* Posts by billat29

104 posts • joined 22 May 2013


Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019


Re: The Brexit angle on this...

Brexit GPS takes you to an obscure village that's neither your origin nor your destination and threatens to drive you off the cliff at beachy head if you reprogram it

Ex-UK comms minister's constituents plagued by wonky broadband over ... wireless radio link?


Re: For His Masters Voice Transport Missions with Tramp Steamers/Sleek Tenders

What He Said.

Oh! My! God!

I understood what he is on about!

Could it be that after all my prayers you've answered me

After days of wondering I see the reason why

You've kept it to this minute for ....

Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach


A real example: (names changed)

Zoe Smith is the child of John Smith and Emily Williams but Emily is now living with Fred Wilson and had a child with him called Joe. Joe Wilson is the brother of Zoe Smith and he has Emily and John down as parents whereas Joe has Emily and Fred.

Now Fred and Emily have Chloe living with them, Chloe is Fred's daughter with his former partner, Susan Jones and retained her mother's family name. However, Emily has parental responsibility for Chloe Jones and so she should be down on SIMS in that case. So should Susan as although Chloe is not living with her, she still is her mother.

So. Zoe Smith; Joe WIlson and Chloe Jones are all siblings but different people living at different addresses need to see their records.

If Emily comes into the school office and says that she has a court order that prevents John seeing Zoe how does that get recorded in SIMS? And does that prevent the school from sending information about Zoe's progress?

So relationships are more complex than in my day so it easy to see that it can get screwed up. And in education software there are fixed release dates set around events in the school year so the pressure is on.

However, there is this thing we have all heard about called testing...

Notes/Domino is alive! Second beta of version 10 is imminent


Re: It's actually used a lot

I seem to recall that IBM went round at one time offering it at a ridiculously low price and that's why so many (public sector) organisations were using it.

Me? I used to stick Outlook on the front.

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


Re: Its the Will of the People!!

History is a valid subject to study - as the old saying goes "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Does that mean history graduates actually choose to make the same mistakes over and over? 'cos that's the way it looks to me....

Equifax's IT leaders 'retire' as company says it knew about the bug that brought it down


Re: admin/admin

"Tim Berners-Lee has a BA (albeit in physics)."

Of course. At the time he studied Physics, Oxford University only awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree even for science.

These days he would get an MPhys to recognise that science at Oxford is a four year journey.

'Vicious' neutron star caught collecting dustbunnies


When will I see you again?

"Have you lot done nothing but lie and cover up since I left? No wonder the Empire is sinking with all hands."


Three degrees

There is no such thing as a "degree" Kelvin. It's just Kelvin. And it starts at zero so "10's of degrees Kelvin above zero" is just rubbish.

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever


Shower upgrade

Much against my better judgement, I bought one of those "digital" showers. It already has had one software upgrade and it is certainly not "done"!

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry


Re: It's a systemic problem with humans.

"Anyone see that coming? More important, did anyone in the industrial supply chain buck the pressure and move their products to BSD despite the competition touting their easy-to-run Windows systems?"

Of course not. At that time I was moving products TO Windows from perfectly good platforms.

And why was I doing that? Because IT put the block on buying anything that wasn't Windows.


Hardware Support

"So surely if you are buying a piece of medical kit for £250k you also buy a support contract from the vendor? And you put a clause in that contract that the supplier must provide software updates to ensure the software works on a supported OS?"

In an ideal world, yes. But in the real world, that piece of kit has some clever stuff designed and built by the vendor surrounded with a whole load of other stuff that is bought off the shelf. And so there is a chain of dependencies not only on hardware but also the software to drive it. And it takes just one of those vendors to stop producing the kit or decide that it isn't worth their while updating the drivers to the OS latest driver model and you are basically stuffed.

Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband


Re: What are customers moaning about?

@ Blotto

I need the 400m of loop that goes down the road to the green cab at the bottom of the street. I don't need the pair that meanders from there back to the exchange. I don't need an allocation of a phone number and the billing thereof, nor the paper thin directory that drops through my door (rarely). Now that won't represent the full amount of the "line rental" but they could knock a few quid off it.

Ransomware sleazeballs target UK schools


sleazeballs target UK schools

Let me see:

Department FOR education

standard for head's email is head@

DfE have it anyway.

