* Posts by EastFinchleyite

266 posts • joined 30 Jul 2015


Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...


Re: Old desktop front page design


I expected the opt-out to the old front page to be time limited. Comments about the blurring of consultation and affirmation a few months ago are still valid.

As for threads. I read comments in date order because that is the way the world works. time is linear. I also suspect that commentards make comments on the earliest original posts to gets their words up near the top of the page.

Still too many columns (three is the max advisable). Have to dust off Greasemonkey to see if that can be fixed. If anyone has already got there, perhaps they could post the script somewhere. As for the idea of a responsive web page design suitable for all types of reader, (phone, tablet, PC ). Ever heard of the old phrase "jack of all trades and master of none"

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


Re: So Tax Returned Limited

Liquidation. A previous El Reg article covered this very issue


For information, a quick search found this FOI request.


Briefly, from August 2015 to January 2018 the ICO issued PECR fines of £7,058,500.

The amount unpaid and still owing was £4,945,189.

So it is unlikely (but possible) that this fine will be paid.

A Christmas classic: Cloudera founder asks staff to stay another day


Time to go

As soon as your company starts talking about a merger it is time to consider moving on.

Successful, vibrant companies grow and become more successful by increasing their business and/or by buying out smaller rivals. When two companies consider a merger it is because neither has the strength to buy the other and neither is confident of life on its own.

They are losers. Best go work for a winner.

OneDrive is broken: Microsoft's cloudy storage drops from the sky for EU users


Re: "a lesson on the consequences of too much dependence on the cloud"

@Pascal Monett

In modern management theory this is not correct. The CEO/Decision Maker still made the savings promised by the snake oil cloud vendors. This can be proved by looking at the invoices. They paid less for cloud services than they would for internal storage.

The "failure" was made by the working level staff who should have been flexible and agile enough to cope with any failure.

Consequently the CEO/Decision Maker bonuses will increase, working level pay/bonuses will be curtailed.

Microsoft reveals terrible trio of bugs that knocked out Azure, Office 362.5 multi-factor auth logins for 14 hours



You have to be sympathetic to those poor fellows at Microsoft. They are a young, small company that hasn't had much experience of dealing with big systems and that sort of thing. Give them another decade or so and they will learn how to get it right. Possibly.

Tech sector unites in attempt to avoid Oz's anti-crypto push, again


Does this really matter?

I mean does this really matter to us outside of Australia. Possibly.

Australia is a democracy of sorts and is free to elect whichever dickheads they choose. If they elect a government that wants to dig an almighty hole and then jump into it, then so be it. The rest of the world can look at Australian products and services and decide whether or not to get involved. Most would be well advised to give them a wide berth on any sensitive matter such as high tech industries with commercially confidential information, routing submarine cables via them etc, Buy their apples and watch their cricket by all means by share any sensitive communications or data? No thanks.

So why could this possibly matter to us in the UK?. Because we have politicians every bit as stupid as our antipodean counterparts and they never ignore the opportunity to adopt a bad idea. Look at our leaders and what is going on here now!

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day


Re: Points to consider

Don't worry about bandwidth. The MNOs will handle that by making cells smaller and having many more base stations. Like one per house :).

Also to remember is why this whole idea came up in the first place; the lack of a high speed network out to customers. So who is going to provide the high speed back haul network required to service the myriad of 5G base stations?. In the rush to push Mobile as "Good", Fixed is "Bad" most evangelists forget that most of a mobile network is fixed land based transmission and switching. Only the last few hundred metres is radio.

Empire state of mind: NYC scatters palm leaves for Bezos' cloudy web shop juggernaut


Federal Support

"Landmark lit up in orange"

Donald Trump has shown his support for the deal by turning orange as well.

Microsoft claims Office 364 back to business as usual. Oh no it isn't, say suffering sysadmins


Re: Office 364?

It has often been said that to plan for the future you should look to the mistakes of the past.

With that in mind I think it would be fair to rename the ailing productivity suite back to that well known oxymoron:


(ps. anyone under 30 who hasn't a clue about what I'm on about should read

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Works )

Unsure why you can't log into Office 365? So is Microsoft


Re: When you buy Microsoft Services,


My copy of Office 2003 doesn't seem to be affected. What is this cloud thing that everyone is talking about?

