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There was a presentation today at work. It was for a new colleague messaging system (and employer messages/news). As I had a lot of work to do, I told my boss' underling that I wasn't interested and wasn't going to waste my time attending.

Some of the people that I directly work with have my mobile number so they can send me texts, and I have theirs. Work has my email address.
As far as I'm concerned, that's enough.

The idea of having a friendly little app where cow-orkers can leave me messages fills me with a certain sort of dread. That's far too close to a form of social media, and I'm somebody that barely manages social.

Plus, I'm sorry, but while I can see that there may be benefits to this if you're a management wonk (rather than the guy that cleans the dishes), I'll be happy to install a work-related app just as soon as I get a work-related phone to install it on. I'm simply not going to put a work-related app on my personal phone. The current set of permissions requested are not particularly onerous, but how long until they come up with convincing excuses to want access to more of your phone, not to mention blurring the separation between work and not-work. Sorry, but it's a flat NO.

Plus, since I'm the guy that discovered that the previous "magical human resources solution" had a built-in addressbook that was happily listing everybody's name and personal email address, I'm afraid I probably would have asked some difficult questions starting with "when did our DPO audit you according to the GDPR?".
So, yeah, best I just got on with my work and ignored it all.


Police failings

So earlier in the week, some police officers assisted in a Home Office led raid of the home of a refugee activist for "unknown illegal persons", and a while back (April) four rozzers turned up to collect a bunch of golliwogs from a pub...

...yet they seem to be deplorably absent as organised gangs loot stores.

In the first article (rights activist), a Home Office spokesperson said "The public rightly expects we investigate each potential breach thoroughly".

Funny, I would have thought that the public would rather the chronically underfunded police concentrate on those who are robbing shops and threatening retail workers; especially given as those retail workers have families, and thefts causes the prices to go up to cover the losses.

Plus, just as aside, this was probably Braverman's shifty attempt to put the frighteners on that activist as surely anybody with half a brain wouldn't give shelter to "illegal persons" in their own home... but, hey, let's mess with this guy's life because "a hurricane of migrants is coming". Yup, that's part of Braverman's speech in Manchester today, showing that she's gone full psycho.



At the end of my holiday, I got a foam extinguisher that I fitted in the living room by the door to the kitchen.

I was walking around Lidl when I saw a small powder extinguisher for €12. Foam is suitable for class A and B fires, which is basically domestic fires that don't involve electricity. My extinguisher actually says that it can be used on electricity up to 1000V as long as I fire from more than a metre away.
For domestic electrical fires, it's more usual to use powder. Power is suitable for class A, B, and C fires (C being gas fires because the powder smothers) as well as electricity up to 1000V.

I got it, and fitted it to the wall behind where my bedroom door opens next to the electric panel/trip/meter. It's smaller than the other one. 5 kilograms of powder versus 2 litres of foam.

Powder extinguisher
Powder extinguisher.

I was emailed to point out that foam extinguishers leave a sticky residue, and the powder ones leave a corrosive dust (monoammonium phosphate, which is a 1:1 mix of ammonia and phosphoric acid); which in a damp environment (like here!) can form a sticky corrosive solution that attacks metal.
In short, the use of these extinguishers is going to be messy and damaging to the building and its contents...

...but, let's face it, quite likely less damaging than fire.

Granted, a CO2 extinguisher would have been better, but curiously they don't seem to be available domestically.

I don't need to worry about a fire blanket. My frying is done dry, and when I cook stuff in the frying pan (like pancakes) it's with a minimal amount of grease (it's usually a drizzle of sunflower oil or a lump of marge). And, yes, I'm well aware not to chuck water on an oil fire.


RISC OS on a Pi 5

Well, the feline is menacing the avians. You see, the Pi 5 supports ARM32, but only in user mode. It's intended for use with a 64 bit OS.
Which RISC OS isn't.

The way forward? Two competing ideas.