Oh wait!

Andrew Stuart, managing director of backup and disaster recovery vendor Datto.....

another El Reg advertorial

European Council agrees to remove geoblocking


Re: Now I understand why Murdoch rags were so vehement on BrExit

Finally someone gets it!

And, of course, they are also part of the pack that want Openreach split from BT so that they can pass expected price savings on to their customers:


or not......

Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel


Flying a sports car

rather than in a bus. Nothing quite like the push back in your seat when you accelerated down the runway.

And you could get a standby seat on the evening flight from JFK for about $500. It was cramped on board and "most" people prefered to fly subsonic, have a nice meal and sleep on the 747.

It doesn't matter how much it costs. The rich will afford it. We plebs don't count.

NASA discovers mysterious super-fast electrons whizzing above Earth


Now. I thought that as well when I read the article and I then I thought "Well, it's not a perfect vacuum so why shouldn't there be?" And the answer turns out to be 9000m/s. Or not.(*)

* I read it on the internet. So it must be true.


Dirty code? If it works, leave it says Thoughtworks CTO


It's a mess but it's where your value is. All those different versions, patches, tweaks and kludges represent 20 years investment in understanding what your customers do and all those odd exceptions, minor cases and other surprises that have come up over the years.

The myth that we all subscribe to is that you can sit down with <user> and apply <methodology of the month> and you will produce a complete new shiny system that will cover all those cases.

And one that won't be technologically obsolete by the time you finished it

Smart Meter rollout delayed again. Cost us £11bn, eh?


Re: Outdoor gas meter - power source?

My neighbours had one of these fitted "ages" ago. It stopped reading as the internal battery ran out and the energy co had to estimate.......

MPs want Blighty to enforce domestic roaming to fix 'not spots'


Re: OFCOM Powers

You forgot to include selling their firstborn into slavery.

Hang On! Some of them would see that as an incentive.

First World Problems: John Lewis clients forced to re-register after website 'upgrade'


Well done for reading it all. I bet you even clicked on the link in the email for more information. (What did I say about clicking on unsolicited emails?).

And better comprehension than wot I has.Out of curiosity (and displaying my ignorance), where did it say" re-register". I found "new" and "improved" and "enhanced security" and "new statement" (which has some design flaws).


Re: A step forward

Exactly, Now they did send out an email a couple of weeks prior which blithered on about new features and introducing SecureCode, but did they take the opportunity to say "Oh BTW you will have to reregister on the new website"? Of course not.

And if you went to the old site and tried to login did it say "Oooh! you're still using the old website. You need to go here and reregister" or did it just give an error code with "call customer services"?

You guess.


And guess how secret the information is that you need to register. errr....

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works


Well, AC. You assume that BI would be sufficient to pay for beer. Bad assumption on many levels.

And maybe you need to tell your dear mother that not being bothered to wash is actually a symptom of a number of recognised conditions.

But then it is your mother that I would like to do out of a job. Not because I have anything against her - but because her role needs to be made obsolete. Medical secretaries are there because medicine runs in an archaic, inefficient and costly manner.

But I digress.........

Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft


Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

Pedant Alert!

It was Xerox PARC. Rank Xerox was a joint venture between Xerox Corp and the Rank Organisation which had the rights to manufacture and sell Xerox products in EMEA (and some times, Australasia).

But yes, they invented all this stuff. Some of us were using this in the early 80's while the rest of you were still tapping into green / orange screens.

er.. or hadn't been born yet....

London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline


You assume that the police run modern programs.

Bad assumption.

PC pioneer Gary Kildall's unpublished memoir revealed


Re: "to pen" is not a verb

My American friends would say; "There ain't no noun that can't be verbed".

Kaspersky so very sorry after suggesting its antivirus will get you laid


Re: Triggered!

"Is it time for Burqas yet?"

Surely. The Sun must be over the yardarm somewhere by now. Oh wait!

Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail


Re: its not a loan its a very naughty tax

So you say. I say that it is a cruel trick to reduce youth unemployment by making them take out loans for useless degrees.

And... although you send documents to Darlington, the jobs are in Scotland - where, of course, they still get free education.

