* Posts by Christoph

3173 posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

Mountains on neutron stars are not even a millimetre tall due to extreme gravity


Re: "extreme gravitational fields"

As explained in "Neutron Star" by Larry Niven

Microsoft solicits Clippy comeback – later reveals it had already decided to bring back the peppy paperclip


When they made it possible to write your own animations for clippy, I didn't see any at all. No alternative graphics, no joke graphics, not even any pornographic ones!. Nobody at all was interested in the slightest.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame


"productivity sinks. (social media namely, but we do block youtube for some groups of employees.)"

I trust you also block TVTropes?

Where's the boss? Ah right, thorough deep-dive audit. On the boardroom table. Gotcha


Focus on the camera, mobile devs: 48MP shooters about to become the sweet spot


Re: Why the obsession with MP?

What happens to those photos? Is that resolution ever used?

Most of those 50MP photos will be looked at on a small screen or uploaded to a web page. The huge resolution is pointless.

British minister claims technology makes maritime cannibalism obsolete


"an established “custom of the sea” "

As explained by no less than Sir William Schwenck Gilbert


Re: Have we learned nothing?

Just a modest proposal.

Romance in 2021: Using creepware to keep tabs on your partner or ex. Aww


"In the US, men are three times as likely as women to use spyware to monitor their current partner or an ex."

I've seen stories that a lot of women will check on a possible partner online in case he is dangerous. Just where you draw the line between that and cyberstalking is ... probably multiple different answers depending on who you ask. But a man doing the same thing might well be accused of stalking.

Lego bricks, upcycled iPhone lenses used in new low-cost, high-res microscope


Re: Brilliant

Yes Please! The Streisand effect will get these things everywhere!

Calendly’s new logo perceived as either bog-standard or kind of crappy


I would like to propose a new quiz show. You take a stack of company logos plus the descriptions by the design companies of what the logos mean, and you jumble them up. Contestants have to identify which description goes with which logo.

UK tells UN that nation-states should retaliate against cyber badness with no warning


If those rascally foreigners dare to attack us with their dreadful illegal offensive hacking teams, we will use our highly trained offensive hacking teams to punish the blighters!

UK Special Forces soldiers' personal data was floating around WhatsApp in a leaked Army spreadsheet


"the practice of sharing newly promoted people’s personal details in a spreadsheet accessible by the entire 80,000-strong British Army was routine"

A secret that is shared among 80,000 people is not a secret.


Re: "Who is General Fskup" ?

He might get a boot in the Private Parts

UK data regulator fines American Express up to 0.021p per email after opted-out folk spammed 4.1 million times


Re: Pathetic waste of time

Well with a bit of luck they will find themselves generally referred to as SPAMex.

Google Docs users, you are on notice: Code rewrite may break browser extensions



How well will this new rendering work with screen readers for people with poor vision?

Not so fast, SpaceX: $3bn NASA Moon landing contract blocked by rivals' gripes



On the 100th anniversary of the opening of the case, new developments have made SpaceX optimistic that a resolution can finally be reached and the USA can soon establish its own lunar base to join those run by China, Russia, India, the EU, Brazil, Australia, and Saudi Arabia.

Not only were half of an AI text adventure generator's sessions NSFW but some involved depictions of sex with children



"An innocuous text input describing four watermelons, for example, upset the filter."

> You say "I'd like to buy four candles pls."

Helsinki Syndrome: Ubuntu utterly fails to boot on metro


When they work those screens are brilliant

Those screens usually show a large clear scrolling image of the line and stations so you can tell at a glance exactly where you are.. Far better than UK trains. But of course in the UK they would be vandalised on their first journey.

NASA comes up with COVID-19 infection detector that's out of this world – E-Nose built from space station gear


So they are spending lots of money and effort to try to reproduce what can be done far easier and cheaper using dogs?

NIH syndrome?


Docking £500k commission from top SAS salesman was perfectly legal, rules judge


If you're looking for a sales job, don't go to work for SAS.

If you already work for them, don't bother going after the big contracts.

