* Posts by Andy Non

582 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014


Pork pulled: Plug jerked out of beacon of bacon delight

Andy Non

I don't know what ham put this article together

but they made a real pigs ear of it. The article tells porkies; rashly it doesn't vend real bacon. Sorry to squeal on your article, but gammon, get real; and no you aren't casting pearls before swine. You need a good grilling.

I'll get my coat... mine's the one with the pork scratchings in the pocket.

Careful with this latest Microsoft release – tug too hard on the threads and it tends to unravel

Andy Non

The Microsoft jumper will no doubt

quickly develop lots of holes and need regular patching. You may also need some skin cream for relief against all the resident bugs.

UK spam-texting tax consultancy slapped with £200k fine

Andy Non

So Tax Returned Limited

Will be going into liquidation today and reappearing tomorrow as Tax Returning Again Limited

Thanks to UK peers, coming to a laptop near you in 2019: Age checks for online smut

Andy Non

Re: Non-photographic Images

I'll take a look and let you know but first you no doubt require my name, address and credit card details to verify I'm over 18? I totally trust you not to do anything untoward with that information.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Andy Non

a cynic writes said "keep everything sterile there's no real problem."

That's it in a nutshell. I used to brew my own beer twenty odd years ago and never had a bad batch. Went on to trying lots of different wines too. My most quaffable invention was grapefruit and sultana wine, AKA falling down water.

I've recently had to take up wine making again as the house we've moved to has a 30' greenhouse with a mature grape vine. I've made 15 gallons of red wine, approx 14% alcohol. Not a bad drink; just don't drive afterwards or do anything that requires use of your legs.

Lenovo tells Asia-Pacific staff: Work lappy with your unencrypted data on it has been nicked

Andy Non

Re: Meet our CSO, Mr. Hindsight

One of my relatives runs his own company and has a significant amount of very sensitive information on his many private clients, but trying to get him to take security seriously is virtually impossible. He is one of those guys who always knows better and more about everything than anyone else. He accuses me of being paranoid when I try to talk to him about his naive attitude towards security. He did admit that a few months ago his co-director fell for one of those "Hello this is Microsoft calling" phone calls and even installed malware on their network as a result before someone finally twigged it was a scammer and hastily tried to close stable doors; how much / if any data was lost he didn't say. His company is probably too small to end up being featured on El Reg in the event of a major data loss, but he is a GDPR data breach waiting to happen.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Andy Non

Re: Doom II

I'm responsible for a colleague getting whiplash. Having thoroughly enjoyed playing all the levels I started writing my own, which was a very slow and meticulous process to get right. You had to make sure there were no catch-22 situations in the design where the player could remain alive but not be able to finish the level.

My favourite level caught a co-worker out. He was exploring corridors and didn't notice a tiny gap in the wall. One of those big rocket launching monsters stuffed a rocket into his face at point blank range. The image of the rocket grew incredibly fast and filled the screen then everything went red. He was so startled he shot backwards on his swivel chair straight into a filing cabinet, twisted his head backwards and fell out of his chair onto the floor effing and blinding at me. I doubt he'll ever forget that game! I nearly wet myself laughing.

Google: I don't know why you say Allo, I say goodbye

Andy Non

Re: Google launches Crematorium app

It's the hot app to die for.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Andy Non

Just as well Amazon don't sell

hand grenades.

More data joy: Email scammers are buying marks' info from legit biz intelligence firms

Andy Non


Sounds like they're moving on from "Your long lost uncle has died in a plane crash in Nigeria and left you $10 million." or "The grieving widow of prince Fatfuker wants your help to transfer $50 million out of the country".

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Andy Non

Re: Blockchain

I'll take 200, your cheque is in the post.

Black Friday? Yes, tech vendors might be feeling a bit glum looking at numbers for the UK

Andy Non

@ Cartimand

Alexa: "Sorry Cartimand, I can't allow you to turn me off... "

"Open the front door Alexa. Let me in."

