* Posts by John Sager

785 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Apr 2008


Share your 2024 tech forecasts (wrong answers only) to win a terrible sweater

John Sager

The Met Office updates their climate model

It tells them that CO2 is pretty much inconsequential - it's the Sun wot dun it, and we'll have a nice warm century but then the next ice age starts in 2100.

IT sent the intern to sort out the nasty VP who was too important to bother with backups

John Sager

Re: Can't stand IT

Small companies are better at keeping a handle on expenditure. Not so much large companies - it's only shareholders' money after all. I wonder where the turnover point is when companies grow larger - the point where they decide they need a HR department?

UK throws millions at scheme to heat homes with waste energy from datacenters

John Sager

Re: Assumptions

As with almost any idea, technically possible, just doesn't make sense in the real world

Looks like the govt didn't ask the right people if it would work before chucking our money at it. Sadly this isn't uncommon:(

If it made sense economically then the data centres would be on it already as an extra income stream, not needing the taxpayer to pay for it.

CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it

John Sager

Re: On the flip side of that coin, sometime users are right!

I get that as a customer with a problem too. In the early days of ISPs I had to change ISP because the previous one went bust, and then my Sure Signal femtocell device from Vodafone stopped working. Now, knowing something about network security I guessed that my new IP address wasn't whitelisted on their firewall. However trying to get Voda to sort it out was 'difficult'. The young lady on support did pass me on to her supervisor eventually but his reaction was 'Oh, that's a different department'. So we went round the houses about responsibility and I eventually persuaded him to own the problem in Voda for me. About a fortnight later it started working, and they did actually tell me the problem. That IP address range was originally used in Belgium so it hit their geofencing blocks in the firewall.

Tenfold electric vehicles on 2030 roads could be a shock to the system

John Sager

Re: Never going to happen in the UK

The manufacturers have probably got more clout with the government than we have. We stop buying EVs, as we can't be compelled to buy them, and when the fines start to bite, the manufacturers will just stop selling any vehicles here. That might concentrate a few minds in Westminster. Otherwise I guess we'll turn into Cuba, maintaining old bangers for decades.

John Sager

Re: Never going to happen in the UK

True. But I've no idea what it might be

Nuclear! No, belay that. It would have been a good idea if we had done a France when they did, and carried on now when they have got cold feet. Oil and gas will run out eventually so we'll be back to coal before they do. The only other option is a low energy agrarian economy like we had centuries ago, but then we need the low population density to match...

Cue the Soylent Green factories.

ULA's Vulcan Centaur hopes to rocket into Christmas

John Sager

Re: New Galilleo Launches

I doubt that would go unnoticed. The Galileo time reference works independently, as does the USNO one for GPS. The GGTO, on the Galileo navigation message, is only telling you that there is a small offset, that will no doubt vary with the precise behaviour of the two time references. If the US tried to wobble the USNO reference then that would seriously screw with GPS, especially the military part, and Fuchino would rapidly notice that too.

CEO Satya Nadella thinks Microsoft hung up on Windows Phone too soon

John Sager

Re: Regardless what you think of Microsoft,

After the Nokia deal went down I was chatting with an American friend. I suggested that Nokia let the vampire in the door when they hired Elop, and so it turned out.

Want a clean energy transition? Better start putting cash into electrical grid

John Sager

Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

than we be dead or suffering greatly due to climate change

Someone has swallowed the kool-aid good and proper. Despite what you have been told, you ain't going to die by boiling or whatever the really scary threat du jour is today.

Sadly Sunak didn't go far enough as we still have the Climate Change Act on the books with all its malign consequences.

You've just spent $400 on a baby monitor. Now you need a subscription

John Sager

Re: Yet another bloody cloud device

I have Reolink cameras. They do have a cloud system for viewing the camera or recorder output but you can set up the phone app to work locally so it just works over the VPN. I've also blocked the cameras and the recorder from making outbound connections. I can unblock that temporarily if I need to do a software update.

John Sager

Yet another bloody cloud device

They all have a limited lifetime.

Nice that it'll still work locally though. A bit of VPN using WireGuard would sort that for remote use. Are there any off-the-shelf border routers that support that though? I only found GL.iNet routers and that's not a mainstream brand. Of course OpenWRT supports it but that's not an option for most people.

Kaluma squeezes JavaScript onto the Raspberry Pi Pico

John Sager

Python semantics

We all do indentation anyway for readability so losing curly brackets doesn't seem too much of an imposition.

As for the RP2040, it's a nice device to play with, and I've just built a nice little app (in C though) that listens for the RF signal from the doorbell button so I can get a 'bing-bong' in my headphones when someone rings the doorbell.

The pico-sdk does put quite a few functions into RAM though for speed, as flash is over a QSPI interface so cache misses will be slow, so that does take away from available heap space.

Tweaked Space Shuttle Main Engine gets ready for final testing

John Sager

Re: A similar option for HS2?

Upvoted for inventive cynicism!

Beta driver turned heads in the hospital

John Sager

Many windows on a landscape screen, with 5 virtual desktops to spread them out on - this on Xubuntu. Of course us hard cases have multiple terminal windows on different virtual laptops too. Then you can resize windows to whatever aspect ratio you desire.