It's been a week since engineers approved a new DNS encryption standard and everyone is still yelling


Who do you trust?

As a retired and now amateur techie I have been reading what I can since this issue raised its ugly head and in trying to boil it down to the essentials I think it is about the balance of trust and control.

- DoH bundles DNS calls into the same ports as encrypted HTTPS traffic and observations by network admins can't see or control what is going on

- DoT encrypts DNS calls. Admins and indeed anyone else with authority will not see the content of those calls but can see who is making them and track the effect.

Living in the UK, given a choice I think I would opt for DoT. It would make it more likely that admins can run a reliable network. I have reasonable confidence that any of my web searches or connections to sites that give me information about, for example, the wisdom of Brexit will not result in a visit from the fingernail removal men.

If I lived in a less stable society and were trying to find information about alternatives to my currently "elected" president/prime minister who wants the job for life I think I would choose DoH.

It comes down to your point of view.

An analogy. I read Theordore Rockwell's book about US Admiral Hiram Rickover and his key role in the development of the their nuclear submarines. There was a debate over the safety vs maintenance balance regarding possible leakage from the PWR design reactor with just a removable gasket sealed cover which gave better access, or adding welding the whole thing shut on top . Navy engineers wanted easily removable lids with gaskets. Gaskets suppliers emphasised the quality of their product. The general consensus was that removable lids with gaskets was a good idea because the benefits outweighed the risks.

Rickover asked a different question of those involved.

"Suppose your son were to serve on this submarine with his life dependent on its safe operation. Would you let his life depend on the continued integrity of the gasket to hold back every droplet of the highly radioactive water? or would you rather have a weld backing it up just in case.?"

They all changed their minds and opted for welded up lids.

Generally, when the benefits to me outweigh the risks to you, I will opt for the most benefits. When both the benefits and the risks apply to me I will tend to minimise the risks

I am fairly sure that DoT is the better solution but if pushed I would opt for DoH.

Ad blocking. All fun and games – until it gets political: Union websites banned by uBlock Origin



"But anytime people make choices about what they see, those excluded may object. "

This is the key issue. It is not "people" who are making the choice but the person editing the filter list. It seems that editing privileges are much wider than I thought. I use Adblock Latitude on the Palemoon browser. That comes with EasyList as the basic filter pack. I have added another list to focus on stopping Coin mining and have my own exceptions list. I have not bothered to work through the EasyList filters and the only choice I made was to take the whole list or not. Reading that someone has edited the filter list to exclude Union websites is worrying and not what I signed up for and definitely not my choice.

To regain trust, the editing of filter lists needs to be managed much more tightly.

BT's new chief exec Philip Jansen to trouser £3.9m+ from telco


Re: It'll be interesting...

Don't hold your breath.

BT has been a marketing led company for some time. In the mid-90s I worked there and we had a new Director who told us that selling telecoms was no different from selling yoghurt. Hint: he came from the food industry.

I left soon after.

ps. I agree about the management bloat, but if you got rid of the huge pyramid of managers there would not be anyone for the very senior managers to be in charge of.

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...


Don't expect too much

The Guardian interviewed Andrew Chatham, a principal engineer on Google’s self-driving car project, who said the problem has little bearing on actual design.

“It takes some of the intellectual intrigue out of the problem, but the answer is almost always ‘slam on the brakes’,” he said. “You’re much more confident about things directly in front of you, just because of how the system works, but also your control is much more precise by slamming on the brakes than trying to swerve into anything. So it would need to be a pretty extreme situation before that becomes anything other than the correct answer.”

It would seem that Google feel they have to make the choice; brake or steer. My 13 year old Mondeo has ABS and as far as I can tell I can brake and steer at the same time.

Maybe Mr Chatham is dodging the question or maybe the development of self driving cars is still at an early stage. We should not expect too much in the near future in the area of moral development by Google at least. How others in the field such as Uber are getting to grips with the new concept of morality is anyone's guess.

Pentagon's JEDI mind tricks at odds with our 'values' says Google: Ad giant evaporates from $10bn cloud contract bid


Winner takes or loses all?

"But, who will be the ultimate winner?"

