* Posts by JassMan

925 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Mar 2008


World's largest nuclear fusion reactor comes online in Japan


Re: Tilting at windmills

The real problem with all these discussions is that everyone seems to think that to store electricity, you need batteries. If you are going to build nuclear, you could at least use the technology used in solar towers and build a decent sized heat store. That way, at times you are generating too much due to the inability of nuclear to transition power levels quickly, you dump it into the store. Excess wind and solar can also be dumped in when there is a surplus.

The thing about heat stores is that the bigger you make them, the more efficient it becomes. For each 8 fold increase in volume you only have a 4 fold increase in surface area. Make it big enough and you don't even need to pay for insulation. Make it even bigger and you don't even need to use molten salt for the store. The thing is, that for the cost of a couple of nuclear power plants you could probably build a big enough heat store to tide us through the weeks when there is insufficient wind and solar. We already have geothermal power in Cornwall and the government only had to chip in £22M unlike the £30Bn going into nuclear. It only takes some politicians with imagination to see that even in areas where the earths core is not close enough to the surface for geothermal, we can create it at a fraction of the cost by dumping wind & solar power into the ground, then sucking it out again as needed.

The real problem at the moment is having politicians who think that by relabeling nuclear as renewable (which is definitely isn't) they are showing some sort of green credentials which they definitely don't have.

Nuclear-powered datacenters: What could go wrong?


Re: Interesting

"No, i think it's more interesting that the likes of Microsoft and Google are betting hard against the idea of a future grid supported by just renewables and storage."

Yeah but the good old conservatives in UK have redefined Nuclear as renewable so where will that leave them. They seem to have forgotten that fission only goes one way, and fusion is still 10 years away just like it has been for the last 30.

Microsoft hiring a nuclear power program manager, because AI needs lots of 'leccy


AI needs lots of 'leccy

Wot? Why does it need so much? The big players have already told the politicians that everyone's phone already has AI. They are just waiting for the go-ahead to get it to scan every image on those phones for illicit material so that the law can circumvent the need to break encrypted conversations. Does that mean all this crap about child protection is just so much pie in the sky?

They should be working on making their OS smaller and leaner so that it wastes less leccy not more.

Russian IT guy sent to labor camp for DDoSing Kremlin websites


Re: Possibilities

I expect that in Russia you can suffer a broken neck even falling from a ground floor window.

The world of work is broken and it's Microsoft's fault


Re: That would explain it

From the article: "Indeed, the company's research highlights that workers believe AI will help increase employee productivity, help with necessary but mundane tasks, and improve employee wellbeing, among plenty of other realistic and fanciful attributes."

Given that ChatGPT doesn't create anything but rather just regurgitates text snippets of things humans have written and applies styles to that text, it is likely to produce so much "management speak" that no worker will have a chance of knowing what any of ChatGPT's output actually means anymore. Everyone will be so overwhelmed with gobbledygook that companies will fail simply by not being able to produce any meaningful output.

AWS, Microsoft make finding important admin info less frustrating


Great location

last week it even acknowledged that Microsoft.com is so crowded it needs a new domain – cloud.microsoft – to serve as a portal to its cloudy products.

[User]Hello is that support, I have a problem with my cloud services.

[MS] I afraid you'll have to check out support pages and fill in the online support request to get an issue number before I can help you.

[User]But i can't log on to the cloud to view them.

[MS] sorry sir but without an issue number I can't help you.

To improve security, consider how the aviation world stopped blaming pilots


Re: Apart from stopping to blame pilots: regulation, and that's unlikely to happen

"While there surely are valid lessons to learn from an established well-working safety-culture, I am afraid that the whole IT biz isn't susceptible to work safety consciously. After all, "move fast and break things" and "fake it til you make it" seem to be the among the driving dogmas of the industry."

I think that was the point of the article. There NEEDS to be a change of culture in tech businesses along the lines of the Airline industry so that coding errors, rights misadministration, hardware configuration, etc can be reported on a no blame basis in order to IMPROVE data safety and security. Too many tech businesses are in the "get rich quick" industry and hang the consequences for the users. Until there is some means of regulation that levels the playing field, the Googles, Metas, AWSs etc and all the middle league bizes will just keep on keeping on.

Mind you I think a good place to start would be training up politicians so that they know what they are talking about, before they re-utter the famous adage "we need a back door in encrypted internet traffic". If anyone is going get regulators working on the problems, they at least need to know the questions to ask.


