Ah, The Scottish Banter

Apropos of nothing, I thought I would treat my non-Scottish readers to a small sample of some phrases I recall from my "former life" in Scotland. Although Scotland does have a native language (Gaelic - somewhat different from Irish Gaelic), it is not widely spoken these days. 

The part of Scotland I came from would use either plain English or "Scots", which is essentially English with a lot of home-grown words and phrases thrown in for color (or colour, in the UK spelling).

This is merely a wee taste of another time and another place that is still dear to me. These have no strictly correct spelling, as far as I know - we never "wrote" in Scots, at school we would write in standard English - but these are my best (mostly phonetic) guesses. You may notice a lot of admonitions, as many of these would typically be issued by my Mum or Dad.

Haud yer wheesht!  -  be quiet!  ( literally "hold your hush")

Ye wee scunner!   -  you little so-and-so!

Stop fart-arseing about!   -   quit screwing around! 

Gonnie no dae that?   -  would you please stop doing that?
      to which one might reply "How no?" (meaning "why?")

Gie us a brek or Gie's a brek   -   give me a break

Away and bile yer heid!   -  piss off! (literally "go away and boil your head")

Yer patter's like watter  -  you're not very convincing

Ah'm fair scunnered   -  I am thoroughly disgusted

Could ye go a wee hauf?   -  would you like a shot of Whisky?

Ye think I came up the Clyde in a barra?  -  what am I, stupid?
      literally "do you think I cam up the (river) Clyde in a wheelbarrow?"

Yet Again, Another Flash Player Zero-Day Flaw

Another day, another Adobe Flash Player flaw that is subject to hacking. More and more, computer security folks are suggesting that everyday users simply ditch Flash from their PC - an option that is becoming more realistic now that other technologies like HTML 5 can provide the same functionality.

Flash allows websites to display multimedia content - audio, video, animations - but has increasingly come under attack be the bad guys, and new vulnerabilities pop up with distressing regularity. Because Flash has such a large installed base of users, it remains a tempting (and often rewarding) target.
In order to be protected against this vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2015-3113, Adobe advises users to update to the newly released Flash Player versions: for Windows and Mac, for Linux and for the extended support release.
The Flash Player plug-in that's installed by default with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer on Windows 8.x will be automatically updated. Flash Player users on Windows or Mac who have selected "allow Adobe to install updates" will also get the update automatically.

Next US Rocket Engine Still Years Away

With things the way they are with Vladimir Putin, it's probably not ideal that the US finds itself depending on Russian-made rocket engines at the moment - and yet that's where we find ourselves. Any next generation US-made engines (even the potential commercially built ones) will not be ready for years, which puts us over a bit of a sub-orbital barrel.
Congress in December authorized $220 million to begin developing a replacement to the RD-180 as part of a massive spending bill called the Omnibus Appropriations Act. Additional funding for the development effort is expected. 
But a made-in-America first-stage engine for the Atlas V may not be ready until the next decade. Firms vying to build a domestic alternative to the RD-180 made by NPO Energomash acknowledged they’re still years away from having their technology tested and certified.

Sunday Is Pun Day

I do like puns; not sure if that is a British thing or not, but I do enjoy most types of wordplay. Thanks to the resources of the 'web, I can force this particular quick of mine upon you, dear reader. Enjoy.


Java Updates No Longer Mean Dodging The Wretched Ask Toolbar

Oracle's Java will no longer try to trick you into installing the Ask toolbar when you next perform a Java update. Oracle is partnering up with Yahoo! search instead, to keep generating some extra revenue without pissing off quite as many of us. 

Why Oracle, who already makes bazillions of dollars from their flagship database product, felt it necessary to irritate so many for several years in such an unseemly manner remains a mystery to me, but the Ask toolbar days are no more (at least for Java users). 

This follows a spunky move by Microsoft who recently added Ask toolbar detection to their anti-malware software.


No, Please Do Not Ask Siri About 9/11

When Apple's Siri digital assistant first came into the public consciousness, there came with it an interesting sense of personality, or at least playfulness - mostly from Siri's responses to some questions or statements.

However, some wags on social media have suggested you should ask Siri about 9/11 (the date of the World Trade Center terrorist attack). Trouble is, telling Siri "nine eleven", will typically send a call to the emergency services number. Logical enough if you stop and think about it.

Even if you realize what happened and hang up, the call prompts all kinds of activity on the other end, taking time away from real 911 calls. So don't. Please.