* Posts by Julian I-Do-Stuff

136 publicly visible posts • joined 9 May 2008


The Register's 2018 homepage redesign: What's going on now?

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Waste of space.... literally

Category and time/comment count - two lines that just aren't needed: headlines should speak for themselves. And "hrs" since when? No idea when I last refreshed. Date/time if you have to but followed link color change treks me what's new. There's not enough news in my visual field to fill my input buffet. Increase info density and eliminate the vacuous.

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Info density too low

Classic style gives me at least 4-5 story heads even with images; without it may be 6+. New design? Lucky if I can see 3 (echo: what's with all the boxes...?)

Took me 10s to switch back... Any more undedense and it will become vacuous.

Content still good tho ;)

The wait is over: MoD releases latest issue of Ship Paint Monthly

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Warpaint would give Self Adhesive News a run for its money - if it still exists (probably came to a sticky end with the 80s).

Yes, I know.

Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Re: Paper rocket

ESA's Concurrent Design Facility - where they mess around with mission options* - at Estec may still be driven by Excel. Last thing I'm pretty sure was done with Excel was LISA Pathfinder but I suspect it's still in use.

* Not enough power... bigger solar panels... stronger reaction wheels... not enough room... shrink the batteries... more cooling?... move to the outside... They trade off design options on-the-fly. It's Excel AND cool.

Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

Julian I-Do-Stuff

IANA philosopher but...

Is there some principle of free speech that says the speaker is not responsible for the consequences of their speech? Free speech: yes. Immunity from liability: no. All assuming that one grants speech add having "casual powers", which it would seem strange to deny. Suppose you are a bomb disposal trainee and I the trainer tell you to dismantle a bomb to see how it works and that it has been defused, but I am lying or mistaken, am I not liable? It was only my statement about safety that encouraged the trainee to proceed.

BOFH: Power corrupts, uninterrupted power corrupts absolutely

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Of course we had it tough...

Designing special purpose UPS to support nuclear reactor mainframe peripherals. Spec said "up to 5 minutes of power"... Hmmm, we thought, if all the power goes off in a nuclear power station - including the primary UPS & backup generators - the fan will be very brown very quickly so we gave them power for 3 hours to sort it out. Mind you, the mainframe was probably long dead by then, but it was unlikely to be *our* fault. Arses properly covered. PS The mainframe also had a battery... for starting.

Humanity's stored data measured in CDs to the Moon

Julian I-Do-Stuff

13 Layers

Or, give or take 10%, 1 layer of books on the entire land surface of the Earth. Why pick China and then a funny multiplier like 13? How about Mongolia 79 layers deep? Anyway, what's the volume?* How about a hybrid unit of 1 Wales in area x 1 Double-decker bus in height? or 1 China x 1 Dollar Coin?

* Actually, what font size are they assuming?

Prosecutors kick Phorm case upstairs

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Realistic Prospects...

When the CPS has to decide whether there is a "realistic prospect" of conviction, what exactly does it mean... it would be nice to know before they rely on it whether it's reasonable likelihood, balance of probabilities or something else. [Personally, whilst BT may be innocent until proven guilty I tend to think of this case as rather more Not Convicted until Defence Proved Vacuous...]

Lost ancient civilisation's ruins lie beneath Gulf, says boffin

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Well well well

Who else but The Register could possibly provide such an unrivalled combination of Playmobil re-enactment, PARIS-based tittilation and aeronautical lunacy and journos who care enought about obscure stuff to know that to leave out the Dilmun-Bahrain connection would have been to miss half the fun of the story... as well as in depth IT coverage (occasionally).

... and, of course, readers who quote Josephus.

Trebles all round!

PS If scientists get to be good old fashioned Boffins here, how about a suitable Reg-style epithet for archaeologists? Bone-botherers?

World's largest pilot union shuns full-body scanners

Julian I-Do-Stuff
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New Improved UV

Hmmmm... if UV is carcinogenic, then higher energy X-rays dumping their energy into the epidermis must be.... totally safe! And to think we spend billions on things like the LHC when we could have asked a security expert/scanner maker how stuff works.

