* Posts by Nick Kew

2852 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Deus ex hackina: It took just 10 minutes to find data-divulging demons corrupting Pope's Click to Pray eRosary app

Nick Kew
Angel

Re: Premature disclosure

Then let us instead invoke Tom Lehrer on (more-or-less) the subject.

GitLab reset --hard bad1dea: Biz U-turns, unbans office political chat, will vet customers

Nick Kew

Re: Open Season

But if a business is getting grief from loons and fears getting mired in a vortex of debate that consumes 100% (and rising) of its time, they might very well want to put a stop to it.

My reading of this story is that gitlab's original announcement looked like a clumsy attempt to do that.

Nick Kew

Open Season

Does this mean it's now open season to object to any gitlab project I find offensive? Sorry, I don't have to rationalise my objections to [project], it's a matter of Faith. Just take it down, it is an abomination unto Nuggan.

I don't have insider knowledge. But I infer from this story that someone may have been far enough on that slippery slope to cause concern.

I discovered the world's last video rental kiosk and it would make a great spaceship

Nick Kew

Re: Recycling

Heh. Just googled it. Nope, the best suggestion, and the cultural one that had occurred to me, was the kind-of-Dickensian one about my ghost suggested in the first reply to my post.

Nick Kew

Re: Recycling

Chain is high up (stairs to attic), and on the far side of the house from the river.

I expect it used to support something heavy (it looks like it would hold a few tonnes), and was kept as decorative in the conversion to houses.

I can't see myself or neighbours getting planning permission to generate from the river, but I've tried to get anyone to quote me for installing a heat pump using the water. Could put a great big hot tank in the underground area notionally designated for parking.

Nick Kew

Re: Recycling

This one was disused for some time before being converted to houses.

Elsewhere nearby are others that were converted when an old business owner died and his son saw more gold in houses than in his late dad's business (a very much bigger site). One of them features as house 2 in this rant.

Nick Kew
Thumb Up

Recycling

We Brits just love recycling old houses.

My new house is a recycled industrial building, complete with weir in the river that provided power before there was electricity. And that was itself recycled from earlier use. And what's nice about this house is precisely the riverside location and the exposed features inside, including big thick stone walls, huge heavy beams, and cast iron supports. And a great heavy chain whose purpose eludes me.

Help! I bought a domain and ended up with a stranger's PayPal! And I can't give it back

Nick Kew
Trollface

Re: Trying to report when people sign up with my addresses is painful

Isn't Silicon Heaven for Good Trolls?

Nick Kew

I had a case like that with my .com domain receiving small amounts of legit-but-misdirected-looking email for the owner of a .net namesake. The email bounced (I don't use a catch-all), but I saw it in the logs with non-spam subject lines. I contacted him, confirmed the situation, and set up forwarding on that address.

Fancy yourself as a bit of a Ramblin' Man or Woman? Maybe brush up on your cartography

Nick Kew
Pint

This time of year is when you find yourself unable to read the map at some unexpectedly early hour as darkness falls on you. Not to mention a season when wind frequently makes paper maps hard to use!

When I lived in Sheffield I'd get caught out every autumn somewhere up in the Peaks, and find myself running some way (I was 30-ish and in good health) just to get onto the Pennine Way and an easily-navigable-in-the-dark route down, usually to one of the Hope Valley stations such as Edale.

On an unrelated note, I particularly enjoyed Kinder and Bleaklow in the swirling mists without map or compass. It could conjure a fleeting illusion of some kind of remoteness from mankind.

Remember the Democratic National Committee email leak? Same hackers now targeting EU countries, say malware boffins

Nick Kew

Re: Narrative, tick

Citation needed.

'Cos whatever you're hinting at is either a news story (real or otherwise) that never reached some of us, or something you just dreamed up.

Since both sides of US politics routinely spread misinformation, how are we to tell which this is?

A cautionary, Thames Watery tale on how not to look phishy: 'Click here to re-register!'

Nick Kew
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Why no subdomain!?

So when were you last a customer of Thames Water?

Blood money is fine with us, says GitLab: Vetting non-evil customers is 'time consuming, potentially distracting'

Nick Kew

Perhaps the problem is rather the opposite: a grey area which the vast majority of all projects occupy, and some nutter[1] campaigning to dump them on account of evil by some perhaps-tenuous association. The Reg forums might be used for bullying and harassment: we mustn't host anything associated with them! Erm, sorry Apache, sorry Perl, ...

[1] My nutter may be your hero. And it won''t be the same nutter campaigning every cause.

Nick Kew

Re: Possibly not companies per se

How many projects actually moved over MS ownership? Anything that was more than a vanity project?

What the &*%* did you just $#*&!*# say about me, you little &%$#*? 'AI' to filter Xbox Live chat

Nick Kew
Trollface

Re: I know it's possible to have fun ...

Sometimes swearing does indeed make life better, but insulting other people never does.

Interesting proposition there. Might one not infer from the case of Wowbagger that insulting other people is at least associated with longer life?

Nick Kew
Thumb Up

Re: I know it's possible to have fun ...

