* Posts by John PM Chappell

181 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Mar 2007


Cops cuff pregnant woman for carjacking after facial recog gets it wrong, again

John PM Chappell

Re: "Facial Recognition" is no worse than any other kind.

That's not a police thing, that is the motto of one department (LAPD).

Scientists strangely unable to follow recipe for holy grail room-temp superconductor

John PM Chappell

Re: Based on what I've read of its atomic structure

TamahagAne, but that's my only real gripe. :)

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

John PM Chappell

Re: Don't tell me, show me.

Okay, I laughed. :)

Pint as is tradition.

Cardboard drones running open source flight software take off in Ukraine and beyond

John PM Chappell

Re: The last thing the world needs

Guided missile, sure, 'Cruise' missile? Not so much. I still upvoted you, though. :)

This US national lab turned to AI to hunt rogue nukes

John PM Chappell

Re: Officially recognised???

I think your humour went over the heads of some, comrade. ;)

Techie fired for inventing an acronym – and accidentally applying it to the boss

John PM Chappell

Re: brightness adjustment needed

Excellent reference. Had to check the link to be 100% sure we were on the same page. :)

If you have a fan, and want this company to stay in business, bring it to IT now

John PM Chappell

Re: Once upon a time, long ago..

Jake's mostly covered it, but just to say that '95 definitely didn't have TCP/IP built in until later, and early NT didn't have it, and for a long time what it did have was notoriously bad. I think NT 4 late SPs fixed that.

It almost certainly was Windows 95, given the time he identified and the mention of '486 based PCs.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

John PM Chappell

Re: We recieved one as a gift from a family member

Actually it was always possible to login to your Amazon account and deregister devices. It *might* have not been granular, a long long time ago, meaning you'd need to deregister all devices, but it never required physical access. Failing that call CS.

It's always been possible, precisely because they can be lost / stolen.

Tumblr says nudes are back on the menu – within reason

John PM Chappell

Re: Do you know...

Let's tackle "why?" first. Even in the UK owning a shotgun is hardly unusual, though it's nowhere near the level of ownership in the USA (more on which later).

Shotguns are useful for vermin control, sport shooting, some hunting, and 'home defence'. Rifles are primarily useful for sport shooting and hunting. Handguns are useful for some hunting, target shooting, and as a side-arm ("To fight your way to where your rifle is").

There is a saying here: "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away." Bottom line, the USA is not the UK. It's much larger, and though its population is about six times larger too, even in the cities population density is lower than the UK. In rural areas, even ignoring Alaska, it's very low. Self-defence is not all about "shooting the bad man", there remains dangerous wildlife close enough to settlements to be a regular, sometimes weekly for some people, nuisance. Go off the beaten track a little, or live on a ranch or similar situation and it's arguably negligent *not* to have fast access to a firearm for defence from dangerous animals, in many places.

Now the cultural stuff - It's enshrined law from a principle it inherited from the UK, specifically English law. It's actually the UK which has shifted hard in the other direction, not the USA that has suddenly gone "gun mad", though there was always more of a "gun culture" here, given the historical realities. That law is an amendment precisely because the original 'framers' of the constitution felt it was so blindingly obvious a right it did not need to be spelt out, but some states attempted to restrict access and ownership, resulting in the second amendment. A similar story exists with regard to the first.

In Houston, you could buy a shotgun or handgun, after being checked by the FBI against their database (the 'background check' you hear about a lot) to confirm that you are not prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm at that time. There are many ways to be so prohibited, from the essentially permanent prohibition for violent felons, to temporary ones for people facing certain criminal charges, etc. No "pass" from the FBI, no sale (and likely a visit to your home address from said FBI).

No private citizen can own an M16 - that is a military designation for a weapon based on the Armalite AR-15 rifle. It's also not an "assault rifle" (it's debatable if that term even has meaning), it is a ''battle rifle".

A nuclear weapon would be excluded by various laws, including the prohibition on owning "destructive devices". Basically, it is not considered a personal weapon, the law in question is about ownership and possession of personal weapons - "arms".

USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule

John PM Chappell

No, it doesn't. Ohm's law states that current between two points is proportional to the potential difference between them. (V = IR).

What you're talking about is the power equation, where the terms are voltage, current and power (not 'volts' 'amps' & 'watts', which are units for measuring those); P (sometimes W) = IV.

