* Posts by John Hawkins

198 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Feb 2008


Logitech warns of logistical impact of Houthi attacks in Red Sea

John Hawkins

Welcome to the future

I reckon we can forget the Suez canal as a reliable transport route from now on - the Ukrainians have shown the world what can be done with seagoing drones that can carry a payload of hundreds of kg, so anybody capable of building and launching such things could pretty much shut down the Red Sea for shipping. The Iranians for example.

We're getting that fry-day feeling... US Army gets hold of drone-cooking microwave rig

John Hawkins

Frying Tonight!

To quote the late, great Kenneth Williams

Corner cutting of nuclear proportions as duo admit to falsifying safety tests 29 times

John Hawkins

Re: Don't worry folks...

Hydropower dam collapse has killed more people than nuclear accidents so anything you say about the risks of nuclear power might also be said of hydro.

The Banqiao Dam failure of 1975 is probably responsible for most such deaths and like Chernobyl, it was poorly maintained Soviet Union technology. But anything that isn't maintained properly works until it doesn't so good the blokes got caught.

New information physics theory is evidence 'we're living in a simulation,' says author

John Hawkins


Go too far down the quantum mechanics rabbit hole and everything starts to look to be part an emergent self-organising system|simulation - no need for any deities, alien system admins or heavenly deployment pipelines

Goodbye Azure AD, Entra the drag on your time and money

John Hawkins

Entra - from the prefix 'entero-'?


Prefix referring to the intestine, as in enteropathy (a disease of the intestine) and enterospasm (a painful, intense contraction of the intestine).

Chinese balloon that US shot down was 'crammed' with American hardware

John Hawkins

Re: Notice how....

"American technology and Chinese sensors" could of course be a cover up for what they really found.

'We hate what you’ve done with the place – especially the hate' Australia tells Twitter

John Hawkins

Re: What type of "hate speech"?

I don't remember the name of the bloke, but it was in a context about what construed harassment and I do remember his advice that was quoted in one of the Aussie morning papers.

The advice was "Don't be a dickhead".

It's not really something that can be defined by the likes an RFC, but like an old definition of pornography you know it when you see it.

Making Twitter a dickhead-free zone is probably difficult while Musk is in charge, but it is an attractive thought.

Europe teases breaking up Google over ad monopoly

John Hawkins

Re: Zzzzzzzz

On the other hand if the EU ever managed to get around to getting something done, there'd be a lot of screaming and frothing of the mouth about abuse of power etc. Which might even be justified.

The current setup might not look like much, but it creates unnecessary work and expense for the companies in question and flags up a risk that their insurance companies probably regard as a justification for increasing the cost of the premiums paid etc.

So the process is the punishment, as it were, and I think I prefer this to the more direct method as that could easily get out of hand if the bureaucrats get a taste for it.

Gartner: Stop worrying and love the cloud, with all its outages and lock-in

John Hawkins

Of course he would say that

But in a year or two when it's time to renegotiate your Cloud provider contracts, would you rather be locked in or be able to migrate your infrastructure to a rival provider at a reasonable cost?

Given the amount of money one provider is throwing at a project I'm currently working with to 'enable' migration, marketing and sales have very deep pockets; that money has to come from somewhere and I'm guessing that locked in customers are at least part of the answer.

A lot can be achieved without having to use provider specific solutions - Kubernetes anyone? - and you're probably going to end up with a simpler solution as well.

Mandiant's 'most prevalent threat actor' may be living under your roof – the teenager

John Hawkins

Re: Prospective defence

May I suggest a more pro-active method involving small orange rubber rings? They work well enough on lambs and could even be marketed as a way to prevent male-pattern baldness if applied to the appropriate appendage at an early enough age.

Twitter scores legal hat trick with three cases filed against it in one day

John Hawkins

Re: received the same response everyone else has been getting of late: a single poop emoji

Mentally I :%s/poop/turd/ as that p-word annoys me.

Though I guess that means it could be called the Richard emoji - hmmmm

Vessels claiming to be Chinese warships are messing with passenger planes

John Hawkins

Peak China?

I'm beginning to wonder if we've reached peak China and their leaders getting increasingly bolshy (for want of a better word) as they find themselves staring into the abyss.

Demographically China already has some serious issues - even a few years ago there were reports of labour shortages - and Covid has made much of the old developed world realise that they can no longer rely on China as a manufacturing site so have started to diversify. The current leader of the China seems dead set on rolling back the changes that Deng Xiaoping made and that enabled the country to become what it is today.

