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* Posts by Kubla Cant

2027 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

The e-waste warrior, 28,000 copied Windows restore discs, and a fight to stay out of jail

Kubla Cant

Re: Linux Mint is free

complicated, confusing, and difficult. And that's just email

As far as I know, the email system built into recent releases of Windows isn't complicated, confusing, and difficult. It's non-existent.

Some Windows users may pay for a local copy of Outlook, but I suspect most simply use some kind of webmail site. And that's the same whether your browser is running on Windows, Linux, MacOS or other fine operating system.

It's odd that people who allege Linux is difficult to use seem to have managed primitive versions of Windows without issue. And many are quite happy to use MacOS, which has far more in common with Linux than Windows.

14
4

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

Kubla Cant

Re: To be honest...

...difference between 'professional' and other workers for overtime...

I think the rationale is that "professional" workers put in extra effort in the expectation (realistic or otherwise) of promotion. Your career prospects are also supposed to make you a stakeholder in the business, so you put in more effort than you're paid for. The free overtime is an investment in your future.

A worker in a menial retail job has no prospect of promotion, and won't be paid more if the business thrives, so can't be expected to contribute free overtime.

This, at any rate, is the line that management expect people to swallow.

The theory is borne out by people like software engineers. They're professional and often highly-paid, but they can only be promoted by turning good engineers into crap managers. They usually get overtime and out-of-hours pay. Me, I'm a contractor, so I have no prospects of any kind.

14
2

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

Kubla Cant

I don't see how you can say both "I need dual monitors to do my job" and then "I need a laptop".

Here I am, working on a laptop that has dual monitors, keyboard and mouse connected to it. The monitors are more-or-less essential for my job.

When I have to do out-of-hours support, or when I work from home, I can carry the laptop home in my backpack and use the monitors etc that I have at home anyway. I can also use it on the train, where I connect to the company's secure VPN via a mobile hotspot. Neither would be possible without the laptop.

This has been the usual arrangement in most of the companies where I've worked over the past five years. Fortunately, they haven't had an idiot like Lee D making the decisions.

13
0

BBC presenter loses appeal, must pay £420k in IR35 crackdown

Kubla Cant

Gobshite

I am utterly unsurprised that the Beeb are paying some gobshite who fronts up a dull regional news programme as much as the prime minister

To judge from the £2.2m paid to Chris Evans, BBC pay is in direct proportion to the gobshiteness of the recipient.

12
1
Kubla Cant

Re: Any news on whether the BBC pays their side of the bargain?

I, and a good chunk of the people reading this have to pay NI; don't have a lot of sympathy for those that don't.

This seems a bit unfair on those of us who have slogged through 45 years to reach State Retirement Age, after which NI is no longer payable.

11
4

Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study

Kubla Cant
Thumb Down

Re: *Shrug*

I run my whole house from a 4G Wifi router

Great idea! Oh, wait, I have to stand in the garden to get any kind of phone reception*, and it sure as hell isn't 4G. How's that going to work?

* According to the coverage maps, it will be the same with any mobile network.

12
0

Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'

Kubla Cant

servings[sic] tens-of-hundreds of people

Or, as we call them in English, "thousands".

15
0

Winter Olympics website downed by cyber attack

Kubla Cant

Re: Call me a cynical old codger..

Honey gets you more flies than Vinegar.

I am not an entomologist, but I think those who know say that the opposite is true. Fruit flies like vinegar and they are very numerous.

3
1

No yolking matter: Google Translate cock-up gives Norwegians more than un œuf eggs

Kubla Cant

There used to be a Swedish chef on TV who was very hard to understand. If Norwegian chefs are similar, I'm not surprised the translation went awry.

5
0

It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

Kubla Cant

Re: Bridge on the River Kwai

They changed the original film ending of Alec Guinness screaming at the allied forces

Who did? When? I'm sure that was the ending when I saw it.

0
1
Kubla Cant

Re: Spaceballs?

Dark Star?

7
0

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Kubla Cant

Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

I had no idea that might be old-school. What do modern people do instead? Guess?

8
0
Kubla Cant

Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

Student me in the late 1960s:

  • black crushed velvet flares
  • flowered shirt
  • bright-coloured nylon scarf worn as a neckerchief
  • black hat with a wide brim
  • short green military-style coat that I was told originated with the Women's Fire Brigade*
  • best of all, a pair of zip-up chukka boots that I had personally re-coloured purple
*I now doubt that there ever was such an organisation, but the surplus store had dozens of these coats.

5
0

EE unveils shoebox-sized router to boost Brit bumpkin broadband

Kubla Cant

EE claims it delivered 100Mbps

Just like the EE network I use on my mobile phone? Funny, it never seems that fast.