On a thin conductor, your concern is heat from resistance to the current, since it will reach a higher temperature from the same amount of energy; it will melt sooner than a thicker conductor carrying the same current. 240 Watts is not inconsiderable, and it is impressive to me, also, that USB-C will support it.

To directly address your assertion, for a given voltage, you can only control the current by controlling the resistance: if you increase the voltage, you need a higher resistance for the same current, and the higher resistance means more heat. You cannot really change the resistance of a conductor, you can change input voltage, and that will proportinally affect current (I.E. Higher voltage gives higher current). In short, No.

Microsoft warns of bugs after nation pushes back DST switchover

John PM Chappell

Re: The Chile Zone: Meat-Based, No Beans

"*Zulu time defines the baseline as the time “Zulu” was shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day 1980, that being stated as 00:00:00 Zulu time."

I realize (hope?) you were probably joking, but just for clarity of readers who might not know better, this is not the case. It is most likely based on Sandford Fleming's system, but in any case came from making official already existing usage in the armed forced of NATO, specifically the two most important (in practice) the UK and the USA.

Z (Zulu, from the NATO phonetic alphabet) is UTC (Historically, UT1/GMT), A through M (J - Juliet is skipped) are positive offsets (UTC+1, ... UTC+12), N through Y are negative offsets starting with UTC-1. Twenty-five letters used, one for each offset, and one for UTC itself.

Aviation exclusively uses it (UTC) in communication, to ensure nobody is confused about timing.

Terminal downgrade saves the day after a client/server heist

John PM Chappell

Seriously underrated comment :)

Xcel smart thermostat users lose their cool after power company locks them out

John PM Chappell

Re: "I'll let my badly-insulated apartment reach 82ºF (28ºC) but there are no people"

Also in Texas here. People in the UK have no clue about the climate here. I know. I'm originally from Scotland.

Getting off the plane, when I first came to Texas, the heat hit me like a wave, I stripped down to my tee shirt and asked my then fiancée if it was far to the car. It was nighttime, in November. The temperature was mid-seventies.

After about a month, I had acclimated, for the most part, to the point where locals putting on coats because it was sixty-something did not seem ridiculous to me anymore. The humidity is what make it unpleasant, for the most part - I'd spent time in Arizona years before and very much enjoyed the climate. I was there in summer, with daytime temperatures regularly approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Voyager 1 data corrupted by onboard computer that 'stopped working years ago'

John PM Chappell

Re: AACS Acronym definition incorrect?

There is not 'altitude' without a gorund reference. Altitude is a flight thing, this is a spacecraft. Attitude is what matters - I.E. Where is it pointing? This is also a thing planes worry about and have controls for. You may be confused because attitude, to a large degree, is how you change altitude, but the control surfaces actually change attitude. (V'Ger uses thrusters, because - space).

Google Maps, search results to point women to actual abortion providers

John PM Chappell

Take your frog pills.

You're off your meds again, aren't you?

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything

John PM Chappell


Scrivener is good, and it does more than novels. It is, however, essentially focussed on creative writing and related media (screen writing, for example), rather than being a simple text editor with outlining.

It would cover, I think, what you want, but there is a lot of other stuff you absolutely don't need. It covers that because, as for you, a novelist / screenwriter / etc is not concerned with details of font and format per se, but with proper outline. The text is then submitted to a publisher, usually, who will handle those details, typically in several different versions (large text edition, paperback, etc).

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up

John PM Chappell

Electric kettles

"Presumably your electric kettle has to run off a different circuit to your other appliances though, and does not run on 110V?"

No, regular outlet. They cannot make them as powerful as a British (or most other places) one (potentially could be), though, because as we surely all know W=IV, and they're starting with V less than half the value of the UK mains.

In practice, US home wiring is up to the job of running home appliances (well, they'll work, at any rate ... I have my own opinions on the quality of the parts used and relative sanity of the whole setup).

Psst … Want to buy a used IBM Selectric? No questions asked

John PM Chappell

Re: IBM Selectric Terminals

You, sir, are a legend! Well done. Good article, too.

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

John PM Chappell

Likewise, though I did not personally witness it, was just made aware after the fact and got the details from those who were actually on site.

Legally speaking, it falls under "knowingly" which tends to get a much more severe response from a court than "recklessly", since you clearly knew you should not have done it.

SCOTUS judges 'doxxed' after overturning Roe v Wade

John PM Chappell

Re: This data storage thing..

