* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2950 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

When BFR changed into a Big Falcon Rocket a few people called others falcon idiots. Egghead has swapped back and forth between compliment and an insult depending on time and place. It was once fashionable for block people to call each other with a word derived from the Latin for clean shiny black (Latin has another word for dirty disgusting black that Romans and racists never used for people).

I am sure horrible people will find ways to be offensive with the new words.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

P.S.: Twitter to stop using sanity checks? Is there any evidence they ever started?

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: laugh or cry

I want to cheer for their honesty - even if they missed a few words out:

We want [really really want even though we are unable] to reassure our customers that their data was not at risk as a result of this error. [Luckily we do not have to comment on all the other errors at this time]

If there is something to laugh or cry about it is how much I have lowered my expectations of what counts as an impressive amount of honesty.

Dutch national broadcaster saw ad revenue rise when it stopped tracking users. It's meant to work like that, right?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

There is one enormous benefit of targeted ads

They are an effective way to convince people that their advertising budget should be spent on targeted ads.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

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I was thinking they ought to notice something was up(side down) when they tried to click a button. Apparently they lacked the ability to get the pointer on the required button when the pointer moved in the opposite direction to the mouse.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: must have eliminated the height marker

I would not bet on it. A facial gaydar neural net was tried with photos with and without the the faces blanked out. It gave the same answers both times so whatever it was making decisions on (clothes? background?) it wasn't the faces. An interesting test of this Mr Cudoogo detector would be to try it with and without blanked out faces.

Belief in 5G conspiracy theories goes hand-in-hand with small explosions of rage, paranoia and violence, researchers claim

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Re: Resistance is useless

The Borg were going to say "Resistance is useless" but the Brits on the cast burst out laughing and the Americans did not know why until after they were told about HHGTTG. s/useless/futile/ was done to so that a UK audience could take the Borg seriously.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


I got caught out by 555XXXX. It is (almost) OK for preventing accidental calls in the US (a few numbers have been assigned from that range). The if some website insists on a telephone or mobile number without a good reason, try one of these. Anyone know where I can find a list of premium rate numbers for charities?

What does London's number 65 bus have to hide? OS caught on camera setting fire to '22,000 illegal file(s)!!'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: It's where the government keeps their Brexit and Covid plans...

Alright, but what is in the other 21,998 files?

For years, the internet giants have held on dear to their get-out-of-jail-free card. Here are those trying to take that away

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Censorship is bad mmkay

I mean that if someone defaces a US government website the US government can put it back how it was without fear of that person going to court, shouting "Help! Help! I am being oppressed!" and successfully getting any kind of judgement against the government.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Censorship is bad mmkay

Noddy's guide to free speech: The first amendment is to prevent the US government from controlling what you can or cannot say. Twitter is not the US government so they can delete any comment they do not like from their web site. Trump is the US government. He can howl, scream and create a storm in a teacup but he cannot create legislation. Congress can create legislation but as a part of the US government they are limited by the first amendment and cannot prevent Twiiter from pointing out when Trump lies.

If delusional idiots hire a cracker to deface your website with flat Earth rubbish you can legally restore your site from backups. Unless you are the US government, it is not a free speech issue and the flat Earthers would get thrown out of court promptly if they claimed you were denying their first amendment rights. (If you are the US government there are still plenty of legal options for you to get other people's rubbish off your website).

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

If only...

... there weren't a pile of laws, technical and financial barriers and a fire breathing dragon preventing people from creating their own websites to put up content that twitter considers fake, offensive or an incitement to violence.

Hawley's proposal at least has the benefit of forcing twitter to enforce their own policy and terminate Trump's account.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Ok....but whitespace?

The proposed replacement is no good because firing blanks might be offensive to impotent men. Also I prefer dark backgrounds so we will have to switch to blockspace.

Astros get to play with VR while Boeing's Starliner stays on the ground

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Boeing should continue further in this direction

They have a virtual capsule. They can simulate mid-flight abort so presumably they have a virtual rocket, planet and atmosphere. All they need now is a virtual ISS. NASA will be able to buy 4 virtual seats for Jeb, Bill, Bob and Valentina on a simulated flight to the virtual ISS for 4x $90M.

