* Posts by tony72

587 posts • joined 2 Jul 2008

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Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape

tony72

Re: I have been on about this since I was a teenager

I'll know that we're actually in a climate emergency when I see Greenpeace calling for more nuclear power.

Singapore distances itself from local crypto companies

tony72

Hit rate

Terraform Labs, 3AC, and Vauld *all* headquartered in Singapore?!!? Talk about a clusterf**k. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would be wondering if that was purely coincidence.

Sage accused of strong-arming customers into subscriptions

tony72

Re: Strong arming doesn't work

I bet it does work though. The hassle of switching to a completely different product, retraining staff etc versus the easy path of sticking with what you've already got for a "small monthly fee", I suspect a large majority of customers will just suck it up, with a bit of grumbling.

Thunderbird is coming to Android – in K-9 Mail form

tony72

I wouldn't say K9 was unusable, but yeah, I also switched to FairEmail, it's a long way ahead, both functionally and aesthetically.

Corporate investments are a massive hidden source of carbon emissions

tony72

Double counting?

The Carbon Bankroll report highlights the documented carbon dioxide emissions of a number of large corporations and contrasts these with pollutants being generated as a result of the cash and investments held by those companies, comprising cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.

Doesn't there have to be some double counting going on here? The aforementioned cash and investments are presumably invested in companies, and the carbon generated by those companies is counted against them. If Microsoft directly or indirectly invests in, say Shell, CO2 generated by Shell gets counted against Shell's emissions; how does it make sense to count it against Microsoft as well?

Beanstalk loses $182m in huge flash-loan crypto heist

tony72

Yeah, because no crime was ever committed involving fiat currency.

Amazon books rocket flights for its Kuiper broadband internet satellites

tony72

Re: Obviously.

OneWeb are targeting businesses and institutions rather than domestic customers, so they are not as much direct competitors to Starlink, unlike Amazon's Project Kuiper.

Also even SpaceX doesn't have infinite capacity. Their launch schedule is already pretty packed for the foreseeable future (depending on when exactly Starship comes online, of course), so it's not a given that they would be able to fit in another entire constellation in the next few years, even if they wanted to.

Crypto inferno: Intel's Bitcoin-mining Blockscale ASIC to arrive in Q3

tony72

Efficiency

Wait, I thought the hype around this chip was that it was more efficient than anything, but the numbers in the article say that it's less efficient than bitmain's best. That's a little disappointing.

GParted 1.4: New version of live partition-manipulation tool

tony72

GParted and CloneZilla must be a couple of my favourite utilities of all time. I must admit I didn't realize GParted could do copying as well though, maybe I don't even need Clonezilla?

Cybercrooks target students with fake job opportunities

tony72

Re: Educational level without brains

Wishful thinking causes many a lapse in judgement though.

Thailand bans use of crypto for payments

tony72

Re: "due to the cryptocurrency's current price fluctuations"

80% of US dollars currently in existence were printed in the last 22 months. The US government has also taken on so much debt that it literally can't afford to have interest rates rise high enough to effectively fight the inflation that the money printing is causing, because the cost of servicing their debt would be unsustainable. I don't have figures for the UK, but a cursory glance at the money supply charts says we're probably in similar shape. Best case outcome is "stagflation" - high inflation and no growth. Worst case outcome is hyperinflation.

And you want to call bitcoin "funny money". Lol.

Europe advances crypto-coin regulation – without potential ban on Bitcoin

tony72

Re: A missed opportunity

This argument is typically based directly or indirectly on numbers from a 2018 article published in Nature's Climate Change Journal. That article made several errors, including conflating the energy used to produce an entire bitcoin block with the energy used for a single transaction. Since a bitcoin block actually stores thousands of transaction, their numbers are several orders of magnitude too high. This is well-known, but of course that doesn't stop crypto haters from continuing to spew misinformation based on that article.

tony72

Re: It is absolutely not

Banning crypto would put paid to many, many pyramid schemes and other scammer attemps to make an easy buck. I'm not saying crypto is only used by criminals, but when criminals have massively adopted something and use it so successfully, there might be a good reason to put a serious crimp on it.

