* Posts by TonyWilk

46 posts • joined 4 Nov 2008

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard


One can but dream...

Shame we can't educate these conspiracy nuts about electromagnetic radiation: microwave ovens, wifi, mobile phones, cell towers, even the CPU in your PC/laptop emits some measurable GHz 'beamz' !

Therefore, they should do the only sensible thing: limit their communications to good old pen and paper.

You know it makes sense

Wondering where the strontium in your old CRT monitor came from? Two colliding neutron stars show us


An awesome 10th of a gram...

The YouTube channel PBS Space Time, in The Alchemy of Neutron Star Collisions

( https://youtu.be/MmgMboWunkI?t=624 )

summed up the topic thus:

"Neutron star mergers are likely the dominant source of most elements of atomic masses 44 and up, that includes most of the lead, silver, gold, rare earth elements and the radioactive stuff like uranium and plutonium also a good fraction of the molybdenum and iodine which are essential for your biology.

In fact, including the non-essential heavy elements your body masses something like 2ppm colliding neutron star material.

That's only a 10th of a gram or so, but it's a pretty awesome 10th of a gram.

It was, after all, synthesised on the rim of a black hole before surfing a wave of neutrinos into the nebula that would eventually collapse into our solar system... and those atoms would eventually find themselves part of a lifeform that would figure out the very time and distance of their formation."

Frontiersman Cray snags $50m storage contract for 'largest single filesystem'


Cloud backup would come to the rescue...

If my math holds, you could restore 1 exabyte down a 400GBPS link in a mere 8 months !

Sniff the love: Subaru's SUVs overwhelmed by scent of hair shampoo, recalls 2.2 million cars


Re: Not necessarily

My company was caught out years ago by silicone contamination of low voltage low current connectors, grease was used to exclude moisture but in a few months micro fibres of silicon/silicon carbide? grew and insulated the contacts. Cleaning the stuff off and replacing all the connectors was entertaining!

Safe levels of silicone contamination for electrical contact:




Micron to shove $3bn in Virginia fab to support manufacture of hardy chips for IoT-type stuff


Manassas - Manassas

Not listened to it for years...

IT angle? - you can now hear it on the interwebtubes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C53VmhL8xW8

Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source


Still use Eudora 7

Works fine on Windows 7 and 10.

Has the fine feature of not knowing how to run anything attached to emails and doesn't handle HTML.

Just rolling the sidebar up and down, I have all my emails from Feb 1997 to today.

Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study


Re: Better in Hull


Out here 6 miles from Hull, a mile to nearest village and we get 26.4Mbps

Oh, sorry that's the upload speed... we get 227.9Mbps down :)

(apologies for rubbing it in, we don't get much to crow about here in Latvia Hull )

Bluetooth 'Panty Buster' 'smart' sex toy fails penetration test



In the interests of Science, I looked up: Vibratissimo Panty Buster, available from Amazon.

The one Customer Review:

too good to be true..

Unless you have android 4.4 or higher, you cannot use it. Also, the vibration was weak and the ability to connect via Bluetooth too which made it too irritating as you had to spend ages trying to make it connect. I wouldn't recommend it..

Just imagine the situation... "Connect you **** !!!!!!!!"

Half a terabyte in your smartmobe? Yup. That's possible now


At last - what people really want !

You could have:

2 continuous years of audiobook

250,000 ebooks

6 months of mp3

4 weeks of decent FLAC

or even *one full minute* of 120fps 12bit 8K UHD glorious cat video !!!!

UK.gov admits porn age checks could harm small ISPs and encourage risky online behaviour


Let 'em lock it all up

If our government, in it's infinite wisdom, wants to control the internet...

We just give them The Box With The Internet In It ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbyYGrswtg )

and let them lock it up.

Then we can all carry on as normal. Everybody happy.

Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'


Natural Selection

If there is a real effect here, what are we (un)naturally evolving into ?

UK needs a 'digital twin' to keep track of its data assets – report

Big Brother

Data for the Public Good

It's DoublePlusGood if they say it is.

Boffins show off speedy quantum CNOT gate - in silicon


5MHz clock speed

Pffft, overclocked a good ol' Z80 to about 5MHz once - and at that speed it would do different things if you so much as looked at it.

Didn't realise at the time, it must have been going all Quantum !

You're designing an internet fridge. Should you go for fat HTML or a Qt-pie for your UI?