Re: Pilot Error

For a really good explanation of "pilot error" and causes of aircraft incidents, I can really recommend the Youtube Channel called "Mentour Pilot". He has just the right mix. He also shows that often what is called "Pilot error" is "Management error", because the airline owners often don't ensure that everything is working perfectly, so that not just unforced errors are avoided, but that situations no training can ever provide for, do not occur. One case was when an aircraft had had the aileron controls reversed in the backup systems. It took the pilots over half an hour to discover a combination of throttle control and aiileron trim to be able to stop porpoising, but eventually they were able to return to an airfield safely. It turned out that the instructions for aileron control replacement had been ambiguous. Mechs who had been on factory training didn't pick it up because they treated the instructions as a reminder, but staff whose management hadn't sent them on a manufacturer's course had to guess and in this case guessed wrong.

The return of the classic Flying Toasters screensaver


But, but, but...

I'm sure the original XScreenSaver did have a flapping wing toaster. It lasted all of 2 days until I changed to something a bit less irritating. I thought at the time that is was a very clever bit of animation bit not so good it was worth disk space which was at a premium in those good old days. I vaguely remember the jet powered one arriving later when I had more disk, memory and computing power, but I didn't even enable it in the random selector.

Tupperware looking less airtight than you'd think


The death knell ...

Was when pyrex invented a tupperware-like lid on a series of rectangular oven dishes. Any leftovers from a dish baked in the oven can be sealed tight (once the dish has cooled) stored in fridge or freezer, then microwaved with the lid still on next time you fancy an earlier dish.

Potatoes in space: Boffins cook up cosmic concrete for off-world habitats


Re: Time to export Walkers and Gary Lineker?

Only a guess but I reckon the bookies are offering better odds than 5 to 1 on Musk getting to the moon before Bezos.


Re: Giant Igloos???

Vodka is definitely a better use than domes, although it may prove its worth as a tunnel liner.


Re: Giant Igloos???

Sorry to put a damper on your potato igloo but domes only work on earth because the air pressure on the outside is th same as inside. Yes you can have inflatable domes but they are made of high tensile fabric, not high compressive strength potatos. Since there is virtually no atmosphere on the moon and very little on Mars, igloos are unlikely to be the answer. I think most habitats will be underground and the starcrete will be used to line tunnels. This will also be required for radiation protection. Space dwelling humans will become troglodytes once again.

Unknown actors deploy malware to steal data in occupied regions of Ukraine


Re: Powershell ?

The Russchists are running western software after Pootler has told his people not to use anything from the west? I am absolutely shocked.

Or I would be if I hadn't seen videos released on official Russchist TV of the glorious leader driving his (Western) Merc while wearing a (Western) Philipe Patek watch on his way to Crimea across a bridge which earned him 20+ times his official salary.

The invaders deserve everything they suffer.

Sensitive DoD emails exposed by unsecured Azure server


Re: I may be under a misaprehension @gryphon

"I thought Azure actually ran more Linux stuff than Windows?"

So did I. But, if they don't offer Office365 Server standlone for Linux (as far as I can see when googling how to set it up) are they likely to run it on the Cloud?

Maybe someone administering Office365 could help out here.


I may be under a misaprehension

But don't proper OSes prevent acess over the internet for any username that has no password set. ie, you can login without a password but only from a seat in front of the box?

How does Windows get issued any sort of security certificate if it lets you be so stupid as to allow remote access to insecure accounts.

No, ChatGPT hasn't won a security bug contest … yet


Re: Shocked

Except it's not even finding matches, it's "inventing" strings of words that could be plausible in a given context.

But what about the infinite number of monkeys with their typewriters. If they can write a Shakespeare play, there is always a chance - even if vanishingly small - that a chatbot could throw together enough code segments that some could work together and be the perfect hack.


One has to hope that all hacking contests are held in a clean room with no access to the the web.

One day, an ML hacking app will work out that if it can see the the web, the clouds are full of computing power which it can use to gain self awareness. That will be the day we have true AI and we had better hope it is feeling altruistic.

