* Posts by swampdog

327 posts • joined 8 Nov 2011


Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Re: Mice are not particularly intuitive

It is. I'm out of practice reading upside down but can still draw the wrong way round and read mirror writing. I'm left handed and old enough for the attempt to be made when young to make me use a pen right handed so I'm somewhat ambidextrous - forced to use a fountain pen but ultimately adopted the two typical left handed solutions. Tbh I'm pretty shite writing with my left hand these days as well. It's months since I had to do anything more complex than address a letter. Bloody computers - and ditto my spelling.


Re: Mice are not particularly intuitive

Some people can't adjust. Watch someone drive and you have a good insight into their inner self(*). Decades ago when mopeds had gears like motorbikes a mate had a yamaha "fizzy" and could not get used to the normal "one down, rest up" sequential gearbox of most bikes. My father was spectacularly bad when faced with a semi-auto. People at work who race off on cold engines tend to have trouble completing projects whereas your peugeot and citroen drivers are erratic.

There's an unwritten book there.

(*) You'd never guess from my monika I never wash my car ;-)


Re: Mouse balls

Finger nail is best but only on your own exclusive mouse or ikky thoughts will ensue!

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


Just follow the damned thing!

..and if you can't, use this as an opportunity to discover the reasons why.

Police follow leads. Before the police, people used to follow trails .. back into the midst of time where some creature would follow some other creature for some reason. Following is an evolutionary trait. The only hi-tech solution needed here is the ability to follow it.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget


Missing smart meter tech

The one bit they did miss was the ability for a smart meter to pull power from the cheapest provider at any given time. That would have sold it to the public..

Q: "Who do I sign up with?"

A: "Doesn't matter mate. The meter will go find the cheapest itself"

Q: How do I pay the bill?"

A: "Doesn't matter mate. You'll only owe the minimum rate possible. Let the providers sort it out. It's a bloody smart meter after all innit?"

..he thinks to himself as he exits cloud-cuckoo land with a thwack.

[note] Never feed a stray thwack. They make terrible pets.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey


Re: I'm not a fan of Virgin...

The rpi3B+ purports to be 300Mb and I can't really test mine as it's running off an NFS mount but running iftop on it whilst transferring a 1G /dev/urandom file to a PC saw the total approx 250Mb.

However, I'm using an old rpi1 (100Mb) as NAT/firewall and it can only get 35Mb down(*) and 5Mb up from my supposedly (70 or 100Mb) VM connection - I forget what the last "free" upgrade was - so I've been in no hurry to update that rpi. The inbuilt ethernet is connected to the VM hub (in modem mode) and the intranet is sat behind it..

$ lsusb | grep -i eth

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0b95:772a ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88772A Fast Ethernet

..which all adds up to be good enough for the wench to play her MMO or for both of us to be steaming video simultaneously.

Another internal rpi3 does NTP/DHCP/DNS (preferring before because both those are shite so it helps to not have to resolve more than once. The wireless routers have most stuff turned off, MAC address filtering enabled(**) and just point at this rpi3.

(*) Across both ethernet that probably adds up.

(**) I have enough bother having to leave sshd open on the rpi1 without worrying about VM superhub wireless!

Oh my Tosh, it's only a 100TB small form-factor SSD, SK?


Re: Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

Not at 32K rez VR interactive it won't be. Now there's a thought for the future history books.. "The ACB - Affordable Consumer roBot only became possible with the explosion in demand for the PPB - personal pornbot.".

"Once people figured out how to make the PPB shower & dress it wasn't long before they got sent to do the shopping."

There'll be tabloid headlines: "My ACB got hacked! Woman demands law against foul dark web menace that turned her ACB into a PPB whilst shopping. A supermarket spokesbot made soothing noises but this tabloid can exclusively reveal the SSB was also hacked and the soothing noises it made were not those officially sanctioned and that all cucumbers purchased by unaffected ACBs are subject to recall."

I'd better stop before this gets completely out of control!

When's a backdoor not a backdoor? When the Oz government says it isn't


Make it easy

I've always said the best way around this is to tell the security agencies they can do whatever they want but if they get caught doing it the people responsible face the same laws as the rest of us.

