* Posts by Random person

34 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Aug 2023

NASA's Psyche hits 25 Mbps from 140 million miles away – enough for Ultra HD Netflix

Random person

This article may help you.


Rarest, strangest, form of Windows saved techie from moment of security madness

Random person

Linux uses magic numbers at the start of the file header. The numbers are defined within the OS. This method is an direct inheritance from Unix.


Mac so far as I can tell the OS uses file extensions by default but falls back to the magic numbers in the file header. I presume the use of magic numbers comes from the BSD userland that it is based on.


Post Office slapped down for late disclosure of documents in Horizon scandal inquiry

Random person

Re: Prison of total failure

AC>> What I'd like to know is if Fujitsu have an audit trail of who had Remote access to the Horizon system....

Fujitsu's submission to the Phase 3 of the inquiry includes the following

> Fujitsu accepts that it cannot positively exclude the prospect of undocumented use of substantive remote access ...



> In fact, staff at Fujitsu, which made and operated the Horizon system, were capable of remotely accessing branch accounts, and had “unrestricted and unaudited” access to those systems, the inquiry heard.


AC>> Or was the shortfall of money caused by a Fujitsu employee taking funds out of the system - so that the end of day reconcilliation of payments made and money in the till, did not match.

There is a Computerphile episode about the technical failures.

Here is a summary of the problems from The Guardian article referenced above.

> As early as 2001, McDonnell’s team had found “hundreds” of bugs. A full list has never been produced, but successive vindications of post office operators have revealed the sort of problems that arose. One, named the “Dalmellington Bug”, after the village in Scotland where a post office operator first fell prey to it, would see the screen freeze as the user was attempting to confirm receipt of cash. Each time the user pressed “enter” on the frozen screen, it would silently update the record. In Dalmellington, that bug created a £24,000 discrepancy, which the Post Office tried to hold the post office operator responsible for.


> Another bug, called the Callendar Square bug – again named after the first branch found to have been affected by it – created duplicate transactions due to an error in the database underpinning the system: despite being clear duplicates, the post office operator was again held responsible for the errors.

Random person

Horizon is a Point Of Sale system i.e. part of the accounting system. Accounting transactions are supposed to be immutable. This was true for paper-based systems.

If you make a mistake in an accounting system you are supposed to back out of the incorrect transaction and create a new transaction. This is why when there has been a problem completing a sale in a shop you are given the receipt showing that the transaction has not completed or a receipt showing that the transaction has been cancelled.


The Post Office spent years claiming that remote alternation of records was only possible with sub-postmaster approval. It turns out that records could be altered without leaving any trace. The changes should have been recorded and there should have been a formal process to alter the accounting records.

When you make a change in a database there it is usually recorded in the transaction log. The transaction logs are usually retained for a few days. So far as I can tell changes to Horizon records were not recorded.

Random person

From July 2023

> Sir Wyn gives determination on Post Office disclosure failings

> 14 July 2023

> ...

> Sir Wyn Williams has announced today that all future Inquiry requests for evidence to the Post Office will carry a notice under Section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005, which he said “carries a threat of a criminal sanction” (including a sentence of up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment).


Also https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/post-office-inquiry-jail-threat-over-disclosure-failures/5116672.article

I don't know what the process would be IF the inquiry decides it is appropriate.

German state ditches Windows, Microsoft Office for Linux and LibreOffice

Random person

Re: it's the DATA

Are you happy that your data is locked in by your vendors?

You can use tools like Dark Table to process and manage RAW camera images, e.g. NEF, CR2, RW2. A number of the file formats you mention are cross platform, e.g. PDF, PHP. Some of the file formats you refer to can be opened and managed in Linux tools e.g. the Adobe file formats.

If I remember correctly, Cannon stopped supporting the RAW file format in the earlier pro cameras.

I try to use file formats that allow me to use my data on whatever platform I want, rather than being locked in one.

No operating system is the answer to everybody's needs.

Fujitsu finance chief says sorry for IT giant's role in Post Office Horizon scandal

Random person

Re: Talk is cheap, where's the £?

> The Post Office Horizon scandal public inquiry heard that staff working at Fujitsu’s Software Support Centre (SCC), which provides third-line tech support to Post Office branches, had “unrestricted and unauditable” remote access to branch accounts.

> ..

