* Posts by Simon Reed

42 posts • joined 5 Jul 2007

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

Simon Reed

I hope the rock hermit wasn't disturbed

Good job they didn't direct a laser at the rock - some of those elite rock hermits come out firing.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Simon Reed

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

No, a fair bit of Gatwick airport is surrounded by airfield assets, aircraft and vehicles. Bullets dropping out of the sky at terminal velocity will not do aircraft any good.

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?

Simon Reed

One of the call loggers on the Helpdesk said "The call reference number has got a dash in front of it". Another pointed out "And it is going down".

"What are we up to?" I asked. One said "It is -32766 now".

I called over the annoying boy who had written the bespoke Helpdesk system. (He had recently completed his IT degree and wrote the system during his work placement year.) "Change the call reference number to unsigned, and, when you get the chance, make it a longint in the database and the code". He looked at me with his mouth open.

They all thought I'd done magic + was psychic + must have seen the code.

I had never seen the code and did not know what language it was written in. But I knew the call reference numbers were in the range 32000s and wondered if something interesting might happen.

That annoying child with his IT degree wrote horrifically slow and inefficient code. But hey, that doesn't matter these days, does it? Just keep putting in faster processors, more RAM and bigger disks...

... to do what we did in 32K at under 2MHz.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame

Simon Reed

Re: of course, unless they are executives high enough who just leave 'to follow new opportunities'

A similar thing happened at a local authority I worked at some years ago. The councillors voted that they should get access to council systems from home courtesy of the council. So they got PCs and access to the council systems via the council networks. When they did web surfing on these council-provided desktops, it went through the council web cache so it was all logged just like the staff internet access.

When it was pointed out by someone in IT they were spending huge amounts of time surfing for porn, the councillors decided their internet access should be private and not monitored by the staff. So they had their free internet access changed to stand-alone laptops and free broadband at home. Meaning their porn browsing was still paid for by the council but now unmonitored.

Democracy, eh?

Techie basks in praise for restoring workforce email (by stopping his scripting sh!tshow)

Simon Reed

Re: Recursion is difficult

The version I heard, and have often repeated, goes:

"It was a wild and stormy night, and the Captain said to the First Mate,"Jack, tell us a story". And the First Mate began.

"It was a wild and stormy night, and the Captain said to the First Mate,"Jack, tell us a story". And the First Mate began.

"It was a wild and stormy night

And so on ad duffyouupeum.

Plusnet could face DATA BREACH probe over SPAM HELL gripes

Simon Reed
Thumb Down

Re: none for me...

I have never used the email address I gave PlusNet for anything. I had no PlusNet forum account until I felt I needed to comment in that thread about also receiving the spam.

The ONLY place I ever used that email address was to provide it as the billing address.

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Mmmm. Linux.

The "Classic Theme Restorer" did a reasonable job, but here in LinuxLand, this did even better:

Synaptic Package Manager.

Select "Installed".

Search for Firefox.

For each item that says Installed Version is 29.xxxxx, click on it and choose Package (that's in the menu bar, remember menu bars? They're the things FF29 doesn't have) and Force Version. Choose an older one (FF24 in my case). Repeat for each item at 29.xxxxx

Then click on Apply. Wait for the downgrade (snigger) to finish.

Then for each of the changed packages, click on it, then Package, Lock Version.

Voilà! FireFox looking like FireFox and updates won't update it.

And on the missus's PC, I managed to lock it at FF28.

I'm sure that's only a temporary fix (the next major Linux version upgrade might be a problem). But maybe by then, there'll be a fork of FireFox that isn't FireFuxedUp.

Paris, because I want a browser that hasn't been shagged beyond all recognition, and where the appearance has had a lot of time spent on it, but it still ain't pretty.

Simon Reed

Re: Nearly

Mozilla, you bastards. You've fucked my browser.

Chris, thank you.

Reg Hardware Awards 2011 Winners

Simon Reed

Elite - Olite link

And for those of us old enough to remember Elite and want to reminisce, as already mentioned Oolite is the way to go. Link: http://www.oolite.org/

(Hmm. Pirate icon or alien icon?)

Guy Kewney dies at 63

Simon Reed

I'll buy him that beer in heaven.

I have been waiting for the chance to tell that bloke how much I admire him for decades.

He'll just have to wait a bit longer for the beer.

BOFH: Xmas party: Get a wriggle on

Simon Reed

Re: RE: TV Series

I DISagree, this must NOT be televised, the nation MUST remain ignorant of the BOFH!!!