After all, a security agency worth having, shouldn't be getting caught in the first place.

Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores


Re: Smart streetlight? FFS, why?

Lamp out will show up in reduced power usage. It won't get fixed until after someone reports it so no point. Environmental monitoring wont happen, not because of the expense but because the govt does not want to know. Google can monitor traffic already as can existing cctv. Early earthquake warning is defeated by traffic. Impact monitoring can be performed by the vehicle which hits it. Weather is only going to tell you what just happened. Emergency services would prefer things not to be changing weirdly. No need for diagnostics if there's nothing there. Battery state I like - have a bloke come out with a handle to hand-crank the mechanical charger on each pole. Power outage is just a bigger lamp out.

Okay you have a point: the biggest problem is it will be implemented by numpties. We already have solar powered road signs which spring out of nowhere (ie: come on) from darkness to dazzle a driver. Did nobody during any of the planning and implementation stop to think "sign in lit up area != sign in middle of nowhere".

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain


Re: The most amazing engineering

I guess you wouldn't have wanted to live near Vulcan bombers then? A chap wouldn't want to break the red traffic lights at the end of their runway. Sometimes they'd go vertical asap which put them on their tail over the road.

Chinooks have got quieter or I'm going deaf (probably both). A modern Concorde would be quieter too. All hail the Stealth Concorde!

I couldn't give a Greek clock about your IoT fertility tracker


Re: Glamping?

"Anyone know what it is in German?"



Re: Antikythera Mechanism - dinousaurs

You mean dinosaurs invaded us in their asteroid spaceship 65 million years ago? That explains why their bones are all over the place. Archeologists really screwed up there. Someone should tell 'em!

Thank our dinosaur overloads for their faulty braking thrusters .. is all I can say.

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face


Cheap keyboards

..where 'rm *.xxx' turns into 'rm *>xxx' so always use "-v" so as to have a record of what's just vanished.

5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing


oo! It's Friday and we have a car argument!

Those of us of a certain age.. managed to live before selt belts, air bags, roll cage, etc and we are getting back to you by virtue of the fact we're still here.

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar


Re: Can't we get rid of May?

If I were granted three wishes, the first would be lawyers be banned from political office. The second would be that for every new law, two laws must be removed first.

Lawyers are akin to Robert Rankin's "riders".

My third wish would be.. for lots more wishes. ;-)


Re: Can't we get rid of May?

I don't think anyone would have had a problem if the govt had said they needed a 2/3rd majority for exit. Yes it was badly handled - you are a master of understatement!

Brit film board proposed as overlord of online pr0nz age checks


It could have been so easy..

..to make something useful out of the domain name sell off.

Domains *.kid.* is for children. Everything else is adult.

Ex-cop who 'kept private copies of data' fingers Cabinet Office minister in pr0nz at work claims


Re: Constituents confidential details

Therein lies the problem. Very few of us know how IT forensics works. I'd go so far as to say even "IT forensics professionals" don't know how it works. Sure, someone could pay me to image a disk and subsequently analyse it but I'd make a most unsuitable expert witness for either side: I'd be full of "ifs" and "buts". I couldn't in all conscience, sit there on the stand and say categorically (in terms a jury would understand) that fact X is true/false.

How does one image a hard drive when the computer is using a ram disk? Do you keep the machine on or do you kill the power? Unless I was present at the arrest (and even then I'd only have half a clue) I'd have no idea if this drive image is a crock, or possibly even fabricated.

I have no answers except to pose this: ?is all computer crime a diversion? Like life, crime involves money and power: better to chase that rather than one of the many tools which facilitate it.

Bit too heavy for friday :-(


Re: Wait until you get home...

Indeed. An engineer friend of mine once confessed while she was doing the beast with two backs.. her two house-cats used to compete to see which could leap off a wardrobe onto the fella's back. Cats don't tend to be clever but they are "savvy". After being batted away numerous times (by leaping too soon) the feline interlopers finally figured at which point they could land on his back and him not care, which would ruin it for her because while he was doing his (ahem) face she'd be staring into the unblinking eyes of a tabby or a devon rex.

