* Posts by John Sager

721 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Apr 2008

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How do you solve the problem that is Twitter?

John Sager

Re: Just... no

Twitler's singular talent is he's a con man

If he is, he must be the best one that has ever lived to become the richest man in the world. I don't really buy that.

Two signs in the comms cabinet said 'Do not unplug'. Guess what happened

John Sager

Fused spurs in the UK have the fuse behind a little plate that is screwed in, so a screwdriver will serve to break the circuit, but that may not be quick enough to prevent the magic smoke.

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine

John Sager

Re: Plane fuel

You need to get rid of the O2 in the reaction, which is somewhat hard. If you don't the fuel weight contains the oxygen atoms which won't contribute to the burn, since they are already bound to the C and are thus deadweight. There are compounds with C and O in where they aren't bound together, and so they can react together to contribute to the energy output. However these compounds are generally used as explosives...

John Sager

Yup. NASA know it'll leak, so they have procedures and designs of kit and spaces to cope with that. Witness the postponements of the Artemis 1 mission due to H2 leaks.

Aircraft design will become a lot more interesting if they are forced to use a fuel, H2, which is totally unsuited for that use.

Telecoms networks could provide next-gen GPS services without the need for satellites

John Sager

The improved time sync is a byproduct of getting to decimetre accuracy and is an important service to some in its own right.

John Sager

Re: Multilateration!

LORAN could never have been accurate enough for many of the uses of GPS/Galileo/GLONASS etc for both positioning and timing. This look like a terrestrial-based system that could do that. However it would only really work well in urban areas where signals from several base stations are available. It would work even better if the mobile companies would all agree to hosting the common signal so receivers could use all networks. It would still be a problem in rural areas where some networks co-host base stations on the same mast so there aren't multiple independent pseudo-range vectors to feed into the multilateration algorithm.

John Sager

Re: increased positioning accuracy is deemed to be worth the cost

I have exactly the same problem with the Canon printer app on Android. It will not do anything unless you allow it to know its location, and precisely at that! I assumed it is to find the nearby printer but it should be able to do that via WiFi. So the app is no longer on my phone.

Man wins court case against employer that fired him for not liking boozy, forced 'fun' culture

John Sager

Some manager's wheeze to get their ESG ratings up on your dollar/euro? Lay down carefully & walk away!

How not to test a new system: push a button and wait to see what happens

John Sager

Testing times ahead

I expect one or two systems may get the Big Red Button test this winter but not by the one near the door in the server room!

Aviation regulators push for more automation so flights can be run by a single pilot

John Sager

The accident rate would go up from that type of accident, but they are very rare. However the accident rate due to pilot error would probably go down. What the benefit would be in saved lives is almost impossible to gauge, probably, and this also assumes that the introduced automation would deal with issues that pilots currently take in their stride.

Musk tells of risk of Twitter bankruptcy as tweeters trash brands

John Sager

Re: Musk has devotees not fanbois

He is working at the bleeding edge with Starship. You would hope that NASA aren't with SLS but we won't know that until it flies.

TSMC reportedly looks to raise a second Arizona chip fab

John Sager

Re: I'm a little surprised

Yes it doesn't look optimal, but there could be all sorts of porky reasons for that decision. I guess TSMC might now also be a bit more interested in diversifying out of Taiwan given Winnie's posturing.

Multi-factor auth fatigue is real – and it's why you may be in the headlines next

John Sager

Re: And don't call me shirely

The vernacular is TL;DR

Crowds not allowed to leave Shanghai Disneyland without a negative COVID test

John Sager

Apparently you can't even refer to WtP there, even obliquely. No doubt there are fiendish Chinese euphemisms to overcome that.

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

John Sager

Re: ∞↔ ∘ ∘

There is no scope for latinate grammar. We got rid of most of the word endings (inflections) that indicate it centuries ago.

Starlink, shot by both sides in Ukrainian fracas, lives to fight on

John Sager

I think that's less likely. Given the expertise, I would expect Starling's backend systems to be far more hardened than, say, the average NHS hospital. However they would be up against nation-state adversaries but also most likely with nation-state help and advice too.

Intel chips in on optical modem for DARPA's 'internet of satellites'

John Sager

An option against uplink jamming

Apparently Iran is currently jamming the uplink on Farsi channels from outside Iran, so a laser link from a sat over the horizon would counter that.

Charge a future EV in less than five minutes – using literally cool NASA tech

John Sager

And another one to add to the collection

Like a lot of silly ideas it magically gets 'credible' when the magic words Gerbil Worming get added. No doubt the cooling concept might be useful in some contexts, but not this one.