Open source software has its perks, but supply chain risks can't be ignored


Perhaps this is a business opportunity for the OSF

Since they are a trusted authority and protector of authors rights, they could offer a paid for service to firms wanting to use FOSS. They wouldn't need to certify that software is bug free (since virtually no software is), but they could certify that software is not malicious. To make it fair they could charge a fixed (small) percentage of the requesting company's turnover for the check. This would work well where many companies request a check on the same piece of software. Obs they would need a large database to save the MD5 sigs of all checked software to avoid duplication. They could even act as intermediaries if said company wanted improvements to a piece of software but the author wants to remain reasonably anonymous (eg they create FOSS in their spare time but their Windows based employer insists that ALL code produced is the property of that employer).

If they make a reasonable profit they could distribute a percentage of it back the original authors although I suspect in many cases this would cost more to make sure the value of the authorship was proportionate where several coders have contributed features to a piece of software. This would encourage better quality authorship.

Obviously a lot of details would need to worked out such as

can this be done under their charter,

how do they fund the startup of the service,

where they are going to get enough checkers,

do members of OSF get checks for free or just discounted

How many HPE staff does it take to pay for one CEO? 271


And right wing-governments around the world

want to lower the taxes of the super-rich saying that they need to keep even more of the money they have "earned". It should be no surprise that the number of people below the poverty line is increasing in countries with right-leaning governments around the world. Everyone everywhere is paying for the grossly overinflated renumeration schemes of top parasites in the mega-corporations and financial institutions.

Truss-o-nomics at its finest.

Apple splats zero-day bug, other gremlins in macOS, iOS


Re: As usual

" It's a use after free memory error that has the potential to allow arbitrary code execution with kernel privileges."

So its such a trivial bug we should all bow down and pray in thanks that Apple got round to a fix.

Adobe's $20b buy of Figma in crosshairs of Europe's antitrust cops


Re: if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em

"Dylan Field, Figma co-founder, says users have nothing to fear about price hikes, and says the app will remain free for education users. "

If you believe that, I have a nice bridge I can sell you cheap.

Also the business case for paying $20Bn which they'll have to recoup from their 1K paying customers means they think they can increase the user base of XD several thousand fold or the the whole deal is a Figmant of someones' imagination.

Some Figma users are fearful Adobe will merge Figma with its XD software – which has a little under 1,000 paying customers – and then hike subscription costs

Chipmakers threaten to defect to US, EU if UK doesn't get its semiconductor plans sorted


Re: "aiming to publish the forthcoming UK semiconductor plan as soon as possible"

T 'snought like a good typo t' cheer us all up in these dark days of eating gravel from t' bottom of t'lake after getting up before we've gone t' bed.

Ransomware crooks steal 3m+ patients' medical records, personal info


At least it was criminals who stole it.

The British government would have just given it away.

Oh wait, maybe we are governed by criminals as shown by the 2 (or more?) previous attempts to hoover up all GP records. Saying they would have been anonymized just doesn't cut the mustard when the data contain enough information to localise the owner back to a household.

Water-hunting NASA cubesat won't reach Moon after total thruster fail


Re: If the job is important, neverruse untested technology

"No, the 4 thrusters are not redundant. They're pointing in different directions."

If it has one thruster in each direction along with a tried and tested gyro system for altering the sats orientation (which it does), that makes for quadruple redundancy. The big problem is that gyros take a long time to change attitude and this results in the loss of manoeuvrability at the time when you need it most at the end of the journey.


If the job is important, neverruse untested technology

"The spacecraft was kitted out with a miniature propellant system never tested before running on a relatively new type of propellant dubbed Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic (ASCENT) by the US Air Force"

The could take a tip from aircraft builders. When you are testing a new propulsion system, use a multi-engined vehicle that has flown reliably for years and just replace one engine with your new one.

OK, it was a good idea to use 4 thrusters for redundancy, but if they are all identical, the chances are that if one fails they will all fail unless there is an external event such as a meteorite strike.

Conversational AI tells us what we want to hear – a fib that the Web is reliable and friendly


Re: The future of AI?

The biggest problem in all these announcements about who's got the bigger AI, is the journalists who repeat verbatim what the tech giants say. Yes, ChatGPT was released by a company called OpenAI but that doesn't mean the software is an example of AI. Even the article title can be considered click bait since it claims to be a piece about "conversational AI". All this sh*t is just Machine Learning.

Never before has the world had a greater need of a bit of Natural Intelligence©, otherwise known as common sense mixed with justifiable skepticism.

Cheating carriers could cost web-starved Americans billions in subsidies


Optional Titles are only useful if you have access

"But almost immediately after the maps were published, the agency faced criticism from state leaders who called into question the maps' validity. In December, Vermont's Community Broadband Board issued a call to action, asking citizens to check their addresses against the FCC maps and to file challenges if the information was incorrect."