Thought you'd addressed those data-leaking Spectre holes on Linux? Guess again. The patches aren't perfect

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Remove high accuracy timers?

Years ago some AMD hardware had defective High Precision Event Timer hardware which had to be disabled to keep operating systems happy. This often became company policy which remained in place long after all the defective hardware was retired. Clearly plenty of people were unaware of any problems caused by disabling perfectly good HPETs.

There is a wide variety of timer hardware and well made software should ask the OS what is available, what each is capable of and use the most appropriate for the task. There are piles of web pages about the effect of re-enabling HPETs on various games. Occasionally someone noticed a clear improvement. Lots noticed about one extra frame per second and some did not spot any measurable change. To me this looks like many games are able to cope with whatever hardware they find with just the odd combination of hardware and software benefiting from a specific extra time source.

"less /proc/timer_list" shows that lots of timers are being used but it is not obvious what they are being used for and how much precision they really need. An off switch could cause noticeable problems but a reduced precision knob might be harmless and useful.

As anti-brutality protests fill streets of American cities, netizens cram police app with K-Pop, airwaves with NWA

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I thought the ineptness and incompetence of POTUS was to distract people from everything else.

Great success! Finance app was able to inform user that their action was unsuccessful

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I have smelled something like this before

/* If something genuinely fails and stores the excuse in errno

* but something else succeeds and stores 0 in errno you will

* get error "Success".


#include <errno.h>

#include <stdio.h>



__attribute__((unused)) int argc,

__attribute__((unused)) char **argv

) {

errno = 0;


return 0;


Turns out Elon can't control the weather – what a scrub: Rain, clouds delay historic manned SpaceX-NASA launch

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: not a fan of Musk

Like the cars, love the rockets but the man can easily compete with POTUS for the vile tweet of the month award.

Linux desktop org GNOME Foundation settles lawsuit with patent troll

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Re: insanity

Patent law in the USA is just insane

Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

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Re: Please please please...

We definitely need to do something. Trump's popularity is down to 5 of the first 20 images on a search for idiot. Please make an effort to put Trump back at the top by doing an image search an clicking on an appropriate link or two.

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

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Re: someone explaining

Optical fibres are almost completely transparent but over hundreds of kilometres that "almost" adds up to almost opaque. The light has to be converted to electricity, error corrected and converted back to light which costs electrical power. That power has to be transported hundreds of kilometres. You can offset the resistance losses in the conductors by increasing the voltage - at the expense of increasing the conductance losses in the insulator.

Copper is a better conductor than aluminium for the same cross sectional area. Increasing the area of the aluminium to match the conductivity increases the weight but as aluminium is much less dense the cable turns out needing fewer tons of aluminium than copper. Copper also costs far more per ton than aluminium.

Two weeks before the first US commercial crew launch, NASA spanks more cash on an autumn Soyuz seat

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Selective memory

SpaceX/Dragon was supposed to be only one half of the commercial crew program. There is in fact a completely separate launch system so that one would be available even if the other one failed. The most recent delay to Crew Demo 2 was because Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley had to spend spend weeks learning to do all the jobs that the other team were going to do but can't because their ride needs working software.

There's a world out there with a hexagon vortex over its pole packed with hydrocarbon ice crystals. That planet is Saturn

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: silly names

The -ene in acetylene is there to confuse people. The systematic name is ethyne. Likewise diacetylene should be called buta-1,3-diyne even though there is only one sane way to interpret butadiyne.

It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

"engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

Could be worse - imagine what it would be like if they let a web designer near it.

Singapore releases the robot hounds to enforce social distancing in parks

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Re: Local wildlife

I am sure Sid could dismantle Spot but as Robomutt is remote controlled there should by quality video of who is responsible for the criminal damage.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Calling Isaac Newton...

10m is a really big single mirror. With lots of mirrors and an unobtainable budget you can get to 100m. Bezos wants big manufacturing industry in space (so ambitious that I would call in SciFi). If that actually happens then the 18km mirror is "only" SciFi to the power of two.