In other news, EE kindly supplied me with a picocell-type device that connects to my broadband, so I can use my phone at home without having to go and stand in the garden. If I had their new gadget too, the ugly box outside the house would use the mobile signal from the picocell, which will route it down the broadband connection, and so on ad infinitum.

2
0

ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t

Kubla Cant

We ask that you send a strong signal that you are supportive of creativity in advertising.

Nothing against smutty, but I think they're flattering themselves when they call it "creative".

11
4

Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial

Kubla Cant

Re: Not a UK plug, but a useless Continental one.

Not that it excuses the error, but didn't you have a travel adaptor of the right kind lurking somewhere?

Think about it. You buy travel adaptors so that you can use your native plugs in foreign outlets. Why would somebody who lives in the UK have an adaptor that connects a continental plug to a UK outlet?

16
1

On yer bike! Boffins teach AI drone to fly itself using cams on bicycles, self-driving car

Kubla Cant
Flame

Our intuition was that cars, bicycles, or similar vehicles, already have this great ability. Therefore, we developed an algorithm to make drones that can imitate them.

Your intuition was rubbish. Cars, bicycles, and similar vehicles have no ability. Their drivers or riders may, in some cases, have great ability.

9
1

Fancy coughing up for a £2,000 'nanodegree' in flying car design?

Kubla Cant

Re: And the job opportunities?

There are plenty of opportunities, but they're all for nanojobs, paying up to $50,000 * 10-9 per annum.

13
0

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

Kubla Cant

Re: @kain preacher

If driving the speed limit cause traffic jams then there is some thing else wrong such as the limit is way to slow.

Not true. In heavy traffic conditions it's common for the speed limit to be reduced to prevent traffic jams. Urban motorways have variable speed limits for just this reason.

0
0

Camels disqualified from Saudi beauty contest for Botox-enhanced pouts

Kubla Cant

Re: a beauty pageant for camels? how does that even work?

Eye. Beholder.

Shouldn't that be "Eye. Needle"?

8
0

Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

Kubla Cant

Re: The end

Perhaps Microsoft need to run an educational campagne. Maybe this is that campagne...

What's a "campagne"? Is it a fizzy wine? A stretch of countryside? A bedspread?

Perhaps Microsoft could enlighten us as part of an educational campaign.

11
2

Feeling old? Well, we're older than that: Newly found Homo sapiens jaw dates back 350k years

Kubla Cant

I would imagine any tools that primitive humans had, were invaluable and consequently always kept close.

I'm sure I've read that, on the contrary, early hominids seem to have made and discarded tools in surprising quantities. It could be that once you have mastered the technique it's easier to knock up a new tool than find where you left the one you used last. Perhaps stone tools aren't convenient to carry around when you don't have any pockets.

0
1

Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

Kubla Cant

Re: Left -- right?

IIRC, there were two mazes of twisty little passages.

One had subtly different descriptions for each location ("...twisty little passages, no two the same", "...passages, all different", etc) so you could map it using the descriptions. The other had the same description everywhere ("twisty little passages, all the same"). The way to map this maze was to drop things, so you could identify passages by their contents.

6
0

Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Kubla Cant

Re: Quick solution

While playing elaborate pranks on the scammers may be fun, you are wasting your own time as well as theirs -- and your time is probably much more valuable, to you at least.

The answer to this is some kind of phone bot. I came across a site run by a man who'd written a bot to handle cold-callers. Mostly it just says "Uh-huh", "OK", and "Yeah", but occasionally it comes out with something like "You'll have to repeat that... I've been taking sleeping pills and I've just woken up." or it shouts a request for coffee to somebody else in the house. There's an amusing recording of an insurance salesman interacting with it.

Elsewhere, there's a great recording of a guy who freaks out a telephone canvasser by pretending to be a cop investigating the murder of the person being called.

9
0

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Kubla Cant

Re: Quality of vinyl

Vinyl, pah! For a truly warm, old-fashioned sound you need wax cylinders.

9
0
Kubla Cant

Jewel cases

if as much engineering design effort had been invested in the plastic jewel* cases as the optical technology on the disc

Never mind the jewel cases. The real problem is the Cellophane wrappers, which seem to have been designed so that you need a scalpel to open them. Occasionally, rarely, they have a tear-off strip, which normally breaks off when you pull it.

There's nothing like buying a new CD and deciding to play it in the car. Numerous fatalities must have been caused by people bombing down the motorway while scrabbling at the packaging with fingernails and teeth.

