* Posts by John Sturdy

555 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder

John Sturdy
Mushroom

UPS risks

Years (well, decades) ago I went on a tour of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, and was told that the UPS for the 5km telescope was a motor-flywheel-generator set which stored enough energy to shut down the computer centre and park 8 90-ton dishes in a high wind. They reckoned that if the flywheel came off its bearings, it would roll about 25 miles, so it was aimed to have as clear a path between villages as they could arrange.

John Sturdy
FAIL

Make sure you connect the sense wire to the right side

One (large) place where I worked had an automatic diesel generator set (ISO-container sized IIRC) set up to come on automatically on detecting loss of incoming mains, and off again once mains was restored.

I can't remember whether this was on a deliberate test, or a real mains failure, but the first time it detected loss of power and switched itself on... it immediately detected that the power was back, and switched itself off again.

Linus Torvalds tells kernel list poster to 'SHUT THE HELL UP' for saying COVID-19 vaccines create 'new humanoid race'

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Restrained and very appropriately targeted

He very specifically targets the subject matter of the offending message, and not any inherent characteristics of the person who sent it.

No digital equivalent to the impulse aisle found as online grocery shoppers buy fewer sweet treats than in real life

John Sturdy

Re: Fewer online refrigerated purchases?

Or R&D into possible refrigeration mechanisms for vehicle loadspaces?

John Sturdy
Happy

This may be balanced by an increase in the popularity of baking your own cakes!

Australian cops, FBI created backdoored chat app, told crims it was secure – then snooped on 9,000 users' plots

John Sturdy
Joke

Re: Ah......backdoors again...........

From the look of that, I'm going to have to read between the lines.

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: Only Need One

I would find a TV-be-gone enough for me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV-B-Gone

Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 is heading to a channel near you

John Sturdy

Re: Expensive part

About twice the price of a 555 timer.

Congestion or a Christmas cock-up? A Register reader throws himself under the bus

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: PICNIC?

Another IBM part name: IIRC the early PS/2 machines had the power switch round the back, but people complained to IBM about this, and the later versions appeared to have the power switch at the front. In fact the real switch was still at the back, and the control on the front of the machine merely moved a steel rod which poked the real switch. That rod was called the "ferric power transfer bar".

Google employee helped UK government switch from disastrous COVID-19 strategy, according to Dominic Cummings

John Sturdy
Mushroom

Re: Hang on

That may not have been the key realization; taking politicians' primary aim to be re-election, the realization that the people most at risk from Covid were the same people more likely to vote for his party may have been what did it.

Surprise! Developers' days ruined by interruptions and meetings, GitHub finds

John Sturdy

Not just the time taken

It's not just the time the meeting takes, but the effect on the surrounding time... things before the meeting get compressed or dropped or suspended, and after the meeting it takes time to get going again.

Parliament demands to know the score with Fujitsu as Post Office Horizon scandal gets inquiry with legal teeth

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: STOP. GIVING. FUJITSU. GOVERNMENT. CONTRACTS.

If that happens, the incompetent and irresponsible people behind it will move to whoever gets UK public sector contracts after that.

John Sturdy

Re: At last!

And also an investigation in accordance with the last paragraph of https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/book-common-prayer/articles-religion#XXVI and a review of how much background checking is done before acceptance for ordination.

Chinese rocket plunges into Indian Ocean, still lands sharp rebuke from NASA

John Sturdy
Mushroom

Relieved

I had been wondering whether "out of control" was going to end with "Oh dear, it's accidentally landed in the middle of Urumqi."

Glad noone was hurt.

Report: World's population of developers expands, JavaScript reigns, C# overtakes PHP

John Sturdy

Re: Bafflement…

Perhaps things have got so complex that no-one dares remove anything? For a web page, FFS.

Dam it: Beaver ate our internet, says tiny Canadian town of Tumbler Ridge

John Sturdy

Re: Don't forget the smaller cousins....

I was told by a BT installer that part of the reason for using lead for the outer layer of the 2000-pair trunk cables was that it gradually poisoned the rats that gnawed it. Sounds a bit slow-acting to me, though.

OVH services still not fully restored as boss rates ongoing recovery efforts a 'real nightmare'

John Sturdy

Re: DR plans?

On the other hand, they seem to be fairly frank in keeping people informed of their progress, saying it's a "real nightmare" rather than corporate positive messaging. Still, not as good as better risk reduction in the first place.

Belgian police seize 28 tons of cocaine after 'cracking' Sky ECC's chat app encryption

John Sturdy
Holmes

Re: One sub postmaster's story

Or inserted their own person into the dealer network --- probably easier.

Microsoft 365 tries again at filtering swearing, bad behavior: Classifiers for seven languages offered

John Sturdy
Happy

Profane by context

A classicist friend once told me that every Ancient Greek word has three meanings: its literal meaning, the opposite meaning (for ironic use) and a smutty innuendo. I wonder if the filters try to remove *all* the words that could be smutty.