My son is still getting letters amending his "award" for 2011. They are without doubt the most useless, inefficient, overly bureaucratic, self righteous, obstructive twats ever.

E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead


Re: Can of worms...

several places at once.. until you look at it....

Brexit: UK gov would probably lay out tax plans in post-'leave' vote emergency budget


Re: You can't make any accurate predictions,

"WE will be able to make a lot more laws unique to Britain."

Well, yes and no. The UK is currently signatory to 14,000 treaties (source: FCO website) so that is going to limit our options.

And, if we are going to sell into various jurisdictions, then we might have to enact certain laws to enable us to trade there.

And those might just turn out to be the ones that we think we can repeal if we leave......


Re: equivalent terms

Why would you think Nissan would export cars made in the UK to Brazil when it already has a manufacturing plant there?

And if there are tariffs imposed on UK built Nissans, where do you think Nissan might build its next model?

Commercial software chokkas with ancient brutal open source vulns


OSS Management Vendor says everyone who doesn't use their stuff must buy their stuff

It's quite likely that the OSS components in commercial software you are running are not the latest versions. But then again, in my experience, it is very likely that the version of the commercial software you are running is not the latest one either.


Some time ago, I did work with products that had open source components. All dutifully acknowledged. Please write to / email this address for the source etc. No one ever did.

Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline


IDS finds ejector button. Presses PIP.

He finally found a way to get out from under this mess without confessing failure.

Met Police cancels £90m 999 call command-and-control gig


Re: Unique system?

They tried that. Unfortunately it involved the bungling Home Office up against 43 fiefdoms.

Blah Blah blah ... I don't care! To hell with your tech marketing bull


Been there and done that

There's nothing like standing up in front of your customers to expound on your great new release which is only

Fixes for stuff we should have found in QA

Fixes for stuff we DID find in QA but prioritised out to meet the release date

New stuff that has been on the feature list for so long we forgot who asked for it.


No fixes for the stuff you found and that you have been complaining about the grief it gives you for months.

And .. let me add my condolences

Council IT system goes berserk, packs off kids to the wrong schools


Re: Good default setttings ...

Afraid not. Ministers (and others) like to play. So, the rules change, sometimes subtly, sometimes not and by the time they are finalised, there isn't enough time to do a quality job in development, test and, especially, deployment before the next admissions round starts.

And it's more complicated than you might think - especially in and around London where applications often span boroughs / counties and each LA has to coordinate with its neighbours.

BT dismisses MPs' calls to snap off Openreach as 'wrong-headed'


This about the ISPs (or, rather, the big media company) increasing its profit. This has nothing to do with service to us, the customer, or better roll out of "fast" broadband.

The crap service you get is due to callout prevention by your "service" "provider" who doesn't want to call out Openreach. That won't change.

And instead of BT pocketing the broadband rollout money, it will be OpenReach plc taking the money and not delivering instead.

And make it a nationalised company? Hahahahaha!

I'm old enough to remember nationalised utilities.

Universal Credit: The IT project that will outlive us all


Project Management

I was running products and he was running professional services.

I called him a "whore".

"My world is about response times, release dates and feature content" I said. "If I don't meet them, I fail".

"Your world is different. You don't care what you deliver or when you deliver. As long as the stakeholders sign off, the paperwork's done and the client keeps paying the money, you will do whatever they ask."

"At last!" he cried. "You finally understand!" .

How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year


Re: Software As A Service


That's just FUD.

It looks like they have finally realised that no one wants to pay for big new versions of Windows (or Office for that matter) so the plan is to get everyone on the same base (stuff Win10 down everyone's throats) and then monetise extra functionality through a subscription to the cloud.

In order to do so, they need to make sure that any new code that might be needed to enable new "cloud" functionality is delivered seamlessly to everyone's machine. That means compulsory windows updates.

So, office, gaming, media, access to data or device sync will be delivered as part of a Microsoft subscription and that is where they intend to make their money not through Windows which becomes an enabler.

The hard part is getting everyone to open their wallets for the first time, but once we are all used to paying MS monthly, then another couple of quid for more data storage or a new productivity tool will come easy.

Samsung told to build bots who work for less than Foxconn staffers


PhoneCo wins the won number

Couldn't resist.


