* Posts by tony72

519 posts • joined 2 Jul 2008


'A guy in a jetpack' seen flying at 3,000ft within few hundred yards of passenger jet landing at LA airport


Re: Mistaken identity

Agreed. Three hundred yards is a long way away; if you assume the guy is 2 yards tall, and you hold up a ruler three feet away from you, the guy's apparent size on the ruler would be 1/4 of an inch. Not very big at all. Highly unlikely that you can reliably identify something that size at that range. I'm sure whatever it was kinda looked like a guy in a jetpack, but it most probably was not.

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


Re: Not solid research

Unfortunately, these Backblaze reports are not at all objective. The results reflect only their own experience and can't safely be extrapolated to drive reliability in general. This has been pointed out several times since their first report was published, and they don't seem to have improved their method. They therefore smack rather more of PR than of real attempts to inform.

Backblaze make make no claim that there findings should be taken as reflecting anything other than what they are - their results, with their setup, under their conditions. That doesn't make it not objective; perhaps you used the wrong word there. Nor is there any particular reason why Backblaze should change their methodology to try to apply it to use-cases other than own, in fact they'd be nuts to do so. They happen to run a lot of drives, they can produce reliability statistics on those drives, and many people find their results interesting, even if they are a specialised use-case. I'd certainly rather have their results than not.


Within the last 20 years, before IBM sold its hard drive business to Hitachi, the now-HGST produced the infamous Deathstar drives, so there's a slight irony to that table. Sure it's not fair to blame HGST for IBM's sins, but still.

Microsoft wants to show enterprises that Edge means business, rather than the thing you use to download Chrome


Re: I maybe stuck in my ways but...

I recently switched from Firefox to Edgemium as my primary browser. Microsoft's other sins aside, and they'll probably **** it up eventually, but right now it's a good browser. I'd been using Firefox since the 0.x days, but its glory days are over.

China successfully launches Mars probe that packs an orbiter, lander, rover


Re: Beagle 2

Have an upvote for the laugh.

To be fair, I believe Beagle 2 did actually land successfully and intact, just it failed to deploy its communications array properly once on the ground, so it should count as a landing. However it was British, although part of an ESA mission, so I'm not sure even then that the EU should get credited with a landing.

Chinese mobile giant OPPO claims new 125W fast-charging spec will fully fuel your phone in 20 minutes


"According to preliminary estimates, the battery capacity of a 100W fast charge loses about 20 per cent of its capacity compared to a 30W PD fast charge," his (Google-translated) post reads. "Simply put, 5,000mAh becomes 4,000mAh."

No thanks. I bet there is accelerated long term degradation of the batteries too. Personally fast charging just isn't a selling point for me, I stick my phone on charge when I get home, it's charged when I need it, and there never seems to be a big rush if I need to top it up at desk or in car. I suppose there must be busy bees rushing around that would actually benefit from the few minutes saved, but personally I'd find the opposite a selling point; give me a slower charging phone that promises the minimum possible battery degradation over its lifespan, I'd take that. Dell offers a long-life battery option with its Precision laptops that does that, slower charge in exchange for longevity. I took that option, only time will tell if it actually delivers, but the previous machine's battery didn't make three years.

Utilitarian, long-bodied Nokia 5.3 has budget basic specs - but it does cost £150



The review omitted to give the screen resolution, 720 x 1600 apparently. With a 6.55" screen, I'm thinking that's some fairly chunky pixels.

So has OLED become cheap now? I'm surprised to see an OLED display in a budget phone, but then I don't really watch the phone market, so maybe this has snuck up on me.

A bad day in New Zealand: Rocket Lab's 13th mission ends in failure


I was watching at the time. The video stopped updating but the telemetry kept on going for a while, before they cut to the presenter. The video freezing bit didn't look intentional - it froze rather than cutting to a logo, and I think it may have stuttered a bit before freezing, not sure. So there was nothing to see anyway except the altitude readout going the wrong way.

But yes, it seems to be standard practice for space companies to cut off the video feed in case of a failure. I guess they want the opportunity to analyse the failure themselves before the rest of the internet weighs in on it.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole


That's the same as the 'dust' scenario. If it's happened, you still see it, just in IR

That assumes that all the energy captured by the Dyson sphere is ultimately used within the Dyson sphere, ending up as heat. However if for example you built the Dyson sphere in order to create Kugelblitzes* to power interstellar craft, then most of the energy would ultimately leave the sphere along with the spacecraft in question.

*A Kugelblitz is a black hole formed entirely out of light, and is considered as a possibility for powering far future interstellar craft. You would need a lot of energy to create a Kugelblitz big enough to power a useful spaceship, as in capturing the entire output of the sun for some months or years, so creating them is one possible motivation for building a Dyson sphere (or swarm or whatever) in the first place.

