* Posts by Peter X

389 posts • joined 12 Apr 2008


Mars helicopter needs patch to fly again after sensor failure

Peter X

Is the sensor failure likely due to it getting too cold overnight?

Creator of SSLPing, a free service to check SSL certs, downs tools

Peter X

Re: Sign up?

If you only need to check for expiration, there's plenty of scripts on Github.

This one for example (completely random example - honest ;-) ) is so simple, you can audit the code yourself in a few short minutes.

I wrote use it to make sure my certbot installation is working correctly!

ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite narrowly dodges debris

Peter X

Re: Clutter must go

My entire knowledge of orbital mechanics is based on KSP! So with that in mind, if something was happily orbiting at a given height/velocity and it gets hit by a projectile causing it's height to be raised, wouldn't it then be more likely to de-orbit quicker due to not having the required velocity to support the new orbit?

Heaps of tweaks and improvements incoming with GNOME 42

Peter X

The Raspberry Pi thing should be good. I honestly believe that developers should be forced to use their stuff on a Pi for a few weeks to ensure the performance is good, otherwise we end up with stuff that requires a top-end machine simply to run "acceptably".

Moscow to issue HTTPS certs to Russian websites

Peter X

If the Yandex browser is the only one that will recognise the new Putin-certs and the majority of Russians end up using that browser, what if the Yandex browser stops recognising certs issued outside Russia? I can imagine Putin might see that as a good thing since there's even less possibility of "the people" being able to view outside news sources (although that might be blocked anyway?).

So I'm just wondering if non-Russian sites might do well to support serving traffic over HTTP as well as HTTPS; they might well do anyway... I've not been keeping up!

One decade, 46 million units: Happy birthday, Raspberry Pi

Peter X

Re: Interesting.

I/O is always likely to be awkward on a device that size, so I'm used to ignoring it now... and I suppose there are a few boards available now that use the computer-model-4 (CM4) that may provide alternative I/O layouts.

However, I will just mention that having swapped the side where the ethernet jack is on the Pi4 is surprisingly more annoying that I originally expected. I think the (my) problem is that some ports are static, e.g. power, HDMI, ethernet, and things like USB are more likely to be hot-plugged. But with the re-positioned ethernet, the Pi4 puts the USB ports between those static ports.

Might just be me though; I thought I'd get used to this, but, nope!

Otherwise loving my Pi's!!! :D

Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee

Peter X

Re: Bait

Maybe they should've given people a bit more notice then? Otherwise it does feel like they're slamming the door shut and demanding money to get out.

Return of the Mac (mechanical): Vissles keyboard for fans of keeping a low profile

Peter X

Re: Why after 3 versions of a Mac layout keyboard is there still no fullsize option.

Agreed. There are so many lovely looking keyboards available, but does no one want/need a numeric keypad these days?

Foreign Office IT chaos: Shocking testimony reveals poor tech support hindered Afghan evac attempts

Peter X

Re: Disgraceful ...

Modded up, but...

"and those seated comfortably in the upper echelons of Whitehall"

I'm prety sure he was in Crete at the time. Paddle-boarding*

"This whole episode will no doubt feature in some future textbook as an example of how NOT to organise an evacuation."

I'm sure it will, but I'm equally sure that Raab's successor won't read it, same as Raab wouldn't have read it had it already existed. Sadly.

* I've mentioned this in a conversation with people before, but I said "water-boarding" instead of "padding-boarding"... which totally changes things. Although, somehow, I'm not sure it isn't plausible!

Leaked footage shows British F-35B falling off HMS Queen Elizabeth and pilot's death-defying ejection

Peter X

Does not float

So despite having a huge list of cutting edge features, no one thought to add "Can float" to the list?

A tiny typo in an automated email to thousands of customers turns out to be a big problem for legal

Peter X

Re: What was I thinking?

^ ditto. I suspect for me it was the accent that made it particularly memorable, to the extent that *any* time I see Accrington Stanley, I hear it in _that_ accent.

Was it a milk advert?

Trojan Source attack: Code that says one thing to humans tells your compiler something very different, warn academics

Peter X

Re: The example given seems to be incorrect

I was wondering that... also, surely everything after RLI would need to be reversed? And then, it is not possible to detect shenanigans when RL/LR codes are not (1). balanced, and (2). contained within comments or string-literals?

