* Posts by Swiss Anton

331 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Feb 2009


TSA wants to expand facial recognition to hundreds of airports within next decade

Swiss Anton

There is no privacy to lose.

To be able to compare the facial image with the id, the system needs to already have a copy of the id image. It doesn't matter whether the airport scanner saves it recorded image or not, the authorities already have a copy of your face. They will also have all the info the require to track your journey through the airline ticketing system and banks used to processes the transaction used when purchasing the ticket. All the tech does is reduce staffing costs, and arguably improve accuracy, as the robots won't have a hangovers at the start of the day.

Musk decides to bury dead Twitter accounts, warns users follower counts could sink

Swiss Anton

I know what you mean, my favourite "was" @WorldBollard. An account dedicated to bollards protecting the world from bad drivers. I say "was", becuase I was recently banned from twitter for reasons that remain obscure. I can't say I mind, I'm glad to be out of the cespit that accounts for 99% of the content that is now current on the site.

NASA scrubs Artemis SLS Moon rocket launch

Swiss Anton

The problem is with 1 of 4 engines.

Since 3 of the 4 identically designed engines do not have an issue, Occam's razor says that the problem is down to some sloppy build or QA work. Though of course that doesn't rule out fragile design etc as being the cause.

Google tests battery backups, aims to ditch emergency datacenter diesel

Swiss Anton

A sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Belgium has a stable electrical supply, hence the backup generators will usually only be fired up for a few hours every year for testing, so the CO2 implications are negligible. Batteries would be more useful elsewhere, for instance in storing excess renewable power for use on the national grid.

Pretend starship captain to take trip in real space capsule

Swiss Anton

It's space Jim, but not as we know it.

UK MoD data strategy calls for social media surveillance on behalf of 'local authorities'

Swiss Anton

Re: "population sentiment"

To be fair, there are many town halls up and down the land that could benefit from some rapid deconstruction.

Swiss Anton

Re: "social media sentiment analysis"

Er, but you're not.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81

Swiss Anton

My ZX81 was a stepping stone at just the right time.

Courtesy of an inspirational teacher at my very bog standard comprehensive school I had already learnt how to program by the time I got my ZX81, but that computer gave me the space to try things out, and 40+ years later, I'm still hacking away with the kids writing stuff that is a million miles away from that start. Without doubt Clive Sinclair (and his team) gave me a massive boost towards what ended up being my career. RIP Sir Clive.

RAF chief: Our Reaper drones (sorry, SkyGuardians) stand ready to help British councils

Swiss Anton

Berkshire council may have a use.

With appologises to the former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman

"Come, friendly Brimstone missiles, and fall on Slough! It isn't fit for humans now,"

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

Swiss Anton

Forget that £2, EV's are going to get taxed.

As demand for fossil fuels falls the governemt will need to replace the tax income from old tech cars with a new tax on electric vehicles. I'm thinking that it will be some software that reports your daily milage back to a central computer, and which then taxes you for each mile that you drive. Obviously it will charge more for driving into cities.

Swiss Anton

The only challenge here is with the planners. Nuclear power is the only way forward. BTW.

Microsoft solicits Clippy comeback – later reveals it had already decided to bring back the peppy paperclip

Swiss Anton
IT Angle

Re: "Oh how we laughed and laughed, except I wasn't laughing..."

Down vote because your comment is not IT related.

Former NASA astronaut and Shuttle boss weigh in on fixing Hubble Space Telescope

Swiss Anton

Re: Faulty backup computer

I think the fact that we once had the ability to fix Hubble was a bonus. There will be no such options when it comes to the James Webb space telescope.

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth

Swiss Anton

Re: Huh

The problem is that it is very expensive to retrofit the required electrical infrastructure, and on some lines, like the one through to Aberystwyth, the volume of traffic doesn't come close to justifying that that investment.

Hubble Space Telescope sails serenely on in safe mode after efforts to switch to backup memory modules fail

Swiss Anton

Re: This is starting to look bad

If they can fix Hubble's optics, then I can't see any reason whty they can't attach a small rocket motor to force it's re-entry. It would be easy enough to ensure that it then comes down over an ocean. As to creating more space junk - satellites have been known to collide, so I would suggest getting it out of orbit when it's of no furthure use should be a priority.

Swiss Anton

Re: This is starting to look bad

I worked on software for the Envisat sattellite. It died / suddenly went deaf. I know it's not always possible to re-enter old spacecraft, but it has to be in your plan to try to do so if you can.