Come glide with me: Virgin Galactic gives Unity some fresh air, looks forward to rocket-powered flight


Re: Arianespace - long term plan?

There was a post recently about them having developed a prototype reusable rocket engine for future re-usable vehicles, but I'm not sure how far off they are, it sounded like it was at a pretty early stage.

Customers of Brit ISP Virgin Media have downloaded an extra 325GB since March, though we can't think why


3.7GB per week is only 0.05Mbps average. Even if you assume it's all concentrated into one hour of activity per day, that's only 1.2Mbps during that hour.

So even with only 6Mbps upstream capacity, most people would have plenty of headroom for such an increase, I'd have thought.

Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two


Re: 8.3

It was relevant for a much larger period of Microsoft's history than most of the other suggestions, and you can always tell the whipper-snappers to try typing "dir /x".

Latest Microsoft 365 'wave of innovation' really just involves adding or renaming a bunch of update channels


All I want to know is ...

... how do I sign up for the "no more updates" channel? Actually can we roll back a couple of updates to before the Outlook search box mysteriously migrated to the title bar, which is aesthetically and functionally just bizarre. I can't actually remember the last time there was a new Office feature that I actually cared about.

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service



"We need to get them on the tit. That's what we do." - Marty Kaan

House of Lies may have been about management consultancy, but the mantra could be pretty much the same for cloud-based products. Once you depend on that cloud service, they've got you, and while you may be disappointed when they use the power that you've given them over you, you shouldn't be surprised.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs


Cue MCAS, a dual sensor automated "bodge" system, where apparently only 1 sensor was connected, with no redundancy, that faceplants into the ground when it glitches or birds damage it (even when pilots manually fight it). Oh yes - for added fun, the LED that indicates MCAS failure (dual sensor mismatch) is an "optional sales extra".

That was hardly a no-win design challenge. Obviously they could have conected two sensors if they wanted to, they could have installed that LED as standard if they wanted to, and so for the other changes required to make the system work, then it would have been a win. It wasn't the difficulty of the design that caused their problems, it was making stupid decisions, and then doubling down on that by seemingly avoiding proper regulatory scrutiny of what they'd done.



To be clear, it is said by Boeing that these two bugs, involving the autopilot and stabilization, are new and not related to the faulty MCAS system

So are these bugs new as in newly introduced regressions, or newly discovered but have been lurking for a while? I guess the latter, but the former possibility makes me wonder how scary it might be to receive a software update notification from Boeing these days.

HMD Global pokes head out of quarantine to show off 3 new Nokia mobiles


Re: ROM ?

Flash memory is technically "Flash EEPROM", i.e. it is technically a form of ROM. However nobody refers to it as ROM, so doing so is indeed liable to be confusing.

I find that less annoying than the use of the term "memory" by many non-technical types to refer to mass storage. Also technically accurate, at least as far as SSDs are concerned, but not the convention, or at least I've certainly grown up using "memory" to refer to the random access type.

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites



[...] more than five flights will be needed per booster to make the figures work.

Anyone know which figures are being referred to here? Is this saying that SpaceX can't make a profit if they only reuse their boosters five times? I was under the impression that they make a healthy profit per launch already, with the levels of reuse already achieved. Of course that only gets better if they can do a hundred launches per booster.

In case you want to flee this wretched Earth, 139 minor planets were spotted at the outer reaches of our Solar System. Just an FYI...


Dyson Swarm ftw

Axiom signs up with SpaceX to fly private astronauts to the International Space Station


What will they do?

I can't imagine you'd want to pay millions to spend a few days on the ISS just to twiddle your thumbs, and as far as I understand it the leisure facilities up there are somewhat limited thus far. Are these private astronauts going to be given tasks to perform, or take part in experiments while they are up there? I mean, taking that killer space selfie with the Earth behind you is great and all, but...

Don't Flip out or anything, but the 'flexible glass display' on Samsung's latest pholdable doesn't behave like glass


Re: inevitable byproduct of encounters with keys and coins

Honestly, did anyone think this was really glass on the screen? It's not known for being particularly flexible, unless it's a strand of optical fibre thickness...

Upvote for the first part of your post, but Samsung actually calls the stuff "Ultra Thin Glass", so ...

Uncle Sam tells F-35B allies they'll have to fly the things a lot more if they want to help out around South China Sea


Re: !!!

It turns out that the gun fitted to the Air Force version can't hit what it's aimed at.

Instead of Lightning, the MOD is considering renaming it the F-35 Stormtrooper.

