* Posts by anothercynic

740 posts • joined 4 Dec 2014


DNAaaahahaha: Twins' 23andMe, Ancestry, etc genetic tests vary wildly, surprising no one

anothercynic Silver badge


David, I would trust the Sanger Institute with their PCR process and DNA sequencing (producing 1 error per 100K). I would *not* however trust someone like 23andme to be as accurate...

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Error messages

Welcome to my life in science. Science is teeming with people with one or more PhDs, M.Scs etc... yet basic comprehension of error messages (or, if you don't understand it, leave it on the screen or take a screenshot of it), is beyond them! And then, when you ask them about it, they launch into a long diatribe how it inconvenienced them.

That said, the UX (user experience) of some software packages I've dealt with in my time in IT is horrific!

Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Reality check

Actually, I did this once... for 3 months.

When Rootmetrics first showed their face on this glorious isle of ours, I was annoyed by the mobile coverage maps that our mobile operators here spaff out. Some of their maps are just sheer fantasy (like Vodafone claiming that we had 3G coverage when we just about got GPRS). Their (Rootmetrics) Vodafone coverage in their map around our neck of the woods wasn't that good. So, as it happened, Vodafone had given me a new contract with unlimited* data for 3 months. So I took ruthless advantage with the new fancy phone (an iPhone 4), and ran RM's app constantly in loop mode on my journeys to and from work, into Oxford, around the back country, wherever my fancy took me, the phone and the network were being hammered. After 3 months, Vodafone said that my data usage was above average, would I like to upgrade the data portion of my plan? No, given that in those 3 months, the RM map around our neck of the woods started looking a damn sight better and my purpose was done.

And yes, when EE crowed how RM said their network was best, they were *not* lying. Vodafone was *crap*, no wonder they cried foul. But given that my own data collection showed that Vodafone *was* in fact crap, I applauded EE. I'm still with Vodafone though... mostly because tech support (should I need it) is actually around after 8pm (unlike EE), and because some of my plan bennies are worth it.

Excuses, excuses: Furious MPs probe banking TITSUPs*

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Motes and beams

My commiserations, dear Anon. I feel your pain. I stayed in government IT for a very short time because I would have lost my rag (and job) a long time ago if I hadn't... It is somewhat worrying. :-/

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Enough said...

@Spartacus, the digital services tax is not on profit. It's on revenue. See this?

The EU's proposed tax is a 3 per cent levy on firms with a global annual turnover of €750m and annual EU revenue of at least €50m. This would hit around 200 companies and boost member states' coffers by about €5bn.

The bold is mine. So yes, Soundcloud and Spotify would most certainly fall into this. If the US goes for a tit-for-tat response (which, given the current administration, they are likely to do), both Swedish digital giants would see a fat slice of their profits go to Washington, D.C.

anothercynic Silver badge


the problem here is that a small number of largely American companies are exploiting technicalities to transfer profits. Punish those fuckers, not those who already pay their fair share.

Please. Who are you kidding? *Every* company employs a number of accountants who, whenever something in the tax law changes, look at how it can improve the company profit margin and minimise tax exposure. It's *not* just 'largely American' companies who do this. Every company does it.

And if the law permits it, it is not 'exploiting a technicality'. It is called 'doing what the law says you must do'. That HMRC (or whichever tax authority) eventually cottons on and goes 'hang on, that's not what we meant', that's not the companies that are at fault, but shoddy law-making.

The Double Irish Dutch Sandwich mechanism only exists because the Dutch tax authorities let it. Why do they let it? Because a little bit (the Dutch 'foundations' that usually make up part of the DIDS are still taxed in the Netherlands but at a virtually nil rate because their 'revenue' is all royalty) of a large pie (the said DIDSes) is still better than *no* slice, or worse, *no* pie at all. The Dutch government knows full well that this mechanism is being subverted to funnel profits away, but that arrangement suits them, until it doesn't, that is.

Ireland has already done its bit and has eliminated the quirk in their law books that allowed the Double Irish (portion of the DIDS) to exist. By 2020, all companies using the Double Irish have to have eliminated them because then it is no longer a legal mechanism that has any tax advantages.

anothercynic Silver badge

Enough said...