1Gbps connection, blindingly fast UI, photorealistic 3D rendering and smooth 120fps 4k animation...

Keeping things cool ?

Well no; Sir must realise the cpu and graphics accelerator heat has to go somewhere

SpaceX releases Pythonesque video of rocket failures



Second that as a definite read... these days, even if you aren't anything of a chemist and can't see the horrors of using mercaptans as fuel - you can just look it up.

As for SpaceX's successes, I like to think John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace really showed the way - this sort of rocket science is actually possible.

Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more


Feet and firearms

The big advantage Intel has is in continuance of supply for OEM's

er... oh bugger.

Cluster-wrestling kids pimp their HPC rides in Frankfurt



"...plied them senseless with alcohol."

Hmm, maybe not geeky enough, should've tried a copy of Spinal Tap limited edition on BluRay ; )

Banks could be stung for €5bn under GDPR, screams latest report on industry readiness


Regulations != better security

I'd expect expensive systems to a) ass cover and b) 'meet regulations'...

For only a few million, I could supply 'em with a system that submits a report every 3 days which lists, in a good old hard-copy sort of way, all the attempted logins. If there's a breach, it should be in there somewhere ; )

16 terabytes of RAM should be enough for anyone. Wait. What?


Re: Just imagine

about one billion PDP8 16k core memory cards ?


Back in the day...

640K was enough for anyone, now it's just a bit bigger number (well about 2.5*10^7 bigger)

A humble old 8086 would take about 6 months just to zero that lot.

I'll get me coat.

XPoint: Leaked Intel specs reveal 'launch-ready' SSD – report


Honest question...

Why would you want a sector size of e.g. 4224 ?

Is it for 128 bytes of checksum or error correction or ?

Enquiring minds etc...

Want to bring down that pesky drone? Try the power of sound


A blast from the past...

Laser pointers and sensors has been a 'hack' for years, notably in coin payout mechanisms where a laser pointer would simply flood the has-a-coin-come-out opto on old feed-hopper mechanisms.

We first saw this very soon after the first cheap laser pointers appeared.

Interesting audio attack tho.

Did find this lecture vid from 2015... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1FcDTeOSVI

Doctor Who: Oh, look! There's a restaurant at the end of the universe in Hell Bent


The Doctor had to forget

After 'going too far' I think the Doctor realised he was the one who had to forget, turned the neural block device around and held the 'business end' leaving Clara to push the button end.

Up to that point he'd been holding it by the button end and was very doubtful about being able to 'reverse its polarity'.

Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent


Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

I reckon you're spot on with Brothers Grimm. Looked it up, the Doctor's dialog is pretty much taken from The Shepherd Boy... https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/grimm/g86h/chapter153.html


"Been a Long, Long Time"

Likely the 'bird' reference was to the above-titled R. A. Lafferty's short story wherein time is measured by the wearing away of a granite block a parsec on a side by a small bird coming to wipe its beak on it every 1,000 years.

Meet ARM1, grandfather of today's mobe, tablet CPUs – watch it crunch code live in a browser


Re: Variable record format

George 3... sheesh, you just reminded me how old I'm getting. As a lowly student my files were mostly stored in 'on the shelf' format - as piles of punch cards or tape.

UK.gov launches roadmap for Quantum of Something or other


Quantum budget

Gimme a couple of million an I'll maintain it in a superposition of 'spent' and 'not spent' states.

Note that trying to count it would collapse the state, so best not do that.

Oz regulator warns VW: cheatware scandal could cost you millions


Mind the gap

Looks like this is just a small part of a much wider problem... interesting report:


(link to the pdf report is at the bottom of the page)

WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA


Good news and bad news

Perchlorate brine sounds like a useful source of both H2O and O2, at a pinch you could make a solid rocket from the stuff if you had some fuel.

Bad news for any ancient life-as-we-know-it, perchlorate would've 'eaten' it long ago. So, apart from any extremophiles living on the stuff, the only hope for other life remnants would be deep in CO2 permafrost - maybe.

I hope we go there and find out.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg


Snake Charmed By El Reg's Wit and Innuendo

Not a trouser snake according to boffins.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crackup verdict: Pilot error


Seems little margin for error...

Given the article states:

... catastrophic structural failure at "just above approximately Mach 1.0".


... the system must be unlocked prior to reaching Mach 1.8.