We have never given census data to anyone – not even the spy agencies, says the UK's Office for National Statistics


For the last census the data was sent to the USA for processing. So the NSA have a complete copy of the raw data.

I have, obviously, no evidence for this. But given their known record it would be ludicrous to suppose that they did not grab that data.

Seagate claims it shipped its third zettabyte of storage in record time


Re: Easy to remember?

Except the ones who spell it EZ

Wi-Fi devices set to become object sensors by 2024 under planned 802.11bf standard


Stalker's dream

As I understand this story, it implies that a stalker who can somehow get access to a victim's Wi-Fi will be able to prove to their victim that they know exactly what they are doing all the time. It's an obvious extension of things they already do such as planting tracking devices on cars. Many victims will be completely non-technical and have no idea how this is happening.

I don't give a shit what fancy applications can be enabled by this tech - if it enables this it is completely unacceptable.

Not that this will stop it of course - the police forces will insist on being able to do the same thing.

Ticker tape and a binary message: Bank of England's new Alan Turing £50 must be the nerdiest banknote ever


I have seen a £50 note. Once. In a shop window. In Toronto.

Global tat supply line clogged as Suez Canal authorities come to aid of wedged 18-brontosaurus container ship


The real cause

I've seen claims that they were speeding and overtaking other ships. Claims that it was the wind. Claims of engine failure.

What actually happened was that they broke the floggle-toggle, and the resulting emergency command of "Left hand down a bit!" ran them into the bank.

The Roaring Twenties: Future foreign policy will rely on rejuvenated 'cyber' sector, UK government claims


Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

"Britain could use nuclear weapons against a state that threatens to inflict a devastating cyber or biological attack,"

The only place for someone who seriously contemplates that is a padded cell.

Splunk junks 'hanging' processes, suggests you don't 'hit' a key: More peaceful words now preferred in docs


Grandfathered Exempt Gendered language, racist

The term Grandfathered refers to a specific reason for exemption, using the general term obscures this.

And has anyone told the French that gendered language is a bad thing so they are required to rewrite their entire language?

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?


Get into work, check that the lines to the subsidiary offices are OK. Nope, one of the cards is dead, no lights showing.

Phone that office, ask the switchboard to put me through to the computer room.

"Sorry, we can't transfer calls at the moment, we've had a power cut"

"Ah thanks, that answers the question I was about to ask!"

Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin


Do not buy Betamax

(see title)

This scumbag stole and traded victims' nude pics and vids after guessing their passwords, security answers


Re: If you don't want people to see you in your birthday suit

Unfortunately bad people exist. And bugs in software exist. Yes, you should be able to store whatever you want on your private account. Yes, it ought to be safe there. But just as you have to have high-security locks on your house if you live somewhere there's lots of burglars even though you should be able to leave it open if you want, if you store your photos on the net then you've put them somewhere there are a lot of hackers. The only way to be certain something isn't stolen off the public net is to not put it on there. Saying it's victim blaming doesn't change the fact that there are some extremely nasty people out there.

Web prank horror: Man shot dead while pretending to rob someone at knife-point for a YouTube video


Re: Pretty much had to happen some day

If two people are coming at you and several other people with butcher knives, you don't pause and say "Excuse me, would you perhaps like to reconsider?" Apart from all other considerations, it gives them time to hide behind a hostage. All sorts of things could go wrong. You can't give consideration of their lives over and above the lives of the people they are attacking without cause.


It doesn't even need a gun

Quite beside the number of USAians who never go anywhere without a gun, there are lots of military veterans around.

Would anyone fancy trying this kind of prank on a US Marine who has just returned from active deployment?


It's OK to traumatise adults?

Youtube has decided to ban videos "that create serious emotional distress in minors."

Implying that they are perfectly OK with videos that create serious emotional distress in adults?

Adults who might already be suffering problems, who might be severely traumatised by such treatment.

Someone tried to poison a Florida city by hijacking its water treatment plant via TeamViewer, says sheriff


You really need to watch out for these terrible hackers, or they might poison the water supply for an entire city!