I think it is a real pity - a decade and a half or so ago I worked with quite a few Chinese colleagues as the company I was working for at the time had an office in Beijing and I found them to be open, honest and hardworking so I had high hopes for China.

Whatever happens, it will take a while to happen as China is so big, but I hope for the sake of people there that things do sort themselves out.

US lobbyists commission report dismissing proposed EU cloud regulations

John Hawkins

So what?

US based Cloud services with local data centers are already off-limits for some organisations I've worked with here in Sweden. The usual story is that their technical people start a discussion with us about hosting on Microsoft/Amazon/Google, but it stops once their legal people get involved. It would be interesting to know if anybody else within the EU (or any where else for that matter) has seen this pattern.

It does mean that there are opportunities for local cloud hosting services, though I guess pricing is an issue. One local hosting service I know of uses OpenStack, so they do exist and a customer doing medical research I worked with a couple of years ago hosted part of their operations with that local service for legal reasons.

Bringing cakes into the office is killing your colleagues, says UK food watchdog boss

John Hawkins

Re: What a load of cobblers

Would one of those people by any chance be called Mrs Doyle?

IBM top brass accused again of using mainframes to prop up Watson, cloud sales

John Hawkins

Tim Worstall

I remember him; a bit 1980s for my taste - I had my fill of that with the university economics papers I took in the mid-80s - but interesting to read his columns even so.

His website is also interesting, even if it's too much 'stream of consciousness' for my tastes and hard work to read. YMMV.

US think tank says China would probably lose if it tries to invade Taiwan

John Hawkins

Re: Screen rights?

> The chinese like to play the long game

This doesn't look like the long game to me - the long game is the Chinese stopping wasting resources being aggressive and instead building up their economy so that the Taiwanese decide they'd quite like to be part of China after all. To get there the Chinese will need to be a little less up-tight about freedom as well, so that issue will solve itself along the way.

The Chinese in the current scenario are acting like a short-term thinking Western country rather than a country with a multiple thousand year history.

Waxworm's spit shows promise in puncturing plastic pollution

John Hawkins

Re: Terms and conditions

Bees live with these already; we had beehives on the farm I where grew up and we used to find the grubs in old combs we'd stored in the shed. Occasionally we'd see grubs in the beehives, but only in odd corners where the bees weren't.

Wild bees living in hollow tree trunks would likely be a better environment for wax worms as bits of old comb and dead bees etc would likely build up below the colony.

Rust is eating into our systems, and it's a good thing

John Hawkins

Re: we won't go quietly...

"Worse yet, they may become managers who never get to write any code themselves"

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson 1992

EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

John Hawkins

The BS 546 Brexit connector next

After the return of Imperial measurements control will naturally have to be taken back with a BS 546 USB connector.

That's the one that stipulates rubber insulation with red line, black neutral and bare earth leads...

Finnish govt websites knocked down as Ukraine President addresses MPs

John Hawkins

Re: Amazing

Strictly speaking, the Finns were colonised first by the Swedes and later by the Russians after the 1809 war. Though the Russian colonisation didn't get heavy handed until a bit later on. Then of course there was the Winter War 1939 - 1940, when the Soviets basically tried to do to Finland what the Russians are trying to do to the Ukraine.

So the Finns have been on the receiving end of colonisation rather than the other way round and have more reason than most to be suspicious of Russian motives.

Only 29% of techies truly want to stay in current job

John Hawkins

Office landscapes

I hate office landscapes - always a lot of noise and movement - never enough rooms for meetings/calls so people take calls at the next work station.

Good enough reason to start looking for a new employer if my current situation of mostly working from home ever changes.

Workshops and some meetings can be taken in the office, I don't have any issues with that, but I prefer to leave office space for the poor sods who don't have room for a proper home office.

It's more than 20 years since Steps topped the charts. It could be less than that for STEP's first fusion energy

John Hawkins

Mixed feelings

The Register spoke to Richard Dinan, CEO of Pulsar Fusion, who told us "2040 sounds about right" once one considers the infrastructure and sign-offs needed to build a power station.

"That's what's taking the time," he said, "it's not the fusion."

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but it does suggest we're closing in on fusion reaching the business-as-usual state and getting bogged down the same way as other infrastructure changes do.