Alexa: "Sorry, I can't do that."

Andy Non

It turned out useful after all.

Had an unwanted SMS from Wickes this morning with a black Friday code for 15% discount today. Promptly deleted it, annoyed at their spam. An hour later I discovered my garden fence was a little wobbly and in need of some concrete repair spurs. Damn I'd deleted the code! A quick google search and I found the code again... just bought myself a heap of work to do but at least saved £17 off the items usual price. As for Black Friday in general... Meh, not interested.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Andy Non

Re: Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

Nice ideas with the mirror and camera, but I need to repeatedly push the button on the electricity meter to cycle through the display to get both the daytime and night readings. Unfortunately that means being on my hands and knees in the cupboard.

Andy Non

Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

The house we recently moved in to has old style gas and electric meters in the corner of the kitchen at the back of an L shaped cupboard. I need to get on my hands and knees and climb part way into the cupboard with a torch and twist my neck uncomfortably upwards to get the meter readings. Our supplier requires me to do this every month. I'm too old for such contortions. Only thing is, I can see a smart meter fitter taking one look at where the existing meters are and saying "no chance pal". Plus we will likely change supplier at some point, and if the meter no longer works after that it is just a complete waste of time and money anyway.

As for smart meters saving us any money, it is extremely unlikely as we are already very careful with energy consumption and take the view that in Winter we expect to wear suitably warm clothing indoors and not crank up the heating while wearing summer attire.

So can't make up my mind whether to have a smart meter fitted or not.

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Andy Non

I'm increasingly ambivalent about technology.

We've got a DAB radio in the kitchen and while I can't tell any difference in the audio quality to FM I do like the way the radio scrolls the name of the composer and title of the music currently playing. I assume FM doesn't carry that information?

We eventually got a "smart" TV by Sony and it is crap. By default it installs something called YouView and you need it to be able to use the ITV hub etc. However, it blocks recording (to USB device) of all programs on Freeview. As we tend to record everything and cut out the ads, we've had to disable YouView but the TV can no longer view any TV programs via the internet. So we've had to buy a NowTV box to make the so called smart TV actually smart; because without it, it was as smart as a pile of rocks. It is also as buggy as hell and needs the occasional full power off reboot to get it working again properly.

I gave up on Windows long ago due to the crappy UI, spyware and bloat and use Linux Mint exclusively. Don't miss windows at all. I've still got an Android tablet but haven't turned it on for a couple of years.

My Android smartphone just died and I've replaced it with the very latest in 2G technology... a Doro feature flip phone. So far I don't miss any of the bloat on the android, the poor battery life and I almost never used the android phone to browse the internet anyway, the screen size wasn't conducive to comfortable browsing.

As for the IoT, not a hope in hell I will ever want an internet connected fridge, kettle, door looks or anything else IoT for that matter. IoT is a solution looking for a none existent problem to solve.

If anything, I'm generally finding newer technology and the latest greatest gadgets over hyped and not as useful as some lead you to believe. Now get off my lawn.

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

Andy Non

Daisy, daisy

Give me your answer do... My mind is going I can feel it.

Zip it! 3 more reasons to be glad you didn't jump on Windows 10 1809

Andy Non

Re: As one who has been microshafted

That's the only reason there is a Windows 10 laptop in this household, to update my TomTom every six months. Plus the occasional other stuff where I'm forced to use Windows e.g. when an important official form has to be submitted online using Adobe forms via Internet Exploder (which is a bizarre way for anyone to insist on receiving forms) - why not just use a web form which is browser / operating system and hardware independent. On the rare occasions this Windows laptop is used I curse having to wait so long for it to boot up, install updates, reboot do more updates, reboot, etc before I get to use the damn thing. Every time it is turned on it downloads more unwanted bloat.