> ... “There is no functionality in Horizon for either a branch, Post Office or Fujitsu to edit, manipulate or remove transaction data once it has been recorded in a branch’s accounts.” The Post Office only admitted it was in fact possible when it was left with no choice, during a High Court case in 2019.


If you listen to the BBC radio series or read the long series of articles in "Computer Weekly" or read Nick Wallis' book you will get some answers to your questions.

Also suggest that you look at the Horizon internal report at the inquiry website. The report was produced in 2001. Fujitsu took full ownership of ICL in 1998. Here is a paragraph from the internal report.

> Whoever wrote this code clearly has no understanding of elementary mathematics or the most basic rules of programming.


UN: E-waste is growing 5x faster than it can be recycled

Random person

Re: A metric ton is spelled “tonne”

> The tonne (t) is an SI-compatible unit of mass equal to a megagram (Mg), or 103 kg.


Fedora 41's GNOME to go Wayland-only, says goodbye to X.org

Random person

Re: To do list:

A quick search for "autokey wayland" finds this page https://luxagraf.net/src/replacing-autokey-wayland-plain-text-snippets

There seems that there is or was some work to port autokey to Wayland perhaps you could see if you can help. https://github.com/autokey/autokey/discussions/866

There may be some alternatives that run on Wayland. https://medium.com/@canadaduane/key-remapping-in-linux-2021-edition-47320999d2aa

I don't have direct experience of any of these.

Leaked email: Unit4 ERP system leaves some school staff with 'nil pay'

Random person

Re: An inconvenience ?

It is more than an inconvenience to withdraw money out of your savings to cover your outgoings because you employer has not managed to pay you.

> By law (Employment Rights Act 1996), your employer must pay your wages on your agreed pay day.


> If an employer does not pay on time, it can:

> * affect an employee's financial security and wellbeing

> * damage the working relationship

> * lead to legal action


There can be many reasons why somebody might not have a spare month's salary available to cover their employer's error.

Finally it appears that this isn't the first month that this problem has occured, from the article.

> The Register asked the council why it was necessary to create a group for very serious problems which might leave staff struggling for day to day money, and how many service desk calls were placed in this group in the last three months.

That runaway datacenter power grab is the best news for net zero this century

Random person

Re: Additional points for going with Thorium

I'm not a fan of SMR, but ...

> Both public and private institutions are actively participating in efforts to bring SMR technology to fruition within this decade. Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant that began commercial operation in May 2020, is producing energy from two 35 MW(e) SMRs. Other SMRs are under construction or in the licensing stage in Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States of America.


There is one SMR in operation and it appears that others are on the way.

You are assuming that the experiments prove that thorium reactors work and don't find any problems. What happens if it takes 15 or 20 years to build commercial throium reactors?

Random person

Re: A fine idea but...

Perhaps you could read the actual Royal Society report rather than Toby Young's view.

I have only read the Executive Summary which includes this paragraph.

> In 2050 Great Britain’s demand for electricity could be met by wind and solar energy supported by large-scale storage.


Some context about the "The Daily Sceptic".

> The Daily Sceptic is a blog created by British commentator Toby Young. It has published misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines[9] and climate change denial.[16]



Random person

Re: Additional points for going with Thorium

> In August 2021, China announced the completion of its first experimental thorium-based nuclear reactor. Built in the middle of the Gobi Desert in the country’s north, the reactor over the next few years will undergo testing. If the experiment proves successful, Beijing plans to construct another reactor potentially capable of generating electricity for more than 100 000 homes.

> ...

> “To meet growing energy demand and achieve global climate objectives, the world is looking for alternative sustainable and reliable energy technologies. Thorium may become one of those,” concluded Clément Hill, Section Head at the IAEA. “We will continue our research to deliver credible and science-based results for those interested in working with thorium.”


Thorium reactors may be an option in a decade, but is clearly not available now.

Post Office threatened to sue Fujitsu over missing audit data

Random person

Re: Blockchain

Blockchain had not been invented when the Horizon system was developed and rolled out.

> The British Post Office scandal is a series of miscarriages of justice which, between 1999 and 2015 ...

> The Horizon accounting system was developed by ICL Pathway, owned by the Japanese company Fujitsu. In 1999, the Post Office started to roll out the new software to its branches and sub-post offices ...

> Horizon is the outcome of the Pathway project, and a procurement process that commenced in August 1994 ...


> The domain name bitcoin.org was registered on 18 August 2008.[16] On 31 October 2008, a link to a white paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was posted to a cryptography mailing list


Note that both sides of the transaction and the ledger are under the control of the Post Office.

