* Posts by Bob Dunlop

71 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Sep 2008


James Webb Space Telescope suffers another hitch: Instrument down

Bob Dunlop
Thumb Up

Working again


Decided it was a Cosmic Ray hitting an FPGA. How they worked that out I don't know.

Turned it off and on again. Hey presto!

SpaceX grounds Falcon 9 carrying first private lunar lander

Bob Dunlop

Stood down again

Probably private because the launch has been stood down again. This time indefinitely.


Northrop Grumman to use Firefly Aerospace tech in its de-Russianized Antares

Bob Dunlop

Re: It's A Shame Gerry Anderson Isn't With Us

Well he got it right much earlier in his career. "Fireball XL5" was the first thing I thought of when I saw 30XL, let's hope they don't live up to the rest of the name.

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols closes hailing frequencies

Bob Dunlop

Re: UK Born in 1966

And conversely the PAL encoding system was known as "Pay A Lot", because I believe it required an extra valve for the alternate line flip flop.

Can't remember the derogatory decode of SECAM though.

Massive rugby ball-shaped planet emerges from scrum of space 'scope sightings

Bob Dunlop

Earth tides not that insignificant

"The rocky part doesn’t move that much."

A foot (30 cm) or more vertical displacement is not insignificant, it can upset GPS calibrations and similar. It's only the fact that the period is so long (12 hours plus) and that everything moves together that we don't notice it.

ESA's Solar Orbiter will swing past Earth this week – sure hope nobody created a big cloud of space junk up there

Bob Dunlop

Re: 0.5*mv^2

Still enough to charge the old flux capacitor though.

The return of the turbo button: New Intel hotness causes an old friend to reappear

Bob Dunlop

Comment from some old code

Increasing a delay loop counter by a factor of 20.

/* Always wait a long time 3.04 */

/* Native 386 code is very fast */

/* One fifth of a second at 12Mhz */

/* no waits with a test in the loop */

/* COMPAQ386 just rewrote the rules */

/* R.J.D 21 Oct 86 */

Have to say that being able to go straight to this comment after 35 years says something about how much this leap meant to me.

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

Bob Dunlop

Re: Supply pipe location

After 27 years we still didn't know the location of our supply pipe or external stopcock.

Last year mid pandemic a leak upstream of the in house tap forced us to get the waterboard in.

They acted promptly and with enthusiasm, but could not at first locate the pipe, dug a trench in the road with a big yellow machine at the obvious spot. Turned off taps by water troughs in neighbouring fields etc. Even dug out (at the suggestion of a retired water inspector) an as it turned out disconnected meter point on the golf course.

After ten days 180 degrees out from any direction expected metal detectors found the pipe and a couple of spares. In an hour a Polish guy (why are they all Polish) dug a hole, cut the pipe and fitted a brand new plastic stopcock. The original has never been found.

Just think of the man hours (at one point we had six people on the job) that could have been saved by a simple plan or map.

Still suspect we're stealing our water from the golf course's metered supply.

If you own one of these 45 Netgear devices, replace it: Kit maker won't patch vulnerable gear despite live proof-of-concept code

Bob Dunlop

WNR3500Lv1 works with OpenWRT

Been using a couple for seems like 10 years, First with Tomato then DD-WRT, LEDE and now OpenWRT.

Software has evolved over time, now use a locally compiled snapshot with custom (stripped down) config.

I know their limitations and how to side step issues in the upgrade but starting afresh I wouldn't start from here.

Unmanned drones to slash NHS delivery times to one-fifth of road 'n' rail transport

Bob Dunlop

Um drone deliverys to the Isle or Wight have be trialed with the first flight on the 9th of May.



Fixed wing UAV with a 100kg payload capacity, landing on a grass runway from the news footage I saw.

Not sure is it out of line of sight, theres a "safety pilot" at each end of the link and the flight is protected by a temporary (90 day) "danger area" exclusion zone.

Mandatory electronic prescriptions was the easy bit in NHS paperless plans

Bob Dunlop

Three gas guzzling trips coming up

I've stuck with paper as I swop between four different pharmacies including one 150 miles away depending on where we are shopping this week. So if I still have to go to the med center to get the paper ticket how is this gonna help? Oh yes the system will be more fragile as it'll depend on the pharmacists network being up.

I still remember writing a letter to my doctor asking then not to upload my personal data to the "Spine" so how's that gonna work ?

Long ago I had to make just one trip as the med center would dispense pills for me, now it's two trips, how long before it's three gas guzzling trips I wonder. One to pick up the ticket, one to give it to the pharmacist and a third to collect the pills.

UK plod could lose access to 79 million criminal alerts in event of a no-deal Brexit

Bob Dunlop

Stat's ?

79 million alerts worth international attentsion in a database covering a population of 750 million.

So one in ten Europeans are international criminals ?

