* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

UK watchdog Ofcom tells broadband firms: '30 days to sort your speeds'

Nick Kew Silver badge

@ rh587

Virgin speeds as in this speed, or maybe this ?

I wouldn't mind slow speeds so much if only the buggers could be contacted to fix it when they grind to a halt altogether! A much higher priority for Ofcom should be to insist on a functioning customer service!

Revealed: UK.gov's 'third direction' to keep tabs on spies' potentially criminal activities

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Re: The UK government *really* likes its secrecy.

Open government.

Defeated by Sir Humphrey in the very first episode of the first series of Yes, Minister.

Stop us if you've heard this one: Ex-Googler sues web giant claiming terrible treatment. This time, sex harassment

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Re: Something biblical ..

Damn, keyboard trouble. Meant to add a pseudo-Wildeian quip.

To suffer one discrimination lawsuit might be considered a misfortune. Three looks like ...

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Something biblical ..

.... as ye sow, so shall ye reap ...

A workplace that obsessively naval-gazes about issues of identity politics, finds identity politics comes back to bite. Who's next?

Brit spooks slammed over 'gentlemen's agreement' with telcos to get mass comms data

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There seems to be a missing element to this story.

Did the telcos (all of them?) just roll over and provide data on request? Or did they at least insist on some form of Due Process? Wouldn't the latter in itself create a documented evidence trail (at least in theory)?

And did all our telcos behave exactly the same? Or is the story glossing over something, or perhaps generalising from a single GCHQ-telco relationship?

Full shift to electric vans would melt Royal Mail's London hub, MPs told

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@ Doctor Syntax

In the case of the Swansea Lagoon, the environmental effects have been studied probably more extensively than any other proposed project, and found to be extremely benign compared to other human things. Like houses or cars, let alone power stations.

One of the followup projects planned by the Swansea folks - building on the Swansea experience - is a bigger lagoon at Bridgewater, that'll not only generate power, but also help protect against flooding. If you believe the Somerset Levels are land - and value peoples houses, businesses, farms, and some of our best cheeses - that sounds like a positive benefit.

London's postal vans want a depot somewhere out Essex way, with some local tidal capacity. It won't be as much as in the Bristol Channel, but those Thames Estuary and North Sea tidal flows are still strong enough to be clearly visible from space.

Cryptocurrencies kill people and may kill again, says Bill Gates

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Suddenly, all is revealed!

So that's the reason for Windows's long history of Not Working, and of subverting other systems by disrupting the standards that enable us to communicate.

They've been fighting a rearguard action all along, to protect us from buying dangerous things!

4G found on Moon

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Re: And if there are any problems just call our hotline

8 seconds? Luxury!

Delay over four weeks (and counting) trying to contact Virgin Media's customer services.

EE: Data goes TITSUP* for Brit mobile customers

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Just fine here

EE 4G was just fine this morning here in the southwest. Long may it continue!

Unlike Virgin cable, where not a ping has been seen since about midnight.

Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?

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On hold

Oh yes please. Alert the emergency services when I'm on forever-hold trying to call someone's customer services modelled on Kafka's castle. Preferably before rather than after the rising blood pressure leads to a fatal heart attack.

Better still, as soon as the "on hold" becomes a yob screaming too aggressively.

When clever code kills, who pays and who does the time? A Brit expert explains to El Reg

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Re: Accountability is important.

Indeed. The article talks of "the programmers". Given that the word programmer commonly applies to some of the most junior folks in the $bigco, and that they may have little freedom to Get It Right, I can see two interpretations that work:

(1) They mean holding the developer corporately liable.

(2) They're already anticipating an exercise scapegoating the innocent.

Why not talk about the the interesting questions, like responsibility for software components (libraries, etc), and the distinction between proprietary and open-source?

New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

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Re: Google are evil, because humans are evil.

Actually, having now taken a look at Damore's legal complaint[1], Chevalier doesn't appear particularly unpleasant/abusive. He's one voice among many, and by no means at the extreme.

What he (or indeed Damore) may have done elsewhere is a whole nother question.

[1] It starts well, but also seems to indulge in manufactured outrage that looks a lot like what the SJWs themselves go in for.

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Re: Google are evil, because humans are evil.

Interesting comments. Perhaps some journalist might investigate the reality of it.

'Cos if this turns out to be what he's really like, one could be tempted to speculate on whether and why we're being prompted to compare a man who politely expressed an opinion (albeit a dissident opinion) with an utter s**t.