You see, there are still one or two tricks regarding patch panels, transformers and toggle switches I have not completely explored...

China celebrates first lunar pictures

Simon Reed
Black Helicopters

Said it before, I'll say it again

The Merkins have outsourced astronautics to China, just like everything else.

The purpose of this mission is to do the surveying to work out ...

... where best to place a USA flag and Lunar Lander remnant to match where the moon landings were alleged to happen.

They're intending to write past history by placing the evidence to prove it happened, that's what.

MS Explorer foundering after UFO strike

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

And the others...

Besides Seaman Stains, don't forget Master Bates and Roger the Cabin Boy!

(NB: No ladies on board, so Paris Hilton will do as an figurehead)

Tesco slaps cutlery ban on under-18s

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Spunking it again

There it is AGAIN: "... making off with their pensions and spunking the lot on alcopops and gangsta ringtones."

What is this 'spunking' verb El Reg keeps using? Who on Earth tosses themselves off with a table fork? Is the implication here that adolescents can't be trusted with a steak knife for fear of self-abuse of the joy-gloy-making variety?

I'd just managed to forget yesterday's spunk reference with regard to burgers and was thinking I was safe with cutlery but no - it gets everywhere.


Don't give booze to elephants, sobs Paris Hilton

Simon Reed

@Steven Foster

By Steven Foster: "I never knew Paris was so deep and thoughtful. This has totally changed my opinions about her."

I think you've had enough, Steven. Finish that glass then go back to work.

Woolworths flogs Disney Princess chair for £100m

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Dasani definition

@Peter Hewitt, thank you for the dasani reference. So off I go to Google to look that up.

Now I have tea over my keyboard too.

Still, it's nice to have Coca Cola confirm there really is baby-maker gravy in all their products, not just the burgers.


So, that's the Paris Hilton angle sorted.

Simon Reed


"... you'd otherwise have spunked with the UK supermarket monolith"

Now I've got coffee and snot over my keyboard. Thanks.

Cum now, what definition are you using for the verb "to spunk" here?

Eurostar cancels 29 Feb 2008

Simon Reed


Surely you're not suggesting the technology systems relating to railways might not be thoroughly tested?

Actually, as a career IT bod, I find it beyond belief that such a trivially simple bug could be released into the live environment.

I would expect at least three people to be publicly humiliated for allowing that to go live. If I worked either in their coding or testing teams, I would be ashamed to be associated with them.

Actually, it is pathetically awful stuff like this that gives the rest of us in IT a bad name. Tossers.

Government rejects retreat on e-voting

Simon Reed
Thumb Down

Bad pilots

So they're resorting to the "bad researcher who wants funding" approach of "keep doing the experiment until you get the results I want".

I wonder if they'll also just disregard the election results they don't like just as they do with the futile e-petitions. Hey! remember that you heard that here first. I'm off to the bookies to place a bet...

Six-month hangover for 60-pint Scotsman

Simon Reed

@Vaughan Trevor Jones

"Stupid question here but how come didn't he end up in a coma?"

Because it was over 4 days.

With a couple of years of practice and plenty of peer pressure, it is not that impressive. There's plenty of lads that can easily drink 15 pints a day for the duration of a 2 week holiday, never mind a bank holiday weekend.

(Cue the 'peer pressure' puns.)

However, given this bloke is a Glaswegian, you also have to bear in mind he was probably supping pints of heavy with whisky chasers. Now THAT's a bender!

@Just for bogsheet - "mofo"? What sort of term of abuse is that? 15 pints a day. There, said it again, hee, hee.

Chinese boffins in copper nanotubes acronym outrage

Simon Reed

A new one for the terraces

To be heard chanted on the terraces the length and breadth of the country on Saturday afternoon:

"All coppers are nanotubes. All coppers are nanotubes."

(Sadly, I cannot imagine Reg reader chanting it, nor one copper understanding it!)

China goes lunar

Simon Reed

Well, that's me convinced

All these years I've defended NASA and now I've seen the light.

The buggers have outsourced yet another job to China: I reckon they're getting the Chinese to knock up a cheapo Lunar Lander remnant and deposit it on the moon to make iit look like NASA have been already.

Once the Chinese have planted the fake lander, history will have been written.

Obvious, innit?