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

John Sager

Re: "......the mine had closed."

It's probably under several hundred feet of water. I believe those mines were wet and filled up once the pumps stopped.

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

John Sager

Process failure at Google

This is like all the other stories we get about Google. People attempt to contact the company for all sorts of reasons, and it's like a big black hole. I read a story the other day about Google spending billions with cell providers for search & Chrome exclusivity. You would think they could spend a fraction of that on product service. It's not customer service because we aren't the customers, we are the product.

Britcoin or Britcon? Bank of England grilled on Digital Pound privacy concerns

John Sager

Privacy? What's that?

We haven't got to the point yet where those issues have been raised; we're at the technical design point

She said this in regard to privacy issues. I would have thought that a suitable solution for privacy features would impact significantly on the technical design. It's definitely not an extra bolt-on goody!

UK civil servants – hopefully including those spending billions on tech – to skill up in STEM

John Sager

They'll only skim the surface, even if they listen. The only beneficial outcome would be if they come to understand the depths of their ignorance and learn how to ask the right people for advice. I'm not holding my breath.

Amazon unleashes Gen AI for product descriptions, curbs it for Kindle

John Sager

UK consumer protection legislation

One assumes the AI knows all about that and will be very careful to avoid any false descriptions of any aspect of the tat


UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'

John Sager

Re: Resiliency – we've heard of it

Not simple. Flight plans can be quite complex documents and doing a thorough input sanitation early on may not be feasible. I wonder if the whole truth of what happened will be released publicly. They may want to keep quiet about exactly what caused it to fail, if indeed it was a duff flight plan issue.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

John Sager

Re: Not holding my breath

I wasn't a fat bloke at the time, but I used the car to effectively go across the road in the US once. With 2 small children in tow and >100 Deg F outside it seemed like a sensible option.

We need to be first on the Moon, uh, again, says NASA

John Sager

Re: Fifty years ago...

We couldn't afford it. We went in with some Europeans. Our bit worked, one or other of their bits didn't over several tests. I think we just decided to take our ball away, stick it in a museum and waste the money saved on something else.

John Sager

Re: Just one question

Well, how come Dragon missions have been pretty much faultless, both the manned and unmanned missions, including landing the first stages? He might have the move 'fast & break things' rep but only in the development phase. He won't do stuff unless the risk is low enough - launches often get delayed because everything is not quite right.

John Sager

Re: Just one question

Well, I would probably even trust NASA over the UN. That's just a talking shop with not much love for us.

If NASA really want to get there in a reasonable time at reasonable cost, the only option is His Muskness.

Techie's quick cure for a curious conflict caused a huge headache

John Sager

With the redback, and sic an Inland Taipan on you for good measure.

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look

John Sager

'Safe' batteries

There ain't no such thing as a safe battery when its energy density is the same as or more than current lithium batteries. It's no accident that the main working ingredient is an alkali metal which reacts readily and exothermically with stuff, and ever more energetically as you go down the periodic table. Even a tank of petrol/gasoline is not safe if you don't treat it right, but we've had decades of experience of making safe containers for that stuff (bar the Pinto).

Judge lets art trio take another crack at suing AI devs over copyright

John Sager

Re: Seems this is a judge not understanding "AI"

There have been judges who have made the effort to become familiar with the arena of litigation - William Alsup in California comes to mind (Oracle Vs Google). However I wonder if some think that may be counterproductive in an essentially legal judgement.

Social media is too much for most of us to handle

John Sager

Re: Some of us figured all that out ...

Yes indeed! I remember Usenet in the early 90s, and what an education that was! Quite addictive but it lost its attraction once the AOLers and succeeding waves of newbies came on. I've never bothered with Twatter or Farcebook for that reason. My wife uses FB but limits it severely to family & friends, which is the only sensible thing to do.

'There has never been a realistic plan' for UK's £11B Emergency Services Network

John Sager

Trouble is, they want all sorts of bells & whistles - PTT, group nets etc, all the stuff that Airwave currently does. But they want the cell network for data & video stuff too.

The Home Office never got the right people in to ask the very hard questions of EE. Or if they did they ignored them because they didn't like the answer.

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable

John Sager

Re: Poor design in my opinion

Yes, that was the one. I apologise profusely and abjectly to commentards for whom the mis-remembering of dates is an unforgivable sin!

John Sager

Re: Poor design in my opinion

I had an early Sony CD player in the 70s that was all discrete logic. One of the CDs I had was slightly off centre. I hooked up a scope to the R/W line on the RAM and it was fascinating to watch the variations caused by the offset. The disc played OK though as the RAM read out to the DACs was crystal controlled.

I think the most audiophily thing would be to put a GPS-controlled OCXO in there for the accuracy, and charge $$$$ for it.

Brit broadband subscribers caught between crappy connections and price hikes

John Sager

Re: 4G or ADSL backup

I've never used anything like 1Tb in a month. A&A's algorithm adds a fraction of unused to next month's allowance so I regularly start out with around 1800Gb on 1st of month. I would have to watch a lot of 4k streams or go mad trying a large variety of Linux live distros to get anywhere near that.