The position of the lioness on the cheesegrater is still a bit of a mystery, but may well get through El Reg's filtering regime.

John Sturdy
WTF?

Perhaps we can learn from the past...

Perhaps we can learn from the past... and revive some Shakespearean insults that it doesn't know about? For its sin’s not accidental, but a trade.

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

John Sturdy

Wasn't that the point of it?

FYI: A smart-speaker box can monitor your heartbeat using high-pitch beeps and a pinch of algorithm – study

John Sturdy
Big Brother

So now they can (and so I assume eventually will) correlate your heart rate with what you're looking at on the web, and use that to target advertising (and available to the authorities should they ask).

We need a 20MW 20,000-GPU-strong machine-learning supercomputer to build EU's planned digital twin of Earth

John Sturdy
Coat

Re: Not again

It does sound to me like there may be an element of what I believe is referred to in the USA as "pork".

In YouTube's world, parental supervision means: 'Everyone sign in to Google, click once, and trust we get it right'

John Sturdy
Facepalm

It could work both ways

The latter possibility means the kids could keep the parents on the strait and narrow.

Microsoft unveils swappable SSDs for Surface Pro 7+ but 'strongly discourages' users from upping their capacity

John Sturdy
FAIL

HP did something similar with QIC tapes

QIC tapes used a hole punched in the tape to mark the end of the tape, and most drives would stop when they reached the hole. Not HP's, though: they had a soft marker written onto the tape by a formatter program, and without that, the drive would wind the tape off the reel. And of course they sold preformatted tapes but didn't release the formatter program.

I think this was soon after they started to go downhill; I remember them releasing moderately crappy printers around the same time (mid/late 80s). I had previously thought of them as a reputable company but they subsequently spun off what had been the good bit to form Agilent.

Xilinx pops a 16-core 64-bit Arm system-on-chip from NXP into its latest FPGA-based 100Gbps smart NIC

John Sturdy
Holmes

Nothing new under the sun

Moving logic into the IO controllers? Just like the mainframe channel controllers (Wikipedia says from 1957 on the IBM709).

How do you fix a problem like open-source security? Google has an idea, though constraints may not go down well

John Sturdy
Holmes

Not everything they do will centre on monetization

I don't get the impression this is about getting them more income... more like worrying about their existing income streams getting broken by a massive production failure, caused by a change to something they import, and leading to paying customers moving away from them.

Today's 'sophisticated cyber attack' victim is the Woodland Trust: Pre-Xmas breach under investigation

John Sturdy
Thumb Down

Sheffield City Council?

Sheffield City Council looking for dirt on people who might object to their plans to cut down lots of healthy trees?

Google AI ethics co-boss locked out of work account while probing controversial ousting of colleague

John Sturdy
WTF?

Re: Stop it, you're killing me!

It had me thinking "gold isn't what it used to be".

Freezing in Newcastle? You're not alone: For one lonesome creature, the world stopped on 31 Dec 2020

John Sturdy
FAIL

Maybe someone forgot the UX testing of the location?

There's some neat hiding of machines in plain sight at Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, where the ticket machines are in a row facing the platform entrances, so you can see them easily when you arrive by train... but not when you arrive on foot looking to buy a ticket and get a train.

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking

John Sturdy
Pirate

Re: Really a robotic chef?

I'd like to see it reprogrammed with recipes and techniques from Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time (see YouTube for some lessons from them).

Android 10 ported to homegrown multi-core RISC-V system-on-chip by Alibaba biz, source code released

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Oh god no

And you need to be trained in de-radicalisation.

John Sturdy
Holmes

So how long before ARM start to licence proprietary designs to interface RISC-V cores to the non-core parts of ARM products? Some way after the tipping point, I suspect, but I wonder whether they will start to prepare for it.

To plug gap left by CentOS, Red Hat amends RHEL dev subscription to allow up to 16 systems in production

John Sturdy
Go

Re: RedHat ... baaaa!

The pattern I'm used to is that corporations choose something in the Red Hat line for the servers, while the developers install something in the Debian group on their development machines.

So switching servers from RH may even reduce development effort.

Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'

John Sturdy
WTF?

Not the provider I would choose for my password manager

A company that appointed a supporter of warrantless wiretapping (Condoleeza Rice) to its board is not going to get to store my password collection.

Be careful where you log into GitHub: Dev visits Iran, opens laptop, gets startup's entire account shut down

John Sturdy
Boffin

A handy thing about distributed version control

SInce git is peer-to-peer, it's easy enough to recover from the loss of what you have been treating as the master copy (provided that people keep their local repos up to date). Something which I hope that git-based service providers remain sharply aware of.

