* Posts by Paul Crawford

4261 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: The thing that they do

And if they want to use Linux and sell to HPC uses that rely on Linux they have to abide by the GPL, etc.

Or tell the HPC crowd to use Windows, and see how well that sells.

Paul Crawford Silver badge

But you get a free sandwich!

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

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Re: Modern

And it also hands all of your intellectual property discussions to an overseas company beholden to the USA gov laws, and allows them to dick around with the UI and T&Cs as they please.

What, you can just change supplier? Er. going back to your own system won't be possible as that boat long will have since sailed and if you look at moving to, say, Google, you find they are worse.

UK intel committee on Russia: Social media firms should remove state disinformation. What was that, MI5? ████████?

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Re: What the..

Won't they just Alex Salmond to comment on his RT show?

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

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Re: Hard to say goodbye

I remember being in the "top deck" on a Japan Air 747 flight to Tokyo in the late 80s - I think they put all of the English speakers up there at that time as I was not flying business class!

But in recent years I loath flying and it is practically my last-resort means of transport.

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Interesting Wing Arrangement (article image)

Or remember that terrible lament of every gentleman: "There is no red port left!"

The Devil's in the details: Church of Satan forced to clarify that no unholy rituals taking place in SoCal forest

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But only by those who do not know how to clap with one hand.

The ninja turtles are OK then...

When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

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Re: Serious question from a non Unix person

While it seems like a liability in some cases (i.e. you can remove the directory entry of an in-use file) it also is the reason that UNIX like systems can do updates with far less reboots and trouble compared to Windows (that will not all this on an in-use file).

The typical approach in UNIX is you write out the new files to something like 'foo.tmp', sync the file system so it if fully committed to disk, then rename 'foo.tmp' to 'foo' which is an atomic operation (and works in the same way that removing a in-use file works - on the directory mapping to inode, not on the actual file contents). Thus any process will only ever see the old file (via an already-open handle) or new file but even if a system crash occurs around that time, never an in-modification file.

Of course any running process using the old 'foo' won't be updated but many processes and background daemons can simply be restarted (or are short lived) and the new version is now in use without disrupting anything else.

Doing the kernel is trickier as it has to be rebooted for a new kernel image, but some Linux distros support in-use kernel patching by other means.

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Oh, the joys of dd!

Which is why dd is nicknamed 'destroy data'

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

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Re: Good and bad

Communion wine? Or am I barking up the wrong ecumenical tree?

Huawei to sling Google-free mid-range P40 Lite 5G at British shores this summer

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Re: A hard sell ?

Probably the CCP is less likely to whore your data to world+dog

UK takes a step closer to domestic launches as Skyrora fires up Skylark-L

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To be fair, I'm sure high-test peroxide is quite a good anti-viral agent

Cyber attack against UK power grid middleman Elexon sparks in-house IT recovery efforts

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Re: What ?

Or maybe, just filter email to strip/scan attachments and links?

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

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Re: Also Microsoft

Bush Jr? He even makes Richard Nixon look like an honest gentleman.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

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Re: Huawei

Only if the telegrams are not end-to-end encrypted.

Oh wait, that is going to be made illegal by dumb politicians, isnt it?

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Elon Musk isn't helping, is he

Sadly Starlink will not be all at very low orbit, the ones at 1300km (and thier inevitable debris) will be hanging around for many centuries.

Quick Q: Er, why is the Moon emitting carbon? And does this mean it wasn't formed from Theia hitting Earth?

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Tsk! It is from burned cheese for making toasties too hot!

Latvian drone wrests control from human overlords and shuts down entire nation's skies

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Re: WTF?

Wow, all the way to China!

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

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Re: The higher the frequency, the greater the energy

I have been preserving my essence. Keeping my precious bodily fluids pure by only drinking vodka!

We can't allow a vodka-drinking gap to develop sir!