Oracle's complaint that the DoD will be locked to one supplier works both ways. That supplier will be locked to the DoD. I bet the stock price of the wining bidder will rise then quickly drop on the news. I wouldn't want to own shares in a company that had hitched its wagon on a long term basis to such a capricious and unpredictable customer. That would apply to the MoD in this country (UK) as well.

The winner will undoubtedly get a lot of cash initially but it will be stuck providing what the DoD wants. That may well be very different from the yet to be developed profitable services and products in a few years time. The winner will be come a legacy focused provider which is not a good look for the long term.

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


Re: What link?

Just got back from holiday. Had the same trouble finding the link. Reminds me of the HHGTTG planning application to knock down Earth to build a space highway.

I wonder how long the Opt-Out option will endure. If it goes I suspect some readers may follow it.

Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere


Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

"Fine, fixed"

Nice to see that the RAF had perfected not only the art of flying the Lancaster in vertical formation, but also managed to synchronise the propellers not only within each plane but also across the whole formation.

Anoraks ARISE!

Spoiler alert: Google's would-be iPhone killer Pixel 3 – so many leaks


Re: I have a great design idea...

Brilliant idea.

And while you're at it, make the overall size convenient to hold and comfortable for making phone calls, and not like holding a tea tray up to your face.



"iPhone killer Pixel 3"

I think that idea is wrong in that it assumes that there is a significant crossover between Android and iPhone owners and buyers. The market looks to me far more rigidly segmented.

Android users make the choice between keeping their existing phone, upgrading to the makers newer offering, or changing to a different Android maker's product

iPhone users choose between keeping their existing iPhone or buying a newer iPhone.

I doubt many existing users change between platforms and new users are influenced by peer pressure, family, and gender.

Microsoft gets ready to kill Skype Classic once again: 'This time we mean it'


Re: Microsoft does not listen

"They weren't looking for feedback, they were looking for affirmation."

Describes them perfectly (and others who look for feedback then ignore it - hint) ; you nailed it in one line. Have an UP.


Business Plan again

I looks like Microsoft's business plan is working


I wasn't even aware that the deadline had been extended. I ran down my Skype credit and stop using it before the original deadline.

When I want free mobile to mobile calls I use WhatsApp. Oh well, out of the frying pan into the fire.

Nokia reinstates 'hide the Notch' a day after 'Google required' feature kill


Re: Can't make sense of this.

Don't try. It doesn't really matter.

Russian volcanoes fingered for Earth's largest mass extinction


Re: St. Augustine had told the Catholic Church, [...] that anything in the Bible which was contrary

"Tell poor Galileo... and many others even unluckier."

Galileo wasn't persecuted, that is an Urban myth.

Judge bars distribution of 3D gun files... er, five years after they were slapped onto the web


Re: Lateral Thinking

"So basically you want to kill people."

No, I'd prefer that no-one built and used the damn things. But if someone is going to make one, smuggle it onto a plane or suchlike where security would bar a "normal" gun and then use it to take someone's life then I would prefer it be the perpetrator that suffers rather than the innocent victim.


Lateral Thinking

Clearly the idea that a court ruling can prevent determined people from making dodgy 3D guns is not working. What we need to do is persuade those people not to do it.

In the US the law and social norms lean towards making gun ownership easier rather than harder. We need a different approach.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to hack the CAD files on the web to make the gun fire backwards. ?

UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo


Re: Barberini

Mafeo Barberini became Pope Urban VIII and it was he that set the Inquisition on Galileo and had him locked up under house arrest for the last 10 years of his life.


Barberini screwed Galileo


Name Calling

WOT! No comments so far about Satnav McSatnavface.? I am utterly disappointed with my fellow countrymen. This is The most important issue of all.

A far better name for the UK Imperial satnav system would be Barberini.

(Go look it up)

London's Gatwick Airport flies back to the future as screens fail


no redundancy in the internet link

Thanks heavens (or whatever deity you prefer) that the people who run the Gatwick airport displays don't actually operate the planes that fly from the place.

Left to them, each airliner would have one socking great engine and the plane would be controlled by a pilot based in the cheapest possible location remotely linked by a single non-resilient radio link. No allowance would be made for holidays, sickness etc.

The profit motive is essential in running a business, but it mustn't be the only motive.

Australia on the cusp of showing the world how to break encryption


Re: No ... think bigger!