TheTrainline.com fixes web security derailment

Simon Reed

It's a buggy web site anyway

I used it for the first time last week. Using Firefox, in one tab I did a search for a journey and in a second tab - for comparison purposes - worked out a better journey. I went through to the payment on the second tab, then got an email of the details of the ticket: the one on the first tab. So it sold me a ticket I didn't want.

I phoned up but was told "there's nothing we can do and it costs £10 to cancel the ticket". I won't be using them again.

So the scumbags are making a tenner a time on the bugs on their web site. Is it any wonder they won't fix it?

Friends Reunited considers dropping pay walls

Simon Reed

Friends Reunited are clueless

"you don't need to pay to use the site, it's the other buggers who have to pay if they want to annoy you"

I have had a couple of people try to contact me through FriendsReunited. They have paid to send me the "How are you these days?" message.

For me to reply, I then have to pay as well. So, you DO need to pay to use the site AS WELL AS the other buggers. That strikes me as taking the Mickey. That's why they're going down the pan - excessive greed and not understanding the market.

Right, back to wasting my Friday afternoon reading my free newspaper (El Reg) and networking for free with colleagues (LinkedIn) and looking for a job on the free job ads site (JobServe).

Gatwick reduced to anarchy by 'computer glitch'

Simon Reed

Demon too & BT too

Being a saddo I was up playing games when the clocks changed. My Windows 98-based server did its "Switching to DST" thing. Then my Demon-provided Turnpike software (which uses Demon's time server) said "Ooh, the clock's wrong by an hour" and put it back. The two fought it out for a few minutes until I closed down the Demon software. So it seems their time server did not twig it had changed.

When I worked at BT many moons ago, the standard desktop build had been put together by a Merkin and he got it rolled out before anyone checked it. That meant at least 300 PCs with their mental date format and Merkin dictionary installed. 'Management' decided it wasn't worth changing ... but they weren't the poor sods trying to do a day's work or working on the Helldesk taking the flak.

Can't we just abolish this daft clock changing business altogether? I have yet to have someone explain to me a plausible reason why we do it anyway.

UK minister pledges policing for Second Life

Simon Reed

2nd life is optional

2nd life is slightly different from real life ... if you don't wanna be there ... don't go there.

Loads up Wolfenstein 3D, loads saved game from slot 4 (my favourite: there's a long line of guards standing facing away from me just after I went round a corner).

Switches to the big machine gun .... <cue machine gun sound>

"Oi! Pig! I just gunned down some krauts! I must be a virtual terrorist! Come get me! Ha, ha, ha! But you won't get me alive, pig."

<quits game>

Somebody is being surreal here and I hope it's not just me.

I also vote for a WTF icon. And a beer in a proper jug with a handle icon fro Friday afternoons.

3,000 chickens paralyse central Scotland

Simon Reed

@@Kevin and the rest

"Yes they are going to a slaughterhouse to be humanely despatched. Not die in fear and terror as many would have done in this incident."

Errm. Having heard a few independent first-hand accounts of what goes on in a chicken pie factory, the word 'humane' only seems to apply when the inspectors are expected. Time is money, you know, and the chickens are gonna die somewhere along the line.

IT angle? I worked in an IT dept that was down-wind of an abattoir and a chicken pie factory. The summer was worst. That's when EVERYONE would find excuses to be on-site with the users.

Teeny tiny ozone hole for 2007

Simon Reed

Shirley Surely...

"... another SI base unit, say, can of Lynx ... would get far more headline coverage."

If you want headline coverage, you need Silvikrin, not Lynx.

Ahem. Is that taxi still free?

BT aims to make UK a Wi-Fi kibbutz

Simon Reed

Aiding and abetting?

But, I've not long since turned on all the security on my WiFi doobrie.

Because of these stories about people being nicked for using other wide-open people's WiFi, I decided to make mine secure. Not for my security, just because of all these articles I kept reading saying it's The Right Thing to do otherwise one is aiding and abetting. Or some such.

(Personally, I'd rather have a legal situation where if it's public, it's public. My WiFi point was called "Free2Use".)

So, if BT says I should make it available again, aren't they an accomplice in my aiding and abetting some thieving criminal from checking their email or Streetmap.co.uk on their laptop?

What a load of bollocks this has all become.

Hey, don't forget to close your curtains before turning the telly on. You don't want some evil no-TV-licence-owning thief watching the picture from outside.

Virgin counting by the minute

Simon Reed

Rounding errors. Tut, tut.