Any time the technology for interstellar exploration is distinguishable from magic is a win. Include medical technology that seriously extends human life span the the stars feel significantly closer - at the expense of going to SciFi to the power of three.

Decide how far back in time you would have to go before people would consider our lives SciFi. I will call that 100 years so SciFi cubed is 300 years. I am glad someone is taking the baby steps now perhaps the next generation will be able build on that to make bigger steps.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Slowing down

About half way to the destination detach the out half of the sail (4x the area of the inner half) and use it as a mirror. Use magic to keep the outer part pointing in the right direction and the inner part will slow down.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Texting to the rescue

Time to change it. How about: Password'; DROP TABLE Passwords;--

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: You will obey!

You don't have to obey. Microsoft give you choices:

Click here to upgrade to Windows 10 now.

Click here to schedule an upgrade to Windows 10 when you are not looking.

Close this window to upgrade to Windows 10.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Texting to the rescue

Missed the edit window: M{&X10d

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Texting to the rescue

Mbrace X10d

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: protect what you value

If you have to register to get a data sheet, try "User Name" and "Password". Sometimes someone else has already save me the trouble - or Mr Name makes no effort keeping his account secure.

Caltech to Apple, Broadcom: You know that $1.1bn you owe for ripping off Wi-Fi patents? Double it, hotshots

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Reinstate the Xerox lawsuit

If what Apple copied from Xerox were protected by copyrights or patents then the same would be true of what Microsoft copied from Apple. Apple make a huge profit from the scenario and lawyers would have have to bid high on their third holiday homes because of the competition from other lawyers.

NASA signs deals to put a rocket under Artemis flights until 2029

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Re: They ...

... seem to be obeying the law.

The law requires NASA to 'pick' Space Shuttle contractors where practicable. That is the exact word of the law. Being impractical is not an excuse to use another contractor. If it is possible to work with AJR engines then NASA has to make that happen - no matter what the consequences. The consequences are ARJ picking the biggest number they can get congress to pay. Congress really wants to pay so each critter can crow about how much federal expenditure he got for his state.

Bridenstein has actually squeezed a hint of sanity into NASA's plans. The Orion capsule is approximately ready but the only thing that can lift it is SLS (by design and by law). SLS+Orion cannot get to low lunar orbit so there is a threat of LOP-G orbiting a point between the Earth and the Moon (Near rectilinear HALO orbit). NASA needs a ride from NRHO to the moon and back, which is precisely what they have asked for (not from LOP-G to the Moon and back). This means Artemis can continue even if when LOP-G gets delayed.

LOP-G components can launch on commercial rockets. The transfer module, decent vehicle and ascent vehicle can all launch on commercial rockets. Because of the schedule and the limited supply of SLS launches (one per year) these things have to fly on commercial rockets because SLS will be busy launching Orions. Bridenstein has effectively limited SLS to launching only the missions that congress has required by law to launch on SLS. (Europa Clipper is supposed to go by SLS too, but it has to launch soon and Artemis has eaten all the available SLS's before the deadline.)

Perhaps AJR's enormous bill will be big enough to satisfy congress to they won't tie NASA hands even more tightly.

Bye, Russia: NASA wheels out astronauts, describes plan for first all-American manned launch into orbit since 2011

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: how long for SpaceX to catch up with Boeing's pork barrel govt pricing

Elon wants to colonise Mars. That cannot be done with pork. Pork has to be spent in as many states as possible so politicians will vote for more pork. Pork has to be spent on specific contractors so politicians get campaign funds. The goal posts have to be moved every year to justify/cause delays and budget increases.

Elon wants to keep control so he can select the most cost effective parts, have them made by the most cost effective manufacturer and focus on a strategy to lower the cost of access to space and hence get to Mars. When NASA wants something he was going to build anyway he will bid for it. Commercial crew turned out more expensive financially then Elon expected but gave him access to NASA's experience with human spaceflight.

