* Posts by Ian Johnston

1813 posts • joined 28 Sep 2007

Why the end of Optane is bad news for all IT

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Amazing... But also a bit stupid

A filing system is just that, a system for filing.

One of the many stupidities of the original OLPC/Xo design was the deliberate omission of a structured file system of any sort. Everything was an application. This, of course, ignored the possibility that users might have lots of discrete pieces of work and rather like the idea of a way of organising them.

I could not care less how my computer stores the collection of documents I have grouped together as "Insurance" and the collection of documents I have grouped together as "Musical scores", but it is extremely useful to me to have separate places to keep them.

A flat storage system for the ... checks ... 166375 files I currently have under /home/ian would not be terribly practical.

Too little, too late: Intel's legacy is eroding

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: "Diversity will destroy this company"

Interviewers will ignore a more skilled candidate who doesn't look or talk like them - there's no shortage of data on this.

Indeed. The number of women appointed to play in major orchestras shoots up when candidates audition behind a screen.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: "Diversity will destroy this company"

Maybe the sort of people who think that somebody who looks a bit different can't possibly be the best person for the role is more likely to be a cranky old white man.

Scientist shares spicy pic of 'James Webb' discovery

Ian Johnston Silver badge

We live in a world in which Aberdeen University has given a trigger warning to English Literature students that they may encounter black magic, monsters, blood and death in ... Beowulf. Also "ableist" language, because Grendel limps.

No wonder a slice of sausage causes such distress.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

They have a sense of humour, but they have an even stronger desire to be outraged, or to be perceived as being outraged. Outrage is a form of victimhood and victimhood is the new sanctity.

Nomad to crypto thieves: Please give us back 90%, keep 10% as a reward. Deal?

Ian Johnston Silver badge

What theft? The people who removed the money used a public interface to do something it allowed. Code is law, people.

Remember the humanoid Tesla robot? It's ready for September reveal, says Musk

Ian Johnston Silver badge

All "full self driving" gets you over "autopilot" is pulling up at stop signs, if it sees them. That's it.

Claims of AI sentience branded 'pure clickbait'

Ian Johnston Silver badge

AI chatbots are not sentient – they have just got better at tricking humans into thinking they might be, experts at Stanford University conclude.

Article debunking machine sentience uses participle implying machine sentience.

Strike days should serve as 'wake-up call' to BT's top brass, says union

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Maths

The central tenet of modern conservative thought is that you motivate the poor by paying them less and motivate the rich by paying them more.

Paper batteries on the cards to power IoT and smart labels

Ian Johnston Silver badge

So, less battery waste ... but the device it powers is still going to landfill.

Experts warn transition to private space stations won't happen anytime soon

Ian Johnston Silver badge

So basically the only worthwhile "science" done in this place is working out whether people can live in it. Sorry from that the small amount of worthwhile research done could have been carried out robotically at a fraction of the cost. Human spaceflight may be good for morale, but scientifically it's a pointless waste of money.

Bah bloody humbug.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Medical experiments

Centrifugal force is not the same as gravity at those sorry of scales because it comes with huge Coriolis accelerations as well. The bottom that spinning space stations could provide autodial gravity is one of the enduring myths of 2001, and it might be worth asking why nobody has ever tried to spin a space station in reality.

Upgrading what might be the world's oldest running Linux install

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Been there done that

I be had the same computer running continuously since 1991. Admittedly it has had seven hardware changes running W3.1, three versions of OS/2 and about ten Linuces from Ubuntu 6.06 to the present Xubuntu 20.04, but like chiark it's totes the same system.

And actually, it has had the same Thunderbird profile since 1995. True.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Triggers Broom

Where did he get a 64 bit x86 processor in 1993?

Browsers could face two regimes in Europe as UK law set to diverge from EU

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Finland does very well in PISA. South Korea does just about as well, with a system as different from Finland's as it is possible to conceive. Conclusion: PISA says very little about the quality of an education system, except to people who think a single numerical score is sufficient.

Former CIA engineer Joshua Schulte convicted of spying over WikiLeaks dump

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Schulte, who curiously chose this go-around to represent himself and even garnered praise from the judge for his performance, refuted the assertion.