Dear do-gooders, you can't get rid of child labour just by banning it


Re: Left and Right and Politics

That sounds a bit like the BS that merged grammar schools with low performing secondary moderns and dragged the brighter students down to that level thus depriving a generation (or two) of brighter working class children from dragging themselves up in society.

And did that action specifically improve the education of the rest? No. But it reduced competition for the output of the "independent" schools.

Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school


Re: Hysteria

No they haven't.

If they had succeeded in blowing up airliners we would have to get to airports early so our bags could be x-rayed, we'd have to take off our shoes and belts and be body scanned and take no liquids on board, turn our electronics on for verification and

No. Wait....

Want your kids to learn coding? Train the darn teachers first


On the other hand..

I was in my local primary and the teacher was leading. Now, he has had all of the training that is around and has access to all the materials that have been produced to make a lesson.

It all went wrong during the lab session using scratch. One kid's effort "didn't work" and the teacher had no clue what was wrong, how to find out what was wrong and... how to get the kid to work out what was wrong.

So they're not spending enough on training but even so they are assuming that a bit of training can equip your average teacher with the critical thinking skills required to guide the kids through this.

I really doubt it.

Shadow minister for Fun calls for Openreach separation


Re: Separated or insulated?

"In their current form they are bad enough because they are not allowed to deal with consumers directly."

If they are split out, that won't change. Their customers are the ISPs not us, the paying public.

Parliament wants to splash £6m on network build 'n' run contract


Close the Palace of Westminster. Hand the keys over to the National Trust. They can organise tourist experiences and fund propping it up.

Build modern replacement. (No don't use the same guys that did Holyrood) with 400 spaces and all the facilities for a 21st Century administration.

And a modern round debating chamber.

Less MPs and maybe less schoolboy behaviour.

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future


Re: Need an opt out

You have to pay for schools. You will need to have a generation to create wealth to pay your pension, deal with your medical problems when you age and finally wipe your backside when you are too feeble to do it yourself.

BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up


Now let's see:

a) Downsize the BBC and stop it making "popular" programmes

b) Cut back its website as it "competes" with other "news" and "lifestyle" sites

b) Split out OpenReach from BT and potentially stop BT moving further into the Pay-TV market

c) Be "concerned" about BT buying EE. It might start offering a true mobile or higher speed broadband.

I guess the next will be to drop the insistence that certain sporting events must be FTV.

Can we guess at any media empire with political influence?

Pluto revealed as KING of the Kuiper belt


I was thinking of Uranus

(Opportunity for statutory joke, thanks)


In my day we ad a proper solar system. 9 planets, a bunch of asteroids and comets.

Not loike these modern solar systems you gets these days with all them politically correct TNOs.

And rings. Only Jupiter ad rings, now every bleedin upstart gassy giant got one.

And canals.

Where's that amanfrommars chappie? What appened to your canals then?

Yep, it's true: Android is the poor man's phone worldwide

IT Angle

Apple is a Fashion House

They make them cheap and sell them dear.

They are things of beauty. All the best people have one, there's so much hype and it just says so much about you.

Every so often there is a new one. Does much the same as the old one but you have to have one. After all, who wants to wear last season's designer clothes?

Nasssty Andriody does much the same but would your wife (if you have one) prefer Clarks or Jimmy Choos? After all, they are both just shoes aren't they?

And for all those making technical judgements? Well, my friend, you are not the target market.

Am I running Apple down? No way. I'm lost in admiration.

Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic


Companies and especially governments cheat - whether it is on product standards, product testing, subsidies, prices. You name it, they manipulate it so that they can sell their stuff in your market but you can't sell your stuff in theirs.

So we need rules. If we leave, we are back to them setting the rules and us being disadvantaged.

Why are the rules "daft"?

1. We didn't turn up to the meetings where the standards were discussed and agreed.

2. If we did turn up we screamed and shouted as we learned to do at Eton and Oxford ("debating") and left in a huff when we found out that everyone else had been negotiating sensibly.

3. Then the media, for whom a common market in media represents a substantial risk to their profits and / or "unique" funding, pick up some random rubbish on bananas (where we probably didn't turn up) and portray as the end of the world.

4. As for bankers and policitians.............


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