* Why are they called jewel cases? They're totally unsuitable for keeping jewellery in, and I can't imagine that even the original designer thought a cheap plastic box looked jewel-like.

5
0
Kubla Cant

... they didn't try a second cd. Perhaps they only had one to demo with.

Perhaps the disk was fine, but the CD player was stuck up with jam, and was therefore, er, toast.

12
0
Kubla Cant

Re: Listening to Vinyl is a bit like eating at a posh restaurant

To be precise, listening to vinyl is like eating in one of those posh restaurants where they offer a sort of Edwardian menu consisting entirely of roasts, steak pudding, jam roll and custard and Stilton.

I have a BMW, but the music system won't play FLAC. It only does MP3, CDA and WMF.

2
0

Kill Google AMP before it kills the web

Kubla Cant

Re: "But was this a story about a driving licence or visa application type copy cat site?

Aibu in thinking that google should do more to protect young consumers from fraudulent sites?

I love the fact that she* uses the expression "Am I being unreasonable" so much that she has an acronym for it.

* Sorry if this seems sexist. I assume it's she because the site is called Mumsnet.

9
0

HP Inc wireless mouse can be spoofed

Kubla Cant

Re: Everything has to be wireless

Too true. A friend bought a wireless printer. Well, I say "printer", but it didn't do much printing. Most of the time it sulked in the corner and the operating system reported it as off-line, or in use elsewhere.

In the end we just connected it with a USB cable and it now works faultlessly.

1
0

PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC

Kubla Cant

Re: VOIP

By the way, you win against the scammers if they call you a mother [bleep] before they hang up

I've won. I went through the rigmarole with the scammer who phoned me, but I acted really stupid, which made it so difficult and complicated that he passed me to his "supervisor". After another 15 minutes of acting stupid, I agreed to give him a credit card number. When I read out the number from a Tesco loyalty card he got really angry and said "Why are you wasting my time?"

15
0

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Kubla Cant

Re: So how does this work then?

Several hours of accordion or bagpipes, and the passengers will insist that the pilot crashes the plane anyway.

4
0
Kubla Cant

They can demand to "scan" that SD card at the border crossing

True, but they have to find it first. Most people's phones have a storage-extension card, and a micro-SD isn't a hard thing to hide in your clothing or luggage.

6
0

Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

Kubla Cant

Does this work, anyway?

I didn't see much evidence in the article that the Scans can prove their system is actually working.

5
0

London app dev wants to 'reinvent the bus'

Kubla Cant

Re: if that's the answer, then someone asked the wrong question

"Passengers are reminded that ...

You haven't been listening carefully. In rail-speak, the people who travel on trains are now "customers". They travel between "station-stops".

And they're congenitally incapable of remembering to take all their baggage and possessions with them when they leave a train.

2
0

'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Kubla Cant

Realtors?

Attorneys, Doctors, Realtors, Electricians, and Engineers are all protected professions in many states

I can see the need for regulation of Attorneys, Doctors, Electricians, and Engineers. But Realtors? Are they not just what we call estate agents? The qualifications for that profession being a slimy disposition and an untrustworthy moral compass.

1
0
Kubla Cant
Headmaster

Re: Not regulated?

The E in MCSE stands for "Experanced". The other letters stand for "Must", "Call", and "Someone"

This sounds like it might be funny if I knew what "Experanced" means.

2
0

Welsh Linux Mint terror nerd jailed for 8 years

Kubla Cant

Clickbait headline

In what way does the possession of a copy of Linux Mint on a USB device qualify somebody as a "Linux Mint terrorist"? I have copies of Mint on several devices, including laptop and desktop computers. Does that make me a Linux Mint battlegroup?

I dare say he also had a smartphone - could he also be an Android terrorist?

14
8

TVs are now tablet computers without a touchscreen

Kubla Cant

Re: Oh you optimist

I'd be very happy for manufacturers to produce 'dumb' TVs

It's one of the curious paradoxes of a market economy that smart TVs are probably cheaper than comparable dumb monitors, because more people want to buy them. Fortunately, there's nothing to stop you treating your smart TV as dumb and connecting a PC, PVR or STB to it.

9
0

IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

Kubla Cant

Re: IT Error?

It's probably an instance of the classic code smell known as "magic values".

First class tickets aren't available, so the price should be null. You can't use null because it's not supported or it breaks something elsewhere. How about zero? No, we don't want to risk people travelling for free. A negative number? No, we might have to pay them to travel. OK, we'll use a big number.

Long.MAX_VALUE might have been a better choice. If it ever got printed it would be pretty noticeable.

3
0

Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Kubla Cant

Easier to pick up? Not really.