Finally in the UK: Apollo 11 lands... in a cinema near you

Bob Dunlop

Re: Memory Lane...

Slightly older (just 9) but I remember the landing as late night and then the first boot on the moon as silly o'clock in the morning. One of the first if not the first time I was allowed to stay up all night on my own, mum went to bed around midnight. My dad couldn't be there as he was working on the BBC program in the Shepard's Bush studios.

Having pulled an all nighter i went to school and watched the repeat on the assembly hall telly. Amazing the resiliance of a nine year old looking back.

Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

Bob Dunlop

Back in the days of Xenix. I saw an install script for a well known accounts package that ended with.

# Resolve permissions issues

find / -exec chmod 777 {} \;

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

Bob Dunlop

Re: Dates

> We don't do time as mm:hh do we?

Well my mum taught me to say things like "five and twenty to nine".

Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Bob Dunlop

Re: Remnant of the 1980s

My PSU too, just after Xmas. Only place for a *now* replacement at a half reasonable price.

First time I had been in the place in years.

Take notebooks: About those new Thinkpads...

Bob Dunlop

How they gonna make a fixed battery last the 10-20 years we all expect a Thinkpad to last ?

ps. Typed on my IBM model-M keyboard.

'Gimme Gimme Gimme' Easter egg in man breaks automated tests at 00:30

Bob Dunlop

I remember when they broke "make telegram". Used to go:

$ make telegram

Don't know how to make telegram. Stop.

Glad to see "who is god" still kinda works.

Thousands of hornets swarm over innocent fire service drone

Bob Dunlop

Identity problem

Are you sure of that picture? Looks like the European hornet (Vespa crabo) to me. Asian hornet has a more orange head.


Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

Bob Dunlop

Monitoring your power can save money. I used it to spot a faulty security light that was staying on all night once.

Of course that was with a twenty quid CurrentCost clamp on meter and a short perl script I knocked up. No way for the government's chums to monetise that.

UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Bob Dunlop

Oh god no resturant will be safe again

Whether vapes are good of bad for the vaper's health I don't want to be walking through or worse trying to eat in clouds of smoke again.

Just told my employer/HR that if they allow vaping in the building they can have my resignation.

Vodafone: Dear customers. We're sorry we killed your Demon

Bob Dunlop

Early easy signup

Joined when they only covered London and Watford.

Remember the phone call, had a brief discussion about modem/software compatibilty, then they gave me my login credentials and said it would go live in about 10 minutes. Almost as an after thought they asked me to send them a check.

RIP ROP: Intel's cunning plot to kill stack-hopping exploits at CPU level

Bob Dunlop

Separate return and data stacks anyone

I'm sure I remember working with processors that had separate code return and data stacks back in the 80s. All you would have to do is protect the return stack from all but call and return instructions.

Actually now I think about it the "shadow stack" is just like the old code return stack. They've just left a copy of the return address on the data stack as well so as not to upset compilers/debuggers that expect to see it there.

We will end misleading broadband adverts, thunders ASA...

Bob Dunlop

They need to ban the phrase "up to" when talking about line speed. Require they use "at least" or "guaranteed minimum".

New Monopoly version features an Automatic Teller Machine

Bob Dunlop

Player player trading ?

How does it handle things like inter player trading. Swapping a utility for a street or station to make a set or to pay a big bill. No way you can define all the possible player transfers/interactions with a set of swipe cards.

Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

Bob Dunlop

Make them feel the pain

All MPs and BT employees above say "team leader" grade should have their broadband service at home and work restricted to the bandwidth and level of service of the lowest performing customer. Costs almost nothing to do.

BT "management" should have all business calls prefixed by a useless 10 layer menu system which if successfully navigated leads to 25 minutes on hold with a broken muzak player before a one in three chance of a random disconnect. Might be trickier to implement but I'm sure there'd be volunteers to build the system.

BACS Bank Holiday BALLS UP borks 275,000 payments

Bob Dunlop

Re: I feel sorry for

"it can't be cash"

I'd love to go back to being paid cash in hand, and paying HMRC 18 months in arears.

PAYE is just a con to get the money from you quicker.

Fourplay frolics: Vodafone launches landline broadband

Bob Dunlop

Nothing to see here. BT still have the strangle hold on the final connection to the home :-(

Geofencing: The ultra-low power frontier for the Internet of Things

Bob Dunlop

Lawn mowers

Oh just leave your message or a logo cut in your neighbours lawn.

Bluetooth SIG launches dev studio to encourage development

Bob Dunlop

What OS then ?

They don't even tell you which platform the dev sys runs on.

So I'll just have to assume it won't run on mine :-(

Not that a dumbed down system is likely to be a lot of use.

UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

Bob Dunlop

You need to tackle the root cause.

Fine the originating telco five pounds for every unwanted call. Then see how quick they are to take a bit more care about the customers they sign up.