Came here to say exactly that. I agree with the sentiment of those horrified by the implications, but the ruling was questionable when it was made, and it's been a *long* time since it was made, during which time successive Democrat administrations (the party most likely to put through legislation making it a legal right) have absolutely nothing to cement that decision.

This situation was not only inevitable, it was actually long overdue and the 'strict' interpretation doctrine has implications for far more than this particular situation. I happen to agree that they should indeed be making narrow interpretations of the text and ruling accordingly, even though I also agree it is no business of the state's who has an abortion (in general).

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

John PM Chappell

Re: I don't believe it!

Doing anything unauthorized on a TS system is likely to result in, at minimum, reduction in rank, and very easily can result in doing hard time for the duration, possibly followed by more time once kicked to civvy street. If you're not aware of this, fair enough, but in that case avoid commenting on things you're ignorant of.

Any fool can write a language: It takes compilers to save the world

John PM Chappell
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/Wall /WX

Completely agree. I compile with all warnings on and "treat warnings as errors"; those warnings almost always do warrant some attention, either in improved, or more explicit code and the truly harmless ones, where you really do mean what was coded (and no, it is not a problem) can be dealt with on a case by case basis, with a #pragma or similar.

@Loyal Commenter - totally agree with your sentiment, too.

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it

John PM Chappell

Re: Been there, done that, tipped the swear jar

It should indeed.

ARPANET pioneer Jack Haverty says the internet was never finished

John PM Chappell

Re: It shouldn’t be completed

No, it doesn't care because that's not "the internet", that's just your local device and network access method, your local network (even if that is actually an ISP you connect to, in whatever way) then connects to "the internet" (backbone network) and from that you can access anything else that is publicly accesible from "the internet".

To put it another way; there is only one way to "access the internet" and that is to implement a TCP/IP stack on a device that can communicate with "the internet". All those "access methods" you're talking about are ways for your end devices to connect to other devices that, can themselves ultimately connect to the backbone devices. They don't connect you to "the internet" per se, they connect to another device, which may or may not be networked itself, and so on, and so on. "The internet" was not designed as some monolith that you connected to in a certain was, indeed as 'jake' has implied several times, it's debatable it was really designed, so much as thrown together and played with, then left standing to play with some more. It's fundamentally a collection networks, with their own topologies, devices, standards and so on, that also connect to other networks - which they do with TCP/IP.

This used to be much more visible when local networking used protocols that were not TCP/IP and only used TCP/IP to reach "the internet". Those days are not all that far away for PC users, where IPX/SPX, for example, was quite common.

140,000-plus drivers sent $60m in compensation checks after Amazon 'stole their tips'

John PM Chappell

Re: Alms

Just FYI, you're being downvoted because that is false and a well-known "backronym". Abbreviations are modern, generally nothing before 20th C, tips are (relatively) ancient. If a word existed before the mid or at best early 20th C, it was not an acronym, ever, basically.

Google's 'Be Evil' business transformation is complete: Time for the end game

John PM Chappell
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Re: Wishful thinking

Yes it does. Have used for years and it's running right now in my Chrome installations.

So the data centre's 'getting a little hot' – at 57°C, that's quite the understatement

John PM Chappell

Re: Speaking as a rational human being

Firemen use water or something more appropriate in their judgement (based on what may be present) on vehicle fires because it is a *vehicle*, I.E. Not wired up to mains electrical supply. They would not thank anyone for a real risk of electrocution that comes from inappropriately using water on electrical equipment wired to a mains supply.

John PM Chappell
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Re: I once had to do something similar in a Skoda...

Exact same thing, even down to the A road going dual-single-dual, on a warm day, in a Skoda.

I was young at the time (hence a Skoda - was a gift from my parents who figured that if I were going to crash something, it may as well be something cheap) so no direct experience, but luckily I did (and do) understand some basic physical realities, and I had the "brainwave" of doing exactly what you did.

Passenger and I were not exactly thrilled with hot air being blasted at our faces, on a hot day, but it beat breaking downing in nose-to-tail traffic and a few hours later we arrived at our destination, a little sweatier than we'd have liked but with a working vehicle. :)

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland

John PM Chappell

Re: Holy Progress

Close but the actual wording is "naught in my sight" (as in, nothing, not worthy of notice) not naughty ;)

Boston Dynamics spends months training its Atlas robots to perform one minute of parkour almost perfectly

John PM Chappell
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Re: When you can train it to do the housework....