Scams and crime are everywhere, but the there is no evidence that the proportion of crypto activity involving crime is higher than in non-crypto; in fact, it's probably lower.

tony72

Re: A missed opportunity

You crypto haters will keep peddling this nonsense, won't you? The reality is that the energy used by bitcoin mining is insignificant in the big picture, compared in an apples-to-apples way, bitcoin is more energy-efficient than equivalents, the majority of bitcoin is already mined using renewable energy, and bitcoin is actually helping to drive renewable energy adoption by monetizing excess green energy in places where it wouldn't otherwise be economically viable.

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy

tony72

Something's not right here

Brute-forcing a ten character random mixed-case alphanumeric password is a non-trivial task, taking months or years, according to the references I just looked at. But even if the hacker can do it considerably faster than that, as some other posters are suggesting, he has to have the hash first. So in order to have a "running battle" with a hacker cracking subsequently changed passwords within a day, the hacker has to have ongoing access to the hashes, which means the problem would have to be a lot bigger than a poor password policy. Now that could be what's happening; a hacker could have managed to access Virgin Media's servers, have ongoing access to password hashes, and be going to the not inconsiderable trouble of cracking and re-cracking this particular guys password, for not-immediately-obvious gain. But does it not seem more plausible that this guy has gotten his machine infected with a RAT or keylogger or whatever, and the hacker is simply seeing every password change?

UK internet pioneer Cliff Stanford has died

tony72

Re: Sad news.

I was with Wintermute after Demon, I don't think Wintermute existed when I signed with Demon. I finished uni in '96, and I was with Wintermute by then, so I would guess they started up in '95.

tony72

Re: Sad news.

I don't recall being aware of who founded it at the time, but Demon was my first ISP, at a time when there was no local POP in Aberdeen (oh, the long-distance call charges I ran up), when I was a student. Supra 14.4k dial-up modem back then. A couple of jobs later on, I was called upon to choose an ISP to get the company online, and I chose Demon out of familiarity I guess, and as far as I recall, we were with them for many years until that company ceased to exist, running on a couple of ISDN lines. Good times.

NASA's InSight probe emerges from Mars dust storm

tony72

Yeah, it must be a hard problem, or it would've been solved by now. But if we're going to colonize Mars, I guess it's a problem that will need to be solved, we must be able to better than sending Johnny Colonist out with a squeegee to clean the solar arrays.

Geomagnetic storm takes out 40 of 49 brand new Starlink satellites

tony72

Re: Skynet

They can easily avoid launching during such a geomagnetic storm, of course. Knowing SpaceX, they chose to launch this batch anyway just to test whether riding out the storm was an option.

NASA taps Lockheed Martin to build Mars parcel pickup rocket

tony72

Re: Ice mining

You don't have to manufacture fuel in situ though, even though that may be the long term goal. For early return missions, they will probably send tankers to Mars orbit. Then they can fuel a starship with enough propellant to land and get back to Mars orbit, then refuel it again for the trip home.

Crypto outfit Qubit appeals to the honour of thieves who lifted $80M of its digi-dollars

tony72

Re: As someone who understand blockchain ...

Given that the majority of the "all-time high prices" have happened in the last two or so years, your arbitrary timeframe of having held bitcoin for four years nicely

Maybe I assumed too much in terms of general subject knowledge or common sense. Bitcoin has a four-year halving cycle - the interval at which the mining block reward is halved - and this is generally considered to be the driving factor behind the overall market cycles. Thus the choice of a four-year period was anything but arbitrary - over a four-year period, the price at the start and end of the period are approximately the same time delta from the last halving. Any other period and you would be comparing prices at different points in the market cycle, which would be less meaningful.

tony72

Re: As someone who understand blockchain ...

Because I don't want my meagre wealth to be gained at the cost of destroying the planet faster.