Swiss Anton

Re: This is starting to look bad

Hubble has far exceeded it original design remit. It has provided so much data that they will still be analysing it long after it stops working. My only hope is that when the end is really nigh, they point it back home, and let it burn up in the atmosphere so that it doesn't add to the ever growing "pile" of space junk

Internet Explorer downgraded to 'Walking Dead' status as Microsoft sets date for demise

Swiss Anton

Any businesses that still have to use IE probably have much nastier things to worry about than a flaky browser.

China to enforce social distancing on peak of Mount Everest

Swiss Anton

It clearly won't do for Nepalese Sherpas to mingle with Tibetan Sherpas. Who know what crazy ideas the later may learn from the former.

US declares emergency after ransomware shuts oil pipeline that pumps 100 million gallons a day

Swiss Anton

Re: One word:

You need to do more than check that you can recover from a backup, you need to make sure that the backup isn't compromised. There is no fun in restoring a system with a dormant virus which then wakes up and re-infects the restored software and data.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter cleared for further, farther, flying after landing on 117-second fourth flight

Swiss Anton

Re: I've never been so happy to be wrong

I suspect that it probably uses some solid state accellerometers and rate gyroscopes, much like the ones in my mobile phone. Its a simple enough job to integrate their outputs to get a measure of distance travelled in the X,Y & Z directions. Since the flights are so short, the cumaliative measurement errors will be tiny.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout

Swiss Anton

Re: Er ...

By Fance

Sadly, the catastrophic impact with Apophis asteroid isn't going to happen in 2068

Swiss Anton

Re: Wish upon a star

We had a near miss with a 100m-140m rock in June of last year (it is named 2020LD). The rock came as close as 200,000 miles, which 80% of the distance to the moon. It wasn't spotted until 2 days after it had passed us. I guess we got lucky.

We need a 20MW 20,000-GPU-strong machine-learning supercomputer to build EU's planned digital twin of Earth

Swiss Anton

Re: A bit late, don't you think?

An "expert" on the radio (*) reckons we need to build 1 nuclear power plant, or a 2500 turbine wind farm, every day for the next 30 years to replace all of the fossil fuelled power stations in the world by 2050. He didn't say what the generating capacity of these units was, so I decided to do my own estimate based on a 800MW nuclear plant (like Hinckely Point B), or a 80x10MW turbines wind farm, and I came up with a more optimistic estimate of one of these every 4 days. My estimate based on current electricity demands and does not take into account the increased demand of electric cars and of replacing gas central heating systems.

So in short, I agree, we're fucked.

(* The radio show is a BBC world service programme How soon can we go carbon zero? )

The CIA's 'entire' collection of UFO records has been made available for you to sigh at

Swiss Anton

With every person and their dog / cat now having a smart phone with a camera, why isn't the internet awash with new UFO videos?

Waterloo! Windows defeated, your sign is screwed. Waterloo! Promise to bork you forevermore

Swiss Anton

"... standing nose to armpit ..."

I miss the good old days.

Iran to issue license for national bug bounty program to clean up its code base

Swiss Anton

Whose bugs?

Who's software does the bug bounty apply? Iranian, or anyone else's.

US government clears debt collectors to go after Americans through their social media accounts

Swiss Anton

Brazil, (the film, not the country).

Southern Water customers could view others' personal data by tweaking URL parameters

Swiss Anton

Re: Move along please - nothing to see here

The PM is accountable to parliament and the electorate. Software developers aren't really accountable to anyone.

What would you prefer: Satellite-streamed cat GIFs – or a decent early warning of an asteroid apocalypse?

Swiss Anton

Re: WHy bother looking at asteriods that will destory earth?

We had a relatively near miss at the start of June this year from asteroid 2020 LD. A mere 100-150m in diameter, and it came within 200,000 miles of the earth (that's closer than the moon). It was only big enough to wipe out a medium sized town, say something like Bath, but if we saw it coming, then we could at least evacuate those in the danger area. As it happens it wasn't spotted until two days after its closest approach, and that was nothing to do with Musk's satellites, but down to it making a sneaky attack from the direction of the sun, but the point is, there are things that we can do, if the asteroid isn't too big.