UK IT projects must pull up socks, says hefty maven

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Actually I quite like learning from failure. I think we learn a lot that way

Wow! "we" must know so much by now it must be quite a challenge finding new ways to fail.

Police legal advice gives spam RIPA protection

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Give the QC a lesson in information theory and/or philosophy and the opinion might change: the electronic part (voice or data) is merely an intermediate between the sender's and recipient's brain - surely a message cannot be "transmitted" (past tense) until it has been "received", which can only occur when all the information content has been extracted.

E.g. I might listen to my voicemail and leave the message undeleted because I didn't take it all in on first hearing. That a message may have been displayed or listened to is no guarantee the message has been "received", and until has been it is still in the process of being transmitted and so is still protected by RIPA.

Keep everything as proof you haven't extracted all the info yet...

Adobe pushes out Flash security fix

Julian I-Do-Stuff
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Other nastiness...

A new program folder NOS... (since disappeared!) which contains an Adobe updater (certificates check out) but which helpfully decides to run getPlusHelper as a hidden service under Windows (Vista), thereby giving Unhackme conniptions... RootKit! RootKit! RootKit! (actually Unhackme was much nicer than that... but that's what my brain does when it sees the word RootKit in red).

I suppose I didn't get the Adobe Download Manager with Firefox/Chrome because of NoScript... but of course I got it when fixing up IE8 (which I hardly ever use, but that's no reason not to update it if it's installed)

Service stopped, key removed, file deleted.

Bastards. Just do it simple... how hard can it be???

Head of Stats warns politicians: 'Hands off our numbers!'

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Logic vs Statistics vs Politics.

Logic: At least one bear has shat in a wood.

Statistics: Surveying the habits of bears (as opposed to the incidence of ursine defecation in woods in general), at the 95% confidence level the presence of bears correlates with the presence of bear shit in bear-occupied woodland.

Politics:Unlicensed bears are fouling sites of outstanding natural beauty.

Party Politics: The (insert name) party is callously, wilfully, and cynically ignoring/exaggerating the issue of bear faeces and environmental degradation and the consequent effects on public health/education/safety/radicalisation of soft toys which we, the (insert name of a. n. other) party cannot condone.

Election Politics: The Bears are Coming!

NASA Titan moon-balloons to run on cloud fuel

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Burny stuff!

Most excellent! Good for you.. but how depressing that El Reg's (limited... but it is, after all, a tad OT for IT per se) science coverage is better written and more informative than other online popular science rags.

Any chance you could explain dimensional compactification in string theory?

Taser offers obsessive parents total mobe intrusion package

Julian I-Do-Stuff

1,200 children go missing every day in the US.

I wonder why.

UK prosecutors drop 'tiger' sex video case

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Does that mean if I watched it with the sound off it would be "extreme porn".... but not if I turned it on? What if I can't hear? Can I be arrested, charged and convicted for being deaf?

BTW... since it's all above board now, can you get hold of a copy so that we can see just how idiotic the whole situation is (as though any further evidence were necessary....)

Durham police demonstrate DNA will stuff you

Julian I-Do-Stuff

When correctly viewed...

everything is lewd... to quote Tom Lehrer a propos censorship.

The bigger problem is, by analogy, that context is relevant... although it is increasingly apparent that the context is ignorable.

I daren't tell you how a bag of flour could be used for terrorist purposes... but, knowing that it *could* be, anyone who fancies doing a bit of home baking is in going to be up the creek without much of a paddling instrument at this rate (yes, the recipe did say "mix metaphors until smooth").

Child porn threat to airport's 'virtual strip search' scanners

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Anyone keen for martyrdom would probably be delighted to take their sprog with them... then the question becomes is that kid just fat - or packing? Er...

Google: Servers are DIMM witted

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Errors, errors, everywhere...

Having once developed and supplied hardware error correcting memory systems to a number of nuclear power stations, and having also monitored the errors rates, there were significant differences between sites though there was no obvious correlation with hardware batches. We put it down to variations in background radiation - maybe Google should look at their local geology and radon etc. levels.