A worthy sentiment. However the issue of cryptocurrency energy use is basically a solved problem. Ethereum, the second biggest blockchain after bitcoin, is in the process of shifting to a proof-of-stake model that requires no energy-intensive mining. Bitcoin itself could theoretically switch to proof-of-stake, but likely won't, however as its dominance continues to fall over time, that becomes less of an issue - it will probably be overtaken by Ethereum eventually. In any case, lower-power miners are becoming available (Intel just released one, they know where it's at). And mining is increasing done in environmentally-friendly ways. For example gas that was uneconomic to recover and was previously flared off is being used to mine bitcoin in several places actually reducing the carbon footprint.

Because I don't want some of it to have come from theft, extorsion, ransomware, money laundering, people trafficking or any of the other things that Bitcoin is mostly used for.

Again, a fine sentiment, however based on a common misconception. The proportion of cryptocurrency connected to crime is actually less than the proportion of global GDP connected to crime. So if anything, that's a reason to start using crypto, rather than to avoid it.

tony72

Re: As someone who understand blockchain ...

Given historical returns of bitcoin (nobody has ever lost money if they held bitcoin for four years or more, even if they bought in at at an all-time high price) compared to the performance of cash, stocks, and gold in recent years, if you actually understand blockchain and cryptocurrencies, how do you justify not having a portion of your portfolio as bitcoin?

And in light of the fact that the likes of Tesla, Square, Microstrategy, JP Morgan and a whole long list of institutions with very high-powered economists at their disposal are heavily invested in bitcoin, perhaps you could share some insight as to why you're qualified to know better than them?

Indonesia bars financial institutions from offering crypto services

tony72

Re: Good

I find the crypto-hate groupthink on this site rather sad.

Twelve years ago, a lone programmer uploaded the original bitcoin code to the internet. And here, a little over a decade later, without the backing of any government or financial institutions, bitcoin has grown into an asset worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and spawned an asset class worth trillions. That's amazing to me. If I had read it in a science fiction novel back in the day, I would have found it totally unrealistic. Yet here we are. Even if you dislike crypto-currencies, for whatever reason, where is your sense of wonder at that?

Personally I'm pro-crypto. Banks and governments are screwing us. Your bank makes a ton of money lending out your savings, and returns what, a fraction of a percent to you? And your government is merrily printing money and driving up inflation to erode the value of your savings. Banks are running scared about DeFi platforms that return a much higher percentage of profits to customers, and so they should be. The sector needs shaking up.

And on the technological side, if there are problems with crypto, I like to think of ways to solve those problems, rather than using them as a stick to bash crypto with. Solving problems is why I got into technology in the first place. Fortunately there are plenty of people who do think that way, even if they apparently don't visit The Register; the biggest problem in the thriving crypto space right now is the cutthroat competition for developers. I suspect anyone still hoping crypto will just go away is going to be waiting for a while.

Ok, downvote away.

It's more than 20 years since Steps topped the charts. It could be less than that for STEP's first fusion energy

tony72

Re: To be Prufrockian

I don't know, the pace really seems to have picked up in recent years, with so many different entities working on far more practical designs than the likes of ITER (which is basically obsolete), and huge amounts of investment. The 2040 timeframe actually seems unambitious, compared to some projects out there.

Microsoft's do-it-all IDE Visual Studio 2022 came out late last year. How good is it really?

tony72

Re: Most microsoft advice ever

To be fair, I test almost every major piece of software I use on a disposable VM before I commit to installing it directly, so it doesn't seem that crazy to me.

Nuclear fusion firm Pulsar fires up a UK-built hybrid rocket engine

tony72

Smart move

The market for launch vehicle already seems to be getting really crowded, and one feels there's going to be a major shakeout at some point. But focusing on components for rockets seems like a smart move.

Strange though, this polyethylene/lox engine doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere on Pulsar Fusion's website, and all I can find on it online is articles with pretty much the same info as this Reg article, presumably all based on the same press release. The only mob I can think of that's flying hybrid solid fuel engines is Virgin Galactic, I wonder if these are comparable.

