* Posts by Swiss Anton

321 posts • joined 16 Feb 2009


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.

Drones must be constantly connected to the internet to give Feds real-time location data – new US govt proposal

Swiss Anton

There are already services that use geostationary satellites to provide internet services, though the weight of the comms kit to connect to them would make the whole thing moot, as the drone would be too heavy to fly.

Death and taxis: Windows has had enough of clinging to a cab rooftop in the London rain

Swiss Anton

Re: Oh Dear...

Or come up with the same old hackneyed excuses as to why it went wrong,

Google Chrome to block file downloads – from .exe to .txt – over HTTP by default this year. And we're OK with this

Swiss Anton

Re: Annoying tho

telnet w.x.y.z 80 still works for me.

Maryland: Make malware possession a crime! Yes, yes, researchers get a free pass

Swiss Anton

Re: Banning malware is not an option!

And clearly being in possession of tools that can be used to write ransomware must also be a crime.

H0LiCOW: Cosmoboffins still have no idea why universe seems to be expanding more rapidly than expected

Swiss Anton

The universe can't bump into another one - uni means there is only one. Maybe we should change its name in case there are other verses out there.

I spy, with my little satellite AI, something beginning with 'North American image-analysis code embargo'

Swiss Anton

Floppy discs are no longer required.

Does it count as being exported if the software is running on a server that is in the good o' U S of A, but is being accessed from Iran via a properly encrypted VPN?

Having trouble finding a job in your 40s? Study shows some bosses like job applicants... up until they see dates of birth

Swiss Anton

Re: So how do you hide your age?

Lose the word VAX. My CV makes no mention of the time when I wrote software in C for a VAX. In-fact it doesn't refer to anything from more than ten years ago. I removed all the old jobs from it to get my CV down to two sides of A4. Reading it, you'd never guess that I've being doing this stuff for more than three decades. My CV doesn't even have my date of birth, or the dates of my education.

Does it look suspicious if an employer can't guess my age from my CV?

Londoner admits illegally accessing National Lottery accounts

Swiss Anton

Re: Statistically speaking, his chances of a prison sentence are low.

The was no mention of jackpots, just "... winning anything …" I don't see why that doesn't include the prize for matching 3 balls.

Swiss Anton

Re: Statistically speaking, his chances of a prison sentence are low.

I know lots of people who have won something on the National Lottery. I personally know only one person who has been to jail. Am I a statistical outlier?

Co-op Bank online and mobile banking goes TITSUP*

Swiss Anton

Re: The UK really is a marvellous country

My lumpy mattress gets more and more comfy with every online banking SNAFU.



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