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: The higher the frequency, the greater the energy

Yesterday I stood outside and was subjected to the best part of 1kW/m^2 of radiation! And at much higher frequencies!

Will I mutate?

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Haircuts

I now look like a punk drummer after a self-inflicted trim with a small sheep-shearer style implement..

Shame I can't actually drum!

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Paul Crawford Silver badge

It is down to stupidity or Machiavellian plans?

Sadly it could be both :(

Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

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Clearly this judge has used WebEx before and knows how crap it is!

Just because we're letting Zoom into Parliament doesn't mean you can have fun, House of Commons warns Brit MPs

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Maybe it is the version of Firefox, but it told me I had to install Chrome. I told them fsck off

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Zoom seems to work, but it needs the crap of a exe running on your Windows box, otherwise painless. Security doubtful, owned by Chinese.

MS teams is crap, while it offers a web browser mode it only works with Chrome (Edge does not count as another browser, it is Chrome). How come a company the size of MS can't make a system that actually works on many browsers like, say, Zoho can? Security maybe better, but USA jurisdiction.

20 years deep into a '2-year' mission: How ESA keeps Cluster flying

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Threat to Earth's atmosphere?

Surely at that point it will be Cluster's last stand ?

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct

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Re: Spirograph


Quantum computing heats up down under as researchers reckon they know how to cut costs and improve stability

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When it can work with a nice hot cup of tea then we are making real progress!

What, there are two mice asking to see me?

Signal sends smoke, er, signal: If Congress cripples anonymous speech with EARN IT Act, we'll shut US ops

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: I think it would be rather splendid

Senator: "Damn you, we want an American solution!"

Staff: "Well sir, you can use WebEx from Cisco"

Senator: "Say boy, how fast can we revoke this bill?"

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You forgot this =>

Some readers might not get it...

French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle

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"strapped a Go-Pro to an approved bulkhead mounting point so the hapless passenger's gurning would be preserved for all time"

That quote cheered me up!

Did they publish the video?

Cisco rations VPNs for staff as strain of 100,000+ home workers hits its network

Paul Crawford Silver badge


Maybe they will fix the dog-turd sucking that is Webex now they are forced to use it for themselves?

You know make it properly cross-platform, make it "just work" using any of the major web browsers, make it do all of the checks needed before the fsking start of the meeting so you don't have to install some new crap plug-in that needs admin privileges that you don't necessarily have for your work laptop during the first 10 minutes, etc, etc.

Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you're in virus isolation, you stay there

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No they just miss the ball & chain from transportation...

Yeah, that Zoom app you're trusting with work chatter? It lives with 'vampires feeding on the blood of human data'

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: What are the alternatives?

We are going to try Zoho for this. Not sure it is perfect but maybe worth looking at. Main attraction is it appears to work cross-platform and from a web browser (that can be other than chrome).

What happens when the maintainer of a JS library downloaded 26m times a week goes to prison for killing someone with a motorbike? Core-js just found out

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Re: Zloirock

Tsk, the second monitor is for displaying your porn preference of yesterday!

Forget toilet roll, bandwidth is the new ration: Amazon, YouTube also degrade video in Europe to keep 'net running amid coronavirus crunch

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Bandwidth like Bank Reserves?

As already mentioned, it comes down to cost and typical usage.

If you absolutely want a 100Mbit uncontended link you can have one, many providers will do so, but be prepared to pay at least £500/month.

Firefox to burn FTP out of its browser, starting slowly in version 77 due in April

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Re: No need for ftp in a browser.

it would free up Moz engineers for other projects

Really? Just how much time do you think they spend on ftp-related code?

Supply, demand and a scary mountain of debt: The challenges facing IT as COVID-19 grips the global economy

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Well, at least i now understand why supermarkets have no loo roll...

Only if you try and use it twice...

European electric vehicle sales surged in Q4 2019 but only accounted for wafer-thin slice of total car purchases

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Re: Range & Time for a FULL charge

The UK domestic supply is typically 100A max at 230V which is 23kW. Many homes have 80A or 63A fuses instead.