That was genius. Narrowly avoided owing me a new keyboard! ;)

Russia spoofed AIS data to fake British warship's course days before Crimea guns showdown

John PM Chappell

Re: Old style skills

Aye, turns out "sailors" actually being able to sail, is rather more important than being able to read a screen and follow a pretty plot. Who knew?

Tech contractor loses IR35 tribunal appeal: 'Right' to substitute didn't mean he could, say judges

John PM Chappell

I see those who've never worked a day in their lives as a contractor are as clueless and irrationally envious as ever.

This case is a mess, and not a typical example. It went the distance because it does seem like the guy was, to all intents and purposes, functionally an employee and not a freelance contractor.

If he and his legal advice feel they still have a case for disagreeing (legally provable case, not just disagreeing with the result), no doubt it will be pursued.

For those of you who have never contracted, please educate yourself a little - contractors are responsible for all their own costs and benefits, the rate of pay demanded reflects that along with compensating for the insecurity of the position, and base value of the services offered.

If you really think it's easy and a tax dodge, quit your job, set up a "fake" Ltd, employ yourself, your wife and your dog, and go make the millions you think are on offer and that you're worth. Otherwise, do shut up about how unfair it is people with a different contract to you are paid differently.

Google will make you use two-step verification to login

John PM Chappell
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You, sir, are a gent.

That is all :)

Someone defeated the anti-crypto-coin-mining protection for Nvidia's 'gamers only' RTX 3060 ... It was Nvidia

John PM Chappell

Re: Gamers also have to contend with bots and scalpers looking to make a profit

If you're serious, I have a couple of old AMD GPUs sitting in a box. RX 480/580.

GitLab latest to ditch 'master' as default initial branch name: It's now simply called 'main'

John PM Chappell
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Re: Information?

Actual etymology completely contradicts you. The word (phrase, really) doesn't appear until the early 20th C, in print, but there are attestations that it was in common use, especially with Jazz musicians, at least a decade, probably a couple, before then.

Its roots are in no way related to slavery or racism, and the laughable attempts to link it to them show the difference between actual research, based on data and knowledge of language, and people who think that if a word sounds similar, it is the same thing.

I am calling B.S. on your police story, too. Police officers would only be disciplined if being intentionally offensive, and even there, we all know very well it has to be both a big deal, and public enough that they are forced to act. Police do a rough job, and frequently do use rough language, for which they face no repercussions (nor should they, typically). Nitty-gritty is not even remotely in the ballpark for that.

Parler games: Social network for internet rejects sues Amazon Web Services for pulling plug on hosting

John PM Chappell

Re: Disgraceful

'The militia' not 'militias' (a modern term, which pluralizes an already plural term) - the militia is composed of all able-bodied men. At that the time, that essentially meant literally males, though the term men has wider meaning and did so then, also (and practically speaking many of those women were perfectly capable and willing to take up arms too).

The revisionism is in trying to claim this was some sort of "state militia", which is never mentioned and which did not exist at the time of the amendment. It's also worth remembering that the main objection to the amendment was that it was unnecessary, as lawmakers of the time thought it was a foregone conclusion that a free people would obviously be free to bear arms. Funny how that looks in hindsight.

Election security fears doused with reality: Top officials say Nov 3 'was the most secure in American history.' The end

John PM Chappell

Re: When it is all said and done...

I suspect a lot more people split their ticket this year - voting Biden for the presidential race, but Republican local candidates for state and county races. The Senate and House races certainly seem to bear that out, so far.

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it

John PM Chappell

Re: If Bill Gates has the technology to implant chips to control people's behavior

Not sure if serious ...

Now Nvidia's monster GeForce RTX 3090 cards snaffled up by bots, scalpers – if only there had been a warning

John PM Chappell

Re: Hefty price

Short answer - very different technologies and issues.

Longer answer: the frames have motion blurring, to make motion appear smoother.

Long answer: research the question on a search engine of your choice - monitors displaying a computer video image are very different to film/TV images displayed on a projection screen or TV, and how the human eyes perceived motion is affected by a lot of things including ambient light levels and the overall brightness and specific colours in the images. Our eyeballs do not have a "FPS" limit, and neither do our brains.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

John PM Chappell

Re: Doric columns

Aye, a famous feature of the North-East is wh realized as /f/ or /fw/.

Sun welcomes vampire dating website company: Arrgh! No! It burns! It buuurrrrnsss!

John PM Chappell

Re: This was a customer, not an interview...