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

Swiss Anton

Re: eCall only activates when there's been an accident

The car was completely burnt out, there is a picture that shows nothing but remaining steel shell. The data module could not have survived that fire. The data could only have come from some external record (which I beleive was LR's HQ)

Swiss Anton

Re: eCall only activates when there's been an accident

In a recent murder case in Wales, the evidence against the accused was largely based on data sent from their Land Rover Discovery to LR's HQ. The car itself was burnt out after the murder. The data included the expected stuff such as speed and location, and also that the rear tailgate had been opened for a few seconds before the murder. The prosecution inferred that that was when they took the murder weapon out of the car. I call that mission creep, but since the accused were found guilty, then I guess that's all for the good.

Swiss Anton

Re: @denisbergeron -- That's settled, then.

"My 2107 Corolla..." Is this a remake of the classic DeLorean?

Uncle Sam says it's perfecting autonomous AI-powered drone, vehicle swarms to 'dominate' battlefields

Swiss Anton

Re: Just Wait Ten Years.

I thought they already did that using personal tracking devices. Also known as a smartphones.

USA seeks Moon and Mars nuke power plant designs ready to fly in 2027

Swiss Anton

Re: What are they going to do with the heat?

Would that be a really hot cup of tea?

Fitness freaks flummoxed as massive global Garmin outage leaves them high and dry for hours

Swiss Anton

Better still don't connect it to the internet, though there are some advantage to that.

When I first read this story, I dug out my old (15+ years) Garmin Etrex GPS to see if it still worked. Amazingly it does, and it is at least 30m accurate; however there is a slight problem. Whilst I still have a cable to connect it to my computer, it needs to plug into an RS232 interface. My computer doesn't have one of these, but I'm sure I can get a RS323 USB adapter (the irony). If not, then there is always my Raspberry Pi - now there's an interesting project for the weekend.

Three UK: We're sending you this SMS to warn you not to pay attention to unsolicited texts

Swiss Anton

Not so long ago I got an e-mail (apparently from my company's training department) informing me that I needed to take a mandatory online course on computer security. The email even had a link, please click here to start your training session. Of course I deleted it. Some weeks later my boss moaned at me because I hadn't taken the mandatory training. The irony.

Windows 10 Insider wondering where Notepad has gone? Fear not, Microsoft found it down the back of Dev Channel

Swiss Anton

Re: Good Grief...

I use Nodepad++ a lot, but sometimes its text colour coding* is down right annoying, Sometimes a simple monochrome view is what I want, and MS Notepad does that. (*Yes I'm sure there is probably a config setting in Notepad++ to change this, but life's too short to find out how).

Windows 10 once more in print condition: Microsoft applies out-of-band fix to Patch Tuesday cock-up

Swiss Anton

Re: The current Windows dev process is horribly flawed...

"...just try getting a mortgage if you don't own a printer."

Its kind of quaint to find that someone will except anything that you have printed as some sort of proof of income. All it proves is that you can use a word processor and a printer.

OOP there it is: You'd think JavaScript's used more by devs than Java... but it's not – JetBrains survey

Swiss Anton

Re: I just can't get away with them...

vi! You lightweight. What's wrong with edlin, or maybe even punching your own cards. Sheesh, what a snowflake.

(Icon - closest I could find to a hair shirt)

Virgin Orbit at last ready to live up to its name: Branson's other space adventure set for maiden flight this weekend

Swiss Anton

....does not require the infrastructure needed by vertically launched rockets

But it does need a 10000ft runway for the 747, a trained crew to fly it, and someone to serve them fish ...

Well, that's something boffins haven't seen before: A strange alien streaks around Jupiter

Swiss Anton

Re: Looks like a job for...

It might stop us from using their planet as a trash can, sorry I mean a legitimate target for one of our space probes

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

Swiss Anton

Re: Yay ! Justice is served !

Downvote because this happens all over the world, not just the USA. The only difference there is that their lawyers are so much more expensive than the rest of the world. That and the very real threat of a hundred billion dollar award against you, should you lose.

Netflix starts 30-day video data diet at EU's request to ensure network availability during coronavirus crisis

Swiss Anton

Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

Possibly, but Netflix do automatically show a preview of their latest and greatest on the home page. Something I find very annoying and I haven't found a way of disabling it.

Swiss Anton

Not sure how long it will be before the TV channels start to go blank, at least the commercial ones. They carry a lot of adverts for holidays & travel, new cars and many other things that people aren't now buying. No advert revenue, no TV, not even repeats. Could El Reg go the say way?

European electric vehicle sales surged in Q4 2019 but only accounted for wafer-thin slice of total car purchases

Swiss Anton

Re: The maths is strong in this one...

A dodgem car can easily do 800 miles, although the distance from its starting point is never going to be more than a few feet.