Now that Retro Computers Ltd has cracked the ZX Spectrum Vega+ problem and have got it into production <giggle>


they must be an excellent candidate to design and construct a DecryptoBox (TM) for the Oz pollies with NFI.

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!



Having been a worker drone that clawed my way up to middle management I know a bit about this subject:


If you send out a letter with your signature at the bottom then you are responsible for all the content of that letter.

Offloading the menial tasks of typing, printing, copying, emailing or whatever to someone or something else does not relieve you of any of that responsibility. It is in your name; you are responsible. After all, it is what you are paid to do.

Let's face it, this person f***ed up. Rather than say "Ooops, mea culpa, I was busy." He/she tried to pass off the blame elsewhere. That the issue was about education makes it even worse. An educator displaying literacy problems compounds the problem. It woz not me guv, it woz the printer wot dun it.

It is a matter of competence.

Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force


Re: Spaaaaaace Foooooorce!

BLUNDER! I am going to correct myself before someone else does . In 1978 the USA didn't have the facilities to put a person in space.

The last Saturn V launch was in July 1975; the joint Apollo - Soyuz test project. The next US manned launch was the first shuttle mission in 1981.

I still think Space Force was better TV than the real thing.


Re: Spaaaaaace Foooooorce!

The US tried this in 1978 without too much success


At least in 1978 they had something the current administration lacks; the ability to put a person into space. Now they have to use Uber.

Of course it is all Obama's fault.

The Register's 2018 homepage redesign: What's going on now?


Re: Desktop front-page should be three stories wide


Fired up the website on my Android mobile. Tested the old and new. mobile layouts.

The existing frontpage has tabbed choices for Top Stories and Most Read. The new discards this feature. I suppose that makes it more responsive and or more dynamic for editors otherwise you wouldn't have done it.

Also with the old design I could see the banner plus three stories on first view (without scrolling). The new layout has one big advert. With scrolling I get two stories in the same screen area. Bloat.

How much is all this costing? Wouldn't the money be better spent on paying journalists?. I/We read ElReg for the content, not the pleasing layout.


Re: Desktop front-page should be three stories wide

Agreed. The loss of the "Top Stories/Most Read" separate column on the right of the screen is a mistake. The change looks cluttered.

A familiar website layout is much the same as a product Brand Identity. It takes time and effort to build up and is easily lost in the search for new "shiny". There needs to be compelling reason for change and I can't see it here.

Is this layout change an essential part of the goal of " responsive – so that it looks good automatically whether you're reading us on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer"

or is it to make it "more dynamic for our editors."

Screw the editors, your priority should be this; does it please existing readers and attract new ones.

I suggest you leave both layout options open to readers for a full year and then gauge the results. If industry practice is anything to go by El Reg will switch to the new layout regardless.

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker



"or let me pay a subscription fee to turn them off. ............ The subscription? I dunno but promise not to circumvent your agreement to hide the ads by then stuffing your site with "exclusive subscriber offers" (i.e. ads)."

Fat chance. Totally untrustworthy so promises are valueless. . In the early days of Sky TV, some of the subscription channels were ad free. (Sky1 ?) They soon became subscription AND stuffed with ads. STNG on Beeb2 was 45 minutes. On Sky a full hour.

The world is full of Steff Murkeys ( http://www.userfriendly.org/) and they gravitate to Advertising. I hate it when it is called the "Advertising Industry". It doesn't make anything. In many ways it is an anti-industry in that it sucks the lifeblood from something that has value and diminishes it.

Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks


Self Signed Certificates

I run both FTP and Web servers on my home PCs for personal use and have hidden them behind obscure ports and have strong password protection. On both I use self signed certificates.

That is good enough for me. If it is not good enough for Google then screw them, there are other browsers out there.

Skype Classic headed for the chopping block on September 1


Re: Refund

Reply to self. Belay that last question.

I found that if you are in the EU and bought credit in the last 14 days you can get that particular purchase refunded. Luckily for me that meant that my recent £10 top up has been reversed. Skype can keep the remaining 45p. I am not using Version 8. It is ugly and there are alternatives.

Tough on you if you are outside the EU and purchase is older than 14 days. Live and learn.