Phorm takes a bullet for the advertising industry

Julian I-Do-Stuff

I Like Ads

Really - but only about 0.1%... the Guiness ads, that bizarre, late night C4 add for tires that looked like an automotive fetish street party, etc.

In other words: advertisers be creative - be witty, artistic, entertaining, informative... put some brains into it!

And yes, there's also the 0.1% that make me want to shoot (in a non homicidal way of course) those responsible... I can't remember what it said on the tin, but I know they said it did precisely that.

Tories will let voters 'rewrite' legislation online

Julian I-Do-Stuff

And just how will this work...?

This is appealing but non- [insert word 5 on line 1 of Comment 14 re "Comments on: MoD 'How to stop leaks' guide leaks"]

Good idea in principle - perhaps - but it is likely to require that all referenced legislation is properly digitised and incorporated into the draft - but that would also be a Good Thing (god knows how they do it at present).

With a bit of boolean logic and some structure behind it one might also get better drafted and more sensible legislation. This wingnut says it's the right way to go.. might take while though...

Jacques Chirac ditches devil dog

Julian I-Do-Stuff

@Uncle Slacky

The closest in my vocab is "Le Grand Legume" - "the big vegetable"

Brooke Shields pic exposes real/online rift

Julian I-Do-Stuff

@Ben Morgan

Indeed. It surely - at minimum - requires them to take it away until such time as it is deemed legal or illegal.

Though what the police's role in helping to spare anyone from "causing offence" is unclear - I see hopeful signs there... maybe Mr Plod will intervene to stop e.g. Home Secretary, PM, etc. from causing offence with stupid policies...

Hands off our boffins!

Julian I-Do-Stuff
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Yeah, right

"there are cosmologists doing really great inquiry into the origins of the universe. That doesn't have any real benefit to the economy"...

Until string theory ('cos it's good for gravity - but who needs to study that, we all know it sucks), for example, possibly pie-in-the-sky, nonetheless produces mathematics that has ended up having serious applications to condensed matter which might lead to novel, innovative,etc. devices, technologies, etc., etc,. etc. of economic significance.

Yes times are hard, all budgets need to be re-considered and the least meritorious (reluctantly) put aside, but for god's sake don't elevate being economical with scare resources into a guiding principle of research etc.

If the long-term economic process (agricultural - industrial - service...) is indeed leading the most developed nations towards a "knowledge based economy", i.e. where the what is known, in all generality, can be valuably applied on behalf of others, this approach will merely turn artists into craftsmen and then into mere jobbing workmen. Welcome to the future Britain of pure Polish Plumbing in which we do nothing particularly well but we're cheap and available.

How about finally reforming the agricultural subsidy system (slash other waste bucket of your choice) and investing more in a sphere of activity that can only return greater rewards the more you put into it.

If this is a Vision of the Future it's the vision of a cataract ridden, short sighted, blinkered, photophobe.

MoD pays quadruple in money + blood for Afghan helicopters

Julian I-Do-Stuff

e-Petition under way

PumaUpgradeFail - Quick and dirty but should be up soon.

This sort of thing really pisses me off

Nation's parents prepare to be vetted

Julian I-Do-Stuff

As someone once told me...

a propos Queen's Regulations "Guidance to the wise but law to the fool"

Perhaps someone graphically gifted could offer an icon for a purblind, anencephalic civil servant/ minister attempting to blow his/her brains out with an unloaded banana pointing the wrong way.

However, I sense a tremendous business opportunity for providing out-sourced common-sense. Obviously government has none so it would be only sensible to... oh hang on, I think I see a problem....

Panicky Plod apologises to Innocent Terror Techie

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Anyone know if it is legal to use appropriate force to resist unlawful arrest? Naively I would suppose that an illegal arrest, being not an arrest, just becomes plain assault by a police officer and assault by anyone is surely grounds for reasonable defensive action.

Not sure I would try it even if the answer is yes, but it would be nice to know

< Mine's the seasonally appropriate one

Baroness Scotland fined for failing to follow own law

Julian I-Do-Stuff

I have in my hand a piece of paper... oh...