No, he denied it. If he had refuted it he would have walked free. Guardian journalists and other illiterates may think that deny and refute are synonyms, but I expect better of El Reg.

Rufus and ExplorerPatcher: Tools to remove Windows 11 TPM pain and more

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Just goes to show..

Nope, asked of "Dave Null".

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Just goes to show..

The tone and the username are eerily familiar, but I thought the person in question was dead. Did you sue three ISPs, back in the day?

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Ian Johnston Silver badge

-ized is normal in Scottish English.

Gtk 5 might drop X11 support, says GNOME dev

Ian Johnston Silver badge

The Gnome team seem to have given up all pretence of writing useful and useable software and are now openly trying to annoy as many people as they can. Are they based in a hollowed out volcano?

Apple's guy in charge of stopping insider trading guilty of … insider trading

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

I'm pretty sure my grandfather's dead, even if I say his name. The Candyman less so, if teenage girls are right.

OpenSea phishing threat after rogue insider leaks customer email addresses

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Charging somebody involved in the sale of NFTs with wire fraud and money laundering seems like charging a fish with being wet.

Arrogant, subtle, entitled: 'Toxic' open source GitHub discussions examined

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Eh?

One might argue it's passive aggressive, unprofessional, and not particularly constructive.

Could you identify the passive aggression, define "unprofessional" and explain why it's not constructive? I presume that the previous discussion had put the points at issue in context.

Returning to the Moon on the European Service Module

Ian Johnston Silver badge

A persons height, however, means nothing to me in metric. :-)

I do some work with children. I've asked, previously, out of interest, and none of them know their height in metres. Very few say they think of their weights in kilogrammes either.

LGBTQ+ folks warned of dating app extortion scams

Ian Johnston Silver badge

According to the American watchdog, a common scam involves a fraudster posing as a potential romantic partner on one of the apps.

Romance? On Grindr? Talk about missing the point.

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Based upon personal experience....

When writing the detailed steps, never, ever, ever, put more than one instruction on a line.

And also make sure that after every instruction you include a clear description of the expected results.

Startup rattles tin for e-paper monitor with display fast enough to play video

Ian Johnston Silver badge

I'd like an e-ink monitor on a stand to replace printed sheet music. It's a great shame that the monitors currently cost so much. A Kindle paper white gets you 22.5 square inches of e-ink for £130 whereas a Dasung monitor gets you 85 square inches for £1000. That's twice the cost per square inch, ignoring all the other gubbins in a Kindle.

NASA circles August in its diary to put Artemis I capsule in Moon orbit

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: What are the betting odds?

There is a bad chance Atermis 1 will not fail until the solid rocket booster recovery parachutes are discovered to be missing ...

Couldn't they have a look and check that before launch? Maybe send one of the work experience kids to do it.

Big Tech silent on data privacy in post-Roe America

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Canada

Why is it that so many liberals believe that nobody should be responsible for themselves and their actions?

Having an abortion is taking responsibility.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Democracy

Democratic presidents, congresses and senates have spent 50 years dodging the issue and hiding behind Roe vs Wade rather than legislating directly to make abortion legal.

We're now truly in the era of ransomware as pure extortion without the encryption

Ian Johnston Silver badge

You know what should be a crime? Any use of the word "exfiltrate".

BOFH: HR's gold mine gambit – they get the gold and we get the shaft

Ian Johnston Silver badge


NSO claims 'more than 5' EU states use Pegasus spyware

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Since this stuff has been found and, presumably, studied on many phones, why has no counter yet been found?

Halfords suffers a puncture in the customer details department

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Is this the same Halford....

An oldie but a goodie:


A miserable work week spent toiling inside 'the metaverse'

Ian Johnston Silver badge

If that was a sexual assault then shootings in World of Warcraft are murders.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Eye strain

The thing is, that we have those magical devices called "lenses" that change where the apparent focus of things it. It just "happens" that the VR headsets don't force you to focus your eyes as if you were looking at something 2 inches away from your eyes. They make you focus on infinity, or so close to infinity that I don't get blurry vision when relaxing the eye completely.