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The fact, as I see it,

Erm .....

is that the difference between male and female brains is not significant,

Evidence? Or is that pure blind prejudice?

(Note, I'm not saying you're wrong. I retain an open mind on the evidence of differences).

and that there is a wider range of difference within male brains or female brains han between male and female.

That at least is uncontroversial, though it's often presented as a red herring in arguments, as if it negates actual differences.

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Noone should be dismissed just for having views. One hopes there's more to justify it both these cases than has been revealed in these columns.

In the Damore case, quite a lot is known, including what he actually wrote. In this case, less is known, leaving open (on simple Bayesian principles) a higher likelihood that his dismissal was indeed merited.

Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

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Re: Flip phones & their users are evolutionary dead ends?

I much prefer a mini-keyboard to a touchscreen.

Doesn't mean I want a flipphone: far too fat in the pocket. I just want my old Nokia E71, or as second-best a similar-sized blackberry of the same era.

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Re: Electrons

And why doesn't a battery get lighter due to leaky electrons?

Electrons are lighter than hydrogen.

And if you fill something with hydrogen, it gets lighter.

Ergo, leaking electrons make the battery heavier.

Nick Kew Silver badge

in Notepad (or whatever the equivalent was in 1992)

There were vi clones around at the time.

I recollect one called pcz that did a decent job on smallish text files, but was completely unable to load anything big. Never investigated, but I suspect there was a 16-bit size somewhere in there.

Or maybe that was another vi clone, and pcz was better than that. Damn, no memory for that kind of detail.

World's cyber attacks hit us much harder in past year – major infosec chief survey

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Re: Back of a fag packet

Of course. My point is, they should have given us a better idea of what that actual sample was. Without that[1], the figure is meaningless.

[1] You might argue it's meaningless either way, but that's a different argument.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Back of a fag packet

A quick google finds a not-too-outdated estimate that there are 5.2 million businesses in the UK. If we take the article at face value, that would suggest losses of 5.2m * 500k, or 2.6 billion. That being, good British billions, not those US imposters: in US numbers it's 2600 billion. Which is something round about our entire GDP.

Hmmm. Something pretty fundamental is missing - like telling us what they're actually talking about.

This job Win-blows! Microsoft made me pull '75-hour weeks' in a shopping mall kiosk

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@ Pen-y-gors

I gently explained the idea that a definition of professional is 'paid to do something' and that the opposite is 'amateur' - does something for fun without pay.

Good for you.

You evidently didn't graduate into a big recession. That's one life-circumstance that's out of our individual control. Studies have shown that the self-confidence (or otherwise) that comes from graduating into a good or a difficult jobs market stays with most of us throughout working life. The term "lost generation" is sometimes applied to cohorts who graduated at the wrong time, while your lot thrive.

Kudos if you're the rare exception, but it seems most unlikely.

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Re: To be honest...

Never mind Microsoft. What employer ever behaved substantially differently?

I was brought up with the idea that doing as many hours as it takes (unpaid) was precisely what distinguishes a professional job from a unionised blue-collar one.

Though a change in that culture would perhaps be no bad thing. If she can contribute to that then good on her!

Careful with the 'virtual hugs' says new FreeBSD Code of Conduct

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Re: What is a 'hug' ?

Meanwhile in the physical world. If I'm out walking, I'll expect to meet random people and domestic animals.

With my own species I can exchange a friendly greeting. Not all of them, but many are fine with it, and some even like to extend it to a good natter.

With our canine friends, I can exchange something more physical: a pat on the back, a tickle behind the ears, even a hug. Again, not all of them, but friendly individuals will bound up to me and introduce themselves. Obviously no power games, no question of sexual politics, just a physical expression of being friendly.

And I sometimes think, what kind of a world is it where such casual friendship can only come from a different species!

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that

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Re: No user story

There was a very good reason for you to read it. You've posted (to date, at least) the most insightful comment on the article.

Nick Kew Silver badge

@ Prst. V.Jeltz

So the programmer is now responsible for ...

... for pointing out when a request appears to make no sense.

When some PHB asks you for a print button in a webpage, do you

(a) add a "print" button because you know no better

(b) add a button labelled "print", and surreptitiously check PHB's browser settings for what will work for him?

(c) point out that print is a browser function, and that to do it from a web page is at best re-inventing a wheel, and at worst a security hole (when someone compromises their own security so it'll "work" for them).

