* Posts by Tinslave_the_Barelegged

112 posts • joined 6 Aug 2016

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Another UAV licence price hike? Commercial drone fliers rage over consultation

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Race to the bottom

Drone operators aren't sentient and cannot feel (financial) pain, say gov.

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MPs draft bill to close loopholes used by 'sharing economy' employers

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

The what?

> Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed

Really? Would be interesting to know exactly who or what pays the bills for such a grand name, as it doubtful whether the average deliverooer pays membership.

Perhaps in this age of corporate lobbying and dodgy think thanks, instead of "citation needed", the call should be "full statement of accounts needed."

10
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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: No car tax?

>simply enable automatic fining from ANPR camera'

Proposing additional automated surveillance yet posting as AC. The same kind of "works-for-me" thinking that resulted the decrease in car tax revenue and no doubt other (un)intended consequences

7
1

Self-driving bus in crash just 2 hours after entering public service

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: re: Will self driving busses come in threes?

> following ones can catch up and pass the full one

Will no-one think of the poor sods wanting to get off?

A classic example of algorithm-speak where reality just doesn't want to play the game...

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1

Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Voter apathy is the main issue

> Until it actually makes a physical difference to a person, they don't really care who's in power

If the issue of voter apathy is on the table, then First Past The Post also needs to be critiqued. What is the point of voting for what you believe, if it is not a majority view, if your vote will always become irrelevant. One could most legitimately put the blame on voters if no votes were wasted.

Instead, what we tend to get with FPTP is a hegemony for N voting cycles, after which the incumbents have become mad with power, often literally, and they get slung out to be replaced by the less mad alternative for N cycles. Any system that breaks the waste of both the cycle and the waste of a vote must be better than the lunacy of FPTP. It's hard to think of any advantage to FPTP, in fact, other to those currently in power, on their way to the madness brings.

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Dumb autonomous cars can save more lives than brilliant ones

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

"Got to think of the bigger picture and the number don't always work outside the lab in the irrational meatware that will make decisions."

Yes, this exactly the issue. Bandying numbers and percentages around is all very well in a "think tank" setting (pardon the elevation of the RAND corp) but let's take an IT example. When a new IT project goes live, it is always used in ways the designers didn't fully envisage. In the case of autonomous vehicles, this will also be true. Even given that, it must be possible to envisage some new form of danger from autonomous vehicles, and the question is whether society will accept such a new form of danger. We tolerate car deaths because of a greater good, we believe, and the human agency associated with driving. I am not so sure we should tolerate death-by-automaton as easily.

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Commuters' phone data could be tracked to save megabucks on census

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Privacy? Doesn't apply, gov.

The BBC report on this reckons the results were anonymised, yet part of the idea is to work out where people live. No indication whether victims were volunteers, but the implications is that they were not even aware of being under this creepy surveillance.

7
2

Man: Just 18 Bitcoin babies and my home is yours

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

"Bitcoin is also the preferred currency of miscreants across the globe."

> Bitcoin is also the preferred currency of miscreants across the globe.

Really? I thought after re-branding their deeds "Credit Crunch", they simply got on with business as usual in conventional currencies, bar the occasional knighthood and a little local difficulty in Panama...

9
2

Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

He really wants this?

"Just plug in at the Arrogant Arse charger..."

OK, I'm assuming he wants the name to be what everyone calls him rather than what's on his birth certificate.

20
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Capacitor maker zapped with price-fixing charge

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Resistance is futile

There, I said it. I'm off 'ome.

11
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Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Not 100% sure it doesn't belong, but...

A company I worked for had terrible trouble with overnight batch runs, almost always failing by morning. A new Ops manager took over, and discovered that the after-hours phone number given out to contact the operators actually rang at the payphone at the pub, fortuitously almost next door (this was in London). The operators spent the time until closing time in the pub, then attempted the overnight batch runs, with varying degrees of ethanol-fueled success.

The new ops manager soon put a stop to that. All was well with the batch runs for a while, but then other problems started arising, the mini-computers showing odd failures. The faults were traced to overheating, and the new Ops manager duly lifted the floor to place sensors, or some such reason. There in the under floor cooling ducts were crates - and I mean crates, not just a few bottles - of beer.

