadvantage the whole EU bloc for this one country called UK.

While that is largely true, it also makes no sense for the UK to enter negotiatons with it's first bid being the minimum it will accept.

Most political negotiations, especially those held in the full public eye, start with posturing. Both sides make fairly outrageous demands, and use the reaction to gauge how much they should tone them down for the next round. In the meantime the real negotiators are in a back room working on something more reasonable. It's a game, the politicians are the players & we're the game tokens...

3
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Irish abortion referendum.

Having a minimum required turnout is most common, from small voting scenarios to large, in company/organisation board meetings and some government houses this is known as "having quorum"

True, and 72% turnout would certainly meet most such requirements.

Is the consent of 38% of the country's population sufficient to initiate massive legal and constitutional change?

If not then you've just invalidated almost every election over the past 100 years.

We went into the EU on the basis of a decision by Parliament at a time when John Major was PM. In the previous election the tories obtained 41.9% of the votes with a 77.7% turnout. That doesn't meet your criteria either, so was the massive legal and constitutional change of entering the EU valid?

3
3
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: The more I listen to the EU...

Is it any different to brexitter/tory logic, which is that the union is bad, if it is European, but good, if it's the UK?

Not the same at all. Scotland wants to leave the union of the UK, because it thinks it will be better alone. That's exactly the Brexit leaver position in the EU, yet for Sturgeon Scotland is right to think that, and the UK is wrong. That's contradictory.

I mean, the UK actually has far more autonomy and power within the EU, than Scotland does within the UK, not least because unlike the EU, where no country is more than 20% of the population, England is 80% of the UK, so its voters can pretty much determine what happens

That makes little sense. Scotland actually has far more power in the UK because it's MPs may hold the balance of power in Westminister. The UK has no such similar power in the EU. You're quite correct that Scots dislike the way that English voters can pretty much determine what happens, which is the same argumen used by leavers as regards the UK within Europe, the EU gets to decide what happens & the UK has little say in it.

2
4
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: and he spoke in French in Italy,

The OP criticising a Frenchman for speaking French didn't do it for you?

Who said he was a Frenchman?

2
0
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: and he spoke in French in Italy,

Like the ex-colleague who complained when I spoke French to the delegation from our Brussels head office over lunch.

Surely that depends on the circumstances? If your Brussels colleagues are comfortable in English and your ex-colleague doesn't speak French, then switching the conversation to French would be impolite and at best could be seen as an attempt to exclude him. On the other hand, if the Brussels folks have little English, trying to make them feel welcome would be appreciated and your ex-colleague should have accepted that.

6
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: The more I listen to the EU...

"Scotland is better off out of the UK" has no contradiction with "The UK is worse off out of the EU", if Scotland is *in* the EU, and the UK is out.

Except that the EU leaders have been consistently clear that if Scotland leaves the UK it leaves the EU, and if the UK leaves the EU then all of it does, so there is no situation where Scotland is in the EU and the UK is out, unless Scotland declares independence post-Brexit and applies to join the EU, Schengen, Eurozone and all.

4
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The United Kingdom needs to face up to the..reality of Brexit,"

Please stop exaggerating statistics to make your point. Most non-UK nursing staff originate from India, with the Philippines in 2nd with 15,391

The report you quote is for "NHS staff" in general, which includes everyone from Doctors to Janitors, not just nurses.

I took my figures from a BBC report that quotes the "nursing and midwifery council" which presumably has accurate figures for nurses. From their graph ~23000 from the Philippines, ~16000 from India

1
1
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: The more I listen to the EU...

Don't the 'Remain' voters understand what freedom is?

Of course they do. It's what EU politicians tell them they have already.

7
20
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Plus none of the major parties have the guts to tell the Great British People "You were wrong - We're smarter than you, so forget democracy"

It's OK, the EU is saying it, as is has been for years. Look where that has led.

3
17
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Irish abortion referendum.

that referendums have no legal force in France.

Nor in the UK, but there's little point in having one if you're going to ignore it.

6
7
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: Irish abortion referendum.

So, err, that 65% threshold you asked for? Well, it was reached, thanks for asking.

For the common market, which was a good thing. We should have kept it.

The EU, as political empire-building by power-hungry civil servants, was not wanted. Most countries didn't get a vote and whilst places like Italy would have voted in favour (oh, how times change!), opinion polls in the UK at the time were showing 62% opposed, even Denmark voted "No" by 50.7% and had to be asked again to get the right answer. France voted for it by just under 52%.

6
12
Phil O'Sophical
Silver badge

Re: "The United Kingdom needs to face up to the..reality of Brexit,"

Recruiting of NHS nurses in foreign countries dropped 92%.

Not quite. Recruitment from EU countries (foreign? surely not!) dropped by 96% in the year after the Brexit vote (almost 1000 fewer candidates), hardly surprising given the initial uncertainty over residence status, but EU citizens make up only a small proportion of UK nursing staff. Most non-UK nursing staff come from the Philippines (20,000+), with many others from India and the Caribbean where they don't have a language problem coming to the UK. Recruiting nurses has been problematic for years, just due to costs. It's hard to live in London on a nurse's salary, no matter where you come from.

15
3

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018