NHS trust launches £60m software procurement to improve staffing efficiency

John Sturdy
Meh

Re: 6 million would probably be enough to do a good job of it, possibly world-wide

Those layers are what I was thinking of when I wrote that such projects "don't aim to employ a sensible-sized team of competent people".

A small focused support team can be helpful to offload the BS tasks from the techies, but keep it small and focused.

John Sturdy
Coat

6 million would probably be enough to do a good job of it, possibly world-wide

You should in principle be able to find 100 competent programmers, who will happily work from home so no office costs, to work on this for a year for 60k each (or for a faster more efficient team, maybe 60 people at 100k each, which might make recruitment easier), probably starting with some of the existing open source hospital software systems and integrating them, and from then on it should mostly be a matter of maintenance and tweaking it for local use. ("in principle", because recruitment actually seems quite slow these days)

But somehow I suspect that projects like this don't aim to employ a sensible-sized team of competent people, or reduce the need for future manglement opportunities.

John Sturdy
Big Brother

At least one part of it sounds rather sinister

Does "access to actionable workforce intelligence" mean "facilities for investigating whistleblowing"?

UK Home Office chucks US firm Leidos £30m for help snooping on comms data

John Sturdy
Big Brother

With the public, for the public

When I see governments using the phrase "protect the public", I'm reminded that the motto of Stalinist Albania's feared Directorate of State Security, the Sigurimi, was "With the public, for the public".

BTW I can highly recommend the museum built in their former headquarters, the House of Leaves http://muzeugjethi.gov.al/?lang=en. Virtual tour available on their website, where you can see the length spies went to before the days of Alexa etc.

Ad blocking made Google throw its toys out of the pram – and now even more control is being taken from us

John Sturdy

Turris Omnia has a blocker

I've recently bought a Turris Omnia router, and that has an optional ad blocker.

I haven't turned the blocker on yet, as I boycott (rather unsystematically) anything I remember having seen advertised at me, so it's nice to let the ads have the opposite of the intended effect (and ad targetting, if effective, means the things I don't buy because I've seen them advertised are likelier to be ones that I otherwise would have bought).

Seagate says it's designed two of its own RISC-V CPU cores – and they'll do more than just control storage drives

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Embedded SQL?

Another project / product in this area was CAFS, the Content Addressable File Store, which searched directly in the drive. I knew someone who had worked on it, who said it used a microcoded processor to do regexp searches as the data passed the heads --- none of this cumbersome "reading it into memory first" stuff.

Cops raid home of ousted data scientist who created her own Florida COVID-19 dashboard

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Probs just standard operating procedure

I didn't see the guns as relevant to suppressing a nominally possibly violent response; surely it's all about the message it sends to those who don't do as the state orders?

As if Productivity Score wasn't creepy enough, Microsoft has patented tech for 'meeting quality monitoring devices'

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Apparently polysomnography is the gold standard for this

I've got an Oura ring, which supposedly works out whether I'm asleep or awake. But https://www.medpagetoday.com/practicemanagement/informationtechnology/78317 suggests it might not be that accurate; so will managers want to connect the managed to lots more shiny equipment to tell whether they are awake, sleeping lightly, or sleeping deeply, in meetings (or at their desks)?

Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic

John Sturdy
Happy

It's all relative

Surely whether a particular meal is substantial is relative to how substantial the person eating it is? Or, as Miss Piggy said, "Never eat more than you can lift."

Watchdog signals Boeing 737 Max jets can return to US skies following software upgrade, pilot training

John Sturdy
Unhappy

Re: How to convince people to get aboard?

Unfortunately, the way many people have flocked into tightly-packed socializing areas, and done whatever they can to get round holiday travel restrictions, despite the coronoavirus risk, leads me to think you're right.

Worn-out NAND flash blamed for Tesla vehicle gremlins, such as rearview cam failures and silenced audio alerts

John Sturdy

We'll get used to it

Perhaps this will be the equivalent of clutch / head gasket replacement for electric cars.

Tax working from home, says Deutsche Bank, because the economy needs that lunch money you’re not spending

John Sturdy
Pint

Re: Parasitic businesses

It might not be the same parasitic chains.

Once this pandemic has gone, it could be a chance for local pubs to open in the daytime for co-working, meeting rooms, etc.

But some of those are owned by big chains anyway.

Black Lives Matter protester ID'd from Twitter photo via facial-recog system secretly used by US law enforcement

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Meanwhile in the UK... the "need" for facial recognition algorithms is reduced by the police employing "super recognizers" --- people with an exceptional ability for matching faces.

The car you buy in 2025 will include a terabyte of storage. Robo-taxis might need 11TB

John Sturdy
Coat

Will anyone make drives smaller than that by then?

OK, exaggerating a bit, but that doesn't seem to be a particularly large amount of storage the way things are going now.

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