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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff"
« on: January 14, 2019, 02:29 AM »
@Arizona Hot: I dunno. "Heads-up driving" would seem to be a bit passé if not a contradiction in terms, in this day and age of txting-whilst-U-drive.  :tellme:

DC Gamer Club / Re: Latest Steam Giveaway
« on: January 13, 2019, 09:20 AM »
A Story About My Uncle is free to keep if you claim it by the 14th.
Thanks! Looks interesting.   :Thmbsup:

Fallout4 --> Fallout76 - RIP Console mode:
In Fallout 76, what I'll miss most is cheating my damn ass off. ...
...But most of all, more than anything else, I'll miss my console cheats. Goodbye old friends. When I'm 100 hours into Fallout 76 and some little repetitive task has become too bothersome to perform, I'll tap the tilde key in my heart and think of you.

 - Christopher Livingston, October 25, 2018. <>


I can empathise with this.

Is this a joke or (more likely) a minor bug?
Happens when I mouseover the Quick Reply panel in Slimjet:


There's a rather amusing video clip from LBC with a presenter called Nick Ferrari who is taking a detailed look through the BBC TV Christmas program scheduling - which scheduling appears to be chock full of repeats with little if any original content. (The BBC is paid a shedload of tax to meet its mandate to spend the taxpayer's money wisely - including on sponsoring lots of original UK content.)
I couldn't find a link to the video clip on the LBC website, but you can see it on the page where I originally found it at TV Licensing

I don't think I'd heard Nick Ferrari before, but I found his factual, methodical, blow-by-blow account of the scheduling quite amusing. (I was also quite surprised as I hadn't realised the BBC still produced such rubbish nowadays.)

General Software Discussion / Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« on: December 27, 2018, 07:10 PM »
For deleting cookies as I go, in Slimjet (Chrome) I use Cookie AutoDelete.
The info page says that:
"During this session, Cookie AutoDelete has deleted 237 cookies and in total 32497 cookies."
It "Auto-deletes unused cookies from your closed tabs while keeping the ones you want." and is apparently based on

I recall that when I used Firefox (before Mozilla destroyed it for me), I had a useful cookie-killer that deleted newly-arrived cookies after a pre-set time interval (10 seconds or so), even if the tab was still open. You could tell it to leave cookies from selected websites alone. The advantage was that those websites that forced you to accept their cookies, or objected if you wouldn't accept their cookies, were none the wiser when their cookies were subsequently individually deleted, and it kept the place really tidy.

@Arizona Hot: Just to let you know that, after I showed her your post about the "If guns kill people" T-shirt slogan, my 17 y/o daughter now plans to buy one online. She's a member of the local school ABB (Anti-Bullsh#t Brigade) - as am I - an advocate of womens' rights, a budding scientist (studying molecular biology) and an advocate of critical thinking, and of the Austrian School of Economics, and the Westminster model of democracy. She is already a proud owner of a MAGA hat -  which goes everywhere with her (most recently to Japan), though I'm not sure whether it means much to the Kiwis or Japanese who see it.

^^ No, the 1st person (present tense) of the verb "to guess" would do fine for this context, and I know what I'm talking about, as you will be able to see from my profile.

The answer to all of your points is "FORTRAN".

What you talk about here is nothing new.
@4wd is correct: avoid proprietary file management systems that change your data, if possible.
Especially, avoid Lock-In, which is actually the usual name for the old and time-tested IT "marketing" concepts to screw the users and to which you are referring.

Not sure if this helps much:
I don't know that .PNG files have EXIF fields - they only relate to .JPG files, right?
File properties is different - all files will have that, as part of the file system, but I don't know that SC saves anything special to File Properties.
What it does seem to have is some kind of database of its own - not sure where it keeps it - which also seems to be able to filch metadata from other proggies - e,g,, from CHS (ClipboardHelpAndSpell). But I don't think that's saved in, nor does it travel with .PNG files (unless it's say an ADS - AlternativeData Stream?).

Well, I had been noting a huge amount of spam in my RSS feed ever since the new website was launched - spam had occurred before, but to a much lesser extent. And there seemed to have been some even more excessive bursts of spam over the last couple of weeks.
But this latest Cloudflare checking:
Checking your browser before accessing
This process is automatic. Your browser will redirect to your requested content shortly.

Please allow up to 5 seconds…

DDoS protection by Cloudflare
Ray ID: 48f6b9a437629529
- seems to be a really great innovation as it tells you "No subject was filled in" and expunges the content of your typed responses when you click the Preview button.
Hmm...which is a rather effective automatic censorship system, come to think of it.