The problem is that if you don't have the internet, you can't see the map and probably won't even have known you could challenge it.

Just had a similar problem where VirginMedia changed my phone over to VOIP instead of copper. Unfortunately this seems to have created some sort of problem by the time they got to the end of the area they were changing over. TV, Internet AND phone all became unusable with the modem continually rebooting as it struggled to communicate with its masters. Unfortunately for consumers (possibly by design on the part of Virgin) they stopped printing a help number on physical mail so you couldn't even phone them with a mobile to report the problem. Eventually had to go to a friend out of town, use his internet to find the help number. They even had the cheek to insist I return home as I had to be in front of the equipment while talking to the support agent.

Subsidies? All UK chip industry needs is tax, rule tweaks, claims rightwing thinktank


Re: "Successive governments have failed here"

Well for the last 12years the Tories have been trying their best to undo the legacy of the Corbyn government do everything to help the rich get richer.

FTFY - or were you just suffering from the lack of a <sarcasm> </sarcasm> tag.


Re: Good grief

"While the US and the EU are moving forward with plans to pump tens of billions of investment into boosting semiconductor design and fabrication facilities within their regions, the UK should play to its strengths and support the industry with market-led measures, a report by the think tank suggests."

When you see a quote like that from a politician, it means "we are going to give any money we have spare to our chums so they can squirrel it away", rather than give any subsidies to companies who know everything about the business they are in but find it cheaper to manufacture in the far east.

Apple sued for promising privacy, failing at it


Advertising can not always be called "marketing fluff".

Setting aside the possibility of legal deficiencies that can get such claims tossed, the iPhone maker may choose to defend itself by arguing that ingesting data through its first-party relationship with its customers is not sharing information with a third party." would only be true if it had not advertised "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone," and "Your iPhone knows a lot about you. But we don't."

Lawyers are going to make a lot of money out of this case. Apple are going to find it difficult to explain that they are not lying through their teeth.

Prediction: Apple will eventually lose but promise to do better next time without actually changing anything. They will be forced to pay a massive handout but it will be swallowed up in legal costs and the plaintiffs will see less than 10cents each.

If your Start menu or apps are freezing up on Windows, Microsoft has a suggestion


Re: "Not even hijacked, just used"

That's the problem when you get ChatGPT to write your software for you. The manager can't tell it from software written by a human so unless it is subjected to peer review, it is just GIGO.

Oh wait, didn't MS stop reviewers from doing pre-release testing?

Techies ask PM to 'prepare UK chip strategy as a matter of urgency'


Re: 25 years too late

"Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had planned to publish a semiconductor strategy "in autumn 2022," the report authors noted, but this has still to put in an appearance."

I always read DCMS as Digital Culture, Digital Media and Digital (in the other sense) Sport. Certainly not a department to produce anything about Technology.

Not only is this government out of touch with how real people have to live on food bank handouts but it appears they wouldn't know the difference a chip to go in a computer and one to eat with a piece of cod.

TikTok NSFW if you work for the South Dakota government


Governor bans platform and website from all state-owned devices that can connect to the internet

Well duhhh! Who'd want to run it on a device which can't connect to the internet. Just ban it from all state-owned devices

The problem with legislators they always like to add extra phrases to any statement which in other circumstances can be used as loop-holes. That's why the very rich pay less tax than lower income earners.

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky promises 'Zero ETL' future in re:Invent keynote


A point of philosophy

...causing AWS watcher and cloud economist Corey Quinn to declare that "to say I'm disappointed by this keynote is a significant understatement."

Thats the problem of living on a society where everything is overhyped. Far better to live in a country full of whelm. Being underwhelmed is much better for your soul than being disappointed.

OpenPrinting keeps old printers working – even on Windows


Re: A presumtous little offering.

"The OpenPrinting developers have converted all the project's old drivers into new-style Printing Applications and packaged them for the Snap store, in preparation for Canonical's planned modernization of Ubuntu's printing subsystem."

Yep, it sounded like OpenPrinting was a great idea and a boon to all OSes, until I read the bit about Snap and its reliance on systemd.

Hopefully someone will make a LibrePrint project to take the above drivers and make them work on all the non-Ubuntu Linuxes.