How queer. The employee didn't have a right to work yet Scotland had apparently checked the documents and obviously concluded that she did. So, either she was presented with false documents, or she didn't check the right documents or she did so incompetently thereby demonstrating further (she didn't keep copies) manifest ignorance of the law she herself was responsible for or, if she was not ignorant, gross negligence by virtue of failing to do what she knew she oughta, or simple incompetence.

Equally obviously it's not a resigning matter - she should carefully consider her position then carry on having refocussed her energies on her core competencies. (I am assuming of course that Mr Brown checked the papers of all government ministers etc.)

She would however benefit from further training in the use of standard office equipment, including, but not limited to, photocopiers.

Photocopying 101: Arse.

Environment Agency goes to High Court for right to spy

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Sir Christopher had in 2007 told the agency to get better legal advice, but at his next inspection last year found the situation unchanged. "When I raised this matter with the Chief Prosecutor he was disappointed that trespass was still occurring," he said.

That explains the huge number of police investigations and pending prosecutions I've read about then...

Oops, sorry, still a bit jet lagged... just got back from Cloud Cuckoo Land, where the government does get prosecuted for apparently breaking the law.

New web filter laws questioned by top child abuse cop

Julian I-Do-Stuff

What's a Leak Got To Do With It?

"The Home Office today declined to discuss its legislative plans, citing a policy of never commenting on leaked documents"

So... ignoring any "leak" (could be an H.O. technique to shutting down debate - leak it themselves then say, "Oh, no... we never discuss leaked documents!") do they or don't they intend, are they or aren't they considering...?

Seems a perfectly legitimate question regardless of what prompted it.

UK.gov revives net cut-off threat for illegal downloaders

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Poster Time?

Pic: Mandy & Brown & all the little would be Mandy-Browns/ex's

Big Bold, Red, San Serif... Vote Labour (if you want more of the same)

Julian I-Do-Stuff


"This does not necessarily mean that suspension would be used," the government said.

It should - let them deal with the outcry & mess (immediately and at the ballot box). Wasn't it a Roosevelt who said something like 'The quickest way to the abolition of bad law is rigid enforcement'?

Too much law is selectively applied, and often inappropriately (Anti-Terrorism laws used against Iceland???)

Sites pulling sneaky Flash cookie-snoop

Julian I-Do-Stuff


For Firefox - Better Privacy has been one of my security/privacy add ons for a while now... deals with Locally Stored Objects - Flash cookies & DOM storage...

Collar the lot of us! The biometric delusion

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Mea Culpa

I plead temporary insanity due to a week of Hungarian in-laws.

IF - as is NOT the case - the issue is the uniqueness of data, then my answer was not incorrect

IF - as IS the case - the issue is the uniqueness of the identities of people as defined by biometric data, then I was indeed so far off the point as to be positively retrograde. 1.8 x 10^15, etc. etc. all accepted.

Apologies to author et al. Doing stuff includes making a complete twat of myself - I'm good at that.

(Rarely in the field of iconry has this been more appropriate)

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Egg on face

Points nicely taken...

Self fail

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Still dripping...

Post 1 - Not enough caffeine

Post 2 - Too much wine?

3rd time lucky?

@Michael H.F. Wilkinson - Re matching, granted. But I was limiting my point to the determination of uniqueness of records... whatever initial set of biometrics are obtained (as opposed to subsequent measurements for *identification*) it's just data, so uniqueness surely could be determined as suggested?

@the rest, not so much missing the point as not bothering to get to it - the arguments against - in my opinion - are much stronger than those for, but when I thought I saw an astronomical misstatement ... the point was really about the author missing the point and introducing spuriously supportive detail.

Still a bit eggy, but I thought at the time I was possibly making an omelette...

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Too much egg?

"To prove that each [of 60 million people] is represented by a unique electronic identity on the population register, each biometric would have to be compared with all the rest. That would involve making 1.8 x 10^15 comparisons.