Amazon's coronavirus symptoms: Swelling of the profit, large sales deposits, insatiable demand

John PM Chappell

Re: "I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to our employees around the globe"

Based on what? As I said above, AMZN actually treats workers pretty well. I, personally, would not want to work in one of their Fulfilment Centers, but then I would not really want to work in any kind of warehousing role, to be honest.

John PM Chappell

Re: Mega profits, good

While Amazon definitely asks a lot of some employees (Fulfilment Center work is no joke, though those I have spoken to who worked it all said they actually enjoyed it), it can't be criticized too hard on pay and conditions at all - pay is quite good, especially for those in states with relatively low minimum wages (AMZN has $15 as the minimum right now, and actually applied uplifts of a few dollars during peak periods through the COVID-19 spikes). It's also making very heavy use of remote workers right now and apparently plans to keep on many of those it took on as "Seasonal" when it had to shift gears and lean on WFH rather than traditional CC personnel.

No company is perfect, and AMZN can be criticized on various things, including its aggressive policies toward competitors in a product category, but on the whole, how it pays workers is not one of those things.

P.S. They also are distributing bonuses throughout the company, including all its frontline workers (seasonal as well), for the work they have done during the recent spike in sales.

Venerable text editor GNU Nano reaches version 5.0 and adds the modern frippery that is scrollbars

John PM Chappell

Re: Sort of nano fan

I use it for editing config files, and that's about it. For anything else there are just better tools, pretty much regardless of the system.

John PM Chappell


I used it back in the day, on a machine name I forget (had a W in it, as I recall). School had rooms of these things - green screen, with their own diskette standard (nice captive market there for the school shop).

All I actually remember using it for was occasional small bits of homework (I seem to recall there being a more full-featured WP thingy for serious work) and writing up stuff to do with WH40K.

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

John PM Chappell

Re: Lying Sack of Trump

Essentially a shoo-in (that's the spelling by the way, it's a horse-racing term), but technically might face some opposition. It's possible but unlikely for a party to withdraw its support of their previous candidate when he stands again for another term.

John PM Chappell

Re: Eugenics - Sometimes a good decision - is what I think.

"My recorded IQ is 143. Top 1.5% or thereabouts on the PLANET if I remember correctly."

You don't remember correctly, and we don't believe you, anyway. Happy to help with that.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

John PM Chappell

Re: Ah IT 'managers'

I own that book, too :)

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

John PM Chappell

Re: AMD Dreams

"The big gain in the move to x86_64 was the ability to directly address more than 4G of RAM. At the time ('05?) that was becoming important."

No. It was already and had been for a long time, possible to do that. Address lines rarely map directly to the the instruction size (they don't for the AMD64 current architecture, either) and physical memory addressing is orthogonal to instruction size. There is no "4G (sic)" limit. It's true that you need more than 32 bits for a memory address higher than 4 GiB but that's actually nothing to do with the processor's instruction size - 32 bit processors were addressing more than that long before people were worrying about it being a problem. PAE was the standard that addressed it, and it dates to 1995 (Pentium Pro), it also was directly extended to form the standard for memory addressing used in the AMD64 architecture.

You may be confusing the issue with a Microsoft *licensing* decision to begin restricting 32 bit MS desktop OSes from addressing memory at addresses higher than 4 GiB. A detailed analysis of that can be found here https://www.geoffchappell.com/notes/windows/license/memory.htm (no relation, as far as I know).

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

John PM Chappell

Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

Are you aware that you're quite wrong? I would have been gentler, but you chose to put yourself out there by seeking to correct someone else, and being in error as follows:

Oxford comma is not 'traditional' nor 'more traditional' (whatever that is supposed to mean). It's an innovation, and was assumed by many readers to be "an American thing", outside academics who were familiar with it from dealing with OUP.

American English makes exclusive use of -ze, even where it does not belong per the academic rule for its use. The 'modernization' was actually a 'fad' and is, in fact, the use of -ise over -ize (to look more 'French'). Incorrect is the use of zed in some -ise words, and any -yse words, full treatment of that topic being beyond the scope of a quick correction (and handled in detail online in several locations).

The OED is merely *one* dictionary of English, albeit my preferred tome, and it actually discusses both topic but does not prescribe -ize or 'Oxford comma'. It can't, after all, since they are, at this point, merely questions of style and there *no* language authority for English (for better or worse).

Legibility studies say it actually makes no difference, at all. We're basically in agreement, there.