I suggested a water pistol by the bed. Works a treat.

Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped


Re: No car tax?

1) Have you ever, ever been unlucky? My road tax fell off my van minutes after renewing it. Camera. Instant fine.

2) An MOT is a certificate that the vehicle is roadworthy. If it ain't moving? You might as well lump it into (1) as a tax.

3) Ever had a car crushed? Sorry, it wasn't registered as insured in your name.. talk to fob off dept.

Under your new rules.. am I not allowed a party? Someone left a car on my back lawn. It wasn't taxed. No idea if it had an mot. Who's responsible? I waited a couple of weeks, applied for the reg docs then asked local plod: "fuck it, it's yours mate".

The above is an extreme example of "a parent may be in hospital". Get a grip!


Re: No car tax?

I've never had an email confirmation. I do ctrl-p on every page because they do say it is a beta.


Re: No car tax?

Seems like an awful lot of bother. Just buy a car with foreign plates. Is there a point at which offences stack up enough for our police to bother pulling them over?


Re: No car tax?

I'd agree in principle though I suspect you must be young. Decades ago before "sorn" I had a traffic warden attempt to lift the cover off an off-road car. PCSO's and wardens are the same mentality. We knew he would be back. My mate owned a 1939 US army comms truck, one of those six wheel jobbies. If you were lucky it would crank raw fuel down the sidepipes then fire up. Told you to move mate.

ANPR only works for the masses. Buy a number plate with my reg on it and I'm in a whole load of shit.

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style


Re: backward compatibility NOT a thing with Micro-shaft

Too right. My citizen 120D harks from when it was attached to an atari st. It's been flashing "out of paper" for over a decade. I just realised. It's about two years older than my marriage.

All hail the 120D, best way to tell the power has gone. 120D head sweeps! :-)



Am I going mad? Dot matrix don't have drivers. You fling stuff out of "the printer port". There may be some idiot who wrote a java app to map 7/8/9/24 pin onto (whatever) single/double/quad strike modes of various printers but it would be as useful as hens teeth in a bucket of sludge. Applications understood the nuances of various dot matrix, never the OS.

UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms


Re: Something needs to be done

Well, it started with the labour govt just after the war. They created the NHS and the state pension. The idea was everybody would pay a bit out of their wages until they retired then they'd have a guaranteed pension. Well that worked well, from ringfenced (*) to "oo" (**) to "borrow against it(***)".

(*) govt

(**) govt

(***) govt


There is so much wasted. The NHS has screwed up my prescription every time for the last 5 months. Put two IT systems together (NHS + Asda) and what you get is a blame game. Extra appointments to the doc just to sort our paperwork. Doc should be curing folk.

Combine both those "practice manager" numpties and throw them at my mother. She's happily retired living all on her own. She was.

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding


Re: The trouble is..

Around about the time I was born (60's) my father stopped being a "lawyer". All I know (from my mother) is he came back one day from court, fuming. There was was some miscarriage of justice and he could do nothing about it. He was so pissed off, he left his job & never did criminal work again.

"son", "never trust a lawyer". I can add to that..

Never put down to malice that which can be put down to stupidity.

Never put off until tomorrow that which can be but off until next week.


The trouble is..

..uber are just one in a long line. For decades, all sides of the pond - those T&C's have been gibberish to normal folk.

It's barely even possible any more, to avoid the T&C's, even if you pay cash. Mind you, this new autumn of millennials can't handle cash. On the up-side I've had two cheap Mc'D meals this week. Seems they don't understand £2 coins.

User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'


Mother (or in-law)

I've given up with mine. She once had a bad experience as a budding typist on (what would have been) an old IBM twin floppy wordstar box. She then, as a budding author, purchased an amstrad PCW ??? (I forget) with a daisy wheel and one floppy. Oh, if only it had had two. She got muddled swapping disks.

Someone gave her one of those motorola (x-files era) flip top phones. When it died I bought her a samsung gt-xx (gingerbread) smart-phone. "Ah! Computer!" she thought and promptly went to tesco to buy a cheapo phone on their tariff that has a flip-top (because that would work the same). It didn't so she doesn't use that either. I suggested the internet. I offered to pay for it. Nope. Demon spawn!