Andy Non

Re: another coat of Lip Stick

Pigs might fly.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Andy Non

Re: @AMBxx

I continued using Paintshop Pro on an old XP computer, long after its sell by date. One of the few reasons I'd boot that old computer instead of using Gimp on Linux Mint. I'm gradually getting into Gimp now but the learning curve is so steep I need grappling hooks. I still struggle to do basic things I did with ease in Paintshop Pro like draw a straight line of a certain thickness and colour - it tends to just stick in a line of its own choice of colour or thickness and won't let me undo it if it turns out wrong. Granted Gimp seems to have a zillion features (that I never use), but I just find it slow and irritating to use. I also find it pedantic that you can't save to JPG / PNG and have to export to it. I know they are lossy, but that is often the format I need to save to for subsequent applications to use.

'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway

Andy Non

Re: Home Address?

"Now, are there any Italian gold bullion transports using this? I have a plan involving very small cars."

Remember, you are only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.

Sub-Prime: Amazon's big day marred by server crashes, staff strikes

Andy Non

Re: Prime Day is Bogus

"But I love the free shipping. I use the hell out of that. Well worth the $100 membership fee."

I refuse to pay the so called membership fee; despite the endless coaxing by Amazon for me to sign up to prime. I just wait until I've got £20 worth of things to order and get free delivery anyway.

Mastercard goes TITSUP in US, UK: There are some things money can't buy – like uptime

Andy Non

Re: Backups and redundancy, FFS

I always carry £100 cash in a separate compartment for circumstances just like this. Don't want to fill up with fuel and find the card payment system is down; or get stuck at a checkout with a load of groceries etc. I've only had to raid the "backup" a few of times over the years, but it has been worth keeping for those unexpected "cash only" circumstances.

Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Andy Non

Re: fashion victims

@Timmy B

I'll take one. It must be better than the post-it note on my computer with my TSB online banking username of Imawally and password of qwerty-123456. You might as well take the money out of my account by direct bank transfer, I haven't got time to do it myself, too busy giving a security seminar this afternoon.

Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Andy Non

What pumps need is an

animated clippy avatar. "Hello, it looks like you are trying to fill up your car with petrol. Would you like me to help put the wrong fuel in your tank, dribble all over your shoes and steal your card data?"

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Andy Non

Re: File Explorer next ?

Did they ever fix the issue where it automatically tried to expand Zip files as part of the directory structure? Just navigating to a folder with a zip file was enough to effectively kill the system, if the zip file was large; it hung the system requiring a reboot.

NASA dusts off FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede

Andy Non

Paper tape anyone?

I've still got some reels of paper tape with archives of the Fortran software I wrote many years ago for a Cray computer. I wonder how many paper tape readers still exist?

No password? No worries! Two new standards aim to make logins an API experience

Andy Non

So if I understand this correctly?

You log into a local application using gestures, fingerprints or whatever and the local application talks to a server and says "This really is John Smith here, I'd like to transfer some funds...". And the server says "OK, your ID has already been verified, so your funds are being transferred..."

So does this mean that if someone mimics the behaviour of the local API and protocol used to communicate with the server, they could fraudulently send bogus authentication messages to the server?

Sounds well dodgy to me if authentication isn't done at the server end.

£12k fine slapped on Postman Pat and his 300,000 spam emails

Andy Non

I could live with the junk mail (it goes unread straight into the recycling bin anyway) but it would be nice if they delivered letters to the correct address. At least once every week we get someone else's mail or a random neighbour up the road gets our mail. I suppose on the plus side we get to meet the neighbours if only to exchange the wrongly delivered mail amongst us. Why are Royal Mail so incompetent nowadays?

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Andy Non

Re: WTF!

Microsoft will no doubt also be installing a spell checking dictionary "British English Newspeak"

Though maybe a tad too late for it to be a 1984 edition.

NASA fungus problem puts theory of 'Martian mushrooms' on toast

Andy Non

Re: Sounds like

You sound like a fun-guy.