JavaScript is lighter weight and easier to pick up than Java, so it's a better fit for an introductory course, particularly when a lot of the students won't go any farther than building websites anyway

JS is only "easier to pick up" and use for "building websites" in a very limited sense. It's all a matter of what you're picking up.

Once upon a time, when web pages were mostly HTML, JS was mainly used for enhancements and tweaks, and scripts didn't contain much beyond procedural code and simple inheritance. The language specification scarcely changed for ten years. It sounds like the course is teaching this kind of antique JS.

These days, JS is a hotbed of crazes, functional programming enthusiasms and novel frameworks. There are at least three language versions in common use. Knowledge gained on version N of a framework will be useless when version N+1 is released. Web sites now consist of large single-page applications, and their syntax and code organisation will be utterly baffling to someone who's been taught "window.alert('Hello world')" scripting.

Regardless of opinions about the relative merits or potential longevity of the two languages, Java has more overall consistency between APIs and stability between versions. Students who have completed an introductory course in Java stand a better chance of finding their way around real-world applications than they do in JS.

6
0

Hard-pressed Juicero boss defends $400 IoT juicer after squeezing $120m from investors

Kubla Cant

Re: Easy juice? Sounds good to me.

are you really trying to argue that there isn't evidence of useful nutrients being contained in vegetables?

The weasel-word here is "nutrients". In spite of what self-styled nutritionists tell you, here's nothing intrinsically good about nutrients.

Most food consists of a mixture of nutrients, things absorbed by the body, and non-nutrients such as fibre, that pass right through. A bag of white sugar contains nothing but useful nutrients. It also delivers plenty of energy - another weasel-word. But it's not really a wise food choice.

9
0
Kubla Cant

Re: Juicing is bad

If you eat the fruit, do those sugars not get digested in the same way?

The same amount of sugars, but not digested in the same way. The problem is with the time it takes for your blood sugar to rise. Whole fruit has a lower glycaemic index than fruit juice. Many fruit juices deliver the same glycaemic load as a glass of Coke.

Also, a recent study reported that prepared, bagged salads could carry a dangerous risk of salmonella because the juices on the cut ends of the leaves are an ideal growth medium for bacteria. I would guess that the juices in a bag of cut fruit are salmonella heaven.

12
0

(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

Kubla Cant
Trollface

Re: Calories (or whatever measure of energy expenditure you prefer)

one will ruin one's new suite when going to the club after the gym

Myself, I prefer a club that supplies its own furniture.

16
0

Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

Kubla Cant

Re: My thoughts on this ...

I recently worked a contract where all the developer machines ran Ubuntu. I really, really tried to get on with Unity, but after a couple of months I called it a day and installed the latest Cinnamon. You had to select the desktop at startup time, but apart from that it ran pretty well. There were occasional glitches, but that may well have been a result of running the bleeding-edge Cinnamon on a slightly old version of Ubuntu.

For home use I occasionally run through the latest and greatest distros and desktops, but I usually come back to Mint/Cinnamon.

11
1

30,000 London gun owners hit by Met Police 'data breach'

Kubla Cant

Allegedly, the guns on HMS Belfast would score a direct hit on the M1 "London Gateway" motorway services if fired.

I remember reading that when I worked in an office opposite HMS Belfast, but it can't be true. I mean, if they could shell a Welcome Break, why wouldn't they?

6
0

PACK YOUR BAGS! Boffins spot Earth-size planet most likeliest yet to harbor alien life

Kubla Cant

Re: Pack your bags?

a publicly used telephone

Telephone sanitisers mostly cleaned phones in offices. I think they're unfairly vilified. The real culprits were the people who employed them - a bunch of snake-oil merchants selling a solution to a non-existent health risk.

I dare say somebody used to clean public phone boxes, but you'd never have guessed.

1
1

'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules

Kubla Cant
Mushroom

Re: Senior Moment

That seems to be the opinion of many people over the age of 70. These are people who didn't make their money using a keyboard.

As a person over 70 currently making a decent living as a developer of internet applications, I object. You are confusing over-70s with idiots, who can be any age.

This man's an ill-informed fool because he's a politician. Ignorance and bluster are the main qualifications for his job.

24
1

HMRC beer duty bungle leaves breweries struggling to pay online

Kubla Cant

Re: Clearly this tax change has taken all the devs by surprise

They had plenty of notice. But as a result of the new IR35 regime, the devs no longer work at HMRC.

1
0

Half-baked security: Hackers can hijack your smart Aga oven 'with a text message'

Kubla Cant

Re: AGA do

But I was going to say "AGA Khan't"

Hey! That's my pun!

2
0

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