After a replacement set of operators arrived, all the batch problems, which had been a "feature" for several years, were resolved.

55
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Let's dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Quick - call a sociologist

Speaking as one who runs dovecot and prosody for imap and xmpp respectively, some kind of combination seems a good idea, providing OTR etc can be part of the mix. Thunderbird's chat, for example, doesn't allow OTR. The way we use imap and xmpp is exactly as described in the article - at times, chat-like activity takes place over email. Chat (pidgin client) used as a file transfer mechanism also takes issues away from mail.

But I can't help thinking that the real research should be into why people herd themselves towards closed ecosystems. That's the non-technical issue that seems to need solving.

4
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Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Linux

Forget the numbers....

Why do I feel like going out to buy an Asus eeepc after seeing that picture?

4
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Ex-TalkTalk chief grilled by MPs on suitability to chair NHS Improvement

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

UK NHS?

I tried looking on https://improvement.nhs.uk/ to see if this was NHS England or some UK-wide body. Eventually, one page (https://improvement.nhs.uk/about-us/support/), at the bottom, suggests the damage Ms Harding can do in this role is restricted to NHS England.

But the fact that she will feels she should be able to retain private healthcare in such a role should surely raise eyebrows, as her intent appears to limit any improvement to a standard she does not apply to herself. In a public role, that is at least contentious.

5
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uBlock Origin ad-blocker knocked for blocking hack attack squawking

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Using any adblocker is a very clear, positive, action from a user to say "I don't want any additional shit run on my computer".

If there is a simplistic aspect to this issue, this is surely it. If I understand what Mr Helme means, he suggests that when CSP is enabled, the browser must accept what the website developer instructs it to accept, giving the example of an analytics tracker. UBO says it looks like one, smells like one, so it wont step in it. The balance of probability of clientside welfare does seem to rest on UBO's side. Or to put it another way, UBO exists because we have learnt that web services and developers cannot be fully trusted.

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Is there a better reason for proceeding with caution?

Possibly. I caught a snippet on the radio the other day regarding AI, with one academic pointing out that the "A" in AI really means "Advertising."

5
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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: What the market wants...

> It's always tricky to reliably determine what "the market" wants, particularly if your own job relies on a getting specific answer.

Some good analysis in the article. I can't help being reminded of the early 90s, in fact, when Windows 3 came out. At that time Lotus was king. In fact, they were so crucial to the PC platform they could not envisage a future that they didn't dominate. When Windows 3 looked like a step up from DOS, and knowing the backward step Lotus 123 v 3 was, we went to talk to Lotus Development about how they saw the future. Could be DOS, could be Windows, could be OS/2, they said, we don't care. We had the same discussion with Microsoft (yes, customers could indeed go to talk strategy with these companies in those days...) We're throwing everything at Windows, said MS. We know we have work to do to get beancounters to trust Excel, our bought-in spreadsheet. We think we can produce something as good as Wordperfect or Multimate.

On the basis of those discussions, we moved from the dominance of Lotus to a Windows strategy, and were pleased to have such a clear idea of where we were heading. Within 5 years, MS were starting to deal with the failure of success, like Lotus had. By the late 90s, MS strategy amounted to a mere marketing flavour of the month. The foray into phones shows they have still not learnt the lesson of what gave them their dominant position 27 years ago.

Makes one wonder about humanity's capacity to handle true power.

26
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Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Pint

Million to one chances occur nine times out of ten*

It's a little bemusing to note the recent trend to pour scorn on OnCall articles. The longer folk are in the IT game, the more chance there is of seeing real oddities, and although we, especially those of us in IT, are bred to spot trends, and mistrust things that do not conform to trend, OnCall really is just an interesting repository of anecdotes, not a manual of best practice. It is doubtful, though possible, that readers may submit anecdotes they have completely made up, and it is possible that the inevitable mistrusting responses amount to mere regrettable forum arrogance, but still, can we not just enjoy the Friday shared experiences? If a commenter is up tight after a tough week, see icon, no need to prove superiority by pronouncing on a short, and by necessity, incomplete little story.

