* Posts by HildyJ

211 posts • joined 2 Nov 2012


What did turbonerds do before the internet? 41 years ago, a load of BBS


BBS Fail

I remember BBSs in my personal life, my favorite was The Well, but I also encountered them in my job as an EDP Auditor for a telecom. In those days, at least in the US, the telecom would charge phone calls by the minute based on 32 bit (not byte, don't be ridiculous) call records. We needed a bit for a new service and someone spotted one that the documentation said was not in use and grabbed it (and reprogrammed the switches to use it). It turned out that somebody else had previously programmed the switches to use it to indicate a call of over 24 hours (and didn't document it). When our revenues went down we discovered that BBSs were keeping calls (or trying to keep, calls would off gang agley) going for over 24 hours while moving large files and without the bit the calls weren't getting billed. A kerfuffle ensued.

OK Google, er, Siri, um, Alexa, can you invalidate these digital assistant patents, please?


And here magic happens

Software patents should only be granted if the patentee can produce working software. Putting a magic black box between well known inputs and outputs should not be patentable.

Tens to be disappointed as Windows 10 Mobile death date set: Doomed phone OS won't see 2020



Tens? Really? You don't need to sensationalise. Sure, Tom, Dick, and Harry will be upset. But those three are all I can think of.

Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election


Re: Respect my authoritay

Two points for 60 year old Anonymous Coward. First, not all old people are non-analytical and critical thinking doesn't decline with age. Second, if you're in your early 60s, you hit college with Vietnam and Watergate, both of which destroyed some of the populous' unquestioning respect for authority. I'm in my late 60s and it's the people older than me who often don't get it.


Re: Putting on my IBM HR hat...

Off the record, what we need is a fake news effort to convince them that fentanyl cures arthritis.


Respect my authoritay

I'm old, in my 60s, and I think the guess about not recognizing news as fake comes close. Too many old people were raised to unquestioningly respect authority. For news the authority was what they read in the newspaper or saw on TV. The idea that you'd question it was alien to them. Plus, the ability to access multiple sources to fact check was almost nonexistent for most. They view all news sources, fake, partisan, and nonpartisan, as authoritative.

Trying to teach us if we haven't learned by now is a lost cause. If you can't go to them in person, grab their cane, and rad them over the knuckles, just reply to their posts with authority. "NO! BAD GRANDMA! DON'T POST THIS!"

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot


How about?

Thinking about reboots seriously, unlike HooHahWood and the boobocracy, one comes to mind - Be Bill - Kill Bill from the perspective of Bill rather than the Bride.

The problem with most reboots is that they are structured around cool scenes with a 'plot' whose sole function is to link the scenes and a 'script' whose function is to set up the scenes before and admire them afterwards.


Re: what the people want

How about a 'live action' Bugs Bunny?

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work


Re: Horses for courses

I second the desktop for real work.

But instead of a cheap tablet, I've been using a Windows tablet since Windows XP Tablet Edition. I currently have a Dell Venue Pro with Windows 10 and it fully, albeit slowly, supports all my company's security so I can interact with the email and file servers, "attend" group meetings and teleconferences, and generally accomplish whatever I need to do remotely. Plus content consumption.

Want to hack a hole-in-the-wall cash machine for free dosh? It's as easy as Windows XP


They never should have abandoned OS/2

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day


Re: Vinyl

I've got about 9 linear feet of vinyl stored upright on shelves with a mental note to someday buy a turntable designed to rip them to files/CDs. Vinyl isn't weird.

OTOH, I've got 3 feet of LaserDiscs and two LaserDisc players that haven't been touched in a decade, not to mention random VHS and Beta tapes of various sizes and formats.

And also the tangle of cables and hardware that the article was about. FYI, my 5 1/4 and 3.5 floppy drives are both internal.

Apple replaces boot-loop watchOS edition with unconnected complications edition


A very Apple like bug

Microsoft, at least, had the excuse that they have to make their OS compatible with a panoply of hardware, drivers, and software that they don't control. Apple controls the entire ecosystem and they still chimped it. They schedule their big conferences before they even start development and release whatever they can.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


Re: Charles Freakin Darwin

Sorry. I was wrong. I'm from across the pond and haven't used pound notes since my visit during the '70s.

Removing Darwin, I'd say Bacon for the scientific method or Hutton for deep time.

As far as the others mentioned, yes they were great scientists and worthy of recognition, but, in my mind, they didn't, for the most part, change the way non-scientists think about the world in general.


Charles Freakin Darwin

There are two British scientists who have created truly world shattering laws - laws that changed how the average person views the world - Newton and Darwin. Since Newton had his time on the currency, Darwin is the only answer.

I cannot believe that neither El Reg nor any of the posters even mentioned him.

Smartphone industry is in 'recession'! Could it be possible we have *gasp* reached 'peak tech'?


"New and Improved" is not the same as useful

I will upgrade my Pixel 2 to a Pixel 3 for one reason - the 3 supports some newer LTE bands which are relevant in my location.