I just know I'm going to regret this:

Pedant mode ON

"Virgin Media are to start rounding up fixed-line calls to the nearest minute" should be either "rounding up to the next" or "rounding to the nearest". You mean "rounding up to the next".

And "all calls made by Virgin Media customers will be rounded up to the nearest minute" should be "rounded up to the next minute".

Trivial nitpicking perhaps, but an example of simple rounding error logic as frequently exhibited by the billing departments of plot-lossy accounts departments in outfits like Demon.

VirginMedia merely rip off their customers. That's quite different.

And finally "From the 6th October all calls made by Virgin Media customers will be rounded up to the nearest minute"

except for those of us who are leaving VirginMedia between now and then, of course. :-)

Pedant mode OFF

Mobiles can upset hospital equipment, after all

Simon Reed


"Meters"? Yet another new unit of measure? Are these gas meters or electricity meters?

Why oh why do rock stars die young?

Simon Reed

But, isn't that what they're for?

I thought the purpose of being a rock 'n' roll star was to be perpetually out of your head and having to beat groupies off with a stick? I reckon it's their job to live the dream for the rest of us. If dying before they get old is the price, isn't that what comes of burning your candle at both ends with a blow torch?

A music journalist told a story on Radio 2 a couple of years ago about a conversation with Francis Rossi of Status Quo. (I probably have some details wrong but it's the point that matters.)

He had asked Rossi whether he was upset about not being invited to perform at Live 8, given the Quo had opened Live Aid.

"Live Aid?" says Rossi. "No, we weren't there."

"Yes you were" says the journalist.

After some debate the journalist digs out a video of the event and put it on.

After a few moments Rossi says: "Oh yeah. I remember being at the party afterwards and Mick Jagger and I were dancing on a table but fell off because we were so drunk. But I don't remember performing."

So there we have one of the greatest living legends in rock history who opened the biggest gig in the world ever ... and he was so off his face at the time that he cannot remember even being there.

As the journalist said ...

... now THAT'S Rock 'n' Roll!

UK plans surveillance for Earth-menacing asteroid

Simon Reed

Oh. My. God.

Has anyone checked these people for signs of Mad Scientist Disease?

"So, Egor, we shall land our craft on the asteroid, be the only people in the world with detailed knowledge of its trajectory and so be the only ones able to alter its course. We shall attach to the rock, fire the thrusters nd alter its course by athe teeniest amount and thereby ensure it will hit the Earth! Every one will die and I will RULE THE WORLD!!!


Oh shit.

Paper calls for local ID cards

Simon Reed

I want one!

OK, I have been turned right round.

I want a Rockall ID card.

Monster Trojan monsters job seekers' records

Simon Reed

A bad day for them then

"The Wall Street Journal says that Monster Worldwide has revealed that Chris Power, chief financial officer of global operations, resigned on Friday. The online recruitment company did not disclose the reason for Power's resignation in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Prior to becoming finance chief of global operations, Power had been finance chief of the Monster division. Monster has been going through management upheaval in the wake of an options-backdating scandal."

'Grim reaper' dog senses nursing home deaths

Simon Reed

Re: The truth is

"The truth is that when they're dying, old people begin to smell like pet food."

Oh, so THAT's what pet food is made from. Kind of like a Soylent Green with Coffin-Dodger Chunks in a thick rich Gimmer Gravy.

Customer exodus hits Virgin Media

Simon Reed

Good. I hope they go down the pan

Ha. Ha. Ha.

I signed up with NTL ('cos Demon were happy to lose me after 11 years and BT wanted a month to put broadband into a house that already had broadband). NTL promised me no capping and a fixed price. Much to my surprise, NTL seemed OK-ish.

A few months later Virginmedia do a direct debit from my bank account for more money. That caused me some confusion. A few years ago I got stopped in the street by a Virgin salesbod falsely selling utility conversions under the pretence of arranging an appointment. 'Here we go again', thinks I. Nope, a buy-out. "Well it was in the news so you should have known". A letter might have been nice.

And the price going up? "We did announce that some time ago". Not to me they didn't. I really don't know how they got away with that one.

And then they apply capping (i.e. the 'Fair Use' Fiddle). Thieving gits. "Oh, but your original contract wasn't with us and we can change our contract anyway". But then, they're all doing it now so being provided with "up to" 10% of what you originally bought is now OK, apparently. Grrrr.

Supposedly the 'fair use' i.e. capping, only happens in the evening. Then why am I downloading at 350k/s during the day on some days when I only downloaded 1.89G in total in July?