OK, the webpage is one scenario among many. In another case, the arguments might be different, and a sensible outcome might include the button. But I suspect that's not the kind of scenario where your programmer is pushing back against a request.

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face

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Re: If you can't dazzle them with brilliance ...

You are Wally AICMFP.

UK.gov calls on the Big Man – GOD – to boost rural broadband

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Re: Good stuff but a sticking plaster fix ...

Hang on - I'm a rural business, and bandwidth means I can Skype (or Zoom, or hangout, or whateerthehellcustomerwants) in to meetings

Yep. That's what 2Mb/s ADSL broadband did for me when it arrived in 2004. Made all the difference to my ability to work.

Having twenty times faster than that now is nice, but makes very little difference. Except when it fails.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Good stuff but a sticking plaster fix ...

You don't need modern broadband speeds for exchanging red tape with government, no matter how extensive the forms farmers deal with. If farmers need it for business, it'll be their fancy precision equipment. Perhaps if things like the drone-mounted video camera and the smart combine harvester are exchanging data in real time via the cloud ...

I wrote some thoughts on rural broadband a while back. The priority should be ADSL-grade always-on connectivity; superfast is not an issue.

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

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That applies in all areas of regulation for anyone trading in both UK and EU. As soon as our regulations diverge from theirs, it's a doubling of Red Tape. Particularly onerous in areas where compliance costs millions - like getting new medicines approved.

If this laptop is so portable, where's the keyboard, huh? HUH?

Nick Kew Silver badge


I had a crippling RSI some years back. Learned to use a mouse left-handed. And gave up some mouse-intensive ways of wasting time.

It took quite a while - many months of often-severe pain - but the RSI went away. Now I can use a mouse (or a laptop device) with either hand. And perhaps most importantly, I know the early signs of RSI, and can modify my computing behaviour any time it threatens.

Say goodbye to a chunk of that sweet Aruba payout, hedgies – judge

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I don't understand

If the price was $24.67 per share, presumably that was agreed between buyers and sellers. The latter by voting on a Special Resolution, or something of that nature.

How does a judge then set a price that is any different - either higher or lower - than that agreed?

Surely that can only happen if someone argues successfully that there was some kind of skulduggery in setting the original price. Presumably the hedgies had some such argument? But then the decision for the judge would be to accept or reject their case?

Did HP claim successfully they'd been hoodwinked? They do seem to have a bit of a track record, as in the bizarre story of when they borged Autonomy. Or is this a judge playing God and overriding the market?

[edit] Thanks to Jon 37 for what looks like a good summary explanation.

Iran: We have defeated evil nuclear-sensing Western lizards!

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While it seems entirely likely that Iran has its share of nutters, is it not possible that translation issues might offer an alternative explanation in this instance?

Look out, Wiki-geeks. Now Google trains AI to write Wikipedia articles

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It was a dark and stormy clock

Opening line of a computer-generated story I encountered as a student in the early 1980s.

It was surreal, but then we'd been brought up on Monty Python, the previous generation had had the Goons. This Very Silly Story may not quite have been Gogol, but was in a tradition going right back to Aristophanes.

It scanned rather nicely, without the turgidity reported here. Which rather suggests that a more readable narrative style might be a solved problem, if it had been on these researchers' agenda.

You won't believe this: Nokia soars back into phone-flinger top 3

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Meego was Nokia's suicide note

Maemo might have been a contender. We'll never know. It was the hottest thing one year (2010, I think) at FOSDEM, only to be made abandonware a couple of months later as Nokia drifted to Meego.

From that FOSDEM, Maemo had a real developer community, and it looked like a possible challenger to the then-dominant Iphone. As soon as we were abandoned, Nokia lost itself that community and ceded whatever chance it might have had to Android.

UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

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I guess we've entered the age where ...

Where have you been this past decade?

Of course I agree with the point you were making. It's your wording I take issue with.

Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant

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Re: Shome mishtake surely?

Heh. I was going to ask about that.

My recollection of Prime comes from the mid 1980s. Though to be fair, even at the beginning of the '90s, a half a gig would have been a d*** big disc.

Huawei claims national security is used as plausible excuse for 'protectionism'

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From the department of the bleedin' obvious

El Reg commentards could have told you that, probably for round about as long as El Reg has existed.