Other than that, I see no feature on the Pixel 3, or any other phone, that would make me want to upgrade. I've lived happily without these features and I don't see a reason to waste money on them. Plus, I hate all the new design trends.

Wake me when there is a self-healing, flexible screen that folds.

Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?


McLean isn't just any suburb

Just a note - McLean, Virginia is where CIA Headquarters are located.

Juno this ain't right! Chinese hackers target Alaska


A note to you Brits

I like the title pun EXCEPT Juno is the Roman goddess Juneau is the Alaskan Capital.

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening


Re: Oh for the love of...

It's more than a database with or without hashtags. That said, it sounds like a subset of DOS based Lotus Agenda, patented in 1988. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Agenda

NASA finds more stuff suggesting Mars could have hosted life, maybe

Paris Hilton

Re: Suggestive, but nothing more, and nothing less

By themselves, organics and methane are no big deal; we've found them all over the solar system. The big deal is that the organics were preserved in an environment where we didn't expect them to survive. The even bigger deal is that the methane varies during the year which rules out most, but not all, non-biological processes and would be expected from biological processes. Like the Viking Labeled Release experiment, these findings add to the suggestion that microbial life exists and detract from the suggestion that it does not.

No proof but perhaps an increase in hope.

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


Just an extension of Terry Pratchett - The purpose of computers is to make everything available to you but make it impossible to find anything.

NAB mainframe turns its TOESUP* after power outage, offline 7 hours


Re: "main online transaction processing server"

You are, unfortunately, probably right. And I don't suppose switching the gender to the far more traditional "COCKUP" would be acceptable either. As a wise man said, things change, things get worse.


Re: "main online transaction processing server"

It makes perfect sense if both were running off the same power supply and they didn't have a backup power supply. Before they brought up the mainframe they'd need to shut down the ancillary servers and flush their queues. Bringing the whole network back online will take time - which is why you have backup power, and regularly test it.

The more important question is how does El Reg determine if a system goes TOESUP or TITSUP? I blame the GDPR.

You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed


Programming needs jokes

Jokes in documentation, code, and even instruction sets have been around forever (or at least since Grace Hopper's bug incident).

My favorite is from no less than the old, very buttoned down, Big Blue (IBM for you youngsters). In the 360 Assembler instruction set, a key instruction, "Branch and Link" uses opcode 69 (and I defy anyone to tell me that wasn't intentional).

UK's Royal Navy buys £13m mine-blasting robot boat


Re: Where do we vote for the name?

The HMS Auntie Mine

Exposing 145m Equifax customer deets: $240m. Legal fees: $28.9m. Insurance: Priceless


Re: Nah, keep it simple, save jail costs.

New idea as far as the punishment fitting the crime - take all the execs who should have done something, print a copy of the leaked data, and make them eat it.



To heck with fines, there should be jail time for aiding and abetting identity theft and, for the higher ups, conspiracy to aid and abet identity theft.

European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter


Re: Deep space comms

To heck with fiber - lets just build a hyperloop.

How machine-learning code turns a mirror on its sexist, racist masters


Actual stereotypes versus desired sterotypes

Sometimes stereotypes reflect beliefs but sometimes they reflect reality. For example, men are more closely associated with corporate or world leaders than women because that's the unfortunate reality. It stems from a stereotypical belief that women are unsuited to those roles. The problem is how to distinguish between the two.

I would suggest that associations need to be weighted based on time sensitivity. If an association was higher or lower in the past than it is now, the trend needs to be reflected in the results, even to the extent of extrapolating the trend to magnify it further.

Unfortunately, Artificial Intelligence training is limited by Human Intelligence which is not always that intelligent.

Kepler krunch koming: Super space 'scope's fuel tank almost empty


Lease it to the Starman

How about this? NASA leases the Kepler to Musk for 20 years at $1 per year. If Musk can get out there and refuel it he gets the rights to all the Kepler's output for the 20 year period, not to mention even more fame, more validation for SpaceX, and geek cred out the wazoo.

Rant launches Eric Raymond's next project: open-source the UPS


What's the over/under?

The write up sounds like they are focusing on a big (UPS) batter to charge smaller batteries. That's fine for those who don't want what a good UPS can provide. As Nate Amsden points out, a good UPS cleans the power it outputs. The other thing a good UPS does is regulates the power it outputs to eliminate high and low (brownouts) voltages. To do this, input power needs to go into the battery while output power is taken from the battery.

It's ALIIIIIVE: Boffins detect slow-moving zombie star


Terra Fritata

The only boffin debate about the fate of Earth is whether the it will be baked to a crisp while inside the Sun or fried to a crisp while just outside the Sun.

Fun fact: US Customs slaps eyeglass taxes on optical networking gear


there are none so blind as those who will not see

Why am I not surprised?

Helicopter crashes after manoeuvres to 'avoid... DJI Phantom drone'


If someone was piloting a powerboat on a river and they saw a small sailboat approaching so they cranked the wheel over and ran into the bank; is it the sailboat's fault?

Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs


Sounds like Windows

It'll be interesting to see how the Linux fan bois who are always bashing Microsoft's data collection respond to this. The spokesman's justification could have come straight from Redmond.

Microsoft working to scale Blockchain for grand distributed ID scheme


I beg to differ

Frankly, I am much more interested in having a secure ID that ensures that I am the only one who can ever access my bank or brokerage or credit cards or medical records or phone account than I am concerned that Microsoft or Google knows what bank or brokerage or credit cards or medical providers or phone account I use.

Sure, I would prefer that the blockchain system be set up and funded by some philanthropist with no connection to any profit making concerns (including cryptocurrency exchanges), but such billionaires are few and far between. But until that happens I'd rather have my secure ID because my every move on the Internet (and yours) is already tracked.

Epic spacewalk, epic FAIL: Cosmonauts point new antenna in the wrong direction


Apple comments:

Obviously he was holding it wrong.

Super Cali's unrealistic net neutrality process – even though the sound of it is something quite... ferocious


Another club

Cali can restrict state telecommunications contracts to telecom carriers that operate under the old net neutrality laws. Their AG could also look into the possibility of voiding existing contracts with carriers who switch to operating under the new laws.

Amount of pixels needed to make VR less crap may set your PC on fire


Why pixels? Why not color palette?

Instead of reducing the resolution outside of the fovea area, why not reduce the number of color bits from full in the center down to 8 (4?, 2?) at the periphery?

SMBH: Astroboffins reveal how to stop pop(ping) stars in a supermassive galaxy



So the drawback of being bigger is that the fireworks don't last as long.

Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?


The Booboisie

The unwashed masses won't read a science story that doesn't reference 'aliens', 'asteroid impact', or 'super volcano'.

Reminder: Vast majority of serfs toiling away as Mechanical Turks for megabucks Amazon earn less than min wage


Stop it

The Turk is a marketplace, a Craig's List for mental tasks. Amazon doesn't post the tasks and they don't hire the workers - they are a clearinghouse. If a worker takes a job at an absurdly low rate, that's their choice (or fault). I doubt this even affects the rounding error in Amazon's income statement. Amazon can be criticized for many things but this isn't one of them.

Google prepares 47 Android bug fixes, ten of them rated Critical


Overflows? Still?

I don't care about who gets what patch when. I don't care about the advantages or disadvantages of Android or iOS.

I care that any software was every allowed to go into production when it permitted integer or stack overflows.

All software processes should Always test the validity of All data Before processing it.

Please feel free to print that out and epoxy it to your screen. We've (by which I mean users and accomplished programmers (of which I am both)) has enough. And deadlines are not an excuse to propagate system breaking code.

Report: Underwater net cables are prime targets for terrorists and Russia


Sounds like a request for more money and power

Cables have been cut many times. Once it was a deliberate hostile act - the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The rest were accidents and most, if not all, were unpreventable by a government. As for tapping, my assumption is that all cables are tapped by multiple intelligence agencies from all the big powers.

So why bring this up with notes of doom and gloom? Somebody or somebodies are looking for more money, more power, and political propaganda. And they will get it, as usual.

Self-driving bus in crash just 2 hours after entering public service


Beeeeeeep! Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Having read the description of the accident, the one fault I see with the bus is that it failed to do what any of us would do and that is Lean On The Horn. Which raises the question: does it even have a horn and, if not, why not?

Boffins' bonkers fibre demo: 53 Tbps down ONE piece of glass


The key question

So when can I sign up for streaming 8k VR porn?

US yanks staff from Cuban embassy over sonic death ray fears


Orange Herring

It's a complete orange herring from Trump to drum up anti-Cuba sentiment. The most likely cause according to scientists is accidental exposure to unregulated chemicals, probably from cleaners and exterminators. Sonic devices are as credible as aliens.

From an excellent analysis in The Verge: "A much more likely explanation for the symptoms is some kind of chemical exposure, Oghalai [Chair of the Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Southern California] says. That’s a lot more simple.” https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16316048/sonic-weapon-cuba-us-canadian-diplomats-ultrasound-infrasound-science

Twitter to upgrade from micro-blogging to milli-blogging with 280 chars



Things change; things get worse.

Congress battles Silicon Valley over upcoming US sex trafficking law

Thumb Down


Sex trafficking existed before the Internet so I would ask:

Should victims be allowed to sue the Postal Service?

Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

IT Angle


Things have been going downhill since Autocoder (which was not an automatic coder, children). Now get off my lawn and let me take a nap.

A todger, a 2.5kg dumbbell, the fire brigade... and the inevitable angle grinder


Re: Ummm - I fell...

Adding hole size to the CE regulations would be too complicated. Instead, all products with a hole between 2 and 6 cm should be required to have a safety warning, "Do Not Insert Penis", in permanent contrasting 36 point type surrounding the hole.


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