I may as well be on dial-up.

And now it's £1 per minute to phone them up. I'm sorry, did I ring up and complain? I'll make sure I don't do that again. Harrumph. For a quid a minute I want an unintelligible conversation because of the heavy breathing not because of the ropey connection to an overseas call centre that can't help anyway.


<raspberry> to VirginMedia. They clearly want to go down the toilet and they're going the right way about it as far as I am concerned.

(But then, when they do (and good riddance) who do I transfer to? Rip off Britain? Too right. I just cannot believe how utterly rubbish internet connectivity is in this country. Why, oh why, oh why is it so bad?)

That sinking into a vat of beer Friday feeling

Simon Reed

Re: EmployerSafe by James

James posted: "As an employer ... I am forced to hang out in the pub every Friday and catch the miscreants in the act, myself. It's a terrible strain on my liver, but what else can I do?"

Outsource? Where do I apply?

Simon Reed

Here's a quid. Bye.

£50m per annum. How many people actually in work in the UK? 10 million? That's £5 per year each. 10p per week. So me sloping off to the pub at lunchtime and not coming back costs the country 1p does it?

Here's a quid, I'm off. See you about mid-October.

UK watchdog calls for an end to 'piecemeal' e-voting trials

Simon Reed

Not just secure, but seen to be secure

The advantage of a paper system is the physical pieces of paper. It is easier to make a lay person feel the system is secure and safe if they can 'see' the votes. It is not about whether it is certificated security experts overseeing the testing of the source code, it is whether the process can be seen by the voter to be secure.

However, I don't see how changing away from a paper system will change anything - there still won't be much point voting. We now all know that texting in your vote is just a waste of £1 since a production assistant will win the prize. Or millions can express their view online - (including giving your contact details so it is a genuine individual's opinion) - and be disregarded. And anyway, what is the point since we now seem to have a hereditary system for appointing Prime Ministers?

It's not apathy on our part - it's contempt on theirs.

Selection may as well be done by a random number generator in an OpenOffice.org spreadsheet. At least it would be more open than the behind-closed-doors party representative selection process.

None of the above: X

Razzle, frazzle. Is the pub open yet? Good. I've just decided it's POETS day so I'm off to offer my support to the Warm Flat Bitter Party...

Sole competitor comes second in cake-baking contest

Simon Reed

Beware the TOGs

Terry Wogan (Mon-Sat 7-9 the Light Programme, BBC) gets many such complaints. He enjoys reading them out.

"I have been listening to this drivel every day for 3 years now and I have had enough. You said <something I utterly disagree with>. I am OUTRAGED. You should be bodily thrown from the building. I am DISGUSTED my licence fee is being wasted in this way. I DEMAND you stop transmitting this RUBBISH to my wireless AT ONCE.

Appalled of Tunbridge Wells"

His response is usually to the effect of "my listenership is made up of angry people listenening intently just waiting to be enraged about something so they can write in. You can hear them sharpening their quills."

El Reg to bite hand that feeds ICT?

Simon Reed

Computing? Bearded Ones? Harrumph.

"ICT is IT or as one of the bearded ones may say, Computing"

I aspire to be a greybeard but I'm not there yet. However, I still think "computing" is a new-fangled term invented by <spit> marketing.

I studied Data Processing when I was at college - but that was 'cos it was a business-oritentated course. Whereas we only had to learn how to drive card readers and select which sorting algorithm to use according to the hashed indexing system in use and the number of tape drives available, the real academics doing 'Computer Studies' were learning how to write the next generation of compilers.

What riles me is that ICT includes those networking numpties. Quite what anyone thinks they have to do with computers has defied my understanding for over two decades. When I wanted to network some RAIR black boxes I did it by soldering up some RS242 connectors to a few yards of ribbon cable and wasting a good drinking hour reminding myself what XON/XOFF protocol (that's ^S / ^Q to you newbies) was in aid of. It's all been downhill since that RTS/CTS rubbish came along, as far as I can see.

ICT? Bah! You'll be telling us next that Windows is an operating system.

When I were a lad, if you couldn't code an purchase order system in 8K of RAM after supping 8 pints of Wethereds you could be expected to be sent to the Senior Operator to go empty the bit bucket. And if you had to edit the source more than twice before passing acceptance you'd be carpeted by the Senior Programmer (as indeed I was). But you try telling that to the script-kiddies today, and they just don't believe ya.

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