UK's £5bn National Cyber Force HQ to be sited in Lancashire beside Defence Secretary's constituency

Peter X


I'm guessing it's too late to hope that they wouldn't call it "Cyber"? 'cos... it's a bit of a naff name really.

James Webb Space Telescope penciled in for launch this century. Yes, Dec 18, 2021

Peter X

Re: Really?

My concern is that when projects are delayed as much as this, some of the original requirements might be hard/impossible to fulfil.

For example, it may well be that the manufacturer for the punch cards have gone out of business? Or perhaps, launching a small child inside the telescope to load the punch cards at appropriate times is [big air-quotes] "no longer politically correct". I believe even replacing the child with a well trained chimpanzee is no longer acceptable!!

All complete madness of-course! ;-)

* To be fair, I've not actually looked at the specs for the JWST... [hand-waves]... but I'm sure ... something something...

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

Peter X

What bothers me is that if at some point this does turn out to be a GDPR violation, it'll be the NHS that ends up paying the costs... which in turn undermines the NHS, and costs tax-payers.

Summary: I'm not sure the people making these decisions give a crap; they win one way or another whatever the outcome. Perhaps the only way to solve that would be if it were possible to make specific individuals (i.e. head of NHS digital) personally liable?

8-month suspended sentence for script kiddie who DDoS'd Labour candidate in runup to 2019 UK general election

Peter X

Re: F**** it!

I agree with you... but in this case, he was also attacking the democratic process, so personally, I think he's got off lightly considering.

UK government bows to pressure, agrees to delay NHS Digital grabbing the data of England's GP patients

Peter X

Re: 1st July, 1st September

and the EU trade war

Fastly 'fesses up to breaking the internet with an 'an undiscovered software bug' triggered by a customer

Peter X

Re: If StackOverflow didn't use Fastly

Flip-side, they could've been call Slowly. So all things considered... ;-)

Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

Peter X

Re: Guru Meditation

I *do* love that there are now considerably more people than ever used an Amiga now seeing this message, and presumably wondering "Guru Meditation? What?!"

This is a good thing. It makes me happy! :D

BMA and Royal College of GPs refuse to endorse NHS Digital's data grab from surgeries in England

Peter X

Re: Let's call it the "GPDPR"

My guess is - they don't care. If it did fall foul of GDPR, then worse-case, the NHS will be fined for leaking data, but that won't affect all the companies that hope to access the data... i.e the same companies that all the people concerned likely have shares in or are on the boards of.

UK's Labour Party calls for delay to NHS Digital's GP data slurp until patients can be properly informed

Peter X

^ This.

I wouldn't be bothered if the NHS was doing entirely in-house R&D, but all this stuff seems to be spun off to private companies just looking to make money and not actually looking to solve problems*

* Private companies will develop drugs/threatments to threat a problem... but there's less incentive to actually fix things. Whereas if the NHS were doing R&D, there would be incentive to fix things simply to lower their own costs.

Dominic Cummings: Health secretary's 'stupid' targets delayed building UK test and trace system to combat COVID

Peter X

Still entertaining though! :D

I do find myself wondering "why now?" and I suspect he's figured out that he (and probably Chris Whitty... or some other medical/science adviser) will be thrown under a bus after the enquiry is completed so he's getting his jabs in (no, not those ones) now whilst he can.

On a dusty red planet almost 290 million km away... NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flies

Peter X

Re: Follow-Me mode

I wonder if you could make it follow Perseverance as it roves?

Because Samsung mobiles were mentioned, I'm imagining some part of the SoC firmware trying to detect a face (and a smile) every time a photo is taken.

So... I suspect the "follow mode" would only work if someone had thought to paint a face on Perseverance!! :D

Peter X

Re: Think of it like a robotic space cow, munching on the earth's atmosphere.

What's hacking got to do with anything? Oh... (getting my coat now)!

Peter X

Re: Think of it like a robotic space cow, munching on the earth's atmosphere.

AFAIK gravity is 0.9G on ISS too... so... it's no distance really! Even the surface of Mars must have less gravity which is kind of crazy.

Peter X

Re: Well done!

As I understand it, the bandwidth issue was between Perseverance and Ingenuity and probably that's only a problem when downloading "big" data like video/photos from the cameras, whereas (I'm guessing here) that the commands and telemetry data are easier to manage?