Indeed, though it can also detract from fun if someone is swearing unpleasantly.

Not-swearing can also contribute to fun. Devising words to get around a filter, sharing a joke of pink marshmallows substituted by a filter, and a collective shaking of heads at the idiocy of a filter, can contribute positively to a community.

The shared joke or the common enemy bring people together.

Welcome to the World Of Tomorrow, where fridges suffer certificate errors. Just like everything else

Nick Kew

Aha, so I can put the pan on high heat on the hob, go back to what I was doing, and turn it down to simmer when it comes to the boil. What could possibly go wrong?

Nick Kew

If you have nowhere cellar-cool in the heat of summer, the appliances sold as "wine coolers" in Blighty will do the job for fresh fruit&veg. Not to mention cheese&butter. And of course, English beer.

Nick Kew

A fridge the size of that Samsung could presumably take all those Reg lunchboxes without getting overcrowded, yesno?

I've been contemplating a bigger fridge-freezer since moving to a kitchen with more space, so I've thought a bit about what I would or wouldn't pay more for.

YES obviously: sensible size, layout, power-efficiency, quiet running.

YES if not cynical about it working: frost-free, condensation avoidance.

MAYBE: my little indulgence - a dispenser for chilled water and ice, all plumbed in (would be a YES except that it's only available on "american style" models).

NO but would have some merit: IoT availability to inspect contents while in the supermarket.

NOT BLOODY LIKELY: big screen attached to the thing!

Her Majesty opens UK Parliament with fantastic tales of gigabit-capable broadband for everyone

Nick Kew

Re: Hmmm...

You need to read today's "Who, Me?" for the explanation of 96%.

Nick Kew

Re: Dont give the contract to...

They were here today: my FTTC was due. But it seems I still have to wait for any such luxury, while they fix something between here and the cabinet.

Of course if they don't give it to Openreach, maybe they'll have a tendering process ... like the trains. I wonder if Grayling is available to demonstrate how serious they are?

Lies, damn lies, and KPIs: Let's not fix the formula until we have someone else to blame

Nick Kew

Re: bigwigs had spent the last year working on ... "numbers totally unrelated to reality"

Particularly true of the work for MoD clients I encountered back in the 1980s.

Need a number, but have no data? Pluck one from the top of your head. Use it, and explain that it has no basis in reality. Try a couple of other numbers to see how much difference it makes: this is called a parametric study and should be good for a few more taxpayer-funded man-hours.

Next person to need that number then references you. In a couple of years, all the caveats are lost, and your number has become the definitive reference. Noone questions it any more. Or rather, anyone who questions it soon finds myself out on a limb and looking for the next job.

Next time you watch a war film and the hero speaks dismissively of those backroom boys who have no clue, you know he's right[1]!

[1] Am I still OK to refer to a hero of a war film as male?

Nick Kew

The price of snake oil varies rather a lot - as in this instance.

Oh dear... AI models used to flag hate speech online are, er, racist against black people

Nick Kew

Who is racist here?

We can of course point, with or without evidence, at a range of suspects.

But this story unambiguously highlights one attitude as racist. Namely, the idea that you can objectively identify offensive speech / hate speech. There will always be grey areas, and those go right into areas of supposed black-and-white certainty.

Symptomatic of today's inability to distinguish objective fact from subjective opinion and prejudice.

Nick Kew

... how does it know, from 9 ASCII characters, whether an African American posted it or not?

How does a human know that? Why does it matter?

If you say that to a stranger with no context, you're obviously out of order. If you say it to a close friend, it might be perfectly OK depending on the relationship - but noone outside your close circle could judge that, nor is it any of their business. If you say it in the course of a debate, that's fine as far as I'm concerned - and El Reg haven't censored you - but would get you deleted and possibly even banned in some fora.

Don't all of us say things within the family that would be highly offensive if addressed to a stranger?

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look

Nick Kew

Re: Basic Aptitude

For values of "fail gracefully" centred around Give Up Trying Before Getting Into Trouble.

Nick Kew

Re: Basic Aptitude

As a software developer, I regard it as my business to make software usable.

The smart user understands it - with use of regular tools like Google as appropriate. The user who can't do that should fail gracefully, not have illusions of mastery.

Nick Kew

Re: No lineage?

Older than Pratchett. Can't place it right now, but I'm sure Wilde was one earlier comic/witty writer to use it. Going back much further, Newton's shoulders of giants sounds like a man familiar with the remark.

Nick Kew

Re: Okay, 'fess up

Downloads is fair.

I'll sometimes do a bit more there. For example, if I download a package that I'm not hacking on but perhaps just running through a test suite or installing as-is but from a tarball, I might unpack and build all within Downloads. But I always know things there are fair game for freeing up space: anything that matters from that package got installed in /usr/local.

Nick Kew
Thumb Up

Re: Similar story

Hehe. Worth a chuckle :)

The thing about a policy like that is, you really need to tell people in advance. The ones who need it most will likely ignore you ("more irrelevant nonsense from IT"), but then you've at least covered your arse.