Girls Who Code books 'banned' in some US classrooms

John Sager

Mission creep

The last sentence of the article has it. Stick to your mission and don't let it be associated with the hot button causes du jour.

Datacenter outages are costing more, $1m+ failures now common

John Sager

Why would they be required to count 'carbon'? I doubt many data centres emit CO2 directly, so the 'carbon' impact is a function of power use and many/most already quote average kW/MW consumption. It's obviously a way of using them to pressure the power suppliers to become 'greener', as if they didn't have enough pressure directly anyway. And it's yet another tick in the ESG box ☹️

Now's your chance, AI, to do good. Protect endangered eagles from wind turbines

John Sager

Re: @John Sager

Ah well, I suppose an Ad Hominem will always close the argument. At least we don't get Godwin's Law on this topic.

John Sager

Re: @John Sager

I gather they don't switch you off when the wind doesn't blow, so where do you think your power comes from then? It's probably a gas-fired power station that isn't allowed to operate when the wind blows so its costs are thereby increased (amortised capital cost). Wind is only cheaper when you don't include the backup costs.

John Sager

Re: @John Sager

You would tend to hope that the commentards here would be of an engineering bent, so they would think a bit more about the downsides of where we are being forced to go. But no, the downvotes keep on coming ☹️

John Sager

We could, of course, can this shit and remove the wind turbines

Climate change prevention plans 'way off track', says UN

John Sager

Re: It seems evident that

Look at the graphs that have been published showing the divergence of all the various model predictions of temperature rise in the future. The actual outturn is right along the bottom of that divergence. The models are pretty much GIGO so far, and essentially all the doom & gloom is based on them.

John Sager

Re: Thought about using nuclear?

I think Dinorwig would have 50 fits with the solar power output he showed. Granted it would even out a bit statistically with solar farms over a wider area but even Dinorwig has a response time in the tens of seconds.

John Sager

Re: It seems evident that

It's equally possible the world will get only slightly warmer and significantly greener, to our net benefit. It's already doing the latter, and the water vapour cycle has a very strong negative feedback effect on global temperatures. As Bjorn Lomborg said a decade or two ago, we should have been working to adjust rather than trying to push the tide back.

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

John Sager

Too many humans are awful, because statistically it includes idiots who don't know better and sociopaths who do but delight in buggering it up for everyone else.

Near where I live there is a lovely spring, impossible to get to in the summer because of the nettles & other vegetation but a sight to behold in winter. Some 'well-meaning' person put markers around so we removed them. Selfish? If too many idiots went too close they would collapse the sides of the spring pool and that would be that.

John Sager

Re: a black sand beach

Lanzarote, and for good measure it has green olivine stones as well. Don't all rush over there!

The International Space Station will deorbit in glory. How's your legacy tech doing?

John Sager

Re: End of Life

Seen any bridges, or nuclear reactors like that?

John Sager

That's some interesting Soma you're using there!

You can never have too many backups. Also, you can never have too many backups

John Sager

Re: Hardly on topic

I used to have to enter the first 16 opcodes by hand to make the machine eat the punched tape with program on it

Been there, done that, in the early 70s. Honeywell DDP-516. We didn't need to do it every time but that small amount of bootloader sometimes got corrupted - no memory protection there!

Interconnect innovation key to satiating soaring demand for fiber capacity

John Sager

Re: Arrghh!

It's a standard tradeoff. If you have a signal modulated as, say, 64QAM, then that signal requires a certain signal/noise ratio to be received with a low enough error rate. If you double the data rate using 128QAM then you need, typically, 3dB more s/n ratio to get the same low error rate. Fibre systems work with more s/n ratio than strictly necessary to cope with equipment and fibre route variations, and in some cases some of that dB margin can be traded for extra bandwidth if the stats on the link say it can be done reliably.

Be careful where you install software, and who installs it

John Sager

Re: Linux Bros'

If you want to be able to do stuff then a CLI is essential, as Microsoft have very belatedly realised by introducing powershell. cmd.exe is/was no shell worth the name. On Linux I use the GUI for browser, email, file manager and an IDE but much of the rest is cli. I've got about 8 terminal emulators running over 5 virtual desktops on this laptop. Not all in use at once but they all have different CWDs for ease of use.

China's 7nm chip surprise reveals more than Beijing might like

John Sager

Re: Ours

It's a toxin to us in high concentrations, but not to plants & algae. And what's a toxic level? The atmosphere is about 400ppm at the moment. The partial pressure of it in your lungs makes it about 100 times that concentration.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

John Sager

Re: TomTom Lifetime Maps

My wife recently bought a s/h Kia with built-in satnav. Kia have a nice app (Windoze or Mac only☹️) that will download new maps for a large range of their vehicles, going back quite a way. So with the investment of a few Gb of my bb allowance and a bigger SD card, the car now has the latest maps (May 2022). Not sure how long they will support that particular model but I'm hopeful it'll be a while.