... If at least one US legislator has already cottoned on, expect others to too. And yes, this is *exactly* what I referred to 2 months ago (go and cruise through my previous responses, it's in response to member 'Arthur the Cat'). What goes for the goose goes for the gander. Ireland knows which side its bread is buttered on, and Sweden (especially them) and Denmark and others are also getting a glimmer of what this may mean to their own digital giants. Spotify and Soundcloud are both Swedish and are exceptionally popular; so you can see where this could go if/when the US retaliates against the EU's digital services tax.

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee

anothercynic Silver badge

Standard excuse: I've got diabetes, I can't do it. I've got a manky eye, I can't do it... the list goes on. This general malaise of people not being bothered and expecting others to do stuff they can do (short of having someone wipe their arse too while they're at it) is exasperating.

London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Lets Get Real

This is not about rape allegations anymore. It is about breaching bail conditions.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Lets Get Real

Skipping bail and a warrant out for the arrest of the perpetrator does not fall under a statute of limitations...

UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

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Re: "those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells "

Come on then. What's the real German version... Ein Deutschsprecher wants to know ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: They just block them.

@Version 1.0, that may be true, but remember that those same traditional Tory voters won't ever be *seen* to be main consumers of porn. They deny it. But they are perfectly fine to disadvantage everyone else purely based on 'I'm alright, Jack'.

Raspberry Pi fans up in arms as Mathematica disappears from Raspbian downloads

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Just another pre-installed program

Seconded. I'm glad Mathematica remains available, but like Mike, I don't use Mathematica on Pi, so pre-installing it does not help matters. But I guess some form of comms before this change would have been much more appreciated than the post-oops scramble.

Bloodhound Super-Sonic-Car lacks Super-Sonic-Cashflow

anothercynic Silver badge

Well that's a shame...

... It was a big fat money sink, yes. But like a few others here, the effects on STEM subject participation is not to be underestimated. This has been seen time and again; Apollo and Saturn V, Thrust SSC and others have had a distinct (but delayed, obviously) effect on STEM. I really hope this administration does not stop that wave from happening. :-/

It's over 9,000! Boffin-baffling microquasar has power that makes the LHC look like a kid's toy

anothercynic Silver badge

@Rich 11

And they said accelerator engineers and beamline scientists don't have a sense of humour... ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: 25 TeV vs 14 TeV

@El kabong, please. If scientists the world over are impressed, they tend to be impressed for a reason. The LHC is the most powerful particle accelerator on the planet (although it accelerates protons, not electrons), and it works by *smashing* things together. The 14 TeV are actually 2 x 7 TeV in opposite/oblique directions.

The most powerful electron accelerator on the planet currently *only* does 17.5 GeV (in one direction), and it only emits a monochromatic X-ray class beam of radiation of 25 keV. To emit a beam that has energies of 25 TeV or more... add energies inside the quasar by another order or three (or four... you get the drift) of magnitude.

Find me a man-made toy that emits a radiation beam of 25 TeV before speaking again about 14 mosquitos vs 25 mosquitos.

Watch Series 4: What price 'freedom'? About as much as you'd expect from an Apple product

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not for me...

The only thing that matters to me is 2).

If you can't make a watch that runs for more than 24 hours, then we're not friends. Garmin beats this with my trusty old vivoActive (7 days with 6 days of at least 2 hours/day active training with chest strap)... just over a week's worth of juice (8 days at a stretch).

The Apple Watch 2 I was given never made it out of its box... it still sits there, 2 years later. *SHRUG*

Oracle? On my server? I must have been hacked! *Penny drops* Oh sh-

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: 128K of ISDN

Ahhh, ISDN. I still have my old Digi DataFire ISDN card that I used to use to dial into the US with for 64K uncontended connectivity directly into our HQ's services, instead of the crawling 33.6K (you try running Lotus Notes over PPTP on 33.6K and 16K international data throttling and tell me it's not anything but crawling) I had for standard Internet before that. The 56.6K Sportster went back into its box until I moved countries.

The phone bill dropped by almost 2/3 when that DataFire arrived and I kicked it into action...

Uncle Sam gives itself the right to shoot down any drone, anywhere, any time, any how

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: "Credible Threat"

Even easier... streamers! Enough to foul up the props for long enough to disrupt airflow and cause it to lose air space. ;-)

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: stdin?