Most of the supply grid was built on the assumption that no domestic customer can draw full power for more than a short time, and usually not all at the same time. Rewiring and upgrading transformers on that is going to cost a lot!

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

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Do you know my safeword?

Australia down for scheduled maintenance: No talking to Voyager 2 for 11 months

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Re: S-band uplink

I think the limitation is on the use of the 400kW power amplifier, not the antenna. If it were me, I would be afraid of an accidental misconfiguration or oscillating amplifier pumping out the full 400kW at low elevation even when the modem was supposedly configured for 20kW or less.

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: S-band uplink

Very approximately, the power density from that antenna if you are behind the feed is never much more than around 104 W/m^2 which is high, but only about twice the generally regarded safe limit for human exposure at S-band of around 50 W/m^2 (compared to about 1kW/m^2 for full sunlight). Basically the 400kW from the feed is spread over the 70m diameter antenna's 3848m^2 area moderately evenly, then reflected back towards the satellite.

But that sort of power density will extend a long way out, and is very much higher than would be considered a normal test for any aircraft electronics system!

Paul Crawford Silver badge

S-band uplink

The '43' antenna in Australia is special in that is has an optional 400kW S-band high power amplifier, instead of the usual 20kW. A note from the manual (70-m Subnet Telecommunications Interfaces) states:

400kW Power Amplifier

2110 to 2118 MHz Only available at DSS-43. Cannot be used above 100 kW without special airspace coordination. No operation below 17 degrees elevation is allowed, no matter what the power is.

It is uncommon to see general HPA efficiencies above around 40% so they are looking at around 1MW of AC input power just for that amplifier when in use. The smaller 34m dish could be used, in theory, but they would need about 1.6MW of RF power, so around 4MW input AC to run it. And of course the RF route would have to survive 1.6MW without anything flashing over!

Don't be fooled, experts warn, America's anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: No rest for the wicked

There was a big difference though, in the early days (probably up to the 70s) it was financially infeasible to tap everyone's communications so the spooks had to be selective (i.e. thousands of target, not billions) in what they looked for and recorded, and at that point a judge's warrant was perfectly in keeping with doing so.

Today the technology to hoover up all information and cross-reference it in a database, along with voice-to-text conversion, means the only practical thing standing between governments (and large corporations) and their desire for a panopticon on the population is end-to-end (i.e. per device) encryption.

It is 50 years since Blighty began a homegrown and all-too-brief foray into space

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Re: I think they did the right thing

A total 10 year program cost of $150B is less than the USA spends on cosmetics in 4 years. Based on $189.90 per person per year, and presumably they are using 'per person' for adults (about 75% of the 327M today) we get around $46.6B per year. From:


Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Rainbow codenames

For bomb drop testing they would use ones with the explosives replaced with the same weight of cement to allow accuracy of drop, etc, to be tested and allowing the targets to be largely re-used, etc.

They were nick named "Blue Circle" by the RAF!

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Black Prince

Well they are happy to spunk £92M on a report for post-Breit sat-nav after withdrawing funding for other small space-related UK stuff that actually did something useful.


Brit MPs, US senators ramp up pressure on UK.gov to switch off that green-light for Huawei 5G gear

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Re: Trade deal?

I don't know what fudge Johnson has in mind

The fudge tunnel?

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

Paul Crawford Silver badge

That such levels of stupidity and incompetence can be displayed by a supposedly trained pilot is difficult to comprehend

I suspect if you were on a night flight, tired, and then faced with the prospect of a terminal dive you might find it harder than you expect to fully recall your training.

That is not to absolve him for the failing, just to point out that trained wet-ware is not infallible either.

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Good to see the wet-ware doing a splendid job here.

Now what about self flying aircraft under similar scenarios (assuming it is not the aircraft itself that was hacked)...


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