Falcon 9 has decreased the cost of access to space as far as it can because the payload is expensive. SpaceX is demonstrating the benefits of mass produced payloads (Starlink). If that catches on there will be a market for an even more cost effective launcher (Starship). Rocket Lab are following a similar business plan: the Electron rocket is cheap now, they are demonstrating the benefits standardised payload components and their rocket should drop in price when it becomes reusable.

Porkspace has a clearly limited lifespan (my guess: a decade). This is why they a racing to get every possible contract before it becomes obvious to voters that their politicians are buying antique boondoggles.

Bezos to the Moon: Blue Origin joins SpaceX and Dynetics in a three-horse lunar lander race

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

This Starship is staying near the moon

Congress has a gun pointed at NASA's budget so Astronauts will be launching in an Orion on an SLS and returning to Earth in that Orion. SLS is not powerful enough to get to low Luna orbit so NASA needs a ride from near-rectilinear halo orbit to the Moon and back.

A fully refuelled starship in low Earth orbit cannot land on the moon and get back to the surface of the Earth. If Starship refuels in a highly elliptical orbit it can almost go to the Moon and back - but the fuel tanker has to be refuelled before it can reach that orbit. Add the stops at NRHO to dock with Orion to pick up and return the crew then a normal Starship cannot meet NASA's requirements.

The plan is to use a modified Starship with no flaps or heat shield. This Moonship cannot return to Earth but it can go to NRHO, land on the Moon and return to NRHO. A normal tanker Starship could get refuelled in a highly elliptical orbit, go to NRHO, refuel the Moonship and return to Earth.

The Moonship mission sidesteps the big certification problems that will otherwise delay a normal passenger Starship: Launching a crew with no launch abort system, re-entry with a new thermal protection system, getting velocity down to subsonic while falling like a skydiver, a belly flip to get the engines pointing down and a retro-propulsive landing. It will be a long time before NASA is happy to put a crew on a mission with all those exciting activities but in the mean time Starship tankers can RUD without killing anyone until SpaceX get it all working reliably.

Google is a 'publisher' says Aussie court as it hands £20k damages to gangland lawyer

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Can easily find the article

Searching for "George Defteros" shows lots of articles about this recent ruling. To get the the controversial article you need "George Defteros the age 2004". The link is not on the first page returned by Google but Bing does put it on the first page.

Was The Age legally required to rectify the old article?

Patently dogged: Apple unleashes lawyers to slash $454m patent rip-off bill – even after Supreme Court snub

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Well done Apple

From the article: "Apple [...] succeeded in getting VirnetX's patents that led to the award invalidated."

Patent examiners have a choice of granting invalid patents or spending ages going through the paperwork to delay granting an invalid patent then get shouted out for not keeping up with the work load. We know beyond all possible doubt that the patents are invalid (even without Apple jumping through all the expensive hoops required to get them invalidated). Mathematics is not patentable. Software is a branch of mathematics so it is not patentable (it is protected by copyright). Getting an obviously invalid patent invalidated takes time. This gives trolls like VirnetX plenty of time to get a judgement in East Texas because East Texas will not tolerate a moment of delay when finding for a patent troll.

In any normal area of law (ie not patents or bankruptcy) the documents at the base of the case being invalid would put an end to the matter before the defendant has to waste time and money listening to the plaintive's case. For patents, you have to defend perfectly at every stage to keep your right of appeal and even though the patents are invalid you still have to pay up and then somehow get the money back from the bankrupt shell company that started the litigation.

By all means hate Apple as much as you want but please try to remember why the patent system is despised by inventors. (My views on the matter are tolerant in the extreme. I would like patent lawyers and holders fined. By far the more popular remedies are burning or drowning.)

Wall Street analyst worries iPhone is facing '2nd recession' after 2019 annus horribilis

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Re: unlike Boeing, Airbus, GM, Ford, 'big oil' ...

Boeing are making money: They are getting the bulk of the Artemis program budget and are working hard on excuses for not delivering by 2024. 'Big oil' have received substantial direct subsidies and have been working hard on tax cuts, interest free loans and eliminating royalties for oil taken from federal land. Unlike Boeing, 'big oil' are showing strong progress on all these activities and more. I am not familiar with Airbus, GM and Ford but I very much doubt they are slacking off spending tax payers' money on lobbying for more tax payers' money to anything like the extent of Apple.