John Sager

Never had a problem...

... with my ISP, apart from local power outages, for which I now have a UPS. They were very helpful negotiating with Openreach too. I probably pay more than with the usual suspects, but you get what you pay for. The ISP? Look at the front of the alphabet.

How a dispute over IP addresses led to a challenge to internet governance

John Sager

Re: Time for IPv8

Well, my firewall rules disallow general inbound V6 traffic to all my nodes. It's only a few lines in nftables.

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

John Sager

Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

So what format do you use in real life, e.g. dating a che(que|ck)?

Metaverses are flopping – hard – says Gartner

John Sager

Re: Is there a Gartner-Cycle for Gartner-Cycles?

We once video-conferenced with some colleagues in Glasgow, may have done it twice, but it didn't catch on. My subsequent interaction with that team was by email and phone. I don't remember even meeting them in the flesh.

Vodafone offers '5G Ultra' to users of very specific phones in very specific locations

John Sager

AI porn too, or is that far too wierd?

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson

John Sager

Another tale. I might have told this before. Business trip to LA in the 90s. Immigration guy asks why I'm visiting - digital TV conference. So the guy asks me "So which TV screen size do you think will be the future?". So I immediately replied 16:9, definitely. He then said he was interested in the tech, I think as a way of saying it wasn't a trick question. The guys I knew at the conference were a bit boggled when I related the tale later!

John Sager

On a business trip to San Diego in the 90s I thought I would go to TJ. Got the tram to the border & just walked across - no Mex immigration check. Wandered into TJ - weird place, full of farmacias & stripey burros, definitely wouldn't visit these days though. On the way back there was just a line at the border and my UK passport with the bit of I94 in it was fine to get back in.

John Sager

I got a smile out of an Immigration guy once. This was in Detroit in January. He asked me my business - visiting a company in Ann Arbor. I remarked that Michigan in January was not the best time to come and got a wry smile.

John Sager

Re: Proof if needed

And they won't talk to the experts because they hate everyone and everyone hates them.

Amazon confirms it locked Microsoft engineer out of his Echo gear over false claim

John Sager

Re: Wow

Yup. Cars are going to become pretty shitty quickly. The top of the range ones already are.

John Sager

Re: Deserved

His boss will be of the same mindset.

As a M$ engineer he should have been more savvy. However most customers for all this cloud-based kit aren't. They have no hope of detaching themselves from what are useful services if they work right. The big downsides are connectivity loss, companies moving on leaving orphans, and now brain-dead tantrums like this by service drones.

Personally I eschew all this cloud stuff because I can DIY, but that's not an option for most.

UK told it must double low carbon investment to meet net zero targets

John Sager

Re: What’s the point?

I'm quite happy, even with loss of species. Even a cursory study of palaeontology would tell you that species extinctions in the past were great opportunities for new species to develop. We can't preserve our world in aspic, it changes with or without our agency. The smart species take advantage of new opportunities, and we are pretty much up there with the smartest ones so I'm not really concerned about the continuance of Homo Sapiens.

John Sager

Re: What’s the point?

I felt quite sad reading that. It shows just how much the current catastrophe-mongering has messed with so many people's minds. Don't worry about a global climate catastrophe, it's just not going to happen. The world may get a bit warmer, the seas may rise a bit more than otherwise, and the extra CO2 will (and has already) significantly increase vegetation growth, including all those crops we need. The thing that is more likely to screw up your son's life is the insane 'net zero' policy currently favoured by our technically illiterate and unnumerate governments, and the consequent catastrophic economic damage.

Rigorous dev courageously lied about exec's NSFW printouts – and survived long enough to quit with dignity

John Sager

Then he knows that you know, which will go either of two ways.

1) he is very nice and tries to bribe you to keep schtum. If you don't accept, it goes to (2), which might be the direct path one anyway.

2) you are now a target for anything from bad reports all the way up to murder.

Better to make out you knew nothing, which the 'accidentally deleted job' excuse covers nicely.

We regret to inform you Earth will not be destroyed by an asteroid within 1,000 years

John Sager

Re: scientists can reliably track asteroid paths about 100 years into the future,

These are Near Earth Objects, i.e. the ones we can track easily. But we get lots of stuff coming down from the Oort cloud as comets on a regular basis. I guess though that the big ones will get spotted far enough out to be able to do the Bruce Willis thing.

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel

John Sager

Re: DOS Box didn't help

I visited the Lick Observatory (nice drive up from San Jose) in the 90s. On one telescope they had a Commodore PET controlling the tracking sat next to a whizzy Sun workstation to analyse the data off the telescope. If it ain't broke don't fix it

Datacenter fire suppression system wasn't tested for years, then BOOM

John Sager

They can't do that calculation properly - it's always heavily weighted by CYA considerations by the Pols and TPTB generally.

UK emergency services take DIY approach amid 12-year wait for comms upgrade

John Sager

Re: Record incompetence

Do you really think that the shitshow that is the Labour front bench would be any better? The operative word is 'politician' not 'Conservative' or 'Labour'.