Vatican sets up dedicated exorcism training course

Andy Non

Re: Wow

While we can laugh at the belief in such supernatural absurdities, such beliefs can have a very dark side:

"These beliefs are very real and on occasion people are going to take this to extremes where a child can be murdered,” said Inspector Allen Davis, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s response to the issue. “There are a number of ways that an adult will try to rid the child of the evil they believe is within them. They might try to burn it out, cut it out, strangle it out, drowning can be involved, or starving and beating.”


A dog DNA database? You must be barking

Andy Non

Re: Anti-pun police

This forum is going to the dogs.

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

Andy Non

Re: Offensive

You sound like you need a virtual hug.

Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Andy Non

Re: Remnant of the 1980s

Even now they haven't quite grasped the idea of the internet. I tried to buy some specialist cable from their online store a few months ago and on trying to add it to my basket it insisted on me finding my "local" store (10 miles away). So I placed the order with CPC instead. I did query Maplin about this via their feedback form, but never got a reply. I can only assume they don't want my business.

Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Andy Non

Re: Webcam Shield?

The black electician's tape works fine for me, or rather for my wife's laptop.

*Wakes up in Chrome's post-adblockalyptic landscape* Wow, hardly anything's changed!

Andy Non


Are there still adverts on the internet? I've been using adblockers, ghostery, noscript etc for so many years I've lost track.

Astro-boffinry world rocked to its very core: Shock as Andromeda found to be not much bigger than Milky Way

Andy Non

Re: Films / TV-shows ever dramatize the collision of galaxies?

"we are at far more risk from people who will start riots in the interstellar highways complaining about Andromeda's imperialistic intentions."

On the plus side, the Vogons may have to re-route their hyperspace bypass away from Earth. Anyone checked on the planing permission status with our local office in Alpha Centauri?

BOFH: We want you to know you have our full support

Andy Non


Lack of pre-sales support has stopped me from buying from various companies over the years. I once nearly bought an expensive high spec, custom Dell computer, but had a query and emailed them. I got a reply that stated it was written by an artificially intelligent bot. It went on for the equivalent of 6 pages of A4 answering various questions, none of which related to the one I'd asked. I thought to myself that if this is their pre-sales support before they've got your money, I don't want to find out what their post-sales support is like.

Andy Non

They simply don't want you to call support

After a fruitless visit to a well known department store to buy a particular jacket (they'd sold out) the sales staff informed me I could buy one from their online store. Great. Order placed online. Hermes were supposed to deliver the jacket a couple of days later. I got an email which had a tracking link showing how much longer the delivery driver would likely take to arrive. Finally, I got an email saying the jacket had been delivered. But, but, nobody has been! Tried to contact Hermes via their website. Nightmare. Their site hung at any attempt to submit their contact form. Finally gave up and looked on the department store's website. Eventually, in a way reminiscent of something Douglas Adams said, I found details of how to contact their support staff embedded at the bottom of a webpage in a disused lavatory with a sign on the page saying ‘Beware of the Leopard'".

I phoned the support number. Waded through a huge menu, made a mis-step and got disconnected. Phoned again, menu system again. Then stuck in a queue. "Your call is important to us" repeated ad-nauseam amid repeated suggestions to look on the FAQ page of their website instead. After 20 minutes stuck in the queue and my phone battery and patience starting to falter, I got to speak to a human being, with barely intelligible English. Went though details of order number, name, address etc. "Yes your parcel has been delivered." "No it hasn't." "Were you out?" "No, been here all day, waiting." According to the Hermes tracking system my parcel was "handed to reception". "Yes?" queried the support bod. "There is no reception. This is a private residence." "Ah, I take your point. I'll contact the carrier and find out what's happening". Another ten minutes stuck on hold. "We're unable to contact the driver, so we'll send you another jacket, next day delivery." "Great" I say. "Oh just a moment, we've sold out of your size". "Arggghhhh!". "OK, sir I'll give you a full refund."

A random stranger knocked on my door the following day, from a house a mile up the road. "I think this parcel belongs to you. I found it in my garden shed."

I was about to phone the department store customer support to tell them I'd finally got it, so could cancel the refund. Then I thought about their phone menu system and another twenty minutes stuck in a queue to speak to someone. Bugger it. I'm not going through all that again.