PBOL / Re: High res version of PBOL?
« on: December 26, 2018, 01:50 AM »
...remind me if i forget to release a new version by the new year.
There's an app for that - or maybe you could write one...

DC Website Help and Extras / Re: Is DC attacked again?
« on: December 26, 2018, 01:42 AM »
@Tuxman: You should report these through the proper channels.

Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me!
« on: December 26, 2018, 01:28 AM »
^ her microphone
... staged to the fraction of a second, I would say.
Ah, I see. Crikey, they must be a superbly well-rehearsed group. Real pros.

Android Apps / Re: Problems getting started with Checklist DC
« on: December 24, 2018, 09:14 PM »
Now I is confuzzled:
I tried to set Checklist DC up to handle this, but I got nowhere ...
... I'm beginning to suspect that the app simply isn't designed to do this sort of thing. ...

I suspect that thanks to NigelH's suggestion, Mouser's Checklist DC may wind up being the app that will best meet my needs. 

Does that mean you've seen how to work within what might have previously looked like its constraints, to do what you wanted to do?

Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me!
« on: December 24, 2018, 08:38 PM »
Caravan Palace @Le Trianon. Rock It For Me
Wow! Caravan Palace @Le Trianon. Rock It For Me - is superb.   :Thmbsup:
Thanks for posting that.
What the heck was that at 3:28? Did a guy run on with a fake gun? It looked staged.

Android Apps / Re: Problems getting started with Checklist DC
« on: December 23, 2018, 08:12 PM »
...What I'd like to do is have a shopping list that includes several stores, such as Safeway, Trader Joe's, etc., or perhaps several lists, one for each store.  For each store, I'd like to have a list of things I want to buy. I'd like these things organized into sections, such as Produce, Dairy, Meat, etc. And then under each section, I'd list the things I want. Under produce, I might list tomatoes, butternut squash, grapes, etc. ...
... I'm beginning to suspect that the app simply isn't designed to do this sort of thing. ...
Out of interest, I searched "comparative shopping list" on Google/Android Play Store, and came up with a stack of apps that might fit your needs.
One in particular: Price Cruncher Shopping List, by Brainservice Apps - looked pretty useful.

Android Apps / Re: Problems getting started with Checklist DC
« on: December 23, 2018, 06:55 PM »
rShopping List - Grocery List - looks very nifty. Nice find. Thanks.

Screenshot Captor / Re: Google Drive Option
« on: December 23, 2018, 06:38 PM »
I was going to suggest Google Drive's Backup and Sync program, but saw that @hollowlife1987 had already done it:
Easiest way I know of to do this would be to use Google Drive's Backup and Sync program.
-hollowlife1987 (December 23, 2018, 09:14 AM)

And I had forgotten about gdrive, which seems to have been much improved and is definitely a nifty approach:
No idea if this works but I remember seeing it a while ago so figured I'd hunt it down and paste it here:

What I didn't realise until he stated it is that @jax200 had another requirement:
...I was looking to just upload the file and delete on the PC.
So @jax200, are you going to use send to gdrive and then delete the image from disk?
I'd not recommend it (I might be misunderstanding something here, but there seem to be insufficient belts and braces).
My training is that, ideally, one should have the primary copy of a file and one backup, at least.

Living Room / Re: How's everyone doing this year?
« on: December 23, 2018, 06:04 PM »
@Shades: Yes. Hope you have a speedy recovery. Sounds like you're lucky to be alive and with your legs still intact. It could have been a lot worse. From what you write, I suspect that you may be unaware of how very important your life is - or may become - and the implications of the risks you perhaps unwittingly face but with little concern.
Maybe it's a timely lesson.
This sort of accident could probably have happened to anyone under similar circumstances.

I say this because, statistically, motorbikes have always featured as a fairly common life-threatening risk in my experience. One of my brother's friends was brain-damaged in a motorbike accident. A couple of my school friends had (separate) motorbike accidents - one was killed and the other lost a leg. A one-time boss and good friend of mine - and who was a very experienced motor-cyclist - lost his life when he skidded and crashed solo on a motorway one night for some (unknown) reason - presumed a drinking-and-driving risk (he had been driving back home to his family after drinking some alcohol at a meeting).
By comparison, I and lots of people I know (friends and family) have had some pretty serious car accidents over the years, but I don't personally know of anyone who had been similarly injured/maimed/killed in those car accidents. Cars are statistically "safer" in that regard.