Microsoft boffin inadvertently highlights .NET image woes by running C# on Windows 3.11


Re: VisualBasic developers are daft enough to fail to realize this

GP poster is probably running Windows 10, and trying to install a downloaded .net runtime, instead of simply ticking the box labelled ".NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)" in "Windows Features".

Microsoft's on Edge and you could be, too: Chromium-based browser exits beta – with teething problems



Why are we not calling it Edgemium?

Hey kids! Ditch that LCD and get ready for the retro CRT world of Windows Terminal


Re: You had one job.

The text at the bottom says "Hint: Want your plain shell? Press C-o, and get back to MC with C-o again." So Midnight Commander it is.

In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs


Re: Sorry but...

I have to say, of the four ways I have of watching iPlayer on my TV - Samsung app, Virgin Tivo box app, HTPC, or cast from phone - the Samsung app is the slickest, and the Samsung UI seems quite slick in general to me. But I haven't owned this TV long enough to comment on things like updates and such. I had no real interest in the"smart" features of the TV when I bought it, but you can't really avoid them these days.

Nokia 2.3: HMD flings out €109 budget 'droid with a 2-day battery


Re: Should please some around here

My bad, I was sure I read that in the specs, but clearly not the case. I blame the lunchtime cider.


Should please some around here

For those people strangely obsessed with removable batteries and SD card slots - this has them, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well. Didn't seem to be mentioned in the article.

Newly born Firefox 71 emerges from its den – with its own VPN and some privacy tricks


Re: Printing

Nimbus Capture is a Firefox add-on I use for producing as-it-looks-on-screen captures and prints of web pages or parts thereof; maybe it will be of use to the OP.

UK parcel firm Yodel plugs tracking app's random yaps about where on map to snap up strangers' tat


Re: Oopsie

I was going to post a rant about Yodel, but I've probably done it before, and I don't want to sound like a broken record. But picture me spitting on the floor at the mere sound of their name.

Astroboffins peeved as SpaceX's Starlink sats block meteor spotting – and could make us miss a killer asteroid


Re: I wonder

Who needs a future...

Bit dramatic, don't you think? I'm personally very keen on us becoming a properly space-faring civilization, and that is bound to involve us putting more and more stuff in space, around this planet and elsewhere. I'm sure that is going to cause some issues for ground-based astronomers, but I can't see us halting all exploitation of space because of that, so we'll all just have to knuckle down and focus on mitigation and make the best of it. But it's certainly not the end of the world.

Questions hang over Gatwick Airport after low level drone near-miss report


Occams razor

Two pilots claim to see a drone that nobody on the ground can see, even though it should be clearly visible, that isn't detected by the sophisticated drone detection system at the airport, and that shouldn't be able to fly there in the first place due to DJI's geofencing. I think we must consider the possibility that, just maybe, these pilots were mistaken.

I find it strange. It would be so simple to point something like a dash cam (in fact an actual car dash cam would probably do the job) out the windscreen of a jet, and so be able to show video confirmation of some of these drone sightings, yet recorded evidence of them remains rarer than footage of the Loch Ness Monster. As long as that's the case, I put them in the same category as all other UFO sightings; I'm sure they saw something, but what exactly it was is open to question.

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority asked drone orgs to email fliers' data in an Excel spreadsheet


Re: loophole?

Hmm, it also includes "any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of their flight" in that mass, scuppering my first thought that a modular drone might provide a loophole. I suppose if you attached stuff to the drone after commencement of flight somehow ...

Billionaire Bezos unveils plans to land humans on Moon, with a little help from some old friends


Re: The Future’s Bright

I suppose the silver lining is they are doing it under contract with NASA, not going the entirely lone way of Musk or Branson.

In what sense do you mean "lone way"? SpaceX takes cargo to the ISS, and will be taking astronauts to the ISS under contract to NASA, just two of the most high profile of many NASA contracts. Yes, they're planning a privately funded Mars mission, but they're also planning missions working with NASA and others. Hardly seems like a "lone way".

And Bezos is a competitor to Branson in the sub-orbital space tourism business, and he isn't working with NASA on that either, it wouldn't make any sense to do so.

Imagine finding this bad boy in your shower: Brit startup pulls the sheets off Moon spider mech


Yes, we know it only has four legs, but just look at it.

A spider is still a spider if you pull four of its legs off*, is it not? So I think you get a pass on that anyway.

*which I am not advocating, before any animal rights activists get worked up, although they seem less quick to defend the rights of creepy-crawlies anyway.

First water world exoplanet spotted – and thankfully no sign of Kevin Costner, rejoice!


Re: Thank you!