New study demonstrates iodine as satellite propellant... in space

tony72

Nice

From a quick Google, it seems like iodine is about $80/kg, while Krypton is only $3 (and Xenon is $850). But I guess if the storage system is much simplified (i.e. lighter) with iodine, that's probably much more significant than the cost of the stuff itself. I guess we'll know soon enough; if there's a significant cost saving, certain companies putting thousands of satellites into orbit are surely going to take note.

Swiss lab's rooftop demo shows sunlight and air can make fuel

tony72

To be fair

If only one could think of a cabal of space-obsessed tech billionaires looking to invest some spare change.

Far be it from me to defend billionaires, but I'll point out that Bezos has the Bezos Earth Fund, and Musk set up a $100 million climate change prize, for example. It's not as if they *only* spend their money on space toys.

Truckload of GPUs stolen on their way out of San Francisco

tony72

Re: Is it gamers trying to get cards

You don't mine bitcoin with GPUs.

Want to support Firefox? Great, you'll have no problem with personalised, sponsored search suggestions then

tony72

Re: It's as if they're designing it to lose market share

Interestingly, as of today, that returns "There is currently no text in this page." Wayback machine tells me it did have content as recently as 2nd November, much less when you posted the link. Who knows whether to read anything into that.

tony72

Re: It's as if they're designing it to lose market share

I ditched Firefox a while back, so I've got no skin in the game anymore, but you do honestly wonder what the discussion is like at Mozilla. Do they actually have a plan to regain some of their lost market share? Do they think this kind of thing fits into said plan somehow? Anyone know where their roadmap is now? wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Roadmap/Updates says it's "No longer maintained", hasn't been updated in a year.

Of course we've tried turning it off and on again: Yeah, Hubble telescope still not working

tony72

Re: Hope

It's in a low earth orbit, at a lower altitude than StarLink satellites. As I recall, there is enough atmosphere at that altitude that StarLink satellites would deorbit themselves in just a few years if they failed, it's one of the arguments for why it's okay launch thousands of them up there without potentially creating a massive space debris issue. So I don't think the HST will be staying up there for a century.

tony72

Hope

If they can't get it working again, I wonder if they'll maintain its orbit for as long as possible in the hope of a future repair mission. Once Starship is flying to orbit, it's at least theoretically possible.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

tony72

Don't want

I don't want control over my data. That would mean me trying to figure out exactly what the implication are of giving or denying certain permissions and access, and having to try to figure what functionality I might be giving up. I use the "I don't care about cookies" add-on for my browser for similar reasons. I want things to just work. I want there to be laws in place to ensure that usage of my data is used in a way that doesn't harm me, and I want those laws to be enforced, and otherwise I don't want to hear about it. Too much to ask?

Virgin Galactic cleared to fly again after a spell on Federal Aviation Administration's naughty step

tony72

Re: "Virgin Galactic has remained tight-lipped over what happened"

Must say I don't see that documented anywhere, and I find it highly unlikely that ATC would be making the call on whether to abort it not. What is your source for this information?

tony72

Re: "Virgin Galactic has remained tight-lipped over what happened"

And although this news seems to have come via Virgin Galactic themselves (at least I can't seem to see anything directly from the FAA), and therefore may have been filtered somewhat, there's no mention so far of any findings that the pilots did anything wrong, or of any required change in how the pilots should respond to a similar situation in the future, those that were calling for the pilots' heads in the thread about the original incident should note.

A crypto-trading hamster is outperforming the S&P 500, Nasdaq, Bitcoin

tony72

I'll be fascinated to see how he does long term. I guess he will tend towards the average performance of the basket of coins he's trading, but it'll be great to see if some hamster intuition comes into play.

Glasgow firm fined £150k after half a million nuisance calls, spoofing phone number, using false trading names

tony72

Re: How do you find them?