Yes... @Chris King is right... I know this is true because a class colleague of mine ended up at a fancy uni studying for a B.A. Informatics degree, whereas I was at the equivalent of a polytechnic and got a diploma for the exact same thing. Where they studied on all the theory of everything that is business administration, we got dumped in the deep end with our first COBOL classes within two weeks of arriving there and not even knowing where to switch the workstation (an ancient, even for that time, Olivetti one) on.

To add more fun, some machines had the old 5.25" 360K drives, whereas others had the more modern 5.25" 1.2MB ones, and... even more fun, the third-year lab had... *GASP* 386es with both 5.25" *AND* 3.5" 1.44MB drives! That lab was always busy... with DOOM players.

It was bizarre to have my class colleague begging me to teach her COBOL at the end of her second year, where I was already having loads of fun with things like ADABAS/NATURAL, Pascal and C (COBOL? Who dat?). Her course was 4 times the price of mine, yet here I was teaching *her* stuff that her lecturers didn't bother to teach them!

Yeah. Now she's a house wife (nowt wrong with that, but a bit of a waste of 3 years at uni). I'm messing about in science, aviation and IT. Funny how that works.


P.S. And yeah, I am of the vintage where dodgy hardware things are all too familiar... and this story is not unplausible at all.

US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

No, Sanders is not for "just doling out other people's money". What Sanders is for is a fair wage without necessarily having to rely on the government to keep your head above water because your shyster of a boss is paying you just about enough to get away from any legislation that could cost him more in fines & reputation. Where he *will* "dole out other people's money" is when people do end up needing assistance from the government (like losing your job, needing healthcare) or for something that universally leaves society better off (like free education). It doesn't mean irresponsibility.

Paying employees a decent wage so they don't need to rely on government handouts makes perfect sense. They will pay their taxes, they will be net contributors to society and the economy, and the government can spend what they save on their handouts on better things (education, not the slush fund that's called the DoD). ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: I honestly don't know...

Many live in shared houses or HMO... Others work multiple jobs. You won't believe how many people are run ragged by low wages.


MIMEsweeper maker loses UK High Court patent fight over 15-year-old bulletin board post

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Utter shite

Sorry Katrina, but someone I know who knew ClamAV very well did something similar to this in the nineties for a corporate he worked for. Probably didn't include the pretty message footer, but he was very good with this. :-)

I told him to milk the daylights out of that one... commercialise it to kingdom come. I don't think he did. Hi Ozzie Jack! *waves*

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Mission Creep

The US does require you to have a US address when entering (or transiting) because the blasted ESTA is required even during transit. You can only have an ESTA if you provide a US address. Provide the airport's address instead. When they look incredulous, point out that you're only transiting.

Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Rather that waste time tweeting...

Absolutely seconding Lee here. Switch your account. Make sure you open your account as early in the month as possible, you do not want to do the account switch when your salary is due any day. Also, the switch guarantee does not guarantee within 6 days of account opening (be aware of this). It guarantees a switch within 6 days of you/your new bank *starting* the switch. This date is usually confirmed to you within a week or so of you opening the account.

Sopra Steria exec on warpath as its UK Government profit crashes ... by millions

anothercynic Silver badge

"From my 50,000 feet position"...

... Oh, you're in an F-15, are you? Or is that a U2?

I hate hate hate poncy overblown terminology like this. DO. EFF. OFF. With it! Jesus Mary and Joseph!

UGH! *walks off ranting about poncy execs who need a smacking for using such terminology*

Don't get THAT personal, says personalised cards firm Moonpig. Dick pics. They mean dick pics

anothercynic Silver badge

I will give both FP and MP social media teams kudos...

Their GIF game is strong. And appropriate. With appropriate humour. :-)

Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Partial solution

LASERS. S not Z. *ahem* *cough*

Apple hands €14.3bn in back taxes to reluctant Ireland

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Rules are not equal

@Spartacus, yes... deferred taxes are an evil all of their own!

anothercynic Silver badge

@Arthur The Cat is right though... the point of the EU argument was that the effective tax rate Apple paid was much lower than what the standard tax rate is. Also the amount of 'revenue' and 'income' that is channelled through Ireland was substantial, but it also included dosh from outside the EU. Since it is likely that there is a taxation agreement (if you pay tax in the US, you don't pay the tax again in the EU and vice versa) between the US and the EU, Apple can effectively repatriate a lot of its profits to the US, pay the once-off reduced tax, and doesn't have to deal with the EU. Which is why this is a once-off back-tax payment deal...