As a student of statistics, my studies showed me that there are clear lessons in the road accident statistics which are not perceived by many people, but which actuaries are only all too well-aware of (hence the car insurance premiums). For example, I took an intensive course of advanced driver training in the UK, when I was about 21, culminating in a relatively arduous 1½ hour on-road driving skills exam (the examiner being a police driver with a police  Class 1 driving certification), to gain certification by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). I passed the test, thanks to good training, based on the IAM handbook and the police driver's instruction manual "Roadcraft".

I did this deliberately to gain a 10% discount in my insurance premiums, which were high because I had had a driving accident at age 18 or so, and which had loaded my insurance premiums - which I could ill-afford. They would otherwise have remained heavily-loaded until I reached the age of 25, because, statistically, male drivers' risks of accident reduce significantly, after they achieve the age of 25. The discount which - continued against the reduced premiums after age 25 - was due to the reduced lifetime statistical risks of of drivers who had passed the IAM driving skills exam.

It was all about statistical risk. I recall reading the history that the IAM was set up to improve public road safety as an offshoot of the hugely successful London Metropolitan Police experiment in driver education/training in (I think) the 1960s. The Met had wanted to (actually had to) reduce their horrendously high cost burden of driver insurance, due to the rapidly increasing risks, costs and frequency of accidents in an expanding fleet of police-driven motor vehicles. So they instituted a police driver-training program, where no police cars were to be driven by any officer who had not got (I think) Class 3 certification, at least, and no pursuit was to be undertaken except by drivers of Class 2 certification and above, and motorway patrol vehicles could only be driven by Class 1 certificate holders.

Before I took my exam, my instructor had told me that he thought I should be able to pass OK, and stressed the need for my taking the responsibility for speed (I enjoyed fast driving). (To my shame, I didn't fully comprehend what he probably meant by that, until a few years later.) He also prepared me really well for the running commentary section of the IAM test, where I would be required to give a running commentary (of my observations, anticipations, actions, car control and manoeuvres) for 10 to 15 minutes, and he said that I might "get a surprise" at that point.

The test consisted of proceeding from base and driving for a period in a built-up area of city/congested roads, moving out to suburban roads, then urban/country roads and then motorways (in that order) and then returning back to base.
About 15 minutes into the test, the examiner said he wanted me to give a running commentary and said he would give me an example of what he was looking for. He then proceeded to give a running commentary whilst I was driving. His commentary was spot-on, he didn't miss a single thing - everything that I was able to see and that I did notice or could anticipate and would have mentioned, he also saw, noticed, anticipated and mentioned - so at least I might have been forgiven for feeling a tad relieved about that (i.e., that I wasn't missing anything) - but what was disconcerting was that his narration was coming into my ears just as I was myself becoming conscious/aware of those things and before I could have articulated them myself. So, as a Class 1 certificate holder, his observation and anticipation placed him crucially way ahead of mine, in a way that could have made a live-saving difference in a split-second driving emergency. When I gave my commentary I felt that my inferior and sluggish perception was as nothing next to his awesome standards. (My instructor later said that that was the humbling "surprise" he mentioned I would get.)

The police examiner would fail you for any single factor, including, for example:
  • if you drove "too carefully"/slowly at any stage;
  • if you did not consistently make efficient, smooth and safe progress at all times, within prevailing road conditions;
  • if you drove too quickly for the prevailing road/weather/traffic conditions at any stage;
  • if your running commentary (evidence of observation and anticipation) was inadequate/deficient;
  • if you seemed unaware of the potential risks and avoidance/escape avenues as you were driving.
  • if you broke any prevailing speed restrictions/limits.
  • if you made any single driving mistake.

So, am I a good/less risky driver as a result of having trained for and passed the IAM test? Nope, not necessarily, but what I decidedly have become is someone who is capable of being a good/less risky driver, if I consistently strive to maintain the standards and apply my training, and the experience has made me acutely aware of my failings and others', on the roads, and for which I now take responsibility. I also am also acutely aware that most - if not all - accidents are relatively predictable and avoidable, and that, in the case of road accidents, as a driver, one takes a decisive role in either causing the accident or not adequately anticipating/avoiding it.
The implication of course being that those accidents that do take place need not have done so.

These experiences changed my perceptions of real-life risks and what I could/couldn't do about them. For similar reasons, I never got a motorbike (though I had often thought about it - still do, in fact) and I also gave away my hang-glider (which I had built myself) after settling down and starting a family - because, at some point, the realisation had dawned on me that our lives can sometimes be (or become) more important to others than they might seem to be - or we may actually feel them be - to ourselves.