How's your night sky looking? The Reg chats to astroboffin Mark McCaughrean about Starlink and leaving a mark

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Hoped for more

I have read plenty of comments on the internet about Starlink vs Astronomy. Some of them may have been from professional astronomers and some may have been from trolls trying to cause trouble. I looked at the title and thought "At last! I can find out from someone clearly identifiable as someone who knows what he is talking about what the true extent of the damage will be." What a missed opportunity.

Vodafone chief speaks out after 5G conspiracy nuts torch phone mast serving Nightingale Hospital in Brum

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: ... might be torching the 5G equipment

You forgot to account for the technical abilities of delusional arsonists. It is amazing that they can tell the difference between a cell tower and a doughnut shop. There is no way they could spot the difference between 5G and 4G - or something older. If they actually torch something 5G it will almost certainly be collateral damage.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

See that stuff before

You can find all that and more on Russia Today. They are the primary source of much of it but are happy to pick up any trending rubbish that they like the sound of.

Would pointing that out make things better or worse?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: The social media companies don't help enough

There are not that many utterly delusional conspiracy theorists. Mostly they live in their social media echo chambers doing no damage to anything but each other. Instead of monitoring the entire world for nutty posts it would be cheaper to keep the echo chamber for nutters only by not showing links to their content to the rest of the world.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: re: amplified by celebrities

The problem with removing peoples' careers is that some of them become Andrew Wakefield. Try a little education first. Only the hard core conspiracy nuts will find some excuse to get around "Iran has had tragic loses from CV-19 but has no 5G at all". Sometimes you will get celebrities to publicly apologise and occasionally do a little thinking before opening their mouths.

NASA dons red and blue cardboard 3D glasses to drive Curiosity rover because its GPUs are stuck in the office

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

$22.6bn for this year

NASA has to pay for SLS development (fortunately RS-25 engine and solid rocket booster design were completed for the Shuttle), restarting production of the venerable RS-25 engine, redesign of RS-25 for modern manufacturing, redesign of RS-25 to make it expendable, new avionics, lighter insulation and an extra segment for the solid rocket boosters, new flame deflector, upgraded flame trench and upgraded crawler transporter for SLS block 1, a new crawler transporter and upper stage for SLS block 2, three Orion capsules and 6 SLS launches (Orions should be able to fly twice each), upgrading SLS manufacturing so that they can be built at a rate of two per year, LOP-G (and a new cargo vehicle that can reach it), a lunar transfer module, descent and ascent vehicles and Boeing wants more money for their half (¾?) of the fixed price commercial crew program.

On top of all that, NASA does some excellent space exploration and all for about 3% of the military budget.

Stop worrying – Larry Ellison and Prez Trump will have this whole coronavirus thing licked shortly with the power of data

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Re: Forbes

The magazine for executive bathroom user wannabes.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Could be worse

Trump could pardon Martin Shkreli.

Google Cloud's AI recog code 'biased' against black people – and more from ML land

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Be careful when getting some coffee

Rear view biometric access has already been installed in certain secure facilities for years.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: maybe traded e-i-e-i-o for plain old I/O?

sudo apt-get install glibc-doc-reference

info libc


Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Oh bore on

The layout in the article implies the face mask advice came from the UK government (it doesn't, but does come from the CDC). US government websites are not something I take at face value any more because they are rectified to match statements from Trump's son in law.

The value of masks is not straightforward. You can find evidence - at leat such as is available - here. When health experts selected by the UK government have talked about masks they said things like "only wear a mask if requested to do so by a medical professional" and "There is a shortage. Please do not make it worse by buying masks unless you really need them." If this advice changes I would like to hear about it - with a link to the source.

Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all

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Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

Musk has built some ventilators for free distribution - mostly out of car parts. The next step is getting FDA approval. (Warning: when the sentence structure on the Teslarati site is a bit contrived, re-parse the sentence with the literalness of a programmer for the worst possible matching interpretation. On that site bad news packaged to look good with carefully selected parts of the truth.)


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