Nick Kew
Flame

Re: Joys of sales people and Outlook 2003

Well, if I had ever been your customer, your marketing would've rapidly driven me away.

Nick Kew

Re: Finally forced to get a new work laptop

I wouldn't've read that as blaming windows.

And he'd've had the same problem if he'd had an NFS-mounted $home on *X.

Nick Kew

Re: Been there. Done that.

More to the point, EDIT would save your file as plain text, whereas Word would give you lots of proprietary bloat dealing with formatting and appearance. Word for writing a letter; EDIT for a program.

Though ISTR using a vi clone called pcz in preference to EDIT.

Nick Kew

Re: Been there. Done that.

It's not a saying. Just a witticism from Dorothy Parker, when challenged to make a joke with the word "horticulture". And Parker of course used the obvious pronoun.

Nick Kew

Re: Deja Noooooo!

I'm sure it's featured before now in this very column.

Though nowadays, why not "Who, Me"?

Nick Kew

Re: Endless recycling

Working from home, I used to make extensive use of FBFS[1] working under that principle. Less so since my 2013 house move to somewhere it wasn't my only available space, but my recent house move demonstrated how much still lives in the PBFS[2].

[1] Floor-based filesystem.

[2] Pile-based filesystem.

China and Russia join to battle 'illegal internet content,' which means what you fear it does

Nick Kew

Re: They are just jealous

The vast majority of people in the USA, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia will never have their speech or communication censored.

That at least is pure nonsense. People have been imprisoned for saying dumb things on twitter or for possessing the wrong book.

Even here on El Reg (which tends more towards free speech than the average online forum), you might get censored if you post something Bad. They even have preemptive moderation in a few discussions - typically those on controversial topics like identity politics.

Nick Kew

Re: Could be useful for us in the West?

Lets make a simple comparison between China and the EU

That looks like no such thing to me.

to create a "social score" ...

Here that's more sophisticated. We call the basic social score a "credit rating". But then we also have a lot of additional demographic classification, based on family, education, work, postcode, etc.

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience

Nick Kew

Re: If you have a new house

I think you may have missed quite a few cases there. From the mortgage-free homeowner to the more informal sharer.

Nick Kew

Re: TV Licence

My good cause is a regular chuckle at the silly letters from Crapita, against whom I have a minor vendetta on the grounds of the horror that is (or rather, was) Capita Registrars.

Hmmm. Since they disposed of the registrars, maybe I might re-evaluate, and see if their system to tell them I have no telly works sensibly enough to use it?

Nick Kew

Re: You want Kafka? I give you Kafka.

You have my sympathy (though couldn't you use a bank account from your home country to bootstrap?).

It was bad enough returning from my six years in Italy: I didn't exist as far as bureaucracy was concerned. Fortunately I had an existing UK bank account from before I left, and found a lettings agent who was non-jobsworth enough to accept various evidence of my recent time abroad. But getting a 'phone contract was a true nightmare!

Nick Kew

Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

That's Post Offices.

The Post Office is somewhere you go when you leave school, and reach the front of the queue just in time to collect your pension.

Nick Kew
Thumb Up

Re: I have the opposite problem

six men in black suits, black ties and a coffin - "We've come for the body"

Sounds like a brilliant short film!

Nick Kew
Flame

Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

Bah, humbug.

OK for some of you, who bought property when it was at historic low prices in the mid-1990s.

(Can you tell I'm bitter at having been out of the country at the time and so missed my generation's chance? My recent move - FTB at age 58).

Nick Kew

Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

And the city office will hand you a new one as soon as you register your new address with them.

Now that you mention it, registering with the city office (or rather council, as we call it) was one of the more troublesome bits of bureaucracy in my move. Their website didn't work, and going into the office in person I took one look at the queue and walked back out.

Only returned to the matter when I got a very aggressively-worded tax demand from the ******s.

Nick Kew

Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

Both my banks were trivial: just tell them online and they update my details.

Nick Kew
Pint

Re: I just moved house..

my new house ... (less than a month's average salary)

Got any jobs going?

Nick Kew
Holmes

Turn it off and on again

I uninstalled garage band (ugh) long ago from the macbook.

Earlier this week, as I updated some apps, the app store suggested reinstalling it. No thanks. But if for some bizarre reason you want it, why not try the app equivalent of turn it off and on again?

Nick Kew

Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

's funny.

I moved house on August 23rd. And though there's been lots of hassle, things that need expensive fixing, etc, I only recollect the 'proof of address' red tape featuring once[1]: Royal Mail needed proof of the old address to set up redirection.

My main problem with the usual proof of address nonsense is that with electronic billing I don't have the bits of paper they want.

[1] That is, once since the move. Various people like my solicitor needed it before the move.

US charges Singapore coin miner with conning cloud firms out of compute time

Nick Kew

Extradition?

Isn't that for really serious crime? As in, you've killed someone who matters? Or maybe you've nicked something the size of a middling national economy from someone who matters? Or in cybercrime, you've pwned the Pentagon and ransomed the NHS? Or you've ... no, wait, ...

Is this a step on the road to extraditing someone who upsets Trump on Twitter?

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