In stark contrast Audi demand £200 to update the maps on my car, and the satnav itself probably got made when Noah was alive!

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

John Sager

Re: Years ago....

I remember seeing a document on this from the US Treasury back in the 90s. At the time I thought 'how stupid, why don't you just make greenbacks harder to forge?' But of course the US Treasury gets what it wants and so we get the pattern of little yellow dots that all photocopiers now recognise. I wonder if there are other features that, say, a FourierTtransform would show up that are also used.

Systemd supremo Lennart Poettering leaves Red Hat for Microsoft

John Sager

I think if I felt I needed to do that I would go back to Gentoo. I used it on some of my test machines back in the day, but I got a bit fed up of the rebuild almost every day aspect. If I left it too long then I started to get sync issues between what I had and what the current build was. There's a lot to be said for LTS versions, and it's not very often that something I want to do needs stuff that's a bit more recent. As always YMMV.

NanoAvionics satellite pulls out GoPro to take stunning selfie over Earth

John Sager

Re: Clever

Not regular enough. An octahedron if you like pointy bits or a dodecahedron for something with a bit of magic (12 bits actually).

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop

John Sager

Left-ponders still use acre-feet as a measure of volume, particularly large volumes of water. At the outflow of Lake Tahoe there are stats on flow and lake volume in acre-feet.

John Sager

Bin has ancient antecedents in Old English with the meaning of 'container'. Apparently the usage for a rubbish bin dates from 19thC. I've been programming with FFTs and the output of a FFT is frequency bins.

SpaceX staff condemn Musk's behavior in open letter

John Sager

Re: Woke Inc

I would expect SpaceX would want to hire staff on merit, disregarding colour of skin and/or sexual orientation, or indeed, sex.

Certainly if I were running a space operation like that, technical competence with the ability to work in teams and with all sorts of other skilled people would be far and away the number one priority.

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well

John Sager

I've used Xubuntu for many years, and will probably stick with it until I can't adequately vanquish another systemd dragon. I've used Linux desktops since I gave up a Sun workstation in the 90s, though Windows occasionally demands obesiance, most recently with a Kia satnav upgrade. But VMware handles that.

Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems

John Sager

Re: Why a "retired farmer"?

I did that in my teenage pyro phase. A mate started work at a company making interior door handles for cars. As the colours had to match they had a warehouse full of pigments and yes, you guessed it, finely divided Al and ferric oxide. We filled a paint tin with a stoichiometric mixture. However fine powder traps a lot of air and we couldn't remove it - no vacuum pump. Anyway we lit the Mg ribbon & stood well back. Of course the trapped air expanded mightily so we got a magnificent sparkly fire fountain. Then the tin melted and we had molten iron running over the ground from the reaction & the tin. Lots of fun without the tell-tale bangs from other experiments...

Of course we would be arrested for that under anti-terrorism legislation these days. I assume there is a statute of limitations...

John Sager

Re: Rockets...

I saw a tale a few years ago of a guy who used a cardboard mortar on his head to launch a starshell, with predictable results. I did a few sums and came to the conclusion that the impulse on launch is getting on for a tonne for a few milliseconds!

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words

John Sager

Re: Nous devons arrêter ces actions!

Even the Russians use СТОП. And of course ARRÊT doesn't fit on a stop sign...

John Sager

Iceland

I wonder what the Icelanders do with this stuff. They are possibly even hotter than the French on preservation of the language against loan-words. I also get the impression that Icelanders largely support that, in contrast to the average personne française.

Of course the Icelanders are probably far more sensible than to indulge in professional computer game-playing.

Australian digital driving licenses can be defaced in minutes

John Sager

Re: A country

I doubt the plastic ones wil disappear any time soon.

Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay

John Sager

I've bought lots of stuff from Amazon for at least 10 years and I don't feel ashamed one iota! I also buy stuff from other places too, even visiting bricks & mortar establishments. The company meets a need, and is very successful at it. If there wasn't the need they would have gone bust.

That's the way businesses usually work. The successful ones spot a need and work to meet it. Businesses with a market that goes away go bust, voluntarily liquidate or find another purpose. Not much call for fletchers, thatchers and livery stables these days.

BT: 'Quantum radios' could boost 5G network range

John Sager

Re: One day...

Are you au fait with the argot in Ballet, or Ice Skating? Same thing here, it's words that have a specific meaning in that context. It makes communication within the discipline easy at the expense of giving outsiders & neophytes an education task. Some people see that as a deliberate rejection of outsiders but that isn't the primary intent in most cases.

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