It is likely that at least some of the problems would not have occurred if the transactions were ACID compliant. Computerphile did a video about this, search for "Post Office Horizon Scandal - Computerphile" for more information.

If are trying to be ironic, I suggest that you mark your posts as such because it is very likely that cryptobros would say exactly the same but without irony.

How 'sleeper agent' AI assistants can sabotage your code without you realizing

Random person

Re: Those who forget history ...

> Back in Victorian England, around ¾ of food on sale had been tampered with in some way, bread being the worst culprit. Items like ash, sand, chalk and alum, among others, were used to bulk out the bread and make it look whiter and bigger for less money. Obviously, this reduced the nutritional quality of the bread and significantly increased the risk of diarrhoea and illness, which could in turn cause further problems across a community.


Example of problems with meat in US in 10906

> In 1906, Upton Sinclair published The Jungle, a book which exposed the filthy conditions of Chicago slaughterhouses. Sinclair wrote the book while living in Chicago; he talked to workers and their families and his focus was the plight of the workers. However, the book turned people away from "tubercular beef" instead of turning them socialist like Sinclair wanted.[10] The book was a best seller and the public outcry prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to send officials to investigate.[10] Their “report was so shocking that its publication would ‘be well-nigh ruinous to our export trade in meat’”.[11] This report, Neill-Reynolds, underscored the terrible conditions illustrated by Sinclair.[12] It indicated a need for "'a drastic and thorogooing [sic]' federal inspection of all stockyards, packinghouses and their products".[12] The Jungle, combined with the shocking reports of the Neill-Reynolds Report (published June 1906) proved to be the final push to help the Pure Food and Drug Act move quickly through congress.


I suggest that you research why the FDA was created.

Fujitsu gets $1B market cap haircut after TV disaster drama airs

Random person

Re: Accounting system

You may find this video from ComputerPhile of use.


As you say this was a solved problem at the time.

The inquiry evidence includes an internal Fujitsu report about the project https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/sites/default/files/2022-11/FUJ00080690%20Report%20on%20the%20EPOSS%20PinICL%20Task%20Force%2014052001.pdf

Section 7.3 has a couple of problematic code. One of of the examples is a function to invert the sign of a number (i.e. -1 to 1 or -1 to 1). The report states that the function could be refactored to "d = -d".

Public Function ReverseSign(d)

If d < 0 Then

d = Abs(d)


d = d - (d *2)

End If

ReverseSign = d

End Function

Apparently this code is in Visual Basic 6 which seems where the max int is 65,535, what will happen if the function is passed a value of 33,000?

UK PM promises faster justice for Post Office Horizon victims

Random person

Re: What actually went wrong?

See this article for the general reader for some information.


Also see the large number articles in "Computer Weekly, here is an example


New cars bought in the UK must be zero emission by 2035 – it's the law

Random person

Re: Think of the Grid!

National Grid thinks that they will be able to cope.

In this video a representative of National Grid is asked if the Grid can cope with increased numbers of EVs, they replied with a single word "Yes". She also mentions that people switching to LED light bulbs has significantly reduced UK power demands and National Grid have plans to build more capacity.


Here is National Grid's page on this topic.

> Can the UK grid cope with the extra demand from electric cars?


> As electric vehicles (EVs) become more widespread, one of the most common questions we’re asked is ‘How will the electricity grid handle the additional demand for electricity when more people are charging EVs?’


> The transition to EVs is happening … and we’re ready


Forbes article


UK immigration rules hit science just as it rejoins €100B Horizon program

Random person

Re: Appeasement?

Why has participation been delayed?

> The House of Commons library on why entry into Horizon was delayed because of problems with Northern Ireland Protocol.


> Why has participation been delayed?


> The declaration agreed alongside the TCA stated that the protocols on participation would be adopted by the Specialised Committee “at the earliest opportunity to allow their implementation as soon as possible”.


> The EU adopted its long term budget in December 2020 and the legislation for the programmes in April and May 2021.


> Meetings of the various governance bodies for the TCA were initially delayed because the agreement was not fully applied by the UK and EU until 1 May. Although most have since met, the Specialised Committee for EU programmes has yet to do so.


> The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Mariya Gabriel has suggested that other wider political issues between the UK and EU would need to be settled before UK association to EU programmes could be formalised. She referred specifically to differences over UK implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.