Just a thought...

-

* - thank you, St.Terry

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Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

"...while maintaining robust privacy safeguards."

...usually means "politicians', and only politicians', personal data will, of course, be excluded."

8
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Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: The Home Office

Except it is likely that the Home Office is the real problem here. I know I have mentioned this before, but every Home Sec seems to get radicalised within weeks of taking the job. Having an especially dimwitted incumbent just makes radicalisation easier.

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Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Location, Location, Location

Worked for a financial services company in the 9os. They installed a tape robot fed by three racks of tape storage carousels, a huge setup, and fearsome to watch, as the robot "hand" flung around, then ever so gently shoved the tape into the slot.

One day, the thing went wild. Tapes were all over the shop, the robot deciding to miss the slot like a comedian failing to eat an ice cream.

It turned out that they had failed to take into account the weight of all that kit on the fifth floor of the building, and xyz axes no longer held true.

41
1

My name is Bill Gates and I am an Android user

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Thriller

> You could buy a winphone in Marks & Sparks

Yup, the only phone on the market with a gusset.*

*Still no idea what a gusset is, but apparently it's not an ordinary gusset....

1
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Why Uber isn't the poster child for capitalism you wanted

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Uber and London

Yes, I saw that astonishing puff piece for Uber in the BBC web site. No doubt the result of the costs of lobbying/PR mentioned in the article, but really concerning to see such a blatantly skewed article on the Beeb.

20
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Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

If Microsoft did F1....

We'd have a press release about how Renault beat Mercedes in a secret test which later turned out to be a race between Renault F1 and an old lady driving a Merc A160. (Readers may have forgotten the infamous MS "benchmarks" showing how a heavily optimised Windows system could outperform a vanilla Red Bull ^h^h^h Hat server)

Meanwhile Informix sues the lot of them for having aerodynamic Wingz.....

7
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New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Linux

The Elop solution

Presumably this ends with Microsoft buying out HMRC and then dismantling it, saying tax isn't part of its core business, something everyone except the person receiving the brown envelope in Cayman knows.

11
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Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Cats are neither a solid nor a liquid.

> if you are anywhere near a Gator, there is an element of risk,

Years ago, I stupidly went to a zoo in Malawi. There was a sign - "Crocodiles" - pointing down a narrow fenced lane, the fencing just some chicken wire, not especially secure. This lane ended, and I looked across to a pool, wondering where the crocodile(s) were? I then glanced down to find the rather large croc at my feet*, with just some chicken wire between it an me.

The science is that I discovered a Boolean variation of Schrödinger's cat - you can have clean undies or you can be standing next to a crocodile with nothing between you except chicken wire.

-

* It was probably old, toothless, used to visitors or couldn't be bothered. It wasn't dead, and neither am I, I think, so I'm guessing...

16
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Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> I got a call from my ISP (Plusnet - BT owned) the other day,

Your problem is not a hard one - it's Plusnet - Just say no....

3
1

New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: WTF?

> Today I would be very careful to start any long-term project on Windows -

You must be a very young AC. In the mid 90s, just after Microsoft "discovered" the Internet, we embarked on a web application suite for a small but global financial services company. It was a $1m+ project. and we and the devopers were in frequent contact with MS during the development. We developed according to MS's strategies, but they kept changing these so fast as reality in the Internet world hit them that evebntually we realised we chose the wring platform. (The clincher was having to snailmail CDs containing 30+ mb of activex software to each global user as downloading the bloatware was too dodgy in those dial-up days, but a bloated client was the only way it would all work.)

Later in the 90s, I was with a company, that, on my advice, and t my later regret, as at that stage I trusted MS, moved off a greenscreen AIX application to an MS client-server development of Visual Basic against SQLServer. Again, the squirms in strategic approach meant we were forever chasing the latest marketing shifts, and while it worked, it did not leave one convinced of the abilty to extact value from the platform, as the next shiney thing distracted Microsoft.

I learnt my lesson. After that, if the answer was a Microsoft product, the next question was how to ringfence it. This became more and more difficult over the years as they honed their lock-in skills.

What is shocking is to to see this approach still in 2017.