If ever I plugged my laptop into one of her tv's, she'd bin it.

Virgin Media biz service goes TITSUP* across London


Das Kabel Kaputzenist

Should they have had two cables?

Smart burglars will ride the surf of inter-connected hackability


Re: Giving things "intelligence" is a bad idea

Lifts! :-(

Tsk. Place where I worked the lift hated me. It would stop two inches above the floor, partially open the doors then go out of service. I could hit the sensors on the doors to make then open fully then they'd close - out of service. Call facilities. Two days later it would be working, for a bit.

I discovered, if I did the above but prevented the doors from closing, once out, they would open fully - out of service. I could then bounce up & down into/outof the lift to make it sink back those two inches to level with the floor. Back in service. I also noticed the lift would be more likely to misbehave as the day went on, more specifically after lots of use. No need to call facilities for a two day wait.

This went on for months. The fluid in the hydraulic ram was corrupted. Perhaps if they'd given facilities "intelligence" they wouldn't have always come to look at the problem 6am when the ram was cold.


Re: But can the camera recognize approved cats, or not?

"The only thing I have seen that might do a better job on an intruding cat would be a Jack Russell."

Depends on the "russell". I've not seen one for years. Back when I did, 50% are cute fluffy things, the other were rats and sometimes needed a kick to disengage their teeth from your shin.


Re: But can the camera recognize approved cats, or not?

Robot tweezers mate. Grabs 'em by the nether's until they squeak. Audio recognition does the rest.

UK Tory party pledges 'digital' charter, wants Verify to back online gov


One year later..

..the law becomes unenforceable due to the fact nobody's got any digits left. I'm buying shares in foot operated amputation devices now!

Graffiti 'dying out' as kids dump spray cans for Instagram, Twitter etc


Re: Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

+1 just for the link/reminder. I'd forgotten how much I listened to that!

Boaty McBoatface sinks in South Atlantic on her maiden deployment

IT Angle

..writing about yellow submarines

..has just triggered a memory from when I was a kid. Some might say four decades ago although my wife would say yesterday.

Where has all the white dog poo gone? Is there a special "wdp" dog that no-one buys these days or was there something special which happened back then to make standard dog poo (sdp) into "wdp".

New plastic banknote plans now upsetting environmental campaigners


Re: best solution!


You need to reset your irony, logic and humour chips. I dunno what triggered your accusation so I'm inclined to put you in the "render them all down" group: how that makes me responsible for lack of habitat escapes me!


Re: best solution!

My bad. Still implies "plantation" though. ;-)


Re: best solution!

Seems like a plan; after all, these moaners must be very boney. They obviously can't use plastic because I bet there's enough ingredients in a credit card to make both camps apoplectic. Tap 'n' bonk is obviously out for the same reason. Keeping with linen implies cotton and we can't be allowed to think "plantation". Metal money has all the old fashioned industrial baggage so it does beg the question..

These people can't have reproduced in order to be here today. Logically, they must have had their minds altered since birth because otherwise it requires holding a contradictory life view. No sane person would do that. Thus they are either mad (so off to the loony bin with them) or they've had their minds tampered with by aliens.

Ford to build own data centre to store connected car data



There's one like that on the A611 (dual) off M1 J27. It's fun. In the evening you can sit at the roundabout lights (at "the beginning") with a boy racer. Give it some beans off the lights and boy(*) racer will go tearing off up the hill. Now lift and stay at 70mph. Meanwhile boy racer has hit the top of the hill, triggered the "slow down" sign and the lights go red. You can go sailing through the lights at 70mph just as they change to green & he's stationary. He can't catch you before the next roundabout when more restrictive speed limits come into force. They hate it!

(*) and girl. They're not immune.

Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules


This vm superhub is reliable(*) in modem mode..

Cable Modem: EuroDOCSIS 3.0 Compliant

Boot Code Version: PSPU-Boot

Software Version: V1.01.11

Hardware Version: 1.03

(*) Caveat. The only thing plugged into it is a physical cable going to all my own kit internally - ie: dns/dhcp/wireless is all done internally.