> UK exclusion from the Horizon Europe programme is among options reportedly being considered by the EU as retaliation if the UK uses the Article 16 provision to suspend aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It was reported in October 2021 that France was also seeking to link the granting of fishing licenses to approval of UK involvement in EU programmes.


Sam Altman set to rejoin OpenAI as CEO – seemingly with Microsoft's blessing

Random person

Re: Tail eating

ChatGPT has been seen to hallucinate citations in addition to content.

" ... 55% of the GPT-3.5 citations but just 18% of the GPT-4 citations are fabricated. Likewise, 43% of the real (non-fabricated) GPT-3.5 citations but just 24% of the real GPT-4 citations include substantive citation errors. Although GPT-4 is a major improvement over GPT-3.5, problems remain."

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-41032-5 (Abstract only)

More examples




Plus this notorious example https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/jun/23/two-us-lawyers-fined-submitting-fake-court-citations-chatgpt

You can find more information if you do a search for "chatgpt hallucinate citations".

CompSci teachers panic as Replit pulls the plug on educational IDE

Random person

Re: And it happens again

I expect that you have already tried this and have the scars, would Github Codespaces at least help with the setup of the local IDEs? As it runs in a web browser it should in theory be platform independent.

There is a level of free use for registered teachers, I expect that it won't be enough.

It is likely that this would just move the problem to getting the pupils to setup GitHub accounts.

Next issue, the containers run Linux, so the pupils will need help if they need to use the VSCode terminal.

It seems that you can create a template were you define what VSCode plugins are pre-installed as well as some code for them to start with.

There is an example in the GitHub education repository https://github.com/education/codespaces-teaching-template-py

This page includes a link to an unlisted "Microsoft Rector" video that shows how a pupil would start a Codespace and some basic configuration of the template.


Ubuntu Budgie switches its approach to Wayland

Random person

Re: ssh?

It has been many years since I have had to forward a GUI application over SSH so I am not a expert, but I had a look at the Ubuntu waypipe man page and found that there is a ssh flag.

Waypipe is a proxy for Wayland clients, with the aim of supporting behavior like ssh -X.

Prefixing an ssh ... command to become waypipe ssh ... will automatically run waypipe both

locally and remotely, and modify the ssh command to set up forwarding between the two

instances of waypipe. The remote instance will act like a Wayland compositor, letting

Wayland applications that are run remotely be displayed locally.


Perhaps this will help.

CEO of self-driving cab outfit Cruise parks his career

Random person

Re: Not going to happen.

Here in the UK the recent King's Speech (announcement of planned legislation) included a first attempt to address this.

... only the driver – be it the automated vehicle or a person – will be held accountable in the event of an accident or incident.

Non-driving responsibilities however will still remain with the person behind the wheel, such as maintaining appropriate insurance for the vehicle and ensuring proper loading, as well as responsibility during any part of the journey where the person is driving.


Rhysida ransomware gang: We attacked the British Library

Random person

As part of checking that somebody has a right to work in UK an employer has to "Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check."


Employers have been required to check people's right to work for a number of years.

Russia's Sandworm – not just missile strikes – to blame for Ukrainian power blackouts

Random person

You can get background on this topic in the book "Sandworm" by Andy Greenberg (published in 2019).

'Corrupt' cop jailed for tipping off pal to EncroChat dragnet

Random person

Re: Sneaky badges got caught

That only works if you are stronger and richer. If the criminals are stronger or richer or just have more guns or more prepared to die you are fucked.

You may find the history of Grafton New Hampshire useful.

The UK government? On the right track with its semiconductor strategy?

Random person

Here is an attempt to answer your question about the relative costs.

TSMC is spending $11 on building a 28nm fab in Germany.

The Register on the 2 3nm fabs in the US "TSMC has confirmed it will build not one, but two advanced chip manufacturing plants in Arizona, more than tripling the Asian foundry giant's original investment to $40 billion,"



It would therefore appear that 28nm fab costs about 45% less than a 3nm fab. It appears that the larger size does reduce costs beyond lithography machines.

I have no particular knowledge on this topic, I just did a quick bit of research (i.e. used a search engine).

Intel's PC chip ship is sinking with Arm-ada on the horizon

Random person

Re: Like Linux Desktop within 10 years

I would agree that Windows on ARM is " for developers and enthusiasts", however you can buy at least one ARM laptop from a Tier 1 supplier with Windows installed (Thinkpad X1s).