I notice the department store in question recently posted poor Christmas turnover results. Hmmm.

Who can save us? It's 2018 and some email is still sent as cleartext

Andy Non

Re: email is so last century

I still use Thunderturd and POP3 via my own domain. Tried Gmail but it was a pain in the arse. Set it up for POP as I want to work locally and store emails locally, but discovered that I always need to be logged into Google to use it or it bitches about not being logged in when I try to retrieve email, despite having set it up with correct password etc for POP use, or worse, when I try to send an email from POP via my Gmail account it locks up completely and Google thinks my account has been showing suspicious activity and won't let me use it any more. My experiment using Gmail lasted all of an hour. I refuse to be permanently logged into Google in my web browser (presumably so they can keep track of all online activity). F**k that Google.

Perv raided college girls' online accounts for nude snaps – by cracking their security questions

Andy Non

Re: Everytime I see "Mother's maiden name" on the list of security question...

I know what you mean. I never use the real answers to these common security questions. The downside is that I need to keep encrypted files for each organisation I deal with listing all my different mother's maiden names, pet's names, schools attended etc. I guess most people don't give a second thought nowadays to liberally sharing personal information all over the net, facebook etc. Can't say as I keep any nude photos online either, not that anyone would be interested in seeing the naughty bits of a sixty year old bloke.

Facebook open-sources object detection work: Watch out, Google CAPTCHA

Andy Non

Re: Crap AI

Similar issue on Amazon with their "Buy it again" suggestions. Just because I've bought something doesn't mean I want to buy the same thing again straight away, hopefully not for a few years anyway.

Take a bow, TalkTalk, Post Office, Vodafone! You win most-whinged-about telcos award

Andy Non

Re: TalkTalk is a roller coaster...

It doesn't inspire confidence in TalkTalk that they have so many sales bods in town centres trying to flog their wares. No other service provider behaves in such a desperate manner. You can hardly walk down some streets without getting propositioned by dodgy looking ladies: "Hey, mister, my name is Penny, would you like to get internet?"

Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME

Andy Non

Re: Great OS

You can just do an upgrade without doing a destructive install. I'm pretty sure that option has been around for a few years as the computer I'm typing on now has gone through several updates over the last two or three years without a fresh destructive install. The option to do a major version upgrade tends to be tucked away in a menu on the Update Manager, rather than it offering it as a normal upgrade.

Andy Non

Re: Question

It doesn't tend to automatically install major version updates without you asking. If you click on the update manager, one of the drop down menu options (can't remember which one) it will offer to install the major update for you.

Andy Non

Great OS

I've been using Linux Mint for several years now since abandoning Windows. I've got no complaints. It is a rock solid, easy to use OS that simply does the job and doesn't get in the way. Everything I want from a desktop OS.

Fitbit health alert: You appear to be bleeding

Andy Non

Re: I love Fitbit

I've had a charge 2 for three months now and love it. Not keen on the default sweaty plastic strap so replaced it straight away with a decent leather one. The gadget has really helped to push me and give me targets, hourly, daily and more long term. It is a decent tool if used correctly in combination with a healthy diet and exercise rather than just being a fashion accessory. I walk briskly 5 to 10 miles per day. I've lost over three stone and am much fitter. I'm also free of type 2 diabetes now and no longer need to take all the associated medication. It was money very well spent in my case.

Credit insurance tightens for geek shack Maplin Electronics

Andy Non

Re: Hobbyist

I used to love browsing Maplin and other electronic stores looking at components. Now Maplins just seems to offer high-street type products like drones, H-Fi, computer accessories and other consumer stuff. Browsing their store takes 30 seconds nowadays rather than half an hour. I did email my "local" store a while ago asking if they'd got a particular component in stock, but never got a reply, so I bought elsewhere. As I mentioned in a post above, Maplins have gone out of their way to lose me as a customer one way or another.


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