Oh no, sorry, that was Republicans.


Re: Internet of Shit

Yes, if that happened the shit would really hit the fan.

Ring, Ring, why don't you give me a call? Amazon-owned doorbells aren’t answering after large-scale outage


Why connect to the internet at all for something that must work reliably locally, and which has confidential information that you don't want Bezos or Zuckerberg to see?

Much the same functionality could be created in local kit, probably run off a Pi. Video storage? Terabytes are cheap these days.

The only need for connection is if you want (by your choice) to let PC Plod see the video feed, or if you want to connect via your phone when on holiday.

Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one


Good luck trying to type your email address based on one of these TLDs into a site that validates the address and hasn't bothered to add all the .spam variations to its validation list.

Top engineer who stole trade secrets from Google's self-driving division pardoned on Trump's last day as president


Re: Colour me surprised

I was expecting him to pardon Benedict Arnold, just to piss everyone off by showing that he could.

Labour Party urges UK data watchdog to update its Code of Employment Practices to tackle workplace snooping


"The call for more regulation of workplace surveillance comes after recent reports of new gadgets designed to tell bosses whether their toiling underlings are happy or sad."

Trivially easy. You put this kind of monitoring in place and all the employees are sad.

Flash in the pan: Raspberry Pi OS is the latest platform to carve out vulnerable tech


The Epsoms had a neat feature - you could tell them to print out the hex codes of what they were sent, so you could debug output. I remember doing that for an engineer who was trying to sort out something on the Wang mini-computer in the computer room.

UK Space ponders going nuclear with Rolls-Royce: Hopes are to slice the time it takes for space travel


No, you use the sun to pump lasers or masers which send the power to the ship.


Re: Project Orion anybody???

You can't use Orion anywhere in the vicinity of an inhabited planet - and certainly not for taking off from it.

And do you really want a small crew to have control of that many physics packages?

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'


I had a call that a web sales site had started giving weird errors. Got the client to send me their copy of the files, and found that:

1> They'd added a call to an exterior function that was somehow trashing the login cookie.

2> Someone had hashed out the line that checked that the cookie was still present (and kicked you back to the login screen if it wasn't) immediately before the call to the very complex SQL stored procedure that did all the charging.

At a guess they'd put in the exterior call, got fed up with going to the login screen, took out the line that did that, ...


Re: ~/.procmailrc

Done that with the very first program I ever wrote. The program itself was fine. But I was punching my own cards from the coding form rather than sending it in to the punch girls (yes, 'girls' - this was the 60s). I managed to try to send output to LPO instead of LP0.

Brexit freezes 81,000 UK-registered .eu domains – and you've all got three months to get them back


How about virtual citizenship?

"or proving their citizenship of a Union Member State irrespective of their residence"

I wonder if one of those Estonian virtual citizenships would count?

Trump administration says Russia behind SolarWinds hack. Trump himself begs to differ


Why can't they check whether it was the Russians hacking into their systems by looking for clues in all the information that NSA has hacked from the Russian systems?

Whistleblowers have come to us alleging spy agency wrongdoing, says UK auditor IPCO


an MI6 spy “engaged in serious crime overseas”

No longer a problem, they are passing laws that let them authorise their crimes.

Dutch officials say Donald Trump really did protect his Twitter account with MAGA2020! password


The combination on his luggage is 1 2 3 4 5

UK Ministry of Defence: We won't prosecute bug bounty hunters – oh btw, we now have one of those


Re: Seems a bit... pointless?

That was my thought as well. GCHQ get a nice list of anyone who is good at net penetration. Some they keep an eye on, some they recruit (possibly giving them a choice on whether they want to be recruited).

How'd they do that? It's classified: Microsoft's Azure cloud goes Top Secret


"a new cloud to serve customers dealing with Top Secret classified data."

We're on a Top Secret cloud so everything is secure, so we can relax a bit on our own security.

Well, actually, we've relaxed quite a lot because it makes things easier.

Oh look, someone has found one tiny flaw in the cloud security and swiped everything on it.


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