Though it's got worse during that time due to geopolitical and geoeconomic events: in this case the rise of world-class Chinese giants like Huawei. If the rise of Japan half a century ago is anything to go by, this backdoor protectionism could be part of something uglier.

Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!

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Single point of failure

So long as a CA is a single point of failure, trusting *any* of them might be considered a false sense of security.

When a browser vendor takes it upon itself to trust some authorities over others, I wonder if that might lay it wide open to being held responsible for its users' losses when someone pulls a successful heist with a CA that it does trust? The argument being, by excluding Symantec, you're setting yourself up as an authority on the subject.

UK PM Theresa May orders review of online abuse laws in suffrage centenary speech

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May will argue that such abuse is disproportionately targeted at political candidates who are female, black, minority ethnic or LGBT, which damages equal representation in politics.

Might it be fairer to say that abuse disproportionately targets candidates who make a big thing of being [identity group] and make a huge sense of Entitlement of it, and are impervious to argument? And above all, implicitly attack the other?

This is not a speech we ever heard from, say, Barack Obama or Angela Merkel. Nor Margaret Thatcher, though she herself was the focus of such massive abuse, not least from those who felt cheated out of a grievance by her achievements.

Women beat men to jobs due to guys' bad social skills. Whoa – you mad, fellas? Maybe these eggheads have a point...

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Women are better at ..

This has [...] increased opportunities for women [...] because they are better [...]

Would an article even be allowed to go to press if you reverse that? Substitute men for women, or worse for better, in a context like a market for good jobs?

‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

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Re: #metoo with a big arse

Apparently I wasn't the only one

Now we're into the territory of everyday life. Like when the meeting room is overcrowded and someone trips a switch just by squeezing in. Those light switches at around shoulder height by the door (elbow height or bum height work too), and sometimes switches that operate something more entertaining.

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Re: College students...

Good diagnosis, bad solution. Yes, cabling should be kept clear of the meatware's legroom. Real-life computer desks get that horribly wrong by restricting the legroom: sadly I hadn't heard of "constructive dismissal" when I was forced out of office-based working by desks that forced me into postures that were incompatible with my back. The right solution is to keep the legroom but provide alternative safe spaces for cabling!

Nick Kew Silver badge

Yep. Sounds all in order. Elementary commonsense: you don't leave an important switch where someone might accidentally hit it, regardless of their girth, clumsiness. Or indeed if they're wearing big loose clothes that swish. And in a server room, you *also* give good care to your cables. Hence some of those neat little inventions like recessed switches. Didn't you learn the principle when you were little and your parents told you not to put your glass right at the edge of the table?

Once again, the protagonist seems to be innocent. When are we going to get someone owning up to a proper f***up?

Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

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Re: Hello, FBI.

Do they serve a good Yorkshire Pudding?

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Re: Arrests?


Can't find it now, but I seem to recollect a recent Reg story about a recent 419 arrest in the US being a 60-year-old (white, IIRC) American who had been posing as a Nigerian with millions to launder. 'merkins are very good at adopting ideas from around the world.

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Thumb Up

Bottom line

From the final paragraph of the article, "So far the FBI says no one appears to have been financially hurt by the scam ..."

'nuff said.

Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing

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Re: Seriously...ideal topping additions

@John Brown - next time, call them crêpes. Maybe that'll make them more acceptable to your wife?

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Re: Point of Order

Quite right, it's shoddy journalism. By a journo who's clearly never been exposed to lunch at a proper Yorkshire pub. There's nothing oversized about that: it's actually a halfway house between a real Yorkshire pud and the miniatures that masquerade as such in the south.

The parallel to pizza is perhaps telling. The "pizza" as most of us know it bears little resemblance to the Neapolitan original; it's more American than Italian. Now Morrisons are perhaps taking their local dish the same way (bearing in mind Morrisons' Yorkshire heritage).

Kremlin social media trolls aren't actually that influential, study finds

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Re: Oh no

Nope. They've been trolled for a generation, by a whole bunch of foreign-led trolls (amongst whom the biggest name is Rupert Murdoch) pedalling EU myths. And perhaps more to the point, the bizarre notion that Sir Humphrey is more democratic than his EU equivalent.

Neither Russian nor any other online trolls have been at it long enough to hack the public mind en masse.

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

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Lost the key

OK, a slightly different scenario, but what about the case of a satellite where the problem is that they lost the key to authenticate with it?

That's why we need those crypto backdoors!

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