In part, I suppose I'm just hoping the above is true! If it is, then (hopefully) Ingenuity can be kept within range of Perseverance simply to (1). give data as to the longevity of it's components, and (2). allow the potential of using it's cameras to look a little further ahead than Perseverance can on it's own.

Finger crossed! :)

Peter X

Re: Well done!

I wonder if Ingenuity's own solar panel will be kept cleanish by the rotors?

SAP exec reminds the world that Microsoft is a customer

Peter X

Re: customized food

moded up for use of the word "howler" in this context. :D

UK government may force online retailers to pick up e-waste from consumers

Peter X

ISP supplied Routers

ISPs should not be supplying own-brand routers that:

1. Will not work with other ISPs

2. Are not able to support re-imaging with an open-source OS.

There must be a shit-ton of routers that get dumped every year and they likely work perfectly well. And their power-supply bricks. And cables! And even shipping costs. My first router was an old Netgear DG834G that I bought myself and I got SEVEN-YEARS use out of that - this should be the norm, not the exception.

*I know ISPs (at least BT) do accept you posting old routers back to them, but most people won't bother, and it's still a waste of energy in that there's unnecessary shipping (both to/from ISP) and then either re-cycling or refurb'ing.

Peter X

Re: RE: extra year's warranty

For £200 I'd make the effort, but I did buy a Philips Wireless Mouse ('cos obviously, Philips are the go-to-brand for mice! ;-) ) largely because it was cheap (I think ~£8) despite a few reviews mentioning that their's had stopped working soon after purchase.

Mine lasted about 9 months; at this point, it's less easy to get Amazon to deal with returns. After some Googling, I found you could go through some convoluted process where you get to talk to a rep (or a bot, I'm not certain) who, did in my case, say they would accept it and refund me and then gave me details of where to drop it off. It wasn't the local post-office though, and was a shop about 20 minutes drive away! So... I didn't do that at the time, and then when I did decide I would be going that way, I noticed that I'd only been given a week to deal with it.

In this case, the money isn't particularly worth it, but I do resent that Philips make products that I'm pretty sure they must've known were defective. So, yet more e-waste.

My local council do take small (up to shoe box sized) electronic waste with the regular recycling collection, so I'll likely dump my mouse in that.

US government jobs report predicts pandemic will lead to boom times for IT industry

Peter X

I saw briefly saw a thing on the news recently with - (from memory) - the CEO of Next PLC, and he was saying how rather than looking at online sales tax, they should move taxation on retail outlets to warehouses. Which did seem to make sense to me. And also seems to agree with what you're saying too.

Linux Mint users in hot water for being slow with security updates, running old versions

Peter X

Or maybe, just enable automatic updates by default *but* provide a method that sys-admins / technically aware users can disable this. I personally don't like automatic updates... but I do usually apply updates as soon as they're available.

Voyager 2 receives and executes first command in 11 months as sole antenna that reaches it returns to work

Peter X

Re: It's a different world

Speaking of helicopters and spaaace, I saw this a couple of days ago; it's from 2019-08-10, so not new, but does describe how hard it is to fly on Mars: https://youtu.be/GhsZUZmJvaM (16 minutes long btw)

Lands on Mars on Thursday I believe?

One careful driver: Make room in the garage... Bloodhound jet-powered car is up for sale

Peter X

Re: Time for UK based (and UK nationality) entrepreneurs to step up to the plate

Good luck with any of those duffers. You'd have a bout as much chance as getting money back from the PPE cronies - who, probably do have a few £million spare.

Pirate Bay co-founder criticises Parler for its lack of resilience

Peter X

Re: Geeks versus Politicians

Thanks for your reply - points noted! :D

I should've said what the thumb up/down scores were at time of posting, but it was a surprising ratio where > 50% were thumbs down... which people are entitled to, but given the tone (at least in my head), that was unexpected.

Also, minor point, but I didn't actually use all caps!!! I did use strong-emphasis (aka bold) though, so I might try to use plain italic (plain emphasis) in the future. I am a serial abuser of exclamation marks though- I have no shame!!!!! ;-)

Peter X

Re: Geeks versus Politicians

I wouldn't normally ask why people are down-voting, but in this case, I'd really love to know the reason if anyone is willing to explain.