The problem with the EU's 'digital revenue tax' scenario is that if they can, the US can retaliate with the same on any EU-based company providing services to US citizens etc. It opens a whole can of worms that you really don't want to have opened. Tax laws from the sixties, seventies and eighties being dragged into the digital age are a big problem, especially in a multi-taxed-but-single-economic-bloc environment like the EU.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: This:

Yes. That is one reason why Ireland doesn't want the extra dosh. It will skew the GDP data for the next assessment period for EU membership fees, and Ireland would prefer to continue to pay a lower fee commensurate with their *real* GDP, not these once-off blips.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Astonishing isn't it

@Lee D, sorry but I absolutely disagree.

The mobile phone companies known full well when the subsidy for the mobile phone is fulfilled and the device paid off. There is *nothing*, and I mean *nothing*, stopping them technology-wise to send a message at the end of the contract term to say "hey there, your contract term has ended, and as such your phone is paid off, so we're dropping the subsidy element of your monthly fee from next month."

If they can do it for things like Spotify/NowTV/Sky Sports (with Vodafone) or other 'goodies' that are part of your bundle, they can do this for the phone too. But, there are some providers who effectively use the subsidy as a 'lease', so you get free upgrades whenever you become eligible, whether you want/need them or not.

I *do* agree with you though that "let's force the mobile companies to pay everyone back" is stupid. Force them to change their procedures, sure, but forcing them to refund? Nah.

First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Is "designed by computer" better ?.


And it's only because Boeing said "Ok then, we'll make this a fixed-price deal" that the Congressional comittee deciding this stuff bought into it... they baulked at the price per plane, and the inevitable cost escalations that went with redevelopment of an ancient (ok, 30 year) airframe design.

I'm so glad to see that Boeing has to suck up these delays on their own dime...

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Is "designed by computer" better ?.

The KC-46 is based on the B767. The B767 was designed to be as slippy as possible... when you then add stuff like drogues, booms, newer/different wings, extra other things to it and you don't have any previous fluid dynamics data (like the B777 or the B787 do now) to see what happens when you add that extraneous stuff, you'll find all sorts of interesting (read annoyingly surprising) things from within the airframe and the aerodynamics that cause... erm... delays. Why Boeing didn't simply use the B777 (probably because the B767 is on the way out) is beyond me.

The Airbus A330 is fully CAD. The A330 MRTT (the Airbus equivalent of the KC-46) was also delayed by several years because of manufacturing and testing issues with the refueling boom that the Australian Air Force wanted. The RAF version of the MRTT (Voyager) uses drogue units only because Airtanker (who run the Voyagers on behalf of RAF) use several in a civilian capability.

Airbus was happy to partner with Northrop Grumman to do the conversions for the US version of the MRTT in Alabama, but Boeing kicked up such a fuss about the contract award and pulled every string they had to have the award tender re-run (a second time, after Boeing had it the first time and lost it because of pork barrel stuffing), that Airbus just said "we're not interested in more time wasting, see ya!"

anothercynic Silver badge

Fatal hull loss is more accurate

Yeah, the B777 is pretty safe.

Actually the first fatal hull loss is the Asiana flight (pilot error and bad documentation by Boeing) into San Francisco that cost several occupants their lives when the tail was ripped off.

Both Malaysia Airlines flights occurred after that.

There are some other incidents that have cost lives but not the hull (BA flight at Denver International), and vice versa (notably the BA pancake at Heathrow due to icing, the Cairo Egyptair cockpit fire due to electrics, the Emirates pancake at Dubai International due to bad landing and pilot error).

For a production run of around 560 examples of the B772, 4 hull losses (excluding the Malaysia Airlines incidents) are pretty good going. The B773 has racked up one hull loss (Emirates, and that was Emirates' first hull loss ever too).

Now here's an idea: Break up Amazon to get more shareholder cash

anothercynic Silver badge

The current structure has served Amazon well by allowing Bezos to drive innovation and expansion by *reinvesting* in the business, investors be damned. Those who got in the Amazon game (like I would've *loved* to back in the nineties) early now have stock that is worth 100 times more. That is long game, that is faith in what he's doing it worth it.

Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: That's right Linux community... bend over...

@Snow Wombat,

What's your problem with the rainbow-haired crowd? You won't believe how many rainbow-haired people are excellent and vital contributors to the open source community. And judging people on their hair-colour choice is just... hairist. And why are you so hung up on pronouns? If you want to be known as 'he', fine, or as a 'she', fine... don't apply your binary choices on others who would prefer to be referred to as 'they', or 'it'. Open Source has for a long time been "Live and let live", as long as your code contributes something positive and complies with the rules of the community that you're contributing to. How has it changed?

As for Linus, it's just about time he realised that he cannot go on like that. If he steps back and takes a breather, then that can only make Linux better. Being a control freak is exhausting... and it's clearly taken a toll.

Sysadmin misses out on paycheck after student test runs amok

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Why...

No, he used it several times... but happened to assign a job to Ada the night payroll was running.

And you are talking about Nagios. You do realise that Nagios' predecessor was first released in 1996... Look at what the article says:

This week, our confessional column is taking a trip back to a college in the late ‘80s, with “Bryan”.

Back then, Nagios was not even a glint in its creator's eye, since he was barely in secondary school then...

Just sayin'...

Equifax IT staff had to rerun hackers' database queries to work out what was nicked – audit

anothercynic Silver badge

They do what the National Audit Office does in the UK... checks if there's value for money in what people do, do forensic auditing in things like these pesky data bureaux (like Equifax), etc etc etc...

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Impressive consequences

This is where Monitis and other services come in handy... they monitor from outside the perimeter (i.e. 'run a bad query and see if we get a response, if so, something's wrong'). And internally, yes, being paranoid about anything certificate-related would be good. It amazes me how there are no double checks (both a positive and a negative check) in data critical infrastructures like Equifax's!

Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Couldn't have said it better myself

Well, that and ignorance and racism.

And EMPAAAAAAHHHHHHHRRRRRR (Empire for those who don't get it).


The grand-plus iPhone is the new normal – this is no place for paupers

anothercynic Silver badge

£1500 *is* ludicrous, agreed. I already had this argument last year with friends who just *had to* have the X... Oh the first day. Despite complaining how expensive living in Los Angeles was.

However, I disagree with your depreciation argument. When did the iPhone6s come out? Have a look on eBay for a decent-condition iPhone6s and you'll find that their value remains still surprisingly high for a phone of its vintage. It's holdouts like me who probably keep the market alive! ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Apple ecosystem

The user experience in the Apple world is more consistent between releases, and as much as it is tightly controlled, it helps stability-wise.

Going from Cyanogenmod on Oneplus One to their horrible own-brew OS, to Samsung's special brews, to Android generic, Android experiences are in some instances jarring and discombobulating. If Nokia manages to make their Android UI experience as consistent as Apple's, I am very tempted to switch to Nokia instead.

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

anothercynic Silver badge



Oh, alright then. Twist my arm. Go on.

Guess who just bought Maplin? Dragons' Den celebrity biz guy Peter Jones

anothercynic Silver badge

That's what I suspect Jones is banking on... the residual customer loyalty to a point...

Jessops surprisingly seems to cope ok after their resurrection.

Apple in XS new sensation: Latest iPhone carries XS-sive price tag

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Yawn....

Oh, no Barry Rueger, you are definitely not the only one.

Apple sent me a message to tell me that the event was starting on Twitter and I went... 'uhhhh, meh?'

I know... so unusual for an Apple Fanboi, right? ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Let's see...

@tea hound,

True, but you have to send it in, and Apple don't guarantee that you get your own phone back (they tell you that you must back it up in its entirety and then factory reset it and turn 'Find my iDevice' off).

Given that I have some items in the secure enclave on the phone that I *really* *really* don't want to have to reset, I am loathe to swap the phone unless it's an upgrade. :-/

Call me a... What exactly do you call someone like me? ;-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Let's see...

... How many iPhone 7s, iPhone 8s and iPhone Xs end up on Fleabay and/or how much some phone vendors will discount the old models...

*looks at trusty old iPhone 6s whose battery apparently needs replacing*

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Penny Pinching Budget Protectors

Sounds all too familiar...


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