'IwlIj jachjaj! Incoming LibreOffice 7.3 to support Klingon and Interslavic

John Hawkins

I agree also - I first came to my current country of residence when I was 23 and had the good fortune to work in an environment where few spoke English. After a year I was fully fluent and after a couple more people started wondering which part of the country I came from.

Learning languages at school felt pointless and a waste of time. A good comparison would be learning a new IT skill by taking a course and getting a certification as opposed to learning by doing.

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation

John Hawkins

Re: WTF?

I regard the commos as as religious as any of the other nutters - ffs they pickle old leaders' corpses and keep them on display in fancy buildings for people to worship - what's not religious about that?

A smarter alternative to password recognition could be right in front of us: Unique, invisible, maybe even deadly

John Hawkins

I breathe in your general direction...

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.

I am a little disturbed to see that even after a few hours there are no references to this quote, given the subject matter and M. Dabbs' country of residence - or perhaps I am just getting old.

Trust Facebook to find a way to make video conferencing more miserable and tedious

John Hawkins

Re: I'm fine with the cartoonish quality

Heck yeah - my avatar'll be Yoyo Dodo

Dunno what should be done with the Foghorn Leghorns of the workplace though; rooster soup perhaps?

Brain-computer interface researchers warn of a 'bleak' cyberpunk future – unless we tread carefully

John Hawkins

Easy for able bodied to criticise

But I imagine someone who is paraplegic or otherwise physically handicapped might beg to differ. In spite of the general iffiness of BCI.

No joy for Julian Assange as Uncle Sam confirms it will keep pushing for WikiLeaker's extradition to America

John Hawkins

Re: IANAL...

There'd likely have been a lot of more posturing here in Sweden from all sides (there was plenty of it as it was), but I never saw anything that made me think he'd have been handed over to the US. Except in the minds of various paranoid individuals, but that's nothing new.

Personally I think that doing a runner like that was an admission of guilt by him, but it did save the Swedish government quite a bit of money and by extension me as a local taxpayer.

Leaked draft EU law reveals tech giants could face huge 6% turnover fines if they don't play by Europe's rules

John Hawkins
Big Brother

Design by committee

Nothing ever designed by a committee of any sort is going to be 100% fit for purpose so it doesn't matter if the committee consists of scientists, bureaucrats, politicians, tribal witch doctors or marketing managers. The important thing is that something needs to be done about the tech giants so that the next generation of them can grow up and take over.

If Microsoft had manged to buy Google and IBM Facebook, the online world would have been a different place today.

Don't know if regulating content is the right way to do it though.

It may date back to 1994 but there's no end in sight for the UK's Chief customs system as Brexit rules beckon

John Hawkins

Re: Still. The Farage Garage will be open for business on time.

Regardless of which side of the discussion you are on, the pommie negotiators have been a bit useless; they seem to have seen themselves as a combination of James Bond and Hercules Hurricane, but in reality they been more like Derek Trotter and George Mainwaring.

And I don't mean that in a bad way either - both Del Boy and Captain Mainwaring are sympathetic characters, just a bit out of their depth.

What the hell is going on with .uk? Dozens of domain names sold in error, then reversed, but we'll say no more about it, says oversight org

John Hawkins

Re: And next year?

I think '.fuk' ("formerly united kingdom") would be better as it only has three characters instead of six. It could even be considered appropriate for today's situation.

Something to look forward to: Being told your child or parent was radicalized by an AI bot into believing a bonkers antisemitic conspiracy theory

John Hawkins


Every time I see something like this I think these people lack imagination; instead of using data that creates a monster like this, why not use data that results in something a little more entertaining. Feed it the transcripts from the all Python TV series for example. I guess there must be some reason (copyright?) for this not being done, but there must be something in the public domain that could be used.

What I'd really like to see would be what happens if Roger Irrelevant is used as the example.

TCL's latest e-ink tech looks good on paper, but Chinese giant will have to back up extraordinary claims

John Hawkins

Re: Can you fold it or cut it?

Putting the scroll back into scrolling maybe?

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

John Hawkins

Cats and cables

One of my old cats liked to chew on network cables as well as the occasional USB charging cable. Her teeth were OK as she happily ate kibbles, so I guess she just liked the taste of them. Never any marks on power cables though so maybe she'd learnt to leave them alone with her previous owner.

Mentioned this to the chap behind the counter when I was stocking up on unchewed cables one day and he said 'yeah, you're not the first customer to say that'.