8
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US Navy suffers third ship collision this year

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Good job it wasn't a lighthouse

Tere's the story about the South African yachtsman, Bruce Dalling, sailing single-handed a little wooden 25' Vertue from Hong Kong to South Africa. He was asleep and woke to the noise of engines, to find himself surrounded by ships and being buzzed by helicopters. He switched on the radio to found his boat had sailed right into a US Indian Ocean fleet (or vice versa). He was told somewhat arrogantly "Identify yourself" on the radio, and famously replied "Vertue Carina, single handed skipper onboard, bound for Durban. Will not attack unless severely provoked."

13
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Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> For those that misread this awkward sentence in the same way I did.

Ah, ta for that. I thought he was implying that for some unfathomable reason people would want a free operating system with a non-free (or disputably free) filesystem.

ZFS is great. I am sure, but a general purpose FS it certainly is not. But Red Hat's decision is pretty inexplicable. What harm can there be in including BTRFS in their mix of supported file systems, especially at this stage in its development. It definitely smells like a political decision.

2
1

Guess who's hiking their prices again? Come on, it's as easy as 123 Reg

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: I've been using Virtualnames AKA UKServers recently...

Same here. Used them for some around 9 years, for some hosting as well as domains. Rarely an issue, fast response when they do occur and no silly marketing.

3
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Not another Linux desktop! Robots cross the Uncanny Valley

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

Misleading headline

I thought it was going to be another article on Gnome....

5
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Jocks' USO block shock: BT's 10Mbps proposals risk 'rural monopoly'

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> B4RN is a great community project, but it's not feasible for nationwide deployment.

And who provides the backhaul, anyway....?

3
1
Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Here is BT saying "yes we'll do it"

But what are they saying they will do? Or rather, who are "BT"? Both commentators and politicians sem to fail to differentiate between BT and OpenReach, a distinction now made clarer by Ofcom. If it is BT the parent group of OpenReach, making an "offer", then it is right to be cautious about monopoly extension, if that means people can only use BT via the OpenReach infrastructure. But if the offer is from OpenReach, then the way to go can only be regulation of a de facto monopoly, along with a service obligation.

Regarding other (the "English counterparts" in the above post) "subsidising rural services, that is a pretty blinkered view. Apart from misunderstanding issues of common good, one could say that rural people subsidise more urban counterparts when the urbanites come to the rural areas demanding urban-style access, which believe me, they do.

Disclaimer: We live in an area that suffers from poor infrastructure, one of those affected by the way this pans out. BT's offer of 99% may sound good, but that 1% equates to a hang of lot of households left out in the cold. The country, Scotland, England, Wales or UK, whichever way you want to look at it, needs decent infrastructure, which it currently does not have. "The market" has failed to provide except in some, mostly urban, areas; trusting market forces to resolve this is both reckless and doomed to fail again.

By the way, I cant find a definition of this mythical "10Mb/s" requirement. We can get about a 7.5Mb/s connection, but because the rest of the infrastructure is ancient radio links and dry string (this is Scotland - string is designed to work when wet...) we are lucky if our throughput hits 4Mb/s. On some Monday mornings, presumably after some reset, we get better speeds, which implies that the issue in many cases, such as ours, is that BT/OpenReach simply are not bothering to improve old 20CN networks.

They can't be trusted. Regulate them to compliance.

1
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70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

Re: 29% Windows users

> this is based on the assumption that

Just need a gender assumption in there for the full google employee of the month award for gratuitous misdirection by science*

(Note icon...)

*-acknowledgement: D. Adams.

6
0

Foot-long £1 sausage roll arrives

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Wonder how much %age of actual meat in there?

It's a sausage roll. Questions about meat content should therefore be filtered out for continued sanity.

14
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Petition calls for Adobe Flash to survive as open source zombie

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

No problem

I can't believe this is even being discussed when systemd plans to include a flash player. Sure it will only run as root, but that's good, right?

(yes, it still hurts.... Thanks for asking)

3
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Universal Service Oh... forget the Obligation. BT offers to stump up £600m for 10Mbps

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

99%?