To be fair, the light year is probably a difficult unit for Joe Bloggs to relate to, because it is so much larger than any distance we can physically experience. They probably feel that with miles, Joe Blogs will at least be able to relate to the base unit, and probably learned at school e.g. the distance from the Earth to the Sun in miles, so they have that as a yardstick. For those of us with at least a passing interest in astronomy cosmology, yes, not helpful.

OK, let's try that again: Vulture rakes a talon on Samsung's fresh attempt at the Galaxy Fold 5G


Re: How bloody much?

Yeah, I wonder what kind of warranty they're going to offer. I wouldn't buy it anyway, but I definitely wouldn't buy it without at least a 5 year warranty on that folding screen.

Full of beans? Sadly not as fellow cracks open tin at dinner to find just one


Re: density

Heinzenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

Wait a minute, we're supposed to haggle! ISPs want folk to bargain over broadband


Re: Sad times

I had this with NTL for almost two years, back in the day. They would send me a bill every month, so some part of their system knew I owed them money, but whenever I tried to pay it, they would say I didn't owe them anything, and the unpaid amounts vanished into the ether. I always thought that was proof of how bad NTL were; most companies somehow manage to only make mistakes in their favour, so you know it's really bad when they won't take your money at all.

Buying a Chromebook? Don't forget to check that best-before date


Re: Consumer Rights?

I'm not a lawyer, but I find it unlikely that failure to guarantee updates for ancient devices beyond six years is going to legally qualify as "do not last for a reasonable length of time". There are plenty of devices out there with vulnerabilities, new and old, and as far as I'm aware there is no legal requirement for manufacturers to meet any arbitrary standard of security, or to patch vulnerabilities in any given timeframe; the onus is on the consumer to choose manufacturers that behave responsibly, if security is a concern for them. As I say, by all means take it to Trading Standards, and do let me know how you get on.


Re: Consumer Rights?

Oh come on, it's not like it stops working after the AUE. I'd love to see you take this to Trading Standards actually, but I rather suspect you'd be given rather short shrift for complaining about a device that is working fine and hasn't lost any significant functionality.

How four rotten packets broke CenturyLink's network for 37 hours, knackering 911 calls, VoIP, broadband



I guess this was the router equivalent of a "reply all" email storm.

Clip, clip, hooray: NASA says it will send Clipper probe to Europa, will attempt no landing there


Re: We seem to be unable to adequately sterilize our spacecraft

I think the major national space agencies are pretty careful about that stuff. The tardigrades episode shows that, as space gets opened up to private entities, they may well not be so careful if they are left to police themselves.

Green search engine Ecosia thinks Google's Android auction stinks, gives bid a hard pass


Re: Good on them...

This is supposed to be a sanction to teach Google a lesson for abusing their monopoly

Not really. The sanction is the fine that was levied against Google. Giving other parties the opportunity to be included in the search choice screen is a change of the practice which led to the fine being imposed in the first place.

And if being included in the search choice screen is valuable, why should Google give it away for free? It doesn't make sense. There's a practical limit to the number of choices that can reasonably be presented to the user. If access was free, every Tom, Dick and Harry would want to be in there. The auction process seems a pretty good way of cutting down the field to serious contenders only.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Re: Touch screens

Totally agree about the lack of feedback on touchscreens. However it's pretty clear that this wasn't inherently a touchscreen issue. They had port and starboard throttles split between two stations, thus confusing the helmsman; you could equally do that with physical throttles as well as touchscreen ones, and it would be just as shit of a design. Ditto for the AIS laptops being hard to access. It sounds like a cobbled-together prototype lash-up that somehow ended up in the field.

They say piracy killed the Amiga. Know what else it's killing? Malware sales. Awww, diddums


Re: Piracy killed the Amiga?

That may all be true, but whatever killed the Amiga, it was Doom that put the final nails in the coffin. Doom was a big deal, and the Amiga's planar graphics model was fundamentally unsuited to Doom-type graphics engines, requiring many more writes per pixel than on a PC. I had a boosted A1200 with a mighty 50MHz processor and 8MB of memory, but even then Doom clones like Gloom were no match for the real thing, and that was pretty much it for that generation of Amigas, and they didn't have a next-generation ready to go.


They just need to get with the times - subscription models and malware-as-a-service would be the way to go, if they want to emulate the mainstream software industry's approach to protecting revenue.

Google to offer users a choice of default search engine on Android in the EU – but it's pay to play


Re: Except Google is shite (and getting shiter)

Remember back when Google search proudly proclaimed that it was an "and" search by default? Now you get to scratch your head at the irrelevant results, before noticing the tiny "Missing: <most important keyword>" bit below the results, because Google's mighty algorithms have decided that they know what you're searching for better than you do. Progress. Google is still the best general search engine IMO, but it takes more effort now to make it work properly.



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