It appears there's little margin for error there - I wonder what the actual safe unlock speed was supposed to be? Mach 1.7 ?

I also wonder if it was known that the actuators would be overridden by aerodynamic forces to cause such a movement at Mach 1.0

Unless there was a very specific procedure: "Thou shalt only unlock between X and Y speed", then it should not be classed as Pilot Error.

PLUTO SPACE WHALE starts to give up its secrets


Oh oh...

That's no moon dwarf planet !!!

AI pioneer reckons China's where the Rise of the Machines will start


I , for one...

拿我来说,欢迎我们的新“ AI ”霸主

(best I can do with Google Translate :)

Poseidon's Wake, Naked at the Albert Hall and Farewell Kabul


Re: Ouch!

Autotune turned up to 11 and (while I'm moaning) using Beats headphones to listen to it on are not the sort of technologies that deserve any celebration IMHO.

The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all


Re: More Moore

Interesting to imagine if the hardware rate of change had been much less... would we have better software tools to cram functionality into less memory and/or cpu speed ?

Is there an equivalent 'Bloat Law' for software which has kept pace with Moore's?

Google throws a 180 on its plans for Dart language


One to avoid I think...

With AngularJS 2.0 having changed to TypeScript, the future doesn't look too rosy for Dart.

NASA: Give us JUST 0.5% of the federal budget and we'll take you to MARS and EUROPA



I would like to think that raising a few $billion for space exploration shouldn't be too hard if you can scam up $5m+ for some bits of cardboard with cartoons of exploding kittens on 'em.

Sadly, I think I do live in a dreamworld.

Evil US web giants shield terrorists? Evil spies in net freedom crush plot?


A Turing Test for the 21st century

Behind all this lies the technical question of whether some AI could read a thread and decide, at least as well as some level-headed human, that a 'terrorist discussion' is taking place.

If that were possible, reliable and well-controlled, I reckon there would be a good argument for snooping on lots of communications.

Practically, that is simply not the case.

Pitchforks at dawn! UK gov's Verify ID service fail to verify ID


Security questions...

I definitely don't trust any organisation like Experian which asks that highly-secure, only-that-individual-could-know question: "Mother's maiden name?"

(I did have a bank once ring me to complain that my answer to security question: "Place of Birth" being "Jupiter" must be a mistake on my part)

Sandisk breaks 128GB barrier with new $199 MICROSD card


RAID would be nice

Having had a uSD fail on me, I'd be *really* interested in a 64GB mirrored SD card (oh, and the phone OS support for that too)

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC


The basics

The problem seems to be that the non-coders making the decisions want fast'n'fancy results, which will end up with some framework being used so Johnny can just type in "My Website" and choose a colour... Hey look - this 9yo just built a website! Film at 11 !

What is really needed is to get across some of the real basics (no, not BASIC), for example - codepad.org have an interactive C editor/interpreter. At the same time, you do also need to give 'em some flashy stuff to keep them interested and to demonstrate the breadth of 'coding'.

Firm moves to trademark 'Python' name out from under the language


" ... the alphabet sues everyone?"

- entirely possible: http://www.alphabet.com/



Not famous enough or simply too long ago?

You may or may not have heard of Paul Lutus; he wrote "Apple Writer" way back at the dawn of time.

I happened across his arachnoid.com website, looking for HAM radio stuff as it 'appens, then did the Wiki on him to find he's just been deleted ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Lutus ).


Google faces WHOPPING FTC fine for Safari privacy gaffe


Re: Remind me: What is/was Google's motto?

I think it was: "Do no evil that people can find out about."

Ten exabytes wedged into a rather large box by Cleversafe


Take a while to fill that...

I reckon if you had a 100Gbps line to your shiny new 10EB-worth of disks, it'd take over 3 years to fill it.

With my current ISP's speed (4Mbps) it'd take c. 75,000 years.

Anyhow, 3 years down the line we'll have bigger pendrives.

Forcefields will guard Mars ships from solar ion storms

Paris Hilton

Self-powered forcefield generator

For a Mars trip, you're mainly worried about just one source of radiation - you only need to protect against particles from the sun... so just tow a large Halbach cylinder of magnets. Nasty charged things headed for you will veer off as they traverse the field.

Not quite so useful against killer krenon-ray wielding aliens tho'

Paris? attractive and highly charged.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020