El Reg regains atomic keyring capability

Bob Dunlop

Re: Originals still going strong

Yep my original Trasers are still helping me find my keys in the dark. Must be well over 10 years.

Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

Bob Dunlop

Hope they have a subscription plan with "NO sport, NO celebrity, NO soaps, NO game shows/reality TV"

Should be about 50p a week since there would be so little content.

NASA asks world+dog to name Mercury's craters (back off, 4chan)

Bob Dunlop

So why are the names restricted to Arts and Humanaties ?

Can't we have some engineers or scientists in there.

Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

Bob Dunlop

Re: Mornington Crescent

Mornington Crescent is not utter rubbish. It was a popular game played on the platforms of London tube stations used as air raid shelters during the blitz. At least that's what my American cousin believes to this day.

Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Bob Dunlop

Meter adjustment

You just know that all these new meters capable of high accuracy will be calibrated on the knife edge of the old +-3% accuracy allowance. And we know in whose favour the edge chosen is gonna be on, it for sure won't be the consumer.

ps. My current meter displays gnuplot graphs in X-windows on my phone. Bet the new one won't be that smart.

Video: Dyson unveils robotic tank that hoovers while you're out

Bob Dunlop

Tracks and a camera.

How long before those tracks come off on a tight corner ?

Can you access the camera output remotely ? Can others !

Remember Q's toy robot spy from A View to a Kill ?

Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable

Bob Dunlop

Re: Way too simple.

Yeah that's not engineering.

Looks like low grade sysadmin stuff to me.

"I started with Unix v6 on a pdp11" usually works for me. That and an old rather crufty driver in the kernel.

I'd probably fail the "exam" as those are all tasks I havn't even thought about in years.

Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Bob Dunlop

Open council web sites. Secret bin collections

Not so long ago Basingstoke and Deane required you to set up an account on their web site (providing numerous personal details like inside leg measurement) just to get the bin collection schedule. We'd phone the office and get them to send us a printed copy, no doubt at great expense, rather than fill in all the details.

The issue is now fixed and the bin schedules are open to public scrutiny, but what where they thinking ?

ISPs failing 13m Brits on broadband speed, claims consumer group

Bob Dunlop

Re: The ISP needs to be responsible too

Yep another happy A&A customer here.

Was amazed when the ADSL speed was trippled to almost 11Mb/s by changing the wholesale line supplier from BT to TalkTalk. Same exchange, same copper wire. Just shows how happy BT are to sit on their a**e and leave whole communities with poor service.

Devs SLAM UK.gov's JavaScript-astic, 'shoddy' security education website

Bob Dunlop

Javascript disabled

"It looks like you have Javascript disabled. You will need to enable JavaScript in order to use this site."

As a security measure I only enable JavaScript for sites that I trust. Government web site, trust ? FAIL.

Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

Bob Dunlop

Re: Synchronicity

The lecture was at the Lancaster Gate hotel London perhaps. 1990 I think. Part of the UKUUG "Unix the Legend Evolves" conference.

One thing I remember from that or a later lecture was that when they designed the Plan 9 C compiler the one ANSI requirement they didn't implement was K&R backwards compatability. After all if anyone had the right to do that, they did.

GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

Bob Dunlop

We have not received a leaflet.

When I presented the health centre reception with a written opt out request letter for the data protection official they didn't seem to know what to do with it or who that person might be. I suspect it was filed in the bin, I've certainly had no confirmation that it's been acted on.

Zero information about data-protection or this latest attempt to sell our personal data in any of the health centre public spaces.

You have a Skype voicemail. PSYCHE! It's just some fiendish Trojan-flinging spam

Bob Dunlop

Re: Why single this one out?

I suspect scenario goes.

Dump plod clicks on attachment and gets caught.

To cover his embarisment desides to make it the cause for alert.

The Skype message is so last week, looking at my filter output it's all DHL alerts this week, actually they have been running for some time.

Using mutt/spambogo here so I guess I'm well insulated.

BROADBAND will SAVE THE ECONOMY, shriek UK.gov bods

Bob Dunlop

I thought 1Mbps was the government definition of "Superfast broadband".

Man+iPhone versus artificial intelligence: Anki robot racer slot cars

Bob Dunlop

Why bother with a little plastic car when you can have an Android controlled RoboRoach ?

I'm sure you could race two or more of these.


Barbie paints Red Planet pink with NASA-approved Mars Explorer doll

Bob Dunlop

Does she come with her own twitter feed full of hate mail and bomb threats ?

Lasers to carry 622 Mbps Earth-Moon link

Bob Dunlop

Since the report said broadband will that be "Up to" 622Mbps ?

Charlie Miller to tell Vegas punters how to hack your car

Bob Dunlop

The bit the motor manufactures won't like is punters being able to disable the forced dealer service revenue stream.