Bollocks - I think - except in the most improbable worst case. Hash the identity and do a sort, then look for consecutive duplicates. Quicksort is O(nlogn)... do the math.

Lad passes gruelling 'getting on bus' test

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Did he actually manage to fail... or is he now the proud recipient of a certificate lauding him for Deferred Success? (I would think actually failing anything these days was an achievement in itself)

PS What happens if a bus doesn't turn up? How long are examinees expected to wait? Or is that Unit 2 - Advanced Time Management... knowing when you're wasting your time?

Permabit launches grid in the cloud product

Julian I-Do-Stuff


"denominated as 4010 products" -> "denominated '4010 products'"

'Cos I happen to have the OED* to hand... as you do...

*Yes, I know it's descriptive and not prescriptive, but I didn't have anything funny to say.

Government stamp of approval for fake weed

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Looks like the "ssshhhh!" chemical definitions and recommendation are intended to stop someone buying some (possibly?) interesting and (possibly?) readily available substance for inappropriate uses...

But... if you look at the level of chemical knowledge required to understand the rest of the technicalities I'd bet the appropriate post-grad chemists already know about SsshPice, so I'm not quite sure what the point is...

I didn't know about the potential utility of compounds "“structurally derived from 3-(1-naphthoyl)indole or 1H-indol-3-yl-(1-naphthyl)methane by substitution at the nitrogen atom of the indole ring by alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl whether or not further substituted in the indole ring to any extent , whether or not substituted in the naphthyl ring to any extent.” but now I do know, I'm not sure what I could do with the information, even if I were so inclined.

Powered robot suits make debut on Tokyo streets

Julian I-Do-Stuff


I want the liquid metal exoskeleton

Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites

Julian I-Do-Stuff
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@Grease Monkey

Yep - hash the registration. Should be the first thing anybody thinks about when there is a genuine need to establish continuity of identity without actually identifying.

Apple says jailbroken iPhones endanger cell towers

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Apple's step by step guide to Taking Over the World (R) by jailbreaking the iPhone is worthy of The Brain.

I hope the copyright office's reply is somewhat more coherent than "Narf!"

...but it's unlikely to be The End Of The World As We Know It either way.

Privacy watchdog bashes UK.gov net snoop plan

Julian I-Do-Stuff

vague, misleading, risky and unnecessary


Alas the same adjectives will probably also characterise the government's response.

Pity none of the powers that be know the difference between Necessary and Sufficient.

New attack resurrects previously patched security bugs

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Funny that...

Told MS back in April there was a security issue with this as I had just found I had a certain ActiveX running despite the KIllBit being set... (but for me it was a good thing... I need that ActiveX).

I just hope they *don't* find a way to disable properly an ActiveX they didn't replace properly with a secure version or I'd be stuffed.

Adobe spanked for insecure Reader app

Julian I-Do-Stuff

And then...

Does 9 automatically uninstall 8 first - or not? Doesn't say. I hate apps that fail to acknowledge previous incarnations of themselves.

And BTW... why doesn't 8 find 9 when I check for updates?

God I hate computers.

UK.gov eavesdroppers frustrated by red tape

Julian I-Do-Stuff


Plethora? Maybe the best defence against eavesdropping is obfuscation.

Riot police raid birthday barbecue for 'all-night' Facebook tag

Julian I-Do-Stuff

A long long time ago...

Some obnoxious twats had their car - sorry, mobile sound system - parked 50m from my house making a really terrible racket for a really intolerably long time late/night early one morning ... I cracked and called the police (the local number, not 999).

Please would you come and tell them to turn it down/off?

Sorry Sir, can't do that...

Why on earth not? Apart from actually breaching the peacefulness of the street, how about "behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace?"

Don't have any evidence of that sir.

Well.... put it this way. If you don't come down here pronto *I* am going to breach the peace because of their damn noise...

Be there right away sir!

Those were the days. I bet nicking policeman's helmets is a terrorist offence now too...

Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

Julian I-Do-Stuff

Bottom line...

One Law for All - and let the politicians lead by example... the results of whose checks should, of course in the interests of transparency, be made public.