And that is indeed one of the fundamental problems with all forms of 3D display. Our eyes do not expect to focus on infinity when looking at something the brains perceives at close. Furthermore, as things move towards us the eyes naturally swivel inwards - carried to extremes this is why you can cross your eyes by watching a finger brought to your nose.

The 3D problem is therefore that the eyes are required to maintain the same focus and the same relative orientation regardless of where the perceived object is. That fights tens of millions of years of evolution and gives most people headaches, eye strain or nausea.

Amazon fears it could run out of US warehouse workers by 2024

Ian Johnston Silver badge

If all delivery companies installed Amazon-type cameras in their vehicles, the verges of the rural roads around my house might not be littered with Red Bull cans. Of course if they gave their drivers sane routes and enough time to do them the poor bastards probably wouldn't be necking Red Bull non-stop in the first place.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Another option could be to let Amazon's HR division play a greater role in ...

That sentence cannot possibly end well.

Tencent's WeChat wants no more talk of cryptocurrency and NFTs

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: "Beijing believes crypto is a dangerously unruly innovation..."

Meanwhile Bitcoin is down to a 1/3 of its peak, exchanges are closing daily and disgruntled crypto hodlers are screaming for regulation. So basically it's as much of a threat to anything as any other libertarian fantasy, or a baby hedgehog.

RISC OS: 35-year-old original Arm operating system is alive and well

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Some features i would like today

And if only everyone else had adopted "." as the separator in directory paths we wouldn't have had 40years of escaping bloody "\"

All paths should be of the form


with especial emphasis on the version number.

Plot to defeat crypto meltdown: Solend votes to seize, liquidate whale account

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: "we've been unable to get the whale to reduce their risk, or even get in contact with them"

And what sort of person invests hundreds of millions (admittedly in funny money worth perhaps three decryption keys and a small box of crystallised fruit in the real) in an organisation which by design has no headquarters, no legal staff, no compliance staff and only a few pseudonymous contacts about whom nothing can be known.

Because you can see the code, they say, and the code is all that matters. Yeah. That's working beautifully.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Reinsurance spiral....?

The big problem stat Lloyds, as I recall, was that they recruited a huge number of new names and stuck them with ruinous asbestos reinsurance deals, so many of them made huge losses without every having had the good times at all.

Basically the sort of dirty dealing which in the crypto world they call "Tuesday".

Ian Johnston Silver badge

And yet again - it happens time after time - all these opponents of centralisation and believers in code alone suddenly want centralised action as soon as tits start heading upwards. Coo. It's almost as if a century and more of developing regulation in financial services has been for more than the fun of exercising power.

Still, with Bitcoin at less than a third of its peak value and heading rapidly downwards, I think we sane people are going to get a lot of fun out of crypto over the next weeks and months.

Inverse Finance stung for $1.2 million via flash loan attack

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Programming for smart contract execution... What could go wrong?

It is only the arrogance of untested youth that can think something would be perfect and unbreakable.......

I don't think the people who build these systems think that, or even care. All they are doing is building something to lure in mugs until the day when the system can be "hacked", assets "stolen" and the organisation shut down.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Data Protection Impact Assessment? It's a pretty safe bet that anything ending "... Impact Assessment" is a pointless piece of make-work for consultants, and not terribly bright consultants at that.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Weaponising privacy.

What actual, quantifiable, not-just-boogie-boogie-privacy harm could it do me?

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Straightforward solution

A big part of the problem is that the average ordinary Joe doesn't understand what the implications of accepting or rejecting these different "flavours" of cookie will be.

Or perhaps those "implications" aren't nearly as awful as the tin-hatted brigade would like us all to think.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

So next week I should advertise quick drying varnish to you?

If you want to, go right ahead. No skin off my nose, and potentially more interesting to me than something I never use.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

You voluntarily click on consent to all?

Yup. Doesn't bother me in the slightest.

UK Home Office signs order to extradite Julian Assange to US

Ian Johnston Silver badge

The web page you referenced says nothing whatsoever about the posting you claim it debunks. Furthermore, Google tells me that its author claims to be " a 100 percent crowdfunded rogue journalist, bogan socialist, anarcho-psychonaut, guerilla poet and utopia prepper", which does not wholly inspire me with confidence.


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