Does anyone know if I can getting my unused Skype credit refunded when Skype 7 goes dark.?

Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested



I think the two following statements may be linked

1. ...... for a now defunct manufacturer

2. "Many people would also have thought the mainframe manufacturer in question would have been expected to train me!"

Perhaps competence was not high on the list of the manufacturers' values.

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


Re: fashion victims

'more expensive = must be better'

£22! pah, that's nothing. My secure analogue password recorder cost best part of £1000.

I write down my passwords on the lid of my laptop with a Sharpie.

What the long term cost will be is a known unknown... I think

TalkTalk, UK2 sitting in a tree, not T-A-L-K-I-N-G: Hosting biz cut off after ISP broadband upgrade



I appreciate the sentiment but I think a couple of <sarcasm> tags would help those El Reg readers for whom English is not necessarily their native tongue.

WRT "some routine updates in some of our exchanges from 1AM to 6AM tomorrow morning, to make improvements to your service." reminds me of an entry in the Devil's DP Dictionary (Stan Kelly-Bootle?) that defined a one-line patch as a change so small it didn't require testing before it was allowed to crash the main system. The problem was cured by a one-line patch. The dictionary reference also linked to "recursion".

(the exact reference may be a bit different as many brain cells have passed away since I last read it.)

Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS


"The Chrome update is designed to spur the millions of sites still using HTTP to adopt HTTPS."

That may be what it is "designed" to do. It may have other effects such as to drive users away from Chrome. I trun

Or perhaps Google just did it to deliberately piss people off just because they can. It is called the Ryanair school of management.

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand


No Contact

El Reg: "Apple could not be reached for immediate comment."

That's because the keys on the MacBook they use for email and VoIP calls are broken and they can't login.

Have YOU had your breakfast pint? Boffins confirm cheeky daily tipple is good for you


Re: Interesting.

"Those necking 20+ a day were not available for the testing..."

Yeh, I was busy....

Smyte users not smitten with Twitter: APIs killed minutes after biz gobble


Weasel Words

I bet it soon becomes "blame GDPR"

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements


Re: Nicely done.

I'm an Engineer. I don't need to be able to spell properly. I only need to know that it is possible and what the tolerance limits for wrong spelling are for the particular job. Spell checking is a later process that comes well after the inspiration phase of the project.

For example, when designing an aircraft I would expect very small tolerances when writing the specification document. When writing a political manifesto plus/minus 50% is to be expected and permitted.

National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office


The government already holds all that data on you anyway

Fine, in which case the Government can put it all together and send me my card. I shall file it with all the other important stuff I don't want and never use.

What I expect is that I will be asked to "apply" for a card. I will be asked for information to justify that application and I will be disadvantaged if I don't or am unable.

The Windrush generation would have been asked to prove they qualified for a card. A Hostile Environment is not mitigated by a piece of plastic.

Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes


Re: Dickman

"When you 'upgraded' to Windows 10"

Who said anything about an Upgrade. One thing I have learned about MS products is always do a clean install. No link to previous version so you can't be messed up as you suggested. Archive everything, never use the same names or IDs especially when managing the enthusiasm of MS trying to jam Win10 down my throat.

I was just curious about Win10 but I didn't inhale.



decent perhaps but not smart. In suing to get his Windows 7 back I am presuming he had it is the first place. In which case upgrading to Windows 10 without keeping a full backup (I use Macrium) is a bit dumb.

Back in the free Windows 10 year, I installed it on one of my PCs, found it was a crock of **** and quickly restored the Windows 7 build. I lost a couple of hours but I regard that time well spent learning not to do it again.

USA! USA! We're No.1! And we want to keep it that way – in spaaaace


Re: Robots more cost effective? Well, maybe.

If they want to keep the costs down the answer is to send robot buggies to continue exploring the Moon and Mars (anywhere else will either freeze or melt). Equip the buggies with the Tesla Autopilot system and as long as there are no other buggies close by and no damaged lane dividers nothing can go wrong. The Tesla systems have already been space tested.

IF you do need a meatbag astronaut to go along, just email the current owners of Elon's Earthbound electric buggy. I am sure you would get a few volunteers. After all, if you are dumb enough to trust your life to a current generation autopilot on our imperfect roads, it is quite possible you would be dumb enough to do so in space.


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