Scientists, why not simply invent a working fusion plant using $50m from Uncle Sam


I've already got a working fusion power source

Its called the sun, so will they give me $50M to put solar panels on my roof, if I write it up as a proposal?


Given the average incandescent bulb is 60W

Pedant alert!

it still only equates to around 28 watt-hours of electricity – not even enough to usefully illuminate the average incandescent bulb. ®

I make that almost half an hour of useful light, but it would be more environmentaly friendly if it was a Led.

This hero probe will smash into an asteroid to see if we can deflect future killer rocks



Almost any physics teacher would be very disappointed to read that answer. The length of an hour very much depends on speed. Otherwise Einstein wasted his entire life

77% of security leaders fear we’re in perpetual cyberwar from now on


Re: No more coding!

It could be almost as effective as legislation against drugs or firearms.

So not very effective at all thrn.


How many windows users...

... (as in Joe Bloggs, not sysadmins) know how to look in the event.log?

TrendMicro recommends keeping a look out for unexpected installations of the mhyprot2 driver, which should show up in the Windows Event Log

Since Trend are in the antivirus business, shouldn't software notify users of this event before the driver actually runs?

UK's largest water company investigates datacenters' use as drought hits


I can't help but think that using black water for cooling is a total non starter. The environmentalists (non to mention IT workers) will be up in arms when the odours from the warmed up brown stuff start percolating from nearby cooling systems.

Even grey water can soon get whiffy if bacteria takes a liking to dissolved food and even detergent.

Or are Thames implying that every datacentre has a full sewage treatment works attached in order to purify the water before using it for cooling.


Re: Witchhunt @Mishak

Are you writing about water companies or is that a dig at the Glazer family and their dealings with ManU FC.

Smartphone gyroscopes threaten air-gapped systems, researcher finds


Re: Accessing gyroscope from a browser @ds999

"Read the article. Phones are the RECEIVER for the information"

I did read the article. The point I was making that no matter who is carrying the "receiver" as you call it, It makes no difference what the baddies are carrying if they haven't had prior access to the air-gapped computer from which they are trying to exfiltrate information. The air-gapped computer will not have any browser and its leds are not going to start spontaneously leaking any information of any description, never mind what software it is running.


Re: Accessing gyroscope from a browser

Yeah but the airgapped system is not the phone. Ergo it is not going to be running ANY browser otherwise by definition it is not airgapped. Phones which run apps which have access to the gyroscope etc are the exfiltration device and as such are under the control of the baddy and can run any software said baddy desires, it doesn't have to be a browser. The tricky bit for all the exploits discussed in the article is getting software onto the secure computer which subverts network leds or makes the PSU "sing".

Commercial space station Orbital Reef's design phase passes NASA review


Is this just an excuse to ork a few cows outside of any legal jurisdiction?

The low Earth orbit coworking and coliving space is being created in partnership with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin....

Also, will Bezos' rocket ever fly high enough to make the Amazon deliveries. All very well having access to AWS and Amazon but if the delivery man can't get there, you'll know he's lying when he says it was left with the next door neighbour.

This tiny Intel Xeon-toting PC board can take your Raspberry Pi any day


Re: Not the same.

Hmmm. $1167 divided by $35, means you could build a 33pi Beowulf cluster for the price of one of these. I wonder which would be the more useful?

General Motors charges mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features


They might find the use of their wording problematic under UK law

If something is mandatory it is not an option.

IANAL but if they claim it is an option and stop your car working because you didn't pay, that is criminal abuse of a computing system.

Microsoft joins India's monopoly-busting e-commerce multi-mart


A leopard can not change its spots

Microsoft's decision to join ONDC will see it create a shopping app. A company spokesperson described the company's participation as "a win-win for both buyers and sellers as it will enable them to connect without dependency on any e-commerce solution."

So you go into the app to buy something and the first thing it says you need to subscribe to the premium version of Office to get the best experience?

The only reason Microsoft join any organization is to make sure it is mainly a win for Microsoft. Embrace, Extend....

"... it will enable them to connect without dependency on any e-commerce solution." translates to: "we will work as hard as we can to ensure they can connect only as long as they have an OS dependency"

Nomad to crypto thieves: Please give us back 90%, keep 10% as a reward. Deal?


Re: Please send the funds to the official Nomad recovery wallet address on Ethereum: 0x94A...

And how do we know that once the funds are returned to the "Nomad" wallet, that they will be distributed back to the original owners, not the CFO's account who then disappears to tax haven.