As mentioned in this article, some companies specifically target people on the TPS list, so I'm not sure there's any point to being on it. I don't have a handset on my landline, but my mobile number which I've had for decades receives a spam call maybe once every three months if that, usually robocalls about my recent car accident which I didn't have. Not on the TPS. I try to be selective as to who I give the number to and keep my fingers crossed.

Guntrader breach perp: I don't think it's a crime to dump 111k people's details online in Google Earth format

tony72

To be fair ...

...while I wouldn't personally be particularly upset if this "Ernie" turned up to a hunt and got accidentally shot in the face, based on his attitude, I don't actually see why reformatting the data for Google Earth makes it any more accessible or dangerous versus its original form. As I understand it, the original form included a spreadsheet with names, addresses and postcodes, so an animal rights nutter looking for local gun owners could simply search on city or postcode - does putting it on a map really make any difference?

Branson (in a) pickle: FAA grounds Virgin Galactic flights after billionaire's space trip veered off course

tony72

We really need to wait for the results of the investigation before we can make any such claims. Even in terms of what was reported (and of course journalists and authors would never sensationalise aspects of a story to generate views, no), the response to that warning light wasn't "you must abort", it was "an abort is probably the safest course". However the whole point of putting human pilots on board is to make judgement calls based on the situation at hand. There are any number of factors that could have influenced the pilots' decision not to abort, such as exactly how far off the glide slope they were, where and when the warning occurred, their previous experience with similar situations in test flights and simulations, and so on and so forth. So personally I'm going to hold off criticising the pilots until I actually know it's justified.

Russia's ISS Multipurpose Laboratory Module launches after years sitting on a shelf, immediately runs into issues

tony72

Strange

I thought the whole point of hypergolic fuel engines was that they're simple and reliable - no need to worry about ignition etc, just pump the propellants in and off it goes. Seems strange these guys are having so much trouble.

IT manager who swindled Essex hospital trust out of £800k gets 5 years in prison

tony72

Re: Barry Stannard

It says "Confiscation proceedings are under way", but it's not clear how much is left to be confiscated. Should have his future earnings docked until the entire amount is paid off.

Richard Branson plans to trump Jeff Bezos by 9 days in billionaires' space race

tony72

Re: To quote a well known phrase...

I don't think the term "early bird" is really applicable to either of these efforts, considering how long they've both been in development, sixteen or seventeen years, I believe. Better late than never, I guess.

That being said, personally I find the Virgin craft to be the much cooler vehicle, even if it doesn't go quite as high. New Shepard just seems a really uninspiring, play-it-safe design, boosting a capsule up and then landing it by parachute out in the sticks. Comparing that to a manually-flown rocket plane, air-launched from a fantastic-looking carrier aircraft, and landing the passengers back at the take-off site, I know which one I'd want to fly on. If I was the kind of absurdly rich git who's going to be making that choice.

Watchdog bans crypto super-exchange Binance from 'regulated activities' in the UK

tony72

Re: Shady

Maybe. However people have been saying that since bitcoin launched twelve years ago, and yet here we are with lots of big institutional investors buying in, a country adopting it as legal tender, hundreds of billions of dollars in market cap, and crypto looking increasingly like an accepted part of the financial landscape. At what point do you accept that it's not going anywhere?

tony72

Shady

Choose an exchange based in Europe, preferably one that goes out of it's way to demonstrate its compliance with financial authorities, if you want to avoid problems. Choose one based in a tax haven and under investigation for money laundering if you prefer to live dangerously.

Japan assembles superteam of aircraft component manufacturers to build supersonic passenger plane

tony72

Re: Do we really need this ?

Probably pointless me replying this late, but let me point out that biofuel is not the same thing as synthetic fuel. Carbon neutral synthetic fuel takes its carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not from plants, and thus achieves carbon neutrality directly without compromising agricultural land and driving up the cost of food. However currently it is very expensive to produce.

tony72

Re: Do we really need this ?

If it's for an expensive executive service, then it's an ideal candidate for expensive synthetic fuel, so it doesn't have to have a big carbon footprint.

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