As long as the 1% is in urban areas where people have a choice of infrastructure providers, and as long as that 1% is defined in law backed by heavy penalties, maybe this is OK. But where BT are the monopoly infrastructure provider there absolutely needs to be a regulatory requirement for them to act to deliver decent service, which mainly means rural areas they can easily walk away from saying they represent "1%" and can therefore be abandoned.

But no matter what, the only thing that will make BT do the right thing is proper, penalty-equipped regulation. A deal excluding regulation is not only capitulation, but condemns the UK, especially the rural area increasingly dependent on digital services, to third rate status. How many Reg readers have horror stories after trusting BT's statements once too often?

4
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After we ran our article about the fate of .sk, the nation of Slovakia flew into a rage. And now, here's part two...

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Let's see

- Blaming foreigners for something that turns out to be under your own control all along

- Politicising a single issue under flag of convenience

- Dodgy funding for cover right wing populist grouping

Gosh, sounds familiar, but I can't think where we've heard this before...

40
3

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: more needed than ever

> Already done. palemoon.org

Yup, default here. A pity their version of Thunderbird, Fossamail, has been discontinued.

And if you really want Chrome but correctly distrust Google, Chromium is available. If your tin foil hat still retains a charge with Chromium. the iridium browser project may be to your liking - https://iridiumbrowser.de/

9
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Eggheads identify the last animal that will survive on Earth until the Sun dies

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Alien

Hedging bets

This is why I follow @mrwaterbear, aka Tardigrade Supreme, on Twitter. He may be a bit overbearing in demanding human subjection, but it'll be worth it in the long run.

0
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Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

> but the idea of having a proper multi-user system does appeal

LTSP is your friend. http://ltsp.org

Did this for a small rural school in the early 2000s using equipment no longer needed at work.. They never grasped the full opportunity because of their political masters believed computers==microsoft, but it worked well. With Pis as terminals these days, this must be a satisfying exercise to complete.

3
0
Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Pint

Brilliantly summed up, with just the right level of restrained anger.

A virtual pint on its way

4
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Ofcom creates watchdog specifically to make sure Openreach is behaving

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: we're watching you...

> the majority of members having no affiliation with BT Group.

Yet... Remember BT's gift to Patricia Hewitt. They have Phorm in behaving this way.

4
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Japan joins quantum space race with microsatellite demo

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Mushroom

Bang!

<BOGGLE> The bang just heard was the sound of my brain shutting down.

Previous form on this, given sufficiently complicated input, eg the wonderful physics question designed to induce buffer overload "Describe the Universe and give two examples."

0
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GSM gateway ban U-turn casts doubt on 7.5-year prosecution in Blighty

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> rip-off merchants the carriers were.

With my mobile provider, I can phone overseas inc the US, Aus, South Africa etc for one tenth of the per minute price of phoning within the UK. On the one hand, great for phoning overseas; on the other hand, who is making loads off the UK calls? I suspect they are still rip-off merchants, just a little better at hiding.

11
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Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Primos

In the late 80s, early 90s, the company I was with was moving offices. It ran on a PR1MOS-based COBOL suite, and we needed new hardware to cover the move - I can't recall the model. No bother, said Prime, it's all yours for a mere £2million. My boss at the time, who knew full well the writing on the wall for Prime said "Think again." He ended up getting two systems and paying £900k. It took another 10 years to port the COBOL to another platform. Unfortunately that platform was Dynix/ptx....

4
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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Final Conflict?

You would imagine two grown men could Leia aside their differences.

4
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Extreme trainspotting on Britain's highest (and windiest) railway

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Reasonable compromise

> you get *that* sort of tourist

My wife once worked at the local visitor centre here in the North West Highlands. Most of the land is community owned here, and loch fishing costs just £5 a day, at any loch over an area of nearly 200 sq.km, literally hundreds of lochs. Some bloke fully kitted in tweeds came in in the morning to but a day ticket, and returned that evening demanding his money back. He claimed he was diddled because he could not fish any of the lochs from his car. So yes, *that* type of tourist.

4
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Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

> I'm just waiting for the post

"I can drive for hours and still be in my own property."

"Yes, I had a car like that once...."

(Age of gag unknown, but truth eternal)

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