Germany to fund development of edge CPUs as part of 'tech you can trust' plan to home-brew more kit

John Hawkins

Re: US pulling troops out of Germany

I remember one of my history teachers pointing out that another major reason for the US dominating the sharp end of NATO was that they didn't want Europe and Germany in particular to be able to rival the US in military capabilities. Interesting therefore that MAGA seems to include encouraging the EU to become a military power.

Yet another beefy BSOD spotted lurking within the walls of US patty pusher

John Hawkins

Bork sausages?

Mine's the one with the greasy Happy Meal toys in the pockets...

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

John Hawkins


A nice short name with a history.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

John Hawkins

Re: Experienced tester.

Yeah back in the day when I moonlighted as a tester when work had nothing else for me to do, the fun part was going outside the prescribed the test cases and getting things to fail.

The biggest uptick in demand for software devs by bosses is for... *rubs eyes* blockchain engineers?!?

John Hawkins

Re: "A 2017 Stack Overflow survey singled out Perl as the most hated coding language"

But isn't madness the whole point of Perl?

Wonderful language - since nobody except me was ever going to read my code I used to try to use as few characters as possible. Great fun.

If you saw a Google ad recently, know that it helped pay off one of its 'sex pest' execs $90m

John Hawkins

Google obviously has a lot of 'tools' at least, in multiple senses of the word (though the specifics of those senses might depend on where and when you learnt English).

It liiives! Sorta. Gentle azure glow of Windows XP clocked in Tesco's self-checkouts, no less

John Hawkins

Re: its tesco, are you surprised?

Hmm, would be interesting to know how they got that past the PCIDSS auditors. A few years ago you could wave a bit of paper at them with a list of possible mitigations on it, but in recent projects I've been involved in the correct answer to the auditors saying 'jump' has been 'how high?'.

Prof claims Lyft did a hit-and-run on his ride-sharing tech patent

John Hawkins

Re: The stupidity of "business method" patents

The company I worked for mucked around with GPS in the forest in '92. The units were expensive (>100k USD) and not accurate in the pre DGPS days, but there was clearly potential for mapping our forestry roads etc. once the accuracy was improved.

UK taxman warned it's running out of time to deliver working customs IT system by Brexit

John Hawkins

Actually I think she is a closet remainer and has a cunning plan - dither, procrastinate and faff around until everybody gives up out of sheer boredom, then say that as the UK doesn't have the infrastructure to leave, cancel the whole thing.

Seems that way at least.

'Moore's Revenge' is upon us and will make the world weird

John Hawkins

Like old fashioned server troubleshooting

Sounds very much like my sysadmin work on Solaris of twenty-odd years ago. Servers were relatively expensive, so we had multiple applications + support scripts on each server.

Add a few patches and middle-of-the-night quick fixes and you ended up with weird behaviour caused by things interacting in unexpected ways.

Gut-feeling got you through at least as often as linear thinking.

Google listens to New Zealand just long enough to ignore it

John Hawkins

Re: Why not go the whole hog NZ?

Not as far fetched as it sounds; I've a vague memory of the idea being discussed back in the '80s, using various French overseas territories in the Pacific as an example. Though as the Poms are now leaving the the EU, NZ might need to become part of French Polynesia to join.

IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

John Hawkins

Does the ban cover smartphones also?

There was talk of banning USB drives at my work so I tested using my Nexus 6P as an alternative solution. Mucking around with a cable + 'phone wasn't as simple as a USB drive, but worked well enough that I've started using the setup to back some essential files up.

Would be interesting if IBM banned all smartphones - business and private - as well.

UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

John Hawkins

Which amendment?

Yes. For some reason the Red Queen comes to mind here.

How machine-learning code turns a mirror on its sexist, racist masters

John Hawkins

Compiles and runs OK

The code compiles and runs OK on my Ubuntu laptop once I'd installed the Python package NumPy. Could be interesting to download some text from Project Gutenberg to run through it - many of those old books are a bit iffy by current standards even if they were mainstream back then.

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

John Hawkins

Re: Richard Pearse

Maybe they did - not everybody is OK with the thought that the Wright boys weren't first with powered flight.

Old cockies in the area in the 1980s (mate of mine worked on a farm there back then) remembered Pearse as a cranky old bloke, so my guess is he had Asperger's or something similar.

John Hawkins

Richard Pearse

"Kitty Hawk"? In NZ? FFS!!

Hope there's a bloke sitting an a maimai with his 12 gauge ready for when it flies past..