I suppose that might seem to some to rather beg the question as to whether we "own" our own lives.
I could be wrong of course, but following on from that, and speaking as a lapsed accountant, and though it is not necessarily taught as such in schools, the general rule seems to be that who we are, and whether we have "a useful life" is largely defined by our own actions, where "useful" is generally a life which is lived by default somehow directly resulting effectively in the improvement of the human lot (e.g., resulting in service/care/improvement of the quality of life for others), rather than as being solely/merely directed towards (say) the selfish pursuit of a thing - e.g., hedonism, or power, or wealth (for their own sakes), or focused on becoming an economically viable and maximally productive unit of production.

Coincidentally, I was discussing this with my 8 y/o son the other day, on the subject of the duty of parents - as guardians - in the context of caring for their children and to protect them from harm.
He has a classmate who is what I think they call a "special needs" child and with whom he often plays, but who recently inexplicably showed some alarmingly serious intent of wished and actual deliberate harm towards my son, though my somewhat trusting son did not perceive the very real and potential threat of the other boy's actions. However the school eventually saw the red flags, profusely apologised for missing the problem, and have permanently separated the two.

My son understood that this was to protect him as much as it was to protect the other children, and the boy in question from himself. The thing is that I was the one who belatedly raised the red flags, after accidentally hearing my son innocently describing the boy's behaviours, and if I hadn't of done that, then my son would almost certainly have been at risk of having his eye seriously gouged out by the other boy (who had actually started to try to do just that).
If I had (say) been involved in and contributed to causing, or to not avoiding a predictable/avoidable accident, whilst I was riding a motorbike, I might have been killed or too brain damaged to have been there or able to protect my son from suffering a horrendous and predictable injury at school.

So, take care of you, for someone else's sake. Start by seriously thinking about dumping the motorbike (I mean, how many lessons does one need?), or, if you are unwilling/unable to do that, then at least taking some advanced driver training (if such is available).
Here's wishing you health and a great Christmas, and a prosperous New Year. 

Living Room / Re: Avaiability/outages of the DCF website.
« on: December 23, 2018, 12:02 PM »
@rgdot: Yes, the Captain might typically press the wrong button, as @Stephen66515 suggests:
Generally, when the site goes down like that, it's cause mouser has pressed the wrong button on something ;)
Reminds me of an auditor I knew who worked at a banking data processing organisation. He was being proudly shown around the operations-room of one of the several new distributed national data centres when he suddenly and inadvertently became notorious for being "that guy who curiously pressed an unlabelled big red button on the side of an IBM mainframe box". I'm not sure what the purpose of the big red button was, or why it was prominent in an area where people could touch it or knock against it if it was such a risk, but his pressing it apparently resulted in the shutdown of the whole data centre for a couple of hours.

He kept his job because the button was unlabelled (came with no warnings), was easily accessible in a "safe" (read, "safe for monkeys to roam") area in the first place, and his action had clearly highlighted a serious potential operations-room process risk - which was subsequently rectified.
Seemed fair to me. (True story.)

Living Room / Re: Avaiability/outages of the DCF website.
« on: December 22, 2018, 04:51 PM »
Well, I wasn't as concerned with having an analysis of that specific incident and its causes/responsibilities per se as much as I was with simply identifying the correct reporting path  - e.g., does DCF maintain an Incident Log (per ITIL good/best practice)? - but I have no real idea what the process for reporting such incidents for DCF might be in any case.
Is there a log of service level incidents/outages of the website?

Anyway, I've reported it now.    :D

Living Room / Re: How's everyone doing this year?
« on: December 22, 2018, 02:25 PM »
...hope your new life is happy and fun

Hope everybody is feeling ok  :-*
Life. Don't talk to me about life.

Robot - Marvin the paranoid android (new + old) from HHGTTG.jpg

Living Room / Avaiability/outages of the DCF website.
« on: December 22, 2018, 11:24 AM »
Is there a log of service level incidents/outages of the website?
I got an Error 522 today, reported by Cloudflare  - copied per the attached file which is just text in an .mhtml file, in a .zip file.
I wondered whether it was a known outage/incident or an unknown intermittent error of some kind.
Thought I should report it.
 There was a diagram that showed the connections between:
  Browser (me) <---> Cloudflare (Tokyo) <---> Host (

 - with the Browser and Cloudflare shown as "working" and their link OK, but the link between Cloudflare to Host was X'd out (not working).

I did a Ctrl-R (refresh) and after a rather longish wait, the DCF site came up OK.

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