Peter X

Re: Geeks versus Politicians

You appear to be mistaking racism, sedition, insurrection, violence and death as being "an opinion". It isn't.

The reason Twitter, Apple, etc blocked Trump and/or Parler was not because they're all liberal lefties trying to force their opinion. It's because Trump / Parler violated their (the service provider's) terms & conditions... namely, they'll tolerate most things, but racism, sedition etc are not acceptable. Because of-course, they are absolutely not acceptable!

So your point about what will happen when Twitter, Facebook, etc stop agreeing... I'm not sure they do now. But the idea that one or more of them might some how decide that actually racism/violence/etc is perfectly fine, seems, unlikely. Because, once again, these things are not "opinion" - they are quite clearly wrong.

It is worth noting that certain "news" outlets such as Fox, and even certain Republican politicians are trying to suggest that this is opinion and that their free speech is being suppressed. These people are lying.

Hope that's cleared some things up! :D

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

Peter X

At the very least, it would seem sensible to *not* allow this to be used after losing an election, since it clearly denies voters their voice and is likely to be abused.

Realme 7 5G: Parents, this is the phone you should have got your kids for Christmas

Peter X

Does it have NFC?

HP CEO talks up HP-ink-only print hardware and higher upfront costs for machines that use other cartridges

Peter X

Re: Bought bypass chips

Seriously - this!

I absolutely cannot fathom how people actually get paid (I'm guessing quite a lot) to suggest these clearly, utterly stupid ideas. This won't work. Eventually, HP will sell it's entire printing division to ... some company probably in the far-east. And that'll be that. And this CEO will likely get a golden parachute at the end of it.

The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop

Peter X

Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

I think this is an area they've improved; I've only recently upgraded to GIMP 2.10 (from 2.8), but certainly perspective is different now.

Geekbench stats show Apple Silicon MacBook Air trouncing pricey 16-inch MacBook Pro

Peter X

Finger nail biting time for some

Like, Intel for example?

Missing Alan Turing memorabilia to be returned to Blighty from the US, 36 years after it went walkabout

Peter X

Re: Hmm ...

Or the app?! (I'm assuming there is one)

Peter X

Re: Hmm ...

One hopes that *if* a plaque is legally required, that it is worded with a secret message encoded within; if the wording cannot be changed (due to legals), then encode something into the frame. Or gaps between words/letters. Or something.

Seriously, now I've thought about it, I'll be most disappointed if it doesn't happen!

Boeing puts Loyal Wingman robot fighter jet through its paces... on the ground

Peter X

Camo + hi-vis

I've seen it before, but there's always something rather incongruous about military types in their camo gear, then with a hi-vis waistcoat over the top of it.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets

Peter X

Row / column limits

Going out on a limb here, but maybe the row/column limit on Excel should be far far far lower? E.g. 100?

Then, people would quickly realise, it isn't the tool for the thing that they think it's for. And hopefully they'd then, correctly, use an RDBMS.

Oh, and after a user has watched YouTube videos and (maybe) checked the help information on how to use a pivot table, when they actually try to choose Pivot Table from the menu, it should pop up a message saying "You know this is not some magical thing; it's simply grouping and aggregation which is total piss to do with an RDBMS".

Then - perhaps - they'd know!! They'd understand!!!

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns

Peter X

Re: Fundamentally flawed

They should make the planes even longer and make all the passengers sit at the back to act as a counter-weight to the huge forward-mounted engines! (no, I don't work in engineering... fortunately)

Microsoft will release a web browser for Linux next month. Repeat, Microsoft will release a browser for Linux – and it uses Google's technology

Peter X

So the browser wars were for nothing?!!!

Backup a sec – is hard drive reliability improving? Annual failure rate from Backblaze comes in at its lowest yet

Peter X

Re: It's only been 65 years

I was expecting HDDs to start moving to more of a archiving role (which to be fair, I think they have) and to get bigger again since capacity would then be more important than access speed.

So instead of shingling, why don't we just have 5 1/4 and 8 inch HDDs? (or even 10.5 inch platters)

Pretty wild that a malicious mailto: link might attach your secret keys and files from your PC to an outgoing message

Peter X

Vuln exists on Thunbird 68.10.0/Mint Cinnamon 19.3

I'm super disappointed at that. :(



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