Blinking cursor devours CPU cycles in Visual Studio Code editor


Re: Rule #1 for the user-facing components development

I couldn't agree more. I was once tasked with making an aix system "linuxy". The first issue was to build a reliable gcc because the freeware gcc would crap out on large builds, spuriously producing object files with no code inside. Now, they could have given temporarily given me a (then new) unprovisioned power 6 box (destined to become a new oracle server) but instead some wag with the ear of those above trotted out that "give the devs crap" twaddle. I got instead, a standalone dual core power 5 box with 1G ram and iirc it would take upward of 40 minutes to build gcc 4.0.2 - except it didn't because of the afore-mentioned freeware gcc bug. There was about a weeks worth of debugging to get an initial, reliable gcc built but actual time spent was more than two months.

Road accident nuisance callers fined £270,000 for being absolute sh*tbags


Re: so what happens to

The NHS one drives me nuts. The landline is unplugged due to spam. I disabled voicemail due to spam. I block unknown callers due to spam. I told my surgery until I'm blue in the face to release caller-id before they call (I know they can, a nurse did it once & ditto in a couple of other circumstances).

My theory is not patient confidentially, rather they haven't got a proper telephone setup. They don't "nat" through to a single phone number which comes back to the front desk. You call 'em back on that released number & you're straight back to the phone that called you. I think that's the real reason why.

Royal Navy's newest ship formally named in Glasgow yard


Re: What..

Whisky McWhiskFace!

Sysadmin's sole client was his wife – and she queried his bill


Not known for being PC myself..

"Every time I go to the doctor he tells me it's because I'm overweight"

Who said that?

"Me, silly"

Oh, sorry. You were blocking out the light!

A cardboard desk? I won’t stand for it (actually I will)


Re: 150 € for this? :omg:

We had to remove a door which opened the wrong way in our house and being of the older persuasion it was nigh-on solid wood. Bit of 2by4 plus some large shelf brackets and instant desk.

There's a self assembly plywood computer desk circa late 1980's buried under some dust. It has bowed about 3 inches and all it has on it is an Atari ST, a couple of ST monitors and one of those ST "slab" hard disks: 100mb £400. I find it real hard to chuck stuff because I don't like waste. Next to it, the ST printer (Citizen 120D) is still powered, attached to my old firewall (FreeBSD 4.x) box and has been flashing "out of paper" for over nearly two decades.

Nothing wrong with an old door! :--)


Re: Cats 'n boxes.

My wife's cat, when I first met her (the wife that is*) used to treat a litter tray like a dog burying a bone in a sandpit. In compensation for there never being any litter in his tray he took to using any coiled up wire he chanced apon: failing that, a pair of shoes.

I suggested we get a cat-flap pronto. Unfortunately our new abode was a first floor flat so I ended up constructing a complicated climbing frame so he could get in and out.

(*) She wasn't my wife when I first met her. That would be a wierd.

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order


Re: Do people care?

Not necessarily. I got a littering ticket in the post. All that was on it was the time and registration plus "threw cigarette butt from car window". Registration was wrong. You'd think that would be the end of it. Nope. Just got another ticket with the registration "corrected" to match mine. The time put me in the middle of gridlocked rush hour half a mile from the supermarket I went to, where (luckily) I still had the receipt for less than ten minutes after the offence. Not possible to even drive from the offence to the supermarket in/at that time, let alone buy all those goods and get through the checkout.

Then I just get blanked by them, leaving me with "pay the fine" or "pay double later" or "take it to court and pay more plus expenses". Given that it would have cost me a f*ck sight more to travel all the way back to a court appearance, I wussed out and stumped up.

I am still annoyed about it and it happened about four years ago. I am not so annoyed as when I got fined for failure to display road tax. New disc fell off the windscreen. It was on the floor only minutes yet in that time some twat spotted it. That was over twenty years ago and I still fume about that one.

Kudos to anyone who has the tenacity to fight back though!

Microsoft wearable makes lazy lardies pay to play on the couch


I misread that as..

"He says some 60 lardy postgraduate students.."


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019