From the Lenovo web site "13.3" super-responsive Windows with Snapdragon® powered laptop & ISV-certified apps"

This site reviewed the X13s - https://www.theregister.com/2023/03/21/lenovo_thinkpad_x13s_the_stealth/

Airbus commissions three wind-powered ships to sail the Atlantic

Random person

Re: BelugaXL

These ships are intended to transport airframes from France to Mobile Alabama the distance from Toulouse to Mobile Alabama is 7,672 km on a great circle route.

"With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm)." - https://aircraft.airbus.com/en/aircraft/freighters/belugaxl

Your suggestion would require almost doubling the range of the BelugaXL

More X subscription tiers could spell doom for free access as biz bleeds cash

Random person

Re: Personally, I don't pay for ads.

Coverage of ads in Windows from this very site.

"In March 2022 it began testing ads in File Explorer, and there were reports eight months later that they could begin showing up in the Windows 11 sign-out menu. In April this year, there was talk from Microsoft of more ads coming to the Start Menu.

In addition, Microsoft in April updated its Weather app to show ads – as well as the MSN news feed – but removed most of that a month later after users revolted."



From Microsoft

"We’re excited to announce that starting today, we’ll begin a pilot to allow advertising by delegated or authorized providers of certain government services with review and pre-approval.

This advertising will be limited to the Microsoft Advertising Search Network and Microsoft Audience Network in the United States. Other markets aren’t available at this time."


From a Microsoft Advertising page, note the mention of "Microsoft Start".

"And Microsoft's audience intelligence is so much more than just search intent. It’s a collection of permissioned first-party data points, combined across multiple properties, that help you reach your ideal customers. This includes search and web activity from Bing and our browser Microsoft Edge, content interests from Microsoft Start, demographics, and more."


There's no Huawei Chinese chipmakers can fill Nvidia's shoes... anytime soon

Random person

Re: Taiwan occupation?

It would be very difficult to protect fabs in an invasion.

The production lines run with positive air pressure to ensure that air from the office space does not reach the production line. A single broken window could damage a single machine that costs 10s of millions of US$.

If somebody decided to go scorched earth they would just need to change the air pressure on the production lines.

There is a single supplier of EUV lithographic machines that are required to create the wafers. The supplier is ASML in the Netherlands. How would the CCP order spare parts or replacement machines from ASML BTW a single EUV lithographic machine costs $200 million USD.

TMC is believed to have between between 30 and 35 ASML machines. Replacing them would cost $6 billion USD and it would be very unlikely that ASML would take any orders.

TMC owns 5% of ASML. The CCP would have to ensure that they gained control of this small holding to avoid additional problems.

Microsoft drops official support for Python 3.7 in Visual Studio Code

Random person

Re: Python 3.11 is where you want to be

Tell that to Facebook 21% of their code in Python.

Google, Dropbox and Microsoft have hired Guido van Rossum (inventor of Python) to work Python.

Python was/is an official language at Google.

I dabble in Python. I have put together prototypes and non-time critical applications in less than a day. This mainly because of the huge scope of the





I guess you are trying to troll. Python is suitable for many tasks but isn't a just a language for beginners.

One argument in your favour is that Python support has been added to Excel


SpaceX accused of paying less to women and minority engineers

Random person


The cost of living in Hawthrone California is 49% higher than the national average in the USA.

Hawthrone is part of Los Angeles. It is 4% more expensive to live Los Angeles than London. How does your salary compare with a London salary.

Interestingly the average software engineer salary in Hawthrone is $138,489 (£113,418.34). It seems that being a rocket scientist doesn't pay that well.




LibreOffice 7.6 arrives: Open source stalwart is showing its maturity

Random person

Re: long-form writers...

Here are some pointers to ways to import and export between LyX and LibreOffice.

Have you looked at this LyX wiki page that discusses importing and exporting between LyX and LibreOffice + Word? https://wiki.lyx.org/FAQ/ImportExport#word-read

More detail on exporting on this old page also on the wiki https://wiki.lyx.org/Tips/ExportingOpenDocumentLibreofficeOpenofficeAndOfficeOpenXMLMSWordWithPandoc

Also see this equally old tutorial on exporting from LibreOffice https://latex.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27764

I have no experience of using these options.

Before doing this bit of research, I had assumed that you would have to convert to RTF and then import that into LibreOffice or LyX.