The first is to try bodging things to run a small kernel in 64 bit mode, and then run damn near everything else in 32 bit mode. It might work, but I described this about as useful as nailing a peg leg to an octopus. To demote everything to user mode would be an even greater problem regarding memory protection and stability than our current state (which barely has any protection whatsoever). Plus a lot of stuff messes with the CPSR or does/does not preserve R14 over SWI calls (depending on intended mode). I think it would be a painful thing to have to try to get working, fraught with problems, and for what - to run a bastardised version of RISC OS on an ARM core that supports USR32? Well, okay, and what about when the Pi 6 doesn't support 32 bit period?

The other idea is to have a newer emulation, possibly based upon QEMU. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the likes of VirtualRPC or RPC-Emu other than the fact that they are full system emulators of a machine that's coming on to being thirty years old, along with all that such a thing entails.

For completeness, the "third option" is to rewrite RISC OS in 64 bit code. This is doomed to failure. Partly because anybody mad enough to do such a thing would be best to dump the existing API because it's aimed at people writing stuff in assembly so is extremely tied to how the ARM26(/32) worked, which means that any different processor (and, yes, ARM64 is quite different) would have an entirely different way of doing stuff (*). This means existing software won't work as-is. Which rather limits the usefulness.
The other part of the reason is that, well, basically who would do this work? Writing a modern OS from the ground up is no weekend project. Some extremely talented people wrote Arthur and it took years to get to be RISC OS 3. Likewise, while the original Windows had a small development team, by the time it got to being Windows 95 and thus an actual OS rather than just a GUI sitting on top of DOS, there were many more programmers working on it. We, RISC OS users, still have nothing to use the onboard WiFi and Bluetooth as of the Pi 3, and we don't have anything to use the three other cores as of the Pi 2. Because, well, because there are few programmers working on RISC OS, fewer that understand ARM code, and yet fewer that understand the deep dark internal stuff. If we're lacking the manpower to bring the OS that exists up to date, who the hell is going to write something new from the ground up?
So, no, we shaln't take "rewrite it as 64 bit" as a serious option.


Anyway, I think the logical/only future is in emulation. It also frees us from being tied to ARM silicon, so one can run RISC OS on a laptop, on a RISC-V enabled toaster... whatever.


* - To be fair, one could possibly use W0-W14 to 'fake' the current RISC OS API and allow one to rewrite RISC OS in 64 bit with the existing API mostly intact, though to be fairer, even the Greek gods weren't cruel enough to think of such a punishing act of futility.



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David Pilling, 5th October 2023, 15:30
"Leaving colleagues off WhatsApp group chats can be discrimination, judge rules - as plumber is awarded £130K payout after he was excluded from work chat while off with injury" 
Rick, 5th October 2023, 17:59
£130K for being left out of messaging while not actually at work? Sounds like he had a very persuasive lawyer. 
Over here, the legal system is quite different. I don't, thankfully, have any experience of it but my understanding is that judges are much more involved in proceedings, and there is a lot more consideration taken to both points of view. 
For example, a while back a young man had his arm chopped off by some industrial machine that he hadn't been properly trained to use. While the company was technically found guilty, the award was only €1,000 because the ruling said that the man, who was an adult of sound mind, should have been responsible enough not to use a machine of that nature without the proper training. I'm not sure how I feel about that as "just do this" is fairly common - hell I use a Gerbeur (dinky electric fork lift) and the *only* "training" that I had was a fifteen minute test to ensure that I didn't crash in to things. As such, I move my tonne weight tubs of corrosive chemicals around as that's what I use the machine for, but if somebody wanted me to pull a palette from four levels up I'd flat out refuse (having had exactly zero training and experience in doing so). 
I could see somebody else being like "yeah, okay" and hoping nothing goes wrong. 
I can't help but think, however, that the tiny award is actually rather insulting. I mean, it's not as if losing an arm doesn't massively change a person's life. Hell, imagine using a tin opener. Or even opening a tin with a ring pull top. Or... 
David Pilling, 5th October 2023, 23:09
Thing is lots of plumbers are millionaires (e.g. Charlie Mullins) - one is better off being a plumber than being a graduate. 
ITV 'Murder in Provence' about a investigative judge was interesting because of the difference in procedure. 
Seemingly 100K is the going rate for losing an arm at work in the UK - which does not seem much. 

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